The Beginning Of The End
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Is Wal-Mart Destroying America? Facts About Wal-Mart That Will Absolutely Shock You

America absolutely loves Wal-Mart.  100 million customers visit Wal-Mart every single week in this country.  But is Wal-Mart good for America?  That is a question that most people never stop and ask.  Most of us love shopping in big, clean stores that are packed with super cheap merchandise, but the truth is that Wal-Mart is destroying America in a lot of ways.  As you will see below, Wal-Mart has destroyed tens of thousands of small businesses and countless manufacturing jobs over the past couple of decades.  Wal-Mart has become a gigantic retail behemoth that sells five times more stuff than any other retailer in the United States.  Unfortunately, a large percentage of all the stuff sold at Wal-Mart is made overseas.  What that is costing the U.S. economy in terms of lost jobs and lost revenue is incalculable.  But Wal-Mart is a perfect example of where our economic system is headed.  Our economy is becoming completely and totally dominated by highly centralized monolithic predator corporations that ruthlessly crush all competition and that will stoop to just about anything in order to cut costs.  In the future, will we all be working for gigantic communal entities that funnel all of the wealth and economic rewards to a very tiny elite?  That sounds very much like how communist China works, and red-blooded Americans should want no part of that.  America is supposed to be about free enterprise and competition and working together to build up this country, and Wal-Mart is destroying all of that.

The following are 20 facts about Wal-Mart that will absolutely shock you….

#1 The average U.S. family now spends more than $4000 a year at Wal-Mart.

#2 In 2010, Wal-Mart had revenues of 421 billion dollars.  That amount was greater than the GDP of 170 different countries including Norway, Venezuela and the United Arab Emirates.

#3 If Wal-Mart was a nation, it would have the 23rd largest GDP in the world.

#4 Wal-Mart now sells more groceries than anyone else in America does.  In the United States today, one out of every four grocery dollars is spent at Wal-Mart.

#5 Amazingly, 100 million customers shop at Wal-Mart every single week.

#6 Wal-Mart has opened more than 1,100 “supercenters” since 2005 alone.

#7 Today, Wal-Mart has more than 2 million employees.

#8 If Wal-Mart was an army, it would be the second largest military on the planet behind China.

#9 Wal-Mart is the largest employer in 25 different U.S. states.

#10 According to the Economic Policy Institute, trade between Wal-Mart and China resulted in the loss of 133,000 manufacturing jobs in the United States between 2001 and 2006.

#11 The CEO of Wal-Mart makes more in a single hour than a full-time Wal-Mart associate makes in an entire year.

#12 Tens of thousands of Wal-Mart employees and their children are enrolled in Medicaid and are dependent on the government for healthcare.

#13 Between 2001 and 2007, the value of products that Wal-Mart imported from China grew from $9 billion to $27 billion.

#14 Amazingly, 96 percent of all Americans now live within 20 miles of a Wal-Mart.

#15 The number of “independent retailers” in the United States declined by 60,000 between 1992 and 2007.

#16 According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Wal-Mart spent 7.8 million dollars on political lobbying during 2011.  That number does not even include campaign contributions.

#17 Today, Wal-Mart has five times the sales of the second largest U.S. retailer (Costco).

#18 The combined net worth of six members of the Walton family is roughly equal to the combined net worth of the poorest 30 percent of all Americans.

All over the country, independent retailers are going out of business because they cannot compete with Wal-Mart and their super cheap Chinese products.  Often communities will give Wal-Mart huge tax breaks just to move in to their areas.  But what many communities don’t take into account is that the introduction of a Wal-Mart is often absolutely devastating to small businesses….

A study of small and rural towns in Iowa showed lost sales for local businesses ranging from -17.2% in small towns to -61.4% in rural areas, amounting to a total dollar loss of $2.46 BILLION over a 13-year period.

When we buy stuff made by people working for slave labor wages in China, we destroy good paying American jobs and we make America poorer.  This is a point that I have tried to make over and over.

Wal-Mart often tells one thing to the public and then does another thing in private.  Sadly, the truth is that Wal-Mart does not care about U.S. manufacturing jobs.  Wal-Mart just wants to get products as cheaply as they possibly can, and most of the time that means getting them from China.

Just check out this first-hand testimony from an 81-year-old retired apparel manufacturer….

I was president of the Southwestern Apparel Manufacturers Association. There was a meeting sometime between 1985 and 1990. Walmart had contacted our organization and asked if they could meet with us at our beautiful Apparel Mart we had here in Dallas, which has now been razed, because all the independent merchants don’t exist that used to come to it. Two people from Walmart came down and they said they were going to be sourcing goods from overseas and we would have to meet those prices for consumer products and to get ready for it—we are going to be sourcing the world. Walmart was the only company that came out and said this.

It was sort of shocking: I was selling them some merchandise at the time. On the back of their trucks it was saying “Bring it Back to America!” They had the big “keep it in America” program going at that time on the big signs in the stores. Meanwhile when I reminded the buyer of that, she told me, “that is just for domestic consumption, we’re going to buy at the cheapest we can anywhere on earth.”

As I have written about previously, the United States has lost more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities since 2001.

We are losing millions of good jobs that cannot be replaced.  If you can believe it, the United States has actually lost an average of about 50,000 manufacturing jobs a month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

Last year, the U.S. trade deficit with China was the biggest trade deficit that one nation has had with another nation in the history of the world, and Wal-Mart played a huge role in that.

In fact, Wal-Mart has actually been forcing some U.S. manufacturers to pack up and move overseas.  The following is from a recent article by Amy Traub….

Walmart’s market power is so immense that the even the largest suppliers must comply with its demands for lower and lower prices because they cannot afford to have their goods taken off its shelves. Companies that used to manufacture products in the United States, from Levi’s jeans to lock maker Master Lock, were pressured to shut their U.S. factories and moved manufacturing abroad to meet Walmart’s demand for low prices.

Unfortunately, the vast wealth that Wal-Mart is sucking out of our communities is not put back into our communities.  The profits are funneled out to Wal-Mart executives and shareholders.  We may enjoy the low prices, but very little of the money that we give to Wal-Mart gets recycled in our local areas.

In the old days, you could actually support a family selling electronics or running a general store.  But you can’t support a family working at Wal-Mart.  The vast majority of the jobs that Wal-Mart creates are very low paying.  Large numbers of Wal-Mart employees are actually on welfare, and this is part of the reason why we have seen such an explosion in the number of the working poor in America.

At this point, more than 40 percent of all jobs in America are low wage jobs and the middle class is rapidly disappearing.

If we do not support American jobs and American manufacturers they will continue to go away and the welfare rolls in this country will continue to explode.

There is not going to be any prosperity in this country without jobs.  Unfortunately, most Americans simply do not understand how good jobs are being systematically destroyed in America every single day.

The path that America is headed on today is only going to end in complete and total disaster.  We are being transformed from a wealthy nation into a poor nation.  In the end, we will be dominated by a very tiny elite and everyone else will either be among the working poor or will be totally dependent on the government.

Our system is supposed to be about open, honest competition.  But that is not what Wal-Mart is about.  Wal-Mart is about crushing small businesses and manufacturers here in America and getting us all to buy their super cheap Chinese-made goods.

