For chart nerds, the Center on Budget Policy and Policy Priorities’ image on what policies drive contemporary deficits is a genuine classic. It first appeared in 2009 and, relying solely on data from the Congressional Budget Office, made an immediate splash – those wanting to know which policies are responsible for making up the deficit had everything they needed in a handy, colorful chart.
In time, wonks even came up with a nickname of it: the “parfait” chart.
The image proved to be so popular that the CBPP published revised versions several times, reflecting up-to-date budget figures. And late last week, the Center unveiled its latest – and is it turns out, its final – chart showing which policies are driving the deficits between now and the end of the decade.
And as the chart hopefully makes clear, Bush-era tax breaks continue to be the biggest chunk. This matters, of course, to the extent that there’s an ongoing debate over how to reduce the deficit, and policymakers are looking for solutions.
I don’t imagine Republicans want to hear this, but slashing investments in “Obamacare,” education, aid to the poor, and foreign aid may advance a far-right vision, but these aren’t the policies that are responsible for the existing budget shortfall.