April 19, 2014

Thousands Try the Federal Budget Challenge

  • The national debt has grown significantly in recent years due to rising annual deficits. A deficit occurs in any year the government spends more...

The latest version of The Concord Coalition’s “Federal Budget Challenge” has been online for only two weeks, yet the game has been played by more than 5,000 people from almost half of the states in the nation. Players examine over 50 different policy choices and their budgetary impacts over 10 years, and decide whether and how to reduce budget deficits.

The new version of the game, built in partnership with the California-based non-profit Next 10, is now touch-screen playable and has built-in integration with Twitter and Facebook. Like the previous version, as well as the group exercises on which it is based -- “Principles and Priorities” and “Debt Busters” -- the Federal Budget Challenge offers the opportunity to learn about many of the public policy options being debated in Washington, along with arguments for and against each of them.

The least popular choices among game players involve some of the thorniest issues threatening to push the nation over the looming “fiscal cliff.” The least popular option so far involves increasing discretionary spending, and the next least popular choice is to extend all of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts.