The Extreme Frustration Of Unemployed Americans

When Barack Obama visited Buffalo recently, he was greeted by a billboard advertisement with a very pointed message about unemployment.  In just a few words it summarized the frustrations of an entire region.  The billboard along I-190 had this very simple message for Obama: “Dear Mr. President, I need a freakin job. Period. Sincerely, inafj.org.”  As word about this billboard got out, it quickly made headlines all over the United States.  Why?  Well, the truth is that millions of hard working Americans are extremely frustrated about their lack of work right now.  When you don’t have a job and you can’t provide for your family, very little else seems to matter.  In fact, according to a recent Gallup poll, unemployment is now the second most important issue to American voters.  The number one issue is the economy.

The reality is that the American people don’t want excuses.

They want jobs.

And some are getting so desperate that they are even putting up billboards to express their frustrations.

So who sponsored the billboard in Buffalo?

Well, it was actually sponsored by a group organized by Buffalo businessman Jeff Baker.  It turns out that Baker lost his own small business 15 months ago.  His business had employed 25 people, and when he was forced to close it he described it as “the most heartbreaking situation” of his entire life.

Baker’s group, INAFJ (“I Need A Freakin Job”), says that they are not about playing politics.  What they want is only one thing.

Jobs.

They want someone to put the American people back to work.  Baker recently explained it this way….

“Nothing else matters unless the American people are working.”

In some areas of the United States, the situation is beyond desperate.  Detroit is a great example of this.  Not only does the city resemble a war zone at this point, but Detroit’s mayor says that the unemployment rate in his city is somewhere around 50 percent.

So how in the world is a major city supposed to function when 40 to 50 percent of the people living there can’t get the work that they need?

The sad thing is that Detroit used to be one of the most prosperous areas in the United States.  Once upon a time, the auto industry was booming and there were lots of great jobs available for blue collar workers.

But that all seems so far away now.

For decades, the politicians in Washington D.C. have allowed (or even encouraged) the offshoring of our manufacturing jobs, and now we are a nation with a dwindling manufacturing base that is rapidly bleeding cash.

In fact, the U.S. trade deficit widened for the second consecutive month in March to its highest level since December 2008.  Every single month we buy much more from the rest of the world than they buy from us.  That means that wealth is constantly flowing out of this nation, and no end to the bleeding is in sight.

The truth is that America’s twin deficits (the trade deficit and the massive U.S. government budget deficit) are absolutely destroying the financial condition of this nation.  For years and years economists have warned that these deficits would bring about a day of reckoning at some point, and now that day is here.

We are told by the media that we have entered an economic recovery, but with tens of millions of Americans not able to get the work that they need, most people are not convinced.  In fact, a new poll shows that 76 percent of Americans believe that the U.S. economy is still in a recession.

But this is nothing compared to what is coming.

The truth is that the United States is rapidly becoming a service economy.  Service jobs pay less than manufacturing jobs do, and the rapid advance of technology in recent decades has made human labor increasingly unnecessary.

That means that the “system” does not need our labor as much as it once did.

This is leading to a situation where there is a widening gap between the “haves” and the “have nots”.  In fact, the bottom 40 percent of those living in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.

But not everyone has been hurting during this financial crisis.

Did you know that the number of millionaires in the United States rose 16 percent to 7.8 million in 2009?

Not only that, but an analysis of income-tax data by the Congressional Budget Office a few years ago found that the top 1% of households in the United States own nearly twice as much of the corporate wealth as they did just 15 years ago.

The elite are getting richer, while at the same time tens of millions of other Americans are finding it increasingly more difficult to survive.

That is why groups like INAFJ are becoming so popular.  They are tapping into the frustration of the growing number of Americans who are desperately trying to make it from month to month.  The following is a short video that INAFJ posted on YouTube about their organization….

So do have a story of economic frustration that you would like to share with the world?

Have you found yourself working harder and harder for less and less?

Does it seem like you come up short at the end of every month no matter how hard you try?

If you have a story, we would love to share it with our readers.  Please feel free to post your tale of economic frustration in the comments section below….

If The U.S. Economy Goes Into The Toilet Will It Result In A Complete And Total Collapse Of Society?

If the United States experiences a horrifying economic collapse (and it most definitely will), will that cause a complete and total collapse of society?  Will we experience crime, violence, riots and social unrest on a scale that is unprecedented in U.S. history?  Before you dismiss such notions as utter foolishness dreamed up by a few bloggers with too much time on their hands, perhaps you should consider what one of the biggest credit rating organizations in the world is saying.  According to a report on sovereign debt by Moody’s, the world’s five biggest AAA-rated countries (including the United States) are all at risk of soaring debt costs and will have to implement austerity plans that threaten “social cohesion”.  In case you are wondering what happens when “social cohesion” starts to break down due to economic factors, just check out the recent examples in Iceland and Greece.  If even Moody’s is warning that there is a realistic possibility that “social cohesion” in the United States may break down due to economic factors, perhaps we should all start listening.

Or if you will not listen to Moody’s, then perhaps you will listen to the man who has been called the top trends researcher in the entire world.  Gerald Celente is the CEO of Trends Research Institute, and he is convinced that we are heading into what he calls “The Greatest Depression”.  The picture that he paints of the future of America is extremely alarming and extremely sobering.  It would be easy to dismiss his forecasts as just the ramblings of another useless “talking head”, but unfortunately Celente has been dead-on accurate time after time after time in the past.  Considering his exemplary track record, what Celente says is coming next for America is incredibly frightening….

At this point you may be tempted to think that America has been through extremely tough economic times before (The Great Depression for example) and came through them okay.

So what is so different now?

Well, the truth is that the character of the American people is dramatically different.  At the time of the Great Depression, the American people were tough, self-sufficient people who knew how to live off the land.  Today, most Americans are weak, spoiled little children who will throw a temper tantrum whenever anyone tries to take their toys away.  The character of the American people has been decaying for decades, and there is no way that the current crop of Americans has any chance of weathering a horrible economic depression the way Americans back in the 1930s did.

Already we are seeing early signs of what the rest of America could soon be like.  The city of Detroit is a rotting, crime-ridden war zone that has a “real” unemployment rate of somewhere around 40 to 50 percent.  The state of California has become a cesspool of gang violence, rampant unemployment, rising foreclosures, unchecked drug dealing, and depressing economic decline.  Even in New York City we are seeing early signs of what is ahead.  Residents are quite alarmed about the dramatic rise in violent crime that is happening throughout the city.  Many New Yorkers were convinced that the days of “The Rotten Apple” were behind them, but economic problems are going to cause an increase in crime in just about any city.

But it just isn’t crime that is on the rise.  Millions of normal, law-abiding Americans are angry.  This anger is coming out in various ways – including the Tea Party protests that are sweeping the nation.  The majority of the American people are frankly disgusted with the government, and the approval ratings for both major parties continue to hover around record lows.  As things continue to get worse for the U.S. economy, the anger of the American people is going to continue to rise.

All of this is causing many in the U.S. government to view “troublemakers” inside the United States as one of the greatest threats to national security.  In fact, according to FBI Director Robert Mueller, “homegrown terrorists” represent as big a threat as al-Qaeda.

As big a threat as al-Qaeda?

For a top U.S. government official to come right out and make a statement like that is absolutely mind blowing.

Not only that, but now former U.S. President Bill Clinton is comparing Tea Party members to Timothy McVeigh.

Considering the fact that Timothy McVeigh received the death penalty, that is a very frightening parallel for Clinton to draw.

Does Clinton actually believe that Tea Party protesters should receive the same treatment as McVeigh?

Even more alarming is new legislation being pushed in the U.S. Senate.  A new bill introduced by Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman would allow the U.S. military to round up large numbers of Americans and detain them indefinitely without a trial if they “pose a threat” or if they have “potential intelligence value” or for any other reason the President of the United States “considers appropriate”.

The reality is that as “necessary” as bills like that may seem to many as we edge ever closer to the breakdown of society, the reality is that the United States is quickly becoming just like so many of the other horrific totalitarian regimes that we have seen rise throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.

