Think Balancing the Budget is Easy? Try It

January 1996

Think Balancing the Budget is Easy? Try It

Congress and the President may come to loggerheads every time they try to write the federal budget. But now, thanks to an electronic game site on the World Wide Web (, ordinary Americans have been given the opportunity to outperform their elected leaders.

The game Reinventing America -which is free and interactive-has begun a 26-week run, enabling players to reevaluate the federal budget from the ground up. Every week, two, three or four spending areas-from farm subsidies and Indian programs to maritime policies and pollution controls-are put up for discussion, along with briefing materials and links to government and private-sector Web sites that contain "real-life" information relevant to that week's topics. Several experts have volunteered to host on-line discussions, ranging from Washington pundit Norman Ornstein to movie director Oliver Stone.

After considering their options, players each week vote for specific increases, decreases and program eliminations as they see fit. By May, the cumulative budget choices will be subject to an overall vote, with the on-line voting results assembled, forwarded to Congress and posted on the Internet.

Players may also join one of seven ideological coalitions to discuss budget issues and plan their strategy. These include United for America (old-line New Dealers, Reagan Democrats and economic nationalists); the Common Sense League (upscale, middle-of-the-road, good-government deficit-hawks); the Free Market Alliance (libertarian and "opportunity" conservatives); the Family Coalition (religious conservatives); Alliance for Planet Earth (environmentalists); New Horizons (unabashed liberals); and America Arise! (politically fed-up admirers of Ross Perot). Participants may also play as independents.

Reinventing America was designed by New York-based Crossover Technologies and is funded by the cyberspace-oriented John and Mary R. Markle Foundation. It is distributed through Time-Warner's Pathfinder Web site. Crossover said that by mid-November, 1,000 players had signed up, with the number of "hits" growing by about 10 percent a week.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.