Good Economic Numbers? Don’t Be Fooled By The Financial Sugar High

The U.S. financial system is like a junkie that needs continually increasing amounts of “junk” to get the same “buzz”.  So what is the U.S. financial system addicted to?  It is addicted to money and debt.  For many years, whenever the Federal Reserve would lower interest rates or the U.S government would borrow and spend more money, the U.S. economy would respond positively.  But just like with any other kind of artificial stimulation, over time it has taken greater and greater amounts of debt and cheap money to get a response from our economic system.  So yes, the fact that the official unemployment rate went down 0.1%  last month is good news, but considering the massive amount of spending that the U.S. government is doing and considering the gigantic quantity of money that the Federal Reserve is injecting into the financial system, the truth is that the unemployment rate should be falling much faster than that.  So don’t be fooled by the good economic numbers and don’t be fooled by the financial “sugar rush”.  The U.S. government and the Federal Reserve have been pulling out all the stops to stimulate the economy, and the fact that all of their efforts are barely moving the unemployment rate at all is an indication of just how far our economic situation has degenerated.

Many in the mainstream media were extremely excited when the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the U.S. unemployment rate declined to 8.8% in March.  U.S. stocks soared as investors enthusiastically welcomed the news.  But should we all really be jumping up and down over this?

The truth is that some other measures show that the unemployment situation in the United States is becoming worse.

According to Gallup, the number of Americans that are either unemployed or working part-time but desiring full-time work actually rose from 19.8 percent in February to 20.3 percent in March.

So let us not get too excited about the employment situation.  Yes, unemployment is not spinning wildly out of control at the moment and that is good news.

However, when you look at the larger picture things look rather grim.

What the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve have been doing is that they have been mortgaging our future big time for short-term economic gain.

This year alone, the U.S. government is going to run an all-time record budget deficit of approximately 1.6 trillion dollars.  By borrowing 1.6 trillion dollars that we do not have and spending it into the system, it does stimulate the economy.

There are some members of Congress that would like to implement substantial budget cuts, but most members of Congress fear doing too much budget cutting right now because it would “harm the economy”.

And you know what?  They are right – budget cuts would harm our economy in the short-term.

But continuing to pile up all of this debt is setting the stage for an absolute economic nightmare in the mid to long term.

We have lived far, far beyond our means for decades, and most of our politicians are acting like this can go forever.

But tell me, does anyone out there actually believe that we can keep expanding the national debt like this indefinitely?….

Yes, government spending does stimulate the economy.  The Keynesians are right about that.

However, by accumulating a national debt that is spinning wildly out of control, we have completely destroyed the economic future of this nation.

The Federal Reserve has been very busy trying to stimulate the U.S. economy as well.

Over the past couple of years, the Fed has been injecting massive amounts of money into the financial system.  The theory is that the financial system will loan this money out to the American people and that will stimulate the economy and create more jobs.

Well, that may very well be true to a certain extent in the short-term, but as I wrote about yesterday, in the long-term this is going to create a substantial amount of inflation.

The chart posted below cannot be emphasized enough.  It shows how the Fed has dramatically increased the size of the adjusted monetary base since mid-2008….

Yes, all of this new money will stimulate economic activity, but it is completely and totally ludicrous for Ben Bernanke to attempt to deny that this is also going to cause significant inflation.

So when taking a look at the economic numbers, it is absolutely critical to keep in mind that our “authorities” have pushed all the chips to the middle of the table in an all-out attempt to stimulate the economy in the short-term.

The small economic “sugar rush” that we are experiencing right now is all we have gotten out of it so far.

Sadly, this is about the best that the U.S. economy is going to do from now on.  Things really are not going to get much better than this.

Yes, unemployment numbers might come down a little more, but pretty soon inflation is going to really kick in and that is going to have a really negative impact on tens of millions of Americans.

First of all, when inflation really starts taking off it is going to be absolutely devastating for those on fixed incomes.  Many of them will be completely wiped out.

Secondly, those that do have jobs are going to find that their incomes are not nearly keeping up with inflation.

In fact, we are seeing this starting to happen already.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. workers in the private sector only saw their pay increase by 2.1% during 2010.

So did what we are paying for food and gas only go up 2.1% in 2010?

Of course not.

So are things getting better so far in 2011?

No.

One of the depressing things about the new numbers released by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics was that wages for U.S. workers did not increase in March.

According to the BLS, the average U.S. worker earned $22.87 an hour during the month of March, which is exactly the same number we saw in February.

So inflation is going up and wages are staying flat.

That means that American family budgets are going to be squeezed even more.

In addition, the numbers from the BLS show that it is still incredibly difficult to get a job.  In fact, the average length of unemployment in the U.S. is now an all-time record 39 weeks.

So is anyone doing well right now?

Well, yes – as I have written about previously, those at the very top of the food chain are doing quite well these days.

According to USA Today, median CEO pay soared 27 percent during 2010.  For the year, median CEO pay was a stunning $9.0 million.

