The Mancession: 16 Signs That This Economic Decline Is Sucking The Life Out Of The American Male

This economic decline has been really hard on everyone, but it has been particularly hard on American men.  During the last recession male employment dropped like a rock and it has not recovered much at all since then.  That is why many referred to the last recession as a “mancession”.  Industries where men are disproportionately represented such as construction and manufacturing have really been hit hard in recent years.  In the old days, you could take a high school education down to the local factory and get a job that would enable you to live a middle class lifestyle and support a growing family on just that one income.  Sadly, those days are long gone.  Today, American men live in a world where their labor is not really needed.  Wages are falling because almost any worker can be easily replaced by the vast pool of unemployed American workers that are currently searching for work, and a lot of big companies are shifting labor-intensive jobs overseas where workers only make a small fraction of what they make in the United States.  American workers (especially those without much education) are considered to be expensive liabilities in a world where labor has become a global commodity.  So the percentage of working age American men that have jobs is likely to continue to decline and wages are likely to continue to stagnate as well.

For many men, a long-term bout with unemployment can almost be worse than a major illness.  It can be really hard to feel like a man when you don’t have a job.  Men often see themselves as filling the “provider” role, and when they aren’t providing for their families self-esteem can fall through the floor.  It is easy to feel worthless when there is no money coming in and your wife and your kids are looking at you with worry every single day.

As you read this, there are millions upon millions of unemployed men sitting at home with a glazed look in their eyes.  When you talk with these men, many of them seem as though the life has been sucked right out of them.

As I wrote about recently, when you cannot find a job month after month after month people start to look at you differently.  Some start to look at you with pity in their eyes, and others start to look at you with disgust in their eyes.

Most Americans don’t really understand how much the economy has fundamentally changed, and many of them still believe that it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a job in “the greatest economy on earth”.

But things have changed.  If you don’t have a college education or some highly specialized skills then it is going to be exceedingly difficult to get a good paying job in this economy.

Unfortunately, finding a job is not going to be getting any easier.  Times are hard now, but they are going to be getting a lot harder.

The following are 16 signs that this economic decline is sucking the life out of the American male….

#1 During the last recession, men lost twice as many jobs as women did.

#2 According to the Economic Policy Institute, the “real entry-level hourly wage for men who recently graduated from high school” has declined from $15.64 in 1979 to $11.68 last year.

#3 During the recent economic downturn millions of men saw their family finances get absolutely destroyed.  According to the Federal Reserve, the median net worth of families in the United States declined “from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010“.

#4 As you can see from the chart below, in the 1950s there were times when nearly 85 percent of all working age men had a job.  Sadly, that number has stayed below 65 percent since the end of the last recession….

#5 More unemployed fathers than ever are staying at home with the kids.  Over the past decade the number of “stay at home dads” has doubled.

#6 Prior to the recession, women accounted for approximately 45 percent of the workforce.  Now, they account for 49.4 percent of the workforce.

#7 According to one new survey, 23 percent of all small business owners in America have gone for more than a year without pay.  More than half of all small business owners are men.

#8 The decline in manufacturing jobs has had a disproportionate impact on men.  Back in 1940, 23.4% of all American workers had manufacturing jobs.  Today, only 10.4% of all American workers have manufacturing jobs.

#9 More than half of all middle management jobs in America are now held by women.

#10 More than half of all health care jobs in America are now held by women.

#11 American men love to watch television.  But because of harsh economic conditions more families than ever are eliminating cable television service.  According to one survey, a whopping 6.9 million American homes cancelled cable service last year.

#12 According to the New York Times, approximately 57 percent of all Americans that are currently enrolled in college are women.

#13 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.

#14 According to another study, “young, urban, childless women” make more money in America today than young, urban, childless men do.

#15 According to CNN, in the United States today 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.

#16 Our system often treats elderly American men like absolute trash.  Just check out what happened to one elderly veteran up in Montana recently….

