The difference between budget realism and current law

at 02:42 PM ET, 02/01/2012

As I mentioned Wednesday, the Congressional Budget Office’s annual budget outlook includes two possible scenarios: An unrealistic one that pretends Congress will follow the law as written and a more realistic one in which Congress extends the Bush tax cuts, keeps Medicare’s payments to doctors stable, etc.

But it can be hard, just reading the CBO report, to see how big each of these policies actually is. Which is why the friendly wonks at the Center for a Responsible Federal Budget have put together this interactive graph showing the difference between the unrealistic scenario and what they consider to be a more realistic scenario:

Much more data, including a table showing the annual cost of each policy, here.

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