Handout Nation: Combined Enrollment In America’s 4 Largest Safety Net Programs Hits A Record High Of 236 Million

Margaret Thatcher once said that the problem with socialism “is that eventually you run out of other people’s money”.  As you will see below, the combined enrollment in America’s four largest safety net programs has reached a staggering 236 million.  Of course that doesn’t mean that 236 million people are getting benefits from the government each month because there is overlap between the various programs.  For example, many Americans that are on Medicaid are also on food stamps, and many Americans that are on Medicare are also on Social Security.  But even accounting for that, most experts estimate that the number of Americans that are dependent on the federal government month after month is well over 100 million.  And now that so many people are addicted to government handouts, can we ever return to a culture of independence and self-sufficiency?

On Wednesday, CNN ran an editorial by Bernie Sanders in which he called President Trump’s proposed budget “immoral” because it would cut funding for government aid programs.

But is it moral to steal more than a hundred million dollars from future generations of Americans every single hour of every single day to pay for these programs?

Of course the answer to that question is quite obvious.

There will always be some Americans that are unable to take care of themselves, and we should want to help them.

But as millions upon millions of Americans continue to jump on to the safety net, eventually we are going to get to the point where it is going to break.

As I mentioned above, the combined enrollment in the four largest safety net programs has reached a new all-time record high…

More than 74 million Americans are on Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program).

More than  58 million Americans are on Medicare.

More than 60 million Americans are on Social Security.

Approximately 44 million Americans are on food stamps.  And even though we are supposedly in an “economic recovery”, this number is still dramatically higher than the 26 million Americans that were on food stamps prior to the last financial crisis.

When you add the figures for those four programs together, you get a grand total of 236 million, and that doesn’t even count any of the other federal programs which are helping people.

Once again, there is overlap in enrollment between these various programs, but even accounting for that most experts believe that well over a third of the country is currently receiving benefits from the government each month.

How far down this road do we have to go before people start calling it “socialism”?

As I was writing this, I was reminded of one of Benjamin Franklin’s most famous quotes

“When the people find that they can vote themselves money that will herald the end of the republic.”

In our country today, many politicians have discovered that one of the best ways to win elections is to promise the voters as much free stuff as possible.  This is one of the primary reasons why Bernie Sanders did so well.  Young people loved his socialist policies, and he received more votes from Millennials in the primaries and caucuses than Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton combined.

As older generations of Americans continue to die off, the Millennials will just become even more powerful politically.  And considering the fact that they are far more liberal than other generations, that is a very alarming prospect…

In the minds of 80 percent of baby boomers and 91 percent of elderly Americans, communism was a major problem in years past and remains a significant concern today. But millennials, aged 16 to 20 years, see it differently. Only 55 percent of the younger generation take issue with communism, 45 percent say they would vote for a socialist and 21 percent say they’d vote for a communist.

And millennials made all that clear during the Democratic presidential primary, when many of them cast their vote for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-avowed socialist. In fact, the report credits the New England lawmaker with a “bounce” that led to less than half of millennials — 42 percent — having a favorable view of capitalism.

At this point, the Republic that our founders established is barely recognizable, and if it is going to be saved we need a conservative revolution as soon as possible.

A good place to begin would be to dramatically reduce the size and scope of the federal government, and there are some promising signs in the budget that President Trump has proposed.  He wants to completely eliminate 66 federal programs, and liberals are screaming bloody murder over this.

Of course Trump’s budget is “dead on arrival” in Congress because many among his own party do not support him.  Most Republicans campaign as conservatives but govern like Democrats, and it is high time that we held them accountable for that.  In 2018 we are going get Trump a whole bunch of friends in Congress, and a lot of those establishment Republicans that have been betraying conservatives for years are going to have to find a new line of work.

We simply cannot afford to keep sending the same cast of characters back to Washington time after time.  Just look at the debacle that the effort to repeal Obamacare has become.  According to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, getting any sort of bill through the Senate is going to be extremely challenging

Referring to behind-the-scenes work among Senate Republicans on a healthcare bill, McConnell said, “I don’t know how we get to 50 (votes) at the moment. But that’s the goal.”

Under a scenario of gathering the votes needed for passage in the 100-seat chamber, Republican Vice President Mike Pence would be called upon to cast any potential tie-breaking Senate vote.

McConnell opened the interview by saying, “There’s not a whole lot of news to be made on healthcare.” He declined to provide any timetable for producing even a draft bill to show to rank-and-file Republican senators and gauge their support.

And yet somehow when Obama was in office the Republicans in the House and the Senate were able to easily pass a bill to repeal Obamacare and get it to Obama’s desk.

Why can’t they get that exact same bill to Trump’s desk?

We definitely need to “drain the swamp” in D.C., and we can start with Congress.

But the alliance between big money and big government is going to be hard to defeat, and so if we want our country back we are going to have to fight harder than we have ever fought before.

Unemployment Claims Spike Again As We Get More Scientific Evidence The Middle Class Is Shrinking

Despair And Unemployment - Public DomainAs the U.S. economy slows down, we would expect to start to see evidence of this in the employment numbers, and that is precisely what has begun to happen.  During the week before last, initial claims for unemployment benefits jumped by 17,000, which was the largest increase that we had seen in over a year.  Well, last week we witnessed an even bigger spike.  Seasonally adjusted initial claims shot up 20,000 more to a total of 294,000.  Of course it makes perfect sense that more Americans are applying for unemployment benefits, because firms are laying people off at a much faster pace these days.  Just a couple days ago I reported that job cut announcements at major firms are running 24 percent higher this year compared to the first four months of last year.  So we should fully expect that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits will continue to accelerate.

