Where do all our tax dollars go? According to a new study by the Tax Foundation, many of them flow from richer states to poorer ones, and from the Northeast and the West Coast to the interior. As a result, Republican-leaning states overwhelmingly gain revenue from high taxes, whereas Democratic-leaning states tend to lose money. A raft of what might be called "Republican welfare states"—twenty-four in all—receive more per capita from Washington than their citizens render in taxes, yet nevertheless voted for the tax-slashing George W. Bush in 2000.
— "Federal Tax Burdens and Expenditures by State," the Tax Foundation
Should a vote in Los Angeles count more than a vote in Montana? That's one question raised by an analysis of Census Bureau data conducted by researchers at the Center for Immigration Studies, which finds that nine congressional seats would have been allotted to different states in 2000 had noncitizens (including illegal aliens) been excluded from the counts Congress uses to allocate seats. For example, according to the CIS, California, home to 5.4 million noncitizens, would have six fewer representatives if citizens alone had been counted when the 435 seats in the House were divvied up. The practice of counting noncitizens when making apportionment decisions doesn't just tend to exaggerate the political influence of states with high immigrant populations; it also has a striking effect on the clout of individual voters. Consider California's Thirty-first District, in Los Angeles, where 43 percent of the residents are noncitizens and cannot vote. Because each House district is required to have an equal number of residents, rather than citizens, far fewer votes are required to win an election there—34,000 in 2002, compared with an average of nearly 100,000 in the districts of the four states that lost a seat in the 2000 reapportionment.
—"Remaking the Political Landscape," Center for Immigration Studies
A report blaming far-right groups for European anti-Semitism would most likely be met with a collective yawn, and perhaps that's the conclusion the European Union expected when it commissioned a study on the subject following an upsurge in anti-Jewish activity in early 2002. What the EU got instead was a stinging document implicating European Muslims and, more controversial still, the European left—a conclusion deemed so incendiary that the report was ordered shelved by the EU in February of last year, and has only recently been leaked to the press. In findings covering the first half of 2002 the authors argue that the confluence of the Palestinian intifada and the passionate debates over 9/11 led to a spike in public expressions of anti-Semitism, and also in violence against Jews and Jewish property. The report goes on to point out that although this violence—physical attacks, the desecration of synagogues—was primarily the work of young Muslim men, anti-Semitic rhetoric was increasingly heard from the far left, where vicious attacks on Israel and the United States often relied on traditional anti-Semitic stereotypes. The report singles out pro-Palestinian demonstrations at which Arab-Muslim and leftist groups stood shoulder to shoulder, and anti-Semitic slogans and placards were prominent. It suggests that among many European leftists, legitimate opposition to Israeli and American policies has metamorphosed into a belief in that hoariest of anti-Semitic clichés, a "Jewish world conspiracy" that is pulling the levers of power around the globe. A leaflet from a German anti-globalization organization neatly captures the idea: drawn in the style of Nazi propaganda, it depicts Uncle Sam with a "Jewish" hooked nose, dangling the world from his finger.
— "Manifestations of Anti-Semitism in the European Union," European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia
Indian parents have long been known to prefer sons to daughters: sons are expected to care for parents in their dotage, whereas daughters must be married off at great expense in dowries. Now an analysis from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) suggests that modern science is increasingly being placed in the service of traditional prejudice (as many had predicted it would be): ultrasound technology is enabling parents to anticipate and abort unwanted females. In 1961 there were 976 girls for every 1,000 boys age six and under in India. Today there are 927. In an effort to curb this trend, India a decade ago imposed a ban on the use of ultrasound to determine sex. But the UNFPA's data suggest that the ban has been ineffective, particularly in the country's wealthier areas. In southwestern Delhi, one of India's richest districts, the ratio declined in the 1990s to a shocking 845 for every 1,000; sixty-nine other prosperous districts in India also saw the ratio decline by more than 50 girls per 1,000 boys over the past decade. During that time the total population of India rose by 21 percent, to 1.03 billion, suggesting that the "missing" girls number in the millions.
—"Missing: Mapping the Adverse Child Sex Ratio in India," United Nations Population Fund
As primary season approached, the candidate with the most money was a skinflint on lodgings and the one with the least treated himself very well. According to Fundrace, a Web site that tracks campaign expenditures, Al Sharpton favors the posh comfort of the Four Seasons, where his average hotel bill is $3,598—far larger than any other candidate's. (George W. Bush, a distant second, drops an average of $607.) In contrast, although Howard Dean may have grown up in Park Avenue luxury, he knows how to stretch a dollar: his campaign favors Marriott hotels, and his hotel bills there average just $172—the lowest among the major candidates. John Kerry's victory in Iowa, meanwhile, suggests the wisdom of his investment in a local institution.
— "Hotel Spending," Fundrace.org, Eyebeam
Ten years after its passage NAFTA hasn't stripped America of manufacturing jobs, as many doomsayers predicted, but neither has it been the boon to the Mexican economy that many of its boosters promised. Despite unprecedented growth in international trade and productivity, most Mexicans still await that much heralded yet elusive benefit of trade liberalization: more—and higher paying—jobs in Mexico. Real wages in Mexico are lower today than they were in 1994, and show no sign of catching up with U.S. wages. And whereas NAFTA has created some jobs in Mexico's export-manufacturing sector, it has destroyed just as many in other sectors, with job losses falling heavily on Mexico's already stressed rural population. As the volume of U.S. agricultural products (including heavily subsidized corn) entering Mexico has increased, 1.3 million agricultural jobs have evaporated. Given that Mexico cannot afford a social safety net for this population, it isn't surprising that migration from rural Mexico to the United States has risen significantly (by 183 percent from 1994 to 2002). Nor is it surprising that these migrants are sending billions of dollars home, to ease the economic hardship of those left behind. A new report from the Pew Hispanic Center finds that Mexicans received $14.5 billion from relatives working in the United States during 2003—far more than America sent south of the border in development aid, and almost as much as Mexico earned from foreign oil sales. Ross Perot's promised giant sucking sound, it seems, isn't the sound of American jobs vanishing—it's the sound of Mexican laborers heading northward, and of their earnings heading south.
Many people who have spent time around marijuana users (or who, God forbid, have partaken themselves) would argue that the most serious crime the average pot smoker is likely to commit is, well, smoking pot. But anti-drug hard-liners often argue that marijuana use leads to other kinds of illegal behavior. Recently two researchers, one from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and the other from the RAND Corporation, decided to test the hard-liners' theory by examining statistics on marijuana use among people arrested for various crimes. They found that those arrested for property or financial crimes (such as embezzlement) were disproportionately likely to have used pot, and some data even suggested a similar correlation for violent crime. However, when the researchers looked at crime rates rather than arrest rates, the connection disappeared entirely. (These correlations are determined by comparing a community's rate of pot use with its overall crime and arrest rates.) The conclusion? Marijuana may not make users more likely to break the law, but it probably makes them more likely to get caught.
—"Marijuana and Crime: Is There a Connection Beyond Prohibition?," Rosalie Liccardo Pacula and Beau Kilmer, National Bureau of Economic Research