15 Signs That The Quality Of Jobs In America Is Going Downhill Really Fast

Wal-Mart - Photo by Arthur JacobTrying to find a job in America today can be an incredibly frustrating experience.  Most of the jobs that are available seem to pay very little, and there is intense competition for just about any job that is open.  But it wasn’t always like this.  When I was in high school, I was immediately hired when I applied for a job at McDonalds because they were so desperate for workers that they would hire just about anyone that could flip a burger.  But in this economic environment, a single nationwide hiring event conducted by McDonalds resulted in a million job applications, and only a small percentage of those applicants were actually hired.  Our economy simply does not produce enough jobs for everyone anymore, and the percentage of “good jobs” continues to decline.  That means that it is getting really hard to find a job that will enable you to support a family, and a lot of people end up doing jobs that they are massively overqualified for.  But when times are tough, people are going to do what they have to do in order to survive.

One thing that we have seen in recent years is an explosion in the number of “temp workers” in America.  Even some of the largest companies in America are using them.  They like the flexibility of being able to bring in workers when they need them and of being able to dump them the moment they don’t need them anymore.  Sadly, those that work in the “temp industry” often work in deplorable conditions for very little pay.  The following is a brief excerpt from an absolutely outstanding Pro Publica article

In cities all across the country, workers stand on street corners, line up in alleys or wait in a neon-lit beauty salon for rickety vans to whisk them off to warehouses miles away. Some vans are so packed that to get to work, people must squat on milk crates, sit on the laps of passengers they do not know or sometimes lie on the floor, the other workers’ feet on top of them.

This is not Mexico. It is not Guatemala or Honduras. This is Chicago, New Jersey, Boston.

The people here are not day laborers looking for an odd job from a passing contractor. They are regular employees of temp agencies working in the supply chain of many of America’s largest companies – Walmart, Macy’s, Nike, Frito-Lay. They make our frozen pizzas, sort the recycling from our trash, cut our vegetables and clean our imported fish. They unload clothing and toys made overseas and pack them to fill our store shelves. They are as important to the global economy as shipping containers and Asian garment workers.

Many get by on minimum wage, renting rooms in rundown houses, eating dinners of beans and potatoes, and surviving on food banks and taxpayer-funded health care. They almost never get benefits and have little opportunity for advancement.

But these are the types of jobs the U.S. economy is “creating” these days.  Low paying part-time jobs are continually becoming a bigger part of the economy.  This is one of the primary reasons why the middle class in America is shrinking.

You can’t support a family on what most of these part-time jobs pay.  But our economy is not producing many high quality full-time jobs these days.  The average quality of American jobs just continues to sink.

The following are 15 signs that the quality of jobs in America is going downhill really fast…

#1 The number of part-time workers in the United States has just hit a brand new all-time high, but the number of full-time workers is still nearly 6 million below the old record that was set back in 2007.

#2 In America today, only 47 percent of adults have a full-time job.

#3 Even though the U.S. economy created nearly 200,000 jobs in June, the number of full-time jobs actually decreased.

#4 There are now 2.7 million temp workers in the United States – a new all-time high.

#5 One out of every ten jobs in the United States is now filled through a temp agency.

#6 The U.S. economy has actually lost manufacturing jobs for four consecutive months.

#7 The official unemployment rate has been at 7.5 percent or higher for 54 months in a row.  That is the longest stretch in U.S. history.

#8 According to one recent survey, 76 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.

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

#10 High paying manufacturing jobs continue to be shipped overseas.  Sadly, there are fewer Americans employed in manufacturing now than there was in 1950 even though the population of the country has more than doubled since then.

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

#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 At this point, an astounding 53 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year.

#15 According to a study that was released by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, only 24.6 percent of all jobs in the United States qualify as “good jobs” at this point.  In a previous article, I detailed the three criteria that they used to define what a “good job” is….

#1 The job must pay at least $18.50 an hour.  According to the authors, that is the equivalent of the median hourly pay for American workers back in 1979 after you adjust for inflation.

#2 The job must provide access to employer-sponsored health insurance, and the employer must pay at least some portion of the cost of that insurance.

#3 The job must provide access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan.

All of this is absolutely heartbreaking.

Once upon a time, just about any adult that was willing to work hard in America could go out and find a good paying job that would support a middle class lifestyle.

Now those days are gone forever.

But different conditions exist in different parts of the country.

What are you seeing in your area?

Are good jobs difficult to find?

Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…

 

32 Facts That Show How Men Are Being Systematically Emasculated In America Today

32 Facts That Show How Men Are Being Systematically Emasculated In America TodayWhat is wrong with men in America?  Why isn’t our country producing lots of strong, independent, hard working men of character like it once did?  Well, many believe that it starts at a very young age.  When compared with girls, boys in the United States get lower grades, they are much more likely to get into trouble at school and they are much more likely to be put on behavior-modifying drugs.  When it comes time to pursue a higher education, most of our young men are ill-prepared to do that.  Today, nearly 60 percent of the students enrolled at U.S. colleges are women.  And of course it has become much more difficult for men to find good jobs.  In fact, less than 65 percent of all men have a job right now.  Without a good job, a man is not considered to be “marriage material”, but a large percentage of our young men don’t want to get married anyway.  Society has told them that it is okay to be a “slacker”.  Today, far too many of our young men are far more interested in their various addictions (beer, drugs, sex, video games, gambling, etc.) than they are in starting a family.  But the truth is that men are far more happy when they have a purpose.  When men are raising families, starting businesses or doing something to transform society they feel fulfilled.

Sadly, the message that our young men are getting from our television shows and our movies is that men are idiots.  Instead of being portrayed as leaders that are eager to get married and raise strong families, young men are often being portrayed as passive slackers that love to party and chase women.

Start paying attention to how men are portrayed in the media.  In particular, pay attention to how they are portrayed in our commercials.  Our boys and young men are exposed to thousands upon thousands of hours of this “programming”, and it has a dramatic affect on them.

Our system beats up our boys and young men so badly that only a relatively small percentage of them emerge into adulthood as strong, independent young men that are able to take care of themselves and start families of their own.

In America today, the percentage of men in prison is at an all-time high, the percentage of men with a job is near an all-time low and the percentage of children living without a father is at an all-time high.

Do we have a crisis on our hands?

Yes, we most definitely have a crisis on our hands.

The following are 32 facts that show how men are being systematically emasculated in America today…

#1 The labor participation rate for men has been steadily declining over the years…

In the 1950s, nearly every man in his prime working years was in the labor force, a category that includes both those who are employed and those actively applying for jobs. The “participation rate” for men ages 25 to 54 stood at 97.7% in early 1956, but drifted downward to a post-war record low of 88.4% at the end of 2012.  (It ticked up very slightly at the start of this year to 88.6%.)

So where have all the men workers gone?

Some went into prison. Others are on disability. And still others can’t find jobs and have simply given up looking.

#2 Back in 1950, more than 80 percent of all men in the United States had jobs.  Today, less than 65 percent of all men in the United States have jobs.  The chart posted below illustrates this stunning decline…

Men - Employment-Population Ratio

#3 During the last recession, men lost twice as many jobs as women did.

