The Sunday Times recently featured an exercise that it might make sense for all Americans to try, and certainly members of Congress pressing to balance the budget- Budget Puzzle: You Fix the Budget.
And, if you prefer to get out your pencil for these types of things, the Times has a printable PDF version of the Puzzle as well.
Quite apart from the debate over fiscal policy in a time of economic indolence – do deficits stimulate the economy or destroy confidence? – there is the simple question of, how? What expenses does government cut and/or what revenues does it raise?
There are various software tools on the web to illustrate the choices, but the Times has done a more exhaustive job than most.
One thing to note: the Commission’s proposal to eliminate the Corporation for Public Broadcasting isn’t an option in the New York Times exercise. That’s because the total amount is $420 million and the Times included only amounts of $5 billion or more.