Background

Few U.S. presidential elections have brought together two candidates with such different takes on the federal budget -- and few elections are likely to have a more consequential outcome on how that budget is spent. Yet many Americans remain confused about the how the budget works and how it reflects and affects the nation's values, concerns, and economic condition. To help make the budget accessible and understandable, the Wilson Center's Science Technology and Innovation Program and the Public Insight Network team at American Public Media have developed the Budget Hero 2012 Election Edition, a game that gives everyone the opportunity to test and recognize the effects of specific cuts or expenditures on the budget. This site is designed to support teachers using Budget Hero in their classroom and provide a platform to share experiences with the game, connect, and discuss our nation’s future.

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About Budget Hero

While the budget debate continues in Washington, many Americans remain confused about underlying budget issues. To help make the budget accessible and understandable, the Wilson Center’s Science Technology and Innovation Program and the Public Insight Network team at American Public Media have developed the 2012 Election Edition of Budget Hero, a computer game that allows anyone the opportunity to test and recognize the effects of specific budget cuts or expenditures on the federal budget.

Like earlier versions of Budget Hero, the 2012 Election Edition includes updated Congressional Budget Office numbers and text about the pros and cons of various budget decisions.

Since its launch in May 2008, Budget Hero has been played nearly 1.3 million times—more than 461,000 times since July 2011. It has been covered by at least 100 blogs with various sources calling it “fascinating,” “very cool,” and “instructive and fun.”

The new version includes badges focused on the fiscal policies of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, as well as the spending cuts and tax increases that could lead to the so-called “fiscal cliff.” New policies include lower corporate taxes, cutting or increasing food stamps, modernizing the air traffic control system and more.

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