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Income Inequality and how the middle class has been screwed – final

Income Inequality and how the middle class has been screwed

Obviously, our country is not the only one that has screwed the middle class but the fact that our wage gap continues to widen is alarming. I think it worthwhile to see how we stack up when compared to other industrialized countries that operate within a democratic system:

UN and CIA list – income ratios and Gini indices

R/P 10%: The ratio of the average income of the richest 10% to the poorest 10%.
R/P 20%: The ratio of the average income of the richest 20% to the poorest 20%.
Gini: Gini index, a quantified representation of a nation’s Lorenz curve. A Gini index of 0% expresses perfect equality, while index of 100% expresses maximal inequality.
UN: Data from the United Nations Development Programme.
CIA: Data from the Central Intelligence Agency‘s The World Factbook.

Country UN R/P World Bank Gini [3] CIA R/P [4] CIA Gini[5] 
10%[6] 20%[7] Year 10%Year%Year
Australia 12.55.834.7201012.7199430.32008
Austria 6.94.930.520146.8200426.32007
Belgium est. 
Canada 9.46.23420139.5200032.12005
Denmark 8.1428.52014122000 est.24.82011 est. 
Finland 5.63.926.820145.7200026.82008
Greece est.34.42013 est. 
Hungary 5.54.930.920145.6200224.72009
Iceland  3.625.62014  282006
Israel 13.49.841.4201211.8200537.62012
Italy 11.66.634.7201411.7200031.92012 est. 
Japan 4.55.432.120084.5199337.92011
Netherlands 9.24.428.620149.2199925.12013
New Zealand 12.4     36.21997
Poland 8.8532.120148.7200234.12009
Portugal 156.435.620149.21995 est.34.22013 est. 
Slovenia 5.93.725.720145.9199823.72012
South Africa 33.128.463201431.9200062.52013 est. 
Spain 10.37.336201410.22000342011
Sweden 6.24.627.220146.2200024.92013
Switzerland 95.232.520138.9200028.72012 est. 
United Kingdom 13.85.434.1201413.6199932.42012
United States 18.59.441.52016142014 est.472014
 World    122002 est.382007

The US ranks highest in terms of unequal distribution of income among all of the above countries! =

The Kailasa Temple

Kailasa Temple

I recently saw a mini Doco on this and it was new to me. I thought I would pass it along. Following is taken from:,_Ellora

“The Kailasa Temple is notable for its vertical excavation—carvers started at the top of the original rock and excavated downward. The traditional methods were rigidly followed by the master architect which could not have been achieved by excavating from the front.”

 Exterior View:

Partial Interior View:

The construction has been dated to the late 8th century AD. Most experts believe that the construction effort would have taken many thousands of man years using methods that would have been available at the time!

“According to this legend, the local king suffered from a severe disease. His queen prayed to the god Ghrishneshwar (Shiva) at Elapura to cure her husband. She vowed to construct a temple if her wish was granted, and promised to observe a fast until she could see the shikhara (top) of this temple. After the king was cured, she requested him to build a temple immediately, but multiple architects declared that it would take months to build a temple complete with a shikhara. One architect named Kokasa assured the king that the queen would be able to see the shikhara of a temple within a week’s time. He started building the temple from the top, by carving a rock. He was able to finish the shikhara within a week’s time, enabling the queen to give up her fast.”

My Sister & the Racoon

My Sister & the Racoon

I seldom get comments regarding my postings. However, I received quite a few regarding the post about Kit Kat (the traveling cat). I posted this personal story as it is one of a few that I found amazing and one that endures. The following, while not as amazing is another personal story which you might find amusing: Dad was a West Point Grad and career USAF officer. From ages 10 – 13 we were living in Colorado Springs. After a 3-year assignment with ADC (Air Defense Command) he was transferred to Ottawa Canada to assist the liaison effort with the Canadian Government. Dad was an avid fisherman and arranged for our family to partner with another family for a rental cabin on Lac Phillipe which was located in Quebec Province approximately 30 miles from our home on the South side of Ottawa. The arrangement was that each family would alternate weeks to occupy the cabin. There were times when our family chose not to use the cabin, but I loved the cabin & the fishing so much that once, I chose to use it for a fishing weekend with a friend. The trip involved about 3-hour ride on our bicycles after school on Friday. My story, which will forever be engrained in my memory, has to do with one family weekend. My sis and I were out scrounging near the lake to a variety of berries and also for small frogs. The frogs were an abundant source of food for the lake’s smallmouth bass population and in great demand for an avid fisherman like myself. Sis spotted a young racoon foraging near the shoreline. It was not a bay, but not yet fully mature. We decided to check it out and it proceeded to climb a small tree, actually a sapling, on the edge of the shore. I would estimate that the trunk was no more than 4” in diameter and it was most likely 20 – 25’ tall. I grabbed the sapling and started moving the trunk back and forth. The tree’s swinging gained momentum and at some point, the racoon lost its grip and was thrown about 25 feet out into the lake. It commenced to swim back to the shore, but at when I stood in front of the point that it intended to make landfall it turned and swam back out into the lake. After about 3 attempts with the same result I suggested that sis run back to the cabin and grab a burlap bag. While she was in the process of securing the bag and returning, I kept the racoon at bay. Thanks to my superior supervisory skills I convinced sis that on the racoon’s next attempt to reach shore she could simply wade out a few feet into the lake, grab the racoon behind the back of the neck and stuff it in the bag while I held it. Surprisingly my plan worked to perfection. I can tell you that my opinion of the plan would not have been as positive if our roles were reversed. As the racoon screeched and struggled, we managed to tote it back to the cabin and insert the animal into a wire cage, without any notion of our intentions in the longer term. We inserted a dish of water and some cat food into the cage and delayed any decision on releasing the critter to the next day. Sometime during the night our entire family awoke to loud screeches and scratching sounds coming from the roof. Dad took a flashlight and used it to peer outside. He relayed that there were at least a dozen racoons in the yard, most of them near the cage. From the sounds that emanated from the above we surmised that several more must be on the roof. The commotion went on for quite some time, then suddenly ceased. We were not inclined to venture outside in the dark and eventually were able to resume sleeping. In the morning we discovered that the cage had been shredded and the adolescent racoon was missing. Apparently, the racoon mob had accomplished a successful prison break of their friend!