The Beginning Of The End
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If You Could Make More Money By Going On Welfare Instead Of Working, Would You Do It?

Watching TelevisionIf you could stay home and relax all day and actually make more money than you do at your current job, would you do it?  That sounds crazy, but this is actually a very real dilemma for millions upon millions of Americans.  According to a shocking new study that was just released by the Cato Institute, people on welfare are actually better off than minimum wage workers in 35 U.S. states.  And in 13 states, those on welfare actually do better than those making $15 an hour.  So why bother?  It is very difficult to find a job in this economy, especially a good one.  As I mentioned yesterday, seven out of every eight jobs that have been “created” since Barack Obama has been president have been part-time jobs.  Why slave away flipping burgers, stocking shelves for some retail giant or working for some temp agency when you could just sit home and make more money collecting government checks?  Yes, there is definitely a minority of Americans that hate the idea of becoming dependent on the government and would never want to take advantage of the system like that, but that minority seems to be shrinking.  At this point, about half the country gets money from the government each month anyway, so why not collect “your share”?  If someone is offering to give you something for free, it is only human nature to be at least a little bit tempted.  And right now the federal government is making it extremely tempting to give up on work entirely and become a permanent welfare check collector.

Before people start getting really upset, let me once again reiterate that most of the people that are receiving financial assistance from the government actually need it.  Not everyone is abusing the system, and not everyone is using their food stamps to buy lobster.

Poverty in the United States has absolutely exploded in recent years, and our economy simply does not produce enough jobs for everyone anymore.  We certainly do not want those without jobs to go hungry or to be sleeping in the streets.

But what we have today is a situation where there is a huge incentive in many states to actually give up on work entirely and become a dependent of the state instead.

According to the Cato Institute, someone in the state of New York that goes on welfare can bring home more in money and benefits than an entry-level school teacher makes in an entire year…

The federal government funds 126 separate programs targeted towards low-income people, 72 of which provide either cash or in-kind benefits to individuals. (The rest fund community-wide programs for low-income neighborhoods, with no direct benefits to individuals.) State and local governments operate more welfare programs. Of course, no individual or family gets benefits from all 72 programs, but many do get aid from a number of them at any point in time.

Today, the Cato institute is releasing a new study looking at the state-by-state value of welfare for a mother with two children. In the Empire State, a family receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Medicaid, food stamps, WIC, public housing, utility assistance and free commodities (like milk and cheese) would have a package of benefits worth $38,004, the seventh-highest in the nation.

While that might not sound overly generous, remember that welfare benefits aren’t taxed, while wages are. So someone in New York would have to earn more than $21 per hour to be better off than they would be on welfare. That’s more than the average statewide entry-level salary for a teacher.

If you are going to live off of welfare, the key is to pick the right state.  Not all states offer the same level of benefits.

In some states, you have to make far more than the minimum wage before it pays not to be on welfare.  In fact, there are 12 different states where you actually have to make more than $15 an hour before you start doing better than welfare recipients…

Nationwide, our study found that the wage-equivalent value of benefits for a mother and two children ranged from a high of $60,590 in Hawaii to a low of $11,150 in Idaho. In 33 states and the District of Columbia, welfare pays more than an $8-an-hour job. In 12 states and DC, the welfare package is more generous than a $15-an-hour job.

Of course not all welfare recipients take advantage of all of the programs that they are eligible for.  But if you do know how to work the system, you can live very comfortably at the expense of the government in many states.

So what is the solution?

Well, it would be great if we had enough jobs for everyone, but that is definitely not the case.  In fact, the U.S. economy is probably going to continue to lose good jobs in the years ahead if current trends continue.

Unfortunately, that also means that poverty and dependence on the government are likely going to continue to grow, especially when the next major wave of the economic collapse strikes.

If you want to get an idea of where we are headed, just look at Detroit.  Once upon a time, Detroit actually had the highest per capita income in the entire country.  But now it is a rotting, festering, bankrupt hellhole where tens of thousands of stray dogs freely roam the streets…

As many as 50,000 stray dogs roam the streets and vacant homes of bankrupt Detroit, replacing residents, menacing humans who remain and overwhelming the city’s ability to find them homes or peaceful deaths.

