Posts from the Uncategorized Category

By Lena Masri and Mia Garchitorena

Ted Cruz, the first Hispanic to serve as U.S. Senator from Texas, announced in March that he is running for president.

He will be participating in an election that is likely to be very expensive. Much more money can now be spent on The Presidential Election Campaign of 2016 becauseThe Supreme Court has lifted restrictions on election spending, allowing an unlimited amount of financial contributions to pour into politics.

And Cruz is in the running for most accounted contributions from private employers thus far. Just in his first week as presidential candidate, he raised $2 million, doubling his initial goal of $1 million for the time period.

Most of his largest contributions come from retirees and self-employers, according to data from The Federal Election Commission, an independent regulatory agency that discloses campaign financial information.

Other candidates like Hillary Clinton have only recently started their fundraising campaign.

Money plays an important role in politics. All of the five presidential candidates, who have officially announced their candidacy for the 2016 Presidential Election, is serving or have served at US Senate. Natasha and Ken will look at the candidates’ donors while working as senators — how much each candidate have received based on organizations and industries, and possibly how those donations might affect his/her policies.



By: Lena Masri and Mia Garchitorena

Money is likely to play a big role in the 2016 presidential election.

This month The Supreme Court lifted restrictions on election spending, removing a decades-old cap on the total amount any individual can contribute to federal candidates in a two-year election cycle.

In 2012, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who were the two major party candidates for president spent close to $1.12 billion — not counting the millions more spent by the parties and outside groups, according to Overall, the presidential race cost more than $2.6 billion in that cycle. But next year’s election is expected to be even more expensive. Hillary Clinton, the U.S.’s first female presidential candidate, raised over $9 million in contributor funds in 2014 and has set a $2.5 billion fundraising goal for 2016. 

So who are the donors so far?

We want to create a chart that shows all the 62 groups that are so far known to be associated with potential 2016 presidential candidates.

Here is a link to the data:

We would also like to make charts that show how much money was spent back in 2012 just to give an idea of how much money can be spent on the 2016 election now that even more money has been allowed to pour into politics. Here is a link to the data:

Potential sources:

Lawrence Lessig, the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School, and director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University.

Dr. Timothy Lukes, Professor of Political Science at Santa Clara University

Deborah Hellman, Professor of Law, University of Virginia

Dr. Thomas R Marshall, Professor at Political Science, University of Texas Arlington

Chris Arterton 
Professor of Political Management
Founding Dean of the Graduate School of Political Management, George Washington University

MEDIA CONTACTS: George Washington University

John Brandt
Jill Sankey

According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, 37% of New Yorkers between the ages of 18-64 years old are handicapped.

Wheelchair accessibility in New York subway stations are not completely scarce. There are 38 subway stations in Manhattan that are accessible to handicapped people and most of them are in major locations of high-ridership.

Stations outside of Midtown, such as the 168th Street and 181st Street locations in Washington Heights, are only accessible by stairway.

Parks, train stations and playgrounds are some of the most common places outside of subway stations that have publicly handicap accessible bathrooms.

Michaela Ross

Nut Graf/News Hook: Since the recession, Americans who once were quick to charge their credit cards have been collectively paying down their debt. American families’ median credit card debt went down from $2,800 in 2010 to $2,300 in 2013. Meanwhile, the personal savings rate has increased from 2.5% pre-recession to 5.5% in 2015. Now, with the Fed looking to raise interest rates in the next few months, rates on consumer debt — including credit cards — may also increase, and some economists are predicting that more cautious consumers will continue to pay down credit card debt and spend more modestly.

Description of Data and Link: Every 3 years, the Federal Reserve surveys American households about their finances. The percentage of Americans with credit card debt, as well as their current median balances, can be seen on tabs with “Table 89 01”-“Table 13 01” here. The credit card data is further broken down by percentile of income, age, education, number of dependents, race, work status, geographical region, occupation, housing status and whether they live in an urban area. The data stretches from 1989-2013, and was released in fall of 2014.
(see attached Excel sheet)

Bulletin with the latest survey:

Sources: I have already spoken to Peter Morici, economist at the University of Maryland about consumer habits with credit cards. He believes consumers will continue not to trust credit card use — especially with credit cards issued from large banks — because they don’t trust large banks after the recession. He feels people will find other ways to finance large purchases through borrowing from family or home improvement loans, even as interest rates go up.

Contact info: 240-429-7824

I have also spoken to economist Stan Shipley at International Strategy and Investment 212-446-9474, and Louis V Crandall, economist at Wrightson ICAP 212-815-6542,

There is also discussion about cautious consumers being more wary of charging credit cards in this spring’s consumer reports.

Possible Obstacles/Angles to Explore:

I would like to compare the Fed’s data to that of TransUnion. TransUnion releases a quarterly report showing average credit card debt and delinquency by state and their data is more current than the Feds, but I believe it’s measured differently. I am contacting their offices to investigate. Here is their latest report:

And here is an interactive map of credit card debt by state made by the Washington Post in 2012 using TransUnion data:

In May 2014 there were 8 million retail salespeople and cashiers working in the US, the two single occupations with the largest employment in the country. At the same time, another 8.3 million people were working in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) jobs in the country. Both represent around 6% of the total employment in the US, according to the latest numbers of the Occupational Employment Statistics, released this week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The difference between these two? The salaries. While the two top retail jobs only pay median salaries of $25,760 for retail salesperson and $20,670 for cashier, STEM jobs have mean wages a lot higher of the all-occupations average in the country, which is $47,230. Among the best paid STEM jobs are petroleum engineers, with $147,520 and physicists, with $117,300.

Let’s show graphically the salary difference between those two groups, in which the same amout of people are making so little in one end, and so much in the other. Let’s talk to experts on what this wage gap represents, too.

James Brown
Executive Director of STEM Education Coalition
(202) 400-2192 (office) /

National Retail Federation
Treacy Reynolds
Media Relations Coordinator
(202) 495-7221

Kathryn L. Shaw
Professor of Economics who has a paper on retail wages at National Bureau of Economic Research.
Graduate School of Business
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
Tel: 650/725-4168
Fax: 650/725-0468