Wouldn’t you like to be making 9 million dollars a year?

According a recent report by CNN, the 25 highest-paid hedge fund managers in the United States combined to bring in an astounding $22.07 billion in income during 2010.

Wouldn’t you like to get just a small piece of that?

All of the measures that the government and the Federal Reserve are using to stimulate the economy are causing tremendous distortions in our financial system.

Wall Street is absolutely swimming in cash right now.  There are some people that are making obscene amounts of money.

But ultimately the party is going to end for all of us.

It has been incredibly foolish for the government and the Fed to go “all in” in a desperate attempt to boost short-term economic numbers.

Our long-term economic future is completely gone.  Our financial system is heading for a horrible collapse.  It is not a matter of “if” it will happen, but rather “when” it will happen.

You better buckle up and get ready.

Rich vs Poor: 14 Funny Statistics And 14 Not So Funny Statistics About This “Economic Recovery”

Today there are two very different Americas.  In one America, the stock market is soaring, huge bonuses are taken for granted, the good times are rolling and people are spending money as if they will be able to “live the dream” for the rest of their lives.  In the other America, the one where most of the rest of us live, unemployment is rampant, a million families were kicked out of their homes last year and hordes of American families are drowning in debt.  The gap between the rich and the poor is bigger today than it ever has been before.  In fact, this article is not so much about “rich vs poor” as it is about “the rich vs the rest of us”.  Barack Obama and Ben Bernanke keep touting an “economic recovery”, but the truth is that the only ones that seem to be benefiting from this recovery are those at the very top of the economic food chain.

Below you will find 14 funny statistics about this economic recovery and 14 not so funny statistics about this economic recovery.  Actually, if you find yourself deeply struggling in this economy you will probably not find any of the statistics funny.  In fact, you will probably find most of them infuriating.  After all, there are very few people that actually enjoy hearing about how well the rich are doing when they are barely able to pay the mortgage and put food on the table.

In any event, the 28 statistics below show the stark contrast between the “two Americas” that share this nation today.  Many liberals will likely try to use these statistics as an example of why we should tax the rich.  But handing more money to the government is not going to magically create more jobs for the poor.  What the American people desperately need are good jobs, and many liberals don’t seem to understand that.  Many conservatives will likely try to use these statistics as evidence that “capitalism” is working.  But the truth is that what we have in the United States today is not capitalism.  Rather, it is more aptly described as “corporatism”, because money and power is increasingly becoming concentrated in the hands of gigantic corporations that individuals and small businesses simply cannot compete with.  The truth is that when wealth is concentrated at the very top it does not “trickle down” to the rest of us.  In the old days the wealthy at least were forced to hire the rest of us to run their factories and their businesses, but with the advent of globalism that isn’t even true anymore.  Now they can just move their factories and businesses overseas to places where they can legally pay slave labor wages to their employees.

Very large concentrations of money and power are almost always bad for the prosperity of average citizens.  Our founding fathers never intended for our central government to have so much power and they never intended for giant corporations to have so much power.  But we have abandoned the principles of our founding fathers.

When large concentrations of power (whether governmental or corporate) are allowed to flourish, it almost becomes inevitable that the gap between the rich and the poor will grow.  We are seeing this happen all over the world today.

Unfortunately, it does not appear that any of this is going to change any time soon.  In the United States, both the federal government and multinational corporations are constantly attempting to grab even more power.  It has gotten to the point where individual Americans really don’t have much power left at all.

In any event, hopefully you will find the following statistics informative or at least entertaining.  The wealthy are most definitely enjoying an “economic recovery” while most of the rest of us are still really struggling….

Funny – Who said that the titans of Wall Street couldn’t look hot?  According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, facelifts for men jumped 14 percent last year.

Not Funny – According to the U.S. Labor Department, unemployment actually increased in 351 of the 372 largest U.S. cities during the month of January.

Funny – The average bonus for a worker on Wall Street in 2010 was only $128,530.  It appears that more Wall Street bailouts may be needed.

Not Funny – During this most recent economic downturn, employee compensation in the United States has been the lowest that it has been relative to gross domestic product in over 50 years.

Funny – According to DataQuick Information Systems, the sale of million dollars homes rose an average of 18.6 percent in the top 20 major metro areas in the U.S. in 2010.  But is spending a million dollars on one house really worth it?  After all, over the past several years there have been times when you could buy a house in some bad areas of Detroit for just one dollar.

Not Funny – In 2010, for the first time ever more than a million U.S. families lost their homes to foreclosure, and that number is expected to go even higher in 2011.

Funny – According to Moody’s Analytics, the wealthiest 5% of households in the United States now account for approximately 37% of all consumer spending.  Most of the rest of us don’t have much discretionary income to spend these days, but at least we have Justin Bieber, American Idol and Dancing with the Stars to keep us entertained.

Not FunnyAccording to Gallup, the U.S. unemployment rate in mid-March was 10.2%, which was virtually unchanged from the 10.3% figure that it was sitting at exactly one year ago.

FunnyAccording to the Wall Street Journal, sales of private jumbo jets to the ultra-wealthy are absolutely soaring….

Sales of private jumbo jets are so strong that Airbus and Boeing now have special sales forces devoted to potentates and the hyper-rich.

Not Funny – There are now over 6.4 million Americans that have given up looking for work completely.  That number has increased by about 30 percent since the economic downturn began.

Funny – Porsche recently reported that sales increased by 29 percent during 2010.  Even Porsche jokes are coming back into style….

Question: Why did the blonde try and steal a police car?

Answer: She saw “911” on the back and thought it was a Porsche.

Not Funny – Approximately half of all American workers make $25,000 a year or less.

Funny – Cadillac recently reported that sales increased by 36 percent during 2010.

Not Funny – According to the U.S. Energy Department, the average U.S. household will spend approximately $700 more on gasoline in 2011 than it did during 2010.

Funny – Rolls-Royce recently reported that sales increased by 171 percent during 2010.

Not Funny – According to a new study by America’s Research Group, approximately 75 percent of all Americans are doing less shopping because of rising gasoline prices.

FunnyAccording 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.  Apparently Barack Obama was not talking about himself when he told the American people the following….

“If you’re a family trying to cut back, you might skip going out to dinner, or you might put off a vacation.”

Not Funny – When 2007 began, 26 million Americans were on food stamps.  Today, an all-time record 44 million Americans are on food stamps.

Funny – Ralph Lauren reported a 24 percent increase in revenue in the fourth quarter of 2010.  It is good to know that preppies are thriving in this economy.

Not Funny – The Ivex Packaging Paper plant in Joliet, Illinois is shutting down for good after 97 years in business.  79 good jobs will be lost.  Meanwhile, China has become the number one producer of paper products in the entire world.

Funny – Luxury jewelry retailer Tiffany & Co. recently announced that their profits increased by 29 percent in the 4th quarter of 2010.  All of the men that did not buy their women jewelry during the holidays are trying to keep this particular news item from getting passed around.

Not Funny – Average household debt in the United States has now reached a level of 136% of average household income.

Funny – In 2009, only 18,288 vehicles with a price tag of $100,000 or more were sold in the United States.  In 2010, 32,144 such vehicles were sold.  It appears that “showing off for chicks” is now very much back in style.

Not Funny – The U.S. economy now has 10 percent fewer “middle class jobs” than it did just ten years ago.

Funny – Porsche has announced that they will soon be taking orders for their first hybrid sports car, the 918 Spyder.  The price tag on one of these puppies will only be $845,000.

Not Funny – The average CEO now makes approximately 185 times more money than the average American worker.

Funny – Barack Obama recently played only his 61st round of golf since moving into the White House.  Many are now concerned that Obama is simply not getting enough free time.

Not Funny – According to one recent study, 21 percent of all children in the United States were living below the poverty line during 2010.

18 Sobering Facts Which Prove That The Middle Class Is Not Being Included In This “Economic Recovery”

Have you heard the news?  The stock market is absolutely soaring and according to the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve we are in the beginning stages of a robust economic recovery.  Yippee!  The S&P 500 is up 6.8 percent so far in 2011, and the stock market recently hit a two and a half year high.  So shouldn’t we all be celebrating?  Well, if stock market performance was an accurate measure of economic health, then Zimbabwe would have had one of the healthiest economies on the entire globe during the last decade.  But just like Zimbabwe’s stock market was artificially pumped up with “funny money” that was rapidly being devalued, so is ours.  All of the “quantitative easing” that the Federal Reserve has been doing is pumping plenty of money into the financial markets and is helping to inflate a false stock market bubble, but it is doing very little to alleviate the suffering of the U.S. middle class.  In fact, when you take a closer look at the numbers you quickly find out that the suffering of the middle class is getting even worse.

According to Gallup, the unemployment rate is now over 10%.  The number of Americans that have given up looking for work recently set a new all-time record.  The number of mortgages in foreclosure tied a record high during the fourth quarter of 2010.  Gas and food prices are rising rapidly.  The number of Americans on food stamps continues to increase every single month.

Yes, right now the economic situation is not in free fall like it was a couple years ago.  We should be thankful for that.  Periods of relative stability such as we are enjoying now will be few and far between in the years ahead.  This “bubble” of economic calm is a great opportunity that we should all be taking advantage of.

However, those that are hoping that this is an economic “turning point” and that things will soon be back to “normal” are going to be greatly disappointed.  This is about as “normal” as things are going to be ever again.

Even during this time of relative economic stability, the U.S. middle class is still being ripped to shreds.  If there are those among your family and friends that are somehow convinced that the U.S. economy is recovering nicely, you might want want to show them the following 18 very sobering facts….

#1 According to Gallup, the U.S. unemployment rate is currently 10.3 percent.  When you add in part-time American workers that want full-time employment, that number rises to 20.2 percent.

#2 According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of job openings in the United States declined for a second straight month during December.

#3 There are currently more than 4 million Americans that have been unemployed for more than a year.

