Those That Are Not Preparing For The Coming Economic Depression Are Going To Bitterly Regret It

RegretThe next great economic crisis is rapidly approaching, and most people are going to be totally blindsided by it.  Even though the warning signs are glaringly obvious, most Americans continue to believe that our “leaders” know what they are doing and that everything will be just fine.  But what will happen when the next great financial crash happens and trillions of dollars of “paper wealth” disappear into thin air?  What will happen when the coming credit crunch causes economic activity to dramatically slow down and millions upon millions of people lose their jobs?  This shouldn’t sound far-fetched to you.  Remember, this is exactly the kind of thing that we saw back in 2008, and the next great financial crisis is likely going to be significantly worse.  Our economy is in far worse shape than it was back in 2008, and government dependence is now at an all-time high even though most Americans are still enjoying debt-fueled false prosperity.  We are living in the largest debt bubble in the history of the planet, and when it bursts we are going to experience a crippling “adjustment” to our standard of loving.  Some people understand this and are busy preparing for what is ahead.  It has been estimated that there are approximately 3 million “preppers” in the United States, and that number is growing all the time.  Unfortunately, most Americans are not preparing for the coming economic depression and they are going to bitterly regret it.

So what does preparing for the coming economic depression look like?

Well, it doesn’t have to be complicated.  Most of the things that you should do are just common sense.

But there are some people that take things to extremes.  For example, a new National Geographic series is featuring a family that is actually constructing a “Doomsday Castle“.  The former U.S. Army officer that is building this unusual home is trying to prepare for virtually every type of disaster that he can imagine

Meet Brent Sr., the leader of the six-person family. Brent is a former Army Infantry Training Officer who is heading up the project to build an “EMP (electromagnetic pulse)-proof medieval castle in the woods of the Carolinas.”

According to National Geographic, Brent is teaching five of his 10 children survival skills.

The unfinished, fortified castle that Brent Sr. is building — an idea he got during the Y2K prep craze — will be able to sustain an EMP-event that could wipe out a power grid, but will also survive natural disasters like hurricanes.

He even plans to train his family members to use crossbows and a catapult to defend against potential home invaders.

Not many people out there are going to take “prepping” to such extremes.

But even if you don’t plan to build a “Doomsday Castle”, that doesn’t mean that you should be doing nothing.

Sadly, most Americans are quite ill-prepared for a major economic downturn at this point.  In fact, most Americans seem to be doing almost nothing to prepare.

Just consider the following statistics.  Most of these numbers come from one of my previous articles

-According to a survey that was recently released, 76 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.

46 percent of all Americans have less than $800 in savings.

27 percent of all Americans do not have even a single penny saved up.

-Less than one out of every four Americans has enough money stored away to cover six months of expenses.

-Each year, 12 million Americans take out high interest payday loans.

-In 1989, the debt to income ratio of the average American family was about 58 percent.  Today it is up to 154 percent.

-It is estimated that less than 10 percent of the U.S. population owns any gold or silver for investment purposes.

44 percent of all Americans do not have first-aid kits in their homes.

48 percent of all Americans do not have any emergency supplies stored up.

53 percent of all Americans do not have a 3 day supply of nonperishable food and water in their homes.

One survey asked Americans how long they thought they would survive if the electrical grid went down for an extended period of time.  Incredibly, 21 percent said that they would survive for less than a week, an additional 28 percent said that they would survive for less than two weeks, and nearly 75 percent said that they would be dead before the two month mark.

Those numbers are absolutely appalling.

When the system fails, most people are going to be completely blindsided by it and millions upon millions of people are going to absolutely freak out.

Don’t let that happen to you.

So what are some basic things that you can do to get prepared for the great economic storm that is coming?

The following are a few of the things that Nicole Foss suggests…

1) Hold no debt (for most people this means renting)

2) Hold cash and cash equivalents (short term treasuries) under your own control

3) Don’t trust the banking system, deposit insurance or no deposit insurance

4) Sell equities, real estate, most bonds, commodities, collectibles (or short if you can afford to gamble)

5) Gain some control over the necessities of your own existence if you can afford it

6) Be prepared to work with others as that will give you far greater scope for resilience and security

7) If you have done all that and still have spare resources, consider precious metals as an insurance policy

8) Be worth more to your employer than he is paying you

9) Look after your health!

I think all of those are great pieces of advice.

In addition, below I have posted some of the things that I personally recommend.  The following is an excerpt from one of my previous articles entitled “25 Things That You Should Do To Get Prepared For The Coming Economic Collapse“…

#1 An Emergency Fund

Do you remember what happened when the financial system almost collapsed back in 2008?  Millions of Americans suddenly lost their jobs, and because many of them were living paycheck to paycheck, many of them also got behind on their mortgages and lost their homes.  You don’t want to lose everything that you have worked for during this next major economic downturn.  It is imperative that you have an emergency fund.  It should be enough to cover all of your expenses for at least six months, but I would encourage you to have an emergency fund that is even larger than that.

