Twenty Questions: Social Justice Quiz 2008

1. How many deaths are there world-wide each year due to acts of terrorism?

2. How many deaths are there world-wide each day due to poverty and malnutrition?

3. 1n 1965, CEOs in major companies made 24 times more than the average worker. In 1980, CEOs made 40 times more than the average worker. In 2007, CEOs earned how many times more than the average worker?

4. In how many of the over 3000 cities and counties in the US can a full-time worker who earns minimum wage afford to pay rent and utilities on a one-bedroom apartment?

5. In 1968, the minimum wage was $1.65 per hour. How much would the minimum wage be today if it had kept pace with inflation since 1968?

6. True or false? People in the United States spend nearly twice as much on pet food as the US government spends on aid to help foreign countries.

7. How many people in the world live on $2 a day or less?

8. How many people in the world do not have electricity?

9. People in the US consume 42 kilograms of meat per person per year. How much meat and grain do people in India and China eat?

10. How many cars does China have for every 1000 drivers? India? The U.S.?

11. How much grain is needed to fill a SUV tank with ethanol?

12. According to the Wall Street Journal, the richest 1% of Americans earns what percent of the nation’s adjusted gross income? 5%? 10%? 15%? 20%?

13. How many people does our government say are homeless in the US on any given day?

14. What percentage of people in homeless shelters are children?

15. How many veterans are homeless on any given night?

16. The military budget of the United States in 2008 is the largest in the world at $623 billion per year. How much larger is the US military budget than that of China, the second largest in the world?

17. The US military budget is larger than how many of the countries of the rest of the world combined?

18. Over the 28 year history of the Berlin Wall, 287 people perished trying to cross it. How many people have died in the last 4 years trying to cross the border between Arizona and Mexico?

19. India is ranked second in the world in gun ownership with 4 guns per 100 people. China is third with 3 firearms per 100 people. Which country is first and how many guns do they own?

20. What country leads the world in the incarceration of its citizens?

Answers to Social Justice Quiz 2008

1. 22,000. The U.S. State Department reported there were more than 22,000 deaths from terrorism last year. Over half of those killed or injured were Muslims. Source: Voice of America, May 2, 2008. “Terrorism Deaths Rose in 2007.”

2. About 25,000 people die every day of hunger or hunger-related causes, according to the United Nations. – Hunger and World Poverty. Every day, almost 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes – one child every five seconds. Bread for the World. Hunger Facts: International.

3. Today’s average CEO from a Fortune 500 company makes 364 times an average worker’s pay and over 70 times the pay of a four-star Army general. Executive Excess 2007, page 7, jointly published by Institute for Policy Studies and United for Fair Economy, August 29, 2007. 1965 numbers from State of Working America 2004-2005, Economic Policy Institute.

4. In no city or county in the entire USA can a full-time worker who earns minimum wage afford even a one bedroom rental. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) urges renters not to pay more than 30% of their income in rent. HUD also reports the fair market rent for each of the counties and cities in the US. Nationally, in order to rent a 2 bedroom apartment, one full-time worker in 2008 must earn $17.32 per hour. In fact, 81% of renters live in cities where the Fair Market Rent for a two bedroom rental is not even affordable with two minimum wage jobs. Source: Out of Reach 2007-2008, April 7, 2008, National Low-Income Housing Coalition.

5. Calculated in real (inflation adjusted) dollars, the 1968 minimum wage would have been worth $9.83 in 2007 dollars. Andrew Tobias, January 16, 2008. The federal minimum wage is $6.55 per hour effective July 24, 2008 and $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009.

6. True. The USA spends $43.4 billion on pet food annually. Source: American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, Inc. The USA spent $23.5 billion in official foreign aid in 2006. The government of the USA gave the most of any country in the world in actual dollars. As a percentage of gross national income, the USA came in second to last among OECD donor countries and ranked number 20 at 0.18 percent behind Sweden at 1.02 percent and other countries such as Norway, Netherlands, Ireland, United Kingdom, Austria, France, Germany, Spain, Canada, New Zealand, Japan and others. This does not count private donations which, if included, may move the USA up as high as 6th. The Index of Global Philanthropy 2008, page 15, 19.

7. The World Bank reported in August 2008 that 2.6 billion people consume less than $2 a day.

8. World-wide, 1.6 billion people do not have electricity. 2.5 billion people use wood, charcoal or animal dung for cooking. United Nations Human Development Report 2007/2008, pages 44-45.

9. People in the US lead the world in meat consumption at 42 kg per person per year compared to 1.6 kg in India and 5.9 kg in China. People in the US consume five times the grain (wheat, rice, rye, barley, etc.) as people in India, three times as much as people in China, and twice as much as people in Europe. “THE BLAME GAME: Who is behind the world food price crisis,” Oakland Institute, July 2008.

10. China has 9 cars for every 1000 drivers. India has 11 cars for every 1000 drivers. The US has 1114 cars for every 1000 drivers. Iain Carson and Vijay V. Vaitheeswaran, Zoom: The Global Race to Fuel the Car of the Future (2007).

11. The grain needed to fill up a SUV tank with ethanol could feed a hungry person for a year. Lester Brown,, August 16, 2006

12. “According to the figures, the richest 1% reported 22% of the nation’s total adjusted gross income in 2006. That is up from 21.2% a year earlier, and is the highest in the 19 years that the IRS has kept strictly comparable figures. The 1988 level was 15.2%. Earlier IRS data show the last year the share of income belonging to the top 1% was at such a high level as it was in 2006 was in 1929, but changes in measuring income make a precise comparison difficult.” Jesse Drucker, “Richest Americans See Their Income Share Grow,” Wall Street Journal, July 23, 2008, page A3.

13. 754,000 are homeless. About 338,000 homeless people are not in shelters (live on the streets, in cars, or in abandoned buildings) and 415,000 are in shelters on any given night. 2007 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Annual Homeless Report to Congress, page iii and 23. The population of San Francisco is about 739,000.

14. HUD reports nearly 1 in 4 people in homeless shelters are children 17 or younger. Page iv – 2007 HUD Annual Homeless Report to Congress.

15. Over 100,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. About 18 percent of the adult homeless population is veterans. Page 32, 2007 HUD Homeless Report. This is about the same population as Green Bay Wisconsin.

16. Ten times. China’s military budget is $65 billion. The US military budget is nearly 10 times larger than the second leading military spender.

17. The US military budget of $623 billion is larger than the budgets of all the countries in the rest of the world put together. The total global military budget of the rest of the world is $500 billion. Russia’s military budget is $50 billion, South Korea’s is $21 billion, and Iran’s is $4.3 billion.

18. 1268. At least 1268 people have died along the border of Arizona and Mexico since 2004. The Arizona Daily Star keeps track of the reported deaths along the state border and reports 214 died in 2004, 241 in 2005, 216 in 2006, 237 in 2007, and 116 as of July 31, 2008. These numbers do not include the deaths along the California or Texas border. The Border Patrol reported that 400 people died in fiscal 2206-2007, 453 died in 2004-2005, and 494 died in 2004-2005. Source Associated Press, November 8, 2007.

19. The US is first in gun ownership world-wide with 90 guns for every 100 citizens. Laura MacInnis, “US most armed country with 90 guns per 100 people.” Reuters, August 28, 2007.

20. The US jails 751 inmates per 100,000 people, the highest rate in the world. Russia is second with 627 per 100,000. England’s rate is 151, Germany is 88, and Japan is 63. The US has 2.3 million people behind bars, more than any country in the world. Adam Liptak, “Inmate Count in US Dwarfs Other Nations,” NYT, April 23, 2008.

Bill teaches law at Loyola University New Orleans. He can be reached at Read other articles by Bill.