In fact a time may soon be coming when authorities in the U.S. may soon be able to legally utter this bone chilling phrase: “Your Papers Please!”  Lawmakers in Washington D.C. working to create a new immigration “reform” bill have decided on a way to prevent employers from hiring illegal immigrants: a national biometric identification card that all American workers would be required to obtain.

Can you imagine being forced to carry around a national identification card?

Or worse?

A startup company developing “chipless RFID ink” has already tested its product on cattle and laboratory rats.

Could one day we all be required to sport an “RFID tatoo” to prove our identity to authorities?

Let’s hope not.

But many of us never thought that the day would come when we would see things such as the Patriot Act, “no fly” lists, the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program, DNA databases, Guantanamo Bay or full-body scanners at airports that reveal the graphic details of our naked bodies either.

America is quickly changing.  The next Great Depression is coming, and society is not going to be able to handle it.  How the U.S. government (and governments around the world) handle the coming social problems is going to be very interesting to watch.  Let’s hope that all of this does not degenerate into the absolute societal nightmare that many are projecting that it could be.

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10 Heartbreaking Stories Of Unemployment And Economic Despair In America

At times it can be really easy to get caught up in the data and the statistics of the economic collapse and forget that there are millions of very real stories behind these numbers.  The truth is that millions of Americans have had their lives absolutely devastated by this economic crisis, and things are only going to get much worse in the years ahead.  Many Americans who find themselves out of work don’t even understand what is going on – all they know is that they desperately want someone to give them a job and that they will work night and day if they could just get a chance.  In fact, employment is the number one issue on the minds of American voters right now.  A new poll by the Pew Research Center reveals that the two issues that Americans are most concerned about at this moment are the economy and jobs.

You see, if you can’t pay your mortgage and if you can’t feed your family, suddenly other issues become a whole lot less important.  If you still have a job and you can still pay your rent or mortgage every month, you should consider yourself to be very fortunate.  Right now there are literally tens of millions of Americans who are living on the edge of financial disaster.  The following are 10 heartbreaking stories of unemployment and economic despair which should make the rest of us very thankful for what we still have….

1) Can you imagine having to move your wife and kids into your mother-in-law’s basement?  You have got to read this amazing article by Paul Schwartzman in which he profiles the heartbreaking story of one average American couple who have lost their jobs and have completely given in to despair….

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He sinks into the couch, his gaze traveling from his wife to the television to the darkness outside, broken now and then by the distant glow of passing headlights.

His mind settles into another round of “What if?”

As in: What if we don’t have cash to buy milk, eggs, bread or diapers? What if our unemployment benefits run out? What if we never find jobs?

Scott Nichols thinks of the option the 39-year-old husband and father of two has hoped to avoid since being laid off nine months ago.

They already took free food from a church pantry, cardboard boxes filled with Corn Flakes and bologna and saltines. His wife, Kelly, walking in, head down, while he stayed in the car, ashen. They pawned his wedding ring, sold part of her coin collection and had help from the Salvation Army paying their electric bill.

Now another cliff approaches: the loss of the home they rent.

“Looks like we’ll have to go to your mom’s,” Scott Nichols says to Kelly, 33, who is in a beige recliner, staring ahead.

Moving to her mother’s would mean returning to the rundown industrial town where they grew up, a place that makes him feel dirty, inside and out. They would sleep in her basement jammed with forgotten furniture, a few steps from a pair of cat litter boxes and below three narrow windows blocked by insulation.

2) The Nation recently ran an article that included a stunning description of what many California neighborhoods are like in the aftermath of the housing crisis….

There’s a Mad Max feel to daily life in many neighborhoods. The Central Valley has a swath of cities whose home foreclosure rates rank in the top ten in the country. Friends looking to buy a home in a poor part of Sacramento tell me of foreclosed houses stripped of their copper wires, their toilets, their pipes, even their drywall. An ex-student reports visiting homes in which furious foreclosed owners and evicted tenants have urinated and defecated on the carpeting, abandoned pets to starve, left kitchens filled with rotting food. Sure, you can buy these properties for next to nothing, but you’ll have to bring in the biohazard squads before you can safely occupy them.

