How I Stabilized the U.S. Debt

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The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget designed a budget simulator. Awesome. Now everybody can stabilize U.S debt in the comfort of their homes.

The goal is to achieve a debt level less than 60% of GDP by 2018. You should try it. I did. Below you can read up about how I stabilized the U.S. debt by 2028 (sorry I can't find a better way to capture all the answers on one page without screen shots).

Some notes on my quick budget plan: the decision to curtail the state and local tax deduction and limit the mortgage deduction would be contingent on a recovery in the housing market and lower unemployment contributing to higher state taxes. This is one of the difficulties of designing a debt-busting plan in a recession. Some of the most valuable items would probably lead to you to double-dip if you passed them too quickly. I would also like to see a higher rate on the VAT and a carbon tax option.

Ultimately the real lesson you learn as you play is that stabilizing debt, even when the method is box-checking, is painful.


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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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