So what do all of you think about Wal-Mart?  Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below….

25 Signs That Middle Class Families Have Been Targeted For Extinction

The middle class in America is being systematically wiped out, and most people don’t even realize what is happening.  Every single year, millions more Americans fall out of the middle class and become dependent on the government.  The United States once had the largest and most vibrant middle class in the history of the world, but now the middle class is rapidly shrinking and government dependence is at an all-time high.  So why is this happening?  Well, America is becoming a poorer nation at the same time that wealth is becoming extremely concentrated at the very top.  At this point, our economic system is designed to funnel as much money and power to the federal government and to the big corporations as possible.  Individuals and small businesses have a really hard time thriving in this environment.  To most big corporations these days, workers are viewed as financial liabilities.  Most corporations want to reduce their payrolls as much as possible.  You see, the truth is that most corporations want to be just like Apple.  If you can believe it, Apple makes $400,000 in profit per employee.  Big corporations don’t care that you need to pay the mortgage and provide for your family.  Their goal is to make as much money as possible.  And most of the control freaks that run our bloated federal government don’t care much about middle class families either.  To many politicians and federal bureaucrats, middle class families are “useless eaters” that are constantly damaging the environment with their “excessive” lifestyles.  In this day and age, neither the federal government nor the big corporations really have much use for middle class Americans, and that is really, really bad news for the the future of the middle class family in America.

There are three key factors that are constantly chipping away at the middle class….

-Globalization

-Inflation

-Taxes

Labor has become a global commodity, and American workers are often 10 to 20 times as expensive as workers on the other side of the world are.  Middle class jobs (such as manufacturing, etc.) have been leaving this country at an astounding pace.  Competition for the jobs that remain has become extremely fierce, and this has driven wages down.  The following is from a recent article in the New York Times….

But in the last two decades, something more fundamental has changed, economists say. Midwage jobs started disappearing. Particularly among Americans without college degrees, today’s new jobs are disproportionately in service occupations — at restaurants or call centers, or as hospital attendants or temporary workers — that offer fewer opportunities for reaching the middle class.

As paychecks have stagnated, the cost of living has continued to escalate.  Middle class families are finding that their paychecks simply do not go nearly as far as they did before.  This is creating a tremendous amount of financial stress in households all over America.

Meanwhile, our politicians are taxing the middle class like crazy.  Most people only focus on federal and state income taxes, but that is only a small part of the story.  As I detailed the other day, our politicians are taxing us in literally dozens of different ways and it is almost always the middle class that ends up getting hit the hardest.

If America wants to be great again, it is going to need a thriving middle class.  But right now the federal government and the big corporations are gobbling up all of the power and all of the money and the middle class is shrinking rapidly.

If current trends continue, eventually there will not be much of a middle class left.

The following are 25 signs that middle class families have been targeted for extinction….

#1 Over the past several decades, millions upon millions of middle class Americans have been systematically turned into government dependents.  Back in 1960, social welfare benefits made up approximately 10 percent of all salaries and wages.  In the year 2000, social welfare benefits made up approximately 21 percent of all salaries and wages.  Today, social welfare benefits make up approximately 35 percent of all salaries and wages.

#2 Unemployment is at epidemic levels and the vast majority of the new jobs that have been “created” in recent years have been low paying jobs.  Of those Americans that do have a job at this point, one out of every four works a job that pays $10 an hour or less.

#3 The “working poor” is a group that is rapidly growing in this country.  If you can believe it, the United States actually has a higher percentage of workers doing low wage work than any other major industrialized nation does.

#4 Over the past several decades, the percentage of low income jobs has steadily increased.  Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs.  Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.

#5 The way that our economic system is structured today, almost all of the economic rewards go to the very top of the food chain.  The following is how income gains in the United States were distributed during 2010….

-37 percent of all income gains went to the top 0.01 percent of all income earners

-56 percent of all income gains went to the rest of the top 1 percent

-7 percent of all income gains went to the bottom 99 percent

#6 Several decades ago, there was a much more even distribution of income in this country.  Back in the 1970s, the top 1 percent of all income earners brought in about 8 percent of all income.  Today, they bring in about 21 percent of all income.

#7 As the middle class shrinks, the number of “low income” and “poor” Americans is rapidly rising.  Today, approximately 48 percent of all Americans are currently either considered to be “low income” or are living in poverty.

#8 Manufacturing jobs once enabled huge numbers of Americans to enjoy a middle class lifestyle.  Unfortunately, those jobs are leaving this country at a breathtaking pace.  Back in 1940, 23.4% of all American workers had manufacturing jobs.  Today, only 10.4% of all American workers have manufacturing jobs.

#9 In the old days, any man that was willing to work hard and wanted a job could get one.  Today, there are millions of American men sitting on their couches at home wondering why nobody will hire them.  Back in 1950, more than 80 percent of all men in the United States had jobs.  Today, less than 65 percent of all men in the United States have jobs.

#10 The middle class is shrinking at the same time that America is getting poorer as a nation.  In the middle of the last century, the United States was #1 in the world in GDP per capita.  Today, the United States is #13 in GDP per capita.

#11 Every year now, we see millions of Americans fall out of the middle class.  In 2010, 2.6 million more Americans descended into poverty.  That was the largest increase that we have seen since the U.S. government began keeping statistics on this back in 1959.

#12 The shrinking middle class is having a disproportionate impact on children.  At this point, approximately 22 percent of all American children are living in poverty.

#13 In the old days, most Americans grew up in middle class neighborhoods.  Sadly, this is no longer true.  In 1970, 65 percent of all Americans lived in “middle class neighborhoods”.  By 2007, only 44 percent of all Americans lived in “middle class neighborhoods”.

#14 The concentration of wealth at the very top of the food chain is astounding.  Right now, over 50 percent of all stocks and bonds are owned by just 1 percent of the U.S. population.

#15 When you concentrate too much power in the hands of the federal government and the big corporations, it is inevitable that massive amounts of wealth will become concentrated in just a few hands.  In the United States today, the wealthiest one percent of all Americans have a greater net worth than the bottom 90 percent combined.

#16 There is nothing wrong with making money, but there is something wrong with a game where individuals and small businesses cannot compete fairly.  According to Forbes, the 400 wealthiest Americans now have more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans combined.

#17 When the number of poor people rapidly expands in a society, that is a recipe for social unrest.  At this point, the poorest 50 percent of all Americans collectively own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.

#18 The hidden tax of inflation is absolutely devastating middle class families all over America.  Since 1970, the U.S. dollar has lost more than 83 percent of its value.  Any dollars that middle class families try to save are constantly losing a little bit more value every single day.

#19 American workers that try to play by the rules find that they are constantly fighting a losing battle.  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.

#20 In recent years, many middle class families have seen their paychecks get smaller.  Median household income in the United States has fallen 7.8 percent since December 2007 after adjusting for inflation.

#21 In recent years, many middle class families have seen many of their basic expenses absolutely soar.  For example, health insurance costs have risen by 23 percent since Barack Obama became president.

#22 Just turning on the lights and heating their homes has become a major burden for many middle class families.  Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.

#23 Just putting gas in the car has become a major financial ordeal for millions of hard working Americans.  The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States has increased by more than 100 percent since Barack Obama became president.

#24 Sadly, government dependence is now at an all-time high, and that is the way that many among the elite like it.  When Barack Obama took office, there were 32 million Americans on food stamps.  Now, there are more than 46 million Americans on food stamps.  In particular, an astounding number of children are on food stamps right now.  At this point, approximately one-fourth of all American children are enrolled in the food stamp program.

#25 Many middle class families will not be in the middle class for too much longer.  According to a shocking new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research, 200,000 U.S. households will use the money from their tax refunds this year “to pay for bankruptcy filing and legal fees“.

Unless major changes are made on a national level, the middle class is going to continue to disappear.

If you are playing the game the way that the system tells you to play it and you expect to live a middle class lifestyle for many years to come there is a good chance that you will be deeply disappointed at some point.

Millions upon millions of Americans have done everything that the system told them to do and the system has still failed them.  They got good grades all the way through school, they went to college, they worked really hard, they stayed out of trouble and they gave everything they could to their employers.  In spite of all that, millions of hard working families have still lost their jobs and their homes in recent years.

Do not trust that the system will take care of you, and you should not trust that the government will take care of you either.

We don’t need the federal government to hand out more money to everyone.  Government handouts are already at record levels and the government is not even coming close to paying for all of this reckless spending.

More government spending is not going to solve any of our problems.

Instead, what we need is an environment where the size and power of the federal government is limited and the size and the power of the big corporations is limited.  We need an environment where individuals and small businesses can thrive and compete fairly.

Unfortunately, neither major political party is going to move us in that direction, so there is not much hope for solutions on the national level any time soon.

On an individual level, we can all learn how to prepare for the very difficult years that are coming.  It is imperative that we all work to become more independent of the system, because the system could fail at any time.

If you have blind faith that your job will always be there and that the federal government will rescue you if the economy crashes then you are likely to be bitterly disappointed at some point.

The truth is that our economy is slowly dying and the great American middle class is being systematically wiped out.

Many of the things that worked in the past are not going to work any longer.

You can choose to adapt or you can suffer the consequences.

Our world is rapidly changing, and we all need to prepare for what is coming.

Read This First Before You Decide That Preppers Are Crazy

Do you believe that preppers are a few cards short of a full deck?  Do you assume that anyone that is “preparing for doomsday” does not have their elevator going all the way to the top floor?  Well, you might want to read this first before you make a final decision that all preppers are crazy.  The information that you are about to read shook me up a bit when I first looked it over.  To be honest, I had no idea how incredibly vulnerable our economic system is to a transportation disruption.  I am continually getting emails and comments on my websites asking “how to prepare” for what is coming, so when I came across this information I knew that I had to share it with all of you.  Hopefully what you are about to read will motivate you to prepare like never before, and hopefully you will share this information with others.

Originally, I was going to write an article about the rising unemployment in Europe today.  Did you know that unemployment in the eurozone is now at a 15 year high?  It has risen for 10 months in a row with no end in sight.

But I have written dozens of articles about the economic crisis in Europe already.  So before starting on that article I started thinking of all the “preparation” questions I have been getting lately and I went over and checked out one of my favorite preparation websites: shtfplan.com.

Well, an article had just been posted over there about a report put out by the American Trucker Associations entitled “When Trucks Stop, America Stops“.

I went and found that original report and I was stunned as I read it.

The truth is that our “just in time” inventory and delivery systems leave us incredibly vulnerable to a nationwide disaster.

You see, it is very expensive to hold and store inventory, so most manufacturers and retailers rely on a continual flow of deliveries that are scheduled to arrive “just in time”, and this significantly reduces their operating expenses.

This is considered to be good business practice for manufacturers and retailers, but it also means that if there was a major nationwide transportation disruption that our economic system would grind to a halt almost immediately.

Once store shelves are picked clean, they would not be able to be replenished until trucks could get back on the road.  In the event of a major nationwide disaster, that could be quite a while.

So what could potentially cause a nationwide transportation shutdown?

Well, it is easy to imagine a lot of potential scenarios – a volcanic eruption, a historic earthquake, an EMP attack, a solar megastorm, a war, a major terror attack, an asteroid strike, a killer pandemic, mass rioting in U.S. cities, or even martial law.

If something caused the trucks to stop running, life in America would immediately start changing.

So exactly what would that look like?

The following is an excerpt from the report mentioned above put out by the American Trucker Associations entitled “When Trucks Stop, America Stops“….

*****

A Timeline Showing the Deterioration of Major Industries Following a Truck Stoppage

The first 24 hours

• Delivery of medical supplies to the affected area will cease.
• Hospitals will run out of basic supplies such as syringes and catheters within hours. Radiopharmaceuticals will deteriorate and become unusable.
• Service stations will begin to run out of fuel.
• Manufacturers using just-in-time manufacturing will develop component shortages.
• U.S. mail and other package delivery will cease.

Within one day

• Food shortages will begin to develop.
• Automobile fuel availability and delivery will dwindle, leading to skyrocketing prices and long lines at the gas pumps.
• Without manufacturing components and trucks for product delivery,
assembly lines will shut down, putting thousands out of work.

Within two to three days

• Food shortages will escalate, especially in the face of hoarding and consumer panic.
• Supplies of essentials—such as bottled water, powdered milk, and
canned meat—at major retailers will disappear.
• ATMs will run out of cash and banks will be unable to process
transactions.
• Service stations will completely run out of fuel for autos and trucks.
• Garbage will start piling up in urban and suburban areas.
• Container ships will sit idle in ports and rail transport will be disrupted, eventually coming to a standstill.

Within a week

• Automobile travel will cease due to the lack of fuel. Without autos and busses, many people will not be able to get to work, shop for groceries, or access medical care.
• Hospitals will begin to exhaust oxygen supplies.

Within two weeks

• The nation’s clean water supply will begin to run dry.

Within four weeks

• The nation will exhaust its clean water supply and water will be safe for drinking only after boiling. As a result gastrointestinal illnesses will increase, further taxing an already weakened health care system.

This timeline presents only the primary effects of a freeze on truck travel. Secondary effects must be considered as well, such as inability to maintain telecommunications service, reduced law enforcement, increased crime, increased illness and injury, higher death rates, and likely, civil unrest.

*****

Earlier in the report, the reasons why America’s water supply would be in such jeopardy are described in greater detail….

According to the American Water Works Association, Americans drink more than one billion glasses of tap water per day. For safety and security reasons, most water supply plants maintain a larger inventory of supplies than the typical business. However, the amount of chemical storage varies significantly and is site specific. According to the Chlorine Institute, most water treatment facilities receive chlorine in cylinders (150 pounds and one ton cylinders) that are delivered by motor carriers. On average, trucks deliver purification chemicals to water supply plants every seven to 14 days. Without these chemicals, water cannot be purified and made safe for drinking. Without truck deliveries of purification chemicals, water supply plants will run out of drinkable water in 14 to 28 days. Once the water supply is drained, water will be deemed safe for drinking only when boiled. Lack of clean drinking water will lead to increased gastrointestinal and other illnesses, further taxing an already weakened healthcare system.

Can you see why I always recommend that you make sure that you and your family have access to fresh water and a way to purify it?

This report should be very sobering for all of us.

What would you and your family do if you had no food, no clean water and the stores were shut down because their supplies were gone?

An article by Tess Pennington entitled “Emergency Items: What Will Disappear First” contains a list of 100 things that are likely to disappear from store shelves first.  The following are the first 10 things on her list….

1. Generators (Good ones cost dearly. Gas storage, risky. Noisy…target of
thieves; maintenance etc.)
2. Water Filters/Purifiers
3. Portable Toilets
4. Seasoned Firewood. Wood takes about 6 – 12 months to become dried, for home
uses.
5. Lamp Oil, Wicks, Lamps (First Choice: Buy CLEAR oil. If scarce, stockpile
ANY!)
6. Coleman Fuel. Impossible to stockpile too much.
7. Guns, Ammunition, Pepper Spray, Knives, Clubs, Bats & Slingshots.
8. Hand-can openers, & hand egg beaters, whisks.
9. Honey/Syrups/white, brown sugar
10. Rice – Beans – Wheat

You can find the rest of the list right here.

Most Americans just assume that they will always be able to run out to the supermarket or to Wal-Mart and buy anything that they need.

But if the trucks stop running that will change almost overnight.

After reading the information above, does anyone out there still believe that preppers are crazy?

The truth is that there are good, solid reasons why millions of Americans have been storing up food, water filters and other supplies.

Our world is becoming increasingly unstable, and all of us need to get educated about how to prepare for the difficult years that are coming.

One nightmarish event can change everything that we take for granted in a single moment.

Just remember what happened after Hurricane Katrina.  Even though that was only a regional disaster, millions of people had their lives completely turned upside down by that tragedy.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that just because the U.S. has always known tremendous peace and prosperity since World War II that things will always be that way.

Our lives will only continue to be “normal” as long as the trucks continue running.

When the trucks stop running in America, there will be mass chaos.

Are you prepared for that?

20 Signs That We Are Witnessing The Complete Collapse Of Common Sense In America

What do you do when an entire nation begins to lose the capacity to think rationally?  Many Americans spend a great deal of time criticizing the government, and there is certainly a lot to complain about, but it is not just the government that is the problem.  All over America, people appear to be going insane.  It is almost as if we have been cursed with stupidity.  Sadly, this applies from the very top of our society all the way down to the very bottom.  A lot of us find ourselves asking the following question much more frequently these days: “How could they be so stupid?”  Unfortunately, we are witnessing a complete collapse of common sense all over America.  Many people seem to believe that if we could just get Obama out of office or if we could just reform our economic system that our problems as a nation would be solved, but that is simply not true.  Our problems run much deeper than that.  The societal decay that is plaguing our country is very deep and it is everywhere.  We are a nation that is full of people that do not care about others and that just want to do what is right in their own eyes.  We hold ourselves out to the rest of the world as “the greatest nation on earth” and an example that everyone else should follow, and yet our own house is rotting all around us.  The words “crazy”, “insane” and “deluded” are not nearly strong enough to describe our frame of mind as a country.  America has become a sad, delusional old man that can’t even think straight anymore.  The evidence of our mental illness is everywhere.

The following are 20 signs that we are witnessing the complete collapse of common sense in America….

#1 According to Wired Magazine, FBI agents have been taught that they can “bend or suspend the law” as they pursue criminals and terrorists.  But when they break the law they become criminals themselves.

#2 A TSA manager (not just an agent) at Dulles International Airport was recently discovered to be running a prostitution ring out of a local hotel room.  TSA agents have been charged with crime after crime after crime and yet we continue to allow them to be in charge of airport security.

#3 CBS News is reporting that approximately 200 pieces of luggage a day are being stolen by employees at John F. Kennedy International Airport and authorities still have not been able to stop it.

#4 Visitors to the United States must now pay $14 to complete an online form that asks them a series of really bizarre questions.  For example, one of the questions asks visitors to the U.S. if they ever “collaborated with the Nazis”.

#5 The U.S. military is buying huge amounts of electronic parts from China (mistake number one) and a government investigation has uncovered the fact that a large percentage of these parts are counterfeit.  Yet the U.S.military continues to buy huge amounts of electronic parts from China (mistake number two).

#6 A high school senior in Indiana was recently expelled from school for cussing on Twitter.

#7 Police in Chicago apparently believe that our “First Amendment rights can be terminated” at their discretion.

#8 Americans are becoming very cruel to one another.  This is especially true when it comes to the weak and the elderly.  For example, two “caregivers” down in Georgia were recently charged with waterboarding an 89-year-old woman that had been entrusted to their care….

Police charge two caregivers at a Jonesboro facility with waterboarding an 89-year-old woman.

Clayton County police said Jermeller Steed and Cicely Reed held down Anna Foley after an argument that started over ice cream.

#9 An increasing number of American families are taking out student loans in order to pay for their children’s kindergarten tuition.

#10 One town in Massachusetts plans to distribute free condoms to children as young as 12 years of age.

#11 Children in America are exposed to enormous amounts of sexual material on television these days, but we are always so shocked when they try to act out on it.  The following is one very disturbing example that happened recently in Ohio….

Authorities in southwest Ohio have charged a 13-year-old boy with raping a 5-year-old girl at a McDonald’s play area.

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office said Monday that the alleged assault occurred Oct. 29 at a McDonald’s in the Cincinnati suburb of Anderson Township. Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Barnett says the girl’s grandmother was nearby in the restaurant at the time.

#12 The following is another example from Indiana of how our sexualized society is affecting our young children….

Fishers police said an 8-year-old girl and a 13-year-old boy were caught in a sexual act on a school bus.

The girl’s parents are now trying to determine if the February incident was a rape or molestation.

In a statement, police said a bus aid caught the girl and the boy “trying to have intercourse,” and that the “bus aid immediately separated the juveniles and informed the bus driver.”

#13 According to Natural News, the Michigan state government intends to raid private farms and kill pigs that have “the wrong hair color” even though some of these farmers have been raising these pigs for decades.

#14 An executive order recently updated by the Obama administration would give the federal government complete control over all food, all energy, all health resources, all transportation resources and “all other materials, services, and facilities” at the discretion of Barack Obama.  The wording of the executive order has been changed so that this can now be done even in “non-emergency” situations.  Very few Americans seem concerned by this.

#15 These days many Americans are very hesitant to get involved with helping out anyone else.  For example, an 86-year-old World War II veteran living near Detroit was recently brutally carjacked in broad daylight at a gas station.  He could not walk after the attack because his leg was shattered so he began to crawl across the concrete pavement to get help.  Sadly, many people walked past and drove past as if he was not even there.

#16 At one airport in Hawaii, TSA agents recently required one new mother to go to a public restroom and fill up the empty baby bottles she was carrying with her own breast milk before they would allow her to get on to her flight.  The following is how one local news station described the incident….

She claims agents told her she couldn’t take the pump on the plane because the bottles in her carry-on were empty.

“I asked him if there was a private place I could pump and he said no, you can go in the women’s bathroom. I had to stand in front of the mirrors and the sinks and pump my breast in front of every tourist that walked into that bathroom. I was embarrassed and humiliated and then angry that I was treated this way.

