By Ross Perez 30 Mär, 2010

No matter your opinion on the Troubled Asset Relief Program, there is no doubt that it amounts to a massive amount of money. In total, over $500,000,000,000.00 has been disbursed to the nations lenders (and others), a figure which represents .75% of the entire worlds GDP (according to the CIA Factbook). This visualization, made with data meticulously compiled by our friends at ProPublica, shows that some of those funds are finding their way back to the government.

The first thing that stands out in this visualization is that the overwhelming proportion of funds were directed to the east. By clicking and dragging to select all of the states east of Illinois, the "Total Disbursed" counter shows that $458 billion of the $511 billion in total was disbursed to firms in those states.

One cannot help but speculate on those funds yet to be repaid. General Motors, for instance, has close to $50 billion to repay. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac owe $125 billion together. Sobering sums...

What we like about this viz

Dashboard counters: With all of the interactivity available in Tableau Public, there is a tendency to get complicated when the simplest option is often the best. I would argue the highlights of this viz are the "Total Disbursed", "Total Returned" and "Left to be Repayed" summaries to the right of the map. When a person selects multiple states their first question will naturally be "how much?". These counters answer that question as elegantly as possible.


Great visualization! Really enjoyed the combination of the map with the metrics. It certainly makes it more relevant.

I was especially impressed since it left me unsure as to how two of the components were created:
1. Overlaying one bubble on another.
2. How the three primary measures were stacked on the left. Were those independent views or inserted into the dashboard as a single view?