The Beginning Of The End
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America In Decline: The Soul Crushing Despair Of Lowered Expectations

All over America tonight there are people that believe that their lives are over.  When you do everything that you know how to do to get a job and you still can't get one it can be absolutely soul crushing.  If you have ever been unemployed for an extended period of time you know exactly what I am talking about.  When you have been unemployed for month after month it can be very tempting to totally cut yourself off from society.  Those that are kind will look at you with pity and those that are cruel will treat you as though you are a total loser.  It doesn't matter that America is in decline and that our economy is not producing nearly enough jobs for everyone anymore.  In our society, one of the primary things that defines our lives is what we do for a living.  Just think about it.  When you are out in a social situation, what is one of the very first things that people ask?  They want to know what you "do".  Well, if you don't "do" anything, then you are not part of the club.  But the worst part of being unemployed for many Americans is the relentless pressure from family and friends.  Often they have no idea how hard it is to find a job in this economy - especially if they still have jobs.  Sometimes the pressure becomes too great.  Sadly, we are seeing unemployment break up a lot of marriages in America today.  Things are really hard out there right now.  A very large number of highly educated Americans have taken very low paying service jobs in recent years just so that they can have some money coming in even as they "look for something else".  Unfortunately, in many cases that "something else" never materializes.  In the past, America was "the land of opportunity" where anything was possible.  But today America has become "the land of lowered expectations" and the worst is yet to come.

We live during a time when "the American Dream" is literally being redefined.  In the old days, just about anyone could get a good job that would pay enough to make it possible to buy a house, buy a nice car and raise a family.

Unfortunately, those days are long gone.  The following is from a recent NPR article....

The town of Lorain, Ohio, used to embody this dream. It was a place where you could get a good job, raise a family and comfortably retire.

"Now you can see what it is. Nothing," says John Beribak. "The shipyards are gone, the Ford plant is gone, the steel plant is gone." His voice cracks as he describes the town he's lived in his whole life.

"I mean, I grew up across the street from the steel plant when there was 15,000 people working there," he says. "My dad worked there. I worked there when I got out of the Air Force. It's just sad."

We live in an economy that is in serious decline.  In this environment no job is safe.  In fact, even Goldman Sachs is laying off workers these days.

Millions of Americans are suffering from deep depression because they can't find jobs.  Many of them are sitting at home right now blankly starting at their television screens as they wonder why nobody wants to hire them.  Some have been unemployed for years and have sent out thousands upon thousands of resumes.  The following is from a recent article by J.D. Hicks....

I have a brilliant cousin with a $180K Syracuse education working part-time at a department store. She has literally sent out 38,000 resumes in the span of a year to no avail. I have another very bright friend with the kindest heart who is so desperate he has applied for dishwashing jobs and didn’t get them, sending him deeper into depression. I’m sure we all know people like this, or perhaps have even been there ourselves.

Society has trained us to believe that we are worthless without a job. Indeed, we feel worthless when we are unemployed with few prospects of making money. Family, friends, and peers constantly remind us in subtle and not-so-subtle ways that we “need” a job.

Have you ever been unemployed?

How did it make you feel?

How were you treated by your family and friends?

In the old days, a college education was almost a guaranteed ticket to the middle class.

But these days, a college education guarantees you absolutely nothing.

As a recent article by Jed Graham detailed, most young unemployed workers in America today have at least some college education....

For the first time in history, the number of jobless workers age 25 and up who have attended some college now exceeds the ranks of those who settled for a high school diploma or less.

Out of 9 million unemployed in April, 4.7 million had gone to college or graduated and 4.3 million had not, seasonally adjusted Labor Department data show.

Overall, 53 percent of all Americans with a bachelor's degree under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed last year.

It is tough to tell young college graduates with their whole lives ahead of them that they need to lower their expectations because America is in decline.

So where did all the jobs go?

Well, one place they went is overseas.  Over the past couple of decades, millions upon millions of good jobs have left the United States and have gone over to the other side of the world.

That is why you see gleaming new factories going up all over China even while our once great manufacturing cities are turning into crime-infested warzones.

But as a recent WND article reported, the WTO has a solution.  They plan to replace "Made in China" labels with "Made in the World" labels so that we don't feel so bad about losing our jobs and our economic infrastructure...

The World Trade Organization is moving closer to eliminating country-of-origin labels and replacing them with “Made in the World” initiative labels because they say we need to “reduce public opposition to free trade” and “re-engineer global governance.”

As the number of middle class jobs has steadily declined in recent years, the number of low paying service jobs has increased.

In a previous article, I discussed how approximately one out of every four U.S. workers now makes $10 an hour or less.

Could your family survive on 10 dollars an hour?

Today, you can find hordes of very smart, very talented Americans flipping burgers, waiting tables and welcoming people to Wal-Mart.

Sadly, the United States now has a higher percentage of workers doing low wage work than any other major industrialized nation does.

Perhaps we should applaud our leaders for doing such a great job of destroying the American Dream.

Because so many Americans are working crappy jobs, a very large percentage of them have absolutely no savings to speak of.

According to one survey, 42 percent of all American workers live paycheck to paycheck.

I am constantly encouraging people to save up an "emergency fund" that will enable them to pay their bills for at least 6 months if they suddenly become unemployed.

Unfortunately, for many Americans that is simply not possible.  Way too many families are just barely scraping by from month to month.

Another area of the economy where Americans are facing lowered expectations is in housing.

In the old days, most Americans dreamed of owning their own homes.

But today we are being told that things have changed.  For example, a recent USA Today article was entitled "Home rentals — the new American Dream?"....

Steve and Jodi Jacobson bought their Phoenix-area "dream home" in 2005. They built flagstone steps to the front door. They tiled the kitchen and bathroom. They entertained often, enjoying their mountain views.

"We put our soul into that house," says Steve Jacobson, 37.

