Is The Food We Eat Killing Us?

Are we digging our own graves with our teeth?  Is the food that we eat every day slowly killing us?  When I was growing up, I just assumed that everything in the grocery store was perfectly safe and perfectly healthy.  I just assumed that the government and the big corporations were watching out for us and that they would never allow something harmful to be sold in the stores.  Boy, was I wrong!  Today, the average American diet is extremely unhealthy.  Most of the foods that we all love to eat are absolutely packed with things that will damage our health.  Many of the ingredients that make our foods “taste good” such as fat, salt and sugar can be extremely damaging in large amounts.  On top of that, most processed foods are absolutely loaded with chemicals and preservatives.  The next time you go to the grocery store, just start turning over packages and read the “ingredients” that are being put into our food.  If you have never done this before, you will be absolutely amazed.  In many of our most common foods there are “ingredients” that I cannot even pronounce.  Sadly, most Americans have no idea that eating a steady diet of these processed foods will likely leave them massively overweight, very sick and much closer to death.

Eating healthy takes more time, more effort and more money than eating poorly does.

Unfortunately, most Americans are content to chow down on foods that are quick to make and that taste good.

In particular, Americans are absolutely addicted to foods that are loaded with sugar and high fructose corn syrup.

When you start looking at food product labels, you will find that either sugar or high fructose corn syrup is in almost everything.

For example, I was absolutely amazed when I learned that most bread sold in our grocery stores contains high fructose corn syrup.

Why in the world would they need to put that into our bread?

Today, Americans are consuming far more sugar and high fructose corn syrup than ever before, and this has many health professionals very alarmed.  The following is an excerpt from an article on the website of the Mayo Clinic….

Some research studies have linked consumption of large amounts of any type of added sugar — not just high-fructose corn syrup — to such health problems as weight gain, dental cavities, poor nutrition, and increased triglyceride levels, which can boost your heart attack risk.

But it is not just sweeteners that are a concern.

There are great concerns about much of the meat that we eat as well.

Today, we grow animals much larger than we used to, but it comes at a price.

For example, we pump our cows full of growth hormones and they stand around in piles of their own manure until it is time for them to die.

If many Americans were aware of where the “cheap beef” in their grocery stores really comes from they might just change their eating habits.

Another dramatic change that has happened to our food supply in recent decades has been the rise of genetically modified crops.

In this area, there has been nothing short of a revolution.

In 1996, only about 2% of all soybeans in the United States were genetically modified.  Today, about 90% of all soybeans in the United States are genetically modified.

At this point, approximately 70% of all processed foods in our grocery stores contain at least one ingredient that has been genetically modified.

This is one reason why so many Americans have shifted to an organic diet.  Nobody really knows what the long-term health effects of eating all of this genetically-modified food will be on all of us.

But there are some things that we do know.

For example, if you drink large amounts of soda every day you are going to gain weight and you are likely to damage your health.

Sadly, even though we know this, the average American still consumes over 600 12-ounce servings of soda per year.

Is it any wonder that we have an obesity epidemic in America?

As I wrote about the other day, approximately 36 percent of all Americans are obese.

In fact, the United States has a higher percentage of obese people than any other major industrialized nation does.

All of this obesity helps to explain the dramatic rise that we have seen in diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes in recent years.

Did you know that people living in the United States are three times more likely to have diabetes than people living in the United Kingdom?

It is not a mystery why this is happening.

It is because of our unhealthy diets.

The food we eat is killing us.

We are a nation that is becoming a little less healthy every single day, and this is causing healthcare costs to completely spiral out of control.

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, health care costs accounted for just 9.5% of all personal consumption back in 1980.  Today they account for approximately 16.3%.

That is an incredible rise.

And health care costs have been rising much faster than the overall rate of inflation.

For example, health insurance premiums have risen three times faster than wages have in the United States over the past decade.

As Americans get sicker, health care will continue to be a “growth industry”.

When we all get sick, what do the doctors do?

They put us all on prescription drugs.

According to the CDC, the percentage of Americans that report that they have taken at least one prescription drug within the last 30 days has risen to almost 50 percent.

In fact, 31 percent of Americans say that they have taken at least two prescription drugs within the last 30 days and 11 percent have taken at least five prescription drugs within the last 30 days.

But what happens when you take prescription drugs?

Well, most of them have nasty little side effects that cause even more health problems.

You know, there is something to be said for going back to a much more natural approach to health.  For example, a recent study found that Amish children have very low levels of asthma and allergies.  The following is from a recent Reuters article….

Amish children raised on rural farms in northern Indiana suffer from asthma and allergies less often even than Swiss farm kids, a group known to be relatively free from allergies, according to a new study.

“The rates are very, very low,” said Dr. Mark Holbreich, the study’s lead author. “So there’s something that we feel is even more protective in the Amish” than in European farming communities.

What it is about growing up on farms — and Amish farms in particular — that seems to prevent allergies remains unclear.

Could the Amish teach the rest of us a thing or two about staying healthy?

That is something to think about.

Another aspect of all this is the packaging that our food comes in.

Chemicals from the packaging our food comes in can often get into our food and have serious health effects as an article by Emily Barrett recently described….

Increasingly, evidence shows that the plastics and wrappers used for packaging can inadvertently leach unwanted chemicals into food. Several recent studies found high levels of bisphenol A – an environmental chemical that can disrupt hormonal processes – in canned foods and in packaged foods for people and pets.

Now, another study suggests that the problems go far beyond just one culprit or one health effect. Among the many toxic chemicals that can migrate from packaging into food are the endocrine disrupting phthalates and organotins and the carcinogen benzophenone. These compounds are heavily used in food packaging and have known health effects, yet are not routinely tested or regulated in food, according to the paper’s author Jane Muncke.*

Although some regulations exist to guarantee safe food packaging, the current system does not address concerns posed by endocrine disrupting chemicals, Muncke explains.* The associated health effects of exposure to hormone altering compounds are many and varied, including immune disfunction, metabolic disorders (diabetes, thyroid) and reproductive problems.

But our story is still not over.

After we are done with our food we throw the packaging in the garbage and most Americans never even think about where it eventually ends up.

Unfortunately, much of it ends up out in the ocean.

In the Pacific Ocean today, there is a toxic stew of plastic and garbage about twice the size of the continental United States that is known as the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch“.

According to a BBC report, there are now 100 times more small plastic fragments in the northeast Pacific Ocean than 40 years ago.

But most of us never even stop and think about how the food we eat is destroying our bodies and the world around us.

Most of us just go through our daily lives assuming that somehow everything is going to be okay.

But the truth is that our food is causing major problems.

Sadly, with each passing year the federal government and the big corporations get even more control over our system of food distribution.

Hopefully more Americans will wake up and will start rejecting the “food” that the system wants to cram down our throats.

We all need to start making better choices.

Growing a garden, eating organic foods and supporting local farmers are some good places to start.

