Here’s your chance to see how you’d solve the U.S. debt problem

(Originally published July 6, 2011)

If you want to understand more about the choices that have to be made to restore fiscal responsibility at the federal level, play the Stabilize the Debt simulation game offered online by The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, 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 congressional budget committees, the Congressional Budget Office, the Office of Management and Budget, the Government Accountability Office, and the Federal Reserve Board.

The premise of the game is that the country, as a necessary first step toward fiscal responsibility, needs to stabilize our debt at a level of 60 percent of gross domestic product by the year 2018. You can learn more about the reasoning behind this goal on the first page of the simulation game.

Under reasonable assumptions, the public debt of the U.S. is projected to grow to 89 percent of GDP by 2020, 127 percent by 2030, 182% in 2040 and 246% in 2050. No country can support debt at these levels without huge costs to its standard of living at a minimum and most likely a severe crisis.

The game lets you make choices about such issues as troop levels in Afghanistan and Iraq; saving the Bush tax cuts or allowing them to expire; how much you will allow discretionary spending to grow; what changes you’ll make in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid; and how you’ll deal with infrastructure improvements.

The game forces you to make three basic decisions before you can proceed – what you’ll do with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan; how you’ll handle the Bush tax cuts; and what your policy will be on discretionary spending growth. After that, you can choose from a wide range of choices to reach the goal of stabilizing our debt to 60 percent of GDP by the year 2018. Have at it, and let me know what you think. Leave a comment, or use the contact form to let me know.

In case you’re curious, my results can be found here. I’ll let you be the judge of my socio-political leanings!

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