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April 28, 2011

Chart Book Graphically Illustrates Nation’s Financial Condition

Washington, D.C., April 28, 2011 — Just how bad is the financial state of the nation? The answer—in clear, bold graphics—can be found in a preview edition of The Heritage Foundation’s 2011 Budget Chart Book.

Say you’re wondering how our debt situation stacks up against that of other nations. Heritage’s Budget Chart Book shows our debt load is on track to precipitate a major economic crisis: Publicly held U.S. debt (as a percentage of gross domestic product) surpassed U.K. levels more than a year ago. And it’s on pace to overtake Portugal (already an economic basket case) in less than four years.

That chart is one of five all-new graphics in this special edition, which includes 19 more familiar charts that we’ve updated since publication last year. Heritage will issue a more extensive Budget Chart Book—with 40 incisive graphics—in mid-June.

But Alison Acosta Fraser, director of Heritage’s Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies, said the think tank decided to issue a “preview” edition “to help inform the vital national conversation on federal spending—as it pertains to both budgets and the debt ceiling—that’s taking place right now.”

Spending Cuts

The Budget Chart Book not only depicts the consequences of failing to address America’s debt problem. It also suggests how the problem must be remedied. For example, another chart shows just how much entitlement spending dwarfs so-called discretionary spending.

“A picture is worth a thousand words,” Fraser said, “and this chart makes a compelling case for why entitlement reform is absolutely essential if this nation is to get its fiscal house in order.”

The preview edition of the Budget Chart Book allows visitors to download, post and e-mail any of 24 information graphics. It also provides links to relevant Heritage research and tools for bookmarking, embedding and information-sharing through Twitter, Facebook and RSS feeds.

The Heritage Foundation is the nation's most broadly supported public policy research institute, with more than 710,000 individual, foundation and corporate donors. Founded in 1973, it develops public policy solutions that advance free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional values and a strong national defense.

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