The Beginning Of The End
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Christmas Stories

If you and your family are blessed and prosperous this holiday season, you should consider yourself to be very fortunate, because there are tens of millions of other Americans that are desperately hanging on by their fingernails.  The Christmas stories that you are going to read below aren’t going to give you any warm fuzzies.  They aren’t about “Santa Claus” sliding down the chimney to leave huge piles of presents around the tree.  Rather, they are representative of what so many American families are feeling this holiday season – horrible, suffocating, soul-crushing despair.  As you and your family gather around the holiday tree on December 25th, millions of other Americans will be facing a Christmas with absolutely no gifts.  As you and your family dig into a delicious holiday meal, millions of other Americans will be breaking out the meager supplies they picked up at the food bank or that their food stamps have enabled them to purchase.  As you and your family tell stories around the fire, millions of other Americans will literally sit shivering in their own homes because they have no money to heat them.  The stories of those who are suffering so deeply very rarely get put on television, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t very real.

The truth is that there are millions upon millions of American families that have been pushed to the edge of despair by the lack of jobs.  In August 2009, only 10 percent of the unemployed had been out of work for 2 years or longer.  Today that number is up to 35 percent.

One very disturbing sign of the times is that many churches are now holding “blue Christmas” services to comfort those who are going through hard times.  Back during the “good times” such a thing would have been unimaginable, but now they are being held from coast to coast.

All over the nation, food banks, aid agencies and homeless shelters find themselves absolutely overwhelmed this winter.  Connie Lassandro, Nassau County’s director of Housing and Homeless Services, recently was quoted in the Huffington Post as saying that she has never seen a greater demand for her agency’s services….

“The new faces we’re seeing are families who have never before faced the risk of actually being homeless. Children don’t understand. ‘Where’s my bedroom? Where’s my toys? Where are my friends?'”

Sadly, the truth is that the U.S. economy no longer produces even close to enough jobs for everyone, so somebody is going to suffer.  Today, there are over 6 million Americans that have been unemployed for half a year or longer.  It can be really easy to quote economic statistics such as this, but sometimes what gets lost in all the numbers are the very real stories of the people that are actually living through all of this.  This year there are literally millions of American families that have sad Christmas stories to share.

On The American Dream blog, a reader of my column identified as “momma loses hope” recently left a comment in which she really opened up and shared her story with us. Sadly, her story is so similar to what so many millions of other young American families are going through this holiday season….

While my husband has experience, and an education, he is yet to find and keep a job that is worth anything, that would be possible to pay back these $400/mnth loans on deferment, let alone keep us going barely.

Despite his greatest effort and attempts, to locate work that would pay anything over $10 an hour in the field he trained for, or some cross over skills in another profession, still nothing has been happening beyond numerous and then dwindling interviews in the last 2 years.

He is currently working at a $10/hr people mill that has outrageous expectations that are near impossible to meet, just to keep your job. Much of what you are supposed to control, is not within your control! That was after having lost unemployment due to its exhaustion, where we had nothing coming in for 30 days. He found this job and went through training. We were thankful to have anything coming in, but it is not going well. Half of his training class is gone either bc they quit or were fired. We are finding out this is the normal for this business.

Prior to the unemployment of 99 weeks, he had a great new job. $60 k a year was good from having some on the job experience at another job prior to that which was an internship, he got. So this was a good option for a chance out of school. They were content with his level of experience of 3- 4 years in IT w/ the hands on education and internship. We moved to relocate for this job 2500 miles away and then he was let go 6 months later, after he was able to clean up a bunch of unresolved problems for them. They wanted someone with 10 years of experience, all the sudden, despite they knew his skill level! Anyhow, the network was held together with tape and bubble gum. So long “best practice” theory.

I guess they had been left in the lurch bc someone left without notice, they advertised for help for months even out of state, and then they hired my husband to fill the desperate gap. Then they didn’t want to keep shelling out the money to keep him. Used him and turned us away, like no big deal; They fired him after 6 months, after we spent all our savings to move to another state… That is when we went on unemployment, and hubby returned for more education, while still looking for a job too.

We moved back home confused as could be. We were helpful that something would come along back home. Things only got worse for the prospect of careers being offered.

I was hoping they were going to improve, but no they have not. We are dying here. But that is not the end of our troubles.

Last year my husband got a $10 a hour job, got H1N1 and Dble Pneumonia and went to the hospital for 14 days or whatever. He was fired by Stream for not being in training and they refused to place him in another training class when he got out the ICU. Then we were left with over $10,000 ( the other $90 grand was forgiven) and we have collectors after us. We survive day by day, we don’t have anything extra to pay anyone or anything….

So, we don’t have any savings,( we used it to relocate to gain employment as I already mentioned) & we have needed things bc we have a baby coming. We haven’t made it long enough to get anything else saved up to rely on, bc unemployment doesn’t pay you what you were making at your job. The unemployment is gone and there is none left, if he loses this job. We don’t qualify for anymore student loans at this stage. This job is shaky at best and these people fire and lose people like there is no tomorrow, and have constant training going on. What a nightmare! We are not able to get a career in the IT Industry that he trained for and paid for with these loans. What do we do? We have a 6 year old and a baby that is on the way in 3 months.

We are so lost and without hope. We trust in Jesus, but what do we do beyond trying to get a better job? It takes effort to gain a job, but there are not enough possiblities hiring as this article states, and I testify to. All my husband does beyond going to this crap job, and playing with our son, is scouring the internet for jobs, and this has been going on for so long!….

I can’t believe this is happening again…..What is a mother and wife to do? We can’t get on track! We don’t drink or drug or sabotage ourselves and our family, and yet we cannot get on track “with the go to school and get a great job” crap I have heard my whole life. Something is broken and cannot be fixed. Sometimes we wonder why God hadn’t just taken my husband’s life when it was in peril and the rest of our family, as it would be better than dealing with this pain and unresolved heartache.

