More Bad News: 10 Things You Should Know About The Latest Economic Numbers

On Friday, headlines across the United States declared that “unemployment remains unchanged at 9.6%”.  Many analysts rejoiced and heralded this announcement as a sign that we have hit bottom and that things will be turning around soon.  But is that the truth?  A closer look at the unemployment numbers reveals some disturbing facts.  For example, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a broader measure of unemployment that includes workers that have stopped looking for work rose sharply to 17.1%.  But that is not the only troubling sign from this past week.  Agricultural commodities continue to skyrocket, which means that food price increases are on the way.  The foreclosure “robo-signing” crisis continues to escalate, and that threatens to throw the entire mortgage industry into a state of absolute turmoil.  Meanwhile, the U.S. national debt continues to grow and wealth continues to leave the United States at a dizzying rate

So is there reason for optimism?

No, not really.

Even if the unemployment numbers had improved slightly, the longer-term trends for unemployment are extremely troubling as you will see from the statistics and the chart below.

At the same time when so many Americans are out of work or can barely get by on what they are currently making, there is every indication that prices are about to go up.  Wheat, corn and soybeans all jumped in price on Friday, and it is inevitable that at some point these price increases will be passed on to consumers.  And if that wasn’t bad enough, now some Federal Reserve officials are actually talking about purposely generating more inflation in order to “stimulate” the U.S. economy.  

Meanwhile, this “robo-signing” foreclosure crisis threatens to escalate totally out of control.  Will we soon see thousands of court cases popping up from coast to coast challenging the legitimacy of foreclosure paperwork?  Will title insurers start totally backing off from foreclosed properties?  Banks were already completely overwhelmed trying to process the massive backlog of foreclosures.  Is this going to make the situation a whole lot worse?

The truth is that more bad news for the U.S. economy comes out almost daily now.  The following are 10 things that you need to know about the latest econ0mic numbers…. 

1 – Gallup’s measure of unemployment, which is not adjusted for “seasonal factors”, showed a sharp increase in September.  According to Gallup, unemployment has increased from 8.9% in July to 9.3% in August and to 10.1% in September.

2 – The seasonally-adjusted Alternate Unemployment Rate compiled by Shadow Government Statistics shows that the real unemployment rate in the United States is worse than it has been ever since the economic downturn began.  The Alternate Unemployment Rate calculated by SGS reflects estimated “long-term discouraged workers”, which the U.S. government stopped keeping track of back in 1994….

3 – The number of Americans working part-time jobs “for economic reasons” is now the highest it has been in at least five decades.

4 – 15.8% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 were unemployed during the month of September.

5 – Agricultural commodities continued to move higher on Friday.  Wheat, corn and soybeans all saw their prices soar.  Unfortunately for American consumers, this is part of a broader trend of rising agricultural commodity prices.  As this continues, it is inevitable that we will all be seeing much higher food prices at our local grocery stores. 

6 – It is being reported that PNC Financial Services Group has suspended the sale of foreclosed homes for the next thirty days.  This is the fourth major lender to take dramatic action recently.  Will nearly all U.S. mortgage lenders eventually be caught up in this crisis before it is over?

7 – Bank of America announced on Friday that it is now going to suspend sales of foreclosed homes in all 50 U.S. states as it continues to evaluate internal foreclosure procedures.  This “foreclosure crisis” threatens to decimate the entire U.S. real estate industry.  What has happened is that millions of U.S. mortgages were sold and resold around the globe at lightning speed and the chain of ownership for many of these mortgages become muddied.  In addition, it is starting to emerge that many of these lenders used fraudulent loan documents during foreclosure proceedings and company officials often used “robo-signers” to sign important foreclosure documents.  So now mortgage lenders, title insurers and those buying or selling foreclosed homes will be facing years of gridlock and chaos as foreclosure-related lawsuits multiply exponentially.  All of this is going to have a dramatic effect on the U.S. real estate market.  In fact, it is being reported that U.S. home sales are already starting to be affected by this crisis. 

