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Camden, New Jersey: One Of Hundreds Of U.S. Cities That Are Turning Into Rotting, Decaying Hellholes

Camden, New Jersey - Photo by Blake BolingerAll over America, formerly prosperous communities are being transformed into crime-infested wastelands of poverty and despair.  Of course the most famous example of this is Detroit.  At one time, Detroit was the greatest manufacturing city that the world had ever seen and it had the highest per capita income in the entire country.  But now it has become a rotting, decaying hellhole that the rest of the planet laughs at.  And of course Detroit is far from alone.  There are hundreds of other U.S. cities that are suffering a similar fate.  In this article, the focus is going to be on Camden, New Jersey, but the truth is that there are lots of other “Detroits” and “Camdens” all over the nation.  Jobs and businesses are leaving our cities at a staggering rate, and what is being left behind is poverty, crime and extreme desperation.

Earlier this month, Rolling Stone published an article that took a hard look at the nightmare conditions that exist in Camden.  A city that once made Campbell’s soup and some of this nation’s most famous warships is now a national disgrace.  The following are six of the best quotes out of that article…

-“In September, its last supermarket closed, and the city has been declared a “food desert” by the USDA. The place is literally dying, its population having plummeted from above 120,000 in the Fifties to less than 80,000 today.”

-“Their home is a city with thousands of abandoned houses but no money to demolish them, leaving whole blocks full of Ninth Ward-style wreckage to gather waste and rats.”

-“With legal business mostly gone, illegal business took hold. Those hundreds of industries have been replaced by about 175 open-air drug markets, through which some quarter of a billion dollars in dope moves every year.”

-“On January 18th, 2011, the city laid off 168 of its 368 police officers, kicking off a dramatic, years-long, cops-versus-locals, house-to-house battle over a few square miles of North American territory that should have been national news, but has not been, likely because it took place in an isolated black and Hispanic ghost town.”

-“After the 2011 layoffs, police went into almost total retreat. Drug dealers cheerfully gave interviews to local reporters while slinging in broad daylight.”

-“The carnage left Camden’s crime rate on par with places like Haiti after its 2010 earthquake, and with other infamous Third World hot spots, as police officials later noticed to their dismay when they studied U.N. statistics.”

You can read the rest of the article right here.  But as bad as things have become in Camden, this should not be a surprise to most of you.  The reality is that this kind of rot and decay is happening in communities all over the United States.

Over in Detroit, crime has gotten so bad that even the police are telling people to “enter Detroit at your own risk“.  When you call the police in Detroit it takes them an average of 58 minutes to respond, and more than 90 percent of the crimes committed in the city end up as unsolved mysteries.

At this point, 60 percent of all children in Detroit are living in poverty, and there are approximately 78,000 abandoned homes in the city.

For much more on all this, check out the statistics in this article, and you can find some great photos of the “ruins of Detroit” right here.

So why is all of this happening?

Well, there are lots of factors involved of course, but the biggest one is the lack of good jobs in these cities.

At one time, Detroit had the largest and most prosperous middle class in the entire nation.  But now those days are long gone.

And what is happening to Detroit is precisely what is happening to America as a whole.  Our good jobs are disappearing and the middle class is being systematically destroyed.

In order to have a middle class, you have got to have middle class jobs.

There is no way around that.

And right now, hordes of young people are graduating from college and discovering that the middle class jobs that they were promised simply are not there.

CNN recently profiled a 37-year-old college graduate named Bobby Bingham.  Because he cannot find a good job, he is forced to work four low paying jobs…

Bobby Bingham works four jobs in Kansas City, Missouri, yet he has very little to show for it.

Bingham is 37 years old and has a college degree, but like many Americans, is stuck working many hours in low wage, part-time jobs.

Each week, he works a total of about 60 hours in his jobs as a massage therapist, a waiter at a Mexican restaurant, a delivery man for sandwich chain Jimmy John’s and a receptionist at his massage school.

Bingham makes approximately $400 a week, which works out to about $20,000 a year.  He has come to the conclusion that he may never be able to make enough to support a family…

“I’ve come to the point in my life where I wonder if I can ever support a family,” he said. “I have no idea how that’s ever going to logically happen.”

That deeply saddened my heart when I read that.  Here is a young man that wants to get married, have a family and do all the right things, but the economy is so bad that he fears that this may never be possible for him.

As I have written about previously, the economic downturn that we are experiencing right now has hit men particularly hard.  The number of men in their prime working years that do not make enough money to support a family is rising with each passing year, and this is causing massive problems in this country.

And when our politicians proclaim that all we need is “more education”, I feel like vomiting.  The U.S. population as a whole has more “education” today than it ever has had before.