Then, home prices tanked more than 50%. Steve, a software quality assurance engineer, suffered pay cuts. In 2010, foreclosure claimed the home and their $100,000 down payment.

The Jacobsons didn't lose their desire to live in a single-family home, however. They now rent one, like many other former homeowners displaced by foreclosure.

Is that what we are supposed to tell future generations of Americans?

"Listen Johnny and Suzie, if you work really, really hard at your minimum wage jobs perhaps someday you will be able to rent a home that has been foreclosed by a big, greedy bank".

It is so sad to watch what is happening to this country.

These days many Americans are scratching and clawing and doing everything that they can to make it, but they still find themselves short on money at the end of the month.

Many are turning to debt in an attempt to bridge the gap.  According to CNN, 40 percent of "low- and middle-income households" are using credit cards to pay for basic living expenses.

Overall, U.S. consumers have more than 11 trillion dollars in debt right now.

That is an incredible number.

As the economy has declined, a lot of families have completely given up trying to make it on their own and have turned to the U.S. government for financial help.  Today, an astounding 49.1 percent of all Americans live in a home where at least one person receives government benefits.

Just think about that number for a while.  It is one of the clearest signs that America is in deep, deep decline.

Unfortunately, things are about to get even worse.  The next wave of the financial crisis is unfolding in Europe and we will all be talking about another "major global recession" very soon.

That means that unemployment in the United States is going to get a lot worse.

For the millions upon millions of Americans that are already suffering through the horror of unemployment, that is really bad news.

Posted below is a trailer for a new HBO documentary entitled "Hard Times: Lost on Long Island".  Please take a few minutes to watch this video, because I think it does a good job of showing the soul crushing despair that many unemployed Americans are going through right now....

So do any of you have any stories of lowered expectations to share?  Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below....

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  • Warren

    (I started thinking of this song by Don McLean when I read the article. It pretty much sums it up.)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyFEXgpp2VY

    “Orphans of Wealth”
    by Don McLean

    There is no time to discuss or debate
    what is right, what is wrong for our people.
    Time has run out for all those who wait
    with bent limbs and minds that are feeble.

    And the rain falls and blows through their window
    and the snow falls and blows through their door.
    And the seasons revolve mid their sounds of starvation.
    When the tides rise, they cover the floor.

    They come from the north and they come from the south
    and they come from the hills and the valleys.
    And they’re migrants and farmers and miners and humans,
    our census neglected to tally.

    And the rain falls and blows through their window
    and the rain falls and it blows through their door.
    And the seasons revolve mid their sounds of starvation.
    When the tides rise, they cover the floor.

    And they´re African, Mexican, Caucasian, Indian,
    hungry and hopeless Americans.
    The orphans of wealth and of adequate health,
    disowned by this nation they live in.

    And with weather worn hands on bread lines they stand,
    yet but one more degradation.
    And they’re treated like tramps while we sell them food stamps
    this thriving and prosperous nation.

    And the rain falls and blows through their window
    and the snow falls and blows through their door.
    And the seasons revolve mid their sounds of starvation.
    When the tides rise, they cover the floor.

    And with roaches and rickets and rats in the thickets,
    infested, diseased and decaying.
    With rags and no shoes and skin sores that ooze,
    by the poisonous pools, they are playing.

    In shacks of two rooms that are rotting wood tombs
    with corpses breathing inside them.
    And we pity their plight as they call in the night
    and we do all that we can do to hide them.

    And the rain falls and blows through their window
    and the snow falls in white drifts that fold
    and the tides rise with floods in the nursery.
    And a child is crying, he’s hungry and cold,
    his life has been sold, his young face looks old.
    It’s the face of America, dying.

  • GameLongOver

    This nightmare started in 1776. We have about 2k years or so of somewhat recorded history and for about 200 of it a few of us were beholding to know one, free. ITS GONE for maybe 2k more years maybe never. “Corporate Person Hood” achieved through the courts not Congress by what was to give freed slaves equal rights the 16th Amendment was interpreted to apply to corporations. Debt Based Economics and Fractional Reserve Lending has today enslaved us all. Americans use 25% of the “worlds” GDP use to be much higher. But as you have been told our rulers they are going to and I quote many of them here “Level the Playing Field” here is some more to think about… Playing to your ego “the American Worker is the best worker in the work and can compete with anyone” You know by compete they mean work harder for less than any starving college educated 3rd world person. We are tenets in our own land! Jefferson knew! Money is truly CREATED from thin air! When its “created” it has to be created in the name of “all” the people not just a select few then spent into circulation DEBT FREE.

  • R

    In the good old days corporations did not import millions of 3rd world scum or export our best jobs just to max out profits so the rich can live so well and we all die.

  • John Steinsvold

    An Alternative to Capitalism (if the people knew about it, they would demand it)

    Several decades ago, Margaret Thatcher claimed: “There is no alternative”.
    She was referring to capitalism. Today, this negative attitude still persists.

    I would like to offer an alternative to capitalism for the American people to consider. Please click on the following link. It will take you to an essay titled: “Home of the Brave?” which was published by the Athenaeum Library of Philosophy:

    http://evans-experientialism.freewebspace.com/steinsvold.htm

    John Steinsvold

    “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”~ Albert Einstein

    • RealChange

      Is capitalism really the problem or is it just the way in w/capitalism is implement here in the US? I mean, if poor people could set up shop and buy and sell on public sidewalks, many people could start up their own small businesses that way. But it isn’t allowed, violates city ordinances. Why? Because the big corporations don’t want the competition from aspiring entrepreneurs. If we had capitalism that everyone could participate in and that limited the money and power of a few and spread the wealth more democratically, that might work. What do you think?

