Thursday, March 23, 2006

Cutting the budget

Betsy Newmark (a history and civics teacher in Raleigh, NC) blogged So, would you like Congress to exercise more fiscal discipline and cut the deficit? My students in AP Government would too. They're working right now on trying to balance the budget using this budget simulation. Their task was to try the simulation first only making reasonable cuts that they thought they might be able to get through Congress and get reelected having done. To no one's surprise, they weren't able to cut much from the deficit. Then I let them have their fun and cut what they'd like to cut. They're having a good ol' time. I just heard one kid say, "The old people are getting nothing! And I'm glad." Another kid cut all militiary expenditures 100%. They found out that they could get a surplus if they cut Social Security entirely or if they eliminated all military spending. But, otherwise, if they tried to be reasonable, guess what? It is very hard to cut the deficit.

Try it yourself. Figure out your own ideal budget and then see what that does overall to spending. And then try to figure out if you could get any of those cuts through Congress. You'll probably echo one of my students who said "Cutting the deficit is hard, Mrs. Newmark." Yup. Lesson learned.

This is very interesting.

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