If you think that “more education” is the answer, then check out the following excerpt from a recent interview with a law school graduate that is making about $40,000 a year and that has about $200,000 in law school debt…

Yes, it’s extremely hard to get by. I can’t afford rent or a car and can barely afford food. Anything extra like enjoying myself with friends, going to a movie, traveling, etc. — that’s all out the window for the foreseeable future and possibly for the rest of my life thanks to law school. I live with my parents. I don’t have a car. I don’t go out to socialize. I don’t date. I don’t buy new clothes. I don’t buy electronics. I don’t buy much of anything. I spend my free time working other jobs to put more money toward my debt. I do contract work for other lawyers, but the pay is very low and payment is sporadic.

Why did this happen to him?  Well, the truth is that there are way, way too many law school graduates.  There are not nearly enough good jobs for all of them.  In fact, this particular law school graduate deeply regrets ever going to law school and considers it “an extraordinary waste of money”…

I consider law school a waste of my life and an extraordinary waste of money. I feel like I was duped and tricked. At the end of the day, it’s my own fault for being a sucker and I learned an extremely hard lesson. Because I went to law school, I don’t see myself having a family, earning a comfortable wage, or having an enjoyable lifestyle.

But at least he has a job.  There are millions of college graduates that do not.  And there are hundreds of thousands of other college graduates that are currently working as waiters and waitresses.  Large numbers are also working temp jobs or standing behind registers in retail stores.

Over the past decade, tens of thousands of businesses and millions of good jobs have left this country.  The quality of the jobs that remain continues to decline at a frightening pace, and most of the new jobs that are being “created” these days are part-time jobs.

But you won’t hear the mainstream media or our most prominent politicians talk about these things much.  You won’t hear them talk about the fact that median household income in the United States has fallen for five years in a row or about the fact that the rate of homeownership in the United States has fallen for eight years in a row.

The middle class is dying.

Wake up America.

And even as millions of our jobs have been shipped to the other side of the planet, some of the most prominent “American companies” have been bought up by foreigners.  The following list comes from a recent Economy In Crisis article

—–

Here are some of America’s most famous brands currently held in foreign hands:

  • Budweiser, now owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev N.V., which is based in Leuven, Belgium
  • Alka-Seltzer, now owned by German company Bayer Schering Pharma AG
  • Ben & Jerrys, now owned by British-Dutch Unilever
  • AMC theaters, now owned by the Chinese
  • 7-Eleven, now owned by the Japanese company, Seven & I Holdings
  • Woman’s Day Magazine, now owned by the French company,  Hachette Filipacchi Médias, S.A
  • Purina, now owned by the Swiss company, Nestle
  • Gerber, now owned by the Swiss pharmaceutical giant, Novartis
  • Firestone, now owned by the Japanese Bridgestone Corporation
  • Citgo, now owned by the government of Venezuela
  • French’s Mustard, now owned by Reckitt Benckiser, a British conglomerate
  • Frigidaire, now owned by Sweden’s AB Electrolux
  • The Plaza Hotel in New York City, now owned by Israeli billionaire Yitzhak Tshuva’s El-Ad Group
  • Trader Joes, now owned by German billionaires Karl and Theo Albrecht
  • Dial soap, now owned by Henkel KGaA, based in Dusseldorf, Germany
  • Sunglass Hut, now owned by Italian eyewear seller Luxottica Group

—–

Are you starting to get the picture?

Our economic infrastructure is being absolutely gutted and more than 46 million Americans are now living in poverty.

And if you are waiting for the jokers in Washington D.C. to fix things, you are going to be waiting for a very, very long time.

Over the past several years, both the Democrats and the Republicans have proven again and again that they are basically completely and totally useless.  In fact, just about everything that they try to do actually makes our problems even worse.

In just a few days, Barack Obama leaves for a 17 day holiday vacation in Hawaii.  Many have criticized him and the members of Congress for taking so much time off, but perhaps that is the best thing that they can do at this point.  As long as they are away from Washington D.C., at least they won’t be making things even worse for all the rest of us.

50 Predictions For 2013

50 Predictions For 2013Are you ready for a wild 2013?  It should be a very interesting year.  When the calendar flips over each January, lots of people make lots of lists.  They make lists of “resolutions”, but most people never follow through on them.  They make lists of “predictions”, but most of those predictions always seem to end up failing.  Well, I have decided to put out my own list of predictions for 2013.  I openly admit that I won’t get all of these predictions right, and that is okay.  Hopefully I will at least be more accurate than most of the other armchair prognosticators out there.  It is important to look ahead and try to get a handle on what is coming, because I believe that the rest of this decade is going to be extraordinarily chaotic for the U.S. economy.  The false bubble of debt-fueled prosperity that we are enjoying right now is not going to last much longer.  When it comes to an end, the “adjustment” is going to be extremely painful.  Those that understand what is happening and have prepared for it will have the best chance of surviving what is about to hit us.  I honestly don’t know what everybody else is going to do.  Many of the people that don’t see the coming collapse approaching will be totally blindsided by it and will totally give in to despair when they realize what has happened.  But there is no excuse for not seeing what is coming – the signs are everywhere.

