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12 Ways The Economy Is Already In Worse Shape Than It Was During The Depths Of The Last Recession

Twelve - Public DomainDid you know that the percentage of children in the United States that are living in poverty is actually significantly higher than it was back in 2008?  When I write about an “economic collapse”, most people think of a collapse of the financial markets.  And without a doubt, one is coming very shortly, but let us not neglect the long-term economic collapse that is already happening all around us.  In this article, I am going to share with you a bunch of charts and statistics that show that economic conditions are already substantially worse than they were during the last financial crisis in a whole bunch of different ways.  Unfortunately, in our 48 hour news cycle world, a slow and steady decline does not produce many “sexy headlines”.  Those of us that are news junkies (myself included) are always looking for things that will shock us.  But if you stand back and take a broader view of things, what has been happening to the U.S. economy truly is quite shocking.  The following are 12 ways that the U.S. economy is already in worse shape than it was during the depths of the last recession…

#1 Back in 2008, 18 percent of all Americans kids were living in poverty.  This week, we learned that number has now risen to 22 percent

There are nearly three million more children living in poverty today than during the recession, shocking new figures have revealed.

Nearly a quarter of youngsters in the US (22 percent) or around 16.1 million individuals, were classed as living below the poverty line in 2013.

This has soared from just 18 percent in 2008 – during the height of the economic crisis, the Casey Foundation’s 2015 Kids Count Data Book reported.

#2 In early 2008, the homeownership rate in the U.S. was hovering around 68 percent.  Today, it has plunged below 64 percent.  Incredibly, it has not been this low in more than 20 years.  Just look at this chart – the homeownership rate has continued to plummet throughout Obama’s “economic recovery”…

Homeownership Rate 2015

#3 While Barack Obama has been in the White House, government dependence has skyrocketed to levels that we have never seen before.  In 2008, the federal government was spending about 37 billion dollars a year on the federal food stamp program.  Today, that number is above 74 billion dollars.  If the economy truly is “recovering”, why is government dependence so much higher than it was during the last recession?

#4 On the chart below, you can see that the U.S. national debt was sitting at about 9 trillion dollars when we entered the last recession.  Since that time, the debt of the federal government has doubled.  We are on the exact same path that Greece has gone down, and what you are looking at below is a recipe for national economic suicide…

Presentation National Debt

#5 During Obama’s “recovery”, real median household income has actually gone down quite a bit.  Just prior to the last recession, it was above $54,000 per year, but now it has dropped to about $52,000 per year…

Median Household Income

#6 Even though our incomes are stagnating, the cost of living just continues to rise steadily.  This is especially true of basic things that we all purchase such as food.  As I wrote about earlier this year, the price of ground beef in the United States has doubled since the last recession.

#7 In a healthy economy, lots of new businesses are opening and not that many are being forced to shut down.  But for each of the past six years, more businesses have closed in the United States than have opened.  Prior to 2008, this had never happened before in all of U.S. history.

#8 Barack Obama is constantly telling us about how unemployment is “going down”, but the truth is that the  percentage of working age Americans that are either working or considered to be looking for work has steadily declined since the end of the last recession…

Presentation Labor Force Participation Rate

#9 Some have suggested that the decline in the labor force participation rate is due to large numbers of older people retiring.  But the reality of the matter is that we have seen a spike in the inactivity rate for Americans in their prime working years.  As you can see below, the percentage of males between the ages of 25 and 54 that aren’t working and that aren’t looking for work has surged to record highs since the end of the last recession…

Presentation Inactivity Rate

#10 A big reason why we don’t have enough jobs for everyone is the fact that millions upon millions of good paying jobs have been shipped overseas.  At the end of Barack Obama’s first year in office, our yearly trade deficit with China was 226 billion dollars.  Last year, it was more than 343 billion dollars.

#11 Thanks to all of these factors, the middle class in America is dying.  In 2008, 53 percent of all Americans considered themselves to be “middle class”.  But by 2014, only 44 percent of all Americans still considered themselves to be “middle class”.

When you take a look at our young people, the numbers become even more pronounced.  In 2008, 25 percent of all Americans in the 18 to 29-year-old age bracket considered themselves to be “lower class”.  But in 2014, an astounding 49 percent of all Americans in that age range considered themselves to be “lower class”.

#12 This is something that I have covered before, but it bears repeating.  The velocity of money is a very important indicator of the health of an economy.  When an economy is functioning smoothly, people generally feel quite good about things and money flows freely through the system.  I buy something from you, then you take that money and buy something from someone else, etc.  But when an economy is in trouble, the velocity of money tends to go down.  As you can see on the chart below, a drop in the velocity of money has been associated with every single recession since 1960.  So why has the velocity of money continued to plummet since the end of the last recession?…

Velocity Of Money M2

If you are waiting for an “economic collapse” to happen, you can stop waiting.

One is unfolding right now before our very eyes.

But what most people really mean when they ask about these things is that they are wondering when the next great financial crisis will happen.  And as I discussed yesterday, things are lining up in textbook fashion for one to happen in our very near future.

Once the next great financial crisis does strike, all of the numbers that I just discussed above are going to get a whole lot worse.

So as bad as things are now, the truth is that this is just the beginning of the pain.

