Posts Tagged ‘obama’

The $10 Trillion Hangover – Paying the Price for Eight Years of Bush (Harper’s)

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

[Editor’s note: Nigel Holmes, the big kahuna of information graphics, illustrates the January 2009 cover story in Harper’s magazine on the expensive economic price of 8 years of Bush. Good luck, Obama! Nigel Holmes was graphics director of Time magazine for sixteen years. Thanks Lynda!]

Republished from Harper’s. January 2009 issue. By Linda J. Bilmes and Joseph E. Stiglitz. Information graphics by Nigel Holmes. (Their bios at bottom of post.) PDF version.

In the eight years since George W. Bush took office, nearly every component of the U.S. economy has deteriorated. The nation’s budget deficits, trade deficits, and debt have reached record levels. Unemployment and inflation are up, and household savings are down. Nearly 4 million manufacturing jobs have disappeared and, not coincidentally, 5 million more Americans have no health insurance. Consumer debt has almost doubled, and nearly one fifth of American homeowners are likely to owe more in mortgage debt than their homes are actually worth. Meanwhile, as we have reported previously, the final price for the war in Iraq is expected to reach at least $3 trillion.

As bad as things are, though, this is just the beginning. The Bush Administration not only has depressed the economy and racked up unprecedented debt; it also has made expensive new commitments to the Medicare Part D prescription drug program, to disability compensation and education benefits for veterans, to replenishing the military equipment consumed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and simply to paying interest on the debt itself.

The president is not solely to blame for American profligacy, of course. Congress approved inequitable tax cuts and spending binges, and the Federal Reserve and other regulators, along with the mortgage industry and millions of consumers, share responsibility for the housing collapse. Nonetheless, the outgoing administration has made a series of unwise economic choices that together will add up to a burdensome legacy.

Using conservative assumptions, we calculate that the bill for Bush-era excess—the total new debt combined with the total new accrued obligations— amounts to $10.35 trillion. This legacy will have long-term consequences for America’s prosperity, but it also will weigh heavily and immediately on the Obama Administration, which will need to spend money fast to get the economy moving again.

When George W. Bush took office, he inherited a budget surplus of $128 billion and a bright fiscal future. The Congressional Budget Office, the nonpartisan government agency responsible for estimating future expenditures and revenues, projected a cumulative budget surplus of about $5.6 trillion between 2002 and 2011, if the country stayed on track—which of course it did not. What happened instead was that the administration successfully pushed for not only two rounds of massive, inequitable tax cuts but also a 59 percent surge in government spending. The result has been the largest budget deficits in U.S. history, and estimates of the current deficit are climbing even as we go to press. In September, before the financial meltdown, the CBO projected the deficit for fiscal 2009 to reach $438 billion—about the same level as it was in 2008—but in October, Peter Orszag, the director of the CBO, predicted the deficit would reach $750 billion, and we believe that number could go higher still. Such increases are the result of several factors:

Iraq and Afghanistan The combined annual costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, including indirect costs, have shot from $20 billion in 2001 to more than $208 billion this year.

Other Defense But government spending on the rest of the military also has grown more quickly than at any time since the Vietnam War. Part of that growth is attributable to indirect costs of the Iraq war (such as the growing recruitment budget), but much of it stems from an unrelated spending spree on acquisitions, weapons systems, and research.

Medicare Entitlement spending has risen even faster than projected, in part because of another major initiative of the Bush Administration: the 2006 launch of Medicare Part D. This new provision, which provides prescription drug coverage for seniors, added $47.4 billion to the cost of Medicare in 2006—a jump that accounted for almost 12 percent of total Medicare spending.

Net Interest on Debt All of the new debt incurred to pay for the foregoing did not come free. Net interest, which fell in the early part of the Bush Administration as a result of Clinton-era belt-tightening, has begun to climb back toward record levels, and now is the fourth-largest spending category in the federal budget.

