Did you know that there are nearly 102 million working age Americans that do not have a job right now? And 20 percent of all families in the United States do not have a single member that is employed. So how in the world can the government claim that the unemployment rate has “dropped” to “6.3 percent”? Well, it all comes down to how you define who is “unemployed”. For example, last month the government moved another 988,000 Americans into the “not in the labor force” category. According to the government, at this moment there are 9.75 million Americans that are “unemployed” and there are 92.02 million Americans that are “not in the labor force” for a grand total of 101.77 million working age Americans that do not have a job. Back in April 2000, only 5.48 million Americans were unemployed and only 69.27 million Americans were “not in the labor force” for a grand total of 74.75 million Americans without a job. That means that the number of working age Americans without a job has risen by 27 million since the year 2000. Any way that you want to slice that, it is bad news.
47.6 million Americans are about to have their food stamp benefits cut, and most of them have absolutely no idea that it is about to happen. Needless to say, a lot of them are going to be very angry when they discover that they cannot buy as much food for their families anymore. The reason that this is happening is because a temporary boost to food stamp benefits that was put in during the last recession is expiring. But most of the people that are having their benefits cut will not understand this. Most of them will just be very upset that the government is “taking money away” from them. And considering the “mini-riots” that we witnessed earlier this month when the system that processes food stamp payments went down for a few hours, it is obvious that a lot of food stamp recipients can very easily be pushed over the edge. So what would happen if we have another “debt ceiling crisis” in Washington D.C. early next year and food stamp benefits are temporarily cut off completely?
Wherever “austerity” has been tried in Europe, it has resulted in protests and riots. Could a similar thing happen in this country?
Deep corruption is eating away at every level of American society like cancer. We can see this in our families, we can see this in our businesses, and we can especially see this in our government. We have the highest rate of divorce in the world, we have the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the world, we have the highest rate of obesity in world, and nobody has higher rates of cancer, heart disease and diabetes than we do. The suicide rate is soaring and our economy is falling apart. Meanwhile, our politicians seem absolutely clueless and we have piled up the biggest mountain of debt that the world has ever seen. Has America ever been in such bad shape before? The following are 20 examples of how America is rapidly going down the toilet…
#1 Why do so many members of the media have family members that work for the White House? Is this one of the reasons why the mainstream media is so soft on Obama? Just check out the following list which was recently compiled by the Washington Post…
Is “discretionary income” rapidly becoming a thing of the past for most American families? Right now, there are a lot of signs that we are on the verge of a nightmarish consumer spending drought. Incomes are down, taxes are up, many large retail chains are deeply struggling because of the lack of customers, and at this point nearly a quarter of all Americans have more credit card debt than money in the bank. Considering the fact that consumer spending is such a large percentage of the U.S. economy, that is very bad news. How will we ever have a sustained economic recovery if consumers don’t have much money to spend? Well, the truth is that we aren’t ever going to have a sustained economic recovery. In fact, this debt-fueled bubble of false hope that we are experiencing right now is as good as things are going to get. Things are going to go downhill from here, and if you think that consumer spending is bad now, just wait until you see what happens over the next several years.
Even though the Dow is surging toward a record high right now, everyone knows that things are not good for the middle class. A recent quote from CPA Howard Dvorkin kind of summarizes our current state of affairs very nicely…
During the last housing crash, the big banks begged the federal government for help and they received it, but when average Americans ask the big banks for help most of the time the banks show no mercy whatsoever. If you fall behind on your mortgage payments, the big banks have shown that they are willing to be absolutely ruthless. They will change locks in the middle of the night, they will toss disabled veterans and families with children out into the street in the middle of winter, and sometimes once the foreclosure process has begun they will not even allow someone to come forward and offer to pay off the loan if they think that they can make more money by selling the home. The big banks will often string homeowners along for months or even years with loan modification promises, only to drop the hammer on them at the most inopportune time. Over the past several years there has been case after case where mortgage documents have “disappeared”, where big banks have “manufactured” missing documents out of thin air and there have even been cases where big banks have tried to foreclose on homes that do not even have a mortgage. Once in a while, the big banks get a small slap on the wrist, but nobody ever really gets into much trouble for any of this. In fact, the big banks just continue to gain even more market share and even more power. Hopefully when some of these foreclosure horror stories start to become publicized more widely we will start to see some real changes in the marketplace.