#4 The number of Americans that have become so discouraged that they have given up searching for work completely now stands at an all-time high.

#5 Gasoline prices in the United States recently hit a 28-month high.

#6 During the 4th quarter of 2010, 4.63 percent of all U.S. home loans were in foreclosure.  That matched the all-time high, and it was up significantly from 4.39 percent in the 3rd quarter.

#7 It is estimated that there are about 5 million homeowners in the United States that are at least two months behind on their mortgages, and it is being projected that over a million American families will be booted out of their homes this year alone.

#8 Almost 14 percent of all credit card accounts in the United States are currently 90 days or more delinquent.

#9 The average credit card rate in the United States had increased to a whopping 13.44 percent at the end of 2010.

#10 Americans now owe more than $890 billion on student loans, which is even more than they owe on credit cards.

#11 Average household debt in the United States has now reached a level of 136% of average household income.  In China, average household debt is only 17% of average household income.

#12 U.S. life expectancy at birth is now three years less than Canada and four years less than Japan.

#13 New home sales in the state of California were at the lowest level ever recorded in the month of January.

#14 43 percent of all mortgages in south Florida are currently underwater.

#15 Prior to the most recent economic downturn, there were usually somewhere around four to five million job openings in America.  Today there are about 3 million.

#16 When you adjust wages for inflation, middle class workers in the United States make less money today than they did back in 1971.

#17 One out of every seven Americans is now on food stamps.

#18 One out of every six elderly Americans now lives below the federal poverty line.

You know things are bad when articles start popping up in the mainstream news instructing us how to interact socially with the hordes of unemployed Americans that are out there today.  A recent USA Today article entitled “What not to say to someone who is unemployed” listed some of the things that you should not say to someone that does not have a job.  The following are some of their suggestions on what NOT to say….

“Hey, have you found anything yet?”

“How’s the search going?”

“You just have to pound the pavement.”

“Something will turn up.”

“It’s tough out there.”

“Other people are going through the same thing.”

“Maybe you’re asking for too much money.”

“Maybe you should go back to school.”

“There are plenty of jobs out there.”

I am sure most of us have heard things like this at one time or another.  It can be a soul-crushing thing to have others like at you in pity because you don’t have a job and you can’t pay the mortgage and feed your family.

Most unemployed Americans are not lazy.  The vast majority of them desperately want jobs.  But the U.S. economy is not producing nearly enough jobs today.  As noted above, the U.S. economy currently has about 3 million job openings, but approximately 20 percent of the workforce wants to find a full-time job.  The demand for jobs is far, far, far greater than the supply.

Unfortunately, this is the legacy of decades of bad economic decision-making.  The U.S. economy should be able to provide work for every single person that wants it, but because of the choices that have been made that will never be the case again.

The middle class in America is being ripped to shreds right in front of our eyes and very little is being done to stop it.  Desperation is rising across the nation.  More Americans slip into poverty every single day.  It is almost as if a cloud of gloom and despair has descended upon the U.S. economy and every single month the situation only seems to get darker.

So what about you?  How has this economy affected you and your family?  Please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts below….

10 Reasons Why It Has Become So Soul-Crushingly Difficult To Find A Job In America Today

Have you been unemployed lately?  If so, then you probably know how frustrating it is to try to find a job in the United States today. It now takes the average unemployed worker about 33 weeks to find a job.  There are millions of Americans that have not been able to find a full-time job even after searching hard for an entire year.  Some areas of the United States have been devastated so badly by the economic downturn that they are starting to resemble war zones.  Unless you have been there, it is hard to even try to describe the extreme frustration that one feels when you are unable to pay the mortgage and feed your family.  It can be absolutely soul-crushing.  But it is not the fault of those who are unemployed.  The truth is that our economy is dying and it is not producing nearly enough jobs anymore.  Unfortunately, as you will see from the facts listed below, most of the things that are causing our economy to die have no realistic chance of being changed any time soon.

The following are 10 reasons why it has become so insanely difficult to find a job in America today….

#1 There are a lot fewer job openings in the United States today.  The number of U.S. job openings declined once again in December.  Prior to the most recent economic downturn, there were usually somewhere around 4.5 to 5 million job openings in America.  Today there are about 3 million.

#2 There is a lot more competition for the very few job openings that are actually available.  According to Gallup, the U.S. unemployment rate has been hovering around 10 percent for over a year.  When Gallup includes “underemployed Americans” that have part-time jobs but really want full-time jobs in the numbers, they get a lot worse.  Currently, Gallup says that 19.3 percent of the workforce is either unemployed or underemployed.

#3 The U.S. economy is producing an extremely low number of new jobs.  The federal government says that only about 36,000 jobs were added in January.  Well,  an increase of 150,000 jobs per month is necessary just to keep up with population growth.  We continue to fall farther and farther behind.

#4 All across the nation, state and local governments are rapidly cutting jobs.  Government jobs used to be considered some of the safest jobs available, but today state and local governments all across America are facing horrific budget crunches.  In fact, things have gotten so extreme that some cities are cutting their police forces by up to 50 percent.

