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83 Numbers From 2013 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe

83 SignsDuring 2013, America continued to steadily march down a self-destructive path toward oblivion.  As a society, our debt levels are completely and totally out of control.  Our financial system has been transformed into the largest casino on the entire planet and our big banks are behaving even more recklessly than they did just before the last financial crisis.  We continue to see thousands of businesses and millions of jobs get shipped out of the United States, and the middle class is being absolutely eviscerated.  Due to the lack of decent jobs, poverty is absolutely exploding.  Government dependence is at an all-time high and crime is rising.  Evidence of social and moral decay is seemingly everywhere, and our government appears to be going insane.  If we are going to have any hope of solving these problems, the American people need to take a long, hard look in the mirror and finally admit how bad things have actually become.  If we all just blindly have faith that “everything is going to be okay”, the consequences of decades of incredibly foolish decisions are going to absolutely blindside us and we will be absolutely devastated by the great crisis that is rapidly approaching.  The United States is in a massive amount of trouble, and it is time that we all started facing the truth.  The following are 83 numbers from 2013 that are almost too crazy to believe…

#1 Most people that hear this statistic do not believe that it is actually true, but right now an all-time record 102 million working age Americans do not have a job.  That number has risen by about 27 million since the year 2000.

#2 Because of the lack of jobs, poverty is spreading like wildfire in the United States.  According to the most recent numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau, an all-time record 49.2 percent of all Americans are receiving benefits from at least one government program each month.

#3 As society breaks down, the government feels a greater need than ever before to watch, monitor and track the population.  For example, every single day the NSA intercepts and permanently stores close to 2 billion emails and phone calls in addition to a whole host of other data.

#4 The Bank for International Settlements says that total public and private debt levels around the globe are now 30 percent higher than they were back during the financial crisis of 2008.

#5 According to a recent World Bank report, private domestic debt in China has grown from 9 trillion dollars in 2008 to 23 trillion dollars today.

#6 In 1985, there were more than 18,000 banks in the United States.  Today, there are only 6,891 left.

#7 The six largest banks in the United States (JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley) have collectively gotten 37 percent larger over the past five years.

#8 The U.S. banking system has 14.4 trillion dollars in total assets.  The six largest banks now account for 67 percent of those assets and all of the other banks account for only 33 percent of those assets.

#9 JPMorgan Chase is roughly the size of the entire British economy.

#10 The five largest banks now account for 42 percent of all loans in the United States.

#11 Right now, four of the “too big to fail” banks each have total exposure to derivatives that is well in excess of 40 trillion dollars.

#12 The total exposure that Goldman Sachs has to derivatives contracts is more than 381 times greater than their total assets.

#13 According to the Bank for International Settlements, the global financial system has a total of 441 trillion dollars worth of exposure to interest rate derivatives.

#14 Through the end of November, approximately 365,000 Americans had signed up for Obamacare but approximately 4 million Americans had already lost their current health insurance policies because of Obamacare.

#15 It is being projected that up to 100 million more Americans could have their health insurance policies canceled by the time Obamacare is fully rolled out.

#16 At this point, 82.4 million Americans live in a home where at least one person is enrolled in the Medicaid program.

#17 It is has been estimated that Obamacare will add 21 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.

#18 It is being projected that health insurance premiums for healthy 30-year-old men will rise by an average of 260 percent under Obamacare.

#19 One couple down in Texas received a letter from their health insurance company that informed them that they were being hit with a 539 percent rate increase because of Obamacare.

#20 Back in 1999, 64.1 percent of all Americans were covered by employment-based health insurance.  Today, only 54.9 percent of all Americans are covered by employment-based health insurance.

#21 The U.S. government has spent an astounding 3.7 trillion dollars on welfare programs over the past five years.

#22 Incredibly, 74 percent of all the wealth in the United States is owned by the wealthiest 10 percent of all Americans.

#23 According to Consumer Reports, the number of children in the United States taking antipsychotic drugs has nearly tripled over the past 15 years.

#24 The marriage rate in the United States has fallen to an all-time low.  Right now it is sitting at a yearly rate of just 6.8 marriages per 1000 people.

#25 According to a shocking new study, the average American that turned 65 this year will receive $327,500 more in federal benefits than they paid in taxes over the course of their lifetimes.

#26 In just one week in December, a combined total of more than 2000 new cold temperature and snowfall records were set in the United States.

#27 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, median household income in the United States has fallen for five years in a row.