  • stacy

    THe unions in Wisconsin had a straggle hold on our economy and the tax payers. Unions would take money from their members and give it to the democrats who in turn would give their me.berserk whatever they wanted usually far more than what the tax payers (the people paying their salaries) could ever hope to receive. Public workers are whining because they have to pay a small amount for their pensions and benifits, when most of us in the private sector have no benefits at all, they can retire at 55 we can only hope to be able to retire. How can our economy survive when the tax payers receive less than the public workers. WI. Unemployment rate is now down to 6.7% even in this economy,without taxes being raised or public workers being laid off. There was only two choices raise taxes o. People who couldn’t afford it or lay public workers off Scott walker did what was neccessary for WI. Which is why he won the recall.

    • Gary2

      so the question is–why do you not make a union to force the crap private sector jobs to pay as good as the state jobs? Yep divide and conquer sure works on these low information fools who are jealous of someone who has it better than they do.

      Walker will be indited anyways in the near future.

      For the record I do not really care about the public unions I was concerned about him (walker) giving tax cuts to the rich and corporations while throwing poor off badger care.

  • Robyn

    Thanks for the article. I’m almost 40 and lost my job of 15 years when they moved out of state. I have a Masters in analytical chemistry and many eclectic skills. I was voted smartest female when I graduated high school but now I’m begging for minimum wage jobs. I haven’t gotten a single job offer since I started in early 2012 to find a new job. I have skills that people should be begging me for not the other way around. Luckily, I have enough savings to pay for my animals for a few years and can otherwise sap off my parents for everything but animal care and health insurance (which is a totally insane $533 a month!). I don’t think blaming the problem on any one person or president does any good. Something basic in the world economy is broken. It could just be the natural cycles of up and down like when a pond gets too many fish, a bunch have to die to restore balance. The problem is that people aren’t dying, we’re just rotting along with Mother Nature. I honestly think that until there’s a mass die off of humans, such as from a virus, and they recover from that and figure out what’s important, there’s not much hope of things improving. Those of us out of work such as myself should be out there working, yes for free, to fix this disaster. I used to be a genius, or so I’ve been told. Well, at least I’m cleaning and mulching.

    • Rikki

      Robyn:
      I would have done anything to move if they offered me a job elsewhere….I mean 15 years of steady employment you should have had plenty of money saved just in case..

      ———thanks for the article. I’m almost 40 and lost my job of 15 years when they moved out of state.

    • Gary2

      I know where you are coming from. I guess we just need to get used to downward mobility as long as the tea party gov are in charge.

      Seeing as the tea party is mostly older diabetics they will be gone soon anyway. They can put on their best shirt and put in their best set of teeth and go to all the rallies they want-there generations is dying out. The only thing keeping them going is Lipator pills.

  • Dave

    I was unemployed for just over two years in Canada when I finally landed a job in Australia. I had also tried to find a job in the U.S. where I was from originally, but had no luck at all. After being gone from the U.S. for 23 years I must be persona non grata there now. I can see how badly the U.S. has declined from when I used to live there. Some of the older cities have a Stalinist look—very grey, beat up and brutal looking, plus no jobs! I would advise any student in the U.S. to finish their education and then get out. It is going to decline a lot more in the coming years.

  • http://www.verydumbgovernment.blogspot.com Al Thompson

    I don’t think this economy is going to recover soon if ever. What is it going to recover with? Maybe we can all go to China and work there for .29 cents an hour. I remember talking with my local congress criminal in the early 1990s and I begged him not to vote in favor of NAFTA. Many of use were appalled at the stupidity of it and now the proverbial chickens have come home to roost. Since its passage, at least 42,000 factories are now gone. I suggest that nobody vote and start thinking about establishing or making your own job. This way, you can build up some kind of business..even if it is only a few hundred a month to start with, do that rather than continue to endure the indignity of applying for jobs. Most of you know how to do something, so start making money with whatever you have a talent for. Don’t let the depression overcome your soul.

    We have the most evil and stupid government on the face of the earth. So don’t look to them for solutions. You’ll have to learn to take care of yourself.

    The most important thing to do is to work for yourself from now on.

    • RealChange

      Thanks for posting–my thoughts exactly! Unfortunately, it’s not so easy to start a business, but it can be done and these days it is much easier than finding a decent job. You protested NAFTA? Good on you! Wish we had more people like you in this country.

  • DownWithLibs

    I live in a town with a large University. They recently had their graduation. My thoughts can’t help but drift to wondering what percentage of them will find gainful employment, or even just a living-wage job. Scary times!

  • http://www.examiner.com/unemployment-in-denver/kelly-wiedemer Denver Unemployment Examiner

    I am educated – put myself through college as a night student. Used to be in the upper middle class income level. Last year, for the first time in my life (literally) I worked briefly at a gas station earning minimum wage (in CO is $7.64/hr). I’m here to tell you that my eyes have been opened wide as a result of this nightmare. The fact that corporations are making record profits while tens of millions of people go without basic housing, healthcare and food is beyond my wildest imagination.

    Millions of the long term unemployed are classified as ‘Adults without Dependent Children’ [AwDC] – which simply means that they do not qualify for any assistance other than food stamps once their unemployment benefits are exhausted. Many of the individuals and families receiving assistance from these programs not only fall into the ranks of the unemployed, but are many are also among the under-employed and ‘working poor’.

    Along with skyrocketing gas prices, food prices have also soared, leaving many with the absolute inability to feed, clothe and house themselves and/or their families without some level of assistance. The plight for those ‘AwDCs’ continues to be grim, and will only get worse if the SNAP program is cut even further while, at the same time, millions of ‘AwDCs’ also remain without meaningful work and the means necessary to sustain their very own existence
    financially.

    http://www.examiner.com/article/house-gop-proposes-34b-cuts-to-food-stamps-to-offset-pentagon-spending

    • RealChange

      Your “eyes have been opened.” Yes, but what if you weren’t in that situation, working at a gas station. I mean, what if you still had a nice paying job. Would you still have empathy for those less fortunate than you? Or would you be one of those posting on here that you have a decent job and can’t understand why people are whining so much? I’m not trying to be sarcastic. I like your comment. I’m just making the point that while you and I (and many others) are concerned about what’s happening now, many Americans really don’t care because THEY are doing well. And as long as THEY are doing well, they don’t care about the rest of us who aren’t.

