19 Very Surprising Facts About The Messed Up State Of The U.S. Economy

19 - Public DomainBarack Obama and the Federal Reserve are lying to you.  The “economic recovery” that we all keep hearing about is mostly just a mirage.  The percentage of Americans that are employed has barely budged since the depths of the last recession, the labor force participation rate is at a 36 year low, the overall rate of homeownership is the lowest that it has been in nearly 20 years and approximately 49 percent of all Americans are financially dependent on the government at this point.  In a recent article, I shared 12 charts that clearly demonstrate the permanent damage that has been done to our economy over the last decade.  The response to that article was very strong.  Many people were quite upset to learn that they were not being told the truth by our politicians and by the mainstream media.  Sadly, the vast majority of Americans still have absolutely no idea what is being done to our economy.  For those out there that still believe that we are doing “just fine”, here are 19 more facts about the messed up state of the U.S. economy…

#1 After accounting for inflation, median household income in the United States is 8 percent lower than it was when the last recession started in 2007.

#2 The number of part-time workers in America has increased by 54 percent since the last recession began in December 2007.  Meanwhile, the number of full-time jobs has dropped by more than a million over that same time period.

#3 More than 7 million Americans that are currently working part-time jobs would actually like to have full-time jobs.

#4 The jobs gained during this “recovery” pay an average of 23 percent less than the jobs that were lost during the last recession.

#5 The number of unemployed workers that have completely given up looking for work is twice as high now as it was when the last recession began in December 2007.

#6 When the last recession began, about 17 percent of all unemployed workers had been out of work for six months or longer.  Today, that number sits at just above 34 percent.

#7 Due to a lack of decent jobs, half of all college graduates are still relying on their parents financially when they are two years out of school.

#8 According to a new method of calculating poverty devised by the U.S. Census Bureau, the state of California currently has a poverty rate of 23.4 percent.

#9 According to the New York Times, the “typical American household” is now worth 36 percent less than it was worth a decade ago.

#10 In 2007, the average household in the top 5 percent had 16.5 times as much wealth as the average household overall.  But now the average household in the top 5 percent has 24 times as much wealth as the average household overall.

#11 In an absolutely stunning development, the rate of small business ownership in the United States has plunged to an all-time low.

#12 Subprime loans now make up 31 percent of all auto loans in America.  Didn’t that end up really badly when the housing industry tried the same thing?

#13 The average cost of producing a barrel of shale oil in the United States is approximately 85 dollars.  Now that the price of oil is starting to slip under that number, the “shale boom” in America could turn into a bust very rapidly.

#14 On a purchasing power basis, China now actually has a larger economy than the United States does.

#15 It is hard to believe, but there are 49 million people that are dealing with food insecurity in America today.

#16 There are six banks in the United States that pretty much everyone agrees fit into the “too big to fail” category.  Five of them have more than 40 trillion dollars of exposure to derivatives.

#17 The 113 top earning employees at the Federal Reserve headquarters in Washington D.C. make an average of $246,506 a year.  It turns out that ruining the U.S. economy is a very lucrative profession.

#18 We are told that the federal deficit is under control, but the truth is that the U.S. national debt increased by more than a trillion dollars during fiscal year 2014.

#19 An astounding 40 million dollars has been spent just on vacations for Barack Obama and his family.  Perhaps he figures that if we are going down as a nation anyway, he might as well enjoy the ride.

If our economy truly was “recovering”, there would be lots of good paying middle class jobs available.

But that is not the case at all.

I know so many people in their prime working years that spend day after day searching for a job.  Most of them never seem to get anywhere.  It isn’t because they don’t have anything to offer.  It is just that the labor market is absolutely saturated with qualified job seekers.

For example, USA Today recently shared the story of 42-year-old Alex Gomez…

“I’ve had to seriously downgrade my living situation,” said Alex Gomez, a 42-year-old with a master’s degree in entrepreneurship. Gomez lost his last full-time job in 2009 and has been looking for work since a short-term contract position ended in 2012.

Gomez’s home was foreclosed on, so the Tampa resident lives with three roommates in a college neighborhood. He drained his 401(k) trying to save his house, and he has around $150,000 in student loans. His mother is tapping her 401(k) to pay his rent. Gomez subsists on that and about $200 a month in food stamps.

“I have been applying and looking for pretty much anything at this stage,” he said. Although he’s looking for work in engineering or data management, “I applied to a supermarket as a deli clerk because I used to be a deli clerk as a teenager,” he said. He was told he was overqualified and turned down.

Does Alex Gomez have gifts and abilities to share with our society?

Of course he does.

So why can’t he find a job?

It is because we have a broken economy.

We are in the midst of a long-term economic decline and the system simply does not work properly anymore.

