5 Most Popular Ways to Reduce the Deficit

More

Rescuing the United States from an impending budgetpocalypse is going to take good ideas, great leadership, and and superlative political skills. But for now, it only takes a few mouse clicks. "Stabilize the Debt," the online choose-your-own-fiscal-adventure game from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, asks users to raise taxes and cut spending in the hopes of keeping the country's debt-to-GDP ratio below 60 percent. If that sounds like a hopelessly boring way to spend your Friday afternoon then ... well, you probably shouldn't be reading this blog.

After the first few weeks of testing, CRFB released its initial findings. Here we go!

The Five Most Popular Budget Choices

1. Eliminate certain outdated programs (91%)
2. Cut earmarks in half (88%)
3. Reduce farm subsides (81%)
4. Raise the normal retirement age for Social Security to 68 (79%)
5. Reform the international tax system (78%)

The Five Least Popular Budget Choices

1. Repeal the entire health care reform bill passed earlier this year (5%)
2. Repeal the excise tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health care plans (6%)
3. Increase the average federal Medicaid match to states from 57 percent of costs to 60 percent (6%)
4. Grow discretionary spending with GDP (7%)
5. Institute a minimum Social Security benefit (9%)

The Five Most Contentious Budget Choices Between Democrats and Republicans

1. Enact carbon tax (cap and trade) (85% D, 21% R)
2. Repeal health care legislation, but keep cuts to Medicare and Medicaid (4% D, 63% R)
3. Cancel missile defense system (77% D, 21% R)
4. Cancel TARP and rescind unused stimulus funds (35% D, 90% R)
5. Reduce food stamps to 2008 levels (32% D, 86% R)

Biggest surprise: repealing health care reform is the single least popular choice. I assume the Tea Party hasn't discovered the simulator yet.

Two biggest non-surprises: (1) call a program outdated, and people are OK cutting it; (2) carbon taxes, health care and defense cuts are the most contentious issues.

Jump to comments
Presented by

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

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

A Wild Vacation in the Pacific Northwest

A not-so-ordinary road trip, featuring extra-tall art bikes, skateboards, and hand-painted vans


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Business

Just In