35 Statistics About The Working Poor In America That Will Blow Your Mind

35 Statistics About The Working Poor In America That Will Blow Your MindIn America tonight, tens of millions of men and women will struggle to get to sleep because they are stressed out about not making enough money even though they are working as hard as they possibly can.  They are called “the working poor”, and their numbers are absolutely exploding.  As a recent Gallup poll showed, Americans are more concerned about the economy than they are about anything else.  But why are Americans so stressed out about our economic situation if things are supposedly getting better?  Well, the truth is that unemployment is not actually going down, and the real unemployment numbers are actually much worse than what is officially being reported by the government.  But unemployment is only part of the story.  Most American workers are still able to find jobs, but an increasing proportion of them are not able to make ends meet at the end of the month.  Our economy continues to bleed good paying middle class jobs, and to a large degree those jobs are being replaced by low income jobs.  Approximately one-fourth of all American workers make 10 dollars an hour or less at this point, and we see them all around us every day.  They flip our burgers, they cut our hair and they take our money at the supermarket.  In many homes, both parents are working multiple jobs, and yet when a child gets sick or a car breaks down they find that they don’t have enough money to pay the bill.  Many of these families have gone into tremendous amounts of debt in order to try to stay afloat, but once you get caught in a cycle of debt it can be incredibly difficult to break out of that.

So what is the solution?  Well, the easy answer would be that we need the U.S. economy to start producing more good paying jobs, but that is easier said than done.  Our big corporations continue to ship huge numbers of good paying manufacturing jobs out of the country, and millions of Americans have been forced to scramble to find whatever work is available.  Today, there are so many very talented American workers that are trapped in low wage work.  According to the Working Poor Families Project, “about one-fourth of adults in low-income working families were employed in just eight occupations, as cashiers, cooks, health aids, janitors, maids, retail salespersons, waiters and waitresses, or drivers.”  A lot of those people could do so much more for society, but they don’t have the opportunity.

Sadly, the percentage of low paying jobs in our economy continues to increase with each passing year, so this is a problem that is only going to get worse.  So don’t look down on the working poor.  The good paying job that you have right now could disappear at any time and you could end up joining their ranks very soon.

The following are 35 statistics about the working poor in America that will blow your mind…

#1 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 146 million Americans are either “poor” or “low income”.

#2 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 57 percent of all American children live in a home that is either “poor” or “low income”.

#3 Back in 2007, about 28 percent of all working families were considered to be among “the working poor”.  Today, that number is up to 32 percent even though our politicians tell us that the economy is supposedly recovering.

#4 Back in 2007, 21 million U.S. children lived in “working poor” homes.  Today, that number is up to 23.5 million.

#5 In Arkansas, Mississippi and New Mexico, more than 40 percent all of working families are considered to be “low income”.

#6 Families that have a head of household under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent.

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

#8 At this point, one out of every four American workers has a job that pays $10 an hour or less.

#9 Today, the United States actually has a higher percentage of workers doing low wage work than any other major industrialized nation does.

#10 Median household income in the United States has fallen for four consecutive years.

#11 Median household income for families with children dropped by a whopping $6,300 between 2001 and 2011.

#12 The U.S. economy continues to trade good paying jobs for low paying jobs.  60 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession were mid-wage jobs, but 58 percent of the jobs created since then have been low wage jobs.

#13 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.

#14 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the middle class is taking home a smaller share of the overall income pie than has ever been recorded before.

#15 There are now 20.2 million Americans that spend more than half of their incomes on housing.  That represents a 46 percent increase from 2001.

#16 Low income families spend about 8.6 percent of their incomes on gasoline.  Other families spend about 2.1 percent.

#17 In 1999, 64.1 percent of all Americans were covered by employment-based health insurance.  Today, only 55.1 percent are covered by employment-based health insurance.

#18 According to one survey, 77 percent of all Americans are now living paycheck to paycheck at least part of the time.

#19 Millions of working poor families in America end up taking on debt in a desperate attempt to stay afloat, but before too long they find themselves in a debt trap that they can never escape.  According to a recent article in the New York Times, the average debt burden for U.S. households that earn $20,000 a year or less “more than doubled to $26,000 between 2001 and 2010“.

#20 In 1989, the debt to income ratio of the average American family was about 58 percent.  Today it is up to 154 percent.

#21 According to the Economic Policy Institute, the wealthiest one percent of all Americans households on average have 288 times the amount of wealth that the average middle class American family does.

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

#23 According to Forbes, the 400 wealthiest Americans have more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans combined.

#24 The six heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton have a net worth that is roughly equal to the bottom 30 percent of all Americans combined.

#25 Sadly, the bottom 60 percent of all Americans own just 2.3 percent of all the financial wealth in the United States.

#26 The average CEO now makes approximately 350 times as much as the average American worker makes.

#27 Corporate profits as a percentage of GDP are at an all-time high.  Meanwhile, wages as a percentage of GDP are near an all-time low.

#28 Today, 40 percent of all Americans have $500 or less in savings.

#29 The number of families in the United States living on 2 dollars a day or less more than doubled between 1996 and 2011.

#30 The number of Americans on food stamps has grown from 17 million in the year 2000 to more than 47 million today.

