Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Death & Taxes

Here's an excellent chart diagramming how the government uses the tax revenue it collects from us. Each circle seems to be sized proportionally to the amount of money budgeted it. If you scroll down, there's an even bigger version.

I'm very impressed. With one well-thought out graphic, you instantly get a sense of the government's priorities. Then, of course, it's fun to think about how you'd design the chart if suddenly you had the power to sway congress to your whim and will. Which circles would get bigger, which would shrink?

I'd like to see a similar chart created for the sources of revenue, not just the sinks. With double circles, one for total revenue and a smaller one inside for percentage paid in taxes. It would be nice to see it split up into economic sectors on the corporate side (energy, manufacturing, transportation, retail, service, medicine, pharma, entertainment, etc...) On the individual side, have things split up into tax brackets, with a third circle indicating the total number of persons in each bracket, and the total amount each bracket pays. Such a chart would be quite enlightening. Hmmmm... I'm sure all the info you'd need is public, even if not easy to locate in some aspects. It would be fairly straightforward to at least do something in a spreadsheet to generate some charts, which would be easier if not as attractive. I'll think about it.


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