Not Everyone Is Hurting – The Rich Get Richer As The Income Inequality Gap Explodes

Not everyone in America is hurting during this economic downturn. In fact, the wealthiest Americans are doing just fine. At a time when millions of Americans are losing their jobs and their homes, the folks at the top end of the income scale are actually seeing their incomes go up. In 2009, the number of millionaires in the United States rose 16 percent to 7.8 million at a time when tens of millions of other Americans were experiencing gut-wrenching economic despair. The truth is that the statistics and the data do not lie. Wealth and income are increasingly becoming concentrated in the hands of the wealthiest Americans. So just what in the world is going on?

Well, the reality is that the game is rigged to take wealth away from middle class and working class Americans and to give it to the elite. There is a reason why they push credit cards on you so hard. That $6000 balance that you keep carrying will end up costing you over $30,000 to pay off if you are not careful. We were told that owning a home was “the American Dream” and yet predatory mortgages have destroyed the financial lives of millions of Americans. The majority of Americans now live “month to month” and barely save any money at all. In fact, Americans are programmed to be slaves of the system. We are taught that we need to go get a job (“just over broke”) and work ourselves silly all day, and then at night we are taught to collapse in front of the television where we are bombarded with messages telling us to be good consumers and to go out and get into even more debt so that we will have to endlessly work to pay it off.

Today more wealth is in the hands of the wealthiest Americans than at any other time in modern U.S. history. An analysis of income-tax data by the Congressional Budget Office a couple of years ago found that the top 1% of households own nearly twice as much of the corporate wealth in the United States as they did just 15 years ago. While the average income for the poorest Americans has barely grown over the past several decades, the incomes of the wealthiest Americans have absolutely exploded as the following chart demonstrates….

So why is this happening? Well, automation and “offshoring” are typically offered as two key reasons. Millions of hard working American manufacturing workers have been replaced by robots and by outsourcing, and this has enabled many very wealthy Americans to get even more wealthy. But these reasons alone do not explain the increasing disparities.

The truth is that over the past couple of decades, the “rules of the game” have been tilted even more in favor of the rich. Centralization and globalization have been two keys trend which have contributed to this. For example, in the old days you could make a good living by opening up a store in your local town if you worked really, really hard. But today you will be crushed by Wal-Mart and other “big box” stores.

So where do all the big profits that Wal-Mart and the other “big box” stores make go?

They get shipped out of your community to a bunch of rich fat cats.

But apologists for the current system will cry that Wal-Mart and the other “big box” stores create jobs.

Well, yeah, if you like to work for minimum wage.

Have you tried to support a family on minimum wage?

It’s basically impossible.

The entire economy is becoming completely dominated by giant global corporations. These giant corporations are more than happy to put American consumers into debt by selling them substandard junk manufactured in China, India and Mexico.

And it is a great time to be wealthy – especially if you are at the very top. For example, New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli recently announced that Wall Street bonuses for 2009 were up 17 percent when compared with 2008. In fact, incomes for the top 1% of wage earners in the U.S. are shooting into the stratosphere as you can see from the following chart….

Unfortunately, all of this globalization, centralization and greed is fundamentally changing society. The gap between the rich and the poor is growing at an exponential rate. Is it a good thing for a society to have this kind of income inequality?….

Even the current economic collapse is hitting the poor much harder than the rich. Take a moment to examine the chart below. The ten percent of Americans that have the lowest household incomes have an unemployment rate of over 30 percent, while the ten percent of Americans that have the highest household incomes have an unemployment rate of just about 3 percent….

And if the wealthy do get into trouble what happens? Well, they get government bailouts of course.

The U.S. government is more than happy to rush in with billions (and even trillions) of dollars at the drop of a hat when their friends on Wall Street are in trouble.

But if you get into trouble do you think the U.S. government is going to bail you out?

No, the truth is that millions upon millions of Americans are losing their jobs and their homes and the U.S. government seems perfectly fine with that.

