New research suggests older adults may have less activity in the area of the brain that processes risk and subtle danger. Another possible reason older adults don't pick up on warning signs is an increasing bias against negativity.
As President Obama and lawmakers try to find a formula for spending cuts and tax increases, they might look across the Atlantic for insights from those who have been wrestling with budget problems. The first lesson from Europe's "fiscal consolidation" experiences: It will hurt.
If Congress fails to reach an agreement on tax increases and spending cuts this year, it will mean sharp reductions in a broad swath of federal spending, from defense and Medicare to education and unemployment benefits. Economists say the cuts would be a serious setback for the economy as a whole.
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