100 Million Poor People In America And 39 Other Facts About Poverty That Will Blow Your Mind

Every single day more Americans fall into poverty.  This should deeply alarm you no matter what political party you belong to and no matter what your personal economic philosophy is.  Right now, approximately 100 million Americans are either “poor” or “near poor”.  For a lot of people “poverty” can be a nebulous concept, so let’s define it.  The poverty level as defined by the federal government in 2010 was $11,139 for an individual and $22,314 for a family of four.  Could you take care of a family of four on less than $2000 a month?  Millions upon millions of families are experiencing a tremendous amount of pain in this economy, and no matter what “solutions” we think are correct, the reality is that we all should have compassion on them.  Sadly, things are about to get even worse.  The next major economic downturn is rapidly approaching, and when it hits the statistics posted below are going to look even more horrendous.

When it comes to poverty, most Americans immediately want to get into debates about tax rates and wealth redistribution and things like that.

But the truth is that they are missing the main point.

The way we slice up the pie is not going to solve our problems, because the pie is constantly getting smaller.

Our economic infrastructure is being absolutely gutted, the U.S. dollar is slowly losing its status as the reserve currency of the world and we are steadily getting poorer as a nation.

Don’t be fooled by the government statistics that show a very small amount of “economic growth”.  Those figures do not account for inflation.

After accounting for inflation, our economic growth has actually been negative all the way back into the middle of the last decade.

According to numbers compiled by John Williams of shadowstats.com, our “real GDP” has continually been negative since 2005.

So that means we are getting poorer as a nation.

Meanwhile, we have been piling up astounding amounts of debt.

40 years ago the total amount of debt in the United States (government, business and consumer) was less than 2 trillion dollars.

Today it is nearly 55 trillion dollars.

So we have a massive problem.

Our economic pie is shrinking and millions of Americans have been falling out of the middle class.  Meanwhile, we have been piling up staggering amounts of debt in order to maintain our vastly inflated standard of living.  As our economic problems get even worse, those trends are going to accelerate even more.

So don’t look down on the poor.  You might be joining them a lot sooner than you might think.

The following are 40 facts about poverty in America that will blow your mind….

#1 In the United States today, somewhere around 100 million Americans are considered to be either “poor” or “near poor”.

#2 It is being projected that when the final numbers come out later this year that the U.S. poverty rate will be the highest that it has been in almost 50 years.

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

#4 Today, one out of every four workers in the United States brings home wages that are at or below the poverty level.

#5 According to the Wall Street Journal, 49.1 percent of all Americans live in a home where at least one person receives financial benefits from the government.  Back in 1983, that number was below 30 percent.

#6 It is projected that about half of all American adults will spend at least some time living below the poverty line before they turn 65.

#7 Today, there are approximately 20.2 million Americans that spend more than half of their incomes on housing.  That represents a 46 percent increase from 2001.

#8 During 2010, 2.6 million more Americans fell into poverty.  That was the largest increase that we have seen since the U.S. government began keeping statistics on this back in 1959.

#9 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the percentage of “very poor” rose in 300 out of the 360 largest metropolitan areas during 2010.

#10 Since Barack Obama became president, the number of Americans living in poverty has risen by 6 million and the number of Americans on food stamps has risen by 14 million.

#11 Right now, one out of every seven Americans is on food stamps and one out of every four American children is on food stamps.

#12 It is projected that half of all American children will be on food stamps at least once before they turn 18 years of age.

#13 The poverty rate for children living in the United States is 22 percent, although when the new numbers are released in the fall that number is expected to go even higher.

#14 One university study estimates that child poverty costs the U.S. economy 500 billion dollars a year.

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

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

#17 According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 36.4 percent of all children that live in Philadelphia are living in poverty, 40.1 percent of all children that live in Atlanta are living in poverty, 52.6 percent of all children that live in Cleveland are living in poverty and 53.6 percent of all children that live in Detroit are living in poverty.

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

#19 Child homelessness in the United States has risen by 33 percent since 2007.

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

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

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

#23 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.

#24 A lot of younger Americans have found that they cannot make it on their own in this economy.  Today, approximately 25 million American adults are living with their parents.

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

#26 Amazingly, the wealthiest 1 percent of all Americans own more wealth than the bottom 95 percent combined.

#27 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.

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

#29 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.

#30 Right now, the United States actually has a higher percentage of workers doing low wage work than any other major industrialized nation does.

#31 Half of all American workers earn $505 or less per week.

#32 In 1970, 65 percent of all Americans lived in “middle class neighborhoods”.  By 2007, only 44 percent of all Americans lived in “middle class neighborhoods”.

#33 Federal housing assistance outlays increased by a whopping 42 percent between 2006 and 2010.

#34 Approximately 50 million Americans do not have any health insurance at all right now.

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

#36 It is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.

#37 Back in 1990, the federal government accounted for 32 percent of all health care spending in America.  Today, that figure is up to 45 percent and it is projected to surpass 50 percent very shortly.

#38 Overall, the amount of money that the federal government gives directly to the American people has risen by 32 percent since Barack Obama entered the White House.

#39 It was recently reported that 1.5 million American families live on less than two dollars a day (before counting government benefits).

#40 The unemployment rate in the U.S. has been above 8 percent for 40 months in a row, and 42 percent of all unemployed Americans have been out of work for at least half a year.

Recently, I wrote a long article about why there will never be enough jobs in the United States ever again.

That means that a whole lot of Americans are not going to be able to take care of themselves.

As our economy gets even worse, there is going to be a tremendous need for more love, compassion and generosity all over the country.

Don’t be afraid to lend a helping hand, because someday you may need one yourself.