So with that being said, the following are 50 bold predictions for 2013…

#1 There will be a major fight between the Republicans and the Democrats over raising the debt ceiling.  This will be one of the stories that dominates news headlines in the months of February and March.

#2 Most of the new “revenue” that will be raised by tax increases in 2013 will come out of the pockets of the middle class.

#3 No matter what “fiscal deals” the Democrats and the Republicans make in 2013, the federal budget deficit will still end up being greater than a trillion dollars for the fifth consecutive year.

#4 The credit rating of the U.S. government will be downgraded again in 2013.

#5 The Federal Reserve, along with major central banks all over the globe, will continue to wildly print money.

#6 There will be more criticism of the Federal Reserve in 2013 than at any other time since it was created back in 1913.

#7 The term “currency war” will be used by the media more in 2013 than it was in 2012.

#8 The movement away from the U.S. dollar as the primary reserve currency of the world will pick up momentum.  This will especially be true in Asia.

#9 The economic depressions in Greece and Spain will get even worse and unemployment in the eurozone will go even higher in 2013.

#10 A financial crisis in Europe will cause officials to grasp for “radical solutions” that will surprise many analysts.

#11 The unemployment rate in the United States will be higher by the end of 2013 than it is now.

#12 The percentage of working age Americans with a job will fall below 58 percent by the end of the year.

#13 At least one “too big to fail” bank will fail in the United States by the end of 2013.

#14 By the end of the year, more people than ever will understand what “derivatives” are, and that will be because they have caused major problems in the financial world.

#15 We will see the beginnings of another major housing crisis before the end of 2013 and foreclosure activity will start rising once again.

#16 We will see another new wave of “tent cities” start to go up in communities around the nation before the end of the year.

#17 There will be another major drought in the United States this upcoming summer and there will be widespread crop failures once again.

#18 The massive dust storms that we have seen roll through cities like Phoenix in recent years will become even larger and even more intense.

#19 Traffic along the Mississippi River will be significantly interrupted at some point during 2013.  This will be a very negative thing for the economy.

#20 Food prices will soar in 2013.  This will especially be true for meat products.

#21 In some of the poorer areas of the globe, major food riots will break out.  Governments will have trouble containing the civil unrest.

#22 There will be more genetically-modified foods in our supermarkets than ever before, and more Americans than ever will reject them and will seek out alternatives.

#23 The average price of a gallon of gasoline in 2012 was about $3.60.  The average price of a gallon of gasoline in 2013 will be lower than that.  Yes, you read that correctly.

#24 The number of vehicle miles driven in the United States will continue to decline in 2013.

#25 The Dow will end 2013 significantly lower than it is right now.

#26 When the final statistics for 2013 are compiled, U.S. share of global GDP will be less than 20 percent for the first time in modern history.  Back in the year 2001, our share of global GDP was 31.8 percent.

#27 The U.S. Postal Service will continue to experience massive financial difficulties and will lay off personnel.

#28 As violence in our public schools becomes increasingly worse, more Americans families than ever will decide to home school their children.

#29 The Obama administration and Democrats in Congress will make an all-out attempt to pass gun control measures in 2013.  When their efforts on the legislative front are stalled somewhat by Republicans in the House, Obama will use his executive powers to further his gun control agenda.

#30 One of the cities with the strongest gun laws in the nation, Chicago, had 532 murders in 2012 and it is now considered to be one of the most dangerous cities on the planet.  By the end of 2013, the murder total in Chicago will be above 600.

#31 There will be an increasing amount of tension between state governments and the federal government.  The issue of “states rights” will move front and center at various points in 2013.

#32 CNN will continue to sink to horrifying new lows.  Piers Morgan will end up leaving the network before the end of the year.

#33 The number of Americans on food stamps will surpass 50 million for the first time ever at some point during 2013.

#34 The U.S. trade deficit with China in 2013 will be well over 300 billion dollars.

#35 The phrase “made in China” will increasingly be viewed as a reason not to buy a product as Americans become more educated about the millions of good jobs that we have lost to China over the past decade.

#36 We will see increasing cooperation between the governments of the United States, Canada and Mexico and border restrictions will be loosened.

#37 There will continue to be a mass exodus of families and businesses out of the state of California.  The favorite destination will continue to be Texas, but Texas residents will become increasingly resentful of all of these new transplants.

#38 There will be some truly jaw-dropping examples of violence by parents against their own children in 2013.  Many of these stories will make headlines all over the nation.

#39 The percentage of Americans that are obese will continue to rise and will set another new all-time record in 2013.

#40 There will be more war in the Middle East in 2013.  But it will only set the stage for even more war in the Middle East in 2014 and 2015.

