My CBPP colleagues contributed many important graphics to the debates of 2011 in lots of different areas, including fiscal, poverty, inequality, health care, and more. But which ones to highlight in this end-of-year look back at the best of 2011? I generally used a market test: these are the ones that were most widely circulated.
Tiny bits of commentary where necessary, though more importantly, I’ve tried to provide links to the underlying docs.
Arm yourselves with the knowledge herein, and you’ll be immune to the fact-free hand-waving that too often passes for debate these daze. Think of them not as wonky graphs, but as guideposts on the road back to the land where facts matter.
#1: A look at which income group reap the benefits of most of the growth in recent years (see here for much more on this; income changes in the figure are adjusted for inflation).
#2: The international dimension to the inequality picture.
#3: Yes, it’s true-compared to others, the US is a low tax country.
#4: And those at the top of the wealth scale have seen a much reduced tax burden as a share of their income.
#5: This one is invaluable in those incessant discussions about how higher tax rates will kill jobs and growth.
#6: Probably one of the most circulated of all this year, this one makes essential points about the actual sources of the growth in the budget deficit.
#7: You didn’t expect us to do the above for the deficit and not for the debt??!!
#8: Again, a big market test performer. This one provides a simple but essential look about where Rep Ryan’s budget (now the House R’s budget) goes for its deficit savings. And remember, this budget had no new tax revenues–to the contrary, it included hundreds of billions in tax cuts for the wealthiest householders, paid for in part by the cuts you see here.
#9: You can’t emphasize this point enough: health care spending grows faster in the private than in the public sector. It’s just not a normal good, friends, and market solutions, like “everybody get out there and shop for the best deal,” are not a magic bullet.
#10: The actual impact of Rep Ryan proposal to change Medicare from a guaranteed benefit to a premium support program, where the support significantly lags actual costs.
#11: This one is especially important in debates where people make the demonstrably erroneous claim that our poverty programs don’t work.
#12: This one clearly shows just what a lost decade the 2000s have been for the middle class–it’s not just a Great Recession story–they were squeezed well before that. And note the stark contrast with the 1990s. Middle class incomes fell in real terms in the early 1990s recession, but when the recovery took hold, the middle class got a real piece of the action, something that very conspicuosuly didn’t occur in the 2000s.
There you have it, OTE’ers: 12 of our best from last year. And a big hat tip to Edward Bremner, the artiste behind much of what you see above.