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Commentary By Brian Riedl

2019 Chart Book Examines Spending, Taxes, and Deficits

Economics Tax & Budget

The 2019 edition of my chart book examining the federal budget, spending, taxes, and deficits is now available. The 96-page book begins by broadly looking at the rising budget deficits and national debt, and then gradually dives deeper to show the policies driving the red ink. Next, it tallies the cost of candidate proposals to add more debt, 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:

  • 90% of Rising Deficit Is From Social Security & Medicare Shortfalls (page 16)
  • Why the Deficit Could Top $3 Trillion Within a Decade (20)
  • Each 1% Interest Rate Rise Adds $11 Trillion to 30-Year Debt (21)
  • What Happened to the 2011 BCA Spending Caps? (29-30)
  • Which Policies have Dominated Deficit-Reduction Deals since 1983? (32)
  • What is Driving CBO’s Projected $80 Trillion Deficit over 30 Years? (39-45)
  • How Would Tax Cut Repeal Alter Long-Term Deficits? (40)
  • Inside Social Security & Medicare’s $103 Trillion 30-year Shortfall (44-45)
  • A Menu of Tax Increase Options (56)
  • How Much Would 100% Tax Rates on the Wealthy Raise? (58)
  • Democratic Presidential Proposals Would Cost up to $72 Trillion (60)
  • Can Taxing the Rich & Slashing Defense Fund Liberal Proposals? (62)
  • There is No Correlation Between the Top Income Tax Rate & Revenues (68)
  • Does the U.S. Have the OECD’s Most Progressive Tax Code? (80)
  • Is it Possible that the 1980s Defense Build Up Paid for Itself? (84)
  • What Really Caused the 1990s Budget Surpluses? (85)
  • The Comprehensive Bush Budget Record (87-88)
  • The Comprehensive Obama Budget Record (89-96)

The chart book is available here.

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

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