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FROM THIS EPISODE

Bi-partisanship took another hit yesterday with the failure of the Super Committee to reach agreement on a deficit reduction deal. Polls show that most Americans blame Republicans for the failure, but both sides are still going to have to work together on several big issues before the year ends, including a payroll tax cut and a new extension of unemployment benefits. On this rebroadcast of today's To the Point, guest host Sara Terry asks how, with the 2012 elections coming up, will the political parties deal with voter discontent over Congress' failure to act? Also, Walmart uses ballot threats to push new stores. On Reporter's Notebook, remember those six degrees of separation? Start thinking 4.74.

Banner image: The US Capitol is seen as Republican and Democratic members of the 'Super Committee,' or Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, fail to meet on deficit reduction talks in Washington, DC. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Producers:
Caitlin Shamberg
Anna Scott
Frances Anderton

Making News Walmart Uses Ballot Threats to Push New Stores 9 MIN, 48 SEC

Walmart is increasingly using California's initiative system and budget woes to expand in the state, according to a new report from California Watch, a project of the Center for Investigative Reporting. In cities across the state, Walmart has circulated petitions to build new stores or eliminate local restrictions on big-box retailers. With enough signatures, state law requires cities to approve the petitions or hold a special election. With cash-strapped cities opting out of costly elections, Walmart's strategy has pushed through four new superstores in the past year and rolled back regulations in San Diego. Will Evans wrote the story for California Watch.

Guests:
Will Evans, Freelance Investigative Reporter, California Watch

Main Topic Fallout from Super Committee Failure 33 MIN, 22 SEC

Perhaps to the surprise of no one, the Super Committee has failed. Republicans and Democrats were supposed to come up with a deficit reduction deal, but in the end Republicans once again refused to substantially raise taxes, preferring instead to cut domestic programs, and Democrats stood by their mantra of achieving deficit reduction goals by balancing new taxes and spending cuts. Both sides are trying to figure out how to deal with the consequences: $1.2 trillion in mandated spending cuts set to take effect in January 2013. Who will bear the brunt of those cuts? Military spending is supposed to face huge cuts, but will legislators and lobbyists let that happen? What about other economic issues on the Congressional agenda? What will happen when voters go to the polls a year from now? Will deficit reduction and bi-partisanship failure be on their minds?

Guests:
Janet Hook, Wall Street Journal (@hookjan)
Ezra Klein, Washington Post (@ezraklein)
James Pethokoukis, American Enterprise Institute (@jimpethokoukis)
Isabel Sawhill, Brookings Institution (@isawhill)
Maya MacGuineas, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (@MayaMacGuineas)

Reporter's Notebook Six Degrees of Separation Becomes 4.74 7 MIN, 59 SEC

The six degrees of separation that began with 296 volunteers in 1967 have narrowed to 4.74 degrees, thanks to the 721 million people on Facebook. In 1967, Yale psychologist Stanley Milgram started an experiment that led to the "six degrees of separation” theory, the notion that the average number of people separating any two people in the world is six. Fast forward nearly 35 years and the separation has narrowed to 4.74, maybe even three. Somini Sengupta covers technology and society for the New York Times.

Guests:
Somini Sengupta, New York Times (@SominiSengupta)

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