I just happen to have a few boards here I threw together to show just that situation and how the numbers actually look.
At the time of this work, 2012 is still in the category of Projection because the year has not yet ended. Despite that, the projections created last year (in some cases) come staggeringly close to accurate as we see them today and approaching the end of the Calendar year. Lets start with the most complex board I created for this thread. The U.S. Federal Debt and Budget Deficit.
The Federal Budget and Deficit - Revealed
Please excuse the clutter here. I had to find a way of displaying so much on a single board so what is there makes sense and has any context at all. The result isn't the most reader friendly or entertaining, but it's the most critical of the boards I've made for this thread. It's also what I spent the most days working, re-working and designing over.
A couple explanations are due for some of the display. The 3 colored columns represent the Democrat or Republican control of the respective areas indicated at the bottom. Where a year period shows 50% of each color, this represents a period of tie or shifting control by single members changing allegiances. What is in green are positive numbers and those numbers in pink are negative numbers....NUMBER coloring has no significance beyond positive/negative balances represented.
Entitlement Programs - The Reality vs. The Myths
Moving along, I've created a grid of Entitlement costs to show two things that came as a surprise to me as much as anyone else. First, is to show the sheer scale of the problem we face as people get older and move to claim their rightful benefits. The Majority cost is not in SSI or Disability, but retirement. If Congress had ever had a separate accounting of Social Security funds, this would never BE an issue. However, the money has never been held apart and has, in fact, been collected and spent right along with the general funds for the United States Government. A "lock Box" is a figment of political imagination and never existed, as such.
Next however, was a shock. I had expected to find Food Assistance and Food Stamps to represent a MAJOR outlay. In fact, it's a mere 100 billion and change at the 2017 projection level. Given the magnitude of benefit they bring to needy people in hard times, the benefit to cost strikes me as far more worthy than I'd have believed without seeing the numbers myself.
There are the main portions of Social Security and the Food Programs, but how is medical? Oddly enough, there is no "Obamacare" program to price. Despite what many seem to have come to believe, Obamacare isn't a program at all, and never was. It's simply a series of regulations and initiatives to force medical insurance from the Federal level in the same way Car insurance was once forced on the State level. Medicare and Medicaid still stand by White House figures and estimates as the highest cost area of Government. It hasn't always been that way, and this board is an attempt to show how things are and have changed over a surprisingly short period of time.
Now I hate to get out of order in my board sequence, but in this case, they were created in a different order than they present by topic, at least in this one case. So I bring you my final board in major Federal costs against the budget. The Department of Defense.
I had a lot of ways I could have gone with this one. In fact, I plan to eventually do a far more detailed board examining the DOD itself and budgetary funny business within the funding of the defense establishment.
There is enough there to make 10 boards by itself..and likely many more. Simple funding between Man Power (a good thing) and Research and Development (where the waste REALLY gets wild) is staggering to behold. However, I made every effort not to derail my focus on the budget as a whole in getting too heavily bogged down to any one section of it.
In that sense, I created my defense display board to give a general sense of perspective and meaning for the numbers as it stands against previous times of strife and war. At the bottom, of course, one can see the current and future levels as foreseen by the White House and their budget.