Warren C. Bodeker is an 89 year old World War II Army Airborne combat veteran and war hero, living in Montana, who is being thrown off of his own land and thrown out of his own house, by Montana Federal Bankruptcy Trustee, Christy Brandon, with the approval of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Montana. And to make matters worse, Warren’s wife Lorna just died of cancer this past year, and is buried there on their land, right next to the house. Warren had planned to live there till he died and then be buried right next to his wife, there on their property at 11 Freedom Lane, in the town of Plains, Montana, but now, not only is he being forced off his land, he is being forced to exhume his wife’s body and take her with him.

As the ability of men (and women) to take care of their families continues to decline, the middle class continues to shrink rapidly.

Most Americans continue to expect our economy to be able to bounce back to where it was before, but the truth is that the U.S. economy is in the midst of a long-term decline.

We are heading for an absolute economic nightmare, and we desperately need to come together as a nation and find some real solutions.

Unfortunately, our nation is becoming more divided than ever, and most of our politicians are proposing that we continue to do the exact same things that got us into this mess.

So what do all of you think about “the mancession” and what this economic decline is doing to the American male?  Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below….

The Hard Working American vs. The Government Parasite

Which lifestyle choice produces better results – being a hard working American or being a government parasite?  Actually, when you look at the cold, hard numbers they may just surprise you.  In America today, we deeply penalize hard work and we greatly reward government dependence.  If you live in a very liberal area of the country and you know how to game the system, it is entirely possible to live a comfortable existence without ever working too much at all.  In fact, there are some Americans that have been living off of “government benefits” for decades.  Many of these people actually plan their lives around doing exactly what they need to do to qualify for as many benefits as possible.  America is rapidly turning into a European-style socialist welfare state and it is destroying our nation socially and financially.  Ever since the “war on poverty” began our debt has absolutely exploded and yet now there are more poor people in this country than ever before.  Obviously something is not working.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I deeply believe in having compassion for those that are going through tough times and having a safety net for those that cannot take care of themselves.  We should not have a single person in this nation going without food or sleeping in the streets.

But in America today it is absolutely ridiculous how many people are climbing aboard the “safety net”.  At this point, an astounding 49 percent of all Americans live in a home that receives some form of government benefits.

So who pays for all of this?

The people that drag themselves out of bed and go to work each day pay for it all.

For a few moments, let’s examine how the lifestyle of a typical hard working American compares to the lifestyle of a government parasite.

In America today, the median yearly household income is somewhere around $50,000.  About half of all American households make more than that and about half of all American households make less than that.  When you break it down, it comes to about $4000 a month.

So how far does $4000 go in America today?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t go very far at all.

First of all, a hard working American family will need some place to live.  Unfortunately, the vast majority of the decent jobs are near the big cities, and it is more expensive to live near the big cities.  Let’s assume that an average family of four will spend about $1000 a month on rent or on a mortgage payment.

The government parasite, on the other hand, has a whole host of federal, state and local housing programs to take advantage of.  During the recent economic downturn, more Americans than ever have been turning to the government for help with housing costs.  For example, federal housing assistance outlays increased by a whopping 42 percent between 2006 and 2010.

Once you have a place to live, you have to provide power and heat for it.  For the average hard working American, this is going to probably average about $300 a month, although this can vary greatly depending on where you live.

For the government parasite, there are once again a whole host of government programs to help with this.  For example, LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) assists low income households in paying their home heating bills.

Most average hard working Americans are also going to need phone and Internet service.  Let’s assume that the hard working family of four in our example is extremely thrifty and only spends $100 a month for these services.

For the government parasite, cell phone service is not a problem.  As I have written about previously, those that “qualify” can receive a free cell phone and free cell phone minutes every single month from the federal government.  In addition, in some areas of the nation low income families can qualify for deeply subsidized home Internet service.

