The Beginning Of The End
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20 Signs That The U.S. Poverty Explosion Is Hitting Children And Young People The Hardest

20 Signs That The U.S. Poverty Explosion Is Hitting Children And Young People The Hardest - Photo by Franco FoliniThe mainstream media continues to insist that the economy is “getting better”, but the poverty numbers for children and young people just continue to explode.  For example, did you know that the poverty rate for families with a head of household under the age of 30 is a whopping 37 percent?  Children and young people sure didn’t cause our recent economic downturn, but they sure are getting hit the hardest by it.  According to the U.S. Department of Education, for the first time ever more than a million U.S. public school students are homeless.  That seems like an impossible number, but it is actually true.  How in the world could the “wealthiest nation on earth” get to the point where more than a million children can’t count on a warm bed to sleep in at night?  Sadly, a huge number of American children can’t count on a warm dinner either.  About a fourth of them are enrolled in the food stamp program.  What do you do if you are a parent in that kind of situation?  How do you explain to your kids that you can’t afford a nice home like everybody else has or that you can’t afford to go to the grocery store and buy them some dinner?

Young people are experiencing very rough times right now as well.  If you are under the age of 30, it is really, really difficult to get a job in America today.  The competition for the few decent jobs that seem to be available is absolutely crazy.  Unemployment among young people is at a level that we have not seen since World War II, and this is causing major problems.

Even if you do have a college degree, there is no guarantee that you will be able to get any type of a job.  In fact, more than half of all college graduates under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed last year.  There are millions of very talented college graduates that are waiting tables, making sandwiches or stocking shelves down at the local branch of a global retail conglomerate.  Meanwhile, they are saddled with record breaking amounts of student loan debt.

This is easily the worst economic environment that we have seen for young people since the Great Depression of the 1930s.  The number of good jobs continues to decline.  Many young people are faced with the choice of taking a bad job or having no job at all.

If you are under 30 in America today, you better hope that you come from a wealthy family or that you have some really good connections, because otherwise the future looks pretty bleak for you.

The following are 20 signs that the U.S. poverty explosion is hitting children and young people the hardest…

1. If you can believe it, a higher percentage of children is living in poverty in America today than was the case back in 1975.

2. More than one out of every five children in the United States is currently living in poverty.

3. According to U.S. Census data, 57 percent of all American children live in a home that is either considered to be “poor” or “low income”.

4. Median household income for families with children dropped by a whopping $6,300 between 2001 and 2011.

5. For the first time ever, more than a million public school students in the United States are homeless.  That number has risen by 57 percent since the 2006-2007 school year.

6. It is being projected that half of all American children will be on food stamps at least once before they turn 18 years of age.

7. One university study estimates that child poverty costs the U.S. economy 500 billion dollars each year.

8. The 18 to 24 age group has a higher unemployment rate than any other age group in the United States.

9. Young adult employment is now at the lowest level that we have seen since World War II.

10. In 2007, the unemployment rate for the 20 to 29 age bracket was about 6.5 percent.  Today, the unemployment rate for that same age group is about 13 percent.

11. Families that have a head of household under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent.

12. Family homelessness in the Washington D.C. region (one of the wealthiest regions in the entire country) has risen 23 percent since the last recession began.

13. Since the year 2000, incomes for U.S. households led by someone between the ages of 25 and 34 have fallen by about 12 percent after you account for inflation.

14. In 1984, the median net worth of households led by someone 65 or older was 10 times larger than the median net worth of households led by someone 35 or younger.  Today, the median net worth of households led by someone 65 or older is 47 times larger than the median net worth of households led by someone 35 or younger.

15. During 2011, 53 percent of all Americans with a bachelor’s degree under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed.

16. Many young people are finding that they cannot afford to get married these days.  Sadly, an all-time low 44.2 percent of all Americans between the ages of 25 and 34 are married right now.

17. Right now, approximately 53 percent of all Americans in the 18 to 24 age group are living at home.

18. The number of Americans in the 25 to 34 age group that live with their parents has grown by 25 percent since 2007.

19. One survey discovered that 85 percent of all college seniors plan on moving back in with their parents after graduation.

20. Overall, approximately 25 million American adults are living with their parents in the United States right now according to Time Magazine.

After reading all of those statistics, do you still doubt that America is in decline?  If so, you can find some more shocking statistics right here.

The truth is that it should be painfully evident to anyone with a brain that our economy is not working correctly anymore.  We have lots of talented people, but there are not nearly enough jobs and a lot of those very talented people end up sleeping out in the streets.

