11 Economic Headlines That Make You Wonder What In The World Is Actually Going On

These days there are times when you read the economic headlines and all you can do is shake your head.  Is anyone in control out there?  Who in the world could possibly be making so many bad decisions?  The truth is that the U.S. economy is in a state of absolute chaos, but whenever anybody in power tries to do something about it they usually seem to make things worse.  It is almost as if the vast majority of people in positions of power have lost the common sense that they were born with.  Meanwhile, average Americans just keep getting angrier and angrier and are looking for someone to blame for this gigantic mess.

If only Vince Lombardi was alive today.  He would definitely know what to say at a time like this….

Sometimes it is actually hard to believe what is happening to America.  The United States was once the richest and most powerful economy on the planet and was seemingly invincible.  But now things are spinning wildly out of control.  Posted below are 11 headlines that make you wonder what in the world is going on out there….

#1) Two very serious dark-suited IRS agents recently visited a carwash in Sacramento, California in pursuit of 4 cents.

#2) Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd has introduced legislation that would give the Federal Reserve sweeping new powers over the United States economy.

#3) The Federal Reserve is pledging to keep interest rates at record lows in order to foster economic growth and ease high unemployment.

#4) China is seeking reassurance from the U.S. government that the U.S. dollar will not decline in value.

#5) The unemployment rate in the construction industry has jumped to 27.1% as another 64,000 construction workers lost their jobs in February.

#6) The Obama administration’s “Pay Czar” has decided to limit 2010 compensation for top executives at GMAC because the automobile finance giant continues to lose large amounts of money.

#7) Internet fraud cases increased by a whopping 22% in 2009 as scammers continued to take advantage of the trusting nature of many Americans.

#8) $2.5 trillion in IOUs from the U.S. government, payable to the Social Security Administration, are apparently stored in filing cabinets in downtown Parkersburg, West Virginia.

#9) According to USDebtClock.org, the unfunded liabilities of the U.S. government total over 107 trillion dollars.

#10) Are Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives about to use a “legislative trick” to pass the reconciled health care reform bill without really voting on it?

#11) According to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, the approval rate of Congress is down to just 17 percent, and 50 percent of the respondents said that they would like to throw everybody out and start with a completely new Congress.

cheaper to burn dollars than paper

 

How Can Anyone Claim That The Housing Crisis Is Over When The Delinquency Rate On U.S. Mortgages Continues To Explode At An Exponential Rate?

Housing prices have stabilized and are actually slightly increasing in some areas.  The tax breaks passed by Congress have encouraged more first-time home buyers to get into the market.  So is the U.S. housing crisis over?  Will the real estate market be back to normal in no time?  Well, if you listen to many of the talking heads on the news channels, you might be tempted to think that the worst of the housing crisis is behind us and that we are headed towards recovery.  But that is not what is happening.  The truth is that we are just now getting ready for round 2 of the real estate nightmare.

Where is the evidence to back that assertion up?  Well, just consider the chart below.  The delinquency rate on U.S. residential mortgages continues to explode at an exponential  rate….

Please note that the rate of mortgage delinquencies is now much, much higher than it was when the housing market was crashing so hard in 2007 and 2008.  More people than ever are falling seriously behind on their mortgages, and that means that more homes than ever are in danger of being foreclosed.

Now it is true that there are some signs that the rate of serious mortgage delinquencies is starting to stabilize, but the reality is that we will experience only a momentary pause.

Why?

A massive second wave of adjustable rate mortgages is scheduled to reset beginning this year, and if it goes anything like the “first wave” did, the results could be absolutely catastrophic for the U.S. economy.  Just check out the chart below….

This coming second wave could result in another huge mountain of foreclosures being forced on to the market.

So is the housing crisis over?

No.

Not even close.

Unless something really dramatic happens, the U.S. housing market is going to experience pain so intense that it is hard to even imagine.  Millions more Americans could lose their homes and scores of banks could end up being shut down.

Let’s hope that things end up being not quite as bad as it looks like they could be.

But you know what they say: “Hope for the best but prepare for the worst”.

Thrive Life

 

For Americans Wishing To Leave The United States, What Is The Best Country In The World To Move To?