3) Robin Sherwood

My husband, Ron, was a construction superintendent, and in that field you know the job is always going to end. At the end of September, they handed Ron two checks. We knew it was coming, but we just didn’t expect it so soon.

With more than 1,400 people on the list at the union, it just doesn’t look like any work for a while. With most of the construction sites shut down, the work is just not there. Now what? We don’t know.

It’s rough in Boulder City. There are no construction jobs, and even for me to go find a retail job the chances are slim. In this town, they don’t look at bringing jobs in for local residents.

We get $1,500 a month from the unemployment checks, and the money is not enough to cover expenses. Our mortgage is $1,110 a month.

We’ve cut back to just the basics, even with groceries. We’ve applied for free lunches for my daughter so at least she can have a hot meal at school. We don’t go into town unless we absolutely have to.

4) Kathy Edwards

I lost my job March 6, 2009. I have been working in the insurance industry for 40 years.

At the age of 60 I doubt that I wlll find another job. I lost everything and had to file bankruptcy.

A sad way to end a good life…

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Its the pits… not knowing what the future holds and when unemployment ends who knows.. You start considering what you options are: anywhere from homelessness to suicide.

I used to love life and my job now I feel worthless and can offer my son nothing to help him out as well.

5) An anonymous poster on the GLP forum

My daughters 23 year old friend graduated with a Bachelors in Foreign Business over a year ago. We are a coastal state (WA) and he has been unable to find a good job in that time. Currently working at a clothing wholesaler making a pittance and struggling to pay his school loans and living expenses.

A couple we are close friends with are about to lose their home. Husband managed a trucking crew. We all know what’s going on with the trucking industry. They’ve for almost a year attempted to save the home they built with their own hands by offering the bank interest only payments or refi to lower payments, they’ve filled out too many forms to count to qualify for the Obama plan to save their home (they totally qualified at every point but new forms were sent again and again and finally after almost a year they were told they do not qualify but not given a reason why) and the bank just last week told them they have until next week to come up with $36,000.00 or move out.

My father, who is on a fixed income, keeps his house at freezing temps, doesn’t go anywhere, and eats crap food and he is living on two retirements! You know why? His lenders suddenly raised interest rates on two loans he had. Then his auto and home insurance company found out he had higher interest rates and used that as an excuse to raise his insurance rates!

6) Carmen

I was working as a Production Supervisor for a very large manufacturing company. They hired me on and about a month later I was told that the plant would be closing down and moving production to Mexico. I like many others am a victim of outsourcing and now the economy.

I have worked in the manufacturing industry for several years in Management Roles. I have actual experience in the industry that I obtained through trial and error, training, and just working. My expertise is Cost Reduction. I am old school and did not graduate from a college with a degree. I am from the school of hard knocks.

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Being unemployed is truly the most difficult thing I have ever had to live through. I have worked since I was 15 and right now have been unemployed for over 16 months. I have applied to every job I am qualified for, joined all the social networks, worked my own personal network and try to utilize any creative way to find work.

I feel useless sitting at home not be able to work and support my family. My wife is working two jobs and still we cannot make ends meet. I have been trying to work with my mortgage company for a year now to modify the loan on our home but basically have been told that because I have still be able to make my payments (by the grace of God we have been able to do so, with the help of family and a little savings, this is all gone now) that being unemployed is not a dire enough hardship, and there is no help for me.

It is frustrating to say the least and seems never ending. I hope they extend the unemployment extensions that are due to expire at the end of February 10 because if they don’t I know what I am going to do. All I want to do is work, I would work 16 hours a day, night, afternoon or morning shift, weekends, overtime, holidays, part-time full time, seasonal, you name it.

7) Jan

I lost my full time job in an automotive related field in April 2008 and have been unemployed since. I finally found a part-time job in July 2009, which was far below the money I was making however I felt, a job is a job. Now after continuing to look for full-time employment without any success, I am at risk of losing my home as my mortgage company is not willing to work with me.

