Do You Remember When Black Friday Actually Still Mattered In America?

Bored - Public DomainOnce upon a time, “Black Friday” was a major event in the United States.  Yes, the mainstream media is still endlessly hyping it up, and major retailers are still rolling out their “incredible deals”, but it appears that most Americans are tiring of this particular gimmick.  Or perhaps it is just that U.S. consumers don’t have as much discretionary income as they once did.  As you will see below, retail traffic this Black Friday was “much, much slower” than anticipated.  And expectations were not great anyway – the number of shoppers was down last year, and it was being projected that there would be another decline in 2015.  Yes, there were still a few fights on Black Friday, but mostly the “holiday” was marked by giant piles of unsold merchandise sitting around collecting dust.  The inventory to sales ratio in the U.S. has surged to levels not seen since the last recession, and so the truth is that most retailers were hoping for much more contrived chaos on Black Friday than we actually witnessed.

Personally, I wish that this whole phenomenon would just simply disappear, because it definitely doesn’t bring out the best in the American people.

Who wants to see fellow citizens trampling one another and fighting with one another for cheaply made electronics that aren’t even manufactured in this country anyway?

Black Friday was always a disgusting spectacle, and now it appear to be fading.

Let’s start with Thanksgiving sales.  More stores than ever are opening on Thanksgiving Day itself, and according to SunTrust that was a total “bust” this year…

We believe Thanksgiving shopping was a bust. We note that traffic seemed below last year both on- and off-mall. Members of our team who went to the malls first had no problem finding parking or navigating stores. Crowds were tame and, with some exceptions there seemed to be more browsing than buying and less items purchased. We heard many people discussing that deals were not that compelling compared to years past. Interestingly, many retailers closed at midnight- which contributed to a sharp decline in traffic shortly thereafter. Off-mall, members of our team visited Walmart and Target for the openings and had no problem finding parking. Customers at both were focused on electronics. Lines, even early, were about half of what they were last year and quickly dissipated. The only off-mall big box retailer we visited with consistently long lines and customers making multiple item purchases was Kohl’s — where buys were focused on deals not available online.

Once Black Friday rolled around, things didn’t get any better.  For example, one analyst said that traffic at the Mall of America didn’t “look much busier than an average Saturday morning”

At the Mall of America in Minneapolis, the largest in the country, Edward Yruma, managing director at KeyBanc Capital Markets, said he’s seeing less traffic than years past as well. He was there from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. last night and arrived again at 8 a.m. this morning.

It doesn’t look much busier than an average Saturday morning,” said Yruma.

And in North Carolina, retailers saw “much less traffic than was anticipated”

Jeff Simpson, a director at Deloitte Consulting LLP’s retail practice, surveyed shopping centers in North Carolina and saw smaller crowds than expected for Black Friday.

Across the board, much less traffic than was anticipated,” he said. “Much, much slower.”

Of course this wasn’t much of a surprise.  A global recession has already begun, and investors were dumping retail stocks ahead of Thanksgiving in anticipation of a horrible shopping season.  The following comes from the New York Post

Wall Street, fearful that consumers are running out of cash heading into the crucial Christmas retail season, are selling off retail stocks and everything else sensitive to consumer spending.

So why are consumers running out of cash?

Well, it is because the middle class is dying, poverty in America is exploding and the cost of living continues to soar.

Just look at what is happening to healthcare costs.  It turns out that employees that work for medium and large companies in the U.S. are now paying more than double for health insurance than they were a decade ago…

Employees of midsize and large companies in 2015 paid an average of $4,700 for their health insurance, up from $2,001 in 2005, according to recent analysis from Aon Hewitt.

For much more on how the cost of living is absolutely crippling families all over this nation, please see my previous article entitled “Inflation Is Crushing The Middle Class“.

Meanwhile, things continue to get worse around the rest of the globe as well.  The number of unemployed job seekers just hit a brand new record high in France, Puerto Rico is on the verge of a major debt default, and on Friday there was an absolutely massive stock market decline in China

In China, equities saw a significant sell off as a result of investigations by the Chinese securities regulatory body into several brokerages for breaking regulations. The Shanghai Composite closed 199 points, or 5.48 percent, lower; the Shenzhen Composite closed 6.1 percent lower, the Chinext was down 6.1 percent, and the CSI300 Index saw a decline of 5.38 percent.

Chinese brokerages took major hits, with Citic Securities, Founder Securities, and China Merchants closing 10.1, 10, and 9.98 percent lower after news broke that the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) has launched investigations into these firms to weed out short selling and speculation.

