In the 1930s, America Defaulted on Its Debt. It Could Happen Again.

FDR's Decision to Drop the Gold Standard Holds Resonance Today as Big Bills Come Due

In the darkest days of the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, with support from Congress and the Supreme Court, agreed to wipe out more than 40 percent of public and private debts. With that decisive action, the United States staved off bankruptcy and began to claw its way back to stability and, eventually, prosperity.

But could the default scenario repeat itself—especially now that the United States is shouldering about $22 trillion of debt, plus tens of trillions more in Medicare, Social Security, and unfunded state and local pension obligations?

You …

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The U.S. and Mexico Aren’t yet One Country, but They’re Becoming One Region

Despite Nasty Rhetoric and Political Conflict, These North American Neighbors Keep Drawing Closer Through Trade, Culture, and Shared Interests

If you want to know where U.S.-Mexico relations are heading, Andrew Selee suggests, don’t just listen to the vitriol flying around Washington these days.

Instead, consider this week’s announcement that …

To Appreciate Hawaii’s Soul, Savor Its Cuisine

The Popularity of Food From the Islands Shows the State's Appeal, but Also Points to Global Perils

Not so long ago, the best-known image of Hawaii’s food was Dole canned pineapple. Today, restaurants serving poke and katsu chicken are popping up everywhere from Utah to Europe, and …

The Couple Who Went Searching for America’s Future in Its Small Towns

James Fallows and Deborah Fallows Logged 100,000 Miles Through a Nation Divided Politically but Cooperating Locally

The mass-media storyline is that America is a country split between prosperous liberal coastal elites and struggling, resentful conservative heartlanders, spewing vitriol at each other across an unbridgeable partisan gulf.

But …

How Badly Must Artists Behave Before We Can Dismiss Their Great Art?

Critics and Scholars Wrestle With How to Appreciate Creative Masterworks by Flawed Human Beings

Leni Riefenstahl and D.W. Griffith were cinematic geniuses who churned out racist propaganda. The Renaissance master Caravaggio was a murderous rogue. Then there’s the growing list of Hollywood auteurs and …