Gaming the Budget

A couple of new serious games related to government budgets have popped onto my radar screen recently.

The first is Budget Hero from American Public Media, which sets its sites on the U.S. budget. “If you ever wanted to control where your tax dollars go, here’s your chance to decide,” is the game’s tag line. Here’s some further info provided on the site:

Budget Hero seeks to provide a values- and fiscal-based lens for citizens to examine policy debates during this election year.  Partisan messages tend to cloud the real issues at play during campaigns, and most candidates are loath to attach detailed financial impacts to solutions which make up their platform.  Budget Hero provides an interactive experience involving policy options that have been extensively researched and vetted with non-partisan government and think tank experts to enable players to objectively evaluate candidates.

This one is also available in widget form, so I’ll have to add it to More Than 50 Web Widgets for Your Learning Mix.

At a more local level, Gotham Gazette’s BALANCE gives players a shot at the fixing the New York City Budget.

Last month, Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a $58.8 billion budget that could slash $1 billion from city spending, increase the sales tax by .25 percent (not to mention broaden it to include clothing, hair cuts and more) and seriously lean on Albany and Washington to pitch in billions of additional funding.

So that’s his plan. But what would you do?

Bloomberg overturned the city’s term limit so he could have a chance to lead the city through this ever-more dreary recession. With our new budget game, BALANCE, you can bypass the City Council entirely and fix our fiscal woes on your own.

And be sure to check out the group’s collection of other games and quizzes.

Have fun, learn, and stay balanced.

Jeff Cobb
Mission to Learn

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