50 Economic Numbers From 2011 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe

Even though most Americans have become very frustrated with this economy, the reality is that the vast majority of them still have no idea just how bad our economic decline has been or how much trouble we are going to be in if we don’t make dramatic changes immediately.  If we do not educate the American people about how deathly ill the U.S. economy has become, then they will just keep falling for the same old lies that our politicians keep telling them.  Just “tweaking” things here and there is not going to fix this economy.  We truly do need a fundamental change in direction.  America is consuming far more wealth than it is producing and our debt is absolutely exploding.  If we stay on this current path, an economic collapse is inevitable.  Hopefully the crazy economic numbers from 2011 that I have included in this article will be shocking enough to wake some people up.

At this time of the year, a lot of families get together, and in most homes the conversation usually gets around to politics at some point.  Hopefully many of you will use the list below as a tool to help you share the reality of the U.S. economic crisis with your family and friends.  If we all work together, hopefully we can get millions of people to wake up and realize that “business as usual” will result in a national economic apocalypse.

The following are 50 economic numbers from 2011 that are almost too crazy to believe….

#1 A staggering 48 percent of all Americans are either considered to be “low income” or are living in poverty.

#2 Approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are living in homes that are either considered to be “low income” or impoverished.

#3 If the number of Americans that “wanted jobs” was the same today as it was back in 2007, the “official” unemployment rate put out by the U.S. government would be up to 11 percent.

#4 The average amount of time that a worker stays unemployed in the United States is now over 40 weeks.

#5 One recent survey found that 77 percent of all U.S. small businesses do not plan to hire any more workers.

#6 There are fewer payroll jobs in the United States today than there were back in 2000 even though we have added 30 million extra people to the population since then.

#7 Since December 2007, median household income in the United States has declined by a total of 6.8% once you account for inflation.

#8 According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 16.6 million Americans were self-employed back in December 2006.  Today, that number has shrunk to 14.5 million.

#9 A Gallup poll from earlier this year found that approximately one out of every five Americans that do have a job consider themselves to be underemployed.

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

#11 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.

#12 Back in 1969, 95 percent of all men between the ages of 25 and 54 had a job.  In July, only 81.2 percent of men in that age group had a job.

#13 One recent survey found that one out of every three Americans would not be able to make a mortgage or rent payment next month if they suddenly lost their current job.

#14 The Federal Reserve recently announced that the total net worth of U.S. households declined by 4.1 percent in the 3rd quarter of 2011 alone.

#15 According to a recent study conducted by the BlackRock Investment Institute, the ratio of household debt to personal income in the United States is now 154 percent.

#16 As the economy has slowed down, so has the number of marriages.  According to a Pew Research Center analysis, only 51 percent of all Americans that are at least 18 years old are currently married.  Back in 1960, 72 percent of all U.S. adults were married.

#17 The U.S. Postal Service has lost more than 5 billion dollars over the past year.

#18 In Stockton, California home prices have declined 64 percent from where they were at when the housing market peaked.

#19 Nevada has had the highest foreclosure rate in the nation for 59 months in a row.

#20 If you can believe it, the median price of a home in Detroit is now just $6000.

#21 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 18 percent of all homes in the state of Florida are sitting vacant.  That figure is 63 percent larger than it was just ten years ago.

#22 New home construction in the United States is on pace to set a brand new all-time record low in 2011.

#23 As I have written about previously, 19 percent of all American men between the ages of 25 and 34 are now living with their parents.

#24 Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.

#25 According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, health care costs accounted for just 9.5% of all personal consumption back in 1980.  Today they account for approximately 16.3%.

#26 One study found that approximately 41 percent of all working age Americans either have medical bill problems or are currently paying off medical debt.

#27 If you can believe it, one out of every seven Americans has at least 10 credit cards.

#28 The United States spends about 4 dollars on goods and services from China for every one dollar that China spends on goods and services from the United States.

#29 It is being projected that the U.S. trade deficit for 2011 will be 558.2 billion dollars.

#30 The retirement crisis in the United States just continues to get worse.  According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 46 percent of all American workers have less than $10,000 saved for retirement, and 29 percent of all American workers have less than $1,000 saved for retirement.

#31 Today, one out of every six elderly Americans lives below the federal poverty line.

#32 According to a study that was just released, CEO pay at America’s biggest companies rose by 36.5% in just one recent 12 month period.

#33 Today, the “too big to fail” banks are larger than ever.  The total assets of the six largest U.S. banks increased by 39 percent between September 30, 2006 and September 30, 2011.

#34 The six heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton have a net worth that is roughly equal to the bottom 30 percent of all Americans combined.

#35 According to an analysis of Census Bureau data done by the Pew Research Center, the median net worth for households led by someone 65 years of age or older is 47 times greater than the median net worth for households led by someone under the age of 35.

#36 If you can believe it, 37 percent of all U.S. households that are led by someone under the age of 35 have a net worth of zero or less than zero.

