Some Quotes and Stats

A few quotes and stats that I came across during the past week and found interesting…

The other 12%?  According to the Americans for Secure Retirement, 88% of surveyed Americans said that they are concerned about their ability to maintain a comfortable standard of living throughout their retirement years.  One year ago, the number was 73%.

Unfunded liabilities.  Actuarial firm Milliman Inc. says that traditional defined benefit pension plans are only 72.8% funded.  This is the second worst quarterly result in their index’s 11 year history.

 Democrats on the hot seat.   In the 2012 elections, there will be 33 Senate seats up for grabs.  Democrats control 23 of them and Republicans only 10.

 Romney – so close, yet so far.  A recent Iowa poll showed Romney trailing Cain 23% to 22%.  But, here’s the more interesting number…in the survey, they asked respondents if they were likely to participate in the caucus.  Of those respondents who definitely intend to caucus (38 percent of those polled), Romney is the first choice of only 10 percent of them. Cain has 27% of this group’s vote.  This probably makes sense – the more conservative Republicans are more likely to caucus and they don’t like Romney.

We hate everyone.  Former Republican Senator Pete Domenici, said lawmakers who refuse to consider tax increases, as well as those who rule out cutting safety-net programs, “are both complicit in letting America destroy itself.”

A few great quotes from Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher. (Here’s the link  to the speech.)

1. I am going to do just that: I am going to suggest that our nation has a crying need for public leadership to correct what is wrong with our economy; that the Federal Reserve has provided the leadership required of it; that monetary policy cannot do it alone and must be complemented by responsible fiscal policy—policy that is exclusively the responsibility of those whom we elect to represent us in Washington; that rather than posturing for political expediency and positioning for victory at the polls in November 2012, our nation’s political leaders need to actually “buy a ticket” and put themselves at risk, right now and without delay. Each passing day they fail to do so further jeopardizes our economic stability and our nation’s future.

 2. The parties involved must stop the hemorrhaging without inducing cardiac arrest; they must solve the long-run debt and deficit problem without, in the short run, pushing the economy back into recession, creating still more unemployment. And they not only must confront their addiction to debt and spending beyond their means, but also reorganize the tax system, redirect the money they spend and rewrite the regulations they create so as to be competitive in a world that wants to beat us at our own game.

 3. I personally don’t care which party is in the White House or controls Congress. All I know is that the “honorable” members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, have conspired over time, however unwittingly, to drive fiscal policy into the ditch. They purchased their elections and reelections with popular programs so poorly funded that they now threaten the economic well-being of our children and our children’s children. Instead of passing the torch on to the successor generation of Americans, the Congress is simply passing them the bill. This is the opposite of honorable, and it must stop.

What I’m thinking about.  Finally, as we head to the weekend, one final quote from me…ROLL TIDE!!!

Seven Billion!

There was a really interesting op-ed piece published in The NY Times about ten days ago.  It was written by Joel E. Cohen, a mathematical biologist who heads the Laboratory of Populations at Rockefeller University and Columbia University.  The piece was titled, “Seven Billion.” 

Here are some of the really interesting numbers.

The UN estimates that our world population reached seven billion at the end of October.

Our world population has doubled in the past 50 years.  We had three billion in 1959, four billion in 1974, five billion in 1987 and six billion in 1998.

 The UN anticipates 8 billion people by 2025, 9 billion by 2043 and 10 billion by 2083.  India will have more people than China shortly after 2020.  Before 2040, sub-Saharan Africa will have more people than India.

 In 1950, there were nearly three times as many Europeans as sub-Saharan Africans.  By 2010, there were 16% more sub-Saharan Africans than Europeans.  By 2100, there will be nearly five sub-Saharan Africans for every European.

 Life expectancy is now 70.  The average number of children per woman fell worldwide to 2.5.  It was five in 1950.  The world’s population is growing at 1.1% per year, half the peak rate in the 1960s.

 In 1950, for each person 65 and older, there were more than six children under 15.  By 2070, elderly people will outnumber children under 15 and there will be only three people of working age (15 to 64) for every two people under 15 or 65 and older.  We will have intense pressure to extend the working age beyond 65.

 Nearly half the world lives on $2 per day or less.  In China, the figure is 36%; in India it’s 76%.

 Approximately 850 million to 925 million people experience food insecurity or chronic undernourishment.  In much of Africa and South Asia, more than half the children are stunted (low height for their age) as a result of chronic hunger.

 The world produced 2.3 billion metric tons of cereal grains in 2009-10.  This is enough calories to sustain nine to eleven billion people.  BUT…only 46% of the grain went into human mouths.  Domestic animals got 34% of the crop and 19% went to industrial uses like biofuels, starches and plastics.

 Human demands on the earth have grown enormously.  (Unfortunately, the atmosphere, the oceans and the continents have stayed the same size.)  Already, more than a billion people live without an adequate, renewable supply of fresh water.

About two-thirds of freshwater is used for agriculture.

We’re going to see huge shifts in the geopolitical balance of numbers, further declines in the number of children per woman, smaller but more numerous households, an increasingly elderly population, and growing and more numerous cities.

 Growth in households can be even more important than pure population growth.  Each household has energy demands.