This Sunday, ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos," in partnership with the University of Virginia's Miller Center, tackles the critical question "Is the U.S. Headed Toward Bankruptcy?"
With the United States nearly $16 trillion in debt, a major "fiscal cliff" looms at the end of the year as a combination of expiring tax cuts and mandatory across-the-board spending cuts threaten to derail any hopes of economic recovery. And as millions of baby boomers edge closer to retirement, the nation's long-term fiscal picture looks even more bleak.
Now with Mitt Romney's selection of Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., chairman of the House Budget Committee, as his running mate, competing visions on how to handle the country's pressing short- and long-term fiscal challenges will likely take center stage in the 2012 presidential contest.
Will uncertainty over the coming fiscal cliff and potentially massive government spending cuts slow hiring and growth, and weaken the economy further? Will Republicans and Democrats continue to face off over opposing views on taxes, or can any compromise be reached for fundamental reform of the tax code? Can Congress and the White House work together toward changes to Medicare and Social Security to put the country on sounder financial footing?
Or will the U.S. head in the direction of Europe's most troubled economies, with long-term debt and deficits paralyzing any chance of economic recovery?
Held before a live studio audience at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., Sunday's edition of "This Week," moderated by ABC News senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper, brings together key panelists to debate the short- and long-term fiscal challenges facing the country.
• Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa. – Member, Senate Budget Committee; Member, 2011 Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction
• Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md. – Ranking Member, House Budget Committee; Member, 2011 Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction
• Neil Barofsky – Former Special Inspector General, Troubled Assets Relief Program; Author, "Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street"
• Austan Goolsbee – Former Chairman, Obama Council of Economic Advisers; Professor, University of Chicago Booth School of Business; ABC News Consultant
• Grover Norquist – Founder and President, Americans for Tax Reform
• Kimberley Strassel – Columnist and Editorial Board member, The Wall Street Journal
"This Week With George Stephanopoulos" and the Miller Center have teamed up to produce a series of programs on the key issues of the 2012 election. The Miller Center will create educational materials for each show topic, including white papers and blog posts written by leading scholars, and lesson plans that middle-school and high-school teachers can use to educate students about election issues.
For more information, visit the Miller Center website.