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.

How To Find A Job: Just Be Willing To Flip Burgers And Work For Minimum Wage

Do you want to know how to find a job in America today?  It’s easy.  Just be willing to flip burgers, wait tables or welcome people to Wal-Mart.  You must also be willing to work for close to minimum wage with no health benefits.  It’s not that complicated.  On April 19th, McDonald’s is going to be holding its first “national hiring day” and it will be attempting to fill 50,000 positions.  Hundreds of thousands of applicants are expected, so if you are going to apply be ready for some stiff competition.  McDonald’s held a similar event last year in its western region and 60,000 people applied for just 13,000 jobs.  But if you are one of the lucky ones, you too may soon be flipping burgers for minimum wage.  Who said that finding a job was hard and that the U.S. economy doesn’t work anymore?  All of us just need to be “flexible” and we all need to be willing to adapt to the “new economic reality”.

Oh, you say that you can’t pay the mortgage and feed your family on what they would pay you at McDonald’s?

You say that you are looking for a “good job”?

Well, that is just too bad.

Good jobs are becoming increasingly scarce.  In fact, there are 10% fewer “middle class jobs” in the United States today than there were a decade ago.

The competition for the few “middle class jobs” that are still available has become so intense that you might not want to steer clear.  You just can’t afford to be too picky in today’s world.

After all, you don’t want to become one of those poor saps that is unemployed month after month after month.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average length of unemployment in the U.S. is now an all-time record 39 weeks.

Can you really afford to be out of work for almost a year?

Why not go after the “low hanging fruit”?  For a position at McDonald’s or Wal-Mart you will probably only be competing against four or five other people for each job opening.  Those odds aren’t that bad.

Things were not always like this in America, you say?

Once upon a time there were actually lots and lots of great jobs?

Well, this is part of the sacrifice that we must make for the emerging global economy.  We must allow thousands of our factories to close and millions of our good paying jobs to be shipped overseas.  Our politicians have all promised us that globalism will be incredibly good for us in the long run.

So don’t be alarmed when naysayers warn that the United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs per month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

Yes, American workers now must directly compete for jobs with millions of people willing to work for slave labor wages on the other side of the globe.  But eventually their wages will come up slightly and our wages will go way down to their level and at that point we will all have equality.

You aren’t against “equality” are you?

Who could be against equality?

This is what globalism is all about – tearing down all the borders and gathering us all into one big, happy “global family”.  Right now too many of the good jobs are in America so millions of them have to be shipped out of the country.  Also, millions of legal and illegal immigrants must be allowed into the U.S. so that they can compete for American jobs as well.

But won’t that drive wages down?

Of course, but in the end the “global community” will benefit.

What did you think?  Did you actually believe that the United States would be able to have a thriving middle class forever?

In the new “global economy“, the wealthy get to exploit slave labor on the other side of the world thus wiping out the American middle class.

Already we are seeing signs of an “economic recovery” with the ultra-rich leading the way.  According to Moody’s Analytics, the wealthiest 5% of households in the United States now account for approximately 37% of all consumer spending.

That is some “change” that Wall Street can believe in!

But what about the rest of us?

All kidding aside, it is absolutely brutal out there right now.

American families just want jobs that will enable them to pay their mortgages, put food on the table and provide a decent standard of living for their families.

Unfortunately, those jobs are disappearing and they are being replaced by low paying service jobs.

According to a recent report from the National Employment Law Project, higher wage industries accounted for 40 percent of the job losses over the past 12 months but only 14 percent of the job growth.  Lower wage industries accounted for just 23 percent of the job losses over the past 12 months and a whopping 49 percent of the job growth.

So yes, it has become extremely difficult to find a job that pays a decent wage.

In fact, half of all American workers now earn $505 or less per week.

Could your family survive on $505 a week?

One reader recently left a comment that detailed how this economy has left her without a job, without a home and feeling depressed….

Yup, Im depressed. If I would have known what the WTO protests were about here in Seattle in the 90s, I would have joined in. I knew a lot of folks were very angry, but I wasn’t sure why. I was a busy working mother of a toddler. Now fast forward 10+ years and I haven’t worked in 2 and a half years and only 4 job interviews in that time and 0 job offers. we are going to get paid by Chase to give them our home (gee thanks!) so we can move out… OK now what? things aren’t looking too good. I started a very small business that no where near comes even close to supporting us. So were going to stay in my brother’s house in Texas. and then? who knows. at least I don’t feel alone. there are millions of stories just like mine.

