Skip

Death and Taxes
September 17, 2006 5:12 PM   Subscribe

US federal income taxes at work. A 2007 version is now available. [previously]
posted by tellurian (37 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Its kinda dissapointing that it only shows discretionary spending... non-discretionary is where all the debate is nowadays.
posted by gsteff at 5:34 PM on September 17, 2006


so basically, if i cut a pie in thirds, and then threw two pieces away, that's what I'd have left for non-defense spending.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 5:39 PM on September 17, 2006


Here's the project homepage.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 5:46 PM on September 17, 2006


Depends on how much you like to pay for pie.
posted by gsteff at 5:47 PM on September 17, 2006


When the US fiscal house of cards finally tumbles, historians will point to the ludicrously big circle to the left.
posted by Popular Ethics at 5:55 PM on September 17, 2006 [1 favorite]


This is a pretty terrible graphical representation. Tufte could probably use this as an example in his next book.

Nor is it accurate. It does not portray where your tax dollars will go for fiscal year year 2007 (which starts in two weeks) for the simple reason that Congress has not actually passed a budget for fiscal year 2007. The Republicans have decided not to actually pass a budget until November, after the midterm elections, because they don't want the bad press that yet another spendthrift budget will bring. Anyway, there's no budget, so this cannot be a graphical representation of it.
posted by jellicle at 5:58 PM on September 17, 2006


Anyway, there's no budget, so this cannot be a graphical representation of it.
posted by jellicle at 5:58 PM PST


By your 'logic' - why should taxes be paid, if there is no budget to spend 'em on?

Come on, give the reason the IRS will accept.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:07 PM on September 17, 2006


It's interesting to note the tiny portion that goes to the NSF, considering that most university research depends on its funding to function. It's getting more and more competitive to get grants to do research. It's really hurting graduate students and new professors who can't get funding to get started.
posted by lpctstr; at 6:12 PM on September 17, 2006


Without discretionary spending this is really quite misleading- the distinction they want to draw ('making changes in discretionary spending starts with contacting your congressman') is pretty weak. Your congressman can always make changes in every type of spending the US makes.

When the house of card tumbles, the defense spending will be fairly small beans next to the social security and medicare payouts to the boomers.
posted by louie at 6:20 PM on September 17, 2006


lpctstr; writes "It's interesting to note the tiny portion that goes to the NSF, considering that most university research depends on its funding to function. "

The NIH is a much bigger funding source at most universities.
posted by mr_roboto at 6:26 PM on September 17, 2006


When the US fiscal house of cards finally tumbles, historians will point to the ludicrously big circle to the left.

Tru dat.
posted by j-urb at 6:28 PM on September 17, 2006


At the UW at least, more and more grant money comes from private industry, sometimes with strings attached. It's disgusting how much we spend on big fancy death machines.
posted by owhydididoit at 6:32 PM on September 17, 2006


Department of the Army "personelle"?
Is that part of the "don't ask, don't tell" reforms, because it sounds like a sex change.
posted by NinjaTadpole at 6:32 PM on September 17, 2006


Jinkies, I've only just got to the centre circle.
Military: 632 billion, 64%
Is that real? Is it actually a standard expense and I'm just not used to running a country? That seems like quite a lot.
posted by NinjaTadpole at 6:36 PM on September 17, 2006


Now actually because this is the Discretionary Budget, the Mandatory Budget (spending written into law) is not addressed. America has an aging population, so it would appear that unless the laws are changed, theres going to be some major borrowing in the coming years and ooooh those interest rates are going to hit hard. BTW the Mandatory Budget totals around $1.5 trillion.

(hey where did the spell check go?)
posted by j-urb at 6:40 PM on September 17, 2006


When the house of card tumbles, the defense spending will be fairly small beans next to the social security and medicare payouts to the boomers.

Even there, social security is a red herring. According the Gokhale and Smetters 2003 study, probably the most prominent recent long term budget gap studies, social security's long term financing gap is about $7 trillion, while medicare's is about $36 trillion. Medicare is where all the action is.
posted by gsteff at 6:45 PM on September 17, 2006


You paid for part of everything in this graph whether you like it or not.

Not very discretionary for me then, is it?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:49 PM on September 17, 2006


Is that real? Is it actually a standard expense and I'm just not used to running a country? That seems like quite a lot.

Some of it is a consequence of the choices made by the author. Using only discretionary spending is a valid way to go, but you should know that a whole lot of federal social/welfare/health spending is not discretionary. This just means that it's funded automatically according to pre-existing formulas.

Some more of it is a consequence of the US being federal. The overwhelming majority of educational spending, for example, is at the state or local level, not the federal.

