Real Life 'Budget Heroes' Tackle Federal Debt

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Copies of the administrations 2012 Budget proposal at the Senate Budget Committee on February14, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Mark Wilson/Getty)

The Congressional "super committee" failed to reach a consensus about deficit reduction. But given a chance to tinker with the budget, ordinary Americans playing an online computer game called Budget Hero have made some big decisions. Users make decisions about spending in areas like defense, health care, Social Security, education and infrastructure and can see the effects. 

Budget Hero was launched in 2008, but over this summer, the debt ceiling crisis caused interest in the game to spike. Thousands of people logged on to to play — and many of them stayed to complete a short survey about their age, income bracket and political beliefs.

The game's makers then crunched the numbers and invited players to share their thoughts. The data collected from the game also paints an interesting picture of the real concerns of ordinary voters. Linda Fantin, director of network journalism and innovation at American Public Media and one of Budget Hero's creators, discusses the game.

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