#28 The rate of homeownership in the United States has fallen for eight years in a row.

#29 Only 47 percent of all adults in America have a full-time job at this point.

#30 The unemployment rate in the eurozone recently hit a new all-time high of 12.2 percent.

#31 If you assume that the labor force participation rate in the U.S. is at the long-term average, the unemployment rate in the United States would actually be 11.5 percent instead of 7 percent.

#32 In November 2000, 64.3 percent of all working age Americans had a job.  When Barack Obama first entered the White House, 60.6 percent of all working age Americans had a job.  Today, only 58.6 percent of all working age Americans have a job.

#33 There are 1,148,000 fewer Americans working today than there was in November 2006.  Meanwhile, our population has grown by more than 16 million people during that time frame.

#34 Only 19 percent of all Americans believe that the job market is better than it was a year ago.

#35 Just 14 percent of all Americans believe that the stock market will rise next year.

#36 According to CNBC, Pinterest is currently valued at more than 3 billion dollars even though it has never earned a profit.

#37 Twitter is a seven-year-old company that has never made a profit.  It actually lost 64.6 million dollars last quarter.  But according to the financial markets it is currently worth about 22 billion dollars.

#38 Right now, Facebook is trading at a valuation that is equivalent to approximately 100 years of earnings, and it is currently supposedly worth about 115 billion dollars.

#39 Total consumer credit has risen by a whopping 22 percent over the past three years.

#40 Student loans are up by an astounding 61 percent over the past three years.

#41 At this moment, there are 6 million Americans in the 16 to 24-year-old age group that are neither in school or working.

#42 The “inactivity rate” for men in their prime working years (25 to 54) has just hit a brand new all-time record high.

#43 It is hard to believe, but in America today one out of every ten jobs is now filled by a temp agency.

#44 Middle-wage jobs accounted for 60 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession, but they have accounted for only 22 percent of the jobs created since then.

#45 According to the Social Security Administration, 40 percent of all U.S. workers make less than $20,000 a year.

#46 Approximately one out of every four part-time workers in America is living below the poverty line.

#47 After accounting for inflation, 40 percent of all U.S. workers are making less than what a full-time minimum wage worker made back in 1968.

#48 When Barack Obama took office, the average duration of unemployment in this country was 19.8 weeks.  Today, it is 37.2 weeks.

#49 Investors pulled an astounding 72 billion dollars out of bond mutual funds in 2013.  It was the worst year for bond funds ever.

#50 Small business is rapidly dying in America.  At this point, only about 7 percent of all non-farm workers in the United States are self-employed.  That is an all-time record low.

#51 The six heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton have as much wealth as the bottom one-third of all Americans combined.

#52 Once January 1st hits, it will officially be illegal to manufacture or import traditional incandescent light bulbs in the United States.  It is being projected that millions of Americans will attempt to stock up on the old light bulbs before they are totally gone from store shelves.

#53 The Japanese government has estimated that approximately 300 tons of highly radioactive water is being released into the Pacific Ocean from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear facility every single day.

#54 Back in 1967, the U.S. military had more than 31,000 strategic nuclear warheads.  That number is already being cut down to 1,550, and now Barack Obama wants to reduce it to only about 1,000.

#55 As you read this, 60 percent of all children in Detroit are living in poverty and there are approximately 78,000 abandoned homes in the city.

#56 Wal-Mart recently opened up two new stores in Washington D.C., and more than 23,000 people applied for just 600 positions.  That means that only about 2.6 percent of the applicants were ultimately hired.  In comparison, Harvard offers admission to 6.1 percent of their applicants.

#57 At this point, almost half of all public school students in America come from low income homes.

#58 Tragically, there are 1.2 million students that attend public schools in the United States that are homeless.  That number has risen by 72 percent since the start of the last recession.

#59 According to a Gallup poll that was recently released, 20.0 percent of all Americans did not have enough money to buy food that they or their families needed at some point over the past year.  That is just under the all-time record of 20.4 percent that was set back in November 2008.

#60 The number of Americans on food stamps has grown from 17 million in the year 2000 to more than 47 million today.

#61 Right now, one out of every five households in the United States is on food stamps.

#62 The U.S. economy loses approximately 9,000 jobs for every 1 billion dollars of goods that are imported from overseas.

#63 Back in 1950, more than 80 percent of all men in the United States had jobs.  Today, less than 65 percent of all men in the United States have jobs.

