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Marketplace’s Budget Hero

This article was written by in Economy. 6 comments.

NPR syndicates a show called “Marketplace” all over the country (and online, of course). I like to listen to the Morning Report while driving to work. The show does a great job of explaining current economic stories without a lot of technical explanations and acronyms.

I found a game on the Web site called “Budget Hero” which simulates the different factors that go into saving, or destroying, America’s national budget.

There’s some debate about whether the gameplay is faulty or based on incorrect premises. I definitely recommend you don’t “skip the briefing” before playing. Here are some illustrative comments from people who have played the game:


I am a Scottish citizen aged 13 and i can control America’s Budget better than the Bush White House. By M L, From Aberdeen, 07/25/2008

Interesting, but based on a flawed premise. Everone should read “Taxes For Revenue Are Obsolete” to get a look into the mindset of the Federal Reserve, which is neither federal (not a Gov’t. agency) nor a reserve … By Art Northrup, Jr., From NC, 06/18/2008

I wish the people, especially the local candidates, we will be voting for this fall would take this test. Then I’d have an clearer idea of their beliefs. By cj r, From FL, 06/13/2008

Have you played the game? How did you do? Do you agree that it’s flawed?

Updated February 7, 2012 and originally published August 4, 2008. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Smithee formerly lived primarily on credit cards and the good will of his friends. He is a newbie to personal finance but quickly learning from his past mistakes. You can follow him on Twitter, where his user name is @SmitheeConsumer. View all articles by .

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Aryn

I love this game! I discovered it a couple weeks ago and I’ve played it a few times. I’ve managed to extend the budget to 2055, get the debt to 20% of GDP, and produce a $4 billion surplus. I agree it has flaws, but overall it’s an interesting look at what really matters to you and how small changes can affect the budget. I think every politician and potential President should have to play the game and announce their results. That would certainly be an eye-opener.

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avatar Andrew

It’s an interesting game, but it makes some rather broad assumptions. For example, lower taxes (somewhat surprisingly) haven’t been shown to give lower tax revenue.

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