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Inside America's Economic Machine - An Infographic

Tyler Durden's picture


Every now and then, US taxpayer money goes for something useful and surprisingly informative. Such as this infographic from the US Census Bureau deconstructing the "American Economic Machine" or at least justifies its generally accepted popular representation in the aftermath of the recently concluded Census. The graphic cites facts dealing with manufacturing, services, retail trade, construction, government and much more as seen through the numerous economic programs and surveys conducted by the Census Bureau. And while entertaining, we urge readers to remember that there is no such thing as a free lunch, and that the American "economic machine" is merely the culmination of a global financial system that is full to the gills with credit money to the tune of $707 trillion as shown in this infographic previously. Is the trade off worth it? We will find out in the coming years when at some point, we hope, the economy will be allowed to take off on its own and attempt to recreate the virtuous cycle, however without the training wells of the world's central planners who day after day steal from the future to preserve today's house of cards. We are not very hopeful.

Inside Americas Economic infographic image [Source: U.S. Census Bureau]


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Mon, 08/06/2012 - 12:35 | 2681953 Haager
Haager's picture

BS redesigned and with a proper layout - but it remains to be BS.

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 12:48 | 2681989 Skateboarder
Skateboarder's picture

Unreliable source. Refuse to read. Might as well be NewsCorp style "people familiar with the matter" asshattery.

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 13:42 | 2682165 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

I don't know.... 170 billion in the paper business alone.... guess who's buying the paper.... sounds about right to me.... buy the paper, print 50$ on it in funky colours....

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 16:28 | 2682746 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

$170 billion in paper products yearly?  That's $500 per person or $2000 per household.  Seems high, even considering the amount of toilet paper I use.


Mon, 08/06/2012 - 12:37 | 2681958 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture

What the fuck are "charges"? They aren't taxes.

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 13:52 | 2682199 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

They aren't property or income taxes...  My guess would be excise taxes, business licensing, fines/citations/penalties, charges for governmental utilities/water/sewage/garbage/electricity/etc., and bribes?

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 16:29 | 2682749 SWRichmond
SWRichmond's picture

Fees they charge you for having the temerity to want to try to earn a living.  Fucking regulatory scum.

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 21:37 | 2683452 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

papabear wants to collect retirement while going back to work for the state.

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 12:38 | 2681961 edifice
edifice's picture

Too... Many... Gears...  /epilepsy

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 12:47 | 2681985 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

Got Sand?

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 13:03 | 2682034 Byte Me
Byte Me's picture

Must be the KDE version

(Giving KDE a bad name)

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 13:15 | 2682074 Skateboarder
Skateboarder's picture

GNOME2 or bust. KDE stands for Kids' Desktop Environment.

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 20:12 | 2683204 ForTheWorld
ForTheWorld's picture

Cinnamon or Enlightenment if you want a desktop environment that isn't a processing time hog.

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 12:39 | 2681962 rtalcott
rtalcott's picture

$850 billion state and local on education...a pile of money to spend to get so little.


Mon, 08/06/2012 - 14:10 | 2682291 JFK.4PREZ
JFK.4PREZ's picture

khan academy is where it's at! 

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 12:41 | 2681969 insanelysane
insanelysane's picture

State and Local Governments:  Revenue 2.1T - Expenditures 3.0T and Revenue includes 0.5T from Federal Gov. 

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 13:55 | 2682214 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

And this is why there is practically no decentralized government in the U.S. at the present...  and this is also why states and municipalities are going to be clawing at the throats of multinationals and other interests wherever they can (mortgage fraud, skipping out on recording fees, libor, etc.)...  given the money from uncle sugar isn't guaranteed and doesn't necessarily come without any strings attached.

To all the state and local employees out there, get ready for a pink slip as contraction consumes your area...  and please don't expect your pensions.

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 12:42 | 2681970 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

They use gears as a metaphor - as if the economy was functioning like a "well oiled machine".

Where are the broken gear teeth, the snapped springs flying, and the "clunk-clunk-boing!" sound effects?

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 12:57 | 2682018 LeisureSmith
LeisureSmith's picture

Great metaphor, gears with different dimensions standing still with nothing connecting them. One efficient economic machine.

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 12:59 | 2682024 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

Anytime I encounter this metaphor, Jethro Tull's Locomotive Breath jumps into my head, but instead of "Old Charlie" I substitute Greenspan.

Old Greenspan stole the handle and
The train won't stop going --
No way to slow down.

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 13:42 | 2682164 Skateboarder
Skateboarder's picture

Ian Anderson for president.

"So you ride yourselves over the fields
And you make all your animal deals
And your wise men don't know how it feels...
To be thick as a brick."

