If you give your money to a cause or to someone in need, you have engaged in an act of charity. On the other hand, if I take that same money from you and give it to the same cause or person in need as you would have, I have engaged in an act of theft. The same money is given to the same recipient, but the nobility of the act is severely compromised. Charity is a wonderful thing, but theft is reprehensible, even when the point of the theft is to do good to others. Everyone on the same page? Good, let’s press on.

The ONE Campaign has publicly stated a number of noble goals such as eliminating poverty and global diseases like AIDS, but it is a failure as a charity organization. A recent news report out of England explains the problem:

Bono’s anti-poverty foundation ONE is under pressure to explain its finances after it was revealed that only a small percentage of money it raises reaches the needy.

The non-profit organisation set up by the U2 frontman received almost £9.6million in donations in 2008 but handed out only £118,000 to good causes (1.2 per cent).

The figures published by the New York Post also show that £5.1million went towards paying salaries.

Just over one percent of its money was donated to some charity cause. I guess I now know why it’s called ONE. And if more than half the money paid the salaries of ONE employees, where did the rest go?

ONE spokesman Oliver Buston has now defended the way the organisation is run, insisting the money is used for promoting its campaign and raising awareness rather than being given straight to those who need help.

He said: ‘We don’t provide programmes on the ground. We’re an advocacy and campaigning organisation.’

Ah. Raising awareness. Yeah, that’s certainly helpful. We should all spend a night in a cardboard box to raise awareness about the plight of the homeless. Not that it would actually do anything to help the homeless, but we could feel good about our ineffectual efforts later.

This isn’t the first time ONE has come to my attention. Back in 2007, I noticed ONE’s website and celebrity endorsement, and I wrote about it then. Their tagline back then was “We’re not asking for your money. We’re asking for your voice.” When I visited the ONE website after reading the Daily Mail article, I noticed that little had changed in the past three years. They are still asking for your voice, and they are still not asking for your money. Well, not directly.

But they are asking for your money. They just don’t want to deal with the piddling amounts given out by individuals. Instead, ONE wants to go after the big bucks that can be provided by governments. One of the causes on the ONE website is a petition to be sent to Pres. Obama, urging him to fund the effort to stop the spread of HIV from mother to child. That’s a wonderful goal, and I would applaud anyone willing to voluntarily contribute to such a cause. But ONE doesn’t want your voluntary charitable giving, they want forced charitable giving from all Americans in the form of $5 billion in U.S. government taxation. That works out to about $16.67 from every man, woman and child – taxpayer or not – living here in the States. I’m sure most Americans wouldn’t miss it, since we could provide such funds by going without snacks for a week or two. But the amount of money per capita isn’t the point. Taking money from one person to give to another isn’t charity. It’s theft.

And theft is wrong, even when it goes to a good cause or if the government is doing it.

Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit blog has long been using a graphic showing the deficits (and a few surpluses) of the last five administrations. Since the graphic only had the projected budget deficit for Pres. Obama’s first year, I decided to update it with more recent numbers. Taking the numbers from the Whitehouse Office of Management and Budget itself, I have updated the graphic with the announced 2009 and 2010 deficits, as well as the deficit the OMB is projecting for 2011.

Here are six variations graphing the current numbers, as of October 2010 February 2011 July 2012 [Now with updated 2013 numbers! -- CM]. Feel free to copy them and use them on your own blogs.

Obama's Deficit

I decided to call out Pres. Obama’s deficits in shades of red. You can also get this in in a much larger size (2250 x 1690 pixels).

Question: where to you get the numbers for the graph? I go to the Office of Management and Budget site and download Table 1.1. I then look at the column D (Surplus or Deficit) to get the numbers for the graph.

Question: how do you convert the surplus/deficit numbers from the table into bars on the graph? Table 1.1 comes down as an Excel file, so I continue to use Excel to convert the surplus/deficit numbers into a count of pixels for each bar. I go to a blank column, like M, and enter the following formula “=D119/8310″. That takes the contents of cell D119 (surplus or deficit for that year) and divides it by 8310, since each pixel represents $8,310,000. Since I can’t have a fraction of a pixel, I format the entire column as a Number with 0 decimal places. Excel does all the rounding up from me. I then take the number of pixels, positive or negative, and draw a bar that many pixels up or down. Once that information has been updated in my master file in Paint Shop Pro, I save out a small and large versions of the image and post them.

UPDATE (2/15/2011 12:26:09 PM): With a new revision of the OMB numbers for 2011 raising the estimated deficit to $1.645 trillion, I have updated the graphics to show the new OMB projection. I have also made two other changes based on feedback. The Bush years text now uses bars rather than arrows (h/t Irene), and I have given Pres. Bush eight years of budgets instead of nine and adjusted all the rest by one (h/t bridgeman).

If you have been using these images, please download and use the current versions. If you want to access the old ones, you may download them all as a single zip file.

UPDATE (7/26/2011 6:00:00 PM): I have updated the images with the finalized 2011 numbers (down 345 billion) and added the projected 2012 budget deficit. I changed from using .jpg to .png for smaller file size and less fuzziness. Based on feedback, I created a large version of one of the images at 2250×1690 pixels that prints better. I also added a credit to this website.

UPDATE (3/2/2013 1:00:00 PM): Since it was requested, I have updated the graphic with the current numbers from Table 1.1 from the Office of Management and Budget site. 2012 is still listed there as an estimate, so I have left it in the graph as pink. I also added the estimate for 2013 to the image. The deficit is projected to go down in 2013, not from lack of spending but from an estimated increase in taxes. We’ll see how that goes.

The image is available in regular (450px x 338px) or large (2250px x 1690px). I have removed the other versions since there has been no demand for them.

UPDATE (5/9/2013 11:07 AM): I just checked the Table 1.1 spreadsheet at the OMB site, and they have published the official 2012 numbers. I’ve updated the graphic with the new numbers and changed it from estimate pink to official red. I also added two questions with answers about where I get the data and how I make the image.