Coming out of Sundance Film Festival's Hackdance event, TheNewIRS.com allows users to play with the United States budget to see how their decisions with regard to federal spending would change the country.
The American government spends a lot of money on subsidies and food aid and defense and infrastructure, but what if you could control the purse strings and direct the country towards a different path?
Users can click on different categories like Job and Family Security, National Defense, International Affairs, and Response to Natural Disasters and then choose what percentage of the national budget should go to those areas. As you add it all up, it becomes increasingly clear that satisfying the needs of an entire nation of people only gets harder and harder.
If you give TheNewIRS.com your contact information, the site will compile your spending for national results and send you your own comparison to the actual budget. The data will also be shared with local politicians.
Alex Ebert came up with the idea and says that "The system of representative democracy in this country is broken." I don't know if it's broken, but there are certainly plenty of glitches. "Though it doesn't sound as pretty as what we've been told, what we are really doing when we vote for a politician in this country is saying where we want our tax money to go and not go."
The whole experiment seems like gameification of the political system, but it's easy to try and poke holes through our system of government and peak through to the other side. It's an entirely different thing to go contact your local and state representatives to share a piece of your mind.
If it at least gets people more involved in the democratic process, Ebert can call his website a success.