The Obama administration’s Bowles-Simpson fiscal commission has been working with Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer to make a computer game about managing the United States federal budget and deficit, USA Today reports.
President Obama appointed Erskine Bowles and Alan K. Simpson to lead an 18-person, bi-partisan commission to generate ideas for dealing with the nation’s rising deficit and other fiscal challenges. The game is just a footnote amid the commission’s broader objectives, of course, but it’s actually not a bad idea.
“Anyone with a computer” will be able to play, which likely means it will be a web-based game. Each player will be tasked with balancing the federal budget. The game obviously won’t be a completely realistic simulation of that task — if it was, no one would want to play — but it might give some citizens a sense of how difficult the task is.
The commission likely hopes that players will become more sympathetic to the difficult and controversial decisions it will have to make after the game demonstrates that there are no ideal options. Those decisions could include higher taxes and cuts to medicare, social security and other programs.
Conventional wisdom would suggest that the people most upset about the cuts would be aged 65 and older and that video game players are generally quite young, but at least one of those facts isn’t true — players of online games are older than you might think.