A recent New York Times article told the story of a young man named Duane Taylor.  Sadly, there are way too many young people out there today that are experiencing the same kind of things that he is…

Duane Taylor was studying the humanities in community college and living in his own place when he lost his job in a round of layoffs. Then he found, and lost, a second job. And a third.

Now, with what he calls “lowered standards” and a tenuous new position at a Jack in the Box restaurant, Mr. Taylor, 24, does not make enough to rent an apartment or share one. He sleeps on a mat in a homeless shelter, except when his sister lets him crash on her couch.

“At any time I could lose my job, my security,” said Mr. Taylor, explaining how he was always the last hired and the first fired. “I’d like to be able to support myself. That’s my only goal.”

There are millions upon millions of young people in America today that feel totally lost because they cannot find their places in the world.

They are angry, frustrated, depressed, desperate and disillusioned.  They felt like they did everything that the system told them to do, and now they feel like the system is failing them.

An unemployed 2010 graduate of the University of Florida named Lance Fuller expresses similar sentiments on his blog entitled “Voices Of A Lost Generation“…

They are the countless young men and women eager for an opportunity but have found few, if any. They have desirable skills, are highly educated, and are more than willing to work.

Sadly, crippled by college debt and graduated into a struggling economy, they stand little chance to find gainful employment in their chosen fields and take temporary jobs they are overqualified for. They lie waiting for the dream job they went to school for — but it probably doesn’t exist.

My name is Lance and sadly, I share in this story. Like my twentysomething peers, I am one of the thousands of faces of America’s Generation U — Unfortunate, Unlucky, and Unemployed.

I am fortunate that I have never been without money to buy food and have never had to spend a night on the street.  But tonight millions upon millions of Americans under the age of 30 will be faced with those kinds of circumstances.

Please say a prayer for them.  They didn’t cause the economic mess that we are in, but they are certainly paying the price for the mistakes that were made.

Does anyone out there have a similar story to the ones that were shared in this article?  If so, please feel free to share it below.  Perhaps your story will encourage someone else out there who is going through a really hard time right now.

Sad Child - Photo by David Shankbone

Why Does Our Society Look Down On Unemployed Men So Much?

If you are unemployed for an extended period of time, people are going to look at you differently.  Unfortunately, this is especially true if you are a man.  In our society, men are primarily defined by “what they do”.  If you have been unemployed for a long period of time, that can make social interactions even more awkward than normal.  Most people will instantly become more uncomfortable around you when they find out that you are unemployed.  Many will look at you with pity, and others will actually look at you with disdain.  Women will not want to date you, and if you are in a relationship unemployment will put a tremendous amount of strain on it.  Once you “don’t have a job”, you will not get the same level of respect from former co-workers, friends, members of your own family and possibly even your own wife.  So why does our society look down on unemployed men so much?  Well, it is generally expected that men are supposed to be the “breadwinners” for their families.  If a woman stays home with the kids nobody has any problems with that, but if men do the same thing it tends to raise eyebrows.  But there is a big problem.  Our economy is not producing enough jobs for everyone.  In fact, there are millions upon millions more workers than there are jobs.  It would be great if this was just a temporary situation, but as I have written about previously, there will never be enough jobs in America ever again.  So there will continually be millions upon millions of men that are looked down upon by society because they can’t get jobs, and as a result we are going to have millions upon millions of men that are constantly battling against soul-crushing despair.

It can be really hard to “feel like a man” when you aren’t making any money.

And most women simply are not interested in becoming romantically involved with an unemployed man.  Just check out what one recent survey found….

Of the 925 single women surveyed, 75 percent said they’d have a problem with dating someone without a job. Only 4 percent of respondents asked whether they would go out with an unemployed man answered “of course.”

“Not having a job will definitely make it harder for men to date someone they don’t already know,” Irene LaCota, a spokesperson for It’s Just Lunch, said in a press release. “This is the rare area, compared to other topics we’ve done surveys on, where women’s old-fashioned beliefs about sex roles seem to apply.”

Those are some pretty overwhelming numbers.

So is it the same way when the roles are reversed?

Not even close.

When men were asked the same question, the difference was absolutely shocking….

On the other hand, the prospect of dating an unemployed woman was not a problem for nearly two-thirds of men. In fact, 19 percent of men said they had no reservations and 46 percent of men said they were positive they would date an unemployed woman.

Admittedly, men are often thinking about other things when they are evaluating whether they want to date a women or not.  Yes, there are some men these days that are concerned about how much money a woman makes, but the truth is that men tend to be much less concerned about income levels than women are.

