Federal Budget Graphics (Old Data)

I was going through some of my older spreadsheets and data sets, and came across some materials I put together based on a CNN online article. Unfortunately, this is from way back in the ancient times (2012), so I’m not sure it’s still as interesting. On the other hand, we were in the age of large federal budgets then, and still are, so it might still be relevant. I’ll try to find some more recent federal budget numbers and post an update.

I think the most important take-away, at least for me, is that discretionary spending is a very small piece of the pie. Mandatory spending (Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Debt Payments) makes up 56% of the proposed budget, while Defense takes up another 18%. That leaves just 25% for all the other federal government functions. I have never understood the urge for politicians to take a chainsaw to that broad coalition of “other” that does so much, when chopping away huge pieces of law enforcement, research, science, and technology organizations does almost nothing in the grand scheme of things.

To really impact the federal deficit (yearly positive or negative) or debt (overall status), we’d need to do something about the big spenders. I don’t know what the answer is, but it’s certainly not what we’ve been doing.

2012 Federal Budget

Table 1. 2012 Federal Budget, Graphic Generated from Data in a CNN.com Article in 2012 (I don’t have the URL Anymore).

2012 Federal Budget Part 2

Table 2. 2012 Federal Budget, Copied from a CNN.com Article in 2012 (I don’t have the URL Anymore).

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