#4 According to Time Magazine, unemployed men are significantly more likely to get divorced than employed men are.

#5 According to the Economic Policy Institute, the “real entry-level hourly wage for men who recently graduated from high school” has declined from $15.64 in 1979 to $11.68 today.

#6 Between 1969 and 2009 the median wages earned by American men between the ages of 30 and 50 dropped by 27 percent after you account for inflation.

#7 Thanks to government policies which are killing off small businesses in America, the percentage of self-employed Americans is at an all-time low today.  This has had a disproportionate impact on men.

#8 In 1982, 1.9 percent of all men were receiving disability benefits.  Today, 3.1 percent of all men are receiving disability benefits.

#9 According to one very surprising study, “young, urban, childless women” make more money in America today than young, urban, childless men do.

#10 More than half of all middle management jobs in America are now held by women.

#11 More than half of all health care jobs in America are now held by women.

#12 The United States has the highest incarceration rate on the entire globe by a very wide margin.  Overall, the U.S. has approximately 25 percent of the entire global prison population even though it only has 5 percent of the total global population.  Men make up the vast majority of those that we are holding in our prisons.

#13 Incarceration rates for men in America have been steadily increasing over time.  The following is from a recent CNN article

Looking at those born just after World War II, some 1.2% of white men and 9% of black men had been to prison by 2004, according to Bruce Western, a Harvard sociology professor. But looking at those born 30 years later, some 3.3% of white men and 20.7% of black men had been to prison.

#14 According to the Pew Research Center, only 51 percent of all American adults are currently married.  Back in 1960, 72 percent of all adults in the United States were married.

#15 Males account for approximately 70 percent of all Ds and Fs in U.S. public schools.

#16 About two-thirds of all students in “special education programs” are boys.

#17 The average American girl spends 5 hours a week playing video games.  The average American boy spends 13 hours a week playing video games.

#18 The average young American will spend 10,000 hours playing video games before the age of 21.

#19 One study discovered that 88 percent of all Americans between the ages of 8 and 18 play video games, and that video game addiction is approximately four times as common among boys as it is among girls.

#20 In 2011, SAT scores for young men were the worst that they had been in 40 years.

#21 According to the New York Times, approximately 57 percent of all young people enrolled at U.S. colleges are women.  That means that only 43 percent are men.

#22 It is being projected that women will earn 60 percent of all Bachelor’s degrees from U.S. universities by the year 2016.

#23 Once in college, women are much more likely to complete their education and get a degree…

Women born in 1975 were roughly 17% more likely than their male counterparts to attend college and nearly 23% more likely to complete a four-year degree, according to data in Wayward Sons.

#24 Young men are nearly twice as likely to live with their parents as young women the same age are.

#25 Back in 1950, 78 percent of all households in the United States contained a married couple.  Today, that number has declined to 48 percent.

#26 The marriage rate in the United States has fallen to an all-time low.  Right now it is sitting at a yearly rate of 6.8 marriages per 1000 people.

#27 Today, an all-time low 44.2 percent of Americans between the ages of 25 and 34 are married.

#28 The U.S. family is rapidly breaking down.  100 years ago, 4.52 were living in the average U.S. household, but now the average U.S. household only consists of 2.59 people.

#29 At this point, approximately one out of every three children in America lives in a home without a father.

#30 The United States produces more pornography than any other nation in the world.  Men consume far more of that pornography than women do.

#31 An astounding 30 percent of all Internet traffic now goes to pornography websites, and one survey found that 25 percent of all employees that have Internet access visit sex websites while they are at work.

#32 In the United States today, political correctness reigns, and any reference to the male gender is being stamped out of our language.  For example, all over the country the term “manhole” is being replaced with the terms “utility hole” or “maintenance hole”.

So what do you think?

Do you believe that men are being systematically emasculated in America today?

Please feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…

America The Fallen: 24 Signs That Our Once Proud Cities Are Turning Into Poverty-Stricken Hellholes

Hellholes - Photo by LyzadangerWhat is happening to you America?  Once upon a time, the United States was a place where free enterprise thrived and the greatest cities that the world had ever seen sprouted up from coast to coast.  Good jobs were plentiful and a manufacturing boom helped fuel the rise of the largest and most vibrant middle class in the history of the planet.  Cities such as Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Baltimore were all teeming with economic activity and the rest of the globe looked on our economic miracle with a mixture of wonder and envy.  But now look at us.  Our once proud cities are being transformed into poverty-stricken hellholes.  Did you know that the city of Detroit once actually had the highest per-capita income in the United States?  Looking at Detroit today, it is hard to imagine that it was once one of the most prosperous cities in the world.  In fact, as you will read about later in this article, tourists now travel to Detroit from all over the globe just to see the ruins of Detroit.  Sadly, the exact same thing that is happening to Detroit is happening to cities all over America.  Detroit is just ahead of the curve.  We are in the midst of a long-term economic collapse that is eating away at us like cancer, and things are going to get a lot worse than this.  So if you still live in a prosperous area of the country, don’t laugh at what is happening to others.  What is happening to them will be coming to your area soon enough.

The following are 24 signs that our once proud cities are turning into poverty-stricken hellholes…

#1 According to the New York Times, there are now approximately 70,000 abandoned buildings in Detroit.

#2 At this point, approximately one-third of Detroit’s 140 square miles is either vacant or derelict.

#3 Back during the housing bubble, an acre of land in downtown Phoenix, Arizona sold for about $90 a square foot.  Today, an acre in downtown Phoenix sells for about $9 a square foot.

#4 The city of Chicago is so strapped for cash that it is planning to close 54 public schools.  It is being estimated that Chicago schools will run a budget deficit of about a billion dollars in 2013.

#5 The city of Baltimore is already facing unfunded liabilities of more than 3.2 billion dollars, but the city government continues to pile up more debt as if it was going out of style.

#6 Today, the murder rate in East St. Louis is 17 times higher than the national average.

#7 According to USA Today, the “share of jobs located in or near a downtown declined in 91 of the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas” between 2000 and 2010.

#8 Between December 2000 and December 2010, 48 percent of the manufacturing jobs in the state of Michigan were lost.

#9 There are more than 85,000 streetlights in Detroit, but thieves have stripped so much copper wiring out of the lights that more than half of them are not working.

#10 The unemployment rate in El Centro, California is 24.2 percent, and the unemployment rate in Yuma, Arizona is an astounding 25.6 percent.

#11 It has been estimated that there are more than 1,000 homeless people living in the massive network of flood tunnels under the city of Las Vegas.

#12 Violent crime in the city of Oakland increased by 23 percent during 2012.

#13 If you can believe it, more than 11,000 homes, cars and businesses were burglarized in Oakland during 2012.  That breaks down to approximately 33 burglaries a day.

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

#15 The number of murders in Chicago last year was roughly equivalent to the number of murders in the entire country of Japan during 2012.