For those seeking to move outside of the United States, figuring out the best country to move to can be a very daunting task.  There are a ton of social, cultural, economic and safety issues to be considered.  In addition, those who have never been outside of North America should not underestimate the severe “culture shock” that can take place when moving to another nation.  While moving outside of the United States may seem like an attractive alternative, the truth is that it is not easy and it is not something to be done lightly.  But there have been many Americans who have done it successfully and are now loving life.  Our recent article, “Is Moving Out Of The United States A Way To Escape The Coming Economic Collapse?”, generated some really great comments about what various areas of the world are like for Americans who move there.  Today we wanted to share with you some of those comments.  These commenters have some very strong opinions about where the best places for Americans to move to are, but the reality is that each person and each situation is different so keep that in mind as you read these…. 

Saigonbrian:

I’ve lived in China, Vietnam, and am currently living in Malaysia for the last few years. I’ve also traveled extensively during that time. Given the likely future problems in the US it’s certainly prudent to at least evaluate an alternative.

Our top two choices would be New Zealand (NZ) and Costa Rica (CR) with Malaysia coming in 3rd. NZ and CR are both beautiful countries and pretty much self-sufficient in needed resources. English, of course, is the language of NZ and it is widely spoken in CR. Though if you choose a country where English is not the native language; you’d be way better off learning the local language.

Some other options would be: Thailand; a beautiful very expat friendly country. Indonesia, in particular Bali. Vietnam and Cambodia would be OK for the more adventurous and they are cheap, cheap. Australia is fine, though the prices are pretty much US level. Singapore is nice if you want to live in one big city. Malaysia is interesting. It tries very hard to get expats to retire there. They have a formal program called “Malaysia My Second Home” (MM2H). You apply for it, and if you meet the criteria, you get a 10 yr, unlimited entry visa. There should be no trouble renewing it. You need to keep about $30,000 USD in a local bank account, buy a home that costs at least $175,000 USD, and have an income of $3,000 a month. I suspect these requirements will lessen. The program is relatively new and the government hasn’t seem to have chosen which expat group they’re really targeting: rich foreigners, well off investors, or retirees with more modest moola. The country is beautiful and fairly cheap to live in. We have a gorgeous 5,000 sf apartment with great, modern security features. Did I mention it’s on the beach with amazing views. The cost? About $2,400 USD a month!! Our electric bill, and we run the aircon a lot; is $25 bucks. We haven’t used our health insurance yet, as we’d not hit the deductible limit and the prices are very cheap. And the quality of care is 1st rate. My daughter twisted her ankle recently so we put the system to the test. The initial exam by an orthopedic surgeon, xrays, and a soft cast cost about $35 USD! Follow-up visits with the orthopedic surgeon cost $9 USD! Pretty darn good. My primary concern? The worry that the country will become too islamic. It is the official state religion though now it does treat the Chinese and Indian minorities relatively fairly. I’m just not sure it can resist the tendency for islam to become more intrusive and radical. Hopefully not, but the jury is still out.

Overall I’d suggest doing some research and find a few contenders. Then go to these places for a vacation. That will give you some 1st hand data. One thing you notice living overseas is that Americans are the least adventurous, 1st world; folks. We need to get over that.

Bon voyage!

Gringo in Brazil:

I recently made the move to Brazil with my family based primarily on the social and economic factors I witnessed and experienced. In Michigan, I found my business drying up, my home value plummeting, the job market disappearing, etc. More importantly, if the youth I saw at the malls and high schools are any indication of the future leadership of our country; we are in serious trouble. With less than 50% of our youth even graduating from High School, how do we stand a chance.

Fortunately I speak fluent Portuguese so I am able to adapt. I am earning about $1,300/mo plus commissions which is enough for a simple apartment and living expenses. My wife is looking for the right job and should be able to earn about the same which will afford us a modest lifestyle.

Most Americans couldn’t cope with the heat, mosquitoes, open sewers, long lines, hellish traffic, and other cultural issues, unless they could afford to live in a luxury neighborhood and have a maid and personal assistant. However, the outlook here in Brazil is very positive. Most young people are investing in their education and advancement. I liken it to stepping back 70 years in our country and being on the verge of a great industrial revolution that I can be a part of. I have decided it is better to be starting at the bottom of the hill, climbing towards the top, then to be at the top and sliding out of control towards the bottom.