I hope that you enjoyed this Thanksgiving as much as you possibly could, because all of the underlying economic numbers are absolutely screaming that hard times are ahead.

This year, Americans are going to spend an average of $130 on “self-gifting” and more than $800 on the holiday season overall.  People are spending money that they don’t have on things that they don’t need, and meanwhile very few of us are actively preparing for what promises to be a very challenging 2016.

So yes, let us enjoy the time that we have with our families, but let us also not be completely oblivious to the huge changes that are literally happening all around us.

The Worst Time Of The Year?

For a lot of Americans, this is the worst time of the year.  If you don’t have any money, it can be really hard to hear others go on and on about how good “Santa Claus” was to them this year.  For many, there is simply not much to be cheerful about as the year ends.  There are millions of people in this country that do not have a “happy family” to spend the holidays with, there are millions of people in this country that do not have any money to spend on gifts, and there are millions of people that are either already sleeping in the streets or that are in imminent danger of losing their homes.  It can be really difficult to feel “holiday cheer” when you are freezing cold and you don’t have any food in your stomach.  The realization that you are not going to enjoy any of the good things that other people get to enjoy this time of the year is enough to push many people over the edge.  Yes, for most of the country this time of the year is filled with food, family and fun but for millions of others this time of the year tends to magnify despair, depression and thoughts of suicide.  If you are blessed as we get ready to enter 2012, please remember those out there that are really hurting.  If someone does not help them, they might not make it to 2013.

In our society today, the “holiday season” is held up as the ultimate time of the year.  Often expectations are so high that they are almost impossible to fulfill.  The truth is that materialism is never going to bring anyone true fulfillment, and once Christmas is over many Americans are left with a very hollow feeling.

But all of the “Christmas hype” on television and in the movies can make it seem like this is a “magical” time of the year for most people.  For those that are in a tremendous amount of emotional pain, the holidays can be excruciating because they can feel as though they are “missing out” on all the fun and happiness that everyone else is experiencing.  That is why for many Americans that are “on the edge”, this can be the absolute worst time of the year.

When people go “over the edge”, the consequences can be devastating.

For example, have you noticed how there always seems to be a rash of murder-suicides at this time of the year?

One murder-suicide that made national headlines happened down in Texas.  It turns out that the killer actually dressed up as Santa Claus.  The following description of this stunning incident comes from an article posted on USA Today….

Police said the man they believe is responsible for a Christmas Day shooting that left him and six members of his extended family dead was dressed as Santa Claus.

Grapevine police spokesman Sgt. Robert Eberling said Monday the shooter “showed up shortly before the incident took place” in the Santa outfit and was a member of the family opening gifts in the apartment.

Could you imagine being killed by a family member dressed as Santa Claus?

But sometimes people do not snap in a family setting.  For some, it is the work environment that sets them off.  Just consider the following example from a recent article in the Washington Post….

A Southern California Edison employee chatted calmly with co-workers in the moments between gunning down four managers during a rampage at an office complex, authorities said as the building reopened Tuesday.

Investigators still were trying to determine what pushed gunman Andre Turner to finish a normal workday by shooting the workers with a semiautomatic handgun before turning it on himself.

We have also seen shocking murder-suicides reported in recent days in Illinois, in California, in Colorado and in Arizona.

Every year we also see reports of Christmas presents being stolen right out from under the tree.  The following comes from an article in the Los Angeles Times….

A Northern California family victimized in a burglary a few days before Christmas is hoping to at least get their dog back.

The Lancers lost all of the presents under the tree along with their dog when their home in Morgan Hill, southeast of San Jose, was broken into last week, authorities said Sunday.

There are a lot of people out there that do not have any hesitation about stealing from others.  Desperate people do desperate things, and right now the number of desperate people in America is growing.

Tonight, there are millions upon millions of Americans that cannot find work and that are incredibly stressed.  The truth is that there are not nearly enough jobs for everyone.  If the number of Americans considered to be “looking for work” was the same today as it was back in 2007, the “official” unemployment rate would be up to 11 percent.

But the Obama administration does not want to report such a depressing number.

8.6 percent just sounds so much more pleasant.

For even more crazy economic numbers that show just how bad the U.S. economy really was in 2011, just check out this article.

But of course our leaders are enjoying a good, long break from all of the “hard work” that they have put in toward fixing the economy.

Nancy Pelosi has jetted off to Hawaii and is spending her holidays in a suite that rents for $10,000 a night.

