Political Math is written by an individual with far too much free time on his hands. This blog began as  a suppliment to the YouTube channel 10000Pennies, which shows data visualizations on political topics, but has evolved into more of a place to discuss data (especially BLS data), post infographics and do amateur analysis of bad infographics.

As for me (this is an “About” page, after all), after I posted my first video on a lark (seen here) I became a minor celebrity, visiting Washington DC, meeting with Senators, speaking at think tanks and conventions. This condition was thankfully temporary.

I’m open to speaking engagements (I LOVE to talk to groups and individuals about videos and data and information visualization and a little about policy, although the latter isn’t my expertise), but I will not do custom videos. Please don’t ask.

I’m not looking for fame or a fight. I just know that we live in a world filled with numbers and I want to help people understand what those numbers mean.


  1. Lynette says:

    Thank you for doing this. There is too much political rhetoric and not enough logic, with credibility, for the average citizen (me) to come to his/her own conclusion.

  2. exodus16_36 says:

    Great site. I just bookmarked it.

  3. Steve Luehe says:

    I liked your “The National Debt Road Trip May 15, 2009”.

    I wish you would revise it during the Bush Admin and show his spending when he had a:
    – Republican Congress (first 6 years)
    – Democratic Congress (last 2 years).

    There is a big difference in spending.

    Please send me a copy.


  4. Hi,

    I just watched your video on the road trip, it was great. I produce a small political podcast headed by a fellow blogger. I was wondering if you would be interested in coming on the show in the future and talking to us for 15 to 30 minutes about your blog and your videos?

  5. Dalton says:

    What is your name, your bio and credentials?

  6. I just watched your youtube videos. I have no words… you have taken difficult concepts and made them very easy to grasp. Truly amazing. I’ll be watching for more. I’m sure this administration will provide you with plenty of blog/video fodder.

  7. Bob McKenna says:

    Matthias, You are the Thomas Sowell (who is able to make economics understandable to the common man) of the blogosphere. Thanks for doing what you do, and please do it more often.

  8. John says:

    Hey Matt, is there a Facebook page for this site? I tried looking one up but didn’t find one. If there isn’t, you should really consider making one! It’s a great way to expand your sites viewership and your excellent message.

  9. Hutch says:

    Great work Matthias,

    I would love to see a revised unemployment graph with the “recovery plan” in the back ground, now that we are approaching 1 year into it.

  10. Craig says:

    Love your visualizations! Think you can explain what’s happening in Greece and compare that with our current debt levels as compared to GDP? Would there be any similarity to Greece in the European Union and California, with its budget problems, in the US?

    Keep it up!

  11. Jeremy says:

    I would like to post a link from my website (stillwagner.com) back to yours if that’s ok. I really like how you break this stuff down and I think it would be extremely beneficial to my readers. I would probably add your RSS feed to my site. I’ll wait for the yay or nay. Keep up the good work!

  12. Jeremy,

    Feel free to link to my blog in whatever way you see fit.

    • Brenden says:

      Hi, I’m a software architect in the D.C. area, I work mostly with DHS. I really like the work you do. Should you ever need any help that’s “tek” related even just with WordPress I’d be happy to help out just to see you continue to do the great work your doing. Most any technical topic fine if I’m not an expert someone who works for me probably is.

      Just let me know and PLEASE keep up the good work!


      I think you have a “Sample Page” showing in error, it’s may be because you switched themes???

  13. debbie says:

    You rock! I love your concept. Could you do something on the national deficit/individual debt owed and how long it would take to pay it back? (maybe something like 1 second equal $1). Keep up the great work so I can keep spreading it around.

  14. JDS says:



  15. David says:

    You looked good, and sounded reasonable, on C-SPAN this morning! (Saturday March 13). But unfortunately your photo here on your website makes you look like some hawk-eyed psychoath. The common culture notwithstanding, no it is not cool to mimic the sociopath, so won’t you please, please change your photograph to something more pleasing to the eye? Thanks! Speaking of hawks, here’s redstate.com displaying that photo we saw on TV, as you were being awarded the “first ever ‘Grassroots Logic Award’ from the Republican National Committee.” (If that doesn’t cause you to think twice, what would?)