#64 According to one survey, approximately 75 percent of all American women do not have any interest in dating unemployed men.

#65 China exports 4 billion pounds of food to the United States every year.

#66 Overall, the United States has run a trade deficit of more than 8 trillion dollars with the rest of the world since 1975.

#67 The number of Americans on Social Security Disability now exceeds the entire population of Greece, and the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the entire population of Spain.

#68 It is being projected that the number of Americans on Social Security will rise from 57 million today to more than 100 million in 25 years.

#69 Back in 1970, the total amount of debt in the United States (government debt + business debt + consumer debt, etc.) was less than 2 trillion dollars.  Today it is over 56 trillion dollars.

#70 Back on September 30th, 2012 our national debt was sitting at a total of 16.1 trillion dollars.  Today, it is up to 17.2 trillion dollars.

#71 The U.S. government “rolled over” more than 7.5 trillion dollars of existing debt in fiscal 2013.

#72 If the U.S. national debt was reduced to a stack of one dollar bills it would circle the earth at the equator 45 times.

#73 When Barack Obama was first elected, the U.S. debt to GDP ratio was under 70 percent.  Today, it is up to 101 percent.

#74 The U.S. national debt is on pace to more than double during the eight years of the Obama administration.  In other words, under Barack Obama the U.S. government will accumulate more debt than it did under all of the other presidents in U.S. history combined.

#75 The federal government is borrowing (stealing) roughly 100 million dollars from our children and our grandchildren every single hour of every single day.

#76 At this point, the U.S. already has more government debt per capita than Greece, Portugal, Italy, Ireland or Spain.

#77 Japan now has a debt to GDP ratio of more than 211 percent.

#78 As of December 5th, 83 volcanic eruptions had been recorded around the planet so far this year.  That is a new all-time record high.

#79 53 percent of all Americans do not have a 3 day supply of nonperishable food and water in their homes.

#80 Violent crime in the United States was up 15 percent last year.

#81 According to a very surprising survey that was recently conducted, 68 percent of all Americans believe that the country is currently on the wrong track.

#82 Back in 1972, 46 percent of all Americans believed that “most people can be trusted”.  Today, only 32 percent of all Americans believe that “most people can be trusted”.

#83 According to a recent Pew Research survey, only 19 percent of all Americans trust the government.   Back in 1958, 73 percent of all Americans trusted the government.

So do you have any numbers from 2013 that you would add to this list?  If so, please feel free to share them by posting a comment below…

Who Tells Us What To Think? Does The Mainstream Media = The Matrix?

Who Tells Us What To Think? Does The Mainstream Media = The Matrix? - Photo by ProperpilotDo you believe that you really think for yourself?  Did you come up with your attitudes, opinions and beliefs on your own, or are they continually being shaped and molded by someone else?  Could it be possible that you and everyone around you is actually hooked into a real life version of “the matrix” that is constantly defining your reality for you?  Sadly, the truth is that almost all of us have willingly hooked ourselves into a colossal media system that literally tells us what to think.  In the United States today, the average American watches 153 hours of television a month.  We also spend huge amounts of time watching movies, surfing the Internet, reading books and magazines, playing video games and listening to music.  Many Americans are so addicted to being “connected” that they will actually become physically uncomfortable if they are at home and there is total silence.  Unfortunately, as I pointed out in a previous article, somewhere around 90 percent of the “information” that we are allowing to be endlessly pumped into our heads is owned by just 6 gigantic media corporations.  So could it be possible that the thousands of hours of “news and entertainment” that you are allowing these gigantic corporations to fill your head with each year is having an effect on you?  Does the mainstream media have more control over you than you ever dreamed possible?  If you want to continue on in blissful ignorance, stop reading now,  but if you want to take “the red pill”, keep on reading because the further down the rabbit hole you go, the stranger that things get.

When you go to work or to school in the morning, what is everyone talking about?

Usually, people are talking about something that they saw on television or that they heard about in the news.

In our society today, the limited interactions that we do have with other people are usually defined by our mutual connection to the media.

The mainstream media literally defines for us what is important and what is not.  If the mainstream media does not talk about something, then it simply does not matter.

I don’t know how many times over the years I have heard someone tell me some version of the following statement: “If that was true we would have heard about it on the news.”

Has anyone ever said something similar to you?

The funny thing is that most of the time I won’t even mention something important that I may have heard in one of my articles unless I can back it up with a “mainstream source”, and I don’t even trust the mainstream media.

