You can’t get through any news cycle without hearing about the financial crisis and its possible effects. U.S. debt at this point is projected to grow to 91% of GDP by 2025, 149% in 2040 and 415% by 2080. Obviously, these numbers are unsustainable, which makes it no surprise that people refer to the situation as a “crisis.” It is.
Now, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has introduced a new tool to help them meet their goal of reducing the debt to 60% by the year 2021: the Budget Simulator.
Who is The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget? According to their site, they are “a bipartisan, non-profit organization committed to educating the public about issues that have significant fiscal policy impact. The Committee is made up of some of the nation’s leading budget experts including many of the past Chairmen and Directors of the Budget Committees, the Congressional Budget Office, the Office of Management and Budget, the Government Accountability Office, and the Federal Reserve Board.”
The budget simulator allows you to play with some of the budget choices that will have to be made in order to meet this goal, checking different boxes to support or curtail different programs. As you go through each budgetary suggestion, the Committee provides a summary of that program and you’re faced with tough choices like increasing retirement age in order to reach your goal – only “winning” if you get the debt down to 60% by 2021… which I did not.
But by the end of the simulation, you are invited to send your personal information and the choices that you made to the policy makers who are actually solving this problem in the real world, adding your input to a vast array of voices that inform these decisions. And, of course, you’re welcome to join the discussion after you finish on The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget’s Facebook page.
For decisions that have ramefications that affect us all, I’m glad to see these sorts of tools available to the public and that the interactivity includes sending that input to the higher-ups. But really, what’s great about this tool is that it not only gives users a voice, but educates them as well.
Do you think that we’ll be able to stabilize the budget? Do you think that other government entities and non-profits should create similar tools for education and interaction?