Personally, I am a bit surprised by how quickly these numbers are getting worse.  The following comes directly from the Department of Labor

In the week ending May 7, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 294,000, an increase of 20,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 274,000. This is the highest level for initial claims since February 28, 2015 when it was 310,000. The 4-week moving average was 268,250, an increase of 10,250 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 258,000.

For a long time, initial claims for unemployment benefits were running quite low, and this was one of the few bright spots for the U.S. economy.

Unfortunately, that is now changing, and this is just more confirmation that a significant economic slowdown has already started.  For many more numbers that back up this claim, please see my previous article entitled “11 Signs That The U.S. Economy Is Rapidly Deteriorating Even As The Stock Market Soars“.

But whether the economy has been doing good or bad in recent years, the long-term trend of the decline of the middle class in America has continued unabated.

This week, we got even more evidence that the middle class is steadily disappearing from the Pew Research Center

The American middle class is losing ground in metropolitan areas across the country, affecting communities from Boston to Seattle and from Dallas to Milwaukee. From 2000 to 2014 the share of adults living in middle-income households fell in 203 of the 229 U.S. metropolitan areas examined in a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data. The decrease in the middle-class share was often substantial, measuring 6 percentage points or more in 53 metropolitan areas, compared with a 4-point drop nationally.

Do you understand what that is saying?

It says that the middle class got smaller in 203 out of 229 U.S. metropolitan areas between 2000 and 2014.  This means that the death of the middle class is very widespread and it is happening all over the country.

But it isn’t just the middle class that is suffering.  According to that same report, household incomes have been falling for Americans in all income brackets…

American households in all income tiers experienced a decline in their incomes from 1999 to 2014. Nationally, the median income of middle-income households decreased from $77,898 in 1999 to $72,919 in 2014, a loss of 6%. The median incomes of lower-income and upper-income households fell by 10% and 7%, respectively, over this period.

The systematic evisceration of the middle class has been a continuing theme that I have been writing about for many years.  And without a doubt, one of the biggest reasons for the decline of the middle class has been the disappearance of middle class jobs.

Thanks to “free trade agreements” that have been pushed by Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the U.S. economy has been steadily merged into the emerging one world economic system.  As a result, U.S. workers are now forced to directly compete for jobs with workers on the other side of the planet that live in countries where it is legal to pay slave labor wages.

It was inevitable that good paying jobs would leave areas where labor was expensive and go to places were labor was very cheap.  Over the past couple of decades, the U.S. has seen tens of thousands of manufacturing facilities shut down and we have lost millions of middle class jobs.

One of those middle class jobs was lost by a factory worker named Wendell Nolen

Wendell Nolen, 52, has experienced the slide from middle-class status first-hand. Eight years ago, he was earning $28 an hour as a factory worker for Detroit’s American Axle and Manufacturing Holdings, assembling axles for pickup trucks and SUVs.

But early in 2008, the good life unraveled. After a three-month strike, Nolen took a buyout rather than a pay cut. Less than a year later, the plant was closed and American Axle shipped much of its work to Mexico.

Now Nolen makes $17 an hour in the shipping department of a Detroit steel fabricator, about 40 percent less than he made at the axle plant.

America is losing jobs because of the free trade stuff,’ Nolen said. ‘They’re selling America out.’

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

If you step back and take a longer-term view of things, what has happened to our middle class is abolutely staggering.

For example, one study found that the middle class in America became a minority last year for the first time in our history.

And if you go back to 1970, the middle class took home close to 62 percent of all income, but today that number has dropped to just 43 percent.

This is a problem that has been crying out for a solution for a very long time, and yet our politicians have been sitting on their hands.

Now the next crisis is here, and the plight of the middle class is about to get a whole lot worse.

For months, my regular readers have been listening to me go on and on about how the U.S. economy is deteriorating, but now even the mainstream media is saying it.

For example, a Bloomberg article that just came out admits that “the next president will probably face a recession” no matter who wins the election…

Talk about a poisoned chalice. No matter who is elected to the White House in November, the next president will probably face a recession.

And an article that was just published by CNBC is even more pessimistic about the economy…

We are in the midst of a deceleration in the economy, and the chain of dominoes leading to a recession has started to fall. First, it was a weak global economy. Then, multinationals and business-to-business companies were hit by the resulting decline in global trade and commodity prices. Now, consumers are starting to feel the repercussions as they draw down their growth in spending on discretionary goods and services, which we saw reflected in the first-quarter GDP report.

This is the foreshadowing of a recession. We saw similar indicators prior to recessions in 2001 and 2008. Although there is potential for economic indicators to flip, the current momentum and indicators suggest that the U.S. economy will get worse before it gets better.

This is precisely what I have been saying.  The exact same indicators that told us that recessions were coming in 2001 and 2008 have been flashing bright red, but most people don’t seem to understand what is happening.

It doesn’t matter how much faith you may have in Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump.  None of them can stop what is already in the process of happening.

Without a doubt, we truly are “in the midst of a deceleration in the economy”, and it is most certainly true that “the next president will probably face a recession”.

In fact, we would be exceedingly fortunate if it is just a recession that we will be dealing with.

The largest and most important economy on the planet is teetering on the brink, and it is not going to take much to push us into a full-blown disaster.

So let us hope for some sort of economic miracle to take place, because we could really use one right about now.

