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It Is Not Just Your Imagination – American Families ARE Getting Poorer

Did you know that median household income in the United States is lower today than it was when the last recession supposedly ended?  If we are in the middle of an “economic recovery”, how can this possibly be happening?  Stunning new statistics compiled by Sentier Research show that the U.S. economy is not nearly as healthy as we have been led to believe.  According to the study that Sentier Research has just released, median household income in the United States was sitting at $55,470 back in January 2000.  In December 2007, when the recession began, it was sitting at $54,916.  In June 2009, when the recession supposedly ended, it was sitting at $53,508.  Today, it is sitting at $50,964.  This is a long-term trend that is definitely going in the wrong direction.  The fact that median household income in the U.S. is now 4.8 percent lower than it was when the last recession ended is incredibly disturbing, especially since all of the things that we buy on a regular basis just keep going up in price.  Food, gas, electricity, car insurance and health insurance all cost a whole lot more today than they did back in the year 2000, and yet median household income has dropped 8.1 percent since that time.  So what does all of this mean?  It means that American families ARE getting poorer.

Yes, the stock market has been soaring, corporate profits have set all-time records in recent years and the big Wall Street banks that were showered with bailout money are absolutely thriving.

But there has been no economic recovery on “Main Street”.

According to the Sentier Research report mentioned above, incomes have been declining in all geographic regions of the country and in all sectors of the economy….

-Median household income for the self-employed has fallen 9.4 percent since June 2009.

-Median household income for private sector employees has fallen 4.5 percent since June 2009.

-Median household income for government workers has fallen 3.5 percent since June 2009.

-Median household income for Americans living in the West has fallen 8.5 percent since June 2009.

-Median household income for Americans living in the Northeast has fallen 4.9 percent since June 2009.

-Median household income for Americans living in the South has also fallen 4.9 percent since June 2009.

-Median household income for Americans living in the Midwest has fallen 1.1 percent since June 2009.

Remember, the recession supposedly ended in June 2009.

Since that time we have supposedly been in a “recovery”.

So if it has seemed to you that American families have been getting poorer it has not just been your imagination.

In a previous article, I detailed 84 statistics that prove that the middle class in America is being systematically destroyed.  If you have not read it yet, I encourage you to go check it out.  At this point it is absolutely undeniable that the middle class in America is declining.  The following are just a couple of the numbers from my recent article….

1. 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.

2. The Pew Research Center has also found that 85 percent of middle class Americans say that it is harder to maintain a middle class standard of living today compared with 10 years ago.

3. 62 percent of middle class Americans say that they have had to reduce household spending over the past year.

4. The average net worth of a middle class family in America was $129,582 in 2001.  By 2010 that figure had dropped to $93,150.

5. According to the Federal Reserve, the median net worth of all families in the United States declined “from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010“.

You can find 79 more statistics just like this right here.

At the same time that our incomes are going down, the cost of living just continues to rise steadily.

Thanks Ben Bernanke.

American families are being increasingly stretched financially, and if major changes are not made this is going to get even worse in the years ahead.

Another thing that we aren’t being told on the nightly news is that the percentage of working age Americans that have jobs is lower today than when the last recession ended.

So let’s summarize….

-A smaller percentage of Americans have jobs today compared to June 2009.

-Median household income has declined by 4.8 percent since June 2009.

-American families are far less wealthy than they were just a few years ago.

Are we sure that we are in an economic recovery?

Just look at what is happening to our cities.

The rest of the world once looked at Detroit in awe.

Now it is a global joke.

You can see some incredible photographs of the devastation in Detroit right here.

This kind of thing is happening on the east coast as well.  I have written many times about how horrible life has become in places such as Camden, New Jersey.

Well, now the entire Camden police force is being disbanded, and the policing of the city is going to be turned over to the county.

We are a mess, and it is time to admit that.

Sadly, most Americans simply have no idea how close our economic system really is to total system failure.

Only 24.6 percent of the jobs in this country are “good jobs” at this point, the velocity of money in our economy has plunged to a post-World War II low, unemployment is rampant, more than half of all Americans are at least partially financially dependent on the government and our national debt is crossing the 16 trillion dollar mark.

We don’t need someone to come in and “tweak” the economy.

We need radical reconstructive surgery.

But most Americans do not understand this.

Most Americans do not seem to grasp these things until economic hardship touches them personally.

After all, if you still have a good job and the mainstream media is telling you that everything is going to be okay it is really easy to pretend that we aren’t heading for an economic disaster of unimaginable proportions.

A massive problem that we are facing right now is something known as “normalcy bias”. This is how Wikipedia defines “normalcy bias”….

The normalcy bias, or normality bias, refers to a mental state people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects. This often results in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster, and on a larger scale, the failure of governments to include the populace in its disaster preparations. The assumption that is made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster never has occurred then it never will occur. It also results in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs. People with a normalcy bias have difficulties reacting to something they have not experienced before. People also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation.

Doesn’t that sound exactly like the vast majority of Americans right now?

Most Americans just assume that since we have always recovered from every other economic downturn in the past that we will always be able to easily handle whatever the future throws at us.

If only that was true.

We are heading into a time that will be unlike anything any of us have ever experienced before, and many people that have blind faith in the system are going to be absolutely devastated when this coming crisis blindsides them.

Our economy has been collapsing, it is continuing to collapse, and the collapse is going to accelerate dramatically in the coming years.

You can have blind faith in the system, or you can get prepared for what is coming.

The choice is up to you.

20 Signs You Might Be A Typical American Worker

Once upon a time, anyone that was relatively competent and willing to work hard could go out and easily get a job that would enable that person to financially support a family.  Unfortunately, that is simply no longer true anymore.  Well paying “middle income jobs” are being rapidly replaced with “low income jobs” and part-time jobs.  As the economy crumbles, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the typical American worker to survive from month to month.  The number of companies that provide benefits such as health insurance has fallen steadily over the past ten years, and paychecks have not been keeping up with the rising prices of food and gas.  Average American families are seeing their budgets squeezed like never before, and many of them are going into huge amounts of debt in order to make up the difference.  Sadly, this is a problem that has developed over an extended period of time and that is not going to be reversed overnight.  Over the past four decades, the ratio of wages and salaries to GDP in America has fallen dramatically.  The typical American worker is not as valued as much as he or she used to be, and if current trends continue even more of us will be working part-time jobs or “low income jobs” in the years ahead.

In America today there is a great deal of focus on the unemployed, but there are also millions upon millions of Americans that are working part-time jobs because that is all that they can find.

It can be absolutely soul crushing to go all the way through school getting good grades, spend a ton of money on an education, and then work for 8 bucks an hour doing meaningless work for some predator corporation that simply does not care about how talented you are.

Today, an astounding 48 percent of all Americans are considered to be either “low income” or are living in poverty.

According to the New York Times, approximately 100 million Americans are either living in poverty or in “the fretful zone just above it”.

A lot of those people actually do have jobs.  Unfortunately, a part-time job that pays 8 or 9 dollars an hour just will not get you anywhere close to getting over the poverty line.

This is not the way that the U.S. economy used to work.  Back in the old days, good paying jobs that would allow you to live “the American Dream” were plentiful.

But now millions upon millions of Americans are scrambling for anything that they can get.  According to a recent survey conducted by Gallup, the percentage of Americans that are working part-time jobs but that would like full-time jobs is now higher than it has been at any other time in the last two years.

In this economy, a good paying full-time job is incredibly precious.  If you still have one, you should consider yourself to be very fortunate.

Check out the following chart.  It is a chart that shows the level of wages and salaries as a percentage of GDP in the United States since the late 1940s.  As you can see, the slice of the pie being taken home by American workers has been dropping like a rock since about 1970….

