Treasury Department Wins Award For Nation’s Ugliest Chart

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


The actual news today, such as it is, concerns the federal deficit. A few weeks ago President Trump tweeted this:

The media has not reported that the National Debt in my first month went down by $12 billion vs a $200 billion increase in Obama first mo.

ZOMG! Trump is a fiscal genius! But today the Treasury released its deficit report for February:

Sad news. January’s modest surplus has been wiped out. The deficit in February was $192 billion. Just like last year. I don’t suppose Trump will be tweeting about that, will he? But he still could: His February deficit is $0.74 billion less than Obama’s in his first February. Is that worth a tweet?

But who cares about all this? It’s just money. The real motivation for this post is to mock the Bureau of the Fiscal Service for the op-art inspired bit of visual ugliness they use to report the deficit over time. Seriously, guys? What possible piece of software could they be using to produce this? Every time I look at it the world starts spinning.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate