WITH THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION little more than a year away, I want to be helpful with a numerical approach to America's cloudy situation today. You can clip and save it as a handy wallet-size digest for people on the go. Here is a random sample of the figures that I've assembled from Harper's Index, the Economist magazine and other sources for which you can thank me at your earliest convenience:
9-9-9 - Herman Cain's strident prescription for America's economic health (as well as that of his book sales) which seems to work much better for piercing effect than, say, nueve, nueve nueve, don't you think?
$98,422 - The amount that deficit hawk Rep. Joe Walsh. Illinois Republican, is in arrears on child support despite preaching that he doesn't want to pile "one more dollar on the backs of my kids" with a greater federal deficit.
5 million - The number of new jobs that Republicans insist will be created with its new plan (which has been described as their "golden oldies"), that includes tax cuts, a repeal of the health care law and a balanced budget amendment.
$100 million - The amount that Fannie Mae spent to secure "lawmakers' affections" from 1989 to 2009.
20 percent - The amount of the nation's wealth owned by one percent of its richest families.
$53.8 million - The court-ordered amount that billionaire hedge fund swindler Raj Rajaratnam must forfeit from his piggy bank. (He's also going to prison for 11 years.)
$7 million - The amount the Cleveland Browns paid quarterback Jack Delhomme when they released him last season after a brief stay. (Not political, I know, but interesting anyway now that the front office is having doubts about his successor.)
5 million-plus - The number of eligible voters that the Brennan Justice Center at NYU says will have a "significantly harder" time voting now because of the harsh restrictions enacted by Republicans in their ludicrous claim that they are targeting voter fraud.
1.2 million - The number of jobs that Rick Perry says will be created by weakening environmental laws (particularly those that are abhorrent to his pals at the American Petroleum Institute.)
$4.4 trillion - The deficit in state and local government pension plans.
10 - the number of constituent letters that President Obama reads from the loads that arrive at the White House daily, often hard-luck stories that Obama reportedly may respond to with personal checks to help a person through hard times.
100 pct. - Chance that Joe the Plumber says his new wife will support his candidacy for congress in Ohio.
Zero - Chance that the Republican-controlled legislature in Ohio will correct the flaws in HB 5 if it isn't repealed in November.
98.7 pct. - Chance that Gov. Kasich will call a cop or two idiots if HB 5 is repealed.