      So again, I ask you, if this hadn’t happened to you, if you were working at a job that paid, say, $100k per year, would you be posting here and expressing concerns about people suffering in this economy? Or would you be one of those people who’d judge by saying, “Well, I got a nice job. Why can’t you?”

      Think about it.

  • Timo45

    I cried when I read this and watch the video. This is so sad and down right wrong. We must stick together and get a better system in. We much keep learning about economics and realize that every thing about this system is corrupt and they will keep destroying our economy until we learn to work together and support each other. It’s not about an indivisual its about all of us. I have been learning alot about this system and one thing for sure its not for the people its for the banks,big business and who ever is part of the 1 percent. Don’t vote for Obama or Romney, tell congress we don’t want to us the federal reserve no more. We don’t wont that fake intrest barron money. Tell them we want our own money printed from our own government with no private banks involved. We have been warn by presidents of the past that if we allow the banks to control the money they will take everything from us and put us into slavery. And thats whats being down. Stop watching tv, go online and learn whats going on. I stop watching tv once learn its a way to keep our minds off the reall issues and to put that sorry poilitician in front of us so they lie, lie and keep lieing. Its enough we have to make the changes. If we dont its only going to get worst.

    • RealChange

      I voted for the Green Party myself. Cheri Honkala’s an advocate for the homeless. Problem is, though, there aren’t enough of us who care. Most Americans don’t care about each other. There’s no love in this country other than self-love.

  • David

    I remember I got fired from my bank job in 2009 during the middle of the crisis and I couldn’t find another job. I looked everywhere too. Finally I went with a temp service and bounced around from job to job til I landed a permanent job where I’m at now. Strange thing is, I’m making more money at my current job than I did at my bank job, but it’s harder for me to get by because of inflation. Everything’s higher now than it was in 2009. I got used to having a lowered expectation for things because as soon as I graduated from college I went to work for a grocery store. I haven’t ever used my college degree. I’m more cynical now about the indoctrination of going to college opens up career opportunities. Even if you have a technical degree, it doesn’t. The jobs are just not there.

    • HecatesMoon

      You’re really lucky to have the job even if you didn’t get to use the degree, David. My sister had a job with a bank too, and they closed her department. Well, she goes on unemployment and starts looking for a job, but she decides too that having a degree will get her a good job so she takes out some student loans. She didn’t think she would have a hard time getting a job. It is now a couple years later! She has this degree, but still no job. I think she tried employment agencies too, but I know that a lot of them in our areas aren’t putting a lot of people to work. Now, her unemployment is out. She and her husband are having yard sales and stuff, trying to sell things to get the money to pay the bills. Her husband told me if my sister can’t find a job in the next few months, they won’t make it. I think they will lose their vehicles which are almost paid off and possibly their house. Someone else recently told me too, that their cousin actually had to leave the state just to get a job!

  • PNO

    I was wondering how much of this unemployment is caused by employers squeezing the workers. In other words, if you are paid the market salary, but have the workload of 2-3 people, bringing in 2-3X the profits, would you accept such a salary?

    On the other hand, if you bring in 2-3X the profits, most employers will not double or triple your salary.

    If people keep accepting lower wages, is there a bottom to this all?

    If people do not have a choice but to work, what is the mechanism to prevent unfair wages?

    • RealChange

      Very true and this is why we had labor laws, enforcing minimum wages, paid breaks, lunch breaks, etc. Sadly, many Americans don’t appreciate how good we used to have it.

      And in order to compete, many small businesses will need to engage in that same type of downsizing. They don’t care if they drive their employees to insanity, heart disease or alcoholism ’cause there are so many people desperate for work these days, they can replace their dead employees with fresh meat immediately.

      Also if you saw “Capitalism, a Love Story” then you know that some employers benefit when their employees die as they collect insurance payments.

  • Kenuck

    Can go 3 days without eating..little Top Ramen and lot of water…thank goodness for the dollar menu.Denied treatment at Emergency room…healed my fractured foot at home…Vet clinic even denied flu shot and dental…go USA!

    • RealChange

      Yes, and your fellow American cares so much about you. That’s why so many Americans are out protesting and insisting we all have access to health care and higher education and that the govt stop encouraging companies to outsource jobs to 3rd-world countries. Makes you patriotic, doesn’t it?

  • Victor

    jgusc- I understand your plight in finding a qualified dispatcher. Contrary to popular belief, a dispatcher is a specialized job that requires a person who can multi-task like a champ, understands the units under his or her control and each one’s specialized capabilities (try sending a ladder truck to a car fire instead of a pumper and see how long you’ll last in a job or sending a tow truck designed to haul a Toyota when some semi is broken down on the freeway blocking 2 lanes of traffic). And when a busy dispatcher is handling heavy volume, the phone doesn’t stop ringing. In addition to phone traffic there are cellular PTT comms coming in, radios crackling, people skills tested with every call and a constantly changing real-world situation. The dispatcher has to critically think, play a constant game of “what if…” and keep the level of situational awareness at a high peak. At 60, I can still dispatch my way out of a paper bag with style, but my job dried up when a huge ambulance corporation contracted my job from the little ambulance service I worked for. The price to replace me? 200 bucks a month! In retrospect, I would have done the same. When McAmbulance can move in with a huge dispatch center, CAD dispatching, covering the entire western side of the state, our small call volume is a drop in the bucket compared to the multi-thousands of calls they dispatch in a year.

