The Beginning Of The End
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As The Obamas And The Ultra-Wealthy Live The High Life Most Americans Are Going Through Economic Hell

Barack Obama recently made the following statement to American families that are struggling to survive in this economy: “If you’re a family trying to cut back, you might skip going out to dinner, or you might put off a vacation.” A few days after making that statement Obama sent his wife and children off on yet another vacation, this time to a luxury ski hotel in Vail, Colorado.  But the Obamas are not the only ones enjoying the high life.  Wealthy corporate executives and greedy Wall Street fatcats insist that profit margins are too tight to hire more American workers, and yet sales of luxury cars, private jets and vacation homes are soaring.  Meanwhile, most American families are going through economic hell right now.  In 2010, more Americans than ever before were living below the poverty line.  Over 4 million Americans have been unemployed for more than a year, and over 5 million Americans are at least two months behind on their mortgage payments.  As the Obamas and wealthy corporate executives jet off to fancy ski resorts, half of all American workers are earning $505 or less per week and 55 percent of American families are living paycheck to paycheck.  Something is very wrong with this picture.

So is there anything wrong with working hard and enjoying the fruits of success?  Of course not, as long as it was done honestly and not on the backs of the American taxpayers.  But the truth is that many of the corporate executives that are enjoying luxury vacations right now would not even have companies to run if the American taxpayers had not stepped in and bailed them out during the financial crisis.  Thanks to the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve, Wall Street bankers and top corporate executives are once again enjoying bonuses that most of us would consider obscene.

Meanwhile, most of the rest of the country is suffering very deeply.

Over the past several decades, the biggest financial institutions and the biggest corporations have worked really hard to “fix” the rules of the game in their favor.  The truth is that our economy is no longer a “free market” capitalist system.  Rather, what we have now is more accurately described as “corporatism” or “neo-feudalism”.  The big corporations dominate almost everything, and whatever they don’t dominate the government does.

One of the key features of a “corporatist” system is that it tends to funnel all the wealth to the very top.

Back in 1976, the top 1 percent of earners in the United States took in 8.9 percent of all income.  By 2007, that number had risen to 23.5 percent.

Ouch.

There are two different Americas today.  There is the America of the gated communities, the private planes and the good life, and there is the America of declining wages, thrift stores and rising desperation.

What is saddest of all is that the most vulnerable people in society often suffer the most from all of this.

According to one recent study, approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States were living below the poverty line in 2010.

Do you think that the Obamas are thinking about any of this while they are enjoying their stay at a luxury ski hotel in Vail, Colorado?

The truth is that leadership is not just about words.  Leadership is about setting an example.

Back in August, Michelle Obama took her daughter Sasha and 40 of her friends for a vacation in Spain.

So what was the bill to the taxpayers for that little jaunt across the pond?

It is estimated that vacation alone cost U.S. taxpayers $375,000.

Hey, Barack Obama won the most votes in 2008 and so if he wants his family to get as much enjoyment out of these four years as they can that is his prerogative.

However, if he wants to tell American families that they “might put off a vacation” after all the vacations that the Obamas have taken over the past two years then he is just being a massive hypocrite.

According to the New York Post, Barack Obama enjoyed a total of 10 separate vacations that stretched over a total of 90 vacation days during the years of 2009 and 2010.

During his first two years in office, he also managed to play 29 rounds of golf.

Oh, but it is the rest of us that have to cut back on our vacations.

But it is not just the Obamas that are enjoying the high life right now.

The wealthy have recovered nicely from the “recession” and now they are spending money by the gobs once again.

According to Moody’s Analytics, the wealthiest 5% of households in the United States account for approximately 37% of all consumer spending.

Life is very good in America if you have got enough money.

A recent article in USA Today detailed some of the things that wealthy corporate executives are spending money on in 2011….

Luxury and high-end marketers have picked up on what they hope is a growing trend, offering products that bank on a looming spending spree. Germany’s PG-Bikes is rolling out the $80,000 Black Trail, a battery-powered bicycle. Swiss watchmaker Richard Mille is selling $525,000 timepieces. Steinway has launched a John Lennon-themed grand piano — at $90,000 and up. After selling out a $245,000 model, automaker Porsche is planning the 918 Spyder, a hybrid car that could sell for more than $630,000.

Nearly all luxury brands experienced a resurgence in 2010.  Just check out some of the sales increases for luxury car brands….

Porsche: 29%

Cadillac 36%

Rolls-Royce 171%

At the exact same time, however, life is getting really, really hard for the rest of America.

As I wrote about yesterday, the U.S. middle class continues to be decimated even in the midst of this “economic recovery”.

There are tens of millions of Americans that would like to have a full-time job that are not able to get a full-time job.  The number of Americans on food stamps has gone from about 26 million at the start of 2007 to 43 million today and it continues to set a brand new record every single month.  One out of every six Americans is now enrolled in at least one anti-poverty program run by the federal government.

Our economy has become a complete and total nightmare.

Over the past couple of days some of the readers of this column have been sharing some of their economic horror stories.  But they are far from alone.  There are literally millions of Americans with economic horror stories out there.  It is just that we don’t get to hear too many stories from the “other America” on our televisions.

The following stories of economic pain are from people just like you and me.  Times are incredibly hard for most of America right now, and they are only getting harder with each passing month….

Colin:

My mother is unemployed. She is 61 years old, has 25 years of experience working for a major telecommunications corporation, and has a four-year degree. I watch her send application after application to employers with no response. I watch her get contacted by recruiters who say she is a ‘perfect fit’ for a job and never deliver. I watch her slide into depression and staying in bed many hours of the day.

I am 38 years old, I have mental illness, and I recently lost my job as a delivery driver because the owner sold his business to a competitor.

I don’t believe that either my mother or I will ever be employed again. I am beginning to feel that I am permanently in the world of the unemployed.