8 – The U.S. National debt just keep growing.  If you took the national debt and divided it up among all Americans, each American (including children) would owe approximately $42,000.  So, for an average family of four, their share of the national debt would be $168,000.

9 – Interest payments on the U.S. national debt increased 13% in the fiscal year that ended September 30th.  If interest payments continue to increase that rapidly each year they will bankrupt the U.S. government very quickly. 

10 – It appears that some weird games are being played with the national debt numbers.  Back on September 29th, the U.S. national debt was 13.466 trillion dollars.  On September 30th, the U.S. national debt soared to 13.561 trillion dollars.  Then on October 1st, the beginning of the new fiscal year for the federal government, the U.S. national debt jumped up to 13.610 trillion dollars.  So how in the world does the U.S. national debt jump by a whopping 144 billion dollars in just two days?  Somebody has some explaining to do for this kind of accounting.

The United States was once the wealthiest nation by far on the entire planet.

But now we are in such a rapid decline that it is hard for most Americans to even comprehend it.

We are like that one couple that almost every neighborhood seems to have that has two shiny new cars in their driveway, that dresses in designer clothes and that seems to have plenty of money to take vacations and yet is in debt up to their eyeballs.

The truth is that the United States keeps getting poorer every single month.  The term “trade deficit” is not very sexy, but it is critically important to understand if you want to comprehend what is happening to the U.S. economy.  Every month tens of billions of dollars more wealth goes out of the United States than comes into it.  We are continually getting poorer.

To cover up our declining national wealth, we have gone into staggering amounts of debt.  We have maintained our lavish standard of living by piling up staggering amounts of debt on the national, corporate and consumer levels. 

The sad reality is that the U.S. government is not the wealthiest government in the world any longer.  Rather, it is the government that is the most in debt.  The U.S. national debt is the biggest debt that the world has ever seen, and it grows larger every single day.

We can’t keep up this charade forever.  At some point it is going to stop.

When this house of cards does come tumbling down, do you think that the American people are going to be pleased to learn that our leaders have squandered our once great wealth and have destroyed the greatest economic machine that the world has ever known?

20 Signs That The Economic Collapse Has Already Begun For One Out Of Every Seven Americans

For most Americans, the economic collapse is something that is happening to someone else.  Most of us have become so isolated from each other and so self-involved that unless something is directly affecting us or a close family member than we really don’t feel it.  But even though most of us enjoy a much closer relationship with our television sets than we do with our neighbors at this point, it is quickly becoming undeniable that a fundamental shift is taking place in society.  Perhaps you noticed it when two or three foreclosure signs went up on your street.  Or perhaps it got your attention when that nice fellow down the street lost his job, and he and his family seemingly just disappeared from the neighborhood one day.  The Census Bureau made front page headlines all over the nation this week when they announced that one out of every seven Americans was living in poverty in 2009.  Every single day more Americans are getting sucked out of the middle class and into soul-crushing poverty.   

Unfortunately, most Americans don’t really care because it has not affected them yet.

But this year, millions more Americans will discover that the music has stopped playing and they are left without a seat at the table.

Meanwhile, neither political party has a workable solution.  They just like to point fingers and blame each other.

The Democrats blame Bush for all the poverty and advocate expanding programs for the poor.  Not that there is anything wrong with a safety net.  But the “safety net” was never meant to hold 50 million people on Medicaid and 40 million people on food stamps.  The number of Americans on food stamps has more than doubled since 2007.  So do we just double it again as things get even worse?

The truth is that welfare programs are only short-term solutions.  Unfortunately, the Democrats do not understand this.  What Americans really need are good jobs.

The Republicans are so boneheaded that they don’t even like to talk about poverty because they think it is a “liberal issue”.  Some conservative commentators have even been so brutally cold as to mock the “99ers” (those who have been unemployed so long that even their extended federal benefits have run out).

