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Bad Chart Thursday: Guv’ment Spending Edition

So you want to make a deliberately misleading chart by doctoring a genuine one and you don’t really care how fake it looks because OBAMA?

Maybe you have a poor-resolution monitor from 1993 and think a screen shot means taking a picture of the screen with your flip phone or the disposable camera you stole from your nephew’s wedding reception.

Well, look no further than Twitter for inspiration:

Public debt tweet

Here’s the original chart from the Congressional Budget Office.

CBO chart

The CBO reports that the public debt is just under $13 trillion, projected to be just over that in 2015. So the doctored chart inflates the amount by about $5 trillion, give or take a few hundred billion. Pocket change.

But this did get me thinking about how the federal government is spending our money. It can’t all go into producing chemtrails, covering up the alien infiltration, and deliberately poisoning our children with vaccines.

While looking into this issue, I came across this chart about federal spending on drug control:

Fed drug contol budget

I’m not really sure what accounts for the lines being jagged. Perhaps there’s an invisible axis on top that can only be seen by werewolves.

Even more odd is where the red line ends up. I wasn’t sure if this was an error in drawing the line or in the number given, so I checked out the source of the information the chart is based on, the Office of National Drug Control Policy. I looked through a few of their budget summaries and just got more confused.  The numbers for treatment and prevention have been at or higher than $4.9 billion since at least 2002, with recent years’ spending exceeding $10 billion. I found a similar underestimate of the enforcement and interdiction numbers (over $15 billion since 2009).

So I’m not sure where the numbers come from in this chart. They might be from a subset of spending, such as from just one agency. But the far more likely explanation is that this is part of a vast government cover-up to hide the billions of dollars being spent to treat Americans who were secretly drugged by the government itself, a mind-control experiment gone horribly wrong. Teddy Tank

Think about it. It explains so much—the bizarrely random ALL CAPS word choices on social media (see above tweet), why so many of us can’t see the axis at the top of the drug control spending chart, the existence of Teddy Tank. The list goes on.

You might think this is a completely ridiculous theory, but wouldn’t someone whose mind is being controlled by the government say the exact same thing?

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Melanie Mallon

Melanie is a freelance editor and writer who just moved to a small town outside Minneapolis with her husband and two young kids. When not counting how often the words "pride," "liberty," and "freedom" are used in local business, road, and pet names, she spends her time wrangling commas, making colon jokes, and raising her two kids to be critical thinkers. She is the managing editor of Skepchick Events, a Grounded Parents admin, and a Skepchick contributor. You can find her on Twitter as @MelMall, on Facebook, and on Google+

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5 Comments

  1. I think you’re onto something. Because Halloween eve and werewolves are kinda like vampires, I tried looking at the chart in the mirror, but COULDN’T SEE anything AT all!!! All I could see was my face and the other side of THE bathroom! NO chart!!11!!111 So I went back to my desk and looked at IT again on my pc. The top AXIS of this vampire chart is “CONTROL BUDGET” Its written right there!

    Its not a bad chart because it DOESN’T MAKE any sense at all. ITs a BAD CHART because it was made by VAMPIRES.

    PS. The chart has an AXIS. Hitler led the AXIS. Coincidence? I think [email protected]@[email protected]!!!

    PPS. “Guv’ment”… My brother once wanted to attend a Tea Party rally, but he couldn’t figure out the right way to misspell Gubbermont on his “Keep your Meddling Goobermunt Hands Off My Medicare” sign. I think he forgot to include an apostrophe.

  2. That is one weird fucking graph. The X-axis doesn’t exist, but the graph still depicts movement in the X-axis and the Y-axis has two separate legends, tracked by the same graph lines.

    Even internally, the axes make no sense. The time axis tracks presidents as equal intervals, despite having served for different time spans. The money axis can’t decide whether the graph lines are equal or not and the numbers on the axis explicitly contradict the helpful tags on the lines themselves.

    Finally, the graph seems to claim that Nixon spent less than $0 on drug enforcement. Maybe there was a federal budget item for promotion of drug use?

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