Yesterday President Obama released his proposed budget for 2011, and the newspapers naturally sniffed out the massive infographic possibility. Here are the offers from The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Wall Street Journal.
The New York Times, naturally, has the best, most useful graphs. Here, a map of all the spending categories in the budget, along with color coding for whether the budget grew or shrank compared to last year. (Green: Grew, Pink: Shrank)
Also via The New York Times, maybe the most intriguing graphic of the lot. The series focuses on budget forecasts of the past and present—and how they've stacked against reality. Perhaps it's unsurprising that budget forecasts are usually far too optimistic, but check out how systematic the effect has been. Forecasts are shown in light blue, and reality is in dark blue. (The interactive version lets you mouse over each line for details):
The Guardian also has a graph (ignore the typo in the subhed) comparing Obama's budget to George Bush's last one. Spending is up almost across the board—a difference driven largely by funds yet to be spent from the $787 economic stimulus passed in 2009. (Only about a third has been spent as of today.)
The Wall Street Journal is still struggling to get its act together on infographics. The Journal's take on the budget illustrates as much with a couple of incomprehensible or borderline meaningless offerings. But one worthwhile graphic shows what will happen to both defense and Medicare spending. Medicare is, of course, on a rocket-ride to insolvency if costs aren't reigned in—and Medicare is actually a larger portion of government spending than defense.
Of course, remember that this is a requested budget—the actually figures will surely change as congressional deal-making begins in earnest.
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