I am so scared and lonely, I could just die. My tears go unnoticed. I sit here without answers. I am one of millions going through the same thing.

Can you imagine being in such a situation?  What is perhaps saddest of all is what this economy is doing to so many children.  According to one recent study, approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010 – the highest rate in 20 years.

Poverty is absolutely exploding all over the United States.  The number of Americans living in poverty has increased for three consecutive years, and the 43.6 million poor Americans in 2009 was the highest number that the U.S. Census Bureau has ever recorded in 51 years of record-keeping.

So, no, this Christmas is not “a season of joy” for many Americans.  For example, a commenter on the Unemployed-Friends website identified only as “jobless_in_MA” says that her holidays are going to be quite depressing since she has been out of work for 2 Christmases in a row now….

Well, this is now my 2nd Holiday season in a row being jobless, and this year seems far bleaker than last years. Ive always been the type to love this time of they year. I would look forward to it. I was always the one in the family who would be the great gift giver, especially to the younger members of my family.

Last year I was REALLY upset because I couldn’t do 1/4 of what I normally would do, but still managed to enjoy the season. Im not so sure about it this year.

A lot has happened to my situation in the past year, Ive lost my place, filed bankruptcy, lost some of my dignity, and my marriage is on the rocks.

I am NOT in the holiday season at all, and its really bringing me down.

Usually around now we would be talking about getting a tree. Sometimes we would cut our own tree down, and decorate it together.

We would always have a family holiday party at our place, and I don’t see that happening this year at all.

Yes, every year there are some Americans that are “down and out”, but it is undeniable that the number of Americans that are suffering extreme economic pain has absolutely skyrocketed in recent years.  Today, one out of every six Americans is now enrolled in a federal anti-poverty program.  As 2007 began, “only” 26 million Americans were on food stamps, but now 42 million Americans are enrolled in the food stamp program and that number keeps rising every single month.

Sadly, there are millions upon millions of Americans that do have jobs and yet barely find themselves able to hang in there.  Many Americans have been forced to grab whatever job they can find.  In fact, the number of Americans working part-time jobs “for economic reasons” is now the highest it has been in at least five decades.

It is becoming increasingly more difficult to make a living in the United States.  Today, half of all American workers earn $505 or less per week.

Could your family get by on $505 per week?

That is something to really think about.

So is anyone doing well?

Well, the only group that saw their household incomes increase in 2009 was those making $180,000 or more.

Not that being wealthy is a bad thing, but what that statistic shows is that the middle class in America is being wiped out.

We are seeing this in community after community across the nation.  A reader of this column identified as “Bibi” recently left a comment that did a great job of describing the economic decline and economic despair that we are now seeing all across America….

I have recently traveled from coast to coast and then some. This is a synopsis of what is really going on. Californians seem to be in lalaland. Look good and spend money, lots of it that you don’t have. LA has become very dangerous. Police will knock on your van if you stop to rest with a coffee even if you are at a convenience store. It is illegal to sleep in your vehicle and you will be arrested. Las Vegas is full of poor and homeless wandering around aimlessly. Tent cities and blocks of people living on the streets. dirty and super dangerous. The decline is in your face. Police and security presence are at ‘ad nauseum’ levels. AZ and NM are ****holes. My family refused to get out of the van in Albuquerque. Sedona is still nice but its surrondings make it on borrowed time. Little artsy towns will be taken over quickly when TSHTF. The only city I went to in TX was Amarillo. Didn’t see much but it looked seedy and dirty along the highway. OKlahoma- ***. If I didn’t stay on a military base, I would have broke the speed limit to get through it. The thought of getting gas in Little Rock still gives me nightmares. Enough said. AK- Lots of boarded up towns. Saw this all along Route 40. TN- Stay away from Memphis if you want to live. Nashville is the craziest city I have ever seen. Everyone acts like they are on speed. When you get around Pigeon Forge, Maggie Valley and Gatlinburg, you see the true beauty of this state but they are tourist traps. W. VA is beautiful, but the people are very backward. I could live in Northern W. VA. East coast- VA. Beach has been in decline and was just dubbed the “most drunken city in the U.S.” They must be proud. Lots of trouble here. Big police presence. Took 10 minutes for me to get questioned about my out-of- state plates. N&S Carolina- Bigger cities are dangerous, especially Columbia, SC. Big police presence. Baltimore- be afraid, be very afraid. Keep going. NJ- Something like a horror movie. Do people really live here? Scary and smelly. NYC- Was advised by thruway attendent to “keep going and don’t stop” Overturned cars, tons of high rise ghettos, not a safe place. I was terrified my van would break down. Albany, NY.- my destination. Ghettopolis. Stopped by police within minutes as to why I was driving in city so late. ? Informed it was not safe. Stopped again the next day regarding my plates at a police check. They threatened to tow my van because my “license didn’t come up”. [he was holding it] Stopped again for seatbelt violation. I always wear it but he said he couldn’t see it. Am I imagining it or did I really see National Guard walking around with rifles? Well, I promply left NYS and will never go back. The Florida panhandle is far from perfect and has an ever expanding police force, but it is quiet. Not safe, but quiet.

Once upon a time, there were a few cities and towns around the U.S. that were obviously in a state of decline, but now it is happening everywhere.

In fact, there are many areas throughout the country that scream “economic despair” the moment you drive into them.  It is almost as if someone has sucked the life right out of them.

So why is this happening?  Well, as I recently pointed out, America’s economic pie is rapidly shrinking.  As our national wealth continues to be destroyed, even more American families are going to suffer.

For decades we have enjoyed a debt-fueled binge of prosperity that was unlike anything the world has ever seen.  But now the day of reckoning is fast approaching and things are going to get even worse.

So if you are doing really well this holiday season, be thankful, because next year it may be you that has the sad Christmas story.

