The American Condition – Fascinating Facts

By October 10th, 2014

The American Condition – Fascinating Facts

Number and Concentration of U.S. Millionaire Households; School Segregation – 60 Years After Brown vs Board of Education – Average U.S. Charitable Giving – The Absurdity of the Week – Great Quotes About Age and Aging – Memorable Words About U.S. Business and Economy

Blog No 49

October 10, 2014

 Facts About the American Condition

Excerpts from my forthcoming book It Reads Better Than It Lives – Essays and Facts About the American Condition (Working Title) (To be published and released in Spring, 2016). (M. Borgen. All Rights Reserved, 2014)

 School Segregation – Sixty Year safter Brown vs. Board of Education

Even 60 years after the Supreme Court’s unanimous 9-0 ruling in Brown vs. Board of Education, more than 75% of black and Hispanic children still attend schools in which most of the students are minorities, and a full 15% of black students attend what some derisively call “apartheid schools” —- schools composed of 99% nonwhite students. The Week, May 30, 2014, p. 4, citing a report by UCLA’s Civil Right Project. For most Americans, little comfort is found in the fact that today’s de facto racial and ethnic segregation is largely the result of the housing and economic segregation rather than the de jure racial and ethnic segregation which existed prior to the 1960s.

The Number and Concentration of U.S. Millionaire Households

There are more than 9.6MM U.S. households with assets (excluding primary residence) in excess of $1.0MM. The highest concentrations of these millionaire households are in Maryland (the state with the highest concentration with 7.7% of all U.S. millionaire households), New Jersey, Connecticut, and Hawaii. Brandeisky, K., Money Magazine at money,, September 15, 2014 citing data from Spectrum Group and Phoenix Global Wealth Monitor.

 Year of Peak U.S. Federal Minimum Wage

Adjusted for inflation, the federal minimum wage peaked 46 years ago — in 1968 at $1.60 or what would be $11.00 per hour in today’s dollars., September 1, 2014.

 Average U.S. Charitable Giving As Percentage of Household Income

Approximately 236.0MM individual tax returns were filed in 2011. Of these, about one-third of them were reported with itemized deductions. Of these itemized deduction tax returns, more than half of them (51.3%) declared the making of no charitable donations whatsoever. Based upon an analysis of those who did declare the making of charitable deductions, the average amounts and the percentage rates of those charitable donations varied significantly based upon the filer’s adjusted gross income. The charitable contribution percentage for lower income filers (i.e. adjusted gross incomes of from $15K-$30K) was 7% (with average cash and property donations of about $2,125 in charitable donations), while the charitable contribution percentage for higher income filers (i.e. adjusted gross incomes of from $500K-$1.0MM) was only 2.2% (with average cash and property donations of about $18,152). Herman, T., The Wall Street Journal, December 16, 2013 citing data from Wolters Kluwer and, CCH’s analysis of preliminary data from CY 2011.

 The Absurdity of the Week

The average age of The Rolling Stones is now higher than the average age of the U.S. Supreme Court. And while we’re at it, Mick Jagger is approaching twice the age of Pharrell Williams (41 years old – born 1973, Virginia Beach, Virginia), well more than twice the age of everyone’s current favorite Macklemore (31 years old – born 1981, Seattle, Washington), and nearly four times the age (and possibly the IQ) of Justin Bieber (20 years old, Born: 1994, Ontario, Canada).

Borgen, M., The Relevance of Reason – Society and Culture, pp. 285-286, citing The Week, December 7, 2012, p. 18. With respect to The Rolling Stones, it’s particularly remarkable and downright inspirational that even Keith Richards, who has not exactly been on the cover of Men’s Health magazine, is going strong. Richards will turn 71 on December 18th,   — and he is not alone as an aging, but still-rockin’, rock star. Ignoring the seemingly unnecessary use of icy language, Rolling Stone magazine was nevertheless probably correct when it recently noted that David Crosby “probably should have died a long time ago” since at the age of 72, Crosby has “survived a decades-long drug habit, liver failure, diabetes, and multiple hearts attacks.” The Week, March 7, 2014, p. 8 citing Rodrick, S., Rolling Stone.

 The Quotes of the Week

This Month’s Blog Subject Category: Age and Aging

 Excerpts from my forthcoming fourth book The Powerful Quotes and Memorable Words of Modern America (1957-2014) (Working Title) (To be published and released in Spring, 2016). (M. Borgen. All Rights Reserved, 2014)

 “Age is strictly a case of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

Jack Benny (B: 1894, Chicago, Illinois; D: 1974, Beverly Hills, California), American comedian, radio, television and film actor. Although Benny was also an accomplished violinist, he is best known for his 1950-1965 television show, The Jack Benny Show. In this show he presented his humorously tightwad/cheapskate persona; he oftentimes used his violin as a prop; and he incorporated the irrepressibly sarcastic (but racially dated) Rochester as his valet and chauffer. At Jack Benny’s 1974 funeral, his close friend George Burns became too choked with emotion and was unable to speak, but Bob Hope offered a touching eulogy by noting that “(t)his is the one time Jack’s timing was all wrong. He left us too soon.” 