24 Outrageous Facts About Taxes In The United States That Will Blow Your Mind

The U.S. tax code is a complete and utter abomination and it needs to be thrown out entirely.  Nobody in their right mind would ever read the whole thing – it is over 3 million words long.  Each year, Americans spend billions of hours and hundreds of billions of dollars trying to comply with federal tax requirements.  Sadly, it is the honest, hard working Americans in the middle class that always get hit the hardest.  The tax code is absolutely riddled with loopholes that big corporations and the ultra-wealthy use to minimize their tax burdens as much as possible.  Many poor people do not pay any income taxes at all.  The dishonest are rewarded for cheating on their taxes (if they can get away with it) and the ultra-wealthy have moved trillions of dollars to offshore tax havens where they can avoid U.S. taxation altogether.  Our system is incredibly unfair to the millions of hard working people in the middle class and upper middle class that drag themselves out of bed and go to work each day and try to do the right thing.  In addition, the current U.S. tax system is incredibly inefficient, it diverts a tremendous amount of resources away from more valuable economic activities, and it has chased thousands of businesses and trillions of dollars out of the United States.  The U.S. tax code is such a complete and utter mess at this point that it can never be “fixed”.  The only rational thing to do is to abolish it completely, and any politician that tells you otherwise is lying to you.

The following are 24 outrageous facts about taxes in the United States that will blow your mind….

1 – The U.S. tax code is now 3.8 million words long.  If you took all of William Shakespeare’s works and collected them together, the entire collection would only be about 900,000 words long.

2 – According to the National Taxpayers Union, U.S. taxpayers spend more than 7.6 billion hours complying with federal tax requirements.  Imagine what our society would look like if all that time was spent on more economically profitable activities.

3 – 75 years ago, the instructions for Form 1040 were two pages long.  Today, they are 189 pages long.

4 – There have been 4,428 changes to the tax code over the last decade.  It is incredibly costly to change tax software, tax manuals and tax instruction booklets for all of those changes.

5 – According to the National Taxpayers Union, the IRS currently has 1,999 different publications, forms, and instruction sheets that you can download from the IRS website.

6 – Our tax system has become so complicated that it is almost impossible to file your taxes correctly.  For example, back in 1998 Money Magazine had 46 different tax professionals complete a tax return for a hypothetical household.  All 46 of them came up with a different result.

7 – In 2009, PC World had five of the most popular tax preparation software websites prepare a tax return for a hypothetical household.  All five of them came up with a different result.

8 – The IRS spends $2.45 for every $100 that it collects in taxes.

9 – According to The Tax Foundation, the average American has to work until April 17th just to pay federal, state, and local taxes.  Back in 1900, “Tax Freedom Day” came on January 22nd.

10 – When the U.S. government first implemented a personal income tax back in 1913, the vast majority of the population paid a rate of just 1 percent, and the highest marginal tax rate was just 7 percent.

11 – Residents of New Jersey pay $1.64 in taxes for every $1.00 of federal spending that they get back.

12 – The United States is the only nation on the planet that tries to tax citizens on what they earn in foreign countries.

13 – According to Forbes, the 400 highest earning Americans pay an average federal income tax rate of just 18 percent.

14 – Warren Buffett had an effective tax rate of just 17.4 percent for 2010.

15 – The top 20 percent of all income earners in the United States pay approximately 86 percent of all federal income taxes.

16 – Sadly, as Bill Whittle has shown, you could take every single penny that every American earns above $250,000 and it would only fund about 38 percent of the federal budget.

17 – The United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the world (35 percent).  In Ireland, the corporate tax rate is only 12.5 percent.  This is causing thousands of corporations to move operations out of the United States and into other countries.

18 – Some tax havens are doing a booming business in setting up sham headquarters for U.S. corporations.  For example, the city of Zug, Switzerland only has a population of 26,000 people but it is the headquarters for 30,000 companies.

19 – In 1950, corporate taxes accounted for about 30 percent of all federal revenue.  In 2012, corporate taxes will account for less than 7 percent of all federal revenue.

20 – In a previous article, I discussed how many of our largest corporations make huge profits and yet pay less than nothing in taxes….

What U.S. corporations are able to get away with is absolutely amazing.

The following figures come directly out of a report by Citizens for Tax Justice.  These are combined figures for the tax years 2008, 2009 and 2010.

During those three years, all of the corporations below made a lot of money.  Yet all of them paid net taxes that were below zero for those three years combined.

How is that possible?  Well, it turns out that instead of paying in taxes to the federal government, they were actually getting money back.

So for these corporations, their rate of taxation was actually below zero.

If you have not seen these before, you are going to have a hard time believing some of these statistics…..

*Honeywell*

Profits: $4.9 billion

Taxes: -$34 million

*Fed Ex*

Profits: $3 billion

Taxes: -$23 million

*Wells Fargo*

Profits: $49.37 billion

Taxes: -$681 million

*Boeing*

Profits: $9.7 billion

Taxes: -$178 million

*Verizon*

Profits: $32.5 billion

Taxes: -$951 million

*Dupont*

Profits: $2.1 billion

Taxes -$72 million

*American Electric Power*

Profits: $5.89 billion

Taxes -$545 million

*General Electric*

Profits: $7.7 billion

Taxes: -$4.7 billion

Are you starting to get the picture?

21 – Exxon-Mobil paid $15 billion in taxes in 2009, but not a single penny went to the U.S. government.

22 – Many wealthy Americans hide enormous amounts of money outside the country in order to avoid paying taxes.  According to the IMF, a total of 18 trillion dollars is currently being hidden in offshore banks.

23 – The number of traffic accidents spikes each year right around April 15th.  The following is from a recent Bloomberg article….

Deaths from traffic accidents around April 15, traditionally the last day to file individual income taxes in the U.S., rose 6 percent on average on each of the last 30 years of tax filing days compared with a day during the week prior and a week later, according to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

24 – Most of the tax debate is focused on income taxes, but the truth is that Americans pay dozens of other taxes every single year.  The following are just a few of the taxes that many Americans pay….

#1 Building Permit Taxes

#2 Capital Gains Taxes

#3 Cigarette Taxes

#4 Court Fines (indirect taxes)

#5 Dog License Taxes

#6 Federal Unemployment Taxes

#7 Fishing License Taxes

#8 Food License Taxes

#9 Gasoline Taxes

#10 Gift Taxes

#11 Hunting License Taxes

#12 Inheritance Taxes

#13 Inventory Taxes

#14 IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax)

#15 IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)

#16 Liquor Taxes

#17 Luxury Taxes

#18 Marriage License Taxes

#19 Medicare Taxes

#20 Property Taxes

#21 Recreational Vehicle Taxes

#22 Toll Booth Taxes

#23 Sales Taxes

#24 Self-Employment Taxes

#25 School Taxes

#26 Septic Permit Taxes

#27 Service Charge Taxes

#28 Social Security Taxes

#29 State Unemployment Taxes (SUTA)

#30 Telephone Federal Excise Taxes

#31 Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Taxes

#32 Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Taxes

#33 Telephone State And Local Taxes

#34 Tire Taxes

#35 Toll Bridge Taxes

#36 Toll Tunnel Taxes

#37 Traffic Fines (indirect taxation)

#38 Utility Taxes

#39 Vehicle License Registration Taxes

#40 Vehicle Sales Taxes

#41 Workers Compensation Taxes

When you account for all forms of taxation on the federal, state and local levels there are many Americans that pay out more than half of their incomes in taxes.

We are being taxed into oblivion, and yet most Americans do not even realize that it is happening.

It is kind of like being killed by thousands of tiny cuts.

So what do all of these taxes buy us?