#41 U.S. troops will be deployed in more countries than ever before in 2013.

#42 Volcanic eruptions and major earthquakes along the Ring of Fire will make headlines all over the globe in 2013.

#43 Giant sinkholes will continue to appear all over the United States and all over the globe, and scientists will continue to struggle to find an explanation for why it is happening.

#44 The peak of the solar cycle in 2013 will cause significant problems for satellite communications.

#45 The U.S. government will put more resources into the surveillance of the American people than ever before, but most Americans won’t mind all of this surveillance because they have become convinced that it is important to give up some of our liberties for more “security”.

#46 Our infrastructure (roads, bridges, tunnels, airports, sewers, electrical grids, etc.) will be in worse shape by the end of 2013 than it is now.

#47 The percentage of “two parent households” in the United States will continue to decline.

#48Political correctness” will reach ridiculous new heights during 2013, and more Americans than ever will start to rebel against it.

#49 There will be more anger at the wealthy in 2013 than at any other time in modern history.

#50 There will be some shocking political scandals in Washington D.C. in 2013.  We will see some high profile resignations by the end of the year.

Once again, please keep in mind that I do not expect to be 100% correct about all of these things.  I am just trying to put all of the pieces of the puzzle together just like everyone else is.

But I do hope to have a better track record than most of the other people putting out lists of predictions at the beginning of this year.  So save this list and let’s revisit it at the end of the year.

Do you have any bold predictions of your own for 2013?  Please feel free to share them by posting a comment below…

Earth From Space

Why Does Our Society Look Down On Unemployed Men So Much?

If you are unemployed for an extended period of time, people are going to look at you differently.  Unfortunately, this is especially true if you are a man.  In our society, men are primarily defined by “what they do”.  If you have been unemployed for a long period of time, that can make social interactions even more awkward than normal.  Most people will instantly become more uncomfortable around you when they find out that you are unemployed.  Many will look at you with pity, and others will actually look at you with disdain.  Women will not want to date you, and if you are in a relationship unemployment will put a tremendous amount of strain on it.  Once you “don’t have a job”, you will not get the same level of respect from former co-workers, friends, members of your own family and possibly even your own wife.  So why does our society look down on unemployed men so much?  Well, it is generally expected that men are supposed to be the “breadwinners” for their families.  If a woman stays home with the kids nobody has any problems with that, but if men do the same thing it tends to raise eyebrows.  But there is a big problem.  Our economy is not producing enough jobs for everyone.  In fact, there are millions upon millions more workers than there are jobs.  It would be great if this was just a temporary situation, but as I have written about previously, there will never be enough jobs in America ever again.  So there will continually be millions upon millions of men that are looked down upon by society because they can’t get jobs, and as a result we are going to have millions upon millions of men that are constantly battling against soul-crushing despair.

It can be really hard to “feel like a man” when you aren’t making any money.

And most women simply are not interested in becoming romantically involved with an unemployed man.  Just check out what one recent survey found….

Of the 925 single women surveyed, 75 percent said they’d have a problem with dating someone without a job. Only 4 percent of respondents asked whether they would go out with an unemployed man answered “of course.”

“Not having a job will definitely make it harder for men to date someone they don’t already know,” Irene LaCota, a spokesperson for It’s Just Lunch, said in a press release. “This is the rare area, compared to other topics we’ve done surveys on, where women’s old-fashioned beliefs about sex roles seem to apply.”

Those are some pretty overwhelming numbers.

So is it the same way when the roles are reversed?

Not even close.

When men were asked the same question, the difference was absolutely shocking….

On the other hand, the prospect of dating an unemployed woman was not a problem for nearly two-thirds of men. In fact, 19 percent of men said they had no reservations and 46 percent of men said they were positive they would date an unemployed woman.

Admittedly, men are often thinking about other things when they are evaluating whether they want to date a women or not.  Yes, there are some men these days that are concerned about how much money a woman makes, but the truth is that men tend to be much less concerned about income levels than women are.

In fact, a UK study that was released last year discovered that British women are even more concerned about the education and income of a potential mate than they were back in the 1940s.

So if you are unemployed you are probably not going to find much success in the romance department either.

If you are married, being unemployed is likely to put a huge strain on your marriage.  The following is a short excerpt from a recent Business Insider article entitled “TRUE CONFESSION: I’m Sick Of My Unemployed Husband“….

I can’t even remember when my husband stopped working.

And frankly, I don’t have time to think about it, between my full-time job and my fledgling business, volunteering at an after-school program to help teenagers prepare for the professional world and mothering two children.

But when I do think about it–when I think about all the times I come home to see evidence of his entire day’s activities cluttering the coffee table, or when I have to take our shared car to work and strand him at home because he doesn’t feel like getting up to drive me–I’m angry.