#5 U.S. businesses are being absolutely crushed by regulations, and yet the government just keeps piling them on.  For example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is projecting that the food service industry will have to spend an additional 14 million hours every single year just to comply with new federal regulations that mandate that all vending machine operators and chain restaurants must label all products that they sell with a calorie count in a location visible to the consumer.  These kinds of ridiculous regulations are chasing U.S. businesses out of the country at a blistering pace.

#6 When you combine all forms of taxation, businesses pay more taxes in the United States than just about anywhere else in the world.  Some of the biggest corporations have figured out how to get around this, but many other businesses are being absolutely crushed by this.  All of this taxation is also chasing businesses out of the country.  Now Barack Obama is at it again.  He has just proposed an increase in unemployment taxes.  This is going to make it even less likely that businesses will want to hire more employees.

#7 Advances in technology mean that less workers are needed today.  A robot can do the labor that a hundred workers used to perform.  A computer can do the work that a thousand people used to perform.  Our society now needs less manual labor than it used to, and that is not going to change.  In fact, our society is only going to become more computerized and more automated.  That means that the ultra-wealthy do not need as many of us to work for them.

#8 Nations such as China are taking jobs away from us.  Tens of thousands of factories and millions of jobs are moving to China.  There is a reason why Barack Obama mentioned China four times during his State of the Union address.  China now even makes more beer than the United States does.  China has been very shrewd.  They have invited international corporations to come over and take advantage of their vast population by paying them slave labor wages.  The U.S. middle class is being shredded by this.  Why should companies pay U.S. workers 10 or 20 times more than they could pay a Chinese worker?

#9 Every single year, the U.S. buys hundreds of billions of dollars more stuff from the rest of the world than they buy from us.  This is called a trade deficit, and it is killing the U.S. economy.  The hundreds of billions of dollars going to the rest of the world could be going to U.S. businesses, and in turn U.S. businesses would need more workers.  But instead of fixing our trade balance problem, our politicians continue to insist that “globalism” is going to be really, really “good” for us.

#10 Every single year the U.S. federal government spends hundreds of billions of dollars just on interest on the national debt.  This is money that we don’t get any economic benefit from.  If we were not in so much debt, the U.S. government would be able to spend that money on goods and services inside the United States and that would support a lot more jobs.  This is just one of the ways that our horrific national debt is a tremendous drag on our economy.

Find A Job? Good Luck In This Economy – 10 Reasons Why The Latest Unemployment Numbers Are No Reason To Cheer

The U.S. government is telling us that the unemployment rate fell all the way down to 9.0% in January.  Should we all cheer?  Is it now going to be a lot easier to find a job?  Has the economy finally turned around?  Are happy days here again?  Well, it is a good thing to have a positive attitude, but the truth is that there is just not much to cheer about when you take a closer look at the recent unemployment numbers.  First of all, the U.S. economy only added 36,000 jobs in January.  Economists had been expecting an increase of about 145,000 jobs, and an increase of 150,000 jobs per month is necessary just to keep up with population growth.  So why did the unemployment rate go down?  Well, the government says that over half a million Americans suddenly dropped out of the labor force in January.  That doesn’t make a lot of sense, but this is how the government calculates their numbers.  So what happened to those 500,000 Americans?  Did they all win the lottery?  Have they all become independently wealthy?  Did they all die?  No, the vast majority of them are still around and the vast majority of them still desperately need jobs.  It is just that the government does not count them as “looking for work” anymore.

It would be great if the employment situation in America actually was getting better.  All the time people send me absolutely heartbreaking stories about what they have had to endure in this economy.  Soon I hope to share some of those stories with you all.  It is hard to try to describe the absolute horror that many Americans are going through right now.

People would like to believe that things are going to get better, but unfortunately that is just not going to be the case.  The government can try to massage the numbers to make them look better, but the truth is that the tens of millions of American families that are deeply suffering right now are not fooled.

The following are 10 statistics that reveal that the latest unemployment numbers from the government are no reason to cheer….

#1 According to CNBC, economists were expecting the U.S. economy to add 145,000 jobs during January. Obviously the 36,000 figure was a huge disappointment.

#2 Approximately 150,000 jobs need to be added to the economy each month just to keep up with population growth.

#3 The government jobs report also indicated that 504,000 Americans “dropped out of the labor force” in January.  That may make the unemployment numbers look better, but the truth is that the vast majority of those 500,000 Americans still need incomes and still need jobs.

#4 According to the latest numbers from Gallup, the unemployment rate actually increased to 9.8% at the end of January.

#5 Gallup’s measure of “underemployment” (those that are unemployed plus those that are working part-time but want full-time employment) was sitting at 18.9% at the end of January.

#6 As I reported yesterday, there are approximately 28 million Americans that would like full-time jobs but that don’t have full-time jobs.

