Is the United States headed for financial calamity? Two new books take a hard look at the federal government’s financial outlook and conclude that absent changes in fiscal policy the nation will face serious trouble. But while the authors of these volumes see largely eye to eye on the basic facts of our predicament, the prescriptions they offer for getting the U.S. back on a sustainable course are diametrically opposed.

Julia D. Mahoney, The Struggle for America’s "Fiscal Soul" (reviewing Edward D. Kleinbard and Michael D. Tanner, We Are Better Than This: How Government Should Spend Our Money (Kleinbard) / Going for Broke: Deficits, Debt, and the Entitlement Crisis (Tanner)) New Rambler (2016).