Delicious Pie.

I’m what you could call an Internet grazer. Throughout most of the day I’ll have my RSS reader open and I’ll usually take a 5 minute break every hour or two to muse over the latest articles that come my way. I usually find quite a lot of interesting info this way and yesterday was no exception. What I came across were two very interesting pie charts that describe the current economic situation in America. The first one shows the personal expenditure breakdown of your average American citizen:

wheredidthemoneygo

The largest section here now comes as no surprise considering that sub-prime home loans were what began the crisis in the first place. What really got me where the runners up of transportation, food and insurance. Adding all of the top 4 up you get around 75% of your average Americans money being spent on just being able to have a roof over their heads and get to work everyday. This really puts the whole crisis into perspective since the people who were getting these loans simply had no fat in their budget to trim when the interest rates rocketed up to their non-honeymoon levels. Granted these people were probably offered loans they would never be able to normally afford in the first place but it still highlights the issues that lead up to the collapse in the sub-prime market.

The next yummy pie chart I came across was this one outlining the previous expenditures of the American government vs the bailout:

2008_us_bailout_vs_other_large_government_projects_pie_chart

This highlights another key issue that hits pretty close to home with one of my major interests. Whilst the enormity of the bailout can not be underestimated when put into perspective like this you can see how many view the bailout as being wasted money. Probably one of the most glaring points in this chart (for me at least) is the comparison between the Iraq war, NASA and the initial quest to land a man on the moon.

Since the end of the space race NASA has been an easy target for budget cuts for politicians looking to cut back on government spending. Whilst I understand that expenditure on a space program can hardly be justified at the dizzying heights that were seen during the Apollo era the continued focus of cutting back on NASA spending only serves to damage America’s reputation as a leader in space. Ironically they may have set themselves up for another race with China, since they have refused their requests to work with them on the International Space Station. I can only hope that China gets their Tiangong 1 station up as scheduled since having another permanent space presence (without international co-operation) would definitely put America on the backseat as leaders of the space community.

What do you take away from these delicious pie charts? 🙂

3 Comments

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  1. isn’t the 2nd pie clearly wrong?

    the bailout was $700,000,000 not $4,616,000,000
    and the iraq war is closer to $3 trillion not $500 billion

  2. The initial bailout plan was only for toxic securities and capital injections into the nations banks:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergency_Economic_Stabilization_Act_of_2008

    The entire bailout plan, which covers things like saving General Motors and the like tally quite a bit more. Here’s a good article with a bit of a timeline of when money was being spent and where:
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=washingtonstory&sid=aGq2B3XeGKok

    As for the graph itself it was taken from this BoingBoing post, so the figures in there might be a little suspect (they are also adjusted for inflation) but are good enough to use as an indicator:
    http://www.boingboing.net/2008/11/25/bailout-costs-more-t.html

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