The Average Age Of A Minimum Wage Worker In America Is 36

Dollar Stacks - Public DomainDid you know that 89 percent of all minimum wage workers in the United States are not teens?  At this point, the average age of a minimum wage worker in this country is 36, and 56 percent of them are women.  Millions upon millions of Americans are working as hard as they can (often that means two or three jobs), and yet despite all of their hard work they still find themselves mired in poverty.  One of the big reasons for this is that we have created two classes of workers in the United States.  “Full-time workers” are entitled to an array of benefits and protections by law that “part-time workers” do not get.  And thanks to perverse incentives contained in Obamacare and other ridiculous laws, we have motivated employers to move as many workers from the “full-time” category to the “part-time” category as possible.  It may be hard to believe, but right now only 44 percent of all U.S. adults are employed for 30 or more hours each week.  But to get any kind of a job at all is a real challenge in many parts of the country today.  As you read this article, there are more than 100 million working age Americans that are not employed in any capacity.  And according to John Williams of shadowstats.com, if the federal government was actually using honest numbers the unemployment rate would be sitting at 23 percent.  That is not an “employment recovery” – that is a national crisis.

The following infographic comes from the Economic Policy Institute.  I certainly do not agree with a lot of the things that the Economic Policy Institute stands for, but I think that these numbers do accurately reflect what “part-time America” looks like today…

Minimum Wage - Economic Policy Institute

So what is the solution to this problem?

Most Democrats believe that raising the minimum wage would fix this.  But as Zero Hedge has pointed out, it isn’t quite that simple…

Last week, we noted that Democratic lawmakers in the US are pushing for what they call “$12 by ’20” which, as the name implies, is an effort to raise the minimum wage to $12/hour over the course of the next five years. Republicans argue that if Democrats got their wish and the pay floor were increased by nearly 70%, it would do more harm than good for low-income Americans as the number of jobs that would be lost as a result of employers cutting back in the face of dramatically higher labor costs would offset the benefit that accrues to the workers who are lucky enough to keep their jobs.

Yes, raising the minimum wage would make life better for many minimum wage workers in America.  But a large number of them would also lose their jobs completely, and a lot of small businesses would deeply suffer financially.

Ideally, what we would love to see happen is for the U.S. economy to be producing so many good jobs that the only people that are looking for entry-level part-time jobs would be teens, people just starting out in the workforce, etc.  Back when I was a teen, I remember walking into a McDonald’s and getting hired on the spot because they were in dire need of workers.  Sadly, those days are long, long gone.

Over the past several decades, millions of good paying American jobs have been shipped overseas, and millions more have been lost to advancing technology.  And as I wrote about the other day, Barack Obama is deeply betraying American workers by working on a global economic treaty that would destroy millions more good paying jobs.

Thanks to the foolishness of our politicians, there is now intense competition even for minimum wage jobs at this point.

We keep hearing about an “employment recovery”, but it is a giant lie.  Posted below is a chart of the civilian employment to population ratio.  As you can see, the percentage of the working age population that is actually employed is much, much lower than it used to be…

Employment Population Ratio 2015

In recent months, we have seen the employment-population ratio move slightly higher.  But can this be called “an employment recovery”?  Of course not.  We are still way, way below the level that we were at just prior to the last recession, and now the next recession is just about upon us.

Meanwhile, the quality of our jobs continues to decline as more Americans are being pushed into “part-time work” with each passing year.

Since February of 2008, the size of the U.S. population has grown by 16.8 million people.  But during that same time frame, the number of full-time jobs in this country has actually decreased.

And at this point, the majority of American workers simply do not make enough money to support a middle class family.  The following income numbers come directly from the Social Security Administration

-39 percent of American workers make less than $20,000 a year.

-52 percent of American workers make less than $30,000 a year.

-63 percent of American workers make less than $40,000 a year.

-72 percent of American workers make less than $50,000 a year.

Are you starting to see why I am so fired up about all of this?

We have developed a business culture in this country which does not care about workers.  In business schools all over America, future executives are taught that a corporation only has one goal – to maximize wealth for the shareholders.  Taking care of those that are part of your team is treated as an afterthought at best.

As corporations have gotten bigger, they have shown less and less concern for those that work for them.  These days, employees are generally regarded as “expensive liabilities” that are to be discarded the moment that their usefulness has come to an end.  And news of layoffs is often rewarded by Wall Street by a surge in the stock prices of the companies making those layoffs.

In the old days, more businesses in America were family-owned, and employees were often regarded as almost “part of the family”.  Unfortunately, those days have disappeared forever.

Now, employees are treated like scum by many big companies, and if they don’t like how they are being treated they are told that they can leave.  For example, just consider what was going on at a security company down in Florida

Jose Molero worked as a site inspector for the company, which provides security for neighborhoods and companies across the country, for more than a year.

Molero says when he went to the Kensington Golf and Country Club guardhouse, he found wooden paddles on a desk, some with staff names on them and one reading “for staff discipline.”

He says there was also what is called a “Wall of Shame,” where the supervisor points out and posts reports that contain grammatical errors.

When Molero complained about these things to his district manager, he was told that if anyone was offended “maybe they shouldn’t work here”…

Molero contacted his operations manager, who told him to speak with the district manager. He says the district manager sent him an email response that said, “if that hurts their feelings then maybe they shouldn’t work here.”

Do you have a similar horror story to share?

Most of us do.

The U.S. economy is absolutely dominated by cold, heartless corporations that have no interest in listening to the little guy.  If they could find a way to do it, many of them would operate with no low-level employees at all.  And as technology continues to advance, they will replace as many of us as they can with robots, drones, machines and computers.

I’ll be honest with you – the future for workers in America looks really bleak.  The competition for any jobs that can’t be shipped overseas or replaced by technology is going to become even more heated.  This means that the middle class is going to get even smaller, the number of Americans dependent on the government is going to continue to explode, and the disparity between the wealthy and the poor is going to become even greater.