If a husband is unemployed for an extended period of time, there is a very good chance that the wife is going to start feeling very resentful.

If things get bad enough, many women will pull the plug on their marriages and will get rid of their “unproductive” husbands.

Last year, Time Magazine reported on a study that indicated that unemployed men were significantly more likely to get divorced than employed men were.

My goal in writing this is not to “bash women”.  I am just pointing out how hard things are for unemployed men in our society.  Many wives (and their extended families) simply do not understand that our economy has fundamentally changed.  In the old days just about any hard working man that wanted a job could go out and get one.  That is most definitely NOT the case today.

Hopefully we can get more women to understand this.  I know that it can be hard to be patient when your husband is unemployed for month after month after month.

But at a time when husbands need their support the most, many wives withdraw emotionally and become very angry.

For example, how many women have you ever heard declare how proud they are of their unemployed husbands?

Of course there are definitely situations where these roles are reversed and employed husbands are badgering their unemployed wives about getting a job, but in general our society tends to have a greater degree of tolerance for unemployed women than it does for unemployed men.

Sadly, most people simply do not understand how dramatically things have changed in our economy.

The following chart shows the stunning decline in the percentage of working age men with a job over the past 60 years….

Back in the 1950s, there were times when nearly 85 percent of all working age men had jobs.

We will never get back to anything close to that ever again.

Prior to the last recession, about 70 percent of all working age men were employed.

Since the end of the recession, that number has not gotten back to 65 percent at any point.

That means somewhere around 5 percent of all working age American men have been displaced from the workforce permanently.

The mainstream media would have us believe that we are experiencing an “economic recovery” but that is a massive lie.  The real unemployment numbers are much worse than we have been told.

If you take a look at all working age Americans (men and women), there are actually more than 100 million of them that do not have jobs right now.

I know that statistic can be hard to believe.  I had a hard time believing it at first.  But it is actually true.

Meanwhile, the incomes of those who are working continue to fall.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, median household income in the United States has fallen for four years in a row.

But this is not a trend that just started recently.  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.

We are in the midst of a long-term economic decline and it is time for all of us to admit how bad things have really gotten.

So what are all of the men who are not working doing these days?

Well, there are some that have chosen to stay at home with the kids.  In a previous article, I discussed how the number of “stay at home dads” has doubled over the past decade.

But the overall percentage of “Mr. Moms” is still very, very low according to Fox News….

There were only about 81,000 Mr. Moms in 2001, or about 1.6 percent of all stay-at-home parents. By last year, the number had climbed to 176,000, or 3.4 percent of stay-at-home parents, according to U.S. Census data.

The vast majority of working age men still want to work outside of the home and earn a living for their families.

Unfortunately, most families need more than one income to make it these days.  In fact, in many cases both parents are working multiple jobs in an attempt to make ends meet.

Meanwhile, the number of good jobs continues to decline and the middle class in America continues to shrink.

This is hitting our young people that are just starting out particularly hard.  For example, during 2011 53 percent of all Americans with a bachelor’s degree under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed.

And as I have written about previously, this is resulting in huge numbers of our young people moving back home with Mom and Dad.

This is particularly true when it comes to young men.  According to CNN, American men in the 25 to 34 age bracket are nearly twice as likely to live with their parents as women the same age are….

The number of adult children who live with their parents, especially young males, has soared since the economy started heading south. Among males age 25 to 34, 19% live with their parents today, a 5 percentage point increase from 2005, according to Census data released Thursday. Meanwhile, 10% of women in that age group live at home, up from 8% six years ago.

How are our young men going to be able to get married and start families if they can’t find jobs and they are living in our basements?

Sadly, things are really hard for everyone right now.  Since June 2009, we have supposedly been in “the Obama recovery”, but median household income in America has fallen during that time period by $3040.

People keep waiting for things to “get better”, but it just isn’t happening.  This was beautifully illustrated the other night during a Saturday Night Live skit that had “Barack Obama” speaking in front of a rally of unemployed and underemployed workers.  You can find video of that skit right here.

There are millions upon millions of men (and women) all over America that are ready and willing to go back to work.

Sadly, there will never be enough jobs for all of them ever again, and that is not going to change no matter who wins the election.

In fact, when the next wave of the economic collapse hits the United States it is likely that unemployment is going to get a whole lot worse.

What will our society look like when that happens?