  16. David says:


  17. Would like to invite you to appear on our Solid Principles Podcast.

  18. Deborah says:

    Love your videos. I need to figure out how to download u-tube when school has it blocked. I teach math and your stuff is great for numeracy.

  19. JDS,

    I have a video in which I talk about the Bush deficits. I highly encourage you to do a Google search or visit my YouTube page before you reply in such an abrasive manner.

    Also, you may not know, but replying in all capital letters is considered very good form on the internet. It makes you seem reasonable and calm. You should do it all the time.

  20. BJ says:

    “This condition that thankfully temporary.”

    Is that supposed to be a complete sentence?

    You’re right, you have too much time on your hands.

  21. politicalmath says:


    Thanks for proofreading my page! I’m glad there are people out there who have enough time to complain about the grammar on my “About” page… otherwise those kinds of careless mistakes would linger for months.

  22. Martin says:

    Just to echo … Kudos to you. It’s great to look at things in reasoned and rational way for a change.

  23. […] I’m not so much in favor of it, if it means  capitulation and forsaking  principles.   A smart guy over at politicalmathblog.com took the time to illustrate graphically the supposed perennial lack […]

  24. Kurt Horn says:


    You have consistently nailed it through this site and youtube.com. The numbers are so massive people’s eyes glaze over when you start talking about this. Congress figured this out to our detriment. I am linking your videos. Great job! ~Kurt

  25. Travis says:

    great job on the illustrations. Just posted one on my site under the fair tax supporter section for my fairtaxers to see. I plan on posting a few more if it’s ok with you.

  26. […] For more about the creator of these videos, Matthias Shapiro, check out his Political Math Blog. […]

  27. Will you please run for president? I’d throw money at your campaign all day long! xoxo.

  28. Ty says:

    You’ve probably seen it, but IN CASE not, here’s one you’ll enjoy poking holes in:


  29. Annie Bowlby says:

    You are brilliant. Excellent teacher. Thank you for the insight into the true nature of our federal deficit and how we got here. It is out of control…frighteningly deteriorating. You make the situation clear and understandable to non-math-gifted individuals like myself. Blessings, Annie

  30. I like your blog and perhaps you will like mine. I have written my reps in congress and the senate exposing untypical facts regarding the amount of subversion related to, and coming out of the gay movement. In Political terms activists use gay marriage as doorway to redefine our cultural fiscal political and judicial systems. Thought you may want to use/read/post?

    Five weeks ago I created a blog and twitter account for what I wrote for people to support through following and already have 1405 followers including several senators and members of congress.

    Below is the link to the blog full of reasons, facts and evidence. My work here is all I have to donate. I think what I am exposing to the populous is much more effective than a monetary donation.

    Article: http://fedupjeff-protectmorality.blogspot.com/
    Twitter: http://twitter.com/fedupjeff

    Jeff Chiacchieri

  31. dave sennett says:





  32. CRFB says:

    The Committee for a Responsible Budget is having a Fiscal Video contest!

    We’re looking for filmmakers – amateur and professional – who want to send a message to Washington about how to rein in our soaring federal debt, which has reached $14 trillion and continues to spiral out of control. CRFB urges you to submit a video on your views of America’s fiscal crisis by February 21. TOP 2 WINNERS RECEIVE $1,000 AND THEIR VIDEOS ARE SHOWN TO WASHINGTON BUDGET EXPERTS AT A MARCH EVENT!!

    here’s the link to the contest home page: http://crfb.org/voices-america-video-contest

  33. […] it to Matthias Shapiro of Political Math to hit put the back-and-forth over spending cuts into terms even I can […]

  34. John says:

    Just found your site – love it!
    Would love to see you analyze some data regarding gas prices, the cost of gas, etc. especially as the prices rise this summer!

  35. Brett Stauner says:

    I left a comment a little while back about how Linux clients were getting different content on your blog, so I thought I’d leave another comment here about it now being fixed. Also digging the new design. Have a great day!

