The Shadow Banking System: A Third Of All The Wealth In The World Is Held In Offshore Banks

You and I live in a totally different world than the ultra-rich and the international banking elite do.  Many of them live in a world where they simply do not pay income taxes.  Today, it is estimated that a third of all the wealth in the world is held in offshore banks.  So why is so much of the wealth of the globe located in places such as Monaco, the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, the Bahamas, and the Isle of Man?  It isn’t because those are fun places to visit.  It is to avoid taxes.  The super wealthy and the international banking elite think that it is really funny that our paychecks are constantly being drained by federal taxes, state taxes and Social Security taxes while they literally pay nothing at all.  These incredibly rich elitists make a ton of money doing business in wealthy western nations and then they transfer virtually all of their profits offshore where they don’t have to contribute any of it in taxes.  It works out really great for them, but it sucks for the rest of us.

It is estimated that approximately $1.4 trillion is held in offshore banks in the Cayman Islands alone. According to an article in Forbes magazine, there is a total of approximately 15 trillion to 20 trillion dollars in offshore bank accounts, brokerage accounts and hedge fund portfolios.

A recent article in the Guardian stated that a third of all the wealth on the entire globe is held in offshore banks and that the vast majority of international banking transactions take place in these tax havens….

On a conservative estimate, a third of the world’s wealth is held offshore, with 80% of international banking transactions taking place there. More than half the capital in the world’s stock exchanges is “parked” offshore at some point.

All of the biggest banks in the world are involved in playing this game.  All of them have big branches in these various tax havens.  All of them work very hard to ensure that the tax burdens on their ultra-rich clients are as light as possible.

Nobody knows for sure how much money big governments around the globe are missing out on from all this tax avoidance, but everyone agrees the number is huge.  It is at least in the hundreds of billions of dollars every single year.

It is a shadow banking system that most Americans don’t know anything about. Most Americans don’t have the resources to be able to set up shell companies in half a dozen different countries so that they can “filter” their profits.  Most Americans don’t know a thing about complicated tax avoidance plans that tax lawyers use such as the “Double Irish” and the “Dutch Sandwich”.  Most Americans would have no idea how to eventually have most of the money that they make end up in Bermuda so that it can avoid taxes.

No, most Americans just go to work every week and have their hard earned paychecks raped by an oppressive taxation system.

To the ultra-wealthy and the international banking system we are all just a bunch of suckers.  In fact, a big portion of our taxes ends up going into their pockets to pay the interest on all of the government debt that they are holding.

When the global elite decide that they want to do some “social engineering” inside the big countries where they operate, they just set up tax-free “charitable trusts” that usually aren’t very “charity-oriented” at all.  Rather, many of these “charitable trusts” push the various radical political and social agendas that many of these elitists love to promote.

Examples of this include The Rockefeller Foundation and The Ford Foundation.  George Soros also loves to use entities like these to push his various agendas.

The wealthy know how to play the game.  For most of the rest of us, the game kicks our behinds.

So for those who are constantly screaming “tax the rich”, the cold, hard truth of the matter is that those who are truly ultra-rich know how to escape just about any oppressive tax regime you may set up.  They are light years ahead of the rest of us in knowing how to play the game.

What are you going to do?

Kick them out of the country?

Yeah, they will be really sad to spend even more time down in Bermuda or in the Cayman Islands.

Are you going to kick out any company that has any stock holders that have offshore bank accounts?

Well, you would have to kick out virtually every single major corporation in the United States.

This is just another example of how deeply flawed our system of income taxation really is.

Do you want to become a master of the tax code?

You might want to set aside some time for reading.

A lot of time.

The income tax code and its associated regulations contain well over 7 million words and are more than seven times longer than the Bible.

The IRS employs more than 90,000 people and it costs more than 11 billion dollars a year to operate.

Talk about a colossal waste of resources.

Meanwhile, the ultra-rich are just parking all of their money in Bermuda and the Caymans and are laughing at all the rest of us.

It would be hard to understate just how much influence and power all of this offshore money has.  The ultra-wealthy and the elite international bankers own many of our largest corporations, they exert influence over central banks, they control big media outlets and they “contribute money” (bribes) to political campaigns.

The elite are always two steps ahead of any new laws that get passed.  They are masters at moving money around.  They will quickly find a half dozen ways around any new law that you could possibly dream up.

Most of us never even get to meet any of these incredibly wealthy individuals.  They don’t attend the local church or go shopping down at the local shopping mall.

No, the global elite generally live in very exclusive gated estates or hang out at the most expensive private resorts.  They don’t spend a lot of time mixing with the rabble.

It turns out that life is pretty good when you have a ton of money coming in and you pay next to nothing in taxes.

So the next time you get your paycheck and you see that a half a dozen things have been taken out of it, take a few moments to think of the global elite that don’t pay any taxes at all and see how that makes you feel.

Hopefully when enough Americans get mad enough and start demanding change, the current income tax system will be scrapped for good and something much more equitable will be put in place instead.

Currency War

Are you ready for a currency war?  Well, buckle up, because things are about to get interesting.  This week Japan fired what is perhaps the opening salvo in a new round of currency wars by publicly intervening in the foreign exchange market for the first time since 2004.  Japan’s bold 12 billion dollar move to push down the value of the yen made headlines all over the world.  Japan’s economy is highly dependent on exports and the Japanese government was becoming increasingly alarmed by the recent surge in the value of the yen.  A stronger yen makes Japanese exports more expensive for other nations and thus would harm Japanese industry.  But Japan is not the only nation that is ready to go to battle over currency rates.  The governments of the U.S. and China continue to exchange increasingly heated rhetoric regarding currency policy.  In Europe, there is growing sentiment that the euro needs to be devalued in order to help European exports become more competitive.  In addition, exporters all over the world are already loudly complaining about the possibility that the Federal Reserve is about to unleash another round of quantitative easing.  Virtually all major exporting nations want the value of the U.S. dollar to remain high so that they can keep flooding us with lots of cheap goods.  The sad reality is that our current system of globalized trade rewards exporting nations that have weak currencies, and many nations have now shown that they are willing to take the gloves off to make certain that their national currencies do not appreciate in value by too much.

Some nations have been involved in open currency manipulation for some time now.  For example, Singapore is well known for intervening in the foreign exchange market in order to benefit exporters.  Also, the Swiss National Bank experienced losses equivalent to about 15 billion dollars trying to stop the rapid rise of the Swiss franc earlier this year.

But as we race toward the end of 2010, currency manipulation is becoming a major issue on the world stage.

Rumors that the Federal Reserve is considering a substantial new round of quantitative easing is already causing many major exporting nations around the world to howl in outrage. 

Why?

Well, quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve could put substantial downward pressure on the value of the dollar and that would make exports significantly more expensive in the United States.  The reality is that even a relatively small change in the value of the U.S. dollar can have a major impact on exporters.

But what could really set off a massive currency war is the ongoing dispute between the U.S. and China.

For years, China has kept the value of their currency artificially low.  Even though China has made a few small moves toward a more free-floating currency policy, at this point China’s currency is still pretty much pegged to the U.S. dollar.  It is estimated that the Chinese government is keeping China’s currency at a value about 40 percent lower than what it should be.  This is essentially a de facto subsidy to China’s exporters.

This has enabled China to flood the United States with cheap goods and it is killing entire industries in the United States.  Americans have loved rushing out to Wal-Mart to get super low prices on all kinds of stuff, but in the process we have slowly but surely been shipping our manufacturing base and our standard of living over to China.

In recent years both the Bush administration and the Obama administration have been whining about this currency manipulation by China, but both administrations have stopped short of taking any real action.

But are there now signs that the Obama administration is going to get serious and start a currency war? 

Well, last week Barack Obama did send the head of his national council of economic advisers, Larry Summers, to Beijing to discuss currency issues.

But what can we do other than whine at this point?

Are we willing to start a trade war?

Considering the fact that China holds nearly a trillion dollars worth of U.S. Treasuries, that probably would not go so well for us.

Even though China’s currency manipulation is absolutely raping the U.S. economy, China has so much leverage over us at this point that it isn’t even funny.