Is that a clear trend or what?

And it is going to continue year after year as long as we continue to pursue the same foolish economic policies.

As our politicians continue to allow millions of American jobs to be shipped overseas, competition for the jobs that remain inside this country is becoming extremely intense.

Back in 1967, 97 percent of all U.S. men with a high school degree between the ages of 30 and 50 had jobs.  Today, that figure is down to 76 percent.

As you read this, there are hordes of hard working American workers sitting at home staring at their televisions as they wonder why nobody will hire them.

Right now, if you gathered together all of the unemployed people in the United States, they would constitute the 68th largest country in the world.

That is absolutely insane.

But even if you do have a job that does not mean that you are in good shape.  The percentage of “low income jobs” just continues to climb.  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.

Many Americans work as hard as they can and still find that they must turn to the government for financial assistance.  According to author Paul Osterman, about 20 percent of all U.S. adults are currently working jobs that pay poverty-level wages.

And that number is just going to keep climbing unless we change what we are doing as a nation.

Perhaps you are working a “low income job” right now.  Most of us have worked a job like that at least once in our lives.  Hopefully you will find the following list amusing.  Yes, I have exaggerated a few things slightly, but I think you will get the point.

The following are 20 signs you might be a typical American worker….

#1 If you are working three jobs and you still don’t have enough money at the end of the month, you might be a typical American worker.

#2 If your job involves asking the question “Would you like fries with that?”, you might be a typical American worker.

#3 If you shop at the dollar store because Wal-Mart is too expensive, you might be a typical American worker.

#4 If your job requires you to wear a smock, a brightly colored polo shirt or lots of “flair”, you might be a typical American worker.

#5 If people are constantly asking you where the restroom is while you are at work, you might be a typical American worker.

#6 If your employer hires extra part-time workers in order to avoid giving anyone full-time hours, you might be a typical American worker.

#7 If you are required to watch a mindless “training video” after being hired, you might be a typical American worker.

#8 If the company you work for is owned by someone on the other side of the world, you might be a typical American worker.

#9 If a trained seal could do your job and you feel like your expensive education is going to waste, you might be at typical American worker.

#10 If you don’t have any health insurance at all, you might be a typical American worker.  Only about 25 percent of all part-time workers in the United States receive employee benefits such as health insurance or paid sick leave.

#11 If your car is older than your kids are, you might be a typical American worker.

#12 If you can’t afford to buy the things that you are selling to the public, you might be a typical American worker.

#13 If the balances on your credit cards are larger than your bank accounts are, you might be a typical American worker.

#14 If going to Burger King is your idea of “fine dining”, then you might be a typical American worker.

#15 If it costs more to fill up your car with gas than you will make at your job today, you might be a typical American worker.  The price of gasoline has increased by 83 percent since Barack Obama first took office, and the average cost of a gallon of gas in the United States is now up to $3.52.

#16 If you eat your cereal with a fork so that you can save milk, you might be a typical American worker.

#17 If your electricity bill keeps going up but your paycheck never does, you might be a typical American worker.

#18 If it feels like you are losing an organ every time you pay for health insurance each month, you might be a typical American worker.

#19 If you feel like your employer is constantly tempted to replace you with someone younger and cheaper, then you might be a typical American worker.

#20 If you are so poor that you cannot even afford to pay attention, you might be a typical American worker.

Unfortunately, a lot more Americans are going to be forced into working these kinds of jobs if current trends continue.

Since the year 2000, we have lost 10% of our middle class jobs even though our population has increased by more than 30 million since then.  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.

The lack of good jobs in America has some very real consequences.  In particular, our young adults are really feeling the pain of not being able to find quality employment.

According to a recent poll conducted by Generation Opportunity, huge numbers of Americans in the 18 to 29 year old age bracket are delaying major life decisions due to the poor economy….

-44% are delaying buying a home

-28% are delaying saving for retirement

-27% are delaying paying off student loans or other debt

-27% are delaying going back to school or getting more education

-23% are delaying starting a family

-18% are delaying getting married

All of those things take a lot of money, and if you simply don’t have the money it makes things really tough.

Sadly, the economy is about to get even worse.

As I have written about previously, what is going on in Greece right now is a warning sign for the rest of the world, and we are on the precipice of another major global financial crisis.

There are an increasing number of voices in the financial world that believe that we are going to see a Greek default in March.  So will this actually happen?  I certainly don’t know.  But what some folks are currently saying about the situation sure does make for interesting reading.

In the old days, you could graduate from college, get a good job, work for the same company for 30 years, save up for retirement and count on a comfortable life in your old age.

That paradigm is now totally shattered.  The entire global economic system is in a state of chaos and things change faster today than they ever have before.

If you have a job today, it may be gone tomorrow.

The financial institution or insurance company that you are working with today may be out of business by next month.

We live in a world that is becoming increasingly unstable.  That is why it is imperative to try to become more self-sufficient and less dependent on the system.

It is tough to plan in such an environment, but one thing is for sure – tough times are coming and things are not going to get any easier than they are now.

17 Facts That Prove That The Average American Family Is Getting Absolutely Pulverized By This Economy

How in the world does the average American family survive in this economy?  The median household income is a little bit less than $50,000 a year right now.  So let’s call that about $4000 a month.  But before any of that money gets spent, you have to take out at least $1000 in taxes.  That leaves about $3000 a month to pay all the bills with.  With that $3000 you have to pay the mortgage (or rent), make the car payments, make the student loan payments, pay for power and water, pay for health insurance, pay for home insurance, pay for car insurance, pay the phone bill, pay the Internet bill and pay the cable bill.  On top of all that, every member of the family needs three meals a day and the cars need to be filled up with gasoline or they won’t go anywhere.  Of course I haven’t even mentioned expenses that don’t happen every month such as car repairs or new shoes.  No wonder so many families are feeling so financially stressed!

The truth is that American families are getting squeezed harder than they have been in ages.  The number of good jobs is declining, incomes are going down, and the cost of living just keeps going up.

The following are 17 facts that prove that the average American family is getting absolutely pulverized by this economy….

#1 The cost of a health insurance policy for the average American family rose by a whopping 9 percent last year.  According to a report put out by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust, the average family health insurance policy now costs over $15,000 a year.

How in the world can most families afford that?  Yes, in many cases employers are paying for at least a portion of that, but still that seems absolutely outrageous.

#2 Due to rising costs, a lot of employers are completely getting rid of health plans for their employees.  In fact, the percentage of Americans covered by employer-based health plans has fallen for 11 years in a row.

#3 The number of uninsured Americans continues to rise.  Things have gotten so bad that an all-time record 49.9 million Americans do not have any health insurance at all.

#4 At this point, most American families are tapped out financially.  According to the U.S. Labor Department, incomes and spending were both down for the second straight year in 2010.

#5 At the same time, the employment picture continues to look worse with each passing month.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of layoffs in the United States was up 14 percent in August.

#6 Even if you do have a job that doesn’t mean that you are doing much more than surviving.  According to Paul Osterman, a professor of economics at MIT, approximately 20 percent of all employed Americans are making $10.65 an hour or less.

#7 The amount of debt that the average American family has piled up is absolutely staggering.  The median yearly wage in the United States is just $26,261, but the average American household is carrying $75,600 in debt.

#8 Consumer confidence is extremely low right now.  If the U.S. economy was in good shape, the Consumer Confidence Index would be up around 90.  Instead, it is sitting at 45.4.

#9 Nearly every recent survey shows that the American people are feeling really depressed about the economy right now.  In fact, one poll found that 80 percent of them believe that we are actually in a recession right now.

#10 Many consumers are seriously starting to cut back on spending again, and that is not a good sign for the U.S. economy.  According to one recent study, 40 percent of all Americans have cut back on their spending within the last 60 days.