The federal income tax is a bad joke and it needs to be abolished. All over the nation, hard working American families are being absolutely crushed by oppressive levels of taxation, and our politicians are constantly coming up with new ways to extract money from all of us every single year. Meanwhile, many ultra-wealthy Americans and many of the most profitable corporations in the country pay little to nothing in taxes. In fact, as you will see below, there are dozens of very prominent corporations that make billions of dollars in profits and yet don’t pay a dime in taxes. Tax avoidance has become a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States. Those that have the resources to “play the game” use shell companies, offshore tax havens and the thousands of loopholes in our tax code to minimize their tax burdens as much as possible. Meanwhile, the rest of us get absolutely hammered. This is fundamentally unfair. The federal income tax system is irreversibly broken at this point, and it is time to abolish it. If you think that the federal income tax system can be “fixed”, then you probably have never studied it. Our tax code is nearly 4 million words long and it is absolutely riddled with thousands of loopholes that favor big corporations and the ultra-wealthy. We should come up with a better, fairer way to fund the government. The United States once prospered greatly without a federal income tax, and it could do so again.
Why does it seem like wherever there is human suffering, some giant bank is making money off of it? According to a new report from the World Development Movement, Goldman Sachs made about 400 million dollars betting on food prices last year. Overall, 2012 was quite a banner year for Goldman Sachs. As I reported in a previous article, revenues for Goldman increased by about 30 percent in 2012 and the price of Goldman stock has risen by more than 40 percent over the past 12 months. It is estimated that the average banker at Goldman brought in a pay and bonus package of approximately $396,500 for 2012. So without a doubt, Goldman Sachs is swimming in money right now. But what is the price for all of this “success”? Many claim that the rampant speculation on food prices by the big banks has dramatically increased the global price of food and has caused the suffering of hundreds of millions of poor families around the planet to become much worse. At this point, global food prices are more than twice as high as they were back in 2003. Approximately 2 billion people on the planet spend at least half of their incomes on food, and close to a billion people regularly do not have enough food to eat. Is it moral for Goldman Sachs and other big banks such as Barclays and Morgan Stanley to make hundreds of millions of dollars betting on the price of food if that is going to drive up global food prices and make it harder for poor families all over the world to feed themselves?
In America tonight, tens of millions of men and women will struggle to get to sleep because they are stressed out about not making enough money even though they are working as hard as they possibly can. They are called “the working poor”, and their numbers are absolutely exploding. As a recent Gallup poll showed, Americans are more concerned about the economy than they are about anything else. But why are Americans so stressed out about our economic situation if things are supposedly getting better? Well, the truth is that unemployment is not actually going down, and the real unemployment numbers are actually much worse than what is officially being reported by the government. But unemployment is only part of the story. Most American workers are still able to find jobs, but an increasing proportion of them are not able to make ends meet at the end of the month. Our economy continues to bleed good paying middle class jobs, and to a large degree those jobs are being replaced by low income jobs. Approximately one-fourth of all American workers make 10 dollars an hour or less at this point, and we see them all around us every day. They flip our burgers, they cut our hair and they take our money at the supermarket. In many homes, both parents are working multiple jobs, and yet when a child gets sick or a car breaks down they find that they don’t have enough money to pay the bill. Many of these families have gone into tremendous amounts of debt in order to try to stay afloat, but once you get caught in a cycle of debt it can be incredibly difficult to break out of that.
The mainstream media continues to insist that the economy is “getting better”, but the poverty numbers for children and young people just continue to explode. For example, did you know that the poverty rate for families with a head of household under the age of 30 is a whopping 37 percent? Children and young people sure didn’t cause our recent economic downturn, but they sure are getting hit the hardest by it. According to the U.S. Department of Education, for the first time ever more than a million U.S. public school students are homeless. That seems like an impossible number, but it is actually true. How in the world could the “wealthiest nation on earth” get to the point where more than a million children can’t count on a warm bed to sleep in at night? Sadly, a huge number of American children can’t count on a warm dinner either. About a fourth of them are enrolled in the food stamp program. What do you do if you are a parent in that kind of situation? How do you explain to your kids that you can’t afford a nice home like everybody else has or that you can’t afford to go to the grocery store and buy them some dinner?
