The Beginning Of The End
The Beginning Of The End By Michael T. Snyder - Kindle Version

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All Of This Whining About The Fiscal Cliff Is Pathetic

The fiscal cliff is coming!  Run for the hills!  There have been endless stories in the mainstream media about the “fiscal cliff” that our country is facing if the Democrats and the Republicans can’t come to some sort of an agreement.  If there is no agreement, taxes will go up and government spending will be reduced by a very small amount.  And yes, that would likely push the U.S. economy into another recession, although there are many that would argue that we are already in a recession right now.  In any event, there is a tremendous amount of distress out there about the fact that something might interrupt the debt-fueled prosperity that we have all been enjoying.  You can almost hear them now: “No! Please don’t cut government spending! Please don’t raise taxes! Please keep stealing more than 100 million dollars from our children and our grandchildren every single hour of every single day so that we can continue this economic illusion that feels so very good.”  The American people want the government to give everything to everybody, but they definitely do not want to pay for it.  They want a big government that showers them with government checks and government benefits, but they don’t want to cough up the ridiculous amount of money that it would take to fund such a government.  So we just keep ripping off our kids and our grandkids.  What we are doing to future generations is not just immoral, it is criminal.  If they get the chance, someday they will look back and curse us for destroying their futures and destroying their country.  So why do we continue to do this to them?  Because we are greedy and selfish and we are absolutely desperate to maintain the massively overinflated standard of living that we have been enjoying.  We have lived way above our means for so long that we don’t even know what “normal” is supposed to be anymore.

But nobody can spend far more money than they bring in forever.  At some point an adjustment comes, and our adjustment is going to be exceedingly painful.

Right now, the overwhelming consensus in the United States seems to be that we should put off any economic pain for as long as possible.  The American people don’t want significant cuts to government spending and they don’t want taxes to be raised to pay for the spending that we are already doing.

But if the Republicans and the Democrats don’t agree to a deal soon, we are going to see taxes raised substantially and government spending cut by a little bit.  A recent CBS News article did a good job of describing exactly what this “fiscal cliff” that we are facing actually is…

There are two parts to the so-called fiscal cliff. The first is the scheduled expiration of the tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 under President George W. Bush, the payroll tax holiday enacted under President Obama, and a host of other tax breaks. The second is $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts to defense and domestic programs that are looming due to a 2011 deal that resulted from House Republicans’ reluctance to raise the debt limit.

Now, it’s true that if lawmakers fail to work out any sort of deal, there will be severe long-term consequences for the economy: According to the Tax Policy Center, going off the “cliff” would affect 88 percent of U.S. taxpayers, with their taxes rising by an average of $3,500 a year. Many economists, as well as the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, say the combination of spending cuts and tax hikes that are set to take effect would tip the economy into a new recession.

Please keep in mind that the “$1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts” is not for a single year.  When you break it down, the cuts to spending would be somewhere around 100 billion dollars a year.  And a lot of those “cuts” are actually spending increases that would be cancelled.  So those spending cuts would not really put much of a dent in our yearly budget deficits at all.

The tax increases would be more significant.  Middle class families would be paying thousands of dollars more per year in taxes.  These tax increases would raise some more revenue for the federal government, but they would also do significant damage to the economy in the short-term.

Do you know what they call a combination of government spending cuts and tax increases over in Europe?

They call it “austerity”.

Nations like Greece and Spain have tried this.  They cut spending and raised taxes in an attempt to reduce government budget deficits.  What happens is that the spending cuts and the tax increases cause a significant economic slowdown and this causes tax revenues to come in much lower than projected.  So then more spending cuts and tax hikes are necessary in order to try to get closer to balancing the budget.  But then tax revenues fall even more.

In the end, both Greece and Spain still have large budget deficits and yet the economies of both nations are suffering through depression-like conditions.  The unemployment rate in both nations is now over 25 percent.  Just check out this chart right here to see how nightmarish austerity has been for the economies of both Greece and Spain.

So that is why everybody is freaking out about the fiscal cliff.  They don’t want to go down the same road of austerity.  They want to keep living in an economic fantasy land where we can borrow our way to “prosperity”.

But it is all a lie.  The lines at the Apple stores, the crazed consumers on Black Friday, the restaurants teeming full with people and the government that thinks that it can take care of everyone from the cradle to the grave and yet keep taxes low.  It is all a giant lie.

And no, please do not think that I am in favor of raising taxes.  I most definitely am not.  I believe that the government brings in more than enough money already.

Personally, I believe that we could have a system that completely eliminates income taxes and that funds the government through tariffs and various other forms of taxation.  It was good enough for the Founding Fathers and it should be good enough for us.  But that is a subject for another article.

Our current system has allowed us to live way beyond our means for an extended period of time, but it is only a matter of time until it all comes crashing down.

In fact, the game is already over.  We have already destroyed the future.  At this point it is only a matter of how long we can keep kicking the can down the road and putting off the pain.