We live in a society where individual Americans find themselves with a rapidly diminishing share of the power. Instead, power is concentrated in the hands of massive international corporations and elite power brokers who are more than happy to use globalization to crush anyone who gets in their way.

After all, how can a hard working American compete with someone willing to do the same job for $1.25 an hour in another country?

We have allowed the U.S. economy to become globalized, and so now those who are dependent on a job will increasingly find themselves competing for wages in a global marketplace.

Can someone in China or India do your job?

You better hope not, because there are people there who would be more than happy to do it for a fraction of what you make.

As labor continues to become seen as a globalized commodity, the power and earning ability of the average American worker will continue to decline. The gap between the rich and the poor will continue to expand. The giant international corporations and the elite power brokers of the world will continue to win and the rest of us will continue to lose.

Meanwhile, the vast middle class that once made the United States the envy of the world will continue to rapidly disappear. But instead of doing something to fix the problems, one big group of Americans want to cheer on the wealthy as they plunder the rest of us and another big group of Americans just wants to give everyone a handout.

Wouldn’t it be great if someone actually decided to fix the great economic machine that produced the biggest middle class in the history of the world? Unfortunately, that is not likely to happen. The truth is that the U.S. economy is basically impossible to fix at this point – but that is the subject for another article.

Austin Coins

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!

 

What Happens When You Work As Hard As You Can And It Is Not Enough?

Once upon a time, most of us who live in America were taught that no matter what happens, if you are willing to work hard enough and long enough you can pull yourself up by your bootstraps and be able to live the American Dream.  But today that is not reality for millions of Americans.  Instead, millions of Americans find themselves working night and day and still not being able to make it.  Millions of others have poured their hearts and souls into their jobs and now find themselves out of work and out of luck by no fault of their own.  So what do you do when you work as hard as you possibly can and it is just not enough?

Financial stress has become a way of life for tens of millions of people.  Whether it is the rising cost of living, predatory credit card interest rates or mortgages that have just adjusted, many Americans now find themselves absolutely stretched to the limit.  Not only that, but local, state and federal government authorities are all raising taxes and are inventing more ways than ever to drain cash out of us.  This all comes at a time when the U.S. economy is crashing hard.

So what do you do if you have worked as hard as you can and you just don’t have enough money at the end of the month?  What do you do if you are willing to give everything you have to an employer but nobody is hiring?  What do you do if your best efforts are not even enough to put food on the table and a roof over your head?

Well, perhaps we could all move to Detroit.  There are some houses in Detroit that you can actually now buy for just one dollar.  That is if you don’t mind living in an area that looks like a war zone.

Other Americans are turning to more desperate measures.  An increasing number of Americans are turning to bankruptcy.  According to the American Bankruptcy Institute, U.S. consumer bankruptcy filings surged 14% in February compared with a year earlier.  But bankruptcy just eliminates some debts – it doesn’t put food on the table.

The truth is that millions of Americans are really hurting and there are no easy answers.

Today we wanted to share with you the stories of three of our readers who are facing very difficult economic situations.  All of them have worked incredibly hard and yet all of them are finding out that all of their hard work is not quite enough in today’s economy….

Ian:

I am 23 and have been living out of my car in Los Angeles since March 2009. I work a full-time job as a night auditor for a hotel making only 10.00 an hour. I am saddled with debt from only a year or so of college at a university, credit card balances from just making means pass the past couple years when money has been very tight. I never have a balance over 500.00 in my account because the second i get my deposit (which 300-400 dollars of it the government feels compelled to take) i have to spend well more than half of it on bills and it doesn’t include any rent payments because i can’t even afford those right now. In 3-4 months i’ll have a lot of debt paid down (will still have student loan debt for a long time), and MAY be able to find a place to stay but thats if i don’t ever buy food, gas, or wash my laundry. I’ve spent the past year trying to find a simple part-time job, i don’t care if it pays 5.00 an hour, i would do it because it means i could secure myself at least a basement to rent out from someone’s house. After a year of doing this i am sick and tired of being harassed by the general public and safety officers and being pushed out of every public place i should be entitled to take a nap in during the day. It sounds real easy to just go out there and pursue something different, but until you can understand the stress of self-reliance on yourself, having no immediate family within a reasonable distance, and knowing what its like to have your only personal connections be the 3-4 people you work with–you can’t criticize me. Plus try working 11pm-7am 5 days a week for the past year and tell me how your emotional, physical, and mental capabilities are holding up! To make things worse my family is absolutely torn apart because of this economic mess and i’m stuck in the middle of my parent’s divorce with my mom trying to advocate herself as both my friend and mother and expects me to dually play these roles in her life without going crazy because she’s being a psycho but doesn’t know it because all the drugs she has taken over the past 4 years from her different doctors have messed up her ability to think clearly… another reason why i never go to the doctors.. ever.. i don’t trust them and i don’t trust anyone.