#31 Back in the 1970s, about one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps.  Today, about one out of every 6.5 Americans is on food stamps.

#32 More than one out of every four children in the United States is enrolled in the food stamp program.

#33 Incredibly, a higher percentage of children is living in poverty in America today than was the case back in 1975.

#34 If you can believe it, the federal government hands out money to 128 million Americans every single month.

#35 Federal spending on welfare has reached nearly a trillion dollars a year, and it is being projected that it will increase by another 80 percent over the next decade.

The Working Poor - Photo by Jml0519 at en.wikipedia

20 Signs That The U.S. Poverty Explosion Is Hitting Children And Young People The Hardest

20 Signs That The U.S. Poverty Explosion Is Hitting Children And Young People The Hardest - Photo by Franco FoliniThe mainstream media continues to insist that the economy is “getting better”, but the poverty numbers for children and young people just continue to explode.  For example, did you know that the poverty rate for families with a head of household under the age of 30 is a whopping 37 percent?  Children and young people sure didn’t cause our recent economic downturn, but they sure are getting hit the hardest by it.  According to the U.S. Department of Education, for the first time ever more than a million U.S. public school students are homeless.  That seems like an impossible number, but it is actually true.  How in the world could the “wealthiest nation on earth” get to the point where more than a million children can’t count on a warm bed to sleep in at night?  Sadly, a huge number of American children can’t count on a warm dinner either.  About a fourth of them are enrolled in the food stamp program.  What do you do if you are a parent in that kind of situation?  How do you explain to your kids that you can’t afford a nice home like everybody else has or that you can’t afford to go to the grocery store and buy them some dinner?

Young people are experiencing very rough times right now as well.  If you are under the age of 30, it is really, really difficult to get a job in America today.  The competition for the few decent jobs that seem to be available is absolutely crazy.  Unemployment among young people is at a level that we have not seen since World War II, and this is causing major problems.

Even if you do have a college degree, there is no guarantee that you will be able to get any type of a job.  In fact, more than half of all college graduates under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed last year.  There are millions of very talented college graduates that are waiting tables, making sandwiches or stocking shelves down at the local branch of a global retail conglomerate.  Meanwhile, they are saddled with record breaking amounts of student loan debt.

This is easily the worst economic environment that we have seen for young people since the Great Depression of the 1930s.  The number of good jobs continues to decline.  Many young people are faced with the choice of taking a bad job or having no job at all.

If you are under 30 in America today, you better hope that you come from a wealthy family or that you have some really good connections, because otherwise the future looks pretty bleak for you.

The following are 20 signs that the U.S. poverty explosion is hitting children and young people the hardest…

1. If you can believe it, a higher percentage of children is living in poverty in America today than was the case back in 1975.

2. More than one out of every five children in the United States is currently living in poverty.

3. According to U.S. Census data, 57 percent of all American children live in a home that is either considered to be “poor” or “low income”.

4. Median household income for families with children dropped by a whopping $6,300 between 2001 and 2011.

5. For the first time ever, more than a million public school students in the United States are homeless.  That number has risen by 57 percent since the 2006-2007 school year.

6. It is being projected that half of all American children will be on food stamps at least once before they turn 18 years of age.

7. One university study estimates that child poverty costs the U.S. economy 500 billion dollars each year.

8. The 18 to 24 age group has a higher unemployment rate than any other age group in the United States.

9. Young adult employment is now at the lowest level that we have seen since World War II.

10. In 2007, the unemployment rate for the 20 to 29 age bracket was about 6.5 percent.  Today, the unemployment rate for that same age group is about 13 percent.

11. Families that have a head of household under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent.

12. Family homelessness in the Washington D.C. region (one of the wealthiest regions in the entire country) has risen 23 percent since the last recession began.

13. Since the year 2000, incomes for U.S. households led by someone between the ages of 25 and 34 have fallen by about 12 percent after you account for inflation.

14. In 1984, the median net worth of households led by someone 65 or older was 10 times larger than the median net worth of households led by someone 35 or younger.  Today, the median net worth of households led by someone 65 or older is 47 times larger than the median net worth of households led by someone 35 or younger.

15. During 2011, 53 percent of all Americans with a bachelor’s degree under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed.

16. Many young people are finding that they cannot afford to get married these days.  Sadly, an all-time low 44.2 percent of all Americans between the ages of 25 and 34 are married right now.

17. Right now, approximately 53 percent of all Americans in the 18 to 24 age group are living at home.

18. The number of Americans in the 25 to 34 age group that live with their parents has grown by 25 percent since 2007.

19. One survey discovered that 85 percent of all college seniors plan on moving back in with their parents after graduation.

20. Overall, approximately 25 million American adults are living with their parents in the United States right now according to Time Magazine.

After reading all of those statistics, do you still doubt that America is in decline?  If so, you can find some more shocking statistics right here.

The truth is that it should be painfully evident to anyone with a brain that our economy is not working correctly anymore.  We have lots of talented people, but there are not nearly enough jobs and a lot of those very talented people end up sleeping out in the streets.

A recent New York Times article told the story of a young man named Duane Taylor.  Sadly, there are way too many young people out there today that are experiencing the same kind of things that he is…

Duane Taylor was studying the humanities in community college and living in his own place when he lost his job in a round of layoffs. Then he found, and lost, a second job. And a third.

