The Beginning Of The End
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37 Reasons Why “The Economic Recovery” Is A Giant Lie

37 Sign“If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it.”  Sadly, that appears to be the approach that the Obama administration and the mainstream media are taking with the U.S. economy.  They seem to believe that if they just keep telling the American people over and over that things are getting better, eventually the American people will believe that it is actually true.  On Friday, it was announced that the unemployment rate had fallen to “7 percent”, and the mainstream media responded with a mix of euphoria and jubilation.  For example, one USA Today article declared that “with today’s jobs report, one really can say that our long national post-financial crisis nightmare is over.”  But is that actually the truth?  As you will see below, if you assume that the labor force participation rate in the U.S. is at the long-term average, the unemployment rate in the United States would actually be 11.5 percent instead of 7 percent.  There has been absolutely no employment recovery.  The percentage of Americans that are actually working has stayed between 58 and 59 percent for 51 months in a row.  But most Americans don’t understand these things and they just take whatever the mainstream media tells them as the truth.

And of course the reality of the matter is that we should have seen some sort of an economic recovery by now.  Those running our system have literally been mortgaging the future in a desperate attempt to try to pump up our economic numbers.  The federal government has been on the greatest debt binge in U.S. history and the Federal Reserve has been printing money like crazed lunatics.  All of that “stimulus” should have had some positive short-term effects on the economy.

Sadly, all of those “emergency measures” do not appear to have done much at all.  The percentage of Americans that have a job has stayed remarkably flat since the end of 2009, median household income has fallen for five years in a row, and the rate of homeownership in the United States has fallen for eight years in a row.  Anyone that claims that the U.S. economy is experiencing a “recovery” is simply not telling the truth.  The following are 37 reasons why “the economic recovery” is a giant lie…

#1 The only reason that the official unemployment rate has been declining over the past couple of years is that the federal government has been pretending that millions upon millions of unemployed Americans no longer want a job and have “left the labor force”.  As Zero Hedge recently demonstrated, if the labor force participation rate returned to the long-term average of 65.8 percent, the official unemployment rate in the United States would actually be 11.5 percent instead of 7 percent.

#2 The percentage of Americans that are actually working is much lower than it used to be.  In November 2000, 64.3 percent of all working age Americans had a job.  When Barack Obama first entered the White House, 60.6 percent of all working age Americans had a job.  Today, only 58.6 percent of all working age Americans have a job.  In fact, as you can see from the chart posted below, there has been absolutely no “employment recovery” since the depths of the last recession…

Employment-Population Ratio 2013

#3 The employment-population ratio has now been under 59 percent for 51 months in a row.

#4 There are 1,148,000 fewer Americans working today than there was in November 2006.  Meanwhile, our population has grown by more than 16 million people during that time frame.

#5 The “inactivity rate” for men in their prime working years (25 to 54) has just hit a brand new all-time record high.  Does this look like an “economic recovery” to you?…

Inactivity Rate Men

#6 The number of working age Americans without a job has increased by a total of 27 million since the year 2000.

#7 In November 2007, there were 121.9 million full-time workers in the United States.  Today, there are only 116.9 million full-time workers in the United States.

#8 Middle-wage jobs accounted for 60 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession, but they have accounted for only 22 percent of the jobs created since then.

#9 Only about 47 percent of all adults in America have a full-time job at this point.

#10 The ratio of wages to corporate profits in the United States just hit a brand new all-time low.

#11 It is hard to believe, but in America today one out of every ten jobs is now filled by a temp agency.

#12 Approximately one out of every four part-time workers in America is living below the poverty line.

#13 In this economic environment, there is intense competition even for the lowest paying jobs.  Wal-Mart recently opened up two new stores in Washington D.C., and more than 23,000 people applied for just 600 positions.  That means that only about 2.6 percent of the applicants were ultimately hired.  In comparison, Harvard offers admission to 6.1 percent of their applicants.

#14 According to the Social Security Administration, 40 percent of all U.S. workers make less than $20,000 a year.

#15 When Barack Obama took office, the average duration of unemployment in this country was 19.8 weeks.  Today, it is 37.2 weeks.

#16 According to the New York Times, long-term unemployment in America is up by 213 percent since 2007.

#17 Thanks to Obama administration policies which are systematically killing off small businesses in the United States, the percentage of self-employed Americans is at an all-time low today.

#18 According to economist Tim Kane, the following is how the number of startup jobs per 1000 Americans breaks down by presidential administration

Bush Sr.: 11.3

Clinton: 11.2

Bush Jr.: 10.8

Obama: 7.8

#19 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, median household income in the United States has fallen for five years in a row.

#20 The rate of homeownership in the United States has fallen for eight years in a row.

#21 Back in 1999, 64.1 percent of all Americans were covered by employment-based health insurance.  Today, only 54.9 percent of all Americans are covered by employment-based health insurance, and thanks to Obamacare millions more Americans are now losing their health insurance plans.

#22 As 2003 began, the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline was about $1.30.  When Barack Obama took office, the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline was $1.85.  Today, it is $3.26.

#23 Total consumer credit has risen by a whopping 22 percent over the past three years.