Instead of showing some compassion and being the party of the American worker (as they should be), the Republicans are often very uncompassionate and they allow the Democrats to be “the party of the poor” by default.

Both political parties need a big wakeup call.  There is a tsunami of poverty sweeping the United States, and somebody better wake up and do something about it.  More handouts will help people get by in the short-term, but there is no way that the federal government can financially support tens of millions more poor Americans.

How long is it going to be before the “safety net” simply collapses under the weight of all this poverty?

The path we are on is not sustainable.

The economy is falling apart, and somebody better wake up and do something before even more Americans find themselves drowning in poverty.

The following are 20 signs that the economic collapse has already begun for one out of every seven Americans…..

#1 The Census Bureau says that 43.6 million Americans are now living in poverty and according to them that is the highest number of poor Americans in 51 years of record-keeping.

#2 In the year 2000, 11.3 percent of Americans were living in poverty.  In 2008, 13.2 percent of Americans were living in poverty.  In 2009, 14.3 percent of Americans were living in poverty.  Needless to say the trend is moving in the wrong direction. 

#3 In 2009 alone, approximately 4 million more Americans joined the ranks of the poor.

#4 According to the Associated Press, experts believe that 2009 saw the largest single year increase in the U.S. poverty rate since the U.S. government began calculating poverty figures back in 1959.

#5 The U.S. poverty rate is now the third worst among the developed nations tracked by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

#6 Today the United States has approximately 4 million fewer wage earners than it did in 2007.

#7 Nearly 10 million Americans now receive unemployment insurance, which is almost four times as many as were receiving it in 2007.

#8 U.S. banks repossessed 25 percent more homes in August 2010 than they did in August 2009.

#9 One out of every seven mortgages in the United States was either delinquent or in foreclosure during the first quarter of 2010.

#10 There are now 50.7 million Americans who do not have health insurance.  One trip to the emergency room would be all it would take to bankrupt a significant percentage of them.

#11 More than 50 million Americans are now on Medicaid, the U.S. government health care program designed principally to help the poor.

#12 There are now over 41 million Americans on food stamps.

#13 The number of Americans enrolled in the food stamp program increased a whopping 55 percent from December 2007 to June 2010.

#14 One out of every six Americans is now being served by at least one government anti-poverty program.

#15 California’s poverty rate soared to 15.3 percent in 2009, which was the highest in 11 years.

#16 According to an analysis by Isabel Sawhill and Emily Monea of the Brookings Institution, 10 million more Americans (including 6 million more children) will slip into poverty over the next decade.

#17 According to a recently released Federal Reserve report, Americans experienced a $1.5 trillion loss in combined household net worth in the second quarter of 2010.

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

#19 Median U.S. household income is down 5 percent from its peak of more than $52,000 in 1999.

#20 A study recently released by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College University found that Americans are $6.6 trillion short of what they need for retirement.

How anyone can look at those numbers and think that things are about to “get better” absolutely boggles the mind.

It is time to wake up.

Things are not going to get better.

Things are only going to get worse.

The United States is rapidly becoming a nation where poverty is absolutely rampant.

As poverty continues to spread, crime will not be far behind.

Meanwhile, the international community wants to impose a global tax on us so that they can “redistribute” even more of our wealth around the world.

The following was just reported by CNSNews.com….

A group of 60 nations will meet next week at the United Nations to push for a tax on foreign currency transactions as a way to generate revenue to meet global poverty-reduction goals, including “climate change” mitigation.

Well isn’t that great?  As American descends into poverty, the rest of the world is pushing for a global tax that will drain us of wealth even more.

It is just a tax on foreign currency transactions, but history has taught us that once taxers get their foot in the door they always go for more eventually.

Sadly, it is not just the United Nations that is discussing a global tax.  In fact, the IMF and the World Health Organization have both been very open about the fact that they want to impose global taxes of their own.

Not that we aren’t taxed enough already.  We already pay dozens of different kinds of taxes each year, and 2011 is already being dubbed as “the year of the tax increase“.