#37 A higher percentage of Americans is living in extreme poverty (6.7%) than has ever been measured before.

#38 Child homelessness in the United States is now 33 percent higher than it was back in 2007.

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

#40 Sadly, child poverty is absolutely exploding all over America.  According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 36.4% of all children that live in Philadelphia are living in poverty, 40.1% of all children that live in Atlanta are living in poverty, 52.6% of all children that live in Cleveland are living in poverty and 53.6% of all children that live in Detroit are living in poverty.

#41 Today, one out of every seven Americans is on food stamps and one out of every four American children is on food stamps.

#42 In 1980, government transfer payments accounted for just 11.7% of all income.  Today, government transfer payments account for more than 18 percent of all income.

#43 A staggering 48.5% of all Americans live in a household that receives some form of government benefits.  Back in 1983, that number was below 30 percent.

#44 Right now, spending by the federal government accounts for about 24 percent of GDP.  Back in 2001, it accounted for just 18 percent.

#45 For fiscal year 2011, the U.S. federal government had a budget deficit of nearly 1.3 trillion dollars.  That was the third year in a row that our budget deficit has topped one trillion dollars.

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

#47 Amazingly, the U.S. government has now accumulated a total debt of 15 trillion dollars.  When Barack Obama first took office the national debt was just 10.6 trillion dollars.

#48 If the federal government began right at this moment to repay the U.S. national debt at a rate of one dollar per second, it would take over 440,000 years to pay off the national debt.

#49 The U.S. national debt has been increasing by an average of more than 4 billion dollars per day since the beginning of the Obama administration.

#50 During the Obama administration, the U.S. government has accumulated more debt than it did from the time that George Washington took office to the time that Bill Clinton took office.

Of course the heart of our economic problems is the Federal Reserve.  The Federal Reserve is a perpetual debt machine, it has almost completely destroyed the value of the U.S. dollar and it has an absolutely nightmarish track record of incompetence.  If the Federal Reserve system had never been created, the U.S. economy would be in far better shape.  The federal government needs to shut down the Federal Reserve and start issuing currency that is not debt-based.  That would be a very significant step toward restoring prosperity to America.

During 2011 we made a lot of progress in educating the American people about our economic problems, but we still have a long way to go.

Hopefully next year more Americans than ever will wake up, because 2012 is going to represent a huge turning point for this country.

20 Signs That The Culture Of Government Dependence Has Gotten Completely And Totally Out Of Control

More Americans are financially dependent on the government than ever before.  For a variety of reasons, there are now tens of millions of Americans that would not be able to survive without government assistance.  As I wrote about the other day, the insane economic policies of our “representatives” in Washington D.C. have created a situation where there are not nearly enough decent jobs for everyone.  So the job market has become a giant game of “musical chairs” and a lot of American families have been left out in the cold when the music has stopped.  Of course we are not going to let them starve in the streets.  There are also some Americans that simply do not have the capacity to take care of themselves.  It is certainly the compassionate thing to do to give them a helping hand.  However, with all of that said, we also have to face the fact that we have created a “culture of dependence” in this country.  Americans that are now in their prime working years have been taught all of their lives that the government is going to take care of them from the cradle to the grave.  This culture of government dependence has gotten completely and totally out of control, and now nearly half of all American households receive some form of government benefits.  As a result, our debt is absolutely exploding, everyone looks to the government to solve our problems and very few Americans seem to possess a very strong work ethic any longer.

This article is going to make a lot of people angry, but it is imperative that we all comes to grips with the fact that this is not how a society is supposed to work.  Yes, we should help those that do not have the capacity to help themselves.  Yes, the insane policies of the federal government have created this economic environment where very few people can find jobs.  We didn’t want to keep their jobs in the country, so now we are going to have to support millions of displaced American workers somehow.

However, the notion that the federal government is supposed to take care of us from the time that we are born until the time that we die is poisonous.  As you will see below, federal government handouts have absolutely skyrocketed in recent years, but this has just created an environment where people are demanding even more handouts.

The truth is that the government is not your mommy and your daddy.  The government is not there to take money away from someone else and give it to you.  The government is supposed to be the “referee” – not your own personal caretaker.

So should we just start dumping millions upon millions of people off of government welfare rolls?

Of course not.  We cannot do that, because from the time that they were babies millions of Americans have been taught to be completely dependent on the government.  If we just suddenly cut them off they would not be able to make it.  They simply have never learned how.  We aren’t going to let tens of millions of people starve in the streets.  A growing percentage of Americans have never learned how to make it on their own.

That is one of the reasons why this culture of government dependence is so toxic.  People never learn to take care of themselves.

Unfortunately, the American people have become absolutely addicted to government money.  One way not to get elected is to threaten to reduce the government checks that people get every month.  Any politician that is honest about what we really can afford usually does not get a whole lot of support.