Barack Obama and his family are in Hawaii as well.  It has been estimated that their Hawaiian vacation will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 million dollars.

It is shameful that our “leaders” are enjoying such luxury at a time when so many millions of Americans are barely surviving.

One of the reasons why my site has struck such a nerve is because the pain that millions of Americans are going through right now is very real.

For example, the following is a comment that a reader identified as “Ricci” left on one of my recent articles….

I sleep in my car. I have nowhere else to go. It gets really cold and hurts my bones. I would love love love to go back to work but I was hospitalized 12 times in two years. I wouldn’t be able to keep a job because of my health i’m not dependable. THESE are the people who are homeless. It’s also a LOT of veterans that are homeless. But I sleep in my car. Often on family property and I’m still stalked and harassed by police and I’m sick of it.

In another comment, Ricci shared even more of her story….

Wow….do you really think that? I am a licensed social worker for 10 years. In 2005 I lost a son & daughter 3 hours after they were born. For 3 years I suffered in pain, still working my ass off, but found I was very ill. After chemo, immuno-suppressants, and a myriad of other medications I could not afford, I went bankrupt and lost my house. By this time, I was awarded disability on the first try w/o an attorney. I wasn’t expected to live. But here I am. I can barely move somedays I hurt so much. I don’t have family willing to take me in. I look fine on the outside you know. If I would just have more faith or exercise more or eat the right foods I would be cured. Whatever. I often worked 50 to 60 hours a week to protect kids from real problems (not taken away for poverty as people say……so sick of the myths about social services). Anyway, before that I worked mental health, and worked in the school district. I have busted my ass to care for other people. My husband left, children died, and when my health failed I lost everything and fell through the cracks. It’s people like me who are homeless…I do not drink. I do not use drugs. I can barely get the medications I need even w/ supplemental insurance. I get stalked and harassed by police if I so much as get tired and pull over so I don’t wreck. I was on my dad’s property in my car 3 times in two months I was approached by police…one time there were 4 cops that came to my car……on our family’s private property. My car has totally been profiled. I’m so sick of it. At this point, I would be better off dead.

So what do you say to someone like Ricci?

I have never slept in my car.  I have never lost a son or daughter.  I have never lost a house.  I have never been homeless.

How can I identify with someone who has gone through all of that?

But we do need to tell people like Ricci not to ever give up.   The vast majority of us have been at very low points in our own lives, and the secret is to keep on fighting and to never, ever give up.  No matter how bad things get, they can always be turned around if you will just have faith.

We should remember to pray for people like Ricci and the millions of other Americans that are going through similar trials.  We should also look for ways to help people that are really hurting in our own communities.

Yes, we cannot possibly rescue everyone is hurting.  But what we can do is love the one that is in front of us.

Unfortunately, our economic problems are only going to get worse.  America is in the middle of a long-term decline that is rapidly accelerating.  That means that there are going to be lots more people that are going to lose their jobs and their homes.

So let us do what we can to focus on real world solutions and to focus on preparing for the hard times that are coming.

We waste so much time on unnecessary things.  For example, did you know that there are over 695,000 status updates on Facebook every single minute?

Every 60 seconds.

Amazing.

As bad as 2011 was, it looks like 2012 is going to be significantly worse.  It won’t be the end of the world of course, but huge challenges are ahead.  Now is the time to get our priorities in order and to start focusing on the things that really matter.

A Very Scary Christmas And An Incredibly Frightening New Year

Can you hear that?  It almost sounds like a little bit of peace and quiet.  This year, the holiday season has been fairly uneventful, and for that we should be very grateful.  But it isn’t going to last long.  2012 is going to be a much more difficult year for the U.S. economy and the global financial system than 2011 has been.  So if things are going well for you right now, enjoy this little bubble of peace and tranquility while you can.  Because while things may look calm on the surface right now, the truth is that this is a very scary Christmas for financial professionals and world leaders.  Most of them know how fragile the global financial system is at the moment.  Most of them know that we are living in the greatest bubble of debt, leverage and financial risk that the world has ever seen.  As I wrote about the other day, world leaders would not be throwing huge bailouts around like crazy if everything was going to be just fine.  The truth is that we are rapidly approaching another financial crisis that may end up being even worse than the horrific crash of 2008.

Despite unprecedented efforts by the European Central Bank, the yield on 10 year Italian bonds is nearly up to 7 percent again.

Keep an eye on the yield on 10 year Italian bonds.  That is going to be one of the most important financial numbers in the world in the coming months.

