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Twenty Questions

1. In 1968 the minimum wage was $1.60 per hour. How much would the minimum wage be today if it had kept pace with inflation?

2. In 1965, CEOs in major companies made 24 times more than the average worker. In 2003, CEOs earned how many times more than the average worker?

3. The US is composed of 3,066 counties. In how many of the nation’s 3,066 counties can someone who works full-time and earns the federal minimum wage afford to pay rent and utilities on a one-bedroom apartment?

4. How much must the typical US worker must earn per hour hour if they dedicate 30% of their income to housing costs.

5. How many million workers in the US earn poverty-level wages of less than $8.20 an hour?

6. What are Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota and Tennessee?

7. What are Delaware, Hawaii, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia?

8. In 2001, the average financial wealth for black householders was about what % of the average for white households?

9. The median financial wealth for blacks is how much of the corresponding figure for whites?

10. Over the entire 28 year history of the Berlin Wall, 287 people perished trying to cross it. In the ten years since the Clinton administration implemented the current U.S. border strategy with Mexico, how many people have died trying to cross?

11. Where does the US rank worldwide in the imprisonment of its citizens?

12. In 2004, the direct reported US military budget was how much for each second of the year?

13. In 2003, the US military budget was how many times larger than the Chinese budget, the second largest spender?

14. In 2003, the US military budget was how many times as large as the combined spending of the seven so-called “rogue” states (Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria)?

15. The difference in income per head between the richest nation and the poorest nation in 1750 was about 5 to 1. Today the difference between the richest nation and the poorest nation is what?

16. Of the 6.2 billion people in the world today, how many live on less than $1 per day, and how many live on less than $2 per day?

17. The richest 1% in the world receive as much income as what percentage of the poorest?

18. The Congress under President Bush has been more generous in helping poor countries than under President Clinton. In 2003, the US increased official development assistance to poor countries by one-fifth. Where does the US contribution rank in the top 22 countries in proportion to our economy?

19. Americans give how much per day in government assistance to poor countries?

20. Americans spend how much on soft drinks each day?

 

ANSWERS

1. The minimum wage would be $8.70 today if it had kept pace with inflation. Brennan Center, NYU Law School, November 3, 2004.

2. In 1965, CEOs in major companies made 24 times more than the average worker. In 2003, CEOs earned 185 times more than the average worker. “Wages” in State of Working America 2004-2005, Economic Policy Institute, www.epinet.org

3. In four of the nation’s 3,066 counties can someone who works full-time and earns the federal minimum wage afford to pay rent and utilities on a one-bedroom apartment. New York Times, “Study Finds Gap in Wages and Housing Costs,” December 25, 2004.

4. In fact, the typical US worker must earn $15.37 an hour if they dedicate 30% of their income to housing costs. New York Times, “Study Finds Gap in Wages and Housing Costs,” December 24, 2004.

5. How many people in the US earn poverty-level wages of less than $8.20 an hour? More than 30 million workers. William Quigley, ENDING POVERTY AS WE KNOW IT: Guaranteeing A Right to A Job at a Living Wage, 24 (Temple 2003).

6. What are Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota and Tennessee? The total population of these states represents the number of people in the US living below the official poverty line. William Quigley, ENDING POVERTY AS WE KNOW IT: Guaranteeing A Right to A Job at a Living Wage, 23-24 (Temple 2003).

7. What are Delaware, Hawaii, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia? The total populations of these state populations must be added to the states above if you count all the people below 125% of the official poverty line, a total of 22 states. William Quigley, ENDING POVERTY AS WE KNOW IT: Guaranteeing A Right to A Job at a Living Wage, 23-24 (Temple 2003).

8. In 2001, the average financial wealth for black householders was about 12% of the average for white households. “Minorities,” in State of Working America 2004-2005, Economic Policy Institute, www.epinet.org

9. The median financial wealth for blacks was $1,100, less than 3% of the corresponding figure for whites. “Minorities,” in State of Working America 2004-2005, Economic Policy Institute, www.epinet.org

10. Over the entire 28 year history of the Berlin Wall, 287 people perished trying to cross it. In the ten years since the Clinton administration implemented the current U.S. border strategy with Mexico, more than 2,500 people have died trying to cross. Wayne Cornelius, director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at UC San Diego. Marc Cooper, “On the Border of Hypocrisy,” December 5, 2003, LA Weekly.

11. Where does the US rank worldwide in the imprisonment of its citizens? First. The US imprisons over 700 persons per 100,000. Russia is second with 584. Sentencing Project, Facts About Prisons and Prisoners. www.sentencingproject.org

12. In 2004, the direct reported US military budget was over $399 billion, $12,000 a second. www.globalissues.org

13. In 2003, the US military budget was more than 8 times larger than the Chinese budget, the second largest spender. www.globalissues.org

14. The US military budget was more than 29 times as large as the combined spending of the seven “rogue” states (Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria). Even if you add China and Russiaís military spending to that of the seven potential enemies, all nine nations together spent $116.2 billion, 27% of the U.S. military budget. The US military budget is more than the combined spending of the next twenty three nations. www.globalissues.org

15. The difference in income per head between the richest nation and the poorest nation in 1750 was about 5 to 1. Today the difference between the richest nation, Switzerland, and the poorest nation, Mozambique, is about 400 to 1. (David S. Landes, THE WEALTH AND POVERTY OF NATIONS, xx, W.W. Norton 1998).

16. Of the 6.2 billion people in the world today, 1.2 billion live on less than $1 per day, 2.8 billion live on less than $2 per day. 2002 UN Human Development Report.

17. The richest 1% in the world receive as much income as the poorest 57%. 2002 UN Human Development Report.

18. The Congress under President Bush has been more generous in helping poor countries than under President Clinton. In 2003, the US increased official development assistance to poor countries by one-fifth. Where does the US contribution rank in the top 22 countries in proportion to our economy? Last. Nicholas D. Kristof, “Land of Penny Pinchers,” New York Times, January 5, 2005.

19. Americans on average give how much per day in government assistance to poor countries? 15 cents. Nicholas D. Kristof, “Land of Penny Pinchers,” New York Times, January 5, 2005.

20. Americans spend how much on soft drinks each day? 60 cents. Nicholas D. Kristof, “Land of Penny Pinchers,” New York Times, January 5, 2005.

“I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing” oriented society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered. A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies.” Martin Luther King, Jr., “A Time to Break Silence,” April 4, 1967.

BILL QUIGLEY is a law professor at Loyola University New Orleans. He can be reached at quigley@loyno.edu

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Bill Quigley teaches law at Loyola University New Orleans and can be reached at quigley77@gmail.com.

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