American Public Media just released a new online video game that I find insanely addictive. It’s called Budget Hero and it allows you to manipulate the federal budget in order to achieve certain goals (security, social safety net, energy independence, etc) What’s fantastic about it is how it gives you a sense of scale:
Double the FDA budget? It only costs $5 billion.
Cutting the military budget by 10% on the other hand frees up $541 billion in revenue.
What I found when I played the game was that if you end the war, pare the military budget and repeal the Bush taxes you pretty much have enough revenue to do everything you’d want to do in terms of health care the environment and the social safety net, with some money left over to pay down the debt. If only it were that simple.