Now, with what he calls “lowered standards” and a tenuous new position at a Jack in the Box restaurant, Mr. Taylor, 24, does not make enough to rent an apartment or share one. He sleeps on a mat in a homeless shelter, except when his sister lets him crash on her couch.

“At any time I could lose my job, my security,” said Mr. Taylor, explaining how he was always the last hired and the first fired. “I’d like to be able to support myself. That’s my only goal.”

There are millions upon millions of young people in America today that feel totally lost because they cannot find their places in the world.

They are angry, frustrated, depressed, desperate and disillusioned.  They felt like they did everything that the system told them to do, and now they feel like the system is failing them.

An unemployed 2010 graduate of the University of Florida named Lance Fuller expresses similar sentiments on his blog entitled “Voices Of A Lost Generation“…

They are the countless young men and women eager for an opportunity but have found few, if any. They have desirable skills, are highly educated, and are more than willing to work.

Sadly, crippled by college debt and graduated into a struggling economy, they stand little chance to find gainful employment in their chosen fields and take temporary jobs they are overqualified for. They lie waiting for the dream job they went to school for — but it probably doesn’t exist.

My name is Lance and sadly, I share in this story. Like my twentysomething peers, I am one of the thousands of faces of America’s Generation U — Unfortunate, Unlucky, and Unemployed.

I am fortunate that I have never been without money to buy food and have never had to spend a night on the street.  But tonight millions upon millions of Americans under the age of 30 will be faced with those kinds of circumstances.

Please say a prayer for them.  They didn’t cause the economic mess that we are in, but they are certainly paying the price for the mistakes that were made.

Does anyone out there have a similar story to the ones that were shared in this article?  If so, please feel free to share it below.  Perhaps your story will encourage someone else out there who is going through a really hard time right now.

Sad Child - Photo by David Shankbone

Lock Your Doors And Prepare To Defend Your Family

Do you think that is an alarmist headline?  Well, I am not the one saying this.  Law enforcement authorities all over the country are telling citizens that they can no longer deal with all the crime and that people need to lock their doors and prepare to defend their families.  Just recently, the city attorney of San Bernardino, California told citizens to “lock their doors and load their guns” because there is not enough money to pay for adequate police protection any longer.  The murder rate in San Bernardino is up 50 percent this year, but the city is dealing with bankruptcy and has been forced to lay off 80 police officers.  But San Bernardino is not the only city dealing with this kind of a thing.  In Oakland, burglaries are up 43 percent so far this year, and to say that there is a “crime wave” going on in Oakland would be a massive understatement.  If you can believe it, in Oakland “more than 11,000 homes, cars or businesses have been broken into so far this year – translating to about 33 burglaries a day.”  Sadly, there simply are not enough police to keep up with it all.  Due to budget cuts, it is being projected that by February the size of the police force in Oakland will be about 25 percent smaller than it was back in 2008.  But what is happening in Detroit is perhaps even more frightening.  Today there are about 1,000 fewer police officers in Detroit than there was a decade ago.  But crime just continues to rise.  So now even the police are telling people to “enter Detroit at your own risk“.  With very little police protection, an increasing number of citizens are taking matters into their own hands.  As I noted in a previous article, justifiable homicide in the city of Detroit increased by 79 percent in 2011, and the rate of self-defense killings in Detroit is approximately 2200 percent above the national average.  But don’t laugh at what is happening in cities like San Bernardino, Oakland and Detroit.  What is happening in those cities will be coming to your community soon enough.

From coast to coast, criminals are becoming increasingly bold and increasingly desperate.  My sister lives near a large city in the middle part of the country, and a house across the street from the one her family just moved into was recently vandalized.  The criminals took all of the exposed copper pipe and copper wire that could be accessed easily.

Other criminals have become very focused on gold because it has soared in value and it is easy to resell.  For example, there have been more than 250 gold chain robberies in Stockton, California just since the month of April.  According to the CBS News affiliate in Sacramento, criminals are just ripping these chains right off of the necks of unsuspecting citizens, and many of the victims that have tried to resist have ended up getting hurt.  Normally the criminals sell off the jewelry within 24 hours, so solving these crimes is a real challenge…

Most victims of the robberies are female (65 percent), and 44 percent of victims are age 50 or older, the data showed. The most common time of day for the crimes were between 12 and 5 p.m., though this only accounts for about a third of the crime.

Parino said robbers took even police by surprise initially.

“When [criminals] do these crimes, they normally get rid of the items within 24 hours,” he said.

That’s why police are now checking up on secondhand stores and pawn shops on a weekly basis.

Many dismiss reports such as these as “anomalies”, but how many “anomalies” do we need before we finally admit that we have a widespread problem in our society?

Personally, there are many major U.S. cities that I would not want to be living right in the middle of right now.

Just take a look at Chicago.  It has become one of the deadliest major cities on the entire globe.  In recent years we have seen massive cuts to the police budget coupled with a dramatic increase in gang activity in Chicago.

The murder rate in Chicago is way up this year and the police force is massively outnumbered.

As I have written about previously, there are only about 200 police officers assigned to Chicago’s Gang Enforcement Unit.  It is their job to handle the estimated 100,000 gang members living in the city.

