I have been seeing this pie chart a lot lately:
There is a truck made into this shape driving around Concord, NH, and the bumper-sticker is becoming common. Perhaps it is only big in NH because of the Presidential Primary, and the rest of the country isn't seeing much of this. But it irks me, so I'm reporting on it.
The chart above is intentionally misleading, i. e. lying. The real federal budget looks like this:
What accounts for the enormous discrepancy? The pie-chart on top, the so-called Pentagon Bloat chart, shows what an enormous percentage of the discretionary budget "The Pentagon" takes up. The impression they are trying to create is that military spending takes up over half of all the money the federal government spends. The weasel-word discretionary is slipped in there quietly, like they hope you won't notice. What is the difference between discretionary spending and just plain old government spending? Whatever they want it to be. We have legislated obligations for those large sections called Social Security, Medicare, Unemployment & Welfare, and Medicaid totaling 58% of the federal budget, plus another 9% in Debt Service, and a further 3% in Veteran's Benefits that isn't broken out in the "Pentagon" section of the upper graph. 70% of the federal budget, just ignored.
You might be a person who believes that the 17% spent for Defense is still too much. Fine, then. Next time publish the numbers honestly, and try to make your point honestly.
I should also mention that the seemingly small amount spent on Education is another mirage, as it only represents what the federal government spends on education. State, County, and Local governments do most of that spending, as they should. If I had my druthers, the federal budget for education would be even less. Having George Bush get behind Ted Kennedy's No Child Left Behind idea is exactly the sort of bipartisan cooperation we don't need. Give me gridlock over that any day.