I know that the mainstream media often distorts the facts and often tells outright lies, but I regularly link to them because that gives my articles more “credibility” in the eyes of those that are still fully hooked into the matrix.

In a world where the big media corporations have so much power, is there any hope for us?

As long as the big corporations that control the media are dominating and controlling the conversation, is there any chance that there will ever be a mass awakening among the American people?

Our young people seem particularly addicted to being constantly “connected” to the media matrix that is being constructed all around us.  The following is a brief excerpt from a recent article by Daniel Taylor

According to a 2010 LA Times report, young people spend on average 53 hours a week watching TV, playing video games, and sitting at the computer.

Facebook users spend about 15 hours a month on the social networking site.

People are walking – and driving – blindly while texting, sometimes walking into fountains and even falling off cliffs.

Wow – our young people spend more than 200 hours a month connected to the mainstream media?

But we only have about 480 waking hours a month to work with.

If they are being exposed to that amount of continuous propaganda, what hope do our young people have?

In the old days, kids actually played with each other in the streets and adults actually left their homes to interact with one another.

But these days we spend nearly all of our time sitting passively in our homes staring at flickering screens.

Is that a sign of a healthy society?

We were created to be social creatures.  We were designed to love and to be loved.  But these days people “love” their favorite sports teams or they “love” their favorite television shows but we have an increasingly difficult time having real relationships with each other.

Meanwhile, the global elite rely on the mainstream media to keep us distracted and to control the boundaries of public discourse.  Most of the time, the mainstream media focuses on the latest celebrity scandal or the latest dogfights between the Republicans and the Democrats and they systematically ignore many of the more important things that are taking place out there.

Let me just give you one example of how the mainstream media shapes the news.  For decades, there was almost a complete and total media blackout on the Bilderberg Group meetings that happen every year.  Top newspaper executives from the United States would actually attend these meetings, but then their newspapers would not say a single word about them.

If anyone out there did bring up “the Bilderberg Group”, they were dismissed as wacky “conspiracy theorists” and were told that it simply does not exist.

Of course now we all know that it does exist, although the mainstream media in the U.S. still mostly ignores it.  In fact, this has been by design.  The following is what David Rockefeller is alleged to have said during a Bilderberg Group meeting back in 1991…

We are grateful to The Washington Post, The New York Times, Time magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. … It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is now much more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.

Even today, many prominent “journalists” in the U.S. mock people when they bring up the Bilderberg Group.  For example, Lawrence O’Donnell of MSNBC says that he is “way too lazy” to look into the Bilderberg Group and that he “doesn’t know about it, so it must not exist”.

For much more on the connection between the mainstream media and the global elite, please see this article: “Who Runs The World? Solid Proof That A Core Group Of Wealthy Elitists Is Pulling The Strings“.

Instead of telling us what is really going on in the world, the mainstream media keeps us endlessly distracted.  The following are just a few of the headlines that can be found on the front pages of major mainstream news sites right now…

-College student creates condom delivery service

-Michael Douglas is feeling ‘good’

-Golf tournament delayed by kangaroos

-Rock ‘n’ roll hamburger experience

-Lady Gaga cancels tour, set for surgery

Wow – those are some examples of some really hard-hitting journalism right there.

So why do most Americans continue to fall for this nonsense?

Sadly, part of the reason is because we have become so “dumbed down” as a society.

Recently, the Guardian conducted an evaluation of the reading level of every State of the Union address in U.S. history.  What they found is that Barack Obama’s State of the Union addresses have had the second lowest reading level average in history, and that in general the reading levels of the speeches have been significantly declining over time.

But it is not just our presidents that appear to be getting stupider.  The truth is that our public education system is a total joke at this point.  Many of our high school students are as dumb as a rock, and if you can believe it, 23 percent of all Americans cannot even read beyond a fourth-grade level.

Of course the elite are quite pleased with this, because a stupid public is a public that is easier to dominate.

When a large segment of the population can barely read and is accustomed to letting others do their thinking for them, it becomes easier to lie.

For example, on Thursday Paul Krugman of the New York Times made the following statement

“Growing dependence on government is mostly a myth”

Of course most of you that are reading this know that is a flat-out lie.  The charts in this article clearly show that the number of Americans on food stamps is at an all-time high and the percentage of the population that is on food stamps is at an all-time high.

Back in 1983, less than a third of all Americans lived in a household that got money from the federal government each month,  Now, an all-time high 49 percent of all Americans live in a home where at least one person receives money from the government each month.

