"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Visual Display of Quantitative Information II

Awhile back I noted that a partner of mine used to have in his office a copy of the book The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, and that we often have as an issue in our cases how to explain to a jury in simple, visual terms a complicated quantitative analysis.   In thinking about the budget cuts proposed by President Obama -- $775 million on a $3.8 trillion budget -- an amount that is literally chicken feed, I think the blogger Doug Ross has hit on a great way to visualize how little Obama is willing to do.   Here are the budget cuts proposed by Obama (they're in green, while the budgeted spending and deficit spending left are in blue and red):

 Can't see the cuts, can you?  So Ross blows up the graph ten times:

Still can't see the cuts, can you?   So Ross blows the graph up 100 times:

Now you can see them... a little sliver out of a huge ocean of government spending.

It's not enough, not nearly enough.   Until we can see and feel federal government spending decreasing -- and it won't be painless, that's the whole point -- don't listen to anyone telling you they're willing to "cut" spending.

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