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Saturday, May 20, 2017


With Qlik Sense's ability to incorporate, analyze, & visualize many different types of data, I always had an idea to look at some data from the U.S. Federal Budget.  Obviously, there are many different things that could be learned there.

Well, I happened to see a batch of data at CBO.gov that was recently(?) updated to include an even 50 years (nice, round number), from 1967 thru 2016, and that seemed like a perfect opportunity to try the Color-by-Measure feature, as you could see here in the 2nd chart:

As you can see, over the past 50 years since 1967, perhaps the two (2), biggest key stories are (A.) the shifting of the tax burden from corporations to individuals (this deserves its own blog post), and (B.) the actual decline of the % of discretionary spending to the military.

In all fairness, I'm very biased in this to point out that military spending is such a huge fraction of the budget.  In fact, it's probably more that 1/2 of all U.S. discretionary spending, as detailed in a previous blog post using Google Data Studio (see below).  ...But, what was really amazing, and in many years of looking/analyzing federal budget data, I never noticed until using Qlik Sense and the Color-by-Measure feature, is that the % actually decreased(!) from 1967.  ...That is, in the '60's, and later again under the Reagan build-up, in the '80's the % of discretionary spending was actually much *higher* than 1/2.

If you look back up at the dark-colored zones above, they are colored based on the "stated" or "official" %-of-spending figures from www.CBO.gov.  ...It turns out that this % could be as high as 70-80% or more during these periods.

All of this was frankly astounding.  Dear reader, I'd like to hope that whatever your budgetary/political inclinations might be, that you cannot find a logical or rational argument that we should be spending over $600 Billion a year on the military and only $17 Billion on, for instance NASA. ...and again, not only is spending on almost every domestic program, from health to education, to diplomacy, to research proven to have much more powerful economic benefits (i.e. the "money multiplier", etc.), but they still stand at a fraction of the military spending total.

To learn on all of this, please visit www.CBO.gov, or the National Priorities Project at:


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