Budget Simulation

Go to the Budget Explorer. This site is a java applet that lets you change the amounts allocated to U.S. federal government departments and programs. Because it's a java applet, you must have java enabled on your browser. 

The instructions are on this page. The questions you must answer are here. You must submit the answers to the questions. The answers to the questions are on all the pages of the "budget explorer", so make sure to read all the pages.

Step-by-step Instructions

The first activity is to actually allocate the federal budget. You'll answer the question: Where Does Your Money Go? You can do this one of two ways. You can check your knowledge of how money is spent or you can change the percentages according to how you believe they should be allocated. In other words, tell it like it is or change it to what you want it to be. Choose the one that best suits your learning goals. Either way, you'll follow the same procedures:

  1. Use the pulldown menus to select the percentage that you believe or want to be allocated to each category.
% dropdowns
  1. When you've finished making changes, click on the link:
The Budget


  1. The Budget Explorer will then give you feedback on how you carved up the budget pie. If you were testing how well you knew the real allocations, see how you closely you got. If you were choosing percentages based on what you wanted the amounts to be, use the feedback to see what areas of the budget you'll be trying to increase or decrease when it's your turn to adjust the actual budget amounts. After you've digested (or printed or saved) the feedback, click on the next link:


    Complete Budget

  1. On this click you'll have to allow some time to load the applet and download the actual figures from the Federal Budget. Once the Budget Explorer applet is fully loaded, scroll down and click on "Bureau of the Public Debt" to expand the listing in that category.
Locate Interest on Debt


  1. Watch what happens to the Deficit / Surplus dial if you reduce the interest level a little with the toggle down arrow.

    Watch what happens to the Deficit / Surplus dial if you reduce the interest level to "0".
Deficit / Surplus Dial

See what happens to the budget if you start to increase and decrease areas based upon what you think is important. Keep at it until you either reach a balanced budget, reduce the deficit, or increase funding to areas that you think will increase the country wealth. When you have achieved a set of allocations that you believe in, click the link labeled "Next: results of your changes."