When the bottles were full, she was allowed back on the plane.

#17 Massive brawls have been erupting at Chuck E. Cheese restaurants all over the nation.  Police responded to violence at one particular Chuck E. Cheese restaurant in Pennsylvania 17 times in just one recent 18 month time period.

#18 Thieves in New Jersey have become so desperate for scrap metal that they have started breaking into churches and ripping the copper piping right out of the walls.

#19 Tide detergent has become an alternative form of currency on the streets of America and there has been an epidemic of Tide thefts all over the nation.  The following is from a recent article in The Daily….

Theft of Tide detergent has become so rampant that authorities from New York to Oregon are keeping tabs on the soap spree, and some cities are setting up special task forces to stop it. And retailers like CVS are taking special security precautions to lock down the liquid. 

One Tide taker in West St. Paul, Minn., made off with $25,000 in the product over 15 months before he was busted last year.

“That was unique that he stole so much soap,” said West St. Paul Police Chief Bud Shaver. “The name brand is [all] Tide. Amazing, huh?”

Tide has become a form of currency on the streets. The retail price is steadily high — roughly $10 to $20 a bottle — and it’s a staple in households across socioeconomic classes.

#20 New federal rules will severely restrict the kind of work that children can do on farms in America.  Kids will be banned from doing many of the most basic kinds of farm chores under the new regulations.  Perhaps the children can just sit inside and watch television while the adults do all the work.

As mentioned earlier, what America is experiencing is not just an economic collapse.  The truth is that our entire society is collapsing.

For many years our great prosperity masked much of our decline, but now our great economic strength is rapidly fading and it is becoming very difficult to deny how far we have fallen as a nation.

You can find more examples of how American society is decaying right here and right here.  Anyone with half a brain can see what is happening to the United States.  It really is sad, because America was once a truly great nation.

So is there any hope of a recovery?

Not if we keep going down the same path.

In the end, the choice is up to you America.

Tebow Time

As a result of the absolutely stunning 29-23 overtime victory by the Denver Broncos over the Pittsburgh Steelers, it seems inevitable that “Tebow Time” will become a household phrase all over America.  The string of last second victories that we have seen Tim Tebow pull out this season is unprecedented and we will probably never see anything quite like it again.  Unfortunately, miracles don’t always happen in real life when we need them.  Right now it is “Tebow Time” for the U.S. economy, the U.S. political system and the global financial system, and things look really bad.  So will we see heroes rise up at this time to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, or will we see the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world implode and plunge the entire planet into a devastating economic depression?  Most people have no idea how fragile the global economic system has become at this point.  Global leaders are currently engaged in a frantic juggling act in a desperate attempt to keep all the balls in the air.  One wrong move could unleash a financial panic that could potentially be even worse than what we saw in 2008.

It is Tebow Time for the global financial system.

Lately I have been spending a lot of time writing about Europe.  Many Americans have not really been too interested in these articles because they only want to hear about what is happening in the United States.

But the truth is that what is happening in Europe is of the utmost importance.  The EU actually has a larger economy than the United States does, and when the European financial system collapses it is going to dramatically affect the entire globe.

For those that have not seen my recent articles on Europe yet, you can find some of them here, here and here.

The euro continues to drop like a rock.  As I write this, the EUR/USD is sitting at 1.2693.  That is shockingly low, and in the weeks and months to come it is going to go even lower.

But I am not the only one warning about these things.  Trends forecaster Gerald Celente recently told ABC Australia that he is more concerned about the global financial system today than he has ever been before….

“I would say, since I’ve been doing this work, over 30 years ago, I’ve never been more concerned than I am right now.”

Celente also told ABC Australia that many areas of Europe are already essentially experiencing an economic depression….

“If you live in Greece, you’re in a depression; if you live in Spain, you’re in a depression; if you live in Portugal or Ireland, you’re in a depression,” Celente said. “If you live in Lithuania, you’re running to the bank to get your money out of the bank as the bank runs go on. It’s a depression. Hungary, there’s a depression, and much of Eastern Europe, Romania, Bulgaria. And there are a lot of depressions going on [already].”

Yes, things are stable (and even slightly improving a bit) in the United States right now.  But it won’t be long before the financial tsunami that is sweeping Europe hits us as well.

It is Tebow Time for U.S. consumers.

We should all be thankful that the employment situation in the U.S. has stabilized, but things are not as good as the mainstream media would have you to believe.

Instead of 8.5%, the “official” unemployment number put out by the federal government should be about 11 percent, and the “real” unemployment number is somewhere around 22 or 23 percent.

And if you take a long-term view of things, there is no reason to celebrate at all.  The truth is that the middle class in America is being systematically destroyed and we won’t see much permanent improvement until this country fundamentally changes direction.

Right now, there are tens of millions of Americans that can’t find a decent job.  A lot of people are sitting at home as you read this staring blankly at the television as they wonder why nobody will hire them.

Once in a while, a little bit of this despair leaks into the mainstream media.  The following comes from a CNBC article that was posted on Saturday….

Despite an upswing in hiring during 2011, the jobs crisis could last many more years as millions of Americans struggle to find work.

In Orlando, Florida, Brenda Solomon lost her retail job last May at a department store and was unable to find even temporary work during the holiday season.

“I’ve tried and tried and tried,” Solomon, 58, said on Friday while visiting a job center.

As they struggle to make ends meet each month, millions upon millions of U.S. consumers continue to run up even more debt as an article posted on CNBC recently detailed….

During the third fiscal quarter of 2011, U.S. consumers added $17 billion in new credit card debt, wiping out what remained of a $33 billion first-quarter pay down and putting us on pace for a $64 billion net gain in credit card debt during 2011, according to a Card Hub study.

It is Tebow Time for the Republican Party.

America desperately needs a fundamental change of direction, but right now a candidate heavily backed by the Wall Street banks is threatening to run away with the Republican nomination.

Mitt Romney is a politician in the worst sense of the word.  He just wouldn’t be a bad president.  He would be an absolute disaster.  In fact, if Romney gets elected, it will basically guarantee a Democratic victory in 2016 (could be Hillary) and the Republican Party will be so damaged that they may never have another shot at turning this country around.

When it comes to evaluating Mitt Romney, do not listen to what he says.  The reality is that what he says changes a little bit every single day.  His flip-flopping is legendary.

No, when it comes to evaluating Mitt Romney, it is absolutely imperative to look at his record.

And when you look at his record (what he has actually done), it quickly becomes clear that he is basically just a more experienced version of Barack Obama.

When the mainstream media says that Mitt Romney has the best chance of beating Barack Obama, that is because they feel as though he is the candidate that is most like Barack Obama.

If it is Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney in the general election, we are basically guaranteed four more years of establishment rule.  Yes, there will be some minor changes, but everything will pretty much continue running the way that it is now no matter which one wins.

And please don’t believe that Mitt Romney will get government spending and government debt under control.  According to a recent article in the Washington Post, the Romney tax plan would add 600 billion dollars to the federal budget deficit in 2015.

Mitt Romney is not going to fix any of our fundamental problems.  If he was a master at “job creation”, then Massachusetts would not have been 47th in the nation at creating jobs while he was governor.