How would you like to be outnumbered 100,000 to 200?

When things really hit the fan, Chicago is going to be a complete and utter nightmare.

And sometimes we get a peek into how people will behave when things break down.  Just look at what happened during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

If you can believe it, some criminals actually took advantage of the Thanksgiving holiday to loot homes in the Breezy Point neighborhood of Queens.  That was the neighborhood where approximately 100 homes burned down.  The suffering of the residents of that neighborhood made headlines all over the nation.  But that has not stopped criminals from moving in and taking advantage of their vulnerability…

Cops told the victims burglaries are on the rise in Breezy Point.

There were 14 home break-ins from Nov. 12 to Nov. 18, compared with none a year before.

And in the 28 days before that, there were 48 burglaries. Only four break-ins were reported in that time period the year before.

In the days after Sandy, some of the hardest-hit areas were plagued with store looting, home burglaries, street muggings and other crimes.

There are some very sick people out there.  These days you simply do not know who you can trust.  The person you meet on the street may be perfectly fine or they may be a total sicko.  It is so hard to tell.  But without a doubt there are a lot of sickos out there.  Just check out what authorities in Pennsylvania found recently

Animal welfare workers say 11 puppies were found dead and skinned near an eastern Pennsylvania park.

Sadly, authorities in that area had come across another similar incident recently…

The discovery is second disturbing incident in the county in less than a week. About 20 miles away in Lynn Township police say a dog was discovered skinned and cooked.

Who would do such things?

What in the world is happening to this country?

Things are changing, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.  As conditions shift, we are all going to have to carefully evaluate what is necessary to protect our families.  Don’t ignore all of the warning signs.  Sticking our heads in the sand and pretending that everything is going to be okay is not going to help anything.

So what do all of you think about all of this?  Please feel free to post a comment with your opinion below…

Hungry For The Holidays: 20 Facts About Hunger In America That Will Blow Your Mind

All over America there are millions of people that will be missing meals and going hungry this holiday season.  Even as much of the country indulges in the yearly ritual of unbridled consumerism that we refer to as “the holiday season”, more families in the United States than ever before will be dealing with not having enough food to eat.  Food stamp use is at an all-time high.  Demand at food banks is at an all-time high.  They keep telling us that we are in an “economic recovery” and yet the middle class continues to shrink and the number of Americans living in poverty just continues to grow.  We are witnessing unprecedented hunger in America, and this especially seems tragic during the holidays.  Much of the country is partying as if the good times will never stop, but families that are living from one meal to the next are facing a completely different reality.  How do you tell your children that there isn’t going to be any food to eat for dinner?  How do you explain to them that other families have plenty to eat but you don’t?  Sadly, many food banks are overstretched at this point.  All over the nation, food pantries have actually had to turn people away because of the overwhelming demand.  And more Americans used food stamps to buy their Thanksgiving dinners this year than ever before.  This is a problem that is not going away any time soon, and when the next major economic downturn strikes the problem of hunger in America is going to get even worse.

For many Americans, hunger has become a way of life.  Families that don’t have enough money are often faced with some absolutely heartbreaking choices.  Just check out what one Maine official that works with the Emergency Food Assistance Program recently had to say

“One in six people in Maine don’t know where their next meal is coming from, or skip a meal so their kids can eat, or have to choose between paying for prescriptions and food, or fuel for your car and food,” Hall said. “What’s amazing is that food is always the first thing to go from your budget. It’s staggering, the choices people have to make.”

Food banks all over the country try their best to do what they can, especially during the holidays, but it is often not enough.  In fact, some food banks ran out of turkeys well in advance of Thanksgiving this year

Three days in advance of Thanksgiving, the Pear Street Cupboard and Café in Framingham, Massachusetts, is out of turkeys. According to organizers, “requests for help are up 400 percent over last year.”

But it isn’t just during the holidays that food banks are having problems keeping up with demand.  The truth is that many food banks find themselves out of food and having to turn away hungry families all throughout the year.  The following is from a recent Reuters article

Overall, food pantries and soup kitchens reported a 5 percent spike in demand in 2012, according to the survey. More than half of providers said they were forced to turn away clients, reduce portion sizes, or limit their hours.

In Staten Island, all of the agencies that respond to hunger reported not having enough food to meet demand, while in the Bronx that was true for 80 percent of agencies. In Queens and Brooklyn, more than 60 percent of agencies did not have enough food to meet the needs of the populations they serve.

If you are able, please support your local food bank.  The needs are great and they are only going to get greater.

The following are 20 facts about hunger in America that will blow your mind…

#1 According to one calculation, the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of “Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.”

#2 In October 2008, 30.8 million Americans were on food stamps.  By August 2012 that number had risen to 47.1 million Americans.

#3 Right now, one out of every seven Americans is on food stamps and one out of every four American children is on food stamps.

#4 It is projected that half of all American children will be on food stamps at least once before they turn 18 years of age.

#5 According to new numbers that were just released by the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of Americans living in poverty increased to a new all-time record high of 49.7 million last year.

#6 The number of Americans living in poverty has increased by about 6 million over the past four years.

#7 Today, about one out of every four workers in the United States brings home wages that are at or below the federal poverty level.

#8 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the poverty rate for children living in the United States is about 22 percent.