  • Greg Pinelli

    It’s becoming an America few would recognize if they came out of their bubble land lives. Many borrowed too much..spent more..and expected the moon….and that includes the criminal financial institutions that held this country up under the fear of “collapse!!” The reality they now face..except those who are politically connected..is brutal.

  • John O’Neill

    Perhaps my wife and I could fall into the category of being blessed and prosperous this holiday season, but actually, we’re not. Although we do not have financial worries, we do see the light at the end of the tunnel; however, there’s a big problem – the light at the end of the tunnel is not the sun, it’s a freight train coming right at us. We share the despair of the stories above and know that it could happen to ALL of us. Americans and people around the world have the most powerful tool on the planet and that is to say no to the current system. I know it won’t happen, but if the whole world turned off their TV’s, we could rebound almost overnight, but no, many will scoff at such a statement. The problem is it it’s true. People of this planet have been bamboozled by the culture creationists of mainstream media, more importantly – Hollywood. We need to say no to their false culture and create our own. Unfortunately, 95% of the people on this planet will never see or learn this truth. Too bad. Too bad indeed.

  • Jak Assa

    We must support (and spread the word about) the National Emergency Employment Defense Act (NEED). It is HR 6550, introduced on 12-17-2010 by Rep. Dennis Kusinich (D, OH). Among other things NEED proposes to end the private money issuance in the U.S., to reconstitute the Fed Reserve under the Dept of the Treasury and have the government create the money of the nation interest free. $53 trillion of total public and private debt to the banking system is enough. Put it under bankruptcy reorganization … Grassroots movement is needed to pull America out of the rotten monetary swamp she is in …

  • Jak

    … Direct federal government money creation means that the country will finally be able to deal with is crumbling infrastructure … Note that $1 billion invested in infrastructure create 25,000 middle class jobs (average wage $40,000). These jobs cannot be outsourced to other countries.
    Federal money issuance will also address the gap between the GDP (cir $14-15 trillion) and the nation’s combined purchasing power (cir $10- 11 trillion) by paying “national dividend” to the population (estimated at $12,500 per adult and half of that per child) … We may ridicule these proposals as much as we please, but the “hour is late” and we have not much choice … Forget the “-isms” …

  • Johnson

    Bibi’s first person observations were very interesting.

    They paint a bleak picture, much different than the regular MSM stories of shoppers flocking to the malls to stock up on shiny new geegaws this season, the drop in unemployment claims (“only” 420,000 new claims for unemployment this week!) or the wonderful outlook for Wall Street and stocks come 2011.

    We need to see more MSM coverage of Bibi’s America! But then that would not be helpful for optimism or advertising dollars.

  • http://www.povertylinejournal.blogspot.com/ the optimist

    It’s truly frightening to be in those categories: with lack of heat (temporarily remedied with donated firewood), food from the local food bank (open only twice a week and available only 6x a year to individuals!), electricity in winter-deferred shutoff status, and close to foreclosure, but that’s where I find myself. Unless you’ve experienced this, you can not begin to imagine what its like. No job prospects at all…what the hell is happening in this country??? How can our leaders LET this happen?

    I really felt hopeful when Obama got elected, but feel pretty let down now. I don’t think he understands how to fix the economy. We need to recreate the WPA and CCC. This got millions of people working back in the first great depression. Politically, I guess that’s too unpopular, right? So the alternative of millions more folks on the streets is better??

  • SC

    It was 2 years ago that I walked away from my cushy IT job at a university and said enough is enough. Enough materialism, enough trying to keep up with the latest Xbox game and gadget, enough of chasing happiness with hand over fist money earned by selling a small piece of my soul every day for 7 years. The same for my wife and her IT job across the street at the technical institute as webmaster. ~$70k/yr between us, we simply walked away.

    We had not saved a mountain of money nor actually had a safety net to fall back on. We had just enough to move away and put $1000 down on a piece of land.

    We pared our bills down, had to have a car repossessed. Bought an old truck used for $900 and when all was said and done managed to get our monthly living expenses from $4500/mo down to $900/mo.

    We set up a DBA, for free at the country court house and peddle our web development skills for work but sometimes I am a helper on construction sites and sometimes we are simply Ramen broke. There is always something to do if you look honestly, talk to friends and just do the thing you really enjoy doing.

    We are building a house with our own hands, paid for as we do it, a few hundred dollars at a time. We had our first garden this year and will have an even bigger one next year.

    I am glad the burden of the money is gone, I revel in the independence. I wake up when I want, I work when I want and to be honest, I would never take a “job” again if it was laid at my feet.

    Back to basics. Back to the earth, back to personal responsibility, back to what is real..and to me.. in retrospect of 30 years slaving away for someone else, it was all a bad dream until I walked away from it.. 2 years ago.

  • mondobeyondo

    Merry Christmas, everybody!

    And as Tiny Tim would say:
    “God help us, every one!”

  • mondobeyondo

    “Oh come, all ye sheeple,
    Faithful and obedient,
    Oh come ye, oh come ye
    to Washington…”

  • Bibi

    We are at the point where wishing someone a Happy New Year sounds like an oxymoron…..

  • john

    One of the reasons our last Depression lasted so long was because the people gave up hope. We must all remember that what doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger. It should be obvious by now that nothing will change by hiring new politicians.How is it that 545 people are controlling over 300 million? Are we all that “indoctrinated”? We all must “unlearn” many things. Knowledge is power, but only when it’s combined with action.

  • Laura

    Jak: thanks for posting that information. Sounds very interesting.

  • http://www.KeepAmericaAtWork.com Virgil

    As somebody that is currently living this nightmare myself, I can totally agree with what I have read here.

    But what gets me is that our own corporations are doing this via offshoring and people don’t seem to want to grasp that.

    They want to blame this on sub prime mortgages, etc., which are merely the symptoms, not the cause.

