The Howard H. Baker Jr. Center will host a federal budget simulator in partnership with the Economics Club, UT Law and the Concord Coalition next week.

Set for 5:15 p.m. on Feb. 19, the event, titled "Principles and Priorities," consists of an interactive exercise allowing participants to try their hand maintaining and balancing a federal budget.

The program was originally developed by the Concord Coalition, an organization that works to educate the public about federal budget deficits and explore methods Americans can use to move toward a stronger economy for future generations.

Small groups will each handle an individual budget and navigate situations the government typically deals with, including tax reforms and budget cuts from educational or social programs. Attendees will then move through different segments of the federal budget and discuss each group's outcome.

The event is part of the Economics Club's involvement with the national "Up to Us" competition.

"Participants will have the opportunity to 'set' the federal budget and see first-hand how it could be done and what challenges come about," said Jessica TenBroeck, senior in economics and president of the Economics Club. "It should be a very interesting, eye-opening experience."

Nissa Dahlin-Brown, associate director of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center, agreed, saying the exercise will put government difficulties in perspective.

"If you make a cut here, it'll make a cut there," Dahlin-Brown said. "It's to kind of walk through it yourself and see how difficult it is to deal with budget problems."

Kayla McMurry, senior in economics and events manager for the Economics Club, stressed the importance of student economic awareness. She said that, since the growing deficit will affect Americans in the future, it is especially important that students understand the federal budget.

"Once everyone better understands what goes into it," McMurry said, "students will be better able to assess what cuts would be necessary in creating a more balanced budget."

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