Sadly, what we have done on a national level is simply a reflection of our “buy now, pay later” society.  We have become a nation that is constantly willing to sacrifice the future in order to make the present more pleasant.

Just check out this video.  We have become addicted to a prosperity that we cannot possibly pay for.  But as long as someone will keep lending us the money we will continue to enjoy it.

As I have mentioned previously, the government has spent about 11 dollars for every 7 dollars of revenue that it has actually brought in while Barack Obama has been president.

We print, borrow and spend without giving any thought to what we are doing to the future of this country.  We are shredding confidence in our currency and we are wrecking the greatest economic machine that the world has ever seen.

And all of our politicians and all of our “leaders” prance about as if they are the smartest generation of Americans ever, and they think that they are an “example” for the rest of the world, but if our Founding Fathers were around today they would be absolutely horrified about what they have done to the country that they built.

If you think that the economy is bad now, you just wait.

We are still in the “economic fantasy land” phase where we are enjoying a massively inflated standard of living constructed on a mountain of borrowed fiat currency.  Our economy is being held up by trillions of borrowed dollars, and all of that money makes the U.S. economy appear to be far more prosperous than it actually should be.

When we have to start living closer to what our real standard of living should be things are going to get really bad.

Most Americans simply don’t understand that if the federal government went to a balanced budget tomorrow it would instantly plunge the U.S. economy into a depression.

Just look at Greece and Spain.  The same thing is going to happen to us one way or another.

So enjoy this false prosperity while you still can.  This is about as good as things are going to get, and from here on out it is downhill for America.

Now THAT Is Cold – 19 Signs That America Is Becoming A Very Heartless Place

The economy is not the only thing that is wrong with America.  In order for a society to function smoothly, people need to be able to trust one another and be able to expect that most of their fellow citizens will behave in a somewhat civilized manner.  Unfortunately, we are starting to see the very fabric of our society slowly unravel all over the nation.  The truth is that America is becoming a very heartless place.  People simply do not care about one another the way that they used to in this country.  Of course there are many exceptions, but the reality is that millions of hearts are going cold from coast to coast.  In America today, we are more self-absorbed than ever, more self-centered than ever, and we are more isolated from others than ever.  Just think about the number of people that you personally interact with on a regular basis.  Unless you are involved with a very large organization such as a school or a church, it is probably a very limited number.  Our addiction to entertainment gives us the illusion of being connected to society, but the truth is that Americans spend less time personally interacting with one another than ever before.  Meanwhile, Americans are seemingly becoming more arrogant, more prideful, more angry, more brutal, more greedy and more addicted to pleasure than ever before.  When you combine millions of very cold hearts with an economy that is rapidly crumbling, that adds up to a whole lot of trouble in the years ahead.

Even government authorities are becoming heartless.  TSA agents and police officers are actually trained to “act tough” and to bark orders at us.  In the old days, you could reason with a police officer, but these days if you try to talk common sense with some of these thugs you will get tasered before you even realize what is happening.

The American people can see the deep corruption in Washington D.C. and throughout most of our other major institutions and they wonder why they should keep trying to do “the right thing”.

If our leaders are selfish and heartless, then it is only natural that millions of average Americans will follow their examples.

In America today, we are taught to hate one another.  Democrats are taught to hate Republicans and Republicans are taught to hate Democrats.  We are a deeply divided nation and our hearts are getting colder with each passing year.

Parents are becoming more cruel, thieves are becoming more bold and thugs are becoming more brutal.  Hate, anger and frustration are fueling some really twisted behavior all over the country.  America is changing, and not for the better.

The following are 19 signs that America is becoming a very heartless place….

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

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

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

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

#2 One way that a society is judged is by how it treats children.  Unfortunately, stories such as the following one from Texas are becoming increasingly common in America today….

Texas authorities said Tuesday they removed 11 children from a crowded home where a registered sex offender lives after they found eight confined in a small, dark bedroom with restraints tying some to their beds.

Along with the children, 10 adults were living in the one-story, 1,700-square-foot home in Dayton, about 30 miles northeast of Houston, Child Protective Services spokeswoman Gwen Carter said. One month after a raid on the house, authorities are still trying to determine how the children are related and why they were there, she said.

#3 Across the United States, there have been an increasing number of reports of teens randomly attacking people on the street for no apparent reason whatsoever.  In some cases, the victims are actually being pulled out of their vehicles.  The following recent example comes from Philadelphia….

IN A HORRIFIC assault in Center City on Saturday night, three teenagers who were spouting racial slurs pulled a man out of a cab to beat him. And when the cabdriver intervened to stop the assault, the teens turned their rage on him, police said yesterday.

#4 One man down in Arizona was recently charged with skinning and eating a cat.  He told authorities that he did it because he was “hungry”.

#5 In the Detroit area, an 86-year-old World War II veteran was recently brutally carjacked in the middle of the day at a gas station.  His leg was broken during the assault, and as he slowly crawled across the concrete parking lot many people walked by him and drove by him as if he was not even there.