Sadly, there are millions more stories just like this.  The U.S. economy has fundamentally changed and it simply does not work like it used to.

Millions of American families are experiencing severe economic pain right now, and millions more will be experiencing it very soon.

In a previous article entitled, “Where Are The Jobs?“, I explained why things are changing for American workers….

Most Americans don’t really care about the economic minutiae that many of us who study the U.S. economy love to pour over.  When it comes to the economy, the typical American citizen just wants to be able to get a good job, make a decent living and put bread on the table for the family.  For generations, this arrangement has worked out quite well.  The U.S. economy has provided large numbers of middle class jobs and the American people have worked hard and have helped this nation prosper like no other.  But now people are starting to notice that something has shifted.  Millions of people are looking around and are realizing that the jobs that are supposed to be there are not there anymore.  The American people are still working hard (and in many cases harder than ever) but all of that hard work is producing fewer and fewer rewards.  Often politicians will placate voters by telling them that they are working harder and harder for less and less.  That tends to ring true with voters because that is a very accurate description of what so many of them are actually experiencing, but what the politicians don’t tell us is that they are the ones to blame for the situation that we are in.  As millions of jobs become obsolete because of technology and millions of other jobs are shipped overseas, our politicians tell us over and over that we can “compete” with anyone and that if we will just go out and get some more education we can make it happen.  But those of us who are extremely over-educated know what a fraud that line is.  The truth is that there are not nearly enough jobs for all of us no matter how “educated” we are.  This is creating a lot of anger and frustration, and now even the IMF is warning that we could see “an explosion of social unrest” if high unemployment persists.

Unfortunately, most of our politicians do not have any answers.  Bill Clinton greatly accelerated the shipping of our jobs overseas.  George W. Bush was a complete and total disaster when it came to the economy.  Barack Obama has been continuing most of the economic policies of those that came before him.

Unless we make some fundamental changes, millions of jobs will continue to be lost, the U.S. industrial base will continue to be dismantled, we will continue to go into astounding amounts of debt as a nation and more American families will slip into poverty every single day.

But waiting for Washington D.C. to change is kind of like waiting for hell to freeze over.  The Federal Reserve is not going to help us either.  In fact, the Fed is at the very heart of our economic problems.

No, the truth is that the U.S. economy is going to continue to go downhill.  All of us need to try to become less dependent on the system, because when it collapses it is going to devastate the lives of tens of millions of American families.

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.

How Can We Have A Healthy Economy If Virtually Everything We Eat And Drink Is Constantly Making Us All Sick?

In the United States today, we are all being constantly bombarded by chemicals, poisons and toxins.  Virtually everything that we eat or drink makes us less healthy.  The vast majority of Americans gladly consume aspartame, fluoride, BPA, genetically-modified food, pesticides, high fructose corn syrup, pharmaceutical drugs and toxic vaccines without any concern that those substances may ruin their health.  But the truth is that we are getting sicker and sicker and sicker as a nation.  According to one recent report, the United States has dropped to 49th place in the world in overall life expectancy.  Diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes are absolutely exploding.  So how in the world are we supposed to have a healthy and vibrant economy when virtually everything that we eat and drink is constantly making us sick?

Recently, my wife (who has always been extremely healthy) developed some alarming breathing problems.  She did not appear to suffer from any known medical condition, so we were completely puzzled.

Finally, we started examining what we were eating and drinking.  It turns out that she was putting some cream in her coffee that contained something known as “Polysorbate 80”.  Polysorbate 80 is found in a vast array of dairy products and is even used in many vaccines.  According to Drugs.com, “difficulty breathing” is indeed one of the known side effects of Polysorbate 80.  Once my wife cut the Polysorbate 80 out of her diet, the breathing difficulties subsided.  The following is how she describes what she went through….

Prior to my recent problems, I had never been in a situation were I felt as though there was very limited air available.  When the breathing problems would flare up, I would take in deep breath after deep breath but I just couldn’t get any oxygen.  My body tried to cope by constantly yawning which forced air into my lungs.  Some days it wouldn’t be so bad, but on other days it was really frightening.  My breathing was extremely labored at times.  I constantly had to yawn throughout the day in order to catch a satisfying breath.  One day my breathing was really labored – I was constantly gasping for deep breaths, but I wasn’t getting enough oxygen.  I was about to cry.  I felt as though I had dived to the bottom of  a deep pool and I was almost out of air.  My body was in a constant state of panic.  I felt so tired and I was worried that I may collapse at any time.  We got into the car, and I was almost ready to pass out.  We had the windows rolled down to give me the feeling of lots of oxygen, but I felt like I couldn’t take any in.  Fortunately that episode eventually subsided, but there were many days when I was in agony.  You cannot imagine how horrible it is to gasp for breath and never seem to get enough.  Several incidents really scared me.  What was even more frightening was that I had no idea at the time what was causing all this.