Jeff:

I graduated college in May 2000 with a Bachelors degree in Broadcasting/Minored in History. I have worked for major corporations as an Enterprise Sales Consultant selling Servers. I was a Network Engineer for Qwest Communications. I even worked for the Federal Government and held a Security Clearance for 4 years. I also won Dell Small Business Sales Consultant of the quarter as well. But since I don’t have an active clearance anymore no one wants to hire me in D.C. I lost my job in 07/2010 and from 07/2010-Present I have been unemployed. My food stamps were also recently cut off last month since the State of Virginia decided that for a household of 1 you can’t make more than $1178 a month. I make $1250 a month in Unemployment compensation before taxes so according to the Government I am too rich to receive Food stamps now. My Rent, Gas and Car insurance is $1000 a month and I am holding on for dear life. I am currently in the process of declaring Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and using my tax return to pay the attorney $1500 to file. That leaves me with only #250 a month for food, water and cell phone.

I have a list compiled in my Google email with approximately 784 applications I have filled out for every government agency, defense contractor and job available in the Washington, DC area. I even applied to Carmax and my old job in college waiting tables at red Lobster and the moving company I used to work at during the summers in college. If its bad for someone like me with over 10 years of Sales, Server/computer experience, Investigations and Network Engineering than I can’t imagine how bad it is for people that just have a high school diploma. I have been on one interview out of the almost 1000 jobs I have applied to (It takes about 2 hours to apply to one job). The one interview I went on offered me less than my unemployment gives me at $8 an hour. I can sit at home and make more money on unemployment than 80% of the jobs that I have applied too and even those jobs don’t call me. Is this what America has become? Is this what I sacrificed 5 years of my life in college from 17 years old to 21 years old and spent $40,000 to get a worthless degree that won’t even get you hired?

Todd:

Well, My family has been ripped to shreds alright.

Overall combined (My father, and myself) make about 60k a year. We can barely survive we keep looking to cut things, and make things cheaper but it’s just not working fast enough.

My wife can’t find a job, and now student loans are starting to become issues. (won’t go in to further details).

Tax returns taken, and various other things, Can’t even afford dental care. We don’t even get to go out anymore, and lucky to get any type of snacks. Just so you know there are 5 people living in this house.

Sharonsj:

The only reason I am not out on the street is that when I had money I paid off my mortgage.

However, because I did that, my food stamp allotment is only $25 a month. The heating assistance I get only paid for less than one months’ heat out of the six months I need here in Pennsylvania. All other expenses use up what’s left, so you learn to eat at home; I try not to leave the house because it’s going to cost me money.

I blame Congress for destroying America. They have given tax breaks to themselves and their rich friends at our expense. Did you know that anybody who serves 5 years in Congress gets a FULL pension at age 62? Us peasants work for 45 years and then if we retire at age 62 we are forced to give up 25% of what we earned.

Niles:

I lost my house, my family was split, and all my savings is gone.

I have lost hope. I served in the military, went to college and have high tech skills. My country doesn’t give a ***** about me. The bankers are as evil as the communists and I hate them.

Michael:

I’m also 38, and have worked in IT since the mid 90s. I lost my full time job in April ’03, and have only been able to find short term temporary work since. The contracts started to get shorter and fewer as the years went on, so in spring ’10 I retrained to be an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) but have not been able to find work in the last 9 months. An ambulance company I applied with said that they have hundreds of applications in several Northern CA counties but no job openings. And health care jobs are supposed to be on the the only areas of growth. I deliver pizzas for cash on and off and am getting unemployment.

Mondobeyondo:

I lost track of how many resumes I’ve sent out during the past several months. My neighbors think I’m trying to win the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes or something (yeah, that would help too! Ha!)

Maybe I should go back to school and become an RLP (Rejection Letter Professional).

Dorothy:

The rent at the place I lived was so high that I couldn’t afford it on a school bus driver’s salary, which I was doing for the past few years, because in spite of 30 years clerical experience, where I performed every function from clerk typist to executive legal secretary, I could not find employment. So I applied for subsidized housing and was forced to move back to Chicago, where the crime rate is very high in certain areas.

Before I moved I was getting $200 in food stamps, but now that I am in subsidized housing, I have to go and reapply and if I get anything at all, I have heard that it will be about $52 a month! Although the rent is subsidized, I have to pay for my own heat, and the building in which I live is completely electric! Energy assistance doesn’t cover it. They give with one hand and take away with the other.

All of the people above are still “surviving”, but what do you think is going to happen to many of them as the cost of living goes up dramatically?  Brent crude just hit $108 a barrel and the UN says that the global price of food recently hit a new all-time high.

Americans on fixed incomes or that are on government assistance are going to be absolutely devastated if prices for basics such as food and gas rise substantially.

Not only that, but budget cuts on the federal, state and local levels are also going to hurt many of these people deeply.

But this is where we are at as a nation.  A small privileged class is enjoying the high life while a rapidly growing poverty class pleads for the government to toss them some more crumbs.

The American people deserve better than this.  They deserve an economy that will provide them with good jobs which will enable them to pay their mortgages and feed their families.

Unfortunately, the U.S. economy is dying.  The number of good jobs is actually declining.  The middle class is being systematically wiped out.

The answer is not to “tax the rich” so that we can toss the rapidly growing poverty class a few more crumbs.  The answer is to radically transform our economy back into the kind of economy our founding fathers originally intended.

But wealthy corporate executives and politicians such as Barack Obama are not going to have any of that.  Those sitting on top don’t want any real change to happen.  Sadly, the general population has become so dumbed-down that they don’t even know the questions that they should be asking.

So unfortunately it appears we are going to keep heading down the exact same economic path that we have been heading for decades.  The middle class will keep being ripped apart and politicians like George W. Bush and Barack Obama will just keep on smiling.

  • michelle

    silver is over $34 today. it’s not going to be long before this all blows up.

    hold on.

  • http://www.grandmasdepressionmemories.com/ Leigh Kimmel

    Let them eat cake is not a new phenomenon. As soon as you get a multigenerational elite that’s divorced from the reality of everyday life, you get complete cluelessness about what it means to struggle from day to day to make ends meet. And thus you get really stupid policies that hurt instead of help, and do it with a backhanded slap.

  • Gary2

    The answer is not to “tax the rich” so that we can toss the rapidly growing poverty class a few more crumbs.

    Yes Michael the answer is to TAX THE RICH HARD AND SPREAD THE WEALTH. I could use some crumbs. I just got my hours cut at work.

    When you went on and on about the obscene spreading/luxury of the rich then say we should not tax them you are having a disconnect. You need to explain this one to me. I admit taxing the rich more will not solve everything but it will solve somethings.