The result of deficit spending is debt. When President Bush took office, the national debt was $5.7 trillion. Now it is $10.6 trillion—and Congress voted in October to raise the debt ceiling to $11.3 trillion, the seventh such hike since President Bush took office and the second since last July. If, as is quite likely, we reach the new ceiling by January 20, the outgoing president will have managed to amass more debt than all of his predecessors combined.

And even that number may be too small. When the federal government took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, it also assumed their $5.4 trillion debt. The accounting procedures used by the International Monetary Fund, and endorsed by the CBO, normally require that such debt also be taken into account, which means that the total national debt now may be as high as $15 trillion. (If we account for only the riskiest loans, however, that number would “only” be $12 trillion.)

But the pain most Americans are feeling right now is much more immediate. The increase in credit-card, automobile, mortgage, and other forms of personal debt—from around $8 trillion in 2000 (in current dollars) to more than $14 trillion today—also looms behind the implosion of our financial system. Had the value of assets increased in tandem, that increase might not have mattered, but what is remarkable about America’s debt binge under President Bush is that it primarily served consumption. Homebuyers used easy credit to buy overpriced houses, which they then refinanced to pay for every other kind of consumption, betting that in the end rising housing prices would balance the account. At the same time, household savings rates plummeted, hitting zero or less than zero in some areas. With housing prices in a slump and no money in the bank, the result, according to one estimate, will be more than 5,000 foreclosures per day—more than at any time since the Great Depression.

The national debt is now more than 70 percent of the gross domestic product, the highest such proportion in half a century. Where did all this debt come from? To an unprecedented extent, America depends on loans from China, Japan, and the Middle East. The share of public debt that is owed to foreign nationals has risen from 31 percent in 2000 to 46 percent today. This means that every man, woman, and child in the United States owes $9,000 to some other country.
The national debt has already nearly doubled in the Bush era, but the consequences of the president’s policies will continue to be felt for many years to come. We estimate that the total bill to the nation as a direct result of President Bush’s policies, in today’s dollars, is an amazing $10.35 trillion. This includes the new debt as well as liabilities that will need to be paid through 2018. We can break this legacy into eight components:

Increase in National Debt Debt has long been a fixture of American governance, of course, but—given the surplus President Bush inherited—even a conservative estimate of the Bush bill requires that we take into account the entirety at least of his addition to that debt. The Bush tax cuts lowered national revenues by about $1 trillion, even as the government spent nearly $900 billion in direct operations for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and added another $600 billion to the total spending on “regular” defense, a significant proportion of which is indirectly related to those wars. And because interest accrues on the outstanding debt, interest charges also will rise. It should be noted as well that this increase does not take into account another factor: had Clinton-era policies been kept in place the past eight years, the CBO estimates, the overall national debt actually would have significantly decreased. Cost: $4.9 trillion

Projected Deficit for 2009 The rapidly weakening economy means that tax revenues will fall off, even as unemployment benefits and other government spending rise. Congress also is likely to approve a significantly larger stimulus package, possibly in excess of $300 billion, and more spending on the bailouts already undertaken, as well as new bailouts and subsidies for struggling sectors such as the auto industry. Moreover, even assuming that the United States begins to withdraw combat troops from Iraq, we expect that the war’s costs will remain steady at best in 2009, as functions are transferred to private contractors. We also expect that Congress will extend the temporary fix of the alternative minimum tax and will enact some form of additional homeowner mortgage relief. For all these reasons, next year’s budget deficit easily could rise to a trillion dollars, so our estimate is a bare minimum. Cost: $0.75 trillion

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac When the federal government took over these failing residential mortgage giants, it also assumed their $5.4 trillion in mortgage-backed securities and outstanding debt. Under conventional accounting standards, this entire amount should be counted as part of the national debt. It is difficult to predict, however, how much exposure the United States has really taken on. We have included what is likely to be the minimum additional debt that the CBO adds on for these agencies, which is the $1.6 trillion in risky unsecured debt. The final cost, however, will depend on how far housing prices fall, and how many houses go into foreclosure, which presents the incoming administration with a significant dilemma: if it spends less on stimulus it will need to spend more on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Cost: $1.6 trillion