Thankfully my wife is doing much better now, but there are thousands and thousands of others across the United States that are experiencing similar breathing problems and nobody has any answers for them.

So what are some of the other side effects of Polysorbate 80?

Well, Drugs.com says that the following are “common” side effects….

Constipation; cough; diarrhea; dizziness; headache; muscle, joint, back, or stomach pain; nausea or vomiting; pain, swelling, irritation, redness, or bruising at the injection site; unusual tiredness or weakness.

In addition, Drugs.com says that the following are severe side effects of Polysorbate 80 that an individual should seek immediate medical attention for….

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); blurred vision or vision changes; chest pain; confusion; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, sore throat); one-sided weakness; pale skin color; redness, tenderness, or swelling of the calf; seizures; severe diarrhea, dizziness, headache, stomach pain, or vomiting; severe or persistent tiredness or weakness; slurred speech; sudden pain or numbness of an arm or leg; sudden shortness of breath; sudden trouble walking or loss of balance; swelling of the arms or legs; vision or speech problems; weight gain.

Remember, this is in countless dairy products all across the United States. Most Americans are absolutely clueless that they are pouring Polysorbate 80 into their coffee or that it is in the ice cream that they are eating.

Another major threat to our health is something called bisphenol-A (BPA).  BPA is one of the most widely used  chemicals in the entire world.  If you eat canned food or you drink bottled water you most likely have BPA in your home and you don’t even know it.

According to Natural News, BPA is not only in virtually every American home, but it has also been linked to some very serious health problems….

It is used to harden plastic in everything from infant and water bottles to mobile phone and computer casings, and also to make linings for cans of food, beverages and infant formula. Yet a growing body of research has implicated the chemical as an endocrine (hormone) disruptor that can lead to cancer, birth defects, behavioral problems and other diseases.

Shouldn’t someone be doing something about this?

Of course.

But the truth is that the big corporations that are pushing these chemicals are much more powerful than those who are trying to watch out for our health.

In fact, authorities all over the United States are putting one very toxic chemical into our water on purpose.

It is called fluoride, and it is being put into our water supposedly because it is good for our teeth.  What Americans are not being told is that fluoride is actually a highly toxic sedative and is causing a whole host of very serious health problems.

So exactly how dangerous is fluoride?  Well, the Fluoride Dangers blog puts it this way….

Even small amounts of fluoride consumed from tap water can damage your bones, teeth, brain, disrupt your thyroid function, lower IQ and/or cause cancer, according to evidence revealed in a groundbreaking 2006 National Research Council (NRC) fluoride report produced by a panel of experts who reviewed hundreds of published fluoride studies.

The Natural Health and Longevity Resource Center has published a list of ten of the most significant health dangers that the scientific research has shown that fluoride causes…..

1. Fluoride exposure disrupts the synthesis of collagen and leads to the breakdown of collagen in bone, tendon, muscle, skin, cartilage, lungs, kidney and trachea.

2. Fluoride stimulates granule formation and oxygen consumption in white blood cells, but inhibits these processes when the white blood cell is challenged by a foreign agent in the blood.

3. Fluoride depletes the energy reserves and the ability of white blood cells to properly destroy foreign agents by the process of phagocytosis. As little as 0.2 ppm fluoride stimulates superoxide production in resting white blood cells, virtually abolishing phagocytosis. Even micro-molar amounts of fluoride, below 1 ppm, may seriously depress the ability of white blood cells to destroy pathogenic agents.

4. Fluoride confuses the immune system and causes it to attack the body’s own tissues, and increases the tumor growth rate in cancer prone individuals.

5. Fluoride inhibits antibody formation in the blood.

6. Fluoride depresses thyroid activity.

7. Fluorides have a disruptive effect on various tissues in the body.

8. Fluoride promotes development of bone cancer.

9. Fluorides cause premature aging of the human body.

10. Fluoride ingestion from mouth rinses and dentifrices in children is extremely hazardous to biological development, life span and general health.

