Interesting Facts & Figures

This issue, I'd like to simply put some facts before you and let you decide what context they should be taken in regarding the current American climate. Ready? Put on your thinking caps.

1) The Rand Corp., a California think tank, issued a report that shows that preventive measures are more cost effective than new sentencing laws (three-strikes, etc.). They found that the three-strikes law averts about 63 crimes per $1 million dollars spent over thirty years while graduation incentives avert 258. (U.S. News & World Report, July 1, 1996, pg. 10)

2) Estimated annual increase in prison costs for California under "Three Strikes" law: $5.5 billion. (Time, July 1,1996, pg. 54) Percent of "Three Strikes" offenders sentenced for non-violent crimes: 80%. (LA Times, July 1, 1996, pg. A3) Number of children refused admission to community colleges, Cal State and UC campuses in 1995 due to insufficient classroom space: 250,000. Estimated number in 2005: 500,000. (LA Times, June 25, 1996, pg. B7)

3) Political party that wrote and pushed "Three Strikes" law: Republican. Political affiliation of California's Supreme Court that struck down portions of law on June 20, 1996 : Democrats - 1. Republicans - 6. (Time, July 1, 1996, pg. 54)

4) Bob Dole, presumptive GOP presidential candidate, on tobacco, "We know it's not good for kids. But a lot of other things aren't good. Drinking's not good. Some would say milk's not good." (Campaign contributions from tobacco companies to the GOP in "soft money" in 1995? $975,149 from Philip Morris Co. $696,450 from RJR Nabisco. $265,000 from Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. $2.4 million, in total, to all Republicans. [Quote - U.S. News & World Report, July 1, 1996, pg. 23. Contributions - Time, June 24, 1996, pg. 26]).

5) Number of yearly deaths directly attributable to tobacco use in U.S.: 500,000. (LA Times, Aug.29, 1995, pg. B9)
Number of yearly deaths attributable to passive (second-hand) smoke in America: about 53,000. (Coalition on Smoking OR Health)
Number of deaths directly attributable to alcohol abuse: 100,000. Number of deaths yearly related to alcohol (vehicular accidents, etc.): 100,000. (National Council on Alcoholism)
Deaths yearly directly attributable to drinking milk: zero. (Multiple searches of various web sites and other various resources)

6) Between 1968 and 1994, the richest 20% of American households saw their average yearly inflation-adjusted salaries grow by an amazing 44% to $105,945. The poorest 20% saw theirs climb a miserable 8% to $7,762. Between 1992 and 1994, the richest 5% saw their average incomes soar 14%. (U.S. News & World Report, July 1, 1996, pg. 15)

7) Business Week's executive pay report shows that in 1995, average C.E.O. compensation jumped 30% to $3.75 million ($72,000 a week). (Z Magazine, June 1996, pg. 35)

8) 47% of top executives and 76% of graduate level business students say they would commit fraud by understating their firm's write-offs against profits, especially if the fraud were linked to a possible job promotion. (U.S. News & World Report, June 17, 1996, pg. 64)

9) Graduation commencement speaker at Southampton College in New York? A sock with a hand in it , aka Kermit the Frog, a Sesame Street character. (U.S. News & World Report, June 3, 1996, pg. 22)

There you are, gentle readers. Just some facts and figures from here and there. See any connections to today's problems? Is it possible that the direction our country's so-called leaders are taking us is wrong to the extreme?

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