    Apple alone has 250,000 jobs in China.
    Just imagine what that would do to our economy if they were brought back at an average salary of $50,000 per year.

    Now multiply that by the top 100 corporations.

    But wait, there are approximately 6,500 of them.

    If each has sent 250,000 jobs overseas, imagine how fast our economy would take off if those jobs were brought home to America.

    What is really sad is my research is showing me that our ancestors fought this battle before in the early 1900’s and thanks to the unions, the workers of America actually won.

    But now we are fighting this fight again and companies like apple are avoiding the sweatshop laws by sending their jobs offshore and Big Business has bought and controlled the media, so now you know longer hear about it, and dear ole Uncle Sam apparently has sold his conscience to Big Business.

    Virgil
    http://www.KeepAmericaAtWork.com

  • de Malfosse

    And Uncle Sam said, “Are there no prisons? And the work-houses; are they still in operation? Now good day gentlemen, I have wars to wage and banks to bail out for these are the institutions I support”

  • http://www.pathtoasia.com Rhea

    “Everything will work out soon.” Ahhhm…. Come on people, let’s face it, the evil mother of this mayhem comes from the government. And now, we just have to make the most of what we have. Maybe one of the worst Holiday, but still trying to be positive amidst every chaos.
    We help Americans find jobs and prosperity in Asia. Visit http://www.pathtoasia.com/jobs/ for details.

  • A Dodgy Bloke

    Wow but for the grace of god go I, my nieces dad lived and Nashville and said pretty much the same thing Bibi did. Sadly a lot of things are not being reported by the lame stream media if they where more people might wake up, or at least get ready. Mike Ruppert once said things don’t blow up they fall apart. Infrastructure, everything from bridges to communications starts to fail because there is simply no money. That hasn’t happened yet but large cities are starting to become scary places, one thing I’m seeing here is private security patrolling a part of town known to have “issues”.
    My advice is as Nicole Foss at Automatic Earth once said “Get control of the necessities of life” I would add and learn how to defend them.

  • sharonsj

    Sorry, but with the Repukes taking charge, don’t expect the cavalry. Their agenda is to keep giving away the country to big business. Actually, the Dems were doing the same thing, but on a lower level and at least the Dems occasionally threw us a bone (like more unemployment insurance).

    So the Federal gov’t is no help, and since the states are going broke, people will be worse off. Homeowners like me will be expected to pay more in property and school taxes, so foreclosures will remain high. A friend in Massachusetts, with a house and three acres, pays $8000 a year in property taxes, plus $14,000 in annual health insurance premiums. States like NY and NJ can have even higher taxes. Who can afford that, on top of all other expenses?

  • Christine

    Though my heart goes out to the woman whose family relocated for a job and then the husband was fired, became ill and has large medical debit and still no job. I could not help but notice her comment that they had a baby on the way in 3 months! What the hell are people thinking? If you can not feed yourself, you certainly do not bring another mouth to feed and to be responsible for into this world. It is time for Americans take some responsibility for themselves. The government can no longer affford to take care of you.

  • http://food stingray

    washington people just dont care

  • http://www.themidnightcafe.com MaxPower

    I have to say I have been living on less then $500 a week for years and you kinda just get used to it honestly.

  • http://www.gmail.com exusmc268

    Five years ago, when my wife and I lived in Orange County, CA, I saw the housing bubble for what it was. I knew if we did not sell and get out while the gettin’ was good, we would suffer. So, we sold our condo in 2005 for 300% of the price we paid for it and moved to Texas and paid CASH for a home. We both landed stable jobs about 18 months before the Greatest Depression started. We are very blessed and fortunate to have had the discernment to act before it was too late.

    But, as I look around today, I see very little discernment, even in Texas. When I try to open people’s eyes to the nation-crushing CORRUPTION at all levels of government and in big business, I get blank stares or I get shunned as a nut. I have stopped fellowshipping at my church recently because I can’t just smile and pretend everything is hunky-dory when the economic, legal and moral foundations of our Republic is crumbling to the ground in a smoking heap of ruin.

    From where I sit, the root cause of it all is a morally debased, apathatic and dumbed-down population. People are getting the economy and government they deserve. John Adams and George Washington warned us that the existence of our Constitutional Republic required a moral and religious citizenry, and Alexis de Tocqueville observed in 1830’s that the root of America’s success was the combination of “the notions of Christianity and Liberty.” The field of history is littered with the corpses of civilizations that thumbed their noses at the idea of transcendant moral standards. Liberty is freedom within limits, not “if it feels good do it.” Licentiousness is not liberty as the children of the 60’s would have us believe. Licentiousness on Wall Street, licentiousness in the Big Banks, licentiousness in Washington, licentiousness at all lower levels of government, licentiousness in every level of academia, licentiousness in the media, licentiousness in law enforcement,licentiousness in the churches, families, workplace.

    As an astute man has said, “Licentiousness destroys order, and when chaos ensues, the yearning for safety will destroy freedom.” This is being realized before our eyes.

    Mankind cannot solve his own problems because man is depraved. The only hope for America is a return to moral absolutes. Civilizations that reject moral absolutes will destroy themselves.

  • Kevin

    I like Dennis Kusinich. His ideas have merit. The root cause however is the evisceration of industrial capacity which is directly linked to the various free trade agreements. Those agreements have forced the workforce of the developed world to compete with virtual slave labor. The demise of Glass Stegall was the icing on the cake putting the fox in charge of the chicken coop in the banking/finance sector. The individuals that spent everything they had, went into debt and saved nothing ran their households like kids with dads credit card. I cringe when I hear 50 year old “adults” (and I have heard it from several to justify their beheavor) say proudly, “We’re good Americans in debt up to our ears, we live for today”. These people were just a catalyst to accelerate and increase the severity of the downfall.

