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The Big Picture

The Price is...

August 3, 2011, 1:00 am
This chart—based on an infographic published July 26 by the White House—shows the top four contributors (those exceeding $1 trillion) to the national debt over the last 10 years. The Bush-era tax cuts ($3 trillion) cost nearly as much as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ($1.4 trillion) and a decade’s worth of domestic spending ($1.7 trillion, including education and veterans’ benefits) combined. The largest chunk, economic and technical changes ($3.6 trillion), includes reduced tax revenues due to the recession.

This chart calculates each state’s budget shortfall as a percentage of its fiscal year 2012 general fund. Each disk represents a state, and coloration for each disk indicates its governor’s party affiliation. Data for this set are sourced from a June 17 report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
This chart is also colored by governor’s affiliation. It shows the total contributions for all elections during the 2010 election cycle. Figures are in millions (m) of dollars. Data for this set are sourced from the Center for Responsive Politics.
$1.7 billion per day is the value, at a mean hourly wage of $13 per hour, of the time the nation’s estimated 153,407,584 workers spend commuting to and from work at 25 minutes each way, according to data from the US Census Bureau.


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