The Most Important And Boring Game Ever Made

This is a first. The New York Times has cleverly made a game out of solving the US financial crisis – it's simultaneously the most important and the most boring game we've ever played. And we played through the first 20 hours of Final Fantasy XIII.

"Today," begins the blurb intro to the game, "you’re in charge of the nation’s finances. Some of your options have more short-term savings and some have more long-term savings. When you have closed the budget gaps for both 2015 and 2030, you are done. Make your own plan, then share it online."

Australia is in a far better state than the US right now, so maybe it is down to us Australians to fix the US financial situation. Obama, according to our calculations, you have to reduce military spending and increase the medicare eligibility age to 70. There's a good couple of billion dollars back in the coffers!

Budget Puzzle: You Fix The Budget [New York Times]


    Played it yesterday, managed to balance the budget after huge tax increases :D

    It does show the enormous amounts of money that are floating around in the US Budget though. The numbers are gigantic.

    also, see wall street 2 people. That shit is scary

    I do like their grey-box-changing-to-blue animation. Oddly soothing in contrast to saving $562 billion by 2030 by capping Medicare growth..

    Oh come on. FFXIII wasn't THAT boring.

    I reduced the 2015 shortfall to $418 billion, and the 2035 shortfall to $1345 billion.

    I would've been able to eliminate the entire shortfall if the survey included two options

    1) End the war on drugs and allow States to regulate and tax drugs (thus allowing States to make more money as well)

    2) Deregulate as much as possible. This will make it easier for businesses to start up, thus increasing the amount of revenue inflows and making efficiency gains.

    Of course, I'm just an Economist (BEcon, MBusEcon, UQ). No one actually listens to me these days.

      you felt the need to drop your qualifications on a video game website. no wonder nobody wants to listen to you

        Their loss, then.

          Yep, further deregulation is needed because the over regulation of the US financial system was totally the reason for its collapse.

          And how was this boring at all? It was heaps entertaining!

          Not really given your grand plan is "deregulate the fuck out of everything" which is exactly why this happened in the first place with the repeal of Glass-Stegal, lack of oversight on MERS, complete and utter corruption of rating agencies, lack of any real jurisdictional power by regulators to control speculation on things such as commodities and so on.

          Easiest way to win this game:

          1) slash everything to do with the military as harshly as possible

          2) tax the rich

          3) realise the deficit is a bunch of bullshit used to distract from the real problems of unaddressed unemployment, continued lack of action on speculation and increasingly sociopathic banks, foreclosures and the like, proceed to froth in rage.

            LordLeckie and Chewie,

            The US financial system was not "deregulated" under Bush. Indeed, Bush actually increased the regulatory budget and increased the number of regulations; after the Enron collapse he passed a wide-ranging regulatory package. Please see the following:


            If you want even more evidence, please remember that the two markets that have the most regulation in the US are the Financial market and Health Care (this is even before Obama's legislation). They are scarcely examples of 'deregulation' and 'laissez-faire.'

            Glass-Steagal simply separated investment banking from commercial banking. That is ALL it did. It wasn't a massive regulation in the first place; removing it can hardly be called the cause of the GFC.

            I never said over-regulation was the reason for the collapse of the US Financial System. What I said was over-regulation of American markets generally (including but not limited to the market for financial products and services) is bad for economic efficiency.

            What actually caused the GFC was the Federal Reserve's expansion of credit post-Tech Wreck and 9/11; Greenspan lowered the Federal Funds Rate to 1% for more than an entire year. During this time, credit was historically cheap so it was easy to get home loans. Then, George W Bush encouraged people to take out home loans and established Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in order to assist them in getting a home loan.

            When the Federal Reserve began increasing interest rates in 2004-2005, it began increasing them to the point where home loans became prohibitively expensive for those in the "sub-prime" mortgage bracket. We all know what happens next.

            I could go on and on about how irrational and superficial your "explanation" of the GFC actually is, but I'll stop here with a summary: Blame the Fed, not deregulation, and if you really want to end the business cycle you'd advocate the abolition of central banking and neo-Keynesian money-supply-management.

            If you want more info, please read "Financial Fiasco: How America's Infatuations With Homeownership And Easy Money Created The Economic Crisis" by Johan Norberg.

            Also, LordLeckie, your exhortation to "tax the rich" is stupid. Why? The rich are rich enough to renounce their US Citizenship and move to a tax haven! And they will if taxes become more and more punitive.

              Another important flaw with "tax the rich" is that all the money the so-called 'rich' is actually vital for capital formation. As income goes up, so does Marginal Propensity to Invest. Thus, "tax the rich" basically diverts money that would be invested into creating more businesses.

              In other words, punitive taxation of the "rich" takes away money that is more likely to be invested into actual production, and reshuffles it into government expenditure. And as Harvard Economist Robert J. Barro demonstrated, fiscal stimulus (i.e. using government spending to increase GDP by boosting aggregate demand) does not actually work; the "multiplier effect" is less than 1 (i.e. for every dollar the government spends in fiscal stimulus, GDP grows by less than one dollar). See

              Lol nice libertarianism bro.

                Yes, whilst I am sure you are perfectly devoid of any ideology. [/sarcasm]

                There is no view except from a viewpoint.

                Ever considered the possibility that I might have actually been convinced of the merits of my views by actual evidence and study?

                Or would you rather continue replies of the form "lol nice bro" as opposed to actually looking at whether or not the evidence supports any specific viewpoint?

                Because the evidence publically avaliable from the American government's own books shows that Bush 2 increased the regulatory budget and the number of economically significant regulations.

                  Additionally, your claim that the repeal of the Glass-Steagal act caused the GFC doesn't stack up.

                  The separation between commercial and investment banking exists in the US and the UK (the US most prominently because of Glass-Steagal) but continental Europe never had this separation in the first place.

                  In the continental market, the largest firms became universal banks whereas the smaller firms specialized in one or the other.

                  So, in other words, Universal Banking ( is by no means new and hasn't caused massive financial instabilities by itself.

                  So overall, blaming the GFC on the repeal of the Glass-Steagal act is utterly misplaced and betrays a completely anglo-americo-centric myopia when looking at financial markets.

          I care <3

    I honestly didn't find it all that boring, kind of a novelty to be working with things in the billions of dollars :D that and I was surprisingly happy when it told me I had solved the deficit! XD

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