Political Calculations | Ironman | The Biggest Issue of 2010, In One Chart
If you were asked to produce a single chart illustrating the biggest single political issue in America today, what would it look like?
We're taking on that challenge today. Here's what we came up with:
In this chart, where we've graphed the trajectory of the total spending of the federal government with respect to the median household income in the U.S. for the years from 1967 through 2009, we see that the U.S. federal government's spending today has decoupled from the primary source of income that is required to sustain it.Well done. Well done indeed.
Worse, it has literally "gone vertical" during the last two years. [...]
In practical terms, that means government spending has become completely disconnected from the ability of the typical American household to support it.
As always I will caution that looking at median household income over time is tricky business because the size of households has changed and there are non-negligible effects from immigration. There's also danger trying to suss out long-term trends from this chart because it doesn't account for population size, or better yet number of working age residents. These pitfalls at not as significant over short time periods.
All in all, I think this is a fantastic answer to the challenge of finding a single chart to sum up this election cycle.
Bonus points: focus is on spending, not deficits/debt.