  • pgs

    My parents (in their 70s) just drove from SC to WA (southern route thru TX, to SoCal, up the west coast), and had no problems, nor saw anything that frightened them. Not sure how “bad” it really is…

  • William

    I have an idea. Since there’s far more poor people than there are rich, let’s tax the poor and redistribute their wealth!

  • Bruce

    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/buckshot59/2010/11/12/buckshots-survival-hour
    A special guest John Walker the author of Resurrection of a Nation: Solving the Energy, Financial, & Political Crisis in America The goal of this book is to move our government, by educating America, to a place of responsible energy solutions which will produce financial and national security. It will provide a grass root opportunity for constituents to demand results from elected servants based on facts – not opinions. These facts are derived from the EIA, DOE, USGS, IPPA, NDGS, and other reputable scientific agencies, not environmental or political opinions. America is facing serious issues concerning its energy and political policies. We, as a people, have to act now to avoid further degradation of our country’s future due to special interest groups and political maneuvering that is leaving our nation crippled. It is time the truth is explored and for the masses of Americans to make intelligent decisions as to which strategic path to follow concerning its energy policies, economy, and political infrastructure. This book will be informative and should create a call to action for those who are interested in correcting our Nations energy and financial course. Get involved at the author web site http://trueresults4us.org/Home_Page.html

  • http://N/A Rodney

    Respectfully everyone is missing the point.

    It is no consulation but the demographic trends show that industrial civilisation is winding down because we are running out of cheap oil.
    Energy, economics, environment.
    This will mean higher gasoline prices.
    This will mean less productivity / jobs.
    This will mean higher food prices.

    America has had the biggest party for 50 years where people on average incomes were living in mansions with three car garages.

    I live in the United Kingdom and I live in one room 12″ x 14″.

    Visit http://www.chrismartenson.com and do the crash course.

  • Mike

    Dennis Kusinich is a petty socialist demagogue, and he isn’t going to save anyone except himself.

    The CCC did not raise America from the last depression and neither would a contemporary clone. The government did not cause our late prosperity, and it cannot restore it. When a society is morally straight, things work out.

    Meanwhile we have to work together to help all those families who are suffering.

    Pull together with your neighbors and families, America. Ever thought about just trying to serve one another in a godly and non-self-serving fashion? God is giving us a chance to separate from Babylon a little at a time before it hits the shredder.

    Alas Babylon

  • GoneWithTheWind

    John: That is incorrect. The reason our last depression lasted so long was because a socialist president was using Keynesian economics to end it. Sadly today we have a socialist president using Keynesian economics to save us. This won’t end well.

  • Peter B

    Come Down to Australia “The Lucky Country” great lifestyle , great beaches, and most of all safe!

  • mondobeyondo

    We will all pay higher and higher taxes, for fewer government services (and the quality of existing government services will fall off a cliff), because government is corrupt and rotten to the core, from top to bottom.

    Doesn’t matter which government. Federal, state, county, municipal. They’re all trying to fatten their pockets.

    Inefficiency is such an issue, you have to wonder if it’s written in the Constitution (it isn’t!) So why are there 30 people standing in line at the post office, and there’s ONE counter open serving customers?? There were 8 counters available. 7 were empty.

    Same for the state motor vehicle department. One guy actually working, and four guys standing around.

    Cut the pork!! That would be a start. With any luck, we’ll have a balanced budget by 2493.

  • David

    The dark future for America could be ahead. This is a great article! please go to this site!

    http://www.businessinsider.com/lynn-tilton-dark-days-2010-7

  • Dennis

    The question of course is about power. The poor are essentially powerless to affectuate any significant change.

  • CJFYuma

    I’m sad to inform every decent, hard-working, God-fearing American, that “Hope” for America has disappeared this Holiday Season. Collectively, we are a morally bankrupt nation, presently under God’s judgement and anger. God is very angry at our nation, because we continue to overturn His moral laws, and Commandments, in every facet of life – socially, politically, & economically. God has given us enough time to ultimately condemn ourselves, and we have sorrowfully done so.

    Our “leaders” still are constantly spitting in God’s face. Here are some examples of Obama’s “Hope” gifts this season for our country: homosexuals allowed to serve in combat, enormous fiscal deficits left for future generations to pay for, federal funding of abortion, devaluation of our money which, hypocritically still reads “In God We Trust”, rising interest rates on loans (not savings), making it more unaffordable to finance houses, or just about any worthy investment besides the cheap, communist Chinese crap in WalMart, 10% unemployment (official #, Ha-Ha!), $3.00+/gal gas, skyrocketing food prices, START Treaty with atheist Russia/Putin to weaken our military deterrence, wasteful “stimulus” spending which was the most corrupt transfer of wealth in US history. Shall I list more? There’s plenty more!

    We have allowed ourselves to be governed by the most morally corrupt politicians and financiers in the history of this once, great nation. They are hell-bent to destroy what good is left in the country (not much)very quickly – before our “benevolent leader” leaves office in 2013, while enriching themselves at your expense.

    Have I shed some “light” on why there is so much human suffering in America now? Everyone – rich and poor alike, employed & unemployed – who remains in America during this time of spiritual judgement, will not escape the suffering to come upon this nation. Good folks, I’m sorry to say that our troubles are only going to multiply into the New Year. Prepare yourselves accordingly.

  • Bruce

    David good post thank you my favorite comment over there said” What a bad time not to have a trust fund.” LOL

  • Jeremiah

    I just now saw on the CBS Evening news (mainstream media of course) that holiday spending is the largest since 2007. Is this the lull before the storm or what? How can people be spending like drunken sailors again since there are no jobs out there?

    Michael, can you offer some perspective? What is really going on?

  • Michael

    Like one of the people in this column, I had an IT job, too. That was destroyed by globalism. I retrained to become an EMT(Emergency Medical Technician) 6 months ago, but cannot find work. I applied at every county in N.CA, and also several outside it. From what the HR peope told me, there are hundreds of applicants at every county, and they don’t even have any positions open. Just a bunch of desperate people waiting for something to open up.

