On the outside of the cardboard file near my desk, written in Magic Marker, are the words “America by the Numbers.” What follows comes directly from that file:
• The U.S. Census Bureau tells us that there are 26.2 million female workers in management, professional, and related occupations. For males, that number is 24 million. But the hard-working women earn an annual salary of $36,278 while the guys receive $47,127 — 11 grand more. Why the big difference? I’m certain there are many different reasons, including the big, bad, mean bosses who are just taking advantage of them. Maybe these bosses think they can get away with paying them less because these mothers and wives can’t stay late because they have to run home to take care of the family. Maybe these bosses think that the single mom they hired, who’s kid is as important to her — if not more so — than her job, deserves less pay than a man who doesn’t have that responsibility. And personally, in all the years in all of the businesses I have run, I have never, ever had a man tell me that he’s taking the afternoon off because it’s open-school day and he wants to talk to Melissa’s teacher. I have never had a man ask me for time off because he has to take Jeffrey to the dentist. I have never had a man receive a call from the school telling him that Michael is running a fever and he must rush over to get him. And maybe employers who hear these things from women professionals today think they are worth less because of it. The thing is, those bosses would be wrong.
• The average American carries more than $6,000 in credit card debt. I mentioned that last night and was shouted down. “I know people who owe a lot more than that.” True but you don’t know what the word “average” means.
• With so many six-figure salaries paid to federal employees, lawyers, and lobbyists at the top of the list, the District of Columbia has overtaken Silicon Valley as the wealthiest metropolitan area in the United States. Somebody should tell that to the Occupiers. That just might get more of them to set up shop in the nation’s capitol.
• According to 2008 IRS data (the most recent available), nine of the 10 most heavily taxed neighborhoods of America are in the New York City metro area. Residents of the nine zones accounted for 0.2 percent of the nation’s individual tax filers but paid 1.6 percent of all individual income taxes. If you live in Manhattan’s Upper East Side you can march around the breakfast table tomorrow morning shouting, “We’re number one! We’re number one!” because, according to Bloomberg.com, you are.
• Since 2009, when President Obama took office, gun sales have soared. This year the FBI will be conducting 15 million background checks for new gun buyers. This is up from 12.7 million in 2008. Last month set a record for the highest number of background checks in a single month. According to the FBI, there were more than 1.5 million requests by gun dealers. Almost half a million of those requests came during the six days before Christmas. The biggest reason for the increase is fear that the current administration will ban or impose new restrictions on the sale of weapons. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It’s not the legal guns we have to worry about. It’s the illegal ones. I am StanGershbein@Bellsouth.net shouting the bumper sticker out loud. “When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.”
Stanley Gershbein's column appears every Monday on BrooklynDaily.com.