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Spending, Taxes, & Deficits: A Book of Charts

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Spending, Taxes, & Deficits: A Book of Charts

October 26, 2020

The Manhattan Institute’s Brian Riedl has released the 2020 edition of his book of charts examining the federal budget, spending, taxes, and deficits. The 100-page chart book begins by broadly examining the rising budget deficits and national debt – well beyond the temporary recession deficits – and then gradually dives deeper to show the policies driving the $104 trillion in new deficits projected over the next three decades. Next, it tallies the cost of common spending increase and tax relief proposals, and determines whether those costs can be offset by the proposed tax increases and defense cuts. Finally, the report examines trends in tax revenues and tax progressivity, common budget myths, and offers a full accounting of the fiscal records of Presidents Bush and Obama.

These charts – most of which rely on publicly-available data from the Congressional Budget Office, Office of Management and Budget, Census Bureau, and U.S. Treasury – nevertheless defy conventional wisdom about spending, taxes, and deficits. Examples of charts include:

•    Why the Deficit Could Top $3 Trillion Yet Again Within a Decade (p. 15)

•    Each 1% Interest Rate Rise Adds 20% of GDP to 30-Year Debt (16)

•    Washington Spent $50,000 per Household in 2020 (21)

•    What Happened to the 2011 BCA Spending Caps? (26-27)

•    Which Policies have Dominated Deficit-Reduction Deals since 1983? (29)

•    90% of 2019-2030 Annual Deficit Rise is From Social Security & Medicare Shortfalls (37)

•    What is Driving CBO’s Projected $104 Trillion Deficit over 30 Years? (46-52)

•    How Would Tax Cut Repeal Alter Long-Term Deficits? (53)

•    A Menu of Tax Increase Options (57-58)

•    Joe Biden’s Spending Proposals Would Cost $11 Trillion (63-64)

•    Can Taxing the Rich & Slashing Defense Fund Liberal Proposals? (67)

•    There is No Correlation Between the Top Income Tax Rate & Revenues (71)

•    Does the U.S. Have the OECD’s Most Progressive Tax Code? (84)

•    Is it Possible that the 1980s Defense Build Up Paid for Itself? (88)

•    What Really Caused the 1990s Budget Surpluses? (89)

•    The Comprehensive Bush Budget Record (91-92)

•    The Comprehensive Obama Budget Record (93-100)

The chart book is available at:

Brian Riedl is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Follow him on Twitter @Brian_Riedl

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