    Why can’t you bring yourself to admit that we need to tax the rich hard. Not taxing the rich hard has helped in a big way to cause the current depression so obviously taxing the rich hard will go a long way in solving the depression.

    I do agree we need to restructure the economy like you recommend and that Obama’s hypocrisy is appalling. Other than my objection above you have a good post as usual. If I have learned anything from all the feedback from the posters on this site it is that both parties suck! (I pretty much knew this already)

  • Michelle

    I’m just a student and don’t have a lot of real world experience but I think if those who are unemployed could be creative with jobs while searching for a more permanent one. In India, there are people who come in and clean household dishes, clean the streets, cook food for families, and wash clothes. I know it’s completely different over here but there is a job for any kind of work. There is also something that I’ve heard of is time-sharing/spending. Instead of paying money for a service, you trade your time to do a job for another person(within reason of course).
    I hope this helps. Staying positive through a difficult situation also makes your head clearer and open for opportunities to get ahead.

  • Kevin

    Why throw stones at Obama for this? The last President that lived the poor life was Harry Truman. Congress had to increase his pension so he could make ends meet.

  • public assitance nation

    does niles shop at walmart? dorothy shop at dollar genral?todd shop at kmart?that’s the issue, americans insatiable lust for cheap chinese crap.it’s literally destroying this once great nation.that in a nutshell is the real and only problem

  • impeachRonPaul

    So since he is black, he should eat on paper plates and drink shasta? Never heard that complaint when Bush destroyed the economy, lost 2 wars, and lied to the people.

    All of this and republicans demanded tax cuts for the banksters! added one trillion to deficit!

    These right wingers are using an angry religion to control the uneducated in Texas and Alabama and use the christian churches to divide people. The rich are laughing at the religous right and enjoying the profits they give them. The republicans want no aid to the people but trillions to the rich in tax cuts.

    The religous right is after our freedom and want goverment control on behavior. The main agenda of the republican party is elimination of the middle class.

  • Colin

    Michelle,

    Long ago, in our country, many Americans did as you suggest. However, this was a time before credit checks, resumes for minimum wage jobs, and drug tests. If you wanted a job, you headed to the street, made inquires, and sought out employers. If the employer liked you and there was an opening, you could get a job. In some cases, in the distant past, if you showed promise, the employer may retain you as an apprentice and teach you what valuable job training skills. This process is being abandoned in favor of internet-directed searches and network connections.

  • Walpole

    “Why throw stones at Obama for this?” (Kevin) – because dick-head he is the one who promised so much change and has delivered nothing but platitudes and fancy speeches; and had a lot of holidays for all his hard work.

  • http://www.dailyjobcuts.com Karen

    Sorry but OB pays for s family’s vacations taxpayers don’t. Passing the tax cuts stunk but who wanted tax cuts and still thinks that ts will create jobs? WHO? THE REPS-that’s who. Their house budget was cuts for all social and low-income programs. Nice REP!
    So don’t be so quick to smear OB and aim at the real destroyers of this Country (WALL STREET, BIG BUSINESS, 8 YEARS OF BUSH, WARS, REPUBLICANS, TEA PARTYS)

  • Michael2

    The blog moderator courageously notes, “There is the America of the gated communities, the private planes and the good life, and there is the America of declining wages, thrift stores and rising desperation”. As well the following is noted, “Nearly all luxury brands experienced a resurgence in 2010. Just check out some of the sales increases for luxury car brands”….

    Porsche: 29%, Cadillac 36%, Rolls-Royce 171%

    First thing that comes to mind to write is the old saying, the only thing more spectacular than the rise is the inevitable fall. History has born that old saying out so many times; one could think the spectacularly evil megalomaniacs, who have proclaimed themselves so brilliant would realize their fall is not far off either. All around the world, not only in the Middle East, chaos escalates. Even though the mainstream media does not cover rising problems in Europe or Asia, problems are escalating. It is not that hard to predict the same for America. In fact one could make the case a serious rebellion is already well under way here in America.

    Rich people always become overly secure in the trappings of luxury, trappings is apropos here because money and power in this case always proves to be just that, a trap. The rich seem always to assume money and power will be the answer to all of life’s problems. Time again this assumption has proven as faulty as the maxim, greed is good. There are many fallen empires and nations all throughout history that prove this.

    What is even more amazing than this level of denial in the “elite” is the allegation that those who proclaim themselves masters of the earth think they will be able to fashion, “A new order for the ages” or Novus Ordo Seclorum, from the chaos erupting all over the globe. Talk about the god complex writ large, this type of ambition, if true is truly insane. The world has not seen this level of megalomania since the mythological Tower of Babel. Technology has so enhanced the power drunk stupor of the elite they cannot see the writing on the wall of the proverbial ivory tower, as it were. The ironic thing is it’s always the little things these types of evil bastards miss that undo them. For one, there is no long term profitability in a totally unstable and chaotic planet, both in terms of human society or with nature.

    These types also ultimately end up so engrossed with infighting power struggles, they cease consuming us little people and begin to destroy each other. We are debt slaves but the “elite” are slaves of the ego, a much worse condition of the human spirit. They will so weaken each other that a hard wind could eventually blow them over. And it will.

  • BlacKat

    I’m deeply sorry for all the misfortunes you have described, but I’m afraid that the Americans are feeling now what the rest of us, the second-class citizens from the under-development countries have been experiencing for our entire lives. Come to Romania, Russia, Poland, or (dare I say?)Serbia to see what real hardship means for PhD’s and people with master’s deegres that live on less than 500 USD per month, not per week as one of you were complaining. And, yes, I am aware that maybe some of the living costs may be slightly higher (not all of them, I’m afraid, as nobody in Romania will ever be able to eat as many calories with 10 dollars as even the poorest American can). And I consider myself fortunate for being a Romanian. In our sister country, Moldavia, the one so “graciously” rewarder by Roosevelt to Stalin, the situation is even worse. For them, earning 500 USD per month before taxes is a sweet, sweet dream. I’m talking here about hard working, university graduates, not about alcoholics or lazy people. So quit feeling so sorry for yourselves, dear Americans, and start protesting your government’s policies. If the Obama administration will do only two minor things, cut back the tax-breaks for the filthy rich and stop spending your money on stupid and genocidal wars like the ones in Iraq and Afghanistan, you will have enough money for everything. Unfortunately, for the rest of us, we don’t even have this to hope for. Because your governments made sure that our countries are now and will forever be in your debt (or IMF, which is Americans’ money laundring machine).