If you can afford it, do what my wife and I did, we took a two month “vacation” a couple of years ago, rented a furnished apartment and did a trial “residency” in which we had time to evaluate the pros and cons. When we moved here last month, we were well prepared, knowing what we were getting into, bringing along the necessary items and resources to be able to live relatively comfortably.

If you can master the native language sufficiently (or take an immersion course when you arrive for 6 months), you can often get a job at a language school, or company needing bi-lingual workers or professionals. Best bet is to scour the classifieds online ahead of time so you have something guaranteed when you arrive.

Kenneth:

Australia is the best country in the world to live in. This is the statement of Australians who have been to USA and other countries. It is what USA used to be years ago. It will be a few years before Australia becomes like USA. USA has left its Christian roots and I am afraid there are those who will make sure it never goes back.

AsiaExpat:

Singapore is the best place to live and work. It has a real future and very reasonable taxes. Peaceful, modern, they even speak English (kind of). Bring your best attitude and a necktie, because you have to work and you have to be kind to your neighbors. Who wants to be cloistered nervously behind a wall, anyway?

Bill:

Best places as far as quality of life? Social Democratic countries like Scandanavia- Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark.

If language is a problem Canada would be the closest best choice, then Australia, New Zealand, and for Central America, Costa Rica would be the number one choice for climate, civility, medical care and a beautiful environment.

For most places that provide good quality of life, expect to pay high taxes, which most civilized countries, yours excepted, equate with civilization. I’m afraid you folks are letting your inherent selfishness, ignorance of other cultures, militarism and a “screw you Jack, I’ve got mine” mentality destroy you.

Better than moving, stay there and try to turn things around. You have too much that is still good to lose it all. We’re all hoping-well, your firends are anyway- that you’ll pull out of this before its too late.
Time is running out folks.

Mongoos:

Not all Americans are “ugly Americans.” We are guests in the host country and most expats act as such. I retired in Sept 2009 and plan on living, teaching, and writing in Thailand. I have lived and worked overseas before, so this is nothing new for me. You make do and blend in and stay out of trouble. Leave your attitudes and preconceptions at the door when you check in. Otherwise, you will be creating problems for those of us who wish to live in peace and enjoy the pleasures of a different culture.

James:

There are over 100,000 Americans living in Costa Rica and loving it. Things are getting stronger here everyday and in most schools they teach English for half the day and Spanish for the other. The majority of the people like Americans and if you want to have it shipped here you can get everything here that you can get there. WalMart is the largest retail chain here as well as there.

This week Costa Rica moved ahead of the US in medical care. A huge % of the national income is from Medical Tourism. They are using adult stem cell treatment here to cure MS, Heart Decease, diabetes, Spinal Cord Injuries, Cancer and many other conditions. A good source for getting information on Costa Rica is the Association of Residents of Costa Rica.

http://www.arcr.net

They have a seminar once a month that brings in Doctors, Lawyers, Dentist, Shippers, Realtors, Investment Councilors and many other experts to brief you on the pros and cons of moving to Costa Rica. There are many communities here that are all American and the “Culture Shock” is nonexistent. The weather is perfect and they have never had a hurricane.

Bruce:

We moved to the French Riviera 10 years ago when we retired. Cost of living here in Nice is much less than New York or any other major American city. We’re on the sea, a big plus, near Italy, also a big plus, and we enjoy terrific food that we can afford. The medical system in France is incomparable and truly inexpensive compared to the U.S. We calculated our fixed living expenses for the year: it came to 11,000 Euros, or about $15,000 for all our taxes, medical coverage, utilities, condo fees, dentistry, etc. We live in a 2 bedroom top floor condo with a very large terrace and 2 balconies. There’s plenty of money left for travel, dining out, movies, and quick jaunts up to London and Paris for culture and ethnic food (especially London). Don’t regret the move at all.

