A friend sent me this editorial cartoon showing the federal budget and proposed $85 billion “sequestration” put into perspective with a pie illustration. I think it a fun data visualization exercise, but when I looked a bit deeper I became skeptical. The cartoon shows federal spending as having grown 40 percent since 2007, from $2.7 trillion to $3.8 trillion. That did not seem credible but it is backed up by
What is it that we’re getting 40 percent more of?
[Related: my own attempt to make federal budget numbers comprehensible by dividing by 10 to the 8th power (April 2011). This analysis caught the public imagination and appeared in a bunch of magazines and Web sites, usually with the original source long forgotten.]