As is our custom, two editorials early in the year list dollar values for the sales, income, or spending of various institutions, corporations, and individuals. It is up to you to find whatever amusement, amazement, or irony you can.
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All values are from published sources but are not documented. Part 2 will appear in the March 4, 2004 issue.
Income taxes collected from individuals: $794 billion. Spending to ship freight: $571 billion. Debt of the Ford Motor Co.: $180 billion. Income taxes collected from corporations: $132 billion. IRS collections of Federal estate and gift taxes: $22 billion. Amount spent on advertising aimed at children ages 12 and under: $15 billion. Wal-Mart purchases from suppliers in China: $15 billion.
Money sent back to Mexico in 2002 by Mexicans employed in the United States: $10 billion. Sales of women's intimate apparel: $10 billion. Spending for tickets to movies: $9 billion. Spending to advertise food to children ages 12 and under: $7.5 billion. Profit of Wal-Mart Corp.: $6.6 billion. Value of the gold kept in Fort Knox: $6 billion. Sales of college textbooks: $3.9 billion. Federal spending on nanotechnology: $3.7 billion. Sales of items displaying college logos: $3 billion. Amount insurers lost on the recent California wildfires: $3 billion. Federal appropriation to fight future wildfires in California: $3 billion.
Spending by Americans for birdseed: $2.6 billion. Spending by cable and satellite systems to carry ESPN programming: $2 billion. Sales of bagged lettuce: $2 billion. Sales of Viagra: $1.7 billion. Annual damage done to automobiles in collisions with deer: $1.5 billion. Single day sales for Wal-Mart on the day after Thanksgiving 2002: $1.43 billion. Spending for television advertisements in the 2002 congressional elections: $1 billion. Insurance company payments for claims from dog bites: $1 billion. Projected spending by bankrupt Enron by 2006 for fees to lawyers, accountants, and consultants: $1 billion.
Budget of Wall Street watchdog, the Securities and Exchange Commission: $841 million. Cost to build the Queen Mary 2 cruise ship: $800 million. Annual spending by Americans on bird feeders, bird houses, and bird baths: $733 million. Loan defaults experienced by Mitsubishi Motors Corp. when it promoted attractive credit terms to single 20-something buyers: $469 million. Box-office gross of the movie "Spider-Man:" $406 million. Collective losses of all National Hockey League teams in 2003: $300 million. Proposed expenditure to build an indoor rain forest in Iowa to teach children about the environment: $225 million.
Amount Joan Kroc bequeathed in her will to National Public Radio: $200 million. Amount power-wheelchair companies have fraudulently billed Medicare: $167 million. Amount Bill Gates donated to fight AIDS in India: $100 million. Budget of the national office of the Girl Scouts of the USA: $62 million. Bequeath by Joan Kroc to Notre Dame to establish an Institute of Peace Studies: $50 million. Money raised by Mothers Against Drunk Driving: $44 million. Earnings of Elvis Presley last year: $40 million. Earnings last year of Charles Schulz, deceased creator of the "Peanuts" cartoon: $32 million. Earnings of John Lennon last year: $19 million. Earnings last year of Dale Earnhardt, who died in 2001: $15 million. Earnings last year of Marilyn Monroe: $8 million. Median compensation for CEOs at 350 major U.S. corporations: $3 million. Unpaid parking fines in New York City incurred by Egyptian diplomats: $2.0 million. Average salary of a player in the National Hockey League: $1.8 million. Money paid to lawyers and lobbyists by India to deflect complaints about Indians taking too many high-tech jobs away from Americans: $940,000. Promotional spending by Medicare to fly a blimp over sporting events: $600,000.
Finally, about 11.3 % of the men born in 2001 will spend time in prison sometime during their lifetime. Also, when a Berber tribesman wishes to convey to a lady that he is captivated by her charms, he says: "You have captured my liver."
-- Ronald Khol, Editor
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