#16 The murder rate in Flint, Michigan is higher than the murder rate in Baghdad.

#17 If New Orleans was considered to be a separate nation, it would have the 2nd highest murder rate on the entire planet.

#18 According to the Justice Department’s National Drug Intelligence Center,  Mexican drug cartels were actively operating in 50 different U.S. cities in 2006.  By 2010, that number had skyrocketed to 1,286.

#19 Back in 2007, the number of New York City residents on food stamps was about 1 million.  It is now being projected that the number of New York City residents on food stamps will pass the 2 million mark this summer.

#20 The number of homeless people sleeping in the homeless shelters of New York City has increased by a whopping 19 percent over the past year.

#21 As I noted yesterday, approximately one out of every three children in the United States currently lives in a home without a father.

#22 In Miami, 45 percent of the children are living in poverty.

#23 In Cleveland, more than 50 percent of the children are living in poverty.

#24 According to a recently released report, 60 percent of all children in the city of Detroit are living in poverty.

As I mentioned at the top of this article, the decline of the city of Detroit has become so famous that it has actually become a tourist attraction.  The following is a short excerpt from an article in the New York Times

But in Detroit, the tours go on, in an unofficial capacity. One afternoon at the ruins of the 3.5-million-square-foot Packard Plant, I ran into a family from Paris. The daughter said she read about the building in Lonely Planet; her father had a camcorder hanging around his neck. Another time, while conducting my own tour for a guest, a group of German college students drove up. When queried as to the appeal of Detroit, one of them gleefully exclaimed, “I came to see the end of the world!”

For much more on the shocking decline of one of America’s greatest cities, please see my previous article entitled “Bankrupt, Decaying And Nearly Dead: 24 Facts About The City Of Detroit That Will Shock You“.

So are there any areas of the country that are still thriving?

Well, yes, there are a few.  In particular, those areas that are sitting on top of energy resources tend to be doing quite well for now.

One example is Texas.  In recent years people have been absolutely flocking to the state.  There are lots of energy jobs, the cost of living is low and there is no state income tax.

But overall, things are really tough out there.  Over the past decade America has lost millions of good jobs to offshoring, advancements in technology and a declining economy.

Last year, the United States had a trade deficit with the rest of the world of more than half a trillion dollars.  Overall, the U.S. has run a trade deficit with the rest of the world of more than 8 trillion dollars since 1975.

All of that money could have gone to U.S. businesses and U.S. workers.  In turn, taxes would have been paid on all of that income which could have helped keep our cities great.

But instead, our politicians have stood idly by as we have lost tens of thousands of businesses and millions of jobs.  If you can believe it, more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities have closed down permanently in the United States since 2001.

We have allowed our economic infrastructure to be absolutely gutted, and so we should not be surprised that our once proud cities are turning into poverty-stricken hellholes.

And this is just the beginning.  The next wave of the economic collapse is rapidly approaching, and when it strikes unemployment in this country will eventually rise to a level that is more than double what it is now.

When that happens, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near our rotting, decaying cities.

Railroad In Milwaukee

Sorry Protesters: Your Jobs Are Being Sent To China And They Aren’t Coming Back

Did you see the huge crowds of protesters that flooded the Michigan Capitol on Tuesday?  They were there to protest two bills there were being considered by the state legislature that would limit the power of unions in the state.  Michigan lawmakers approved the bills and this absolutely infuriated the protesters.  There is a lot of passion on both sides of this debate, but I am afraid that both sides in this debate are missing the bigger picture.  If we keep shipping millions of our jobs to China, there isn’t going to be work for anyone no matter how much power unions have or don’t have.  During the month of October, the U.S. trade deficit increased to 42.2 billion dollars.  Our trade with China accounted for most of that deficit.  Our trade deficit with China in October increased to a new all-time one month record of 29.5 billion dollars.  Nearly 30 billion dollars that could have gone to U.S. businesses and U.S. workers went to China instead.  Since 1975, a total of about 8 trillion dollars that could have gone to U.S. businesses and U.S. workers went to the rest of the world instead.  Shiny new factories are going up all over China, and meanwhile our once great manufacturing cities are degenerating into desolate wastelands.  So what is going to happen when all of the good paying manufacturing jobs are gone?  Are we all going to fight bitterly over whether we should unionize the low paying jobs that remain at places such as Wal-Mart and McDonalds?  Such an approach is not going to bring back prosperity to America.  We desperately need to start building things and start creating real wealth inside this country once again.  We desperately need to stop sending tens of thousands of businesses, millions of jobs and trillions of dollars of our national wealth out of the country.  Unfortunately, I don’t see anyone out there holding protests about our trade deficit.  Nobody really seems to care, so our economy will continue to bleed good jobs and the middle class will continue to be destroyed.

The funny thing is that the workers that are out there protesting these union bills actually voted for the politicians that are killing their jobs.  Both parties are married to the one world economic system and the “free trade” agenda, and Barack Obama has been one of the worst offenders.  He has been pushing for more “free trade agreements” throughout the past four years, and yet union workers continue to support him enthusiastically.

How foolish can they possibly be?

Yeah, let’s merge American workers into a global labor pool with workers in third world countries on the other side of the globe that work in absolutely nightmarish conditions for as little as 45 dollars a month.  That sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it?

Oh, but you don’t want to work for 45 dollars a month?

You don’t even want to work for 450 dollars a month?

Well, then the big corporations that fund politicians like Obama will just take your jobs and send them halfway around the planet.

Do you think that your unions will save your jobs?

Michigan already has the highest rate of union membership in the Midwest.

It also has the highest rate of unemployment in the Midwest.

Over the past couple of decades, thousands of businesses in Michigan have either closed down or moved facilities overseas.

Did the unions prevent any of that?

No.

If union bosses really wanted to do some good, they would be organizing protests against our incredibly foolish trade policies.

But instead, they tell their members to vote for politicians like Obama and then they run out to the stores and fill their carts with huge piles of products that were made in China.

Union workers need to wake up to one fundamental economic fact – in a one world economic system, the big corporations simply do not need you.  They can make their products in lots of other countries where it is legal to pay slave labor wages.

But instead of getting upset about what is really killing their jobs, union workers in Michigan are screaming mad about a couple of new laws that will take some power away from the unions.

That is kind of like being obsessed with a broken fingernail when your leg has just been sawed off and you are gushing blood all over the floor.

Oh, but union workers did put on a good show up in Michigan.  The following is how a Bloomberg article described the protests…

Officials spent days gearing up for crowds brought out by the legislature’s sudden action last week to give initial approval to three anti-dues bills, which exclude police and firefighters. At least one helicopter buzzed overhead today, and mounted police surveyed the protesters. Signs reading “Don’t hurt working families” dotted lawns.

The crowd numbered more than 10,000, according to State Police Inspector Gene Adamczyk, with more buses still arriving. The Capitol was closed when it reached its capacity of 2,000.

The anger surrounding these protests was almost palpable.  One state representative even declared that “there will be blood”.