So what is the solution to this giant mess?  Please feel free to tell us what you think by posting a comment below…

Is America About To Reach A Breaking Point? Anger Grows As Unemployment Benefits Get Cut

Breaking PointIn America today, there are close to 50 million people living in poverty and there are more than 100 million people that get money from the federal government every month.  As the middle class disintegrates, poverty is climbing to unprecedented levels.  Even though the stock market has been setting record high after record high, the amount of anger and frustration boiling just under the surface in our nation grows with each passing day.  And now extended unemployment benefits have been cut off for 1.3 million unemployed Americans, and it is being projected that a total of 5 million unemployed Americans will lose their benefits by the end of 2014.  In addition, as I have written about previously, 47 million Americans recently had their food stamp benefits reduced.  The conditions for a “perfect storm” are certainly being created.  So how much longer will it be until we see all of this anger and frustration boil over in the streets of our major cities?  Is America about to reach a breaking point?

If you think that the title of this article is “alarmist”, you probably have not been paying attention to what has been happening over the past few weeks.  For example, a 600 person brawl broke out at at movie theater in Jacksonville, Florida just the other day…

Five teenagers were arrested when a 600-person brawl broke out in a Florida movie theater’s parking lot on Christmas night.

Described by police as a “melee,” the fight occurred around 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday outside the Hollywood River City 14 movie theater in Jacksonville when a group tried to storm the theater’s doors without purchasing tickets, police said. Several had rushed an off-duty police officer working as a security guard.

The officer “administered pepper spray to disperse the group, locked the doors and called for backup, following protocol,” said Lauri-Ellen Smith, a spokeswoman for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

Soon after the pepper spray was used, “upward of 600 people moving throughout a parking lot about the size of a football field began fighting, disrupting and jumping on cars,” she said.

And a “flash mob” of “400 crazed teens” was so violent that it forced a mall in Brooklyn to shut down just a few days ago

A wild flash mob stormed and trashed a Brooklyn mall, causing so much chaos that the shopping center was forced to close during post-Christmas sales, sources said Friday.

More than 400 crazed teens — who mistakenly thought the rapper Fabolous would perform — erupted into brawls all over Kings Plaza Shopping Center in Mill Basin on Thursday at 5 p.m., sources said.

The troublemakers looted and ransacked several stores as panicked shoppers ran for the exits and clerks scrambled to pull down metal gates.

In addition, the release of new Air Jordan sneakers caused mini-riots and brawls to break out all over the country just before Christmas.

So why is all of this happening?

Of course people will come up with all sorts of theories to explain these outbreaks of violence, but what pretty much everyone should be able to agree on is that we are seeing levels of anger and frustration rise to very dangerous levels in this country.

Right now, there are approximately 6 million Americans in the 16 to 24-year-old age group that are not in school and that are not working either.  What that means is that we have an alarmingly high number of very frustrated young people that do not have anything better to do than to cause trouble.

In some of our largest cities this has become a massive problem.  In fact, quite a few major U.S. cities actually have more than 100,000 “idle youth” living in them…

Just look at some of the nation’s largest cities. Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Miami, Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Riverside, Calif., all have more than 100,000 idle youth, the Opportunity Nation report found.

But the Obama administration says that this should not be a problem.  In fact, the Obama administration tells us that the unemployment rate has been steadily “declining” and that there are plenty of opportunities for everyone.

Of course that is a giant lie.  Just before the last recession, about 63 percent of all working age Americans had a job.  During the recession that number fell below 59 percent and it has stayed there ever since

Employment-Population Ratio 2013

So the notion that we are experiencing an “employment recovery” is absolutely laughable.

But most of our politicians appear to believe this lie, and it is being used as justification to cut off extended unemployment benefits.

And the funny thing is that by cutting off these benefits, it is going to make it appear as though unemployment has gone down even more.  Millions of unemployed workers that are being forced into the streets will now be counted as having “left the labor force”, and it is being projected that the unemployment rate could decline by as much as half a percentage point as a result.

What a joke.

A lot of the people that are having their benefits cut off are really hurting.  For instance, consider the case of 63-year-old paralegal Laura Walker

“Not all of us have savings and a lot of us have to take care of family because of what happened in the economy,” said Walker, of Santa Clarita, who said she has applied for at least three jobs a week and shares an apartment with her unemployed son, his wife and two children. “It’s going to put my family and me out on the streets.”

So what is she going to do?

Well, at this point she appears to be down to just one option…

“I just don’t know what to do, except pray.”

And of course the unemployed are not the only ones that have had their benefits cut.  As I mentioned above, all 47 million Americans that are currently on food stamps recently had their benefits reduced.  The following is an excerpt from a recent article by Mac Slavo

Earlier this year government benefits for nutritional assistance were reduced after the expiration of emergency legislation that was enacted following the 2008 financial collapse. Nearly all of the 48 million people receiving food stamp distributions were affected. The move led to warnings from food pantries and recipients around the country who said that the $40 billion in cuts would leave many American families without the ability to put food on dinner tables across America. According to Feed America, the roughly $29 per family that would no longer appear on their EBT cards will amount to about 1.5 billion meals in 2014.

The fact that government dependence has soared to all-time highs even in the midst of this so-called “economic recovery” is just another sign that the middle class is dying.  For years, middle class families have tried strategy after strategy in an attempt to survive, but now it has become apparent that the middle class is rapidly approaching a breaking point

Rising income inequality is starting to hit home for many American households as they run short of places to reach for a few extra bucks.

As the gap between the rich and poor widened over the last three decades, families at the bottom found ways to deal with the squeeze on earnings. Housewives joined the workforce. Husbands took second jobs and labored longer hours. Homeowners tapped into the rising value of their properties to borrow money to spend.

