Fighting Over Small Pieces of Pie

By: Eris Weaver | Date: February 22, 2011 | Categories: Uncategorized

>As politicians and pundits discuss the proposed 2012 federal budget, they throw out numbers that are so mind-boggling huge as to be completely meaningless.

Then I saw a graphic in the newspaper that really made it all a bit more clear. Accompanying Ezra Klein’s editorial on the federal budget was this cartoon by Nick Anderson. (My scrupulous adherence to copyright law prevents me from cutting and pasting it here directly.) It basically depicts the budget as a pie chart, showing that most of the hoopla about budget cuts occur in a fairly small segment of the pie.

my crude version

This sent me on a hunt for other images – but so far I find Anderson’s simpler than the official White House version. 

Then I started to wonder…just how much money are we talking about, anyway? How many dollars per person is this? I had to go on a much broader treasure hunt here.  Turns out that the total expenditure of $3.73 trillion divided by our current population of about 310 million comes out to about $12,000 dollars per person. Now that is an amount I can understand!

Next step: repeat this exercise with the California budget.