View all Articles
Commentary By Brian Riedl

2023 Chart Book Examines Spending, Taxes, and Deficits

Economics Tax & Budget

As interest rates soar and the budget deficit doubles to $2 trillion, the Manhattan Institute’s Brian Riedl has released the 2023 edition of his book of charts examining the federal budget, spending, taxes, and deficits.

The 133-page chart book begins by broadly examining the rising budget deficits and national debt and then dives deeper to show the policies driving the $119 trillion in new deficits projected over the next three decades (and how drastically the picture worsens if interest rates remain elevated). Next, the chart book tallies the costs of common spending and tax proposals and determines whether those costs can be offset by proposed tax increases and defense cuts. The report also provides a full accounting of President Biden’s fiscal record thus far. Finally, it examines trends in tax revenues and tax progressivity, common budget myths, and offers a full accounting of the fiscal records of Presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump.

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:

  • Budget Deficits Are Projected to Exceed $3 Trillion Within a Decade (p. 6)
  • In Just 20 Months, President Biden Added $4.8 Trillion to 10-year Deficits (11)
  • How Did Washington Go from Budget Surpluses to Escalating Deficits? (22, 43)
  • What Happened to the 2011 BCA Spending Caps? (30–31)
  • Rising Social Security & Medicare Shortfalls Drive Nearly Entire 2019–33 Deficit Rise (39–42)
  • Debt in 30 Years Reaches Between 181%–340% of GDP, Depending on the Baseline (53)
  • What Is Driving CBO’s Projected $119 Trillion Deficit over 30 Years? (55–61)
  • Each 1% Interest Rate Rise Adds $30 Trillion (or 40% of GDP) to 30-Year Debt (73)
  • A Menu of Tax Increase Options With 10-Year and Long-Term Estimates (75)
  • Taxing the Rich Could Raise at Most 1% or 2% of GDP (78)
  • Does the U.S. Have the OECD’s Most Progressive Tax Code? (97, 98, 108)
  • What Really Caused the 1990s Budget Surpluses? (114)
  • The Comprehensive Bush Budget Record (118–119)
  • The Comprehensive Obama Budget Record (120–127)
  • The Comprehensive Trump Budget Record (128–133)

The chart book is available for download here.