America is currently involved in one of the worst economic crises of modern times. As alarm increases over how the government will balance the budget, handle the debt, and maintain prosperity for the future, the minutia of debts and deficits remains incomprehensible to many. Why is it so hard to find ways to resolve the fiscal crisis? This brief and intelligible book is a guide to understanding both the difficulties involved in managing the federal budget and why the on-going fiscal crisis is so significant for America's future.In order to introduce the reader to the basic composition of federal spending and to the ways that the government raises revenue, Hudson begins his guide with a "e;map"e; clarifying how to navigate the federal budget. He defines basic financial vocabulary and outlines concepts by using clear charts and diagrams that both provide basis for discussion and illustrate key points. With this budget map in mind, the second part of the book lays out how the partisan divide in America helps explain the fiscal crisis. Hudson analyzes the debate on the extent of the fiscal crisis, the ways that political parties have tried to solve it, and the political events and institutions that have surrounded the crisis. This citizen's guide reveals how differing views of America inform the arguments over deficits and debt. By the time readers finish the book, they will understand that the conflict over deficits and debt is not simply about where to cut or add spending, but instead is a struggle over national priorities and visions for the future.