Barack Obama Says That What America Really Needs Is Lots More Debt

ObamacareWhen it comes to taking a chainsaw to the future of America, nobody seems more eager than Barack Obama.  Despite the fact that the U.S. national debt is on pace to approximately double during his eight years in the White House, he has just proposed a budget that would take government spending to crazy new heights.  When Barack Obama took the oath of office, the U.S. national debt was 10.6 trillion dollars.  Today, it has surpassed the 18 trillion dollar mark.  And even though we are being told that “deficits are going down”, the truth is that the U.S. national debt increased by more than a trillion dollars in fiscal 2014.  But that isn’t good enough for Obama.  He says that we need to come out of this period of “mindless austerity” and steal money from our children and our grandchildren even faster.  In addition, Obama wants to raise taxes again.  His budget calls for 2 trillion dollars in tax increases over the next decade.  He always touts these tax increases as “tax hikes on the rich”, but somehow they almost always seem to end up hitting the middle class too.  But whether or not Congress ever adopts Obama’s new budget is not really the issue.  The reality of the matter is that the “tax and spend Democrats” and the “tax and spend Republicans” are both responsible for getting us into this mess.  Future generations of Americans are already facing the largest mountain of debt in the history of the planet, and both parties want to make this mountain of debt even higher.  The only disagreement is about how fast it should happen.  It is a national disgrace, but most Americans have come to accept this as “normal”.  If our children and our grandchildren get the opportunity, they will curse us for what we have done to them.

All debt destroys.

All debt enslaves.

And when you are talking about an 18 trillion dollar debt, you are talking about an amount of money that is almost unimaginable.

If our national debt was reduced to a stack of one dollar bills, it would circle our planet at the equator 45 times.

How could we have done such a thing?

Thomas Jefferson once said that “the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.”  He correctly understood that government debt is stealing.  We are financially raping our children, our grandchildren and all future generations of Americans.  It is an incredibly wicked thing to do.

But instead of men like Thomas Jefferson running our country, we have men like Barack Obama running it.

And to Barack Obama, running up a trillion dollars of debt a year is “mindless austerity”

“I want to work with Congress to replace mindless austerity with smart investments that strengthen America,” Obama said in a speech at the Department of Homeland Security. “I’m not going to accept a budget that locks in sequestration going forward. It would be bad for our security, and bad for our growth.”

Yes, if we steal money from future generations it will artificially inflate our current standard of living and make our economy look temporarily better than it should be.

But it is morally wrong to do this, and our current crop of politicians have no intentions of ever bringing the debt party to an end.

Even with the ridiculously optimistic economic assumptions that are used in Obama’s new budget, the federal budget is never projected to balance within the next decade.  Instead, Obama’s budget projects that the national debt will rise from 18.1 trillion dollars right now to 26.2 trillion dollars in 2025.

Of course it would greatly help if the federal government actually spent our money wisely.  But instead, the feds often waste our hard-earned tax dollars in some of the most bizarre ways imaginable.  The following is just one example

The U.S. federal government has prompted controversy after spending over $33,000 on a study to find out whether same-sex couples live closer to tobacco shops than heterosexuals.

The large sum was spent on a study by the National Institutes of Health entitled, ‘Relationship Between Tobacco Retailer Density and Sexual Minority Couples.’

Thanks to this kind of insane spending, our debt is completely and totally out of control.

While Barack Obama has been in the White House, the U.S. national debt has increased by $84,266 per full-time private sector worker.  Anyone that believes that this kind of debt accumulation is sustainable is absolutely delusional.

The only reason why our house of cards has not completely collapsed already is because the rest of the world has been willing to lend us gigantic piles of money at artificially low interest rates.

In December, the average rate of interest on the government’s marketable debt was 2.013 percent.  But in the past, interest rates have been much higher than that.  For example, in January 2000 the average rate of interest on the government’s marketable debt was 6.620 percent.  If we returned to that level today, we would be paying well over a trillion dollars a year just in interest on the national debt.

And the issue isn’t just the more than one trillion dollars in new debt that we are accumulating every 12 months.

As I have discussed previously, the U.S. government has more than seven trillion dollars of debt that must be “rolled over” each year.  In other words, the federal government must issue more than seven trillion dollars of new debt just to pay off old debts that are coming due.

If something were to happen which would cause the rest of the planet to either be unwilling or unable to lend us trillions of dollars at ridiculously low interest rates all of a sudden, the game would be over.

We were handed the keys to the greatest and most prosperous economy in the history of the planet, and our greed has totally wrecked it.

We were wealthy beyond imagination, but that was never good enough for us.  We always had to have more.

And now we are hurtling toward financial oblivion, and we have a man in the White House that wants us to go into debt even faster.

 

All Over America, Government Officials Are Cracking Down On Preppers

Police State Big Brother Prison Grid - Public DomainWhy would the government want to punish people that are just trying to work hard, become more self-sufficient and take care of their families?  There are approximately 3 million preppers in the United States today, and often they appear to be singled out for punishment by bureaucratic control freaks that are horrified at the thought that there are families out there that actually want to try to become less dependent on the system.  So if you use alternative methods to heat your home, or if you are not connected to the utility grid, or if you collect rainwater on your property, or if you believe that parents should have the ultimate say when it comes to health decisions for their children, you could become a target for overzealous government enforcers.  Once upon a time, America was the land of the free and the home of the brave, but now we are being transformed into a socialist police state where control freak bureaucrats use millions of laws, rules and regulations to crack down on anyone that dares to think for themselves.