For many more stats and charts that demonstrate the stunning growth of government dependence, please see this article and this article.

Sadly, the truth doesn’t seem to matter too much to the media these days.  The mainstream media tends to be incredibly arrogant, and most of the time they don’t even pretend to be “objective” or “neutral” anymore.

Fortunately, more Americans than ever are becoming dissatisfied with the mainstream media and are starting to seek out alternative sources of information.  According to a recent Gallup poll, the level of trust that the American public has in the mainstream media is now at an all-time low.

So perhaps there is hope after all.

What do you think?

The Matrix - Photo by Jamie Zawinski

65 Percent Of Americans Believe That 2013 Will Be A Year Of Economic Difficulty

65 Percent Of Americans Believe That 2013 Will Be A Year Of Economic Difficulty - Photo by Larali21Do you believe that economic trouble is coming in 2013?  If so, you have a lot of company.  According to a brand new Gallup poll that was just released, 65 percent of Americans believe that 2013 will be a year of “economic difficulty” while only 33 percent of Americans believe that 2013 will be a year of “economic prosperity”.  Gallup has been asking this question for a lot of years, and the percentage of Americans that are anticipating economic difficulty in the year ahead has not been this high since the early 1980s.  And without a doubt, there are a whole lot of reasons to be deeply concerned about the economy as we head into the new year.  But it isn’t just 2013 that Americans are pessimistic about.  According to the new Gallup poll, 50 percent of all Americans believe that the best days of America are behind us, and only 47 percent of all Americans believe that the best days of America are ahead of us.  Those are very sobering numbers.  Half the country believes that it is only downhill from here for the United States.  Unfortunately, they are exactly right.  Things are rapidly going to get worse for our economy and for our nation as a whole.  We are going to start reaping the consequences of decades of very foolish decisions, and the pain is going to be immense.

Gallup asked some other very interesting questions as well.  The following are some of the other results from the poll

-68 percent of Americans believe that 2013 will be a year of rising crime rates.

-57 percent of Americans believe that 2013 will be a year in which American power will decline in the world.

-82 percent of Americans believe that 2013 will be a year in which taxes in the United States will rise.

So why are so many people so pessimistic as we enter 2013?

That is a good question.  I think that a lot of people are starting to wake up and are realizing the gigantic problems that are staring the U.S. right in the face.

Even our friends over in Europe can see what is happening to us.  We are like a former athletic champion that is now clearly on the wrong side of “middle age” and is exhibiting obvious signs of decline.  We still like to think of ourselves as “the champ”, but the truth is that we are fat, lazy, broken down and bankrupt.  The following is a brief excerpt from an article that appeared in a major UK news source the other day…

The rest of the world — dangerously reliant on a buoyant U.S. — should note one thing above all: the fundamentals of America’s economy are, frankly, terrible, and its international dominance is not nearly as assured as it once was.

Its economic culture has started to change since President Obama entered the White House four years ago this month.

America more closely resembles Europe in living beyond its means and in the President’s determination to build a massive welfare state.

The mainstream media and most of our politicians endlessly proclaim that things are about to turn around and that a “recovery” is on the way, but that is not even close to the truth.

Fortunately, a few of our politicians realize what is really happening and are willing to talk about it.  Unfortunately, not enough people are listening to them.

For example, Ron Paul has a really good grasp on how destructive the U.S. national debt is and how we are literally destroying the bright future that our children and our grandchildren should have had.  The following is what he posted on his Facebook page the other day about the “fiscal cliff deal” that just got pushed through Congress…

We Are Already Over the Fiscal Cliff

2 January 2013

Despite claims that the Administration and Congress saved America from the fiscal cliff with an early morning vote today, the fact is that government spending has already pushed Americans over the cliff. Only serious reductions in federal spending will stop the cliff dive from ending in a crash landing, yet the events of this past month show that most elected officials remain committed to expanding the welfare-warfare state.

While there was much hand-wringing over the “draconian” cuts that would be imposed by sequestration, in fact sequestration does not cut spending at all. Under the sequestration plan, government spending will increase by 1.6 trillion over the next eight years. Congress calls this a cut because without sequestration spending will increase by 1.7 trillion over the same time frame. Either way it is an increase in spending.

