Tuesday, January 31, 2006

This Week in Wal-Mart Nation, By the Numbers (Speak, Monkey, Speak)

1. “The Commerce Department reported Monday that American’s personal savings fell into negative territory of minus 0.5. percent last year. That means that people not only spent all of their after-tax income last year but had to dip into previous savings or increase borrowing. The savings rate has been negative for an entire year only twice before---in 1932 and 1933 …" -- "Americans are living large," the Associated Press via the Houston Chronicle

2. "In the last fiscal year, American drivers were caught 4.078 times on suspicion of smuggling [Mexican] migrants through the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa ports of entry into San Diego. The figure has hovered around 4,000 cases since the number of car smuggling cases spiked about six years ago … The American drivers come from all walks of life---homeless veterans, single mothers, senior citizens and college students … some drivers are drug addicts or gamblers down on their luck … [Mexican coyote] Felix has a code word for U.S. drivers: “monos”---monkeys. “Siempre llegan los monos,” Felix says with a glint in his eye. [U.S. citizen and driver] Trent … spends his earnings on a ‘weakness for Latina babes.’ "-- Los Angeles Times

3.. “[Texas] collects a sales tax on sporting goods to help raise money to pay for state parks. State Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn’s office estimated the sporting goods tax would generate $100.6 million in the current fiscal year. But lawmakers capped how much parks could receive from that source at $22 million. The rest goes to general revenue to help pay for other state services. And parks don’t even get the $32 million they’re allowed. Only $20.5 million from that tax goes to state and local parks, or about 20 ppercent.” -- “State parks funding caught in budget battles,” Associated Press, via Corpus Christi Caller-Times

4. Of the 12 Iraq War vets seeking congressional seats in this year’s elections, 10 are running as Democrats opposed to the war. – CBS Evening News

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