Kiplinger.com has an infographic up getting into some of the details of the monstrous US Budget and tries to find out just why is it so hard for us to cut Spending? A few tidbits :
- 57% of the 2011 budget is direct payments to individuals
- 22% of the budget is for Pensions, 19% of it Social Security
- 23% is Health Care
- 19.6% is Defense
- 7% of the Budget is mere interest on our deficit.
See the full graphic after the break.
A Stubborn U.S. Budget – Kiplinger.
Recently we told you about Edward Tufte being appointed to be an adviser to the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board. We have recently run across two articles that have been posted talking about Edward Tufte. First up, the New York Times talks to Tufte about his appointment:
“Political practice today too often skips right by evidence,” he said by e-mail. “When I listen to True Believers (left or right) talk about the problems that governments are seeking to solve, I keep muttering to myself, ‘How boring, it’s more complicated than that.’ And those who best know that it’s more complicated than that are public servants.”
The second article is an interview of Edward Tufte from On the Media (NPR):
BOB GARFIELD: The data among different agencies doesn’t necessarily conform. They have different ways of measuring appropriations and expenditures, and it’s really hard to get a fix. There’s not only apples and oranges, but there’s grapefruits and strawberries and kumquats out there. What’s a graphics guru to do?
EDWARD TUFTE: Probably the first thing that most people do when they go to the website is they type in their zip code, and up pops up all the stimulus projects in their area. And what’s interesting about this, it’s a huge database and the particular viewer has no interest in 99 percent of it, but via the zip code they can make it special for them, as can everybody else.
via Link by Link – Advising Recovery Board on Offering Clear Data – NYTimes.com.
via : Minister of Information
Later this month at the Orlando Hilton, the giants of Military, Defense, and Video games will meet for the GameTech 2010 conference to discuss ways to combine virtual worlds and video game technology to military training and safety.
GameTech is a unique user-focused conference dealing with gaming technologies that enhance warfighter training. The conference program is final and includes experts from Government, Academia, and Industry that will discuss the current state of gaming and virtual world technologies.
Nice roster of speakers too:
- General John Mattis, Commander of Joint Forces Command
- Mr. Will Wright, Creator of The Sims, SimCity, and Spore
- Major General (Sel) Melvin Spiese, Commander, USMC Training and Education Command
- Mr. Larry Johnson, CEO of the New Media Consortium
Registration ranges from $150 – $400, or attend the conference virtually in Second Life for free!
via Gametech 2010.
After the 1870 census, cartographers and researchers analyzed the data and created some spectacular infographics with nothing but pen and paper. Available on record in the Library of Congress, Radical Cartography has published the spectacular compilation of graphics on their website for viewing in JPEG format. It’s amazing how much they were able to do without the aid of modern computers to crunch the numbers. Maps, charts, box diagrams, and more.
Unfortunately, the RadicalCartography site is under some pretty heavy load thanks to a link from BoingBoing.net, so I’ve mirrored the low-res versions of the graphics below for you to see. Enjoy!
These images are BIG, most of them around 1500 x 2000, so those on slow connections or small monitors may want to be careful about which thumbnails they click on. Radical Cartography has ZIP files for download
Visualization Guru Edward Tufte has received the honor (some would say curse) of being on President Obama’s Recovery Independent Advisory Panel. If you haven’t heard of it:
“The Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board was created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 with two goals:
- To provide transparency in relation to the use of Recovery-related funds.
- To prevent and detect fraud, waste, and mismanagement.
Earl E. Devaney was appointed by President Obama to serve as chairman of the Recovery Board. Twelve Inspectors General from various federal agencies serve with Chairman Devaney. The Board issues quarterly and annual reports to the President and Congress and, if necessary, “flash reports” on matters that require immediate attention. In addition, the Board maintains the Recovery.gov website so the American people can see how Recovery money is being distributed by federal agencies and how the funds are being used by the recipients.
Mission statement: To promote accountability by coordinating and conducting oversight of Recovery funds to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse and to foster transparency on Recovery spending by providing the public with accurate, user-friendly information.”