#9 Overall, approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are living in homes that are either considered to be either “low income” or impoverished.

#10 In the United States today, close to 100 million Americans are considered to be either “poor” or “near poor”.

#11 One university study estimates that child poverty costs the U.S. economy 500 billion dollars each year.

#12 Households that are led by a single mother have a 31.6 percent poverty rate.

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

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

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

#16 Family homelessness in the Washington D.C. region (one of the wealthiest regions in the entire country) has risen 23 percent since the last recession began.

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

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

#19 Right now, more than 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government.  And that does not even count Social Security or Medicare.

#20 According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, approximately 40 percent of all food in America “is routinely thrown away by consumers at home, discarded or unserved at restaurants or left unharvested on farms.”

Are Black Friday Riots A Preview Of The Civil Unrest That Is Coming When Society Breaks Down?

If Americans will trample one another just to save a few dollars on a television, what will they do when society breaks down and the survival of their families is at stake?  Once in a while an event comes along that gives us a peek into what life could be like when the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted is stripped away.  For example, when Hurricane Sandy hit New York and New Jersey there was rampant looting and within days people were digging around in supermarket dumpsters looking for food.  Sadly, “Black Friday” also gives us a look at how crazed the American people can be when given the opportunity.  This year was no exception.  Once again we saw large crowds of frenzied shoppers push, shove, scratch, claw, bite and trample one another just to save a few bucks on cheap foreign-made goods.  And of course most retailers seem to be encouraging this type of behavior.  Most of them actually want people frothing at the mouth and willing to fight one another to buy their goods.  But is this kind of “me first” mentality really something that we want to foster as a society?  If people are willing to riot to save money on a cell phone, what would they be willing to do to feed their families?  Are the Black Friday riots a very small preview of the civil unrest that is coming when society eventually breaks down?

Once upon a time, Thanksgiving was not really a commercial holiday.  It was a time to get together with family and friends, eat turkey and express thanks for the blessings that we have been given.

But in recent years Black Friday has started to become even a bigger event than Thanksgiving itself.

Millions of Americans have become convinced that it is fun to wait in long lines outside retail stores in freezing cold weather in the middle of the night to spend money that they do not have on things that they do not need.

And of course very, very few “Black Friday deals” are actually made in America.  So these frenzied shoppers are actually killing American jobs and destroying the U.S. economy as well.

The absurdity of Black Friday was summed up very well recently in a statement that has already been retweeted on Twitter more than 1,000 times

“Black Friday: because only in America people trample each other for sales exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have.”

It has gotten to the point where it is now expected that there will be mini-riots all over the country early on Black Friday morning each year.  The following are a few examples of the craziness that we saw this year…

-“Fights break out when stores open on Black Friday

-“Black Friday madness at Georgia Wal-Mart

-“Black Friday Frenzy: 2 Run Down in Washington, Man Pulls Gun in Texas

-“Black Friday 2012: Rush at Victoria’s Secret Pink at Oak Park Mall in Overland Park, Kan.

-“Black Friday shoppers smash door at Urban Outfitters

-“Black Friday Shopping Hysteria From Around The Country [PHOTOS]

-“Disturbance leads to scare at Westroads Mall

-“Teens In Custody After Woodland Mall Fight

-“Boy Robbed During Black Friday Shopping At Arundel Mills

-“Shoppers Were So Obsessed With Black Friday Deals They Left Their Infants Unattended

Fortunately, many Americans are starting to get fed up with Black Friday.  In fact, one activist named Mark Dice actually went out and heckled Black Friday shoppers this year.  I found the following You Tube video to be very funny, and I think most of you will too…

In the end, it is not that big of a deal that people want to fight with one another to save 50 dollars on a cell phone.

But this kind of extreme selfishness and desperation could become a massive problem someday if society breaks down and suddenly millions of extremely selfish and desperate people are scrambling for survival.

With each passing day our economy is getting even weaker, and the next wave of the economic collapse is rapidly approaching.  What are people going to do when the next spike in unemployment hits us and nobody can find work?

To get an idea of where things are headed, just look at Europe.  In both Greece and Spain the unemployment rate is over 25 percent and civil unrest has become almost a constant problem in both of those countries.

So what kind of riots will we see in the United States when the economy gets much worse than it is now?

Already there are signs of social decay all around us, and most Americans are completely unprepared for what will happen if a major disaster or emergency does strike.

Sadly, the reality is that most Americans live on a month to month basis.  Most families do not have any emergency savings to speak of, and one recent poll found that 55 percent of all Americans only have enough food in their homes to survive for three days or less.

To me, that is an absolutely insane number.

We just came through a summer of extreme drought and global food supplies have dropped to a 40 year low.  Our world is becoming increasingly unstable, and the global financial system could fall apart at any time.  Most of us just assume that there will always be huge amounts of very cheap food available to us, but unfortunately that simply is not a safe assumption.  The following is from a recent article in the Guardian

Evan Fraser, author of Empires of Food and a geography lecturer at Guelph University in Ontario, Canada, says: “For six of the last 11 years the world has consumed more food than it has grown. We do not have any buffer and are running down reserves. Our stocks are very low and if we have a dry winter and a poor rice harvest we could see a major food crisis across the board.”

