Tag Archives: politics

Tax Day and Income Inequality

Tax Day for Americans seems like a great time to talk about income inequality. The article from which this chart comes talks about a recent book exploring the parallels of the 19th century’s inequality—as the article reminds us, the time of “Please, sir, may I have another?”—and the forecast for the 21st. Anyway, the graphic is a nice use of small multiples and highlights that despite the damage done to capital wealth by Great Depressions and two world wars, it is well on its way back to unequal levels.

Income inequality

Income inequality

Credit for the piece goes to the New York Times graphics department.

Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Today’s piece does not involve any particularly crazy graphics or forms of data visualisation. Instead, the piece is a novel way of telling a story. People are increasingly familiar with what we might call here scrolling stories. Scroll down the page and suddenly you have glossy photos or high-definition videos. The New York Times, however, has taken this idea in a different direction for a story about motorcycle helmet laws.

Instead of glossy photos, we have clear and concise charts. Instead of lots of text blocks, we have just a few sentences. The story is told by the charts and the text offers the necessary context or background. Not all stories will have the data behind them to allow the story to be told—or shown—in such dramatic fashion. But, I can hope they do.

Motorcycle helmet laws

Motorcycle helmet laws

Credit for the piece goes to Alastair Dant and Hannah Fairfield.

Changing the Minimum Wage

Here’s a piece from the New York Times where I have to quibble with some minor design decisions. The story behind the graphic is various state actions on the minimum wage compared to where President Obama wants the minimum wage raised. This is a good story and broadly I like the execution. But these arrows, these arrows pierce my design heart. (Too much of a metaphor?) Instead, I think a simple dot plot would have sufficed. But as I noted above, this is more of a quibble than a shame-on-you.

Changes to minimum wages at the state level

Changes to minimum wages at the state level

Credit for the piece goes to Alicia Parlapiano.

One Proposal to Simplify the Tax Code

Republican congressman Dave Camp, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee (basically responsible for the tax code), wants to simplify the tax code. This nice graphic by the Washington Post basically sums up the changes.

Proposed bracket simplification

Proposed bracket simplification

Credit for the piece goes to the Washington Post graphics department.

Answering Some More Questions About Ukraine

So Ukraine is even more of a mess and in less than a week’s time, the Crimean people will vote in a referendum on whether they want to remain a part of Ukraine or rejoin Russia. This graphic of mine is an attempt to answer some questions—though hardly all I wanted—about Ukraine, Crimea, and about what the Russians have been doing. (To be fair, the Russians still don’t admit that the troops and soldiers are theirs. But really, I mean come on, we all know they are.)

Why Crimea?

Why Crimea?

Economically Isolating Russia

The West hesitates to use military force to push Russian troops out of Crimea. Likely with good reason as any such campaign would be neither cheap nor bloodless in addition to running the risk of spreading beyond the borders of Ukraine. So that leaves diplomatic and economic isolation. Diplomatic isolation is already underway—the G8 conference to be hosted in Sochi this summer is all but dead. But economic isolation is still being discussed.

Isolating Russia

Isolating Russia

The United States is generally in favour, but Europe—namely Germany—has been more cautious. But as my graphic shows, without Europe a sanctions regime would be largely toothless since half of Russia’s exports go to Europe. Except that Russia is also responsible for a significant proportion of Europe’s imported natural gas and sanctions on Russia could cause an interruption in that fuel to Western Europe. Naturally, most of that natural gas is, of course, transported through pipelines running across Ukraine.

Ukraine

A lot of things happened in Ukraine this past weekend. Unfortunately, I was not able to quite capture all of the events and the background I wanted. So, until I do, this quick graphic will have to suffice. In short, Ukraine is a big European country, one of the largest prizes remaining in the struggle between the West/EU and the East/Russia. I took a look at the forecast for Ukraine in 2050 for both number of people and the size of the economy and put that in the context of Europe. And while forecasting that far out clearly has risks, one can see with a grain of salt that Ukraine is set to be an important middle-sized European nation.

A quick introduction to Ukraine

A quick introduction to Ukraine

But, like I said, there is more to do. I just was not able to do it.

Defensive Incest

Today’s piece comes from Bloomberg Businessweek. In the wake of the Pentagon’s decision to push for budget cuts including force reduction and slashing several programmes, I decided to show this chord diagram that shows how the defence industry supports itself.

Defence companies supporting each other

Defence companies supporting each other

Credit for the piece goes to Robert Levinson, Dorothy Gambrell, and David Evans.

The Swiss and Immigration

Last week, the Swiss people narrowly rejected the principle of freedom of movement. This principles serves as one of the foundations of the European Union. And while Switzerland does not belong to the EU, its economy benefits from access to the single market via that freedom of movement principle. That may be an oversimplification perhaps, but it provides some context to the consternation in Europe over the Swiss people rejecting the principle.

This graphic is not particularly complex. It is a choropleth of the vote results. However, it does show that the vote was not unanimous. Rather it was contained to the cantons (analogous to states in the US) more rural in character, i.e. less urban places like Geneva.

Swiss immigration vote results

Swiss immigration vote results

Credit for the piece goes to the BBC graphics department.

Explaining What is Going on in Ukraine

Not “the Ukraine” as it is (admittedly) fun to do in pop-culture references to Seinfeld. This comes from the Washington Post and the article tries to show that the protests in Kiev are not necessarily a vast majority against the government. Certainly the opposition is strong, but there is also a very strong pro-government movement. Why? Because in the broadest of senses, Ukraine is where the West, i.e. the European Union, meets the East, i.e. Russia.

A divided Ukraine

A divided Ukraine

Credit for putting this all together goes to Max Fisher. Credit for each of the original graphics is to their respective designers whom I cannot identify.