  “If I knew I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.“

Mickey Mantle (B: 1931, Spavinaw, Oklahoma; D: 1995, Dallas, Texas), an American professional baseball player. (NOTE: This statement was frequently repeated by Mantle although it may more correctly be attributed to Bobby Layne — the famous American professional football player who for a time was a Dallas, Texas neighbor of Mantle.) Over the course of Mantle’s 18 seasons with the New York Yankees (1951-1968) and for better or worse in light of his tarnished personal life, Mantle became idolized by a whole generation of Americans. As cleverly noted in Jane Leavy’s wonderful book, The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America’s Childhood (2011), it seemed as though “even his aura had an aura.” Throughout his baseball career, Mantle suffered and played baseball with injuries. Throughout the balance of his life – until he died in 1995 at the age of 63 – he suffered from and lived with alcoholism. Mantle is certainly better remembered as a hero rather than a role model, but to this day his No. 7 is revered by many, and Mantle still holds the record for the most World Series home runs and RBIs.

 “If you live long enough, What’s in your heart will eventually show up on your face.”


 “Young men search for happiness; Old men search for peace.”

Anonymous (Writer’s Note: My early writing notes attribute this remark to Ernest Hemingway, but this has not yet been confirmed).


“The best birthdays of all are those that haven’t yet arrived.”


 “There is something about the aging process that makes you give-a-crap less.”

Clint Eastwood, American film actor and director, in response to those persons who criticized his now-famous talking-to-the- “chair” speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida.

  The Memorable Words of the Week

This Month’s Blog Subject Category: U.S. Business, Economy, and Commerce

Excerpts from my forthcoming fourth book The Powerful Quotes and Memorable Words of Modern America (1957-2014) (Working Title)(To be published and released in Summer, 2016). (M. Borgen. All Rights Reserved. 2014).

Introductory Note – “Memorable Words” Distinguished from “Great Quotes” 

As used in my forthcoming books, the concept of “great quotes” is different from that of “memorable words.” Great quotes may be included due to their wit, wisdom or insightfulness or merely in recognition of their cleverness or humor.

The concept of “memorable words” is very different and more complicated. These words are component pieces of our history. Sometimes they are included merely as because of uniqueness of their oratory. More commonly, however, these words are included because of the identity of the speaker and the context of the words as summarily described immediately following the excerpted words. Thus, the words are deemed “memorable” not necessarily because of the substance but because of who said them; because of where and why they were spoken; because of their timeliness or their long-echoing impact; and in more than a few cases because of what the words revealed about the speaker or the subject.


  “As long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance . … And we’re still dancing.”

Charles O. Prince III (B:1950, Lynwood, California) to The Financial Times. The New York Times, July 10, 2007. This widely-quoted and highly-criticized statement was made by Mr. Prince just a year before the U.S. financial collapse. The statement was made in the context of explaining Citigroup’s continued commitment to investing in leveraged buy-out transactions despite the growing fears of some of a forthcoming meltdown of the financial market due to sub-prime mortgages. Four months after making this statement Prince resigned his position as the CEO of Citigroup. Despite his refusal to foresee the financial crisis (although, in fairness, many business leaders and economists did not) and despite the fact that the market value of Citigroup dropped by nearly $64.0BB during his brief four-year tenure from 2003 until 2007, Prince departed Citigroup with a severance package valued as high as $38.0MM which also included a $1.7MM pension and office, car and driver etc. for five years. The New York Times, April 9, 2010.

“Google … is the new Goldman Sachs.”

Roose, Kevin, author of Young Money: Inside the Hidden World of Wall Street’s Post-Crash Recruits, noting that the lure of Wall Street has significantly diminished for “elite universities.” For example, while 46% of Princeton’s graduating 2006 class took jobs in finance, only 12% did in 2012. The Week, March 7, 2014.  In a humorous context, note that this phrase about Google-being-the-new Goldman-Sachs roughly parallels the words emblazoned on the tens of thousands of T-shirts which have been sold over the last couple of years which pronounce that “Data Is the New Bacon.” 


  “ ’Institutional money’ – there is no such thing. Those funds belong to individuals, and regardless of how many zeroes are on the ledger, it is money that real people have entrusted to others for savings, retirement or education.”

Terrence A. Duffy, Executive Chairman and President of CME Group,. Inc. (the world’s largest futures exchange company), in his article in The Wall Street Journal, September 30, 2013.



Your thoughts and comments are always welcome. You may email me directly at

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