Be a "Budget Hero" with this Cool Game to Balance the Nation's Books Be a "Budget Hero" with this Cool Game to Balance the Nation's Books
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Be a "Budget Hero" with this Cool Game to Balance the Nation's Books

by Alex Goldmark

July 24, 2011

Now that we trust the numbers, we can be terrified by them. After just five minutes of fiddling with infrastructure and education spending, you realize a few things. For one, it's nearly impossible to close the budget gap without raising taxes or massively slicing health and military spending. There are lots of ways to do both of those, and it's kind of fun to pick between cutting foreign aid or missile defense, or between raising the Medicare eligibility age and forcing drug companies to give bigger discounts. 

Most of the items are in the hundreds of billions of dollars. Then there are a few numerically irrelevant fiscal specks in the budget mess. Those tend to be the hot-button issues like Amtrak funding, at $5 billion, and protecting endangered species, at $2 billion. Killing arts and humanities funding doesn't even make a noticeable dent in the big skyscraper of debt. The health-care reform bill sure does though. This game puts those choices in perspective. 

Give it a try and let us know how you would balance the budget. Or better yet, let your congressmen and congresswomen know. Maybe they'll try playing this game instead of playing debt brinksmanship. 

Budget Hero a creation of American Public Media. You can play it here

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Be a "Budget Hero" with this Cool Game to Balance the Nation's Books