Laugh or Cry? Relative Size of 2016 Enacted Budgets

Ever wonder just how much money the United States Government allocated toward the endeavors of its different agencies during 2016, and how they compare?  Here’s the answer!

The comic below represents the 2016 Enacted Budgets of fifteen different U.S. government agencies, each with a very different mission.


[Note that Requested and Enacted Budgets are not necessarily the same figure.]

Highlights for 2016: 

Defense spending amounts to one-and-a-half times more money than that spent on all other agencies combined.

The entire NIH is valued at just 80% of the Department of Homeland Security, in terms of funding.

The Department of Defense budget was more than eight times larger than all the money allocated towards the Department of Education.

Defense spending amounts to more than five times more money than the total spent on NASA, the NSF, the NIH, the CDC, the National Parks Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Geological Survey and the EPA all put together.

The budget for the National Science Foundation is equivalent to only 1.2 % of the defense budget — but — it is still fifty times larger than the budget of the National Endowment for the Arts.

But wait! There’s more! Despite the fluctuating tone of the blah-blah-blahbitty-blah that has issued forth from the different Administrations over the years … government spending on research has not meaningfully changed since 1982!  Check it out — it’s been flat-lined for the last 35 years. (Here’s even finer-scale data from the AAAS).

Do your students know this stuff? Do your elected representatives? Feel free to use everything here as a #scicomm tool.  Oh and did you like this comic?  Yeah? … then why not take a look at the others?