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Friday, December 23, 2011

Holiday conversation starters

If this is what "recovery" looks like, let's bring back the recession:

Percentage decrease in the median U.S. household income during the “Great Recession”: 3.2

During the subsequent “recovery”: 6.7

Portion of income growth since the end of the recession that has gone to corporate profits: 9/10

Number of the 100 highest-paid American CEOs who earned more than their employers paid in taxes last year: 25

On government spending and waste:

Minimum amount the U.S. government overpaid for federal services in 2010: $26,000,000,000

Percentage by which the average contracted project costs the government more than the equivalent government-run project: 83

Percentage of Americans who disapprove of a deficit-reduction plan with no tax increases: 60

Amount of the 2009 stimulus package that the federal government has yet to spend: $127,000,000,000

Portion of unemployed people in the United States who are covered by primary unemployment insurance: 1/4

Percentage change since 2001 in applications for Social Security disability benefits: +50

Number of Americans currently receiving them: 13,600,000

Year by which the program will be unable to pay benefits, according to congressional estimates: 2018

Chances that a U.S. corporation is considering ending health benefits when federal insurance exchanges begin: 3 in 10

Welfare is only bad when it goes to people who actually need it:

Date on which Florida began requiring potential welfare recipients to pass a drug test before receiving benefits: 7/1/2011

Percentage who have failed the test: 2.5

Estimated amount this will save the state over the next year in denied benefits: $98,000

Amount that Rick Perry has received in federal farm subsidies: $72,687

Number of the top 50 donors to Perry’s gubernatorial campaigns who received an appointment to a state post: 22

(All figures from the November or December Harper's Index. Sources cited here and here.)