In fact, a UK study that was released last year discovered that British women are even more concerned about the education and income of a potential mate than they were back in the 1940s.

So if you are unemployed you are probably not going to find much success in the romance department either.

If you are married, being unemployed is likely to put a huge strain on your marriage.  The following is a short excerpt from a recent Business Insider article entitled “TRUE CONFESSION: I’m Sick Of My Unemployed Husband“….

I can’t even remember when my husband stopped working.

And frankly, I don’t have time to think about it, between my full-time job and my fledgling business, volunteering at an after-school program to help teenagers prepare for the professional world and mothering two children.

But when I do think about it–when I think about all the times I come home to see evidence of his entire day’s activities cluttering the coffee table, or when I have to take our shared car to work and strand him at home because he doesn’t feel like getting up to drive me–I’m angry.

If a husband is unemployed for an extended period of time, there is a very good chance that the wife is going to start feeling very resentful.

If things get bad enough, many women will pull the plug on their marriages and will get rid of their “unproductive” husbands.

Last year, Time Magazine reported on a study that indicated that unemployed men were significantly more likely to get divorced than employed men were.

My goal in writing this is not to “bash women”.  I am just pointing out how hard things are for unemployed men in our society.  Many wives (and their extended families) simply do not understand that our economy has fundamentally changed.  In the old days just about any hard working man that wanted a job could go out and get one.  That is most definitely NOT the case today.

Hopefully we can get more women to understand this.  I know that it can be hard to be patient when your husband is unemployed for month after month after month.

But at a time when husbands need their support the most, many wives withdraw emotionally and become very angry.

For example, how many women have you ever heard declare how proud they are of their unemployed husbands?

Of course there are definitely situations where these roles are reversed and employed husbands are badgering their unemployed wives about getting a job, but in general our society tends to have a greater degree of tolerance for unemployed women than it does for unemployed men.

Sadly, most people simply do not understand how dramatically things have changed in our economy.

The following chart shows the stunning decline in the percentage of working age men with a job over the past 60 years….

Back in the 1950s, there were times when nearly 85 percent of all working age men had jobs.

We will never get back to anything close to that ever again.

Prior to the last recession, about 70 percent of all working age men were employed.

Since the end of the recession, that number has not gotten back to 65 percent at any point.

That means somewhere around 5 percent of all working age American men have been displaced from the workforce permanently.

The mainstream media would have us believe that we are experiencing an “economic recovery” but that is a massive lie.  The real unemployment numbers are much worse than we have been told.

If you take a look at all working age Americans (men and women), there are actually more than 100 million of them that do not have jobs right now.

I know that statistic can be hard to believe.  I had a hard time believing it at first.  But it is actually true.

Meanwhile, the incomes of those who are working continue to fall.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, median household income in the United States has fallen for four years in a row.

But this is not a trend that just started recently.  According to one study, between 1969 and 2009 the median wages earned by American men between the ages of 30 and 50 dropped by 27 percent after you account for inflation.

We are in the midst of a long-term economic decline and it is time for all of us to admit how bad things have really gotten.

So what are all of the men who are not working doing these days?

Well, there are some that have chosen to stay at home with the kids.  In a previous article, I discussed how the number of “stay at home dads” has doubled over the past decade.

But the overall percentage of “Mr. Moms” is still very, very low according to Fox News….

There were only about 81,000 Mr. Moms in 2001, or about 1.6 percent of all stay-at-home parents. By last year, the number had climbed to 176,000, or 3.4 percent of stay-at-home parents, according to U.S. Census data.

The vast majority of working age men still want to work outside of the home and earn a living for their families.

Unfortunately, most families need more than one income to make it these days.  In fact, in many cases both parents are working multiple jobs in an attempt to make ends meet.

Meanwhile, the number of good jobs continues to decline and the middle class in America continues to shrink.

This is hitting our young people that are just starting out particularly hard.  For example, during 2011 53 percent of all Americans with a bachelor’s degree under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed.

And as I have written about previously, this is resulting in huge numbers of our young people moving back home with Mom and Dad.

This is particularly true when it comes to young men.  According to CNN, American men in the 25 to 34 age bracket are nearly twice as likely to live with their parents as women the same age are….

The number of adult children who live with their parents, especially young males, has soared since the economy started heading south. Among males age 25 to 34, 19% live with their parents today, a 5 percentage point increase from 2005, according to Census data released Thursday. Meanwhile, 10% of women in that age group live at home, up from 8% six years ago.

How are our young men going to be able to get married and start families if they can’t find jobs and they are living in our basements?