Meanwhile, many of those same protesters will buy toys for their kids that were made in China with wrapping paper that was made in China and they will put them under a Christmas tree that was made in China.

Merging our economy with the economy of communist China was one of the stupidest economic moves that we could have ever made.  They are systematically taking our wealth, and then we have to go over there and beg them to lend money back to us.

Pretty soon the Chinese economy will dwarf ours.  According to the National Intelligence Council, the GDP of Asia will have surpassed the GDP of North America and the GDP of all of Europe combined by 2030.

But if we had never opened up trade with communist China none of this would have ever happened.

Why won’t American workers get upset about this stuff?

Do you really want your standard of living to decline to the level of a Chinese factory worker?

You can see some photos of what life is like for workers in China’s toy factories right here.  This is what the future holds for American workers unless something is done.

For much more on how our trade policies are absolutely gutting our economy, please see the statistics in this article: “55 Reasons Why You Should Buy Products That Are Made In America This Holiday Season“.

But no, the big unions will never dare oppose Obama.  They love him far too much to do that.

Meanwhile, we continue to bleed good jobs.  Large companies have announced the elimination of more than 100,000 jobs since November 6th, and it looks like 2013 is going to be a very difficult year for American workers.

If you are an American worker, you need to ask yourself why anyone would want to hire you in this kind of economic environment.  You are 10 to 20 times more expensive than workers on the other side of the globe.  In addition, our politicians just keep piling more rules, regulations and taxes on to the backs of the employers in this country.  It is more difficult than ever to make a profit from the labor of an American worker.

Honestly, I understand why most small businesses don’t want to hire anyone in this economic environment.  It just doesn’t make sense.  For much more on this, please see this excellent article by Charles Hugh-Smith.

And there are signs that things are going to get even worse.  For example, the NFIB Small Business Outlook survey dropped like a rock during November.  That is a very bad sign for hiring.

And another ominous sign for the economy was that the latest trade report showed that imports and exports are both declining.  That is usually a signal that a recession is coming.  Exports fell faster than imports did, and that is the reason why the trade deficit grew.  If imports and exports both fall again next month, it will be time to become extremely concerned.  When imports and exports both decline, that is a sign of slowing economic activity.

The United States will always need to trade with other nations, but we need to do it in a way that is balanced and that protects American workers.  Right now there is a one way conveyor belt taking businesses, jobs and money out of this country.  If we don’t do something about our mammoth trade deficit, we will have no chance of reversing the steady decline of the U.S. economy.

Hopefully we can get the American people to wake up and realize this.  Instead, most of the comments at the end of this article will probably be about the pros and cons of unions.  That will be yet another sign that most people still don’t get these issues.

Forsaken And Forgotten

America is becoming a very cold place.  If you don’t have money, you don’t really matter much in our society.  The ads on television aren’t for you – they are directed at people that actually have good jobs and that can afford to buy the nice little “extras” in life.  The politicians aren’t really interested in you either – they figure that they can buy your vote with all of the money that they are getting from the wealthy people.  When you don’t have money, even friends and relatives start to distance themselves from you.  Perhaps they are afraid that you will ask them for money or perhaps they are afraid that your “failure” will start to rub off on them.  When people know that you are struggling for money, the barriers immediately go up.  In the United States today, there are tens of millions of people that have been forsaken and forgotten.  They mostly stay at home (if they still have a home), and for most of them quiet desperation has become a way of life.  You won’t ever read much about them or see them appear much on television because nobody really cares too much about them.  As far as society is concerned, there are just way too many of them and they are a problem that “the government” should be able to handle anyway.  Sadly, the truth is that many communities all across America want absolutely nothing to do with those that can’t take care of themselves.  All over the country cities are passing laws making it illegal to feed the homeless, and in other instances cities are actually making it illegal to be homeless.  Unfortunately, this problem is not going away.  In fact, the number of Americans living in poverty increases with each passing day.  So where do we go from here?

These days, a lot of formerly middle class Americans are down on their luck and can’t even afford to buy enough food.  The following is from a recent Yahoo article….

Cheryl Preston knows that others are worse off. But she’s still hungry.

As grocery prices creep higher and her income sags, rationing her family’s food is a daily task. The 54-year-old mother of three and grandmother of three in Roanoke, Va., says there are days she skips meals so her husband and son can eat. If they notice, she says, she’ll let them think she’s fasting. She waters down the milk and juice to make it last longer. She visits food pantries, but it’s not enough.

Have you ever had to skip meals because you simply could not afford to buy enough food?

Have you ever wondered how you were going to make it to the next paycheck?

When you look into the eyes of your hungry children and you realize that your best efforts have not been good enough to provide what they need it can be absolutely soul crushing.

And when you have lost everything it quickly becomes apparent that most people in society simply do not care about you.

About a third of the country is already on some form of welfare.  Another family falling out of the middle class and into poverty is not going to cause anyone to sit up and take notice.

The middle class in America is being absolutely shredded.  In a recent article I wrote entitled “84 Statistics That Prove That The Decline Of The Middle Class Is Real And That It Is Getting Worse” I detailed this very clearly.  But most Americans don’t think about this very much because they are just focused on what is going on in their own little worlds.  If they still have their jobs and if their family and friends are still doing okay then they are likely to believe that everything is just fine.

But everything is not fine.

According to the Pew Research Center, 61 percent of all Americans were “middle income” back in 1971.

Today, only 51 percent of all Americans are “middle income”.

There aren’t enough good jobs in this country and there never will be enough good jobs ever again.

Those that are just entering the job market understand very clearly that there are not enough good jobs.

Of the recent college graduates that have been fortunate enough to actually get a job, about half of them have taken jobs that do not even require a college degree.

But at least if you have a job, even if it is really crappy, you still matter in this economy.

Many of those that are not working at all have been completely forsaken and forgotten.

Over the past year, approximately 1.3 million Americans have seen their extended unemployment benefits end.  Most of them are considered to have “dropped out of the labor force” even though they aren’t working, they don’t have any income coming in and they are very desperate.  They are told to go “get a job” in an economy that does not produce enough jobs for everyone.  The music stopped playing and they were left without a seat and nobody really cares too much.

But if you live in the good areas of New York City, Boston, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco or Seattle this article might seem like complete nonsense to you.  After all, corporate profits are at an all-time high and the stores and malls where you live are packed with people.  Everyone around you is driving new cars, wearing designer clothes and using the latest tech gadgets.

But it is not like that everywhere in America.

There are two Americas today.  One is swimming in money and is seemingly more prosperous than ever.

The other America is a complete and total economic nightmare.

Just check out the percentage of blighted properties in some of America’s most run down cities….

Baltimore: 14 percent

Cleveland: 19 percent

Youngstown, Ohio: 21 percent

New Orleans: 21 percent

Detroit: 24 percent

Flint, Michigan: 27 percent

But those that are paying millions of dollars for dinky little apartments in New York City may be wondering what all the fuss is about.

Well, in the forgotten areas of America “despair” is what people experience on a good day.  Unemployment and government dependence are a way of life, and alcohol and drugs are used to dull the pain.  The following is from a recent article by Chris Hedges.  It describes what life is like in the little town of Gary, West Virginia….

