For those of use not seeking political office, balancing the federal budget using this NY Times interactive site is quick and easy -- and fun.
Trouble is that there are not enough options at the site. But perhaps the Times' effort will spawn similar gadgets. I would add this: "no payments or credits to anyone above the poverty line." There are, of course, many other possibilities. But making a game out of it (even an app?) makes it slightly less abstract and may (perhaps) involve more people in serious thought about the mountain to climb.
Here is a better "modest proposal".
According to this writer (and many others), all of this deficit cutting is inappropriate in a weak economy. Yes, if you buy into the failure-of-aggregate-demand story. But what if radical deficit cutting restores confidence in the U.S. economy? In my view, to ask the question is practically to answer it.