    Try as I might, companies and agencies look for young “bright” dispatchers and call-takers. Over the years I’ve developed a calm friendly demeanor over the phone, the crews like my style and my customers always enjoyed the good service I gave them. The experience,the commendations, the lives saved and property protected, the radio and phone personna developed and cultured for years means nothing. Old guys like me are passed over despite having decades of experience and good references. Hell, I can’t even get work as a telephone switchboard operator at the local hospital!

    So, I wish you luck in finding a qualified dispatcher. They’re not easy to find. As for me, I feel used up and worthless with each passing day.

    • RealChange

      Fact is, you’ve got great skills & wd b a better employee then most of the youngsters you’re competing with because of all your experience. Employers will claim publicly they’re not hiring you ’cause “young” employers are faster or whatever but the reality is they’re hiring younger employees because they’ll accept much lower pay and they’re more likely to just do what they’re told without question (like drones.) Also they’re further away from retirement so retirement benefits won’t need to be paid anytime soon and medical expenses are unlikely (so not as much of a chance of worker’s comp claims.) I wish more older employees would speak out about age discrimination. There’s a lot of propaganda on the Internet because it’s easy for big corps to hire paid trolls to make stupid comments on sites like this one. Real people need to speak out about their experiences. Thanks for discussing yours.

      BTW, I’m in a similar situation–younger but finding that despite my skills I can’t compete with 21-year-olds willing to work for $7-8 per hour at jobs that should pay twice that much (as well as 3rd world employees earning $3 per day at outsourced locations.) I currently work for minimum wage for an ungrateful, unappreciative employer who bounces our paychecks and sometimes shortchanges us on our pay then complains she can’t find enough employees willing to work for her! I guarantee you that if she upped the pay to at least $10 per hour and improved the working conditions she’d have no problem finding quality employees. But she’ll never do it. Her need to buy herself a lot of nice things and to travel comes b4 her employees’ needs to earn a decent living. Most employers don’t care at all about their employees, their community or their country. They’re consumed with selfishness, acting on what is best for themselves not what is best for the rest of us. It’s a sickness really.

  • mondobeyondo

    I went to Petsmart today to buy the cockatiels some food, and a couple toys for their cage. While browsing around the store, I came across the rodent section. There was this huge black and white rat running around its plastic enclosure. It would run around, and then climb onto this wheel and spin it, like a hamster would do. Just spinning, and spinning, and going nowhere.

    And the thought came to me – “That’s been my life for the past 20 years!”

    • mondobeyondo

      “In spite of my rage, I’m still just a rat in a cage” – Smashing Pumpkins

  • david

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39btKqMiqiQ&feature=share

    Pleas watch this one. More serious things are coming . . . . . .

    God help us all . .. . .

  • david

    The sign of Devil is marked on the Euro coin according to this video you are about to watch . . . ..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39btKqMiqiQ&feature=share

    2012 the End of the world conspiracy theory . . . . .

  • Sceptic

    Sorry, but I don’t agree. I have been “unemployed” several times during my life but I have always found…

    - there is always work at minimum wage
    - there is always work for someone who does there job perfectly, it doens’t matter what the job is
    - there are far fewer people who do their job perfectly than there people looking to hire such people

    Having gone from job-seeker to hirer, I can tell you that to find someone to do a job well and conscientiously is almost impossible.

    At my “lowest” point I was out of work (during the recession of the early 1980s) and decided to go back to school. I still needed to earn a living of some sort, though. So I spent $10 on business cards, walked up and down commercial streets offering to do office cleaning and within a few hours lined up all the work I could handle. I made a point of doing an excellent job and when the time came to move on to something else my customers were sorry to see me go, because they couldn’t find anyone else.

    As long as people depend on others (government, society, whoever) to make their breaks, they won’t get ahead. Make your own breaks. By taking such an attitude, despite no formal education other than the school of life, I have managed to move my income from low 5 figures back then to healthy 6 figures now.

  • boo hoo

    boo frikin hoo. i droped out at 16 and got a g.e.d and have worked like a dog ever since. 45-50 grand a year either government or private. lost my job a couple of times and went back to work a day later. forget collage. grab a frikin shovel and go to frikin work. and in your spare time bash in the heads of the lazy and stupid.

    • mondobeyondo

      Well, good for you! I sincerely applaud your work ethic.

      If I ever need a ditch digger, I’ll be sure to give you a call. Unfortunately, I have no need for the plumbing in my humble home to be replaced anytime soon…

  • http://www.PeakDollars.com Scoob

    When I saw “Hard Times: Lost on Long Island”, I felt compelled to chime-in. As someone who has been living on “Lawn Guyland” for longer than I’ve wanted,…as someone who’s only marginally employable(for a NUMBER of reasons), and as someone who’s done the vehicular living thing for the past 10 years here, I have a couple of issues with this thread.

    #1: There is nothing “soul crushing” about lowered expectations. Lowered expectations is the rational conclusion a logical person would and *should* draw, based on the evidence all around us. I lowered my expectations a good decade or so ago, and then lowered them some more. The only one unhappy with this, is my nearly 80 y/o mother, who has yet to come to terms with the new realities, of resource depletion, peak oil, and peak people. I have long ago made peace with the fact that my life will not be nearly as good as that of the previous generation here.

    #2 Long Island, for all it’s flaws and faults and high cost of living and high traffic, is still, relatively speaking, still the proverbial “Land of Opportunity” when it comes to employment. If you can’t find a job HERE, you’re either setting your sights too high, or aren’t really looking. Seriously.

    • Arthur G. Brina

      I admire your grit and defiant spirit. I just want to add a personal anecdote to your comments, based on personal experience.

      From January 1991 through April 2000, I supported myself comfortably by investing in the stockmarket. When the dot.com boom turned into the dot.com bust, I proceeded to lose all my working capital by November 2001. I kept believing in the American economy, that it would recover and that the stockmarket would recover.

      In 2001, believing that Republicans would get the economy going, I borrowed $10,000 against my credit cards to invest in the market again. This was risky; and proved to be foolhardy, since the market did not recover until we invaded Iraq in 2003. However, I had lost all this capital by the summer of 2002.

