A Social Justice Quiz

by BILL QUIGLEY and SAM SCHMITT

Question One.  The combined pay of the 299 highest paid CEOs in the US is enough to support how many median salary jobs?

45,000?  83,000?  102,325?

Two.  The median net worth of black households in the US is $2,200.  What is the median net worth of white households in the US?

$4,400?  $44,000?  $97,000?

Three. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development issues a national survey every year listing fair market rents for every county in the US.  HUD also suggests renters should pay no more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs.   In how many of the USA’s 3068 counties can someone who works full-time and earns the federal minimum wage pay 30% of their income and find a one-bedroom apartment at the fair market rental amount?

19?  368?  1974?

Four.  How much must the typical U.S. worker earn per hour to rent a two-bedroom apartment if that worker dedicates thirty percent of his income, as HUD suggests, to rent and utilities?

$9.39? $14.63?  $18.46?

Five.  The wealthiest 1 percent of the US has a net worth which is how many times greater than the median or typical household’s net worth?

50?  150?  225?

Six.  Which of these countries puts the highest percentage of their people in jails and prisons?

China? Iran?  Iraq?  Germany?  Russia? USA?

Seven.  In 2012, the US will pay out about $620 million for old age Social Security benefits to 45 million families.  How much is budgeted for military spending by the US in 2012?

$310 billion?  $620 billion?  $836 billion?

Eight.  The US is number one in the world in military spending.  How much more does the US spend compared to the top 15 countries in the world in military spending?

More than any 2 other countries combined?  More than any 5 other countries combined?  More than all the rest of the 15 top military spending countries combined?

Nine.  How many people in the world live on less than $1.25 a day?

150 million?  500 million?  Over 1 billion?

Ten.  How many people in the world live without electricity?

500 million?  One billion?  One and half billion?

Eleven.  The US government donates over $30 billion a year in official development assistance (foreign aid) to poor countries.  Where does that rank the US government in percentage of giving among the richest 23 countries?

First?  Tenth? Nineteenth?

Twelve.  The US government donates over $30 billion a year to poor countries.  How much do US consumers spend on pets and pet supplies each year?

$10 billion?  $30 billion?  $67 billion?

Thirteen.  The poverty rate among children in the US is over 20 percent.  How does US compare with the rest of the 30 nations surveyed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development?

First?  Tenth?  Twenty-sixth?

Answers to Social Justice Quiz 2012:

One.  The combined pay of the top 299 CEOs is enough to support 102,325 average jobs.  Source: Corporate Paywatch.

Two.  The median net worth of white households in the US is $97,900.  Source: Economic Policy Institute.

Three.  Except for eleven counties in Illinois and another eight in Puerto Rico, there is no county in the US where a one bedroom fair market rate apartment is available to a person working full-time at the minimum wage. Source: The National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Four.  The typical worker must earn $18.46 an hour to rent a two bedroom apartment.  Source: National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Five.  In the last numbers reported, the top 1 percent had net worth 225 times greater than the median or typical household’s net worth, the highest ever recorded.   Source: Economic Policy Institute. 

Six.  The rate of incarceration per 100,000 people is: USA 730, Russian 534, Iran 334, China 122, Iraq 101, and Germany 86.  Source: International Centre for Prison Studies, University of Essex. 

Seven.  $836 billion.  Over $713 billion on military programs and another $123 for veterans affairs.  Source: US Office of Management and Budget, Fiscal Year 2012. 

Eight.  The US spends $100 billion more on our military than the next highest 15 countries combined.  More than China, UK, France, Russia, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Germany, India, Italy, Brazil, South Korea, Australia, Canada and Turkey combined.  Source: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 2011 Yearbook.

Nine.  1.4 billion people live on less than $1.25 a day.  Source: United National Development Program, Human Development Report 2010.

Ten.  One and half billion people, more than one of every five people in the world, live without electricity.  Source:  United Nations Development Program, Human Development Report 2011.

Eleven.  US government ranks 19th out of 23 countries in assistance to poor nations, giving about two-tenths of one percent of US gross national income to poor countries.  Source: Global Issues: Foreign Aid for Development Assistance.

Twelve.  US consumers spend $67 billion each year on pets, pet products and services.  Source:  US Census Bureau 2012 Statistical Abstract.

Thirteen.  The US poverty rate among children ranks the US 26th among 30 nations in the rate of poverty among children.  Source: Poverty among children.  OECD.

Bill Quigley teaches law at Loyola University New Orleans and works with the Center for Constitutional Rights. You can reach Bill at quigley77@gmmail.com

Sam Schmitt is a law student at University of Montana School of Law.  A version of this with full sources is available. 

Will Falk moved to the West Coast from Milwaukee, WI where he was a public defender.

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