Government Spending

We Really Need 3D—or Maybe 4D—Graphics to Talk About Govt Spending and Debt


Hat tip: Instapundit.

What is it that Hemingway always used to say? That thing's not loaded? Or something about how the "dignity of movement of an ice-berg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water." Yeah, well, the horrors of federal finances is pretty undignified just looking at the amount of spending versus revenue we do and then it gets really sloppy when you look at the huge amount of debt below the waterline.

The chart above comes courtesy of Jon Gabriel of FreedomWorks, who wryly notes that he's taken guff from Republicanoid C.H.U.D.s who claim that he's been too tough on GOP presidents because…because…because…:

The numbers shown above can't be spun by either side.

Math doesn't care about fairness or good intentions. Spending vastly more than you have isn't good when done by a Republican or a Democrat.

Hat tip: Instapundit

Back in 2010, Reason TV recognized that when it came to charting government spending, two dimensions just weren't enough to dramatize how bad things were going. So we released a series of 3D videos to drive the message home. Reason magazine also printed up a 3D issue of the mag (complete with 3D specs). The numbers have only gotten worse, but let's face it: We need at least three dimensions—and possibly a fourth for smell—to fully capture just how awful things have been and how nasty they're going to get.

Watch Reason TV's 3D Fiscal House of Horrors in 2D, featuring "I Spend on Your Grave!", "Night of the Living Debt", and "Attack of the Killer Compensation!":

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21 responses to “We Really Need 3D—or Maybe 4D—Graphics to Talk About Govt Spending and Debt

  1. I think I’ve seen that first graphic before. Shouldn’t Wile E. Coyote be standing off to the far left with an anvil in his hands?

  2. That’s a lot of red.

  3. Nothing to worry about folks, we can always print our way out of the debt.

  4. The problem isn’t the debt, it’s the people calling attention to it. That’s what I see on the news.

  5. You cannot expect the government, in all its majestic glory, to be bound by the mundane constraints of Generally Accepted Accounting Procedures.

    Is there no end to the nihilism of libertarians?

    1. Under GAAP, isn’t the picture a lot uglier? I mean, for starters you’d have to stop pretending the SS Trust Fund has assets.

      1. We do stop pretending that the SS Trust Fund has assets. During the debt ceiling negotiations, they always say that failing to raise the debt ceiling could stop SS payments. How is that possible with a trust fund that should last until 2030?

        When we’re not talking about raising debt ceilings, however, then SS has a glorious trust fund that will last for decades.

        1. Didnt Journey have a song about this?

          Dont Stop Pretending, Hold on the that spending?

  6. My god, the chart shows just what a heartless, teabagging bastard that Bill Clinton was. How did we ever survive the virtual shutdown of the government that Clinton presided over? How dare that fascist, Koch-loving, child and granny killer say “The era of big government is over.” [If only his wife had the guts to pledge a return to the
    spending levels of those days.]

  7. That’s a handy “why I vote libertarian” explanation in graphic form.

    1. It’s also a handy “It’s time to buy guns, gold, and Bitcoins” argument.

  8. There are a lot of dated references in that video. I expected to here a zingers like “I’m not a witch” or something about Sarah Palin’s Alaska ratings.

  9. The numbers shown above can’t be spun by either side.

    You lie!

  10. Well not quite true, it’s spun before you even looked at it. That dot-Comm surplus isn’t really a surplus, we ran a deficit even then, the surplus is a trick from pulling funds from things like SS.

  11. Spending vastly more than you have isn’t good when done by a Republican or a Democrat.

    and that’s the point at which any substantive debate stops. Because you can’t possibly look at your own team as having contributed to the problem.

  12. Under GAAP, isn’t the picture a lot uglier?

    Balance sheet? What’s a balance sheet? We’ve got plenty of checks, what the fuck are you worried about?

    1. And we can summon forth money from the vasty deeps!

      /Federal Reserve

  13. I was suffering from a niggling doubt, so I had to look it up. It’s Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. Not “Procedures”.

    Sue me, it’s been a while.

    1. a niggling doubt


  14. The sheriff President is a NIGGLER!

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