“Even if things do not boil over this year, by next summer we’ll have used up this buffer and consumers in the poorer parts of the world will once again be exposed to the effects of anything that hurts production.”

When I watch my fellow Americans trample one another to get a deal on a television or a video game, it makes me wonder what they would be willing to do if they went to the store someday and all the food was gone.

Desperate people do desperate things, and someday if there was a major economic breakdown in the United States I think the level of desperation in this country would be extremely frightening.

So what do you think?  Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below…

Somebody Should Start The ‘Stuff Costs Too Much’ Party

Stuff costs too much.  Seriously.  Every time I go to the grocery store these days, I am absolutely horrified by the prices.  I try not to buy anything that is not on sale, but the problem is that I am discovering that the new sale prices are the old regular prices.  So now paying what used to be “full price” is supposedly a “good deal”.  The other way that they are trying to hide rising prices is by shrinking package sizes.  As if we wouldn’t notice that a box of 21 garbage bags is now being sold for the exact same price that a box of 25 garbage bags used to be sold for.  It is one of my pet peeves.  I feel like I am in the middle of some bizarre movie entitled “The Incredible Shrinking Dollar”.  Sadly, I am far from alone.  There are millions upon millions of American families that are seeing their expenses continue to rise even as their paychecks remain the same.  But neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney seems very concerned about inflation.  In fact, the Federal Reserve, QE3 and Ben Bernanke were not even mentioned in any of the three presidential debates.  So I think that somebody should start the “Stuff Costs Too Much” Party.  Inflation is a tax which is destroying the value of each dollar that we hold a little bit more every single day, and the American people deserve to know the truth about what is going on.

In this day and age, it simply does not pay to put money into long-term savings.  When you finally pull your money out it will have far less purchasing power than it originally did.

Way back in 1950, you could buy a first-class stamp for just 3 cents and you could buy a gallon of gasoline for about 27 cents.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could still get a gallon of gasoline for 27 cents?

But we don’t have to go all the way back to 1950 to find low prices.  All we have to do is go back ten years.

A recent article by Benny Johnson detailed how the prices of many of the things that we buy on a regular basis absolutely soared between 2002 and 2012.  Just check out these price increases…

Eggs: 73%

Coffee: 90%

Peanut Butter: 40%

Milk: 26%

A Loaf Of White Bread: 39%

Spaghetti And Macaroni: 44%

Orange Juice: 46%

Red Delicious Apples: 43%

Beer: 25%

Wine: 60%

Electricity: 42%

Margarine: 143%

Tomatoes: 22%

Turkey: 56%

Ground Beef: 61%

Chocolate Chip Cookies: 39%

Gasoline: 158%

So what will the next ten years bring?  Unfortunately, we are already being told that it looks like inflation is going to start accelerating.  A recent CNBC article started this way…

Consumers will have to dig deeper into their pockets next year to pay for costlier health care, more expensive grocery bills and higher taxes, an extra drag on the country’s already slow-moving economy.

That is not what millions of struggling American families need to hear right about now.

Their bills just keep going up but their paychecks are not keeping pace.

Have you noticed that almost everything that we spend money on just keeps rising year after year?

According to USA Today, in some areas of the country water bills have actually tripled over the past 12 years.

Has your paycheck tripled?

Electricity bills in this country have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.

Winter is a really bad time for power bills.  Millions of struggling families will set their thermostats very low this winter and yet will still be slammed with absolutely outrageous bills.

Of course just about every type of insurance is going up faster than the overall rate of inflation.

Have you gotten a price increase notice in the mail lately?

I have.

The price of health insurance in particular has soared in recent years.  Health insurance premiums increased faster than the overall rate of inflation in 2011 and that is happening once again in 2012.

All of these price increases are pushing many American families to the breaking point.

But Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke insists that there is very little inflation right now, and he has government statistics to back his assertions up.

Of course the way that the government calculates inflation has changed more than 20 times since 1978, but Bernanke never mentions that.

According to John Williams of shadowstats.com, if inflation was measured exactly the same way that it was back in 1990, the official inflation rate would be about 5 percent right now.

The American Institute for Economic Research says that inflation is even high than that right now.  According to them, the real rate of inflation was about 8 percent last year.

Meanwhile, household incomes are actually going down all over America.

Even though we are supposedly in the midst of an “economic recovery”, median household income has declined for four years in a row.

Overall, median household income has declined by more than $4000 over the past four years.

Incomes are going down and prices just keep on rising.

So how are families adjusting?

Well, many of them are spending less.  One survey found that 62 percent of all middle class Americans have had to reduce household spending over the past year.

Others are going into increasing amounts of debt in an attempt to survive from month to month.

Inflation has become a way of life in America.  But what could make it a whole lot worse is if a nationwide crisis suddenly disrupted the normal operation of the economy.  If that happened, we would see price gouging happen literally overnight.  Just check out what one article that was posted on CNBC said happened in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy…

Four dollars for a can of coke. Five hundred dollars a night for a hotel in downtown Brooklyn. A pair of D-batteries for $6.99.

These are just a few of the examples of price hikes I or friends of mine have personally come across in the run-up and aftermath of hurricane Sandy.

So you might want to use your extra dollars right now.  They are never going to be more valuable than they are today, and in the event of a major disaster they might lose value very, very rapidly.

