The Beginning Of The End
The Beginning Of The End By Michael T. Snyder - Kindle Version

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11 Long-Term Trends That Are Absolutely Destroying The U.S. Economy

The U.S. economy is being slowly but surely destroyed and many Americans have no idea that it is happening.  That is at least partially due to the fact that most financial news is entirely focused on the short-term.  Whenever a key economic statistic goes up the financial markets surge and analysts rejoice.  Whenever a key economic statistic goes down the financial markets decline and analysts speak of the potential for a "double-dip" recession.  You could literally get whiplash as you watch the financial ping pong ball bounce back and forth between good news and bad news.  But focusing on short-term statistics is not the correct way to analyze the U.S. economy.  It is the long-term trends that reveal the truth.  The reality is that there are certain underlying foundational problems that are destroying the U.S. economy a little bit more every single day.

11 of those foundational problems are discussed below.  They are undeniable and they are constantly getting worse.  If they are not corrected (and there is no indication that they will be) they will destroy not only our economy but also our entire way of life.  The sad truth is that it would be hard to understate just how desperate the situation is for the U.S. economy. 

Long-Term Trend #1: The Deindustrialization Of America

The United States is being deindustrialized at a pace that is almost impossible to believe.  But now that millions upon millions of people have lost their jobs, more Americans than ever are starting to wake up and believe it.

A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that 69 percent of Americans now believe that free trade agreements have cost America jobs.  Ten years ago the majority of Americans had great faith in the new "global economy" that we were all being merged into, but now the tide has turned.

So why have Americans lost faith in "free trade"?

Well, it turns out that the current system is neither "free trade" nor "fair trade".  Many other nations impose extremely high tariffs on U.S. goods and put up ridiculous barriers to American products and yet the United States has generally let everyone else openly manipulate currency rates and flood our shores with whatever cheap products they want.

The results have been disastrous.  Jobs and factories have been leaving the United States at a blinding pace.

The United States has lost approximately 42,400 factories since 2001.  An economy without a manufacturing base does not have a bright long-term future.  Yet our politicians have allowed our manufacturing base to be systematically dismantled.

As of the end of 2009, less than 12 million Americans worked in manufacturing.  The last time that less than 12 million Americans were employed in manufacturing was in 1941.

How is the United States supposed to have a bright economic future if it consumes everything in sight and yet makes very little?

Something needs to be done.

In 1959, manufacturing represented 28 percent of all U.S. economic output.  In 2008, it represented only 11.5 percent and it continues to fall.

Needless to say, millions of blue collar workers now find themselves unable to find jobs.  Today, 28% of all U.S. households have at least one person that is looking for a full-time job and there is no sign that things are going to improve much any time soon.

Long-Term Trend #2: The Exploding U.S. Trade Deficit

Each month, tens of billions more dollars go out of the United States than come into it.  In other words, every single month the United States gets poorer.

Recently, the U.S. trade deficit has been coming in at around 40 to 50 billion dollars a month.  About half of that is with communist China.

Between 2000 and 2009, America's trade deficit with China increased nearly 300 percent.

Sadly, things are getting even worse.

As of the end of July, the U.S. trade deficit with China had risen 18 percent compared to the same time period a year ago.

There is a reason why China has been able to loan the U.S. government nearly a trillion dollars.  They have literally been bleeding us dry.

The United States spends approximately $3.90 on Chinese goods for every $1 that the Chinese spend on goods from the United States.

Does that sound like "fair trade" to you?

According to a new study conducted by the Economic Policy Institute, if the U.S. trade deficit with China continues to increase at its current rate, the U.S. economy will lose over half a million jobs this year alone.

Half a million jobs in just one year?

And that doesn't even take into account the trade deficit that we have with all the other nations around the world.

We have literally built China into a superpower.

One prominent economist is now projecting that the Chinese economy will be three times larger than the U.S. economy by the year 2040.

But it isn't just China that is a problem.

Since the implementation of NAFTA in 1994, 300,000 U.S. farms have gone out of business.

Globalism has forced U.S. workers to directly compete with the cheapest labor in the world for jobs.  That is not good for American workers and it is not good for America.

Long-Term Trend #3: The Shrinking Middle Class

As jobs continue to flee the United States and as wages continue to be depressed, America's middle class is shrinking at an alarming rate.

According to a poll taken in 2009, 61 percent of Americans "always or usually" live paycheck to paycheck.  That was up substantially from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.

Unfortunately, a growing number of Americans have found it impossible to make it from month to month without direct financial assistance from the federal government.

41 million Americans are now on food stamps.  One out of every six Americans is now enrolled in at least one anti-poverty program run by the federal government.  Economic pain is everywhere.

