The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Doug Elmendorf’s graph of the year: What’s really driving our deficits

Time has its "Person of the Year." Amazon has its books of the year. Pretty Much Amazing has its mixtapes of the year. Buzzfeed has its insane-stories-from-Florida of the year. And Wonkblog, of course, has its graphs of the year. For 2013, we asked some of the year's most interesting, important and influential thinkers to name their favorite graph of the year — and why they chose it. Here's Doug Elmendorf's.

The figure shows that, based on projections that assume current laws generally remain in place, federal budget deficits will increase markedly in the long run, with the run-up driven not by general growth in the size of the federal government but by rising costs for a few large programs.

Doug Elmendorf is the director of the Congressional Budget Office.

See all the graphs of 2013 here, including entries from Bill GatesJonathan FranzenPatty MurrayTyler CowenBill McKibbenEmily OsterTa-Nehisi CoatesBrian GreeneChuck Schumer,  Chris Hayes, and Ron Wyden.