Tens Of Millions Of American Families Are Living On The Edge Of Desperation – And The Economy Is About To Get A Whole Lot Worse

Have you ever been so poor that you had to live in your car?  Have you ever been so low on funds that the only place you could afford to live was a rat-infested motel?  Have you ever spent a night living in a tent city or sleeping in the streets?  If not, you should consider yourself to be very fortunate.  As the recent Black Friday madness demonstrated, there are still lots of Americans that are doing well enough to go on wild shopping sprees, but the reality is that there are also millions of American families that are falling through the “safety net” to a place of total desperation.  In a previous article I talked about the fact that the U.S. Census Bureau recently announced that a higher percentage of Americans is living in extreme poverty than has ever been measured before.  Not only that, 2.6 million more Americans fell into poverty last year.  That was also a new all-time record.  As you read this, one out of every seven Americans is on food stamps and one out of every four U.S. children is on food stamps.  Tens of millions of American families are living on the edge of desperation.  In many communities across the United States, there is so much despair in the air that it is almost tangible.  When you look into the eyes of many Americans these days, it almost seems as if all the hope has been sucked right out of their hearts.  Economic despair is at epidemic levels, and unfortunately the economy is about to get a whole lot worse.

Did you see the report on families that are living in their cars that Scott Pelley did for 60 Minutes the other night?

If you have not seen it yet, I highly recommend that you take a few minutes to check it out.

At one school in Florida alone, Pelley met 15 children who had been living in  their cars.

The following is a brief excerpt from Pelley’s report….

This is the home of the Metzger family. Arielle,15. Her brother Austin, 13. Their mother died when they were very young. Their dad, Tom, is a carpenter. And, he’s been looking for work ever since Florida’s construction industry collapsed. When foreclosure took their house, he bought the truck on Craigslist with his last thousand dollars. Tom’s a little camera shy – thought we ought to talk to the kids – and it didn’t take long to see why.

Pelley: How long have you been living in this truck?

Arielle Metzger: About five months.

Pelley: What’s that like?

Arielle Metzger: It’s an adventure.

Austin Metzger: That’s how we see it.

Pelley: When kids at school ask you where you live, what do you tell ‘em?

Austin Metzger: When they see the truck they ask me if I live in it, and when I hesitate they kinda realize. And they say they won’t tell anybody.

You can view the entire 60 Minutes report below….

Did you ever think that this would happen to America?

What makes things even sadder is that there are millions upon millions of empty homes right now in the United States.

Millions of American families have been foreclosed upon in recent years and home prices keep falling with no end in sight.

In fact, today it was reported that home prices are now the lowest that they have been in eight years.

So why aren’t people renting or buying more homes?

Well, the truth is that you can’t afford a mortgage payment or a rent payment if you don’t have a decent job.

When someone can’t find a good job, then none of the other economic statistics that many of us love to talk about so much really matter.

That is why I write about what is happening to American jobs so often.  Today, big corporations are shipping as many jobs as they can out of the country.  An average of 23 manufacturing facilities were shut down every single day in the United States last year.  Even though our population is rapidly increasing, there are 10 percent fewer middle income jobs in the U.S. today than there were a decade ago.  Until this trend gets reversed, the number of American families living in their vehicles is only going to increase.

Unfortunately, the U.S. economy is about to get even worse.

Today, it was announced that American Airlines has filed for bankruptcy.  Sadly, there will be many more companies filing for bankruptcy during the upcoming economic downturn.

As I wrote about yesterday, we really are on the verge of a major league collapse of the financial system in Europe.

Jim Cramer of CNBC says that because of what is happening in Europe, the global financial system is at “DEFCON 3, two stages from a financial collapse that is so huge it’s hard to get your mind around.”

Unfortunately, Jim Cramer is not exaggerating.  The global economy is heading for a massive amount of trouble if something dramatic is not done immediately.

This is not a drill.  Bert Van Roosebeke, an economist with the Center for European Policy, recently made the following statement about the cold, hard reality now facing Europe….

“We’re actually really running out of money”

Back during the early 1930s, the flow of credit was greatly restricted and that was one of the primary causes of the Great Depression.  Back in 2008, another massive credit crunch just about brought the financial world to its knees.

Well, now it is starting to happen again.  A nightmarish credit crunch has already begun in Europe, and nobody seems to have any answers about how to stop it.

The following comes from an article in the New York Times….

From global airlines and shipping giants to small manufacturers, all kinds of companies are feeling the strain as European banks pull back on lending in an effort to hoard capital and shore up their balance sheets.

The result is a credit squeeze for companies from Berlin to Beijing, edging the world economy toward another slump.

When there is a credit crunch of this magnitude, it causes the money supply to start to shrink.  This is already happening all over Europe as a recent article in the Telegraph noted….

All key measures of the money supply in the eurozone contracted in October with drastic falls across parts of southern Europe, raising the risk of severe recession over coming months.

Right now, we are seeing the money supply in each of the “PIIGS” nations fall at a staggering rate.  The following comes from the same Telegraph article referenced above….

Simon Ward from Henderson Global Investors said “narrow” M1 money – which includes cash and overnight deposits, and signals short-term spending plans – shows an alarming split between North and South.