But Italy is not the only problem.  The reality is that several European governments are teetering on the verge of default right now.  Meanwhile, confidence in the European financial system has been absolutely shattered and a devastating credit crunch has set in.  Nobody (other than the ECB) wants to loan money to the banks and the banks are massively cutting back on loans to businesses and consumers.  This is causing the money supply to fall.  The ECB is trying to hold things together with chicken wire and duct tape, but it isn’t going to work.

In major financial centers such as the City of London, this is a very scary Christmas and the outlook for the new year looks very frightening.  Because financial activity has dried up so dramatically, a number of firms are already shutting down.  The following comes from a recent Bloomberg article….

London’s stockbrokers are shrinking as Europe’s sovereign debt crisis and competition from international firms squeezes revenue and fees.

“This isn’t just a blip, this is much worse,” said Tim Linacre, who is stepping down as chief executive officer of Panmure (PMR) Gordon & Co., a 135-year-old brokerage. “It’s a desert for activity, which is why you are seeing some firms throw in the towel.”

In the past month, Altium Capital closed its securities unit. Evolution Group Plc (EVG), Merchant Securities Group Plc, Arbuthnot Securities Ltd. and Collins Stewart Hawkpoint Plc have all accepted takeover offers from larger competitors.

“It feels worse than any other time,” said Lorna Tilbian, an executive director at Numis Corp. who began her career in 1984. “All I hear about is people putting up a white flag.”

Many out there are wondering if we are about to face another crisis like the one we saw back in 2008.

Unfortunately, none of the underlying problems that caused that crisis were ever really fixed.

We did not learn from history so now we are in for another round of pain.

In fact, Chris Martenson believes that this next crisis will be even worse than 2008….

There are clear signs of a liquidity crunch in the asset markets right now, and the question I keep hearing is, Is this 2008 all over again?

No, it’s worse. Much worse.

In 2008 there was a lot more faith and optimism upon which to draw. But both have been squandered to significant degrees by feckless regulators and authorities who failed to properly address any of the root causes of the first crisis even as they slathered layer after layer of thin-air money over many of the symptoms.

Anyone who has paid attention knows that those “magic potions” proved to be anything but. Not only are the root causes still with us (too much debt, vast regional financial imbalances, and high energy prices), but they have actually grown worse the entire time.

Frightening stuff.

A couple of months ago, I wrote about the coming derivatives crisis that could potentially wipe out the entire global financial system.

When the next great financial crisis strikes, there is going to be a lot of focus on derivatives once again.

Top global financial authorities such as Ben Bernanke continue to insist that derivatives are perfectly safe.

But there are other voices in the financial world that are warning that we are heading for financial armageddon.  For example,just check out what Mark Faber is saying….

“I am convinced the whole derivatives market will cease to exit. Will become zero. And when it happens I don’t know: you can postpone the problems with monetary measures for a long time but you can’t solve them… Greece should have defaulted – it would have sent a message that not all derivatives are equal because it depends on the counterparty.”

That is very strong language.

Faber also believes that the stock market is going to get hit really, really hard during the coming crisis….

“I am ultra bearish. I think most people will be lucky if they still have 50% of their money in 5 years time. You have to have diversification – some real estate in the countryside, some gold and some equities because if you think it through, say Germany 1900 to today, we had WWI, we had hyperinflation, WWII, cash holders and bondholders they lost everything 3 times, but if you owned equities you’d be ok. In equities in general you will not lose it all, it may not be a good investment, unless you put it all in one company and it goes bankrupt.”

Some of the top financial officials in the entire world have also used some very scary language in recent weeks.

The head of the International Monetary Fund, Christian Lagarde, recently stated that we could soon see conditions “reminiscent of the 1930s depression” and that no country on earth “will be immune to the crisis”….

“There is no economy in the world, whether low-income countries, emerging markets, middle-income countries or super-advanced economies that will be immune to the crisis that we see not only unfolding but escalating”

But most people are so busy opening up the cheap plastic presents under their Christmas trees (that were mostly made overseas) that they aren’t even paying attention to these warnings.

Look, when the money supply falls significantly it is almost impossible to avoid a recession.  Just look at the historical numbers.

Unfortunately, money supply numbers all over Europe are falling dramatically right now as an article in the Telegraph recently noted….

All key measures of the money supply in the eurozone contracted in October with drastic falls across parts of southern Europe, raising the risk of severe recession over coming months.

Confidence in the banking system in Europe has never been this low in the post-World War II era.  Sadly, most people simply do not understand how bad things have gotten for major European banks.  One Australian news source recently put it this way….