point is i’m glad i’m going through all this crap right now because when the rest of the people out there finally have to give up the money they are afraid they wont be able to set aside for their annual cruise they routinely people will cry travesty!! I kinda sorta find a weird solace in the inevitable collapse of our economy… its that i wont be so hardly affected… i know how to be poor and make ends meet during hard and trying times, and i know there are others out there like this too… and we will stand strong and mighty in spite of opposition and will prevail.. i hope lol.

Lynn:

To all you ignorant people making comments about unemployment like it is welfare, you need to find out the facts. I have worked since I was 16 and am now 48. I have pulled pallet jacks, worked as a distribution clerk, personnel clerk, Import specialist, went to college, I have paid my dues.

I didn’t ask for 3 companies I worked for to have huge Reductions In Force and eventually close their doors. I do not feel guilty receiving unemployment benefits to keep from loosing my car and home. I don’t have luxurious things. All you people making those ignorant comments about receiving money without working; When you loose your job and Walmart isn’t even hiring lets see how you are affected when you cant pay your bills on time. Get off of your soap boxes obviously if you are so well off in this economy you must be getting help from mommy and daddy or have an inheritance cause this economy is bad and getting worse. I know of people who were executives in large companies who lost everything not by any fault of their own… Wake up you Self Righteous hateful judgemental people because if you have not been affected yet just wait…

Baby Boomer:

Yes, it is difficult for the younger generation. However, I must admit that a lot of young people lack any sort of ambition or drive. I also realize that the economy is crumbling and there is less opportunity than ever before, at least in my lifetime and I am pushing 60.

I am a high school graduate (barely) and am self-taught. I worked in a factory for 20 years before they shipped all the factory jobs to the slave gulags in Asia and Mexico (thanks NAFTA). In the mid-90s I learned HTML and web technology (on my own; they didn’t teach this stuff in college back then; I hit the books) and after a long period of knocking on doors got a job with a web technology company.

I moved to a larger city where there was more opportunity and within two years more than doubled my income.

But then the bankers decided to pull the plug on the wildly exuberant (thanks to the bankers and Wall Street investors) internet boom and by 2001 my income had dropped by a third and I was working for the government (a state university), mostly because I had no choice (all my former coworkers were unemployed, replaced by Indians and Chinese programmers who worked at half or less the salary). Believe me, working for the government is hell, you are considered less than whale dung.

A few years later I transitioned my flagging internet skills and my self-taught writing and editing skills into a decent job with an online news site. I work 70 hours a week (including Saturday and Sunday) and earn what I did in 1998. Needless to say, inflation has taken the shine off it all.

I don’t mind working 70 plus hours a week, although my body is beginning to complain (I have arthritis, tendinitis, and carpal tunnel from all those countless hours before the computer).

I have no illusion of retirement. By the time I am 70 there will be no social security. I will probably work until I drop. That’s the way it is.

Things could be a lot better, but we have no political will and much of the younger generation is politically brain dead. We need to get rid of the Federal Reserve and take control of our money and get back to the Constitution. I think we are going in the opposite direction.

