Roughly three out of every five individuals nationally are not making any progress paying down the principal balance of their student loans three years after they leave school (the numbers improve a bit in later years, but are still strikingly high). And because student loans are usually not dischargeable in bankruptcy, this particular form of debt can follow people for the rest of their lives, even resulting in the garnishment of Social Security checks.

All administrations set enforcement priorities. Should the Justice Department focus on white-collar criminals or old-school mobsters? Should the Securities and Exchange Commission go after penny-stock scammers or hedge fund billionaires? How aggressively should agencies pursue tax cheats, polluters or minimum-wage violators? Somewhat paradoxically, enforcement power is a particularly potent tool for a president such as Trump who wants the government to do less rather than more

More than 61 percent of voters cast ballots in counties that gave either Clinton or Trump at least 60 percent of the major-party vote last November. That’s up from 50 percent of voters who lived in such counties in 2012 and 39 percent in 1992 — an accelerating trend that confirms that America’s political fabric, geographically, is tearing apart.

Traditional Northern and Midwestern swing states like Pennsylvania and Ohio are likely to lose electoral votes and congressional seats, while states like Texas and Arizona — which aren’t swing states now but are becoming more competitive — are likely to gain them. Florida, which is already among the swingiest swing states, will also likely gain seats. That means Trump’s strategy of appealing to Rust Belt voters could be less successful in future races.

Cities and states across the country have raised their wage floors, in some cases to $10 an hour or more. But even in states that have raised their minimum wages, tipped workers are often still stuck earning $2 or $3 an hour. Nebraska, for example, last year raised its minimum wage to $9 an hour while leaving the tipped wage at the federal minimum of $2.13. The gap is even wider in Massachusetts, where the minimum wage is $11 an hour and the tipped wage is only $3.75.

the Times is a good place to look for where coverage went wrong. Few major news organizations conveyed more confidence in Clinton’s chances... (At one point, the Times actually referred to Clinton’s “administration-in-waiting”). Articles commissioned by the Times’s political desk regularly asserted that the Electoral College was a strength for Clinton, when in fact it was a weakness ... And the Times, like the Clinton campaign, largely ignored Michigan and Wisconsin.

In 2015, New Orleans spent roughly $6.4 million detaining people who were jailed only because they couldn’t pay bills imposed upon them by the city’s criminal-justice system, according to the report...by the Vera Institute of Justice, which advocates for reducing incarceration rates. The city collected just $4.5 million from criminal defendants, most of whom are black and many of whom are poor. So the system cost the city a net total of $1.9 million — about 0.3 percent of its overall budget.

Registered voters who identified as Democrats and independents were more likely than Republicans to stay home ... The biggest reason given by non-voters for staying home was that they didn’t like the candidates ... Trump was able to win, in large part, because voters who disliked both candidates favored him in big numbers... Clinton, apparently, couldn’t get those who disliked both candidates — and who may have been more favorably disposed to her candidacy — to turn out and vote.

The rate of death from cardiovascular disease has gone down all over the country in the last 35 years. It has decreased less, however, in the areas that already had the highest death rates for cardiovascular disease...the lower Mississippi River and the heart of Appalachia ... While deaths from cancer have decreased in southern Florida, the California coast and parts of New England by as much as 58 percent since 1980, they have increased in Kentucky and the western side of West Virginia.

the changes in Obama’s approval ratings and Clinton’s performance mostly went hand-in-hand. Obama’s relative approval rating dropped a point or more in 25 states, while it rose a point or more in only 12 states ... Democratic support was becoming deeper but more narrow before the 2016 general election really got underway ... Clinton’s problems reflected the electoral drawbacks of the evolving Democratic coalition at least as much as her own inabilities as a candidate.