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 13:14 | 2682068 Lohn Jocke
Lohn Jocke's picture

"If X is less than the cost of doing a recall, we don't do it,"

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 13:17 | 2682081 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Relaxen und watchen das blinkenlights!

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 12:42 | 2681974 vinu02
vinu02's picture

How much money goes to save Bank and keep stock market elevated ?

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 13:00 | 2682027 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

You ask that question as if it's quantifiable.

(My answer was "yes")

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 12:43 | 2681977 extendedorder
extendedorder's picture

America's economy is not a machine. this is what the presumptuous goverment intellectuals want you to believe. A machine can be fixed. in reality the econmoy is a network of billions and trillions of voluntary exchanges every day 365 days a year. this network CAN NOT be fixed and not be CONTROLED. The only fix is to LEAVE IT THE FUCK ALONE.

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 12:45 | 2681978 Doomer
Doomer's picture

Reality: Two rats chasing each other's tails on a spinning plate, with Bernanke the clown close by to catch them when they fall.

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 12:51 | 2681995 Abraxas
Abraxas's picture

One of the rats died 4 years ago and the other broke his leg. Ben alone is doing the spin.

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 12:44 | 2681979 whoopsing
whoopsing's picture

626 billion in retail auto sales and only 28 billion in auto loans ?....Really?

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 12:46 | 2681983 insanelysane
insanelysane's picture


Mon, 08/06/2012 - 12:49 | 2681994 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

They meant to say "retail" auto sales.

Channel-stuffing FTMFW!

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 12:56 | 2682014 animalspirit
animalspirit's picture

The auto loans number is revenue from interest and fees to the banks.  That does seem small for $626 billion in auto sales.  Perhaps it is after the losses to defaults and reposessions, etc?

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 12:58 | 2682023 whoopsing
whoopsing's picture

I stand corrected...still  seems whacky

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 13:02 | 2682032 BlueCollaredOne
BlueCollaredOne's picture

Also no one walks into a bank nowadays for a car loan.  Most major car manufacturers just finance in house.  I.E. I pay "Toyota financial services" every month.

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 14:01 | 2682248 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

There are plenty of local auto dealers making a fucking killing on these inhouse financing methods... 

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 12:44 | 2681980 Robot Traders Mom
Robot Traders Mom's picture

I love how "Federal Sources" is counted as revenue for municipalities...and 25% of it too, at that.


The Federalies have to get their cut first, then 'distribute' what's left.



Mon, 08/06/2012 - 12:54 | 2682008 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

Wow, 25%? I've been tracking locally for a few years, and I don't think they've ever been much over 10%.

I do though, fully expect the number to rise to over 50% eventually as Wall St. finishes off Main St. and the only remaining "source" of funds is Uncle Sugar and his offers not to be refused.

It'll be like FDR all over again, except with trillions rather than the paltry billions he had to work with.

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 14:04 | 2682267 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

And no forthcoming american exceptionalism when the rest of the world's manufacturing base isn't destroyed...

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 14:44 | 2682415 Seer
Seer's picture

Well, this time there won't be any pent-up purchasing power out there, so even if manufacturing capabilities in the rest of the world aren't physically destroyed the results will likely differ little: kind of like the survivors of a nuclear holocaust being nearly indistinguishable from the dead.

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 12:46 | 2681982 the 300000000th...
the 300000000th percent's picture

Who gives a fack about female owned or minority owned businesses 

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 12:54 | 2682009 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

Anybody who wants to obtain a government contract.

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 13:18 | 2682085 Robot Traders Mom
Robot Traders Mom's picture

The wit is strong from you today!

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 14:42 | 2682405 adr
adr's picture

You get tax breaks for being a minority or women run business. Take a guess as to how many are actually ran by minorities or women.

About as many as truly handicapped people who park in the spaces.

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 17:50 | 2682911 James
James's picture

"Who gives a fack about female owned or minority owned businesses"



Think that thru..................

Me, Mr. Whitey, wants to start a biz.

Mr.Whitey has wife who was going to help

Mr. Whitey is turned down for bank loan b-cuz well, he's white.

However Mrs. Whitey qualifies for super-size low interest loan!

Wife and I launch Whatchamacallit International, Inc.!



Leroy, my friend whos ancestors happened to be from Africa, and I want to start a biz.

Me, Mr. whitey, is turned down for bank loan b-cuz well, I'm white.

However,Leroy qualifies for super-size low interest loan!

Leroy and I launch Thingamajig International,Inc.


Mon, 08/06/2012 - 18:47 | 2683066 TrainWreck1
TrainWreck1's picture

Minority owned business gets contract and subs it out to the guys who were quota'ed out of the bidding. Been happening for decades. Inflates costs a good 10-20%.