I tell young people to find a niche and fill it and you will be alright, for now. After the bottom falls out, though, I think we will all be screwed.

Unfortunately, it no longer matters how hard you work. We are becoming a third world country like Mexico and that includes the mentality of the populace.

That’s my two cents.

A postscript: Younger people are going to be confronted with a lot of older people living in the streets in the not too distant future. This will be difficult to deal with unless you have a heart of stone.

There is absolutely no political will to deal with the large Baby Boomer generation that will in a few short years not be able to work anymore. Most of them will not have the option of living with their children (if they have children) because their children will be unemployed or outright impoverished. In most third world countries there is a strong family sense; we don’t have that here, so expect to see granny dumpster-diving (or fighting for a position at the dumpster, if there will be a dumpster to be had).

Sorry to be a downer. We have about five years (or less) to take back the country, get the money system right, and get rid of the bankster criminals (I dream of Nuremberg trials).

Short of that, expect to be worse off than a sharecropper or serf on some duke’s estate (the new royalty consists of transnational corporations and as Mussolini said, corporatism is the essence of fascism).

Day Of Reckoning: Congress Cuts Off Federal Unemployment Benefits For Millions Of Unemployed Americans

Starting on Monday, the unemployed in the U.S. will no longer be able to apply for federal unemployment benefits or the COBRA health insurance subsidy.  This means that millions of Americans that have been unemployed for a long period of time may suddenly find themselves without an unemployment check and without any health coverage.  You see, normally state-funded unemployment benefits last for about 26 weeks.  After that, federal unemployment benefits kick in.  During this recent economic crisis, the U.S. Congress has approved up to an additional 73 weeks of unemployment benefits for unemployed Americans.  But now the U.S. Senate has not approved an extension, and so now millions of unemployed Americans that are relying on federal unemployment benefits will stop getting checks once their current federal benefits run out.  Millions more will not be able to apply for federal unemployment benefits.

So what could this mean?

It could mean that large numbers of Americans may soon be forced into bankruptcy.

It could mean that large numbers of Americans may soon lose their homes.

It could mean that large numbers of Americans may soon be devastated by medical bills they simply cannot pay.

It could mean that large numbers of Americans may soon be forced to live in the streets.

But should we expect the federal government to pay long-term unemployment benefits for all unemployed Americans indefinitely?

That gets really expensive very quickly.  Considering the fact that the U.S. national debt is growing exponentially, the U.S. government cannot really afford to be throwing around cash as if it was water.

But with millions upon millions of Americans completely broke and unable to find jobs, what else can you do?

The reality is that it is extremely likely that the U.S. Congress will find a way to come to an agreement to extend these benefits at some point in the coming days.

So total catastrophe is likely to be avoided.

At least for now.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve’s $1.25 trillion program to push down mortgage rates is scheduled to expire on March 31st.

So what is that going to mean?

It is going to mean that mortgage rates are going to start to rise.

That will mean that less people will be able to afford to buy homes and it will mean that there are going to be even more foreclosures.

That is not good news for the housing market.

Even now, sales of previously owned homes plunged in January to their lowest level since last summer.

So what is going to happen when mortgage rates start to rise?

The reality is that the U.S. housing market is simply not going to recover to previous levels.  In fact, all signs point to another major housing market disaster in the years ahead.

Home loan standards are tightening.

Mortgage rates are rising.

The big banks are hoarding cash and have reduced lending.

Another massive wave of adjustable rate mortgages is scheduled to reset between 2010 and 2012 which will force another gigantic pile of foreclosures on to the market.

So where in the world is the “housing recovery” going to come from?

There are going to be many more houses for sale and many fewer qualified buyers.

It does not take an economic genius to figure out what that is going to do to housing prices.

Hopefully the U.S. government and the financial powers that be can figure out a way to stabilize things for a while.

But there is no getting around the fact that the U.S. is headed for an economic collapse.

By borrowing gigantic piles of cash the U.S. government can put the pain off for a little while, but by doing so they make the eventual collapse much worse.

