Think you can do a better job than our lawmakers at reducing our federal budget deficit? The NY Times offers you a chance to try. It's not as easy as it would seem.
I was able to bring us back in balance by 2015, with a mix of 33% spending cuts and 67% tax increases (I brought back a hefty estate tax and taxes on capital gains), but I was unable to keep that balance through 2030.
I'm sure there are many other choices than this exercise gives, but it's still a fun way to see how your choices would affect the budget. I tried to think of unintended consequences as well. Would reducing federal aid to states by 5% force the states to work more efficiently, or would it cause them to lay off workers or cut social entitlement programs? I chose to think it would force them to work more efficiently.
Try it yourself, here. Let us know how you did!