Science and Technology Innovation Program

What People Are Saying about Budget Hero

Sep 17, 2012

Budget Hero,” the popular serious game designed to help people of all ages understand the Federal budget and the trade-offs involved in the budgetary process, is re-launching this fall with a new edition updated to reflect both the current Presidential race between President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney and the impending “fiscal cliff.”

Here are some quotes from people who have played Budget Hero:

Jim Krajec of Tulsa, OK.: “Even though I believe I am a conscientious citizen, paying attention to what our government officials do with our tax money, the visibility we have is limited unless you dig deeply for it. Not only did this game bring certain things out into the light of day, it made it entertaining as well. Thus I was able to get more information as I was reading at my own pace without additional rhetoric from a politician or media pundit. There was enough rhetoric in the pros and cons discussions but it was thought provoking and without a voice to emphasize and sway. It was easier to see opinions as being somewhat factual. This allowed me to see both sides with the same emotional perspective, my own.”

John Sikking of Washington DC: “I like the graphic representation of the debt.  You really see how disproportionate Defense, Social Security and Healthcare costs are for the U.S.”

Heather Llewellyn of Grass Valley, Calif: “I learned, after playing Budget Hero I, where most of my tax dollars went. The game made very clear the difference between discretionary and non-discretionary spending. It also made clear the consequences of the Bush Tax cuts and of debt. This has helped tremendously in filtering the information coming from Congress and the Treasury. I feel I am much better able to focus on the areas of spending and taxes that are truly relevant, specifically, The Bush Tax cuts, the AMT, Foreign Policy (including the Military), Medicare, Social Security and the Interest on our debt.”

Sarah Hill of Somerville, MA: “ I assumed that the cuts and tax options available were the same as those currently proposed in Congress. It made me aware of the costs, the lengths of terms, the nuances between one cut and another to achieve a similar but very different end point in terms of either cost or loss.”

Gina Lund of Coon Rapids, MN: “The game does a great job of showing how everything is interconnected and you cannot just change one thing to fix the budget - there needs to be overall reform, on both the revenue and expenditure sides of the equation.”

James Wood of West Palm Beach, Fla., said he was amazed by how much of the federal budget is defense spending. “The size of our military compared to what we spend on education and the environment was a real eye opener.”

Greg Granger, of Raleigh, N.C., said that Budget Hero taught him the federal budget is a “bigger mess” than he thought. “Every year we ignore it we make it worst. Already the debt prevents desirable investment, soon it will prevent necessary investment,” he said.

Jacob Pawlak, Pittsburgh, PA: “Like real life, and, I hope, the real budget, the game was about compromise. As a committed progressive, I found myself spending less than I wanted to in some areas, forgoing complete government sponsored health care for a more modest program, choosing between more money for widows and more money for disadvantaged children, in the interest of a balanced budget with a surplus that could be used to pay down the national debt. I felt this necessary because I believe that we as a country, just as I as an individual, have to start living within our means.”

Samantha West, Los Angeles: “I loved how clear and actually easy it was. The pro/con and impact portion was very educational. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed making tough decisions and that maybe I have a future in politics!”

Miranda Nadeau, San Antonio, Texas: “The complexity of the issues was much more apparent. I realized that the decision-making process is a lot more extensive than plain black-and-white values. With a record of the cards I played, I listen to NPR with a new interest in fiscal policy. Budget Hero has definitely enhanced my appreciation for staying current with the news.”

Jeremy Poehnert, Lowell, MA: “It was fascinating that some of the policies we hear debated most often have much less impact on budget outcomes than other issues we spend less time discussing.”

Robin Dickinson, Pueblo, Colo.: “This was fun!  My husband and I talk about political issues at home all the time and are constantly refining what we think about things.  This gave us a lot of food for thought and conversation.  I'm also going to try it with my little brothers who are teenagers in the hopes that as they grow up, they will be responsible citizens.  There is no right or wrong answer.”

Dave Anderson, Indianola, Iowa: “I didn't really understand how complex the budget issues are.  This is going to be difficult for either party to resolve.  How did we get in such a mess?   Tough choices are going to have to be made.”
 

Upcoming Events

Complexity and the Art of Public Policy

September 12, 2014 // 12:30pm2:00pm

Experts & Staff