Debt from Other Bailouts Congress has already provided $700 billion in authority to purchase toxic mortgages and other assets through the Troubled Asset Relief Program. It also has committed another $800 billion to bailing out AIG, Bear Stearns, and other financial firms, and it most likely will extend this commitment to other core U.S. industries in the coming year. Although some of this cost will appear in the 2009 budget, much of it will not be accounted for until 2010 or later. Not all of the loans will go sour, so it is difficult to estimate the price tag on these programs. Cost: $0.5 trillion

Future Interest on New Debt The United States spends nearly $250 billion per year in net interest payments (interest paid on Treasury debt securities less interest received by the Social Security and other trust funds). The CBO projects that the net interest payable on the total debt will over the next decade exceed $3.35 trillion, of which about $1.5 trillion is directly attributable to the debt that we have taken on during the past eight years. Even this figure, however, understates the true amount of interest payable, because interest also will accrue on money that will need to be borrowed in the next ten years to pay for obligations incurred in the past eight years. Cost: $1.5 trillion

Medicare Part D The administration’s flagship prescription drug benefit program is expected to cost $800 billion over the next decade. It is possible, though, that the number will be larger. The program has been criticized because, unlike the department of Veterans Affairs, Medicare does not negotiate bulk price discounts with drug companies. In addition, the program coverage contains a “doughnut hole” whereby Part D stops paying for drugs after a senior receives prescriptions totaling $2,700, and doesn’t resume coverage until that senior has paid an additional $3,454 for drugs. Our estimate is based on the assumption that Congress will take steps to close the “doughnut hole” but also will take steps to encourage price negotiation with pharmaceutical companies. Cost: $0.8 trillion

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Entitlements For every U.S. serviceman or -woman killed in Iraq, fifteen more have been wounded, injured, or have contracted an illness serious enough to require medical evacuation. More than 350,000 U.S. veterans from the two wars have sought medical treatment from the Department of Veterans Affairs, and nearly 300,000 have filed applications for disability benefits (more than 90 percent of which are likely to be approved). The cost of providing medical care and disability benefits may eventually exceed even the cost of combat operations, and over just the next decade, using the most optimistic assumptions, taking care of these veterans is going to cost at least $59 billion. The president also reluctantly signed into law a measure that restored education benefits for new veterans in an updated G.I. Bill, which we estimate will cost $40 billion over the next decade. Cost: $0.1 trillion.

Rebuilding National Defense The armed forces have been severely depleted by the efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, in terms of personnel, training, and equipment. While we urge spending reductions in some areas of defense (e.g., space-weapons programs and other projects with huge cost overruns), there is no doubt that the military will require a substantial expenditure to “reset” basic military strength. This includes the replenishment of aircraft, vehicles, and weaponry; restoring the National Guard to its previous strength; depreciation of equipment used or abandoned in Iraq; and the costs related to a partial withdrawal from Iraq, including the dismantling of some bases. In addition, the Pentagon will need to spend considerably more over the next decade on military hospitals, recruiting, and bonuses. Cost: $0.2 trillion

The worst legacy of the past eight years is that despite colossal government spending, most Americans are worse off than they were in 2001. This is because money was squandered in Iraq and given as a tax windfall to America’s richest individuals and corporations, rather than spent on such projects as education, infrastructure, and energy independence, which would have made all of us better off in the long term.

President Bush did manage, by way of deficit spending, to grow the economy by 20 percent during his tenure. But who benefited from that growth? Between 2002 and 2006, the wealthiest 10 percent of households saw more than 95 percent of the gains in income. And even within those rarefied strata, the gains tended to be concentrated at the very top. According to one study, the nation’s 15,000 richest families doubled their annual income, from $15 million to $30 million. And in that same period, corporate profits shot up by 68 percent—more than five times the growth seen in the overall economy.

Even as the wealthiest families have increased their holdings, the families at the center of the income spectrum saw their incomes shrink by 1 percent. In 2000, the average weekly earnings of production and nonsupervisory workers (70 percent of the workforce) amounted to $527 (in current dollars). Six years later, their wages had risen a mere $11, and those same workers have meanwhile seen their net worth (assets minus liabilities) wither as a result of falling home values, higher personal debt, and shrinking savings—factors now being exacerbated by the collapsing stock markets.

