1. DEBT

    Deficit Tops $1T for Third Year

    WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 22:  Sheets of freshly made twenty dollar bills lay in stacks at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing on July 22, 2011 in Washington, DC. The printing facility of Bureau of Engraving and Printing on 14th Street in Washington was until 1991 the only facility printing Federal Reserve notes until a western facility was opened in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

    Mark Wilson / Getty Images

    The United States has been more than $1 trillion in debt for three consecutive years, according to the Treasury Department, which said on Wednesday that the federal deficit through July totaled $1.1 trillion. That's a small improvement from 2009, when the shortfall was $1.41 trillion, but this year's deficit is on track to exceed last year's $1.29 trillion imbalance. Three years of record deficits have pressured the White House and Congress to agree on a 12-member committee of lawmakers to come up with a long-term strategy to cut $1.2 trillion from the deficit over the next decade. If they don't agree on a plan by Thanksgiving, severe spending cuts across a variety of sectors will take effect immediately.

    Read it at Associated Press