Visualizing Biden’s Budget Proposal for 2022
On April 9th, President Joe Biden released his first budget proposal plan for the 2022 fiscal year.
The $1.52 trillion discretionary budget proposes boosts in funding that would help combat climate change, support disease control, and subsidize social programs.
This graphic outlines some key takeaways from Biden’s budget proposal plan and highlights how funds could be allocated in the next fiscal year.
U.S. Federal Budget 101
Before diving into the proposal’s key takeaways, it’s worth taking a step back to cover the basics around the U.S. federal budget process, for those who aren’t familiar.
Each year, the president of the U.S. is required to present a federal budget proposal to Congress. It’s usually submitted each February, but this year’s proposal has been delayed due to alleged issues with the previous administration during the handover of office.
Biden’s publicized budget only includes discretionary spending for now—a full budget that includes mandatory spending is expected to be released in the next few months.
Key Takeaways From Biden’s Budget Proposal
Overall, Biden’s proposed budget would increase funds for a majority of cabinet departments. This is a drastic pivot from last year’s proposal, which was focused on budget cuts.
Here’s a look at some of the biggest departmental changes, and their proposed spending for 2022:
|Department||2022 Proposed Spending (Billions)||% Change from 2021|
|Health and Human Services||$131.7||24%|
|Environmental Protection Agency||$11.2||21%|
|Housing and Urban Development||$68.7||15%|
|State and International Aid||$63.5||12%|
|Small Business Administration||$0.9||9%|
One of the biggest boosts in spending is for education. The proposed $29.8 billion would be a 41% increase from 2021. The extra funds would support students in high-poverty schools, as well as children with disabilities.
Health and human services is also a top priority in Biden’s budget, perhaps unsurprisingly given the global pandemic. But the boost in funds extends beyond disease control. Biden’s budget allocates $1.6 billion towards mental health grants and $10.7 billion to help stop the opioid crisis.
There are increases across all major budget categories, but defense will see the smallest increase from 2021 spending, at 2%. It’s worth noting that defense is also the biggest budget category by far, and with a total of $715 billion allocated, the budget lists deterring threats from China and Russia as a major goal.
Which Bills Will Make it Through?
It’s important to reiterate that this plan is just a proposal. Each bill needs to get passed through Congress before it becomes official.
Considering the slim majority held by Democrats, it’s unlikely that Biden’s budget will make it through Congress without any changes. Over the next few months, it’ll be interesting to see what makes it through the wringer.
Mapping the World’s Key Maritime Choke Points
Ocean shipping is the primary mode of international trade. This map identifies maritime choke points that pose a risk to this complex logistic network.
Mapping the World’s Key Maritime Choke Points
Maritime transport is an essential part of international trade—approximately 80% of global merchandise is shipped via sea.
Because of its importance, commercial shipping relies on strategic trade routes to move goods efficiently. These waterways are used by thousands of vessels a year—but it’s not always smooth sailing. In fact, there are certain points along these routes that pose a risk to the whole system.
Here’s a look at the world’s most vulnerable maritime bottlenecks—also known as choke points—as identified by GIS.
What’s a Choke Point?
Choke points are strategic, narrow passages that connect two larger areas to one another. When it comes to maritime trade, these are typically straits or canals that see high volumes of traffic because of their optimal location.
Despite their convenience, these vital points pose several risks:
- Structural risks: As demonstrated in the recent Suez Canal blockage, ships can crash along the shore of a canal if the passage is too narrow, causing traffic jams that can last for days.
- Geopolitical risks: Because of their high traffic, choke points are particularly vulnerable to blockades or deliberate disruptions during times of political unrest.
The type and degree of risk varies, depending on location. Here’s a look at some of the biggest threats, at eight of the world’s major choke points.
Because of their high risk, alternatives for some of these key routes have been proposed in the past—for instance, in 2013 Nicaraguan Congress approved a $40 billion dollar project proposal to build a canal that was meant to rival the Panama Canal.
As of today, it has yet to materialize.
A Closer Look: Key Maritime Choke Points
Despite their vulnerabilities, these choke points remain critical waterways that facilitate international trade. Below, we dive into a few of the key areas to provide some context on just how important they are to global trade.
