To mark the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision on Jan. 22, 2013, the Guttmacher Institute — a sexual and reproductive health policy nonprofit — has created five infographics on the state of abortion in America.
Some highlights: By age 45, one in three women will have an abortion. The majority of these — about 58 percent — will happen in their twenties. About 60 percent will already have at least one child.
Unintended pregnancy rates are rising among poor people and falling among higher-income people, but abortion rates are still about five times higher among people living below the poverty line. Rates are also significantly higher among people of color than among white people. MORE
This impasse is largely created by filibusters, which are unique to the Senate, and have become so common as to create a situation in which to even be voted on nearly all major legislation requires a 60-vote supermajority, not the customary, 51-vote simple majority. MORE
Bloomberg Businessweek produced this colorful chart detailing what was gained and lost in terms of the occupations, genders, sexual orientation, religious affiliations — and mustaches — of our representatives in the transition from the 112 to the 113 Congress. MORE
Ronald Reagan gives a televised address from the Oval Office, outlining his plan for Tax Reduction Legislation in July 1981. (Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons)
As we head toward what will likely be another rancorous debt ceiling debate, the writers at The Guardian’s Datablog have updated their great series of charts that tell the ceiling’s story.
Since 1944, America’s debt ceiling has been increased 94 times. Up until the mid-90s, it was a pretty routine part of congressional business. But in the fall of 1995, Republican House leaders Newt Gingrich, Dick Armey and John Boehner announced that within seven years they wanted $245 billion in tax cuts, entitlement reform and a balanced budget. President Clinton refused to give in and Americans dealt with the most serious government shutdown in U.S. history. In early 1996, when Moody’s announced they were considering downgrading America’s debt rating, the Republicans finally folded.
“The most crucial difference between Clinton’s debt limit battle and the current crisis is that, in 1996, the Republicans were bluffing. No Republican seriously considered defaulting on the debt to be a viable option,” Kara Brandeisky wrote in The New Republic.
Joanna Baginska, a 4th grade teacher, aims a 40 cal. Sig Sauer during concealed-weapons training for the teachers. Behind her, Clark Aposhian, president of the Utah Shooting Sport Council, demonstrates with a plastic gun. The Utah Shooting Sports Council offered six hours of training in handling concealed weapons on Dec. 27, 2012, in West Valley City, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
In total, 19.5 million people filed for gun background checks in 2012. That, too, was a record — an increase of 3 million from the previous year. The chart below shows statistics for the last four years paired with the dates of some of the more devastating mass shootings that happened during the same period.
It sounds like the setup to a joke: How do you get a politician’s attention?
But it’s a question worth asking. The Internet has made it easier for constituents to send messages to the politicians who represent them — messages to Congress quadrupled between 1995 and 2004 — but it’s less certain that anyone is actually reading those messages.
Between 2007 and 2010, University of Bologna and NYU-Florence political scientist Christian Vaccari sent emails to 142 political parties and presidential candidates in seven western democracies, including the U.S., to gauge how each responded. He sent two emails to each party and candidate: One asked for the party or candidate’s position on taxes, the other asked for information about how to get involved as a volunteer.
At a conference on digital-era campaigning in London last month, Vaccari reported that only one in five of his emails received a reply within one business day; the majority of the emails, almost two-thirds, went unanswered. Vaccari found that, in general, parties tended to respond more often than individual candidates, and progressive parties tended to respond more often than conservative parties. MORE
Last week’s quarterly Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report showed corporate profits soaring to record levels, reaching their greatest percentage of GDP in history. But those profits have not translated to increased U.S. government revenue from corporate income taxes, nor have they meant higher wages for Americans, currently at the lowest percentage of GDP since before WWII.
(The Century Foundation)
For years, the corporate income tax as a share of total U.S. government revenues paralleled the rise and fall of corporate earnings, and vice versa. But in recent years that correlation has been broken. The Century Foundation’s Benjamin Landy attributes this to corporations becoming more adept at tax avoidance. MORE
Between 2008 and 2012, Asians overtook Latinos as the largest immigrant group per year. (Pew Research Center)
During the 2012 election cycle, campaigns and pundits paid a lot of attention to the Latino vote and the decisive role it could (and did) play in an Obama victory. There focused much less on Asian Americans. But between 2008 and 2012, Asians surpassed Latinos as the most quickly growing immigrant group, and, like Latinos, they voted for Obama by a margin of about three to one.
“[O]ne might expect these liberal leanings to count for less than the desire of the nation’s highest-income, best-educated, and most conventionally familial demographic group for lower taxes, fiscal austerity, family values, and an end to affirmative action, which benefits blacks and Hispanics at the expense of Asians. And although most Asian Americans are first- or second-generation Americans, they are not the targets of Republican hostility to immigrants; the target is illegal Mexican immigrants, and from elsewhere in Central America.”
In a blog post for The Monkey Cage and an opinion piece for the LA Times, UC Riverside Political Science Professor S. Karthick Ramakrishnan points out that Asian Americans have gradually shifted to support the Democratic Party over the last two decades. In 1992, 31 percent of Asian Americans voted for the Democratic candidate, Bill Clinton. In 2008, 62 percent voted for Obama, and by 2012, that figure was up to 73 percent. Posner’s piece and others like it, he said, do not take the causes of that shift into account. MORE