#11 It certainly does not help that millions of good jobs have been shipped out of the country.  Sadly, the trend of offshoring our jobs is going to continue to accelerate if something is not done.  According to Professor Alan Blinder of Princeton University, 40 million more U.S. jobs could be sent offshore over the next two decades.

#12 There is a lot of fear in the workforce right now.  According to Gallup, 30 percent of all employed Americans are worried that they will be laid off soon.

#13 Today, there are 5.9 million Americans between the ages of 25 and 34 that are living with their parents.  That is putting an even greater strain on the budgets of many families.

#14 American families have gotten very accustomed to using plastic to pay for things.  Today, the average U.S. household has 13 different credit cards.

#15 Many American families are not making it at all in this economy.  Last year, 2.6 million more Americans dropped into poverty.  That was the largest increase that we have seen since the U.S. government began keeping statistics on this back in 1959.

#16 For many American families, living on food stamps has become a way of life.  Today, there are more than 45 million Americans on food stamps and we keep setting a brand new record almost every single month.

#17 Things have gotten so bad that many American families are selling off whatever they can in order to survive.  For example, down in Florida hundreds of people have been selling off their burial plots in an attempt to raise cash.  The following is an excerpt from a local news report about this new trend….

Sellers are posting online, using burial plot brokers, and also funeral homes to market the real estate. Some of those advertisements show single plots starting at about $1,000, while family plots can go for up to $50,000.

Most American families are living in a state of almost constant financial stress.  Way too many parents are spending way too many sleepless nights wondering how in the world they will be able to keep their heads above water for another month.

Very few families seem to have “extra money” for stuff these days.  Yeah, there are the “privileged few”, but most people are really struggling to get by.

In America today, if you are able to keep your home from being foreclosed and you are able to put food on the table and clothes on the backs of your family then you are doing pretty good.

Sadly, as our current economic crisis deepens, the average American family is going to have an even more difficult time trying to survive financially.

So do you have any tips to share for how the average American family can survive in this very tough economy?  Please feel free to share your ideas and thoughts below….

50 U.S. Health Care Statistics That Will Absolutely Astonish You

The U.S. health care system has become one gigantic money making scam, and you are about to see the statistics that prove it.  Today, the United States spends more on health care per person than any other country in the world by far.  The health insurance companies and the big pharmaceutical corporations are raking in gigantic mountains of cash and yet the quality of the health care that we receive in return is rather quite poor.  People living in Puerto Rico have a greater life expectancy than we do.  Residents of Cuba have a lower infant mortality rate than we do.  We are the most medicated population on the planet and yet we are also one of the sickest.  If the U.S. health care system was a country, it would have the 6th largest economy on the globe and yet rates of cancer, heart disease and diabetes continue to increase.  The U.S. health care statistics that you are about to read below are absolutely stunning.  For as much money as we shell out for health care, we should have the greatest system in the entire world.  But we don’t.  Something has gone horribly wrong.

As you read this, there are hordes of health bureaucrats and greedy corporate fatcats that are becoming incredibly wealthy while the rest of us go broke trying to pay for our health care.  In the United States today, health care bills cause more bankruptcies than anything else does.  Millions of Americans are afraid to go to the hospital because they know that even a short visit would be a huge financial burden.

Sadly, our politicians in Washington D.C. continue to make the problem worse.  Obamacare was one of the worst pieces of legislation that anyone has ever come up with in the history of the United States.  You could put a thousand monkeys in a room with a thousand typewriters for a thousand years and they wouldn’t come up with anything as bad as Obamacare.  Rather than doing something to address the abuses of the health insurance companies and the pharmaceutical corporations, Obamacare actually gives them more power.  In fact, huge portions of Obamacare are virtually identical to a bill that was written by the health insurance trade association in 2009.  Under Obamacare our health care costs will go up even faster and the quality of our health care will continue to go down.  So please don’t try to tell me that Obamacare is the solution to anything.

The health care system in the United States is so broken that it probably cannot be repaired.  The entire thing needs to be dismantled and completely reinvented.

If you doubt this, just check out the stats that I have compiled below.

As I put together this list of statistics, Business Insider proved to be a very valuable resource.  In addition, I relied heavily on the following articles which I previously authored….

*25 Shocking Facts That Prove That The Entire U.S. Health Care Industry Has Become One Giant Money Making Scam

*18 Ridiculous Statistics About Medical Bills, Medical Debt And The Health Care Industry That Will Make You So Mad You Will Want To Tear Your Hair Out

*The Coming Doctor Shortage

The following are 50 U.S. health care statistics that will absolutely astonish you….

#1 What the United States spent on health care in 2009 was greater than the entire GDP of Great Britain.

#2 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%.

#3 The United States spent 2.47 trillion dollars on health care in 2009.  It is being projected that the U.S. will spend 4.5 trillion dollars on health care in 2019.

#4 One study found that approximately 41 percent of working age Americans either have medical bill problems or are currently paying off medical debt.

#5 According to a report published in The American Journal of Medicine, medical bills are a major factor in more than 60 percent of the personal bankruptcies in the United States.  Of those bankruptcies that were caused by medical bills, approximately 75 percent of them involved individuals that actually did have health insurance.

#6 Over the past decade, health insurance premiums have risen three times faster than wages have in the United States.

#7 The chairman of Aetna, the third largest health insurance company in the United States, brought in a staggering $68.7 million during 2010. Ron Williams exercised stock options that were worth approximately $50.3 million and he raked in an additional $18.4 million in wages and other forms of compensation.  The funny thing is that he left the company and didn’t even work the whole year.

#8 The top executives at the five largest for-profit health insurance companies in the United States combined to receive nearly $200 million in total compensation for 2009.

#9 Even as the rest of the country struggled with a deep recession, U.S. health insurance companies increased their profits by 56 percent during 2009 alone.

#10 According to a report by Health Care for America Now, America’s five biggest for-profit health insurance companies ended 2009 with a combined profit of $12.2 billion.

#11 In the United States, health insurance administration expenses account for 8 percent of all health care costs.  In Finland, that figure is just 2 percent.

#12 Health insurance rate increases are getting out of control.  According to the Los Angeles Times, Blue Shield of California announced plans earlier this year to raise rates an average of 30% to 35%, and some individual policy holders were slated to see their health insurance premiums rise by up to 59 percent.

#13 According to an article on the Mother Jones website, health insurance premiums for small employers in the U.S. increased 180% between 1999 and 2009.

#14 Since 2003, health insurance companies have shelled out more than $42 million in state-level campaign contributions.

#15 There were more than two dozen pharmaceutical companies that made over a billion dollars in profits each during 2008.

#16 Each year, tens of billions of dollars is spent on pharmaceutical marketing in the United States alone.

#17 Prescription drugs cost about 50% more in the United States than they do in other countries.

#18 Nearly half of all Americans now use prescription drugs on a regular basis according to a CDC report that was recently released. According to the report, approximately one-third of all Americans use two or more pharmaceutical drugs, and more than ten percent of all Americans use five or more drugs on a regular basis.

#19 According to the CDC, approximately three quarters of a million people a year are rushed to emergency rooms in the United States because of adverse reactions to pharmaceutical drugs.

#20 The Food and Drug Administration reported 1,742 prescription drug recalls in 2009, which was a gigantic increase from 426 drug recalls in 2008.

#21 Children in the United States are three times more likely to be prescribed antidepressants than children in Europe are.

#22 The percentage of women taking antidepressants in America is higher than in any other country in the world.

#23 Lawyers are certainly doing their part to contribute to soaring health care costs.  According to one recent study, the medical liability system in the United States added approximately $55.6 billion to the cost of health care in 2008.

