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Archive for Thursday, April 24, 2008

Students take stab at deficit reduction

Kansas University students Matthew Kugler, Houston sophomore, from front left, Jason Oliver, Kansas City, Kan., junior, Colleen Carlsen, Naperville, Ill., sophomore, and Amelia Crowl, Emporia junior, form a circle and debate the federal budget Thursday during a political science class about Congress in Fraser Hall. The students were given about an hour and 15 minutes to decrease the nation's debt.

Kansas University students Matthew Kugler, Houston sophomore, from front left, Jason Oliver, Kansas City, Kan., junior, Colleen Carlsen, Naperville, Ill., sophomore, and Amelia Crowl, Emporia junior, form a circle and debate the federal budget Thursday during a political science class about Congress in Fraser Hall. The students were given about an hour and 15 minutes to decrease the nation's debt.

April 24, 2008

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Students have go at federal deficit

A group of KU students try their hands at reworking the federal budget this afternoon. Enlarge video

Funding for NASA - to the tune of $53 billion - took a hit Thursday, and Congress agreed to spend $33 billion on mass transit.

At least in a political science class at Kansas University, as students pretended they were members of Congress and reworked the federal budget.

"That's a very unenviable position to be in: Congress making those tough decisions and having ramifications politically from those decisions you make," said Jason Docman, a Kansas City, Kan., senior.

Docman and four fellow students negotiated 32 budget decisions on how much to tax and spend. Their goal was to cut by half the $5.2 trillion the United States is expected to accumulate in debt during the next 10 years. The national debt currently is $9.3 trillion.

To do that, they had to compromise some political positions to make the numbers work.

Michael Lynch, assistant professor of political science, said the exercise forces students to think more about balancing 32 political issues - all on limited resources.

"They develop maybe a little more nuanced view of policy and how these decisions are made," he said.

The class, divided into five groups, decreased the projected $5.2 trillion deficit. But no group eliminated it entirely.

Amelia Crowl, an Emporia junior, said her group extended tax cuts only for the middle class and planned to guarantee health insurance for all American children. In return, she had to give in to a proposal not to tax the worldwide income of U.S. corporations.

After all that, her group ended up trimming $1.5 trillion from the projected $5.2 trillion deficit.

"You never realize how comprehensive all government spending really is," Crowl said.

Comments

KS 6 years, 8 months ago

Pete - You need to reread as to where that corporate money was earned. Not in the US. This is a very good test for students and should be required in more classes. It is easy to complain Pete, but when it comes down to cutting, I can see that it is not as easy as one might think.

PeteJayhawk 6 years, 8 months ago

Even in a political science class project, the corporations win. How unsurprising.

samsnewplace 6 years, 8 months ago

Alot of US companies use India and other foreign countries now for their "customer service phone lines". Is there no loyalty to keeping the USA employed any longer?I understand cheap help, but please, there are alot of well educated and unemployed folks here in the USA. If I were unemployed, any job as opposed to no job would be something.

oldvet 6 years, 8 months ago

"If I were unemployed, any job as opposed to no job would be something."sams, I agree with your position 100%... sadly I think we might be in the minority on this work ethic... too many prefer to get a government handout and/or live off of others...

ASBESTOS 6 years, 8 months ago

"Then I'd means-test Social Security and Medicare so that those making over $100K in retirement get nothing. I'd also require those making over $100K to pay the payroll tax that funds some of social security"That is idiotic, you expect people to pay taxes and get nothing out of it? As for those that "fund Social Security" to the tune of making more than $100,000, their 8% contribution puts in a hell of a lot more into the kitty than someone working a minimum wage job at $20,000 a year and their 8% contribution.

ASBESTOS 6 years, 8 months ago

" I'd also raise the capital gains tax back to 28% for those making over $100,000."So you are going to dry up 28% of the available capital investment in a downturn economic cycle with a recession?What a moron! You have no clue about economic realities.The FIRST place to start is WASTE, Fraud and misuse of governmental funding. Medicare has 30% of their payments for benefits taken up by fraud. Increasing the funding will only increase the fraud, ... not the savings.The Second thing, is to make ALL agencies accountable and PERFORMANCE drives with core competencies and core enchmarks in performance for the agencies.FIRE all deadweight in the Federal Government, and get competent people that will do more than take up space and collect a paycheck. No more free ride for Public Employees, period!

mjamesd 6 years, 8 months ago

I was in this class.1. @ Reality_Check: The exercise was assuming, as President Bush has in his FY2009 budget, that we will be out of Iraq 90 days into FY2009, so that wasn't an issue. That's why the deficit is only expected to rise by $5.2 trillion. I don't even want to know how much it would rise if we stayed.We discussed pretty much all the issues you are talking about in the exercise (the 32 points about which the article talks). And actually, my group decided almost exactly as you have on those issues.2. @ ASBESTOS: Your argument for giving rich people social security benefits is pretty partisan. It's pretty obvious that these people don't need the government to give them money, even if it was once theirs. That's not what social security was designed to do (and is part of the reason it is falling apart). It's supposed to be for people who don't have the resources to support themselves in their old age.3. I don't know much about the capital gains tax, but it seems like everything was going smoothly before the Republicans in Congress decided to change it.

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