Those strategies finally may have run their course as women’s participation in the labor force has peaked and the bursting of the house-price bubble has left many Americans underwater on their mortgages.

And even though the Obama administration and the mainstream media have tried to convince us over and over that the economy is “getting better”, most Americans are not buying it.  In fact, according to a new CNN poll, 70 percent of all Americans believe that “the economy is generally in poor shape”.

As the economy continues to decline, not all Americans will respond to their desperate situations by getting violent.  Many suffer quietly, hoping that things will eventually turn around for them.  Unfortunately, the ranks of the suffering grow with each passing year.  For example, a recent CNN article discussed the continued growth of “tent cities” all over America…

The total number of homeless people residing in tents and makeshift homes is unknown. Many of these communities are small and hidden from public view, while others claim hundreds of residents and are sprinkled through major urban areas.

Some, like those tucked under roadways, are temporary and relocate frequently. Their conditions are vile, unsanitary and fail to provide refuge from storms and winds. Then there are communities, such as Dignity Village in Portland, Oregon, that have a more sustained presence. The 13-year-old “ecovillage” set up by homeless people is hygienic and self-sufficient.

Preliminary findings by The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty show that tent cities have been documented in almost every state, and they’re growing.

So how do we solve these problems?

Are there any solutions that could get us out of this mess?

Of course there are.  But don’t hold your breath waiting for any of them to be adopted.  In fact, the American people continue to express great support for the very people that got us into this mess in the first place.  For example, according to a Gallup survey that was just released, Barack Obama is the most admired man in America by a very wide margin and Hillary Clinton is the most admired woman in America by a very wide margin.

And the mainstream media will continue to tell all of us that “leaders” like Obama, Clinton, Reid, Boehner, McConnell and Pelosi can be trusted to get us out of this mess.

If you believe that, there is a bridge that I would like to sell you.

The American people need to stop having blind faith in the relentless propaganda that is being spewed at them through their televisions screens.  The pretty faces that you see “reporting the news” do not care about you and they are not watching out for your best interests.  The corporate-controlled news is highly scripted and it is pretty much the same whatever channel you turn to.  If you have any doubt that “the news” is scripted, just check out this video

The Coming Food Stamp Riots

Riot Control - Photo by James McCauleyIt may not happen this month, or even this year, but food stamp riots are coming to America.  In fact, we got a small preview of the coming food stamp riots this past weekend when a “temporary system failure” caused food stamp cards to stop working in 17 U.S. states.  Within hours, there were “mini-riots” at Wal-Marts and other retailers that rely heavily on food stamp users.  So what would happen if food stamp benefits were cut off or reduced for an extended period of time?  As you will see below, if Congress had not pushed through a “deal”, the USDA would have started cutting off food stamp benefits on November 1st.  Considering the fact that 47 million Americans are on food stamps and more than 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government, that could have sparked massive rioting.  So the good news is that the coming food stamp riots will probably not happen in November.  The bad news is that the “deal” in Congress only delays the political fighting until after Christmas.  In just a few months we will be dealing with a potential “government shutdown” and a debt ceiling deadline once again.

Most Americans have no idea what almost just happened.  According to Reuters, the state of North Carolina had already cut off some welfare benefits for the month of November…

North Carolina has become the first state to cut off welfare benefits to poor residents in the wake of the partial federal government shutdown, ordering a halt to processing November applications until a deal is reached to end the federal standstill.

More than 20,000 people – most of them children – receive monthly benefits aimed at helping them buy food and other basic supplies through North Carolina’s welfare program, called Work First, which is fully funded by the federal government. Recipients must reapply each month.

And as Mac Slavo recently detailed, the USDA was already planning to cut off food stamp assistance to millions of Americans on November 1st…

We say next month because the USDA, which oversees the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), has just issued an order to SNAP agency directors calling for their respective States to implement an emergency contingency program because of government funding issues. In a letter obtained by the Crossroads Urban Center food pantry, the USDA is directing state agencies to, “delay their November issuance files and delay transmission to State Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) vendors until further notice.”

What this means is that should Congress fail to increase the debt ceiling this week, come November there will literally be millions of people in the United States who will have exactly zero dollars transferred to their EBT cards.

What will happen to the nearly 50 million people who depend on these benefits to survive?

In fact, there have been quite a few news reports that have confirmed this

In Utah, Fox News 13 in Salt Lake City reported that a local provider recently received a letter from the USDA sticking to the November 1 cut-off date.

“This is going to create a huge hardship for the people we serve here in our food pantry,” Bill Tibbits, Associate Director at Crossroads Urban Center, told Fox News 13.

“What this means [is] if there’s not a deal, if Congress doesn’t reach a deal to get federal government back up and running, in Utah about 100,000 families won’t get food stamp benefit,” added Tibbits.

The USDA letter says in part, “in the interest of preserving maximum flexibility, we are directing states to hold their November issuance files and delay transmission to state electronic benefit transfer vendors until further notice.”

So what would have happened if tens of millions of Americans suddenly had their food stamp benefits cut off without warning?

Well, what happened last weekend can give us a few clues.  Just check out what happened at one Wal-Mart in Mississippi

Customers staged a disturbance then walked out of a Mississippi Walmart store with groceries that hadn’t been paid for Saturday night after a computer glitch left them unable to use their food stamp cards.

People in 17 states found themselves unable to buy groceries with their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program cards after a routine check by vendor Xerox Corp. resulted in a temporary system failure.

Shortly after the mini-riot, managers decided to temporarily close the store, citing customer safety.

Due to this technical glitch, many parents were left wondering how they were going to feed their families.  If this is the kind of anger that is unleashed over a single failed trip to the grocery store, what would we see if this kind of thing went on for an extended period of time?