#2 Don’t Put All Of Your Eggs Into One Basket

If the wealth confiscation in Cyprus has taught us anything, it is that we should not put all of our eggs in one basket.  If all of your money is in one single bank account, it would be easy to wipe out.  But if you have your money scattered around a number of different places it will give you a little bit more security.

#3 Keep Some Cash At Home

This goes along with the previous point.  While it is not wise to keep all of your money at home, you do want to keep some cash on hand.  If there is an extended bank holiday or if a giant burst from the sun causes the ATM machines to go down, you want to be able to have enough cash to buy the things that your family needs.  Just ask the people of Cyprus how crippling a bank holiday can be.  One way to keep your cash secure at home is by storing it in a concealed safe.

#4 Get Out Of Debt

A lot of people seem to assume that an economic collapse would wipe out all debts, but that will probably not be the case.  In fact, if you are in a tremendous amount of debt you will be very vulnerable if the economy collapses and you are not able to find a job.  Just ask the people who were overextended and lost their jobs during the last recession.  So please get out of debt.  Many debt collectors are becoming increasingly ruthless.  In many areas of the country they are now routinely putting debtors into prison.  You do not want to be a slave to debt when the next wave of the economic collapse strikes.

#5 Gold And Silver

In the long-term, the U.S. dollar is going to lose a tremendous amount of value and inflation is going to absolutely skyrocket.  That is one reason why so many people are investing very heavily in gold, silver and other precious metals.  All over the globe, the central banks of the world are recklessly printing money.  Everyone knows that this is going to end very badly.  In fact, there is already a push in more than a dozen U.S. states to allow gold and silver coins to be used as legal tender.  Someday you will be glad that you invested in gold and silver now while their prices were still low.

#6 Reduce Your Expenses

A lot of people claim that they can’t put any money toward prepping, but the truth is that we all have room to reduce our expenses.  We all spend money on things that we do not really need.  Those that are “lean and mean” will tend to do much better during the times that are coming.

#7 Start A Side Business

If you do not have much money, a great way to increase your income is by starting a side business.  And it does not take a lot of money – there are many side businesses that you can start for next to nothing.  And starting a side business will allow you to become less dependent on your job.  In this economic environment, a job could disappear at literally any time.

#8 Move Away From The Big Cities If Possible

For many people, this is simply not possible.  Many Americans are still completely and totally dependent on their jobs.  But if you are able, now is a good time to move away from the big cities.  When the next major economic downturn strikes, there will be rioting and a dramatic rise in crime in the major cities.  If you are able to move to a more rural area you will probably be in much better shape.

#9 Store Food

Global food reserves have reached their lowest level in nearly 40 years.  As the economy gets even worse and global weather patterns become even more unstable, the price of food will go much higher and global food supplies will become much tighter.  In the long run, you will be glad for the money that you put into long-term food storage now.

#10 Learn To Grow Your Own Food

This is a skill that most Americans possessed in the past, but that most Americans today have forgotten.  Growing your own food is a way to become more independent of the system, and it is a way to get prepared for what is ahead.

#11 Nobody Can Survive Without Water

Without water, you would not even make it a few days in an emergency situation.  It is imperative that you have a plan to provide clean drinking water for your family when disaster strikes.

#12 Have A Plan For When The Grid Goes Down

What would you do if the grid went down and you suddenly did not have power for an extended period of time?  Anyone that has spent more than a few hours without power knows how frustrating this can be.  You need to have a plan for how you are going to provide power to your home that is independent of the power company.

#13 Have Blankets And Warm Clothing On Hand

This is more for emergency situations or for a complete meltdown of society.  During any major crisis, blankets and warm clothing are in great demand.  They also could potentially make great barter items.

#14 Store Personal Hygiene Supplies

A lot of preppers store up huge amounts of food, but they forget all about personal hygiene supplies.  During a long crisis, these are items that you would greatly miss if you do not have them stored up.  These types of supplies would also be great for barter.

#15 Store Medicine And Medical Supplies

You will also want to store up medical supplies and any medicine that you may need.  In an emergency situation, you definitely would not want to be without bandages and a first-aid kit.  Over the course of a long crisis, you do not want to run out of any medicines that are critical for your health.

#16 Stock Up On Vitamins

A lot of preppers do not think about this either, but it is very important.  These days, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get adequate nutrition from the foods that we eat.  That is why it is very important to have an adequate store of vitamins and other supplements.

#17 Make A List Of Other Supplies That You Will Need

During any crisis, there will be a lot of other things that you will need in addition to food and water.  The following are just a few basic things that it would be wise to have on hand…

– an axe

– a can opener

– flashlights

– battery-powered radio

– extra batteries

– lighters or matches

– fire extinguisher

– sewing kit

– tools

This list could be much, much longer, but hopefully this will get you started.

#18 Don’t Forget The Special Needs Of Your Babies And Your Pets

Young children and pets have special needs.  As you store supplies, don’t forget about the things that they will need as well.