    At least I have no debt and have the option of living with my mom or my girlfriend’s family. Things are bad for me, but they could be a whole lot worse….

  • mondobeyondo

    The general consensus that the average American gets from watching Katie, Brian and Diane on the evening network news (and also the geniuses and wizards at CNN, MSNBC, Fox, etc.) is:

    1. The recession is over. It ended in July 2009.
    2. Pre-Christmas sales are the best in 4 years.
    3. Unemployment claims are dropping.
    4. The economy is recovering. It’s just a jobless recovery.
    5. Jobs are coming back!
    6. 2011 will be the best year economically in half a decade.
    7. You are stupid if you don’t believe any of the above.

    Hmm. I must be living on the wrong planet, cause I’m not feeling any of it. Why is what they’re saying so divergent from the reality many of us are living?

    Where does the MSM get its info? Saturn? Pluto? Somewhere in Orion?

    Remember, Time Magazine voted Ben Bernanke its Man of the Year in 2009. Maybe they know something the rest of us don’t.

  • alice

    As long as our government is borrowing trillions of dollars or printing trillions of dollars to keep us afloat, you should really just hold off on your optimism about how good things are going to be! It was announced in a city nearby in NY State, an increase of 71% in real estate taxes to prevent bankruptcy! This will force landlords to increase rents, and these tenants will move away instead of paying more rent! Those apartments will be vacated, lowering property values, rents, leaving nothing behind but a ghost town! Once everyone has left, Austerity measures will be imposed. Isn’t this all being done backwards? Severe austerity should be implemented first, so that people won’t be forced to move away! Nationwide Austerity must be implemented first, not tax increases! Austerity will effect the people running these towns, cities, counties, states, etc.. that is why they won’t implement AUSTERITY FIRST! Europe is in big trouble because they waited too long for AUSTERITY, lets not make the same mistake in the USA!

  • Ouida Gabriel

    Bibi, it is too bad that you missed out on a great town like Amarillo. If you would have taken the time to get off of the highway then you would have seen a amazing town. Texas has had the economy hit us but not like the rest of the country. We have people flocking to TX for jobs because we still have a good work force going. I read a article the other day that stated in the last decade TX population has risen 20%. We have good things here but you didn’t stop and look. You drove by. Now the question is did you drive old Route 66? That is the “poor” side of town. The crime does tend to be higher on this side of town but there are amazing people there, if you stopped to talk with them. If you were on the Interstate 40 then yes, you are going to see some seedy people. It is a major interstate with people from all over the country passing through. You are not getting a true look at Amarillo. Amarillians are wonderful people. It is a shame that you didn’t even stop and chat with someone before you gave such a negative comment.

    Ouida Gabriel

  • http://www.no2foreclosures.info David

    GD2 here we come!

    Here are my “Nine 2011 Predictions”:

    http://rense.com/general92/stdr.htm

  • http://Municipalbondmarquet Antonio Gonzalez

    But they are happy, and killing people in Irak and Afganistan singing
    Meery Christmas.

  • http://www.google.com Mike

    The desperate mom sounds like to me you need to get off your lazy but and go find a job instead of just relying on your husband to do all the work go get a job your self you can work while your kid is in school

    people need to stop being lazy and go find work and live below your means!!

  • Gary2

    And yet despite all this all the right wants is more tax cuts for the rich. Don’t make the billionaire hedge funds pay more than 15% of their “capital gains”. People, conservative republican selfish philosophy has destroyed this country. Their answer to EVERYTHING is to cut taxes on the rich. It is getting to the point that even the dumbest among us can see that this has never worked. If it worked so well then where are all the good jobs? Why are we in a depression? The rich have had low taxes for decades yet still no jobs. (I do not consider low wage walmart crap service jobs as good jobs, I do not know about you but I enjoy eating AND living indoors which are near impossible to do on low wage service jobs).

    Until the wealth of this country is spread around more evenly and fairly nothing will change.

  • Bibi

    pgs: I am truly glad your parents are safe. One can actually see nothing if your not looking for it, but when it’s in-your-face at every level, it leaves no choice but to see it. I don’t believe your elderly parents were ‘looking’ for signs of economic despair or chaos. And if they were in LA you HAVE to see it. The gangs, hookers and tons of down and out teens, homeless are everywhere. It’s a friggin freak show. All along the highways there is gang graffiti. It’s on all the trains so you constantly see it. Billboards promote sex, gambling, liquor, even safe sex homosexuality! Heck they tow around PROSTITUTE BILLBOARDS with pick up trucks in Vegas! What I saw on my trip was no less than the utter moral and physical decline in what is left of our nation. So if you are in denial why do you bother reading this site? This is definately not for the closed minded or ‘box’ types. If I could get someone to back me, I would go across America and show people the “real” deal, what is really going on. I’d start right here in the Panhandle. Closed malls, businesses, blocks of abandoned buildings. Rows of beautiful commercial properties, all mostly empty. An increase in store thefts, even thrift stores, is escalating daily. More and more women panhandlers. etc, etc…. Gas is @ 3.22 and food is not affordable. It all comes to this: WE ARE THE NEXT BIG BUBBLE……

  • Beth

    hey, I don’t want to sound like a bah humbug, but I make it on alot less than $505 a week. And 60k a year? Sheesh….thats how much I make in almost 3 years! Reality check time!

  • David

    The collapse of Euro and Eurzone will bring Financial disaster in Europe and The United State. When that happens, then we will enter into the financial Armageddon. Well,battle of Good vs Evil would begin to unfold . We have more problems to worry about as far as I am concern. We all have to be prepared for the worst to come.
    I am afraid we will see more sad stories all over.

