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Tag Archive: Congressional Budget Office

Federal Budget Infographics: Interesting Subject, Disappointing Design

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CBO's infographics

Two days ago the Congressional Budget Office released some new infographics about the Federal Budget in an attempt to show where revenues come from and where they are spent. Their undertaking, although valiant, falls a little flat. Sadly, many companies reach for the magical infographic but rarely are they implemented well, which many times just adds more confusion to the subject presented. Where these infographics go wrong is in their non-use of common graphics to represent the information more clearly and their lack of common design practices.

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Who’s watching the Super Committee?

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A big audience turned out yesterday for the second meeting of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, or the "super committee," as its 12 members asked questions of the first witness, CBO director Doug Elmendorf. The meeting was open to the public and there was live video on the committee's new website. 

While all the other cameras were focused on the committee members and witness, we turned ours 180 degrees to check out the crowd — and we want your help to identify the people keeping a close eye on this committee. Check out the photos below and the ...

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Hands on Budgeting

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As we head into the general election period, American Public Media, the public radio entity best known for producing A Prairie Home Companion and Marketplace, has launched an instructive and fun online game titled Budget Hero.  The game allows you to set the U.S. budget by cutting or raising taxes, and increasing or decreasing spending.  You want universal healthcare?  Add it to the budget.  Increased funding for Social Security?  Go for it.  Bring the troops home from Iraq? Just do it.  Obviously, all such decisions will impact your budget.  In this sense, it is similar to the 1993 computer game Shadow President.  But with Budget Hero, every major decision, such as to repeal the Bush tax cut and raise taxes on the rich are accompanied with a list of pros and cons and potential impacts. 

The folks at American Public Media worked with the Congressional Budget Office and the Government Accounting Office to get the data correct.  When you finish, the game allows you to compare your "budget" to other gamers.  A serious and detailed review of Budget Hero can be accessed here. This is a fun tool that can teach you alot.

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