#24 According to one doctor interviewed by Fox News, “a gunshot wound to the head, chest or abdomen” will cost $13,000 at his hospital the moment the victim comes in the door, and then there will be significant additional charges depending on how bad the wound is.

#25 Why are c-sections on the rise?  It is because a vaginal delivery costs approximately $5,992, while a c-section costs approximately $8,558.

#26 According to the CIA World Factbook, the United States had a higher infant mortality rate than 45 other nations in 2009.

#27 The infant mortality rate in the United States is nearly three times as high as it is in Singapore.

#28 It is estimated that hospitals overcharge Americans by about 10 billion dollars every single year.

#29 In fact, one trained medical billing advocate says that over 90 percent of all the medical bills that she has audited contain “gross overcharges“.

#30 It is not uncommon for insurance companies to get hospitals to knock their bills down by up to 95 percent, but if you are uninsured or you don’t know how the system works then you are out of luck.

#31 Over the last decade, the number of Americans without health insurance has risen from about 38 million to about 52 million.

#32 People living in the United States are three times more likely to have diabetes than people living in the United Kingdom.

#33 Today, people living in Puerto Rico have a greater life expectancy than people living in the United States do.

#34 According to OECD statistics, Americans are twice as obese as Canadians are.

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

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

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

#38 Greece has twice as many hospital beds per person as the United States does.

#39 The state of California now ranks dead last out of all 50 states in the number of emergency rooms per million people.

#40 According to one survey, approximately 1 out of every 4 Californians under the age of 65 has absolutely no health insurance.

#41 According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers report, “inefficient claims processing” costs the U.S. health care system 210 billion dollars every single year.

#42 Today, approximately 40% of all U.S. doctors are age 55 or older.

#43 According to the American Association of Medical Colleges, we were already going to be facing a shortage of more than 150,000 doctors over the next 15 years even before Obamacare was passed.

#44 An IBD/TIPP poll taken back in August 2009 found that 4 out of every 9 American doctors said that they “would consider leaving their practice or taking an early retirement” if Congress passed Obamacare.

#45 According to a survey published in the New England Journal of Medicine, approximately one-third of all practicing physicians in the United States indicated that they may leave the medical profession because of the new health care law.

#46 According to a Merritt Hawkins survey of 2,379 doctors that was conducted in August 2010, 40 percent of all U.S. doctors plan to “retire, seek a nonclinical job in health care, or seek a job or business unrelated to health care” at some point over the next three years.

#47 According to the executive director of Physician Hospitals of America, Obamacare has already forced the cancellation of at least 60 doctor-owned hospitals that were scheduled to open soon.

#48 According to a report released in 2010, Americans spend approximately twice as much as residents of other developed countries do on health care.

#49 If the U.S. health care system was a country, it would be the 6th largest economy in the entire world.

#50 According to numbers released by Deloitte Consulting, a whopping 875,000 Americans were “medical tourists” in 2010.

Two Americas: 12 Facts That Show That Those Who Are Too Big To Fail Are Thriving On The Bailout Money That Our Politicians Gave Them Even As The Economic Suffering Of Ordinary Americans Continues To Deepen

Most Americans have a deep aversion to the phrase “redistribution of wealth”, and rightly so.  On a fundamental level, it is just not right to take the money that one man has worked so hard to earn and “redistribute” it to someone else.  In the political realm, the phrase “a redistribution of wealth” is usually a reference to our ballooning social programs, but what most Americans don’t realize is that one of the biggest redistributions of wealth in world history took place during the Wall Street bailouts of a couple years ago.  Trillions of dollars of our money and of money that belongs to future generations was redistributed to the Wall Street bankers.  The Wall Street bankers did not earn this money and they did not deserve this money.  We were told that if Wall Street did not get this money that the global economy would collapse and that there would be martial law in the streets.  We were promised that this money would “fix” Wall Street and then the prosperity would “trickle down” to Main Street.  So did this happen?  Of course not.

What ended up happening is that Wall Street hoarded all of this cash.  Lending to individuals and small businesses actually decreased.  The Federal Reserve started handing out gigantic piles of nearly interest-free money which many of these big Wall Street banks immediately loaned back to the U.S. government at a significantly higher rate of interest.

Talk about easy money.

Now the big Wall Street banks and the ultra-wealthy are swimming in cash and sales of luxury goods in the United States are absolutely skyrocketing.  Meanwhile, millions of “ordinary” Americans continue to slip into poverty.

So is the answer to all of this just to “tax the rich” and redistribute the wealth again by giving more handouts to the poor?

Of course not.

The American people don’t need more handouts.

What the American people desperately need are some good jobs.

But Wall Street is hoarding the cash they got during the bailouts.

It would be one thing if these big Wall Street banks had made a ton of money based on their own efforts.  It is a very American thing to be able to enjoy the fruits of hard work.

However, the truth is that many big Wall Street banks and financial institutions may have completely imploded if not for the bailouts.

They were “too big to fail” and our politicians jumped to their service.

Our politicians redistributed wealth by taking trillions of dollars that belonged to us and to future generations and handed it to the folks on Wall Street.

So now the boys and girls over on Wall Street are thriving while tens of millions of “average” Americans are desperately suffering.

Does that seem right to you?

Isn’t it about time that the U.S. government gets out of the “redistribution of wealth” business altogether?

Just consider the following statistics.  Even as the economic suffering of ordinary Americans continues to deepen, those who got big piles of bailout money are living the high life….

#1 According to Stephen Lewis of Monument Securities, luxury retailers in the United States have seen an 8.1 percent increase in sales compared to a year ago, while “discount stores” that cater to the poor and the middle class have only seen a 1.2 percent increase in sales compared to a year ago.

#2 The sad truth is that just about every company that deals in luxury goods is booming, while those that primarily serve ordinary Americans are not doing nearly as well.  Just consider the following quote from a recent article by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard of the Telegraph….

Tiffany’s, Nordstrom, and Saks Fifth Avenue are booming. Sales of Cadillac cars have jumped 35pc, while Porsche’s US sales are up 29pc.

Cartier and Louis Vuitton have helped boost the luxury goods stock index by almost 50pc since October. Yet Best Buy, Target, and Walmart have languished.

#3 Elderly Americans in particular are really having a hard time of it right now.  A recent study by a law professor from the University of Michigan found that Americans that are 55 years of age or older now account for 20 percent of all bankruptcies in the United States.  Back in 2001, they only accounted for 12 percent of all bankruptcies.

#4 The number of Americans on food stamps has hit another all-time record.  There are now 43.2 million Americans enrolled in the food stamp program.

#5 According to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, visits to soup kitchens are up 24 percent over the past year.

#6 Meanwhile, the price of food continues to go up.  This hits poor and middle class Americans much harder than it hits the wealthy.  According to a report on 55 top food commodities by the Food and Agriculture Organization, global food prices reached a new record high during December.

#7 Lester Brown, the president of the Washington-based Earth Policy Institute, is publicly declaring that the world is just “one poor harvest” away from total chaos….

“The reality is that the world is only one poor harvest away from chaos. We are so close to the edge that politically destabilizing food prices could come at any time.”

#8 The price of clothes is also increasing dramatically.  It turns out that cotton is 80% more expensive now than it was back at the beginning of 2010.

#9 Americans will also be paying more at the gas pump this upcoming year.  In fact, former Shell Oil President John Hofmeister recently stated that Americans could be paying 5 dollars for a gallon of gasoline by the end of this upcoming year.

#10 Health insurance rates are also skyrocketing.  Blue Shield of California recently announced plans to raise health insurance rates by an average of 30% to 35% this year, and some individual policy holders could actually see their health insurance premiums rise by a whopping 59 percent.