#19 Entertainment

This may sound trivial, but the truth is that our entertainment-addicted society would become very bored and very frustrated if the grid suddenly went down for an extended period of time.  Card games and other basic forms of entertainment can make enduring a crisis much easier.

#20 Self-Defense

In the years ahead, being able to defend your home and your family is going to become increasingly important.  When the economy crashes, people are going to start to become very desperate.  And desperate people do desperate things.

#21 Get Your Ammunition While You Still Can

Your firearms will not do you much good if you do not have ammunition for them.  Already there are widespread reports of huge ammunition shortages.  The following is from a recent CNS News article

“The run on ammunition has manufacturers scrambling to accommodate demand and reassure customers, as many new and seasoned gun owners stock up over fears of new firearms regulations at both the state and federal levels.”

Don’t just assume that you will always be able to purchase large amounts of ammunition whenever you want.  Get it now while you still can.

#22 If You Have To Go…

Have a plan for what you and your family will do if you are forced to leave your home.  If you do have to go, the following are some items that you will want to have on hand…

– a map of the area

– a compass

– backpacks for every member of the family

– sleeping bags

– warm clothing

– comfortable shoes or hiking boots

#23 Community

One of the most important assets in any crisis situation is community.  If you have friends or neighbors that you can depend upon, that is invaluable.  The time spent building those bonds now will pay off greatly during a major crisis.

#24 Have A Back-Up Plan And Be Flexible

Mike Tyson once said the following…

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

No plan ever unfolds perfectly.  When your plan is disrupted, what will you do?

It will be imperative for all of us to have a back-up plan and to be flexible during the years ahead.

#25 Keep Your Prepping To Yourself

Do not go around and tell everyone in the area where you live about your prepping.  If you do, then you may find yourself overwhelmed with “visitors” when everything falls apart.

And please do not go on television and brag about your prepping to a national audience.

Prepping is something that you want to keep to yourself, unless you want hordes of desperate people banging on your door in the future.

*****

For much more on prepping, I would encourage you to check out the dozens of excellent websites out there that teach people advanced prepping techniques for free.

So what do you think about all of this?

Are you getting prepared for the coming economic depression?

Please feel free to share your perspective on prepping by posting a comment below…

UNSUSTAINABLE

When it comes to explaining the problems with our economy, one of the hardest things to do is to get people to understand that we are living in an economic fantasy world that is completely and totally unsustainable.  As a nation we consume far more than we produce, we spend far more than we bring in, our debt is growing much faster than our GDP is, our entitlement programs are growing at an exponential rate, our retirement system is a Ponzi scheme and the Federal Reserve is printing money as if there is no tomorrow in a desperate attempt to paper over all of our problems.  But we have all grown so accustomed to the debt-fueled prosperity that we have been enjoying for so many decades that it actually feels “real” to most of us.  Unfortunately, history has shown us that it is simply not possible to grow your debt faster than your economy indefinitely.  At some point your consumption will drop back to a level more equal to your production.    Sometimes that adjustment can be gradual, but other times it can be extremely painful.  In our case, we have been living way above our means for so long that it would take a major economic miracle just to keep our adjustment to an “exceedingly painful” level.  We are living in the largest debt-fueled prosperity bubble in the history of the world, and our unsustainable economy is going to crash and burn at some point.  Hopefully it will be later rather than sooner, but a crash is most definitely coming.

The following are some of the reasons why the bubble economy that we are living in right now is unsustainable….

The Trade Deficit

Most Americans do not really understand what a “trade deficit” is, but it is at the very core of our economic problems.

Basically, we buy far more stuff from the rest of the world than they buy from us.  We send them huge piles of our money, and they send us oil that we burn in our cars and cheap plastic products that we end up throwing away.  We keep doing this month after month after month, and this is systematically making us poorer as a nation.

In 2012, it is being projected that our trade deficit will fall somewhere between 500 billion and 600 billion dollars.

At this point, the United States has a trade imbalance that is more than 7 times larger than any other nation on earth has.

Overall, the United States has run a trade deficit of more than 8 trillion dollars with the rest of the world since 1975.

Instead of going out of the country, those 8 trillion dollars could have gone to U.S. businesses and U.S. workers.  In turn, taxes would have been paid on those 8 trillion dollars and our debt problems would not be nearly as dramatic today.

But we didn’t do that.

We chose to allow tens of thousands of businesses, millions of jobs and trillions of dollars of our national wealth to leave the country.

Stupid move, eh?

But both political parties have been endlessly pushing the “free trade” agenda.  They have both promised that it would bring us tremendous prosperity.

Well, just take a look at our formerly great manufacturing cities today.  Do they look prosperous to you?

It turns out that Ross Perot was right when he warned about the “giant sucking sound” that would happen if NAFTA was implemented.

When NAFTA was pushed through Congress in 1993, the United States had a trade surplus with Mexico of 1.6 billion dollars.  By 2010, we had a trade deficit with Mexico of 61.6 billion dollars.

