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Money Doesn’t Grow On Sprees

In government class this year, we covered many topics ranging from elections to the judiciary. These topics allowed for the class to think critically about certain situations and to form our own opinions. In class, Mr. Ostroff provided an environment to promote our critical thinking with in-class assignments, blog posts, and debates. All of these assessments really helped me grasp the information being taught in class and helped me grow as a student. There were many specific topics I found interesting this year in government, but I particularly enjoyed the fiscal cliff project.

The fiscal cliff project was one assignment that really helped me to understand the economic crisis going on in our country today. For this project, the class was split up into groups and asked to firstly define the problem “what is the fiscal cliff.” After a little research we became acquainted with the national problem. The New York Times defined the fiscal cliff as a “collection of economic policies that are set to expire or be enacted at the start of 2013.” Another source, The Washington Post, called the fiscal cliff “much too austerity much too quickly.” Our group quickly realized that the fiscal cliff serves as a metaphor for the consequences of bad congressional decisions. The next step in the investigative process was to find out how the fiscal cliff happened. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, the fiscal cliff is the “culmination of a series of increasingly continuous showdowns between the Democratic and Republican parties over the last few years.” The United States credit rating was downgraded after a debt-ceiling fight in August of 2011, which threatened the United States’ ability to meet its financial obligations. The nation’s debt continues to increase as well as the interest on the debt. Republicans typically favor spending cute to achieve deficit reductions and Democrats usually support tax increases.

monWith all this knowledge we were then asked to develop a creative solution that would appeal to both parties. This task was a little more difficult because it was challenging to come up with bipartisan ideas. My group decided it would be beneficial for the nation to reduce spending. First we researched that the nation spends an enormous amount of money on military spending. By reducing warfare in foreign countries along with foreign interference, the nation could save an estimate of 852 billion dollars. Along with the military budget, my group found other places where the government could save some money instead of spending. We cut spending in other places as well and the grand total of money our group predicted the nation could save with our solution was $3268.8 billion. Reducing national spending is an idea that would typically appeal to the Republicans. To make our solution more appealing to the Democrats, my group also included a raise in taxes. For example, we decided to tax the worldwide income of United States’ corporations as it is earned. Our hypothetical solution in the end ended up to appeal to both political parties.

The final task of the project was to deliver a presentation to the class explaining our solutions in a persuasive way. Many good ideas were shared during these presentations and I enjoyed hearing why each group chose specific actions. At the end of our project, our fiscal cliff solution would have left the country with a 1.3 trillion dollar surplus. This role-playing project was a lot of fun and I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of this project. This project allowed for creativity and freedom to solve the fiscal cliff any way that was reasonable. I am very glad this project was integrated into our government class because it has effectively taught me a great deal about the government and which ideas appeal to political parties.

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