#24 In 2008, the total amount of student loan debt in this country was sitting at about 440 billion dollars.  Today, it has shot up to approximately a trillion dollars.

#25 Under Barack Obama, the velocity of money (a very important indicator of economic health) has plunged to a post-World War II low.

#26 Back in the year 2000, our trade deficit with China was 83 billion dollars.  In 2008, our trade deficit with China was 268 billion dollars.  Last year, it was 315 billion dollars.  That was the largest trade deficit that one nation has had with another nation in world history.

#27 The gap between the rich and the poor in the United States is at an all-time record high.

#28 Right now, 1.2 million students that attend public schools in the United States are homeless.  That is a brand new all-time record high, and that number has risen by 72 percent since the start of the last recession.

#29 When Barack Obama first entered the White House, there were about 32 million Americans on food stamps.  Today, there are more than 47 million Americans on food stamps.

#30 Right now, approximately one out of every five households in the United States is on food stamps.

#31 According to the Survey of Income and Program Participation conducted by the U.S. Census, well over 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government.

#32 In 2000, the U.S. government spent 199 billion dollars on Medicaid.  In 2008, the U.S. government spent 338 billion dollars on Medicaid.  In 2012, the U.S. government spent 417 billion dollars on Medicaid, and now Obamacare is going to add tens of millions more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.

#33 In 2000, the U.S. government spent 219 billion dollars on Medicare.  In 2008, the U.S. government spent 462 billion dollars on Medicare.  In 2012, the U.S. government spent 560 billion dollars on Medicare, and that number is expected to absolutely skyrocket in the years ahead as the Baby Boomers retire.

#34 According to the most recent numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau, an all-time record high 49.2 percent of all Americans are receiving benefits from at least one government program.

#35 The U.S. government has spent an astounding 3.7 trillion dollars on welfare programs over the past five years.

#36 When Barack Obama was first elected, the U.S. debt to GDP ratio was under 70 percent.  Today, it is up to 101 percent.

#37 The U.S. national debt is on pace to more than double during the eight years of the Obama administration.  In other words, under Barack Obama the U.S. government will accumulate more debt than it did under all of the other presidents in U.S. history combined.

Fortunately, it appears that most Americans are not buying into the propaganda.  According to a new CNN survey, the percentage of Americans that believe that the economy is getting worse far exceeds the percentage of Americans that believe that the economy is improving…

Americans views on the state of the nation are turning increasingly sour, according to a new national poll.

And a CNN/ORC International survey released Friday also indicates that less than a quarter of the public says that economic conditions are improving, while nearly four in ten say the nation’s economy is getting worse.

Forty-one percent of those questioned in the poll say things are going well in the country today, down nine percentage points from April, and the lowest that number has been in CNN polling since February 2012. Fifty-nine percent say things are going badly, up nine points from April.

So what do you think?

Do you believe that the U.S. economy is getting better or getting worse?  Please feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…

15 Signs That Obama Has Already Made The Decision To Go To War With Syria

Obama Nobel Peace PrizeThe Obama administration seems absolutely determined to help radical Islamic jihadists that have beheaded Christians, that have massacred entire Christian villages, and that have pledged loyalty to al-Qaeda topple the Assad regime and take over Syria.  Yes, the Assad regime is horrible, but if these jihadist lunatics take control it will destabilize the entire region, make the prospect of a major regional war much more probable, and plunge the entire nation of Syria into a complete and utter nightmare.  It has been estimated that somewhere around 100,000 people have already been killed in the civil war in Syria, and now it looks like the U.S. military and the rest of NATO plan to become directly involved in the conflict.  The Obama administration is actually considering an attack on Syria even though the American people are overwhelmingly against it, Obama does not have Congressional approval to start a war, and he will never get approval for military action from the UN because it will be blocked by Russia.  This is setting up to become a colossal foreign policy disaster for the United States.

A potential war with Syria has been brought to the forefront because of a chemical weapons attack near Damascus last week that killed as many as 1,400 people.  The Obama administration and several other western nations are blaming this attack on the Assad regime.

But others are pointing out that it would make absolutely no sense for the Assad regime to do such a thing.  They appear to be winning the civil war, and Assad knows that Obama has previously said that the use of chemical weapons in Syria would be a “red line” for the United States.

So why would the Assad regime launch a brutal chemical weapons attack against women and children just miles from where UN inspectors were staying?

Why would Assad risk war with the United States and the rest of NATO?

Assad would have to be extremely stupid or extremely suicidal to do such a thing.

The ones that benefit from this chemical weapons attack are the jihadist rebels.  The odds of foreign intervention in the conflict just went way, way up.

We will probably never learn the real truth about who was actually behind that attack.  And even if it had not happened, the U.S. and the rest of NATO would have probably come up with another justification to go to war anyway.  They appear absolutely obsessed with getting rid of Assad, but they have not really thought through the consequences.

The following are 15 signs that Obama has already made the decision to go to war with Syria…

#1 Syria has agreed to allow UN officials to inspect the site of the recent chemical weapons attack that killed up to 1,400 people, but a “senior U.S. official” says that such an inspection would be “too late to be credible“.