If Mitt Romney gets the nomination, it will just be another indication that the Republican Party is bought and paid for by the establishment.

Just check out who is giving money to Romney.  Did you know that Goldman Sachs is his biggest donor?  The following numbers come from opensecrets.org….

Goldman Sachs $367,200
Credit Suisse Group $203,750
Morgan Stanley $199,800
HIG Capital $186,500
Barclays $157,750
Kirkland & Ellis $132,100
Bank of America $126,500
PriceWaterhouseCoopers $118,250
EMC Corp $117,300
JPMorgan Chase & Co $112,250
The Villages $97,500
Vivint Inc $80,750
Marriott International $79,837
Sullivan & Cromwell $79,250
Bain Capital $74,500
UBS AG $73,750
Wells Fargo $61,500
Blackstone Group $59,800
Citigroup Inc $57,050
Bain & Co $52,500

But the numbers above are nothing compared to the money being poured into the “Super PACs” that are backing Romney.  The financial elite are dumping tens of millions of dollars into these “Super PACs”, and these “Super PACs” are playing a huge role in this campaign.

The following comes from an article posted on Economic Policy Journal….

The New York Times reports that New York hedge-fund managers and Boston financiers contributed almost $30 million to “Restore Our Future” before the Iowa caucuses. And “Restore Our Future“‘s faux independence has allowed Romney to publicly distance himself from them, their money, and the dirty work that their money has bought.

More than anyone else running for president, Mitt Romney personifies the top 1 percent in America — actually, the top one-tenth of one percent. It’s not just his four homes and estimated $200 million fortune, not just his wheeling and dealing in leveraged-buyouts and private equity, not even the jobless refugees of his financial maneuvers that makes him the Gordon Gekko of presidential aspirants.

It’s his connections to the epicenters of big money in America — especially to top executives and financiers in the habit of investing  for handsome returns.

The way the political game is played in America today, the candidate with the most money almost always wins.

Mitt Romney and the organizations that are supporting Mitt Romney are sitting on gigantic mountains of cash.

Can any of the other Republican candidates overcome that disadvantage?

History would tell us no.

That is why it is Tebow Time for the Republican Party.

It is late in the game and things look desperate.

And if we don’t turn the country in a different direction in 2012, we may not get another chance.

Right now, the U.S. debt crisis is getting worse by the day.  To get an idea of just how bad the U.S. national debt has become, just check out the infographic that is posted right here.

If we do not get our financial house in order and fundamentally change our economic policies, we are absolutely doomed.

If Barack Obama or Mitt Romney is elected in 2012, that is pretty much going to seal our fate.

Before you cast a vote this year, please read “The Top 100 Statistics About The Collapse Of The Economy That Every American Voter Should Know“.  That article covers dozens of our economic problems and it shows why we are at such an important junction in American history.

2012 is going to be a huge turning point for us.

Right now, it looks like we are going to make a wrong turn.

It truly is Tebow Time, and we really need a miracle.

Child Poverty In America Is Absolutely EXPLODING – 16 Shocking Statistics That Will Break Your Heart

If the U.S. economy is improving, then why is child poverty in America absolutely exploding?  If we are experiencing “economic growth”, then why are more than half of all children in major U.S. cities like Cleveland and Detroit living in poverty?  If we are the “greatest economy on earth”, then why are one out of every four American children on food stamps?  The shocking statistics that you are about to read below should absolutely break your heart.  Tonight, millions of precious American children will go to bed without any dinner.  Tonight, millions of American children will shiver as they try to go to sleep because their families cannot afford any heat.  How bad does child poverty have to get before we all finally admit that our economic system is completely failing many of the most vulnerable members of our society?  If you want someone to blame, you can blame Congress, the Obama administration, the Bush administration and the corrupt Wall Street bankers.  But most of all, blame the Federal Reserve and the debt-based monetary system that the Fed administers.  Our economy is in the midst of a long-term decline and is slowly but surely dying.  Many of those that are suffering the most from this decline are children.

The following are 16 shocking statistics about child poverty in America that will break your heart….

#1 Child homelessness in the United States is now 33 percent higher than it was back in 2007.

#2 According to the National Center on Family Homelessness, 1.6 million American children “were living on the street, in homeless shelters or motels, or doubled up with other families last year”.

#3 The percentage of children living in poverty in the United States increased from 16.9 percent in 2006 to nearly 22 percent in 2010.  In the UK and in France the child poverty rate is well under 10 percent.

#4 A higher percentage of American children is living in poverty today than was living in poverty back in 1975.

#5 The number of children living in poverty in the U.S. has risen for four years in a row.

#6 There are 10 different U.S. states where at least one out of every four babies is born to a family living in poverty.

#7 Since 2007, the number of children living in poverty in the state of California has increased by 30 percent.

#8 According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 36.4% of all children that live in Philadelphia are living in poverty, 40.1% of all children that live in Atlanta are living in poverty, 52.6% of all children that live in Cleveland are living in poverty and 53.6% of all children that live in Detroit are living in poverty.

#9 In the United States today, more than 35 percent of all African-American children are living in poverty and more than 33 percent of all Hispanic children are living in poverty.

#10 There are seven million children in the United States today that are not covered by health insurance at all.

#11 Today, one out of every seven Americans is on food stamps and one out of every four American children is on food stamps.

#12 It is being projected that approximately 50 percent of all U.S. children will be on food stamps at some point in their lives before they reach the age of 18.

#13 In 2010, 42 percent of all single mothers in the United States were on food stamps.

#14 There are 314 counties in the United States where at least 30% of the children are facing food insecurity.

#15 In Washington D.C., the “child food insecurity rate” is 32.3%.

#16 More than 20 million U.S. children rely on school meal programs to keep from going hungry.

So why are so many children suffering so badly?

Well, one reason is that millions of parents are unemployed.  The government tells us that the official unemployment rate is 8.6 percent, but when you take an honest look at the numbers the truth is that the situation is much worse than that.

A recent Washington Post article included the following quote from Ed Luce of the Financial Times….

“According to government statistics, if the same number of people were seeking work today as in 2007, the jobless rate would be 11 percent.”

The U.S. government has artificially reduced “official” unemployment numbers by claiming that millions upon millions of Americans have “left the workforce” over the past 4 years.

In addition, millions upon millions of American parents have been forced to take crappy, low paying jobs because they simply cannot find anything else.

At this point, the share of the economic pie being taken home by U.S. workers has fallen to record lows.

For example, the following comes from a recent CNBC article….

The labor share — the amount paid to workers instead of businesses and other income-earning entities — was reported to have fallen to 57.1 cents on the dollar for the business sector, its lowest level since it was first reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 1947.

Median household income in the United States has fallen for several years in a row, and yet the cost of household basics just seems to keep going up and up.  For example, electricity bills have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.

American families are being squeezed by this economy, and millions of children are feeling the pain.

Every single day, large numbers of American families get dumped out of the middle class and into poverty.  According to the latest figures, extreme poverty in the United States is now at the highest level ever recorded.  The number of good jobs continues to shrink and the poor are getting poorer.  Things are really bad in America today, and unfortunately it looks like the economy is going to get a lot worse in the years ahead.