And thanks to decades of very foolish decisions, this is only the start of our problems.

Things are only going to get worse from here.

Why Are Record Numbers Of Young Adults Jobless And Living At Home With Mom And Dad?

In the United States today, unemployment among those age 18 to age 34 is at epidemic levels and the number of young adults that are now living at home with Mom and Dad is at an all-time high.  So why are so many of our young adults jobless?  Why are record numbers of them unable or unwilling to move out on their own?  Well, there are quite a few factors at work.  Number one, our education system has completely and totally failed them.  As I have written about previously, our education system is a joke and most high school graduates these days are simply not prepared to function at even a very basic level in our society.  In addition, college education in the United States has become a giant money making scam that leaves scores of college graduates absolutely drowning in debt.  Many young adults end up moving back in with Mom and Dad because they are drowning in so much debt that there are no other options.  Thirdly, the number of good jobs continues to decline and this is hitting younger Americans the hardest.  Millions of young people enter the workforce excited about the future only to find that there are hordes of applicants for the very limited number of decent jobs that are actually available.  So all of this is creating an environment where more young adults are financially dependent on their parents that ever before in modern American history.

Since the start of the recession, the percentage of young adults in America that are employed has dropped like a rock.  In 2007, the employment rate for Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 was 62.4 percent.  Today, it is down to 54.3 percent.

Yes, there are certainly many out there that are lazy, but the truth is that most of them would like to work if they could.  It is just that it is much harder to find a job these days.

And it isn’t just young people that think that the job market has gotten tougher.  According to one recent survey, 82 percent of all Americans believe that it is harder for young adults to find jobs today than it was for their parents to find jobs.

But if they cannot get jobs, then young adults cannot financially support themselves.  So more of them than ever are heading back home to live with Mom and Dad.

In the year 2000, 8.3 percent of all American women between the ages of 25 and 34 were living at home with their parents.  Today, that figure is up to 9.7 percent.

In the year 2000, 12.9 percent of all American men between the ages of 25 and 34 were living at home with their parents.  Today, that figure is up to an astounding 18.6 percent.

Take a moment and let those statistics sink in.

Nearly one out of every five American men from age 25 to age 34 are living at home with Mommy and Daddy.

When you look at Americans age 18 to age 24, it is even worse.  Among Americans age 18 to age 24, 50 percent of all women and 59 percent of all men still live with their parents.

Those are very frightening numbers.

Part of this has to do with a fundamental cultural shift.  An increasing number of parents these days expect that they will have to take care of their own children beyond the age of 22.  The following is from a recent article by Pew Research….

When asked in a 1993 survey what age children should be financially independent from their parents, 80% of parents said children have to be self-reliant by age 22. In the current survey, only 67% of parents say children have to be financially independent by age 22—a drop of 13 percentage points.

But what accounts for the tremendous gender disparity that we see in the figures above?

Well, one major factor is that young women are now far more likely to pursue a college education than young men are.  According to an article in the New York Times, women now account for approximately 57 percent of all enrollments at U.S. colleges and universities.

The less education you have, the more likely you are to be unemployed in America today.  So that is certainly a significant factor.

But many that have gone on to college are also moving back home.  When you are a young adult with no job and no prospects and you are swamped with tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt, it can be incredibly difficult to be financially independent.

After adjusting for inflation, U.S. college students are now borrowing about twice as much money as they did a decade ago.  Many students that go on to graduate school end up with more than $100,000 in total student loan debt.

Sadly, those degrees often do not pay off.  In fact, in America today one-third of all college graduates end up taking jobs that don’t even require college degrees.

So what does all of this mean?

It means that there are millions upon millions of angry, disillusioned and frustrated young adults out there today.  A recent USA Today article told the story of 32-year-old Dennis Hansen….

After a year without work, Hansen, 32, was hired to monitor Lake Michigan and Lake Superior water for the state and federal governments over two summers. He also had short stints as a census worker and as an extra post office hand during one holiday crush.

It hasn’t been enough: Hansen says he has a $13,000 credit card debt and that’s just for basics — his $600 monthly mortgage, heat and food.

“It’s definitely a roller coaster,” Hansen says, with the ups coming when he’s done well in a job interview and the downs when there’s a rejection: “That’s when I’m frustrated, angry and wondering why I went to college for 10 years.”

If the economy was humming along on all cylinders, it would be easy to blame our young adults for being too lazy.

But these days most young adults have to scramble like crazy just to get a really low paying job.  Large numbers of very talented young adults are waiting tables, flipping burgers or stocking shelves at Wal-Mart.

And this reality is reflected in the overall economic statistics.  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 adjust for inflation.