#7 According to Zero Hedge, the number of Americans that are “not in the labor force” but that would like a job right now has hit an all-time record high.  If you add all of those people into the official unemployment figure it would jump to 12.8%.

#8 According to Calculated Risk, this is the deepest and most brutal employment downturn that the United States has experienced since World War II.  The current employment downturn started 37 months ago and there doesn’t seem to be any indication that we will return to pre-recession levels any time soon.

#9 The U.S. Labor Department has also announced that job growth during 2010 was much weaker than they had previously reported. The numbers for 8 months were revised down, and the numbers for 4 months were revised up. After all of the revisions are accounted for, it turns out that a total of 215,000 fewer jobs were created during 2010 than originally calculated.

#10 According to one brand new survey, 4 out of every 10 Americans are struggling “a lot” to pay the bills right now.

The situation is not pretty out there.  The U.S. needs tens of millions more jobs than we have right now.

So where are all of our jobs going?  The video posted below contains some very strong hints.  The truth is that globalism is ripping our economic infrastructure apart, and all of the crazy rules and regulations we keep heaping on business are not helping either….

U.S. workers have been merged into a “global labor pool” where we are expected to directly compete for jobs with people making slave labor wages on the other side of the globe.

The more time you spend thinking about that, the more you start realizing that the standard of living of average American families is going to continue to decline.

Unfortunately, as I wrote about in a recent article entitled “Nothing Is Stable Anymore“, the world is changing faster today than at any other time during our lifetimes.  Everything that we used to assume about employment, money, our economy and our finances is being turned upside down.  We now live in a world where very little can be taken for granted.

2011 has already been a very tumultuous year.  The world is being transformed.  Nobody knows for sure what is going to happen next.

One thing to really keep an eye on is the price of oil.  Right now, large numbers of investors are betting that the price of oil will rise to $125 a barrel by May.  Shockingly, some investors are even betting that the price of oil will rise to $250 a barrel by next December.

If oil starts to spike dramatically, it will have tremendous implications for the U.S. economy.  Our entire economic system runs on oil.  The price of oil affects the price of everything else.

If the price of oil keeps going up it is inevitably going to cause a slowdown in the U.S. economy and it will cause the unemployment situation to get even worse.

So be glad that the employment situation is at least somewhat stable for now, because if things take a bad turn for the worse in 2011 who knows what kind of unemployment numbers we’ll be talking about a year from now.

Warning Signs

Do you see all of the warning signs that are flashing all around you?  These days it seems like there is more bad economic news in a single week than there used to be in an entire month.  2011 is already shaping up to be a very dark year for the world economy.  The price of food is shooting through the roof and we have already seen violent food riots in countries like Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia.  World financial markets are becoming increasingly unstable as the sovereign debt crisis continues to get worse.  Meanwhile, the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits is up, foreclosures are up and poverty continues to spread like a plague throughout the United States.  What we are starting to see around the globe is a lot like the “stagflation” of the 1970s.  All of the crazy money printing that has been going on is overheating prices for agricultural commodities and precious metals, but all of this new money is not doing much to help the average man or woman on the street.

Do you remember what the economy was like in America during the 70s?  We had high unemployment and high inflation at the same time.  It was horrible.  Well, all the warning signs are there for a stagflation repeat.  Unemployment is at epidemic levels and it isn’t showing any signs of decreasing much any time soon.  Meanwhile, the crazy money printing that the Federal Reserve and other central banks have been doing is starting to cause significant inflation.  The price of oil is about to cross the 100 dollar a barrel mark and the UN is forecasting that the global price of food is going to increase by 30 percent by the end of the year.

So, yes, there are some really, really good reasons to be incredibly concerned about the global economy in 2011.

Meanwhile, the only solutions that our global leaders seem to be offering are more money printing, more government debt and more financial control by international organizations.

The truth is that we have a real mess on our hands.  The following are 20 economic warning signs that should be of great concern to all of us….

#1 Over the past seven days, the price of wheat has risen by 11 percent as concerns about food shortages continue to grow around the world.

#2 The price of corn is up a staggering 94 percent since last June.

#3 The United Nations is projecting that the global price of food will increase by 30 percent in 2011.

#4 According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose last week to the highest level since last October.

#5 According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, of the 14 million Americans “officially” unemployed in December, 30% of them had been unemployed for one year or longer.

#6 Beginning in the month of March, the U.S. Postal Service will begin shutting down up to 2,000 post offices across the United States.

#7 In an absolutely stunning move, Standard & Poor’s has downgraded Japanese government debt from AA to AA-.

#8 72 percent of the major metropolitan areas in the United States had more foreclosures in 2010 than they did in 2009.

#9 Approximately 5 million homeowners in the United States are at least two months behind on their mortgages, and it is being projected that over a million American families will be booted out of their homes this year alone.

#10 According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Social Security system will run a deficit of 45 billion dollars this year.  When the new payroll tax breaks are factored in, the projected “Social Security deficit” for this year swells to 130 billion dollars.

#11 The U.S. money supply has been rising at a pace that is absolutely unprecedented.

