Think you could do a better job then our president or our congressional leaders. What programs would you cut, or would you raise taxes, what about entitlements.
“Budget Hero 2.0” is out, an updated version of the original game which came out in 2008, show players just how difficult managing the federal budget really is. Universal health care, extending the Bush tax cuts, ending foreign aid and many others, all in an effort to keep the US from either becoming irrelevant or, going broke.
Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., who resigned this year to head the Woodrow Wilson Center, a nonpartisan think tank that developed the game with American Public Media, said, the game is a valuable teaching tool, particularly now as the president and Congress butt heads over the future course of government. Players get insights into the “difficult choices involved in reducing the deficit and raising the debt limit,” she said.
Among the first players to test their skills at the unveiling this week of the new version were Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, and Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo. Udall said he had two kids in college and “I’ve been a real nag about video games,” but “the point of this game is to educate, and to empower us.”
The new version, updated to reflect the increasingly dire financial situation and such new factors as the House Republican budget’s approach to Medicare, allows players to pick from some 100 policy cards as they try to earn “badges” that reflect their political leanings. Fiscal conservatives can try to earn a tea party badge, defense hawks a national security badge or environmentalists a green badge. Harman stated – “Our timing turns out to be perfect,”
The game begins in the year 2021, based on Congressional Budget Office numbers showing what happens to the government’s budget if there is no change in current policy. By using their policy cards, players can change the course of history.
Before clicking on a policy, the player can check out the pros and cons. Raising the Social Security eligibility age to 70 for those born in 1973 or after would save $152 billion over 10 years but would also mean a 10 percent loss in benefits for those now in their mid- to late 40s.
In a quick demonstration of the game, two college students, one taking typical Republican positions and the other Democratic, showed just how difficult it will be to save the country. The Republican extended the Bush-era tax cuts, cut spending for the arts and humanities and reduced congressional budgets. The Democrat went after a green badge by raising the federal tax on gasoline and ending tax breaks for big oil companies, while also expanding health insurance coverage.
Both plans saw the government go broke – reaching a point where there isn’t enough money to cover mandatory programs such as Social Security, Medicare and interest on the debt. “This game will lead you to the conclusion that there has to be structural change” in the big entitlement and revenue programs, said John Tanner, a former Democratic lawmaker from Tennessee.
The sponsors said they hope to get the new version into schools and universities by the fall semester. The game is free and available at http://www.budgethero.org Source: Physorg.com