For example, people have been burning wood to heat their homes since this country began.  And this is still very common in rural areas.  But the Obama administration does not like this at all.  The Obama bureaucrats at the EPA fear that our little wood stoves may be contributing to “global warming”, so they have outlawed the production and sale of 80 percent of the wood stoves that are currently in use.  The following comes from a recent Forbes article

It seems that even wood isn’t green or renewable enough anymore. The EPA has recently banned the production and sale of 80 percent of America’s current wood-burning stoves, the oldest heating method known to mankind and mainstay of rural homes and many of our nation’s poorest residents. The agency’s stringent one-size-fits-all rules apply equally to heavily air-polluted cities and far cleaner plus typically colder off-grid wilderness areas such as large regions of Alaska and the American West.

While EPA’s most recent regulations aren’t altogether new, their impacts will nonetheless be severe. Whereas restrictions had previously banned wood-burning stoves that didn’t limit fine airborne particulate emissions to 15 micrograms per cubic meter of air, the change will impose a maximum 12 microgram limit. To put this amount in context, EPA estimates that secondhand tobacco smoke in a closed car can expose a person to 3,000-4,000 micrograms of particulates per cubic meter.

Most wood stoves that warm cabin and home residents from coast-to-coast can’t meet that standard. Older stoves that don’t cannot be traded in for updated types, but instead must be rendered inoperable, destroyed, or recycled as scrap metal.

Does that make you angry?

It should.

There are other preppers that try to use very “clean” methods to power their homes, but that is still not good enough for some government control freaks.

For example, one prepper down in south Florida that had gone “off the grid” was recently ordered by a court to connect back to the grid or face eviction from his home.  The following is an excerpt from a recent article by Guiles Hendrik

Think you are still free to make choices in your life? Do you think the government will allow you to live independent of their utility monopolies? If you think so, try opting for renewable non-grid tied power and utilize environmentally friendly composting toilets and your own self-sufficient water supply. Today, those life choices could land you in jail if you live in South Florida. Take the case of Robin Speronis.

Robin Speronis has lived off the grid, independent of the city’s water and electric system. A Florida court ruled this off-the-grid living illegal last week and has given Robin until March to connect her home to a municipal water line or face possible eviction. Further, officials in the city of Cape Coral have justified this by deeming Robin’s home “unsanitary,” citing the International Property Maintenance Code. First of all, since when did we begin to locally recognize “international codes?” Where in the US Constitution does it provide for international jurisdiction over local codes? Ironically, this “international” code mandates that homes be connected to an electricity grid and a running water source, even though most of the world lives without reliable electricity and municipal water and sewer. Further, the code is outdated and obsolete because it was written without consideration to both old and new technologies that relegate the need for grid tied power and municipal water as unnecessary and expensive; especially, in locations where it simply isn’t feasible to have grid tied utilities. Nonetheless, Speronis’ home does in fact have power and water through far cheaper and more environmentally friendly means — solar panels and rainwater, but that reality is ignored by the local government.

Incredibly, most Americans still seem to believe that we live in a “free country”.  But we don’t.  Our lives are very tightly constrained by literally millions of laws, rules and regulations, and more are being added every single day.

Even some of our most basic fundamental rights have been seriously eroded.  One of these is the right to make basic health decisions for our own children.  In New York state, children that have not received all of the designated vaccines can now be banned from attending public school, and this requirement was recently upheld by a federal appeals court

New York state’s requirement that children be vaccinated before attending public school does not violate their constitutional rights, a federal appeals court in Manhattan said on Wednesday.

In affirming the requirement’s constitutionality, a three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also upheld a previous ruling by a federal judge that students exempted from the requirement for religious reasons can be barred from school when another child has a disease preventable by a vaccine.

The decision was the latest to go against three parents from New York City who say their religious rights were violated when their children were kept out of school as a result of the immunization policies. The parents’ lawyer, Patricia Finn, said her clients planned to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

So what are we free to do without government interference these days?

Not much.

In fact, in some states we can’t even sit on our own land and collect the rain as it falls from the sky for our own personal use.

If you do this in the state of Oregon, for example, you could go to prison

Gary Harrington, the Oregon man convicted of collecting rainwater and snow runoff on his rural property surrendered Wednesday morning to begin serving his 30-day, jail sentence in Medford, Ore.

“I’m sacrificing my liberty so we can stand up as a country and stand for our liberty,” Harrington told a small crowd of people gathered outside of the Jackson County (Ore.) Jail.

Several people held signs that showed support for Harrington as he was taken inside the jail.

And of course these are just a few examples.  Almost every single day there are more stories in the news about government bureaucrats cracking down on preppers.  They almost seem to relish the opportunity to go after the “non-conformists”.

But the good news is that the number of Americans that are seeking to become less dependent on the system just continues to grow.

So what about you?

Are you a prepper?