But most Americans still do not understand what is happening.  One of the biggest problems we are facing is something called “normalcy bias”.

The following is how Wikipedia defines normalcy bias….

The normalcy bias, or normality bias, refers to a mental state people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects. This often results in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster, and on a larger scale, the failure of governments to include the populace in its disaster preparations. The assumption that is made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster never has occurred then it never will occur. It also results in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs. People with a normalcy bias have difficulties reacting to something they have not experienced before. People also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation.

Most Americans still believe that things will eventually return to “normal”.

After all, every time the U.S. has had a recession in the past we have always recovered and gone on to better things, right?

Well, the cold, hard truth of the matter is that this is not just another economic downturn.  There are a whole host of very bad long-term economic trends that are ripping our economy to shreds.  We are a nation that is drowning in debt even as our economic guts are being ripped out.  The greatest economic machine in the history of the world is being destroyed right in front of our eyes, and most Americans don’t even realize it.

Sadly, most Americans are so brainwashed by the mainstream media that they are not going to believe you the first time that you tell them about all the statistics that point to a coming economic collapse.

Many of them are going to have to be hammered with articles like this time and time again until they finally get it.

America is in a massive amount of trouble, and because of the economic mistakes that we have made millions of children are going to needlessly suffer.

Please share this article with as many people as you can.  The more people that we wake up, the better off America is going to be.

Rampant Unemployment = The Death Of The Middle Class – 40 Facts That Prove The Working Class Is Being Systematically Wiped Out

Without an abundance of good jobs, the middle class in the United States is going to shrivel up and die.  Right now, rampant unemployment is absolutely killing communities all over America.  Hopelessness and poverty are exploding and many are now wondering if we are actually witnessing the slow death of the middle class.  There simply are not nearly enough “good jobs” to go around anymore, and even many in the mainstream media are referring to this as a “long-term structural problem” with the economy.  The only thing that most working class Americans have to offer in the marketplace is their labor.  If nobody will hire them they do not have any other ways to provide for their families.  Well, there is a problem.  Today wealth has become incredibly centralized.  The big corporations and the big banks dominate everything.  Thanks to incredible advances in technology and thanks to the globalization of our economic system, the people with all the money don’t have to hire as many ordinary Americans anymore.  They can hire all the labor they want on the other side of the globe for a fraction of the cost.  So the rich don’t really have that much use for the working class in America anymore.  The only thing of value that the working class had to offer has now been tremendously devalued.  The wealthy don’t have to pay a lot for physical labor anymore.  Thousands of our factories and millions of our jobs have been shipped overseas and they aren’t coming back.  The big corporations are thriving while tens of millions of ordinary Americans are deeply suffering.  Almost all of the wealth being produced by our economy is going to a very centralized group of people at the very top of the food chain.  The rich are getting richer and the working class is being systematically wiped out.

So the fact that we are facing rampant unemployment that never seems to go away should not be a surprise to anyone.  Today, the “official” unemployment rate went up to 9.2 percent even though a whopping 272,000 Americans “dropped out of the labor force” in June.  The government unemployment figure that includes “discouraged workers” went up from 15.8% to 16.2%.  The mainstream media is proclaiming that this was “a horrific report” because most economists were expecting much better news.

Well, guess what?

Things are going to get a whole lot worse.

More job cuts are coming.  One recently released report found that the number of job cuts being planned by U.S. employers increased by 11.6% in June.

It is also being projected that state and local governments across the U.S. will slash nearly half a million more jobs by the end of next year.

Needless to say, things don’t look good.

Most people that still have jobs are desperately trying to hold on to them.

Employers know that most workers are easily replaceable these days, so wages are not moving up even though the cost of living is.

We are right in the middle of the worst employment downturn since World War 2.  Jay-Z recently summed up the situation this way….

“Numbers don’t lie. Unemployment is pretty high.”

Jay-Z certainly has a way with words, eh?

If something is not done about the rampant unemployment in this nation, the death of the middle class will accelerate.

Most Americans just assume that the United States will always have a large middle class, but there is no guarantee that is going to happen.  In fact, there is a whole lot of evidence that the middle class in America is rapidly shrinking.

Take a few moments to read over the facts compiled below.  Taken together, they provide compelling evidence that the working class is being systematically wiped out….

#1 Right now, the U.S. government says that 14.1 million Americans are unemployed.

#2 There are fewer payroll jobs in the United States today than there were back in 2000 even though we have added 30 million people to the population since then.

#3 The number of Americans that are “not in the labor force” is at an all-time high.

#4 The United States has never had an employment downturn this deep and this prolonged since World War 2 ended.

#5 There are officially 6.3 million Americans that have been unemployed for more than 6 months.  That number has risen by more than 3.5 million in just the past two years.

#6 It now takes the average unemployed worker in America about 40 weeks to find a new job.  Just check out this chart….

#7 There are now about 7.25 million fewer jobs in America than when the recession began back in 2007.

#8 Back in 2000, the employment to population ratio was over 64 percent.  Today, it is sitting at just 58.2%.

#9 Only 66.8% of American men had a job last year.  That was the lowest level that has ever been recorded in all of U.S. history.

#10 During this economic downturn, employee compensation in the United States has been the lowest that it has been relative to gross domestic product in over 50 years.

#11 The number of “low income jobs” in the U.S. has risen steadily over the past 30 years and they now account for 41 percent of all jobs in the United States.

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

#13 According to a report released in February from the National Employment Law Project, higher wage industries are accounting for 40 percent of the job losses in America but only 14 percent of the job growth.  Lower wage industries are accounting for just 23 percent of the job losses but 49 percent of the job growth.

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

#15 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.

#16 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.

#17 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.

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

#19 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.

#20 Since China entered the WTO in 2001, the U.S. trade deficit with China has grown by an average of 18% per year.

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

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

#23 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.

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

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

#26 There were more manufacturing jobs in the United States in 1950 than there are today.

#27 Since the year 2000, we have lost approximately 10% of our middle class jobs.  In the year 2000 there were about 72 million middle class jobs in the United States but today there are only about 65 million middle class jobs.  Meanwhile, our population has gotten significantly larger.

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

#29 One recent survey found that 9 out of 10 U.S. workers do not expect their wages to keep up with soaring food prices and soaring gas prices over the next 12 months.

#30 Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.

#31 One out of every six elderly Americans now lives below the federal poverty line.

#32 According to one recent study, approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States were living below the poverty line in 2010.

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

#34 As 2007 began, there were 26 million Americans on food stamps.  Today, there are more than 44 million Americans on food stamps, which is an all-time record.

#35 Today, one out of every four American children is on food stamps.

#36 59 percent of all Americans now receive money from the federal government in one form or another.

#37 The number of Americans that are going to food pantries and soup kitchens has increased by 46% since 2006.

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

#39 According to Moody’s Analytics, the wealthiest 5% of all households in the United States now account for approximately 37% of all consumer spending.

#40 The poorest 50% of all Americans collectively own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.

The cold, hard reality of the matter is that the United States is experiencing a long-term economic decline.

Every single day, more American families fall out of the middle class and into poverty.  There are millions of American families out there tonight that are just barely hanging on by their fingernails.