Yes, there is nothing wrong with helping the poor, the needy, the homeless and the despairing.

But each year millions more Americans climb aboard the “safety net”.  As I keep warning, at some point the “safety net” is going to break.

The government is not supposed to be your God.  If you have problems, then you need to fix them.

Yes, without a doubt that is not an easy thing to do in this economic environment.  Our government has royally messed things up.

But life is not easy and life is not fair.  Sometimes you just have to do the best you can with what you have.  If you wait around for the government to be your savior, you will almost always end up deeply disappointed and you will never get anywhere in life.

The following are 20 signs that the culture of government dependence has gotten completely and totally out of control….

#1 If you can believe it, 48.5% of all Americans now live in a household that receives some form of government benefits.  Back in 1983, that number was less than 30 percent.

#2 Way too many Americans believe that the government should just swoop in and solve all of their problems.  For example, the plight of a single mother named Angel Adams made national headlines recently.  Over the years her relationships with three different men have produced 15 children, and she was recently found living in a single motel room with 12 of those children.

As you can see in the video below, Adams is looking for the government to come in and rescue her.  The following is what Adams told one reporter….

“Somebody needs to pay for all my children and my – for all my suffering. Somebody needs to be held accountable, and they need to pay.”

You can see news clips about this case in the video posted below….

After seeing this video, most Americans would respond with statements such as these….

*”The government needs to help that mother out”

*”The government needs to take those children away from her”

*”The government needs to keep women like that from having so many kids”

Do you see the common theme there?

Today, Americans almost always think that the solution to a problem involves the government doing something.

In America, women should be free to have as many children as they want.  But they should also not expect the government to swoop in and rescue them from the consequences of the choices that they have made.

Yes, we always need to make sure that all children have food to eat and a roof over their heads.  But it is not the job of the government to come in and control her life, and it is not the job of the government “to pay” for her to have a comfortable life either.

#3 The amount of money paid out to individual citizens by the government today is absolutely staggering.  In 1980, government transfer payments accounted for just 11.7% of all income.  Today, government transfer payments account for 18.4% of all income.

#4 According to a recent ABC News report, suicides in rural America are spiking, and experts say that cuts to Medicaid are partly to blame….

Kathie Garrett, co-chairman of the Idaho Council on Suicide Prevention, says the problem has gotten only worse since the recession. “The poor economy and unemployment—those put a lot of stress on people’s lives,” she explains. To save money, people skip doctor visits and cut back on taking prescribed medications. Cuts in Medicaid have reduced the services available to the mentally ill.

“I personally know people who lost Medicaid who’ve attempted suicide,” says Garrett.

#5 By the end of 2011, approximately 55 million Americans will receive a total of 727 billion dollars in Social Security benefits.  In future years, this dollar figure is projected to absolutely skyrocket.

#6 When you total it all up, American households are now receiving more money from the U.S. government than they are paying to the government in taxes.

#7 It is being projected that the federal government will account for more than 50 percent of all health care spending in 2012.

#8 Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid.  Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid.

#9 According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Social Security system paid out more in benefits than it received in payroll taxes in 2010.  That was not supposed to happen until at least 2016.

#10 The federal government is expected to “take care” of their workers far better than the private sector does.  If you can believe it, the average federal employee in the Washington D.C. area brings in total compensation worth more than $126,000 a year.

#11 Last year, federal employees “earned” approximately 447 billion dollars in total compensation.

#12 Spending by the federal government accounts for approximately one third of the GDP of the entire Washington D.C. region.

#13 The federal government spent more than 50 billion dollars on “housing assistance” in 2009.

#14 The U.S. government now says that the Medicare trust fund will run out five years faster than they were projecting just last year.

#15 The total cost of just three federal government programs – the Department of Defense, Social Security and Medicare – exceeded the total amount of taxes brought in during fiscal 2010 by 10 billion dollars.

#16 Right now, there are more than 45 million Americans on food stamps.  That means that approximately one out of every seven Americans is dependent on the federal government for food.

#17 The number of Americans on food stamps has increased 74% since 2007.

#18 Sadly, one out of every four American children is now on food stamps.

#19 In 2010, 42 percent of all single mothers in the United States were on food stamps.

#20 According to one study, “64.3 million Americans depended on the government (read: their fellow citizens) for their daily housing, food, and health care” during 2009.

After reading this article, a lot of people may get the impression that I am greedy and that I am “on the side” of the rich.

That is not the case at all.

I have repeatedly written about the growing problem of income inequality in America.

I have repeatedly written about the need to reduce the power and the wealth of the big banks and the big corporations.

I have repeatedly written about how our government is run by wealthy people and almost all political campaigns are funded by wealthy people.

We need to level the playing field so that individuals and small businesses have a chance to thrive once again.

Unfortunately, a lot of people out there think that the solution to these problems is to raise taxes on the wealthy and redistribute even more money to those receiving handouts.