  • Dave

    My theory is that America is suffering a form of Dutch Disease (see Wikipedia), except that instead of exploiting a natural resource, we’ve been exploiting the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency.

    Dutch Disease begins when a large influx of unearned wealth causes a nation’s currency to rise in value. This makes imported goods cheaper than domestic manufacturing, so the nation’s industry declines. No problem, the government can simply spread the unearned wealth around. Spent on food, education, health care, housing, (and now high-speed rail and green energy), this free money creates millions of “service sector” jobs for a workforce that no longer produces tradable goods.

    Then the oil fields start to run dry, or in our case, the world starts to lose faith in the Almighty Dollar, and there’s no more easy money to subsidize those service jobs. We easily forgot how to make goods for export; it will be much harder to get those jobs back, short of conquering most of the world and forcing them to buy our products at gunpoint.

    Our economic collapse has only begun. What will emerge from the ruins is anyone’s guess, but I suppose that everyone, even the elderly and disabled, will have to earn their bread somehow. And if the ultra-wealthy elite intervene to prevent mass starvation, they will do it on their terms, not ours.

  • Duke

    Gary2 is a whiney little bitch.

  • c. friedman

    hey public assistance…….

    I shop at walmart, dollar general and it is not about an insatiable lust for cheap chinese crap.

    I might like to buy my bread from the local baker, milk from the local dairy and veggies from my organic gardening friend, but when you are feeding a family on a razor thin budget BUYING LOCAL is just not an option.

    I personally cannot afford to be idealistic in my shopping these days.

  • Gabe

    Big companies are always trying to push up profit, at the expense of their employees, to make their shareholders happy. The disparity between the rich and poor will not stop growing until the government step in.

    We help Americans find jobs and prosperity in Asia. Visit http://www.pathtoasia.com/jobs/ for details

  • Stephan

    Excellent post! But I wouldn’t term the system “neo-feudalism”. The US is a plutocracy. Hyman Minsky’s “money manager capitalism”.

  • Richard Allen

    And yet people REFUSE to acknowledge what role rap and hip hop music has done to make this a reality.

    The lack of English skills, the constant bombardment of gangsta swearing using the N word..giving props to the people in lock-down all contribute to making Americans stupid

    Music used to be innovative, but now its all like pre-packaged tv dinners cheap disposable throwaway and not worth paying for aka McMusic…

    And with so many morons being created in our school system, i guess in a few years we will elect a tyrant or worse.

    America needs a swift kick in the pants and OHBahhma does it by going to Vail.

    ————–
    Sadly, the general population has become so dumbed-down that they don’t even know the questions that they should be asking.

  • Sam

    The Bush tax cuts have been in effect for a decade. Where are the US jobs? Offshore. All CEOs, and I mean all of them, should be called in front on Congress to state how many US jobs they’ve sent offshore.

  • William

    Obummer has proven to be an empty suit….a ZERO, ZIP, NADA. You must KNOW that this nation is doomed when the choices for the White House in 2008 were narrowed to the Rodhamite (aka Hitlery, killer of Vince Foster), Obummer, not even a US citizen (where IS that real birth certificate), or Surge McBomb McCain, who eased his way into the US Congress by marrying the daughter of a sleazy, some say criminal, beer distributor. And now, Obummer directs Rice to veto the UN Security Council on the illegal Israeli “settlements” (code for land theft).

  • http://www.theeconomiccollapseblog.com Scott

    I don’t recall anyone ever asking me if I wanted to bail out the fat-cat bankers. Our government is a joke.

  • john

    There is a higher judgment that all these rich people will someday have to answer to.

  • john a.

    Rich people only got rich one way…exploitation of others.

  • Michael2

    Another old saying comes to mind, the same thing that makes you laugh, can make cry, as my dad once told me. In another words, one day, laughing all the way to bank, may one day for the bankers and elite turn into weeping and gnashing of the teeth.

  • NadePaulKuciGravMcKi

    ‘let them eat cake’
    they have no clue

  • http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com Wood Burner

    Unbelievable off the mark replies thus far.

    Why throw stones at Obama? He’s a liar.

    Does Niles shop at Walmart? That….. is the real and only problem? Is it now? Is it not perhaps the acquiescence of the once freedom minded American public who has been mind conditioned to believe that the state can give them “food stamps and heating assistance?

    The collapse is indeed coming, but most Americans will be just as poorly equipped to handle that event as they have been to handle the economic downturn (yes, downturn, because in a short while these will be the good old days). Do not trust anything the statist bastards tell you as their boot heel rests on your throat, no matter what letter is behind their name. And above all do not trust what the media tells you, including Pox News Network and all the other bought and sold for hacks out there. Become American free thinkers again.

    Wake up, pray that God gives you strength and do what you have to do to protect your family and yourself. Cast off the materialistic horse crap and honor the sacrifice your forebears made to give you what you have. The time is now.

  • Kevin

    Gary2

    I agree on taxing the wealthy much more then we do. Back in the 1950s in the very conservative do as your told cold war era the top rates we’re much higher and things we’re just fine. I don’t agree that it’s effect will straighten things out.

    The idea that capital gain s on investments are taxed at 15% while tax on working income may be 28% and up is interesting to think about. Back in the day, not so long ago when “Americas business is business” and that business resided in and employed Americans the concept had merit. When those investments are in multi national corporations that employ the majority or all of their workforce outside of the US that “Americas business is business” rings hollow.

    I’m glad you have seen the light regarding both party’s. That eye opener begs the question, “Who are the politicians representing”? With two party’s and zero choices it’s obviously not us.

  • J

    I know many “rich” people. They giggle at this notion of “tax the rich hard” because, guess what they do? They simply hide or shelter their money. And, “the rich” are the ones who create jobs, you “tax hard” then they fire their American employees and move their operations somewhere overseas where taxes are less. Not a very well thought out plan there Gary2.

    i make around $500 per week, im also not an idiot with my money so it works. time to grow up and be a man instead of a whining like a little baby boy.