More Americans than ever are constantly borrowing more money just to stay afloat.  Even as rampant unemployment plagues this nation and even as wages remain stagnant, middle class Americans are increasing their use of credit.

A CNBC article noted the increase in consumer borrowing that we have seen recently….

The Federal Reserve says consumer borrowing rose $5.1 billion following a revised gain of $5.7 billion in April. Borrowing in the category that covers credit cards increased, as did borrowing in the category for auto and student loans.

It is very hard to live “the American Dream” without going into huge amounts of debt these days.

But for an increasing number of Americans, “the American Dream” is just a distant memory.

Tonight, there are large numbers of people living in the tunnels under the city of Las Vegas.  As the wealthy live the high life in the casinos and hotels above them, an increasing number of desperate “tunnel people” are attempting to carve out an existence in the 200 mile long labyrinth of tunnels that stretches beneath Vegas.  It is a nightmarish environment, but it is all those people have left.

Don’t look down on them, because you never know who might be next.

If you lost your current job, how long would you be able to survive?

Unfortunately, as bad as things are now, the reality is that this is just the beginning.

You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Do what you can to make sure that you and your family are not totally wiped out by the next wave of the economic collapse.

Losing Faith (In The U.S. Economy)

Are the American people losing faith in the U.S. economy?  The statistics that you are about to read might surprise you.  Not everyone believes that the U.S. economy is dying (there are still millions out there that will swallow anything that the mainstream media tells them), but the reality is that there is a growing chunk of the population that has completely lost faith in our leaders and in our economic system.  A brand new Gallup poll has found that the number of Americans that believe that we are in a “depression” is actually larger than the number of Americans that believe that the economy is “growing”.  That is absolutely shocking because according to official government figures, the U.S. economy is growing right now and virtually nobody in the mainstream media or the government has used the term “depression” to describe the economic downturn that we went through recently.  In fact, according to Gallup a total of 55% of the American people believe that we are either in a recession or a depression right now.  This is clear evidence that the American people are losing faith in U.S. government economic statistics and instead they are basing their opinions on what they see in their own communities.  Despite the pablum about an “economic recovery” constantly being spewed by Ben Bernanke and Barack Obama, faith in our economic system continues to decline.  The truth is that the American people are not stupid.  They can see what is happening to the economy.

Back when I was a teenager, one day I walked over to the local McDonald’s and filled out an application and was immediately hired.

But that is not how it works today.

Recently, McDonald’s made headlines when they held a National Hiring Day.  Some commentators pointed to that event as evidence that the economy was recovering.

Well, you know what?  McDonald’s ended up receiving approximately one million applications.

So how many of those people did McDonald’s hire?

They hired about 62,000 people.

That means that somewhere around 938,000 eager job applicants were turned away.

Just think about that.

Only about 6.2 percent of those that applied for a job at McDonald’s were accepted.

As Joe Weisenthal of Business Insider recently pointed out, that means that Harvard now has a higher acceptance rate than McDonald’s does.

Harvard accepts about 7% of those that apply to go to school there.

Who ever thought we would see the day when a higher percentage of applicants get accepted into Harvard than get hired at McDonald’s?

Sadly, the number of jobs continues to shrink.  The competition for good jobs has become absolutely crazy.

Only 66.8% of American men had a job last year.  That was the lowest level that has ever been recorded in all of U.S. history.

So why is this happening?  Well, there are a lot of reasons, but as I have written about previously, the fact that millions of our jobs are being shipped overseas is a huge factor.

Without good jobs, an increasing number of Americans are being forced to turn to government assistance in order to survive.

Today, more than 44 million Americans are on food stamps.  In addition, government transfer payments now make up 18 percent of all personal income in the United States.

That is frightening.

Things have gotten so bad that now even Wal-Mart is warning that their customers are running out of money.

A large percentage of Wal-Mart customers are just surviving month to month and Wal-Mart has been noticing a huge drop off in sales towards the end of the month when their customers run out of cash.  The following is what the CEO of Wal-Mart had to say about this phenomenon recently….

“Purchases are really dropping off by the end of the month even more than last year.”

People are starting to get desperate.  When economic times get tough, crime tends to increase.  Sadly, as a report in USA Today recently noted, thefts of gasoline are increasing all over the nation.

We never had this kind of a problem back when a gallon of gas only was about a dollar a gallon.

Do you remember those days?

They weren’t that long ago.

Now it takes some people over a hundred dollars to fill up their gas tanks.

Our leaders keep promising that they know what is happening and that they are going to fix things, but most Americans are not buying it.  Many Americans are completely losing faith in the system altogether.

Our economic decline has been one of the things that has fueled the growth of the prepper movement.  Millions of Americans have decided that they want to start becoming independent of the system.  One recent article described what some residents of Colorado are doing to prepare, but the truth is that this phenomenon is happening all over the nation….

A Black Forest resident has erected a geodesic dome on her 5-acre spread to grow vegetables, keeps horses for emergency transportation, in case she can’t get gasoline for her car, and plans to acquire chickens and goats as food sources.

A husband and wife who have a cabin on 100 acres of secluded land in Park County have weaned their property from the electric grid, acquired a three-year food supply and taken other measures to become self-sufficient.

Of course the mainstream media loves to portray preppers as “crazies”, but as the U.S. economy continues to die it would be a bit crazy not to prepare.

No job is completely safe today.  Millions of Americans that assumed that their “good jobs” would always be there have had their lives shattered over the past couple of years.

There is nothing wrong with trying to become more self-sufficient.

Everyone should be thinking about either starting up a business or developing alternative sources of income.  Yes, it can be exhausting to work on a side business during evening and weekends, but the time for loafing is over.  Those that are going to make it through the times ahead are those that are going to be willing to work really hard.

People need to start thinking about becoming less dependent on “the system” however they can.  One way to insulate yourself against rising food prices is to learn how to grow your own food.

Even if you only have a very small amount of room you can still grow your own food.  For example, there is one family that is actually producing 6000 pounds of produce on just 1/10th of an acre right in the middle of Pasadena, California.

Just because we have lost some of the basic skills that previous generations possessed doesn’t mean that we can’t get them back.  Back during World War II, “victory gardens” enabled Americans to grow 40 percent of all the vegetables that they needed.  Those gardens greatly contributed to the war effort and helped Americans get through some very difficult times.

There are a lot of preppers out there that are totally out of debt, that own their own land, that are entirely off the electrical grid and that grow most of their own food.  Many Americans would look at such people as “crazies” but those preppers will be in a much better position than most people when the economy totally collapses.

Don’t wait until it is too late to prepare.  Millions of Americans are completely losing faith in our economic system.  People are smart.  They can see that we are living in the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world.  They can see that the guts of our economic infrastructure are being ripped out and shredded.  They can see that the number of people living in poverty continues to increase year after year.  They can see the the number of good jobs continues to decrease year after year.

When you see a horrible storm coming the rational thing to do is to prepare.  Just think about all of those tornadoes that ravaged the southeast U.S. the other day.  Most of the people directly in the path of those tornadoes did whatever they could to survive when they realized the twisters were about to hit.

Well, a horrific economic storm is coming.  Every American will be affected by this economic storm at least to some extent.  We all need to prepare while we still can.

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