M. Z. Forrest links to this interesting NPR interactive game, which enables the user to try his hand at balancing the budget while attempting to garner honors in several fields of policy. I succeeded, according to the program, in balancing the budget and extending the date of financial meltdown all the way to 2054. It is, however, impossible to win plaudits in the policy fields while simultaneously staving off the apocalypse. In this respect, the program has considerable merit; given the definitions of success accepted in our political system, the two goals cannot be realized together. The most obvious failing of the program is the weighting of defense-related decisions: the default "pro-defense" position seems to presuppose the imperial architecture; "defense" cannot mean "defending America", but must include the massive commitments to which we've become accustomed. In the end, however, the game is valuable as a demonstration of the incoherence of American politics: we desire big government, but expect it to be cheap, and to go on forever.