But most Americans don’t have any more to give.  Most Americans can barely make it from month to month.  More Americans than ever are slipping into poverty. 

What a mess we have on our hands.

Do any of you have any suggestions for how we should go about fixing all of this?

This Economy Is Ripping The Dignity Of Millions Of Unemployed Americans To Shreds

If you can still put a roof over your head and food on the table for your family, you should consider yourself to be very fortunate.  There are millions of Americans out there right now that are really, really suffering.  The cold, hard reality of it is that there aren’t even close to enough jobs out there for everyone right now.  It is almost as if we are all caught in a really bizarre game of musical chairs where the losers get stripped of their tickets to the middle class.  What this horrible economy is doing to the dignity of millions of middle class Americans is incredibly saddening.  There are a lot of very highly educated and very hard working Americans who cannot seem to get jobs no matter what they do and now find themselves doing whatever they can just to survive.  It can be really hard to keep your dignity when you played by all the rules and you worked as hard as you could all your life and now you find yourself a half step away from being homeless.  Those of us who are still doing okay should never look down on those who are struggling in this economy, because the truth is that any of us could be next.   

If you really want to read some horror stories about what long-term unemployment is doing to some people in America, you should go spend an hour or two over at Unemployed-Friends some time.  It is a great forum with a lot of great resources for the unemployed, but it also contains dozens and dozens and dozens of heartbreaking stories from middle class Americans who have had their lives shattered by this economic downturn.      

The following is a typical story on Unemployed-Friends.  It is from a 48 year old Air Force veteran who has lost everything and is now sleeping in his vehicle.  It turns out that Scott48’s job was shipped off to India and now he has been out of work for over two years….

“I am a 48 year old USAF Vet. I got my house in 1996 with the help of the VA. In 2009 the company I worked for went out of buisness(gone to India) I then became a 99er. I notified Wells Fargo that I lost my job and they said they would work with me, the next mortgage statement I got they conveniently increased my mortgage! With what I got from UE was enough for the house but I had to cut out the luxury of food, gas, utillities, insurance, entertainment and alcohol. That was it for me, so the forecloser ball was in motion. I had to give my dog to my cousin so he would get fed, I took everything I owened to the auction( execpt tools, clothes, pictures, tech manuals and my Saxophone) and sold it. I went to a half-way house the VA recomended for a week and it was joke, so my cousin said I could stay with her. After 4 months she diecided that I wasnt looking hard enough and kicked me out, and Ive applied for everything except selling myself. This summer I was staying in an abandoned house due to forecloser and the real estate company has now put it on the market, and I am now on the street sleeping in my vehicle or a friend here and there. Keeping clean is going to be a challenge cuz the Flying J truck stops charge $10 for a shower, rip-off. What a country!”

The truth is that this economy is driving many Americans to the brink of desperation.  Even recent college graduates are becoming desperate enough to actually consider suicide.  The following story is from an Unemployed-Friends user known as 08pacollegegrad….

“I could just take any job like working at fast food places, but I hear people who try can’t even get hired there. I went to Wendy’s for lunch the other day and I thought of picking up an application…but the slot where they keep the applications was completely empty. That should say it all. Plus, I feel like if I take just any job…I will be set back further and never be able to gain experience in my chosen fields.

I follow up on job applications, but employers ignore me for the most part when I try to contact them. I sent five follow up e-mails last week and got no responses. I contacted an employer expressing my interest in working for them, but all they gave me is the link to their online application system that I have never gotten a job from.

I am thinking of applying for more internships (I have already done two), but I don’t want employers to think why I am applying for an internship when I should have had a full fledged job by now.

I have almost killed myself over my situaion and am taking anti-depressants right now. I see a psychiatrist every 4-6 weeks, but I still have days where I feel so empty. I am sick of sitting at home searching for jobs and praying for a response that never comes.”