At some Wal-Mart stores down in Louisiana, EBT cards were not showing any limits on Saturday night, and within two hours many store shelves in the grocery section were completely cleared of merchandise…

Shelves in Walmart stores in Springhill and Mansfield, LA were reportedly cleared Saturday night, when the stores allowed purchases on EBT cards even though they were not showing limits.

The chaos that followed ultimately required intervention from local police, and left behind numerous carts filled to overflowing, apparently abandoned when the glitch-spurred shopping frenzy ended.

Springhill Police Chief Will Lynd confirms they were called in to help the employees at Walmart because there were so many people clearing off the shelves. He says Walmart was so packed, “It was worse than any black Friday” that he’s ever seen.

Sadly, this was only a very small preview of the massive food stamp riots that are eventually coming to America.  I like how Mike Adams explained what we are likely to see in the future…

Why does any of this matter? Because this is exactly the same way these people will behave when the federal government goes into default and nearly 50 million EBT cards stop working nationwide.

Fifty million. Consider that for a moment. Most of those 50 million people live in high-density cities. Many are proud owners of Obama phones, Obama food stamps, Obama unemployment checks and Obama subsidized housing. They have absolutely no clue that the government upon which they wholly depend to put food on the table is teetering on the verge of permanent collapse. (Seriously, they cannot conceive of the idea of government “running out of money” because they do not understand where money comes from.) Because of this distorted belief, they do not prepare for any future events other than more Obama handouts. Their entire “preparedness” plan is to vote for Democrats, because that’s who they know will give them the most handouts. And they will always win the popular vote, too, because any politician promising to restore responsible fiscal spending to the government by cutting programs will be viciously accused of being “mean” or involved in “hating poor people.” So the government handouts will only ratchet higher and higher, ensnaring more and more people, until the entire system is unsustainable and collapses under its own weight.

When that system of dependence fails, those who depend on it will panic in mere hours. As proof of this, consider the fact that this mass looting of Wal-Mart stores happened in less than three hours after the Saturday EBT card glitch struck. Police had to be called in to prevent the situation from getting completely out of control, and it was offline for only part of one day.

Now imagine what will happen when EBT cards go offline for 24, 48 or even 72 hours. And imagine it happening in every U.S. city simultaneously.

Of course not all Americans would go wild when food stamp benefits are cut off.

Other Americans express their desperation in other ways.  According to Bloomberg, an increasing number of people are starting to sell hair, breast milk and their own eggs in a desperate attempt to make ends meet…

Hair, breast milk and eggs are doubling as automated teller machines for some cash-strapped Americans such as April Hare.

Out of work for more than two years and facing eviction from her home, Hare recalled Louisa May Alcott’s 19th-century novel and took to her computer.

“I was just trying to find ways to make money, and I remembered Jo from ‘Little Women,’ and she sold her hair,” the 35-year-old from Atlanta said. “I’ve always had lots of hair, but this is the first time I’ve actually had the idea to sell it because I’m in a really tight jam right now.”

The mother of two posted pictures of her 18-inch auburn mane on www.buyandsellhair.com, asking at least $1,000 and receiving responses within hours. Hare, who also considered selling her breast milk, joins others exploring unconventional ways to make ends meet as the four-year-old economic expansion struggles to invigorate the labor market and stimulate incomes.

We have moved into a time when things are becoming increasingly unstable and when people are becoming increasingly desperate.

In an attempt to keep order, the authorities will become increasingly forceful in the years ahead.  At this point, many law enforcement officers already believe that there is very little that they cannot do to exert their “authority” over the rest of us.  Just check out video of a drunk off-duty police officer “arresting” a woman that refused to go out on a date with him right here.  Sadly, this type of behavior is becoming way too common these days.

And it looks like major financial institutions are getting ready for the chaos that is eventually coming as well.  In fact, according to an article by Paul Joseph Watson, Chase Bank is now placing a limit on cash withdrawals and is banning business customers from sending wire transfers out of the country…

Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending international wire transfers from November 17 onwards, prompting speculation that the bank is preparing for a looming financial crisis in the United States by imposing capital controls.

Numerous business customers with Chase BusinessSelect Checking and Chase BusinessClassic accounts have received letters over the past week informing them that cash activity (both deposits and withdrawals) will be limited to a $50,000 total per statement cycle from November 17 onwards.

Fortunately, the chaos that would have been unleashed if Congress had not made a deal has now been delayed for a few months.

But by kicking the can down the road, our politicians continue to make our long-term problems even worse.  Either we are going to have tremendous pain now, or we are going to have even worse pain later.  Peter Schiff explained the choice that we are facing this way…

If Republicans were to inexplicably prevail, and the federal government were to cut spending so that its expenditures matched its tax revenues (a truly radical idea) the country’s financial mess would be laid bare. The government would have to weigh the relative costs and benefits of making interest payments on Treasury debt (primarily to foreign creditors) or to trim entitlements promised to U.S. citizens. But those are choices we will have to make sooner or later anyway. In fact we should have dealt with these issues years ago. But generations of mechanistic debt ceiling increases have allowed us to perpetually kick the can down the road. What could possibly be gained by doing it again, particularly if it is done with no commitment to change course?

The Democrats’ argument that America needs to pay its bills is just hollow rhetoric. Paying off one’s Visa bill with a new and bigger MasterCard bill can’t be considered a legitimate payment of debt. At best it is a transfer. But in the government’s case, it doesn’t even qualify as that. Treasury debt is primarily bought by the Fed, foreign central banks, and major financial institutions. None of that will change with a debt ceiling increase. We will just go to the same people for greater quantities. So it’s like paying off your Visa card with a bigger Visa card.

