Think you can do better than Congress in coming up with a balanced budget? Several smartphone apps let you play along with all the fiscal fun happening in Washington.
The Deficit Hawk app, only available for Android, lets users cut spending and raise taxes, and see deficit how projections change based on your choices. Increase the corporate income tax by 1 percentage point, and gain more than $100 billion over the next 10 years; reduce growth appropriations to trim the budget elsewhere. You won't add to your own deficit: The app is free.
It's not the only economy and budget app out there: the Reducing the Deficit app was created by the Congressional Budget Office and presents more than 100 options for altering federal spending and revenues, starting with its own $1.99 price tag. It's available for the iPhone.
DocuApps, which offers a library of key documents like the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence for smartphones, has made President Obama's 2012 budget plan pocket-sized. This app, available for iPhone, is also free.
Also it's worth a look at the U.S. debt clock (not yet a smartphone app) for an eye-popping array of numbers in real time -- all ticking away. A number of deficit calculators websites can help you run the numbers, including one from the Center for Economic Policy and Research and another from the The New York Times that includes an interactive feature allowing you to play budgetary kingmaker.
Debt Hawks, Take Your Own (Virtual) Axe to the Federal Budget