The Panama Canal
The Panama Canal is a lock-type canal that provides a shortcut for ships traveling between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Ships sailing between the east and west coasts of the U.S. save over 8,000 nautical miles by using the canal—which roughly shortens their trip by 21 days.
In 2019, 252 million long tons of goods were transported through the Panama Canal, which generated over $2.6 billion in tolls.
The Suez Canal
The Suez Canal is an Egyptian waterway that connects Europe to Asia. Without this route, ships would need to sail around Africa, which would add approximately seven days to their trips. In 2019, nearly 19,000 vessels, and 1 billion tons of cargo, traveled through the Suez Canal.
In an effort to mitigate risk, the Egyptian government embarked on a major expansion project for the canal back in 2015. But, given the recent blockage caused by a Taiwanese container ship, it’s clear that the waterway is still vulnerable to obstruction.
The Strait of Malacca
At its smallest point, the Strait of Malacca is approximately 1.5 nautical miles, making it one of the world’s narrowest choke points. Despite its size, it’s one of Asia’s most critical waterways, since it provides a critical connection between China, India, and Southeast Asia. This choke point creates a risky situation for the 130,000 or so ships that visit the Port of Singapore each year.
The area is also known to have problems with piracy—in 2019, there were 30 piracy incidents, according to private information group ReCAAP ISC.
The Strait of Hormuz
Controlled by Iran, the Strait of Hormuz links the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman, ultimately draining into the Arabian Sea. It’s a primary vein for the world’s oil supply, transporting approximately 21 million barrels per day.
Historically, it’s also been a site of regional conflict. For instance, tankers and commercial ships were attacked in that area during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.
The Bab el-Mandeb Strait
The Bab el-Mandeb Strait is another primary waterway for the world’s oil and natural gas. Nestled between Africa and the Middle East, the critical route connects the Mediterranean Sea (via the Suez Canal) to the Indian Ocean.
Like the Strait of Malacca, it’s well known as a high-risk area for pirate attacks. In May 2020, a UK chemical tanker was attacked off the coast of Yemen–the ninth pirate attack in the area that year.
Due to the strategic nature of the region, there is a strong military presence in nearby Djibouti, including China’s first ever foreign military base.
Mapped: Where Women Hold the Most and Least Political Power
Where do women hold the most ministerial positions? In this map, we look at women’s political power by country, and key positions held by women.
Where Women Hold the Most and Least Political Power
From the right to vote, to owning property and assets, women’s legal and economic rights have come a long way.
International Women’s Day, held annually on March 8th is an opportunity to commemorate global improvements around gender equality. One big driver for this is women’s political participation—however, progress in this area has not been distributed evenly worldwide.
Women’s Political Power: Share of Ministers in Cabinets
In this map, we dig into how much political power women hold around the world. The Council on Foreign Relations pulls the latest data from UN Women and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) to examine the shares of women holding ministerial positions in 195 national cabinets.
Here are the top five countries with the highest percentages of women’s political power:
- 🇪🇸 Spain: 66.7%
- 🇫🇮 Finland: 61.1%
- 🇳🇮 Nicaragua: 58.8%
- 🇨🇴 Colombia: 57.9%
- 🇦🇹 Austria: 57.1%
Even though women make up half the global population, they’re not always represented at higher levels of government. Only 14 countries have at least 50% women holding ministerial positions in the national cabinet.