#12 Right now, money is flowing out of bonds at an absolutely staggering pace.

#13 The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the price of food increased 50 percent faster than the overall rate of inflation during 2010.

#14 According to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, visits to soup kitchens are up 24 percent over the past year.

#15 During the last school year, almost half of all school children in the state of Illinois came from families that were considered to be “low-income”.

#16 Those living in the town of Discovery Bay, California will soon not be permitted to use cash to pay for any public services.  Could this be another disturbing step in the direction of a cashless society?

#17 French President Nicolas Sarkozy says that the IMF should be given the power to enforce new rules that would be designed to prevent “global economic imbalances” from happening.

#18 The U.S. government is currently borrowing about 40 cents of every single dollar that it spends.

#19 According to the Congressional Budget Office, the U.S. government will have the biggest budget deficit ever recorded (approximately 1.5 trillion dollars) this year.

#20 It is being projected that the U.S. national debt will increase by $150,000 per U.S. household between 2009 and 2021.

So is there any good news?

Well, yes there is.

U.S. Representative Ron Paul has introduced a new bill to audit the Federal Reserve.  Let us hope that the move to audit the Fed fares better in the 112th Congress than it did in the 111th Congress.  It would be wonderful if the American people could actually learn what has been going on inside the Fed all this time.

But mostly the news about the global economy is really bad.  There have been some people that have been warning for decades that all of this money printing and all of this government debt would eventually catch up with us.  Now we have almost reached the moment of reckoning that the doomsayers have been warning about for so long, and it is going to be really painful to go through it.

Thanks to the greatest debt bubble in the history of the world, we have been living beyond our means for decades.  When “times were good” it was not because either the Republicans or the Democrats were doing something right.  The truth is that both political parties have been horribly addicted to government debt.  The debt-fueled prosperity that our politicians purchased for us is starting to come to an end, and an economic implosion is coming that most Americans will never see coming.

But hopefully most of the readers of this article are much wiser than the average American.  The warning signs are there.  Now is the time to take action and get prepared.

Empty Promises: 5 Reasons Why Barack Obama’s State Of The Union Address Was Completely Wrong About The Economy

Barack Obama’s State of the Union address sure sounded good, didn’t it?  There were lots of solemn promises, lots of stuff about America’s “bright future” and a line about how we are now facing this generation’s “Sputnik moment” that will surely make headlines all over the globe.  But we all knew that Barack Obama could give a good speech.  That has never been the issue.  What the American people really need are some very real answers to some very real problems.  So were there any real answers in Barack Obama’s State of the Union address?  Well, Barack Obama promised that America will “out-innovate, out-educate and out-build” the rest of the world.  He also pledged that America will become “the best place in the world to do business” and that the government must “take responsibility” for our deficit spending.  But does all of this rhetoric mean anything or is all this just another batch of empty promises to add to the long list of empty promises that Barack Obama has already made and broken?

The American people certainly don’t need any more empty promises.  Millions of American families have been pushed to the edge of desperation by this economy.

There has been a lot of talk that the economy is “turning around”, but in many areas of the country the employment situation continues to get even worse.  Payrolls decreased in 35 U.S. states during the month of December.

The truth is that the number of “good jobs” produced by the U.S. economy continues to shrink.  In fact, only 47 percent of working-age Americans have a full-time job at this point.

The American people are not going to buy this “economic recovery” as long as unemployment remains at epidemic levels in so many areas.  Just consider some of the stunningly high unemployment rates in some of our most important states….

Nevada – 14.5%

California – 12.5%

Florida – 12.0%

So did Barack Obama propose anything substantial that will actually create real jobs?

No.

Instead, all he had to offer was just a bunch of empty promises.  It is almost as if Obama believes that a really good inspirational speech will somehow make things better.  The following are just a few of the empty promises Obama made during his address to the nation….

Empty Promise #1: America Will “Out-Innovate” The Rest Of The World And This Will Create More Jobs

During the State of the Union address, Barack Obama promised that the United States will “out-innovate” the rest of the world and that this will create more jobs.

Oh really?

Perhaps we could create some more cutting edge products like the Apple iPhone, right?

After all, Apple iPhones were one of the most wildly successful American technological innovations of the past decade.  Surely this is the kind of innovation that Obama would like to see more of.

Well, do you know where Apple iPhones are made?

Apple iPhones are manufactured in China by workers making about 293 dollars a month (and that was after a big raise).

But it isn’t just the Apple iPhone that is made overseas.  The truth is that almost all high technology products are made outside of the United States.

In 2008, 1.2 billion cellphones were sold worldwide.  So how many of them were manufactured inside the United States?  Zero.

Ouch.

Not only that, another fact to note is that manufacturing employment in the U.S. computer industry was actually lower in 2010 than it was in 1975.

So exactly how is more “innovation” going to produce millions of U.S. jobs if all of the high tech manufacturing continues to be shipped out of the United States?

Empty Promise #2: America Will “Out-Educate” The Rest Of The World And This Will Create More Jobs

For decades, U.S. presidents have promised that “education” is the key to competing with the rest of the world.