My friend Daisy Luther recently wrote a piece entitled “45 MORE Signs That You Might Be One of Those Crazy Preppers“.  The following are some of the most interesting “signs” from her list…

*You spend your days off digging an underground bunker in your backyard.

*Your family doesn’t dare take something from the food stockpile without marking it off the list.

*Your kids know how to don a gas mask in 30 seconds.

*Everyone in your survival group carries the same firearm so that ammo is standardized.

*Your family is no longer surprised when you announce, “Hey, we’re going to learn how to make (insert anything here)!”

*You have long since accepted the idea that if you’re not on someone’s list, you’re probably not doing it right.

*You don’t just rotate food, you rotate ammo.

*Moving to a new house is no longer “moving”, but “strategic relocation”.

*Your kids think it’s a fun game to see who can find the most potential weapons in a room.

*Your EDC includes a knife, firearm w/extra mag, flashlight, mylar blanket, Chapstick, and an ounce of silver — and that’s just for when you’re walking the dog.

*One criterion for your new winter coat is that it fits over your body armor.

You can read her entire article right here.

America was built by people that loved their families, worked hard and were self-sufficient.

Now our government is specifically targeting those kinds of people.

What in the world is happening to us?

14 Facts That Prove That The Number Of Children Living In Poverty This Christmas Is At A Record High

Children - Public DomainDid you know that 65 percent of all children in the United States live in a home that receives aid from the federal government?  We live at a time when child poverty in America is exploding.  Yes, the U.S. economy is experiencing a temporary bubble of false stability for the moment, but even during this period of false stability the gap between the wealthy and the poor continues to rapidly expand and the middle class is being systematically destroyed.  And sadly, this is having a disproportionate impact on children.  This is happening for a couple of reasons.  First of all, poorer households tend to have more children than wealthier households.  Secondly, most people tend to have children when they are in their young adult years, and right now young adults are being absolutely hammered by this economy.  As a result, things just continue to get even worse for children living in this country.  Here are 14 facts that show that the number of children in America living in poverty this Christmas is at an all-time record high…

#1 The National Center for Children in Poverty says that 45 percent of all U.S. children belong to low income families.

#2 According to a Census Bureau report that was released just this week, 65 percent of all children in America are living in a home that receives some form of aid from the federal government…

“Almost two-thirds (65 percent) of children,” said the Census Bureau, “lived in households that participated in at least one or more of the following government aid programs: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Medicaid, and the National School Lunch Program.”

#3 According to a report recently released by UNICEF, almost one-third of all children in this country “live in households with an income below 60 percent of the national median income”.

#4 When it comes to child poverty, the United States ranks 36th out of the 41 “wealthy nations” that UNICEF looked at.

#5 An astounding 45 percent of all African-American children in America live in areas of “concentrated poverty”.

#6 40.9 percent of all children in the United States that are living with only one parent are living in poverty.

#7 These days, a lot of single mothers are really, really struggling to survive.  A decade ago, the number of women in America that had jobs outnumbered the number of women in America on food stamps by more than a 2 to 1 margin.  But now the number of women in America on food stamps actually exceeds the total number of women that have jobs.

#8 It is hard to believe, but right now 49 million Americans are dealing with food insecurity.

#9 According to a report that was released last month by the National Center on Family Homelessness, the number of homeless children in the United States has reached a new all-time high of 2.5 million.

#10 There are more than half a million homeless children in the state of California alone.

#11 One recent survey found that about 22 percent of all Americans have had to turn to a church food panty for assistance.

#12 This year, almost one out of every five households in the United States will go through the holiday season on food stamps.

#13 One of the primary reasons why kids are suffering so much is because their parents are simply not making enough money.  This is especially true for parents of young children.  For example, check out the following numbers from the Atlantic

Since the Great Recession struck in 2007, the median wage for people between the ages of 25 and 34, adjusted for inflation, has fallen in every major industry except for health care.

These numbers come from an analysis of the Census Current Population Survey by Konrad Mugglestone, an economist with Young Invincibles.

In retail, wholesale, leisure, and hospitality—which together employ more than one quarter of this age group—real wages have fallen more than 10 percent since 2007. To be clear, this doesn’t mean that most of this cohort are seeing their pay slashed, year after year. Instead it suggests that wage growth is failing to keep up with inflation, and that, as twentysomethings pass into their thirties, they are earning less than their older peers did before the recession.

#14 Overall, the quality of the jobs in America continues to decline.  At this point, most Americans do not bring home enough income to support a middle class lifestyle for their families.  Below I have shared an excerpt from an article that I published a while back

The following are some statistics about wages in the U.S. from a Social Security Administration report that was recently released

-39 percent of American workers made less than $20,000 last year.

-52 percent of American workers made less than $30,000 last year.

-63 percent of American workers made less than $40,000 last year.

-72 percent of American workers made less than $50,000 last year.

In addition to all of these numbers, there is also a lot of anecdotal evidence that families with children are really struggling right now.

For example, McDonald’s has traditionally been a place where poor and middle class families have taken their children for a cheap meal.  But the restaurant chain just released the worst sales numbers that we have seen in more than a decade.

