The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Chuck Schumer’s graph of the year

Time has its "Person of the Year." Amazon has its books of the year. Pretty Much Amazing has its mixtapes of the year. Buzzfeed has its insane-stories-from-Florida of the year. And Wonkblog, of course, has its graphs of the year. For 2013, we asked some of the year's most interesting, important and influential thinkers to name their favorite graph of the year — and why they chose it. Here's Sen. Chuck Schumer's.

The single greatest problem facing America today is not the deficit, but rather the decline in middle-class incomes. For the first time in our history, middle-class incomes are on a steady and troubling path downward. That trend has turned American politics upside down as middle-class families struggle to pay the bills, their mortgage, and put enough away for a decent retirement.

The income gap this chart represents is not sustainable. There is nothing wrong with being wealthy, but if we don’t pursue policies that advance economic opportunity for the middle-class, this country will change for the worse. We need to focus like a laser on the light blue line in this chart, and get it heading upwards again.

-- U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer

See all the graphs of 2013 here, including entries from Jonathan Franzen, Bill Gates, Sen. Patty Murray, and Ta-Nehisi Coates.