Number one, that will never get those on handouts on the road to a better life.  Handouts are never a permanent solution.  A good job is a permanent solution.

Number two, that will only make the culture of government dependence even worse.

Yes, we need to take care of the poor and the needy.

I am a huge advocate of that.

In the book of James, it says the following….

Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days.

It is not the job of the government to take care of the poor and the needy.

It is our job.

If you are able to take care of yourself and your family, and you are not actively doing something to help the poor, then something is wrong.

There is nothing wrong with making a lot of money.

But there is something wrong with hoarding your wealth.

Sadly, most Americans have grown accustomed to the idea that they don’t have to take care of the poor because “the government” is going to do it.

That is another example of the “culture of government dependence”.  We have gotten so used to “the government” taking care of others that we don’t even lift a finger ourselves.

We need to stop waiting for the government to fix everything.

The government is not going to fix our lives.

The government is not going to fix the lives of those around us either.

We need to start taking responsibility for our own lives and for our own communities.

Does anyone disagree?

***UPDATE***

Here is another example from ABC News of an American that completely lost it when she realized that the government was not going to be her savior….

A Texas woman who for months was unable to qualify for food stamps pulled a gun in a state welfare office and staged a seven-hour standoff with police that ended with her shooting her two children before killing herself, officials said Tuesday.

We need to help the American people understand that the government is always going to end up failing them and that they need to fix their own lives.

The Worst In The World – The U.S. Balance Of Trade Is Mind-Blowingly Bad

Did you know that we buy about a half a trillion dollars more stuff from the rest of the world than they buy from us?  The U.S. balance of trade is not only mind-blowingly bad – it is the worst in the world.  It is being projected that the U.S. trade deficit for 2011 will be 558.2 billion dollars.  That would be an increase of more than 11 percent from last year.  As I have written about previously, the United States is the worst in the world at a lot of things, but as far as the economic well-being of our nation is concerned, our balance of trade is particularly important.  Every single month, far more money goes out of this country than comes into it.  Tax revenues are significantly reduced as all of this money gets sucked out of our communities.  The federal government, state governments and local governments borrow gigantic piles of money to try to make up the difference, but all of this borrowing just makes our debt problems a whole lot worse.  In the end, no amount of government debt is going to be able to cover over the fact that our national economic pie is shrinking.  We are continually consuming far more wealth than we produce, and that is a recipe for economic disaster.

The “current account balance” is one key indicator of how a country is doing economically.  The following is how the CIA World Factbook defines “current account balance”….

This entry records a country’s net trade in goods and services, plus net earnings from rents, interest, profits, and dividends, and net transfer payments (such as pension funds and worker remittances) to and from the rest of the world during the period specified.

If someone were to ask you what countries in the world have strong, thriving economies right now, what countries would you think of?

Would countries like China, Germany, Russia and Saudi Arabia come to mind?

Well, all of those nations have huge positive current account balances.  In fact, China has the best current account balance in the world at +$305 billion.

So who is on the other end of the scale?

The following information comes directly from a CIA World Factbook chart….

190 Turkey $ -48,420,000,000

191 Canada $ -48,500,000,000

192 India $ -51,780,000,000

193 France $ -54,400,000,000

194 United Kingdom $ -56,190,000,000

195 Spain $ -63,650,000,000

196 Italy $ -67,940,000,000

197 United States $ -470,200,000,000

The United States is rated dead last at number 197.

Just take a close look at those numbers for a minute.

The U.S. had a current account balance of negative 470 billion dollars in 2010.  That figure was almost 7 times worse than the next worst country (Italy).

Not only does the United States have the worst current account balance in the entire world, the truth is that no other country is even in the same ballpark as us.

We are bleeding wealth so fast that it is hard to even describe it.

But perhaps a real life example can help put this all into perspective.

One 22-year-old Saudi Arabian student has a collection of sports cars that is worth more than 12 million dollars.  Reportedly, his collection includes at least three Lamborghinis, five Ferraris and five Porsches.

And guess who paid for it?

You did.

Every month, billions of dollars go out of the United States to help pay for the insane lifestyles of the ultra-wealthy oil barons of the Middle East.

Meanwhile, dozens of major U.S. cities are degenerating into hellholes.

Once upon a time, Detroit was one of the greatest industrial cities that the world has ever seen.  It was the envy of the entire globe.

But now Detroit is an utter nightmare….

*An analysis of census figures found that 48.5% of all men living in Detroit from age 20 to age 64 did not have a job in 2008.

*If you can believe it, the median price of a home in Detroit is now just $6000.

*Only 25 percent of students in Detroit graduate from high school.

So what happened to Detroit?

Well, just as has been happening in so many other U.S. cities, industry has been leaving at an astounding pace.

As I have written about previously, an average of 23 manufacturing facilities a day were shut down in the United States during 2010.

Overall, the U.S. has lost a total of more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities since 2001.

This country is bleeding middle class jobs profusely, and neither major political party seems to care.