So what do you think?  Feel free to leave a comment with your opinion…

Panama Tours

 

The American Economy: The Wealthy Make The Mistakes But The Hard Working Middle Class Pays The Price

This is how the U.S. economy works much of the time – the wealthy make most of the big economic mistakes but the hard working middle class ends up paying for them. This time around is no exception. The financial crisis of the past several years was caused by Wall Street, but they got bailed out and relatively few of them lost their jobs. However, even though middle class and working class Americans were not the ones who made the mess, they are paying for it dearly. This is especially true when it comes to unemployment. While it is true that jobs are being lost on every level of American society, the reality is that unemployment is hitting Americans on the lowest end of the income scale the hardest.

Just check out the chart below.  The ten percent of Americans that have the lowest household incomes have an unemployment rate of over 30 percent, while the ten percent of Americans that have the highest household incomes have an unemployment rate just about 3 percent….

Does this seem right to you?

After all, we were promised that we needed to bail out Wall Street so that they could help “Main Street”.

But that didn’t happen, did it?

Instead, it appears that previously bailed out corporations are going back to their old ways of paying out ridiculous bonuses.

For example, the CEO of General Motors is in line to get a $9 million pay package. 

What in the world?

A company that was so flat broke that it would have likely collapsed without U.S. government intervention is handing out 9 million bucks to the CEO?

Something is very, very wrong.

And the truth is that working class Americans are getting pissed off.

For example, one Ohio man actually decided to bulldoze his own home rather than let the bank take it in foreclosure proceedings.

Now that is an incredibly destructive and vindictive act, but it just shows how angry some people are getting.

Many working class and middle class Americans feel powerless as the politicians and the wealthy recklessly destroy the U.S. economy.

Just consider the following chart.  The U.S. government has massively increased spending at a time when revenues are decreasing sharply.  Does this look like a “recovery” to you?….

The truth is that the U.S. national debt is wildly out of control.  In 2010, the U.S. government is projected to issue almost as much new debt as the rest of the governments of the world combined.

In fact, it is anticipated that the U.S. national debt will climb to an unprecedented 200 percent of GDP by 2038 without a fundamental change in course.

Is this kind of reckless financial mismanagement going to cause an economic collapse?

Of course.

And Americans are starting to wake up and realize this.

In a recent ABC News poll, 87 percent of Americans said that they are concerned about the U.S. national debt.

In a new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey, 86 percent of Americans believe that the U.S. system of government is broken.

And it is broken.

So is it still possible to repair it?

Feel free to leave a comment with your opinion….

OOPS! – U.S. Government Unemployment Numbers Have To Be Revised Because They Were Off By Almost One MILLION!

What a mess! We all knew that U.S. government unemployment numbers were off, but this is ridiculous. It is now being reported that the U.S. may lose 824,000 jobs when the government releases its annual revision to employment data on February 5th.  How in the world could the original figures be so far off?  The truth is that U.S. government figures have been getting more and more out of touch with reality each year.  Government bureaucrats have been monkeying with the “definitions” of unemployment and inflation for decades, and at this point the figures they give us mean little to nothing.  For example, the U.S. government has been telling us that the unemployment rate in the U.S. is somewhere around 10 percent, while everyone knows that the “real” number is somewhere in the neighborhood of 20-22 percent.

But one thing is for certain – unemployment is going up.  The Labor Department announced on Tuesday that unemployment rose in 82 percent of U.S. metro areas during the month of December.

For those keeping score at home, that is not good news.

And all of this unemployment is starting to create huge social problems.

According to a new study from America’s largest food bank operator, the number of Americans in need of food aid has jumped 46 percent in just the last three years.

A 46 percent increase in hunger in just 3 years?

What is going to happen when the economy really collapses?

So is life good for anyone right now?

Oh yeah – life is really good for the companies that the U.S. government bailed out.  In fact, it was just reported that AIG was scheduled to distribute about $100 million in bonuses to its employees on Wednesday.