      After that, I applied to almost 200 job openings in financial firms, ranging from administrative clerk to junior trader. I did not get the courtesy of a reply, much less an interview.

      I lowered my expectations; and applied to be a stocking clerk ar a chain of retail stores, a night watchman at an urban university, and a cleaning man for a janitorial service company which serviced several office buildings in Manhattan. I also followed up on every lead for “work-at-home” jobs offered on the internet. For all of this, I never got a reply, much less an interview, from any of these, except for the chain of retail stores.

      The retail store screener informed me that, after a credit check, I coul not be hired. Being in arrears in servicing a debt pretty much disqualified me from consideration for any position, for which there was a surplus of applicants. My condition is not unique, I am sure. This is the plight of many, once middle class tax-paing Americans.

      I then filed for bankruptcy, thereby discharging my responsibility for these debts. I survived because of the support of my family, until I became eligible for social security. Now I get by.

  • Arthur G. Brina

    I have just 3 words for you, which explain what America must do, in order to “right the ship”: Tariffs, Subsidies, and Nationalism.

    TARIFFS: Everything being imported into this country, including services, should be taxed at 50% or more of its commercial value. The effect of this would be to force corporations -both domestic and foreign- either to maximize the use of American labor and resources to serve the American market, or to abandon this market altogether. At least 30 million full time private sector American jobs would have to be created and filled, in order to replace the foreign workforces (about 70 million) which are currently employed to meet the demands of the American people.

    SUBSIDIES: Let capitalism prove itself. Corporations should compete lawfully with each other, in order to meet and create demand for their products without government assistance. Government should not be picking and choosing favorites to support. If there are no subsidies for anyone for any reason, the incentive to get wealthy or stay rich by buying politicians or influencing government contractors would be greatly diminished.

    NATIONALISM. Americans should respect the rights of other nations to govern themselves and not to interfere with their internal affairs; and Americans should insist on the same for themselves. There should be no Israeli lobbyists, Chinese lobbyists, Mexican lobbyists, etc. We should have no foreign bases and no foreign military interventions, except for 2 reasons: either to repel invasions by one country/axis against another; or to stop ethnic cleansing of any indigenous people from its homeland. America should be for Americans, Mexico for Mexicans, etc.

    Well, that’s my 2 cents’ worth.

    • Old Man

      My response:

      TARIFFS – U.S. is a member of the WTO, which has more than 150 countries as members. Under WTO rules, no country can unilaterally impose tariff without being authorized by the WTO. WTO authorize an unilateral tariff against another country only when it is proven that it has engaged in dumping.

      So your suggestion of massive unilateral tariff is a no-go. Unless USA cancel its WTO membership. In which case, any tariff imposed unilaterally by the US will be met in kind by that country, thus triggering a global trade war.

      SUBSIDIES: Subsidies by the government to private industries are actually very tiny. There are enough laws on the book to prevent large government subsidies. But the government does spend obscenely vast amount on its legitimate functions, such as defense, education, welfare, etc.

      The private sector is not the cause of the great recession. (Although it is not blameless due to its vast outsourcing of manufacturing.) The root cause is the distortion of people and economy by easy credit of untold trillions of dollars, plus borrowing of trillions from foreign governments. Such credits were created out of nowhere by the banks, and loan out to fuel an unearned American lifestyle, which of course make the bankers very rich. National policy makers deliberately allowed such runaway credit to pump up the economy, knowing full well such debt cannot possibly be repaid and will therefore lead to crisis when the bubble blows up. This is not capitalism at all. It is called fake economics.

      NATIONALISM – Respecting the rights of other sovereign nations is not called nationalism. Interfering with just about every foreign country business, even fighting dozens of bloody wars on foreign soil, is the hallmark of U.S. foreign policy for 60 years. Which is why it needs a trillion dollar military. It is called imperialism American style. American high officials love to go around the world and preach ‘do it my way or face sanctions back by the military’. This kind of big brother policy can have the occasional blowbacks – 9/11 being most dramatic. While US have gotten away with it for decades due to its superpower, it will find itself lonely on the decline. As the saying goes – watch who you stepped on on the way up, ’cause you’ll see ‘em on the way down.

      • rebootd

        Very well said, Old Man.

  • The Claymobile

    Thank you soo much for this article!!! I can really relate to what was said. Whan I graduated from high school back in 1971 one had the hopes of finding a good job in construction or manufacturing. He could support himself, a wife and a couple of kids and the wife did not have to work outside the home. Those jobs are gone and none of our political leaders, both left and right seem interested in bringing them back. Nobody seems to give a hoot about the dying blue collar middle class. I work a seasonal/poverty wage/no benefits job. Because I make so little money, I am forced to live in my mothers basement. Do you have any idea how embaressing it is to tell a women you are trying to date that you live in your mothers basement??? When I try to tell them my situation yhey have no compassion or empathy at all towards me. They remind me of the Haters on this post. I make 12.73 an hour and am thankfull for that. I drive a truck locally. Some manufacturing jobs in my area (Weat-Central Missouri) pay only 8.00 an hour. Sometimes I feel like walking into the owners office and asking him if he makes 8.00 an hour! When he says no, I would say “then how do you expect your employees to live on those wages?!?!”. who is going to buy the new houses and new cars and go to the Dr. And save for retiremeny on those wages??? I ask my friends what is going to happen to this country when everybody is making 8.00 an hour. They have no answer for me. For the last 4 winters when I have been laid off, I have tried to find a real job with good pay and benefits. But like so many in the article, there are no jobs like that. Big plants like Armco Steel plant, GM Leeds plant, the TWA Overhaul base that use to provide good paying/good benefits blue collar jobs have all shut down over the years. Sometimes I get really depressed. One day I was thing about these things and Jesus wispered to my spirit “dont worry Clay, I will take care of you.” I try to keep that in mind, but some days its really hard not to be concerned and fearfull for my future and the future of this once great country. Thanks for letting me vent.

