The Beginning Of The End
The Beginning Of The End By Michael T. Snyder - Kindle Version

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Madness: 39 Things That Are Driving Ordinary Americans Absolutely Crazy

Have you noticed that almost everyone seems really angry these days?  Frustration with the government and with most of the other major institutions in our society seems to grow by the day.  According to a brand new ABC News/Washington Post poll, 80 percent of Americans say that they are either dissatisfied or angry with the government.  Americans are deeply divided about what the solutions to our problems are, but what almost everyone can agree on is that our problems are getting worse.  Watching all of the madness that is going on in Washington D.C. and in our state capitals is almost enough to drive anyone absolutely crazy.  Our nation is drowning in an ocean of debt, jobs are being shipped overseas at an alarming rate, thousands of stores are closing, poverty is exploding, greed has become a national pastime and corruption is seemingly everywhere.  The American people are incredibly frustrated because the vast majority of our "leaders" appear to be too incompetent or too corrupt to deal with our problems.

If you visit just about any website on the Internet that deals with politics or the economy and spend some time reading the comments that people leave you will quickly see how angry people are becoming.  A lot of times people have no other outlets for the intense frustration that they are feeling and so they just let it all come out online.  Yes, Americans have always complained about the government, but the madness that we are seeing today is really unprecedented in modern U.S. history.  Something has fundamentally changed.

The U.S. government and most of our other major societal institutions are rapidly losing the faith of the American people.  But society cannot function without trust.

So what is going to happen once all of the trust is gone?

The following are 39 things that are driving ordinary Americans absolutely crazy right now....

#1 According to Newsweek, close to one out of every five American men between the ages of 25 and 54 does not have a job at the moment.  So why is the "greatest economy on earth" unable to provide jobs for nearly 20 percent of the men that are in their prime working years?

#2 Last year, over a million homes were repossessed by financial institutions.  This year a similar number of repossessions is expected.  Sometimes these evictions are absolutely heartbreaking.  Just check out the following excerpt from a recent Newsweek article....

To understand American anger, that roiling storm sometimes dubbed our national “mood,” spend a day with Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. Since 2006 the unlikely lawman—a tea drinker who listens to Bobby Kennedy speeches on his way to work—has overseen all foreclosures and evictions in the Chicago area, one of the hardest hit nationwide. The process does not always go well. One evictee shot himself in the head, remained conscious, and calmly tried to raise the pistol again as deputies battered the front door.

#3 Companies like Netflix and Chipotle are significantly raising prices.  Meanwhile, Ben Bernanke claims that there is hardly any inflation.  He must not go grocery shopping much.

#4 The government keeps telling us that the economy is improving, and yet more stores keep closing.  The Gap has announced that up to 200 stores will be closed over the next two years.  Perkins has announced that they will be closing 58 restaurants.  Borders has announced that they will be shutting down their remaining 399 stores and that 10,700 employees will lose their jobs.  Yes, the economy is really buzzing right now.

#5 Government services all over the nation are being cut back.  An atmosphere of austerity has descended on the entire country.  For example, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe says that we may soon have to say goodbye to Saturday mail delivery.

#6 Many broke public school systems are now charging parents lots of money for things that used to be free.  The Wall Street Journal says that one family in Ohio has to shell out over $4,000 a year for basic school activities....

Budget shortfalls have prompted Medina Senior High to impose fees on students who enroll in many academic classes and extracurricular activities. The Dombis had to pay to register their children for basic courses such as Spanish I and Earth Sciences, to get them into graded electives such as band, and to allow them to run cross-country and track. The family's total tab for a year of public education: $4,446.50.

#7 The Federal Reserve gets to give out tens of billions of dollars of nearly interest-free loans to their bankster friends while tens of millions of American families desperately try to survive an economic downturn that was caused by those same banksters.

#8 We have gotten ourselves into a position where we are in so much debt to China that we have to constantly be concerned about how they feel about our financial status.  Earlier this week, one top Chinese official urged the U.S. government to do something to boost confidence in the U.S. dollar and in U.S. government debt....

"We hope the U.S. government will take responsible policies and measures to boost global financial market confidence and respect and protect the interests of investors."

#9 The national debt continues to spiral out of control and our politicians seem unwilling to do anything serious about it.  If you combine all sources of income, it is estimated that LeBron James makes about 42 million dollars a year.  If he continued to make money at that rate, it would take him 23,809 years to make a trillion dollars.  Yet our politicians see no problem with running trillion dollar deficits year after year.

#10 Unless our politicians do something dramatic, the federal government is headed straight toward financial hell.  It is being projected that the U.S. national debt will hit 344% of GDP by the year 2050 if we continue on our current course.

#11 It is not just the federal government that is broke.  Right now, there are a lot of state and local governments that are teetering on the brink of financial disaster.  Moody's has announced that it will be reviewing, and possibly downgrading, the credit ratings of Maryland, New Mexico, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.  The city of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is such a financial mess that nobody really has any idea how to fix their problems.

#12 All over the United States, highways, water treatment plants, libraries, parking meters, airports and power plants are being sold off (much of the time to foreigners) in order to plug short-term holes in state and local budgets.

#13 The combination of federal government spending, state government spending and local government spending now accounts for a larger share of U.S. GDP than at any other time in our history.

#14 Police all over America have been shutting down lemonade stands run by little children.  At least one police chief in Wisconsin was good enough to apologize when it happened in his area.  It is too bad that there aren't more police out there that have a little common sense.

#15 The U.S. housing crash shows no signs of abating.  Real estate construction is absolutely dead.  In fact, right now we are on track for the lowest number of total housing completions that the U.S. government has ever recorded in a single year.

