The simulation used for this project was American Public Media’s Budget Hero. The following nine pieces of the U.S. national budget were available for manipulation:
•Defense & Diplomacy
•Schools & Kids
•Science & Nature
•Housing & Living
The goal was to implement a mix of financial decisions, represented as “cards,” from each of the nine categories, in an effort to reduce the deficit, decrease our national debt, and extend the budget bust as far out into the future as possible. Additionally, three “badges” could be selected to serve as goals, based on various positions, including social, economic, political, environmental, and defense/diplomacy beliefs. They had to be earned by selecting the mix of policies that best met the goals identified in the badges you chose to strive for.
The strategies I used to balance the budget involved a dynamic range of policies, from simple education investments to Medicare reform and an extreme overhaul of the tax system. In reality, many the cards that were played in this simulation would be rejected by congress. However, in this case, congress doesn’t have a voice and all outside influences are silent, I can enact policies with impunity. Therefore, I used somewhat of a utilitarian approach to a balanced budget while aiming at an efficient government, economic/competitive longevity, and environmental responsibility. The budget breakdown is outlined below.
DEFENSE & DIPLOMACY
(↓$857 BILLION – ↑$15 BILLION)
The U.S. has been actively fighting “the war on terror” for over 11 years and, while significant milestones have been reached, victory, in the context conflicts overseas is ambiguously defined; and, therefore, it is nowhere in sight. Instead of perpetually wasting lives and taxpayer dollars on the problem, we need to focus more on collaborative rather than persuasive diplomacy. Therefore, $807 billion would be from war-related spending over the next 10 years and $50 billion would be saved by ‘’cutting the fat” from redundant and inefficient homeland security spending. Conversely, $15 billion should be spent cleaning up defense nuclear waste sites.
SCHOOLS & KIDS
Investing in our future, $58 billion would be spent on making college more affordable and $1 billion would be allocated to fund science and math.
SCIENCE & NATURE
(↓$24 Billion – ↑$41 Billion)
The U.S. could save about $24 billion over the next ten years by cutting crop subsidies to large farms and reducing crop insurance subsidies for all farmers. Furthermore, expenditures on research and development would serve to increase our global competitiveness, promote economic longevity, and conserve our natural resources. In particular, $37 billion would be spent to increase the National Science Foundation (NSF) funds by half and $4 billion to fund research on clean energy.
HOUSING & LIVING
Although it accounts for $387 billion of our national budget, the Housing & Living category was left untouched because socioeconomic responsibility dictates that the policies currently in place are absolutely vital, both for economic development and assisting those in need. However, I do not believe that increasing food stamps by $1 billion is a legitimate solution to our country’s fight against poverty either; too much public assistance actually serves as a disincentive to self-sufficiency.
Special interests rarely benefit the economy or society as a whole. Therefore, discretionary spending should be cut by 10 percent, saving U.S. $642 billion over the next ten years, Additionally, just as American citizens have been forced to “tighten their belt,” so should the government. We would save $73 billion, by cutting the federal travel budget in half, $60 billion will be saved by freezing non-military federal and...