  • Ramona

    i am in a state of cinfusion

  • LS

    Reading the comments left by someone whining about their sad situation pisses me off, frankly. I expect better from this blogsite so how about a real interview, not a comment that could have been fabricated or written on-the-fly.

    Here, we’re completely fine. We have no debt. We are self-reliant, grow our own food, and live on one income. We don’t complain — we have planned for a very long time doing without “luxuries” that many consider basics. We paid off our home in 16 yrs. We’re doing great. Why? We were both raised to work hard and be self-sufficient as much as possible. Should the one job go by-the-wayside, we would continue along. Why? Because we never bought into commercialism and the consumer-trappings that helped create the hell. The faster people get-it, the faster people will learn they must help themselves.

  • Jeremiah 10:17-25

    @Peter B:

    Have you got room for 301 million of us?

  • Beth

    Right on LS!
    I really love this site and the writings are very informative. And I’m a humanitarian, for sure, thinking collectively it hurts to know that others are hurting. But to hear about people that had 60k IT jobs that have been collecting unemployment and losing their homes…with no job prospects in sight…well; I’m one of those that has one of those $10 an hour jobs that some seem to be complaining about. Actually—at times I make alot less; but I make do.
    My home may be an older home–shabby, even, to some. But I am one year from having it paid off—took me 5 years total.
    I am paying payroll taxes and Medicare, FICA, and a nice one–unemployment security fund tax–so that so many people who would turn up their noses at my line of work can keep riding the benefits?
    Maybe $10 an hour isn’t enough to maintain their lifestyle….but was such a lifestyle realistic, let alone sustainable? I’ve said on this website before—and so have others—that jobs are available. Right now I could tell you of a local factory that is in dire need to hire 40 additional people; but I can see where people with no real, hands on, get your hands dirty work ethic would not want it.

  • a cruel accountant

    If you are offered a job at $7.25 take it! Somebody is standing right behind you ready and willing.

  • mondobeyondo

    Some people will buy any product if it were cheap enough. ANY product, from anywhere, if “The Price Is Right”. I cite Black Friday as the perfect example.

    Some of you would even buy a North Korean made toaster if it were cheap enough. That would be the ultimate height of American consumerism.

    Too bad the North Koreans don’t make toasters (aside from the nuclear weapons kind).

  • mondobeyondo

    The real top growth industries for 2011:

    1) Wal-Mart greeter
    2) McDonald’s “chef”/food professional
    3) Landscaper
    4) Wall Street/banking executive
    5) Census worker (sign up today for the 2020 Census!)
    6) Janitor/floor mopper-upper
    7) National Football League player
    8) Pop singer/star/starlet (no talent necessary)
    9) National Basketball Association player
    10) Hollywood actor/actress

    Good luck! Now go after those jobs!!

  • Just Observing

    LS:

    Similar story here. When I’m told how “lucky” we are, I usually reply “yeah…..the harder I work, the luckier I seem to get”.

  • C

    I would love a guaranteed job of $505 a week, in the area I most desire to live, somewhere in the middle of nowhere, where the air is clean, water clean, and good dirt. Not many places like that left. I take home twice that now but I have to stay where I’m at (in the dirty stinky polluted city), because it’s steady employment and that’s where the money is at. I hear lots of these kinds of stories, I always find a woman, or family involved in it. I don’t know who thinks they can afford a family in this mess of a country but go for it man. I won’t even date the fickle women of today’s feminist society, they are either to smart or to dumb for their own good. As you see more and more women put into leadership roles and put in charge of the family, watch the decline of America.

  • goodgrief

    LS [or should it be LDS?] It takes a lot of nerve to talk down your fellow americans. And your first paragraph indicates you are a moron. What ‘interview’? From looking at the pic I highly suspect you are Mormon and probably live in Utah. They all sound like you. If not, consider it. You would fit right in.

  • cynical

    Why is the woman in the first anecdote having more kids when they can’t even take care of themselves? I lose a lot of sympathy when I see that.

  • Bruce

    LS What a great comment thank you so refreshing to see people that really get it. I get so tired of the welfare Queen Gary acting like a spoiled brat singing tax the rich line ignoring the truth.

  • Mark

    Americans should organize in communities, move out to the countryside and become self-sufficient, like in the old days.

    Ignore the corporate whores, bring the DC liars and criminals to justice (they did 9/11 and this economic collapse). Then build the country back up again.

    There is no other way. The jobs aren’t coming back.

  • David

    I dont know if millions will be suffering badly this Christmas(as in starvation for millions),because somehow so many in America are living off food stamps and welfare still to this day.But God knows when this big bang or big collapse or whatever it is that occurs,actually will happen! Because I have no idea how America is still functioning with so much monster sized debt running in the trillions and trillions! How it hasnt already collapsed I dont know,maybe in 2011 it will! I am preparing for the same to happen here in Australia,with this Communist Julia Gillard running the country and borrowing $100,000,000 every day! CHINA IS COMING FOR US ALL!

  • Franz

    Fine question near end of article:

    “So why is this happening?”

    I was a steelworker in the 70s-80s-90s and quite a few of us TOLD anyone who would listen that this was going to happen.

    The people are not to blame.

    The “free-trade” job exporters told everyone while Jimmy Carter was still president that Americans were going to “Work harder and make less money” under the new free trade rules. And so we are. Those few who are even working.

    We told Washington: Send jobs to Bangalore, watch Boston go bust. (And Pitsburgh, Detroit, Birmingham…) Washington cooked numbers and said everything would be fine. No it wasn’t.

    This is a technical problem. Everyone wants to see it as moral and philisophical. But the last generation has proved that, where industry is concerned, trade is a zero-sum game. Either the US invests and re-industrializes, or spread the land around and go back to subsistance farming. One or the other. God is not the issue. The rules of history are, and every nation that deindustrializes goes bust.