Tens of millions of Americans now live in poverty.  The U.S. Census Bureau says that 43.6 million Americans are now living in poverty and according to them that is the highest number of poor Americans that they have ever recorded in 51 years of record-keeping.

Long-Term Trend #4: The Growing Size Of The U.S. Government

No matter whether it is a Republican or a Democrat in the White House, the size of the U.S. government has continued to grow by leaps and bounds in recent years.

This is a tremendous drain on the U.S. economy.  The government produces very little value for the economy and yet costs a colossal amount to maintain.

In addition, multiplying government regulations have caused the United States to be a very difficult environment to operate a business in. 

The Federal Register is the main source of regulations for U.S. government agencies.  In 1936, the number of pages in the Federal Register was about 2,600.  Today, the Federal Register is over 80,000 pages long.

Long-Term Trend #5: The Constantly Growing U.S. National Debt

The United States has accumulated the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world and every single month it gets worse.

According to an official U.S. Treasury Department report to Congress, the U.S. national debt will top $13.6 trillion this year and will climb to an estimated $19.6 trillion by 2015.

Do we really want to pass on a 20 trillion dollar debt to our children and grandchildren?

But the truth is that the situation is actually a lot worse than that.

If the U.S. government was forced to use GAAP accounting principles (like all publicly-traded corporations must), the U.S. government budget deficit would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 trillion to $5 trillion each and every year.

Needless to say, that is not anywhere close to sustainable.  We are literally destroying our economic future with all of this debt.

Long-Term Trend #6: The Ongoing Devaluation Of The U.S. Dollar

The Federal Reserve constantly destroys the value of the U.S. dollar.  Since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913, the U.S. dollar has lost over 95 percent of its purchasing power.

An item that cost $20.00 in 1970 would cost you $112.35 today.  An item that cost $20.00 in 1913 would cost you $440.33 today.

Inflation is like a hidden tax.  The value of the dollars you are holding right now will decline a little bit more each and every month. 

And now that the Federal Reserve is threatening to unleash another round of quantitative easing, it appears that the value of our dollars will soon be declining even more rapidly.

Long-Term Trend #7: The Derivatives Bubble

The one thing that the "Wall Street reform bill" should have done was that it should have done something about the horrific abuses in the derivatives markets.  Instead, the Wall Street reform bill did next to nothing about derivatives and instead imposed hundreds of other useless regulations on Wall Street.

Most Americans don't even know what derivatives are.  Basically, they are side bets.  They have no underlying value of their own.  But today derivatives have taken center stage on Wall Street.  Our financial markets have become a gigantic casino.

The total value of all derivatives worldwide is estimated to be somewhere between 600 trillion and 1.5 quadrillion dollars.  And thanks to the U.S. Congress, the derivatives bubble is still growing.

It would be hard to understate the danger that the derivatives bubble represents.  The danger from derivatives is so great that Warren Buffet once called them "financial weapons of mass destruction".  

When the derivatives bubble finally pops, there will not be enough money in the entire world to fix it.

Long-Term Trend #8: The Health Care Industry

The United States health care system is completely and totally broken.  It has become a gigantic money making machine for health insurance companies, pharmaceutical corporations and greedy lawyers.

Americans pay more for health care than anyone else in the world and yet they get shockingly little in return.

Health care expenses are the number one reason why people file for personal bankrupty in the United States.  Surprisingly, most of those who get bankrupted by health care expenses actually have health insurance.

The health insurance system in the United States is a complete and total mess.  Health insurance premiums are busting the budgets of tens of millions of American families and yet they are getting ready to go up yet once again. 

Already, large numbers of health insurance companies across the United States have announced that they plan to increase health insurance premiums in response to the new health care law.

But do health insurance companies actually need more money?  Even as the rest of the U.S. economy deeply struggles, America's health insurance companies increased their profits by 56 percent in 2009.

At least someone is doing well in this economy.

The truth is that the U.S. health care system needs to be totally and completely reinvented.  The system we had before did not work.  Barack Obama's new health care system will be far worse.  Meanwhile, the health care industry is literally choking the life out of the U.S. economy.

Long-Term Trend #9: Financial Power Is Becoming Concentrated In Fewer And Fewer Hands

Once upon a time, the United States had a very diverse financial system.  But today financial power is becoming concentrated in fewer and fewer hands with each passing year.

More U.S. banks fail every single week.  In fact, the number of bank failures is on pace to far surpass the total of 140 U.S. banks that failed last year.

There are now nearly 900 banks (well over 10 percent of all U.S. banks) on the FDIC list of problem banks.

Meanwhile, the "too big to fail" banks continue to pick up market share.  The "big four" U.S. banks (Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo) had approximately 22 percent of all deposits in FDIC-insured institutions back in 2000.  As of June 30th of last year that figure was up to 39 percent.