That didn’t work out so well, did it?

What about opening up trade with China?

Back in 1985, our trade deficit with China was approximately 6 million dollars (million with a little “m”) for the entire year.

In 2011, our trade deficit with China was 295.4 billion dollars.  That was the largest trade deficit that one nation has had with another nation in the history of the world.

Our trade with China is tremendously unbalanced.  Today, U.S. consumers spend approximately 4 dollars on goods and services from China for every one dollar that Chinese consumers spend on goods and services from the United States.

This is a huge reason why shiny new factories are going up all over China, and our blue collar cities are turning into rotting war zones filled with unemployed people.

If you can believe it, the United States has actually lost more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities since 2001.

Until we fix the trade deficit we are going to continue bleeding factories, jobs and national wealth at an astounding pace.

The National Debt

It is being projected that U.S. GDP will grow at a rate of about 2.2 percent this year.

The problem is that our federal budget deficit will be somewhere around 7 percent of GDP this year.

With each passing day we are losing ground.  No other nation on earth has been able to run up debt like this indefinitely, and neither will we.

Does this chart look like a healthy situation to you?….

Sadly, all of this government debt is just about the only thing holding up our economy at this point.  Since Barack Obama has been in the White House, the U.S. national debt has increased by about 5.5 trillion dollars.  Of course the Obama administration has spent a lot of that money on incredibly stupid stuff, but it still gets into the pockets of average Americans that in turn spend it on food, gas, mortgage payments, etc.

If we could go back in time and suck that 5.5 trillion dollars of extra spending out of the economy we would be in a horrible economic depression right now.

But that does not mean that borrowing and spending all of that money was the right thing to do.  We have stolen it from our children and our grandchildren and we are going to stick them with the bill.

That is highly immoral and it is a national disgrace.

Yet we continue to do it because we can’t help ourselves.  We are ruining the future of this nation in order to make the present more pleasant for ourselves.

As I noted yesterday, the U.S. national debt jumped more on the very first day of fiscal year 2013 than it did from 1776 to 1941 combined.

We are completely addicted to debt and we can’t stop.  We know that we are destroying the future of the United States but we have absolutely no self-discipline.

By the end of Barack Obama’s first term, the U.S. government will have accumulated more debt during those four years than it did from the time that George Washington took office to the time that George W. Bush took office.

But most Americans seem fine with that.

Most Americans don’t even really know why this is happening, and most don’t really seem too concerned about finding out.  They just want the good times to continue to roll.

Sadly, the truth is that our financial system is designed to create government debt.  It is one of the primary purposes of the Federal Reserve system.

At this point, the U.S. national debt is more than 5000 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was first created.

So I guess you could say that the Federal Reserve is doing a good job of what it was designed to do.

And until we change the system things are going to continue to get worse until the entire system collapses.

Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff is warning that we are basically facing financial armageddon if something is not done.  Kotlikoff speaks of a “fiscal gap” which he defines as “the present value difference between projected future spending and revenue”.  His calculations have led him to the conclusion that the United States is facing a fiscal gap of 222 trillion dollars in the years ahead.

Where in the world are we going to get an extra 222 trillion dollars?

Entitlements

Every society needs a safety net, but we are rapidly getting to the point where there are going to be more Americans on the safety net than there are Americans supporting it.

Back in 1983, less than 30 percent of all Americans lived in a home where at least one person received financial assistance from the federal government.

Today, that number is up to an all-time record of 49 percent.

Many people don’t believe me when I tell them that more than 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government right now, and that does not even count Social Security or Medicare.

But it is actually true.

Overall, there are nearly 80 different “means-tested welfare programs” that the federal government is currently running.

But of course the biggest financial burdens are Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.  All three are on course to become completely and totally unsustainable.

For example, the number of Americans on Medicaid soared from 34 million in 2000 to 54 million in 2011, and it is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.

Ouch.

Well, what about Medicare?

Sadly, Medicare is even more frightening.

As I wrote recently, it is being projected that the number of Americans on Medicare will grow from 50.7 million in 2012 to 73.2 million in 2025.

How in the world can we afford that?

At this point, Medicare is facing unfunded liabilities of more than 38 trillion dollars over the next 75 years.  That comes to approximately $328,404 for each and every household in the United States.

Are you ready to contribute your share?

Social Security is in really bad shape as well.

At the moment, approximately 56 million Americans are collecting Social Security benefits.

By 2035, that number is projected to soar to a whopping 91 million.

Overall, the Social Security system is facing a 134 trillion dollar shortfall over the next 75 years.

Where are we going to get that money?

Total Debt

Of course the national debt is not out only debt problem.  All over the country there are state and local governments that are on the verge of insolvency.  Corporations and financial institutions are leveraged like crazy.  And of course consumers have absolutely gorged on debt over the past several decades.

As a result, we are drowning in debt from sea to shining sea.

The good news is that our GDP is more than 12 times larger than it was 40 years ago.

