The Consequences of Reality

By: Maddie Miller

The happy, cohesive group of Drake students took on the challenges that were discussed when it comes to budgeting as brought up yesterday.

The budgeting simulation was established by The Concord Coalition, which focuses on trying to be bipartisan when approaching the federal budget and deficit.

Just as was discussed yesterday by James Thurbow and Maya MacGuineas, there are a great amount of challenges that are associated with trying to solve the national deficit problems. One of those challenges was the reality of politics, as Congress members seek re-election.

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Congress has power to largely control how the city of Washington, D.C. operates. (Photo Credit: Riley Fink)

Through the Concord Coalition budgeting simulation, each Drake student acted as a Congress member with a vote. The areas of focus within our proposed budget were general government spending, security/defense spending, health care and social security, and taxes/revenues.

While we are a relatively friendly group and willing to listen, our class is representative of a diverse political climate with the United States. The discussion surrounding health care became quite contentious as a greater debate emerged that related more to the ideological alignments of the parties. For instance, those more conservative leaning shied away from giving the federal government more power, preferring to let the states handle such matters on their own terms. The liberal leaning members of our group advocated for the federal government’s involvement in health care, so long as it was allowed for health care to be available to all Americans in an affordable manner, no matter the federal government’s involvement. Compromises had to come from both parties, despite the fact that the Concord Coalition’s rules only demanded a simple majority.

We eventually reduced the deficit by 1.3 trillion dollars. As a group, we realized that, depending on our constituents, we may all receive intense opposition due to the cuts that we made to try and reach some form of a meaningful deficit reduction, as well as the bipartisanship that was necessary to achieve such results.

As a group, it made us more aware of the pressures that Congress members face in regards to time and the immense emotional drain that is faced when trying to prioritize some needs over others.

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