But perhaps even more dangerous is the sweetener known as aspartame.  Today, aspartame is an ingredient in literally thousands of different food and drink products.  In fact, it is often marketed in “health products” such as diet sodas.

According to an article on Mercola.com, aspartame is one of the most toxic substances being added to our foods….

Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. Many of these reactions are very serious including seizures and death.  A few of the 90 different documented symptoms listed in the report as being caused by aspartame include: Headaches/migraines, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, weight gain, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, tachycardia, insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, loss of taste, tinnitus, vertigo, memory loss, and joint pain.

According to researchers and physicians studying the adverse effects of aspartame, the following chronic illnesses can be triggered or worsened by ingesting of aspartame:  Brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, parkinson’s disease, alzheimer’s, mental retardation, lymphoma, birth defects, fibromyalgia, and diabetes.

According to Dr. Janet Hull, the following are known side effects of ingesting aspartame….

Eye
blindness in one or both eyes
decreased vision and/or other eye problems such as: blurring, bright flashes, squiggly lines, tunnel vision, decreased night vision
pain in one or both eyes
decreased tears
trouble with contact lenses
bulging eyes

Ear
tinnitus – ringing or buzzing sound
severe intolerance of noise
marked hearing impairment

Neurologic
epileptic seizures
headaches, migraines and (some severe)
dizziness, unsteadiness, both
confusion, memory loss, both
severe drowsiness and sleepiness
paresthesia or numbness of the limbs
severe slurring of speech
severe hyperactivity and restless legs
atypical facial pain
severe tremors

Psychological/Psychiatric
severe depression
irritability
aggression
anxiety
personality changes
insomnia
phobias

Chest
palpitations, tachycardia
shortness of breath
recent high blood pressure

Gastrointestinal
nausea
diarrhea, sometimes with blood in stools
abdominal pain
pain when swallowing

Skin and Allergies
itching without a rash
lip and mouth reactions
hives
aggravated respiratory allergies such as asthma

Endocrine and Metabolic
loss of control of diabetes
menstrual changes
marked thinning or loss of hair
marked weight loss
gradual weight gain
aggravated low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
severe PMS

Other
frequency of voiding and burning during urination
excessive thirst, fluid retention, leg swelling, and bloating
increased susceptibility to infection

Additional Symptoms of Aspartame Toxicity include the most critical symptoms of all
death
irreversible brain damage
birth defects, including mental retardation
peptic ulcers
aspartame addiction and increased craving for sweets
hyperactivity in children
severe depression
aggressive behavior
suicidal tendencies

Aspartame may trigger, mimic, or cause the following illnesses:
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Epstein-Barr
Post-Polio Syndrome
Lyme Disease
Grave’s Disease
Meniere’s Disease
Alzheimer’s Disease
ALS
Epilepsy
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
EMS
Hypothyroidism
Mercury sensitivity from Amalgam fillings
Fibromyalgia
Lupus
non-Hodgkins
Lymphoma
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

Sadly, there are thousands more toxins and chemicals that are being put into what we eat and what we drink.  The next time you go to the supermarket, just pick up a few products and start reading the labels.  You may find yourself incredibly shocked by what you find.

Does it seem like people all around you are constantly getting sick?  Well, the truth is that we have created an incredibly toxic environment for ourselves.  Diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes have skyrocketed in recent years.  We like to think of ourselves as being so “advanced”, but the truth is that we are constantly becoming less healthy as a nation.

It is hard to imagine any prosperous economy that is full of sick and dying people.  But if we don’t stop constantly poisoning ourselves by what we eat and by what we drink our national health is going to continue to fall apart.

Just like in almost every other category, America is in a deep state of decline.  We like to think that we should be telling everyone else in the world how they should be doing things, but the truth is that our own nation is a complete and total mess.

If your own health is not what it should be, you might want to take another look at what you are eating and what you are drinking.  A small change can make a big difference.

S. 510: 12 Reasons Why The Food Safety Bill From Hell Could Be Very Dangerous For The U.S. Economy

As you read this, there is a bill before the U.S. Senate that has the potential to change the U.S. food industry more than any other law ever passed by the U.S. Congress. In the name of “food safety”, the U.S. government would be given an iron grip over the production, transportation and sale of all food in the United States. Hordes of small food producers and organic farmers could potentially be put out of business.  If this bill becomes law, the freedom to grow what you want, eat what you want and to share food from your gardens with your neighbors could be greatly curtailed.  It would give the FDA unprecedented discretion to regulate U.S. food production.  A version of this bill was already passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last summer, and now S. 510, also know as the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, is in front of the U.S. Senate and it is expected to pass easily.