Putting an increasing amount of financial power into the hands of just a few elite banks is a recipe for disaster any way you want to cut it.

Long-Term Trend #10: Rampant Corruption On Wall Street

Our financial system has become an absolute cesspool of corruption.  In the past I have written extensively about all of the corruption that Goldman Sachs has been involved in, but they are far from alone.

In fact, it seems like new stories of financial corruption emerge almost daily now.

For example, just recently Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and GMAC Mortgage have all suspended foreclosures in many U.S. states due to serious concerns about foreclosure procedures.

But there is a lot of corruption that is a lot worse than that.  The rampant manipulation of the gold and silver markets was completely blown open by an industry insider earlier this year, but the U.S. government had to be publicly shamed before they would even agree to look into it. 

The truth is that corruption on Wall Street has become so common that it is almost impossible to keep up with it all.  It seems like no matter what stone you turn over on Wall Street these days you find yet more corruption.

But if the core of our financial system is so incredibly corrupt, how long will it be before it collapses in on itself?

Long-Term Trend #11: The Growing Retirement Crisis That Threatens To Bankrupt America

The Baby Boomers may end up bankrupting America after all.  A retirement tsunami is coming that threatens to drown our nation in a sea of red ink.

The truth is that Americans have not been preparing for retirement on their own.  One shocking new study indicates that Americans are $6.6 trillion short of what they need to retire comfortably.

In fact, approximately half of all workers in the United States have less than $2000 saved up for retirement.

So what about corporate pension plans?

Are they in good shape?

No.

One recent study found that America's 100 largest corporate pension plans were underfunded by $217 billion as of the end of 2008.

But sadly, the pension plans run by U.S. state governments are in even worse shape.

Robert Novy-Marx of the University of Chicago and Joshua D. Rauh of Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management recently calculated the combined pension liability of all 50 U.S. states.  What they found was that the 50 states are collectively facing $5.17 trillion in pension obligations, but they only have $1.94 trillion set aside in state pension funds.  That means that collectively, the 50 U.S. state governments are 3.2 trillion dollars short of what they need to meet their pension obligations.

But the biggest mess of all may be the U.S. Social Security system.

The sad reality is that anyone that has studied it closely knows that it is nothing more than a Ponzi scheme, and the scam has just about run its course.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Social Security system will pay out more in benefits than it receives in payroll taxes in 2010.  That was not supposed to happen until at least 2016.

Oops.

But things get really hairy when you start looking down the road.

The present value of projected scheduled benefits surpasses earmarked revenues for entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare by about 46 trillion dollars over the next 75 years.

Ouch.

It is time to face facts people.

We are in deep, deep, deep trouble.

An increasing number of Americans are starting to realize this.  They may not always know the specifics of what is going wrong, but more people than ever realize that something is broken.  According to one recent survey, 63 percent of Americans believe that the United States is on the wrong track.

And we are very much on the wrong track.  We have squandered the great wealth that our parents and grandparents left us and we are wrecking the greatest economic machine that the world has ever seen.

If we do not get our act together, someday people will look back and will curse this generation for how incredibly stupid we were.

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  • tyler

    Both parties are to blame. Stop with this crap of my side is better than yours.

    • shawn

      Amen! In fact, the 2 party system is the Haves and Have-nots… if we ever figure that out. But divided, the American people have fallen.

  • Progressive Ed

    Didn’t you forget the fact of the barbarians have breached our Southern wall. Millions and millions of them.

  • mondobeyondo

    The Abba song “Money Money Money” comes to mind.

    Don’t ask me how or why… it just comes to mind…

  • http://stockresearchportal.com Ian R. Campbell

    Excellent article. Each trading day I send an e-mail to over 10,000 opt-in Subscribers to http://stockresearchportal.com, a website focused on Mining and Oil & Gas Stock Research. Today I included (in part) the following comment: “When reading the article, note the emphasis on ‘long-term’, and the author’s commentary on ‘short-term’ statistics. Sound familiar? Please note when reading this that it is not lost on me that I may be attracted to this article because it in many respects mirrors my own views – it is all too easy to ‘fall in love with one’s own ideas’, and grab onto the opinions of others whose ideas support yours. I have written extensively in these e-mails and on the StockResearchPortalBlog for over three years about 8 of these 11 trends. The three I haven’t focused on to any degree are Derivatives, The Health Care Industry, and Wall Street Corruption (which I really think isn’t ‘corruption at all, but human nature taking advantage of existing Government Regulation)”.

    Good work on this article.