The bad news is that the total amount of debt in our country is more than 30 times larger than it was 40 years ago….

Obviously this is something that cannot go on forever.

We simply cannot keep accumulating debt much faster than our economy is growing.

Nobody knows exactly when the “adjustment” is coming, but it most definitely will arrive at some point.

Money Printing

The Federal Reserve has attempted to monetize many of our economic problems by printing gigantic mountains of money in recent years.

The Federal Reserve is at the very heart of our economic problems, but most Americans don’t realize this.  It was the Federal Reserve that created the conditions for the housing bubble, and it was the Federal Reserve that badly mismanaged the response when that bubble burst.  The Federal Reserve decides how much money will be printed and what our interest rates will be.  The Federal Reserve lends out trillions of dollars to the banks that they like, and other banks they let die.  The Federal Reserve picks winners and losers in our economy, and most of the time that means good things for the big Wall Street banks and bad things for the rest of us.

In a desperate attempt to keep our unsustainable financial system from collapsing, the Federal Reserve has decided to start printing unprecedented amounts of money.  Just look at what this has done to the monetary base….

And QE3 really hasn’t even started to kick in yet.

So how bad will that chart look after QE3 has been adding another 40 billion dollars a month to the financial system for a while?

You know, the Weimar Republic was absolutely convinced that they were doing the right thing by printing lots of money too.

But in the end that didn’t work out very well for them at all….

So should we really be celebrating the fact that the Federal Reserve is going down the same path that the Weimar Republic did?

Demonocracy has released a great new graphic that does a wonderful job of illustrating just how huge the amounts of money involved in QE3 are going to be.  If you have not seen it yet, you can view the graphic right here.

The rest of the world is watching the games that we are playing with our currency.  Right now we think that we are getting away with it, but what we are doing is not sustainable.  At some point the rest of the world will totally lose confidence in the U.S. dollar, and when that happens the U.S. dollar could easily lose its status as the primary reserve currency of the world.

If that were to happen the coming shift in our standard of living would happen much more rapidly.

Please share this article with as many people as you can.  We need to wake people up and get them to understand how incredibly vulnerable our financial system really is.  We are on a path that is unsustainable any way that you want to look at it, and if something dramatic is not done our economy is going to experience an unprecedented collapse.

So what happens if nothing is done and everything crashes all around us?

Well, I hope that you are prepared because it isn’t going to be pretty.

40 Weird Facts About The United States That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe

In case you hadn’t noticed, the United States is a really weird place.  Not that “weird” is always bad.  Sometimes “weird” can keep life interesting.  But without a doubt, the United States is one of the most unique nations in the history of the world.  Some of the weird facts about the United States listed below may be difficult for you to believe.  Others are likely to completely shock you.  Hopefully there is a little something for everyone in this article, and hopefully you will learn some new things from reading it.  I know that I certainly learned some new things as I wrote it.  In general, everything tends to be larger in America.  The people are larger, the cars are larger, the divorce rate is the highest on the planet and the U.S. government has piled up the largest debt in the history of the world.  Whether America does something good or bad, it usually does it in a very “big” way.  It is easy to love the United States and all the good that it has done, but it is also easy to be horrified by how far this nation has fallen and by the direction that this country is currently headed.  So where does America go from here?  That is a very good question.

The following are 40 weird facts about the United States that are almost too crazy to believe….

#1 The highest point in the state of Florida is only 345 feet (115 yards) above sea level.

#2 Today, 66 percent of all Americans are considered to be overweight.

#3 The state of Alaska is 429 times larger than the state of Rhode Island is.  But Rhode Island has a significantly larger population than Alaska does.

#4 The average supermarket in the United States wastes about 3,000 pounds of food each year.

#5 Approximately 48 percent of all Americans are currently either considered to be “low income” or are living in poverty.

#6 Alaska has a longer coastline than all of the other 49 U.S. states put together.

#7 In the UK, an average of about $3,500 is spent on healthcare per person each year.  In the United States, an average of about $8,500 is spent on healthcare per person each year.

#8 Montana has three times as many cows as it does people.

#9 The average U.S. citizen drinks the equivalent of more than 600 sodas each year.

#10 The only place in the United States where coffee is grown commercially is in Hawaii.

#11 The United States has 845 motor vehicles for every 1,000 people.  Japan only has 593 for every 1,000 people and Germany only has 540 for every 1,000 people.

#12 The grizzly bear is the official state animal of California.  But no grizzly bears have been seen there since 1922.

#13 For many years it was the other way around, but today a majority of all Americans (including Pat Robertson) actually support the legalization of marijuana.

#14 Jimmy Carter was the first U.S. president to have been born in a hospital.

#15 In the middle of the last century, the United States was #1 in the world in GDP per capita.  Today, the United States is #13 in GDP per capita.

#16 Today, approximately 25 million American adults are living with their parents.

#17 One survey found that 25 percent of all employees that have Internet access in the United States visit pornography websites while they are at work.

