Double counting

Like so many before me, I’ve gone to my whiteboard to sketch the chart below.

The bars represent two states of the federal budget of the fictional and dystopic nation of Fraktopia,* which has a social health insurance program for the elderly called “Medicare.” Fraktistan also has many uninsured citizens and runs budget deficits.

The stacked bars on the left depict the state of the Fraktistan federal before passage of a law that reduces Medicare spending, increases revenue, and increases spending for coverage of the uninsured. The law is titled “Political Posturing and Argument Continuation Act” or PPACA for short.

The stacked bars on the right represent the budget after passage and implementation of the law. It turns out that the combined effect of the provisions of the law are to reduce the federal deficit (the difference between revenue and total federal expenditures) and reduce Medicare spending. The non-partisan budget accounting organization, the Credible Budget Outfit (CBO) has confirmed this accounting and is the source for all my figures (chart not to scale).


  • Does this chart depict double counting? Why or why not?
  • How does Fraktistan’s CBO differ from the US’ CBO?
  • How does Fraktistan’s PPACA differ from the US’ PPACA?
  • What else do you like and dislike about this presentation?
* Citizens called “Fraktals,” children “Fraktions,” national sport “Fraktal Brownian motion.”


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