The extraordinary transfer of wealth that has taken place from ordinary households to the super-rich has been made possible by another transfer: borrowing money from future prosperity to pay for current consumption. For example, President Bush provided a much heralded $600 tax rebate to most families in 2001. But once interest rates return to more normal levels, simply servicing the new debt from the Bush years will require those same families to spend more than $2,000 a year, year after year, forever.

The Obama Administration, facing the most serious economic crisis in at least a generation, will need to mount an expansionary fiscal policy. The problem is how much the country’s debt mountain will crimp our ability to pay for the type of change we just voted for— better health care, public investment in alternative forms of energy, and a renewal of our aging roads and bridges— and that we need in order to rescue the economy.

The global financial crisis is denting the huge foreign exchange reserves of governments that bankrolled the Bush spending spree. Although our major creditors will continue lending to us, even they have their limits. If the world’s appetite for U.S. Treasury bonds begins to wane, that would likely drive up long-term interest rates and send the dollar lower, leading to inflation. Historically, governments faced with such impossible debt mountains have resorted to inflation in order to repay their debt more cheaply. But high inflation hits the poorest members of society hardest. Whether we struggle to break our addiction to deficit spending in order to pay off our debts, or wind up inflating them away, the economic mistakes of the George W. Bush White House will cast a long shadow over the next generation of Americans.

Linda J. Bilmes, a lecturer in public finance at Harvard University’s Kennedy School, is a former assistant secretary for administration, management, and budget in the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Joseph E. Stiglitz is University Professor of Economics at Columbia University and winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Economics. Bilmes and Stiglitz are co-authors of The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict.

Nigel Holmes was the graphics director of Time magazine for sixteen years and is the author of Wordless Diagrams.

Figuring Autoworkers’ Pay (NY Times)

Monday, December 15th, 2008

[Editor’s note: This graphic from the New York Times shows how the crux of the auto bailout is not a labor pricing issue but a core a supply and demand issue. The labor costs of a new car is only 10% of the price of a car and any remaining “labor” cost difference after recent union concessions is due, like any large company, to supporting prior retirees, a cost that newer companies have yet to experience (Diane Rehm Show, 15 Dec 2008). If the Big Three could make cars that were smart, efficient, reliable, and had resale value, now that’s the ticket. Besides, it’s not like the Heritage cadre were crying foul over big financial firm bailouts when those white collar workers certainly make more than the average American worker. Thanks Laris!]

Republished from the New York Times. By DAVID LEONHARDT. Published: December 9, 2008

Economic Scene
$73 an Hour: Adding It Up

That figure — repeated on television and in newspapers as the average pay of a Big Three autoworker — has become a big symbol in the fight over what should happen to Detroit. To critics, it is a neat encapsulation of everything that’s wrong with bloated car companies and their entitled workers.

To the Big Three’s defenders, meanwhile, the number has become proof positive that autoworkers are being unfairly blamed for Detroit’s decline. “We’ve heard this garbage about 73 bucks an hour,” Senator Bob Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat, said last week. “It’s a total lie. I think some people have perpetrated that deliberately, in a calculated way, to mislead the American people about what we’re doing here.”

So what is the reality behind the number? Detroit’s defenders are right that the number is basically wrong. Big Three workers aren’t making anything close to $73 an hour (which would translate to about $150,000 a year).

But the defenders are not right to suggest, as many have, that Detroit has solved its wage problem. General Motors, Ford and Chrysler workers make significantly more than their counterparts at Toyota, Honda and Nissan plants in this country. Last year’s concessions by the United Automobile Workers, which mostly apply to new workers, will not change that anytime soon.

And yet the main problem facing Detroit, overwhelmingly, is not the pay gap. That’s unfortunate because fixing the pay gap would be fairly straightforward.

The real problem is that many people don’t want to buy the cars that Detroit makes. Fixing this problem won’t be nearly so easy.