They buy us a massively bloated government that wastes money on some of the craziest things imaginable.

Millions of Americans work for the federal government, and yet most of them produce very little of real economic value.  The following comes from a recent National Review article….

By 2005, the federal government employed 14.6 million people: 1.9 million civil servants, 770,000 postal workers, 1.44 million uniformed service personnel, 7.6 million contractors, and 2.9 million grantees. This amounted to a ratio of five and a half “shadow” government employees for every civil servant on the federal payroll. Since 1999, the government had grown by over 4.5 million employees.

According to that same article, when you add in state and local government workers the numbers are even more dramatic….

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 3.8 million full-time and 1.5 million part-time employees on state payrolls. Local governments add a further 11 million full-time and 3.2 million part-time personnel. This means that state and local governments combined employ 19.5 million Americans.

Yes, we do need some government.  For example, without any law enforcement at all our society would descend into complete chaos, and without any military at all we would be completely open to foreign conquest.

In order to have a stable, secure society we do need some government.

However, we definitely do not need the massively bloated government that we have today.

The truth is that most government employees are a drain on the system.  Most of them just push paper around.  I used to work in Washington D.C. so I know what pushing paper around is all about.

And as I wrote about yesterday, there are millions of other Americans that enjoy a comfortable existence at the expense of the federal government without doing any work whatsoever.

Of course the biggest welfare recipients of all are the big corporations.  All forms of corporate welfare should be eliminated immediately.

When are U.S. taxpayers going to get sick and tired of paying for all of this?

Every single year, the federal government, state governments and local governments drain massive amounts of desperately needed money from hard working middle class families.

Then they take that money and spend it on incredibly foolish things.

When are American voters going to stand up and boldly declare that they have been taxed enough already and they aren’t going to take it anymore?

The current tax code is completely and utterly broken and it is beyond repair.

Unfortunately, neither the Republicans or the Democrats are proposing that we should get rid of it.

So we are just going to continue to get more of the same year after year, and it is the middle class that will feel the pain.

If You Are A Blue Collar Worker In America You Are An Endangered Species

Have you ever heard of the dodo bird?  Once upon a time, dodo birds lived on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean.  But if you go there today you won’t find any because they are extinct.  Well, if you are a blue collar worker in America today it looks like you are headed for a similar fate.  Blue collar workers are truly becoming an “endangered species” in the United States.  In the old days, the balance of power between business owners and labor was more even because they both needed each other.  But today that has all changed.  Thanks to robotics, automation and computers there is simply not as much of a need for physical laborers anymore and nothing is going to reverse that trend.  Big employers will continue to look for ways to replace men with machines, and there is nothing wrong with that.  But there is another major trend that is also destroying blue collar jobs in America that we should do something about.  Right now, it is perfectly legal for big corporations to shut down manufacturing facilities in the United States and send the jobs over to nations on the other side of the globe where it is legal to pay slave labor wages and where there are barely any regulations.  As you will see later on this article, this has been the biggest reason for the shocking blue collar job losses in America over the past decade.  The big corporations don’t care that you need to pay the mortgage and put food on the table for your families.  All they care about it the bottom line, and if dramatic changes are not made soon, the number of blue collar jobs leaving the United States will continue to increase.

Once upon a time, almost everyone who wanted a job in America could get one.  If you go back a few decades, you will find that about 95 percent of all men between the ages of 25 and 54 had a job.  Today that figure is struggling to stay above 80 percent.

If you are a blue collar worker in America, you are simply not valued.  Your bosses are constantly trying to think of ways to replace you or send your job overseas.

According to Reuters, 23.7 million American workers are either unemployed or underemployed right now.  The more “blue collar” you are, the more likely you are to be unemployed.  The following chart that shows the unemployment rate during 2010 broken down by level of education comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics….

If you are an unskilled worker in America today, you simply are not needed.  Yes, once upon a time nearly anyone could go out and get a factory job, but those days are over.  Neither major political party seems the least bit interested in trying to keep manufacturing jobs in America.

Back in the year 2000, more than 20 percent of all jobs in America were manufacturing jobs.  Today, about 5 percent of all jobs in America are manufacturing jobs.

To have that huge of a shift in a little over a decade is absolutely mind blowing.

Many Americans had been hoping that Barack Obama would stand up for the working man like he promised to do.  But just like so many of Obama’s other promises, that one was totally worthless as well.

The Obama administration has been pushing hard for even more “free trade” deals that will allow big corporations to ship even more of our jobs out of the country.  The Obama administration simply does not value blue collar jobs at all.  In fact, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk is running around telling the press that there are lots of things that “we don’t want to make in America” anymore.

If you are a blue collar worker, Barack Obama does not care about you.

He never cared about you.

In fact, the vast majority of the politicians in both major political parties do not care about you.

What they do care about is winning elections and taking care of the big donors that keep helping them win elections.

Many of those donors are systematically shipping huge numbers of our jobs overseas.

In addition, now that labor has become a “global commodity”, wages for the jobs that remain in America are being steadily driven lower.

A recent White House reported entitled “Investing in America: Building an Economy That Lasts” actually bragged that our trade policies have driven wages in America down.  The following chart is from that report….

We were told that the “one world economy” would be great for America, but the truth is that it has only been great for the giant corporations.  For the average working man, it has been a disaster.

But we should have all seen this coming.  It didn’t take a genius to figure out what was going to happen once you put American workers into the same labor pool as slave laborers on the other side of the world.  After all, what greedy corporate executive really wants to pay U.S. workers ten to twenty times as much compensation just because it is the “right” thing to do?

Today, formerly great cities all over America are being transformed into hellholes while shiny, new industrial cities are popping up all over China.

For example, a couple of decades ago the Chinese city of Shenzhen was a sleepy little fishing town.

In 2012, it is a teeming metropolis of over 13 million people.

Foxconn (the builder of iPhones, iPads and many other products that we buy) runs a factory in Shenzhen that employs over 400,000 people.  Most of those people work for about a dollar an hour.

A recent article posted on Business Insider described the incredibly long hours and the nightmarish working conditions that those workers must endure.  The following is a brief excerpt from that article….

A Chinese working “hour” is 60 minutes–unlike an American “hour,” which generally includes breaks for Facebook, the bathroom, a phone call, and some conversation. The official work day in China is 8 hours long, but the standard shift is 12 hours. Generally, these shifts extend to 14-16 hours, especially when there’s a hot new gadget to build.

At Foxconn, they don’t really care about the health and safety of the workers.  Workers are expected to do the same repetitive tasks as rapidly as they can for as long as they can.  When their bodies break down, they are fired….

Some workers can no longer work because their hands have been destroyed by doing the same thing hundreds of thousands of times over many years (mega-carpal-tunnel). This could have been avoided if the workers had merely shifted jobs. Once the workers’ hands no longer work, obviously, they’re canned.

But the Obama administration insists that allowing big corporations to ship our jobs over to countries with working conditions like that is “good for the economy”.

Well, it might be good for the profits of the largest corporations, but it is a total nightmare for the rest of us.  Just consider the following stats….

*The United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs per month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

*Between December 2000 and December 2010, 38 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Ohio were lost, 42 percent of the manufacturing jobs in North Carolina were lost and 48 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Michigan were lost.

