US Debt Clock

Check out this website. It shows real-time, updated numbers for a multitude of various aspects of the economy. Moving the mouse over each topic provides a brief explanation of how that particular number is calculated, as well as the source of the numbers. A few of the numbers that stick out to me are the total debt per family ($690,000+) and the income per family ($62,000+). Another interesting number is the total assets per citizen, valued at around $234,000+. One caveat: many of these numbers come from Congressional Budget Office, which as we've discussed in class, is required to state the numbers based solely on the face value of written legislation and not necessarily on what ends up actually happening.


Hunter said...

This website is very cool. One thing I noticed just by stepping back from the screen is the difference in the pace of the numbers. The red numbers, which represent debt and the green numbers, which represent assets are going up at different speeds. The scary thing that you can see when you step back is that the red numbers are going up a lot faster than the green ones. With the current administration and recent bills passed there is no sign of these numbers slowing down.

Dr. Tufte said...

Ummm ... yeah.

If a site feels like it is pushing your buttons, it probably is.


Debt per family is higher than assets per person. I'd guess that this is because there'e more than one person per family.

The red numbers are going up faster than the green ones. Oooh ooh. Cue the diabolical laughter. Perhaps this is because there's concrete debt data published more often than asset data.

Any mention of how much we borrowed from ourselves - you know ... the left pocket loaning to the right pocket that we have to remember to net out.

You folks know me. I'm not happy about America's finances. But, spare me the drama.

Jack said...

isn't national debt a lot more than that if you included off-budget items?

Menger said...

According to these numbers just over one out of eight people in the US are on food stamps. That seams extraordinary high, but with the recession it is probably higher than usual.

luke said...

i have to wonder where they get a few of these numbers especially one like actual unemployed. How can they predict that on a day to day basis?

Dr. Tufte said...

Jack: yes, it is much larger if you include off-budget items.

Menger: 1 in 8 sounds high to me too. That may be something like the fraction that use any sort of food assistance.

Luke: most of these numbers are just projections. I don't think that the government can keep track of most of them more accurately than 2-3 digits.