#16 In June, sales of previously-owned homes in the United States declined to a seven month low.  Without good jobs, the American people cannot afford to buy homes.  Many of those that do have good incomes are being turned down by mortgage lenders.

#17 The supply of existing homes for sale continues to go up.  That means that it is going to get even harder for average Americans to sell their homes.

#18 The value of U.S. homes has fallen by a total of approximately 6.6 trillion dollars since the peak of the housing market.

#19 It isn't just banks that are kicking people out of their homes.  All over the country, homeowners' associations are aggressively using their powers to boot American families out on to the streets.

#20 Instead of being used by families, all over the country thousands of foreclosed homes are rapidly filling up with mold.

#21 Really bizarre thefts are being reported all over the United States right now.  For example, it was just reported that some crooks in Pennsylvania ripped up and hauled away about 100,000 pounds of train track.

#22 Authorities continue to insist that violent crime is going down, and yet the number of police officers killed by gunfire is on pace to easily set another all-time record for the second year in a row.

#23 One recent study found that approximately 47 percent of all meat and poultry in the United States "is contaminated with antibiotic-resistant Staph".

#24 The health insurance companies keep jacking up rates on all of us, and yet they also continue to report record breaking profits.

#25 The Obama administration is now using "mystery shoppers" to spy on doctors.  The following is from a report in the New York Times....

Alarmed by a shortage of primary care doctors, Obama administration officials are recruiting a team of “mystery shoppers” to pose as patients, call doctors’ offices and request appointments to see how difficult it is for people to get care when they need it.

#26 Corruption appears to be rampant on every level of American society today.  For example, one NYU professor recently discovered that 20 percent of his students were blatantly cheating on assignments.

#27 Thanks to insane tax loopholes, a substantial percentage of the billions of dollars of income that hedge fund managers make is only taxed at a maximum rate of 15 percent.  Meanwhile, middle class American families are being absolutely hammered with taxes.

#28 The "too big to fail" banks now control 77 percent of all of the banking assets in the country.

#29 In 2010, the United States had the worst current account balance in the world.  The U.S. had a current account balance of negative 561 billion dollars for 2010.  No other nation had a negative current account balance that even exceeded 70 billion dollars.  The amount of wealth leaving our country and being transferred to the rest of the world is absolutely mind blowing.

#30 One recent poll found that 72 percent of Americans believe that we are involved in too many wars.  But the Obama administration seems to think that we should be "the police of the world" and they just keep getting the U.S. military involved in more conflicts.

#31 Startling revelations are starting to come out about a scandal so big that it could shake up Washington D.C. for years to come.  Apparently, ATF agents were ordered to get thousands of guns into the hands of the Mexican drug cartels and they were also apparently ordered not to follow those guns to see where they ended up.

#32 The top 5 percent of all income earners in America account for almost as much consumer spending as the bottom 80 percent of all income earners.

#33 The number of Americans that are going to food pantries and soup kitchens has increased by 46% since 2006.  But instead of being treated with kindness, many communities are treating the growing ranks of the poor as "outcasts" or criminals.

#34 Despite the promises of our politicians, globalism is absolutely shredding the American economy.  According to Forbes, the United States has been losing an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs per month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

#35 There are no signs that our rampant unemployment problem is going to end any time soon.  In fact, right now it takes the average unemployed worker about 40 weeks to find a new job.

#36 The vast majority of U.S. consumers are tapped out at this point.  Just consider the following quote from the New York Times....

The auto industry is on pace to sell 28 percent fewer new vehicles this year than it did 10 years ago — and 10 years ago was 2001, when the country was in recession. Sales of ovens and stoves are on pace to be at their lowest level since 1992. Home sales over the past year have fallen back to their lowest point since the crisis began.

#37 Right now in Congress there is a proposal to change the way that inflation is calculated.  According to The Senior Citizens League, this change would cause the average retiree to lose out on $18,000 in Social Security benefits over a 25 year period.

#38 Our tax system is fundamentally unjust.  Just look at the example of General Electric.  G.E. is a favorite of the Obama administration and somehow they get away with not paying taxes year after year. Just check out what the New York Times claims G.E. got away with in 2010....

The company reported worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, and said $5.1 billion of the total came from its operations in the United States.

Its American tax bill? None. In fact, G.E. claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion.

#39 The TSA continues to abuse U.S. travelers in some of the most bizarre ways imaginable.  For example, one 95-year-old grandmother in a wheelchair that is dying from cancer was asked to remove her adult diaper so that TSA "officials" could feel her up properly.  In what kind of a society does this type of thing go on?

No wonder the American people are losing faith.  It is hard to keep believing when you see rampant corruption and decay everywhere you look.

But mostly, the American people want to be able to take care of their families.

The American people are not going to start feeling better about things until there are plenty of good jobs to go around.  If people cannot pay their mortgages and provide for their families then they are not going to be content no matter what our politicians tell them.

Unfortunately, the "new normal" is going to be a lot different from what the "old normal" was.  The United States is a declining power.  Every month our nation is bleeding more jobs, more factories and more wealth.  Every month our debt problems on the federal, state and local levels get even worse.  We have been living far beyond our means for decades, and we are rapidly getting to the point where that simply will not be possible anymore.

The long-term trends that have gotten us to this point have taken decades to develop.  There is no "quick fix" that some politician is going to bring in that is going to create some kind of miracle.

We are now starting to pay the price for decades of bad decisions.  As the consequences of our decisions become more apparent, the American people are going to get angrier and angrier.

Unless something very dramatic happens, we are heading for a very ugly chapter in American history.

Let us hope for the best, but let us also prepare for the worst.

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