Unfortunately, millions of American families don’t have any extra money at all.  Many of them have been slowly worn down by this economy and are now just desperately trying to survive.  The following is what one reader shared in a comment following one of my recent articles

There is one thing you should know about poverty: it is crushing! It crushes the spirit first and foremost, then it crushes the idea of dreams because people in extreme poverty don’t see a way out when they barely have enough to eat let alone get ahead in life.
So, by offering a hand up to those in poverty, we relieve a bit of that pressure…just enough so that their basic needs are met. Once those needs are met, those in poverty can start to see “LIGHT”, something hard to see when being crushed by the pressures and hardships of poverty.

I know of what I speak; I was once living an upper middle-class life and enjoyed all the trappings of material and financial successes.

However, an accident caused that life as I knew it to end in a moment. I’m no longer able to work and for the past few years have barely been able to feed myself.

When I became homeless in 2010, I felt suicidal. My lowest moment was holding a sign asking for help very near the 6 bedroom home I once lived.

Don’t think that it can’t happen to you.  What would you do if you suddenly lost your job and could not find another one?  Would you be able to survive?

Just because you are living a middle class lifestyle today does not mean that you will be in the same position a year from now.  The truth is that everything in your life can change in a single day.  The following is from a comment that one of my readers named Kimberly left recently

My husband lost his job of 20+ years to cut backs roughly 3 years ago, 8 months later his health declined of which I attribute to the depression he went through at not being able to find employment. I went back into the work force, or I should say tried… I’m a nursing assistant by trade but no nursing homes are hiring because the families are pulling their loved ones out because they cannot afford to keep them there, hospitals are not hiring because what jobs there are in my field go to nurses awaiting a nursing job and I’m sure my age (53) plays a role in it too. The closest hospital to us just announced it will be closing it’s doors on the 31 because despite it’s tries it cannot afford to remain open under Obamacare.

We have in the last couple years armed ourselves with a gun, started a garden and now do serious couponing to stock pile for emergencies which seem more and more each day are coming. We have dropped from a life lived on 65,000 – 75,000 a year to living on under 23,000 a year. We have made cut backs in every area of life and hope for the best.

We go to bed at night worried about tommorow, next week and next year .. you feel anxious all the time and panic attacks come more frequently with each passing day. I love the Lord with all my heart and I know He is in control, but am just human and one cannot stop the feelings that wash over them.

I have children and grandchildren and am scared to death what faces them in the coiming years. We all lived in within miles of each other until my children lost their jobs and could find nothing here in Mobile, Al. so they moved to Texas and have found at least some work… something is better than nothing you know. We are hundreds of miles apart now and rarely get to see them as gas is also so very high. I have a grand daughter I have never met because we cannot afford the trip and neither can they.

The U.S. economy has never even come close to recovering from the last economic downturn.  If you doubt this, just read this article.  Now the next economic crisis is rapidly approaching us.

If you think that the economic pain and suffering in this country are bad now, just wait.

We haven’t seen anything yet.

Things are going to get much, much worse.

37 Facts That Show How Cruel This Economy Has Been To Millions Of Desperate American Families

Have you ever laid in bed awake at night with a knot in your stomach because you didn’t know how your family was possibly going to make it through the next month financially?  Have you ever felt the desperation of not being able to provide the basic necessities for your family even though you tried as hard as you could?  All over America tonight, there are millions of desperate families that are being ripped apart by this economy.  There aren’t nearly enough jobs, and millions of Americans that actually do have jobs aren’t making enough to even provide the basics for their families.  When you have tried everything that you can think of and nothing works, it can be absolutely soul crushing.  Today, one of my regular readers explained that he was not going to be online for a while because his power had been turned off.  He has been out of work for quite a while, and eventually the money runs out.  Have you ever been there?  If you have ever experienced that moment, you know that it stays with you for the rest of your life.  If you are single that is bad enough, but when you have to look into the eyes of your children and explain to them why there won’t be any dinner tonight or why they have to move into a homeless shelter it can feel like someone has driven a stake into your heart.  In this article you will find a lot of very shocking economic statistics.  But please remember that behind each statistic are the tragic stories of millions of desperately hurting American families.

Over the past decade, things have steadily gotten worse for American families no matter what our politicians have tried.  Poverty and government dependence continue to rise.  The cost of living continues to go up and incomes continue to go down.  It is truly frightening to think about what this country is going to look like if current trends continue.

The following are 37 facts that show how cruel this economy has been to millions of desperate American families…

1. One recent survey discovered that 40 percent of all Americans have $500 or less in savings.

2. A different recent survey found that 28 percent of all Americans do not have a single penny saved for emergencies.

3. In the United States today, there are close to 10 million households that do not have a single bank account.  That number has increased by about a million since 2009.

4. Family homelessness in the Washington D.C. region (one of the wealthiest regions in the entire country) has risen 23 percent since the last recession began.

5. The number of Americans living in poverty has increased by about 6 million over the past four years.

6. Median household income has fallen for four years in a row.  Overall, it has declined by more than $4000 over the past four years.

7. 62 percent of middle class Americans say that they have had to reduce household spending over the past year.

8. According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 85 percent of middle class Americans say that it is more difficult to maintain a middle class standard of living today than it was 10 years ago.

