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'Budget Hero' Video Game Gives All Americans Chance To Fail At Budget Deal

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For anyone out there who doesn't find managing their own household budget on a daily basis to be nearly enough tedium, there is "Budget Hero 2.0," a wonky computer game that allows players to reach the same eventual frustrating conclusion of fiscal doom as their ordinary leaders. Developed by the Woodrow Wilson Center, the game seeks to be "educational," one of those strategies we know to always be very popular with the American People:


The game starts in the year 2021, based on Congressional Budget Office numbers showing what happens to the government's budget if there is no change in current policy. Players, by using their policy cards, change the course of history.

Before clicking on a policy, the player can check out the pros and cons. Raising the Social Security eligibility age to 70 for those born in 1973 or after would save $152 billion over 10 years but would also mean a 10 percent loss in benefits for those now in their mid- to late 40s.

In a quick demonstration of the game, two college students, one taking typical Republican positions and the other Democratic, showed just how difficult it will be to save the country. The Republican extended the Bush-era tax cuts, cut spending for the arts and humanities and reduced congressional budgets. The Democrat went after a green badge by raising the federal tax on gasoline and ending tax breaks for big oil companies, while also expanding health insurance coverage.

Both plans saw the government go broke — reaching a point where there isn't enough money to cover mandatory programs such as Social Security, Medicare and interest on the debt — in the 2030s.

[SFGate]

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