Joe and I are sitting in the Tug River Health Clinic in Gary with a registered nurse who does not want her name used. The clinic handles federal and state black lung applications. It runs a program for those addicted to prescription pills. It also handles what in the local vernacular is known as “the crazy check” — payments obtained for mental illness from Medicaid or SSI — a vital source of income for those whose five years of welfare payments have run out. Doctors willing to diagnose a patient as mentally ill are important to economic survival.

“They come in and want to be diagnosed as soon as they can for the crazy check,” the nurse says. “They will insist to us they are crazy. They will tell us, ‘I know I’m not right.’ People here are very resigned. They will avoid working by being diagnosed as crazy.”

The reliance on government checks, and a vast array of painkillers and opiates, has turned towns like Gary into modern opium dens. The painkillers OxyContin, fentanyl — 80 times stronger than morphine — Lortab, as well as a wide variety of anti-anxiety medications such as Xanax, are widely abused. Many top off their daily cocktail of painkillers at night with sleeping pills and muscle relaxants. And for fun, addicts, especially the young, hold “pharm parties,” in which they combine their pills in a bowl, scoop out handfuls of medication, swallow them, and wait to feel the result.

There are hundreds of small towns all over America today just like Gary that have been forsaken by society.  Most people in those towns are just “existing” and gave up all hope of a better life long ago.

Some of these stories are being told in a new documentary film called “American Winter”.  You can view the trailer for the film right here.  It is a very powerful 5 minutes and 41 seconds.

Sadly, the truth is that there really does not need to be so much suffering in America.

Did you know that Americans waste 165 billion dollars worth of food each year?

That could sure feed a lot of hungry people.

And the overwhelming greed that we see in society today is absolutely astounding.

For example, Yahoo recently profiled a hoarder who packed her home with $500,000 worth of “stuff” that she could not resist buying….

There are shoe closets, and then there are shoe rooms. Monte, a retired teacher in her fifties, had scattered $20,000 worth of footwear throughout six rooms in her home. Some were organized by color, but most lay in mountainous piles of clutter in her 4,000 square foot home outside Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Over a period of 10 years, she’d spent over $500,000 on clothing, accessories and home furnishings, all of which lay strewn across her kitchen, entryway and bedrooms, tags intact.

But far worse are the “Rich Kids of Instagram“.  It has apparently become trendy for wealthy kids to take pictures of themselves enjoying their outrageous wealth.  It truly is disgusting.

Meanwhile, most American families are really struggling to get by.  In fact, 77 percent of all Americans live paycheck to paycheck at least some of the time.

And jobless claims are rising again.  We are on the verge of another major economic crisis and that means that millions more Americans are going to lose their jobs and their homes.

If you think that things are bad now, just wait, because things are about to get a whole lot worse.

Don’t be afraid to reach out and help those that are hurting.  When things are the darkest, that is when heroes are needed the most.

These 12 Hellholes Are Examples Of What The Rest Of America Will Look Like Soon

Do you want to see where this country is headed?  If so, don’t focus on the few areas that are still very prosperous.  New York City has Wall Street, Washington D.C. has the federal government and Silicon Valley has Google and Facebook.  Those are the exceptions.  The reality is that most of the country has been experiencing a slow decline for a very long time and once thriving cities such as Gary, Indiana and Flint, Michigan have become absolute hellholes.  They are examples of what the rest of America will look like soon.  60 years ago, most Americans were decent, hard working people and there were always good jobs available for anyone that was willing to roll up his or her sleeves and put in an honest day of work.  But now all of that has changed.  Over the past decade, tens of thousands of manufacturing facilities have shut down and millions of jobs have left the country.  Cities such as Cleveland, Baltimore and Detroit were once shining examples of everything that was right about America, but now they stand out like festering sores.  The “blue collar cities” have been hit the hardest by the gutting of our economic infrastructure.  There are many communities in America today where it seems like all of the hope and all of the life have been sucked right out of them.  You can see it in the eyes of the people.  The good times are gone permanently and they know it.  Unfortunately, the remainder of the country will soon be experiencing the despair that those communities are feeling.

The following are 12 hellholes that are examples of what the rest of America will look like soon….

#1 Gary, Indiana

Gary, Indiana was once a great industrial city.

Today, it is one of the ten most dangerous cities in America, and the population has fallen by about 50 percent.

The following is from a recent Daily Mail article….

Frequently rated one of the ten most dangerous cities in the United States, Gary once boomed with jobs and opportunities but now faces the acute difficulties of America’s growing rust belt, with 22 percent of families in the once-great city now lying below the poverty line.

This modern American ghost town began life as home for workers at the United States Steel Corporation plant until economic competition from abroad forced a 90 percent job cut.

It is hard to describe what is happening to Gary without using the word “depressing”.  You can watch a great video that shows what Gary, Indiana looks like these days right here.

This is what happens when industry leaves and there are no jobs.  Gary has become a wasteland and there is essentially no hope for a turnaround.

The following is how James Kunstler described what he experienced when he traveled through Gary, Indiana recently….

Between the ghostly remnants of factories stood a score of small cities and neighborhoods where the immigrants settled five generations ago. A lot of it was foreclosed and shuttered. They were places of such stunning, relentless dreariness that you felt depressed just imagining how depressed the remaining denizens of these endless blocks of run-down shoebox houses must feel. Judging from the frequency of taquerias in the 1950s-vintage strip-malls, one inferred that the old Eastern European population had been lately supplanted by a new wave of Mexicans. They had inherited an infrastructure for daily life that was utterly devoid of conscious artistry when it was new, and now had the special patina of supernatural rot over it that only comes from materials not found in nature disintegrating in surprising and unexpected ways, sometimes even sublimely, like the sheen of an oil slick on water at a certain angle to the sun. There was a Chernobyl-like grandeur to it, as of the longed-for end of something enormous that hadn’t worked out well.

Sadly, Gary is far from alone.  There are a whole host of other formerly great U.S. cities that are degenerating into hellholes as well.

#2 Chicago, Illinois

There is something truly special about Chicago.  Most of America loved the Bears of the Walter Payton era, the Bulls of the Michael Jordan era and the Cubs of the Ernie Banks era.  Chicago is also known for great architecture and great pizza.

But these days “the windy city” is becoming known for other things.

The murder rate in Chicago is up 38 percent so far this year, and the recent spike in violence in the city has made national headlines.

As I noted the other day, there are only about 200 police officers in Chicago’s Gang Enforcement Unit to deal with an estimated 100,000 gang members.

That means that those officers are outnumbered 500 to 1, and more gang members pour into the city every single day.

The escalating violence in Chicago was detailed in a recent article in the Telegraph….

“This is a block-to-block war here, a different dynasty on every street,” said a dreadlocked young man heavily inked in gang tattoos who calls himself “Killer”.

“All the black brothers just want to get rich, but we got no jobs and no hope. We want the violence to stop but you ain’t safe if you ain’t got your pistol with you. Too many friends, too many men are being killed. We don’t even cry at funerals no -more. Nobody expects to live past 21 here.”