“If anyone thinks things are getting better, they simply don’t understand how severe the problems are,” a London executive at a global bank said. “A major bank could fail within weeks.”

Others said many continental banks, including French, Italian and Spanish lenders, were close to running out of the acceptable forms of collateral, such as US Treasury bonds, that could be used to finance short-term loans.

Some have been forced to lend out their gold reserves to maintain access to US dollar funding.

The outlook is very ominous.

Financial professionals all over the globe are telling us what is coming if we are willing to listen.

The following comes from a report recently produced by Credit Suisse’s Fixed Income Research unit….

“We seem to have entered the last days of the euro as we currently know it. That doesn’t make a break-up very likely, but it does mean some extraordinary things will almost certainly need to happen – probably by mid-January – to prevent the progressive closure of all the euro zone sovereign bond markets, potentially accompanied by escalating runs on even the strongest banks.”

The first six months of 2012 are going to be a very key time.  National governments and big European banks are scheduled to roll over huge mountains of debt.  But if they can’t find any takers that could bring the global financial system to a moment of great crisis very quickly.

The following is how former hedge fund manager Bruce Krasting recently described the problem that Italy is facing….

At this point there is zero possibility that Italy can refinance any portion of its $300b of 2012 maturing debt. If there is anyone at the table who still thinks that Italy can pull off a miracle, they are wrong. I’m certain that the finance guys at the ECB and Italian CB understand this. I repeat, there is a zero chance for a market solution for Italy.

But even if we don’t see a formal default by a major European nation such a Italy, that doesn’t mean that major European banks are going to make it through the crippling recession that has now begun in Europe.

Charles Wyplosz, a professor of international economics at Geneva’s Graduate Institute, is absolutely convinced that we are going to see some major European banks collapse….

“Banks will collapse, including possibly a number of French banks that are very exposed to Greece, Portugal, Italy and Spain.”

Authorities in Europe are saying the “right things” publicly, but privately they are preparing for the worst.

As the Telegraph recently reported, the British government is now making plans based on the assumption that a collapse of the euro is only “just a matter of time”….

A senior minister has now revealed the extent of the Government’s concern, saying that Britain is now planning on the basis that a euro collapse is now just a matter of time.

Yes, we are heading for a huge financial collapse and massive economic trouble.

So enjoy the good times while we still have them.

They are not going to last too much longer.

Labor Day 2011: What Are We Celebrating? The Lack Of Jobs In America?

If you still have a good job, you certainly have something to celebrate on Labor Day 2011.  So far you have survived the decline of the U.S. economy.  But your day may be coming soon.  This weekend, there will be millions of Americans that will not be doing any celebrating.  They are not enjoying a break from their jobs because they don’t have any jobs.  In fact, it seems kind of heartless for the rest of us to be celebrating while so many of our countrymen are destitute.  What are we celebrating on Labor Day 2011?  The lack of jobs in America?  At this point, the U.S. economy closely resembles a gigantic game of musical chairs.  Every time the music stops, even more good jobs are pulled out of the game and even more workers are added.  Once upon a time, if you really wanted a job in America you could get one.  But now the competition for even the most basic jobs is absolutely brutal.  If you gathered together all of the unemployed people in the United States, they would constitute the 68th largest country in the world.  It would be a nation larger than Greece.  All of those unemployed people are not going to be taking trips with their families this holiday weekend.  Instead, most of them are going to be trying to figure out what to do with their shattered lives.

With the economy in such a mess, you would think that someone out there would be suggesting that Labor Day 2011 should really be a day of mourning.  This economic downturn has shredded the lives of millions of American families.

Is there any other crisis in recent years that has had more of an impact on a national level?

On Friday, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that no new jobs were created during the month of August and that the official unemployment rate remained steady at 9.1 percent.

Wait, aren’t we supposed to be in the middle of an economic recovery?

Actually, we need at least 125,000 new jobs or so each month just to keep up with the growth of the U.S. population.  So it seems odd that the economy would add zero jobs but the unemployment rate would not increase.

But that is what the government is saying.

In any event, things don’t look good.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the civilian employment-population ratio was at 58.2 percent last month.  This is an incredibly low figure.

In a recent article, John Mauldin explained what would have to happen to return the employment-population ratio to where it was in the year 2000….

The US has roughly the same number of jobs today as it had in 2000, but the population is well over 30,000,000 larger. To get to a civilian employment-to-population ratio equal to that in 2000, we would have to gain some 18 MILLION jobs.

