Budget Hero

Budget HeroScreen Shot from the Marketplace Web site.

It’s next to impossible to find an economist who will support a gas tax holiday, but cutting the gas tax altogether is an option in Budget Hero, a surprisingly entertaining online game that puts you in charge of balancing the federal budget.

Based on budget models from the Congressional Budget Office, Budget Hero starts by asking you to outline three priorities (say, defense, social safety net, and energy independence).

You are scored by how well your taxing and spending strategy meets your priorities, and how long it takes for your budget to go bust.

Let us know how you do!

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  1. Brian says:

    Reduced debt from 37.7% of GDP ($8.4T) to 13.4% ($3.0T)

    Delayed budget bust to 2063

    Shrank gov’t from 20% of GDP ($4.4T) to 19% of GDP ($4.2T)

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  2. jonathan says:

    I balanced the budget and had enough left over to fund a mission to Mars. How? The same way you beat any game: I entered the cheat codes! That’s what we need to fix our nation’s problems . . . cheat codes!

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  3. max says:

    Able to push budget bursting back till 2056. However, in order to do that, I had to enact more taxes which made my skin crawl. I am curious where they got their projections for items such health care. I doubt they fully appreciated the long term costs of an imagined single payer system. Also, I would love it if the program was more sophisticated in the manner of collecting taxes. How would replacing the income tax with a federal sales tax affect the budget? Still, a good start and should be eye-opening for those who have little clue just how friggin much money it costs to run the federal government as is.

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  4. dePaul Consiglio says:

    Regarding Defense I would use a condom.
    Regarding a Social Safety Net I would still use a condom.
    And regarding Energy Independence I would buy stock in NBC.

    Sincerly,
    dePaul Consiglio

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  5. Nina says:

    A nice review/critique from talented game author Emily Short:
    http://emshort.wordpress.com/2008/05/21/unpersuasive-games/

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  6. Trystero says:

    So, debt less than 12% of GDP in 2018 and government spending less than 16.5%.

    I’m a downsizer.

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  7. Ari says:

    The assumptions are generally wrong in the system. It’s based on zero sum assumptions, cut taxes = less income, raise taxes = more income. It Completely ignores the taxes’ effect on the economy.

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  8. Jimmy says:

    I had already played that before. Let’s see if I can find my report.

    I reduced debt from 37.7% to 7.5%
    Delayed budget bust to 2070+
    Shrank the government size from 20% to 17.6%
    Got green, health & wellness, Efficient gov’t badges.

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