Do politicians owe us their time?

So many political debates are about who is getting what and at whose expense. Last week, a change in charges on government-insured mortgages went viral. Buyers with high credit scores were scheduled to pay more in fees and those with poor credit scores pay less. Even if the most qualified buyer paid less overall, it felt like a redistribution from those who have played by the rules to those who haven’t.

Some issues are not financial but legal. Abortion became a pivotal issue in the last election and Minnesota politicians addressed revisions to state laws in the first round of their term’s decision-making. But how many people are affected by this issue? Here is some data from the CDC.

In 2020, 620,327 legal induced abortions were reported to CDC from 49 reporting areas. Among 48 reporting areas with data each year during 2011–2020, in 2020, a total of 615,911 abortions were reported, the abortion rate was 11.2 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years, and the abortion ratio was 198 abortions per 1,000 live births.

From 2019 to 2020, the number of abortions decreased 2%, the abortion rate decreased 2%, and the abortion ratio increased 2%. From 2011 to 2020, the number, rate, and ratio of reported abortions decreased 15%, 18%, and 9%, respectively.


The percent of women between the ages of 15-44 who choose this action is 1.14%. What is that, roughly .23% of the total state population? I realize this is a galvanizing issue for a core group of voters, but how much time should be spent on a (very) small group of constituents?

When politicians work to provide goods and services to one group they are using their publicness to transfer assets (including rights) to small constituencies who then privatize those benefits. This is a good thing when it is balanced. Is it out in right field that the total number of hours worked in a state capital building shuffling out resources in some way should square with the demands, to different degrees, of the whole? There is a publicness and privateness to every action a legislature enacts. Parsing out who, what and time frames is the trickier part.

It seems like AI would be ideal at keeping track. It’s a counting function’s dream to scan through texts and pull and sort by topics. The harder part will be to determine the first, second and teriary impacts. But nothing can be worse than the reactionary, cater to the loudest-activist, system of legislation that seems so popular today.