Numbers don't tell the whole story. Sometimes, in fact, they conceal as much as they reveal. That said, sometimes it pays to just stop and take a hard look at them and think about their implications.
The national unemployment rate stands at roughly 10 percent. If you throw in those who are underemployed, working part-time when they need or want fulltime work, and those who have simply stopped looking for work, it is closer to 17 percent.
The 10 percent figure equates to 15 million Americans out of work. The 17 percent figure means 25 million individuals.
There are currently six Americans looking for work for every available, empty position.
It gets worse.
If you break down those numbers by income level, you see a tremendous disparity. The unemployment rate among individuals making $150,000 or more a year is around 3 percent. The unemployment rate among those in the bottom 10 percent income wise is a staggering 31 percent.
As of 30 September 2009, 1 in 7 US home loans was past due or in foreclosure. That is up from 1 in 10 at the beginning of the year. The projection is that these numbers will get worse as 2010 progresses.
Here's another number.
That's the percentage of Americans who, in a new CNN poll, said they would favor having a third party, which would run candidates against the Democrats and the Republicans in both state and national races. That's roughly two-thirds of Americans who support the establishment of a third party to challenge the two existing organizations.
Maybe -- if we pay attention to that last number, it will help us reduce some of the others. Maybe it's time to cut loose from the existing party structure, while there's still something left of this nation to save.