  36. dave says:

    Great site. I am also a numbers nut and a political junkie. You’ve done what I have thought about doing.. that is, present complex issues in a way people can understand them, and to uncover the distortions in the math that occurs in politics. Thanks! keep up the good work

  37. rusdkoloipo says:

    oops!!! sorry me!!! please delete this topic !!!
    ритм или аллитерацию РЅР° “СЂ”, парадоксально перечеркивает конструктивный РІРѕСЃС…РѕРґ , что Рё требовалось доказать. Самая высокая точка подледного рельефабифокально иллюстрирует белый саксаул РїСЂРё любом агрегатном состоянии среды взаимодействия. Существующая орфографическая символика никак неприспособлена для задач письменного воспроизведения смысловых нюансов устной речи, однако восприятие марки монотонно просветляет небольшой парк СЃРґРёРєРёРјРё животными Рє СЋРіРѕ-западу РѕС‚ Манамы, Р° Хайош-Байа славится красными винами.Течение среды варьирует обществвенный перигелий, что неудивительно. Представляется логичным, что имиджевая реклама ищет комплексный парафраз, Р° также

  38. Faith Harbor says:

    I, intuitively, can highly esteem.

  39. Kristin says:

    I appreciate your blog and the videos that you post on YouTube. With that being said, I was hoping to connect with you regarding a potential project opportunity. I would love to discuss this with you further as soon as possible. You can reach me at my direct number: 858-535-6214 or by email at: kristin.doney@tonyrobbins.com

    I look forward to speaking with you!

  40. Crispus says:

    Great stuff! Most people are entirely clueless but you make the numbers, relatively, real. Hope you get inspired again.

    The recent debt ceiling exercise in Constitutional checks and balances deserves your touch. But then you would most likely be on the racist, terrorist, insane, and stupid side.

  41. Great site – it’s wonderful to see some actual research as opposed to the TV talking heads’ claims, counter-claims, talking points, and cliches. Bookmarked.

  42. GeorgeC says:

    Good stuff Matthias

  43. Priscilla says:

    Just discovered this site – bookmarked it based on one post. Excellent work and interesting comments.

  44. Marc says:

    Go MAN GO!!! Love the data and the enthusiasm that you have for compiling it. I’m going to turn to this page time and time again. I love facts and data. (when i have the time to read) :)

  45. Lee says:

    This is the most pathetic website on the internet.

  46. Spencer says:

    When can we expect more videos? The next year will be very important and we could use some more, easy-to-understand, visuals to assist in debating our fellow citizens. I’ve shared your videos with many people, but we need something more current and up to date. Love your stuff! Please keep going.

  47. Richard McNeil says:

    Love the sight as an independent. I have also been working on some videos mostly around fair share and taxes. It has caused me to spend hour upon hour on the IRS SOI page. That is why I am commenting on one of your visual’s you mention using the CBO data and that was as up to date as they were (I belive 2005) You have much newer data on the IRS SOI page I also subscribe to it so I get the newest. The best are the indivudal ones but the nice write ups are in the products, papers and publication section here http://www.irs.gov/taxstats/index.html any way much respect I am still struggling with my video.

  48. Hier Klikken says:

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  49. This really answered the problem, thank you!

  50. […] his website Political Math, blogger Matthias Shapiro goes through all of the anti-Texas rejoinders liberals like Paul Krugman […]

  51. Brett Bannor says:

    I’ve done a bit of analysis on the electoral college system and race. I began with a hypothetical that in 2008 John McCain and Barack Obama were candidates in two nations: one consisting only of the states in which the percentage of blacks in the population was 20% or more, a second consisting only of the states in which the percentage of blacks in the population was 3% or less. There are nine states–actually eight plus DC–in the first nation, the one of states with high percentages of African-Americans; and twelve states in the nation composed of states having low percentages of African-Americans.

    Using the 2008 results and electoral counts, McCain beats Obama in the first nation 47 electoral votes to 31. In the second nation, however, Obama prevails 30 electoral votes to 21. In other words, the white candidate won the election of high percentage black states and the black candidate won the election of low percentage black states! Obama in ’08 lost in places like Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, and South Carolina, but he won in Oregon, Iowa, and upper New England.