6 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Josh Miles said on September 12th, 2008 at 1:28am #

    If the State Department included in its toll the number of civilians killed in the U.S.’s terrorist wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the number would be much higher than the 22,000 listed here. But, of course, when Americans kill civilians it’s “collateral damage,” not terrorism.

  2. Danny Ray said on September 12th, 2008 at 11:23am #

    I am not quite sure if I understand. Are you saying that minimum wage workers are incapable of getting better jobs? And with minimum wage as a starting point can’t these people work hard / smart enough to make over the minimum? I took a little time and checked, I can find no jobs in my local paper starting at less than 8.50 and that includes fast food. My wife’s company starts workers at nine dollars per hour for the first 90 days and if they are not dumb as a box of rocks and do not quit, they go to ten dollars and a raise almost every year till they top out.
    Most if the industries in this area are the same. Minimum wage is a start point. This is America; you are your own limit.
    My next question is how is the number of weapons per one hundred people a factor in social justice?

  3. Anton said on September 12th, 2008 at 12:37pm #

    I don’t believe all people are as heartless as Danny Ray, But there
    are enough of these harsh live my way or die conformists in the
    general population make it difficult, if not impossible for many to
    earn the wages necessary to afford a 1 bedroom apartment at $6.55
    an hour.

    Quigley said Mimimum wage, not $8.50 an hour, which comes to
    $17.680 dollars a year. Factor in a low-end apartment of $700
    dollars a month, and you have $9.280 a year to pay for Everything
    Else one needs to survive. Add rent increases, the already high cost
    of food and clothing , health care, etc, etc ,etc, the list is too long, and
    one could be wiped out in any number of ways.

    I would suggest everyone read on this website the article by E. R. Bills,
    titled Conformity: A Destuctive Communal Neurosis

  4. JBPM said on September 12th, 2008 at 12:41pm #

    If you answered “who cares?” to all of the above questions, you might be a USAmerican.

  5. Danny Ray said on September 12th, 2008 at 1:13pm #

    I do not think I am heartless. I will own up to being a conformist. The point I would like to make is there are very few Minimum wage jobs out there. Most companies know to attract good workers ,who will stay, they have to pay more. Average industrial wage here is about 9 bucks per hour. that is for the first 90 days ,at three months you are bumped to ten Dollars if you have passed the training and as I said above not quit . Ten dollars is 20 grand per year. a little above poverty level.
    After that a yarly review gives you a minimum increse of 30 cents. as you train and achive more and more skills you can bid for beter and better jobs. I know a plant manager who started as day labor sweeping the floor. The point is you have to work to get where you need to be and if you don’t want to work that’s you fault. You can call that heartless if you want but that is a fact of life. People who work don’t owe the people who will not work a damn thing.

  6. Anton said on September 12th, 2008 at 1:27pm #

    I am sorry for posting twice, but I was in a hurry and sent an incomplete observation. I suggested everyone read an article
    on Conformity: A Destructive Communal Neurosis on this site
    dated 9-5-08, by E.R. Bills.

    If one dosen’t pray to the god of conformity in today’s corporate
    culture, you may lucky if you ever work at a decent wage. I you
    don’t agree to free f@@k, Opps, I mean trade, there are such vile
    rules like at-will employment just to name one hatchet that these
    scum use to maintain obedient workers. Workers who haven’t any
    problem getting f@@ked by the big red, white, and blue d^^k, they
    help management insert it in themselves and in anyone who points out
    that the emperor is a murdering, lying, thieving boil that infects and
    destroys decent folks. Pepole just trying to live in peace and be left alone.

    We come in contact with social, economic, political, eugenists every
    day, it’s dangerous and exhausting. So I keep my karma cool with a
    simple rule. If I can be of any assistance to the aformentioned repro-
    bates, they had better look somewhere else for that assistance.,

    If I see them in trouble, I’am going to let them die. In fact, if some-
    one told me I had better vote for obamass or mcfuck or they would
    put a bullet in my head, I would seriously consider the bullet or shoot
    them in the head.