*According to U.S. Representative Betty Sutton, America has lost an average of 15 manufacturing facilities a day over the last 10 years.  During 2010 it got even worse.  Last year, an average of 23 manufacturing facilities a day shut down in the United States.

*In all, more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States have shut down since 2001.

*According to one study, between 1969 and 2009 the median wages earned by American men between the ages of 30 and 50 dropped by 27 percent after you account for inflation.

*According to Professor Alan Blinder of Princeton University, 40 million more U.S. jobs could be sent offshore over the next two decades.

Are you starting to get the picture?

If you are a blue collar worker that cannot find a job, it is not because you have failed as a human being.

Rather, the truth is that you cannot find a job because of the failed trade policies of the federal government.

We are experiencing the bitter fruit of a “one world economy”.  Globalization was never intended to make the lives of American workers better, and now many are finally waking up and realizing this.

Hopefully, as Americans wake up on these issues they will fight to turn this nation in a more positive direction.

Unfortunately, way too many Americans are giving up hope completely.  The following comes from a recent article in the Guardian….

The year 2011 will be remembered as the time when many ever-optimistic Americans began to give up hope. President John F Kennedy once said that a rising tide lifts all boats. But now, in the receding tide, Americans are beginning to see not only that those with taller masts had been lifted far higher, but also that many of the smaller boats had been dashed to pieces in their wake.

As I have written about so many times, we are watching the middle class in America be systematically destroyed.

The economy is not getting better.  There may be moments when the economy seems like it is improving, but the reality is that we are mired in a nightmarish long-term decline.  If you are not yet convinced of this, please see this article and this article.

Even those running our economy are saying that things are not going to be getting much better any time soon.

For example, the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Charles Evans, recently admitted that the employment picture is not going to be much brighter than it is now by the end of 2012.  He recently said that “at the end of the year, we’re not going to be very different from 8.5 percent unemployment.”

And remember – history has shown us that most pronouncements by Federal Reserve officials are usually far too optimistic.

If you are a blue collar worker in America, there is simply not too much to be optimistic about right now.

You might want to think about how you and your family are going to survive without any work.

The millions of jobs that have been sent overseas are not coming back.  Even if you still have a decent job, now is the time to be developing a side business or developing other alternative streams of income.

What you don’t want to do is to just sit there and hope that somehow things will “magically” turn around if we just vote in the “right” politician.

If you want to get a really good idea of what is really going on with the U.S. economy right now, just go tour some of the formerly great industrial cities in the “Rust Belt”.

In Cuyahoga County, Ohio one out of every five houses is sitting vacant.  It is not that those homes are not needed – it is just that there are not nearly enough people with good jobs available to buy up all of the foreclosures.

So thousands of perfectly good houses are being torn down.  The following comes from a recent CBS News report by Scott Pelley….

Across America, recession-fueled foreclosures and plummeting home values have left countless properties abandoned and vulnerable to looting. As Scott Pelley reports, the problem has gotten so bad in Cleveland, Ohio, that county officials have demolished more than 1,000 homes this year – and plan to demolish 20,000 more – rather than let the blight spread and render nearby homes worthless.

Can you imagine that?

20,000 homes being demolished in one county alone?

Of course Detroit is in even worse shape than Cleveland.  If you can believe it, the median price of a home in Detroit is now just $6000.

For much more on all of this, please read my recent article entitled “Formerly Great Cities All Over America Are Turning Into Open, Festering Sores“.

It would be great if I could tell you that hope is just around the corner, but it is not.  The plight of the blue collar worker in America is going to get worse and worse.

But just because blue collar workers in America are an endangered species does not mean that you have to be a victim.

We should all seek to become less dependent on the system.

If you are completely and totally dependent on having a “job” (just over broke), then you have put yourself in a very vulnerable position.

That job could disappear at any moment.

Over the next few years, the number of good jobs is going to continue to decrease.  Things are going to be really tough.  But those that have prepared and that have tried to become more independent are going to be in much better shape than those that have not.

The One Percent: Gigantic Government + Gigantic Corporations = Massive Wealth Inequality In America

Today, there are protests all over America that are targeting “the one percent” and all of the wealth and power that they have accumulated.  Unfortunately, many of the solutions that these protesters are advocating simply will not work and will not lead to less wealth inequality.  To understand this, you have to understand how we got to this point.  Over the past several decades, our federal government has exploded in size and our large corporations have exploded in size.  In fact, we have seen this pattern happen pretty much all over the world.  Governments and corporations all over the globe are getting much bigger.  Whenever you have very, very large concentrations of money and power like that, it is going to lead to massive wealth inequality.  The Occupy Wall Street protesters would like to frame this debate as “socialism vs. capitalism”, but the truth is that wherever you find big government you will almost always find big corporations, and wherever you find big corporations you will almost always find big government.  Sure, they spar once in a while, but the reality is that big government and big corporations work in tandem most of the time.  Sometimes big government has the upper hand and sometimes big corporations have the upper hand, but they are both collectivist institutions.  Wherever you find collectivism in the world, you will find an elite that receives most of the benefits while the rest of the population suffers.  In the United States today, our gigantic government is thriving and our gigantic corporations are thriving and the middle class is rapidly shrinking.  The solution to this is not to replace one form of collectivism with another form of collectivism.  Rather, what we need is to go back to what our founding fathers intended.  They were extremely suspicious of large concentrations of wealth and power, and they intended for us to live in a capitalist system where individuals and small businesses had the freedom to compete and thrive.

Today, Democrats tell us that we need an even bigger government and that we need to redistribute even more wealth to the poor.  But the bigger the government gets, the more poor people we seem to have.  As you will see below, the only people that seem to be thriving from big government are the bureaucrats.

Republicans tell us that we need to make life better for the big corporations.  But the reality is that the bigger our giant corporations get, the faster the middle class shrinks.  The big corporations are shipping millions of our jobs out of the country, and they are magnets for wealth and power.  If you are not aware of how overwhelmingly dominant corporations have become in our society, just read this article.

Democrats should not be defending big government, and Republicans should not be defending the abuses of the big corporations.

Whenever big government and big corporations work together there is going to be massive income inequality, and massive income inequality is not a good thing.

Yes, there are always going to be some people that do much better than others (and there is nothing wrong with that), but we should not have a system which is designed to funnel almost all of the wealth and almost all of the power to a very small minority.

In essence, this article is arguing the following….

Gigantic government = bad.

Gigantic corporations = bad.

This was the view of our founding fathers, and this is what we need to get back to.

Let’s take a look at some of the results of our current system.  Let’s start with income inequality caused by big government.

Today, the Washington D.C. region has the highest median household income in the entire nation.  According to the most recent numbers, median household income in the D.C. area is $84,523.

So what is the cause of this?

Well, it is not because Washington D.C. is a great center of industry or finance.  Rather, it is because the federal government is spending over 3 trillion dollars a year and is showering huge piles of cash on hordes of bureaucrats.

In a recent article, I noted some of the mind blowing statistics that show how bureaucrats in Washington D.C. are living the high life at our expense….

*When you total up all compensation (including health care and benefits), the average income for a federal worker in the Washington D.C. area last year was $126,369.

*In 2005, 7420 federal workers were making $150,000 or more per year.  In 2010, a whopping 82,034 federal workers were making $150,000 or more per year.  That is more than a tenfold increase in just five years.

