NYT: Budget

On Sunday, 1/13, the New York Times published a DIY tool for figuring out how you would solve the budget crisis and eliminate the deficit. (I know…we should have published this sooner…the draft was on Pete’s phone and got overlooked.) The on-line version was even cooler because it did the math for you. (Here is the link http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/11/13/weekinreview/deficits-graphic.html )

As a learning tool, I thought it was great! Specifically, there were three key lessons that were relevant and fun.

1. What options are in front of the legislature today? This tool gave the gist of each proposal, along with a sense of relief that the law makers are actually working on things besides their next campaign.

2. What is the potential impact of each proposal? How often do you hear people getting all worked up about something that, in the big picture, isn’t going to make much difference?

3. The influence of self-interest on decision-making. It was next to impossible NOT to react strongly (that is, without even reading or considering a proposa)l that seems likely to affect you negatively.

4. In spite of #3, how much easier it is to be objective and make tough decisions when you don’t have to deal with the angry reactions of the people you represent (and who can vote you out of work). But, that’s enough sympathy for the politicians…

After completing this exercise, I wished I could have emailed my answers to my congressman. (Maybe I could have but just didn’t know how.)

It also made me wish that we had some decision support information like that for elections. How convenient would it be if you could look up the gist of a candidate’s positions at the ballot box so you could feel more sure of your vote? (Particularly for less visible roles.)

Even better, what if we just picked the positions we agree with and the computer recommends the candidate?

Bottom line: a simple, fun, and effective way to share news info, engage the audience, and educate people on a complex subject.

One Response to “NYT: Budget”

  1. Tweets that mention NYT: Budget | PRH Consulting Inc. Blog -- Topsy.com writes:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by petehybert, PRH Consulting. PRH Consulting said: New blog post! NYT: Budget – On Sunday, 1/13, the New York Times published a DIY tool for figuring out how you would… http://ht.ly/1baC0w […]

Leave a Reply