We are living on borrowed time that has been purchased by stealing money from future generations.

We are literally destroying the future in order to make the present more palatable.

But whether it is this year, or next year or the year after that, at some point we are going to experience the pain that results from decades of incredibly foolish decisions.

I hope that you are getting ready.

The Decline Of Breadwinner Jobs Has Resulted In The Longest Bread Lines In American History

The_Bread_Line_by_George_Benjamin_Luks,_Dayton_Art_InstituteAs the number of good jobs continues to decline, the number of Americans that cannot take care of themselves without government assistance continues to explode.  On Friday, we learned that the U.S. economy added “195,000 jobs” last month.  But when you look deeper at the numbers, another story emerges.  Last month, the U.S. economy actually lost 240,000 full-time jobs.  Overall, the U.S. economy has only added 130,000 full-time jobs in 2013, but it takes about 90,000 full-time jobs a month just to keep up with population growth.  So we are losing quite a bit of ground as far as full-time jobs are concerned.  Meanwhile, the U.S. economy has added more than 500,000 part-time jobs so far this year.  Unfortunately, there are very, very few part-time and temp jobs that can be considered “breadwinner jobs”.  Part-time jobs are great for teenagers, university students and elderly people that only want to work a limited number of hours, but what most Americans need are good paying full-time jobs with benefits that will allow them to take care of their families.  Unfortunately, those jobs are continually becoming a smaller part of our economy.

As David Stockman has noted, the U.S. economy has only regained 200,000 of the 5.6 million breadwinner jobs that were lost during the last recession…

By September 2012, the S&P 500 was up by 115 percent from its recession lows and had recovered all of its losses from the peak of the second Greenspan bubble. By contrast, only 200,000 of the 5.6 million lost breadwinner jobs had been recovered by that same point in time. To be sure, the Fed’s Wall Street shills breathlessly reported the improved jobs “print” every month, picking and choosing starting and ending points and using continuously revised and seasonally maladjusted data to support that illusion. Yet the fundamentals with respect to breadwinner jobs could not be obfuscated.

This is a big problem.  As I wrote about the other day, the quality of jobs in America is falling very fast.  Only 47 percent of all adults in the United States have a full-time job at this point, and 53 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year.

Meanwhile, the number of part-time jobs has hit an all-time record high, and the number of temp jobs is absolutely exploding.

Incredibly, the number of temp jobs has increased by more than 50 percent since the end of the recession.  Approximately 10 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession were temp jobs, but close to 20 percent of the jobs gained since then have been temp jobs.

We are witnessing a fundamental shift in our economy.  Full-time jobs are on the decline.  Part-time and temp jobs are on the rise.

In fact, the second largest employer in the United States is now a temp agency.  Kelly Services has become the second largest employer in the country after Wal-Mart.

But it is really hard to pay the bills stocking shelves at Wal-Mart or working temp jobs for Kelly Services.

Unfortunately, these days millions of American workers find themselves having to take whatever they can find.  We live during a period of chronic unemployment.  In fact, according to John Williams of shadowstats.com, unemployment in the United States is now higher than it was at any point during the last recession after you factor in discouraged workers and workers that have taken part-time jobs for economic reasons.

So why don’t more Americans go out and start businesses and create their own jobs?

Unfortunately, thanks to the federal government, state governments and local governments, the environment for small businesses in America today is incredibly toxic.  In fact, the percentage of self-employed workers in this country is at an all-time record low.

As a result of everything that I have discussed above, more Americans than ever find that they cannot take care of themselves without government assistance.

I have often written about the fact that the number of Americans on food stamps has skyrocketed in recent years.  In the year 2000, there were only 17 million Americans on food stamps.  Today, there are more than 47 million Americans on food stamps.

But the number of Americans that are dependent on our “modern day bread lines” is actually far higher than that.

According to a recent CNS News article, a total of 101 million Americans are enrolled in food assistance programs.  The following are some of the staggering numbers for some of these programs…

The National School Lunch program provides 32 million students with low-cost or no-cost meals daily; 10.6 million participate in the School Breakfast Program; and 8.9 million receive benefits from the Woman, Infants and Children (WIC) program each month, the latter designed for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, as well as children younger than 5 years old.

In addition, 3.3 million children at day care centers receive snacks through the Child and Adult Care Food Program.

There’s also a Special Milk Program for schools and a Summer Food Service Program, through which 2.3 million children received aid in July 2011 during summer vacation.

At farmer’s markets, 864,000 seniors receive benefits to purchase food and 1.9 million women and children use coupons from the program.

Yes, there is some overlap in some of these programs.  So the actual number of Americans receiving food assistance is going to be less than 101 million.

But clearly something has gone horribly wrong.  Our economy is not producing enough good jobs, and more Americans than ever cannot take care of themselves as a result.

This is not normal.  What we are witnessing is the slow-motion collapse of the middle class.  The number of Americans that are dependent on the government for their daily bread is so large that it is difficult to comprehend.  The following are a few statistics from my recent article entitled “21 Facts About Rising Government Dependence In America That Will Blow Your Mind“…

-Back in the 1970s, about one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps.  Today, about one out of every 6.5 Americans is on food stamps.

-Today, the number of Americans on food stamps exceeds the entire population of the nation of Spain.

-According to one calculation, the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of “Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.”

You can read the rest of that article right here.

So what is the solution?

Well, we need a lot more full-time “breadwinner jobs” that will enable men and women to be able to take care of their families.

Unfortunately, we continue to ship millions of good jobs overseas, and our politicians continue to pursue policies which are making the business environment in this country very toxic.