American family budgets are being stretched tighter and tighter these days.  There are not nearly enough good jobs to go around and yet the cost of everything just seems to keep going up.

Many families are going into massive amounts of debt in an attempt to make ends meet.  According to a recent CNN article, credit card use in the United States is experiencing a major upswing once again….

Purchases made with credit cards rose 8.2% in the first quarter of 2011, 9% in the second quarter and 10.6% in the third quarter, according to First Data.

Of course American consumers were out in force on Black Friday once again this year.  They gleefully filled up their carts with cheap plastic crap made overseas, and many racked up huge credit card balances in the process.

But most of us never stop to think about those that make all of these cheap plastic products for us.

Thanks to the globalization of the economy, big corporations and corrupt governments can make stuff in countries where it is legal to pay slave labor wages and then ship their products into the United States for free.

It is important for all of us to learn what actually happens to these people that are working so hard for slave labor wages.  The following comes from a recent article in the Guardian….

At the Hung Hing factory the researcher found that the 8,000 workers put in up to 100 hours of overtime a month, far in excess of the legal maximum. Workers say they have to sign a document agreeing to work additional overtime on top of the legal maximum. The basic wage was £132 a month (up to £250 with maximum overtime payments) but wages were paid up to three weeks late.

Workers complained of inadequate training with the factory machines and last year one worker died when he fell into a machine. They said there were frequent injuries and concerns over the chemicals used. There were also complaints about the standard of the dormitories, where water for washing and flushing toilets is turned off at 10pm.

How in the world are American workers supposed to “compete” for jobs at those wage levels?

As I have written about previously, Professor Alan Blinder of Princeton University is warning that 40 million more U.S. jobs could be sent offshore over the next two decades if nothing is done to stop this.

But instead, our “representatives” in Congress just keep pushing more “free trade” agreements as the answer to our problems.  Congress has passed new free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, and the Obama administration has made “the NAFTA of the Pacific” a very high priority.

Well, if “free trade” is supposed to create so many jobs, then why was last decade the worst decade for the creation of jobs since the Great Depression?

If you can believe it, zero jobs were created between 1999 and 2009.  The following comes from an article in Washington Monthly….

“If any single number captures the state of the American economy over the last decade, it is zero. That was the net gain in jobs between 1999 and 2009—nada, nil, zip. By painful contrast, from the 1940s through the 1990s, recessions came and went, but no decade ended without at least a 20 percent increase in the number of jobs.”

But our leaders don’t care about us.  In fact, even the members of Obama’s “jobs panel” have been shipping jobs out of the United States at a very rapid pace.

The U.S. has run a negative balance of trade with the rest of the globe every single year since 1976.  During that time, the U.S. has run up a total trade deficit of more than 7.5 trillion dollars with the rest of the planet.

That 7.5 trillion dollars could have gone to support U.S. workers and U.S. businesses.

But it didn’t.  Instead, it went out of the country and it made foreigners wealthier as our own cities slowly rotted.

Now we are actually passing laws that encourage wealthy foreigners to come in and buy up pieces of the United States.

For example, there is actually a bill in Congress that would automatically give residence visas to any foreigners that are willing to spend at least half a million dollars to buy houses inside the United States.

The idea behind the bill is that this will get the housing market moving again.

There aren’t enough Americans with good jobs to buy houses, so we have now decided to beg foreigners to buy them.

How bizarre is that?

Until our horrendous balance of trade is fixed, the employment situation in this country is going to continue to get worse.

Any politician that tries to sell you on a “jobs plan” that does not address our balance of trade is either totally incompetent or is straight out lying to you.

The economic infrastructure of America is crumbling a little bit more every single day.  If something dramatic is not done, we will continue to bleed businesses, bleed jobs and bleed wealth.

Please share this information with as many people as you can.  The American people need to understand what is happening to the economy.  We need to work to wake up as many people as we can before it is too late.

Barack Obama Is Taking A 17 Day Vacation Even As America Falls Apart All Around Him

What in the world is Barack Obama thinking?  The United States of America is falling apart all around him, and yet he decides to take a 17 day Hawaiian vacation.  Does he even understand that he is the leader of the free world?  Does he even understand that this country is mired in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression?  Last year, a similar Hawaiian vacation by the Obamas ending up costing more than 1 million dollars.  Other than when I was in school, I don’t remember ever taking a 17 day vacation.  In fact, most Americans do not even get 17 vacation days for an entire year.  Yet the Obamas seem to think that part of occupying the White House is to take as many vacations as possible.  It has been reported that Michelle Obama spent over 10 million dollars of U.S. taxpayer money on vacations during just one recent 12 month period alone.  It would be one thing if they were taking these vacations at a time when America was thriving, but the truth is that the U.S. is facing one crisis after another right now.  Our debt is now over 15 trillion dollars.  If you can believe it, the U.S. government has not been operating under an approved budget for over 900 days.  More Americans fell into poverty last year than ever before.  More Americans are on food stamps than ever before.  An average of 23 manufacturing facilities were shut down every single day in the United States last year.  According to one recent report, only 7 percent of Americans that lost their jobs during the recession have “made it back” to where they were before the recession.  So perhaps Barack Obama should spend more time doing his job rather than taking extended vacations.