You can get a better sense of US military spending as a percent of GDP. The US spends about 4% of GDP on defense. France spends about 2.6%, and the UK 2.4%, so the US is still spending an awful lot.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:57 PM on September 17, 2006


You can also get a sense of US military spending by comparing it to the rest of the world; to a first approximation, the USA spends as much on its military as the rest of the world combined.
posted by Justinian at 7:12 PM on September 17, 2006


very depressing...
posted by tonygarcia at 7:24 PM on September 17, 2006


Isn't the fact that the different departments are branching out from congress inaccurate? My understanding is that the executive branch oversees the different departments.
posted by drezdn at 8:10 PM on September 17, 2006


I notice that the VOC is the only one being targeted for effective termination. I can find plenty of sites providing information to support continuing funding but none for the rescission. Can someone point me to a site that explains the reasons for cutting the funding (do they feel the states should be providing 100% or is it simply a grab for the money collected in fines and forfeitures)?
posted by tellurian at 8:10 PM on September 17, 2006


But there's good news! Spending on the Nimitz Nuclear Refueling Station is down by 26%!
posted by black bile at 8:11 PM on September 17, 2006


Since so many of you are dismayed at the lack of entitlement funding on the graph, ive created a graphic that shows the whole 2.8 trillion dollar buget. Just to get some scope on the matter.

The whole thing

the military still reigns supreme.... for now.
posted by mibs at 9:50 PM on September 17, 2006 [1 favorite]


The graphic on the project's splash page is very telling:

Image hosted by ImageSocket.com

How many people have been killed by missles in the last twenty years?

How many have been killed by cancer?
posted by Jairus at 10:01 PM on September 17, 2006


How many people have been killed by miss[i]les in the last twenty years?

Exactly, Jairus. Exactly.
posted by brain_drain at 10:04 PM on September 17, 2006


Welcome to metafilter mibs.
posted by tellurian at 10:13 PM on September 17, 2006


thanks, nice digs you got here...
posted by mibs at 10:22 PM on September 17, 2006


Welcome to Metafilter!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:54 PM on September 17, 2006


You obviously haven't seen his site if your bitching about non-discretionary spending.



Poor & unemployed people cost 643 billion, but old people cost 1 trillion. Screw the boomers!
posted by jeffburdges at 11:58 PM on September 17, 2006


jeffburdges writes "You obviously haven't seen his site if your bitching about non-discretionary spending."

Ahem.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:45 AM on September 18, 2006


Hey mibs, welcome to MetaFilter. I have enjoyed this graph before and it is nice to see it again.

But personally I think it is somewhat bogus to focus only on discretionary spending. You conclude correctly that the federal government still spends a massive fraction of its budget on the military, but it isn't nearly as striking in your new graph. If Congress decided to reclassify half of the defense budget as "mandatory" rather than discretionary, would you still think the discretionary-only graph was a fair depiction of the data? Or that it would underrepresent the true amount spent on the military?

Also, there's one thing I don't understand. How is it possible that the amount for Pell Grants is greater than the amount for Higher Education?
posted by grouse at 2:25 AM on September 18, 2006


I really like that new graph mibs. It's shocking to see what would be at risk if the US' creditors stop opening the till. Medicaid, unemployment and the whole of non-militairy discretionary spending each fit into that deficit void.
posted by Popular Ethics at 5:39 AM on September 18, 2006


(are you thinking about doing one for other countries for comparison?)
posted by Popular Ethics at 5:40 AM on September 18, 2006


Entertaining fact from this week's Economist's editorial; apparently China's defence budget is less than the annual increase in the US's...
posted by Luddite at 10:17 AM on September 18, 2006


mr_robot:

The reason i focus on discretionary is because it is the funding that must be appoved every year to go into effect. Its the amount the president and congress can 'push' funding around to different places without re-writing laws and generally causing a big fuss.

If the government reclassified the defense budget as "madatory" i would probably move to New Zealand. But ofcourse i would have to re-constitute the graph aswell. but as it is, its a graph of the discretionary budget... where all the action is.

and about the pell grants being greater than Higher Ed, it is addressed in footnote 7. Higher Ed was initially $667 million greater but that amount was removed due to the Perkins Loans Institutional Recall.

cheers
posted by mibs at 2:41 PM on September 18, 2006


Given that it is the Federal budget, coupled with some folks' foundational beliefs about the function of our Federal government, it may not be too terrible that the majority of the discretionary budget is spent on Defense.

Just saying.
posted by rush at 2:45 PM on September 19, 2006


« Older zbrushcentral.com   |   John Jacob Jingleheimer... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post