  • Alice

    I don’t think the change that is coming, is not what he expected! Chapter 9 for all of the bankrupt States. This will correct a lot of our problems nationwide! Stop the debt, stop the borrow and spend, stop the presses. Get the unions out of the Government!

  • Matt

    Gary2, I’m with you on everything you said except tax the rich hard. Instead, send the rich criminals and fraud artists, which is most of the rich, to jail and take away all their criminally-earned money and give it back to the taxpayers. Most of the rich are absolutely corrupt and criminals – attack them from that angle and I’m with you 100% bro. I have some ‘rich’ friends who have worked their asses off all their lives for it and got rich by sacraficing their time to work, got rich the honest and right way – we don’t want to punish that – those are the kind of people we want to encourage because they create companies and create jobs for you and me.

  • roadrunner

    Well then, thank goodness we take care of our Presidents better today…then we did in the past. They have less public media criticism too.( at least this current administration) Just think, O’Bama’s wife and those two adorable kids of their’s gets to go on a luxurious ski vacation, and the only media criticism those freeloaders get is criticism in web pages like this one. No major news organizations covers this hippocracy. Not even when these very same cretins told everybody else to tighten down that belt. And dont forget NOT to eat ice cream. But lo and behold, when you turn your back, there Michelle is , stuffing a cone in her mouth.

  • El Pollo de Oro

    Michael T. Snyder writes that what is going on in this country is not free-market capitalism, but rather, is more accurately described as “corporatism” or “neo-feudalism.” Yes, exactly right! And I would add that there is another word that describes the abysmal state of affairs in this Third World house of horrors called The Banana Republic of America: fascism. Benito Mussolini, a.k.a. Il Duce, described fascism as “l’unione del potere corporativo e il potere dello stato.” That’s Italian for the merger of state power and corporate power, which is exactly what we are seeing in The Banana Republic of America (formerly the USA).

    And I should also add that there are two tiers to il fascismo. The merger of state and corporate power is the first tier; the second tier is an all-out police state, which is the direction we have been moving in more and more in the BRA. Intelligent people of different political stripes understand that. Liberals and progressives like feminist Naomi Wolf and the ACLU are seriously concerned about the BRA turning into an abusive police state; right-of-center libertarians and paleoconservatives such as Justin Raimondo, Alex Jones, Ron Paul, Katherine Albrecht, Paul Craig Roberts and Gary Johnson are seriously concerned about the BRA turning into an abusive police state. When you have politicians (both RepubliKKKans and Democraps) openly calling for the murder of Julian Assange for airing the BRA’s dirty laundry, you know that the BRA has truly crossed over to the dark side and become a rogue pariah nation. And as the BRA’s economic condition continues to deteriorate and the crime problem soars, don’t count on the police state to save you from carjackers, gang members or kidnappers—the corporatist government’s thugs will be too busy harassing, intimidating and abusing decent civilians.

    “The merger of state and corporate power is called fascism, and fascism has come to America.” —Gerald Celente

    Indeed it has.

    God help The Banana Republic of America (formerly the USA).

  • RunVampRun

    Saw on C-Span this morning that American’s are saving more than ever…when a caller question the guest about “savings” he said as an example if you make $100 a week and spend $95 you are considered as part of those who are saving…my question is what happens next week when you make $100 and need to come off say $125…wait that would mess up his whole theory that it is the peoples fault and not the corporations/bought governments fault…

  • Sebastian

    Just whiners that won’t do it for themselves, expecting someone else to intervene in their lives and do it for them. have you tried writing santy clause?

  • http://www.phantomreport.com DSRehder

    Late 2008 high level meetings between government officials and banks to deploy TARP trillions $$$ to banks, car industry, mortgage co., corporations, …. on and on. It was all on the backs of the American Tax payers, but implemented by the elected house and senate baboons and suck ups. If TARP was was brought to a national vote, the American people would voted a big ‘NO’ to TARP funds.
    QE1 and QE2 decisions should be voted on by the American people, not Caesar Bernanke.
    The rigged wall street/bank/housing game would have been exposed and would have gone down as the greatest robbery in American history.
    http://www.phantomreport.com

  • Alex

    @public assistance nation:

    We don’t know where Niles shops – he doesn’t say. All we know is that his savings are depleted and his family has split up.

    But it’s quite arrogant of you to expect him to turn down Walmart and Dollar General for his basic needs. Do you expect him to just stroll into Saks Fifth Avenue or Neiman Marcus.

    And to Gary2:
    You can’t build a solid economy by “tax, tax, tax, the rich”. The rich provide the jobs for us – alienate them at your peril. They can always move elsewhere.

    We need to end free trade. It’s been like a mantra to these people ever since time immemorial: “Free trade opens markets for American made goods!” We’ve all seen the tragic results of THAT way of thinking!

    Pass laws to make it attractive to manufacture here and prohibitive to manufacture anywhere else. If anyone has a better idea, I’m all ears.

  • http://truthbyvideo-sojourner.blogspot.com/ Had it and tired

    The only one who ever cared is Jesus and those whom he REALLY dwells in, and only God knows who those who are His.
    My hope is just living a life that pleases God until he takes my last breath, Hopefully that life will be helpful to others until my spirit leaves this shell it lives in.
    God will take care of His and will also take care of those who are not his. He is in control, I just have to love, forgive and offer grace to all. Sometimes it ” ain’t ” easy but to please God and be forgiven myself it’s required. But for the grace of God go I. All that I NEED is provided for by God, I don’t put any hope or faith in any man.
    It’s gonna get a lot harder and that makes me very very sad.

  • Kevin

    J

    “they fire their American employees and move their operations somewhere overseas where taxes are less.”

    Well they are doing that now for cheap labor. So an international business CEO will move operations because his personal taxes go up in the USA? There are many reasons for moving. Personal taxes is not one of them, peanuts. Corporate taxes are not too high on the list either, peanuts. Fifty cent per hour labor devoid of safety and environmental regulations; now your talking. They took the textile industry in the non union southern states that paid roughly minimum wage and moved it to China.

    What happened to the day when the USA set the standards and because of it the general populations of Europe and Japan had a significant increase in their standard of living? Now the lowest common denominator sets the standard. At one time the USA brought nations up. Now nations paying slave labor wages drag the USA down. What happened? Free Trade with slave labor nations is what happened.

