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Thu, Dec 6, 2012 9:24 AM EST

A core problem with economic policy is too many people find it too complicated to follow. That's in no small part because those who benefit from the status quo want as few people engaged in the debate as possible. They hide deep injustice behind jargon and bury cruel decisions about real people in opaque formulas. So below is an infographic that boils down what's truly at stake in the latest Beltway fight over how our government raises and spends money. 

Taxes are at the center of this debate, and as Imara Jones has written, fights over tax policy have long been proxies for our national debate over racial equity. "Until the country is able to tell itself the truth about taxes and race, it will continue to repeat the mistakes of the past," Imara wrote last week. "The current debate is not about who should pay and who should benefit. It is actually a simple one about justice. Unless we can admit as much, Americans will continue to be lost in sorting out economic rights from economic wrongs."

But as they say these days, a little data visualization is worth a thousand words. So here's Hatty Lee's visual rendering. Please pass it along if you find it helpful.

--Kai Wright

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