Deficit Crisis Simulation:
Using Monopoly to Teach About the Deficit Debate
University of Connecticut
The U.S. has a deficit problem. Both political parties agree that the debt and the deficit must be addressed, but are at odds about how to do so. Worse still, there are members of both parties who make finding solutions difficult because of entrenched ideology. As we approach the second year of Congressional impasse, it appears that this crisis is far from over. It is little wonder that teaching students about this issue is difficult. There are myriad nuances and complexities that are challenging to get across to students through traditional means. Simulations are one way to introduce students to complex phenomena by allowing them to experience them. Simulations have proven to be effective teaching tools for addressing subjective experiences and fostering inquiry. Shifts in student dispositions also may occur with simulations. This paper walks the reader through an adaptation of the board game Monopoly to demonstrate how this simulation game can be used to teach students about the deficit crisis and debate from multiple perspectives across the socioeconomic spectrum.