Visual Representation of the US Federal Budget


I love cool graphs. Here’s a visual representation of the federal budget. Guess what that big blue circle is on the left side of the chart.

By | 2015-03-17T09:37:29+00:00 June 10th, 2007|Categories: Pitching and Presenting|15 Comments

About the Author:

Guy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva, an online graphic design tool. Formerly, he was an advisor to the Motorola business unit of Google and chief evangelist of Apple. He is also the author of The Art of Social Media, The Art of the Start, APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur, Enchantment, and nine other books. Kawasaki has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College.


  1. Jon June 10, 2007 at 11:10 pm - Reply

    Now that is something that is really cool. In about 20 years, that big blue emblem will be replaced with Social Security as all you baby boomers retire.

  2. ModernMagellans June 10, 2007 at 11:55 pm - Reply

    An Awesome Map – Death and Taxes

    While he missed out on a chance to show how it can be applied to our own businesses, my thanks to Guy Kawasaki for pointing this map out on his blog. I just think this clearly represents the point I…

  3. Roger Anderson June 11, 2007 at 12:21 am - Reply

    Just think how enlightening this kind of “Map” could be for a business? In a flash you would see your cost centers. If you did one for a B-2-B you could show your major and minor customers, distributors, and partners. Size their logo by their contribution. Keep your eyes on the big ones.
    Just like to bring it back to business. Thanks for the heads-up on this awesome map. Jess Bachman is fantastic.

  4. Mario Ruiz June 11, 2007 at 3:35 am - Reply

    Indeed!! very cool and very ilustrative.
    Mario Ruiz

  5. Michael Junge June 11, 2007 at 3:49 am - Reply

    But…this graph is missing some key elements of government expenditures…
    “Mandatory Spending, at $1.412 trillion in FY 2006, is over half of the U.S. Federal Budget. The largest mandatory spending programs are Social Security and Medicare, as follows:
    Social Security – $544 billion
    Medicare – $325 billion
    Medicaid – $186 billion
    All other mandatory programs – $357 billion. These programs include Food Stamps, Unemployment Compensation, Child Nutrition, Child Tax Credits, Supplemental Security for the blind and disabled, Student Loans, and Retirement / Disability programs for Civil Servants, the Coast Guard and the Military”
    If one is to use a graph like this, then a complete picture needs to be presented…even though there is something of a caveat in the middle of the circle, the image over all was built to provide the skewed view that military spending is huge…while in reality, mandatory social programs take up a larger portion of the budget. When you further pull down that ~60% of the military budget is payroll, and then further work down to the industries (large and small) paid for through DoD you end up instead with a different view of where money is going.

  6. Kevin June 11, 2007 at 5:41 am - Reply

    Thanks for the eye opener. Although you did not say anything this graph certainly gives a snapshot of where our priorities are.
    67% for defense & military
    33% for everything else…

  7. Jon Smirl June 11, 2007 at 6:36 am - Reply

    I agree that this poster is deceptive. It makes it appear as if the military is the largest expense when in truth it is social spending. Social spending is three times the size of the military and it is conveniently left out of the main diagram. Fixing social spending is the key to balancing the budget unless you prefer to totally eliminate our military.

  8. jess June 11, 2007 at 6:45 am - Reply

    If anyone took more than a cursory look at the graph they would see that the entire budget including entitlements are depicted in the lower right corner. The graph in the center is also clearly labeled “discretionary budget” so any misleading statements are the product of your own biases.

  9. Tommy Jefferson June 11, 2007 at 6:53 am - Reply

    It is always amusing when people talk about spending or the deficit, but never mention our outstanding debt.
    An Argentina-style sudden currency devaluation is the only option left.

  10. lebraix June 11, 2007 at 7:33 am - Reply

    this is just another comment to remind everyone to look for the entitlement spending in the lower right-hand corner. the main chart is for the distrectionary budget, not the total of spending.

  11. Steve Severance June 11, 2007 at 7:47 am - Reply

    Another thing that the graph does not show is “off balance sheet liabilities”. Remember those little things that brought down Enron and Worldcom. For the government that would include things like the future payments from Medicare and Social Security versus future incomes as well as things like the pension benefit guaranty corporation. A paper from an economist in the 90’s estimated this at around 60 trillion dollars.
    I do agree that this graph is deceptive but it is still a cool visual aid. I may have to steal it to use.
    As for currency devaluation Wall Street will take care of that for us. When the government has trouble servicing its debt there will be an attack waged on the dollar. For what this attack might look like check out “The Vandals Crown” which details George Soros’s attack on the Sterling pound and the Italian Lira.

  12. Michael A. Stelzner June 12, 2007 at 7:34 am - Reply

    Wow – Who would actually post this in their office?
    You would need a weekend just to read it.

  13. Maxambit June 12, 2007 at 9:37 pm - Reply

    Privileging Defense

    I see dots scattered all around all the time. Most of the time I don’t have the time or energy to connect them. I had some free time this morning, I saw a few dots, and I played around with them a lil’ bit.
    Dot 1:
    This morning, while scanning my RS…

  14. Kevin Stirtz June 20, 2007 at 12:19 pm - Reply

    Hey Guy, if you like maps, here’s one you need to see. It’s a map of the USA 50 states but each state’s name has been replaced by a country whose Gross Domestic Product is similar to that state.
    For example:
    California = France
    Texas = Canada
    Illinois = Mexico
    New Jersey = Russia
    It’s an eye-opener.
    See the map here:

  15. Run with God June 21, 2007 at 2:13 pm - Reply


    I am not political. Really. This is about as political as I get (keeping in mind that this is more “cool” than political). This is a graphical representation flow-chart format of where our Federal Tax Dollars go. How cool is

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