#18 In 2011, our trade deficit with China was more than 49,000 times larger than it was back in 1985.

#19 One out of every seven Americans has at least 10 credit cards.

#20 The city of Juneau, Alaska is about 3,000 square miles large.  It is actually bigger than the entire state of Delaware.

#21 The United States puts a higher percentage of its population in prison than any other nation on earth does.

#22 There are more unemployed workers in the United States than there are people living in the entire nation of Greece.

#23 The original name of the city of Atlanta was “Terminus“.

#24 Sadly, more than 52 percent of all children that live in Cleveland, Ohio are living in poverty.

#25 The median price of a home in the city of Detroit is now about $6000.

#26 Back in 1950, more than 80 percent of all men in the United States had jobs.  Today, less than 65 percent of all men in the United States have jobs.

#27 According to author Paul Osterman, about 20 percent of all U.S. adults are currently working jobs that pay poverty-level wages.

#28 According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, approximately 167,000 Americans have more than $200,000 of student loan debt.

#29 There are three towns in the United States that have the name “Santa Claus“.

#30 There are 313 million people living in the United States.  46 million of them are on food stamps.

#31 In the United States as a whole, one out of every four children is on food stamps.

#32 In 1940, 68.0% of all women in the 20 to 34 year old age group in the United States were married.  In 2010, only 39.2% of women in that age group were married.

#33 The United States has a teen pregnancy rate of 22 percent – the highest in the world.  New Zealand is number two at 14 percent.

#34 According to the CDC, there are 19 million new cases of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia in the United States every single year.

#35 The United States has the highest divorce rate on the globe by a wide margin.  Puerto Rico is number two.  Perhaps Puerto Rico really would fit in as the 51st state.

#36 More people have been diagnosed with mental disorders in the United States than in any other nation on earth.

#37 The United States has more government debt per capita than Greece, Portugal, Italy, Ireland or Spain.

#38 If Bill Gates gave every single penny of his fortune to the U.S. government, it would only cover the U.S. budget deficit for about 15 days.

#39 The U.S. national debt is now more than 22 times larger than it was when Jimmy Carter became president.

#40 It took from the founding of the nation until 1981 for the U.S. national debt to cross the one trillion dollar mark.  Today, our national debt is well over 15 trillion dollars and we add more than a trillion dollars to our debt every single year.

Do you have any other weird facts that you think should be added to this list? Please feel free to leave a comment with your feedback below….

14 Reasons Why We Should Nationalize The Federal Reserve

One of the most important steps that we could take to bring prosperity back to America would be to nationalize the Federal Reserve.  Doing so would allow the federal government to quit borrowing money, dramatically reduce taxes and eventually pay off the entire U.S. national debt.  Instead of inheriting the largest debt in the history of the world, future generations would actually have a chance at economic prosperity because they would not be forced to pay off the horrific debt of previous generations.  The Federal Reserve is a perpetual debt machine, it has almost completely destroyed the value of the U.S. dollar and it has an absolutely nightmarish track record of incompetence.  There are no good reasons to keep the status quo.  Our current debt-based monetary system will inevitably lead to a complete and total economic collapse.  We desperately need to make a change while we still can.  As you will see below, there are a ton of good reasons why we should nationalize the Federal Reserve.

Right now, most Americans believe that the Federal Reserve is actually an agency of the federal government.  But that is simply not the case.  The truth is that the Federal Reserve is about as “federal” as Federal Express is.

The Federal Reserve openly admits as much.  For example, in defending itself against a Bloomberg request for information under the Freedom of Information Act, the Federal Reserve stated in court that it was “not an agency” of the U.S. government and therefore not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

So who owns the Federal Reserve?

As the Federal Reserve’s own website describes, it is the member banks that own it….

The twelve regional Federal Reserve Banks, which were established by Congress as the operating arms of the nation’s central banking system, are organized much like private corporations–possibly leading to some confusion about “ownership.” For example, the Reserve Banks issue shares of stock to member banks. However, owning Reserve Bank stock is quite different from owning stock in a private company. The Reserve Banks are not operated for profit, and ownership of a certain amount of stock is, by law, a condition of membership in the System. The stock may not be sold, traded, or pledged as security for a loan; dividends are, by law, 6 percent per year.

The debt-based monetary system established by the Federal Reserve has greatly enriched the big banks and the people that own them.  This has been at the expense of the American people.

A private central bank should not issue our currency, set interest rates and run our economy.  Rather, we need to return control over the currency to the American people where it belongs.

The following are 14 reasons why we should nationalize the Federal Reserve….

#1 The U.S. Constitution says that the federal government is the one that should be issuing our money.

In particular, according to Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, it is the U.S. Congress that has been given the responsibility to “coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures”.

#2 Our current debt-based monetary system is a perpetual debt machine.  It is absolutely imperative that we nationalize the Federal Reserve and begin to issue debt-free money.

In a previous article about money and debt, I explained how more government debt is created whenever the U.S. government puts more money into circulation….