#2 According to ABC News, the White House is saying that there is “very little doubt” that the Assad regime was behind the deadly chemical weapons attack last week.

#3 Four U.S. warships with ballistic missiles are moving into position in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. If the command is given, they will be able to rain Tomahawk cruise missiles down on targets inside Syria within minutes…

U.S. defense officials told The Associated Press that the Navy had sent a fourth warship armed with ballistic missiles into the eastern Mediterranean Sea but without immediate orders for any missile launch into Syria.

U.S. Navy ships are capable of a variety of military actions, including launching Tomahawk cruise missiles, as they did against Libya in 2011 as part of an international action that led to the overthrow of the Libyan government.

#4 CBS News is reporting that “the Pentagon is making the initial preparations for a Cruise missile attack on Syrian government forces”.

#5 On Saturday, Barack Obama met with his national security team to discuss what actions should be taken in Syria.

#6 U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel says that Barack Obama has asked him to “prepare options for all contingencies” as far as a conflict with Syria is concerned.

#7 After a phone conversation with British Prime Minister David Cameron about the situation in Syria, the White House announced that both leaders expressed “grave concern” about the chemical weapons attack that took place last week.

#8 Military commanders from the United States, Britain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, France, Italy and Canada are meeting in Amman, Jordan on Sunday to coordinate plans for upcoming attacks on Syria.

#9 According to France’s second largest newspaper, rebel forces that have been trained by the CIA have been pouring toward Damascus “since mid-August“…

According to our information, the regime’s opponents, supervised by Jordanian, Israeli and American commandos moving towards Damascus since mid-August. This attack could explain the possible use of the Syrian president to chemical weapons.

According to information obtained by Le Figaro , the first trained in guerrilla warfare by the Americans in Jordan Syrian troops reportedly entered into action since mid-August in southern Syria, in the region of Deraa. A first group of 300 men, probably supported by Israeli and Jordanian commandos, as well as men of the CIA, had crossed the border on August 17. A second would have joined the 19. According to military sources, the Americans, who do not want to put troops on the Syrian soil or arming rebels in part controlled by radical Islamists form quietly for several months in a training camp set up at the border Jordanian- Syrian fighters ASL, the Free Syrian Army, handpicked.

#10 The U.S. military moved a significant number of F-16 fighter jets to Jordan earlier this year for military exercises, and kept them there afterward “at the request of the Jordanian government“.

#11 According to a government document that Wikileaks released back in March 2012, NATO personnel have been on the ground inside Syria preparing for regime change since 2011.

#12 The Times of Israel is reporting that an internal military assessment has concluded that “Washington is seriously considering a limited yet effective attack that will make it clear to the regime in Damascus that the international community will not tolerate the use of weapons of mass destruction against Syrian civilians or any other elements”.

#13 U.S. Senator John McCain recently said that if the U.S. military does not hit Syria, it will be like “writing a blank check to other brutal dictators around the world if they want to use chemical weapons”.

#14 According to the New York Times, “the NATO air war in Kosovo” is being studied “as a possible blueprint for acting without a mandate from the United Nations”.

#15 The White House has released a statement that says that the Obama administration has no plans to put “boots on the ground“, but it did not rule out any other types of military action.

This is not a conflict that the U.S. military should be involved in.

And we should especially not be on the side of the rabidly anti-Christian, rabidly anti-Israel and rabidly anti-western forces that are attempting to take control of Syria.

The terrorists that the Obama administration is backing are absolutely psychotic.  Just check out the following example from a recent article posted on the Blaze

New video posted on YouTube purports to show the graphic murder – execution style – of three Syrian truck drivers who did nothing more than belong  to a minority faith the local Al Qaeda affiliate does not like.

In the video, a small band of Islamist radicals with the Al Qaeda-linked ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) group is seen waving the tractor trailers off the side of an Iraqi road and then proceeds to interrogate the unsuspecting drivers about their prayer habits, trying to discover if they are Sunnis or members of the Alawite minority in Syria.

When they “fail” the Sunni jihadis’ pop roadside quiz, the truck drivers are seated in a line in the median of the road and shot in the back of their heads firing squad style by the self-appointed law enforcers, jury, judge and executioner.

Why in the world would the United States want to arm such people?

Why in the world would the United States want to go to war to help such people take power?

It is utter insanity.

And as I mentioned earlier, most Americans are totally against getting involved.  According to a stunning new poll, 60 percent of all Americans are against U.S. military intervention in Syria, and only 9 percent are in favor of it.

So in light of all that you have just read, why is the Obama administration so determined to help the rebels in Syria?

Please feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…

A Nightmare Scenario

NightmareMost people have no idea that the U.S. financial system is on the brink of utter disaster.  If interest rates continue to rise rapidly, the U.S. economy is going to be facing an economic crisis far greater than the one that erupted back in 2008.  At this point, the economic paradigm that the Federal Reserve has constructed only works if interest rates remain super low.  If they rise, everything falls apart.  Much higher interest rates would mean crippling interest payments on the national debt, much higher borrowing costs for state and local governments, trillions of dollars of losses for bond investors, another devastating real estate crash and the possibility of a multi-trillion dollar derivatives meltdown.  Everything depends on interest rates staying low.  Unfortunately for the Fed, it only has a certain amount of control over long-term interest rates, and that control appears to be slipping.  The yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries has soared in recent weeks.  So have mortgage rates.  Fortunately, rates have leveled off for the moment, but if they resume their upward march we could be dealing with a nightmare scenario very, very quickly.