Mon, 08/06/2012 - 12:47 | 2681984 Temporalist
Temporalist's picture

I don't see student loans as part of the financial services.  I guess $1 Trillion in student loans disappearing is as inconsequential as Rumsfeld losing $2 Trillion.

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 13:39 | 2682155 General Decline
General Decline's picture

Rumsfeld lost $2 tillion???  When did this happen?  How come I didn't hear about this??  Oh that's right - They timed the release of that news on the day before 9/11 happend.  Just a coincidence, I'm sure.

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 12:47 | 2681988 the 300000000th...
the 300000000th percent's picture

I have a toe with a fungal infection do i qualify as a minority?

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 13:09 | 2682051 Byte Me
Byte Me's picture


But your fungal infection probably qualifies for assistance...


Mon, 08/06/2012 - 13:09 | 2682053 toady
toady's picture

No, but the fungus does...

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 12:48 | 2681990 Watauga
Watauga's picture

Have you ever seen the old Nazi or Soviet propaganda posters?

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 12:49 | 2681991 Dareconomics
Dareconomics's picture

While the financial system is ready to crack because of Europe and other debt stresses, it is helpful to remember that we are members of the greatest economic machine ever assembled. If any country has the ways and means to survive another financial crisis, it is the United States of America. Check out the infographic provided by the US census by way of ZeroHedge if you have any doubts. Our computer services sector is worth $340bn a  year, which is larger than the entire economy of Greece and most of the other countries in the world.

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 13:12 | 2682059 EmileLargo
EmileLargo's picture

After a century of absurdly stupid policies, military coups and political chaos, Argentina still survives as a country and has a per capita income that most Africans would associate with paradise. Therefore, "survival" is too low a bar to set for a country, methinks. Argentina used to be the fourth richest country in the world in 1900 - had it maintained its position, today it would be as rich (per capita) as Switzerland.

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 14:33 | 2682375 Totentänzerlied
Totentänzerlied's picture

Argentina's GDP is larger than Chile's. Talk about reality-defying luck.

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 17:00 | 2682848 EmileLargo
EmileLargo's picture

Nominal per capita is lower. But then again, there is no reason on earth why Argentina shouldn't be a prosperous country with a decent quality of life. The country is huge, its population is small, the land is extremely fertile and the country has been even at the worst of times in a big food surplus. Argentinian beef is still the best in the world in my opinion - nothing beats lean hungry cattle feeding on fresh grass in open country (and certainly cattle fed on corn in American feed lots can't match that taste). 

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 18:56 | 2683085 Maos Dog
Maos Dog's picture

South Florida beef from small-medium local farms is grass-fed. Really good stuff. Can't speak for the rest of the country though, don't know what other states do.

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 15:10 | 2682489 Seer
Seer's picture

'Therefore, "survival" is too low a bar to set for a country, methinks.'

"Survival" is really another word for "sustainable," in which case if you're not operating at an sustainable level then that means that it ain't going to persist.

But, about levels of living set by States/Countries, isn't that a bit absurd?  Shouldn't people, through their own uninhibited associations, be allowed to determine what their living standards should be? (those selecting the non-sustainable paths are free to become extinct)

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 12:48 | 2681992 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Where's Banzai7 to "fix" this infographic?

Calling Dr. Banzai7. Please report to Zero Hedge stat. :)

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 12:52 | 2682002 whoopsing
whoopsing's picture

Bills gonna need some spare parts for this one

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 12:49 | 2681993 kralizec
kralizec's picture

More proof that the USCB (along with a shitload of other agencies and departments!) need to be shit-canned ASAP!

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 12:52 | 2681999 Manthong
Manthong's picture

"the world's central planners who day after day steal from the future to preserve today's house of cards.

                     ..good one.


Mon, 08/06/2012 - 12:52 | 2682003 magpie
magpie's picture

There was a comment on ZH by someone that the Bernank himself is touting a feel good metric like the Kingdom of Bhutan's Gross National Hapiness.

So no need for infographics.

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 12:55 | 2682011 emersonreturn
emersonreturn's picture

with increased pressure on cash flow and a general tightening, is it possible health care providers and services may have topped and will, with inevitable short falls, also begin to fall? 

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 12:57 | 2682020 kralizec
kralizec's picture

Yes.  More so if ObamaCare is not repealled.

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 15:15 | 2682504 Seer
Seer's picture

Got nothing to do with SIZE, everything to do with (eventual) time-frame.  Given the US's demographics the path that leads to the cliff is pretty clearly laid out.  Figure that more younger people will be spending energy administering to older people and you've got an environment that's not looking like anything that could be labeled "manufacturing powerhouse:" yeah, robots will continue to operate, for a while, but as economies of scale reverse even the costs of running robots will become too much (to support volume output).