Because of how vaguely it is written and because of how much discretion it gives to the FDA, it is potentially a very, very dangerous law.

So who is actually in favor of it?

Well, big food corporations and big agriculture are actually very much in favor of this bill.

Why?

Is it because they are so concerned about food safety?

No.

In fact, virtually every major case of food contamination in recent U.S. history has come from large-scale industrial agriculture or large-scale industrial food production.

The real reason why they are backing S. 510 is because it will devastate their primary competition – small food producers and organic farmers.

In recent years, the demand for organic food has skyrocketed as the American people have learned the truth about how our food is actually made.  Big agriculture and the giant food producers are losing profits as Americans increasingly vote with their wallets.

So now the food giants are using “food safety” as a way to get market share back.  It is an open secret that many of those involved in drafting this bill and in pushing it through Congress have ties to food industry giants.

Thousands of small food producers and organic farmers will have their very existence threatened by this bill.  It imposes a bureaucratic nightmare on all food producers that the big corporations will be able to handle easily but that will cripple much smaller operations.

Already, many farmers can see the writing on the wall.  One small farmer recently described the mood among her fellow small farmers to the Wall Street Journal….

“I know people who have been small farmers for 25 to 30 years who are looking to get out of the business because food safety is becoming so alarmist.”

But the bureaucratic nightmare is just the tip of the iceberg.  To get an idea of just how dangerous S. 510 could potentially be to the already staggering U.S. economy, just check out the following quote from one opponent of this bill….

“If accepted [S 510] would preclude the public’s right to grow, own, trade, transport, share, feed and eat each and every food that nature makes. It will become the most offensive authority against the cultivation, trade and consumption of food and agricultural products of one’s choice. It will be unconstitutional and contrary to natural law or, if you like, the will of God.”

-Dr. Shiv Chopra, Canada Health whistle blower

It would be hard to understate how dangerous this bill potentially could be.  This bill gives the FDA the ability to exercise a ton of discretion.  The FDA could end up exercising that discretion in a very reasonable way, or they could use it to shut down small food producers left and right.

When it comes to S. 510, the question that you need to ask yourself is this….

Do you trust the FDA?

If not, then there are some very real reasons for you to be concerned.

The following are 12 reasons why S. 510 could be absolutely disastrous for small food producers and for the U.S. economy…. 

#1 All food production facilities in the United States will be required to register with the U.S. government.   No food will be allowed to be grown, distributed or sold outside this bureaucratic framework unless the FDA allows it.

#2 Any food that is distributed or sold outside of U.S. government control will be considered illegal smuggling.

#3 The FDA will hire an army of new inspectors to enforce all of the new provisions in the bill.

#4 The FDA will be mandated to conduct much more frequent inspections of food processing facilities.   

#5 The fees and paperwork requirements will be ruinously expensive for small food producers and organic farms.

#6 S. 510 would place all U.S. food and all U.S. farms under the Department of Homeland Security in the event of a major “contamination” or an “emergency”.  What exactly would constitute a “contamination” or an “emergency” is anyone’s guess.

#7 S. 510 mandates that the FDA facilitate harmonization of American food laws with Codex Alimentarius.

#8 S. 510 imposes an annual registration fee on any facility that holds, processes, or manufactures food.  It also includes draconian fines for paperwork infractions of up to $500,000 for a single offense.  Just one penalty like that would drive a small food producer out of business.

#9 S. 510 would give the FDA tremendous discretion to regulate how crops are grown and how food is produced in the United States.  Basically, small farmers and organic farmers will now be forced to farm exactly how the federal government tells them to.  It is feared that the U.S. government would soon declare that many organic farming methods are “unsafe” and would outlaw them.  In addition, there is the very real possibility that at some point the U.S. government could decide that the only “safe” seed for a particular crop is genetically modified seed and would require all farmers to use it.

#10 S. 510 will give the FDA the power to impose a quarantine on a specific geographic area.  Basically the FDA would have the power to stop the movement of all food in an area where a “contamination” has been identified.  This would be very close to being able to declare martial law.

#11 S. 510 will give the FDA the power to conduct warrantless searches of the business records of small food producers and organic farmers, even if there has been no evidence at all that a law has been broken. 

#12 Opponents of S. 510 believe that it would eliminate the right to clean and store seed.  Therefore, control of the U.S. seed supply would be further centralized in the hands of Monsanto and other multinational corporations.