AIG is giving out about 100 million in bonuses while hunger and unemployment throughout the U.S. are rocketing into the stratosphere – is anyone else disgusted by that?

The truth is that the whole system is failing and we are headed for an economic collapse.  The U.S. economy is in a slow death spiral, and it is only a matter of time until the U.S. dollar implodes.  Ron Paul is warning about that in the video posted below, and he also says that when the dollar does collapse that it could cause a total breakdown of law and order in American society….

What in the world are the American people going to do when the crap really does hit the fan?

Things haven’t even gotten really bad yet and yet Americans are already more doped up on antidepressants than anyone else in the world.  In fact, Americans, who make up about 6 percent of the population of the world, consume approximately 66 percent of the world’s supply of antidepressants.

What a sad nation we have become.

Really, really hard times are on the horizon, and the vast majority of Americans simply do not have the capacity to handle them.

What a mess.

10 Heartbreaking Stories Of Unemployment And Economic Despair In America

At times it can be really easy to get caught up in the data and the statistics of the economic collapse and forget that there are millions of very real stories behind these numbers.  The truth is that millions of Americans have had their lives absolutely devastated by this economic crisis, and things are only going to get much worse in the years ahead.  Many Americans who find themselves out of work don’t even understand what is going on – all they know is that they desperately want someone to give them a job and that they will work night and day if they could just get a chance.  In fact, employment is the number one issue on the minds of American voters right now.  A new poll by the Pew Research Center reveals that the two issues that Americans are most concerned about at this moment are the economy and jobs.

You see, if you can’t pay your mortgage and if you can’t feed your family, suddenly other issues become a whole lot less important.  If you still have a job and you can still pay your rent or mortgage every month, you should consider yourself to be very fortunate.  Right now there are literally tens of millions of Americans who are living on the edge of financial disaster.  The following are 10 heartbreaking stories of unemployment and economic despair which should make the rest of us very thankful for what we still have….

1) Can you imagine having to move your wife and kids into your mother-in-law’s basement?  You have got to read this amazing article by Paul Schwartzman in which he profiles the heartbreaking story of one average American couple who have lost their jobs and have completely given in to despair….

****

He sinks into the couch, his gaze traveling from his wife to the television to the darkness outside, broken now and then by the distant glow of passing headlights.

His mind settles into another round of “What if?”

As in: What if we don’t have cash to buy milk, eggs, bread or diapers? What if our unemployment benefits run out? What if we never find jobs?

Scott Nichols thinks of the option the 39-year-old husband and father of two has hoped to avoid since being laid off nine months ago.

They already took free food from a church pantry, cardboard boxes filled with Corn Flakes and bologna and saltines. His wife, Kelly, walking in, head down, while he stayed in the car, ashen. They pawned his wedding ring, sold part of her coin collection and had help from the Salvation Army paying their electric bill.

Now another cliff approaches: the loss of the home they rent.

“Looks like we’ll have to go to your mom’s,” Scott Nichols says to Kelly, 33, who is in a beige recliner, staring ahead.

Moving to her mother’s would mean returning to the rundown industrial town where they grew up, a place that makes him feel dirty, inside and out. They would sleep in her basement jammed with forgotten furniture, a few steps from a pair of cat litter boxes and below three narrow windows blocked by insulation.

2) The Nation recently ran an article that included a stunning description of what many California neighborhoods are like in the aftermath of the housing crisis….

There’s a Mad Max feel to daily life in many neighborhoods. The Central Valley has a swath of cities whose home foreclosure rates rank in the top ten in the country. Friends looking to buy a home in a poor part of Sacramento tell me of foreclosed houses stripped of their copper wires, their toilets, their pipes, even their drywall. An ex-student reports visiting homes in which furious foreclosed owners and evicted tenants have urinated and defecated on the carpeting, abandoned pets to starve, left kitchens filled with rotting food. Sure, you can buy these properties for next to nothing, but you’ll have to bring in the biohazard squads before you can safely occupy them.