One Humane Society official that recently visited the city to help deal with the dog crisis described what she witnessed as “almost post-apocalyptic“…

The number of strays signals a humanitarian crisis, said Amanda Arrington of the Humane Society of the United States, based in Washington. She heads a program that donated $50,000 each to organizations in Detroit and nine other U.S cities to get pets vaccinated, fed, spayed and neutered.

Arrington said when she visited Detroit in October, “It was almost post-apocalyptic, where there are no businesses, nothing except people in houses and dogs running around.”

“The suffering of animals goes hand in hand with the suffering of people.”

But don’t laugh at Detroit.

The rest of the country is going down the exact same path.

Just recently, Charles Nenner told Newsmax TV that another recession is rapidly approaching that that it is “going to be bad”…

Technical analyst Charles Nenner didn’t mince words when asked about the United States facing another recession.

“It’s going to be bad,” Nenner told Newsmax TV in an exclusive interview.

And it looks like the folks in Washington are getting very concerned about all of the economic warnings signs that we have been seeing as well.

Just this week, Barack Obama “held a special, closed door meeting with the heads of the U.S. government’s financial, monetary and oversight agencies. It included members of the Federal Reserve, the FDIC, the CFTC, the SEC, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency.”

So why did Obama gather all of the top financial officials for a secret closed door meeting?

John Embry told King World News that he thinks it is because the administration is deeply alarmed about what is happening in the financial markets…

I firmly believe the reason the President has called this meeting today is because if interest rates in the U.S. continue to rise, it could really unleash something disastrous. We are talking here about the possibility of a meltdown. It’s interesting that the President would call in that many big hitters, the head of every significant financial agency in the United States, as well as the Fed and the Comptroller of the Currency, etc — this is a very large meeting today.

I’ve always believed that the global financial crisis of 2008 was just the opener. We have now bought the better part of 5 years now through unlimited money creation. But as we head into this next massive, and what I believe will be a larger round of destabilization, I want KWN readers around the world to understand that the central planners don’t have the same weapons to fight this global financial crisis. This is why I believe they are desperately attempting right now, today in this meeting, to stave off this crisis.

And the truth is that our “leaders” in Washington have good reason to be concerned.  If interest rates keep going up rapidly we are going to be in for a world of hurt.

Sadly, most Americans seem to have already forgotten how painful 2008 was, and that was only a preview of coming attractions.

The worst economic crisis in the history of the United States is on the horizon, and most people are going to be absolutely blindsided by it.

I hope that you are getting prepared while you still can.

The Facebook IPO: The Last Great Wall Street Party

The Facebook IPO is kind of like a graduation party – everybody comes together for one huge blowout to celebrate the end of an era before going their separate ways.  Unfortunately, most people on Wall Street do not understand how bittersweet this moment really is.  A tremendous amount of pain is ahead for Wall Street in the next few years, and we will probably never see anything like the Facebook IPO ever again. But the Facebook IPO sure has been fun to watch.  Facebook is one of the largest companies to ever go public in the United States.  According to CNN, 247 million shares of Facebook exchanged hands in the first 45 minutes of trading.  The Facebook IPO was nearly ten times larger than any other Internet IPO in history, and the amount of money being made by some people on this deal is absolutely amazing.  For example, it is being reported that Bono will make more money on the Facebook IPO than he has from being part of the band U2 for the past 30 years.  Sadly, this euphoria is not going to last for long.  The next wave of the global financial collapse is rapidly approaching, and once it strikes there will not be much for anyone on Wall Street to be smiling about at all.

During the IPO process, Facebook sold more than 420 million shares and raised about 16 billion dollars.

Those are incredible numbers.

At 38 dollars per share, Facebook would have a market cap of about 81 billion dollars.

So is Facebook worth 81 billion dollars?

Of course not.

But most stocks are tremendously overvalued at this point.