The “wealth gap” between younger Americans and older Americans is also growing and recently hit a new all-time high.  U.S. households led by someone 65 years of age or older are now 47 times wealthier than U.S. households led by someone 35 years of age or younger.

But this is not good for our society.  When there is civil unrest, it is not those 65 and older that take to the streets.

We desperately need our economy to get healthy again so that our young adults can get good jobs, get married, set up households, raise families and be productive members of society.

Instead, the percentage of young adults that have jobs is near an all-time low, the percentage of young adults living with their parents is at an all-time high, the proportion of adults in the United States that are married is at an all-time low and we have hordes of angry, frustrated young adults with plenty of time on their hands.

You don’t have to be a genius to see trouble on the horizon.

What is going to happen when the next major financial crisis comes and the economy gets significantly worse than it is now?

In the end, we are going to reap what we have sown.  We have fundamentally failed our young adults, and those failures are going to produce some very bitter fruit.

20 Signs That The Culture Of Government Dependence Has Gotten Completely And Totally Out Of Control

More Americans are financially dependent on the government than ever before.  For a variety of reasons, there are now tens of millions of Americans that would not be able to survive without government assistance.  As I wrote about the other day, the insane economic policies of our “representatives” in Washington D.C. have created a situation where there are not nearly enough decent jobs for everyone.  So the job market has become a giant game of “musical chairs” and a lot of American families have been left out in the cold when the music has stopped.  Of course we are not going to let them starve in the streets.  There are also some Americans that simply do not have the capacity to take care of themselves.  It is certainly the compassionate thing to do to give them a helping hand.  However, with all of that said, we also have to face the fact that we have created a “culture of dependence” in this country.  Americans that are now in their prime working years have been taught all of their lives that the government is going to take care of them from the cradle to the grave.  This culture of government dependence has gotten completely and totally out of control, and now nearly half of all American households receive some form of government benefits.  As a result, our debt is absolutely exploding, everyone looks to the government to solve our problems and very few Americans seem to possess a very strong work ethic any longer.

This article is going to make a lot of people angry, but it is imperative that we all comes to grips with the fact that this is not how a society is supposed to work.  Yes, we should help those that do not have the capacity to help themselves.  Yes, the insane policies of the federal government have created this economic environment where very few people can find jobs.  We didn’t want to keep their jobs in the country, so now we are going to have to support millions of displaced American workers somehow.

However, the notion that the federal government is supposed to take care of us from the time that we are born until the time that we die is poisonous.  As you will see below, federal government handouts have absolutely skyrocketed in recent years, but this has just created an environment where people are demanding even more handouts.

The truth is that the government is not your mommy and your daddy.  The government is not there to take money away from someone else and give it to you.  The government is supposed to be the “referee” – not your own personal caretaker.

So should we just start dumping millions upon millions of people off of government welfare rolls?

Of course not.  We cannot do that, because from the time that they were babies millions of Americans have been taught to be completely dependent on the government.  If we just suddenly cut them off they would not be able to make it.  They simply have never learned how.  We aren’t going to let tens of millions of people starve in the streets.  A growing percentage of Americans have never learned how to make it on their own.

That is one of the reasons why this culture of government dependence is so toxic.  People never learn to take care of themselves.

Unfortunately, the American people have become absolutely addicted to government money.  One way not to get elected is to threaten to reduce the government checks that people get every month.  Any politician that is honest about what we really can afford usually does not get a whole lot of support.

Yes, there is nothing wrong with helping the poor, the needy, the homeless and the despairing.

But each year millions more Americans climb aboard the “safety net”.  As I keep warning, at some point the “safety net” is going to break.

The government is not supposed to be your God.  If you have problems, then you need to fix them.

Yes, without a doubt that is not an easy thing to do in this economic environment.  Our government has royally messed things up.

But life is not easy and life is not fair.  Sometimes you just have to do the best you can with what you have.  If you wait around for the government to be your savior, you will almost always end up deeply disappointed and you will never get anywhere in life.

The following are 20 signs that the culture of government dependence has gotten completely and totally out of control….

#1 If you can believe it, 48.5% of all Americans now live in a household that receives some form of government benefits.  Back in 1983, that number was less than 30 percent.

#2 Way too many Americans believe that the government should just swoop in and solve all of their problems.  For example, the plight of a single mother named Angel Adams made national headlines recently.  Over the years her relationships with three different men have produced 15 children, and she was recently found living in a single motel room with 12 of those children.

As you can see in the video below, Adams is looking for the government to come in and rescue her.  The following is what Adams told one reporter….

“Somebody needs to pay for all my children and my – for all my suffering. Somebody needs to be held accountable, and they need to pay.”

You can see news clips about this case in the video posted below….

After seeing this video, most Americans would respond with statements such as these….