In particular, the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries is a very important number to watch.  So much else in our financial system depends on that number as CNN recently explained…

Indeed, since May, just before Bernanke announced a probable end to QE3, the yield on 10-year Treasuries has jumped around almost one percentage point, to 2.6%, wiping out more than two years of interest payments. The markets clearly fear that far higher long-term rates are lurking in the absence of exceptional policies to rein them in.

That’s a crucial issue, because those rates are highly influential in determining the future performance of stocks, bonds, and real estate. Investors grant equities higher multiples when long-term rates are lower; both longer-maturity Treasuries and corporate bonds jump when rates decline; and developers pocket more cash flow from their projects when they borrow cheaply, raising the values of office and apartment buildings. When rates reverse course, so do all of those prices the Fed has been endeavoring to swell as a tonic for the economy.

Even though the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries has risen substantially, it is still very low.  It has a lot more room to go up.  In fact, as the chart posted below demonstrates, the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries was above 6 percent back in the year 2000…

10 Year Treasury Yield

And the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries should rise substantially.  It simply is not rational to lend the U.S. government money at less than 3 percent when the real rate of inflation is about 8 percent, the Federal Reserve is rapidly debasing the currency by wildly printing money and the federal government has been piling up debt as if there is no tomorrow…

National Debt

Anyone that lends the U.S. government money at current rates is being very foolish.  You will end up getting back money that has much less purchasing power than you originally invested.

Why would anyone do that?

But if interest rates rise, the U.S. government could be looking at some very hairy interest payments very rapidly.  For example, if the average rate of interest on U.S. government debt just gets back to 6 percent (and it has been far higher than that in the past), the federal government will be shelling out a trillion dollars a year just in interest on the national debt.

State and local governments all over the nation could also very rapidly be facing a nightmare scenario.

Detroit is already on the verge of formally declaring the largest municipal bankruptcy in the history of the United States, and there are many other state and local governments from coast to coast that are rapidly heading toward financial disaster even though borrowing costs are super low right now.

If interest rates start rising dramatically, it would cause a huge wave of municipal financial disasters, and municipal bond investors would lose massive amounts of money

“Muni bond investors are in for the shock of their lives,” said financial advisor Ric Edelman. “For the past 30 years there hasn’t been interest rate risk.”

That risk can be extreme. A one-point rise in the interest rate could cut 10 percent of the value of a municipal bond with a longer duration, he said.

Many retail buyers, though, are not ready for the change and “when it starts, it will be too late for them to react,” he said, adding that he was encouraging investors to look at their portfolio allocation and make changes to protect themselves from interest rate risks now.

In fact, bond investors of all types could be facing monstrous losses if interest rates go up dramatically.

It is being projected that if U.S. Treasury yields rise by an average of 3 percentage points, it will cause bond investors to lose a trillion dollars.

And already we have started to see a race for the exits in the bond market.  A total of 80 billion dollars was pulled out of bond funds during the month of June alone.  If you want a visual of the flow of money out of the bond market, just check out the chart in this article.

We are witnessing things happen in the financial markets that have not happened in a very, very long time.

And junk bonds will be hit particularly hard.  About a decade ago, the average yield on junk bonds was about twice what it is right now.  When the junk bond crash comes, there is going to be mass carnage on Wall Street.

But of much greater importance to most Americans is what is happening to mortgage rates.  As mortgage rates rise, it becomes much more difficult to sell a house and much more expensive to buy a house.

According to CNBC, there is an increasing amount of concern that the rise in mortgage rates that we are witnessing could throw the real estate market into absolute turmoil…

The housing recovery is in for a major pause due to higher mortgage rates. It is not in the numbers now, and it won’t be for a few months, but it is coming, according to one noted analyst. The market has seen rising rates before, but never so far so fast; there is no precedent for a 45 percent spike in just six weeks. The spike is causing a sense of urgency now, a rush to buy before rates go higher, but that will be short term. Home sales and home prices will both come down if rates don’t return to their lows, and the expectation is that they will not.

We have seen the number of mortgage applications fall for four weeks in a row, and at this point mortgage applications have declined by 28 percent over the past month.

That is an absolutely stunning decline, but it just shows the power of interest rates.

Let’s try to put this into real world terms.

A year ago, the 30 year rate was sitting at 3.66 percent.  The monthly payment on a 30 year, $300,000 mortgage at that rate would be $1374.07.

If the 30 year rate rises to 8 percent, the monthly payment on a 30 year, $300,000 mortgage at that rate would be $2201.29.

Does 8 percent sound crazy to you?

It shouldn’t.  8 percent was considered to be normal back in the year 2000…

30 Year Mortgage Rate

This is what we are talking about when we talk about the “bubbles” that the Federal Reserve has created.  The housing market is now completely and totally dependent on these artificially low mortgage rates.  If rates go back to “normal”, the results would be absolutely devastating.

