If you missed these earlier, the following two simulators are related: The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget designed the first and “assisted” The New York Times with the second:
One blogger used the NYT format and set himself a goal of balancing the shortfalls with spending cuts only, no tax hikes. See his solution here. My own solution (done quickly also — so don’t hold me to it because it isn’t my last word on the matter by any means) heavily favored spending cuts (64%) but didn’t exclude certain tax increases (36%). I did not reduce arsenal military spending as much as he did, however.
Such exercises help us to see the big budget picture and to realize firsthand that balancing a budget requires more than a few superficial cuts here and there. Recently various polls have asked Americans about their understanding of federal budget issues and how, specifically they would balance it. As described in this article, a recent USA Today/Gallup survey yielded these results:
The conclusion was that Americans wanted the budget cut but not any items that would affect them.
About a month earlier, Yahoo readers were asked how they would deal with the budget and there too little agreement was to be had.
The fact is that even those of us who are very serious about the necessity of cutting our federal (and state, county, and municipal) budget — and that group, unfortunately, does not county our member of Congress, Lynn Woolsey — have to think about and formulate consistent, honest, and fair conceptualizations about how the budget should be cut. If we are going to be taken seriously by others, we must be willing to accept some of the hardships ourselves that a reduced budget will bring. We cannot expect others to sacrifice while we remain untouched. For this reason, I think it is necessary that when looking at budget reductions we consider BOTH spending cuts and certain tax increases. The trick is choosing those tax increases that will least affect economic recovery.