    If we don’t work a lot more for a lot less ….THEY LEAVE
    If we want a clean environment …. THEY LEAVE
    If we a safe work place …. THEY LEAVE

    Why not just cut to the chase and bypass civilization and move our nation directly into the third world.

  • Spencer

    man you’re a bunch of babies. I can’t get over the entitlement, unempowered posts I read on this blog every day….a bunch of victims complaining that they aren’t the ones in power, that they aren’t the ones playing golf, that they aren’t the ones at the top of the food chain.

    Michael. If you were president, all of these seemingly loyal minions of yours would be just as against you as they are against the current administration….they are hungry for reasons to complain. I bet you feel satisfied at the end of the day that you feed on that….theeconomiccollapsecnn :)

    To everyone else: I just turned 300$ into 3K on the stock market (actually options….). Yes, I’m gloating…because there is still SO much opportunity to be made in this God blessed country. Open your eyes, there’s so much abundance it’s beyond comprehension

  • mondobeyondo

    Obama’s taking more “vacations” than even his predecessor, Dubya. Seems like every other week he’s out golfing, or taking an “official visit” to some foreign country. Hey, Mr. O, stay home for a while and start fixing this Mess we’re in. Once a year, you’re allowed to golf, and that’s on President’s Day (hey, you’re a president, and it’s your day, so you deserve it!) Okay, twice a year. One round of golf after the White House barbecue on the Fourth of July.

    Obama isn’t a hero, and he’s not exactly a zero. He’s more like a Nero. Fiddling while America burns…

  • http://www.danielrevelationbiblestudies.com Robert Stout

    Remember folks what Jesus said while here on Earth! Take a serious look at this text in Matthew 19:23, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again, I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” I’m not saying all rich people are bad, but how many do you know that honestly share in the misfortunes of others and sincerely help their fellow brothers and sisters when in need!!! Many of the rich are getting their reward now, but will never see their eternal reward because the old devil has a strangle hold on them to keep them under his control. Many of the President’s of the past did and have done much evil in God’s sight!!! And now listen to wise old Solomon in Ecclesiastes 12:13, ” Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter; Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” I personally know what I have to stand for, but the uncontrollable greed in this country and the world will soon bring itself to a end!!!

  • Gary2

    Matt-you are correct-the criminal rich, which is most BUT NOT ALL of them. I worked for a guy many years ago who was rich (over a millionaire). He was a decent hardworking person who realized that he was nothing without all the hard work of his employees and rewarded them accordingly. Good pay-company car-several thousand bonus at x-mas, fairly lavish company retreats etc. Heck I remember selling 2 moderate sized accounts (contract cleaning) and he gave me a $2000 per year raise in pay on the spot.-Remember this was in the mid to late 80″s and that money was worth a whole lot more at that time.

    You are 100% correct that I should be saying the criminal rich IE 98% of them. God bless the other 2%

  • Espresso Logic – The 6th Sense

    What a bunch of pathetic whining losers. Tax the rich? What a bunch of morons. Those “Rich” got an education, worked 80 hour weeks to make their businesses successful, AND PAY YOUR SALARIES. Who builds Caddies? You idiots suck.

    GROW UP!

  • DAN

    The globalists have made sure their lucritive club members get all the wealth….its set up for this. The federal reserve has been stealing money for decades and peopl keep buying into the two party system….WAKE UP ITS A SCAM and they are taking this country down by design its that simple. Oh some may laugh at this but take Lindsey Williams word on it (he is never wrong) that by the end of 2012, Bam, no more dollar so the ones having fun living it up laughing at this statement will be in total shock.

  • impeachRonPaul

    The religopus right wants all money going to the top 2%. Republicans will help them eliminate the middle class. The poor are much more obedient and easy to control. The mindless, thoughtless christians will listen and believe they will be “saved”.

  • http://90daystofitbody.com Javier

    Jeff and Colin’s stories are heartfelt, and I know it is being the reality for many people. It is funny how you talk to people, see their facebook status and it seems everybody is having a heck of a good time, everything is good, is like there was never a crisis and everybody makes 6 figures income… the “fake it until you make it” is such an american core issue, wish there were more honesty to ourselves and others. Don’t give up hope guys, stay close to your friends, exercise, these things will always help you out on the rough times

  • DownWithLibs

    We were warned long, long ago that all of this would happen. This is just the Truth fleshing itself out.

  • http://www.osixs.org morpheus

    Most Americans are asleep. They know somethings wrong. but when you’ve had it so easy for so long, coasting through life is always the answer. But not this time. We have a lot of pain coming our way. It will be impossible to coase any longer. So should you do?

    JOIN THE REVOLUTION
    Read “Common Sense 3.1” at ( http://www.revolution2.osixs.org )
    We don’t have to live like this anymore. “Spread the News”

  • The Unicorn

    The saying taking a million and turning it into 2 million is inevitable.To take a dollar and turn it into 2 dollars is impossible.

    The 1% that control 90% of the wealth are globalist they want control of the world.The USA is just another place on their monopoly board.They buy and sell politicians,leaders,rulers like poker chips.

    Taxing them would be a joke, they make the rules and control the money.It would be like taking with one hand then giving back more with the other.

    I feel that all these freebes like welfare/extended unemployment are just bait to get you to step in the trap,and unless your willing to chew your foot off to get free the collective of the population will all have the same fate.They will skin us alive.

    Take a look at whats going on,why print all this money,why are commodities up,riots,stocks hitting highs,the debt.

    They are wolves in sheeps clothing and the time to cull the heard will be soon.God help us. sorry for my bad grammar.

  • DownWithLibs

    @ Had it and tired:

    Well said! :-)

  • DownWithLibs

    @ impeachRonPaul:

    Hate Christians much? I hate to rain on your anti-Christian parade, but tell me, when you finally do “pass on”, what then? Do you know? Do you even care? You might want to take a few minutes and really think about why you feel the way you do about us Christians. Like the old saying goes -“The greatest trick the Devil ever played on man was to convince us that he didn’t exist.” Think about it. Then check out Romans 10:9 in the bible. Be about the best thing you can do for your self. :-)

  • PaulF

    Another great post, Michael. These first-hand stories are extremely sobering, and make me dwell on how lucky I still am!

    impeachRonPaul, you are such a complete moron. Ron Paul is and has been one of the people fighting for the common man – in fact the banksters have no greater enemy in the country! But you hate him because he’s a Christian, and that’s that, and post your nonsensical off-topic comments to every essay here. Very impressive.