The victims and killers are mainly black males aged between 15 and 35, often with gang affiliations – but not exclusively. A seven-year-old girl, Heaven Sutton, was buried this month after being gunned down at her mother’s street sweet store. And last week, two girls aged 12 and 13 were shot and badly-wounded as they walked home from a newly-opened community centre.

If you are thinking of moving to Chicago, you might want to think again.

#3 Detroit, Michigan

I have written repeatedly about Detroit because it is a perfect example of what the rest of America is going to look like soon.

Once upon a time it was regarded as one of the top manufacturing cities the world had ever seen, but today it has become a total hellhole.

There are very few decent jobs available, poverty has exploded and crime is everywhere.

If you can believe it, 53.6% of all children in Detroit are living in poverty, and only 25 percent of all students in Detroit graduate from high school at this point.

And as I wrote about recently, justifiable homicide in Detroit increased by a whopping 79 percent during 2011, and the rate of self-defense killings in Detroit is now approximately 2200% above the national average.

Is it any wonder that you can still buy a house for $100 in some areas of Detroit?

The truth is that many areas of Detroit now resemble a post-apocalyptic wasteland.  Perhaps that is why one team of investors actually wants to turn some of the worst areas of Detroit into a zombie theme park….

Derelict areas of Detroit face being taken over by hordes of ‘flesh and brain-eating zombies’ if an ambitious business plan takes off.

Entrepreneur Mark Siwak wants to create live-action terror theme park ‘Z World’ on Motor City’s run-down and abandoned streets.

Customers would pay to be chased by professional actors and try to seek shelter in ghostly homes, factories and businesses.

You can see some great video of the “ruins of Detroit” right here.

#4 Stockton, California

Stockton is one of the ten most dangerous cities in America and it recently made national headlines when it declared bankruptcy.

Unfortunately, as spending on law enforcement has declined it has given the criminals a lot more room to operate in Stockton.  The following is from a recent Business Insider article….

The city has cut more than $90 million in spending over the past few years, specifically in its police department. The city has cut over one quarter of its police jobs, which has led to a “surge in murders,” and has created an “emboldened criminal element” in the city. According to police spokesman Joe Silva, the city has had 87 murders since the start of 2011, 29 of which have already occurred this year. In contrast, there were 35 murders in 2009 and 48 in 2010. With six months left in the year, there have already been more murders in the city since the start of 2011 than the two-year stretch of 2009-2010.

A while back in Stockton a billboard was put up with the following message: “Welcome to the 2nd most dangerous city in California. Stop laying off cops.”

#5 Flint, Michigan

Flint, Michigan is a city that Michael Moore has made famous.  Flint once supported hordes of middle class workers thanks to a thriving auto industry, but today it is a just a rotting shell.  It looks like a war went through it and nobody bothered to clean up the mess.

At this point, the murder rate in Flint, Michigan is worse than the murder rate in Baghdad.  That is how nightmarish things have become in Flint.

The following is from an article in the New York Times….

It’s not that the cops here are scared; it’s just that they’re outmanned, outgunned and flat broke.

Flint is the birthplace of General Motors and the home of the U.A.W.’s first big strike. In case you didn’t know this, the words “Vehicle City” are spelled out on the archway spanning the Flint River.

But the name is a lie. Flint isn’t Vehicle City anymore. The Buick City complex is gone. The spark-plug plant is gone. Fisher Body is gone.

What Flint is now is one of America’s murder capitals. Last year in Flint, population 102,000, there were 66 documented murders. The murder rate here is worse than those in Newark and St. Louis and New Orleans. It’s even worse than Baghdad’s.

Politicians love to go to Flint and make speeches, but things never get any better.  The following are comments that Joe Biden made about Flint, Michigan during a recent speech he gave to promote a jobs bill….

“In 2008, when Flint had 265 sworn officers on their police force, there were 35 murders and 91 rapes in this city. In 2010, when Flint had only 144 police officers, the murder rate climbed to 65 and rapes–just to pick two categories–climbed to 229. In 2011, you now only have 125 shields. God only knows what the numbers will be this year for Flint if we don’t rectify it.”

But don’t look down on Flint – these kinds of conditions are coming to where you live soon enough.

#6 West Philly

Did you know that 36.4% of all children that live in Philadelphia are living in poverty?

There are some sections of Philadelphia that are actually very nice, but there are others that look like society has forgotten about them for decades.

A recent article by Jim Quinn entitled “More Than 30 Blocks Of Grey And Decay” described the depressing conditions in West Philadelphia.  Quinn refers to his drive through this area as “the 30 Blocks of Squalor”….

The real unemployment rate exceeds 50%, murder is the number one industry, with drugs a close second.

But it was not always this way.  Once upon a time, West Philly was actually a thriving area and was full of middle class families.

So what happened?

That is a very good question.

According to Quinn, the physical decay in West Philly is matched by the social decay….

The once proud homes are in shambles. Bags of garbage dot the landscape. Most of the people who live here are parasites on society. Personal responsibility, work ethic, education and marriage are unknown concepts in this community. Even though more than 50% of the students in West Philly drop out of high school and the SAT scores of West Philly High students are lower than whale ****, the bankrupt school district spent $70 million to build a new high school/prison to babysit derelicts and future prison inmates. The windows do not have steel bars yet, as the architect was smart to put all windows at least eight feet above street level.

These days there is a lot of despair in “the city of brotherly love”.  It is so sad to see what is happening to what once was such a proud city.

#7 Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland has always had a love/hate relationship with itself.  Many who live there call it “the mistake by the lake”, but the truth is that it was once a truly great city.

Sadly, today it is symbol of what has gone wrong with America.

There has been a steady stream of businesses that have left Cleveland and today 52.6% of all children that live in Cleveland are living in poverty.

There are not enough good jobs in Cleveland anymore, and so there are not enough workers to buy the tens of thousands of homes that have been foreclosed or abandoned.

So what is being done with all of those empty homes?

Unfortunately, they are being torn down.

The following comes from a recent CBS News report by Scott Pelley….

Across America, recession-fueled foreclosures and plummeting home values have left countless properties abandoned and vulnerable to looting. As Scott Pelley reports, the problem has gotten so bad in Cleveland, Ohio, that county officials have demolished more than 1,000 homes this year – and plan to demolish 20,000 more – rather than let the blight spread and render nearby homes worthless.

Does that seem right to you?

Should Cleveland be destroying tens of thousands of homes that families could be using?

Something has gone very, very wrong in this country.

#8 Camden, New Jersey

If you want to see what a hellhole looks like just visit Camden, New Jersey.

Although you will probably want to take an armed escort with you.

As industry has abandoned Camden, the gangs have basically taken over.  The “growth industries” in Camden these days are drug dealing and prostitution.

In an article entitled “City of Ruins“, reporter Chris Hedges described what life is like in Camden at this point….