#6 One 69-year-old woman down in Texas recently went without running water for six years and nobody ever helped her out until just recently.

#7 In Ohio, one man has been charged with raping three children that he adopted and with allowing other men to have sex with them as well.

#8 One man down in Texas was recently fined by the city government for not mowing the lawn of a house that he had already lost to foreclosure.

#9 These days thieves will steal anything that is metal that they think that they can resell.  In the Philadelphia area recently, there has been a rash of brass door knocker thefts.  Thieves have been going up and pulling them right off of the front doors of private homes.

#10 As the price of gasoline rises, gasoline thieves are becoming more creative.  The following is a recent example from the Tampa Bay area….

As gas thefts go, this one was deceptively elaborate.

Inside a blue Chevrolet Venture minivan, criminals had cut out a large hole in the floorboard and set up a portable pumping station, complete with power source, pump and plastic container.

The goal: to steal hundreds of gallons of gas pulled directly from the gas station’s underground storage tank and funneled into a plastic tank inside the van.

Gasoline thefts have become so common in Detroit that one city councilman wants to force gas station owners to hire security guards.

#11 One 29-year-old female tutor was recently arrested for having a sexual relationship with a 12-year-old boy that she was supposed to be tutoring.

#12 The ACLU is trying to force one library district in Washington state to allow full public access to pornography on library computers – even if children will be walking by and able to see what is going on.

#13 In America today, a lot of parents are becoming extremely cruel.  Down in Alabama, one 9-year-old girl recently died after being forced by her mother and grandmother to run for three hours straight as punishment for lying about having eaten some candy bars.

#14 Some Americans have become so desperate that they are trying to get sent to prison on purpose.  For example, one ex-police officer in Georgia recently robbed a bank and allowed authorities to catch him so that he could get food, shelter and free medical care in jail.

#15 What can account for the rash of seemingly random violent crimes that we have been seeing lately?  Over near Seattle, an 88-year-old man and an 83-year-old woman were brutally attacked by a 31-year-old man armed with a crossbow and a hatchet for no apparent reason whatsoever….

Prosecutors say 31-year-old John Chase was walking down the highway when he saw Ralph Aldrich, 88, in his back yard. Detectives say Chase shot and killed Aldrich with a crossbow and then went inside the home and repeatedly hit 83-year-old June Aldrich with a hatchet.

#16 In America today, many people are so angry and so frustrated that even the slightest provocation can push them over the edge.  For example, one man in Georgia actually firebombed a Taco Bell because they did not put enough meat in his Chalupa.

#17 These days Americans are having a hard time feeling safe in their own homes.  Down in Maryland, one very sick home invader was recently sentenced to 100 years in prison for doing some very twisted things….

In one case, authorities said, he sexually assaulted a 17-year-old girl after breaking into her family’s Fort Washington home with a cinder block and forced her to pose nude on a bed as he took photographs and videos of her.  Authorities said in another case, Scott and an accomplice, Marcus Dermanellian Hunter – who has already pleaded guilty to federal firearms charges – held up a Bowie family at gunpoint in April 2009, used their debit cards to steal money from ATM machines and then stole a luxury car.

#18 In America today you never know who is going to come driving up to you on the street.  Most of the time people that you meet will be at least somewhat “normal”, but there is also a chance that the next strangers that you run into will be crack-fueled perverts.  Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened to a Montana teacher named Sherry Arnold…

Spell and Waters had left Colorado days before the crime claiming they wanted work in eastern Montana and western North Dakota’s oil fields.

After smoking crack cocaine over the entire trip, Waters allegedly told Spell the drug ‘brought the devil out in him’ and began talking about kidnapping and killing a female, AP reports.

After they spotted Arnold, Spell claims that Waters told him to ‘grab the lady’ and pull her into their Ford Explorer as she jogged by.

After they got her into the Ford Explorer, they choked the life out of her and then buried her body in a shallow grave in North Dakota.

#19 In the Boston area, the FBI recently used a chainshaw to cut through the front door of one apartment during a raid.  They quickly subdued the woman living inside and had her on the floor for 35 minutes as her young daughter cried out to her.  Eventually they figured out that they had the wrong apartment and they issued a “routine apology” to the woman.

As our country falls apart all around us, there is going to be a greater need for love and compassion than ever before.

Don’t count on the government to help those in need.  The government always does  a miserable job of that.

As I have written about previously, already more than 40 percent of all children in Atlanta and more than 50 percent of all children in Detroit are living in poverty.

In the years ahead those numbers are going to get even worse.

But it isn’t just in the major cities where poverty is exploding.  Sadly, today one out of every four children in the United States is on food stamps.

As times get tough, you have two choices.

You can allow your heart to grow cold like so many other people are doing.

Or you can decide that you are going to become more loving and more compassionate than ever before.

America is becoming a very heartless place, and unfortunately there is no sign that trend is going to turn around any time soon.

But you don’t have to become heartless.

Be a light that shines in the darkness.

In the end, you will be glad that you were.

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