Many Americans spend day after day after day looking for a job that never comes.  The sense of hopelessness that can build after doing this for a few years is almost indescribable.  The following is another incredibly sad story from an Unemployed-Friends user known as feuxdejoie….

“I lost my job in June 2008, my husband was working but sentenced to prison for 4 years, for DUI, no accidents or injuries. I had been using my unemployment to pay bills but my last check came June 12, 2010. I’m alone and scared. The city that I live in has the highest unemployment in the State, Illinois. Our children are grown and I sit alone all day searching for jobs. My husband can only call once a month because of the outrageous rates for telephone calls. I’m at the end of my rope and don’t know where to turn if they don’t pass a tier V for unemployment or open up some jobs.
I turned 50 in April and had worked all of my life, starting at age 14 with a work permit! My employer stated to me that they needed someone bilingual and terminated me even after I told them that I would take classes to learn.  I signed up for college and began classes in January then unemployment told me that I wasn’t elgible for unemployment while attending school.”

There are millions of Americans who believe that their lives are over because they can’t get decent jobs.  When you lose your job, your home, your car, your health insurance and then finally your unemployment insurance runs out, it is easy to lose all hope as an Unemployed-Friends user named Ember has done….

“so i feel pretty much hopeless. been unemployed since July 2008. in over two years i haven’t even been called for an interview. tired of looking and applying for jobs outside of my field that require experience i don’t have. it’s all for naught. i have two bachelor of science degrees. my BS degrees, cuz that’s what they’re worth. since losing my job i’ve gotten divorced. lost my house. lost my health insurance. totalled my car and sustained chronic back pain. and moved in with my mom. and did i mention, when all this started i was a new mom, just back from maternity leave? so (now) i’m raising a toddler on my own, with no income. my unemployment insurance ran out a few weeks ago. i don’t even know what to do now. i just want to disappear. i’m tired of trying. i’m tired of being a burden on everyone. if i didn’t have the responsibility to take care of my child i wouldn’t be around anymore.”

This final example is from an Unemployed-Friends user identified as Faith1028.  Be warned that this one will shake you to your core if you have any sensitivity at all.  As you read this, keep in mind that this kind of thing is literally happening to millions of Americans these days…. 

“HI, y’all! This is my story. I’m from Chicago.

I lost my job 11.06.09 – I did my best to remain positive & confident that I would get a job by the end of November.

December 2009 – Still no job. I’m getting food stamps (LINK card) & Unemployment Benefits. Not much money at all, but I’m surviving. Thanks to all this stress, my stomach has been burning and/or been painful daily for all December. I puked my guts out on the 26th.

January 2010 – My stomach is still hurting every day. I had to close out my savings account. I haven’t told my slumlord or my fellow tenants that I lost my job; I go on pretending I’m still going to work everyday. Unfortunately on the 26th, I got my eviction notice. I called the office to ask why. The response was “I don’t know.” I became hysterical. I’ve no job, no money, no family/friends to help. (I have many *relatives*, but no *family*.) I truly believed my only alternative was suicide. I wanted to say good-bye to my brother (my only sibling), but we haven’t spoken to each other for over 4 years; I no longer have his address/phone number. I found him on Facebook. I didn’t bring up my situation because I felt he wouldn’t care. We exchanged a few messages and that was it. I haven’t heard from him since. Good riddance.

February 2010 – Someone found a family that I can stay with for only $250/month! My own room! They turned out to be aquaintances of mine. Vegetarian, too! At least I have a place to stay. I’d rather live alone, but, hey, I’m desperate! — And I’m not too crazy about the bedbugs. OW!