  • William

    The comments about Social Security are plainly FALSE. Social Security has paid its way. The problem is that, over the past roughly 40 years, the EXCESS PAID IN Social Security has been squandered on unnecessary wars, stupid pork barrel (earmarks) spending, and normal and routine federal government functions that the cowards in the US Congress did not want to tax for. Now, the time has come for the Congress to repay the borrowed excess paid in funds…..about $2.5 TRILLION. That is the problem. The morons in the Congress spent the excess paid in funds with great joy. They were unconcerned with repaying the funds borrowed from Social Security. Now, to repay the about $2.5 TRILLION, the cowards and fools in the Congress know that they will either to tax, or borrow. Neither is desired. But, neither was the unnecessary war of choice for Israel in Iraq. So, the idea that Socail Security is a ponzi scheme is just plain dumb Republican garbage.

  • handog

    Unfortunately most people do not look at long-term trends. They look at the little green arrow pointing up on the bottom of the screen and see the football stadium packet on Monday night. I’m talking about the ones who still have jobs. They think it’s just a double dip recession. I hear “this country has recovered from hard times before.” What much of the brain dead public doesn’t realize is that we are having a GLOBAL MELTDOWN. It will be much worse than the first depression.

  • Jessie

    Wow, what overwhelming and depressing statistics. It is frustrating that more individuals don’t consider the long term affects of their decisions. If each one of us were to make wiser, more honest choices regarding our spending AND saving, we would be not only benefitting our personal and familial futures, but contributing to the future stability of our country’s economy. The IKEA and dollar store mentality is both economically and environmentally disastrous as is the failure of people, businesses and organizations to take responsibility for their actions. This piece is a good, easy to read bulleted wakeup call that I would like to see being read by many.

  • Tim

    “But the biggest mess of all may be the U.S. Social Security system.

    The sad reality is that anyone that has studied it closely knows that it is nothing more than a Ponzi scheme, and the scam has just about run its course.”

    Social Security certainly is a Ponzi scheme, and I think that most Americans don’t realize it. I am 35 years old, and I have had over $34k in social security taxes withheld from my wages since I began working at the age of 14. And I will probably never see that money–money that I earned. I wish there were a way of opting out of the system and getting a refund of social security withholdings. I could buy a lot of silver with $34k.

  • Line in the Sand

    Why no mention of massive, continued illegal immigration? This blog has a huge blind spot of the jobs taken by illegals and the social services they consume.

    Across the country, more than 7.7 million illegal immigrants have jobs(*) while more than 13 million Americans do not(**). The jobs in the in United States should go to the citizens and legal immigrants first!

    sources:
    (*) http://www.numbersusa.com/content/files/pdf/Putting%20Americans%20Back%20to%20Work(2).pdf
    (**) http://www.numbersusa.com/content/nusablog/beckr/april-3-2009/663000-us-jobs-lost-march-138000-more-foreign-workers-given-work-permits

  • Maria

    I agree…

    “The reality is that there are certain underlying foundational problems that are destroying the U.S. economy a little bit more every single day.”

    However, the 11 long term trends are not the underlying foundation of the problem. They are the effects of the foundational problem. That “problem” has caused the rot we see in our economy, our schools, our health care, our politics, our entertainment, our families and every other facet of our society. We aren’t going to fix our economy or anything else that is wrong in this country until we fix the “problem.”

    So what is the “problem”?

    Integrity…we don’t have it. Sure, there are lots of hard-working, decent people in our country…but we haven’t made the best choices with our votes or our dollars. We have allowed the modernization of society to transform us into an apathetic culture. We think we can take a pill, flip a switch, turn a key or press a button to fix every problem. Somewhere along the way, we got fat and lazy and just stopped getting involved.

    Yes, the economic depression is inevitable. The destruction of our country is not. We have to get back in shape…body, mind and soul. We need to vote wisely, spend wisely, eat wisely, relax wisely…think wisely.

    The globalists think the war is won.

    The battle has yet begun.

  • rick

    Number 12 and 13 (or is it 1 and 20

    RESOURSE DEPLETION (ie Peak oil)

    CLIMATE CHANGE

    Prepare (Mentally and Physically) for a
    much simpler and (saner) world.

  • PC

    William, you wrote “Social Security has paid its way.”

    But sadly, it doesn’t matter. Because as you yourself acknowledge, each year the government has spent all the surplus Social Security payments collected that wasn’t given out to retirees. So there’s no “surplus”. So it’s a problem anyway.

    But beyond that, each retiree typically takes out more than they ever put in. The first retired person on Social Security paid about $100 into the system, but over her lifetime took out $22,000 – and that was back then.

  • Laticia

    Excellent summary given in a remarkably clear, jargon-free, language.

