Because infographics are becoming a popular way to break down complex concepts and illustrate certain public policies, public administration officials increasingly recognize their importance. Indeed, the First Lady, Michelle Obama, offered a national project to create an infographic on the childhood obesity epidemic.

If you are looking for information about different issues facing the nation, an infographic can be just the thing. However, those working in public administration should realize that infographics can have biases and questionable reliability — so double check your sources! If you are interested in some great infographics, though, here are 17 great examples of public administration images:

Costs

Public policies and projects cost money. Here are some great infographics that look at the costs associated with public policy, and issues that affect policy and the economy.

  1. The Cost of getting Sick: Do you know how much it costs to be sick? This infographic looks at the cost of getting sick in terms of personal cost, and insurance costs. The infogrpahic breaks it down for annual cost for an individual. It also looks at the total yearly cost for the estimated number of patients with different conditions, ranging from asthma to hypertension. An interesting look at the most expensive conditions, and a comparison of how much each costs relative to others.
  2. Obama’s 2011 Budget Proposal: A look at where money should be spent in 2011, according to the budget proposal for the coming fiscal year. This interactive infographic also provides information on the changes from 2010, whether more is expected to be spent, or whether there will be less spent. It also breaks down different areas of the budget into smaller portions, such as breaking National Defense into procurement, military personnel and other categories.
  3. Death and Taxes: This huge infographic poster looks more in-depth at the federal budget. It includes income from taxes, as well as expenditures. While we can’t verify it, it looks as though this poster actually contains every single item in the 2011 budget. That’s a massive undertaking. No wonder you have to pay more than $20 to get a high resolution poster of this infographic. Even so, you can zoom in and out to see where the money is going.
  4. Research and the Federal Budget: How much is spent on research when it comes to the federal budget? Only a small portion. This interesting inforgraphic addresses research and development. See where your tax dollars go when it comes to the research that leads to the many advancements that we use in society. Includes defense research and energy research, as well as scientific and technological research. You might also be surprised to see what departments some of this research belongs to.
  5. Congressional Payday: How much do those legislators in Washington cost us, anyway? This infographic addresses the difference between what our lawmakers make, and what the average American makes. It is a rather eye-opening — and in some cases disappointing — infographic. Even though legislators occasionally talk about taking a pay cut, or going back to the old way of having to vote themselves pay raises (instead of getting them automatically), very little actually changes.
  6. Visualizing the National Debt: This fascinating infographic makes it easy to understand the massive scope of our national debt. It looks at the national debt, and compares it to revenues from various industries over the years, and breaks it down by individual and family. Depressing, even as it is enlightening.

Taxes

Everyone is interested in taxes, and for good reason. They keep the government running, and taxes cost the people money. See where taxes come form — and where they are going.

  1. How Wealth Countries Tax Their Citizens: This interesting infographic looks at how wealthy countries tax their citizens. Addresses corporate and individuals. It also looks at tax revenue as a percentage of GDP among wealthy nations. It’s an interesting look at taxation, from Norway, where taxes are quite high, to Turkey, where they are quite low. Many might be surprised to find that in the U.S. taxes really aren’t that that bad.
  2. State Taxes in America: This is a cool infographic that looks at state taxes. We often forget about the ways that we are taxed every day, whether we are paying sales tax, gas tax, or sin taxes. And these are taxes that vary depending on state. You might be interested to know just how you are being nickeled and dimed with regard to taxes. This infographic is designed to provide insight into the taxation differences according to state. Have a look at where your state fits into the taxes picture.
  3. The Complexity of the U.S. Tax System: Learn about just how complex the tax system is. in 1913, the tax code was 400 pages. (When was the last time you saw legislation so short?) Today, the tax code comprises more than 70,000 pages. And, of course, there are millions more taxpayers today than there were in 1913. Includes wasted revenue, who prepares taxes and more. A fascinating look at the behemoth that is the U.S. tax system, and how we got to this point. You might be surprised at what you find out.
  4. Who is Paying Taxes?: Interested in who pays the most taxes? This is an intersting infographic that illustrates who is paying taxes. It breaks down our system of wealth redistribution, and shows who is paying taxes. It offers shares of income taxes paid and breaks things down by percentile of population as well. It is an eye-opening look at who is paying taxes, and how taxes are distributed throughout the population. Of course, it doesn’t take into account the hardship that some might have in paying higher taxes, nor does it look at percentage of income that is paid after deductions are factored in.
  5. Payments vs. Allotments for States: Which states are paying in, and which states are getting bigger allotments? This is a very interesting and eye opening infographic that looks at the facts behind taxes and allotment. Interestingly, the states that pay in the most per capita, do not get the most in allotments. You might be interested to see that the states that benefit most from the current tax situation are also those most likely to call for reduced taxes — even though it could hurt them.
  6. Celebrity Tax Deductions: This fun infographic from The Onion looks at celebrity tax deductions. You really can deduct any number of items. Although we’re not sure that Michael Phelps really bought goggles designed to make it easier to see on land. A fun break from the doom and gloom that can be public administration.

Policy and Legislation

Here are some interesting infographics that describe the effectiveness of different policies, and that describe different pieces of legislation.

  1. U.S. Job Loss: This infographic shows the job losses during the last year of George Bush’s administration and the losses during the first year of Barack Obama’s administration. The point of the infographic is to show that the acceleration was rather intense up until the new administration, and that job losses began to slow after the passage of the economic stimulus bill in February 2009. It is important to recognize, though, that the infographic may not tell the whole story.
  2. Health Care Reform: This great infographic offers a look at the changes coming to health care starting in 2010. It is a helpful look at when different changes take place, and a helpful look at how your health insurance might be affected. A straightforward break down of a complex piece of legislation, and one that makes things relatively clear with regard to implementation. An enlightening and informational look at health care reform.
  3. Corporate Bailouts: A History: We have become used to business being considered vital to our economy. As a result, we are no longer surprised at corporate bailouts — even if we might be outraged. This infographic presents a history of corporate bailouts between 1970 and 2008. It is an interesting look at nearly 40 years of bailout history, and provides details of the bailouts, and their costs. An interesting look at what we consider important when it comes to preserving the economy.
  4. How a Bill Becomes Law: In some cases, our legislative process is rather convoluted. This infographic does its best to make it seem a little more comprehensible. It offers the different paths (and shortcuts) that a bill can take to become law. From its humble origins the final, published product, a bill can go through a number of incarnations. This infographic looks at the possibilities — and provides an explanation of why it can take so long for Congress to accomplish anything. The process makes it a little more difficult.
  5. The Social Security Situation: This is a good look at the way the Social Security system works. We often talk about Social Security, and it has become an integral part of our society and our politics. This infographic takes you through how it all works. It also addresses proposed modifications to the system, and what those effects would be on Social Security — and taxes.

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