During this holiday season, tens of millions of American families are suffering horribly.  Any sane president would realize that this is not the time to be gallivanting off to Hawaii again.  The following short excerpt comes from a recent article in the Daily Mail…..

While most Americans are lucky to get a few weeks of holiday every year, it seems the country’s leader gets a little more freedom in the matter.

President Barack Obama has announced his Christmas vacation to Hawaii – for a staggering 17-day trip.

Obama, who visited the island just two weeks ago for an economic summit, will head to Honolulu on Saturday December 17 until Monday January 2.

But this is not just one isolated incident.  Obama has taken a whole bunch of vacations since he moved into the White House.  According to the New York Post, Barack Obama enjoyed a total of 10 separate vacations that stretched over a total of 90 vacation days during the years of 2009 and 2010.

In addition, Obama managed to find time for 29 rounds of golf during his first two years in office.

But reportedly the biggest “vacation junkie” of all in the Obama family is Michele Obama.

The following shocking excerpt comes from a different Daily Mail article….

The First Lady is believed to have taken 42 days of holiday in the past year, including a $375,000 break in Spain and a four-day ski trip to Vail, Colorado, where she spent $2,000 a night on a suite at the Sebastian hotel.

And the first family’s nine-day stay in Martha’s Vineyard is also proving costly, with rental of the Blue Heron Farm property alone costing an estimated $50,000 a week.

The source continued: ‘Michelle also enjoys drinking expensive booze during her trips. She favours martinis with top-shelf vodka and has a taste for rich sparking wines.

‘The vacations are totally Michelle’s idea. She’s like a junkie. She can’t schedule enough getaways, and she lives from one to the next – all the while sticking it to hardworking Americans.’

During such hard economic times, how can Michelle Obama justify spending over 10 million dollars of U.S. taxpayer money on luxurious vacations?

The American people expect a president to be at the White House working night and day to solve the problems of this nation.

Sure, it would definitely be understandable to take a day or two off here and there, but the truth is that the president should be one of the hardest working people in the country.

Instead, Obama just seems to do less and less the longer that he is in the White House.  In fact, there have been numerous reports that Barack Obama barely even interacts with members of his own party in Congress anymore.

Our country is literally falling apart and we have a total lack of leadership at the top.

Sadly, there does not appear to be much hope on the horizon at the moment.

Right now, Newt Gingrich is leading the race for the Republican nomination.  If he wins the nomination, the American people will have a choice between two candidates that are almost identical in 2012.  The sad truth is that Newt Gingrich is not a conservative, and he never will be.  Rather, he is a big time establishment stooge that would keep marching America down the same road that Bush and Obama have been taking us.  When you sit down and really compare the Obama agenda to the Gingrich agenda, you will quickly find that they are almost entirely identical.  If the Republican Party nominates Newt Gingrich, it will be a complete and utter disgrace.

The reality is that we desperately need real leadership and real solutions.  Europe is on the verge of a massive financial meltdown.  If things take a wrong turn, we could easily be looking at a financial crisis even worse than the one we saw back in 2008.

Many in the mainstream media are using the word “recovery” now that the official unemployment has fallen to 8.6%, but as Mac Slavo recently pointed out, the real rate of unemployment is still up around 22 percent.

The official government numbers assume that 315,000 Americans “left the labor force” in November.  At a time when our population is constantly expanding, that seems like a shaky assumption at best.

The reality, as many of you out there are experiencing, is that times are hard and millions of Americans are becoming increasingly desperate.

For example, just check out what happened in the Sacramento area recently.  One church was hit by copper thieves three nights in row….

Members of a Carmichael church that had been targeted by copper thieves for two nights in a row managed to help nab the suspected thieves when the greedy pair returned for a third night.

Nobody is off limits for thieves these days.  If you can believe it, people are even stealing food from food pantries now.

This country is in a massive amount of economic trouble, and we desperately need some solutions.

But perhaps we should be thankful that Obama is taking so many vacations.

After all, just about everything he has done so far has ended up making things even worse.

Perhaps it is better if he simply does nothing at all.

But at some point this country is going to need real leadership and real solutions.

So what do all of you think?

Do you think that there is any hope for this country on the horizon?

