It’s pretty clear to most Americans that Washington is broken and spending money well beyond the country’s means. In fact, Sunday marked three years since the U.S. Senate last passed a budget. Getting the fiscal house in order clearly isn’t their top priority. But just how bad is the country’s spending and debt crisis? Heritage has the answer in its newly released 2012 Edition of the Federal Budget in Pictures.

Whether you’re interested in learning how fast federal spending is growing, how big the tax burden is, what debt will look like in the future, and how soon entitlement spending will implode, Heritage has the answer in easy-to-understand charts. Here’s a taste of just some of the information Federal Budget in Pictures offers:

Each American’s Share of Publicly Held Debt Is Skyrocketing

As Washington continues to spend dramatically more than it can afford, every American will be on the hook for increasing levels of debt. Without reining in spending, the amount of debt per citizen will skyrocket. In 1970, each American’s share of publicly held debt was $6,435. Today, it’s $36,267. Where will it be in 2036? Click here to see the astounding facts for yourself.

What if Families Handled Finances Like the Federal Government Does?

In 2010, median family income was $51,360. If a typical family followed the federal government’s lead, it would spend $73,319 and put 30 cents of every dollar spent on a credit card. This family would have racked up $325,781 in credit card debt–like a mortgage, only without the house. What credit card company would continue lending money to this family? All those numbers can be hard to visualize, so see for yourself what it looks like in one of our latest charts.

Obamacare’s Barrage of Tax Hikes

Do you know about all the tax hikes that Obamacare imposes? They’re not coming all at once, and the cost gets higher each year, totaling more than $500 billion over 10 years. Obamacare’s higher tax rates on income and investment will slow economic growth, leaving hardworking American families and businesses worse off. A particularly harmful new payroll tax on investment income goes into effect in January 2013. It’s time you saw what all these taxes look like and how much they will cost. Check it out in our Obamacare tax hike chart.

Discretionary Spending Cuts Alone Will Not Balance the Budget

How bad is America’s entitlements crisis? (That includes spending on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and other mandatory programs, plus interest.) The fact is, annual spending on entitlement programs is massive compared to other federal spending priorities. Cutting discretionary spending is necessary, but cuts to foreign aid alone or pulling out of Afghanistan will not close the deficit. Entitlement programs must be reformed. But to really understand how big entitlement spending is compared to other programs, you’ve got to see the comparison in this chart.

Those are just four examples of the kind of visual information we offer in our latest Federal Budget in Pictures. But there are dozens of others showing how the debt is on track to fuel an economic crisis, how defense spending would plummet under President Obama’s budget, how Heritage’s New Flat Tax simplifies the tax system, and how entitlement spending will nearly double by 2050.

It’s one thing to say that America faces a fiscal crisis. It’s another thing for Congress and the president to do something about it. So if you really want to understand the problem, take a look at Heritage’s Federal Budget in Pictures. Today’s fiscal crisis is not a pretty sight, and ignoring it will make matters far worse.

Heritage’s Federal Budget in Pictures is also available in Spanish at

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