Yes, Facebook has 900 million users and it made about a profit of about a billion dollars last year.

But that does not add up to an 81 billion dollar company.

Not even close.

A recent article by Jay Yarow explained this in more detail….

As good a business as that is, it’s not Google good. It’s not Apple good. And at the current IPO pricing, Facebook has to be a much better business in the near future.

In fact, Yarow says that Facebook is going to have to dramatically improve in order to justify the current valuation….

So, what’s the bull’s case for Facebook? Unfortunately, it comes down to faith. You have to have faith that Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, and the rest of the executives at Facebook will discover a magical money making product that will justify its valuation.

Unfortunately, there are already signs that the growth of Facebook is slowing down.

Advertising revenue during the first quarter of 2012 was only $872 million.  That was a decline of 7.5 percent from the previous quarter.

And eventually someone will come along and topple Facebook just like Facebook toppled MySpace.

Remember MySpace?

Facebook did not even exist a decade ago.  Right now there are young kids tinkering around in their college dorm rooms trying to figure out how to create something that will be even better than Facebook.

The truth is that Facebook is operating on borrowed time.  It is not going to remain “hot” and “trendy” forever.

But for the moment, there are a whole lot of people out there that want a piece of Facebook.

Hey, I am not in the stock market at all, but even I am half-tempted to buy a few shares so that I can introduce myself as a “part-owner of Facebook”.

After all, who doesn’t like Facebook?

Yes, government agencies and big corporations use Facebook to spy on all of us.  If you don’t believe this, just check out this article, this article and this article.

But there is an incredible upside to social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter as well.

They have given average people the ability to communicate directly with each other on a massive scale.

In the past, the big corporations pretty much had a monopoly on mass communication.

If you wanted to get your message out independently of the big corporations, you could hand out fliers, you could send out mass mailings (very expensive) or you could try to get a book printed.

But today something that you post on Facebook or Twitter could be seen by thousands (or even millions) of people within a few days.

The Internet is filled with a whole lot of garbage, but it can also be used as an incredible tool for good.

Sitting at home behind your desk, you have the potential to touch the lives of people on the other side of the globe through the Internet that you would probably never have a chance of influencing any other way.

So I am very thankful for Facebook.

We should use tools like Facebook to wake people up while there is still time.  Our world is becoming increasingly unstable and we might not always have the opportunity to freely share our thoughts with the entire globe like this.

Just try to imagine a world without Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs and Internet forums.

All of those things have only existed for a relatively short period of time, and there is no guarantee that we will always have them.

Instead of wasting our lives away in front of our televisions, we should be taking advantage of these tools to help change the world.

Every single day, hundreds of people are directed to my website from Facebook.  I am hoping to eventually increase that to thousands of people per day.

A great economic collapse is coming to this world.  People need to keep their eyes on the financial crisis in Europe and on the derivatives market.  The coming financial tsunami will likely be even worse than the crash of 2008.

People are going to be looking for answers.

Now is the time to be a light shining in the darkness.

Not everyone has the time or the knowledge to be able to set up a website or make YouTube videos, but nearly everyone is capable of setting up a Facebook account or a Twitter account.

If you make even a small effort, you could end up touching the lives of thousands upon thousands of people.

Yes, there are a lot of negative things that can be said about Facebook, but at least for today let us celebrate it for what it has given us.

It has given us the opportunity to make a difference on a massive scale, and that is a wonderful thing.

Making Money On Poverty: JP Morgan Makes Bigger Profits When The Number Of Americans On Food Stamps Goes Up

How would you feel if someone told you that one of the largest banks on Wall Street makes more money whenever the number of Americans on food stamps goes up?  Unfortunately, this is something that is actually true.  In the United States today, one out of every seven Americans is on food stamps.  In fact, the number of Americans on food stamps has increased by a whopping 14 million since Barack Obama entered the White House.  All of this makes JP Morgan very happy, because JP Morgan has been making money by the boatload on food stamps.  Right now, JP Morgan Chase issues food stamp debit cards in 26 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.  The division of JP Morgan Chase that issues these debit cards made an eye-popping 5.47 billion dollars in net revenue during 2010.  JP Morgan is paid per customer, so when the number of Americans on food stamps goes up, they make more money.  But doesn’t this give JP Morgan an incentive to try to keep the number of Americans on food stamps as high as possible?  Of course it does.  JP Morgan is interested in making money as rapidly as possible. If JP Morgan can get more Americans enrolled in the food stamp program and keep them enrolled in it for as long as possible, that is good for business.