But of course the biggest problem with rapidly rising interest rates is the potential for a derivatives crisis.

There are several major U.S. banks that have tens of trillions of dollars of exposure to derivatives.  The following is from one of my previous articles entitled “The Coming Derivatives Panic That Will Destroy Global Financial Markets“…

JPMorgan Chase

Total Assets: $1,812,837,000,000 (just over 1.8 trillion dollars)

Total Exposure To Derivatives: $69,238,349,000,000 (more than 69 trillion dollars)

Citibank

Total Assets: $1,347,841,000,000 (a bit more than 1.3 trillion dollars)

Total Exposure To Derivatives: $52,150,970,000,000 (more than 52 trillion dollars)

Bank Of America

Total Assets: $1,445,093,000,000 (a bit more than 1.4 trillion dollars)

Total Exposure To Derivatives: $44,405,372,000,000 (more than 44 trillion dollars)

Goldman Sachs

Total Assets: $114,693,000,000 (a bit more than 114 billion dollars – yes, you read that correctly)

Total Exposure To Derivatives: $41,580,395,000,000 (more than 41 trillion dollars)

That means that the total exposure that Goldman Sachs has to derivatives contracts is more than 362 times greater than their total assets.

The largest chunk of those derivatives contracts is made up of interest rate derivatives.

I have mentioned this so many times before, but it bears repeating that there are approximately 441 trillion dollars worth of interest rate derivatives sitting out there.

If rapidly rising interest rates suddenly cause trillions of dollars of those bets to start going bad, we could potentially see several of the “too big to fail” banks collapse at the same time.

So what would happen then?

Would the federal government and the Federal Reserve somehow come up with trillions of dollars (or potentially even tens of trillions of dollars) to bail them out?

The Federal Reserve has created a giant mess, and when this current low interest rate bubble ends our financial system is going to slam very violently into a very solid brick wall.

As Graham Summers recently pointed out, entrusting Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke with control of our financial system is like putting a madman behind the wheel of a speeding vehicle…

Imagine if you were in the car with a driver who was going 85 MPH down a road with a speed limit of 35 MPH (this isn’t a bad metaphor as there is absolutely no evidence that QE creates jobs or GDP growth so there is no reason for the Fed to be doing it in the first place).

The guy is obviously out of control. The dangers of driving this fast are myriad (crashing, running someone over, etc.) while the benefits (you might get where you want to go a little faster assuming you don’t crash) are minimal.

Now imagine that the driver turned to you and said, “I’m thinking about slowing down.” Seems like a great idea doesn’t it? But then a mere two minutes later he says “ we need to continue at 85 MPH for the foreseeable future.”

At this point any sane person would scream, “STOP.” The driver is clearly a madman and shouldn’t be let anywhere near the driver’s seat. Moreover, he’s totally lost all credibility and isn’t to be trusted.

That’s our Fed Chairman.

Sadly, most Americans do not understand any of this.

Most Americans have no idea about the immense economic pain that is going to hit us when interest rates go back to normal levels.

All of this could have been avoided, but instead the American people let the central planners over at the Federal Reserve run wild.

When the bubble finally bursts, the official unemployment rate is going to rocket well up into the double digits, millions of families will lose their homes and America will find itself in the middle of the worst economic crisis in modern U.S. history.

Please share this article with as many people as you can.  We need to help people understand what is coming so that they will not be blindsided by it.

55 Reasons Why California Is The Worst State In America

Why in the world would anyone want to live in the state of California at this point?  The entire state is rapidly becoming a bright, shining example of everything that is wrong with America.  It is so sad to watch our most populated state implode right in front of our eyes.  Like millions of Americans, I was quite enamored with the state of California when I was younger.  The warm weather, the beaches, the great natural beauty of the state and the mystique of Hollywood all really appealed to me.  At one point I even thought that I wanted to move there.  But today, hordes of Californians are racing to get out of the state because it has become a total nightmare.  It is the worst state in the country in which to do business, taxes were just raised even higher, unemployment is more than 20 percent higher than the national average and the state government is drowning in debt.  Meanwhile, poverty, gang activity and crime just seem to get worse with each passing year.  On top of everything else, the insane politicians in Sacramento just keep on passing more laws that make the problems that the state is facing even worse.  Unfortunately, what is happening in California may be a preview of what is coming to the entire nation.  The old adage, “as California goes, so goes the nation”, has been proven to be true way too many times.

In dozens of different ways, the state of California is showing the rest of us what not to do.  Will we learn from their mistakes, or will we follow them into oblivion?  Please share the list below with as many people as you can.  In addition to a large amount of new research, this list also pulled heavily from one of my previous articles and from outstanding research done by Richard Rider.  The following are 55 reasons why California is the worst state in America…

1. One survey of business executives has ranked California as the worst state in America to do business for 8 years in a row.

2. In 2011, the state of California ranked 50th out of all 50 states in new business creation.

3. According to one recent study, California is the worst-governed state in the entire country.

4. Thanks to Proposition 30, California now boasts the highest state income tax rate in the nation.

5. Even though California just raised taxes dramatically on the wealthy, state revenues are falling like a rock.  State revenue for November 2012 was 10.8 percent below projections.