#11 On top of everything else, the U.S. Census is now telling us that there are millions more poor people in America than they had previously calculated.  The U.S. Census Bureau recently revealed that the figure of 43.6 million Americans living in poverty that they announced last September was way too low and that actually 47.8 million Americans are now living in poverty.

#12 If all of these economic problems were not bad enough, now many state and local governments are seriously considering raising taxes.  In Illinois, there is now a proposal to raise state income tax rates by 75 percent.  A recent article that appeared on the CNBC website explained why Illinois is so desperate for cash….

In a moment when states around the country are wrestling with withered revenues, Illinois faces a deficit of at least $13 billion; more than $6 billion in unpaid bills to social service agencies, schools and funeral homes; the most underfinanced state pension system; and growing signs of concern from bond investors.

So won’t the big Wall Street banks and the ultra-wealthy get hit by these tax increases too?

Some of them will, but many of them have learned to “play the game” so well that they barely pay any taxes at all.

As I have written about previously, a third of all the wealth in the world is now held in offshore banks.  When taxes go up, the ultra-wealthy are not the ones that have their wealth “redistributed”.  Instead, it is poor saps like you and I that have our wealth “redistributed”.

In fact, the next time another “financial crisis” comes along, the financial “powers that be” will once again come running to Congress and come running to the Federal Reserve begging for more bailouts.

Now that the precedent has been set, it will only seem natural to redistribute even more of our wealth to the folks over on Wall Street so that we can “save” the financial system.

But the truth is that our financial system is completely doomed to fail in the long run and throwing our money into the financial system is like throwing our money into a black hole.

In the end, all of us are going to greatly suffer when the financial system finally crashes.  But for the moment the wealthy are partying with all of the money that they have looted from the rest of America, and the rest of us which were “small enough to fail” have been left to scratch and claw and fight with each other as we desperately try to survive in this horrible economy.

In The Future You May Not Be Able To Provide The Basics For Your Family Even If Everyone In Your Family Has A Job

Today, millions of American families are extremely stressed out because they are working as hard as they can and yet they find at the end of the month they still haven’t been able to pay all of the bills.  Unfortunately, things are only going to get rougher in the years ahead.  The U.S. government has reached a terminal phase of the debt spiral that it is trapped in, and the only way to keep the system going is to print more money, borrow more money and spend more money.  But won’t this cause horrible inflation eventually?  Of course it will.  That is why so many people around the world have so loudly denounced “quantitative easing 2″.  The Federal Reserve is just creating hundreds of billions of dollars out of thin air and is chucking all of this money into the system in a desperate attempt to get it moving again.  This is also why the Tea Party movement is so angry about the record amounts of government debt that are being piled up.  When the U.S. government goes into more debt, it creates more dollars.  As the Federal Reserve and the U.S. government flood the system with new dollars, it means that there are now more dollars chasing roughly the same number of goods and services, and that is a recipe for inflation.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, however you want to look at it), most of this new money is trapped in the financial markets right now.  The first people that get their hands on all of this new money are banks, financial institutions and the folks down on Wall Street and right now they are hoarding much of it and much of it is going to pump up the stock market.

That is one reason why we saw such a tremendous bubble in commodities in 2010.  It is also a key reason why we have seen such a stock market “recovery”.

But eventually all of this new money is going to get into the hands of average U.S. consumers and it is going to start pushing the price of everything up.

Ronald Reagan once said that inflation is “as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber, and as deadly as a hit man.”  Ron Paul has called inflation a “hidden tax” on all of us, and that is exactly what it is.  All of the paper money that we are storing in the banks is losing a little bit of value every single day.  Over long periods of time, this loss of value becomes absolutely massive.  For example, did you know that the U.S. dollar has lost over 95 percent of its purchasing power since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913?

Unfortunately, as the Federal Reserve and the U.S. government continue to flood the system with new dollars in a desperate attempt to stimulate the economy, inflation is only going to get worse and worse and worse.

So enjoy the relatively tame inflation that we are enjoying for now.  The official U.S. government inflation rate has been hovering around 1 percent or so, but everyone knows that the official inflation rate is an absolute joke.  The government pulls different categories in and out of the inflation rate almost at will in an attempt to keep the numbers low.

One recent study that analyzed price movement of 86 products in Wal-Mart stores found that the “real” rate of inflation was approximately twice the “official” rate reported by the U.S. government.

Others are convinced that the official rate of inflation is even higher than that.  For example, John Williams of ShadowStats.com has closely studied inflation in the U.S. and he believes that it is currently hovering somewhere around 5 percent.

However, John Williams does not believe that inflation is going to stay at 5 percent for much longer.  He recently released a “Hyperinflation Special Report” for 2010 that everyone needs to read.  Personally, I do not agree with all of his conclusions and I do not believe that things are going to happen quite as quickly as he is projecting, but his overall analysis is sound.

The truth is that our financial system has now reached a terminal phase.  Just look at the chart below.  Really look at it.  How can any financial system survive debt that is rising this fast?  The printing and borrowing of money continues to spiral out of control with no end in sight.  It is hard to imagine any scenario in which we can even achieve a “soft landing”.  One way or another, this exploding debt is going to take us down…..

So are the politicians sorry that they have saddled us with all of this debt?

Well, just the other day Nancy Pelosi was directly asked this question and the following was her response….

“No, we have no regrets.”

In fact there are quite a few politicians running around in Washington D.C. that are still convinced “that deficits don’t matter” and that all this debt will never catch up with us.

Well, hold on to your hats, because this is going to be the decade when all of this debt really does start to catch up with us.

One of the ways that we are going to feel the pain is through inflation.

In the months and years ahead, wages will remain relatively stable and government entitlement payments will not increase much while prices for the basic things that American families need go through the roof.

Already we are starting to see some troubling signs of inflation.  In 2010, the price of almost every major agricultural commodity you can name shot up dramatically.  We are starting to see these price increases filter into the supermarket.  Some companies are trying to hide these price increases by shrinking package sizes.

Have you noticed this yet?  Have any of the packages that you buy regularly seemed to shrink in recent months?

Sadly, it looks like food prices are headed even higher.  According to a recent report by Reuters, world food prices hit an all-time record high in December….

World food prices rose to a record in December on higher sugar, grain and oilseed costs, the United Nations said, exceeding levels reached in 2008 that sparked deadly riots from Haiti to Egypt.

So what are you and your family going to do if a worldwide food shortage pushes food prices up significantly?

Another place where American families are really going to start feeling the pain is at the gas pump.

Do you remember back in October when I warned you that 100 dollar oil is coming?

Well, the price of Brent crude reached 95 dollars a barrel for the first time in almost two years on Monday.

Unfortunately, there are many who now believe that the price of oil is going to go a lot higher than that.

John Hofmeister, the former president of Shell Oil, believes that American consumers will likely be paying 5 dollars for a gallon of gas by the time 2012 rolls around.

So is your employer going to be paying you much more to keep up with rising gas prices?

Of course not.

And you know what?

When the price of oil rises, it affects the price of almost everything else in the stores, because nearly everything has to be transported in one way or another.

So why is the price of oil going up so much?  Well, of course there are speculators and of course the price of oil is highly manipulated, but one of the big reasons why oil is going up is because the U.S. dollar is losing value.

The cost of other basics is going up as well.  Have your health insurance premiums gone up lately?  All over the country, horrific health insurance premium increases are being reported.

Quite a few of the readers of this column have stated that they simply cannot afford health insurance anymore and so they are now doing without it.  There are millions of Americans that refuse to go to a hospital because there is no way they can pay for health insurance and there is no way they can pay the ridiculous fees charged by our hospitals today.

Sadly, in the months and years to come millions more working American families will be pushed into poverty-like conditions by rising inflation.

