July 18th: What's On Today's Show : Blog Of The Nation In the first hour of Talk of the Nation, the effects of a possible government default, and the opinion page looks at the risks of a U.S. draw-down in Iraq. In the second hour, the road back to work after long-term unemployment, and making those who refuse vaccinations pay a price.
NPR logo July 18th: What's On Today's Show

July 18th: What's On Today's Show

A job seeker shakes hands with a recruiter during the San Francisco Hirevent job fair at the Hotel Whitmore on July 12, 2011 in San Francisco, California. In our second hour, guests talk about bouncing back after long-term unemployment. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images hide caption

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

If We Default
If the president and Congress let the U.S. government default on its debts, economist Mark Zandi warns global stock markets will plunge, the value of the dollar will drop and interest rates will spike. The clock is ticking down to an August 2nd deadline to reach a deal on lifting the debt ceiling. Host Neal Conan talks with New York Times business reporter Louise Story about the effects of a possible government default: What happens to people's savings and retirement accounts, home loans, student loans and credit cards? Will social security checks go out? What about Medicare? How might this affect government services and the private sector? Bill Gross, founder of the investment management firm PIMCO, will explain that while he would likely profit from a default, it would send shock waves through the investment industry and should be avoided at all costs.

Opinion Page
All U.S. troops must be out of Iraq by the end of the year, unless a new deal is struck with Iraq's government, and there is growing concern about the country's ability to defend itself and counter Iranian influence. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki reportedly has privately told U.S. officials that he wants a deal to extend the deadline. Although the administration has stated that it is willing to strike a deal, in an op-ed for The Washington Post, Jackson Diehl argues that too many in the White House mistakenly believe that "a stay-on force" is not a vital U.S. interest and risk alienating an important ally. Neal Conan talks with Deahl about the risks of a U.S. drawdown in Iraq.

Finding Work After Unemployment
The unemployment rate rose to 9.2 percent in June, the highest since December 2010. More than 6 million people have been out of work for at least 6 months. Still, there are some people who are managing to find work after a long run of unemployment. Last month, Emily Yoffe, contributing writer for Slate.com, asked readers who'd been out of work for a year or more to share their stories about how they landed a job. The responses showed it takes more than patience and hard work — some were hired after intense networking, reality TV appearances, volunteering, working with temp agencies or taking lower paying jobs. Host Neal Conan talks with Yoffe and with NPR business reporter Tamara Keith about the road back to work after long-term unemployment.

Risks Of Refusing Vaccinations
New Zealand is experiencing the largest outbreak of measles in over a decade as low immunization rates have boosted the spread of the virus. The United States also recently recorded the highest number of measles cases in 15 years. Risk management consultant David Ropeik argues that people who refuse routine vaccinations put others at risk, and that they should pay a price for their decision. Host Neal Conan talks with Ropeik about the risks of declining vaccination rates and his proposals to make those who refuse vaccines pay more for health insurance or ban them from school trips.