Let's Play The "Balance The Budget" Game!

Everyone seems to think it will be difficult to cut government spending enough to trim, if not eliminate the federal deficit. The thing is that belief is true...if you leave it to no one but the politicians in Washington to do so. But more than a few of us unenlightened mortals (meaning everyday folk) seem to have little problem with cutting spending.

Believe it or not, the New York Times has an interactive budget simulator that lets us take a crack at cutting the budget. One journalist, James Pethokoukis, took a stab at it and managed to balance the budget in one minute. One minute!

Glenn Reynolds took a shot at it and it took him two minutes. By his own admission it took that long because, unlike Pethokoukis, he's not a money guy.

While the budget simulator does limit the choices you can make, it still shows it can be done as long as you insulate yourself from outside forces (meaning special interests and lobbies).

If you're not beholden to them then you can make the choices dispassionately, unemotionally, and logically. But once you let them start playing the “But it's for the children!” game, the choices would become more difficult. And once you make one compromise, others become easier. Eventually you'll reach the point where you'll find you can make few, if any cuts because someone has convinced you that someone else somewhere will suffer. But what they won't tell you is that they'll suffer anyways but far worse than if you'd made the cuts. Emotion rather than logic rules and that's always the worst way to make the decisions like this.

If you want to see if you can balance the budget, give it a try.