June/July 2010 – Thanks to daily/nightly use of citrine crystals since 30 May, I have no more stomach problems!
Thanks to weekly use of a natural (green!) pesticide from PlusNaturalEnzymes.com, I no longer have a problem with bedbugs! However…
Mid-June, my Unemployment Benefits ran out. Of course, I’m still looking for a job! What am I supposed to do – put a gun to someone’s head and force them to hire me? As of this date, I have $12 left to my name; $0 in my chequeing account. I recently reapplied for and am now receiving food stamps. Before I got my food stamps back, I’ve eaten whatever (Vegetarian!) food I can get, even stuff I’m allergic to. As a result, I’ve become sick: cold-like symptoms, pain in lower intestines…and a rash over my arms, legs, & neck. Oh, does it itch! At least my food allergies are not life-threatening.
Needless to say, my depression has gotten worse.

I am really trying hard to remain positive — and alive.
But why? Is it really all worth it?

I haven’t paid July’s rent, and the people I’m staying with are getting very *impatient*; I fear I’ll be evicted again! The money is coming! It’s not my bloody fault!

Someone on Twitter sent me a link to this site. I know I’m not the only one suffering; some folks have already committed suicide. I don’t want to die, but I don’t want to be homeless, either. I am so bloody scared.
Just give me money that my tax dollars paid for!
–Or better yet: GIVE ME A BLASTED JOB!!”

The really sad thing is that there are countless other stories just like these being posted all over the Internet all the time.

People are hurting.

People are losing hope.

So how did we get here?

Well, it turns out that the “haves” have figured out that they really don’t need the “have nots” after all.  Incredible advances in technology have increasingly enabled employers to replace humans with machines and computers.  In addition, as we have detailed previously, millions upon millions of middle class American jobs are being shipped off to China and to dozens of third world nations where workers are more than happy to work for less than a tenth of what an American worker would make.

All of those jobs that have been lost to technology and that have been sent overseas are not going to come back.  The hordes of long-term unemployed that we are seeing now is just the beginning.  It is going to get a lot worse.

So the next time you hear a hard luck story from an unemployed American, don’t look down on that person.

You might be next.

Foreclosures Continue To Dramatically Increase In 2010

In a very alarming sign for the U.S. economy, foreclosures have continued to dramatically increase in 2010.  But there has been a shift.  Back in 2007 and 2008, experts tell us that most foreclosures were due to toxic mortgages.  People were being suckered into mortgages that they couldn’t afford with “teaser rates” or with payments that would dramatically escalate after a few years, and when those mortgages reset, the people who had agreed to them no longer could make the payments.  But now RealtyTrac says that unemployment has become the major reason for foreclosures.  Millions of Americans have become chronically unemployed during the economic downturn and many of them are losing their homes as a result.  But whatever the cause, one thing is certain – foreclosures have continued to skyrocket at a staggering rate.

According to a new report from RealtyTrac, foreclosure filings climbed in 75% of the nation’s metro areas during the first half of 2010.  At a time when the Obama administration believes that we are “turning the corner”, things just seem to get even worse. 

Some areas of the country continue to be complete and total disaster areas when it comes to real estate.  For example, you have got to feel really sorry for anyone trying to sell a house down in Florida right now.  According to RealtyTrac, Florida led the way with nine of the top 20 metro foreclosure rates in the country during the first half of 2010.

Ouch.

But the worst city for foreclosures continues to be Las Vegas.

According to RealtyTrac spokesman Rick Sharga, unemployment has replaced bad loans as the number one cause of foreclosures there….

“Las Vegas has seamlessly shifted from having a high level of foreclosures due to bad loans to defaults caused by a high level of unemployment.”

But other cities with high unemployment rates are having huge problems as well.

For those who believe that the economy is supposed to be “improving”, it must seem really odd that foreclosure rates in major cities such as Chicago continue to soar.

RealtyTrac says that foreclosure filings in Chicago have increased 23 percent year-over-year to one out of every 48 households.

But it isn’t just cities like Las Vegas and Chicago that are nightmares right now.

The truth is that this is a national crisis.

The Mortgage Bankers Association recently announced that more than 10% of all U.S. homeowners with a mortgage had missed at least one mortgage payment during the January to March time period.  That was a new all-time record and represented an increase from 9.1 percent a year ago.