*In 2005, the U.S. Department of Defense had just nine civilians earning $170,000 or more.  When Barack Obama took office, the U.S. Department of Defense had 214 civilians earning $170,000 or more.  In June 2010, the U.S. Department of Defense had 994 civilians earning $170,000 or more.

*Last year, federal employees “earned” approximately 447 billion dollars in total compensation.

As I have written about previously, our gigantic federal government also empowers the big corporations to continue to accumulate staggering amounts of wealth and power.  This is one reason why the big corporations contribute so much money to political campaigns.  The big corporations (and the elite that own and run them) have much more influence over the political process than we do.  They have spent decades buying politicians and getting laws passed that tilt the rules of the game radically in their favor.

This is something that our founding fathers did not want to happen.  In a 2010 article, Rick Ungar noted that there were very significant restrictions on corporations in the early days of America….

After the nation’s founding, corporations were, as they are today, the result of charters granted by the state. However, unlike today, they were limited in how long they were permitted to exist (typically 20 or 30 years), only permitted to deal in one commodity, they could not own shares in other corporations, and their property holdings were expressly limited to what they needed to accomplish their corporate business goals.

There was a lot of wisdom to that approach.  Our founding fathers knew that corporations would become giant magnets for wealth and power if they were allowed to grow unchecked.

Today, multinational corporations completely and totally dominate the global economy.  The following comes from a recent article I posted on The American Dream….

Corporations not only completely dominate the U.S. economy, they also completely dominate the global economy as well.  A newly released University of Zurich study examined more than 43,000 major multinational corporations.  The study discovered a vast web of interlocking ownerships that is controlled by a “core” of 1,318 giant corporations. But that “core” itself is controlled by a “super-entity” of 147 monolithic corporations that are very, very tightly knit.  As a recent article in NewScientist noted, these 147 corporations control approximately 40 percent of all the wealth in the entire network

These giant corporations are so dominant that it is nearly impossible to compete with them.  The number of small businesses in America is shrinking fast.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 16.6 million Americans were self-employed back in December 2006.  Today, that number has shrunk to 14.5 million.

This is exactly what we would expect to see under “corporatism“, but under true capitalism we would expect to see the exact opposite.

As the federal government and the big corporations continue to grow, the middle class is being wiped out.  If you doubt that the middle class is shrinking, just read this article.

Yes, there is a limited role for the federal government to play and there is a limited role for corporations to play.  But right now things are radically, radically out of balance.

This is creating a tremendous amount of income inequality in the United States.  The middle class is being systematically destroyed, and the growth of the gap between the one percent and the rest of us just continues to accelerate.

This was certainly illustrated by numbers that were recently released by the Congressional Budget Office.  The very wealthy have done extremely well over the last 30 years.  For the rest of us, things have not been so great.  The following figures come from a recent blog post by the director of the Congressional Budget Office….

CBO finds that between 1979 and 2007:

  • For the 1 percent of the population with the highest income, average real after-tax household income grew by 275 percent (see figure below).
  • For others in the 20 percent of the population with the highest income, average real after-tax household income grew by 65 percent.
  • For the 60 percent of the population in the middle of the income scale, the growth in average real after-tax household income was just under 40 percent.
  • For the 20 percent of the population with the lowest income, the growth in average real after-tax household income was about 18 percent.

Meanwhile, as a recent USA Today article noted, the middle class continues to falter in the majority of the communities around the United States….

A USA TODAY analysis of Census data found the Reno area was among 150 nationwide where the share of income going to the middle class — generally made up of households that make $20,700 to $99,900 a year — shrank from 2006 to 2010. Metro areas where the middle class’ share of income dropped outnumbered those where it grew by more than 2-to-1.

So just how well is the top one percent doing compared to the rest of us?

The following statistics should be a wake up call for all of us….

*According to the Congressional Budget Office, the top one percent is the only group that saw its share of our national income increase between 1979 and 2007.

*According to a joint House and Senate report entitled “Income Inequality and the Great Recession“, the top one percent of all income earners in the United States brought in a total of 10.0 percent of all income income in 1980, but by the time 2008 had rolled around that figure had skyrocketed to 21.0 percent.

*Between 1979 and and 2007, the average household income of the top one percent of all Americans soared from $346,600 to $1.3 million.

*In the United States today, the wealthiest one percent of all Americans have a greater net worth than the bottom 90 percent combined.

*As the “one percent” thrives, the share of the pie being enjoyed by the middle class is shrinking.  According to Heidi Shierholz, an economist with the Economic Policy Institute, about 53 percent of all income went to the middle class back in the 1970s, but today only about 46 percent of all income does.

*According to Harvard Magazine, 66% of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top one percent of all Americans.

*The wealthiest one percent of all Americans now own more than a third of all the wealth in the United States while the poorest 50 percent of all Americans collectively own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.

*The wealthiest one percent of all Americans own over 50% of all the stocks and bonds.

*The top 0.01% of Americans make an average of $27,342,212.  The bottom 90% make an average of $31,244.

*This is all happening at a time when the United States as a whole is slipping.  Ten years ago, the United States was ranked number one in average wealth per adult.  In 2010, the United States fell to seventh.

*Income inequality is not just growing in the United States.  Today, the wealthiest one percent of the earth’s population controls 39% of the wealth.

There is certainly nothing wrong with being wealthy.  If you and your family work really hard and provide great value to the community around you then you should greatly benefit.

But a system that is designed to systematically drain wealth from the general population and transfer it into the hands of an ultra-wealthy elite is not what our founding fathers ever hand in mind.  At the time of our founding, England was dominated by big government (the monarchy) and by big business (the East India Company, for example).  Our founders warned us over and over about the potential abuses that can happen when very large concentrations of wealth and power are allowed to dominate a society.

Unfortunately, the Occupy Wall Street movement has it all wrong.  They recognize the overwhelming wealth and power accumulated by the one percent, but most of them are advocating even more collectivism as the answer.

Some of them even say that they want to “end capitalism” altogether.  Michael Moore says that he is not part of the one percent and that he wants to “end capitalism”, even though he has made millions upon millions of dollars from his various projects.

But socialism and communism never bring equality.  Like other forms of collectivism, socialism and communism almost always bring more tyranny and they almost always funnel most of the financial rewards to a very small elite.

Others simply wish to see the U.S. government transfer more wealth from the hands of the rich to the hands of the poor.

Helping the poor is certainly a noble goal, and handouts can certainly ease suffering at least temporarily.  But handouts are never a permanent solution and they can cause large numbers of people to end up becoming completely and totally dependent on the government.

Back in 1980, government transfer payments accounted for just 11.7% of all income.  Today, government transfer payments account for 18.4% of all income.

So has the plight of the poor gotten better?

No, we now have more than 45 million Americans on food stamps, last year we had the largest increase in the number of Americans living in poverty in U.S. history and the middle class continues to shrink rapidly.

The truth is that what poor and middle class Americans really need are opportunities.  Handouts will keep people alive, but they will not give people hope and a future.

What Americans really need is an environment where they can find jobs or start small businesses.  Unfortunately, the environment for small businesses in this country is incredibly toxic and millions of our good jobs have been shipped overseas.  The big corporations have discovered that they can make even bigger profits by sending jobs to countries where it is legal to pay slave labor wages.  To say that we need big corporations because they are the ones that “create jobs” is simply not true anymore.