    • http://www.PeakDollars.com Scoob

      @Clay:
      From your post I gather you’re fairly young and single? If I were you(Heck, if I were ME, 20 years younger), I would see about getting a cheap, used, pop-up camper – something that can be easily and safely towed by a smaller
      car with a class I or II hitch, and heading to where the money is high, and unemployment is low – toward the boom towns around the Williston, ND area. Burger flippers are making $15 an hour, strippers are making $1000+ a night,
      and truck drivers can make $100k a year. UE is currently around 3% there.

      This boom won’t last forever, but while it’s booming, I’d suggest taking advantage of the opportunities there.
      Rents are now *EXTREMELY* high there, which is where your
      camper comes in. It’s summer, and you should be able to get by until Fall with it. In the meantime get yourself one of those inflated pay-scale jobs, save your money, and upgrade to something more solid, insulated and substantial if you decide to work through the winter there. Get a generator if you want. Stay in your
      RV/motorhome/travel-trailer/slide-in camper and keep working. Just by providing your own accomodations, you’ll
      be saving about $1500-$2000 a month that you wont be wasting on rent. Plus, you’ll be mobile and be able to persue better opportunities as they arise.

      That’s what *I* would do if I was 20 years younger, and found my home turf to be an economic desert, as apparently you have.

      Check out Craigslist for ND job listings:
      http://geo.craigslist.org/iso/us/nd

  • http://aadivaahan.wordpress.com Vivek

    If called, step in here…Jobs for all, created. Anew.

    For Immediate Release

    13th June 2012

    INDIAN INNOVATOR HAS SOLUTION TO END THE AGE OF OiL : PUTS OUT CHALLENGE TO THE WORLD :

    Bangalore based visionary, Polymath and long-time blogger Vivek Chaturvedi today put out a challenge to a world begging for a solution to the Age of OiL.

    Writing from his bloffice in Bangalore, Vivek stated in his latest post on June 6th (6666, a date he says was especially powerful, a trigger missed by the world at large) that he has the Definitive Engineering Solution to gracefully end the age of OiL.

    In a desire to make the solution open to the public at large, Vivek has asked 3,000 brave folk to come forward, purchase his Book/DVD/CD and the unique Certificate of Sharing.

    With-in 90 days of the 3,000th purchase, he says he will release a fully working model to the world. Here is what he says he will show:

    An Electric Car that costs 50% less than existing models, will travel with a range extended by up-to or exceeding 200% of the current state-of-the-art, will need no subsidy, will allow for “backyard” conversions of existing vehicles in a safe manner, will allow for the blossoming of a Electric Vehicle Cottage Industry and most importantly, will exceed all the safety standards of current vehicles.

    His work, he said, will reduce global oil consumption by up-to 40% with-in 2-3 years (depending on the pace of adoption, far exceeding any mandated lowering of such consumption. The impact on the world is expected to be tectonic.

    The core concept is un-deniable, a fact Vivek says he is willing to prove to any serious, large investor.

    Referring, only half-jokingly he insists, to this as the ultimate pre-IPO opportunity for the public on a set of technologies that will transform our world, Vivek is open to approach by honest media for interviews.

    Please visit:

    http://aadivaahan.wordpress.com/2012/06/05/6666-beyond-carbon-beyond-time/

    He urges you to go to the comment section, and read what people have to say.

    This IS the time, Vivek insists, to launch the first truly Aquarian Project, and is looking forward to cohorts who will come to the table and participate.

    Vivek’s Product concepts and designs, his art and his music have been variously described as jaw-dropping, graceful, piercing, brilliant, innovative, disturbing and something, as one lady insisted, she was glad she had lived long enough to see.

    Contact:

    Vivek Chaturvedi
    Bangalore, India

  • Don

    The American dream is no more. Figures will show you that Americans have actually started leaving the US for other contries in Asia, Africa and South America. This says alot about the US economy!

    • RealChange

      Very true. I’ve already met several people who’ve left or have close friends leaving. Some countries are even starting to restrict Americans’ abilities to work there… We are to them what the Mexicans are to us–immigrants taking their jobs.

  • http://4xgold.com Marc

    RE: “The American dream is no more. Figures will show you that Americans have actually started leaving the US for other contries in Asia, Africa and South America. This says alot about the US economy!”

    The reason I’m ‘leaving’ is cause these STUPID IDIOTS want to ‘tell me’ how to invest in the forex market (-of course if your brokers account has a minimum of $10 million you’re EXCLUDED!). -This RULES from IDIOTS that can’t even RUN their own country!

    Oh, AND USA citizens are NOT allowed into online gambling casinos! But they DO allow their IDIOT citizenry to ‘play’ the lottery, -the WORST (and most STUPID) gambling game (odd-wise).

    STUFF it America!

  • http://www.kennydrewjr.com Kenny Drew Jr.

    I have been a professional musician playing piano and keyboards for over 30 years and I have never seen things this bad. I play mostly jazz & classical music and these genres are almost dead. I’m considered one of the best people in my field but nobody wants to hire me for anything anymore. Over the years I’ve sent out hundreds of CDs and have e-mailed thousands of possible employers all over the world with almost no response. Every once in a while someone has the decency to respond just to say no. If I didn’t have a relative who I could stay with rent-free I’d be either homeless or dead. I’m also trying to deal with a lot of health problems without any money or insurance. Last week I had my 54th birthday and I was working more and making more money when I was 24! I’m too old to go to school to learn how to do something else. Unfortunately your average person thinks that if you have a great talent and you’re not making a lot of money with it, there must be something wrong with you. After making over two dozen albums of my own and playing on dozens of other musicians’ albums I still get no respect from the industry and if I complain about my situation I’m just thought of as a negative whiner. The best I can hope for now is for my health problems to eventually give me an early death, then perhaps I might finally get the respect & recognition I deserve posthumously.

