Errors abandoned

Who was first to benefit from a presidential pardon? The right of the president to issue pardons was written into the US Constitution from the beginning, and was first exercised by George Washington in 1795. The beneficiaries were Philip Wigle and John Mitchell, who were among 24 men tried in federal court for treason for their part in the Whiskey Rebellion, a protest lasting from 1791 to 1794 against a federal tax on whiskey. Wigle had been convicted of attacking a tax collector and setting fire to his house, while Mitchell had robbed the mail. Washington pardoned the men with the words ‘the misled have abandoned their errors’. The tax itself was later abolished by Thomas Jefferson.

Big spenders

Which countries have the highest government debt, relative to GDP?

Japan Debt is 237% of GDP
Venezuela 214%
Sudan 178%
Greece 174%
Lebanon 157%
Italy 133%
US is 13th, with debt of 107% of GDP, just after Singapore (109%).
Source: UN/IMF

Death us do part

Which countries have the highest life expectancy?

Hong Kong 85.3
Japan 85.0
Switzerland 84.3
Singapore 84.1
Italy 84.1
Spain 84
Australia 83.9
The US is 46th, at 79.1.


Carbon captured

The US is often accused of having the highest carbon emissions in the world. In fact, in terms of emissions per capita it rates as joint 12th out of 206 countries on the World Bank’s list. These are the countries that emit more per annum.

Qatar 38.9 metric tons per capita
Curacao 33.8
Trinidad and Tobago 31.8
Kuwait 25.0
Bahrain 22.2
UAE 22.0
Sint Maarten 19.5
New Caledonia 19.3
Gibraltar 18.8
Brunei 18.3
Saudi Arabia 17.4
US, Australia 15.5

This article was originally published in The Spectator’s January 2021 US edition.