    One might ask: WHY? What happened to the USA? The answer has at least two parts:
    1. The private owners of the Federal Reserve have too much power, and increasingly siphon our wealth into their pockets. The same goes for their many subsidiaries: Oil, military, arms manufacturers, prison system, corporate agriculture . . .
    2. But how have they acquired this power? Because our political system is utterly broken. They control our minds through their schools and media, and they control our judges and politicians through bribery. It’s that simple–a system based on bribes, where every policy is dictated by the interests of the few and against the national interest.

    As long as such control persists (and it is guaranteed to), the situation will only get worse. We are rapidly moving towards increased poverty, fascism, and war. The only remedy is personal: Get out of the USA, before it’s too late. Most Gypsies, gays, and intellectuals stayed in Germany, and we all know that their inflexibility cost them their liberty and, often, life. Their currency will eventually collapse too, so, if you can, buy as much gold and silver as you can.

    Good luck.

  • Heatmiser

    Excellent article, but I would like to add another item:

    The extreme polarization of modern politics.

    We used to be Americans first and party members second. Politics used to be about the welfare of the country and the democracy. Now its about not letting the other party get the upper hand. There is no middle ground and no mercy. How is that going to help us solve our problems? The answer is that it won’t and it doesn’t matter as long as the [insert-party-name-here]s come out on top.

  • mondobeyondo

    Social Insecurity is just a classic Ponzi scheme.

    Those at the top (i.e. born first to qualify) get all the benefits. Those born in the 1940′s and ’50s may be lucky to get a little something. Born after 1960, forget it. No soup for you!

    Born in 1925? Great! – kick back, enjoy your retirement amount which (perhaps) allows you to enjoy a week in Paris and sunsets along the Mexican coast, and thank FDR daily for such a brilliant idea. Born in 1973? Keep working hard, and keep paying those FICA taxes. You’ll get nothing, but hey, a couple cans of Mighty Dog a month is good compensation, eh? (No, it’s not for your dog. It’s for YOU!)

    It’s not fair!!!!!

    But then, life isn’t fair. Boo-hoo…. Too bad. What can I say? You should have had the foresight to have been born earlier last century. “Old folks” get the cream, younger folks get sour milk. Sorrryyyyyy….

  • Torches, Pitchforks, and Revolutions

    @Maria. Excellent points. All of them. It has been said that the economic meltdown was not an economic crisis, but a crisis of leadership, at every level of society (that means all of us).

    Further, when 2/3 of America are overweight, 1/3 obese, and the general population’s biggest interest is Lindsay Lohan’s next train wreck, we are indeed in trouble. BTW, how ’bout that meat dress on Lady Gaga, huh?

  • Common Tater

    I find it hard to believe the little people are still arguing about the Reprobates and Demoncans. Until you idiots wake up and realize you’re stuck in the left/right matrix where it’s all about divide and conquer, things will continue to degenerate.

    They’re controlled by the same globalist elite scum.

  • VegasBob

    William is basically correct. The taxes have mostly been paid to fund Social Security, even though Congress went ahead and spent the money on other stuff anyway. Social Security benefits are fixed by formula, and the amount is predictable from year to year. So over the long term, only minor adjustments are needed to bring Social Security tax receipts into line with benefit payouts.

    Of course, Congress is still going to have to come up with the money to pay back the Social Security system for the Social Security tax money it spent on other stuff, but that issue really is not Social Security’s fault.

    The real problem is Medicare, which is an open-ended expense with no real controls over how much is spent. The is no limit to the demand for Medicare dollars.

    Despite all of the Republican propaganda against Social Security, the fact is that the fiscal problems associated with Social Security are like a common cold, while the fiscal problems with Medicare are like terminal cancer.

  • El Pollo de Oro

    About #9 and #10:

    A lot of neocons have been running around claiming that The Banana Republic of America (BRA) is now a “socialist” country, which is truly ironic in light of the fact that so-called “neoconservatism” has Trotskyist origins. But as libertariano Gerald Celente correctly points out, what is going on in this broken down basketcase of a country is actually fascism (not socialism) as defined by Benito “Il Duce” Mussolini himself: it is the merging of state and corporate power. The American taxpayers bailed out Wall Street’s thieving “White Shoe Boys,” as Celente calls them, and saved them from going under—and they thanked us by pushing the BRA more and more in the direction of a Third World country. I love it when Celente says that if The White Shoe Boys had names like Perrini, Rossellini, Riccardi, Peluso, Corelli and Angeletti, Hollywood would call it the Mafia. So true! But I would add that the neocon globalist ghouls who have turned the former USA into the BRA are worse than L’Angrangheta di Calabria, La Cosa Nostra di Sicilia and La Camorra di Napoli because at least those mafiosi have a set of rules that they operate by—The White Shoe Boys have no such limits. And at least Italy, problems and all, still has some checks and balances; in the BRA, neither the Republi-Cons nor Demo-Craps will reign in The White Shoe Boys and prevent them from wiping out what is left of the American middle class. The White Shoe Boys are not about “free enterprise” or competition. They believe in oligarchies and monopolies and rigging the game. The White Shoe Boys are not capitalists; they are fascists.

