Saturday, January 19, 2013

"Where the U.S. gets its oil imports, in one map"

Where we get our imported oil to fuel our economy is largely dictated by geography and close proximity to the source.

Canada is our largest source: 2.3 million barrels of oil per day, especially for a large section of the Mid-West.  Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela (primarily in the South/South West) are next in line bunched up at around 1.3 millions of barrels per day (each).

(Please see the article that accompanies this graphic HERE  (hence the title of this posting). It is very interesting and has some links to learn more about this issue)
Source: Wonkblog at Washington Post

It is suggested in the article cited that the completion of the Keystone Pipeline (below) will bring an estimate 1.5 millions of additional oil to the South, potentially displacing oil we currently get from the above mentioned countries and then some. 
Good thing? Bad thing? Or is it just a thing?


Friday, January 18, 2013

What do a bad movie and Jets QB Mark Sanchez have in common? They both give you that Sunk Cost feeling. Read here the connection...

Here is an excellent article merging an economic concept and a solid real life example---an NFL quarterback and "sunk costs".

The Jets made a large, multi-year, multi-million dollar financial committment to a player, Mark Sanchez.  He has not worked out so well, but they are contractually committed to paying him for a few more seasons. 

Should this finanical committment keep the Jets from playing him and replace him with someone else who might produce a better outcome for the team, or should they play him and pay him is millions even though they are pretty certain he is not going to be "the guy" that gets them to the next level?

In other words, should the past (and ongoing) investment they have in a failing Mark Sanchez be considered a "sunk cost" and have no bearing on what they should do going forward to improve the team? 

All leads back to Opportunity Costs, of course...

That Sunk-Cost Feeling
""...The Jets have stumbled into a classic economic dilemma, known as the sunk-cost effect. In a purely rational world, Sanchez’s guaranteed salary would be irrelevant to the decision of whether or not to start him (since the Jets have to pay it either way). But in the real world sunk costs are hard to ignore. Hal Arkes, a psychologist at Ohio State University who has spent much of his career studying the subject, explains, “Abandoning a project that you’ve invested a lot in feels like you’ve wasted everything, and waste is something we’re told to avoid.” This means that we often end up sticking with something when we’d be better off cutting our losses—sitting through a bad movie, say, just because we’ve paid for the ticket. In business and government, the effect pushes people to throw good money after bad. The quintessential case of this is the Concorde. There was never a convincing business case for the supersonic airliner, and there were numerous attempts to kill it. But those attempts all failed, in large part because of the billions that had already been spent....""

Read more:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Nice graphic showing the 2012 Federal Budget and historical trends in spending and revenues. Are things getting better???

Nice graphic showing the 2012 Federal Budget.  The left graphic shows the major categories of spending categories (mandatory and non-mandatory) and revenue sources.  The box above the revenues shows the shortfall---the Budget deficit for 2012.

The graph on the right shows Federal Spending and Revenues as a percent of GDP overtime. Historical average for Federal spending is 20.5% of GDP and Tax Revenues average 17.9% of GDP over time. 

You can see at any point in time where actual spending and/or revenues are relative to the long term average.

 The Gray Bars represent periods of Recession---notice, in general, spending increases and revenues decrease during recessions.  Automatic Stabilizers (unemployment compensation, Food Assistance, other Income support programs, etc) and discretionary Fiscal Stimulus Plans (roads, bridges, and other infrastructure projects) are implemented, at the same time when tax revenues are decreasing. 

Budget deficits increase during recessions and, hopefully, decrease when recovery occurs.

You be the judge.

Source: The Big Picrture Blog
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