Now is the time to think like an economist! Using your knowledge of economics and fiscal policy, you will evaluate a particular government direct payment program for its impact on the federal budget and the economy in general. Direct payments are cash payments to individuals or groups for a specific purpose.
Members of Congress listen to economic analysts as one source of information before making fiscal policy decisions, such as whether to increase funding to a direct payment program. Ultimately, Congress votes on specific government programs and the President must approve them. Budget decisions require careful thought and justification to the public. Keep this in mind because you will need to support your opinion with valid research data.
Identify a government program to analyze—one where the government makes direct payments to citizens. Examples include economic stimulus checks, small business grants, farm subsidies, disaster relief, renewable energy projects, housing grants, social security, and many more.
Gather research information about your program. Read these tips for online research. Provide citation information for every source you use. Include the following information:
What is the history of the program?
Who benefits from this program and how?
What is the yearly cost to the American taxpayer? What is the historical cost data?
What percent of the total federal budget is spent on this program relative to other programs?
What is the impact of this program on price stability, full employment, and economic growth?
What is the potential impact beyond the direct payment recipient? (For example, a small business grant could lead to lowering the unemployment rate in a particular area.)
What are the professional opinions in support of and against the program?
Imagine that Congress is trying to balance the budget and cutting spending for many programs. Create a persuasive presentation that persuades members of Congress to either support or not support continued funding for the payment program. There are many 21st century tools available for effective collaboration and communication in the online environment.