*”The government needs to help that mother out”

*”The government needs to take those children away from her”

*”The government needs to keep women like that from having so many kids”

Do you see the common theme there?

Today, Americans almost always think that the solution to a problem involves the government doing something.

In America, women should be free to have as many children as they want.  But they should also not expect the government to swoop in and rescue them from the consequences of the choices that they have made.

Yes, we always need to make sure that all children have food to eat and a roof over their heads.  But it is not the job of the government to come in and control her life, and it is not the job of the government “to pay” for her to have a comfortable life either.

#3 The amount of money paid out to individual citizens by the government today is absolutely staggering.  In 1980, government transfer payments accounted for just 11.7% of all income.  Today, government transfer payments account for 18.4% of all income.

#4 According to a recent ABC News report, suicides in rural America are spiking, and experts say that cuts to Medicaid are partly to blame….

Kathie Garrett, co-chairman of the Idaho Council on Suicide Prevention, says the problem has gotten only worse since the recession. “The poor economy and unemployment—those put a lot of stress on people’s lives,” she explains. To save money, people skip doctor visits and cut back on taking prescribed medications. Cuts in Medicaid have reduced the services available to the mentally ill.

“I personally know people who lost Medicaid who’ve attempted suicide,” says Garrett.

#5 By the end of 2011, approximately 55 million Americans will receive a total of 727 billion dollars in Social Security benefits.  In future years, this dollar figure is projected to absolutely skyrocket.

#6 When you total it all up, American households are now receiving more money from the U.S. government than they are paying to the government in taxes.

#7 It is being projected that the federal government will account for more than 50 percent of all health care spending in 2012.

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

#9 According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Social Security system paid out more in benefits than it received in payroll taxes in 2010.  That was not supposed to happen until at least 2016.

#10 The federal government is expected to “take care” of their workers far better than the private sector does.  If you can believe it, the average federal employee in the Washington D.C. area brings in total compensation worth more than $126,000 a year.

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

#12 Spending by the federal government accounts for approximately one third of the GDP of the entire Washington D.C. region.

#13 The federal government spent more than 50 billion dollars on “housing assistance” in 2009.

#14 The U.S. government now says that the Medicare trust fund will run out five years faster than they were projecting just last year.

#15 The total cost of just three federal government programs – the Department of Defense, Social Security and Medicare – exceeded the total amount of taxes brought in during fiscal 2010 by 10 billion dollars.

#16 Right now, there are more than 45 million Americans on food stamps.  That means that approximately one out of every seven Americans is dependent on the federal government for food.

#17 The number of Americans on food stamps has increased 74% since 2007.

#18 Sadly, one out of every four American children is now on food stamps.

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

#20 According to one study, “64.3 million Americans depended on the government (read: their fellow citizens) for their daily housing, food, and health care” during 2009.

After reading this article, a lot of people may get the impression that I am greedy and that I am “on the side” of the rich.

That is not the case at all.

I have repeatedly written about the growing problem of income inequality in America.

I have repeatedly written about the need to reduce the power and the wealth of the big banks and the big corporations.

I have repeatedly written about how our government is run by wealthy people and almost all political campaigns are funded by wealthy people.

We need to level the playing field so that individuals and small businesses have a chance to thrive once again.

Unfortunately, a lot of people out there think that the solution to these problems is to raise taxes on the wealthy and redistribute even more money to those receiving handouts.

Number one, that will never get those on handouts on the road to a better life.  Handouts are never a permanent solution.  A good job is a permanent solution.

Number two, that will only make the culture of government dependence even worse.

Yes, we need to take care of the poor and the needy.

I am a huge advocate of that.

In the book of James, it says the following….

Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days.

It is not the job of the government to take care of the poor and the needy.

It is our job.

If you are able to take care of yourself and your family, and you are not actively doing something to help the poor, then something is wrong.

There is nothing wrong with making a lot of money.

But there is something wrong with hoarding your wealth.

Sadly, most Americans have grown accustomed to the idea that they don’t have to take care of the poor because “the government” is going to do it.

That is another example of the “culture of government dependence”.  We have gotten so used to “the government” taking care of others that we don’t even lift a finger ourselves.

We need to stop waiting for the government to fix everything.

The government is not going to fix our lives.

The government is not going to fix the lives of those around us either.

We need to start taking responsibility for our own lives and for our own communities.

Does anyone disagree?

***UPDATE***

Here is another example from ABC News of an American that completely lost it when she realized that the government was not going to be her savior….

A Texas woman who for months was unable to qualify for food stamps pulled a gun in a state welfare office and staged a seven-hour standoff with police that ended with her shooting her two children before killing herself, officials said Tuesday.

We need to help the American people understand that the government is always going to end up failing them and that they need to fix their own lives.

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