For example, China has almost a complete and total monopoly on rare earth elements.  If China totally cut off the supply of rare earth elements, we would have no hybrid car batteries, flat screen televisions, cell phones or iPods.  Not only that, but rare earth elements are used by the U.S. military in radar systems, missile-guidance systems, satellites and aircraft electronics.

But something has to be done.  Essentially we are caught between a rock and a hard place.

Today, the United States spends approximately $3.90 on Chinese goods for every $1 that the Chinese spend on goods from the United States. 

Last month, the monthly trade deficit with China was approximately 26 billion dollars.  For the year, the trade deficit with China will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 billion dollars or so.  The transfer of wealth to China that represents is absolutely mind blowing.

The U.S. economy is getting poorer and the Chinese economy is getting richer each and every month.

We are in decline and China is on the rise.  In fact, one prominent economist is projecting that the Chinese economy will be three times larger than the U.S. economy by the year 2040.

This would not have ever happened if we had not put up with China’s open and blatant currency manipulation all this time.

But now they have us over a barrel and standing up to China would be incredibly painful for the U.S. economy in the short-term.

So will we actually see a currency war break out soon?

Well, it seems almost a certainly that countries throughout the world will continue to manipulate their currencies in order to gain a competitive advantage, but if you are waiting for the Obama administration to truly stand up to China you are probably going to be waiting for a very, very long time.

Even Tony Robbins Is Warning That An Economic Collapse Is Coming

It seems like almost everyone is warning of a coming economic collapse these days.  Do you remember Tony Robbins?  He is probably the world’s best known “motivational speaker” and his infomercials dominated late night television during the 80s and 90s.  He was always urging all of us to “unleash the power within” and to take charge of our lives.  Well guess what?  Now Tony Robbins is warning that an economic collapse is coming. In fact, he has issued a special video warning about what he believes is about to happen. Considering the incredible connections that he has at the highest levels of the financial world, it makes a lot of sense to consider what he is trying to warn us about. Robbins says that a “major retracement” is coming to financial markets and that the coming collapse is going to be a “painful process” as we go through it.  Those familiar with Tony Robbins know that he always goes out of his way to stress the positive, so if even he is openly warning the public about a coming economic nightmare than you know that things are starting to get really, really bad out there.

The video that Tony Robbins published where he gives his economic warning is posted in two parts below.  This is unlike any Tony Robbins video that you have ever seen before and it is absolutely jaw dropping….  

Part 1:

Part 2:

So is Tony Robbins right about what is coming?

Yup.

An economic collapse is coming.

You need to get prepared.

For those not familiar with my previous articles, let’s review just some of the reasons why America is headed towards an economic nightmare of unprecedented proportions….

The National Debt – The U.S. government has accumulated a national debt that is rapidly approaching the 14 trillion dollar mark.  According to Democrat Erskine Bowles, one of the heads of Barack Obama’s national debt commission, if we continue on the path we are on the U.S. government will be spending $2 trillion just for interest on the national debt by 2020.

State And Local Debt – Many of America’s state and local governments may be in even worse financial shape than the federal government is.  In fact, some state and local governments are in such a financial mess that they have starting cutting off even the most essential services.

Consumer Debt – The total amount of consumer debt that Americans have accumulated now stands at approximately 11.7 trillion dollars

The Trade Deficit – The U.S. trade deficit has exploded to nightmarish proportions over the past two decades.  Every single month tens of billions more dollars flows out of the country than flows into it.  The rest of the world is literally bleeding us dry in slow motion.

No Jobs – Today it takes the average unemployed American over 8 months to find a job.  The number of Americans receiving long-term unemployment benefits has risen over 60 percent in just the past year.

The Credit Crunch – The U.S. is experiencing a credit crunch unlike anything it has seen since the Great Depression.  Lending has really, really dried up, but without loans our economic system cannot function properly.

The Housing Crisis – Even with mortgage rates at historic lows, a shockingly low number of Americans are buying houses.  There has been a total collapse in home sales since the home buyer tax credit expired.  At the same time, mortgage defaults, foreclosures and home repossessions by banks continue to set new all-time records. 

