Five Different Ways to Look at the Budget

There's more than one way to say $3.7 trillion

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With the release of President Obama's 2012 budget, newspapers are hauling out lush graphical presentations of the proposed financial plan. Whether pie chart, bar graph or table covered with pennies, each display offers a new perspective on the nation's fiscal woes. Here are some of our favorites:

The Budget by Agency In order of biggest spender to littlest spender in terms of 2012 discretionary spending, The Wall Street Journal lists each agency's budget (in billions):

10,000 Pennies  In the video below, Jonathan Karl at ABC News takes $100 worth of pennies and lays them out onto a pie chart. He then splits up defense spending, entitlement spending, discretionary spending and interest paid on debt. The big takeaway? Neither Obama nor the Republicans have a plan that manages the country's debt in a meaningful way.

Where Does All the Money Come From?  USA Today breaks down the revenue sources of the U.S. government:

How the $3.7 Million Is Spent  With an interactive map, The New York Times allows you to zoom in on specific budgetary sections (e.g. defense, entitlements, etc) and see how the money is spent. Here's a look at the defense budget, which include expenses toward procurement, military personnel, research and development, veteran affairs and more. 

Budgetary Increases Since 1981  The Washington Post allows you to track the nation's spending priorities over the last 30 years. Click social security, for instance, and you'll notice a ballooning increase since 1981. The blue and red colors represent which party held the presidency at the time:

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.