When the government wants more money, the U.S. government swaps U.S. Treasury bonds for “Federal Reserve notes”, thus creating more government debt.  Usually the money isn’t even printed up – most of the time it is just electronically credited to the government.  The Federal Reserve creates these “Federal Reserve notes” out of thin air.  These Federal Reserve notes are backed by nothing and have no intrinsic value of their own.

This process creates a huge problem.  When each new dollar is created, the interest owed by the federal government on that new dollar is not also created at the same time.

Therefore, more debt is actually created than the amount of money that the federal government receives from the Federal Reserve.

This is a Ponzi scheme that is designed to drain wealth from the American people and transfer it to the banking system.

This is why I call the Federal Reserve system a perpetual debt machine.  Today, the U.S. national debt is more than 5,000 times larger than it was 100 years ago.

Back in 1910, prior to the passage of the Federal Reserve Act, the national debt was only about $2.6 billion.

By going to a system of debt-free money, the U.S. government would never have to borrow a single dollar ever again.

#3 Our current debt-based monetary system requires very high personal income taxes to pay for it.  It is no accident that the personal income tax was introduced at about the same time that the Federal Reserve system came into existence.

If we nationalized the Federal Reserve and capped federal government spending at a reasonable percentage of GDP, it would be entirely possible to massively cut taxes and still keep our promises regarding Social Security and other important social programs at the same time.

I believe that eventually the entire personal income tax system could be completely wiped out and the IRS could be totally shut down.  This would save our economy billions upon billions of dollars in income tax compliance costs.

However, as an initial first step, I believe that we should eliminate all payroll taxes, all “self-employment taxes” and all taxes on the first $100,000 earned by every American.

This would provide much needed relief to the millions of poor and middle income families that have been hurt so badly by this economic downturn.

Also, I believe that we could instantly reduce the corporate tax rate to levels that would be competitive with the rest of the world, while closing corporate tax loopholes at the same time.  This would remove the temptation for companies to leave the United States in order to escape our brutally high corporate tax rates.

Yes, the proposals above would definitely cut taxes.

So where would we make up the difference?

Well, the U.S. Constitution provides one clue.  According to Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Congress has the right to impose “duties, imposts and excises” on goods sold in this country.

For way too long, big corporations have been taking advantage of sweatshops in the third world.  For way too long, other nations have used predatory trade practices to take unfair advantage of us.  For way too long, we have allowed nations with horrific human rights records to ship their goods into our country for free.

Well, we need to bring that to an end.  By raising tariffs we would raise money for the federal government and we could potentially start to reverse the flow of jobs and businesses that have been leaving this country.

Access to the U.S. market is a privilege, not a right.  High tariffs would be imposed on goods from any country that allows slave labor wages to be paid.  Very high tariffs would be imposed on goods from any country that is using predatory trade practices against us.  Extremely high tariffs would be imposed on any nation that does not respect basic human rights.

However, please keep in mind that none of this would work if we did not nationalize the Federal Reserve.  The tax cuts proposed above would be suicidal under our current debt-based monetary system.  But if we nationalize the Fed, we really could do this.  It may sound crazy, but it really would work.

#4 If we nationalize the Federal Reserve, there would be no more budget deficits.  If the federal government was a bit short one year, it would just print up a little bit of extra money in order to make up the difference.

It would also be very important to cap federal government spending as a percentage of GDP so that we don’t have crazy Congress critters creating a lot of inflation by spending us into oblivion.

Just because we would be adopting a debt-free monetary system does not mean that we could throw spending discipline out the window.  Rather, it would actually become more important than ever.

#5 If we nationalize the Federal Reserve, we would instantly reduce the national debt by 1.6 trillion dollars.  That is the amount that is currently on the balance sheet of the Federal Reserve.  The Federal Reserve just created this money out of thin air anyway, so it was never their money to begin with.  Some members of Congress have already proposed cancelling the debt held by the Federal Reserve, and it is a great idea.

#6 If we nationalize the Federal Reserve, we could eventually get rid of the entire national debt.

Under our current system, the U.S. national debt will never, ever be paid off.  We are 15 trillion dollars in debt, and at this point we add more than a trillion dollars to that number every year.

As I have written about previously, if the federal government began right at this moment to repay the U.S. national debt at a rate of one dollar per second, it would take over 440,000 years to pay off the national debt.

But under our current system we are not paying it off.  Rather we keep piling up more debt at an astounding pace.

In a system of debt-free money, there would be no more budget deficits, and we could actually start slowly paying off the national debt with newly issued “United States money”.

This would have to be done very slowly so as to not shock the financial system, but it could be done.  As U.S. debt becomes due, a small percentage of it could be retired each year.

It is entirely conceivable that within 30 to 40 years we could pay it off entirely without causing tremendous damage to the financial system.

#7 If we nationalize the Federal Reserve, we will eventually totally eliminate the interest on the national debt.  Most Americans don’t understand this, but each year we spend hundreds of billions of dollars just on interest on the national debt.  For example, the U.S. government spent over 454 billion dollars on interest on the national debt during fiscal year 2011.