So now we have tens of millions of Americans that we have to take care of every single month.  There is nothing wrong with helping them survive, but giving them even more handouts is not going to permanently solve anything.

We need to have a population that is empowered to work hard, produce wealth and create a bright future for their families.

Instead, what we have is a system that greatly rewards the top one percent and that is pushing all of the rest of us toward poverty.

Gigantic government plus gigantic corporations is always going to equal massive wealth inequality.

The bigger we allow government to grow and the bigger we allow corporations to grow, the worse it is going to get.

So is any of this going to change any time soon?

Well, considering the fact that the vast majority of our politicians are in the pockets of the big corporations, I would not be getting your hopes up.

 

Sheeple: Government Handouts = 35 Percent Of U.S. Wages But For Michael Moore That Is Not Nearly Enough

The ratio of government handouts to wages and salaries in the United States is now at an all-time high.  According to TrimTabs Investment Research, government handouts have reached a level that is equivalent to 35 percent of all wages and salaries in the United States.  Considering the fact that this figure was only 21 percent back in the year 2000 and only 10 percent back in 1960 that is very frightening.  The sad truth is that today the American people are more dependent on direct government payments than they ever have been before.  What this does is that it takes formerly independent Americans and transforms them into “sheeple” and pets of the government.  Today we have tens of millions of Americans that eagerly await the crumbs that the federal government tosses them each month.  This is one reason why our national debt is exploding, but our politicians like this system because it enables them to buy votes.  Meanwhile, the federal government and the international corporations that dominate our economy have rigged the game so that power and money are becoming increasingly centralized in their hands.  As a result of the system that the “big boys” have developed, millions of small businesses across the country are being absolutely crushed, the standard of living of the middle class is gradually being destroyed and more American families slip into poverty ever single day.  What we need to do is to dramatically reduce the power of both the federal government and the big corporations so that small businesses and individuals can thrive once again, but instead “activists” such as Michael Moore are out there demanding even more taxes and even more government handouts.

Not that a “safety net” is a bad thing.  We simply are not going to allow tens of millions of Americans to starve out in our streets.  However, it has gotten to the point where the majority of American families are now dependent on the U.S. government in one form or another and that is very, very wrong.

More government handouts are never a long-term solution to anything.  Handouts do not give people dignity.  Handouts do not teach people to be independent.  Handouts do not enable people to live the “American Dream”.  Handouts are not the path to prosperity.

What the American people need are jobs and an environment where small businesses can thrive.  But instead, the federal government has allowed the big global corporations to ship millions of our jobs out of the country and the federal government continues to burden our small businesses with an endless array of new taxes and regulations.

Who is successful in America today?

It is the big boys.  Everyone else is being crushed.

This is what the founding fathers tried to warn us about.  They did not want the federal government to have much power at all, and they were deeply suspicious of large corporations.

But we have turned our backs on the principles of the founding fathers.

We should be figuring out how to get back to the America that our founding fathers originally tried to create, but instead all of the attention is being given to “activists” such as Michael Moore who are calling for even more taxes and even more government handouts.  The following video is of Michael Moore giving a speech to protesters in Madison, Wisconsin on March 5th, 2011.  His speech was entitled “America Is Not Broke”….

Yes, the “little guy” is being absolutely crushed in America today.  But for people like Michael Moore the solution is always to tax the middle class more and to pass out even more government handouts.

That isn’t going to solve anything.  Most of the ultra-wealthy have turned avoiding taxes into an art form.  A third of all the wealth in the world is now held in “offshore banks“.  Many of our largest corporations don’t pay a dime in federal taxes even as they pass out multi-million dollar bonuses to their executives.

Raising taxes in most definitely not the answer.  Those that have mastered the art of avoiding taxes will continue to do so no matter how high you raise them.

The truth is that we need to shut down the IRS and scrap the current tax system entirely.  It simply does not work.

What we need to do is to get the federal government and the big corporations under control and transfer the power back to the American people.

That is what our founding fathers intended.  They intended for the common man to be empowered  to start businesses, create wealth and pursue happiness.

But instead tens of millions of Americans have become addicted to government handouts.  When large numbers of people give up and willingly become wards of the government that is not good for society.

Unfortunately, more Americans today are dependent on the U.S. government than ever before.  Just consider the following statistics….

-According to TrimTabs Investment Research, social welfare benefits in the United States have risen by $514 billion over the past two years alone.

-As 2007 began, only about 26 million Americans were on food stamps, but today over 44 million Americans are now on food stamps.

-Over 50 million Americans are now on Medicaid.

-Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid.  Today, one out of every 6 American is on Medicaid.

53 million Americans received $703 billion in Social Security benefits in 2010.

-Right now the U.S. government is either writing or guaranteeing well over 90 percent of all mortgages in the United States.

-It is being projected that extended unemployment benefits will cost the federal government $34 billion over the next two years.

-30 U.S. states have borrowed a total of $41.5 billion from the federal government just so that they could continue paying out unemployment benefits during the recession.

-Entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare now account for 58% of all U.S. government spending.

But what else should we expect?  The federal government has been using a sledgehammer to endlessly pound away on the capacity of small businesses and individuals to create wealth and jobs and opportunities.  The business atmosphere in the United States is now so toxic that it is amazing that any small businesses have survived.

Most Americans find themselves with no other way to make a living other than to work for someone else.  But the big global corporations have discovered that they can make much larger profits by getting rid of American workers and by shipping our jobs overseas and our politicians are allowing them to get away with it.

The truth is that both political parties don’t have the answers.  Neither party seems to have any clue about how to stop millions of jobs from leaving the United States and neither party seems to have any clue about how to create a business environment inside the United States where individuals and small businesses can actually thrive.

How much longer will it be before we all finally admit that we are experiencing total system failure in this country?  Should we all just quit trying and sit on our couches waiting for the next government handout?  The truth is that there aren’t nearly enough jobs for all Americans anyway.

The middle class is dying and the establishment has us all fighting with each other.  The left and the right are busy fighting about taxes and budget cuts while the ultra-wealthy continue to enjoy massive profits and incredibly low taxes in the globalized economic system that we have allowed our politicians to create.

Yes, there are tens of millions of Americans that are deeply suffering right now and they need to be helped.

But government handouts are never a long-term solution to anything.  What we need to do is to massively reduce the power of the federal government, massively reduce the power of the big corporations and stop businesses and jobs from being shipped out of the country.  We also need to create an environment in the United States that is very favorable to small businesses.  That would give our country a chance to start creating good jobs again.

But instead, we continue to allow our politicians to destroy our economy.  We actually have 10 percent fewer middle class jobs in this country than we did just ten years ago.  The middle class is being systematically destroyed.  All of the wealth and all of the power are slowly being transferred into the hands of big government and the big corporations.

The vast majority of the rest of us are being transformed from strong, independent, prosperous Americans into dehumanized sheeple that can’t wait for the next government check to come in.

Does anyone out there actually believe that this is what our founding fathers originally intended?