    Now the wife and I have pensions that cover nothing much, jobs that are iffy, and the rest of the country about to fall in. The fat cats knew this was coming from the start. They told us.

  • Tim

    What does this have to do with Christmas? This is the economy we have been in for years. Christians want the whole world forced into their narrow beliefs.

    Hungry kids are sad everyday.

  • khyeron

    By all that is rotten in Denmark! Gary2 is right! Lets screw the same people who got pissed off when your ilk voted to rob them last time, and sent “your” jobs (which they created) to other places where those jobs were appreciated rather than taken for granted.

    I quit the job life long ago, and have often had to live without the things I love. However, the whole family, almost 3 generations and going lives together. I’m as unreligious and disgusted with the state religions of the world as the next guy. I am proficient in about 6 different trades, and adding one every 3 years or so. Why? Because it gives me a hobby… learning, that is. Instead of whining that those who inherited wealth or earned it, still have it, you should learn to build your own.

    Look at Trader Joe’s. Sure, its an upscale fancy store, but they treat their employees well. Their employees treat their customers well. I continue to buy certain groceries there because A) there’s no nasty chemicals on their labels, B) the store policies and the customer service is the best in my area and C) some of the prices are as good if not better than the benzine dealers in my area (kroger, farm fresh, food lion, giant, etc) where the employees look tired, underpaid and aren’t very helpful, or friendly. Perhaps there’s a lesson for you there. Work for those who treat you well, shop with those who treat you well. Give value for value and you’ll get some. Don’t EXPECT good treatment if you deal with scum. You won’t get it.

    And stop expecting the government to rob Peter to pay Paul. This is why those people who created the jobs you covet TOOK THEM AWAY. It is their ball, and they don’t have to give it to you, Gary2, you little communist shill.

    As the son of a business owner who was retired by a series of debilitating strokes amidst his employees voting to tax him more (while he fought tooth and nail and heart attack to save the rotten bastards and keep them employed), I can say most of you are getting your just deserts. My dad lost his home to try to keep lousy ingrates like you under their roofs. Those of you advocating more of the same aren’t even worthy of being called animals. Even animals stop breeding when the food supply starts to dwindle. They save up body fat to survive instead of whining for mercy. Why can’t you think even as much as a common dog?

    ****************************************************************

    Meanwhile I got my education years ago, learned several trades and still refuse to overbreed my means of feeding my offspring, because, unlike so many others, I choose not to be a parasite upon those the state chooses to rob. So that would make me a man, rather than a humanoid parasite. Amazing, isn’t it? Instead of creating your own local economies, businesses and value creation, you expect, nay, DEMAND that the government rip someone else off who might still have something.

    As many a thinker has said, “problems cannot be resolved by the same level of thinking that created them in the first place.” Until you give up theft, tyranny and irresponsibility, you will forever get the same damn results. And those of us who used to bust our asses and family holdings to save yours, are tired, or our parents who cared are retired. And their offspring, who watched it… despise you. Rightfully so. You have to earn the love of your fellow man, not beg for it. Do something I want for me, and I’ll do something you want in exchange. That’s how it works. Try to rob me and I’ll stop making it. Next year you get to starve. That’s how it works.

  • Jeremiah

    @Franz:
    I hear rumor that pensions, IRA’s and 401K’s may be looted soon to pay the interest owed on the national debt. The gov’t will cry that they need the money or else…. In exchange, you would get a (worthless) IOU from Uncle Sam, who has no money to meet obligations/promises, including Social Security. I also hear that if you refuse to roll your pensions, etc., into the “shiny, new system”, your funds would no longer be sheltered from tax, meaning that you would owe taxes and penalties and then some. You would probably lose 60% of the value immediately. Some economists are recommending that people cash in their retirement programs before they are taken.

  • Chester

    alice

    “Europe is in big trouble because they waited too long for AUSTERITY, lets not make the same mistake in the USA!”

    Are you kidding ? Austerity to save the banks and the big corporations ? No, thank you. In Europe we are in austerity for years and the more we get into austerity, the more the state is in debt and the less job we have.

    Europe is in big trouble because it followed the globalized american system throught the EU. All our industries are in China and the big corporations bought all our services.

  • http://www.mat-rodina.blogspot.com Stanislav

    Folks , as I have said before, for those with skills, your best option is immigration to countries which are growing: India, Taiwan, Australia, Russia, New Zealand, Germany, and such. Be the first in, before tens of millions of your fellow countrymen finally get over their fear of foreign places and run for the border themselves…..that is, if your government will still have open borders.

  • Flem

    If you want to make things better? STOP BREEDING!!!! There’s not enough for the ones that are here already. I’m not kidding. STOP BREEDING!!!

  • http://nashvilletnhomesonline.com Nashville Homes For Sale

    Sad sad stuff. It is almost as if we have been dealing and hearing with the economic crisis for so long that we have become immune or worse yet complacent to it. There are still so many people out there in bad shape, more than in a long time.

  • walt235

    There is A LOT of abuse at all levels of government handouts. It needs to come to a screeching halt. Why should the government subsidize bastardy and laziness. If you can’t afford to have a baby, you shouldn’t be able to have one!

  • catherine

    Well, Stanislav…I Agree with you on the one hand…if there are no jobs where you are, go where the jobs are. BUT…unfortunately, other countries are not as stupid as the US has become. They do not allow outsiders to waltz in and get jobs just any old tuesday. To immigrate to new zealand…you must bring with you large chunks of cash, start a business that employs the locals (NOT the local american expats…the local new zelanders), pass a physical, be within certain age range and pass a criminal and credit check. Short of fulfilling any of these requirements, you can get a vistor visa for a short period of time. Unlike the US they will put your butt in jail if you stay longer than your visa says you can. Australia is similarly strict on immigration. We are the only country on the planet that allows assholes to walk across the border and immediately get free housing, free medical, free education and food stamps.

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