6. California has the highest sales tax rate in the United States.

7. California has the 8th highest corporate income tax rate in the country.

8. California has the highest “minimum corporate tax” in the country.  Each corporation must pay at least $800 to the state even if a corporation does not make a single dollar of profit.

9. California is tied with New York for the highest gasoline tax rate in the country.

10. California is the only state in America that taxes carbon emissions.

11. The state of California issues some of the most expensive traffic tickets in the nation.  This is another form of taxation.

12. As of October, only Nevada and Rhode Island had higher unemployment rates than California.

13. The unemployment rate in California is more than 20 percent higher than the overall unemployment rate for the rest of the nation.

14. The state of California requires licenses for 177 different occupations (the most in the nation).  The national average is only 92.

15. California teachers are the highest paid in the nation, but California students rank 48th in math and 49th in reading.

16. California accounts for 12 percent of the U.S. population, but a whopping 33 percent of Americans that receive TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) live there.

17. Only the state of Illinois has a lower bond rating than the state of California does.

18. Including unfunded pension liabilities, the state of California has more than twice as much debt as any other state does.

19. Average pay for California state workers has risen by more than 100 percent since 2005.  That is good news for those state employees, but it is bad news for the taxpayers that have to pay their salaries.

20. More than 5,000 California state troopers made more than $100,000 last year.

21. One highway patrol officer ended up bringing home almost $484,000 in 2011.

22. One state psychiatrist in California was paid $822,000 in 2011.

23. Since 2007, the number of children living in poverty in the state of California has increased by 30 percent.

24. Sadly, an astounding 60 percent of all students attending California public schools now qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches.

25. The American Tort Reform Association has ranked the state of California as the worst “judicial hellhole” in America.

26. Businesses all over the state of California are being absolutely suffocated to death by ridiculous regulations.

27. According to the Milken Institute, operating costs for California businesses are 23 percent higher than the national average.

28. According to CNN, the state of California had the worst “small business failure rate” in America in 2010.  It was 69 percent higher than the national average.

29. The number of people unemployed in the state of California is roughly equivalent to the populations of Nevada, New Hampshire and Vermont combined.

30. Residential customers in California pay about 29 percent more for electricity than the national average.

31. So many poor people and illegal aliens have taken advantage of the “free” healthcare at emergency rooms that many of them have been forced to shut down in California.  As a result, the state of California now ranks dead last out of all 50 states in the number of emergency rooms per million people.

32. Political correctness is totally out of control in California.

33. One California town is actually considering making it illegal to smoke in your own backyard.

34. The traffic around the big cities is horrific.

35. Los Angeles

36. San Francisco

37. Oakland

38. Stockton

39. Sacramento

40. The rampant gang activity in the state gets even worse with each passing year.

41. Crime continues to rise all over the state.

42. Just recently, the city attorney of San Bernardino, California told citizens to “lock their doors and load their guns” because there is not enough money to pay for adequate police protection any longer.

43. The murder rate in San Bernardino is up 50 percent this year.

44. In Oakland, burglaries are up 43 percent so far this year.

45. Today, Oakland is considered the 5th most violent city in the United States.

46. There have been more than 250 gold chain robberies in Stockton, California just since the month of April.

47. In Stockton, the police budget cuts got so bad that the police union put up a billboard at one point with the following message: “Welcome to the 2nd most dangerous city in California. Stop laying off cops.”

48. Jerry Brown.

49. The absolutely insane California state legislature.

50. Wildfires.

51. Mudslides.

52. The state of California lies directly along the infamous “Ring of Fire“.  Approximately 90 percent of all the earthquakes in the entire world happen along the Ring of Fire and the “Big One” could hit the state at any moment.

53. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 100,000 more people moved out of the state of California in 2011 than moved into it.

54. During 2011, more than 58,000 people moved from California to the state of Texas.

55. Overall, the state of California has experienced a net loss of about four million residents to other states over the past 20 years.

The Audit The Fed Bill Gets Passed By The House But Obama And The Democrats Are Going To Kill It

On Wednesday, Ron Paul’s bill to audit the Federal Reserve was overwhelmingly passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.  The vote was 327 to 98.  You would think that a bill with such overwhelming support would easily become law.  But it won’t, because Barack Obama and the Democrats plan to kill it.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has already said that the Senate will not even consider the bill.  But of course if Barack Obama called Harry Reid and told him that he wants this bill to get through the Senate so that he could sign it then Harry Reid would be singing a much different tune.  Sadly, we all know that is not going to happen.  Barack Obama’s good buddy Ben Bernanke called the Audit the Fed bill a “nightmare scenario” last week, and Obama is certainly not going to do anything to upset Bernanke – especially this close to the election.  Obama needs Bernanke to do everything that he possibly can to stimulate the economy so that Obama will look as good as possible in November.  The sad truth is that there is absolutely no chance that the Audit the Fed bill will become law and that is a crying shame.

So why is an audit of the Federal Reserve so important?

Why does Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke consider an audit of the Federal Reserve to be a “nightmare scenario” that must be avoided at all costs?

Well, perhaps it is because there has never been a true comprehensive audit of the Federal Reserve since it was created back in 1913.

