Before completing this activity be sure to read the assigned CQ Researcher article on Government Spending or watch the supplemental videos on the debt and deficit this week before completing this activity.

The Concord Coalition is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that is focused on educating the public about the government spending and the national debt.

Begin your visit to their site by examining some current indicators and answer the following questions. Do NOT cut and paste your answers from these websites. Summarize and respond in your own words.

  1. What is the current total U.S. National Debt?
  2. In what year did debt as a percentage of GDP achieve record highs? How high was it? Based on current projections when will debt reach that share of GDP again?
  3. What are the three biggest sources of government spending in the current year?

Now that we’ve explored the size of the budget and the debt, let’s look at how it might be reduced. It’s easy to say that policymakers should cut back, but where? Complete the Concord Coalition’s Federal Budget Challenge and answer the following questions:

  1. Spending and Revenue are divided into ten categories, such as Investments, General Government, etc. Choose three spending categories and one revenue category to write about. What decisions to spend or cut did you make in each of the categories that you chose? Explain your choices. Be sure to read the pro/con arguments for each decision. Which arguments did you find most convincing?
  2. What was your final predicted budget deficit?
  3. How did this activity affect your thinking about federal budgeting?
  4. The Concord Coalition wants to motivate Americans to take action on this issue. How do they encourage people to get involved? Would you consider taking action on this issue? Why or why not?

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