The 20 Most Devastating Stats of 2012 In Quotes

| December 26 2012
Christopher Cook

These stats will give you a chill, even if you live in relatively balmy southern Arizona.

20) As baby boomers retire and health costs rise, this spending will mount. In 2010, there were 40 million Americans 65 and older. By 2020, that number is projected to be 55 million; by 2030, 72 million. — Robert Samuelson

19) A college degree used to mean that a person would add on average $1 million to their income over their lifetime. Today a college degree only guarantees an average $300,000 in added income over a lifetime. — Ron Meyer

18) J.P. Morgan estimates that American companies currently hold a cool $1.7 trillion in profits outside the U.S. They keep them there because if they brought them home, they’d be taxed at 35%. — The Wall Street Journal

17) Federal spending under Obama has been 24 percent to 25 percent of gross domestic product. Even in World War II, revenues never reached that level. Since that war, the highest level was 20.6 percent of GDP in 2000, when the government was flush with tax revenues from the capital gains of dot-com founders. — Michael Barone

16) Surging above $1 trillion, U.S. student loan debt has surpassed credit card and auto-loan debt. This debt explosion jeopardizes the fragile recovery, increases the burden on taxpayers and possibly sets the stage for a new economic crisis. — APNews

15) In 1960, the percentage of the economically active 18-to-64 population receiving disability benefits was 0.65%. In 2010, it was 5.6%. — Michael Barone

14) State and local property tax collections (blue line in the graph below) have risen by 10%, from $400 billion to $440 billion, since 2008, even though the price of homes in most American markets (red line) has fallen by 30% since 2008. Your house is worth less and your property taxes have gone up. Most of the $440 billion in property taxes is paid by homeowners. That compares with the $380 billion a year or so that homeowners pay on the $10 trillion in outstanding home mortgage debt. Homeowners now pay roughly as much in property taxes as in mortgages interest. It used to be a quarter to a third as much. No wonder home prices remain depressed. — Spengler

13) Between 1992 and 2008, the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded rose almost 50 percent, from around 1.1 million to more than 1.6 million. According to Vedder, 60 percent of those additional students ended up in jobs that have not historically required a degree—waitress, electrician, secretary, mail carrier. — Megan McCardle

12) The growth of entitlement payments over the past half-century has been breathtaking. In 1960, U.S. government transfers to individuals totaled about $24 billion in current dollars, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. By 2010 that total was almost 100 times as large. Even after adjusting for inflation and population growth, entitlement transfers to individuals have grown 727% over the past half-century, rising at an average rate of about 4% a year. In 2010 alone, government at all levels oversaw a transfer of over $2.2 trillion in money, goods and services. The burden of these entitlements came to slightly more than $7,200 for every person in America. Scaled against a notional family of four, the average entitlements burden for that year alone approached $29,000. — Heather Ginsberg

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