Friday, May 15, 2009

Mapping TARP - Whatever That Is

Via DealBook at the New York Times, Subsidyscope maps the distribution of TARP funds by county:

Now I'll be honest: whenever anyone starts talking about finance, my brain turns into a viscous goo. I just can't ever quite bring myself to care about, let alone understand, financial issues. In contrast to general economic matters, like unemployment or trade, finance has always seemed to me to be occupying this abstract space unconnected to the rest of the world, so financial talk has always sort of passed through me like neutrinos. All of which is to say: I don't really understand what the TARP is. But here's my rough impression: a bunch of people at banks on Wall Street did a bunch of coke and dared each other to pull off the biggest scams they could. After the coke wore off, everything pretty much fell apart, and it was necessary for the government to reward these banks with some eleven quintillion dollars, because otherwise society would collapse and we'd all turn into bands of roving cannibals before the summer was out. This eleven quintillion dollar dystopia-aversion/coke-addled banker bonus payment scheme was called: TARP. Is this roughly the picture you all have?

Well, according to DealBook, what this map proves is that not all the TARP money is just going to cokeheads on Wall Street:
Rather than simply list the headquarters for the various banks taking funds to represent where the funds have been allocated, Subsidyscope shows how the funds are distributed on a county level, based on various criteria, like the amount of deposits and number of branches of the TARP recipients.

It seems to show a very different picture of how the cash has gone to stabilize the nation’s banking system.
You can scroll over counties on the map to see a bubble that says something like: "Multnomah County, Oregon has $13.7 billion in deposits; TARP recipient institutions manage $12.1 billion (89%)."

And my brain is now goo.


Maitri said...

You are right on the money, or, errr, lack thereof. I would have enhanced the definition with the mention of CDOs or Cocaine Deprivation Offsets.

Richard said...

Basically, a bunch of banks in the West, the auto-complex in MI-OH-IN centered around Detroit, Florida, and other southern and eastern seaboard areas need Federal bailout money or else 1. they go under 2. their financial ratios are so dangerously stretched that other banks are afraid they might go under and stop lending to them, so they become in danger of going under 3. are in decent shape, but took a chunk of the money anyway because the Feds panicked and decided to throw around 3/4th of a trillion dollars in a semi-random fashion without much thinking or planning in an effort to stanch the bleeding.

Overlay the TARP money map with the housing bubble map or default map and note the correlation.

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