  • http://ronaldgrey.wordpress.com Ronald Grey

    Describing himself as an urban guy, Barack Obama prefers locations like Martha’s Vineyard and Vail to the presidential retreat at Camp David.

    See “Let Them Eat Crabcake”: http://wp.me/pZiAD-uN

    Sincerely,
    Ronald Grey
    http://ronaldgrey.wordpress.com
    Competence & Character: #Grey2012

  • http://www.truthmovementamerica.com/ European American

    Hmm, I’m (very) far from rich but I’m doing quite well, nevertheless. Great health. Eat well. Plenty of Rest. Daily exercise. No debt. Off the Grid. Everything I own is paid for and I’ve got some quality, sustainable assets, including gold and silver. I have my moments, but hey, I’m human.

    If I can’t pay for it with what’s in my pocket, then I’m not suppose to have it, is the motto. Clean deal that way. Never borrow, ever.

    Who says you need great wealth to be rich? It’s all in the mind, anyway.

    Problem in America IMO is most Americans have lost touch with the simple life. Addicted to too much of nothing. Vicious cycle. Got to have more. Yes, we’ve been scammed and reamed, but why did we let ourselves ever get in that position in the first place?

    Take responsibility for the world we have consciously created and accept whatever comes, unconditionally. It just makes it easier that way, in the long run. Besides, The World Is as You Are.

  • mondobeyondo

    Too many people are trying to keep up with the Joneses. Forget that. Most of us can’t keep up the the Smiths, the Stevensons, the Rileys, the Johnsons, the Mitchells, the Adams, the Hernandez, the Mohammeds…

  • davidm

    gary2

    I’d venture a guess that had you chosen a more lucrative career and were making decent money, you would be setting on the other side of the argument.

  • Gabrial Singh

    no, dont redistribute the wealth, call up our “founding fathers” to see what they did?? the hypothesis sounds good, but your prescribed actions is assinine. There is NO more manufacturing Amerika. There are no more jobs here. You tea baggers just dont seem to get it, now do you. Go back to what worked before?? Your whole analysis is whacko. doesnt compute. oh, and btw, about 40 years ago, I read story in my weekly reader, that we were entering a global economy and would have to “compete” with the slave economies of the world….what happened between 1970 and 2011??? You right wingers all drank the kool-aid and outsourced amerikan jobs, so you could maximize the profits….just how stupid are all of you??

  • xander cross

    You ron paul supporters are being duped and he is playing you all like a fiddle. So, tell me, if paul cuts the fed, and the millitary, do you really think that all of that money is going back to the “people”? I seriously doubt it. It looks like the tea party governors is going after the workers and yet, I noticed that they are not after the executive leaders of their state. Lead by example tea party, cut the state senators pay and the govenors pay by half. You know that ron paul is against the civil rights act and have said that if he was there, he would vote against it. I wonder why that was not brought up on here?

  • Kevin

    xander cross

    That money saved has to disappear from circulation ie not be created. The alternative too many dollars chasing too few goods. When Uncle Sam spends more then they bring in they borrow from the Federal Reserve which poof creates the additional money needed. Given time that loaf of bread and gallon of milk (and everything else) rises in price accordingly. The people on a fixed income get hurt the most.

    All one needs to do is add.

  • Nancy in NC

    To Gabriel Singh: the reason there are no longer manufacturing jobs? Thank the unions. Thank the government and all their regulations. Thank the government and the highest corporate taxes. Thank WalMart. How can an American corporation compete with China and their wage rates? Americans want stuff and they want it for free (or cheap). If you want to know what’s wrong with this country, you might want to look in the mirror.

    It’s so easy to blame the corporations…if it were only that simple. While you’re busy hating rich people, many of whom worked and sacrificed to get there, you might want to examine all the other facets of what makes an economy work.

    At least in this country you have an opportunity to get out of the hole; not true in the majority of the world. Before you start moaning about your sorry lot in life, you might want to look around…or move to somehwere like Zimbabwe.

  • ld

    Nancy, I’m glad this de facto government is working for you. At least for the time being. It won’t be long before everything you have is gone as well. The real problem is that, that government works for the crown and they can seem to get enough money or power. Good luck to you, I hope you can keep it.

  • holland

    You say the american people deserve better than this??
    The american people got what they deserve, after this moron G.W.Bush, they voted for a clown who yells 20 times change change, and they believe that everything is becoming like it was.

    How can you deserve better as you sell and quit all youre factoryplants to china, spend idiot ammounts of money on wars in country,s wich 99 % of the american people never heard of because they think that the usa is the world.They are getting fat looking at American idol, and when their economy is flushd away then the tears are comming,Vote for guys as Ron Paul matby its not to late.

  • Abbu

    Gee, pay the house taxes, or the cancer treatments. Buy $25 worth of food for the week, or pay the water bill. Bought a bus pass because I couldn’t afford the sticker on my 15 yr. old car. Vacations and dinner out? Haven’t done that in YEARS.

  • Fred

    The comment made by President Obama is something else. Many Americans have given up those two things a few years back already. Now it getting rid of the computer, cancelling subscriptions to magazine and newspapers, cell phones, and many other items as well. Everything is being cut to the bone for many families.

  • sliceofpi

    You forgot the Bushes, the Cheneys, the Rumsfelds, the Kochs, and the rest of the War Criminals are also living very very well.

  • http://n/a Madea

    Obama should be a shame of himself. and those vacations that he has been sending his family on are paid for by the very ones he is advising to stay at home instead of taking a vacation or going out to dinner. I will be so glad when he is voted out of office in 2012! this is one president that is only out for himself and his family.

  • Tasha Tchin

    Hmmm, “Tea Baggers” are to blame! The “rich” are to blame! George W. Bush is to blame! Barack H. Obama is to blame! The American people are to blame! Sheesh! I saw a few sad tales from IT workers and such, but. no one pin-pointed the root cause of all the unemployment and wage depression.

