With their pie charts laid down, the selection of what to put up front gives the illusion of greater proportions going to or coming from specific outlays and taxes. National defense as an expense looks huge because it’s featured up front. Personal income taxes taken from the individual are hidden in the back when it comes to taxation.
When you put the outlays together vertically, without laying the pie down for distortion effects, one suddenly sees that almost 2/3 of government expenditures go towards some form of handout, from Social Security to “Development Programs” to “Social Programs”. What’s missing is that a lot of “foreign affairs” that’s lumped in with national defense are also international handouts.
On the other pie chart for federal income, corporate taxes get thrown up front, along with excise taxes, because people don’t think of those taxes as hitting them (until they buy a car and have to pay gas guzzler tax on both ends). If they take up more visual space, that’s good because it hides the personal income taxes; and if they still look small up front, that’s also good because corporations are evil and excise taxes are only for evil rich people.
Borrowing to cover deficit is up front, but is seen by the left as a thing that’s bad because it’s an incentive and need to “raise revenues” (read: tax hikes on the bourgeois and “rich” and any other target classes). Thus it’s allowed to be emphasized.
Could be reading into it, but the IRS leans so heavily left that targeting political opponents of the left is something they do naturally and as a matter of course. So it’s not really a stretch that they’d make a graph that subtly promotes a leftist worldview.
Looking at an overhead view of the charts rather than a laid-down perspective suddenly makes some taxation and expenditures jump out for what they are. It’s not like a pie chart is hard to make, either. Using the laid-down pie chart offers a minimal advantage in space or ink savings in on the 1040ez instructions, but it can be handy for massaging data.