Unfortunately, new all-time records are being set all over the place….

*The number of home foreclosures set a record for the second consecutive month in May.

*Banks repossessed 269,962 U.S. homes during the second quarter of 2010, which was a new all-time record.

*As of March, U.S. banks had an inventory of approximately 1.1 million foreclosed homes, which was a new record and which was up 20 percent from a year ago.

So is there any hope that things are going to get better soon?

Well, according to RealtyTrac’s CEO James Saccacio, that depends on the U.S. economy….

“The fragile stability achieved in many local housing markets hinges on improvements in the underlying economy, specifically job growth. If unemployment remains persistently high and foreclosure prevention efforts only delay the inevitable, then we could continue to see increased foreclosure activity and a corresponding weakness in home prices in many metro areas.”

Without good jobs, the American people are not going to be able to pay their mortgages.

So are the millions upon millions of jobs that have been lost coming back soon?

No, unfortunately they are not.

As we discussed at length in a previous article, the big global corporations that dominate our economy are figuring out that they don’t really need the rest of us anymore.  The American worker is becoming obsolete.  After all, why pay an American ten times as much to do the same job?  Big corporations can hire two people in China or India to do the same job and still pocket 80% of the difference.

In addition, big corporations don’t really need the headache of making employer contributions to Social Security, setting up benefit packages and pension plans or of trying to comply with the thousands upon thousands of ridiculous regulations that the U.S. government continues to spew out.

At this point, the American worker has become extremely unattractive for large corporations, and so jobs will continue to migrate to other areas of the world.

We allowed our politicians to merge us into a “global economy”, so now we are all going to have to deal with being part of a “global workforce”.

As jobs continue to be offshored and outsourced, more Americans are going to become unemployed and the foreclosure crisis is going to continue to be a nightmare.

It would be nice to put a positive spin on all of this, but there isn’t one.

The American People Don’t Need More Handouts – What They Need Are Good Jobs

Without millions more good jobs, the U.S. economy is simply never, ever going to recover.  But at this point, there is every indication that the U.S. economy is going to continue to bleed jobs.  In the past, employment would bounce up and down as the economy went through various cycles.  But today what we are witnessing is something much different.  Over the past 30 or 40 years, literally millions of good jobs have been shipped off to China, India and to dozens of third world nations where half-starving workers are more than happy to slave away for big global corporations for less than a dollar an hour.  In the new “global economy” that we were promised would be so good for us, the expensive American worker is obsolete.  The giant global predator corporations that now dominate our economy do not exist to provide you and your family with a nice home, two cars and college educations for all your children.  No, their goal is to keep costs as low as possible so that their profits will be as high as possible.  For many of these giant global predator corporations, that means that paying workers as close to zero as possible is the best decision for the bottom line. 

The truth is that the American people were never told that “free trade” and a “global economy” would mean that they would soon be lumped into a giant global labor pool and would be forced to compete for jobs with people on the other side of the globe.

No, we were just told that we should enjoy all of the cheap plastic crap made overseas that all of the “big box” retail stores were pushing us to buy.

Well, the party was fun while it lasted.  Americans ran up unprecedented amounts of debt on their credit cards buying all this stuff, while our once great manufacturing cities degenerated into rotted-out war zones.

But isn’t it a good thing to get all these products at such a cheap price?

After all, who wants to pay substantially more for things?

Well, running an economy this way is kind of like tearing off pieces of your house in order to keep your fire going.  Sure the fire will burn brightly for a while, but eventually you will have torn down your entire house.

One way or another, we end up paying dearly for the jobs we have shipped overseas.

You see, the millions of Americans who are now chronically unemployed because of “free trade” have to be supported by the U.S. government.

That means that it is the U.S. taxpayers who end up footing the bill.

You didn’t think that we were going to let all of those unemployed workers starve in the streets, did you?

Without good jobs, an increasing number of Americans are becoming completely dependent on government handouts.