Already we are seeing huge numbers of American families that are working as hard as they can not being able to afford the basics.

A year-end survey conducted by Pew Research found the following….

*51% of Americans say that it is difficult to afford health care.

*48% of Americans say that it is difficult to pay their home heating and electric bills.

*29% of Americans say that it is difficult to afford food.

Those numbers should be quite sobering for us all – especially considering the fact that jobs are becoming very difficult to get.

According to the same Pew Research study, a staggering 46 percent of all Americans say that someone in their household has been without a job and looking for work at some point during the past year.

It can be really depressing to search for a decent job month after month after month when there doesn’t seem to be any out there.

The truth is that there are 7 million less middle class jobs in America today than there were just a decade ago.

So if even one person if your family has a decent job you should consider yourself to be very fortunate.

But sadly even families where everyone is working are going to continue to be stretched further and further financially as rapidly increasing inflation steals our purchasing power a little bit more every single day.

The “good times” are rapidly coming to an end.  The greatest debt-fueled party in the history of the world is wrapping up and you should enjoy it while you still can, because the years ahead are just going to be brutal.

Everything Is Falling Apart: 20 Facts That You Will Not Want To Read If You Still Want To Feel Good About America’s Decaying Infrastructure

If you haven’t noticed lately, America is literally falling apart all around us.  Decaying infrastructure is everywhere.  Our roads and bridges are crumbling and are full of holes.  Our rail system is ancient.  Our airports and runways have definitely seen their better days.  Aging sewer systems all over the country are leaking raw sewage all over the place.  The power grid is straining to keep up with the ever-increasing thirst of the American people for electricity.  Dams are failing at an unprecedented rate.  Virtually all of our ports are handling far more traffic than they were ever intended to handle.  Meanwhile, our national spending on infrastructure is way down.  Back during the 1950s and 1960s we were spending between 3 and 4 percent of our national GDP on infrastructure, but today we are spending less than 2.5 percent of our national GDP on it.  According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, we need to spend approximately $2.2 trillion on infrastructure repairs and upgrades just to bring our existing infrastructure up to “good condition”.

Does anyone have an extra $2.2 trillion to spare?

If you get the feeling that America is decaying as you drive around this great country of ours, it is not just your imagination.  It is literally happening.

You should not read the list of facts below if you want to keep feeling good about the condition of America’s infrastructure.  There really is no way to sugar-coat what is happening.  Previous generations handed us the greatest national infrastructure that anyone in the world has ever seen and we have neglected it and have allowed it to badly deteriorate.

This first set of facts about America’s decaying infrastructure was compiled from a fact sheet entitled “The Case For U.S. Infrastructure Investment” by an organization called Building America’s Future….

*****

#1 One-third of America’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition.

#2 Traffic on more than half the miles of interstate highway exceeds 70 percent of capacity, and nearly 25 percent of the miles are strained at more than 95 percent of capacity.

#3 Americans waste 4.2 billion hours and 2.8 billion gallons fuel a year sitting in traffic – equal to nearly one full work week and three weeks’ worth of gas for every traveler.

#4 Over the next 30 years, our nation is expected to grow by 100 million and highway traffic will double again. Even if highway capacity grows no faster than in the last 25 years, Americans can expect to spend 160 hours – 4 work weeks – each year in traffic by 2035.

#5 Nearly a third of all highway fatalities are due to substandard road conditions, obsolete road designs, or roadside hazards.

#6 Over 4,095 dams are “unsafe” and have deficiencies that leave them more susceptible to failure, especially during large flood events or earthquakes.

#7 Rolling blackouts and inefficiencies in the U.S. electrical grid cost an estimated $80 billion a year.

#8 By 2020, every major U.S. container port is projected to at least double the volume of cargo it was designed to handle. Some East Coast ports will triple in volume, and some West Coast ports will quadruple.

#9 Other countries are leapfrogging past us by investing in world-class ports. China is investing $6.9 billion; the port of Shanghai now has almost as much container capacity as all U.S. ports combined.

#10 By 2020, China plans to build 55,000 miles of highways, more than the total length of the U.S. interstate system.

*****

The rest of these facts were compiled from various sources around the Internet.  The more research that you do into America’s decaying infrastructure the more depressing it becomes….

#11 According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, more than 25 percent of America’s nearly 600,000 bridges need significant repairs or are burdened with more traffic than they were designed to carry.

#12 More than a third of all dam failures or near failures since 1874 have happened in just the last decade.

#13 All across the United States, conditions at many state parks, recreation areas and historic sites are deplorable at best.  Some states have backlogs of repair projects that are now over a billion dollars long.  The following is a quote from a recent MSNBC article about these project backlogs….

More than a dozen states estimate that their backlogs are at least $100 million. Massachusetts and New York’s are at least $1 billion. Hawaii officials called park conditions “deplorable” in a December report asking for $50 million per year for five years to tackle a $240 million backlog that covers parks, trails and harbors.

#14 Over the past year, approximately 100 of New York’s state parks and historic sites have had to cut services and reduce hours.

#15 All over America, asphalt roads are being ground up and are being replaced with gravel because it is cheaper to maintain.  The state of South Dakota has transformed over 100 miles of asphalt road into gravel over the past year, and 38 out of the 83 counties in the state of Michigan have transformed at least some of their asphalt roads into gravel roads.

So why don’t our state and local governments just spend the money necessary to fix all of these problems?

Well, they can’t spend the money because they are flat broke.

Just consider some of the financial problems that state and local governments around the nation are facing right now….

#16 One town in Michigan is so incredibly broke that it is literally begging the state to allow them to declare bankruptcy.

#17 One Alabama town is in such financial turmoil that it has decided to simply quit paying pension benefits.

#18 In Georgia, the county of Clayton recently eliminated its entire public bus system in order to save 8 million dollars.

#19 Major cities such as Philadelphia, Baltimore and Sacramento are so desperate to save money that they have instituted “rolling brownouts” in which various city fire stations are shut down on a rotating basis throughout the week.

#20 Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has come up with a unique way to save money.  He wants to cut 20 percent of Detroit off from essential social services such as road repairs, police patrols, functioning street lights and garbage collection.

The truth is that there are dozens of cities across the United States that are on the brink of bankruptcy.  To see a bunch of high profile examples of this, check out the following article from Business Insider: “16 US Cities Facing Bankruptcy If They Don’t Make Deep Cuts In 2011“.

But it just isn’t local governments that are in deep trouble right now.  In fact, there are quite a few state governments that are complete and total financial disaster zones at this point.

According to 60 Minutes,  the state of Illinois is at least six months behind on their bill payments.  60 Minutes correspondent Steve Croft recently asked Illinois state Comptroller Dan Hynes how many people and organizations are waiting to be paid by the state, and this is how Hynes responded….

“It’s fair to say that there are tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people waiting to be paid by the state.”

Investors across the globe are watching all this and they are starting to panic.  In fact, investors are now pulling money out of municipal bonds at a rate that is absolutely staggering.

But if states get cut off from all the debt that they need to operate, things are going to get a lot worse very quickly.

Already we are seeing all kinds of troubling signs.  For example, the state of Arizona recently decided to stop paying for many types of organ transplants for people enrolled in its Medicaid program.

Sadly, as much as our politicians try to “fix” our problems, things just only seem to keep getting worse.

One prominent illustration of this is our health care system.  Our health care system is absolutely falling apart all around us.  Thanks to the new health care reform law, doctors are flocking out of the profession in droves.  According to an absolutely stunning new poll, 40 percent of all U.S. doctors plan to bail out of the profession over the next three years.

Our economy continues to fall apart as well.  The number of personal bankruptcies in the United States continues to set stunning new highs.  According to the American Bankruptcy Institute, more than 1.53 million Americans filed bankruptcy petitions in 2010.  This was up 9 percent from 1.41 million in 2009.