Does anyone have an extra 18 million jobs laying around somewhere?  The following is a chart showing what has happened to the employment-population ratio over the last several decades….

What makes this chart even more startling is that the number of women in the workforce was constantly rising for most of the time period reflected in this chart.  So when you take that into account our current situation is far worse.

For example, back in 1969 95 percent of all men between the ages of 25 and 54 had a job.  Pretty much any man in his prime working years that wanted a job could get a job.

In July, only 81.2 percent of men in that age group had a job.

But that is only part of the story.  Another significant trend has been how flat wages have been.  Average hourly earnings fell 0.1% in August.  Meanwhile, the prices in the stores continue to go up.

In this column, I write a lot about how the middle class is being destroyed in this country.  When you look at the ratio of employee compensation to GDP, it is now the lowest that is has been in about 50 years.  In other words, U.S. workers are taking home a smaller share of the pie than at any other time in modern U.S. history.

But at this point those that still actually do have jobs consider themselves to be the lucky ones.

Tonight, there will be millions of desperate unemployed Americans that will blankly stare at their televisions as they try to figure out how their dreams got flushed down the toilet.

Remember how I mentioned at the beginning of the article that unemployed Americans would constitute a country larger than Greece?  Well, 42 percent of all of those unemployed Americans have been out of a job for 27 weeks or longer.

What would you do if you lost your job and you were unemployed for half a year?

Would you be able to survive?

In America today, the longer that you are unemployed, the harder it is for you to get another job.  If you have been unemployed for at least one year, there is a 91 percent chance that you will not find a new job within the next month.

Out of sheer desperation, many Americans have taken jobs that they never even dreamed that they would take.

Only 47 percent of the U.S. workforce is “fully employed” at this point.  Right now there are hordes of Americans that are waiting tables, flipping burgers or stocking shelves at Wal-Mart because that is all that they can find right now.

Sadly, this is all part of a long-term trend.

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.

This middle class is being pummeled out of existence, and most Americans don’t even understand what is happening.

It certainly does not help that both the Republicans and the Democrats have stood by as millions upon millions of our jobs have been shipped out of the country.

It also certainly does not help that both the Republicans and the Democrats have stood by as millions upon millions of illegal immigrants have taken jobs away from American citizens.

It also certainly does not help that both the Republicans and the Democrats have stood by as U.S. businesses have been absolutely crushed by mountains of nightmarish regulations and have been taxed into oblivion.

The decade that just ended was the worst decade for job growth in America since the Great Depression.  In fact, even though thirty million people were added to the U.S. population during the decade, there was essentially zero job growth.

Sadly, things look like they are going to continue to get even worse.  For example, the United States Postal Service is in such trouble that it is asking Congress to allow it to lay off 120,000 workers. Overall, the Postal Service wants to eliminate 220,000 positions by 2015.

So is this big speech that Obama is going to give on Thursday going to solve anything?

Of course not.

The reality is that if Obama or any of his advisors had any grand ideas for fixing our situation they would have implemented them by now.

And what is the big deal in making us wait until Thursday to hear these “new ideas”?  Why not just tell us now?

Sadly, the truth is that everything that our politicians do now is about setting themselves up for the 2012 election.

Most likely, Obama is just going to take a bunch of tired ideas that do not work and “spin” them into a grand new plan.

Millions of Americans will actually buy into it.

But it is not as if establishment Republican candidates have anything to offer either.

You know, if Obama wanted to do something substantial, one place to start would be to order the Federal Reserve to stop paying banks not to make loans to individual and small businesses.

But just like all of our other weak-minded recent presidents, Barack Obama is not going to confront the Federal Reserve.

In fact, everything that Obama actually does “for the economy” only seems to make things worse.

As I have outlined before, we know exactly why our economy is losing jobs and we know things that we could start doing right now to reverse the long-term trends that are absolutely killing us.

But Barack Obama is not talking about real solutions and neither are the establishment Republican candidates.

So things are going to continue to get worse.  The number of Americans on food stamps has increased 74% since 2007.  Every month we have been setting a new record.  The middle class is going to continue to disappear as the number of good jobs continues to decrease.

So, no, there are not too many reasons to celebrate on Labor Day 2011.  Our economy is dying and millions upon millions of our fellow citizens are deeply suffering.

Urgent action is required in order to prevent our situation from rapidly getting worse, but right now the vast majority of our politicians are asleep at the switch.

So instead of celebrating this Labor Day, why don’t you say a prayer for America instead?

We really could use it.

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