And the really bad news is that this is just the beginning of the economic pain for families with children.  The U.S. economy is in a bubble period right now, and the authorities have been trying with all of their might to keep the bubble inflated.

Just imagine a bodybuilder that is pressing with all of his might to do one more rep on the bench press.  That is essentially where we are at.  In a recent piece, Brian Pretti summarized some of the extraordinary measures that global central banks have taken to keep the economic bubble inflated…

Since early 2009, central banks globally have printed more than $13 trillion. In addition, governments across the planet have increased their borrowings at historic proportions (the US just crossed $18T – another new high!), all in an effort to stimulate economies and avoid deflationary pressures. Total US Federal debt has more than doubled in five years, an increase of $9.5 trillion and counting.

Despite all of these efforts, the best that we have achieved is economic stagnation.

And now it is becoming clear that the overwhelming deflationary forces around the globe are starting to win the battle.  The central banks have used up their ammunition and they still have not turned things around.  In fact, as Ambrose Evans-Pritchard so eloquently put it recently, what we see all around us is “evidence of a 1930s-style depression, albeit one that is still contained”…

What is clear is that the world has become addicted to central bank stimulus. Bank of America said 56pc of global GDP is currently supported by zero interest rates, and so are 83pc of the free-floating equities on global bourses. Half of all government bonds in the world yield less that 1pc. Roughly 1.4bn people are experiencing negative rates in one form or another.

These are astonishing figures, evidence of a 1930s-style depression, albeit one that is still contained. Nobody knows what will happen as the Fed tries to break out of the stimulus trap, including Fed officials themselves.

But will it still be contained once the next major financial crash strikes?

As I discussed yesterday, there has never been a time when conditions have been more ideal for a financial crisis since the last one happened in 2008.

So as bad as things are for the children of America right now, they are only going to get worse.

In the years ahead may we all have great compassion for these victims of our incredibly foolish economic mistakes.

Illegal Immigration And Gangs: Someday Our Cities Will Burn Because We Didn’t Protect Our Borders

Latin Kings by Javier RamirezDid you know that the number of illegal immigrants that enter Texas each week is greater than the number of babies being born to citizens of that state?  The mainstream media is shining the spotlight very brightly on all of the children that are coming over, and there is a reason for that.  They are trying to tug on our heartstrings.  But there is another part of the story that you aren’t hearing much about.  By refusing to protect our borders, Barack Obama has allowed hundreds of thousands of gang members to illegally enter the United States and settle in our major cities.  In many communities, gang activity is already wildly out of control, and someday our cities will burn because of the foolishness of the federal government.

The Obama administration knows that one out of every five illegal immigrants has a criminal record.  And we are not just talking about illegal immigrants taking “upskirt photos” of women like just happened in Texas.  We are also talking about rapists, murderers, drug dealers and hardcore gang members.

According to Texas state Senator Dan Patrick, illegal immigrants have been formally charged with nearly half a million crimes in his state over the past four years alone.  And he also says that there are “at least 100,000 illegal immigrant gang members” living in his state right now…

Hours before Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced he would send National Guard troops to the border, Texas state Senator Dan Patrick said there are at least 100,000 illegal immigrant gang members in the state.

On Monday’s The Laura Ingraham Show, Patrick, who is also the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, said from 2008 to 2012, 143,000 illegal immigrant criminals were arrested and jailed in Texas. He said these were “hardened criminals, gang members, and other criminals that we identified as being in Texas illegally.”

We charged them with 447,000 crimes, a half-million crimes in four years, just in Texas, including over 5,000 rapes and 2,000 murders,” Patrick said. “We estimate we have 100,000 gang members here illegally.”

Why won’t Obama do anything to stop this madness?

There are at least 70,000 gang members living in Obama’s home city of Chicago.  Other estimates put that number closer to 100,000.  But everyone agrees that it is a number that is growing every day.

So it shouldn’t surprise any of us that at least 40 people were shot in Chicago over one recent July weekend.

I just fear for what Chicago will look like when things get really bad in this country.  Many of our major cities are literally being transformed into tinderboxes that could erupt in flames at any time.

Overall, there are now approximately 1.4 million gang members living in the United States according to the FBI.  But that number is actually a few years old now, so the true number is undoubtedly far higher at this point.

In addition, we know that illegal immigrants make up approximately 30 percent of the total population in our federal, state and local prisons.

And yet we refuse to stop more waves of illegal immigrants from coming in.

Are we willingly committing national suicide?

Just the other day, I noted that Honduras has the highest murder rate on the entire planet and that the Mexican drug war has claimed more than 120,000 lives since 2006.

That is what is coming here if we allow this insanity to continue.

Unfortunately, political correctness reigns in America today.  Under current policies, our border agents are not even turning away minors with known gang affiliations that have gang tattoos all over them.  Just check out the following excerpt from a recent National Review article

Border Patrol officials struggling to keep up with the increasing number of minors illegally crossing the Mexican border are not turning away persons with known gang affiliations. Chris Cabrera, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council Local 3307 in the Rio Grande Valley, explained that a Border Patrol agent he represents helped reunite a teenage gang member with his family in the United States. Cabrera notes the young member of Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), a transnational criminal gang, had no criminal record in the U.S., but asks, “If he’s a confirmed gang member in his own country, why are we letting him in here?”

