[FoRK] Fool’s school: Startling economic numbers

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Sat Aug 18 19:46:59 PDT 2012

Published in many papers, but not searchable on the actual fool.com site...

> At fool.com, Morgan Housel recently shared some “mind-blowing” economic facts. Here are a few; see if any surprise you:
> • The unemployment rate for men is 8.4 percent. For married men, it’s 4.9 percent. Meanwhile, it’s 3.9 percent for college 
> graduates and 13 percent for high-school dropouts. Lesson: Education pays.
> • America is home to less than 5 percent of the world’s population, but nearly a quarter of its prisoners.
> • As a percentage of GDP, government spending was higher in 1983 under President Ronald Reagan than it will be this fiscal 
> year (23.5 percent vs. 23.3 percent, respectively), the Tax Policy Center says.
> • The International Energy Agency says that governments around the globe spent $409 billion on fossil-fuel-industry subsidies 
> in 2010. That’s nearly double the annual GDP of Ireland.
> • Five years ago, coal provided about half the nation’s electricity. Today, it’s about one-third. Natural gas’ share during 
> that time rose from 21 percent to 30 percent, the Energy Information Agency says.
> • According to research by Demos, the average American couple will pay $155,000 in 401(k) fees over their careers. That 
> reduces the average account size by about a third.
> • This one might hit home the hardest: The median American family’s net worth fell to $77,300 in 2010 from $126,400 in 2007, 
> according to the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finance. That erased nearly two decades of accumulated wealth.

This is the era of creative rationalizations:


      Economic Facts that Aren't

> This is one of those curious, crayon-pancakehouse-paper-placemat calculations. They take total tax receipts, and calculate it 
> as a % of the GDP. By this measure, yes, US taxes are at historic lows; however, this ignores the math that unemployed adults 
> are not paying payroll or income tax, therefore reducing tax receipts.


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