It wouldn't be the worst thing that could happen to the country.
If President Obama and Congress can't come to agreement on new tax and spending policies by the end of year, the U.S. could slip into recession, defense and domestic programs will see damaging cuts, and the American people may become convinced that Washington can't govern the nation.
On the other hand, the lack of a deal would do a lot to help erase the federal deficit.
This interview was originally broadcast in 1999. Brubeck died on Wednesday at age 91.
In 1954, polls in the leading jazz magazines Metronome and Downbeat selected Dave Brubeck's band as the year's best instrumental group. That same year, Brubeck was the second jazz musician ever featured on the cover of Time Magazine (the first being Louie Armstrong).
The bottom line on the fiscal cliff negotiations on Capitol Hill is that things seem far from resolved. As Politico put it, the last we heard is that White House congressional liaison Rob Nabors went to Capitol Hill to tell lawmakers that President Obama is not budging.
If Congress does not come to an agreement, the country is facing steep spending cuts and tax hikes that economist warn could send the economy back into recession.
For the first time since his exile in 1967, the leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshal, returned to the Gaza Strip today. He arrived through the border with Egypt, kissing the ground in celebration and as NPR's Philip Reeves reports, Meshal received a hero's welcome as well as military one.
The official state Christmas tree is scheduled for lighting in front of the state Capitol in Montgomery. Gov. Robert Bentley, first lady Dianne Bentley and members of the Garden Club of Alabama are supposed to turn on the lights in a ceremony that begins at 5:15 p.m. today. The state's official Christmas tree this year is a 35-foot eastern red cedar grown in Bullock County. It was donated by Elisabeth Thompson, who owns Feathers Plantation in Fitzpatrick.
Republican Senator Jim DeMint announced Thursday that he is resigning his seat from South Carolina to become president of the right-leaning Heritage Foundation, a Washington think tank. What will his departure mean for the Senate and for South Carolina?