John:

I moved to Ensenada Mexico in 2000. It was the best thing I ever did for my future because there is no future in America. I now enjoy more freedom than I ever had in the US. Spanish is easy to learn and the people are much more friendly here. There are lots of ex-pats here also. In the coming years the US is going to be the worst place to be. Escape now while you still can.

AmericanInOz:

I am an American that immigrated to Australia in 2001 (after Bush took office). My wife and I didn’t like what we saw coming. Politically, culturally, financially and socially.

When Big Media first started covering the US’s economic problems here in 2008 they drug out the old phrase “When America catches a cold Australia gets a flu”. Two plus years on and this couldn’t be further from the truth. The economy here is going great guns, and demand from Asia and a better government are a good part of the reason.

House prices are having solid gains every year, unemployment is reasonably steady, and the federal reserve is trying to raise interest rates to cool the economy (.25% again today)

To that point, the government here doesn’t subsidise 30 year fixed mortgages the way they do in the US, so they can still manage the economy by slightly manipulating interest rates. The longest you can fix a mortgage for is 5 years, at a very high premium, so most people don’t.

America has become an after thought, if not the laughing stock, of many Australians. It saddens me to see how far everything has fallen over there. I no longer try to defend the US or the American people. The time for real public outrage passed many years ago, and I have not only given up on the government, but also on the people themselves. So many dear family and friends spend their lives watching TV while their freedoms, lifestyle, culture and wealth were/are being destroyed around them. Ignorant and apathetic to the realities of the real world. Living with some strange notion of the past as if it represents the present.

Not all is doom and gloom here. And although it could still come, if it does it will have little, if nothing at all, to do with the problems in America.

The Health Care Reform Bill: Welcome To The Biggest Tax Increase In U.S. History

Will the health care reform bill that the Democrats are trying to figure out a way to ram through Congress end up being the biggest tax increase in U.S. history?  Unfortunately, a close reading of the bill leads to the inescapable conclusion that it will be.  You see, the crafters of this legislation were smart.  They realized that if they included one huge tax increase in the health care bill it would make headlines all over the country, so they chopped up the taxes into a bunch of smaller pieces in order to make them easier to swallow.  In fact, one review of the Senate version of the health care bill identified at least 19 tax increases.  When you put all of the tax increases together they add up to the biggest tax increase in the history of the United States.  Considering the fact that the U.S. economy is already on the verge of economic collapse, the last thing that the American people need is a massive tax increase.  But that is exactly what they are about to get.

So let’s take a closer look at some of these taxes….

*In Section 5000(A) of the Senate version of the bill (which can be found here), there is a requirement for all Americans to purchase health insurance. Those who do not obtain health coverage will be hit with an annual tax penalty of $750.

*Barack Obama is trying to sneak a large Medicare tax increase for wealthy Americans into the final version of the health care bill.  Under Obama’s proposal, individuals who earn more than $200,000 and couples who earn over $250,000 would pay an additional 2.9% surtax on unearned income from interest, dividends, annuities, royalties and rents. Up until now, employers and employees have each contributed 1.45% of each paycheck to Medicare.  But if Obama’s proposal makes it into the final bill, wealthy Americans will see their Medicare taxes absolutely skyrocket.

*In Section 9008 of the Senate version of the health care bill,  a $2.3 billion excise tax would be imposed on the pharmaceutical industry.  This tax would not be based on income.  It would solely be based on market share.  So even if a company was losing hundreds of millions of dollars it would still have to pay.

*Section 9009 of the Senate version of the health care bill imposes an “annual fee” on medical device manufacturers and importers.  Once again, this $2 billion “excise tax” would be based on market share and not on income.

*Section 9010 of the Senate version of the health care bill would also impose an “annual fee” on health insurance providers.  This $6.7 billion tax would also be allocated based on market share.

So how much of these new taxes on health insurance companies, drugmakers and medical device manufacturers do you think will be passed on to consumers?

Anyone want to take a guess?

Just because a particular tax increase is not directed at you does not mean that it won’t take money out of your pocket.

Let’s look at some more (yes, there are more) of the tax increases….