    Italians were smart enough to reject fascism and give Il Duce a little necklace that brought his reign of terror to an end—and if the European mega-riots of 2010 are any indication, Europeans have no problem standing up to The White Shoe Boys. At least Europeans won’t go down without a fight. But in the BRA, so many suckers have been conditioned to worship and adore The White Shoe Boys no matter how much misery and suffering they cause.

    And don’t believe any of the lying politicians who claim that the “recession” ended in 2009. That’s a lie. This is a depression, not a recession—and the worst is yet to come for La Repubblica Banana di America. Che dio ci aiuti.

  • Rod

    US national debt (a measly) $13.6T
    Uh, no it’s not…this is just a mainstream media lie which I’m sick of seeing.
    Let’s try $60 Trillion minimum (provable), with $80T more likely and with some experts saying it could be as high as $200T !
    With debts like that there will never be a recovery – just a complete currency collapse.
    It’s on the cards and the clock is ticking…

  • The Beast

    @El Pollo de Oro : I couldn’t agree more.

  • Libertarian jerry

    The United States government will honor all their Social Security obligations well into the future. The only problem is when you go to spend your Social Security money it will buy very little because the dollar will be next to worthless.

  • Jim

    William is right. Social Security has been looted for years by congress and presidents. If I remember correctly Bush made a raid on the excesses in 2002? of about a trillion dollars. Then he tried to convert the SS program to Wall Street investing for individual retirement. Thank goodness that idea failed. William is also correct about the war in Iraq. The country of Iraq is now a buffer zone for Israel at the expense of our kids and tax dollars. Our self serving leaders are destroying our great country. Both parties have completely failed.

  • Randy

    Tim,
    Looking for a way to opt out of Social Security System? Two ways: 1) farming. It is not that hard to run a farm with $400 of annual profit and not pay any FICA or income taxes at all, yet still eat steak twice per week and really enjoy a healthy stress free life.
    2) Religious exemption. Yup, go Amish, get a cool hat and wear lots of black, dump that money eating car and learn German. You can even start your own community. Amish don’t pay much for taxes, are exempt from health insurance and don’t pay self-employment taxes.
    As to getting your money back? Its long gone.

  • Jeff

    Actually, CareerBuilder has released a new 2010 survey which states that 77% of workers are now living paycheck-to-paycheck. This is up from 61% in 2009, 49% in 2008, and 43% in 2007. Increases of this magnitude per year are truly mind boggling, and it’s sickening thinking about how high this figure could rise in the years ahead.

    http://www.careerbuilder.com/share/aboutus/pressreleasesdetail.aspx?id=pr584&sd=9%2f1%2f2010&ed=12%2f31%2f2010&siteid=cbpr&sc_cmp1=cb_pr584_

  • http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/recoveryanniversary/ Meshak

    I draw your attention to this chart, using data from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, showing Obama’s Recovery Act is responsible for 2.4 million jobs up to the beginning of 2010.

  • Mary Just

    One thing the author failed to mention is the 40 million illegal aliens who work here, collect benefits and do not pay taxes. This cost amounts to 100s of billions of dollars for the US annually. This number of illegals will soon be 100 million. When these illegals get citizenship it wont matter how you vote for they will be deciding who takes office and who changes the constitution. I did not include all the election corruption that is currently going on. Some people say this happens when good people do nothing. Well I have another name for these people and it is that they are cowards. They watched for decades as their country was invaded by millions of illegals annually. So live with what you allowed to happen!

  • Maria

    Torches, Pitchforks, and Revolutions,

    Thanks.

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  • lostinmissouri

    Social Security is a ponzi scheme, just like every “feel good” liberal ideal, that promises a lot, for a little.

    And of course, the government,”that’s here to help you”, is going to make sure you get back “more” for the “little” you paid in. Only, the “more”, that you get back, will not buy you lunch!

    All you government, union workers, and teachers, depending on your pensions, will soon see the light. I am sorry you bought in to the lie.

    Those of you, waiting for the government to help you, and provide for you….will soon be extinct! Hey! that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

  • russ

    Industry is leaving this country not because of tariffs, but because of government interference in the form of regulation and taxation. In china, there is no medicare, medicade, ssi, unemployment insurance, affirmative action..etc, etc, etc. Its so difficult just to hire someone….

  • Lola

    Our parents and grandparents are the ones that got us in this mess, ot us. Obama will get us out, be patient.

  • Amanda

    Lola…you are kidding, right?

