Bringing the story to life
As we wrote this piece, we wrestled with content that could quickly overwhelm and jade audiences. We made it a point to speak directly to the user, in plain language and easy-to-understand sentences. In order to demystify the astronomical numbers and what they mean for everyday Americans, we painted scenarios of what a future with crippling debt would look like.
We leaned into analogies and metaphors that could help ground the issue of the national debt in ideas that were closer to home. And for visual elements, we referenced popular publications such as the New Yorker and The Economist to gather editorial inspiration that would resonate with savvy, politically-engaged millennials.
Breaking down our national debt
We started with a short explainer designed to walk the general readers through the magnitude of the challenge in under a minute. A key goal of this work was to raise the alarm amongst the politically-engaged general public.
Balancing the budget
The second chapter is a choose-your-own adventure experience, where curious economic enthusiasts can try their hand at applying some of the most commonly touted solutions. The nature of partisan discourse has made it difficult for politicians to talk transparently about the costs, both direct and indirect, associated with fixing the budget. We wanted to normalize the inevitability of tradeoffs and show that a perfect solution may never exist. The trade-offs are, of course, frustrating and illuminating.
A budget calculator for the pros
The final chapter is a budget calculator, targeted to economic bloggers and policy staffers from across the political system. It is designed as an industry-standard tool for practitioners to assess proposals and make important decisions and recommendations. Using real-time data, users can enact policies, slash costs, and grow the economy to show off their budget strategy. This first-of-its-kind tool is already being used in university classrooms and financial think tanks.
- 500+advanced users published budgets
- 1000+federal budgets created on the calculator
- 5 minaverage time to create a budget