Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A little federal budget fun...

Found this in an entry of's FedBlog -

American Public Media, the country's largest operator of public radio stations, has a 'game' on its website called "Budget Hero."

While it is presented as a game, it is a very enlightening simulation. It highlights the the impact of various budget tactics, and how increasing spending in one area means cuts in another, increased taxes, or increased deficits. It also highlights the long-term effects of budgeting decisions by showing how their impact on a project 'budget bust' date.

Anyway, I didn't quite achieve "Budget Hero" status in the areas I chose for my first time through the game, but was able to increase education and infrastructure spending (areas that qualify as long-term investments, with long-term payoffs) while the only defense spending cut was to bring the troops home from Iraq soon. This was paid for with a repeal of Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy, an end to tax subsidies/breaks for Big Oil, and assorted taxes on the wealthy (hedge fund managers, etc.).

Hardly the sort of budgeting that would ever endear me to Republicans, but this "tax-and-spend" Democrat balanced the budget, decreased the size of government (as a % of GDP), and decreased the size of the national debt (also as a % of the GDP).

And provided AMT relief for the middle class by indexing it to inflation.

There were some tough decisions here too - had to raise the eligibility age for Social Security to make this work.

Try to do as well or better; most people won't be able to if they budget by ideology instead of reality.

Give it a shot if you have a few minutes. You'll learn a lot.


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