Rising Bankruptcies – Nationwide, bankruptcy filings rose 20 percent in the 12-month period ending June 30th.

Rising Poverty – One out of every eight Americans and one out of every four American children are now on food stamps.  Approximately 50 million Americans couldn’t even afford to buy enough food to stay healthy at some point last year.

The Coming Pension Crisis – America is facing a pension crisis that is so nightmarish that it is almost impossible to adequately describe it.  State and local government pension plans are woefully underfunded, dozens of large corporate pension plans either have collapsed or are on the verge of collapsing, Social Security is a complete and total financial disaster and about half of all Americans essentially have nothing saved up for retirement.

The Derivatives Bubble – Our financial system has become a gigantic gambling parlor and we have allowed a horrific derivatives bubble to develop that could destroy the entire world economy if it ever bursts.  Nobody knows exactly how big the derivatives bubble is, but low estimates place it at around 600 trillion dollars and high estimates put it at around 1.5 quadrillion dollars.  Once that bubble pops there simply will not be enough money in the entire world to fix it.

The Federal ReserveThe Federal Reserve has devalued the U.S. dollar by over 95 percent since 1913 and it has been used to create the biggest mountain of government debt in the history of the world.  There are many economists who would argue that the Federal Reserve is at the very core of our economic problems.

As we get even closer to the economic abyss that we are racing towards, even more big names such as Tony Robbins will come forward with warnings.

The truth is that these problems did not develop overnight, and they are not going to be solved overnight either. 

Perhaps our economic future is best summed up by this one statement that economist Paul Krugman recently made….

“America is now on the unlit, unpaved road to nowhere.”

It would be great if I could write about America’s bright economic future and the unlimited prosperity that is ahead for all of us, but that would be a lie.

We are headed for an economic collapse.

It is going to be painful.

It is time to get prepared.

15 Economic Statistics That Just Keep Getting Worse

A little over a week ago, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner penned an article for the New York Times entitled “Welcome To The Recovery” in which he touted the great strides that the U.S. economy was making.  But with unemployment still dangerously high and with foreclosures and personal bankruptcies continuing to set all-time records, should we really be talking about a “recovery”?  The truth is that the numbers don’t lie, and statistic after statistic shows that the economic fundamentals continue to get progressively worse.  The U.S. government can continue to try to pump up with economy with more debt, but the reality is that there is not going to be a legitimate “recovery” until consumer spending rebounds.  Consumer spending makes up the vast majority of U.S. GDP.  But without good jobs, consumers are not going to be able to spend money.  Unfortunately, our jobs base continues to be erode as millions upon millions of middle class jobs are shipped over to China, India and dozens of third world nations by the global predator corporations that now dominate the world economy.

The U.S. government cannot create real wealth out of thin air.  It can borrow even more money and flood the economy with even more paper currency, but the short-term “buzz” that creates does absolutely nothing to solve our long-term economic problems.

It is the private sector that actually creates wealth.  But unfortunately, over the last several decades we have allowed that wealth to become highly concentrated.  Now the giant global predator corporations have decided that American workers aren’t really that desirable after all.  They are slowly taking away their factories and their offices and they are moving them to where people are willing to work for one-tenth the pay. 

So where does that leave middle class American “consumers”?

Well, it leaves us in a world of hurt.

The following are 15 key economic statistics that just keep getting worse and which reveal the horrific economic plight in which we now find ourselves…. 

1 – The number of Americans who are receiving food stamps rose to a new all-time record of 40.8 million in May.  The number of Americans receiving food stamps has set a new all-time record for 18 months in a row.  But there is every indication that things are going to get even worse.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that the number of Americans on food stamps will increase to 43 million in 2011. 

2 – The U.S. economy lost 131,000 more jobs during the month of July.  But the truth is that the U.S. economy has been bleeding jobs for a long time.  According to one analysis, the United States has lost 10.5 million jobs since 2007.  Meanwhile, immigrants (both legal and illegal) continue to pour into this nation in unprecedented numbers.

3 – Americans who are out of work are finding it incredibly difficult to get back into the workforce.  In the United States today, the average time needed to find a job has risen to an all-time record of 35.2 weeks.