While real M1 deposits are still holding up in the German bloc, the rate of fall over the last six months (annualised) has been 20.7pc in Greece, 16.3pc in Portugal, 11.8pc in Ireland, and 8.1pc in Spain, and 6.7pc in Italy. The pace of decline in Italy has been accelerating, partly due to capital flight. “This rate of contraction is greater than in early 2008 and implies an even deeper recession, both for Italy and the whole periphery,” said Mr Ward.

Those numbers are really, really bad.

But instead of doing something to prepare for the coming economic crisis, members of the U.S. Congress are focused on stripping even more of our liberties and freedoms away from us.

As I wrote about yesterday, a new law (S. 1867) is being pushed through the U.S. Senate that is extremely frightening.

If this bill becomes a law, the United States of America would officially become part of the “battlefield” in the war on terror, and any American citizen could easily be flagged as a “potential terrorist”.

Once identified as a “potential terrorist”, the U.S. military would be able to arrest you, take you to a foreign prison and detain you for the rest of your life without ever having to charge you with anything.

What in the world is happening to America?

Unfortunately, as the economy gets even worse civil unrest in this country is going to intensify and the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted is going to start to disappear.

In response to the coming civil unrest, the U.S. Congress will try to pass laws that will be even more repressive than S. 1867.

Our nation has entered a downward spiral and things are going to become very frightening if this thing is not turned around.

So what do all of you see happening as we get ready to enter 2012?  Please feel free to leave a comment with your opinion below….

Outcasts: Tonight Tens Of Thousands Of Formerly Middle Class Americans Will Be Sleeping In Their Cars, In Tent Cities Or On The Streets

Economic despair is beginning to spread rapidly in America.  As you read this, there are millions of American families that are just barely hanging on by their fingernails.  For a growing number of Americans, it has become an all-out battle just to be able to afford to sleep under a roof and put a little bit of food on the table.  Sadly, there are more people than ever that are losing that battle.  Tonight, tens of thousands of formerly middle class Americans will be sleeping in their cars, even though that is illegal in many U.S. cities.  Tens of thousands of others will be sleeping in tent cities or on the streets.  Meanwhile, communities all over America are passing measures that are meant to push tent cities and homeless people out of their areas.  It turns out that once you lose your job and your home in this country you become something of an outcast.  Sadly, the number of “outcasts” is going to continue to grow as the U.S. economy continues to collapse.

Most Americans that end up living in their cars on in tent cities never thought that it would happen to them.

An article in Der Spiegel profiled one American couple that is absolutely shocked at what has happened to them….

Chanelle Sabedra is already on that road. She and her husband have been sleeping in their car for almost three weeks now. “We never saw this coming, never ever,” says Sabedra. She starts to cry. “I’m an adult, I can take care of myself one way or another, and same with my husband, but (my kids are) too little to go through these things.” She has three children; they are nine, five and three years old.

“We had a house further south, in San Bernardino,” says Sabedra. Her husband lost his job building prefab houses in July 2009. The utility company turned off the gas. “We were boiling water on the barbeque to bathe our kids,” she says. No longer able to pay the rent, the Sabedras were evicted from their house in August.

How would you feel if you had a 3 year old kid and a 5 year old kid and you were sleeping in a car?

Sadly, if child protective services finds out about that family those kids will probably be stolen away and never returned.

America is becoming a very cruel place.

Unfortunately, what has happened to that family is not an isolated incident.  As rampant unemployment has spread across America, the number of people that have lost their homes has soared.

Today, it is estimated that approximately a third of the homeless population in Seattle live in their cars.

It is even happening to my readers.  A reader named JD left the following comment on one of my articles a while back….

I was laid off from my construction job almost 2 yrs ago was on unenjoyment for over a yr they cut me off last september so i lost my apartment. Since then ive been couch surfing and hotel hopping. Now i occaisonally sleep in my car. I was lucky enough to have a friend with a lawn care business so i can at least put ever increasing gas in my car\house. I hate to say it but i think we will see hoovervilles in the major cities soon. When the welfare & food stamps & all the other govt. programs end the anarchy begins.

Desperation is rising all over America.  Most people had hoped to see an economic recovery by now but it just hasn’t happened.

The phenomenon of Americans living in their cars has become so prominent that even Time Magazine has done a story about it….

For people who cannot afford rent, a car is the last rung of dignity and sanity above the despair of the streets. A home on wheels is a classic American affair, from the wagon train to the RV. Now, for some formerly upwardly mobile Americans, the economic storm has turned the backseat or the rear of the van into the bedroom. “We found six people sleeping in their cars on an overnight police ride-along in December,” says John Edmund, chief of staff to Long Beach councilman Dee Andrews. “One was a widow living in a four-door sedan. She and her husband had been Air Force veterans. She did not know about the agencies that could help her. I had tears in my eyes afterwards.”

Unfortunately, it turns out that sleeping in cars has been made illegal in many areas of the United States.