Sadly, things are really hard for everyone right now.  Since June 2009, we have supposedly been in “the Obama recovery”, but median household income in America has fallen during that time period by $3040.

People keep waiting for things to “get better”, but it just isn’t happening.  This was beautifully illustrated the other night during a Saturday Night Live skit that had “Barack Obama” speaking in front of a rally of unemployed and underemployed workers.  You can find video of that skit right here.

There are millions upon millions of men (and women) all over America that are ready and willing to go back to work.

Sadly, there will never be enough jobs for all of them ever again, and that is not going to change no matter who wins the election.

In fact, when the next wave of the economic collapse hits the United States it is likely that unemployment is going to get a whole lot worse.

What will our society look like when that happens?

Is America The Most Materialistic Society In The History Of The World?

When it comes to materialism, has any nation ever surpassed what we are seeing in the United States right now?  We define our lives by how much stuff we have, to a large degree our personal and business relationships are defined by how much money we make, and even most of the important dates on our calendar are all about materialism.  Just think about it.  We throw outrageous birthday parties for our kids and we shower them with gifts.  Most of our “holidays” have become highly materialistic, and the biggest holiday of all in our society, Christmas, is an absolute orgy of materialism.  We make lists of the “wealthiest Americans” and we glorify their achievements.  We spend most of our time either making money or spending it.  Even the phrase “the American Dream” reveals how materialistic we are.  When most people are asked what “the American Dream” is, they start talking about a house, a car, vacations, retirement, sending your kids to college, etc.  The American Dream has become all about money and stuff.  Sadly, no matter how big our homes are and no matter how many shiny new toys we accumulate, we never seem to be happy.  We always want more, and we always seem to be willing to go into more debt to get it.  We are the most materialistic society in the history of the world, and our endless greed is going to end up swallowing us alive.

When it comes to materialism in America, there are outrageous examples all around us, but one of my favorite examples is the “Rich Kids of Instagram“.  It is a Tumblr blog of photos from Instagram of young Americans showing off how they are enjoying the vast wealth of their parents.  The following is how the Washington Post describes the blog….

The controversial new Tumblr is a collection of snapshots from the photo-sharing site that depicts the children of wealth and privilege — summering in the Hamptons, lounging on yachts and posing by their luxury cars.

One does a back-flip out of a helicopter near St. Tropez. Others snap pictures of their restaurant bills — allegedly paying thousands of dollars for lobster, champagne and high-end liquor.

In the warm patina of the Instagram, the youngsters appear to be living over-the-top lifestyles — and enjoying every moment.

“Our everyday is better than your best day,” reads one caption, a bit tauntingly. And, “Do you have a horse in your backyard? Didn’t think so.”

But just because you have a horse on your property does that make your life better than the rest of our lives?

Of course not.

Wealth does not equal happiness.

Unfortunately, however, most Americans have totally bought into this lie.

Most Americans believe that more money equals a better life.

In response to “the Rich Kids of Instagram”, the Huffington Post recently put together a piece entitled “the Rich Cats of Instagram” that features photos of cats as they “model upscale accessories, lounge with bottles of champagne, sail on yachts and ponder life while relaxing atop piles of money.”

Of course a lot of those pictures are quite funny, but they also reveal a deep truth about our society.

We have spent our lives chasing after the almighty dollar thinking that it will make us happy.  Study after study has shown that we tend to link wealth and happiness.  The following is from a recent NBC News article about one of those studies….

Many parents already know older children can be materialistic. Some tweens not only want the latest games and clothes, but also think owning these things will bring them happiness, friends and popularity. And marketers are eager to get them to buy: Tweens spend $28 billion a year, not including the more than $200 billion their parents spend on them, according to market research company C+R Research.

But even though we have an incredibly high standard of living compared to most of the rest of the world, are most of us actually happy?

No way.  In fact, Americans take more anti-depressants than anyone else on the planet.

It is really easy to get caught up in materialism though.  Let me share an example from my own life.

Several months ago our old truck completely died.  Instead of pouring thousands of more dollars into fixing it, we decided that we would get another used truck.

So the other day I stopped by a dealership while my wife was grabbing some things from Home Depot.  The salesperson started showing me some of the used trucks on the lot, but after a while I suggested that he show me some of the new trucks that were sitting on the other side of the lot.

Before I knew it, I was sitting in the most expensive truck on the lot and he was showing me all of the cool features it had.

And I have to admit – for a few moments there I was really enamored with that truck.  It was the coolest truck that I had ever seen in my life.

