Friday, May 21, 2010

Stabilize the Debt: Interactive App

I ran into this site today:

Stabilize the Debt: An Exercise In Hard Choices

It's pretty cool -- it's basically a big menu of federal budgeting options (some positively affecting debt, others negatively affecting it), with explanations and associated dollar value impacts.  The 'goal' in the 'game' is to make choices that would result in a debt of 60% of GDP in 2018.

The numbers associated with the choices make clear how minor the impact of some supposedly horribly expensive things are.  For example, you see lots of news coverage on how the F-22's production run has been capped at 1/3rd of the original slate.  Cancelling all of the proposed defense programs slated for killing (F-22 is just one of several such programs) only saves $30B.  There are individual, much narrower-sounding tax choices on entitlements that have impacts an order of magnitude greater.

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