*Section 9001 of the Senate version of the health care bill contains an excise tax on “Cadillac” health plans.  In other words, if you have provided your family with the very best in health coverage you get to be taxed extra.  This tax is particularly harsh.  Section 9001 imposes a 40 percent tax on the portion of insurance premiums exceeding $8,500 a year for individuals and $23,000 a year for family plans.  In order to hide the tax, it will be imposed on the health insurance companies who issue the policies.  But do you think that they will not pass that cost on to their customers?

So now the American people will be highly penalized for getting really good health care plans.

*Section 9017 of the Senate version of the health care bill imposes an excise tax on elective cosmetic medical procedures.  Any voluntary cosmetic procedures will now be subjected to a 5 percent tax.  All of those boob jobs are about to get a lot more expensive.

*The House version of the health care bill would impose a 5.4 percent income tax increase on individuals making more than $500,000 and on couples making more than $1 million.

So if you are living the American Dream you are about to pay a lot more for it if the House version of the health care bill gets adopted.

Let’s break this down a little bit.

Currently, the top income tax rate in the United States is 35 percent.

If existing Bush tax cuts expire in 2011 as Barack Obama wants them to, the top tax rate will go back up to 39.6 percent.

But this new “health care tax” would jack things up even higher.

Another 5.4 percent would take the highest tax rate in America to 45 percent.  That is before any state, local or property taxes are even paid.

Pretty soon it won’t even be worth it to work hard in America anymore.

But that is not the end of the tax increases.

A PricewaterhouseCoopers’ analysis for America’s Health Insurance Plans found that family health insurance premiums would be approximately $4,000 a year higher if the health care reform bill is passed.

Can you afford to pay over $300 a month more for health insurance for your family?

Are you starting to get the idea?

This health care reform bill will be an absolute financial disaster for America.  But considering the fact that the Senate version of the bill is 2409 pages long, hardly anyone will ever take the time to read the whole thing.

And yes, the Democrats are likely to tweak things a little more as they try to figure out how to sneak a final version through, but there is now one thing that seems virtually certain.

This is going to be the biggest tax increase in U.S. history.

Isn’t that exciting?

Virginia Hands Out 6996 Traffic Tickets In One Weekend In An Effort To Raise Revenue For The State Government

In the old days, police officers wrote traffic tickers primarily to keep people safe and to prevent citizens from breaking the traffic laws.  But in the new Amerika, all of that has changed.  Now traffic tickets are primarily viewed as a revenue raising tool for state and local governments.  For example, a federally funded ticketing blitz in the state of Virginia resulted in a total of 6996 traffic tickets being handed out this past weekend.  This most recent ticketing blitz is part of a campaign code-named “Operation Air, Land & Speed”.  Last Saturday and Sunday state troopers were ordered to absolutely saturate Interstate 95 and Interstate 81 and to issue as many traffic tickets as humanly possible during those two days.  Why?  Well, it turns out that the state of Virginia has a 2.2 billion dollar budget deficit that they are trying to deal with, and so they need to find some quick sources of cash. 

You see, state and local governments all over the nation are massively jacking up traffic fines and are starting to write a lot more tickets in an attempt to “enhance” their streams of revenue.

In other words, state and local governments across the U.S. are broke and so they need some suckers to prey on.

Not that it was ever a good idea to break the traffic laws.  But now even a minor violation can put a massive hole in your wallet.  For instance, driving as little as 15 miles an hour over the speed limit in Virginia can get you a reckless driving charge that can carry a fine of up to $2500.

So why the hefty fines?

Well, the law increasing the traffic fines in Virginia clearly admitted why they are so high….

“The purpose of the civil remedial fees imposed in this section is to generate revenue.” (Virginia Code 46.2-206.1)

Are you starting to get the picture?

But this kind of thing is not just happening in Virginia.

“Sobriety checkpoints” in the state of California are increasingly bring used as revenue raising operations.  It turns out that these sobriety checkpoints are far more likely to seize cars from unlicensed motorists than they are to catch drunk drivers.

So how profitable are these “sobriety” checkpoints?

Well, research done by the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley with California Watch discovered that impounds at “sobriety” checkpoints in 2009 alone generated approximately 40 million dollars in towing fees and police fines.

That is what you call a source of revenue.

In Detroit, even the police admit that the fundamental nature of police work is changing.  Just consider the following quote from from Police Chief Michael Reaves of Utica, Michigan….

