Figuratively Speaking by John MacIntyre

Figuratively Speaking For May 25, 2008

Percentage of buying power lost by seniors since the beginning of the decade, according to a study released by The Senior Citizens League: 51

Since 2000, percentage increase in the Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) benefits: 24

Monthly amount received by a senior with the average Social Security benefit in 2008: $1,013.50

Percentage of beneficiaries who rely on it for 90 percent or more of their total income: 33

Source: The Senior Citizens League.

Ranks of Miami, Boston, New York, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., as the least courteous cities with the worst road rage, according to the third annual "In the Driver's Seat Road Rage Survey," commissioned by AutoVantage: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Ranks of Pittsburgh, Portland, Ore., Seattle, Minneapolis and Cleveland as the most courteous cities with the least road rage: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Number of consecutive years that Miami has taken the crown as road rage capital of America: 3

Source: AutoVantage.

Percentage of Americans who say the top scenario that would most negatively impact their financial future is having their savings stolen because of fraud/theft, according to a survey from ING and conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs: 77

Percentage who say the second scenario that would most negatively impact their family's financial future is their death or the death of their spouse or partner: 67

Source: Ipsos Public Affairs.

Percentage of high school seniors who expect to have at least one internship during their college career, emphasizing a strong work ethic among this group, according to a survey of graduating students: 87

Percentage of surveyed students who plan to attend an in-state school: 81


Percentage of U.S. corporate executives who say they see evidence of a recession in their life, according to a survey conducted by Gray Hair Management: 92.4

Percentage of American executives who say the primary recession evidence they see is that their investment and savings portfolios have taken a big hit: 24.6

Percentage who say the primary evidence is the rise in gas and food prices: 21.2

Source: Gray Hair Management.

Ranks of Florida (62 percent), California (56 percent) and New York (51 percent) on the list of the most-visited states, according to Greyhound's "Hit the Road" survey: 1, 2, 3

Percentage of Americans who have been to Alaska, the least visited state in the country: 13

Source: Kelton Research.

Average amount that Americans spend each year on cut flowers, according to the Flower Council of Holland: $31

Average amount spent each year by the Swiss: $112

Whereas countries such as Switzerland, Norway and the Netherlands use flowers as decorations throughout their homes, percentage of flowers sold in America that are gifts, according to a Rabobank report: 75

Source: Rabobank Food and Agribusiness Research.

Percentage of Americans who say that celebrity involvement in political campaigns is a bad thing, according to the results of a nationwide Harris poll: 47

Percentage who say it is a good thing: 29

Source: Harris Interactive.

Estimated number of teeth that are saved each year by the root canal procedure, according to the U.S. Census Bureau: 42 million

Estimated annual cost for dental services: $93 billion

Average amount spent by Americans annually on dental care: $292

Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

Estimated weight of household hazardous waste produced by the average American home every year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: 20 pounds

Cumulative weight over one year: 1.6 million tons

Percentage of mothers who believe that some rashes on their children's skin are reactions to chemicals in the products they use, according to a national Shaklee Corp. poll: 35

Source: Shaklee Corp.

Idle Thought

"Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about." -- Oscar Wilde

(Readers can contact John MacIntyre at johnmacintyre(at)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600