Hell in a handbasket

Excerpted with permission from “Who’s Better Off: A special report on the state of the union,” in the May/June issue of Mother Jones magazine, available on newsstands and at

* The U.S. government is going into the red at the rate of $991,000 per minute.

* The IRS Web site is maintained by a company incorporated in Bermuda.

* Since 2001, corporate tax collections have fallen by $11 billion.

* Halliburton has 15,000 workers in Iraq and Kuwait, 4,000 more than the number of British soldiers deployed there.

* Less than 10 percent of the SUVs sold in America today will meet China’s proposed fuel-economy standards.

* If global-warming trends continue, 15 to 37 percent of the world’s species will be extinct by 2050.

* 61 percent of Americans think the biblical story of the world being created in six days is “literally true.”

* 75,000 The Passion of the Christ “nail pendants” were sold the week Mel Gibson’s film opened.

* The cost of the Bush tax cuts this year alone is enough to give $9,793 to each of the 2.9 million people who’ve lost their jobs since he took office.

* Revenue loss from the Bush tax cuts over the next decade equals Social Security’s baby-boomer reserve.

* Without Social Security, 48 percent of senior citizens would live in poverty.

* In 2001, 476 more Americans died of malnutrition than from terrorism.

* American adults have gained an estimated total of 150 million pounds in the last year.

* Suburbanites weigh an average of 6 pounds more than city dwellers.

* One in every 115 Americans works for Wal-Mart.

* Alabama became the last state to repeal a ban against interracial marriage—in 2000.

* 41 percent of Alabamans voted against lifting that ban.

* Paperless voting machines were named the worst technology of 2003 by Fortune magazine.