Our View: Budget balance 4.0

Thursday , May 29, 2014 - 2:46 PM

Editorial Board

Whether it’s in the tavern, over the dinner table, in the break room at work, or debated by callers on CSPAN, everyone seems to have an idea of balancing the federal budget. Most of us express outrage that our congresspersons have allowed the federal budget to go over debt each year.

The Concord Coalition, as well as Next 10, offer self-proclaimed federal budget-balance advocates a chance to walk their talk. Both nonpartisan groups, which advocate for a balanced budget, have created The Federal Budget Challenge, an online tool that lets users play at being a member of Congress and create his or her own balanced budget. The interactive tool can be accessed here.

It’s easy to play but does allow some hard choices. In order to balance a government as ponderous — and with many needs — as the United States, a lot of tough choices have to be made. Top of Utahns might be interested in knowing that canceling the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program is one option toward balancing the budget. That certainly would not be accepted well at Hill Air Force Base or by those interested in the well being of the Utah economy. On the other hand, those far away from Utah might see things differently.

The game creators have included various analysis of the long-term deficit projections of budget decisions made by the wanna-be legislators/game players. Also, there’s explanations of the different government expenditures’ perceived strengths and weaknesses.

The game’s all for fun of course, but it provides an interesting object lesson for the responsibilities that members of Congress face when it comes to deciding on the national budget. We recommend readers give it a try; and by the way, the creators are asking for your online feedback after you finish!

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