The success of any bailout is probably going to come down to Washington’s willingness to acknowledge as much.

Let’s start with the numbers. The $73-an-hour figure comes from the car companies themselves. As part of their public relations strategy during labor negotiations, the companies put out various charts and reports explaining what they paid their workers. Wall Street analysts have done similar calculations.

The calculations show, accurately enough, that for every hour a unionized worker puts in, one of the Big Three really does spend about $73 on compensation. So the number isn’t made up. But it is the combination of three very different categories.

The first category is simply cash payments, which is what many people imagine when they hear the word “compensation.” It includes wages, overtime and vacation pay, and comes to about $40 an hour. (The numbers vary a bit by company and year. That’s why $73 is sometimes $70 or $77.)

The second category is fringe benefits, like health insurance and pensions. These benefits have real value, even if they don’t show up on a weekly paycheck. At the Big Three, the benefits amount to $15 an hour or so.

Add the two together, and you get the true hourly compensation of Detroit’s unionized work force: roughly $55 an hour. It’s a little more than twice as much as the typical American worker makes, benefits included. The more relevant comparison, though, is probably to Honda’s or Toyota’s (nonunionized) workers. They make in the neighborhood of $45 an hour, and most of the gap stems from their less generous benefits.

The third category is the cost of benefits for retirees. These are essentially fixed costs that have no relation to how many vehicles the companies make. But they are a real cost, so the companies add them into the mix — dividing those costs by the total hours of the current work force, to get a figure of $15 or so — and end up at roughly $70 an hour.

The crucial point, though, is this $15 isn’t mainly a reflection of how generous the retiree benefits are. It’s a reflection of how many retirees there are. The Big Three built up a huge pool of retirees long before Honda and Toyota opened plants in this country. You’d never know this by looking at the graphic behind Wolf Blitzer on CNN last week, contrasting the “$73/hour” pay of Detroit’s workers with the “up to $48/hour” pay of workers at the Japanese companies.

These retirees make up arguably Detroit’s best case for a bailout. The Big Three and the U.A.W. had the bad luck of helping to create the middle class in a country where individual companies — as opposed to all of society — must shoulder much of the burden of paying for retirement.

So here’s a little experiment. Imagine that a Congressional bailout effectively pays for $10 an hour of the retiree benefits. That’s roughly the gap between the Big Three’s retiree costs and those of the Japanese-owned plants in this country. Imagine, also, that the U.A.W. agrees to reduce pay and benefits for current workers to $45 an hour — the same as at Honda and Toyota.

Do you know how much that would reduce the cost of producing a Big Three vehicle? Only about $800.

That’s because labor costs, for all the attention they have been receiving, make up only about 10 percent of the cost of making a vehicle. An extra $800 per vehicle would certainly help Detroit, but the Big Three already often sell their cars for about $2,500 less than equivalent cars from Japanese companies, analysts at the International Motor Vehicle Program say. Even so, many Americans no longer want to own the cars being made by General Motors, Ford and Chrysler.

My own family’s story isn’t especially unusual. For decades, my grandparents bought American and only American. In their apartment, they still have a framed photo of the 1933 Oldsmobile that my grandfather’s family drove when he was a teenager. In the photo, his father stands proudly on the car’s running board.

By the 1970s, though, my grandfather became so sick of the problems with his American cars that he vowed never to buy another one. He hasn’t.

Detroit’s defenders, from top executives on down, insist that they have finally learned their lesson. They say a comeback is just around the corner. But they said the same thing at the start of this decade — and the start of the last one and the one before that. All the while, their market share has kept on falling.

There is good reason to keep G.M. and Chrysler from collapsing in 2009. (Ford is in slightly better shape.) The economy is in the worst recession in a generation. You can think of the Detroit bailout as a relatively cost-effective form of stimulus. It’s often cheaper to keep workers in their jobs than to create new jobs.

But Congress and the Obama administration shouldn’t fool themselves into thinking that they can preserve the Big Three in anything like their current form. Very soon, they need to shrink to a size that reflects the American public’s collective judgment about the quality of their products.