As mentioned above, this bill gives the FDA a ton of discretion.  It is written very broadly and very vaguely.  It opens the door for all kinds of abuses, but that doesn’t mean that the FDA will behave unreasonably.

So should we trust the FDA?

Is there a viable future for small food producers and organic farmers in America?

Or is the handwriting already on the wall? 

“If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.”

-Thomas Jefferson

20 Signs That The Health Care Industry Has Become All About Making As Much Money As Possible

Once upon a time in America, people became doctors and nurses because they wanted to help people, building hospitals was a labor of love, lawyers didn’t chase ambulances, health insurance companies did not openly abuse their customers and greedy pharmaceutical companies did not dominate the entire health care industry.  But today all of that has changed.  Why do most people choose a career in the health care industry today?  It is because they want to make a lot of money and live a comfortable lifestyle.  Why do most health facilities get built today?  They get built because someone is hoping to make a huge profit.  Why do so many lawyers specialize in medical malpractice?  Here’s a hint – it is not because they want to make life better for people.  Why do health insurance companies keep raising premiums even while they are making record profits?  It is because they can and because they are greedy.  Why are pharmaceutical corporations some of the most profitable companies on the face of the earth even though their products are harming tens of millions of people?  It is because our health care system has become wildly corrupt and is now about making as much money as possible.

Not that everyone in the health care industry is motivated by greed.  Some doctors and nurses volunteer a ton of their time to assist the poor and the needy.  Others use their vacation time to go overseas and provide free medical care in third world nations.  Many religious groups and non-profit organizations build hospitals and clinics because they are truly trying to help people.  And there are a few health insurance companies that are trying to play the game honestly.

But unfortunately, those with noble intentions in the health care industry are the exception rather than the rule.  Overall, the health care industry in America is all about the money, and it is about time that we quit pretending otherwise.

The following are 20 signs that the health care industry in the United States has become all about making as much money as possible….  

1 – Even as the rest of the U.S. economy deeply struggles, America’s health insurance companies increased their profits by 56 percent in 2009.

2 – According to a report by Health Care for America Now, America’s five biggest for-profit health insurers ended 2009 with a combined profit of $12.2 billion.

3 – The top executives at the five largest for-profit health insurance companies in the United States received nearly $200 million in total compensation in 2009.

4 – According to an article on the Mother Jones website, health insurance premiums for small employers in the United States increased 180% between 1999 and 2009.

5 – Health insurance premium increases are getting totally out of control.  For example, the 39% increase in health insurance premiums that Anthem Blue Cross imposed on some California customers last year was so obscene that it made national headlines.

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

7 – There were more than two dozen pharmaceutical companies that made over a billion dollars in profits in 2008.

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

9Nearly half of all Americans now use prescription drugs on a regular basis according to a CDC report that was just 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 prescription drugs on a regular basis.

10 – 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.

11According to a very surprising new study, 85 percent of new pharmaceutical drugs are “lemons” and pose serious health risks to their users.

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

13 – Shocking new research has found that expectant mothers taking antidepressants have an astounding 68 percent increase in the overall risk of miscarriage.  Yet the pharmaceutical companies are essentially doing nothing to stop this.

14 – The use of psychiatric medications among 18 to 34 year old members of the U.S. military and their wives increased by 42 percent between 2005 and 2009.

15 – There are some disturbing new medical studies that suggest that many of the most popular anti-depressant drugs are no more effective than a placebo.

16 – Pharmaceutical companies continue to rake in billions of dollars from selling vaccines and are encouraging even pregnant women to take them, even though there is mounting evidence that taking vaccines while pregnant dramatically increases the rate of miscarriage.

17 – One woman in New Hampshire is seeking more than $24 million in damages from the manufacturer of a prescription drug that she took for shoulder pain.  It turns out that as a result of taking the drug, she is now blind and has been left scarred by internal and external burns.

18According to one stunning new study, the medical liability system in the United States added approximately $55.6 billion to the cost of health care in 2008.

19 – Pharmaceutical companies have become so greedy that now they are even attempting to patent our genes.  It is being reported that over three million gene patent applications have been filed with the U.S. government so far.  Tens of thousands of gene patents have already been granted at this point.  It is estimated that companies hold approximately 40,000 patents on sections of the human genome right now.  Those patents cover approximately 20% of our genes. 

20 – According to a recent report, Americans spend about twice as much as residents of other developed countries on health care, but get much lower quality and far less efficiency in return.

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