Poverty In America: A Special Report

America is getting poorer.  The U.S. government has just released a bunch of new statistics about poverty in America, and once again this year the news is not good.  According to a special report from the U.S. Census Bureau, 46.2 million Americans are now living in poverty.  The number of those living in poverty in America has grown by 2.6 million in just the last 12 months, and that is the largest increase that we have ever seen since the U.S. government began calculating poverty figures back in 1959.  Not only that, median household income has also fallen once again.  In case you are keeping track, that makes three years in a row.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, median household income in the United States dropped 2.3% in 2010 after accounting for inflation.  Overall, median household income in the United States has declined by a total of 6.8% once you account for inflation since December 2007.  So should we be excited that our incomes are going down and that a record number of Americans slipped into poverty last year?  Should we be thrilled that the economic pie is shrinking and that our debt levels are exploding?  All of those that claimed that the U.S. economy was recovering and that everything was going to be just fine have some explaining to do.

Back in the year 2000, 11.3% of all Americans were living in poverty.  Today, 15.1% of all Americans are living in poverty.  The last time the poverty level was this high was back in 1993.

However, it is important to keep in mind that the government definition of poverty rises based on the rate of inflation.  If inflation was still calculated the way that it was 30 or 40 years ago, the poverty line would be much, much higher and millions more Americans would be considered to be living in poverty.

So why is poverty in America exploding?  Who is getting hurt the most?  How is America being changed by this?  What is the future going to look like if we remain on the current path?

Let’s take a closer look at poverty in America….

The Shrinking Number Of Jobs

Unemployment is rampant and the number of good jobs continues to shrink.  Once upon a time in America, if you really wanted a job you could go out and get one.  Today, competition for even the lowest paying jobs has become absolutely brutal.  There simply are not enough chairs at the “economic table”, and not being able to get a good job is pushing large numbers of Americans into poverty…..

*There are fewer payroll jobs in the United States today than there were back in 2000 even though we have added 30 million people to the population since then.

*Back in 1969, 95 percent of all men between the ages of 25 and 54 had a job.  In July, only 81.2 percent of men in that age group had a job.

*If you gathered together all of the unemployed people in the United States, they would constitute the 68th largest country in the world.

*According to John Williams of shadowstats.com, if you factored in all of the short-term discouraged workers, all of the long-term discouraged workers and all of those working part-time because they cannot find full-time employment, the real unemployment rate right now would be approximately 23 percent.

*If you have been unemployed for at least one year, there is a 91 percent chance that you will not find a new job within the next month.

The Working Poor

The number of low income jobs is rising while the number of high income jobs is falling.  This has created a situation where the number of “the working poor” in America is absolutely skyrocketing.  Millions of Americans are working as hard as they can and yet they still cannot afford to lead a middle class lifestyle.

*Since the year 2000, we have lost approximately 10% of our middle class jobs.  In the year 2000 there were about 72 million middle class jobs in the United States but today there are only about 65 million middle class jobs.

*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.

*Between 1969 and 2009, the median wages earned by American men between the ages of 30 and 50 dropped by 27 percent after you account for inflation.

*According to a report released in February from the National Employment Law Project, higher wage industries are accounting for 40 percent of the job losses in America but only 14 percent of the job growth.  Lower wage industries are accounting for just 23 percent of the job losses but 49 percent of the job growth.

*Half of all American workers now earn $505 or less per week.

*Last year, 19.7% of all U.S. working adults had jobs that would not have been enough to push a family of four over the poverty line even if they had worked full-time hours for the entire year.

*The number of Americans that are going to food pantries and soup kitchens has increased by 46% since 2006.

Unprecedented Dependence On The Government

Because they cannot get good jobs that will enable them to support themselves and their families, millions of Americans that used to be hard working contributors to society are now dependent on government handouts.  Nearly every single measure of government dependence is at a record high, and there are no signs that things are going to turn around any time soon.

*One out of every six Americans is now enrolled in at least one government anti-poverty program.

*Nearly 10 million Americans now receive unemployment benefits.  That number is almost four times larger than it was back in 2007.

*More than 45 million Americans are now on food stamps.  The number of Americans on food stamps has increased 74% since 2007.

*Approximately one-third of the entire population of Alabama is now on food stamps.

*More than 50 million Americans are now on Medicaid.

*Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid.  Today, approximately one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid.

*In 1980, just 11.7% of all personal income came from government transfer payments.  Today, 18.4% of all personal income comes from government transfer payments.

The Suffocating Cost Of Health Care

Millions of American families are being financially crippled by health care costs.  The U.S. health care system is deeply, deeply broken and Obamacare is going to make things even worse.  Health care is one of the top reasons why American families get pushed into poverty.  Most of us are just one major illness or disease from becoming financially wrecked.  Just ask anyone that has gone through it.  The health insurance companies do not care about you and they will try to wiggle out of their obligations at the time when you need them the most.  If you talk to people that have been through bankruptcy, most of them will tell you that medical bills were at least partially responsible.

*In America today, there are 49.9 million Americans that do not have any health insurance.  One single medical bill could easily wipe out the finances of most of those people.

*Only 56 percent of Americans are currently covered by employer-provided health insurance.

