The above link will take you to a simulation of fiscal policy and the national budget in which you are the economic advisor to the President of the United States. Follow the link and read the instructions for the simulation.
You can launch the simulation by clicking on this link: CEE National Budget Simulation.
After you complete the simulation, answer the questions from the attached worksheet. Write and submit your document per the instructions on the attached document.
National Budget Simulation Worksheet
Directions: Answer the questions below. Save your answers in either doc or docx format. Submit this document through the appropriate link in session 10. Your completed assignment should be at least 250 words in length.
1. How will the program cuts that you made affect specific groups (the elderly, students, environmentalists, savers, the poor, foreign aid recipients, producers, etc.)?
2. What programs did you choose to cut? Why did you choose those programs over others?
3. Would other cuts have had less impact on people’s lives? Which budget cuts had the largest impact on reducing the deficit?
4. Which decisions might be perceived as politically motivated?
5. What are the tradeoffs of preserving some programs while protecting others?
6. How do your decisions result in the marginal benefit to society outweighing the marginal cost to society?
7. If you had the opportunity to raise taxes rather than cut programs, which policy would you choose?
(Questions developed from the Council for Economic Education. Revised 3/2013.)
1. There are 7 questions in your worksheet for this assignment. Make sure to answer each question. I give approximately equal points for each question (50 pts. total, therefore 7+pts. per question).
2. Remember my previous announcement about essay writing, especially how you must support your assertions with facts, data, logic or recognized authority. Unsupported opinion, that is, your opinion or belief alone is not sufficient and will receive no credit. Economics as a science does not require your faith or belief. Like all sciences we are constantly testing and proving what we think represents reality, and YOU MUST ALSO do that to gain professional skills.
3. Check what each Budget Category includes. A good website for descriptions is by the Congressional House of Representatives:
The simulation assumes that Defense, Social Security and Medicare are off-limits to cuts, so don’t make them part of your budget choices. By the way, SS and Medicare are FULLY FUNDED by our payroll taxes (check your paycheck stub). They do NOT contribute to the budget deficit.
4. Hint: When Questions 1-3 ask who is affected by your budget cuts, do not limit yourself to only those people who may directly receive budget money. What is the effect of a reduced or eliminated program? Who bears the consequences? For example, if you cut law enforcement, fewer policemen are paid, but even more, the community can suffer from more crime.
5. Question #4 regards “politically motivated” decisions. This means your budget cuts were guided by helping the people who give you votes and money for your campaigns, so show in your answer how your choices do that. You are the President’s Advisor. Answer in that role.
6. Question #5 asks you about trade-offs. Be specific. Exactly which programs did you trade off and why? Support your opinion with more than your pure belief.
7. Question #6 asks you to compare marginal benefits and marginal costs. Economists love numbers. Really make a rough calculation and preferably put it in dollars of value saved and gained over the marginal costs of consequences of your budget cuts. What are the marginal benefits of this huge increase in Defense spending that ignited the budget crisis? Your simulation gives you marginal costs versus the Defense increase and also versus the other budget choices you made. Quantify it.
Don’t stress, just try to come up with rough numbers.
8. Finally, I encourage EVERYONE to use the free tutoring services either on-campus or through Tutor.com. Those who used them last essay all appeared to me to benefit. Even if you feel that you already write well, you can gain by having someone proofread your copy. The WRITER may understand what she wrote, but it usually improves our writing to check how our ideas are received. I have a friend who is a best-selling author. How much does he edit? Typically for a 400-page book, he edits down from writing 7,000 pages. Imagine! Also, there is no longer ANY reason to feel that going to a tutor today is somehow a reflection of shameful incompetence. I wish such services had been so widely available when I was an undergraduate. If my friend, who has sold over 1 million books feels that he needs help, any writer can better his writing by getting help. The top sports champions all have a COACH rather than trying to win on their lonesome own.
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