The Federal Reserve has more power over the economy than anyone else in the country does, and yet they are virtually unaccountable and the American people have very little idea what has been going on behind closed doors over at the Fed for the past 100 years.

A very limited audit of the Fed that was passed a couple of years ago that examined transactions during the last financial crisis discovered that the Federal Reserve had actually loaned out more than 16 trillion dollars in nearly interest-free money to the “too big to fail” banks between 2007 and 2010.

Keep in mind that U.S. GDP for the entire year of 2011 was only slightly more than 15 trillion dollars.

The Federal Reserve loaned out trillions upon trillions of dollars to their friends and never told the American people about it.

Whoa.

You would think that Congress would be quite eager to see what else has been going on over at the Federal Reserve.

But instead, many Democrats are completely and utterly opposed to auditing the Fed any further.

U.S. Representative Barney Frank (a Democrat) seemed to regard the bill as a joke even after it overwhelmingly passed in the House.  Frank stated that “nobody here thinks this will ever become law“.

According to Politico, there is zero chance that the bill will get through the U.S. Senate….

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said the Senate will not consider the bill, effectively killing its chances of becoming law.

But we all know that if Obama wanted this bill to become law that it would be a done deal.

If Barack Obama came out tomorrow in front of the television cameras and declared his support for this bill it would sail right through the Senate.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration has made it very clear that it considers a comprehensive audit of the Federal Reserve to be a really, really bad idea.

For example, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner once stated that auditing the Fed is a “line that we don’t want to cross” and that if we did audit the Fed it would be “problematic for the country”.

So what exactly did he mean by that?

That is a very good question.

In any event, people should take this as an opportunity to confront Barack Obama about the Audit the Fed bill wherever he goes.

Perhaps Obama will prove me wrong.

Perhaps Obama will show that he is willing to stand up to the Federal Reserve.

In fact, if Obama gets this bill pushed through Congress and signs it into law, I will not criticize him for an entire month.

But we all know that will never happen.

The Federal Reserve is going to be able to continue to keep their secrets hidden from the American people.

The following is what Ron Paul had to say following the vote on Wednesday….

“I think the whole idea that they can deal in trillions of dollars and know that nobody is allowed to ask them a question is a moral hazard.”

And Ron Paul is right.

If the Federal Reserve can zap trillions of dollars into existence out of thin air and loan that money to their friends at the big banks and to central banks in other countries, then it should not be too much to ask them to be accountable to the American people.

Over the coming months, the American people will heatedly debate whether Barack Obama or Mitt Romney would be better for the U.S. economy.

But the truth is that the Federal Reserve has far more power over the U.S. economy than the president of the United States does.

The Federal Reserve has been called the “fourth branch of government” because of how much power it has.  The Federal Reserve sets our interest rates, it determines the level of our money supply, it regulates and secretly bails out our banks, it determines the “target rates” for unemployment and inflation, and every small move the Fed makes causes global financial markets to swing wildly.

The Federal Reserve does all of this without ever having to be accountable to the American people.  In fact, whenever a bill is introduced that would shed some light on their activities they whine and cry about how important their “independence” is.

In a previous article, I described how preposterous this all is….

For a moment, imagine that there is a privately-owned organization in the United States that can create U.S. dollars out of thin air whenever it wants and can loan that money to whoever it wants to.  Imagine that this organization is able to act with the full power of the U.S. government behind it, but that nobody in the organization is ever elected by the American people, and that for all practical purposes the organization is not accountable to the president or to Congress.  Imagine that the organization is able to make trillions of dollars of secret loans to banks, to foreign governments and even to their close friends without ever having to face a comprehensive audit.  Does that sound preposterous?  Well, such an organization actually exists.

The American people need to stand up and demand an audit of the Federal Reserve.

We deserve to know what is going on over there.

Sadly, the mainstream media makes it sound as if hell has a better chance of freezing over than this bill does of becoming law.  The following is from a USA Today article that was posted on Wednesday….

The bill stands no chance of becoming law because the Democratic-controlled Senate will not take it up. The vote, however, served as a symbolic swan song for Paul, who is not seeking re-election. It is also an indicator of how Paul’s economic views have gone more mainstream, particularly within the Republican Party, in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis that shook Americans’ confidence in Wall Street and the federal government.

Well, let us hope that this kind of a bill keeps getting introduced in Congress.

Perhaps someday we actually will get a real audit of the Federal Reserve.

When that happens, the following is a list of questions that I would like to see asked by those auditing the Fed….

If the Federal Reserve is supposed to prevent shocks to our economy, then why have there been 10 different economic recessions since 1950 and why are we about to enter another one?

Was the Federal Reserve involved in the manipulation of Libor?

What role did the Federal Reserve play in creating the housing bubble that resulted in an unprecedented housing crash?

Why has the value of the U.S. dollar fallen by 83 percent since 1970?

Why is the Federal Reserve paying U.S. banks not to lend money?

Why did Barack Obama nominate Ben Bernanke for a second term as head of the Federal Reserve when Bernanke has a track record of failure that makes the Chicago Cubs look like a roaring success?

