Local Blogs

By Tom Cushing

Fiscal Cliff-diving: Play the Principles and Priorities Game (with Prizes!)

Uploaded: Nov 28, 2012

Okay, we all know that Congress is in disrepute with The Electorate -- otherwise, why would we have returned so many Incumbents to their seats in the Capitol? We also harbor suspicions that we could each do a Much better job than they do, if only we were willing to suffer the many indignities of public life and perpetual campaigning.

Well, okay then here's your chance! The Concord Coalition , a leading non-partisan, budget-centered organization, has put together a game that lets you (yes, YOU) allocate the federal budget, raising and spending money where you think it ought to go (admittedly, reality is tempered by the fact that you are seeking only the best result for the nation, e.g., you don't have a defense plant in your district). Where else could you get the chance to spend literally trillions of dollars as you see fit, almost all of it coming from other people? The game's been played in many educational and other group settings across the country -- so, sez I, why not here?

It consists of a Playbook in which you record your choices on numerous budget components, and an Options booklet that explains the pros, cons and $$ implications of each choice. The Playbook choices are grouped into five major categories: Discretionary Spending, Security/Defense, Health Care/Social Security, and, to be fair and balanced, Taxes/Revenues.

So, here's how it goes:

1. Gather and name your team or yourself (e.g., couples, friends or families -- any size team, including solo, although it's ideal to have more than one perspective), then

2. Email me that info (aliases okay!) at I will send back the Playbook and Options booklet as attachments. The info in the materials is final, because it has to be -- no arguments about its accuracy can be accepted.

3. Play the game, recording your choices in the Playbook.

4. When your team is convinced that you have created the best possible budget, email it back to me in the five Category format. DEADLINE: December 12th, 11:59 PM.

5. On December 14th, all or the best entries will be posted here for discussion and advocacy. I have no idea how many entries we'll get in case of too many, the finalists will be chosen by a panel of Jessica Lipsky, Bernie Madoff (he has "time"), Warren Buffett, Jimmy Buffett and Bo, the First Dog.

6. We will then vote for the top 3 Teams, by email above. Results certified by PriceWaterstonCoppers.

7. Winner announced on December 26th. GRAND PRIZE: the biggest, bestest Primo's pizza you can order. Second Prize: a lesser sum that your team can spend on itself, or graciously choose to donate in this Season of Giving, to the deserving critters at Tri-Valley Animal Rescue (TVAR).

So, DX and SRX readers: the Fiscal Cliff looms -- glory awaits -- choose up sides and play!