On his site, Tufte’s response:
I’m doing this because I like accountability and transparency, and I believe in public service. And it is the complete opposite of everything else I do. Maybe I’ll learn something. The practical consequence is that I will probably go to Washington several days each month, in addition to whatever homework and phone meetings are necessary.
Congratulations to Edward Tufte! Glad to have a true expert in the field up in Washington, although only time will tell if he actually has any power to effect change.
via Ask E.T.: Edward Tufte Presidential Appointment.
Acknowledging the power of Virtual Worlds, the US Agriculture Department has issued a request for offers to build a virtual world for collaboration, training, simulation, and analysis. In particular, I like this statement:
The virtual world’s features would need to be at least as good as or better than what’s offered publicly by Second Life or World of Warcraft, according to the statement of work for the project.
The pinnacle of openness and the pinnacle of graphics beauty in MMO’s, combined. They are looking for COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) solutions, so I suspect something like SecondLife Enterprise will be the victor. Proposals are due later this month, and contract is to be awarded later this year with three possible extension years.
via Feds look for their avatars in 3-D — Federal Computer Week.
We have covered President Obama’s budget in two previous articles called Visualizing Obama’s Budget Request for 2011 and Budget Forecasts, Compared With Reality. Both of those articles took data from the proposed budget and made them into infographics so that people can easily understand where the money is proposed to be spent. Enter the Washington Post with a new graphic that shows where the receipts flow in from, and the money flows out to be spent. The difference between the two is the yearly deficit.
The article also has historical infographics which show where the revenue (taxes) comes from (80% comes from individual and payroll taxes), spending by discretionary versus non-discretionary items, spending by agency, and whether or not there was a budget or deficit in a given year.
via : Taking apart the federal budget
The New York Times has two great infographics. The first takes a look at Obama’s Budget Proposal, and shows you where the money is spent. Both National Defense and Social Security tie with $738 Billion being spent on them. Income security comes in third at $560 Billion. Income Security includes such items as unemployment insurance, food stamps, etc. Medicare comes in fourth at $498 Billion. The infographic is interactive, and allows you to delve into particular areas of the budget to learn more about it. It is also colored to show whether the budget increased in a particular area, or decreased.
The second interactive infographic shows how inaccurate past budget forecasts from the Office of Management and Budget have been. For example, in 1995 the OMB did not predict a budget surplus in 1999. In 2008, the OMB did project a budget surplus for 2012. Perhaps the U.S. will have a budget surplus in 2012, but I severely doubt it. To be fair to the OMB, they make their projections based on political policy and the economy. For example, they expected the economy to remain in good shape in 2008, and for the Bush tax cuts to expire.
via New York Times : Obama’s 2011 Budget Proposal: How It’s Spent
via New York Times : Budget Forecasts, Compared With Reality
The Wall Street Journal has a few infographics online showing the President’s request for the 2011 Budget.
The Obama administration Monday released its budget request for the 2011 fiscal year, which begins October 1, 2010. The deficit for this year would surge to a record-breaking $1.56 trillion, topping last year’s then unprecedented $1.41 trillion gap. All figures in billions unless noted.
Hit their site to see all 4.
Obama Budget Request for 2011. via Chart Porn
The New York Times has a series on U.S. government aid to its citizens, including unemployment insurance, food stamps, and cash welfare.
The number of food stamp recipients has climbed by about 10 million over the past two years, resulting in a program that now feeds 1 in 8 Americans and nearly 1 in 4 children.
I missed the story when it was published back on November 28, since I was busy ringing a cowbell, but as one who works amongst the poor and the homeless, this is an interesting story to me. Behind the numbers are real adults and children who depend upon the government, the kindness of charities, and the kindness of people, for their next meal.
The map and story brings out interesting facts, but you have to be careful to look at the underlying data. For example, the map states that California enrolls just half of those eligible for aid, while Missouri enrolls nearly all its eligible people. However, the data the New York Times links to from the article is from the USDA for 2006, which is prior to the recession. Yet the New York Times labels it as being from June, 2009. Using a search engine, I found USDA data that was for 2007, which makes me curious as to why the New York Times did not use it. At least the USDA in their report puts error bars on its estimations. (For the record, the error bars are +/- 2% for California.)
via Food Stamp Usage Across the Country – Interactive Map – NYTimes.com.