3) Robin Sherwood

My husband, Ron, was a construction superintendent, and in that field you know the job is always going to end. At the end of September, they handed Ron two checks. We knew it was coming, but we just didn’t expect it so soon.

With more than 1,400 people on the list at the union, it just doesn’t look like any work for a while. With most of the construction sites shut down, the work is just not there. Now what? We don’t know.

It’s rough in Boulder City. There are no construction jobs, and even for me to go find a retail job the chances are slim. In this town, they don’t look at bringing jobs in for local residents.

We get $1,500 a month from the unemployment checks, and the money is not enough to cover expenses. Our mortgage is $1,110 a month.

We’ve cut back to just the basics, even with groceries. We’ve applied for free lunches for my daughter so at least she can have a hot meal at school. We don’t go into town unless we absolutely have to.

4) Kathy Edwards

I lost my job March 6, 2009. I have been working in the insurance industry for 40 years.

At the age of 60 I doubt that I wlll find another job. I lost everything and had to file bankruptcy.

A sad way to end a good life…

—-

Its the pits… not knowing what the future holds and when unemployment ends who knows.. You start considering what you options are: anywhere from homelessness to suicide.

I used to love life and my job now I feel worthless and can offer my son nothing to help him out as well.

5) An anonymous poster on the GLP forum

My daughters 23 year old friend graduated with a Bachelors in Foreign Business over a year ago. We are a coastal state (WA) and he has been unable to find a good job in that time. Currently working at a clothing wholesaler making a pittance and struggling to pay his school loans and living expenses.

A couple we are close friends with are about to lose their home. Husband managed a trucking crew. We all know what’s going on with the trucking industry. They’ve for almost a year attempted to save the home they built with their own hands by offering the bank interest only payments or refi to lower payments, they’ve filled out too many forms to count to qualify for the Obama plan to save their home (they totally qualified at every point but new forms were sent again and again and finally after almost a year they were told they do not qualify but not given a reason why) and the bank just last week told them they have until next week to come up with $36,000.00 or move out.

My father, who is on a fixed income, keeps his house at freezing temps, doesn’t go anywhere, and eats crap food and he is living on two retirements! You know why? His lenders suddenly raised interest rates on two loans he had. Then his auto and home insurance company found out he had higher interest rates and used that as an excuse to raise his insurance rates!

6) Carmen

I was working as a Production Supervisor for a very large manufacturing company. They hired me on and about a month later I was told that the plant would be closing down and moving production to Mexico. I like many others am a victim of outsourcing and now the economy.

I have worked in the manufacturing industry for several years in Management Roles. I have actual experience in the industry that I obtained through trial and error, training, and just working. My expertise is Cost Reduction. I am old school and did not graduate from a college with a degree. I am from the school of hard knocks.

—-

Being unemployed is truly the most difficult thing I have ever had to live through. I have worked since I was 15 and right now have been unemployed for over 16 months. I have applied to every job I am qualified for, joined all the social networks, worked my own personal network and try to utilize any creative way to find work.

I feel useless sitting at home not be able to work and support my family. My wife is working two jobs and still we cannot make ends meet. I have been trying to work with my mortgage company for a year now to modify the loan on our home but basically have been told that because I have still be able to make my payments (by the grace of God we have been able to do so, with the help of family and a little savings, this is all gone now) that being unemployed is not a dire enough hardship, and there is no help for me.

It is frustrating to say the least and seems never ending. I hope they extend the unemployment extensions that are due to expire at the end of February 10 because if they don’t I know what I am going to do. All I want to do is work, I would work 16 hours a day, night, afternoon or morning shift, weekends, overtime, holidays, part-time full time, seasonal, you name it.

7) Jan

I lost my full time job in an automotive related field in April 2008 and have been unemployed since. I finally found a part-time job in July 2009, which was far below the money I was making however I felt, a job is a job. Now after continuing to look for full-time employment without any success, I am at risk of losing my home as my mortgage company is not willing to work with me.