Okay, if suddenly every single person in the United States had an extra college degree, would that mean that more jobs would suddenly start popping into existence?

Of course not.

Right now, we can’t produce enough nearly enough jobs for all of the college graduates that we already have.

Sadly, the truth is that we are already experiencing an epidemic of unemployment among our college graduates.  According to the Project on Student Debt, unemployment for new college graduates stood at 8.7 percent in 2009, which was way up from 5.8 percent in 2008.

But that is not the whole story.

Millions of college graduates that have been able to find jobs have ended up taking jobs that they didn’t even need a college education for.  The “underemployment rate” among college graduates is absolutely exploding.

In 1992, there were just 5.1 million “underemployed” college graduates in the United States, but by 2008 there were 17 million “underemployed” college graduates in the United States.

Many of our brightest young minds are now flipping burgers, waiting tables and welcoming people to Wal-Mart.

In fact, in the United States today 317,000 waiters and waitresses have college degrees.

Oh, but certainly the answer is to get more Americans to go to college, right?

It certainly sounds good in a speech for a politician to say that “more education” is the answer, but in the end all it amounts to is a hollow promise.

Getting more Americans to go to college will not create any more jobs, but it will create more debt.  Americans now owe more than $884 billion on student loans, which is more than the total amount that Americans owe on their credit cards.

Empty Promise #3: America Will “Out-Build” The Rest Of The World And This Will Create More Jobs

So Barack Obama says that we are going to “out-build” the rest of the world?

Well, that certainly sounds good.

But what exactly does that mean?

Does it mean that we are going to quit shutting down our factories and tearing down our economic infrastructure?

After all, over 42,000 U.S. factories have closed down for good since 2001.

So is Obama going to do something to stop the flood of jobs and factories that are leaving the United States?

No, in fact he intends to “increase” trade with countries such as China and India.  That is going to mean that thousands more factories and millions more jobs are going to be “outsourced”.

Well, what about building up infrastructure such as roads, bridges, power grids, dams and ports?

That is certainly a very good idea.

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, we need to spend approximately $2.2 trillion on infrastructure repairs and upgrades just to bring our existing infrastructure up to “good condition”.

So we desperately need some investment in that area.

But there is a big problem.

We are flat broke.

As will be discussed below, the U.S. government is flat broke.  Not only that, our state governments are flat broke and our local governments are flat broke.

So where will the trillions of dollars that we need for infrastructure come from?

Obama did not even come close to answering that question.

Empty Promise #4: America Will Become “The Best Place In The World To Do Business” And This Will Create More Jobs

It was incredible that Barack Obama could suggest that America is “the best place in the world to do business” with a straight face.

First of all, when you consider all forms of taxation, U.S. businesses face one of the most oppressive taxation regimes in the entire world.

But not only that, U.S. businesses also have to deal with one of the most horrific regulatory environments in the history of mankind.

As I have written about previously, the mountains of red tape that U.S. businesses have to wade through just continues to grow every single year.

The Federal Register is the main source of regulations for U.S. government agencies.  In 1936, the number of pages in the Federal Register was about 2,600.  Today, the Federal Register is over 80,000 pages long.

So is Barack Obama going to do anything about that?

Of course not.

In fact, Barack Obama and the Democrats have been really busy passing even more ridiculous regulations.

For example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is projecting that the food service industry will have to spend an additional 14 million hours every single year just to comply with new federal regulations that mandate that all vending machine operators and chain restaurants must label all products that they sell with a calorie count in a location visible to the consumer.

Empty Promise #5: Barack Obama Pledges To “Take Responsibility” For Our Deficit Spending

During Barack Obama’s first two years in office, the U.S. government added more to the U.S. national debt than the first 100 U.S. Congresses combined.

In fact, since Barack Obama took office, the U.S. government has gotten us into so much new debt that it breaks down to $10,429.64 for each of the 308,745,538 people counted by the 2010 U.S. census.

So is that “taking responsibility” for our deficit spending?

When Barack Obama took office, the U.S. national debt was 10.6 trillion dollars.

Today it is over 14 trillion dollars.

Government debt is absolutely out of control.  At this point, the U.S. national debt is increasing by roughly 4 billion dollars every single day.

If all of this debt is not brought under control, it will bring down the entire U.S. financial system.  According to a recent U.S. Treasury report to Congress, the U.S. national debt will reach 19.6 trillion dollars in 2015.

Can you imagine being 20 trillion dollars in debt?

That is 20,000,000,000,000 dollars.

So it would be really great if Barack Obama could do something about all of this debt, but based on his track record perhaps we should not be holding our breath.

Not that Obama is to blame for all of this.

The sad reality is that both parties have been involved in a massive debt orgy for decades and decades.  Now the day of reckoning is almost here and it is going to be incredibly painful.

We are in so much trouble that it is hard to even try to put it into words.  None of our politicians are telling us the whole truth.  We are headed for a complete and total disaster.

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