Do you think that is an alarmist headline? Well, I am not the one saying this. Law enforcement authorities all over the country are telling citizens that they can no longer deal with all the crime and that people need to lock their doors and prepare to defend their families. Just recently, the city attorney of San Bernardino, California told citizens to “lock their doors and load their guns” because there is not enough money to pay for adequate police protection any longer. The murder rate in San Bernardino is up 50 percent this year, but the city is dealing with bankruptcy and has been forced to lay off 80 police officers. But San Bernardino is not the only city dealing with this kind of a thing. In Oakland, burglaries are up 43 percent so far this year, and to say that there is a “crime wave” going on in Oakland would be a massive understatement. If you can believe it, in Oakland “more than 11,000 homes, cars or businesses have been broken into so far this year – translating to about 33 burglaries a day.” Sadly, there simply are not enough police to keep up with it all. Due to budget cuts, it is being projected that by February the size of the police force in Oakland will be about 25 percent smaller than it was back in 2008. But what is happening in Detroit is perhaps even more frightening. Today there are about 1,000 fewer police officers in Detroit than there was a decade ago. But crime just continues to rise. So now even the police are telling people to “enter Detroit at your own risk“. With very little police protection, an increasing number of citizens are taking matters into their own hands. As I noted in a previous article, justifiable homicide in the city of Detroit increased by 79 percent in 2011, and the rate of self-defense killings in Detroit is approximately 2200 percent above the national average. But don’t laugh at what is happening in cities like San Bernardino, Oakland and Detroit. What is happening in those cities will be coming to your community soon enough.
All over America there are millions of people that will be missing meals and going hungry this holiday season. Even as much of the country indulges in the yearly ritual of unbridled consumerism that we refer to as “the holiday season”, more families in the United States than ever before will be dealing with not having enough food to eat. Food stamp use is at an all-time high. Demand at food banks is at an all-time high. They keep telling us that we are in an “economic recovery” and yet the middle class continues to shrink and the number of Americans living in poverty just continues to grow. We are witnessing unprecedented hunger in America, and this especially seems tragic during the holidays. Much of the country is partying as if the good times will never stop, but families that are living from one meal to the next are facing a completely different reality. How do you tell your children that there isn’t going to be any food to eat for dinner? How do you explain to them that other families have plenty to eat but you don’t? Sadly, many food banks are overstretched at this point. All over the nation, food pantries have actually had to turn people away because of the overwhelming demand. And more Americans used food stamps to buy their Thanksgiving dinners this year than ever before. This is a problem that is not going away any time soon, and when the next major economic downturn strikes the problem of hunger in America is going to get even worse.
If Americans will trample one another just to save a few dollars on a television, what will they do when society breaks down and the survival of their families is at stake? Once in a while an event comes along that gives us a peek into what life could be like when the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted is stripped away. For example, when Hurricane Sandy hit New York and New Jersey there was rampant looting and within days people were digging around in supermarket dumpsters looking for food. Sadly, “Black Friday” also gives us a look at how crazed the American people can be when given the opportunity. This year was no exception. Once again we saw large crowds of frenzied shoppers push, shove, scratch, claw, bite and trample one another just to save a few bucks on cheap foreign-made goods. And of course most retailers seem to be encouraging this type of behavior. Most of them actually want people frothing at the mouth and willing to fight one another to buy their goods. But is this kind of “me first” mentality really something that we want to foster as a society? If people are willing to riot to save money on a cell phone, what would they be willing to do to feed their families? Are the Black Friday riots a very small preview of the civil unrest that is coming when society eventually breaks down?
