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The growing federal deficit and demands for reductions in spending create a sense of scarcity that pits Americans against one another. Already, there's a growing wealth and income gap between the young and the old. We take a look at the impact of that and other "fault lines" between Americans in this election year. Also, the Ninth Circuit finds California's Prop 8 unconstitutional. On Reporter's Notebook, Hamas and Fatah are joining forces — at least for the moment — with a plan for elections in the West Bank and Gaza. We look at the political fallout in Israel, the reaction of western nations and the prospects for a two state solution.

Banner image: Seventy-one-year-old Judy Moses (C) prepares to be arrested during a protest against cuts to federal safety net programs, including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid on November 7, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Making News Ninth Circuit Finds California's Prop 8 Unconstitutional 7 MIN, 20 SEC

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that California's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, even though it was approved by the voters. Douglas NeJaime is a professor of law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, where he focuses on law and sexuality.

Douglas NeJaime, UCLA Law School (@WilliamsPolicy)

Main Topic The Politics of Austerity 36 MIN, 20 SEC

It's no surprise that older Americans have accumulated more wealth and earn more income than their children and grandchildren. But a recent study shows the gap is growing much faster than previously reported, leading to age-based competition for federal benefits. Older conservatives who see the pie shrinking view programs to help younger people, and even the poor, as threats to Medicare and Social Security. That fear has energized the Tea Partiers, and Occupy Wall Street is the first sign of youthful resistance as the struggle for scarce resources turns nasty.  Meantime, well-off elites face a middle class plagued with unemployment and a sense of deprivation. What are the implications for this year's campaigns?

Richard Fry, Pew Research Center
Thomas Edsall, Columbia School of Journalism (@Edsall)
Theda Skocpol, Victor S. Thomas professor of government and sociology at Harvard and director of the Scholars Strategy Network
Fred Lynch, Claremont McKenna College (@CMCtoday)

The Age of Austerity

Thomas Byrne Edsall

Reporter's Notebook Palestinian Unity Deal Could Upend Peace Talks with Israel 7 MIN, 4 SEC

The rival Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas, have announced that a unity government will led by Mahmoud Abbas until elections can be held in the West Bank and Gaza. The agreement has created another convulsion in the Middle East. Dan Ephron, Jerusalem Bureau Chief for Newsweek magazine, considers what it means for relations with Israel, continued financial support from Western countries and a two-state solution.

Dan Ephron, Newsweek/Daily Beast

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