“I’ve heard people come in and say, ‘You’re going to let me go, just like you let my mother go, just like you let my sister go. You’re going to let me go as well, and the government’s going to take care of us,’” Cabrera says. “Until we start mandatory detentions, mandatory removals, I don’t think anything is going to change. As a matter of fact, I think it’s going to get worse.”

Art Del Cueto, president of the National Border Patrol Council Local 2544 in Tucson, says agents who recognize the gang-affiliated tattoos of minors crossing the border must treat them the same as anybody else. He says these people are afforded the same rights provided to anyone crossing the border.

And according to the Border Patrol, some of these “processing centers” that we have seen pictures of lately are actually being used by the gangs to recruit more gang members

According to Border Patrol sources, violent MS-13 gang members are using the Nogales processing center in Arizona as a recruitment hub and as a transfer point for gang members to get into the United States.

The Red Cross has set up phone banks inside the processing center so unaccompanied minors can make phone calls to family members inside the United States and back home in Central America. According to sources, those phones are also being used by MS-13 members to communicate with gang members already in the United States and operating in cities like Atlanta, New York and Chicago. Further, many teenaged males inside the facility have approached Border Patrol agents and have said gang members have tried to recruit them from shared cells. According to the FBI, MS-13 regularly targets middle and high school students for recruitment.

“The National Border Patrol Council believes there to be serious security issues at the Nogales Processing Center. Agents’ hands are tied due to the policies governing the care and lodging of juveniles and this has allowed gang recruitment and activity to flourish amongst those being detained,” vice president of the National Border Patrol Council Shawn Moran tells Townhall. “Customs and Border Protection needs to do more to ensure that gang members that are in custody at the NPC are identified, prosecuted, and prohibited from benefiting from this crisis.”

Barack Obama can see all of this happening and yet he refuses to secure our borders.

What in the world is he thinking?

Another One Trillion Dollars (1,000,000,000,000) In Debt

George Washington CryingDid you know that the U.S. national debt has increased by more than a trillion dollars in just over 12 months?  On September 30th, 2012 the U.S. national debt was sitting at $16,066,241,407,385.89.  Today, it is up to $17,075,590,107,963.57.  These numbers come directly from official U.S. government websites and can easily be verified.  For a long time the national debt was stuck at just less than 16.7 trillion dollars because of the debt ceiling fight, but now that the debt ceiling crisis has been delayed for a few months the national debt is soaring once again.  In fact, just one day after the deal in Congress was reached, the U.S. national debt rose by an astounding 328 billion dollars.  In the blink of an eye we shattered the 17 trillion dollar mark with no end in sight.  We are stealing about $100,000,000 from our children and our grandchildren every single hour of every single day.  This goes on 24 hours a day, month after month, year after year without any interruption.

Over the past five years, the U.S. government has been on the greatest debt binge in history.  Unfortunately, most Americans don’t realize just how bad things have gotten because the true budget deficit numbers are not reported on the news.  The following is where the U.S. national debt has been on September 30th during the five years previous to this one…

09/30/2012: $16,066,241,407,385.89

09/30/2011: $14,790,340,328,557.15

09/30/2010: $13,561,623,030,891.79

09/30/2009: $ 11,909,829,003,511.75

09/30/2008: $10,024,724,896,912.49

The U.S. national debt is now 37 times larger than it was 40 years ago, and we are on pace to accumulate more new debt under the 8 years of the Obama administration than we did under all of the other presidents in U.S. history combined.

Of course all of the blame can’t be placed at the feet of Obama.  During the last two elections the American people have given the Republicans a solid majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the government cannot spent a single penny without their approval.

Unfortunately, House Speaker John Boehner and the Republicans that are allied with him have repeatedly turned their backs on the people that gave the Republicans the majority and they have authorized trillions of dollars of new debt which will be passed on to future generations of Americans…

Since John Boehner became speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives on Jan. 5, 2011, the debt of the federal government has increased by $3,064,063,380,067.72. That is more than the total federal debt accumulated in the first 200 years of the U.S. Congress–during the terms of the first 48 speakers of the House.

In fact, if all of that debt had been given directly to the American people, every household in America would have been able to buy a new truck

The $26,722 in new debt per household accumulated under Speaker Boehner would have been more than enough to buy every household in the United States a minivan or pickup truck–or to pay three years of in-state tuition (not counting room and board) at the typical state college.

Sometimes we forget just how much money a trillion dollars is.  In a previous article, I included some illustrations that I believe are helpful…

-If you were alive when Jesus Christ was born and you spent one million dollars every single day since that point, you still would not have spent one trillion dollars by now.

-If right this moment you went out and started spending one dollar every single second, it would take you more than 31,000 years to spend one trillion dollars.

We are doing the exact same thing that Greece did, only on a much larger scale.  What we are doing is not even close to sustainable, and it will inevitably end very, very badly.  The following is what Michael Pento, the president of Pento Portfolio Strategies, told RT the other day…

“That $17 trillion everybody says its 107 percent of GDP, that’s true. But who really cares about the percentage of GDP? It’s the percentage of the debt as a percentage of the revenue – its 700 percent of our revenue. Deficits are growing at 30 percent of our revenue every year added to the deficits we have already. So it’s unsustainable. What is going to happen eventually – a currency and bond market collapse! And it’s not going out 20 years, as I also heard someone mention. In 2016 we’ll probably be spending 40 percent of all of our revenue just to service our debt. That is what the interest payments will equal.”