Yet even these minuscule cuts in the “projected rate of spending” were too much for Washington politicians to bear. The last minute “deal” was the worst of both worlds: higher taxes on nearly all Americans now and a promise to revisit these modest reductions in spending growth two months down the road. We were here before, when in 2011 Republicans demanded these automatic modest decreases in government growth down the road in exchange for a massive increase in the debt ceiling. As the time drew closer, both parties clamored to avoid even these modest moves.

Make no mistake: the spending addiction is a bipartisan problem. It is generally believed that one party refuses to accept any reductions in military spending while the other party refuses to accept any serious reductions in domestic welfare programs. In fact, both parties support increases in both military and domestic welfare spending. The two parties may disagree on some details of what kind of military or domestic welfare spending they favor, but they do agree that they both need to increase. This is what is called “bipartisanship” in Washington.

While the media played up the drama of the down-to-the-wire negotiations, there was never any real chance that a deal would not be worked out. It was just drama. That is how Washington operates. As it happened, a small handful of Congressional and Administration leaders gathered in the dark of the night behind closed doors to hammer out a deal that would be shoved down the throats of Members whose constituents had been told repeatedly that the world would end if this miniscule decrease in the rate of government spending was allowed to go through.

While many on both sides express satisfaction that this deal only increases taxes on the “rich,” most Americans will see more of their paycheck going to Washington because of the deal. The Tax Policy Center has estimated that 77 percent of Americans would see higher taxes because of the elimination of the payroll tax cut.

The arguments against the automatic “cuts” in military spending were particularly dishonest. Hawks on both sides warned of doom and gloom if, as the plan called for, the defense budget would have returned to 2007 levels of spending! Does anybody really believe that our defense spending was woefully inadequate just five years ago? And since 2007 we have been told that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are winding down. According to the Congressional Budget Office, over the next eight years military spending would increase 20 percent without the sequester and would increase 18 percent with the sequester. And this is what is called a dangerous reduction in defense spending?

Ironically, some of the members who are most vocal against tax increases and in favor of cuts to domestic spending are the biggest opponents of cutting a penny from the Pentagon budget. Over and over we were told of the hundreds of thousands of jobs that would be lost should military spending be returned to 2007 levels. Is it really healthy to think of our defense budget as a jobs program? Many of these allegedly free-market members sound more Keynesian than Paul Krugman when they praise the economic “stimulus” created by militarism.

As Chris Preble of the Cato Institute wrote recently, “It’s easy to focus exclusively on the companies and individuals hurt by the cuts and forget that the taxed wealth that funded them is being employed elsewhere.”

While Congress ultimately bears responsibility for deficit spending, we must never forget that the Federal Reserve is the chief enabler of deficit spending. Without a central bank eager to monetize the debt, Congress would be unable to fund the welfare-warfare state without imposing unacceptable levels of taxation on the American people. Of course, the Federal Reserve’s policies do impose an “inflation” tax on the American people; however, since this tax is hidden Congress does not fear the same public backlash it would experience if it directly raised income taxes.

I have little hope that a majority of Congress and the President will change their ways and support real spending reductions unless forced to by an economic crisis or by a change in people’s attitudes toward government. Fortunately, increasing numbers of Americans are awakening to the dangers posed by the growth of the welfare-warfare state. Hopefully this movement will continue to grow and force the politicians to reverse course before government spending, taxing, and inflation destroys our economy entirely.

It was good that Ron Paul placed blame on both political parties and on the Federal Reserve for our debt problems.

The Federal Reserve is not often talked about much when it comes to assigning blame for the debt, but it truly is one of the primary reasons why our debt is so enormous today.  The Federal Reserve system was designed to be a perpetual government debt machine, and it has accomplished that task very well.

When the Federal Reserve was first created, the total U.S. national debt was less than 3 billion dollars.

That is about as much as we add to the U.S. national debt every single day at this point.

And since Ben Bernanke took the reigns at the Fed, our debt problems have greatly accelerated.

The U.S. national debt has more than doubled from a little over $8 trillion to more than $16.4 trillion since Ben Bernanke became chairman of the Federal Reserve in 2006.

But disaster has not struck yet, so most Americans think that everything must be okay.

Well, if you want to ignore all of the evidence of our impending economic demise, go ahead and do that.  Go on lots of expensive vacations, run up your credit cards, buy a new boat and party like its 1999.  Enjoy every minute of our debt-fueled prosperity while you still can.  You only live once, right?

