Earlier this month — back in the good ole’ days when our government was actually functioning (sort of) — the U.S. Census Bureau released a series of 2012 income data for American households (and no, I can’t provide the link, because the Census site is still closed for business). The figures shows that despite the nation’s supposed economic recovery, average American household incomes didn’t really budge from where they were the year before. Meanwhile, the poverty rate remained at roughly the same level as it was in 2011 as well. The data underscore a growing gap in wealth inequality in America, with the incomes of lower and middle class households stagnating, while those among the wealthiest continue to rise at a rapid clip. In this comic infographic, graphic journalist Andy Warner breaks down these figures and what they mean for the millions of average American families still just scraping by. To view it as a slideshow in individual segments, click the thumbnail below. Continue reading →
What are political party platforms and how much impact do they have in actual political decision-making?
During the Republican and Democratic national conventions this summer, you probably heard a lot about the party platforms” These are actual documents that communicate the key principles of a political party and its core ideologies. Namely, what’s our government for and how should it serve the people? Recreational reading, they are not. But understanding them can help voters steer through some of the election-season spin. The platforms actually provide some real, concrete insight into how party officials and candidates stand on critical issues – things like the economy, education and foreign affairs and social policies. Continue reading →
Guest post by Jennifer A. Waggoner President, League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Voting is essential to the democratic process; it allows citizens to participate in shaping the role and scope of government. And it remains one of the most powerful and interactive forms of civic engagement.
In most Democratic nations throughout the world, universal suffrage is a right that’s been fought hard for. And in some democracies, voting among the adult population is actually mandatory.
In 1950, California had four state prison facilities and about 11,500 prisoners. By 2006, at the peak of the state’s prison overcrowding, there were 33 prisons and more than 172,000 inmates! That’s an increase of more than 900 percent!