I just found this, thought I ought to share it with all you guys. It came from allen nations blog. He’s the publisher of Stockman’s Grassfarmer Journal.
“The first rule of journalism is that bad news sells more newspapers than good news. Consequently, the world seems a drearier, more threatening place than it actually is. I thought you might like to balance out your worldview with some good news.
The New York Times reported on October 5, that the amount of energy needed to produce one dollar’s worth of economic output has been cut nearly in half since 1980. Yesterday, they reported that USA oil demand is now basically flat and is falling in Europe. This is significant as the USA consumes 25% of the world’s oil compared to only nine percent by China. Through August, the trade deficit in 2007 was down $46 billion from the same period in 2006, a nine percent decline, according to The Washington Post. This added 1.3% to the growth rate of the American economy, which was 3.8%. The USA is the world’s largest exporter of goods and services.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the federal budget deficit fell by 35% in 2007’s fiscal year. Since 2004, deficit spending has tumbled by $251 billion, which is the most rapid three-year decline in history. The deficit as a share of the economy is down to 1.2% or about half the average of the last 50 years. This is particularly remarkable since homeland security expenditures have climbed $150 to $200 billion a year since 9-11-01.
In 2007, Americans paid a record $2.568 trillion in taxes to the IRS or 6.7% more than in 2006. This means federal receipts have climbed by $785 billion since the 2003 investment tax cuts. This is the largest four-year revenue increase in American history. Last year’s increase was 11.3%, or more than double the rate of growth in nominal GDP. The American economy is now $13 trillion a year. All privately-owned assets equal $165 trillion. Here’s some perspective on those figures.Texas has a larger GDP than Canada, California equals France, Illinois equals Mexico, New Jersey equals Russia and Orlando, Florida, equals New Zealand.
The national medium income exceeds $54,000. The average family income of American millionaires is only $130,000. In 2006, the average farm household earned $80,000, about 20 percent more than the average urban household. In 2007, net farm income will set a record at $87 billion. Only three percent of adults with full-time, year-around job of any kind fall below the poverty line. If every American had a house on an acre of land, everyone would fit into an area half the size of Texas. Only 5.4% of the USA has a population density of 30 people per square mile, the level at which land is considered “developed.”
According to the American Economic Review, three-quarters of the rise in income inequality is due to the fact that the population is both older and better educated today than it was in the 1970s. Air pollution has declined by 25% over the last 30 years. Since 1900, American life expectancy has increased 25 years. Today’s Mom and Dads spend four to six hours more time per week with their children than the previous generation did. Sixty-nine percent of Americans own their own homes. Sixty-eight percent of today’s high school graduates go to college. Twenty-nine percent of men and 26% of women have college degrees today compared to only 7.7% in 1970.
And, to show you that all the pessimism in the news hasn’t totally sunk in, 39% of Americans expect themselves to eventually be in the top one percent of income earners.”
And also this from the same sources.
“Vegetarians who say their diets result in lower greenhouse-gas emissions than the standard “meat rich American diet” may have to eat crow if the meat is grass fed and locally produced according to an article published on October 23rd on Slate. Free ranging laying hens can make use of land unsuited for crops and can utilize lower quality feed stuffs than would otherwise go to waste such as grain screenings. Pastured pigs can similarly be raised on byproduct feedstuffs that would otherwise be thrown away. Grass fed cattle and sheep can spend much of their lives on land too poor for grain production and that would produce no food crop without them. Also, if all of these animals are raised and consumed locally, it reduces the fuel needed to bring them from elsewhere.
A recent Cornell University study found that eating two ounces of locally produced, cooked meat and eggs daily would actually be better for the environment than a vegetarian diet if the above conditions are met. All of the greenhouse gas savings from a vegetarian diet come from less energy use. Letting the animals gather their own feed through grazing and scavenging is the most energy efficient way to produce human food.”
Take that all you veggies!