There are perhaps a hundred open-air drug markets, most run by gangs like the Bloods, the Latin Kings, Los Nietos and MS-13. Knots of young men in black leather jackets and baggy sweatshirts sell weed and crack to clients, many of whom drive in from the suburbs. The drug trade is one of the city’s few thriving businesses. A weapon, police say, is never more than a few feet away, usually stashed behind a trash can, in the grass or on a porch.

Not that other cities in New Jersey are shining examples for the rest of the world either.

For example, if you want to get really depressed just drive through the bad parts of Newark some time.

#9 St. Louis

According to U.S. News and World Report, the most dangerous city in the United States is St. Louis.

If you have a death wish, just wander around the streets of East St. Louis at night.

There is a decent chance that someone will shoot you.

Things were not always this way in St. Louis.  But today things have gotten so bad that you can find packs of wild dogs roaming the city digging through trash and threatening children.

The following is from a report by the local CBS affiliate in St. Louis….

…Lewis Reed is sounding the alarm. “I’ve witnessed packs of dogs, 10 and 15 dogs running together, and I’ve seen all these dogs I’m talking about they don’t have collars, they don’t have tags, these are truly wild dogs,” he said.

Reed says stray dogs are terrorizing the north side. “It’s obscene that parents have to walk their kids to school, in some parts of the city, with a golf club to fend off wild dogs.”

This kind of thing is actually happening in America?

#10 New Orleans, Louisiana

The problems that New Orleans has experienced have been well documented.

But unlike most of the cities listed above, at least New Orleans has an excuse.  New Orleans permanently lost 29% of its population after Hurricane Katrina, and large sections of the city were essentially destroyed by that storm.

Even today, there are still some areas of New Orleans that look as if they have just been bombed.

It has been estimated that about 20 percent of the homes in New Orleans are still standing vacant, and poverty is rampant.  New Orleans will probably never fully recover to the level it was at before Hurricane Katrina hit.

#11 Oakland, California

Oakland has always been in the shadow of San Francisco, and the contrast between the two cities continues to grow.

Oakland has always been considered one of the more dangerous cities in America, and this year crime rates in Oakland are rising rapidly.  The following is from a recent article in the New York Times….

At the beginning of April, murders in Oakland were up 26 percent over a year ago, rapes were up 41 percent, and robberies were up 35 percent.

When Chief Batts arrived as a “change agent” in 2009, the police department employed 837 officers. It now has 635. The department no longer responds to burglaries that are not still in progress, and frequently does not respond to other calls for help.

So if your house has been robbed and the burglars are gone what are you supposed to do?

Due to a crippling lack of resources, the previous police chief decided that his department would no longer be able to respond to all crimes.

The following is a partial list of the crimes that police in Oakland are no longer likely to respond to….

  • burglary
  • theft
  • embezzlement
  • grand theft
  • grand theft: dog
  • identity theft
  • false information to peace officer
  • required to register as sex or arson offender
  • dump waste or offensive matter
  • loud music
  • possess forged notes
  • pass fictitious check
  • obtain money by false voucher
  • fraudulent use of access cards
  • stolen license plate
  • embezzlement by an employee
  • extortion
  • attempted extortion
  • false personification of other
  • injure telephone/power line
  • interfere with power line
  • unauthorized cable tv connection
  • vandalism

So what do you do if you are a victim of one of those crimes in Oakland?

That is a very good question.

#12 Baltimore, Maryland

If you can believe it, Baltimore was actually once a great city.

But today it has become a crime-ridden, drug-infested hellhole.

I used to drive up to Baltimore all the time.  It truly is a “blue collar” city.  There are a lot of really hard working people there.

Unfortunately, there are not nearly enough jobs for everyone and a lot of people have turned to drugs and crime.

There are some areas of Baltimore that you really should never enter by yourself.  If you do go into them, you might not make it back out.

There was one incident in Baltimore earlier this year that was particularly disturbing.

One poor young man had gotten drunk and was apparently wandering around all by himself.  Some thugs approached him and they clearly sensed that he was vulnerable.  So they knocked him to the ground, stripped him of his car keys, his watch, his money, his cell phone and his clothes.

A crowd gathered around to watch, and instead of helping the man, several of them got out their cell phones and laughed hysterically while they recorded the incident with their cell phone cameras for YouTube.

What made all of this even sadder is that this happened right in front of a Baltimore courthouse.

What in the world has happened to this nation?

All of us that still love this country should be deeply saddened by everything above.

America is rotting from the inside out, and if we are ever going to find any solutions we need to start admitting how bad things have really become.

The truth is that our problems are not limited to one political party, one special interest group or to one region of the country.  The social decay that is plaguing America can literally be found everywhere.

For much more on this, please see the following four articles….

1) “25 Signs The Collapse Of America Is Speeding Up As Society Rots From The Inside Out

2) “70 Reasons To Mourn For America

3) “20 Signs That Society Is Breaking Down And That America Has Been Overrun By Psychos

4) “12 Factors That Are Turning The Streets Of America Into A Living Hell

So don’t laugh at Detroit or Cleveland or St. Louis.

The rest of the country is declining too.

If the city where you live is not a hellhole already, it will be soon enough.

24 Statistics To Show To Anyone Who Believes That America Has A Bright Economic Future

Beware of bubbles of false hope.  Right now there is a lot of talk about how the U.S. economy is improving, but it is all a lie.  The mainstream media can be very seductive.  When you sit down to watch television your brain tends to go into a very relaxed mode.  In such a state, it becomes easy to slip thoughts and ideas past your defenses.  Sometimes when I am watching television I realize what the media is trying to do and yet I can still feel it happening to me.  In this day and age, it is absolutely critical that we all think for ourselves.  When you look at the long-term trends and the long-term numbers, a much different picture of the U.S economy emerges than the one that is painted for us on television.  Over the long-term, the number of good jobs in America has been steadily going down.  Over the long-term, the number of Americans living in poverty and living on food stamps has been steadily going up.  Over the past couple of decades, tens of thousands of businesses, millions of jobs and trillions of dollars of our national wealth have gone out of the country.  Our debt is nearly 15 times larger than it was 30 years ago, and U.S. consumer debt has soared by 1700% over the past 40 years.  Year after year the rate of inflation goes up faster than our incomes do, and this is absolutely devastating the middle class.  Anyone who believes that we can keep doing the same things that we have been doing and yet America will still have a bright economic future is delusional.  Until the long-term trends which are taking the U.S. economy straight into the toilet are reversed, any talk of a bright economic future is absolute nonsense.

In America today, we have such a short-term focus.  We are all so caught up with what is happening right now.  Our attention spans seem to get shorter every single year.  At this point it would not be hard to argue that kittens have longer attention spans than most of us do.  (If you have ever owned a kitten you know how short their attention spans can be.)  Things have gotten so bad that most of our high school students cannot even answer the most basic questions about our history.  If people are not talking about it on Facebook or Twitter it is almost as if it does not even matter.

But any serious student of history knows that is is absolutely crucial to examine long-term trends.  And when you look at the long-term trends, it rapidly becomes apparent that the U.S. economy is in the midst of a nightmarish long-term decline.