The U.S. debt situation is so bad that even the Prime Minister of Cyprus is scolding us…

“The U.S. has been fortunate in the sense that it’s like a bank, it prints the money that other people accept. So you can live beyond your means over an extended period of time without being punished by the market.”

Unfortunately, we will not be able to live way beyond our means forever.  Reality is going to catch up with us at some point.

Right now, the rest of the world is lending us giant mountains of money at interest rates that are far below the real rate of inflation.  This is extremely irrational behavior, and this state of affairs will probably not last too much longer.

But if interest rates go up, it will absolutely cripple the U.S. economy.  For much more on this, please see this article.

And what would make things much, much worse is if the rest of the globe starts moving away from using the U.S. dollar.  At the moment, the U.S. dollar is the de facto reserve currency of the planet and this creates a tremendous demand for U.S. dollars and U.S. debt.

If that changes, it will be absolutely catastrophic for the United States, and unfortunately there are already lots of signs that this is already starting to happen.  I wrote about this in my recent article entitled “9 Signs That China Is Making A Move Against The U.S. Dollar“.

But don’t just take my word for it.  Just a couple of days ago a major U.K. newspaper came to the same conclusions…

China has overtaken the US as the world’s largest oil importer and goods trading nation. Over the next five years, it will surpass the rest of the world combined in its consumption of base metals.

Given the scale of the country’s consumption of fossil fuels and raw materials, it is only a matter of time before the renminbi replaces the dollar as the primary currency for trading commodities and resources such as crude oil and iron ore.

The debt ceiling farce in Washington and China’s growing reluctance to continue underwriting the US economy by buying up its bonds and adding to America’s near $17 trillion (£10.5 trillion) debt mountain suggests that this tectonic shift in the global trade system could be just around the corner.

So what will happen when the rest of the world decides that they don’t need to use our dollars or buy our debt any longer?

At that point the consequences of decades of incredibly foolish decisions will result in an avalanche of economic pain that the American people are not prepared for.

Earlier today, I came across a photograph that perfectly captures what America is heading for.  The following photo of Mt. Rushmore crying has not been photoshopped.  It was taken by Megan Ahrens and it was posted on the Tea Party Command Center.  If George Washington was alive today, this is probably exactly how he would feel about the nation that he helped establish…

Mt. Rushmore Crying

 

About 40 Percent Of All Food In The United States Is Thrown In The Garbage

LandfillCould that headline actually be true?  Do Americans waste about 40 percent of all the food that we produce?  That sounds like an absolutely crazy number, but it is actually quite accurate according to a study conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council.  What the NRDC discovered is that approximately 40 percent of our total food supply is either thrown into dumpsters by grocery stores, is discarded by restaurants, never gets harvested on our farms, or is thrown into the garbage by consumers in their homes.  Even though 47 million Americans are on food stamps and millions of children go to bed hungry in this country every single night, we continue to waste approximately 263 million pounds of food every single day of the year.  One day people will look back and regard us as probably the most wasteful society in the history of the planet.

So where does all of that food go?

Well, according to a recent Seattle Times article, “food waste” takes up more space in our landfills than anything else does…

Last year, the NRDC found that Americans throw out as much as 40 percent of the country’s food supply each year, adding up to $165 billion in losses.

Food waste makes up the largest portion of solid trash in landfills, according to researchers.

Some $900 million of expired food is dumped from the supply chain annually, much of it a result of confusion. Misinterpreted date labels cause the average American household of four to lose as much as $455 a year on squandered food, according to researchers.

The expired food that gets wasted is one of my personal pet peeves.

I don’t do this a lot, but today I am going to share a personal story with you.

Earlier today I was out running errands and I decided that I wanted to pick up some mini-cupcakes from Safeway that I just love.  I do try to eat a healthy diet, but I do also like a treat from time to time.  So I got over to Safeway, and I noticed that the only mini-cupcakes that they had out were ones with chocolate frosting, but I wanted ones with vanilla frosting.

So I went up to the bakery counter and there was nobody there, but behind the counter I saw a stack of several containers of vanilla cupcakes.  I waited until the bakery lady got back and I asked her if I could have them.

I was astounded when she very firmly told me that I could not buy them.

She said that it was against regulations.

I implored her to sell them to me.  I explained that I had come over to Safeway just to buy them and I didn’t care if they were a little old.

Again she very firmly told me that I could not buy them.

I could not understand this.  I knew that the cupcakes were just going to be thrown out, so I asked to speak to her manager.

After a few moments her manager came over and I was once again told very firmly that under no circumstances would I be able to buy the cupcakes.

So needless to say, I left the store with a sad look on my face and without any cupcakes.

Now of course I probably didn’t need the cupcakes anyway.  They are not healthy for me.  But big chains such as Safeway throw away massive amounts of very good food as well.  The level of the waste that goes on is absolutely astounding.