  • Wendy

    ‘Scuse me, did no one mention the trillions the U.S. spends to kill, mutilate, displace and poison countries full of people? Why doesn’t that ever figure in “budget considerations?” Eliminate that, and there’s plenty for all domestic needs.Don’t tell me it’s the old folks or the sick folks causing us to go broke.

  • Joe Blocks

    Also eliminate the hundreds of visa programs for guest workers – H1B, L1, H2 etc

    that THROW AMERICANS OUT OF WORK

  • Paul von Guerard

    “Though we live(ed) in an era of relative peace and comfort, we have settled into a mood of pessimism about the long-term future, fearful that our superpower nation is somehow rotting from within.”

    “The Fourth Turning is a Crisis, a decisive era of secular upheaval, when the values regime propels the replacement of the old civic order with a new one.”

    From the book The Fourth Turning, written in 1997.

  • Ceedog

    Lots of good points here. I see it coming… Remember those crazies telling us that the housing crash was coming years ago? People like Peter Schif, Celente, Rogers, and Paul knew it 10 years ago and they were laughed at. All I know is I can survive off native plants and game, doesn’t sound as crazy as it did 5 years ago.

  • Steve Mawson

    LOLA, that’s right dearie, you just sit there on your rotund potush and wait for someone else to bail you out. Better stock up on those twinkies now as you will be hard pressed to buy any when your welfare checks stop and they repossess your trailer to use the aluminum to make the new currency coinage of the future USA – it’s going to be called the “Twinkle” – as a tribute to what was once the great American ideal.

  • Bryan

    And they were worried about Y2K!

    Now, I wish it would have happened….sad

  • QuantumVurp

    If all complex systems are made more complex, perhaps that will simplify things?

    Oh shoot me! I’m thinking like a politician!

  • http://facebook Lynn Westrich

    Illegals have been draining us dry while citizens cannot get jobs. Welfare checks are distributed to those who are perfectly capable of working but of course now there are fewer jobs. Health care costs have skyrocketed and Obamacare would totally destroy it. We need to get back to manufacturing and farming and to drilling for our own oil so we are not dependent upon other countries to supply us with fuel. We need taxes lowered not increased so people have more money in their pockets to spend. It does not make sense to increase taxes on people who are already on the brink of collapse. Get rid of the fatcats in Washington and Wall Street and throw the Barney Franks, Bill Clintons, and Christopher Dodds, Maxine Waters, Charlie Rangles, and Nancy Pelosis in jail!

  • Mike

    The republicans want to get rid of the middle class by giving the rich everything. CEO gets paid 900 million and a worker gets $5.50 an hour. Then the rich complain about taxes? The tea baggers and religous nut jobs (Christian Taliban) are used to spread the message of hate the neighbor. Illegal, gay, athiest, muslim,lesbian, doesn’t matter the christian republicans will hate them and use them as a scape goat while the rich loot this country. Wake up. Fire the republicans and get rid of the ugly christians and their message of hate and division.

    Get America working again.

  • Curly Harper

    “mondobeyondo”

    “Born in 1925? Great! – kick back, enjoy your retirement amount which (perhaps) allows you to enjoy a week in Paris and sunsets along the Mexican coast, and thank FDR daily for such a brilliant idea”

    My Dad was born in 1925, he receives a paltry $864.10 a month after laboring 55 years. SSA is and always will be a joke and everyone is congress should be slapped upside their heads.

  • Ken

    Nicely done. Im passing this around to all my friends.

  • Bryan

    Mike,

    Sorry to inform you…YOU are the problem!

    If you want to continue to fight some politicle battle, then you fall right into their hands. If you choose a side you will defend that side because of your emotional attachment. There will always be someone else to blame. It will never be a DEM’s or a REP’s fault respectively. Buy yourself a clue, GOVERNMENT is to blame and WE are to blame for puting them there over and over. I hate what this once “possibly” great nation has become (and what it has waisted) with as much passion as you may have. But no REP or DEM government is goinig to fix it. It will take ONE NATION…..ONE PEOPLE…willing to ask tough questions and admit to even tougher answers.

    Very, very few people are able or willing to do this.

    Can you?

    • Hickory77

      Corporate america is to blame. Thanks to changes in laws they buy our leaders. They put profits above people. They have trained us to be good consumers, and to buy for status, not needs. Now that jobs are outsourced and the few jobs available do not offer benefits, the middle class is shrinking. We are reaping the rewards of these changes.

  • Bryan

    …….And, oh, by the way.

    THE RICH DO NOT PAY TAXES.

    Those are passed on to the consumer!

    I triple dog dare you to name a rich person that complains about taxes. Rich people’s money works for them. not the other way around.