Why is the U.S. national debt more than 5000 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was created in 1913?

Why were the Federal Reserve and the personal income tax both pushed through Congress in the same year in 1913?

Why does the Federal Reserve argue that it is “not an agency” of the federal government in court?

Why do all 187 nations that belong to the IMF have a central bank?

Do you have any other questions that you would like to have asked during an audit of the Federal Reserve?  Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below….

The Economic Collapse Is Not A Single Event

Many people hype “the coming economic collapse” as if it is some kind of big summer Hollywood blockbuster.  Many people out there write about it as if it is something that will happen in a single day or over a few weeks and that it will suddenly change how the entire world functions.  But that is not how the financial world works.  The financial world is like a game of chess – very slow and methodical.  Yes, there are times when things happen very quickly (like back in 2008), but even that crisis played out over a number of months.  Sadly, most Americans are not used to thinking in terms of months or years.  These days, most Americans have the attention span of a goldfish and most Americans have been trained to expect instant gratification.  They are simply not accustomed to being patient and to wait for things.  Well, despite what you may have read, the economic collapse is not going to be a single event.  It is going to play out over quite a few years.  In some ways we are experiencing an economic collapse right now.  When the next major financial crisis occurs, many will be calling that “an economic collapse”.  But if you really want to grasp what is happening to us, you need to think long-term.  We are heading for a complete and total nightmare, but it is going to take some time to get to the end of the story.

Yes, there will certainly be times of great chaos.  The financial crisis of 2008 was one of those moments.

But the financial crisis of 2008 did not completely destroy us.

Neither will the next crisis.

I think it is helpful to think of what is happening to us as a series of waves.

When you build a beautiful sand castle on the beach, the first wave that comes in does not totally destroy it.

Rather, the first wave weakens the castle and it is destroyed by subsequent waves.

Well, that is what is happening to us.

The financial crisis of 2008 was a wave.

The epicenter of the next great financial crisis will be in Europe and that will be another wave.

For many, the next financial crisis will feel like “the end of the world” but it won’t be.

There will be waves after that one that will be even worse.

Yes, the waves are going to start coming more rapidly and will start becoming more intense.

In that way, they will kind of be like birth pains.

But these problems did not build up overnight and they are not going to disappear overnight either.

A lot of people that write about the coming economic collapse seem to suggest that we should just let it happen so that the “recovery” can begin.

Unfortunately, it is not going to be so simple.

It took decades to build up a national debt of almost 16 trillion dollars.

It took decades for American consumers to build up the greatest consumer debt bubble in the history of the world.

It took decades to gut the economic infrastructure of the United States and ship millions of our jobs overseas.

These problems are going to plague us for a very long time.

Sadly, a lot of people out there seem to wish for an economic apocalypse.  They seem to think that if the global financial system crashes that the government is going to disappear and we are going to start fighting with each other using sharp pointed sticks.

Well, it simply is not going to happen.

The U.S. government is not going to help you survive when things hit the fan, but it is not going to disappear either.

In fact, the federal government will probably try to grab more power than ever in an attempt to “restore order”.

The governments of Europe are not going to disappear either.  In fact, in the long run Europe is probably going to end up more “federalized” than ever even if the euro breaks up in the short run.

A lot of people out there seem to think that when the old system collapses that it will give them an opportunity to help put in a new system.

Sorry, but that is not going to happen either.

The powers that be are going to have their own ideas about what needs to happen.

They never like to let a good crisis go to waste, and they will certainly try to use every crisis to shape the world even more in their own image.

The coming economic collapse is going to play out over a number of years and it is going to be absolutely horrible.

Billions of people will deeply suffer because of it.

It will be unlike anything any of us have ever seen.

Personally, I believe that it will eventually be much worse than the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The United States is going to get hit particularly hard.  The United States is going to lose its position as the leading economic power on the globe and the U.S. dollar is going to lose its position as the default reserve currency of the world.

If you thought that the unemployment crisis during the last recession was bad, just wait until you see what is coming.

We are heading for a complete and total unemployment nightmare in the United States.  Unemployment is eventually going to soar well up into the double digits.

The U.S. government will try a wide variety of measures to try to “fix” things, and some will likely have some limited success.

But the debt-fueled prosperity that we are all enjoying now is going to come to an end.

Many communities all over America will degenerate into rotting cesspools.

There are going to be riots in our major cities, crime and looting will be absolutely rampant and it will seem like society is coming apart at the seams.

The U.S. government will likely respond by becoming more authoritarian than ever, and that will truly be frightening.

But all of this is going to play out over time.

Right now, things are not as good as they were five years ago.

A couple of years from now, things will be even worse.  Many of us will look back and wish that we could return to the “good old days” of 2011 and 2012.

We are on a decline that is not going to stop.  There will be little false bubbles of hope like we are in now, but they won’t last long.

But just because the economy is falling apart does not mean that your life is over.  Many that are busy preparing right now will be greatly blessed even in the middle of all the chaos.

And it is when things are the darkest that the greatest lights are needed.

Make the decision right now to be a light during the times ahead.

You can choose to let the times that are coming destroy you, or you can choose to make them the greatest adventure of your life.

The choice is up to you.

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