And the Obama administration is certainly doing what it can to help out.  Even though a whopping 46 million Americans are now on food stamps, the Obama administration plans to give out large amounts of money to organizations that are able figure out ways to get even more people enrolled in the program….

Despite the historic rise in food stamp use, however, the Obama Administration believes not enough people are receiving food stamps who should be and is offering $75,000 grants to groups who devise “effective strategies” to “increase program participation” among those who have yet to sign up.

In fact, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says that if we can get even more Americans enrolled in the food stamp program, that will be a great way to “stimulate the economy“.

Of course JP Morgan just loves all of this.  The more people they have in the system the better.

Christopher Paton, the managing director of JP Morgan’s “Treasury Solutions” business, made the following statement about the “food stamp business” that his firm is engaged in during an interview with Bloomberg Television….

“This business is a very important business to JPMorgan. It’s an important business in terms of its size and scale…Right now, volumes have gone through the roof in the past couple of years. The good news, from JPMorgan’s perspective, is the infrastructure that we built has been able to cope with that increase in volume.”

You can see more of the interview with Paton in the video posted below….

As the interview above noted, more than 40 percent of all food stamp recipients in the United States actually have a job.

This is an exciting “growth area” for JP Morgan.  As the middle class continues to decline, the number of “the working poor” in America is exploding.

Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs.  Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.  This trend is perfect for JP Morgan because it means that the number of low income workers that are eligible for food stamps is going to keep increasing.

And what makes all of this even sadder is that JP Morgan has outsourced many of the customer service jobs for its food stamp program to India.

Yes, you read that correctly.

When Americans that can’t find a decent job need help with their food stamps there is a good chance that they will be talking to a customer service representative sitting in India.

Isn’t that crazy?

When ABC News confronted JP Morgan about this, JP Morgan would not tell ABC which states have customer service calls sent to India and which states have them handled inside the United States….

JP Morgan is the only one today still operating public-assistance call centers overseas. The company refused to say which states had calls routed to India and which ones had calls stay domestically. That decision, the company said, was often left up to the individual states.

But JP Morgan doesn’t just handle food stamps.  JP Morgan also issues child support debit cards in 15 states and unemployment insurance debit cards in 7 states.

Of course JP Morgan is not the only big bank involved in this kind of business.  Several others are also making money in massive quantities on the backs of the poor.

The following example comes from a Huffington Post article….

Shawana Busby does not seem like the sort of customer who would be at the center of a major bank’s business plan. Out of work for much of the last three years, she depends upon a $264-a-week unemployment check from the state of South Carolina. But the state has contracted with Bank of America to administer its unemployment benefits, and Busby has frequently found herself incurring bank fees to get her money.

To withdraw her benefits, Busby, 33, uses a Bank of America prepaid debit card on which the state deposits her funds. She could visit a Bank of America ATM free of charge. But this small community in the state’s rural center, her hometown, does not have a Bank of America branch. Neither do the surrounding towns where she drops off her kids at school and attends church.

She could drive north to Columbia, the state capital, and use a Bank of America ATM there. But that entails a 50 mile drive, cutting into her gas budget. So Busby visits the ATMs in her area and begrudgingly accepts the fees, which reach as high as five dollars per transaction. She estimates that she has paid at least $350 in fees to tap her unemployment benefits.

There is something about all of this that just seems very, very wrong.

When we have good jobs, the big banks hit us with outrageous bank fees and they try to get us enslaved to credit card debt.

When we are down on our luck and become dependent on the government, the big banks still find ways of making money at our expense.

Why do the banksters always seem to win and we always seem to lose?

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