    Simply put, we create more American workers than we create jobs for those workers. And, to add insult to injury, we import more foreign labor (both legal AND illegal) every month than jobs created for our own people entering the workforce every month.

    When you you have twice as many people entering the workforce every month than jobs created, someone is going to go jobless or only get part-time work (two workers sharing one job at a considerably reduced wage). If our economy can’t create over 100,000 jobs per month for our own people, why are we importing over 100,000 LEGAL foreign workers every month? (And, that doesn’t even count the 50-100,000 illegal workers entering the workforce every month, either).

    Wouldn’t you think that the federal government might stop handing out those “work authorized” visas for the time being? At least until our REAL unemployment rate falls to around 5% insted of its current 17%, and Americans’ wages rise at least enough to keep up with inflation. That would seem to be the moral thing to do, doesn’t it? Or, are we Americans to be forced to forever compete against cheap foreign labor both abroad AND right here at home?

  • CitizenKate

    I think debt and taxes are the primary obstacles to being able to afford the basics of self-care for many struggling families.

    The entrenched nobility are supported with borrowed money. The global murder campaigns are carried out with borrowed money. At a 100% income tax rate the US would still be in debt up to its eyeballs. It is bankrupt and has to borrow just to afford the interest payments on what it owes already. This insolvency cannot be remedied and the regime is doomed. In the meantime, they will either inflate, or default. The current trend is to inflate. This is resulting in skyrocketing food and fuel prices all over the planet due to the devalued US Dollar’s current (and doomed) status as the world’s reserve currency.

    To tax everything and everybody breathless is going to be one “solution” brought into play but income taxes won’t take care of it –no amount of taxation ever could. We will be seeing onerous and rising consumption taxes; higher and higher sales tax rates, escalating property tax rates, including new or increased taxes and fees on not real estate, but assets such as cars, refrigerators, etc.

    Punitive fines will increase. For examples, refer to the revenue-enhancement schemes being enacted in some places, such as the UK (and probably California) where you can be slapped with a heavy fine for putting something in the wrong recycle bin. There are even fines for driving, not over the speed limit, but too far under the limit even though no minimum speed is posted. If you think it can’t happen here, wait.

    The more the people develop work-arounds to be able to afford shelter, water, and food, the more the entrenched nobility will attempt to burden them. People are already voting with their feet and getting away with their families into areas with fewer services and less onerous tax rates but the plague is spreading.

    Every time I see the emperor cavorting at some rich man’s playground with that goofy grin on his face, it sort of makes me sick.

  • Dave

    Funny how Obama never mentions the Poor.

  • Sebastian

    Why would he everybody knows they exist…they are not a special class of people. all you need to know about the poor is that you don’t want to be one.

  • In The Middle

    European American:

    For Horus’s sake, you are so fantastic. If we could all be like you, but alas, just take your little tid bit of advice and move on to your off the grid location and we’ll all be saved.

    May you run for the American Presidency in 2012? Pity, you may be of European descent. Oh well, well figure it out on our own, thank you very much.

  • moe

    hey,

    forget you old people who did not make money enough money when anyone could make money, i am 22 years old graduated from college last spring as a teacher no job, i am working at 7/11 for 8.50 per hour i also tutor kids, i blame my parent for not making millions and setting up me and my sister, my best friend his dad is a lobbiest he just got a degree in communications and is working with his dad and i know he is making good money, I blame my parents not me, the rich are inheariting tons of money, and the government is proping up the stock market to keep the rich from pulling there money out of the market. I won’t be one of them.

  • Shana

    This is all a crock of BS. President Obama DID NOT CREATE THIS MESS yet every single one of you act like he did. I didn’t hear you complaining when Bill Clinton aided and abetted republicans by signing NAFTA and repealing the bank regulations that helped to cause the meltdown overseen by George W. Bush. I didn’t hear you complaining about all the vacations George W. Bush took during his tenure. I still have yet to hear anybody in the media or Democrats in congress CALL OUT the republicans for what they have done and continue to do to this country. Oh, if you are black, then you know darn well the RULES of the privileged white folks are different for you. Same thing you are doing to President Obama. Certainly he has not been perfect but my goodness you worship at the feet of Bill Clinton and he did more to appease republicans and hurt black folks than Obama can ever hope to do.

    I am so sick of the double standard for this president. I am so sick of people acting like he is the cure all for our woes while allowing the republicans to outright lie in our faces and nobody says a darn thing.

    President Obama is not your enemy…you’d better look at the republican party especially right here in Florida and see who is doing you in. Democrats need to come together instead of attacking each other. That is how the sleazy republicans got back in control in the House and this state. Because of lazy Democrats we now have a certified fraud running the government he defrauded. My, my, my ain’t that wonderful America…only in freaking America.

  • CitizenKate

    As someone once said, it isn’t the color of a man’s skin that matters, but the content of his character. Values and behavior demonstrate a person’s character. I love Mr. Obama but he is, quite frankly, an empty suit. He is indefensible because there is nothing there to defend. The international banking cartel is running this country and he is just a puppet. I’m not saying that’s good or bad; it’s just a fact of life. It is time to loosen our hands and let go of the false paradigm of Left versus Right, or Democrat versus Republican. Those are false and they just work to distract us from the real issues.

  • http://www.optimizedwebsiteonline.com cat402

    Tasha Tchin – BINGO!!!! I think you hit the nail on the head.
    I am working a full time 3rd shift job so that I can afford to pay the necessary bills and then I work independently as a web designer to try and save money for retirement/vacations/unexpected expenses and bills.
    There is no way I could afford to work just one full time job anymore. The wages have diminshed and the cost of living has increased to the point of no return!
    If we are going to turn things around for the American people than we need to end the free trade agreement and start manufacturing more goods right here at home. We’re already feeling the tightness of the noose with the cost of living escalating out of control so it won’t be that much of an impact when we have to spend more money on products made in
    the USA!
    Whatever happened to those labels that read MADE IN THE USA?????

  • Mikyla

    Those first hand accounts are sobering. This is a great blog, it’s very informational.

  • Amercan111

    I’d like Mr. Obama to explain to me as a nursing student and nurse’s aide–caring for OTHERS–I cannot now even afford MY OWN health care. Ironic, huh???

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