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California nonprofit lets Americans try to balance the budget

Published On: Oct 12 2012 03:31:16 PM MDT   Updated On: Oct 12 2012 04:41:37 PM MDT

 If you had a chance to reduce the budget deficit, how would you do it?

A California group has a way to give the average citizen a chance to say what they would do if they were in charge.

It's the brainchild of Next 10,a nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to educating Californians on issues for their state.

But they also want Americans to know what's involved in our nation's fiscal policy and created a web-based "game" for that purpose

The Federal Budget Challenge uses information from the Congressional Budget Office and takes users through a variety of fiscal policy that can influence the country's budget over the next 10 years.

You start with a $2.3 trillion dollar deficit, then choose what programs to invest in,
make cuts from general government spending,choose one overall spending level, look at war spending, defense and security, the Affordable Care Act, Medicare and health care, and Social Security.

Next 10's founder, Noel Perry, says the goal of the Challenge is to provide "better understanding of the major budget items that are having an impact every day on the lives of Americans, so that they can be more engaged in their community, their state and the national conversation."

And that is noticeable for users who take the Challenge. There is a running tally on how your decisions are changing the deficit, and each option has nonpartisan information showing the pros,cons and potential side effects.

But the Federal Budget Challenge doesn't delve too deep into the details facing the federal government.

"We're looking at larger numbers,we're not looking at $5 million items, or $90 million items. If we were to get that detailed, it would be very long and I think it would be difficult and less attractive for people to go in and work on the budget," Perry tells NBC Montana. 

Those interested in taking the Federal Budget Challenge can follow this link http://federal.budgetchallenge.org