4 – The U.S. government keeps trying to pump up the economy with debt, and in the process things are getting wildly out of control.  According to a U.S. Treasury Department report to Congress, the U.S. national debt will top $13.6 trillion this year and climb to an estimated $19.6 trillion by 2015.

5 – The interest on all of this debt is becoming increasingly oppressive.  As of July 1st, the U.S. government had spent $355 billion so far in 2010 on interest payments to the holders of the national debt.  The total for 2010 should be somewhere in the neighborhood of $700 billion.  According to Erskine Bowles, one of the heads of Barack Obama’s national debt commission, the U.S. government will be spending $2 trillion just on interest on the national debt by 2020.  Keep in mind that the entire U.S. government budget is less than $4 trillion for the entire year of 2010.

6 – If the U.S. government was forced to use GAAP accounting principles (like all publicly-traded corporations must), the annual U.S. government budget deficit would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 trillion to $5 trillion.

7 – Social Security will pay out more in benefits in 2010 than it receives in payroll taxes.  This was not supposed to happen until at least 2015.  In the years ahead, these new “Social Security deficits” are projected to be absolutely catastrophic

8 – There are simply far too many retirees and not nearly enough workers to support them.  Back in 1950 each retiree’s Social Security benefit was paid for by 16 workers.  Today, each retiree’s Social Security benefit is paid for by approximately 3.3 workers.  By 2025 it is projected that there will be approximately two workers for each retiree.

9 – Wealth continues to become highly concentrated at the top.  Since 1973, the average CEO’s salary has increased from 26 times the median income to over 300 times the median income.

10According to a poll taken in 2009, 61 percent of Americans “always or usually” live paycheck to paycheck.  That was up significantly from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.

11 – The Mortgage Bankers Association recently announced that more than 10% of all U.S. homeowners with a mortgage had missed at least one mortgage payment during the January to March time period.  That was a new all-time record and represented an increase from 9.1 percent a year ago.

12 – A recent survey of last year’s college graduates found that 80 percent moved right back home with their parents after graduation.  That was up substantially from 63 percent in 2006.

13 – During the first quarter of 2010, the total number of loans that are at least three months past due in the United States increased for the 16th consecutive quarter.

14 – The total number of U.S. bank failures passed the 100 mark in July of this year.  In 2009, the total number of U.S. bank failures did not pass the century barrier until October.

15 – The U.S. dollar continues to rapidly decline in value.  An item that cost $20.00 in 1970 would cost you $112.35 today.  An item that cost $20.00 in 1913 would cost you $440.33 today.

Any rational observer (and clearly U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner does not qualify) can see that the foundations of the U.S. economy are coming apart.  The rapidly accumulating mountain of debt that has fueled our “prosperity” is impossible to repay and is going to progressively choke the life out of our economic system.  The good jobs that we have allowed to be shipped out of our country are never coming back.  Every single day, more wealth flows out of this country than flows into it.

Anyone who claims that things are getting “better” is either ignorant, completely deluded or is purposely lying. 

The U.S. economy is not getting “better”.

The U.S. economy is dying.

You should adjust your plans accordingly.

Foreclosures Continue To Dramatically Increase In 2010

In a very alarming sign for the U.S. economy, foreclosures have continued to dramatically increase in 2010.  But there has been a shift.  Back in 2007 and 2008, experts tell us that most foreclosures were due to toxic mortgages.  People were being suckered into mortgages that they couldn’t afford with “teaser rates” or with payments that would dramatically escalate after a few years, and when those mortgages reset, the people who had agreed to them no longer could make the payments.  But now RealtyTrac says that unemployment has become the major reason for foreclosures.  Millions of Americans have become chronically unemployed during the economic downturn and many of them are losing their homes as a result.  But whatever the cause, one thing is certain – foreclosures have continued to skyrocket at a staggering rate.

According to a new report from RealtyTrac, foreclosure filings climbed in 75% of the nation’s metro areas during the first half of 2010.  At a time when the Obama administration believes that we are “turning the corner”, things just seem to get even worse. 

