When I saw this interactive budget image (the treemap above) issued by the White House, I thought it could actually be made clearer and really interactive with visualization tools like one I use (Spotfire) with just a little effort.
I also thought that all the data files provided by the White House for the fiscal year 2012 Budget could also be made clearer and more accessible in a spreadsheet so I decide to provide that service for our readers.
My President’s 2012 budget spreadsheet that I created provides essentially a roadmap to the 179 files associated with the 14 Web pages that one must wade through to get the information.
I then imported selected individual spreadsheets into Spotfire to see treemaps of the 13 major budget categories and 33 sub-categories shown in the interactive map above and the historical trends in total budget surplus and deficits from 1981 to 2016 (estimated).
My complete data science results are presented here.
You’ll see the president’s 2012 budget treemaps and trends are more clearly visualized because the major categories and subcategories are in separate, but adjacent treemaps. Recall that treemaps show the relative size of the items labeled as nested rectangles. But you’ll also see historic trends, showing annual outcomes and projections, using a color gradient–budget surpluses in blue above the balanced budget line and shortfalls in red below the balanced budget line.
So one can see the relative size of each major and subcategory of the 2012 proposed budget and decide which part should be larger or smaller, just like the Super Committee is doing now as the Nov. 23 deadline approaches to resolve the huge deficits projected in the deficits graphic from 2009 to 2016 estimated.
The reader interested in more detail can actually mouse over each graphic and number and select rows and filters to explore these results in more detail. So you be the active citizen and tell the Super Committee how you would fix the most difficult problem we face right now as a country.