Meanwhile, the number of Americans that are dealing with hunger and malnutrition grows with each passing day.  I want to share with you an excerpt from a recent article authored by Jason Ford entitled “I Work On The Breadline“…

I work as a cashier at a nationally known discount store. I sell clothing, cleaning products, house wares and food. The people I sell to are people of all colors, races, ages and sex, but most of them have one thing in common; EBT cards. I would say about half of every transaction I do is paid for with an EBT card. Sometimes people will use three different methods of payment. They will use whatever is left on their EBT card, then use whatever is left on their debit card, and then scrape their purse to find the remaining balance, and sometimes they still don’t have enough.

Another common trait of the people I serve besides the poverty is the poor health. The food I sell is not healthy, by any stretch. I sell potato chips, candy bars, bread, canned food, ice cream, soda, packaged meat, cigarettes and alcohol. I noticed quickly that a common ingredient of most of the foods is sugar and grains. Sugar and grains are easy to grow and produce cheaply and are used as fillers in processed food to cut cost and mask the taste of other questionable ingredients. Grains work in conjunction with sugars to inflame the body and compromise the immune system. Grains and sugars also have no nutritional value besides calories, so on top of inflaming the body; they do not provide the sustenance the body needs to survive. As the functions of the body require these nutrients the diet lacks, the body sucks these minerals from the bones, teeth and brain. Bone loss, and tooth decay and decreased brain function are the unfortunate symptoms of malnutrition. The poorest of the customers I serve are also the sickest. I have witnessed toothless mouths in the young and old. Mental retardation is also a common trait among many of them. I have even witnessed one unfortunate woman whose skin was a pale green color. These people are dying a slow starvation and they don’t even know it.

Doesn’t that just break your heart?

People are living like that, and yet America discards 263 million pounds of food every single day.

Something is fundamentally wrong with the way our system works.

So what is society going to do as the number of hungry people continues to grow in this country and around the world?

Well, according to ABC News, some scientists plan to feed them with flour made out of bugs…

A team of MBA students were the recipients of the 2013 Hult Prize earlier this week, providing them with $1 million in seed money to produce an insect-based, protein-rich flour for feeding malnourished populations in other countries. The product is called Power Flour.

“It’s a huge deal because we had a very ambitious but highly executable five-year plan in place,” said team captain Mohammed Ashour, whose team hails from McGill University in Montreal. “So winning this prize is a great step in that direction.”

Ashour, along with teammates Shobhita Soor, Jesse Pearlstein, Zev Thompson and Gabe Mott, will be immediately working with an advisory board to recruit farmers and workers in Mexico, where a population of roughly 4 million live in slum conditions with widespread malnutrition.

“We will be starting with grasshoppers,” Ashour said.

Are you ready for a “protein-rich flour” made out of grasshoppers?

I know that I am not.

And in Japan, scientists have actually been working on a way to create meat out of poop.  You can read more about that right here.

Perhaps if we just quit wasting so much food we would be able to feed everybody without resorting to such craziness.

These days, an increasing number of Americans are fighting back against the colossal waste that they see all around them.  Some have even chosen to take advantage of the waste by regularly going “dumpster diving”.  The following is how I described “dumpster diving” in one of my previous articles

Have you ever thought about getting your food out of a trash can?  Don’t laugh.  Dumpster diving has become a hot new trend in America.  In fact, dumpster divers even have a trendy new name.  They call themselves “freegans”, and as the economy crumbles their numbers are multiplying.  Many freegans consider dumpster diving to be a great way to save money on groceries.  Others do it because they want to live more simply.  Freegans that are concerned about the environment view dumpster diving as a great way to “recycle” and other politically-minded freegans consider dumpster diving to be a form of political protest.  But whatever you want to call it, the reality is that thousands upon thousands of Americans will break out their boots, rubber gloves and flashlights and will be jumping into dumpsters looking for food once again tonight.

Who knows – perhaps some enterprising young dumpster diver will end up fishing the vanilla cupcakes that I wanted out of Safeway’s dumpsters this evening.

It is amazing what some of these dumpster divers are able to recover from “the trash”.  In North Carolina, one man even takes his son dumpster diving with him

A programmer by day, Todd takes to the streets of North Carolina by night, digging through Dumpsters at drug stores and grocery stores all around his rural neighborhood.

“You would be simply amazed at what businesses throw out,” he said. “I’ve only had to buy two loaves of bread all year. … Last week I had a trunk full of cereal, cookies, chips and ramen noodles.”

Todd slinks in and out of smelly places with low-light flashlights to evade rent-a-cops who will shoo him away.  Most nights, his 14-year-old son comes along.

Unfortunately, dumpster diving is not as easy as it used to be.

As dumpster diving has soared in popularity, some grocery stores have responded by putting locks on their dumpsters.

And in some areas of the country, police have even started regularly arresting dumpster divers.

But in the end, dumpster diving was not going to be a permanent solution anyway.

A permanent solution would be to quit wasting so much food.

I applaud the grocery store chains that choose to donate their expired food to homeless shelters and food banks.

We need to see a lot more of that going on.

And in our own homes we need to find ways to give more food away and waste less of it.

All of this needless wasting of food does not have to happen.  Let’s work together to find some solutions.

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