This assignment involves a budget simulation, with the goal of this activity being to allow you to make some budget revenue and expenditure choices based on the economic theories you read about in Week 2 and assess the political impacts of those choices based on the Week 3 readings.
Step 1: Go to the Budget Simulation (http://crfb.org/stabilizethedebt/) by clicking on the highlighted link.
Step 2: Read through the brief introduction and then “play” the game. There are several revenue and expenditure options, so be sure to move through all of the pages to make your choices (you may move forward and backward and click on the “i” notations for more information on any topic). Remember, you have the role of a legislator who needs to consider the impact of choices on all of the citizens and the economy as well as (and perhaps more importantly) the constituents who vote for you. Read through the questions below before completing the simulation to develop your strategies.
Step 3: Develop written responses to the following questions. In your responses, offer specific examples in the choices you made to demonstrate how you applied various course concepts. You can write your responses to each question individually (double spaced, and use APA formatting for citations and references); you do not need to write a cohesive essay. Include appropriate connections to the course readings and additional research. Your submission should be 2-3 pages.
Discuss the economic theory or theories (i.e., laissez-faire, mercantilism, Keynesian view, and/or the supply-side view – from the Week 2 readings) that influenced your choices and/or retrospectively, most closely represented your choices. Address how your choices were guided by particular perspective(s) and what the possible outcomes of your choices might be on the economy.
To what extent did you consider the “political” impacts of your choices as you were deciding which revenue sources to add and which expenditure categories to cut? Offer an explanation/examples of the ways in which those “political” impacts influenced your choices. Consider the ideas raised in Swain & Reed Chapter 5.
At which point in the budget process might some of the changes (discuss at least two examples) you made in this simulation be addressed and/or implemented? [Hint: Refer to Swain & Reed Chapter 4.]
Were you ultimately able to stabilize the national debt at the game goal of 60% of the GDP (you will not lose points if you were not able to stabilize the debt; the goal is to make the ‘best’ choices in your opinion)? Offer an explanation as to why you feel you were (or were not) able to achieve the goal.
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