It’s a sad story, in many ways. But it can’t really be undone at this point. If we had wanted to preserve the Big Three, we would have bought more of their cars.

The First 100 Days (Good Mag)

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

[Editor's note: President Elect Barack Obama has a lot riding on his shoulders these days. The economy has tanked and multiple wars drag on yet "hope" is high. How have other presidents faired in their first 100 days to deal with the problems they faced and in enacting the initiatives they championed on the campaign trail. This graphic from Good magazine's politics section shows us just that, tracking the 12 past presidents since 1933. Indicators include their popular vote, economic issues, social issues, foreign conflicts, diplomacy, first moments, red-phone moments, top secret issues, and energy issues. Thanks Patterson and Kristin!]

Republished from Good magazine. 

“I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people,” Franklin D. Roosevelt told supporters in 1932 while accepting the presidential nomination. When he took office, he spent his first 100 days enacting a dizzying number of reforms designed to stablize an economically depressed nation. Since then, a president’s first 100 days have been an indicator of what he is able to accomplish. In January 2009, the clock starts again.

View larger.

Picks and Possibilities: Obama’s Cabinet (Kelso)

Monday, November 24th, 2008

[Editor's note: This interactive which I co-created for the Washington Post keeps tack of president elect Obama's major cabinet appointees with a fun, game-like interface. See who's in the running for each position, Obama's rumored pick, and read bios for officially announced nominees. Many thanks to Aly!]

View original at washingtonpost.com.

Graphic by: Karen Yourish, Laura Stanton and Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso, The Washington Post

2008 Election Maps (kottke.org)

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

[Republished from kottke.org. Click on the media outlet name below the map image to go to the final map results presentations. The Washington Post entry is 75% the way down the page. The Onion map at the very bottom is quite amusing.]

Most media outlets covering the 2008 US Presidential Election used the familar red/blue map to track the progress of the race as results from the polls rolled in Tueday evening. Here are several of those maps, in some ways as similar to each other as they are varied. If you run across more maps, send ‘em my way. (Note: Most of these aren’t the final maps…I wanted to get screenshots before the sites started moving things around too much.)

Update 11/5 @ 11am: I added 10 new maps to the bottom, including a DIY map drawn on a dry erase board.

NY Times

New York Times – Nice big clean map, the consensus best map of the 2008 election.

CNN

CNN

Fox News

Fox News – Fox is never subtle.

538

FiveThirtyEight.com – These guys are all about the data. No fancying up the maps.

(more…)

Vote! Map of Newspaper Endorsements in the 2008 US Presidential Election (InfoChimps)

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

[Editor’s note: This interactive map and blog post from InfoChimps shows how most newspapers across the US have endorsed Obama for president over McCain. The accompanying blog post discusses how notions of “red” and “blue” states has problems and might better be conceptualized as urban & rural.

Republished from InfoChimps where they have full table listing of each newspaper, their endorcement, and circulation stats. Thanks Lynda!]

View interactive version at InfoChimps!

Screenshots: map – big · med · sm | bar graph

See also: our «Red/Blue split vs. Rural/Urban split» graph

Apart from the unsurprising evidence that (choose one: [[Obama is the overwhelming choice]] -OR- [[there is overwhelming liberal media bias]]), I’m struck by the mismatch between papers’ endorsements and their “Red State” vs “Blue State” alignment.

  • I think the amount of red in the blue states is a market effect. If you’re the Boston Herald, there’s no percentage in agreeing with the Boston Globe; similarly The Daily News vs New York Post, SF Examiner vs SF Chronicle &c. (One reason the Tribune endorsement, even accounting for hometown bias, is so striking.) I don’t mean that one or the other alignment is wrong, or chosen cynically — simply that in a market supporting multiple papers, readers and journalists are efficiently sorted into two separate camps.
  • The amount of blue in the red states highlights how foolishly incomplete the “Red State/Blue State” model is for anything but electoral college returns. The largest part of the Red/Blue split is Rural/Urban. Consider the electoral cartogram for the last election. Almost every city is blue, even in the south and mountain, while almost all rural areal is red, even in California and Massachusetts. The urban exceptions on the cartogram — chiefly Dallas, Houston and Boise — stand noticeably alone on the endorsement map as having red unpaired with blue. (in this election even the Houston Chronicle is endorsing Obama, but they are quite traditionally Republican.)