Already, state governments across the United States are going broke trying to pay out unemployment benefits to the hordes of Americans who don’t have a job and can’t find a job.

In addition, for the first time in U.S. history, more than 40 million Americans are on food stamps, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that number will go up to 43 million Americans in 2011.

Also, according to one new study, somewhere around 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010, which is the highest rate in 20 years.

The truth is that more Americans are dependent on direct payments from the federal government than ever before.

But how long can we afford to support the millions upon millions of Americans who have been impoverished by this new “global economy”?

The U.S. government budget deficit was a record $1.4 trillion in 2009.  Now the White House says that we will exceed that figure in 2010 and again in 2011.

So just how long can we afford to run deficits equivalent to 10 percent of GDP?

Anyone with half a brain knows that these kind of debts are not anywhere close to sustainable.

So where is the money going to come from to pay for these exploding government programs?

Well, from you of course.

Recently I dubbed 2011 “the year of the tax increase”.  A whole slew of new taxes is scheduled to go into effect starting next year that will impact every single American taxpayer.

It is almost enough to make you want to stop working and start collecting government handouts instead.

But the American people don’t need even more handouts.

Handouts are only a temporary solution to a long-term problem.

What the American people need are good jobs.

But where in the world are these jobs going to come from?

The reality is that in the new “global economy”, the United States is a very unattractive place to do business.

If you were a global corporation, would you rather open a new facility in the third world where there are very few rules and regulations and where people will work for less than a dollar an hour, or would you rather open a new facility in the United States where there are literally thousands of laws and regulations to comply with and where you are going to have to pay workers at least ten times as much?

It doesn’t take a genius to see where all of this is headed.

For decades, an increasing number of Americans have been forced into lower paying service jobs, but now there aren’t even nearly enough of those to go around. 

But it isn’t just the jobs that have been shipped overseas that are depressing wages and causing unemployment to skyrocket.  The millions of illegal immigrants that have flooded unchecked across the border have depressed wages and fundamentally changed the employment picture in industries such as construction and food service. 

Not only that, but in this environment not even high tech workers are safe.  In fact, there are some corporations in the high tech industry that have been openly abusing worker visas to ship in large numbers of foreign workers to replace more expensive American employees.

What all this means is that it is becoming much more difficult to live a middle class lifestyle in the United States.

Perhaps that is why one of my articles struck such a nerve recently.  An article that I originally wrote for The American Dream blog and adapted by Business Insider has gone mega-viral and has ended up on Yahoo Finance.  The article was entitled “The Middle Class In America Is Radically Shrinking – Here Are The Stats To Prove it” and it has received over 9000 comments on Yahoo.

So why did it provoke such an extraordinary response?

Well, because it hits people where they live.

Today, millions of American families are really struggling.  Record numbers of middle class Americans are receiving foreclosure notices and record numbers of middle class Americans are going bankrupt.

In fact, more Americans than ever find themselves just trying to survive.

According to a poll taken in 2009, 61 percent of Americans “always or usually” live paycheck to paycheck, which was up from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.

You see, the truth is that most American families are not concerned with saving for retirement or even with planning for next year.  In this economic environment, most American families are worried about how they are going to survive until next month.

So who has been doing well in the new global economy?

The very, very wealthy of course.

According to Harvard Magazine, 66% of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all Americans.

Now, the truth is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with making money, but by any reasonable standard an economic system that produces such skewed results is horribly broken.

So will “redistributing the wealth” solve things?

No, it won’t.

At best, “redistributing the wealth” is only a temporary solution and it always ends up creating a lot of long-term problems.

What the American people really need are millions more good jobs.

But as we have seen, the current imbalances in the new “global economy” make it more likely that the American people will continue to lose millions more good jobs rather than gaining them.

Unless something is done, the standard of living for middle class Americans will continue to be forced down as labor increasingly becomes a global commodity.

So are you just going to accept that, or are you going to start demanding that your representatives change things?

The choice is up to you.

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