• Environmentalism

    Download this backgrounder as a Word documentWorth ReadingFrank Uekoetter: Global Warming – It's 1970 All Over AgainBrian Hamilton: Making “Environmentalism” Relevant for Everyone Nancy Unger: Fifty Years After “Silent Spring,” Let's Not Roll Back Environmental Protections Background

  • Taxes

    by David Austin Walsh

    Download this backgrounder as a Word documentWorth ReadingRay Raphael: The Income Tax Amendment Turns One Hundred and It’s Worth CelebratingIs the Income Tax Illegal?Michael Lind: What If All Sides are Wrong about Taxes?Q&A: How FDR Built Today’s Tax SystemBackgroundHow does the federal income tax – due on April 15 each year – work in the United States?It’s complicated.

  • Medicare

    by David Austin Walsh

    Download this backgrounder as a World documentWorth ReadingHNN's History of Healthcare Reform http://hnn.us/articles/hnns-history-healthcare-reformNYT Times Topic: Medicare http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/health/diseasesconditionsandhealthtopics/medicare/index.html?8qaColin Gordon: “Hands Off My Medicare: The Deadly Legacy of Social Insurance” http://hnn.us/node/122017BackgroundAs people get older, they tend to get sicker. You've probably seen this yourself with your parents and grandparents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), those 65 and older (usually called “the elderly” in the media) are nearly twice as likely to need to take pills in order to stay healthy; they are also much more likely to require hospitalization -- in fact, the CDC estimates that nearly 25 percent of those aged 65 and up are in “fair or poor health.”

  • Social Security

    by Rick Shenkman

    Download this backgrounder as a Word documentWorth ReadingWhen Did Social Security Become the Third Rail of American Politics?BackgroundSocial Security is the nation's largest social program. More than 50 million people receive benefits totalling more than $600 billion a year. Originally established to provide retirement benefits, the program was extended to widows, the disabled, and children in some cases. It is estimated to keep 40 percent of the elderly out of poverty. Currently, retirement benefits are paid to people when they reach the age of 65, though younger people will have to wait until they are 66 or 67, depending on the date of their birth.

  • Presidential Inaugurations

    Download this backgrounder as a Word documentWorth ReadingHNN Hot Topics: Presidential InaugurationsHighlights of Past InauguralsNixon Pigeon-Proofed His Inaugural Parade RouteBackground

  • Deficits and the Debt Ceiling

    Download this backgrounder as a Word document.Worth ReadingBernard Weisberger, "What History Tells Us Will Likely Happen to Those Giant Surpluses"HNN Hot Topics: Tea Party HistoryHNN Hot Topics: The Debt CeilingBackground