  • observer

    The excessive and unrestrained greed and the so called free market has destroyed everything.Arrogance and ignorance have made substantial contribution to the present dismal conditions. USA the great nation is no longer in existence, the desperation is leading it toward aggression all over the world.Stop greed and observe humility and things should start improving

  • Mikey Joe

    Just FYI, undocumented workers all pay taxes but receive next to nothing in terms of benefits. That’s a fact, yo, and listed on the Bush era Federal Govt fact page on immigration. Think about it, instead of spewing your knee-jerk bile: taxes are deducted from pay checks, collected as fees and added to sales–how can anybody here NOT pay taxes? Most pay into our social security and medicare systems but will never receive a cent of that money back. And they are taxed without representation, not that Americans care about such things… By the way, many are likely US citizens, or could be. Look up the Mexican Repatriation Act. We forcibly deported 600,000-700,000 US CITIZENS OF MEXICAN DESCENT and confiscated their property! An estimated 2 million additional US citizens fled to avoid persecution. Their grand children, well more than the 12 million “illegals” living here are US citizens. Not that Americans care about such things as the rights of its citizens.

  • Mikey Joe

    Ha ha, good thing we all had a laugh at Al Gore and his silly “lock box” approach. I mean, that would have SAVED Social Security. What a disaster that would have been! Sorry folks, the Gov’t is not to blame. We are. The American voters are, for consistently voting for the lowest common denominator, such as the current batch of idiots pointing their fingers at people who look different. And the American worker, for siding with his boss instead of his fellow workers (because some of them look different!) American workers have tolerated, no, applauded the destruction of the American standard of living so that a few greedy bastards could make an extra buck. And most importantly, the American consumer is to blame, for failing to realize the power they had, every time they bought an out-sourced twinkie over a homemade, local pumpkin pie.

    There’s no hope for America. But there’s hope for those who will seek out communities of reasonable, rational and DIVERSE people. And those who run from the hysterical, hyperventilating hate-monger contingent of the “preparedness” movement.

  • zimtran

    Did you expect to live forever ?

  • Bryan

    Well. My forever anyway!

  • http://www.twitter.com/genedexter Gene Dexter

    Rome Is Burning.

    That fortune cookie with note about wishing us Interesting Times is about to hit everyone’s table.

  • Mike

    Bryan:

    You blame the goverment for everything. Right out of the republican playbook. sounds like fox news has gotten to you.

    The problem is with corporate America.

  • Inian

    Great stuff with statistics to prove points!
    It is time everyone took responsibility to reform these ways and do something about getting competitive with the rest of the world. How about beginning to cut costs? Is it worth fighting all the wars that costs trillions especially in these circumstances? Start thinking more and deep…

  • Peter

    Great article, right on the money, has nothing to do with right or left,
    Both are to blame from big biz. To unions, if we don’t save our jobs we are doomed.
    Everything is for short turn profit, the few sold the US for handful of dollars.

  • bill granberry

    First and foremost I am a very conservative Republican! Having said that, my own party was 100% behind the push of NAFTA $ GATT. Both a totally disaster for the USA. Most all mfgt. jobs are now in other countries, this has absolutely destroyed JOBS in America.

    It seems that no one in poltical POWER gets it…WHY. To me it’s plan as day! So all you wonderful Democrats and Republicans just keep doing what you are now doing, America maybe will last another 6 months.

  • BOB

    u r rt on the money.?? solution = split up the usa into 5 regions with a commom currency.

  • andy

    As an outsider lookin at your country ills, I can only ask one question.

    That is: Are you all willing to live lives of total simplicity? If you can answer that with at least half of you in favor of it, then only do you stand a chance of reversing the economic ills in the US. Otherwise forget it and prepare for the economic collapse.

  • Veer Daryanani

    So when the collapse is emminent, what is the fear for the rest of the world? What will a bankrupt nation do with all its Nuclear armaments and weapons industry?

  • Helping Hand

    Capitalism isn’t sustainable. It’s flexible, remarkably so, but it isn’t sustainable.

    We will continue to see considerable economic turmoil in the years to come. Ever since capitalism solidly took over (not just supplemented for the upper class) feudalism in the developed world during the 50 or so years before the industrial revolution, the holes that exist today have remained open wide and exploited repeatedly.

    Even already, capitalism has deteriorated to the point where we rely on slave labor in countries like China and India in order to pay semi-fair wages to the people of first world nations.

    I suggest you read the link below. You don’t need to agree with it. Even if you don’t, even if you support capitalism, it’s still a text that has had an immense influence on politics and would behoove you to be familiar with.

    https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/index.htm

    • John

      no economic or political system is sustainable with corruption. Capitalism doesn’t work very well, but it is BY FAR the best economic system the world has. If it doesn’t work, nothing will work.

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