Recovery inside a recovery
Sore-thumb graphics

Animal racetrack

We introduced the racetrack chart before.  Via Zero Hedge, we find a version of it, perhaps a race for animals.  In a race for humans, they run in concentric circles; animals are not so tame, they may stray off the track, or just refuse to continue.


The designers certainly tried very hard to make the numbers palatable.  Indeed, given how much of our taxpayer funds are being thrown to the fire these days, any informed citizen ought to know how the money was being spent.  Their hard work, unfortunately, was not rewarded as the various constructs failed to improve our understanding of the data.

The three annotations on the right tell us that the arc width at the left indicates the allocated funds while the arc width at the right indicates the actual amounts spent as of end of April.  In addition, the breakpoint on each arc in relationship to the fan of lines indicate the date at which the funds were allocated. 

In reality, things are a bit more complicated.  When all allocated funds have been spent, as apparently the case of Fed funds for AIG, the arc has no break point and thus the date of the allocation is missing.  Also, when the same use soaks up funds from multiple sources, the width on the right gets confusing: take for example FDIC funds for unlocking credits; it's unclear how the two arcs add up to 1.8 trillion.

Perhaps a flow chart might work well for this sort of data.

Reference: "Visual Representation of the Government Intervention Programs", Zero Hedge blog, April 8 2009.


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Hey friend,
I tried it as a flow chart as well, it's here:

I never really succeeded having all the info in it:
-how much
-from where to where
-in which timeframe
-how much is left as of now

We will keep trying.

Jon Peltier

Whoa, this racetrack makes me dizzy. The diverging lines for dates seem like they should indicate something along the bottom "axis" of the chart, until you realize it's no axis but two endpoints. like the covers of a book, opened flat.

The Sankey diagram is much better.


Nick: Thanks for the link. The flow chart/sankey version is better. Of the items you listed, I am not sure the time frame is of sufficient concern to worry about. The merger flow chart is one that incorporates a time line and that could be a starting point.

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