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Task: Try to balance the Federal budget using the online simulation…

Task: Try to balance the Federal budget using the online simulation “The Fiscal Ship”. You can access the game at the following link: https://fiscalship.org

 Here is the description of the simulation from its creators:

“The Fiscal Ship challenges you to put the federal budget on a sustainable course. Measured as a share of gross domestic product, the federal debt is higher than at any time since the end of World War II and projected to climb to unprecedented levels. America is looking at a permanent, growing mismatch between revenues and spending, and policymakers are faced with difficult decisions about how to reconcile important government priorities—including retirement and health benefits promised to the growing number of old folks—with the tax revenues that the current tax code will yield. Today’s tax code won’t yield enough revenue to pay for basic services of government plus the retirement and health benefits promised to the growing number of old folks. So your mission is to pick from a menu of tax and spending options to reduce the debt from projected levels over the next 25 years. Small changes to spending and taxes won’t suffice. The choices are difficult, but the goal is achievable.

But budget decisions aren’t only about fiscal sustainability. They also shape the kind of country we live in. To win the game, you need to find a combination of policies that match your values and priorities AND set the budget on a sustainable course.”

Now, complete the simulation (you must balance the budget!) and briefly answer the following questions:

  1. What were your three governing goals? Why (just give me a couple of sentences each)? Did you achieve them?
  2. Give an example of two policy choices that had the largest impact on helping balance the budget. Also, tell me two choices you thought would have a big impact but actually did not.
  3. What kind of political obstacles might there be toward hitting your debt target? Describe at least two (again, just a couple of sentences each).

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