Actual State of the Union, by the Numbers

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President Bush is expected to hail the state of the union as strong tonight, but for Americans worrying about how to make ends meet, the country is headed in the wrong direction, according to numbers compiled today by the Campaign for America’s Future.

On Incomes:

–Median household income in 2000: $47,599
–Median household income in 2005: $46,326
(US Census Bureau, Table H-8. Median Household Income by State: 1984 to 2005)

–Salary of a full-time minimum wage employee without vacation: $10,712
–Average time for top CEOs to earn that sum: 2.06 hours
(Forbes Magazine. “What the Boss Makes.” April 20, 2006)

–Federal minimum wage in 2000: $5.15/hr
–Federal minimum wage in 2006: $5.15/hr
–Loss in purchasing power, full time worker annually: $1,562

On Energy Prices:

–Average price of home heating oil on Jan. 3, 2000: $1.15 per gallon
–Average price of home heating oil on Jan. 1, 2007: $2.42 per gallon
(U.S. Energy Information Admin. Jan. 4, 2007)

–Average price of gasoline on Jan. 3, 2000: $1.31 per gallon
–Average price of gasoline on Jan. 1, 2007: $2.38 per gallon
(U.S. Energy Information Admin. Jan. 5, 2007)

–Exxon Mobil profits in 2000: $7.9 billion
–Exxon Mobil profits in 2006: $36.1 billion
(CNNMoney.com, accessed Jan. 19, 2007)

On Education:

–Average cost of a year at a public four-year college in 2000: $9,958
–Average cost of a year at a public four-year college in 2006: $12,796
(Costs include tuition, fees, room & board. MSN Money 2000/Associated Press. Jan. 14, 2005. College Board. Trends in College Pricing 2007)

On Health Care Costs:

–Americans without health insurance, 2000: 38.2 million
–Americans without health insurance, 2005: 46.6 million
(US Census Bureau, Sept. 2001; US Census Bureau, Aug. 2006)

–Average monthly worker contribution for family coverage in 2000: $135
–Average monthly worker contribution for family coverage in 2006: $248
–Personal bankruptcies due to medical bills: 55 percent
(The Kaiser Family Foundation, Sept. 26, 2006; Health Affairs Health Policy Journal, Feb. 2, 2005)

On Debts and Deficits:

–Monthly U.S. Trade Deficit in October 2000: $33.8 billion
–Monthly U.S. Trade Deficit in October 2006: $58.9 billion
(U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics. Jan. 10, 2007)

–Loss of value of U.S. dollar relative to the Euro, Jan. 24, 2000 to Jan. 23, 2006: 23 percent
(X-rate.com, accessed Jan. 23, 2006)

–US Budget Deficit in FY 2000: $230 billion surplus
–US Budget Deficit in FY 2006: $423 billion deficit
(White House Office of Management and Budget. Budget of the United States Government, Historical Tables, Fiscal Year 2007; White House Office of Management and Budget. Table S-1. 2006 budget totals)

–US National Debt in FY 2000: $5.7 trillion
–US National Debt in FY 2006: $8.5 trillion
(Bureau of the Public Debt, Jan. 16, 2007)

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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