8 thoughts on “Visualizing the 2012 federal discretionary budget

  1. jaydub

    The graphic is misleading, as the non-military squares are under-sized for their percentages. You would do better to size them appropriately to make a deserving point, without allowing a distraction by a misrepresentation in the image.

  2. thinkprogressisnotuseful

    “Useful” except that:

    Box sizes are misleading–for example the “other” box should have roughly 50% the linear dimension of the “military” box;

    Non-discretionary spending, which is entirely social, dwarfs military spending.

  3. broc7

    I’d say it’s worse than misleading. The whole point of these box graphs- or whatever they’re called- is that you can see the proportions at a glance. TP should issue a correction and fix this immediately. It’s like having a pie chart where the slices don’t match up to the numbers- cause they want some slices to be bigger, for emphasis.

  4. Norman

    As usual, the point is missed here by some. I’m not sure what the % is, but I think that the DARPA % of the military budget is startling. All things considered, that budget drives most research in this country, not only in the weapons department, but in areas that we enjoy as better living. But, because of basis toward the DoD, we never hear about that, unless one is in the research field[s]. As for the size of the box[s], get a grip, you sound like the grammar school yard bravado of “mines bigger than yours” syndrome that is played out by politicians, in the bait & switch of we are doing the peoples business.

  5. jaydub

    Ah, Norman. Never let facts or accuracy get in the way–right? Divert attention of the argument into “grammar school” silliness . (Any time “size” is brought up, you don’t necessarily have to go south of the belt-line, FYI. Sometimes “size” is really “size.”)

    The point of the graph is indeed valid, but the sensationalism of its presentation by deliberately skewing the appearance of the “startling” amount undermines it. You wouldn’t argue me on that statement again, would you?

    Present the data accurately (correct size boxes), and the discussion will be about the data–not the sensationalized visual games of the infographic. Game. Set. Match. Win.


  6. eddy mason

    Thanks you guys for alerting me to the different sized boxes. I hadn’t noticed, was too busy reading the % values. Must keep myself more alert for any misleading graphics.

  7. michael pugliese

    cf. from another left-liberal org. Defense and security: In 2010, some 20 percent of the budget, or $705 billion, paid for defense and security-related international activities. The bulk of the spending in this category reflects the underlying costs of the Department of Defense and other security-related activities. The total also includes the cost of supporting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, which totaled $170 billion in 2010.

    Social Security: Another 20 percent of the budget, or $707 billion, paid for Social Security, which provided retirement benefits averaging $1,175 per month to 34.6 million retired workers in December 2010. Social Security also provided benefits to 2.9 million spouses and children of retired workers, 6.4 million surviving children and spouses of deceased workers, and 10.2 million disabled workers and their eligible dependents in December 2010.

    Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP: Three health insurance programs — Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) — together accounted for 21 percent of the budget in 2010, or $732 billion. Nearly two-thirds of this amount, or $452 billion, went to Medicare, which provides health coverage to around 47 million people who are over the age of 65 or have disabilities. The remainder of this category funds Medicaid and CHIP, which in a typical month in 2010 will provide health care or long-term care to about 60 million low-income children, parents, elderly people, and people with disabilities. Both Medicaid and CHIP require matching payments from the states. http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1258

  8. michael pugliese

    Two other categories together account for another fifth of federal spending:
    Safety net programs: About 14 percent of the federal budget in 2010, or $496 billion, went to support programs that provide aid (other than health insurance or Social Security benefits) to individuals and families facing hardship.

    These programs include: the refundable portion of the earned-income and child tax credits, which assist low- and moderate-income working families through the tax code; programs that provide cash payments to eligible individuals or households, including Supplemental Security Income for the elderly or disabled poor and unemployment insurance; various forms of in-kind assistance for low-income families and individuals, including food stamps, school meals, low-income housing assistance, child-care assistance, and assistance in meeting home energy bills; and various other programs such as those that aid abused and neglected children.

    A Center analysis shows that such programs kept approximately 15 million Americans out of poverty in 2005 and reduced the depth of poverty for another 29 million people. (Such programs likely kept even more Americans out of poverty since the recession began. For example, seven provisions of the Recovery Act enacted in February 2009 kept more than 6 million additional people out of poverty in 2009, according to a Center analysis.)
    Interest on the national debt: The federal government must make regular interest payments on the money it has borrowed to finance past deficits — that is, on the national debt held by the public, which reached $9 trillion by the end of fiscal 2010. In 2010, these interest payments claimed $196 billion, or about 6 percent of the budget. http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1258

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