But if you are wise, you will try to understand what is coming and you will make preparations so that you and your family will be able to withstand the storm that is coming.  Here are some basic steps that I suggest…

-Use this time of relative prosperity to work hard and make money while you still can.  You want to store up your finances during the good times to help you get through the lean times.

-Get out of debt.  You don’t want massive amounts of debt weighing you down when things get really hard.

-Get more independent of the world system.  Start a side business in the evenings and the weekends.  Learn how to grow your own food.  Get your house off of the grid if possible.  Anything you can do to become more independent and more self-sufficient is good.

-Store food and other essential supplies.  Right now we take for granted that the supermarkets and the big box stores will always be packed with mountains of quality goods at affordable prices.  That may not always be the case.  You want to be prepared for whatever may happen.

For even more tips, please see my previous article entitled “How To Prepare For The Difficult Years Ahead“.

All bubbles eventually burst.

Our national debt bubble will eventually burst.

The derivatives bubble will eventually burst.

The consumer debt bubble will eventually burst.

When those bubbles burst, will you be ready?

I hope and pray that you will.

2013 - Time Is Running Out

There Are 100 Million Working Age Americans That Do Not Have Jobs ***UPDATED***

The unemployment crisis in America is much worse than you are being told.  Did you know that there are 100 million working age Americans that do not get up in the morning and go to work?  No wonder why it seems like there are so many people that do not have jobs!  According to the federal government, there are 12.6 million working age Americans that are considered to be “officially” unemployed, but there are another 87.8 million working age Americans that are not working either.  The federal government considers those Americans to be “not in the labor force” so they are not included in the unemployment rate.  In fact, this is one of the key ways that the government manipulates the unemployment numbers.  The Obama administration would have us believe that the unemployment rate is going down and that that since the start of the last recession about as many Americans have left the labor force as we saw during the entire decades of the 1980s and 1990s combined.  Of course that is a bunch of nonsense, but that is what the Obama administration would have us believe.  The truth is that the percentage of working age Americans that are employed is just about the same right now as it was two years ago.  It was incredibly difficult to get a job back then and it is incredibly difficult to get a job right now.  So don’t believe the hype that things are getting much better.  If you still do have a good job, you might want to hold on to it tightly, because there is not much hope that things are going to improve significantly any time soon.

The first chart that I have posted below shows the total number of “officially” unemployed workers in America.  According to the Federal Reserve, that number is currently 12,673,000.  This chart makes it look like the employment picture in America is getting significantly better….

But if you dig deeper into the numbers you quickly see that this is not true.  A lot of those workers that were formerly classified as “unemployed” have now been moved into the “not in labor force” category.  Since the start of the last recession, the number of Americans not in the labor force has risen by more than 8 million according to the Obama administration.  The total number of working age Americans not in the labor force now stands at 87,897,000….

So when you add 12,673,000 and 87,897,000, you get a total of 100,570,000 working age Americans that do not have jobs.

Yes, there are certainly millions upon millions of working age Americans that do not have jobs and that do not want jobs.

But you have to be delusional to believe that there are nearly 88 million working age Americans that do not have jobs and that do not want jobs.

The Obama administration tells us that the labor force participation rate is now the lowest it has been since 1984.  But back then, a very large percentage of women were staying home and raising families.  The percentage of stay at home mothers has declined steadily since then.

So the truth is that the employment statistics that we are being fed are not portraying an accurate picture of what is really going on.

As a CNN article recently explained, there are millions of Americans that say that they would like to have a job even though they have not been “actively” looking for one in the past four weeks.  If those people were included in the unemployment rate, it would immediately shoot up to around 11 percent….

About six million people claim they want a job, even though they haven’t looked for one in the last four weeks. If they were to all start applying for work again, the unemployment rate would suddenly shoot up above 11%.

If you want a much more accurate picture of what is really happening to the employment situation in America, the key is to look at the employment to population ratio.  As I have written about previously, the percentage of working age Americans that have jobs is not increasing.

Let’s take a look at the employment to population ratio for the last six years for the month of March….

March 2007: 63.3%

March 2008: 62.7%

March 2009: 59.9%

March 2010: 58.5%

March 2011: 58.5%

March 2012: 58.5%

The percentage of the working age population that had jobs fell rapidly during the recession and it has stayed very low since then.

When Barack Obama tells you that “America is going back to work” he is lying to you.

The cold, hard reality of the matter is that there are millions of hard working Americans that have been sitting at home for years hoping that a new job will come along.

Back in 2007, approximately 10 percent of all unemployed Americans had been out of work for one year or longer.