Not only that, but the housing crisis shows no signs of abating. 382,000 new foreclosures were initiated during the third quarter of 2010.  This was up 31.2 percent from the previous quarter and it was 3.7 percent higher than the third quarter of 2009.

The U.S. banking system is also falling apart.  In 2006, no U.S. banks failed.  In 2009, 140 U.S. banks failed.  So did things get better in 2010?  No.  In 2010, 157 U.S. banks failed.

Unemployment continues to remain at depressingly high levels, and in many areas of the country it is getting even worse.  According to the U.S. Labor Department, the unemployment rate rose in two-thirds of America’s largest metro areas during November.

Millions of Americans have become so disgusted with the job market that they have given up altogether.  The number of people who are so discouraged that they have completely given up searching for work now stands at an all-time high.

So who is doing a booming business during these hard times?  Welfare agencies and food banks are.  During this economic downturn, millions of American families have found themselves going to a food bank for the very first time ever.

It is getting harder and harder for average American families to feed themselves.  A recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center found that 29 percent of Americans say that it is hard to afford food, and 48 of Americans say that it is hard to afford their heating and electric bills.

So is there any hope for the future?  Well, our new college graduates are supposed to lead us into the future, but most of them are saddled with overwhelming amounts of student loan debt.  Those who graduated during 2009 had an average of $24,000 in student loan debt.  This represented a 6 percent increase from the previous year.

Not only that, but these new college grads are not finding jobs.  According to the one recent report, the unemployment rate for recent college graduates was 8.7 percent in 2009.  This was up from 5.8 percent in 2008, and it was the highest unemployment rate ever recorded for college graduates between the ages of 20 to 24.

As if all of this was not bad enough, now the Baby Boomers are starting to reach retirement age.  Beginning January 1st, 2011 every single day more than 10,000 Baby Boomers will reach the age of 65.  That is going to keep happening every single day for the next 19 years.

So where in the world are we going to come up with all of the money to give them the retirement benefits that they are due?

The truth is that we are flat broke as a nation and so America’s decaying infrastructure is going to continue to decay.  We don’t have the money to repair what we already have, much less add desperately needed new infrastructure.

But perhaps it is only fitting.  The decay of our roads and cities will match the deep social, moral and political decay that has already been going on in this country for decades.

So will the American people awaken soon enough to be able to recapture the legacy of greatness that previous generations tried to pass on to us?

Unfortunately, the vast majority of our politicians are completely incompetent.  Posted below is a short video from Tim Hawkins that is absolutely hilarious but that also demonstrates just how incompetent our government really is….

Full Spectrum Dominance: 8 Examples Of How The Government Is Attempting To Take Total Control Of Our Food, Our Health, Our Money And Even Our Dignity

Over the past several decades, no matter which political party has been in power the government has continued to become a larger part of our lives. These days many people are speaking of the “nanny state” that we have created, but the reality is far worse than that. The truth is that the government has become a gluttonous, out of control behemoth that is gobbling up everything in sight and that is attempting to exert full spectrum dominance over our lives.  Today, the government seems to have an insatiable hunger to watch us, track us and control us.  Now they even want to feel our private parts before we get on an airplane.  No matter what politicians we send to Washington D.C., it just seems to get worse and worse.  Anyone who still believes that we live in “the land of the free” is completely and totally delusional.

It isn’t just in one particular area that all of this government intrusion into our lives is so offensive.  What we are witnessing is the government slowly digging its fingers even deeper into our lives in a thousand different ways.  Sadly, most Americans see the government as the one who is supposed to take care of them from the cradle to the grave, as the one who is supposed to fix all of the problems in society and as the one who is their ultimate authority.

This is in direct contradiction to the concept of a “limited government” that our Founding Fathers tried so desperately to enshrine in our founding documents.  The American people need a big-time wake up call.  The following are 8 examples of how the U.S. government is attempting to take even more control over our lives….

#1 Taking Total Control Of Our Food – S. 510 “The Food Safety Modernization Act”

S. 510, “The Food Safety Modernization Act”, is another huge power grab by the FDA and the federal government over our food supply.  The bill is written so broadly and so vaguely that nobody really knows what it means.  The potential for abuse of these vague new powers would be staggering.  So will the government abuse these powers?  Those who are in favor of the bill say that of course the government will be reasonable, but those who are opposed to the bill point to all of the other abuses that are currently taking place as evidence that we simply cannot trust the feds with vague, undefined powers.

Fortunately, the Tester Amendment has been attached to S. 510 at least for now, but big agriculture is not happy about this, and they will be doing everything they can to get it kicked out of the final version of the law.  In any event, if this food safety law does get passed, tens of millions of Americans will be left wondering what they are allowed to grow in their back yards, what seeds they are allowed to save and what can and cannot be sold at farmer’s markets.

In case you think this is paranoid, just consider what is already happening.  It has been documented that the feds recently raided an Amish farmer at 5 AM in the morning because they claimed that he was was engaged in the interstate sale of raw milk in violation of federal law.  If the feds are willing to stoop so low as to raid Amish farmers, do you think they will have any hesitation when the time comes to raid your home?

#2 Taking Total Control Of Air Travel – The Dehumanizing Full Body Scanners And “Enhanced Pat-Downs”

Totalitarian governments throughout history have always sought to dehumanize their subjects.  Sadly, that is exactly what is happening in America today.  If you want to get on an airplane in the United States, you will now be forced to either let TSA agents gawk at your naked body or let TSA agents grope your entire body including your genitals.

What these TSA agents are being instructed to do to ordinary Americans is so bizarre that it is hard to believe.  It is being reported that in many instances TSA agents are actually reaching down the pants of male travelers and up the skirts of female travelers.  One retired special education teacher was left humiliated, crying and covered with his own urine after an “enhanced pat-down” by TSA agents.  Quite a number of women that have been through these “enhanced pat-downs” have used the phrase “sexual assault” to describe the experience.

So is this what America has become?  A place that is so “dangerous” that we all must be treated like prison inmates?  Large numbers of Americans are swearing that they will simply not fly anymore, but what happens when these “enhanced pat-downs” start showing up at our schools, our shopping centers and our sporting events someday?

#3 Taking Total Control Of Our Health Care – The Loss Of Our Health Freedom

Once upon a time, Americans had control over their own health care decisions.  That is no longer true today.  Thanks to major changes in our health care laws, the health care landscape in America has been dramatically changed.  Americans are now forced to participate in the officially-sanctioned health care system by purchasing health insurance.  But Americans cannot just get any kind of health insurance policy that they want.  Our health insurance choices are now tightly constrained by thousands of regulations.

Not only that, but doctors in America no longer have the freedom to treat patients however they see fit.  Only “approved” treatments are permissible, and now the federal government is going to be telling doctors which of those “approved” treatments are “cost-effective” enough.  As the new health care laws are fully implemented over the next decade, the American people are going to become truly horrified not only about how much their health insurance premiums are going up, but also about how much health freedom they have actually lost.

#4 Taking Control Of Our Money – Multiplying Taxes

Whenever one tax goes down, it seems like several other taxes either go up or get invented.  The truth is that Americans are being drained by the federal government, state governments and local governments in dozens upon dozens of different ways.  To our various levels of government, our primary function is to serve as a revenue source.  Each year it seems like they find more ways to stick it to us.  In fact, it looks like 2011 is going to be a banner year for tax increases.  If you doubt this, just see my previous article entitled “2011: The Year Of The Tax Increase“.

#5 Taking Control Of Our Businesses – Thousands Of Ridiculous Regulations

Why would anyone in America even attempt to be an entrepreneur today?  Most small businesses are literally being strangled by hordes of red tape.