This seems to speak of why so many on the right feel there’s a MSM bias. Roughly 50% of the country lives in a top-50 metro area (metros of over a million people: like Salt Lake City or Raleigh, NC and on up), 50% live outside (in rural areas, or in cities like Fresno, CA and Allentown/Bethlehem, PA or smaller). But our major newspapers are located almost exclusively in urban areas.

Thus, surprisingly, the major right-leaning papers are located in parts of the country we consider highly leftish: the largest urban areas are both «the most liberal» and «the most likely to support a sizeable conservative target audience».

TimeSpace: Election map-based news viewer (The Washington Post)

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

[Editor's note: I made it back from China just in time to vote this morning at my neighborhood polling place. Coming home to the USA, I am reminded how lucky I am to live in a free, election-driven democracy. Use it or loose it. Please vote today!]

Explore the election with this new tool from The Washington Post.

Interact with original here at washingtonpost.com.

TimeSpace Beta is a map and timeline that allows users to navigate through hundreds of photos, video, articles, tweets, posts and audio related to the national election from around the country. Use the timeline to find out exactly what, when and where a story took place. Click the ? icon in the upper right for help.

Some item locations are approximate. | Sources: AP, Reuters, Newsweek, Twitter, and The Washington Post | TimeSpace Beta verson 0.3 | Feedback and known bugs/issues | Credits: Dan Berko, Chris Buddie, Jesse Foltz and Steven King

Campaign Donors: FundRace 2008 (Huffington Post)

Monday, October 27th, 2008

[Editor’s note: This mashup from Eyebeam and the Huffington Post maps campaign contributions for the 2008 presidential race down to the house level. Find out who your neighbors are giving $ to! All descriptions below from the Huffington Post site. There is a time lag between when a contribution is made, reported, and published on this site.]


View interactive version at Huffington Post.com . . .

Welcome to FundRace 2008.

Want to know if a celebrity is playing both sides of the fence? Whether that new guy you’re seeing is actually a Republican or just dresses like one? If your boss maxed out at that fundraiser or got comped? Whether your neighbor’s political involvement stops at that hideous lawn sign?

FundRace makes it easy to search by name or address to see which presidential candidates your friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors are contributing to. Or you can see if your favorite celebrity is putting their money where their mouth is.

FundRace gives you the technology to do what politicians and journalists have been doing for years: find out where the money’s coming from, see who it’s going to, and solve the mystery of why that crazy ex-roommate of yours is now the Ambassador to Turks and Caicos.

The Ad Wars (NY Times)

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

[Editor's note: Graduated circles are automatically sized in Flash interactive from The New York Times. I believe the circle locations are auto plotted, too, but already transformed to projected XY coordinates, not from Lat-Longs. I like the National and Cable graduated symbols in the Gulf of Mexico.]

About $300 million has been spent from April 3 to Oct. 13, 2008 to broadcast over 200 ads, according to statistics compiled by Campaign Media Analysis Group, which tracks political advertising expenditures.

View original interactive version at NYTimes.com . . .

Source: Campaign Media Analysis Group, a division of TNS Media Intelligence

7-Eleven’s Obama – McCain “Vote with Your Cup” Map

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

I pass by a 7-Eleven on my commute and have wondered about the “Every Cup Counts” 7-Election ad for their coffee. Apparently you can choose a blue Obama cup or a red McCain cup to fill your morning Joe (no, not the plumber mentioned 21 times tonight in the last debate, but the liquid caffeine variety). So far Barack has a 18 point lead over McCain winning all but 3 of the listed states. A little bit different than many more “authoritative” polls but still fun :) Thanks to Jo and Geoff for passing the results of this “election” on to me. They saw it on Arjewtino.com. Thanks to Aly for the Joe statistic.

View the interactive with full “results” as mouseOvers in the Flash movie.