A few months ago, the AARP Bulletin produced an interactive federal budget calculator and challenged readers to try their hand at eliminating the federal deficit. The calculator noted that the federal government is projected to spend almost $4.2 trillion in 2015, but collect just $3.6 trillion in taxes and other fees, leaving a budget deficit of more than $600 billion.
In addition to working through the menu of deficit-trimming options in the exercise, more than 1,000 readers (at last count) also offered up their own ideas for stemming the government's red ink and putting the nation's finances in order.
Here's a rundown of some of the more popular and provocative proposals that landed in the hopper.
What do you think about these ideas? Good? Bad? Ugly? Post your comments below.
1. Drastically slash congressional and White House salaries, benefits and expenses.
The calculator offered the option of cutting congressional and White House budgets by 15 percent, which would shave about $800 million from the budget. Many commenters wanted to go much further,