In many cities, police are putting boots on the cars and when the homeless owners can’t pay the fines the vehicles are being taken away from them.

Venice, California is one place where people have been arrested for living in vehicles.  Venice had been a popular spot for people living in their RVs to go, but police started arresting people that were living in RVs and they began towing away their vehicles. The following is an excerpt from an article that appeared on the Daily Kos website….

They took Eric while he was changing his battery in his car. Claimed he lived in his car. A few days later they went to 3th Street and took his RV because he was in jail and no one moved it for 72 hours. Saturday they did a sweep of 7th and took Bear and his RV. They also took Elizabeth’s RV but do not know if they took Elizabeth but can not find her. The police went to 6th and took the white RV that always parks by Broadway on 6th. Everyday they take 1 to 4 RVs. Very soon there will be no one left.

Once you are down on your luck in America you will quickly find that authorities will try to take everything else you still have away from you.

The United States can be a very brutal place to be if you are poor.

All over America, communities are making tent cities illegal or they are simply just chasing them away.

It turns out that many Americans really don’t like large numbers of homeless people camping out in their neighborhoods.

But many of those now living in tent cities used to be just like you and me.

What is being done to tent cities in some areas of the country is absolutely disgusting.

For example, who could ever forget this video of police in St. Petersburg, Florida using box cutters to slash up the tents of the homeless….

What goes through your mind when you watch something like that?

If you don’t feel at least a little bit of compassion for those people then something is wrong.

You never know – you might be the next one forced to take refuge in a tent city.

In many U.S. cities, it is even illegal to sleep on the street.  If you are homeless I am not sure what you are supposed to do.  In some areas of the U.S. you can’t sleep in your car, you can’t sleep in a tent city and you can’t sleep on the street.

So what should we do with all of the Americans that are being forced out of their homes by this economy?

Should we just round them all up and put them into fenced camps?

Don’t laugh – we are getting closer to that kind of thing every day.

We live in very frightening times.

Poverty is absolutely exploding in America.  The number of Americans that are going to food pantries and soup kitchens has increased by 46% since 2006.  There are 44 million Americans on food stamps.  If it was not for measures like these, the streets of America would be filled with destitute people.

Things are tough out there and they are about to get tougher.

At the beginning of next year, the extended unemployment benefits that have been helping the unemployed during this economic downturn will expire.  Up to now, many unemployed Americans have been able to enjoy up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits.  Now that is coming to an end.

According to the New York Times, this is going to drain 37 billion dollars out of the wallets of unemployed Americans that are just barely hanging on.

What in the world is that going to do to the economy?

This all comes at a time when it looks like unemployment is going to start rising once again.

Cisco has just announced that they are going to be laying off 10,000 workers.  Other large firms are expected to announce more layoffs shortly.  The number of good jobs continues to shrink.

There are other signs that the economy is slowing once again.  Pre-orders for Christmas toys are way down.  Vacancies at U.S. shopping malls are rising again.  Nearly every major poll shows that Americans are extremely pessimistic about the economy right now.

So why in the world is all of this happening?

Where in the world did all of our jobs go?

Well, it turns out that millions of our jobs have been shipped overseas where the labor is far, far cheaper and it is really starting to catch up with us.

On The American Dream website, I just finished an article entitled “How Globalism Has Destroyed Our Jobs, Businesses And National Wealth In 10 Easy Steps“.  It is a 2500 word essay that explains how globalization has absolutely gutted our economy.  The article will hopefully help you understand why so many good jobs have left the United States and why they aren’t coming back.

Many of our great cities that used to be the envy of the entire globe are now a bad joke to the rest of the world.

The following is what one reporter from the UK found when he visited one of the worst areas of Detroit….

Occasionally a half-ruined or half-burned house still stands to remind you that this used to be a cityscape. Pathetic, besieged knots of surviving homes remind you of what was once here. Sometimes amazing efforts have been made to keep them smart. More often, they haven’t.

Many bear menacing notices warning visitors to stay away. On the door of one, easy to imagine as a neat home with an iron-pillared porch where the head of the family must once have sat on summer evenings, are the words ‘Enter at ya own risk’ accompanied by a crude drawing of an angry face.

I ventured into a nearby ruin, smashed, charred and half-filled with garbage. You have no idea who or what might be lurking in these houses.

But don’t laugh at Detroit.  What is happening in Detroit is coming to your area soon enough.

America is in an advanced state of decay.  The number of “outcasts” is going to multiply as more Americans lose their jobs and their homes.  Millions more Americans will be sleeping in their cars, in tent cities or on the streets before this is all over.

The U.S. economy is never going to get back to “normal”.  What we are living through now is the “new normal” and it is rip-roaring prosperity compared to what is coming.

Please show compassion to the people around you that are hurting right now.

You never know, as the economy continues to unravel it may be you that needs some compassion soon.

 

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