Players will work in teams of 4 or 5 players per team.
Objective: To learn how much the federal government collected in revenues and borrowed in fiscal year 2010 and how those funds were spent. (FY 2010: 10/1/09 - 9/30/10.)
Explanation: When using the Income Boards, each bean/penny represents almost $35 billion or 1% of the 2010 federal government taxes collected and money borrowed. Figures will not be exact due to rounding. There are 63 white beans/pennies and 37 of another color because the government collected 37% less than it spent in FY2010. The income figures are represented as a percentage of outlays. FY2010 income was 63% of outlays, which is another way of saying we had an 37% deficit
Give each team a Penny Bag and an Income Board. Ask teams to distribute the 63 pennies onto the 4 tax squares of the Income Board according to where students think the taxes came from. When completed, give the correct answers as shown on the chart.
Explanation: When using the Spending Boards, each penny represents 1% or approximately $35 billion of federal spending. See the additional sheet for more details about programs that are included in each category.
Distribute the Spending Boards. Using all 100 pennies, each one representing 1% of the budget or $35 billion, have teams distribute pennies among the 9 spending categories according to where they think the government spent the money in 2010. Give the answers and have them move correct amounts onto the squares so they can visualize the comparisons.
DEFICIT: The FY2010 deficit was $1,294 trillion. The 63 white beans or bare pennies represent the amount of federal taxes collected and spent in FY2010. The 37 red beans or covered pennies represent an additional amount the federal government borrowed and spent in FY2010.
TIPS: Make boards and answer sheets into overheads for use with large groups. Try this game at a meeting or have your students lead it in other classrooms.
For current information on budget related issues, visit Concord's website at: www.concordcoalition.org.