“When I first started in this job 30 years ago, police work was never about revenue enhancement, but if you’re a chief now, you have to look at whether your department produces revenues.”

Sgt. Richard Lyons of Trenton, Michigan is even more blunt about what is happening in his community….

“They’re trying to use police officers to balance the budget on the backs of drivers, and it’s too bad. The people we count on to support us and help us when we’re on the road are the ones who end up paying the bills, and they’re ticked off about it. We might as well just go door to door and tell people, ‘Slide us $100 now since your 16-year-old is going to end up paying us anyway when he starts driving.’ You can’t blame people for getting upset.”

But some localities are converting to even more automated ways of making money from drivers.

For example, “red-light cameras” have become huge revenue raising tools in many areas of the country.  In Los Angeles, revenue from red-light cameras has doubled from $200,000 a month in 2007 to $400,000 a month at the end of 2009.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger wants cities and counties in his state to take things even farther.  He wants them to install speed sensors on existing red-light cameras.  Speeders caught by these sensors would face fines ranging from $225 to $325.

Don’t all of us wish we could start a business that could make so much money from each customer?

California state officials believe that these speed sensors would raise more than 300 million dollars for the state of California by the end of 2011.

All of this is enough to make one want to drive like a grandmother.

Except then they would get you for going too slow.

Seriously.

The reality is that you have to be very, very careful out there now because the nature of driving in America has fundamentally changed.

Whether it is rapidly increasing traffic fines or all of the toll roads going in everywhere, American drivers are increasingly being viewed as a big fat revenue source.

And as the current economic collapse gets even worse, drivers are going to be preyed upon even more by state and local governments.

If you have not already done so, now is the time to change the way that you drive.  Don’t give state and local governments an excuse to take even more of your hard-earned money from you than they are already.

The Mayor Of Detroit’s Radical Plan To Bulldoze One Quarter Of The City

How do you save a city that is dramatically declining like Detroit?  Well, for the mayor of Detroit the answer is simple – you bulldoze one-fourth of the city.  Faced with a 300 million dollar budget deficit and a rapidly dwindling tax base, Detroit finds itself having to make some really hard choices.  During the glory days of the 1950s, Detroit was a booming metropolis of approximately 2 million people, but now young people have left in droves and the current population is less than a million.  The true unemployment rate for those still living in Detroit is estimated to be somewhere around 45 to 50 percent, and poverty and desperation have become entrenched everywhere.  In many areas of the city, only one or two houses remain occupied an an entire city block.  In fact, some areas of Detroit have so many vacant, burned-out homes that they literally look like war zones.  And yes, it is true that there are actually some houses in Detroit that you can actually buy for just one dollar.  According to one recent estimate, Detroit has 33,500 empty houses and 91,000 vacant residential lots.  So what can be done when an entire city experiences economic collapse?

Well, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing believes that the answer is to downsize on a massive scale.  Bing believes that Detroit simply cannot continue to pay for police patrols, fire protection and other essential services for areas that resemble ghost towns.

So his plan is to bulldoze approximately 10,000 houses and empty buildings over the next 3 years and direct new investment into stronger neighborhoods.  In the areas that the city plans to bulldoze, the residents would be offered the opportunity to relocate to a better area.  For buildings that have already been abandoned, the city could simply use tax foreclosure proceedings to reclaim them.  Of course if there were some residents that did not want to move, eminent domain could be used to force them out.

So which areas would be bulldozed and which areas would be left standing?

Nobody knows yet, and those decisions could make a lot of people angry.

Also, the city of Detroit simply does not have the money to purchase land and relocate residents without federal assistance.

So there are problems.

But other smaller cities are already doing this kind of thing on a smaller scale.

The city of Youngstown, Ohio has been bulldozing a few hundred houses a year since 2005.

Flint, Michigan has already torn down approximately 1,100 houses mostly in outlying areas.  The program in Flint was actually the brainchild of Dan Kildee, treasurer of Genesee County, which includes the city of Flint.

In Flint, no residents are forced out of their homes unwillingly.  Instead, the city has been buying up houses in more affluent areas of Flint to offer to those in areas that the city wishes to bulldoze.