Some areas of the country continue to be complete and total disaster areas when it comes to real estate.  For example, you have got to feel really sorry for anyone trying to sell a house down in Florida right now.  According to RealtyTrac, Florida led the way with nine of the top 20 metro foreclosure rates in the country during the first half of 2010.

Ouch.

But the worst city for foreclosures continues to be Las Vegas.

According to RealtyTrac spokesman Rick Sharga, unemployment has replaced bad loans as the number one cause of foreclosures there….

“Las Vegas has seamlessly shifted from having a high level of foreclosures due to bad loans to defaults caused by a high level of unemployment.”

But other cities with high unemployment rates are having huge problems as well.

For those who believe that the economy is supposed to be “improving”, it must seem really odd that foreclosure rates in major cities such as Chicago continue to soar.

RealtyTrac says that foreclosure filings in Chicago have increased 23 percent year-over-year to one out of every 48 households.

But it isn’t just cities like Las Vegas and Chicago that are nightmares right now.

The truth is that this is a national crisis.

The Mortgage Bankers Association recently announced that more than 10% of all U.S. homeowners with a mortgage had missed at least one mortgage payment during the January to March time period.  That was a new all-time record and represented an increase from 9.1 percent a year ago.

Unfortunately, new all-time records are being set all over the place….

*The number of home foreclosures set a record for the second consecutive month in May.

*Banks repossessed 269,962 U.S. homes during the second quarter of 2010, which was a new all-time record.

*As of March, U.S. banks had an inventory of approximately 1.1 million foreclosed homes, which was a new record and which was up 20 percent from a year ago.

So is there any hope that things are going to get better soon?

Well, according to RealtyTrac’s CEO James Saccacio, that depends on the U.S. economy….

“The fragile stability achieved in many local housing markets hinges on improvements in the underlying economy, specifically job growth. If unemployment remains persistently high and foreclosure prevention efforts only delay the inevitable, then we could continue to see increased foreclosure activity and a corresponding weakness in home prices in many metro areas.”

Without good jobs, the American people are not going to be able to pay their mortgages.

So are the millions upon millions of jobs that have been lost coming back soon?

No, unfortunately they are not.

As we discussed at length in a previous article, the big global corporations that dominate our economy are figuring out that they don’t really need the rest of us anymore.  The American worker is becoming obsolete.  After all, why pay an American ten times as much to do the same job?  Big corporations can hire two people in China or India to do the same job and still pocket 80% of the difference.

In addition, big corporations don’t really need the headache of making employer contributions to Social Security, setting up benefit packages and pension plans or of trying to comply with the thousands upon thousands of ridiculous regulations that the U.S. government continues to spew out.

At this point, the American worker has become extremely unattractive for large corporations, and so jobs will continue to migrate to other areas of the world.

We allowed our politicians to merge us into a “global economy”, so now we are all going to have to deal with being part of a “global workforce”.

As jobs continue to be offshored and outsourced, more Americans are going to become unemployed and the foreclosure crisis is going to continue to be a nightmare.

It would be nice to put a positive spin on all of this, but there isn’t one.

It’s A Great Time To Be A New College Graduate: High Unemployment, Crappy Service Jobs And Crippling Student Loan Debt

Today, America’s best and brightest are graduating from college full of hopes and dreams, but cold, hard economic reality is rapidly crushing many of them.  Record numbers of college graduates cannot find jobs.  Hordes of others have been forced to take very low paying service jobs.  At the same time, student loan debt loads have become more crushing than ever.  The truth is that it is a really, really bad time to be a fresh college graduate.  After spending tens of thousands of dollars and investing four (or more) years of their lives in an education, millions of recent college graduates find themselves waiting tables, tending bar, delivering pizzas and working next to (or subordinate to) people who never even went to college.  At one time, a college degree was an automatic ticket to the middle class, but now for many Americans all a college degree means is crushing loan payments, sleepless nights and mind-numbing frustration.   

We were always told that a college degree was supposed to prepare us for life in the real world.  But today, the vast majority of college graduates end up moving back in with their parents.

In fact, a recent survey of last year’s college graduates found that 80 percent moved right back home with their parents after graduation.  That was up substantially from 63 percent in 2006.