Stuff costs too much. Seriously. Every time I go to the grocery store these days, I am absolutely horrified by the prices. I try not to buy anything that is not on sale, but the problem is that I am discovering that the new sale prices are the old regular prices. So now paying what used to be “full price” is supposedly a “good deal”. The other way that they are trying to hide rising prices is by shrinking package sizes. As if we wouldn’t notice that a box of 21 garbage bags is now being sold for the exact same price that a box of 25 garbage bags used to be sold for. It is one of my pet peeves. I feel like I am in the middle of some bizarre movie entitled “The Incredible Shrinking Dollar”. Sadly, I am far from alone. There are millions upon millions of American families that are seeing their expenses continue to rise even as their paychecks remain the same. But neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney seems very concerned about inflation. In fact, the Federal Reserve, QE3 and Ben Bernanke were not even mentioned in any of the three presidential debates. So I think that somebody should start the “Stuff Costs Too Much” Party. Inflation is a tax which is destroying the value of each dollar that we hold a little bit more every single day, and the American people deserve to know the truth about what is going on.
Have you ever laid in bed awake at night with a knot in your stomach because you didn’t know how your family was possibly going to make it through the next month financially? Have you ever felt the desperation of not being able to provide the basic necessities for your family even though you tried as hard as you could? All over America tonight, there are millions of desperate families that are being ripped apart by this economy. There aren’t nearly enough jobs, and millions of Americans that actually do have jobs aren’t making enough to even provide the basics for their families. When you have tried everything that you can think of and nothing works, it can be absolutely soul crushing. Today, one of my regular readers explained that he was not going to be online for a while because his power had been turned off. He has been out of work for quite a while, and eventually the money runs out. Have you ever been there? If you have ever experienced that moment, you know that it stays with you for the rest of your life. If you are single that is bad enough, but when you have to look into the eyes of your children and explain to them why there won’t be any dinner tonight or why they have to move into a homeless shelter it can feel like someone has driven a stake into your heart. In this article you will find a lot of very shocking economic statistics. But please remember that behind each statistic are the tragic stories of millions of desperately hurting American families.
If you are unemployed for an extended period of time, people are going to look at you differently. Unfortunately, this is especially true if you are a man. In our society, men are primarily defined by “what they do”. If you have been unemployed for a long period of time, that can make social interactions even more awkward than normal. Most people will instantly become more uncomfortable around you when they find out that you are unemployed. Many will look at you with pity, and others will actually look at you with disdain. Women will not want to date you, and if you are in a relationship unemployment will put a tremendous amount of strain on it. Once you “don’t have a job”, you will not get the same level of respect from former co-workers, friends, members of your own family and possibly even your own wife. So why does our society look down on unemployed men so much? Well, it is generally expected that men are supposed to be the “breadwinners” for their families. If a woman stays home with the kids nobody has any problems with that, but if men do the same thing it tends to raise eyebrows. But there is a big problem. Our economy is not producing enough jobs for everyone. In fact, there are millions upon millions more workers than there are jobs. It would be great if this was just a temporary situation, but as I have written about previously, there will never be enough jobs in America ever again. So there will continually be millions upon millions of men that are looked down upon by society because they can’t get jobs, and as a result we are going to have millions upon millions of men that are constantly battling against soul-crushing despair.
New numbers that have just been released show that things are getting worse for American families. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, median household income declined to $50,054 in 2011. That is a 1.5 percent decline from the previous year, and median household income has now fallen for 4 years in a row. In fact, after adjusting for inflation median household income has not been this low since 1995. These new numbers once again confirm what so many of us have been talking about for so long – American families are steadily getting poorer. Incomes are going down and the cost of living just keeps going up. This dynamic is squeezing more Americans out of the middle class every single month. Others just keep going into more debt in an attempt to maintain their previous lifestyles. As Americans, we really don’t like to hear that things are getting worse and that we are in decline, but unfortunately that is exactly what is happening. Our economy does not produce nearly enough jobs for everyone anymore, the proportion of low wage jobs in our economy continues to grow, and the middle class is shrinking at an alarming rate. Our politicians can deliver speeches about how great we all are until the cows come home, but it isn’t going to change the reality of our situation. If we want different results we have got to start taking different actions.
