he video: While lawmakers prepare to battle over whether to extend America's debt ceiling or risk government shutdown, the website "Information is Beautiful" has created a (relatively) lighthearted way to visualize the country's financial obligations. In the website's Tetris-like video, each falling block represents a different U.S. expenditure. As the blocks fall into place, it becomes clear how the annual interest on government debt (a $450-billion medium-sized block) compares to the defense budget (a huge, square block), African aid (a tiny dot), and the population's collective credit card debt (a $930-billion behemoth).
The reaction: At least this is a "cheerful, colorful way" to convey terrible economic news, says David McCandless at The Guardian, referring to a U.K. version of the game. As for the American version (below), "Debtris" may actually help calm fears, says Lila Shapiro at The Huffington Post. "In relation to the cost of the credit crisis [and] the global cost of obesity related illness... our current debt problems don't seem too severe." Watch "Debtris" in action:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why China's Communist Party is headed for collapse
- How to make perfect fried rice in 6 easy steps
- Why the poor's investment of choice is so alarming
- Obama doesn't have a manhood problem — but conservatives certainly do
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Why Antonin Scalia was right to defend a drug dealer
- Why we need a maximum wage
- Why atheism doesn't have the upper hand over religion
- The sexual politics of Game of Thrones just got enormously worse
Subscribe to the Week