Saturday, April 10, 2010

This is a pretty neat site that shows how the federal budget breaks down and lets you try your hand at balancing the budget:

Seems to be unbiased. I was recently surprised by these numbers about state and local spending, which show, for instance, that we actually spend more on education tha...n defense. So it'd be interesting to see state and local budgets represented as well:

I'd also like it to break down my own tax burden, since it's hard to contextualize billions and trillions. I'd rather see it as: "you spent $17 this year on farm subsidies, $7313 on defense, $7819 on public schools..."

I also think it'd be neat to let people see what would happen if individual tax checks went directly to specific programs, until those programs filled up. That is, I could enter my approximate income or how much my total tax burden was. Then a roulette wheel would spin, and it'd have a N percent chance of landing in the "defense" category, since defense uses N% of the budget. Then it'd drill down into the defense budget, making weighted-random choices until it tells me that my entire burden went to buying 8% of a single missile, for example.

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