The following are 24 statistics to show to anyone who believes that America has a bright economic future….

#1 Inflation is a silent tax that steals wealth from all of us.  We continue to shell out increasing amounts of money for the basic things that we need, and yet our incomes are not keeping pace.  Just check out the following example.  Gasoline prices have been trending higher for several years in a row as one blogger recently noted….

January 2009           $1.65

January 2010           $2.57

January 2011           $3.04

January 2012           $3.29

#2 If you can believe it, the average American household spent approximately $4,155 on gasoline during 2011.

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

#4 Health care costs continue to rise at a very alarming pace.  According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, health care costs accounted for just 9.5% of all personal consumption back in 1980.  Today they account for approximately 16.3%.

#5 Getting a college education has also become insanely expensive in America.  After adjusting for inflation, U.S. college students are borrowing about twice as much money as they did a decade ago.

#6 To get the same purchasing power that you got out of $20.00 back in 1970 you would have to have more than $116 today.

#7 To get the same purchasing power that you got out of $20.00 back in 1913 you would have to have more than $457 today.

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

#9 The U.S. economy is bleeding millions of good jobs.  Greedy CEOs are systematically shipping them overseas and our politicians are standing around and doing nothing about it.  This has gone on year after year after year.  The following is from a recent article by Paul Craig Roberts….

In the first decade of the 21st century, Americans lost 5,500,000 manufacturing jobs. US employment in the manufacture of computer and electronic products fell by 40%; in the production of machinery by 30%, in motor vehicles and and parts by 44%, and in the manufacture of clothing by 66%.

#10 Our economic infrastructure is being torn apart right in front of our eyes.  In 2010, an average of 23 manufacturing facilities a day shut down in the United States.  Overall, more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States have shut down since 2001.

We have made it legal for big corporations to send millions of jobs to countries where it is legal to pay slave labor wages, where the tax burden is much lighter and where there are barely any regulations.  The following is a brief excerpt from a recent article posted on Economy in Crisis….

Back in the ‘80s, I called my friend Walter in California and asked: “On your next expansion we need a plant in South Carolina.” Walter replied: “We don’t produce anything in the United States. It’s all in China. China furnishes you the plant on a year-to-year basis. If your investment works out, you don’t have to pay any corporate tax; just reinvest it for another plant and more profit. If it doesn’t work out, you can walk away with no legacy costs. I send a quality controller to watch production. I check on it every day. I don’t have any labor, health, safety, or environmental concerns, and have time to play a round of golf.” The bleeding of jobs off-shore started in the ‘80s — now hemorrhages under Bush and Obama. Waiting for the economy to bounce back; calling this “the worst recession” is a bum rap. The reason the economy hasn’t bounced back since 2008 is because the economy is being off-shored.

#11  As a result of our insane economic policies, our trade balances are absolutely exploding.  For example, the U.S. trade deficit with China in 2010 was 27 times larger than it was back in 1990.

#12 As you read this, there are millions of Americans out there wondering why they can’t find any jobs.  According to Reuters, 23.7 million American workers are either unemployed or underemployed right now.

#13 The number of good jobs has been steadily shrinking in America.  Since the year 2000, the United States has lost 10% of its middle class jobs.  In the year 2000 there were about 72 million middle class jobs in the United States but today there are only about 65 million middle class jobs.

#14 Over the last three decades, the percentage of low income jobs has consistently risen.  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.

#15 The number of middle class neighborhoods also continues to decline.  In 1970, 65 percent of all Americans lived in “middle class neighborhoods”.  By 2007, only 44 percent of all Americans lived in “middle class neighborhoods”.

#16 A decade ago, the United States was ranked number one in average wealth per adult.  By 2010, the United States had fallen to seventh.

#17 Our incomes continue to go down.  Since December 2007, median household income in the United States has declined by a total of 6.8% once you account for inflation.

#18 Unfortunately, middle class Americans have been seeing their incomes decline for a very long time.  According to one study, between 1969 and 2009 the median wages earned by American men between the ages of 30 and 50 dropped by 27 percent after you account for inflation.

#19 Since 1971, consumer debt in the United States has increased by a whopping 1700%.  Unfortunately, U.S. consumers have still not learned how to stay out of debt.  According to a recent article posted on Financial Armageddon, the rate of personal savings in the United States is rapidly falling right now at the same time that the total amount of consumer credit is absolutely skyrocketing.

#20 The number of children living in poverty in America keeps rising year after year. The percentage of children living in poverty in the United States increased from 16.9 percent in 2006 to nearly 22 percent in 2010.

#21 The number of Americans on food stamps continues to set new all-time records.  Just check out the following progression….

October 2008: 30.8 million Americans on food stamps

October 2009: 37.6 million Americans on food stamps

October 2010: 43.2 million Americans on food stamps

October 2011: 46.2 million Americans on food stamps

#22 The U.S. debt problem has gotten completely and totally out of control.  Recently, the debt of the federal government surpassed 100% of GDP for the first time ever.

#23 During the Obama administration, the U.S. government has accumulated more debt than it did from the time that George Washington took office to the time that Bill Clinton took office.

#24 Barack Obama’s proposed 2012 budget projects that the national debt will rise to 26 trillion dollars a decade from now.  And his budget numbers are ridiculously optimistic.

Are you starting to get the picture?

All of the long-term economic numbers are progressively getting worse.

As the economy continues to crumble, large numbers of Americans are becoming really desperate.  For example, a recent Mother Jones article detailed how large numbers of formerly middle class Americans are now actually growing marijuana in an effort to make ends meet.

As things continue to get worse, people will become even more desperate.  There are millions of people out there that find themselves unable to pay the mortgage and put food on the table for their families.  When people hit rock bottom, they often find themselves doing things that they never dreamed that they would do.

Meanwhile, the big Wall Street banks just keep getting larger and more powerful.  We have allowed the “too big to fail” banks to become much bigger than they have ever been before.  The total assets of the six largest U.S. banks increased by 39 percent between September 30, 2006 and September 30, 2011.

Wealth is becoming increasingly concentrated at the very top even as the overall economic pie in America continues to get smaller.

As our economic problems become worse, more Americans than ever are trying to find ways to “escape”.

For example, according to one new government report one out of every six adults in America is a binge drinker.

Other Americans “tune out” by watching endless hours of television, by playing endless hours of video games or by indulging in endless hours of other forms of entertainment.

There are even some Americans that are giving up completely.  For example, one elderly man actually robbed a bank just so that he could get arrested and be taken to prison where he would get free health care.

But as I have written about previously, now is not the time to give up.  Instead, now is the time to prepare for the great challenges that are ahead.

Almost every generation in history has been faced with great challenges and great hardships at some point.

Yes, there will be some incredibly hard times ahead, but that also means that there will be a need for some great heroes.

Just because the U.S. economy is falling apart does not mean that life is over.

We are living during one of the most exciting times in all of human history.  Instead of cowering in fear, let us embrace these times and focus on becoming the people that we were created to be.

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