|Country||Region||% Women in National Cabinet|
|Algeria||Middle East/North Africa||15.2|
|Antigua and Barbuda||Americas||15.4|
|Bahrain||Middle East/North Africa||4.4|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Europe||22.2|
|Burkina Faso||Sub-Saharan Africa||14.3|
|Cape Verde||Sub-Saharan Africa||21.4|
|Central African Republic||Sub-Saharan Africa||20.0|
|Cote d'Ivoire||Sub-Saharan Africa||12.8|
|Democratic Republic of Congo||Sub-Saharan Africa||17.4|
|Egypt||Middle East/North Africa||24.2|
|Equatorial Guinea||Sub-Saharan Africa||7.1|
|Iran||Middle East/North Africa||6.5|
|Iraq||Middle East/North Africa||4.6|
|Israel||Middle East/North Africa||16.7|
|Jordan||Middle East/North Africa||13.8|
|Kuwait||Middle East/North Africa||21.4|
|Lebanon||Middle East/North Africa||31.6|
|Libya||Middle East/North Africa||-|
|Morocco||Middle East/North Africa||15.8|
|North Korea||Asia and the Pacific||-|
|Oman||Middle East/North Africa||11.1|
|Papua New Guinea||Asia-Pacific||0.0|
|Qatar||Middle East/North Africa||7.1|
|Republic of Congo||Sub-Saharan Africa||21.2|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||Americas||11.1|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||Americas||0.0|
|Sao Tome and Principe||Sub-Saharan Africa||33.3|
|Saudi Arabia||Middle East/North Africa||0.0|
|Sierra Leone||Sub-Saharan Africa||17.2|
|South Africa||Sub-Saharan Africa||48.3|
|South Sudan||Sub-Saharan Africa||15.6|
|Syria||Middle East/North Africa||13.3|
|Trinidad and Tobago||Americas||33.3|
|Tunisia||Middle East/North Africa||6.9|
|United Arab Emirates||Middle East/North Africa||16.7|
|Yemen||Middle East/North Africa||6.3|
On the flip side, nine countries have 0% women in their national cabinet, such as Saudi Arabia and Thailand.
The silver lining to this is that Saudi Arabia is actually improving in some areas of women’s economic rights in recent years, such as granting more freedom of movement to travel and prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis on gender.
The Most Powerful Women: Female Heads of State/Government
From Indira Gandhi to Margaret Thatcher, many women have held notable and influential leadership positions in the past, serving as tours de force for the global economy.
Presently, there are only 24 countries with a female head of state or government. Moldova’s Maia Sandu is the latest to rise into a Presidential role as of December 2020. Here’s who the rest are, and their titles.
|🇧🇩 Bangladesh||Sheikh Hasina||Prime Minister|
|🇧🇧 Barbados||Mia Mottley||Prime Minister|
|🇩🇰 Denmark||Mette Frederiksen||Prime Minister|
|🇪🇪 Estonia||Kersti Kaljulaid||President|
|🇪🇪 Estonia||Kaja Kallas||Prime Minister|
|🇪🇹 Ethiopia||Sahle-Work Zewde||President|
|🇫🇮 Finland||Sanna Marin||Prime Minister|
|🇬🇦 Gabon||Rose Christiane Ossouka Raponda||Prime Minister|
|🇬🇪 Georgia||Salomé Zourabichvili||President|
|🇩🇪 Germany||Angela Merkel||Chancellor|
|🇬🇷 Greece||Katerina Sakellaropoulou||President|
|🇮🇸 Iceland||Katrín Jakobsdóttir||Prime Minister|
|🇱🇹 Lithuania||Ingrida Šimonytė||Prime Minister|
|🇲🇩 Moldova||Maia Sandu||President|
|🇳🇦 Namibia||Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila||Prime Minister|
|🇳🇵 Nepal||Bidhya Devi Bhandari||President|
|🇳🇿 New Zealand||Jacinda Ardern||Prime Minister|
|🇳🇴 Norway||Erna Solberg||Prime Minister|
|🇷🇸 Serbia||Ana Brnabić||Prime Minister|
|🇸🇬 Singapore||Halimah Yacob||President|
|🇸🇰 Slovakia||Zuzana Čaputová||President|
|🇹🇬 Togo||Victoire Tomegah Dogbé||Prime Minister|
|🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago||Paula-Mae Weekes||President|
|🇹🇼 Taiwan||Tsai Ing-wen||President|
Last updated: Mar 2, 2021
As the chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel holds the longest consecutive term of all female heads of state/government. With 15 years under her belt, Merkel is largely seen as a de facto leader of Europe. However, she intends to step down as chancellor after her term ends in September 2021.
Since 1946, Switzerland has had five total elected or appointed female heads of state or governments—the highest of any country. Simonette Sommaruga, the most recent female president of the nation, was only succeeded in the new year and dropped off this list.
Glass Ceiling in Politics?
While women have made strides in reaching their political potential worldwide, it’s interesting to note that they generally have a harder time ascending to office in larger countries compared to smaller economies.
For example, Estonia is the first country to have two female heads of state/government with both the president and prime minister positions being filled by women. On the flipside, many other countries have never had even one female head of state.
That said, shares of women holding seats in national legislatures are growing worldwide, which means that progress in these upper levels may be just around the corner.
“No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half its citizens.”
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