There is not going to be any easy way to fix all of this.  We should have seen a nice bounce in the employment numbers during this so-called “recovery”, but that did not happen.  And now the next wave of the economic collapse is rapidly approaching, and the employment crisis in this country is going to become a lot more painful.

10 Amazing Charts That Demonstrate The Slow, Agonizing Death Of The American Worker

10 Amazing Charts That Demonstrate The Slow, Agonizing Death Of The American WorkerThe middle class American worker is in danger of becoming an endangered species.  The politicians are not telling you the truth, and the mainstream media is certainly not telling you the truth, but the reality is that there is nothing but bad news on the horizon for workers in the United States.  In the old days, when the big corporations that dominate our society did well, that also meant good things for American workers since those corporations would need more of us to work for them.  But in the emerging one world economic system that our economy is being merged into, those corporations have other choices now.  For instance, the big corporations can now choose to limit the number of “expensive” American workers that they employ by shipping millions of jobs to the other side of the world.  And from their perspective, it makes perfect sense.  They can make much bigger profits by hiring people on the other side of the planet to work for them for less than a dollar an hour.  If they can get good production out of those people, then why should they hire Americans for ten to twenty times as much, plus have to give those Americans health insurance and other benefits?  Another major factor in the slow, agonizing death of the American worker is technology.  We live during a period when technology is advancing at a pace that is almost unimaginable at the same time that it is steadily becoming cheaper and cheaper.  That means that it is going to become easier and easier for companies to replace workers with robots and computers.  As I have written about previously, it is being projected that our economy will lose millions of jobs to technology in the coming years.  Yes, some of us will still be needed to help build the robots and the computers, but not all of us will.  And of course the overall general weakness of the economy is not helping matters either.  The American people inherited the greatest economic machine in the history of the world, and we have wrecked it.  Decades of very foolish decisions have resulted in the period of steady economic decline that we are experiencing now.

America is simply not the economic powerhouse that it once was.  Back in 2001, the U.S. economy accounted for 31.8 percent of global GDP.  By 2011, the U.S. economy only accounted for 21.6 percent of global GDP.  That is a collapse any way that you want to look at it.

Today, American workers are living in an economy that is rapidly declining, and their jobs are steadily being stolen by robots, computers and foreign workers that live in countries where it is legal to pay slave labor wages.  Politicians from both political parties refuse to do anything to stop the bleeding because they think that the status quo is working just great.

So don’t expect things to get better any time soon.

The following are 10 amazing charts that demonstrate the slow, agonizing death of the American worker…

#1 Wages And Salaries As A Percentage Of GDP

Wages And Salaries As A Percentage Of GDP

As you can see, wages as a percentage of GDP are hovering near an all-time record low.  That means that American workers are bringing home a smaller share of the economic pie than ever before.

#2 Average Annual Hours Worked Per Employed Person In The United States

Average Annual Hours Worked per Employed Person in the United States

We are an economy that is rapidly trading good paying full-time jobs for low paying part-time jobs.  The decline in average annual hours worked that we have witnessed represents the equivalent of losing millions of jobs.  There has been an explosion of “the working poor” in the United States, and this trend is probably only going to accelerate in the years to come.

#3 Manufacturing Employment

Manufacturing Employment

As you can see, there are less Americans working in manufacturing today than there was in 1950 even though the population of the country has more than doubled since then.  The United States has lost more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities since 2001, and yet our politicians stand around and do nothing about it.

#4 Employment-Population Ratio

Employment-Population Ratio 2013

This is one of my favorite charts.  It shows that there has been absolutely no employment recovery at all since the end of the last recession.  The percentage of working age Americans that have a job has stayed under 59 percent for 44 months in a row.  How much worse will things get when the next major economic downturn strikes?

#5 Labor Force Participation Rate

Labor Force Participation Rate

This is how the Obama administration is getting the “unemployment rate” to magically go down.  They are pretending that millions upon millions of Americans simply do not want to work anymore.  As you will notice, the decline of the labor force participation rate has accelerated greatly since Barack Obama entered the White House.

#6 Duration Of Unemployment

Duration Of Unemployment

The average amount of time that it takes an unemployed worker to find a new job has declined slightly, but it is still far above normal historical levels.  It is a crying shame that it takes the average unemployed worker two-thirds of a year to find a new job, but this is the new economic reality that we are all living in.

#7 Delinquency Rate On Residential Mortgages

Delinquency Rate On Residential Mortgages

Since there are not enough jobs for all of us, and since our wages are not rising as rapidly as the cost of living is, a whole bunch of us are falling behind on our mortgages.  As you can see, the mortgage delinquency rate has only dropped slightly and is still way, way above typical levels.

#8 New Homes Sold

New Homes Sold

American workers also don’t have enough money to go out and buy new homes either.  Yes, new home sales have rebounded slightly this year, but we are nowhere near where we used to be.

#9 Consumer Credit

Consumer Credit

Millions of American families continue to resort to going into debt in a desperate attempt to make ends meet.  After a slight interruption during the last recession, consumer credit once again is growing at a frightening pace.

#10 Self-Employment At A Record Low

Self-Employed As A Share Of Non-Farm Employment

Since there aren’t enough jobs for everyone, why aren’t more Americans trying to start their own businesses?  Well, the reality of the matter is that the government has made it exceedingly difficult to start your own business today.  Taxes, rules, regulations and red tape are choking the life out of millions of small businesses in the United States.  As a result, the percentage of self-employed Americans is at a record low.

As all of these long-term trends continue, the middle class will continue to shrink, poverty in America will continue to explode and government dependence will continue to rise.

The numbers don’t lie.  Today, 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.

We are in the midst of a horrifying economic collapse, and the next major wave of that collapse is rapidly approaching.

Are you ready?