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Posted on Mar 1, 2009 in News, Spending

Obama’s Budget: Taking it to the streets

President Obama outlined his FY2010 budget on Thursday, claiming to try and reduce the overall budget deficit by the end of his first term. His actions, not surprisingly, prompted the DC political pundits to chime in and undermine the President’s rosy economic growth projections. But this perpetual game of strategy and attack isn’t the reason why I am writing this blog post.

It has come to my attention that people at New York University are actually trying to raise awareness of the fiscal problems that plague our nation today by playing a sport like game called “budgetball.” Played on a basketball court with a volleyball and occasionally some oven mitts from the kitchen – this game could be a nerdy policy wonk’s miracle for gym credit.

According to the Budgetball Web site:

In the real world, the federal debt corresponds to future taxes. The things that we want, and need, now can be paid for later by ourselves or our children. Budgetball compresses this process, allowing us to experience both ends of this transaction within a single tournament. Debt is not a temporal pyramid scheme; we cannot perpetually put off into the future the cost of the things we want today. At the same time, debt is a powerful tool, allowing us to respond to an immediate crisis and pay for it later when resources are more plentiful, or to take key advantages now which will have enormous future benefits, essentially paying for themselves.

Winning at Budgetball requires the same kinds of skills needed to address the real-world issue of long-term fiscal health. To win, a team must use debt creatively and aggressively, but also responsibly. They must accurately analyze current and future needs and resources. Through individual skill and coordinated teamwork, winning teams will debate issues, make tough trade-offs, develop a plan, and execute it under tense and uncertain conditions to achieve victory.

Disappointingly, unlike the good parts of the political world, the game budgetball is not a contact sport.