Of course my wife and I don’t need a truck like that.  We only need to haul stuff around a few times a month.  And we certainly do not need the amount of debt that it would take to buy such a truck.

But for a few moments there I really wanted it.  The pull of materialism can be very strong.

So would that truck have “changed my life” or brought me lasting happiness?

Of course not.

It would have brought some thrills for the first couple of days, but after a while it would just be sitting in the garage taking up space just like any other truck would.

So did I end up buying a truck?

Not yet.  But we need one soon.  My wife has been without a truck for quite a few months now and she is getting impatient.

But whether we get a nice used truck or a used truck that has one foot in the grave, it really isn’t going to change our lives much.

In the end, our lives should not be defined by what we own or by how much money we have in the bank.

But how do we refer to ourselves in this day and age?

The American people are called “consumers” and the truth is that we consume far more than anyone else on the globe does.

Just look at our eating habits.  Of all the major industrialized nations, America is the most obese.

The next time you go into a store, take note of how many people are overweight.

It has not always been this way.  Back in 1962, only 13 percent of all Americans were obese.

But now overeating is a national sport.  At this point, approximately 36 percent of all Americans are obese, and it is being projected that number will rise to 42 percent by 2030.

While we are gorging ourselves with food, what else do we like to do?

That’s right – we love to watch television.  In fact, the average American watches 28 hours of television every single week.

We have become completely and totally addicted to entertainment, and we have become trained to be constantly “plugged in” to something.

Our lives have become all about constantly feeding our greed and our selfishness.  In fact, that is a major reason for the breakdown of the family in America.  We tend to view marriage as a temporary condition that can be quickly discarded when it no longer makes us happy.

Sadly, the United States has the highest divorce rate in the world by a very wide margin at this point.

In addition, more Americans than ever are putting off marriage these days.  Young Americans are being told that “an education” and “a career” are more important.  According to the Pew Research Center, only 51 percent of all American adults are currently married.  Back in 1960, 72 percent of all adults in America were married.

As a result of these factors, we are an incredibly lonely nation.  Today, the United States has the highest percentage of one person households on the entire globe.

In order to fill the void, the American people turn to things that will numb the pain.  American use more legal drugs than anyone else on the planet and they also use more illegal drugs than anyone else on the planet.

We have more “stuff” than any other society in the history of the world has ever had, but it has not made us happy.

And how did we pay for all of this?

We paid for a lot of this with debt.  In fact, we have accumulated the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world.

During my lifetime, the debt of the U.S. government has gotten more than 30 times larger.  For much more on this, please see my previous article entitled “27 Things That Every American Should Know About The National Debt“.

But the federal government is not the only one with a debt problem.  The truth is that our entire society is absolutely drowning in debt.

Over the past 50 years, the total amount of debt in the U.S. has grown from less than a trillion dollars to nearly 55 trillion dollars….

We have used massive amounts of debt in an attempt to feed our endless greed and materialism and we have gotten ourselves into a whole lot of trouble.

This is one of the reasons why I write.  I want people to understand how bad things have really gotten.

Thanks to our foolishness, our economy has been declining, it is going to continue to decline, and a massive economic collapse is coming.

Some people believe that this is a message of “doom and gloom”, but that is not the case at all.

Sticking our heads in the sand and pretending that somehow everything is going to be just fine is not going to do anyone any good.

Instead, I believe that warning people about the coming economic collapse is a message of hope.

There is hope in understanding what is happening, developing a plan to deal with it, and preparing yourself and your family for the storm that is coming.

It is the people that are ignoring all of the warnings that are going to be in real trouble.

Millions upon millions of people will be absolutely blindsided by what is coming.  Many will give in to total despair once they realize that their prosperity is gone and they have done nothing to prepare for what they are now facing.

My hope is that the information that I write about will be shocking enough that it will wake people up and motivate them to get prepared so that they can handle the incredibly challenging years that are ahead.

And the truth is that our lives should not be about our money and our stuff anyway.

Your possessions are just temporary.  None of them are going to last forever and you certainly cannot take them with you when you die.

Even though our economy has had some rough times, we still have a higher standard of living than 99 percent of the humans that have ever lived on this planet have had.

You would think that would be enough for us.

But it isn’t.  We have hoarded our wealth and we have lived in luxury and self-indulgence.

When our debt-fueled prosperity disappears, most Americans are not going to know how to handle it.

Most Americans will believe that their lives are “over” at that point.

But those that are not caught up in materialism and that have prepared for what is ahead will understand that the next chapters of their lives can be the greatest chapters of all.

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