Just consider how things have changed in America.  The Federal Register is the main source of regulations for U.S. government agencies.  In 1936, the number of pages in the Federal Register was about 2,600.  Today, the Federal Register is over 80,000 pages long.

The following is just one example of how bizarre things have gotten in this country.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is projecting that the food service industry will have to spend an additional 14 million hours every single year just to comply with new federal regulations that mandate that all vending machine operators and chain restaurants must label all products that they sell with a calorie count in a location visible to the consumer.

Do we really need to spend 14 million more hours telling Americans that if they keep eating hamburgers and fries that they are likely to get fat?

But it is not just the federal government that is the problem.  One reader recently described how difficult  it was to try to run a business in the state of California….

Had 10 employees, but one almost exclusively to deal with government regs, taxes, reporting etc, Received a $144 penalty for a .33 (yes, cents)error on my quarterly payroll taxes from Cal Franchise Tax Board. I called to ask if that was not a bit repressive, why level penalize someone for what was obvisouly a didminimus error? I was told “we would have penalized you if it was .03!” I said, I did not volunteer to be the income tax collector for the State and Fed government, you should be paying me to do all this work and insane paper pushing. Reply: “That is part of the PRIVILIGE of being a business owner!!!”

#6 Taking Control Of Our Environment – The Green Police

The government is using the “green movement” as an excuse to take an unprecedented amount of control over our lives.  From coast to coast, communities have been given government grants to track our trash with RFID microchips. The following are just some of the communities that will now be using microchips to track what we throw away….

*Cleveland, Ohio

*Charlotte, North Carolina

*Alexandria, Virginia

*Boise, Idaho

*Dayton, Ohio

*Flint, Michigan

Not only that, but some cities are now starting to fine citizens for not recycling properly.

In Cleveland, Ohio if an RFID tracking chip signals that a recycle bin has not been brought out to the curb within a certain period of time, a “trash supervisor” will actually sort through the trash produced by that home for recyclables.

According to Cleveland Waste Collection Commissioner Ronnie Owens, trash bins that contain over 10 percent recyclable material will be subject to a $100 fine.

Does that sound like America to you?

Now we don’t even have the freedom to throw out trash the way we want to.

#7 Taking Away Our Independence – The Exploding Welfare State

You don’t have much freedom if you can’t take care of yourself.  But in America today, tens of millions of Americans have literally become completely dependent on the government for survival.  Over 42 million Americans are now on food stamps.  Approximately one out of every six Americans is enrolled in a federal anti-poverty program.

The number of Americans living in poverty has increased for three consecutive years, and the 43.6 million poor Americans in 2009 was the highest number that the U.S. Census Bureau has ever recorded in 51 years of record-keeping.

The more Americans that are destitute and totally dependent on the government the easier it will be for the government to control them.  Today a rapidly growing percentage of Americans fully expect the government to take care of them.  But this is not what our founders intended.

#8 Taking Away Our Patriotism – We Are Even Losing The Freedom To Be Proud Of America

Do you ever think things will get so repressive in America that a group of high school students will be forbidden from singing the national anthem at the Lincoln Memorial?  Well, that has already happened.  Do you think that areas of our nation will ever become so anti-American that they will forbid students from riding to school with an American flag on their bikes?  Well, that has already happened.

Fortunately, there was such an uproar over what happened to 13-year-old Cody Alicea that it made national headlines and he ended up being escorted to school by hundreds of other motorcycles and bicycles – most of them displaying American flags as well.  The school reversed its policy and now Cody can ride his bike to school every day proudly displaying the American flag.

But what if nobody had decided to stand up?

That school would have gotten away with banning the flag if the American people had allowed them to.

Our liberties and our freedoms are under attack from a thousand different directions and they are being stripped away from us at a blinding pace.

It has gotten to the point where most of us just sit in our homes and enjoy the “freedom” of digesting the “programming” that is constantly being hurled at us through our televisions.  Of course the vast majority of that programming is produced by just 6 monolithic corporations that control almost everything that we watch, hear and read.

Power and money have become more highly concentrated in America today than ever before, and yet most Americans don’t even realize it.

Most Americans are so busy just trying to survive from month to month that they don’t even have time to think about the deeper issues.  At the end of the night most of them are so exhausted from serving the system that all they can do is collapse on the sofa and turn on some programming.

But the American people desperately need to wake up.  Without liberty and freedom our country cannot work.  But our freedoms and liberties are being stripped away a little bit more each and every day.

The America that so many of us grew up adoring is dying right in front of our eyes.  If you plan on saying something about it, you better do so before it is too late.

111 Obamacare Waivers And Counting – Can The Rest Of Us Get Waivers From Having To Comply With Obamacare Please?

In a stunning admission of just how job-killing and business-crushing the new health care law really is, the Obama administration has issued a staggering total of 111 Obamacare waivers (and counting) so far. The list of the dozens of companies and organizations that have been approved for a waiver is very, very deeply buried on the website of the Department of Health & Human Services.  In fact, it takes six separate clicks to get to the list.  Some of the companies that have been granted waivers include McDonald’s, Darden Restaurants (owners of the Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurant chains), Aetna, the United Federation of Teachers Welfare Fund in New York, and Dish Network.  These Obamacare waivers cover a total of 1.2 million Americans.  However, as news of these waivers spreads, it is inevitable that thousands more companies will want to apply.  In the end, tens of millions of Americans may be covered by health plans that have been exempted from Obamacare.  So can the rest of us get in on this action or is the Obama administration going to play favorites with these waivers?

So far, the Obamacare waivers have primarily been granted to companies that offer very limited health plans.  The Obama administration has apparently been afraid of the public relations nightmare that would result if dozens of companies suddenly started dropping health coverage for their employees.  The following is how the New York Times recently described what is going on with these waivers….

Last month, federal officials granted dozens of one-year waivers that were aimed at sparing certain employers, including McDonald’s, insurers and unions who offer plans that sharply limit the coverage they provide. These limited-benefit plans, also known as “minimeds,” fail to comply with new rules phasing out limits on how much policies will provide in medical care each year.

So do you want to get an Obamacare waiver for your own company?  Well, just over a week ago the Department of Health & Human Services published a set of new guidelines for those seeking to apply for a waiver.  As news of these waivers starts to spread they will likely get absolutely swamped with applications, so you better get yours in early.  In fact, it is being reported that the number of approved applications has tripled in just the last month alone.

But these waivers raise some very important questions.

-If Obamacare is such a great law, shouldn’t it apply equally to everybody?

-If Obamacare is going to cause firms to drop their “mini-med” health plans, shouldn’t all firms with “mini-med” plans be given a blanket exemption?

-Are all firms that apply for an Obamacare exemption going to be given one or will the Obama administration be playing favorites?

-Won’t firms that are granted these Obamacare waivers be given a very substantial competitive advantage over other firms in the same industry that do not have an exemption?

-What does it say about an administration when they grant dozens upon dozens of exemptions from a law that they spent months upon months selling to the American people as the ultimate solution to our health care problems?

The following is a recent video news report about these Obamacare exemptions…..

The truth is that the U.S. health care system was deeply broken before Obamacare, and after the new health care law the U.S. health care system is still deeply broken.

Before Obamacare, the U.S. health care system was all about making as much money as possible for health insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry.  After Obamacare, the U.S. health care system is still about making as much money as possible for health insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry, only now we all have to deal with more suffocating layers of government bureaucracy and much higher health insurance premiums.

The entire health care system in the United States should be dismantled and built again from scratch.  It was a complete and total nightmare before Obamacare and it is still a complete and total nightmare.

But perhaps you disagree.  Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing, and if you have a different perspective feel free to express it below….

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