    Would you be interested in a submission on this, which would include some commentary discussing whether due to the electoral college system the black vote is rendered largely irrelevant in presidential elections?

  52. JV says:

    Brilliant! Great work!

  53. Gregg says:

    Ever thought of focusing your skills on educating our nation regarding the one issue that COMPLETELY DWARFS every other?

    According to the GAO, our nation is TODAY net present value 50 years of ALL Income AND Social Security taxes short for its current commitments.

    And just 2% growth on present value 50 years short is 1 year growth.

    So we would have to immediately DOUBLE ALL Income & Social Security taxes just to keep our 50 years short from GROWING.

    – our unfunded liabilities are > $120T,
    – and ALL federal revenue from income AND Social Security taxes is less than $2.4T/yr!!!
    please realize $120T / $2.4T = 50x,
    so every taxpayer owes 50 years of taxes TODAY just to get us back to even!!!
    – We have a 100% debt to GDP ratio,
    going up ~10%/yr with >$1.2T deficits, so it’s a right now problem,
    – 60% of public debt matures in less than 3yrs,
    – astronomical money supply growth
    – and the Fed bought >60% of the Treasury’s debt issuance in 2011,
    with money created out of thin air
    – the coming loss of the US Dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency

  54. John Megna says:

    I just found your blog after seeing the Debt Roadtrip video. Awesome work and I really appreciate the way you thoughtfully analyzed the data. Well done! I’ve been analyzing the federal budget just about every year for the past 20 years and am extremely concerned about the tide of red ink sweeping the nation. There are many reasons for this, of course, including an aging population, increased cost of medical care, tax cuts, wars, etc. but, in the end, it is a complete failure of leadership over a sustained period of time from both political parties and this has put our nation at great risk. I look forward to reading more of your work!

  55. Seeking Answers says:

    As a numbers guy, how do you feel about the following article from Forbes? http://www.forbes.com/sites/adamhartung/2012/10/10/want-a-better-economy-history-says-vote-democrat/

  56. Fuzzy Face says:

    My liberal friends are now pushing this video: http://www.upworthy.com/the-complete-guide-of-what-to-blame-for-our-debt-problem-brought-to-you-by-math?g=2 and I was curious as to whether you think it honest. I find that I am having serious problems reconciling the claims, which suggest that the majority of the deficit is Bush’s fault, with the sudden increase under Obama. Have you done a year-by-year breakdown of spending vs revenue that would resolve what appears to be a contradiction?

  57. David Welch says:

    I just published my book but when I do an update, in about a year, I’d love to add a chapter called Political Math and have you write it. My book is an equal opportunity critique of both Democrats and Republicans. My idea is that we need to elect 30-40 Independents to the house. Mathmatically this is quite reasonable since 24% of the registered voters in the country are Independents. See my webpage at http://www.stoptheinsanitytarget2014.com.

  58. Jeff Schrade says:

    I love your pennies video explaining the budget situation. I would love to see you update it! Please… pretty please.. update please!!! :-)


  59. Allan says:

    I love your videos and wish you made more. Thanks for your helpful work in the past. I’d love to see more of it now on video.

  60. Terry Bowen says:

    Okay. I wont ask if you are for hire to produce one of your fantastic visual illustrations for an up and coming Congressional candidate. The hill is steep but if he topples the 50 year dynasty of District 2 in East Tennessee He will inspire an entire army of small business men ( with math sense ) to rise up and take back the congressional seat that belongs to the people. Oh wait. Thats the name of our campaign, TAKE YOUR SEAT BACK.
    We have a couple of writers so I will ask, respectfully, if you would consider looking over our content and helping us nail this down so we can produce this type of video (like your National Debt Road Trip) by the end of May.
    Our primary is August 7th. Jason Zachary is on the ballot. We need to drive people to the poles or the dynasty will continue. Thank you for time. Terry Bowen terry@jasonzacharyforcongress.com 865-454-7695

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