Global Economy? 23 Facts Which Prove That Globalism Is Pushing The Standard Of Living Of The Middle Class Down To Third World Levels

From now on, whenever you hear the term “the global economy” you should immediately equate it with the destruction of the U.S. middle class.  Over the past several decades, the American economy has been slowly but surely merged into the emerging one world economic system.  Unfortunately for the middle class, much of the rest of the world does not have the same minimum wage laws and worker protections that we do.  Therefore, the massive global corporations that now dominate our economy are able to pay workers in other countries slave labor wages and import the products that they make into the United States to compete with products made by “expensive” American workers.  This has resulted in a mass exodus of manufacturing facilities and jobs from the United States.

But without good, high paying jobs the U.S. middle class cannot continue to be the U.S middle class.  The only thing that the vast majority of Americans have to offer in the economic marketplace is their labor.  Sadly, that labor has now been dramatically devalued.  American workers now must directly compete for jobs with millions upon millions of workers on the other side of the world that toil away for 15 hours a day at slave labor wages.  This is causing jobs to leave the United States at an almost unbelievable rate, and it is putting tremendous downward pressure on the wages of millions of jobs that are still in the United States.

So when you hear terms such as “globalization” and “the global economy”, it is important to keep in mind that those are code words for the emerging one world economic system that is systematically wiping out the U.S. middle class.

A one world labor pool means that the standard of living for the U.S. middle class will continue falling toward the standard of living in the third world.

We keep hearing about how the U.S. economy is being transformed from a “manufacturing economy” into a “service economy”.  But “service jobs” are generally much lower paying than “manufacturing jobs”.  The number of good paying “middle class jobs” in the United States is rapidly decreasing.  So how can the U.S. middle class survive in such an environment?

What makes things even worse for manufacturers in the United States is that other nations often impose a “value-added tax” of 20 percent or more on U.S. goods entering their shores and yet most of the time we do not reciprocate with similar taxes.

But whenever someone mentions how incredibly unfair and unbalanced our trade agreements with other nations are, they are immediately labeled as a “protectionist”.

Well, someone should be looking out for U.S. interests when it comes to trade, because the current state of the global economy is ripping the U.S. middle class to shreds.

Right now, the United States consumes far more wealth than it produces.  This nation buys much, much more from the rest of the world than they buy from us.  This is called a “trade deficit”, and it is one of the most important economic statistics.  The U.S. runs a massive trade deficit every single year, and it is wiping out our national wealth, it is destroying our surviving industries and it is absolutely shredding middle class America.

We cannot allow tens of thousands of factories to continue to leave the United States.  We cannot allow millions of jobs to continue to be “outsourced” and “offshored”.  We cannot allow tens of billions of dollars of our national wealth to continue to be transferred into foreign hands every single month.

The truth is that the global economy is bad for America.  The following are 23 facts which prove that globalism is pushing the standard of living of the middle class down to third world levels….

#1 From December 2000 to December 2010, the U.S. ran a total trade deficit of 6.1 trillion dollars.

#2 The U.S. trade deficit was about 33 percent larger in 2010 than it was in 2009.

#3 The U.S. trade deficit with China in 2010 was 27 times larger than it was back in 1990.

#4 The U.S. economy is rapidly trading high wage jobs for low wage jobs.  According to a new report from the National Employment Law Project, higher wage industries accounted for 40 percent of the job losses over the past 12 months but only 14 percent of the job growth.  Lower wage industries accounted for just 23 percent of the job losses over the past 12 months and a whopping 49 percent of the job growth.

#5 Between December 2000 and December 2010, 38 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Ohio were lost, 42 percent of the manufacturing jobs in North Carolina were lost and 48 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Michigan were lost.

#6 In Germany, exports account for approximately 40 percent of GDP.  In China, exports account for approximately 30 percent of GDP.  In the United States, exports account for approximately 13 percent of GDP.

#7 Do you remember when the United States was the dominant manufacturer of automobiles and trucks on the globe?  Well, in 2010 the U.S. ran a trade deficit in automobiles, trucks and parts of $110 billion.

#8 In 2010, South Korea exported 12 times as many automobiles, trucks and parts to us as we exported to them.

#9 The U.S. economy now has 10 percent fewer “middle class jobs” than it did just ten years ago.

#10 The United States currently has 7.7 million fewer payroll jobs than it did back in December 2007.

#11 Back in 1970, 25 percent of all jobs in the United States were manufacturing jobs. Today, only 9 percent of the jobs in the United States are manufacturing jobs.

#12 In 2002, the United States had a trade deficit in “advanced technology products” of $16 billion with the rest of the world.  In 2010, that number skyrocketed to $82 billion.

#13 The United States now spends more than 4 dollars on goods and services from China for every one dollar that China spends on goods and services from the United States.

#14 In China, working conditions are so bad that large numbers of “employees” regularly try to commit suicide.  One major employer, Foxconn, has even gone so far as to install “anti-suicide nets” in an attempt to keep their employees from jumping off of their buildings.

#15 Wages for workers in China are incredibly low.  For example, one facility in the city of Longhua that makes iPods employs approximately 200,000 workers.  These workers put in endless 15-hour days but they only make about $50 per month.

#16 In Bangladesh, manufacturing workers toil in absolutely horrific conditions and make an average of about $38 per month.

#17 In Vietnam, teenage workers often work seven days a week for as little as 6 cents an hour making promotional Disney toys for McDonald’s.

#18 Since 2001, over 42,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States have been closed.

#19 Half of all American workers now earn $505 or less per week.

#20 In the United States today, 6.2 million Americans have been out of work for 6 months of longer.

#21 8.4 million Americans are currently working part-time jobs for “economic reasons”.  These jobs are mostly very low paying service jobs.

#22 When you adjust wages for inflation, middle class workers in the United States make less money today than they did back in 1971.

#23 According to Willem Buiter, the chief economist at Citigroup, China will be the largest economy in the world by the year 2020, and India will surpass China by the year 2050.

Those that promote “free trade” can never explain how the U.S. middle class is going to continue to have plenty of jobs in the new global economy.

By merging our labor pool with the rest of the world, we have also merged our standard of living with the rest of the world.  High unemployment is rapidly becoming “the new normal” in America, and wages are going to continue to decline in many, many industries.

Already, there are quite a few formerly great U.S. cities (such as Detroit) that are beginning to resemble third world hellholes.  If something is not done about our massive trade imbalance, even more cities are going to follow Detroit into oblivion.

Unfortunately, most of our politicians continue to insist that globalism is good for our society.  They continue to insist that we should not be worried that jobs formerly done by middle class American workers are now being done by slave laborers on the other side of the globe.  They continue to insist that having 43 million Americans on food stamps is a temporary thing and that soon our economy will be better than ever.

Well, it is time to stop listening to the politicians that are promoting “the global economy”.  They are lying to us.

Globalism is great for nations such as China and it is helping multinational corporations make huge profits, but for the U.S. middle class it is an economic death sentence.

If you want an America where there are less jobs, where more Americans are on food stamps and other anti-poverty programs and where our cities continue to be transformed into deindustrialized hellholes, then you should strongly support the emerging global economy.

But if you care about the standard of living of the U.S. middle class and you want for there to be some kind of viable economic future for your children and your grandchildren then you had better start caring about these issues and doing something about them.

Please wake up America.