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 13:00 | 2682026 q99x2
q99x2's picture

The economic engine is so strong that people should be paid not to work.

And as the wealth is re-distributed from the banksters that have stolen most of it more people should be paid not to work.

I hate work. Its like building the f'n pyramids. Why the hell would anyone in their right mind want to do that? Let the machines do the work and if you want a buck extra for helping the machines so be it.

And get rid of all those politicians and that financial sector who needs them. No one likes the fuckers anyhow.

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 13:15 | 2682072 toady
toady's picture

I'm young and I've got my health, what would I want with a job?

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 15:19 | 2682515 Seer
Seer's picture

And what work is it that the machines will be doing?  Keep in mind that debt loads are increasing and "consumption" (esp of disposable income stuff) decreasing.  Economies of scale reversing is going to really put a hammer blow to all of this (and then there are the energy issues).

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 13:02 | 2682030 Currency is Debt
Currency is Debt's picture

“A small debt produces a debtor; a large one, an enemy.” 
Publilius Syrus Quotes

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 13:02 | 2682031 Currency is Debt
Currency is Debt's picture

“And to preserve their independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude.” 
Thomas Jefferson Quotes

“Debt is the slavery of the free.” 
Publilius Syrus Quotes

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 13:05 | 2682040 Currency is Debt
Currency is Debt's picture

“I go on the principle that a public debt is a public curse.”
-James Madison

“The borrower is servant to the lender.”
-The Bible

When you get in debt you become a slave.”
-Andrew Jackson

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 13:13 | 2682063 DCFusor
DCFusor's picture

Funny the biggest job creator was home health care - something that used to be done anyway for free by the families concerned.  In what way is this better?  No new value is created that wasn't already, just someone now has to pay.

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 13:25 | 2682114 toady
toady's picture

Nobody needs to position themselves to inherent by caring for their elderly relatives. There is nothing left to inherent.

Conversely, those that do have money don't trust their relations to care for them... machine might 'accidentally' breakdown just when it's needed. They would rather be drained of their last dime than trust their relations.

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 13:22 | 2682105 madcuban
madcuban's picture

For those not paying attention, when you clicked on this article a cookie from the Census bureau was put onto your computer.  Now they can track you too!  Enjoy.

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 13:39 | 2682154 old naughty
old naughty's picture

I advise to put a bandaid over your camera, at least they can't see you.

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 14:36 | 2682360 Quarky Gluon
Quarky Gluon's picture

I find the government can be an excellent source of information on a variety of subject matters such as weather, agriculture, nutrition and the law.  Oftentimes, for-profit enterprises rely heavily on government sources and then turn around and disseminate much the same information for a profit.  I prefer to bypass the middleman with all his javascript ads and instead go straight to the government website source. 

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 14:37 | 2682389 adr
adr's picture

That entire graphic should have just been one giant steaming pile of shit.

You have 27 million businesses, 5.8 million of which are large corproations which take in 97% of reciepts. 20% takes in 97% of the cash.

How much do you want to bet that <5% of the 5.8 million take in 90% of the reciepts?

Small business doesn't matter to the economy anymore. What is funny is that realtors are counted in that 3% of receipts. How much of the 3% comes from the bullshit transfer of housing? Does real small business ever account for 1% of GDP?

Then you have the $5.5 trillion value of all manufacturers shipments, which seems extremely high. Most of which is big ticket items. Somehow there is another $10 trillion in economic activity coming from somewhere.

How much of our GDP is the same items being counted multiple times?

It's all bullshit. The entire economy is one giant cooked book.

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 15:27 | 2682546 Seer
Seer's picture

"That entire graphic should have just been one giant steaming pile of shit."

And a FAKE pile at that, cause real shit at least has compost-able value!

Somewhere we've got to get (back?) to basing things on "value," rather than just some numeric abstract that allows the Controllers to control.

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 15:37 | 2682569 Magnix
Magnix's picture

Its out of date

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 15:43 | 2682584 luna_man
luna_man's picture



What's that you say?...NO! NO! NO!...


Time to stop waiting for our demise, and turn this mother around!  We need to first take care of the CRIMINALS!  How?...Come on you thinkers, let's have some ( NO JAIL TIME!) good ideas!...


Our livelihoods, DEPEND ON IT

Mon, 08/06/2012 - 17:32 | 2682924 Pairadimes
Pairadimes's picture

Couple things I noticed that I thought were interesting. For instance, the section on manufacturing is immediately below the section on growing industries, I'm sure because as soon as they finished the first part, someone said "oh shit, these are all in the service sector!", and something had to be done to paper over that.


I also noticed that in the section on what people buy online, there is a misspelled word. Porn is not spelled o-t-h-e-r.

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