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It is horrible and makes you feel inadequate in every way when u cannot find a full-time job and when you cannot support your family. I am close to losing my home and am frustrated that there is no where to turn. I have spent endless hours on the phone trying to follow up for jobs in which I have applied, only to be told that often there is 1 job available and there have been over 400 or 500 applicants. I don’t even get a letter or any correspondence telling my I did not get a position, I am just left hanging. I have tried to look into many different fields only to be told I have no experience, well how can I get any experience if no one will give me a chance? The problem is that there are so many people here in Michigan without a job, employers don’t HAVE TO take a chance and they have their pick of whoever they want (usually a friend or family member gets hired).

8) Joe

I worked a major online retail store for womens clothing and apparel, i worked at the distribution center here in West Virgina. I operated various loading equipment from order pickers, to forklifts,reese trucks, standups, and walkies.

I was laid off in January of 2009, because it was cheaper for the company to bring in new workers that would not have to be provided with bennefits such as, insurance, paid sick days, holidays, vacation, things of that nature, they laid myself and about 100 other employees off, and turned around and hired about the same number of employees the same month.

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I have now been unemployed for over a year, i have applied for over 250 jobs,and have had no luck with any of them, the only thing that has kept me from losing everything is my unemployment compensation, which ran out at the beginning of the year. I have done everything in my power to find a job, I am also taking courses for IT related field, but I fear that I will have to stop the classes because with no type of income coming in i can no longer afford them. I enough money saved to maybe survive for the next 2 months, after that i don’t know what my family is going to do. there is just simply no work here or anywhere for that matter.

9) Lady Wolf on the GLP forum

We are fortunate in that we have set aside a nest egg for ourselves in the form of a 401K that we can dip into if we absolutely have to and it’s looking like that might be the case. But that’s supposed to be for our retirement. We’re both in our 40’s so that seems a long way off still…but we may not have a choice. My husband had already enrolled into college because he sees the handwriting on the wall in this economy and he just doesn’t see it getting any better with millions out of work in this country, but the field he’s chosen to branch off into could take up to a year to get his degree…

He’s feeling so discouraged right now…that’s got to be a real beating to a man’s ego. I’m trying to be there for him, but I don’t think this is something I can fix this time. All I can do is let him know how much I love him and that as long as we have each other, everything else will work out…I hate seeing him like this! He’s such a hard worker with a solid work ethic. He doesn’t deserve what’s happening to him…then again, no one really does.

People just want to provide for their families…is that such a bad thing?

10) Carlene Balderrama

On the morning she realized her husband and son would learn the family was losing their house, Carlene Balderrama, 53, faxed a note to the mortgage company, then went to the basement and shot herself.

“I hope you’re more compassionate with my husband than you were with me,” she wrote in a suicide note left for the company.

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Unfortunately, these stories do not represent isolated incidents.  There are millions of other stories just like these.  In fact, you probably have friends, relatives or neighbors who find themselves in similar situations.

Perhaps your own life has been turned upside down by this economic mess.  Millions of people who worked hard in school, always did everything “right” and who were always good to their employers now find themselves up a creek without a paddle.  The reality is that it is almost impossible to find a good job in many areas of the United States today.

If you have a story to share we would love to hear it.  Just post a comment below, and as long as it is is clean and does not advocate violence we will be glad to post it.  The truth is that we will all have to offer one another a helping hand to get through this economic crisis.

And let us not look down on anyone who finds themselves out of work.  Almost all of us have been there, and almost all of us will be there again.  Many Americans who are now out of work are good, hard-working people.  They were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The reality is that the gigantic economic tsunami that is coming is going to impact all of us whether we like it or not.  Millions of jobs and millions of homes are going to be lost.  Many families will be destroyed.  A lot of innocent people are going to pay the price for decades of incompetence and foolishness in Washington D.C.

Things did not have to turn out this way, but this is the hand that we have been dealt.  Let us be kind and compassionate to one another and let us be certain to retain our humanity as we all head into a future that appears to be very bleak.

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