Sometimes it isn't necessary to quote facts and figures about government debt, unemployment and the trade deficit in order to convey how badly America is decaying. The truth is that millions of Americans can watch America rotting right in front of their eyes by stepping out on their front porches. Record numbers of homes have been foreclosed on and in some of the most run down cities as many as a third of all houses have been abandoned. Unemployment remains at depressingly high levels and the number of Americans on food stamps continues to set new records month after month. Due to severe budget cuts, class sizes are exploding and school programs are being eliminated. In some areas of the U.S. schools are even going to four day weeks. With little to no funding available, bridges are crumbling and street lights are being turned off in many communities. In some areas, asphalt roads are actually being ground up and turned back into gravel roads because they are less expensive to maintain. There aren't even as many police available to patrol America's decaying cities because budget problems have forced local communities across the U.S. to lay off tens of thousands of officers.
Once upon a time, the American people worked feverishly to construct beautiful, shining communities from coast to coast. But now we get to watch those communities literally crumble and decay in slow motion. Nothing lasts forever, but for those of us who truly love America it is an incredibly sad thing to witness what is now happening to the great nation that our forefathers built.
The following are 18 signs that America is rotting right in front of our eyes....
1 - Due to extreme budget cuts, school systems across the United States are requiring their students to bring more supplies with them than ever this year. In Moody, Alabama elementary school students are being told to bring paper towels, garbage bags and liquid soap with them to school. At Pauoa Elementary School in Honolulu, Hawaii all students are being required to show up with a four-pack of toilet paper.
2 - According to the American Association of School Administrators, 48 percent of all U.S. school districts are reporting budget cuts of 10 percent or less for the upcoming school year, and 30 percent of all U.S. school districts are reporting cuts of 11 to 25 percent.
3 - In Chicago, drastic budget cuts could result in an average class size of 37 students.
4 - The governor of Hawaii has completely shut down that state's schools on Fridays - moving teachers and students to a four day week.
5 - According to the Federal Highway Administration, approximately a third of America's major roadways are already in substandard condition.
6 - All over the United States, asphalt roads are being ground up and are being replaced with gravel because it is cheaper to maintain. The state of South Dakota has transformed over 100 miles of asphalt road into gravel over the past year, and 38 out of the 83 counties in the state of Michigan have now turned some of their asphalt roads into gravel roads.
7 - According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, more than 25 percent of America's nearly 600,000 bridges need significant repairs or are burdened with more traffic than they were designed to carry.
8 - In a desperate attempt to save money, the city of Colorado Springs turned off a third of its streetlights and put its police helicopters up for auction.
9 - The state of Arizona has eliminated funding for full-day kindergarten and has shut down a number of state parks.
10 - Over the past year, approximately 100 of New York's state parks and historic sites have had to cut services and reduce hours.
11 - In Georgia, the county of Clayton recently eliminated its entire public bus system in order to save 8 million dollars.
12 - Elsewhere in Georgia, 30,000 people recently turned out to pick up only 13,000 applications for government-subsidized housing. A near-riot ensued and 62 people were left injured. The amazing thing is that all of this commotion was just to get on a waiting list. There are no aid vouchers even available at this time.
13- In the city of Philadelphia, rolling fire station "brown outs" recently cost a 12 year old autistic boy named Frank Marasco his life.
14- Oakland, California Police Chief Anthony Batts says that due to severe budget cuts there are a number of crimes that his department will simply not be able to respond to any longer. The crimes that the Oakland police will no longer be responding to include grand theft, burglary, car wrecks, identity theft and vandalism.
15- The sheriff's department in Ashtabula County, Ohio has been slashed from 112 to 49 deputies, and there is now just one vehicle remaining to patrol all 720 square miles of the county.
16 - Of 315 municipalities the New Jersey State Policemen's union recently canvassed, more than half indicated that they were planning to lay off police officers.
17 - Not that the criminals are doing that much better. Things have gotten so bad in Camden, New Jersey that not even the drug dealers are spending their money anymore.
18 - Almost everyone knows someone who has been severely impacted by this economic downturn. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey has found that 81 percent of American adults know someone who is out of work and looking for a job.
So can't the states just step up and start spending more money and fix these things?
Well, no. The truth is that the states are absolutely broke. Quite a few of the states are actually on the verge of default, and there is no getting around the fact that budget cuts that are much more severe are going to be required in the years ahead.
So can't the U.S. government step in and bail out the states?
Well, yes, but as we have detailed previously, the U.S. government is literally drowning in a sea of red ink. The U.S. government is already spending an amount of money equivalent to approximately 25.4 percent of GDP this year.
How much more money can the U.S. government possibly spend?
To get an idea of just how bad things are already, the IMF says that in order to fix the U.S. government budget deficit, taxes need to be doubled on every single U.S. citizen.
Are you ready to pay double the taxes?
No matter how you slice it, the U.S. is in a massive amount of financial trouble and the American people are starting to realize this fact. In fact, one new poll found that nearly two-thirds of Americans believe that the U.S. economy will get worse before it gets better.
But unfortunately things are not going to get "better" - at least in the long-term. The decay and the rot that have already set in are only going to get worse.
These problems did not appear overnight and they are not going to be solved overnight. Our leaders have been making very bad decisions for decades, and all of those bad decisions are starting to catch up with us.
But perhaps you disagree. Feel free to tell us what you think in the comments section below....