If you could live in any state in America, where would you go? During troubled times like these, what is the best place in the United States to live? A lot of people are asking these kinds of questions these days. Our economy is on the verge of collapse, natural disasters are becoming more frequent and more intense, the U.S. population is becoming angrier and more frustrated by the day, our government has become incredibly oppressive and controlling, war could break out at any time and evidence that society is breaking down is all around us. As our world becomes increasingly unstable, many families are considering moving somewhere else. But what areas are best and what areas should be avoided? Is there really a “best place to live” in America? Well, the truth is that each family is facing a different set of circumstances. If you have a great support system where you live, it can be really tough to pick up and move 3000 miles away from that support system. If you have a great job where you live now, it can be really tough to move some place where there may be no job at all for you. But without a doubt there are some areas of the country that will be far better off than others in the event of a major economic collapse. This article will take a look at each of the 50 U.S. states and will list some of the pros and cons for moving to each one.
It is absolutely amazing what some people will do to make a living in this economy. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and we have not seen this kind of desperation for jobs in America since the Great Depression of the 1930s. What some people are willing to put up with just to bring home a paycheck these days will totally shock you. For example, would you slaughter dogs all day long even though you are really a dog lover? Would you personally train your replacement from China even though you knew he was about to take your job? Would you trade sex for a job? There are people out there actually doing all these things and worse. Every night in America, millions upon millions of people roll around endlessly in their beds and stare at their ceilings for hours because they can’t sleep. They are sick to their stomachs because their money is gone and nobody will hire them. They can’t provide even the basics for their families and they feel worthless. Unemployment can be absolutely soul crushing and it can suck the life right out of you. Things were supposed to be better by now, but they aren’t. The month after Barack Obama took office the unemployment rate broke the 8 percent barrier and it has stayed above it ever since. But the truth is that the “official” unemployment number greatly understates the real amount of suffering that is going on out there. In reality, the percentage of working age Americans that have jobs is lower today than when the last recession ended. There are millions upon millions of Americans that are desperate for some hope, and there is no hope on the horizon. In fact, things are going to be getting a whole lot worse for the U.S. economy.
Every single day more Americans fall into poverty. This should deeply alarm you no matter what political party you belong to and no matter what your personal economic philosophy is. Right now, approximately 100 million Americans are either “poor” or “near poor”. For a lot of people “poverty” can be a nebulous concept, so let’s define it. The poverty level as defined by the federal government in 2010 was $11,139 for an individual and $22,314 for a family of four. Could you take care of a family of four on less than $2000 a month? Millions upon millions of families are experiencing a tremendous amount of pain in this economy, and no matter what “solutions” we think are correct, the reality is that we all should have compassion on them. Sadly, things are about to get even worse. The next major economic downturn is rapidly approaching, and when it hits the statistics posted below are going to look even more horrendous.
When it comes to poverty, most Americans immediately want to get into debates about tax rates and wealth redistribution and things like that.
But the truth is that they are missing the main point.
Are you ready for the next major global food crisis? The price of corn hit an all-time record high on Thursday. So did the price of soybeans. The price of corn is up about 50 percent since the middle of last month, and the price of wheat has risen by about 50 percent over the past five weeks. On Thursday, corn for September delivery reached $8.166 per bushel, and many analysts believe that it could hit $10 a bushel before this crisis is over. The worst drought in the United States in more than 50 years is projected to continue well into August, and more than 1,300 counties in the United States have been declared to be official natural disaster areas. So how is this crisis going to affect the average person on the street? Well, most Americans and most Europeans are going to notice their grocery bills go up significantly over the coming months. That will not be pleasant. But in other areas of the world this crisis could mean the difference between life and death for some people. You see, half of all global corn exports come from the United States. So what happens if the U.S. does not have any corn to export? About a billion people around the world live on the edge of starvation, and today the Financial Times ran a front page story with the following headline: “World braced for new food crisis“. Millions upon millions of families in poor countries are barely able to feed themselves right now. So what happens if the price of the food that they buy goes up dramatically?