So why are 80 percent of our college graduates moving back in with their parents?

Well, because they can’t get jobs.

Two million recent college graduates are unemployed, and millions of others are working in fast food joints, at big box stores and in other very low paying service positions.

The stories that some recent college grads tell are so bizarre that they border on the unbelievable.

The Huffington Post recently featured the story of Kyle Daley – a highly qualified UCLA graduate who has been unemployed for 19 months….

I spent my time at UCLA preparing for the outside world. I had internships in congressional offices, political action committees, non-profits and even as a personal intern to a successful venture capitalist. These weren’t the run-of-the-mill office internships; I worked in marketing, press relations, research and analysis. Additionally, the mayor and city council of my hometown appointed me to serve on two citywide governing bodies, the planning commission and the open government commission. I used to think that given my experience, finding work after graduation would be easy.

At this point, however, looking for a job is my job. I recently counted the number of job applications I have sent out over the past year — it amounts to several hundred. I have tried to find part-time work at local stores or restaurants, only to be turned away. Apparently, having a college degree implies that I might bail out quickly when a better opportunity comes along.

The sad thing is that so many of these recent college graduates can’t even get hired for retail jobs.  A reader of my column on The American Dream blog named Kate is a recent college graduate who is experiencing the kind of extreme frustration that so many new graduates are going through right now….

I just graduated college in May… Moved to a new state and am now living with my boyfriend who should not and cannot continue to have to pay everything because i just plain can’t get a job.

I’m over qualified for retail survivor jobs… so I lie on my application. But then retail stores just plain don’t hire full time. So even if I could get a job as a cashier someplace… I’d only work enough hours to maybe pay for my car payment/ car insurance/ gas…. and my half of rent/electric and such is out of the question… not to mention charged to the limit credit cards from being unemployed and student loans that will hit in just a matter of months.

Any other jobs either don’t exist or they just ALL want 5 years professional experience…. which is impossible for someone who just graduated and has been working part time retail jobs since high school.

But it just isn’t college graduates that are suffering.  The truth is that this economic downturn has been hurting everyone….

*According to a recent Pew Research poll, approximately 37% of all Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 have either been unemployed or underemployed at some point during the recession.

*A different Pew Research survey found that 55 percent of American workers have experienced either unemployment, a pay decrease, a reduction in hours or an involuntary move to part-time work since the recession began.

*According to another survey, 28% of all U.S. households have at least one member that is currently looking for a full-time job.

For many U.S. households, the person looking for a job is a recent college graduate.

As you read this, hordes of highly qualified college grads are out applying for jobs as waitresses, pizza delivery men, grocery checkout clerks and hamburger flippers.

Even those who are able to get decent jobs are finding themselves disappointed.  Starting salaries for college graduates across the United States are down in 2010.

But why shouldn’t starting salaries be down?  It is the employers that hold all the leverage – not the new graduates.

Meanwhile, many of these college graduates are graduating with crushing student debt loads.  Today, many students borrow 10, 20 or even 30 thousands dollars per year while they are in school.

Federal statistics reveal that only 36 percent of the full-time students who began college in 2001 received a bachelor’s degree within four years.

That is a very sad statistic.

The truth is that college courses have become so “dumbed down” in 2010 that even the family dog should be able to graduate from most U.S. colleges in four years.

Even after 6 years, that same group’s graduation rate was still only 57 percent.

Very sad.

But getting back to the point, every single one of those years most college students are racking up huge amounts of debt.

Today, approximately two-thirds of all U.S. college students graduate with student loans

Student loan balances of over $50,000 are becoming quite common among our college grads.  In fact, some students end up with over $100,000 in student loan debt by the time they are done.

Unfortunately, student loan debt is some of the cruelest debt out there.

Federal bankruptcy law makes it nearly impossible to discharge student loan debts, and many recent grads end up with loan payments that absolutely devastate them financially at a time when they are struggling to get on their feet and make something of themselves.

So what do you think?  Can you identify with this article?  Are you a recent college graduate or do you have a recent college graduate living back at home?  If so, please feel free to share your story in the comments section below….

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