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With This Congress, The U.S. Is Losing The Numbers Game

April 20, 2015

By Joe Rothstein

Numbers matter. Whether making sure the right numbers are written on the check that pays your bills or getting the right numbers plugged into a system that sends a satellite to Mars. Numbers matter. A lot.

And sometimes numbers speak louder than words. Like these:

$1.5 trillion. The amount of U.S. corporate profits stashed offshore to avoid paying taxes. (Despite the lowest U.S. corporate tax rate in 70 years)

83%. The percentage of companies in the Fortune 100 that have their profits stashed in those overseas tax havens.

$269 billion. The estimated tax break for .2% of the nation’s wealthiest citizens who would benefit from repeal of the estate tax approved by the U.S. House.

$220 billion. The amount the House approved budget cuts from college aid.

$1.2 trillion. The amount of debt owed by students who are financially anchored by high interest student loans.

$187 billion. The amount of House approved budget cuts from infrastructure repair and improvements.

$3.6 trillion. The amount the American Society of Civil Engineers estimates is needed by 2020 just to bring our roads, bridges, water and sewer systems, schools and other infrastructure up to adequate standards for capacity, reasonable operation and public safety.

$10,000. (or less) The amount of savings more than half of Americans have when they retire.

16 million. The number of Americans likely to lose health care insurance if Republicans succeed in repealing the Affordable Care Act.

1 in 3. The number of American children living in poverty. (The highest percentage in the industrialized world).

100+ days. The amount of time the Republicans have controlled both houses of Congress.

During those days they have voted to cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans while cutting food stamps, college aid, health benefits, and other public services.

They’ve voted to convert Medicare to a voucher program with declining benefits.

Senate leader Mitch McConnell has promised to gut budgets for agencies that protect consumers, the environment, and health and to cripple enforcement powers for agencies that regulate the giant loose cannon “banks” that gamble at taxpayer risk.

And, for added measure, the Republican Congress has launched a serious effort to do something 90% of Americans would find unthinkable: the sale or give away of our national forests, wildlife refuges, wilderness areas, historic sites, national monuments and other land owned and managed in the public interest.

Numbers matter. Here’s another one: 36.4%

That’s the percentage of voting eligible Americans who cast ballots in the November 2014 election. The lowest percentage since 1942, when Americans were so deeply engaged in the battle for survival known as World War II. In 2014, fewer than 20% of America’s voters decided the outcome and elected a Congress whose priorities are radically different than those of most Americans.

In a nation that invented majority rule, today, in the U.S., the majority doesn’t. And it won’t, until the majority decides to increase its voting numbers and restore rational power to its one seat of national government.

(Joe Rothstein can be contacted at

Joe Rothstein is a political strategist and media producer who worked in more than 200 campaigns for political office and political causes. He also has served as editor of the Anchorage Daily News and as an adjunct professor at George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management. He has a master's degree in journalism from UCLA. Mr. Rothstein is the author of award-winning political thrillers, The Latina President and the Conspiracy to Destroy Her, The Salvation Project, and The Moment of Menace. For more information, please visit his website at