Today, that figure is above 30 percent.

The average duration of unemployment in the United States today is about three times as long as it was back in the year 2000.

And according to a recent Wall Street Journal article, the number of announced job cuts is actually rising again….

Also, announced jobs cuts rose 7.1% in April, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, to 40,599 — and up 11.2% from last April — another bit of evidence that the jobs market isn’t doing well.

Economic conditions in the United States have been steadily getting worse for quite a while, but that is not the only reason for our employment problems.

There are two other trends that I want to briefly mention.

1) A lot of jobs that used to be very labor intensive are now being replaced by technology.  Thanks to robotics, automation and computers, a lot of big companies simply do not need as many workers these days.  Those are jobs that are never going to come back.

2) As labor has become a global commodity, millions upon millions of U.S. jobs have been sent overseas.  Today, you are not just competing for a job with your neighbors.  You are also competing with workers on the other side of the globe.  Unfortunately, it is legal to pay slave labor wages in many of those countries.  By sending our jobs out of the country, big corporations can also avoid a whole host of rules, regulations, taxes and benefit payments that they would be facing if they hired American workers.

So U.S. workers are at a massive competitive disadvantage.  Why should a big corporation pay 10 or 20 times more for an American worker when they can pad their profits by exploiting cheap foreign labor?

The sad truth is that the value that the marketplace puts on the labor of the average American worker is continually decreasing.

This is making it much more difficult to find a job and it is keeping wages down.

In the old days, pretty much any man that was a hard worker and that really wanted a good job could go out and get one.

But now all of that has changed.  Back in 1950, more than 80 percent of all men in the United States had jobs.  Today, less than 65 percent of all men in the United States have jobs.

And sadly, the vast majority of the jobs that are being lost are good jobs.  As I wrote about the other day, 95 percent of the jobs lost during the recession were middle class jobs.

So how are middle class families making it these days?

Many of them are going into tremendous amounts of debt.  As a recent CNN article detailed, the average debt load being carried by those of us in the bottom 95 percent of all income earners has risen dramatically over the past several decades….

In 1983, the bottom 95% had 62 cents of debt for every dollar they earned, according to research by two International Monetary Fund economists. But by 2007, the ratio had soared to $1.48 of debt for every $1 in earnings.

Unfortunately, many American families are absolutely maxed out at this point.  According to one recent survey, approximately one-third of all Americans are currently paying their bills late.

If your goal is to live a middle class lifestyle, you need to realize that the entire way that the game is being played is changing.

In the old days, you could start out with a company as a young person and stay with that company until you retired.  If you worked hard and you were loyal, there was a really good chance that the company would recognize that and be loyal to you too.

These days, most companies are absolutely heartless when it comes to their workers.  The good job that you have today could be gone tomorrow.  Workers are increasingly being viewed as “liabilities”, and there is a good chance that the moment you become “expendable” to your company you will be kicked out on the street.

That is one reason why I am encouraging people to consider starting their own businesses.  If you work for someone else, your security can be taken away from you at any moment.  But if you work for yourself, you aren’t going to get fired.

Unfortunately, tough economic times are coming and things are not going to be easy no matter what road you take.  It will be imperative to work harder than ever, to stay flexible, and to never, ever give up.

***UPDATE***

Since the monthly jobs numbers were released on Friday I thought I would update this article to reflect the latest figures.

The federal government has announced that the unemployment rate has declined to 8.1 percent.

That certainly sounds like good news.

But knowing better, I immediately went and checked how the employment to population ratio had changed.

Well, it turns out that the employment to population ratio has fallen once again.

That means that a smaller percentage of working age Americans had jobs in April than in March.

The following are the figures for the past three months….

February 2012: 58.6%

March 2012: 58.5%

April 2012: 58.4%

If the percentage of people that have jobs is going down, then how can they claim that things are getting better?

The following are the two Federal Reserve charts posted above after they have been updated with the new numbers.  These charts are very revealing.

1) There are now 12,500,000 workers that are “officially” considered to be unemployed….

2) There are now 88,419,000 Americans that are considered to be “not in the labor force”.  Please note that this number rose by 522,000 in just a single month!….

Okay, so now let’s do the same math that we did before.

12,500,000 unemployed workers plus 88,419,000 Americans that are “not in the labor force” equals 100,919,000 working age Americans that do not have jobs.

That number just continues to climb at a very rapid pace.

When is the mainstream media going to start telling us the truth?

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