21 Signs That The Once Great U.S. Economy Is Being Gutted, Neutered, Defanged, Declawed And Deindustrialized

Once upon a time, the United States was the greatest industrial powerhouse that the world has ever seen.  Our immense economic machinery was the envy of the rest of the globe and it provided the foundation for the largest and most vibrant middle class in the history of the world.  But now the once great U.S. economic machine is being dismantled piece by piece.  The U.S. economy is being gutted, neutered, defanged, declawed and deindustrialized and very few of our leaders even seem to care.  It was the United States that once showed the rest of the world how to mass produce televisions and automobiles and airplanes and computers, but now our industrial base is being ripped to shreds.  Tens of thousands of our factories and millions of our jobs have been shipped overseas.  Many of our proudest manufacturing cities have been transformed into “post-industrial” hellholes that nobody wants to live in anymore.

Meanwhile, wave after wave of shiny new factories is going up in nations such as China, India and Brazil.  This is great for those countries, but for the millions of American workers that desperately needed the jobs that have been sent overseas it is not so great.

This is the legacy of globalism.  Multinational corporations now have the choice whether to hire U.S. workers or to hire workers in countries where it is legal to pay slave labor wages.  The “great sucking sound” that Ross Perot warned us about so long ago is actually happening, and it has left tens of millions of Americans without good jobs.

So what is to become of a nation that consumes more than it ever has and yet continues to produce less and less?

Well, the greatest debt binge in the history of the world has enabled us to maintain (and even increase) our standard of living for several decades, but all of that debt is starting to really catch up with us.

The American people seem to be very confused about what is happening to us because most of them thought that the party was going to last forever.  In fact, most of them still seem convinced that our brightest economic days are still ahead.

After all, every time we have had a “recession” in the past things have always turned around and we have gone on to even greater things, right?

Well, what most Americans simply fail to understand is that we are like a car that is having its insides ripped right out.  Our industrial base is being gutted right in front of our eyes.

Most Americans don’t think much about our “trade deficit”, but it is absolutely central to what is happening to our economy.  Every year, we buy far, far more from the rest of the world than they buy from us.

In 2010, the U.S. trade deficit was just a whisker under $500 billion.  This is money that we could have all spent inside the United States that would have supported thousands of American factories and millions of American jobs.

Instead, we sent all of those hundreds of billions of dollars overseas in exchange for a big pile of stuff that we greedily consumed.  Most of that stuff we probably didn’t need anyway.

Since we spent almost $500 billion more with the rest of the world than they spent with us, at the end of the year the rest of the world was $500 billion wealthier and the American people were collectively $500 billion poorer.

That means that the collective “economic pie” that we are all dividing up is now $500 billion smaller.

Are you starting to understand why times suddenly seem so “hard” in the United States?

Meanwhile, jobs and businesses continue to fly out of the United States at a blinding pace.

This is a national crisis.

We simply cannot expect to continue to have a “great economy” if we allow our economy to be deindustrialized.

A nation that consumes far more than it produces is not going to be wealthy for long.

The following are 21 signs that the once great U.S. economy is being gutted,  neutered, defanged, declawed and deindustrialized….

#1 The U.S. trade deficit with the rest of the world rose to 497.8 billion dollars in 2010.  That represented a 32.8% increase from 2009.

#2 The U.S. trade deficit with China rose to an all-time record of 273.1 billion dollars in 2010.  This is the largest trade deficit that one nation has had with another nation in the history of the world.

#3 The U.S. trade deficit with China in 2010 was 27 times larger than it was back in 1990.

#4 In the years since 1975, the United States had run a total trade deficit of 7.5 trillion dollars with the rest of the world.

#5 The United States spends more than 4 dollars on goods and services from China for every one dollar that China spends on goods and services from the United States.

#6 In 1959, manufacturing represented 28 percent of all U.S. economic output.  In 2008, it represented only 11.5 percent and it continues to fall.

#7 The number of net jobs gained by the U.S. economy during this past decade was smaller than during any other decade since World War 2.

#8 The Bureau of Labor Statistics originally predicted that the U.S. economy would create approximately 22 million jobs during the decade of the 2000s, but it turns out that the U.S. economy only produced about 7 million jobs during that time period.

#9 Japan now manufactures about 5 million more automobiles than the United States does.

#10 China has now become the world’s largest exporter of high technology products.

#11 Manufacturing employment in the U.S. computer industry is actually lower in 2010 than it was in 1975.

#12 The United States now has 10 percent fewer “middle class jobs” than it did just ten years ago.

#13 According to Tax Notes, between 1999 and 2008 employment at the foreign affiliates of U.S. parent companies increased an astounding 30 percent to 10.1 million. During that exact same time period, U.S. employment at American multinational corporations declined 8 percent to 21.1 million.

#14 Back in 1970, 25 percent of all jobs in the United States were manufacturing jobs. Today, only 9 percent of the jobs in the United States are manufacturing jobs.

#15 Back in 1998, the United States had 25 percent of the world’s high-tech export market and China had just 10 percent. Ten years later, the United States had less than 15 percent and China’s share had soared to 20 percent.

#16 The number of Americans that have become so discouraged that they have given up searching for work completely now stands at an all-time high.

#17 Half of all American workers now earn $505 or less per week.

#18 The United States has lost a staggering 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000.

#19 Since 2001, over 42,000 U.S. factories have closed down for good.

#20 In 2008, 1.2 billion cellphones were sold worldwide.  So how many of them were manufactured inside the United States?  Zero.

#21 Ten years ago, the “employment rate” in the United States was about 64%.  Since then it has been constantly declining and now the “employment rate” in the United States is only about 58%.  So where did all of those jobs go?

The world is changing.

We are bleeding national wealth at a pace that is almost unimaginable.

We are literally being drained dry.

Did you know that China now has the world’s fastest train and the world’s largest high-speed rail network?

They were able to afford those things with all of the money that we have been sending them.

How do you think all of those oil barons in the Middle East became so wealthy and could build such opulent palaces?

They got rich off of all the money that we have been sending them.

Meanwhile, once great U.S. cities such as Detroit, Michigan now look like war zones.

Back in 1985, the U.S. trade deficit with China was about 6 million dollars for the entire year.

As mentioned above, the U.S. trade deficit with China for 2010 was over 273 billion dollars.

What a difference 25 years can make, eh?

What do you find when you go into a Wal-Mart, a Target or a dollar store today?

You find row after row after row of stuff made in China and in other far away countries.

It can be more than a bit difficult to find things that are actually made inside the United States anymore.  In fact, there are quite a few industries that have completely and totally left the United States.  For certain product categories it is now literally impossible to buy something made in America.

So what are we going to do with our tens of millions of blue collar workers?

Should we just tell them that their jobs are not ever coming back so they better learn phrases such as “Welcome to Wal-Mart” and “Would you like fries with that”?

For quite a few years, the gigantic debt bubble that we were living in kind of insulated us from feeling the effects of the deindustrialization of America.

But now the pain is starting to kick in.

It has now become soul-crushingly difficult to find a job in America today.

According to Gallup, the U.S. unemployment rate is currently 10.1% and when you throw in “underemployed” workers that figure rises to 19.6%.

Competition for jobs has become incredibly fierce and it is going to stay that way.

The great U.S. economic machine is being ripped apart and dismantled right in full view of us all.

This is not a “conservative” issue or a “liberal” issue.  This is an American issue.

The United States is rapidly being turned into a “post-industrial” wasteland.

It is time to wake up America.