The program in Flint has been so successful that Mr. Kildee has been asked to help implement it in other cities that are in decline.

And there are a whole lot of U.S. cities that are in a serious state of decline – mostly in what is known as “the Rust Belt” of America.  Because of reckless U.S. trade policies, the once great U.S. manufacturing base centered in the Rust Belt has been dismantled and those jobs simply are never going to come back.

So now cities like Detroit and Flint are faced with either dealing with the economics of decline or going bankrupt for good.

But the truth is that Detroit and Flint are just on the cutting edge of what is happening to America as a whole.

The U.S. is experiencing a very painful economic decline, and what is happening in Detroit and Flint could happen in your city very soon.

Are you ready?

Getting Prepped!

 

The Move Your Money Campaign – Is Taking Our Money Away From The Big Banks The Answer?

Is taking all of our money out of the big banks part of the solution to America’s financial problems?  The truth is that people across the United States are angrier about financial and economic issues than they ever have been in modern history.  It did not sit well with millions upon millions of hard working Americans to watch their tax dollars being used to fund multi-million dollar bonuses at big financial institutions that were just bailed out by the U.S. government.  It made Americans even angrier when these big banks that got the bailouts actually decreased their lending.  It has been the big banks who got the massive government-funded bailouts who have been hoarding their cash, while the local community banks and credit unions that have been serving their customers loyally for generations have been left to die by the feds.  Now the banking industry in the United States is more centralized than ever.  At the end of 2007, the “Big Four” U.S. banks – Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo – held 32 percent of all deposits in FDIC-insured institutions. As of June 30th of last year it was 39 percent.

So are we going to let the big banks swallow the whole pie or are we going to do something about it?

Well, there are some people who are doing something about it. Arianna Huffington and Rob Johnson of the Huffington Post have started “The Move Your Money Campaign” which calls on all Americans to take their money out of these big banks and put it into smaller community banks and credit unions.

So is it working?  A recent Zogby Interactive poll found that 9% of all U.S. adults have already taken some of their business away from big banks as a protest.

The reality is that it is impossible to vote the bankers out of their positions.  So if we want to change the banking system, perhaps the best way is to take our cash away from the bankers.

But will it work?

Are the big banks simply too big and too powerful to even be bothered by a protest of this nature?

Perhaps, but nothing great was ever accomplished by not trying.

When they began this campaign at the end of last year, Arianna Huffington and Rob Johnson described their reasoning this way….

The big banks on Wall Street, propped up by taxpayer money and government guarantees, have had a record year, making record profits while returning to the highly leveraged activities that brought our economy to the brink of disaster. In a slap in the face to taxpayers, they have also cut back on the money they are lending, even though the need to get credit flowing again was one of the main points used in selling the public the bank bailout. But since April, JP Morgan/Chase, Citibank, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo — all of which took billions in taxpayer money — have cut lending to businesses by $100 billion.

Meanwhile, America’s Main Street community banks — the vast majority of which avoided the banquet of greed and corruption that created the toxic economic swamp we are still fighting to get ourselves out of — are struggling. Many of them have closed down (or been taken over by the FDIC) over the last 12 months. The government policy of protecting the Too Big and Politically Connected to Fail is badly hurting the small banks, which are having a much harder time competing in the financial marketplace. As a result, a system which was already dangerously concentrated at the top has only become more so.

How else are we going to hold these bankers accountable?  They have abused us and have abused the entire financial system, so they do not deserve our business any longer.

To promote The Move Your Money Campaign, filmmaker/author Eugene Jarecki produced the stirring YouTube video posted below.  This video makes it exceedingly clear why we all need to start boycotting the big banks immediately…..

Please share this video with all of your friends and family.  The reality is that the U.S. government has made it abundantly clear that the big banks are “too big to fail” and will always get bailed out, while all of the small banks and credit unions will be allowed to die and their assets will be divided up by the sharks.

If that does not sound like a good plan to you, then do something about it.

Pull your money out of the big banks.

Encourage your friends and family to do the same.

Otherwise the banking system of the United States will soon be concentrated in the hands of just a few and then we will all pay the price.

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