This and That

Since December 1991, the NBC/WSJ survey has regularly, including every year beginning in December 2011, asked respondents, “Compared with other years, do you think this year was one of the best years for the United States, above average, about average, below average or one of the worst years for the United States.”

Beginning in 2011 and running through 2016 the number saying that a particular year was “one of the best years or above average years” never exceeded 15%, and that was in 2016.

Beginning in 2017, that number has been steadily increasing; 2017 – 21%, 2018 – 30%, 2019 – 34%.

67% of people describe themselves as “very” or “somewhat angry” about the way things are going in the country today. 62% say they find themselves feeling angry about current events and the news more often than they did five years ago. 58% say that people around them – their friends, family, and co-workers – seem angrier about the news too. [Axios/SurveyMonkey poll – 1/11/20]

In equal percentages of 38%, people cite both television and the internet as their main sources of political news and information; 8% point to social media and 6% cite radio, 5% state it is newspapers and 4% claiming talking with others.

36% say they follow political news coverage on Facebook on a daily or almost daily basis; 38% say they watch Fox News daily or almost daily, which is more than the 32% who say they watch CNN daily or almost daily. Other news sources cited are the New York Times (19%), MSNBC (18%), the Washington Post (16%), NPR (16%) and the Wall Street Journal (12%). [Axios/SurveyMonkey poll – 1/11/20]

Nearly half of the new condo units in Manhattan that came to market after 2015, remain unsold. That is 3,695 of 7,727 apartments. [Axios 1/12/20]

“Patients and insurance companies in the United States pay higher prices for medications, imaging tests, basic health visits and common operations. These high prices make health care in the U.S. extremely expensive and they also finance a robust and politically powerful health care industry, which means lowering prices will always be hard.” [NYT 12/28/19]

When Americans were asked whether they had ‘a great deal’ or ‘quite a lot’ of confidence in the following U.S. institutions. Note that newspaper and television news are near the bottom, beating out only Congress.

The military    73%
Small business 68%
The police 53%
The presidency 38%
Supreme Court 38%
Church 36%
Medical system 36%
Banks 30%
Organized labor 29%
Public schools 29%
Criminal justice system 24%
Big business 23%
Newspapers 23%
Television news 18%
Congress 11%

[WSJ 12/28-29/19]

“A record 182 million Americans have credit cards compared with 147.5 million in 2010 and are carrying more than $1 trillion in debt.” [WP 12/27/19]

It is now a federal law that the minimum age to buy tobacco is 21 years of age. This includes all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and vaping cartridges. [ Apple News 12/23/19]

The number of students enrolled in college has continued to slide. In 2011, 20.56 million students were enrolled in college. Today that number is 18.24 million. [NPR/ Numlock News 12/17/19]

In 2018, the effective federal income tax rate of the 379 profitable companies in the Fortune 500 was 11.3% of income, half the 21% required by law. That was the first year the companies were covered under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. 91 companies paid no tax on their U.S. income in 2019 even though they earned $101 billion in profits. [Institute for Taxation and Economic policy /Numlock News 12/17/19]

Barclay Bank predicts that the meat alternatives market will be worth $140 billion by 2030, equaling 14% of the current value of the global meat industry. [Quartz 1/20/20]

17 states could see their number of congressional districts change after the 2020 census.

Gain seat(s): Arizona +1; Colorado +1; Florida + 2; Montana +1. North Carolina +1; Oregon +1; Texas +3.

Lose a seat: Alabama -1; California -1; Illinois -1; Michigan-1; Minnesota -1; New York -1; Ohio -1; Pennsylvania -1; Rhode Island -1; West Virginia – 1.

If one allocates the above based on the results of the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump would have gained 3 electoral votes and Hillary Clinton would have lost 3 electoral votes.

Bruce Mehlman of Mehlman, Castagnetti, Rosen & Thomas produces a political newsletter that has come to be one of my “must reads.” With Bruce’s permission I’ve included the link here.