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:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


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