Under a debt-free monetary system, that number would eventually go to zero.  That would save the federal government a ton of money.

#8 While there is certainly a danger that we would have inflation under a debt-free monetary system, the reality is that we are absolutely guaranteed inflation under the Federal Reserve system.

Most Americans believe that inflation is a fact of life, but the sad truth is that the United States has only had a major, ongoing problem with inflation since the Federal Reserve was created back in 1913.

If you do not believe this, just check out this chart.

Sadly, the U.S. dollar has lost well over 95 percent of its value since the Federal Reserve was created.

So, yes, there would be a need for monetary discipline under a debt-free monetary system, but it would be hard to do worse than the Federal Reserve has already been doing.

#9 If we nationalize the Federal Reserve, we would eliminate all of the financial bubbles that the Federal Reserve has been creating.

For example, there would not have been such a bad housing crash if the Federal Reserve had not created such perfect conditions for a housing bubble in the first place.

We should eliminate the Federal Reserve and allow the market to set interest rates.  Having a central authority that sets interest rates is just simply wrong and it creates all sorts of problems.

#10 The Federal Reserve has not been doing a good job.

In case anyone has not noticed, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has a very long track record of incompetence.  Nearly every major judgment that he has made since taking over that position has been dead wrong.

We are always told that we need someone to run the economy and that the Fed is there to keep depressions from happening.

Well, the truth is that the Fed actually greatly contributed to the Great Depression and it was at least partly responsible for the financial crash of 2008.

Now we are right on the verge of yet another massive financial implosion.

If someone keeps wrecking your car, you don’t let them keep driving it, do you?

#11 If we nationalize the Federal Reserve, we could potentially transition to “sound money” at some point.

There is great debate about this of course.  But it is a debate that we need to have.

But before we go to “hard money” we need to do something about this horrific debt that we have piled up for future generations first.  We simply cannot lock this debt in and expect them to pay for our mistakes.

We made this mess, so we need to clean it up.

Going to a debt-free monetary system would allow us to do that.

#12 If we nationalize the Federal Reserve, our local banks will have much more freedom.  Most Americans simply do not understand just how much power the Federal Reserve actually has over our local banks.

For example, just last year Federal Reserve officials walked into one bank in Oklahoma and demanded that they take down all the Bible verses and all the Christmas buttons that the bank had been displaying.

#13 If we nationalize the Federal Reserve, we won’t have trillions of dollars of secret loans being made to big financial institutions on Wall Street and in foreign countries.

Most Americans don’t realize this, but the Federal Reserve made $16.1 trillion in secret loans to their friends during the last financial crisis.

Meanwhile, hundreds of small banks were left out in the cold and the American people got no help.

This is rampant corruption and it needs to be stopped.

#14 The Federal Reserve needs to be nationalized because it is an unelected, unaccountable “fourth branch of government” that has gotten completely and totally out of control.  Even some members of Congress are now openly complaining about how much power the Fed has.  For example, Ron Paul told MSNBC last year that he believes that the Federal Reserve is now more powerful than Congress…..

“The regulations should be on the Federal Reserve. We should have transparency of the Federal Reserve. They can create trillions of dollars to bail out their friends, and we don’t even have any transparency of this. They’re more powerful than the Congress.”

To learn much more about the Federal Reserve and how it is destroying prosperity in America, there is a great animated documentary on YouTube entitled “The American Dream” that you can watch right here.

It is absolutely imperative that the American people get educated about the Federal Reserve and about why a debt-based monetary system is bad for us.

In 1922, Henry Ford wrote the following….

“The people must be helped to think naturally about money. They must be told what it is, and what makes it money, and what are the possible tricks of the present system which put nations and peoples under control of the few.”

The U.S. government does not need to go into debt to anyone.

The U.S. government is a sovereign nation.

So why in the world are we 15 trillion dollars in debt?

We have allowed ourselves to become willingly enslaved.

In the book of Proverbs, it tells us the following….

The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.

By allowing ourselves to become enslaved to debt, we have become the servants of the international banking system.

Our founding fathers attempted to warn us about this.

For example, Thomas Jefferson strongly believed that when the federal government borrows money in one generation which must be paid back by future generations it is equivalent to stealing….

And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.

Not only that, Thomas Jefferson also once stated that if he could add just one more amendment to the U.S. Constitution it would be a ban on all government borrowing….

I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution. I would be willing to depend on that alone for the reduction of the administration of our government to the genuine principles of its Constitution; I mean an additional article, taking from the federal government the power of borrowing.

If we had implemented that advice, how much better off would we be today?

We can still do this.

We can take back control of our financial system.

We can nationalize the Federal Reserve.

We can dramatically cut taxes and eventually shut down the IRS.

We can give our children and grandchildren a future that is debt free.

We can escape the tyranny of the international bankers.

The choice, America, is up to you.

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