*According to a report published in The American Journal of Medicine, medical bills are a major factor in more than 60 percent of the personal bankruptcies in the United States.  Of those bankruptcies that were caused by medical bills, approximately 75 percent of them involved individuals that actually did have health insurance.

*According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, health care costs accounted for just 9.5% of all personal consumption back in 1980.  Today they account for approximately 16.3%.

More Children Living In Poverty

The United States has a child poverty rate that is more than twice as high as many European nations.  We like to think that we have “the greatest economy on earth”, but the reality is that we have one of the highest child poverty rates and it increased once again last year.

*The poverty rate for children living in the United States increased to 22% in 2010.  That means that tonight more than one out of every five U.S. children is living in poverty.

*The poverty rate for U.S. adults is only 13.7%.

*Households that are led by a single mother have a 31.6% poverty rate.

*Today, one out of every four American children is on food stamps.

*It is being projected that approximately 50 percent of all U.S. children will be on food stamps at some point in their lives before they reach the age of 18.

*There are 314 counties in the United States where at least 30% of the children are facing food insecurity.

*More than 20 million U.S. children rely on school meal programs to keep from going hungry.

*It is estimated that up to half a million children may currently be homeless in the United States.

The Plight Of The Elderly

The elderly are also falling into poverty in staggering numbers.  They may not be out protesting in the streets, but that does not mean that they are not deeply, deeply suffering.

*One out of every six elderly Americans now lives below the federal poverty line.

*Between 1991 and 2007 the number of Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 that filed for bankruptcy rose by a staggering 178 percent.

*The Baby Boomers have only just begun to retire, and already our social programs for seniors are starting to fall apart.  In 1950, each retiree’s Social Security benefit was paid for by 16 U.S. workers.  According to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are now only 1.75 full-time private sector workers for each person that is receiving Social Security benefits in the United States.

Squeezed By Inflation

Rising inflation is squeezing the budgets of average American families like never before.  Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke claims that inflation is still low, but either he is delusional or he has not been to a supermarket lately.

Personally, I do a lot of grocery shopping at a number of different stores, and without a doubt prices are absolutely soaring.  Many of the new “sale prices” are exactly what the old “regular prices” were just a few weeks ago.

Some companies have tried to hide these price increases by shrinking package sizes.  But there is no hiding the pain on the old wallet once you fill up your cart with what you need to feed your family.

*Over the past year, the global price of food has risen by 37 percent and this has pushed approximately 44 million more people around the world into poverty.

*U.S. consumers will spend approximately $491 billion on gas this year.  That is going to be a brand new all-time record.

*Right now, the average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States is $3.649.  That is 94 cents higher than 12 months earlier and it is a brand new record for this time of the year.

A Smaller Share Of The Pie

The size of the “economic pie” in America is shrinking, and the share of the pie for those that are poor is shrinking a lot faster than the share of the pie for those that are wealthy.

*According to the Washington Post, the average yearly income of the bottom 90 percent of all U.S. income earners is now just $31,244.

*When you look at the ratio of employee compensation to GDP, it is now the lowest that is has been in about 50 years.

*At this point, the poorest 50% of all Americans now control just 2.5% of all of the wealth in this country.

*Big corporations are even recognizing the change that is happening to America. Just consider the following example from a recent article in the Huffington Post….

Manufacturers like Procter & Gamble, the household-goods giant responsible for everything from Charmin and Old Spice to Tide, are concentrating their efforts on luxury and bargain items, putting less emphasis on products aimed at the middle class, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Conclusion

America is fundamentally changing.  We were a nation that had the largest middle class in the history of the globe, but now we are becoming a nation that is deeply divided between the haves and the have nots.

Perhaps you are still doing fine.  But don’t think that economic disaster cannot strike you.  Every single day, thousands more Americans will lose their jobs or will discover a major health problem.  Every single day, thousands more Americans will lose their homes or will be forced to take a pay cut.

If you still have a warm, comfortable home to sleep in, you should be thankful.  Poverty is a very sneaky enemy and it can strike at any time.  If you are not careful, you might be the next American to end up sleeping in your car or living in a tent city.

It is easy to disregard a couple of statistics, but can you really ignore the vast amount of evidence presented above?

It is undeniable that America is getting poorer.  Poverty is spreading and hopelessness and despair are rising.  There is a reason why the economy is the number one political issue right now.  Millions upon millions of Americans are in deep pain and they want some solutions.

Unfortunately, it appears quite unlikely that either major political party is going to offer any real solutions any time soon.  So things are going to keep getting worse and worse and worse.

Should we just keep doing the same things that we have been doing over and over and over and yet keep expecting different results?

What we are doing right now is not working.  We are in the midst of a long-term economic decline.  Both major political parties have been fundamentally wrong about the economy.  It is time to admit that.

If we continue on this path, poverty in America is going to continue to get a lot worse.  Millions of families will be torn apart and millions of lives will be destroyed.

America please wake up.

Time is running out.

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