—-

It is horrible and makes you feel inadequate in every way when u cannot find a full-time job and when you cannot support your family. I am close to losing my home and am frustrated that there is no where to turn. I have spent endless hours on the phone trying to follow up for jobs in which I have applied, only to be told that often there is 1 job available and there have been over 400 or 500 applicants. I don’t even get a letter or any correspondence telling my I did not get a position, I am just left hanging. I have tried to look into many different fields only to be told I have no experience, well how can I get any experience if no one will give me a chance? The problem is that there are so many people here in Michigan without a job, employers don’t HAVE TO take a chance and they have their pick of whoever they want (usually a friend or family member gets hired).

8) Joe

I worked a major online retail store for womens clothing and apparel, i worked at the distribution center here in West Virgina. I operated various loading equipment from order pickers, to forklifts,reese trucks, standups, and walkies.

I was laid off in January of 2009, because it was cheaper for the company to bring in new workers that would not have to be provided with bennefits such as, insurance, paid sick days, holidays, vacation, things of that nature, they laid myself and about 100 other employees off, and turned around and hired about the same number of employees the same month.

—-

I have now been unemployed for over a year, i have applied for over 250 jobs,and have had no luck with any of them, the only thing that has kept me from losing everything is my unemployment compensation, which ran out at the beginning of the year. I have done everything in my power to find a job, I am also taking courses for IT related field, but I fear that I will have to stop the classes because with no type of income coming in i can no longer afford them. I enough money saved to maybe survive for the next 2 months, after that i don’t know what my family is going to do. there is just simply no work here or anywhere for that matter.

9) Lady Wolf on the GLP forum

We are fortunate in that we have set aside a nest egg for ourselves in the form of a 401K that we can dip into if we absolutely have to and it’s looking like that might be the case. But that’s supposed to be for our retirement. We’re both in our 40’s so that seems a long way off still…but we may not have a choice. My husband had already enrolled into college because he sees the handwriting on the wall in this economy and he just doesn’t see it getting any better with millions out of work in this country, but the field he’s chosen to branch off into could take up to a year to get his degree…

He’s feeling so discouraged right now…that’s got to be a real beating to a man’s ego. I’m trying to be there for him, but I don’t think this is something I can fix this time. All I can do is let him know how much I love him and that as long as we have each other, everything else will work out…I hate seeing him like this! He’s such a hard worker with a solid work ethic. He doesn’t deserve what’s happening to him…then again, no one really does.

People just want to provide for their families…is that such a bad thing?

10) Carlene Balderrama

On the morning she realized her husband and son would learn the family was losing their house, Carlene Balderrama, 53, faxed a note to the mortgage company, then went to the basement and shot herself.

“I hope you’re more compassionate with my husband than you were with me,” she wrote in a suicide note left for the company.

****

Unfortunately, these stories do not represent isolated incidents.  There are millions of other stories just like these.  In fact, you probably have friends, relatives or neighbors who find themselves in similar situations.

Perhaps your own life has been turned upside down by this economic mess.  Millions of people who worked hard in school, always did everything “right” and who were always good to their employers now find themselves up a creek without a paddle.  The reality is that it is almost impossible to find a good job in many areas of the United States today.

If you have a story to share we would love to hear it.  Just post a comment below, and as long as it is is clean and does not advocate violence we will be glad to post it.  The truth is that we will all have to offer one another a helping hand to get through this economic crisis.

And let us not look down on anyone who finds themselves out of work.  Almost all of us have been there, and almost all of us will be there again.  Many Americans who are now out of work are good, hard-working people.  They were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The reality is that the gigantic economic tsunami that is coming is going to impact all of us whether we like it or not.  Millions of jobs and millions of homes are going to be lost.  Many families will be destroyed.  A lot of innocent people are going to pay the price for decades of incompetence and foolishness in Washington D.C.

Things did not have to turn out this way, but this is the hand that we have been dealt.  Let us be kind and compassionate to one another and let us be certain to retain our humanity as we all head into a future that appears to be very bleak.

http://www.readymaderesources.com

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!