9. In the United States today, 77 percent of all Americans are living to paycheck to paycheck at least some of the time.

10. In the United States today, more than 41 percent of all working age Americans are not working.

11. Since January 2009, the “labor force” in the United States has increased by 827,000, but “those not in the labor force” has increased by 8,208,000.  This is how they have gotten the unemployment numbers to “come down”.

12. Sadly, 60 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession were mid-wage jobs, but 58 percent of the jobs created since then have been low wage jobs.

13. Today, about one out of every four workers in the United States brings home wages that are at or below the federal poverty level.

14. Right now, the United States actually has a higher percentage of workers doing low wage work than any other major industrialized nation does.

15. At this point, less than 25 percent of all jobs in the United States are “good jobs”, and that number continues to shrink.

16. There are now 20.2 million Americans that spend more than half of their incomes on housing.  That represents a 46 percent increase from 2001.

17. According to USA Today, many Americans have actually seen their water bills triple over the past 12 years.

18. Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.

19. In 1999, 64.1 percent of all Americans were covered by employment-based health insurance.  Today, only 55.1 percent are covered by employment-based health insurance.

20. Health insurance premiums rose faster than the overall rate of inflation in 2011 and that is happening once again in 2012.  In fact, it has been happening for a very long time.

21. According to one recent survey, approximately 10 percent of all employers in the United States plan to drop health coverage when key provisions of the new health care law kick in less than two years from now.

22. Back in 1983, the bottom 95 percent of all income earners had 62 cents of debt for every dollar that they earned.  By 2007, that figure had soared to $1.48.

23. Total home mortgage debt in the United States is now about 5 times larger than it was just 20 years ago.

24. Total consumer debt in the United States has risen by 1700 percent since 1971.

25. Recently it was announced that total student loan debt in the United States has passed the one trillion dollar mark.

26. According to one recent survey, approximately one-third of all Americans are not paying their bills on time at this point.

27. Right now, approximately 25 million American adults are living at home with their parents.

28. The percentage of Americans that find that they are able to retire when they reach retirement age continues to decline.  According to one new survey, 70 percent of middle class Americans plan to work during retirement and 30 percent plan to work until they are at least 80 years old.

29. The U.S. economy lost more than 220,000 small businesses during the recent recession.

30. In 2010, the number of jobs created at new businesses in the United States was less than half of what it was back in the year 2000.

31. Back in 2007, 19.2 percent of all American families had a net worth of zero or less than zero.  By 2010, that figure had soared to 32.5 percent.

32. Approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are living in homes that are either considered to be either “low income” or impoverished.

33. In the United States today, somewhere around 100 million Americans are considered to be either “poor” or “near poor”.

34. In October 2008, 30.8 million Americans were on food stamps.  Today, 46.7 million Americans are on food stamps.

35. Approximately one-fourth of all children in the United States are enrolled in the food stamp program.

36. Right now, more than 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government.  And that does not even count Social Security or Medicare.

37. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, an all-time record 49 percent of all Americans live in a home where at least one person receives financial assistance from the federal government.  Back in 1983, that number was less than 30 percent.

What makes all of this even more frightening is that many homeless shelters and food banks around the nation are so overloaded at this point that they are already over capacity.  Just consider this example

When Janice Coe, a homeless advocate in Loudoun County, learned through her prayer group that a young woman was sleeping in the New Carrollton Metro station with a toddler and a 2-month-old, she sprang into action.

Coe contacted the young woman and arranged for her to take the train to Virginia, where she put the little family up in a Comfort Suites hotel. Then Coe began calling shelters to see who could take them.

Despite several phone calls, she came up empty. Coe was shocked to learn that many of the local shelters that cater to families were full, including Good Shepherd Alliance, where Coe was once director of social services.

“I don’t know why nobody will take this girl in,” Coe said. “The baby still had a hospital bracelet on her wrist.”

Keep in mind that Loudoun Country is smack dab in the middle of one of the wealthiest areas of Virginia.

So if things are that bad in the wealthy areas, exactly how bad are things getting in many of the poorer areas?

Unfortunately, things continue to get worse for this economy.  DuPont has just announced plans to eliminate 1,500 jobs.  There are more major layoff announcements almost every single day.  So how bad will things get when our crumbling economic system finally collapses?  When kind of chaos will be unleashed all over the nation when millions upon millions of Americans finally lose all hope?

In the introduction to this article, I mentioned that one of my regular readers has had his lights turned off.  The following is how he described his situation

No gas, no water, no electricity at my house. Couldn’t pay the bills. I’m broke. Desperately searching for any means of income, or at least enough cash to get the juice (electricity) restored.

Typing this missive in a dark house using the battery on my laptop. Feels like I’m camping out at home. Hope to get this situation fixed tomorrow… somehow. Needless to say, I *…. hate this.

I was ready for this, but it is still a major league inconvenience. For those of you who DO have power, etc. – and are not ready… oh brother. You need to get ready. Seriously, you do. Because what I’m going through is just an inconvenience. It may someday be a normal occurence. Ugh. (expletives deleted)

Hopefully a way can be found to get his situation turned around, but the truth is that there are tens of millions of other similar stories out there in America today.

What about you?  What are things like in your neck of the woods?  Please feel free to share your thoughts below…

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