    • RealChange

      This is a very dark time for artists and creative people. I’m experiencing the same thing as a musician. Amazing how brainwashed Americans are. They assume that if you’re struggling you must be the problem. Even with all the news about how bad the economy is, people losing jobs, homes, etc., the propaganda that says intelligent, talented, capable people will rise (like cream) to the top and that we live in a “meritocracy,” a “democracy” where the best and brightest succeed. I’ve started to believe that Americans are the meanest as well as the dumbest people on the planet. Sorry, but I guess I’ve turned into a misanthrope. On that note, however, I wonder whether you’ve considered relocating to a different country?

  • BFH

    There is NO question the economy sucks and is going to get worse and much worse at that. However, where are all these homeless ladies? Being an attractive, slim, sane, male aged 58 I have tried every reasonable means known to get a good woman to come here and be a mate in a nice modern country home that is completely paid for. All I can find is obese women, drunks, dope heads and mental patients. If so many are having it so hard and have fallen through the cracks of this recession one would think I’d have an interested lady calling every fifteen minutes. After 2 years nothing hut players, deceivers and liars. Has this economy only affected men and families and somehow decent single women have escaped?

  • Eve

    Ha ha ha. I’m a petite woman in my late 30′s, used to be a Senior Buyer at a huge global corporation making $80K. Lost my job & they cancelled the extended benefits for unemployment in my state so I’m now working on a farm. You heard me, a farm, for $10 an hour! Hey, you can’t call me lazy, right? Thank god I have a good back and am physically fit.
    My first day working I literally looked up at the sky and said, “You’re kidding me, right God? This is a ******** joke, right? What the hell am I doing here?! What kind of LOSER am I?” But hey. I’m working. I’m strong and healthy and I do what they ask me to do and do it well. Whatever. Things are getting better and I believe it. I have my house, I bought it low, so hey. It’s an asset, right? I just wanted to read up to make sure I’m not the only intelligent person working at a weird job. I guess it’s not just me. I know I’m fine and everything is getting better. I keep a good attitude and when I get down sometimes I get back up. ***** doesn’t last forever. Remember that. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

    • Guest

      The problem is when that light at the end of the tunnel turns out to be a speeding, out of control train

  • http://outdoor-pavers.com/ Cynthia Thompson

    don’t let the feeling of desperation get the better of you. because when it does, you just lose all the fight that’s left in your tank. hope springs eternal for as long as we live. when you keep looking at the negative and anticipate the worse that is not even there yet, then surely you’re attracting it to come. stay positive and go on living, persevere, be patient and pray. life is still good.

  • Guest

    This article completely speaks to me. I’m honestly surprised there haven’t been more suicides yet. 17 years ago, I chose to enter education because we were all being told there’s a teacher shortage. The problem, though, was that they didn’t say that it was only in certain subjects. I majored in music and, 7 years later, lost my job. My career hasn’t recovered, since. I jumped through all the damned hoops I was told to jump through. I got my masters degree, got my National Boards certification – everything. Now, I’m so damned expensive to a district or a parochial school because of all my years of experience and education, they won’t touch me with a ten foot pole. The best I was able to do was a part time teaching job for the last three years, which I was let go from at the end of my when my program was eliminated. We’re completely upside down on our mortgage. I have a wife and a kid and I completely feel as if I have totally let them down. I’m a terrible example to my son, whose now showing to be as musically inclined as I am. I don’t want to tell him to not pursue music, but I don’t want him set up for disaster the way I have been. I often feel like, now, my family would have been – and probably would be – better off without me. It’s only a matter of time before the suicide rates start going up as the hopelessness gets worse and worse.

  • http://www.infowars.com Anon

    These financial scandals, and the ‘Fed’ won’t be going away anytime soon, UNLESS YOU GET UP OFF YOUR FAT, LAZY A**ES, and DO SOMETHING! (Remark intended for the boobs that still work in corporate America, for the very companies enslaving us all!)

    HR 459 passed by an overwhelming majority in the House, by a vote of 327-98!
    Now, this bill (S.202) needs a vote in the Senate!

    CONTACT YOUR SENATORS HERE:

    AUDIT THE ‘FED’!
    http://www.auditthefed.com/?mode=actionpage

    End the Fed! Whether Congress Wants Us To or Not!
    http://www.lewrockwell.com/boldin/boldin22.1.html
    http://tenthamendmentcenter.com/2012/07/25/end-the-fed-whether-congress-wants-us-to-or-not/

  • RealChange

    Problem is, Americans won’t come together & help each other. Those who are doing well, don’t care about those who aren’t (blame us for not doing all “the right things” to better ourselves.) Those who aren’t doing well just blame themselves & vegetate in front of the TV instead of coming together, unionizing and forming ways to help each other. The old way of getting a job and putting food on the table doesn’t work anymore. Jobs are few and far between and they don’t pay a decent, living wage. We need to stop trying to find jobs altogether and instead create an alternative way of living that is INDEPENDENT of corporate America. I’m talking about people forming communities in which we grow our own food and live with each other. This doesn’t have to mean “communism” but does mean people learning to cooperate and work with each other again. I’m in a situation where I cannot find a living wage job and will have to become homeless or commit suicide if I don’t find a solution to this problem soon. Why can’t all of us in this situation get together and put our efforts together to find a way to help each other. Maybe we could find an old, abandoned house, renovate it together and start living in it? Maybe those of us with houses can start opening our doors to those without? I’m telling you the only reason why this can’t work is that Americans have forgotten how to cooperate with, live & work with each other. We need to learn how to trust and be trusted by each other again. Stop being dependent on these big corporations and start depending on your friends, families and neighbors! We need to form new communities that haven’t been created yet. But if enough of us come together and are trustworthy and able to cooperate we can do this relatively easily.

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