Posted by Brendan Mochoruk and David Wessel
How to use a computer game to elevate public debate over the U.S. Federal deficit? The mission of the Hutchins Center at the Brookings Institution www.brookings.edu/hutchinscenter is to improve both the quality of fiscal and monetary policy and public understanding of it. Finding ways to explain fiscal realities to people who know that the federal debt is important but never get to the end of any newspaper story on the subject can be difficult. Mention the federal budget and eyes glaze over.
Our challenge was to engage these people, young and old, so that they are better informed citizens. We wanted them to understand that the U.S. doesn’t face a big problem with this year’s budget deficit or next, but that the federal budget is on an unsustainable course. We wanted to remind them that fiscal policy is not just about the numbers, but also about what role government plays in the economy. And we wanted to show them that it’s possible – not easy, but possible – to pursue their own priorities for the government (reducing inequality, shrinking government, fighting climate change, bolstering national defense) while stabilizing the federal debt.