In order to earn money, our hard working family is going to need to get to work.  In most households, both parents have decided to work these days so both of them will need cars.  Let’s assume that the family is very thrifty and that both cars were purchased used and that the car payments only total about $400 a month.

The hard working family will also need auto insurance for the two vehicles.  Let’s assume that both parents have a great driving record and that they only pay a total of about $100 a month for car insurance.

The cars will also need to be filled up with gasoline.  The average U. S. household spent $4155 on gasoline during 2011, but let’s assume that our family is very, very careful and that they only spend about $300 on gas each month.

So what about the government parasite?  Well, the government parasite does not need to go to work, so this expense can potentially be eliminated entirely.  But since most other things are paid for by the government or are deeply subsidized, in many instances government parasites are actually able to afford very nice vehicles.

In addition, a new bill (The Low-Income Gasoline Assistance Program Act) has been introduced in Congress that would give “qualifying” households money to help pay for gasoline….

Low-Income Gasoline Assistance Program Act – Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to make grants to states to establish emergency assistance programs to pay eligible households for the purchase of gasoline.

A hard working American family is also going to need health insurance.  Well, we all know how expensive health insurance has become.  In fact, health insurance costs have risen by 23 percent since Barack Obama became president.  But let’s assume that our hard working family has somehow been able to find an amazing deal where they only pay $500 a month for health insurance for a family of four.

For the government parasite, health insurance is not needed.  If there is an emergency, the government parasite can just go get free medical care at any emergency room.

And of course there is always Medicaid.  Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid.  Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid, and things are about to get a whole lot worse.  It is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.

So what about food?

Everyone has to eat, right?

Well, the hard working family in our example is faced with an environment where food prices are constantly rising but paychecks are not keeping up.  Let’s assume that the hard working family in our example clips coupons and cuts corners any way that it can and only spends about $50 for each member of the family on food and supplies each week.  That comes to a total of $800 a month for the entire family.

So what about the government parasite?

Government parasites need to eat too.

Well, that is where food stamps come in.  Right now, there are more than 46 million Americans on food stamps.  Since Barack Obama became president, the number of Americans on food stamps has increased by 14 million.  Food stamps have become so popular that rappers are even making rap videos about using food stamp cards.

Okay, so after all of this where do we stand?

Well, the average hard working family so far has spent $3500 out of the $4000 that they have to spend for the month.

We still need to find money for clothing, for paying off credit card debt, for paying off student loan debt, for dining out, for entertainment, for medications, for pets, for hobbies, for life insurance, for vacations, for car repairs and maintenance, for child care, for gifts and for retirement savings.

But wait.

There is actually no money left at all because we have forgotten one of the biggest expenses of all.

Taxes.

When you total up all federal, state and property taxes, our average hard working family is going to pay at least $1000 a month in taxes.

So that puts our average hard working family in the hole every single month.

Meanwhile, the government parasite does not pay any taxes because he or she does not earn enough money to be taxed.

Are you starting to get the picture?

In many ways, life can be so much easier when you are constantly taking from the government instead of constantly giving to the government.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently put it this way….

“We’ll have a bunch of people sitting on a couch waiting for their next government check”

Once again, I am not dumping on those that have been through all kinds of nightmares because of this economy.  As I have written about so frequently, the U.S. economy is simply not producing enough jobs for everyone anymore, and this is creating major problems.

Just about everyone needs a helping hand at some point, and we should always be compassionate to those that are in need.

However, there is also a growing number of Americans that are content to simply give up and live off of the government, and that is fundamentally wrong.

It is not the job of the U.S. government to take care of you from the cradle to the grave.  What the U.S. government is supposed to do is to make sure that we have a well functioning economy that operates in an environment where hard working individuals and small businesses can thrive, and sadly the U.S. government has failed miserably in that regard.

We desperately need the U.S. economy to be fixed, but I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for that to happen.

As economic conditions get even worse in this country, millions more Americans are going to turn to the government for assistance and at some point the safety net is going to break.

What is our country going to look like when that happens?

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