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June 8, 2008

a budget simulation

Budget Hero is a simulation of the federal budget that allows you to play various "cards" (such as repealing the Bush tax cuts or fully funding No Child Left Behind). You can see the impact on the federal budget after 10 years. There is good background information about each policy proposal. You have decide to play or not to play each card; you can't modify it. For instance, you can increase housing assistance to the poor by $4 billion, but not by any other amount. That makes a certain amount of sense for a simulation, because real lawmakers and presidents are usually presented with yes-or-no options, not sliding scales. In any case, it's probably a necessary simplification.

Many of the comments that have been posted so far are negative or hostile, from a libertarian direction. ("Only an NPR lackey could buy into an overly-simplified, obviously biased model like this.") I suppose the game could allow you to make more drastic cuts. I'm actually in favor of wiping out several federal agencies, even though I'm a progressive. On the other hand, as a simulation of the actual reforms being debated in Congress, this is quite informative. And some people just don't like it because it's constrained by fiscal reality.

Play the game by clicking here.

June 8, 2008 6:02 PM | category: none


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