Many Of You Will Not Believe Some Of The Things Americans Are Doing Just To Survive

You might not want to read this article if you have a weak stomach.  Most Americans have absolutely no idea what is going on in the dark corners of America, and when people find out the truth it can come as quite a shock.  Many of you will not believe some of the things Americans are doing just to survive.  Some families are living in sewers and drain tunnels, some families are living in tents, some families are living in their cars, some families will make ketchup soup for dinner tonight and some families are even eating rats.  Some homeless shelters in America are so overloaded that they are actually sending people out to live in the woods.  As you read this, there are close to 50 million Americans that are living below the poverty line, and that number rises a little bit more every single day.  America was once known as the greatest nation on earth, but now there is decay and economic despair almost everywhere you look.  Yes, money certainly cannot buy happiness, but the lack of it sure can bring a lot of pain.  As the economy continues to decline, the suffering that we see all around us is going to get a lot worse, and that is a very frightening thing to think about.

The following is a half hour documentary produced by the BBC entitled “Poor America”.  Trust me, this is a must watch.  Your heart will break as you hear some American children talk about what they have to do for food….

Wasn’t that video absolutely mind blowing?

Those of us that still live comfortably are often completely unaware of what life is like out on the streets of America at this point.

There are millions upon millions of Americans that have lost all hope and that are living on the very edge of life and death.

And more join the ranks of the hopeless with each passing day.  This upcoming weekend approximately 80,000 people in the state of Michigan will lose their unemployment benefits.

So what are those people going to do after that?

They have already been unable to find work month after month.  Their savings are most certainly gone.  Now the only money they had coming in is going to be eliminated.

Yes, I have written many times about how the U.S. government is absolutely drowning in debt and cannot afford to be giving out so much money.  My point here is to show the other side of the equation.  There are millions upon millions of Americans that are barely hanging on and there are no jobs for them.  The suffering that those families are going through is very real.

Millions of other families are trying to get by on the incomes they pull in from part-time jobs.  According to Gallup, the percentage of Americans that are working part-time jobs but that would like full-time jobs is now higher than it has been at any other time in the last two years.  The number of the “working poor” just continues to increase, but most Americans don’t have much sympathy for them because they “have jobs”.

Well, when you are making 8 bucks an hour it can be incredibly tough to make it from month to month.

Just look at how much it costs to buy the basic things that we need.

Without gasoline, most of us would not even be able to get to our jobs.  The price of gasoline has increased 83 percent since Barack Obama first took office, and it is poised to soar even higher.  Right now, the average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States is $3.51.  Never before has the average price of gas gone above $3.50 so early in the year.  Many believe that we could set a new all-time record this summer.

But last year was bad enough.  In 2011, the average American family spent over $4,000 on gasoline.

So when you are making just a few hundred dollars per week, it can be a massive struggle just to put gas in your car and food on the table.

The article that I wrote the other day about the decline of Detroit really struck a nerve.  All over America, people can see similar things happening to their own neighborhoods.  People are scared and they want some answers.

Well, the truth is that we should have never allowed tens of thousands of businesses, millions of jobs and trillions of dollars of our national wealth to be shipped out of the country.

Just check out this stunning photo which compares the decline of Detroit to the rise of Shanghai, China.

Do you think that it is just a coincidence that Detroit is falling apart and that cities in China look sparkly and new?

No, the truth is that it is a natural consequence of our foolish economic policies.

There are hundreds of communities all over the country where third world conditions are setting in.  For example, the following is how one blogger describes what life is like in a decaying suburb of Phoenix called Maryvale….

Crime and gangs are widespread. Most houses have either fallen into disrepair, or been remade with outside walls sporting spikes and ironwork. Many of the front lawns are now just dirt (or worse, gravel), the pools green and lethal. 

Now we stand on the precipice of another major global financial crisis.  Economic conditions in America are going to become significantly worse.  The politicians in Washington D.C. may make sure that the boys and girls on Wall Street are always taken care of, but there will be no bailouts for the large numbers of Americans that are about to lose their jobs and their homes.

If you want an idea of what is coming, just look at what is happening in Greece.  25 percent of the businesses have shut down, one-third of all money has been pulled out of Greek bank accounts and unemployment and poverty are absolutely rampant.

For years, a lot of prominent voices out there were screaming and yelling about the dangers posed by our soaring trade deficits and our soaring budget deficits.

But the American people did not listen.  They just kept sending the same politicians back to Washington D.C. over and over.

As a result, soon millions of those same Americans will find themselves doing things that they never dreamed that they would do just to survive.

Mega Fail: 17 Signs That The European Financial System Is Heading For An Implosion Of Historic Proportions

What happens when you attempt a cold shutdown of one of the biggest debt spirals that the world has ever seen?  Well, we are about to find out.  The politicians in Europe have decided that they are going to “take their medicine” and put strict limits on budget deficits.  They have also decided that the European Central Bank is not going to engage in reckless money printing to “paper over” the debts of troubled nations.  This may all sound wonderful to many of you, but the reality is that there is always a tremendous amount of pain whenever a massive debt spiral is interrupted.  Just look at what happened to Greece.  Greece was forced to raise taxes and implement brutal austerity measures.  That caused the economy to slow down and tax revenues to decline and so government debt figures did not improve as much as anticipated.  So Greece was forced to implement even more brutal austerity measures.  Well, that caused the economy to slow down even more and tax revenues declined again.  In Greece this cycle has been repeated several times and now Greece is experiencing a full-blown economic depression.  100,000 businesses have closed and a third of the population is living in poverty.  But now Germany and France intend to impose the “Greek solution” on the rest of Europe.  This is going to create the conditions needed for a “perfect storm” to develop and it means that the European financial system is heading for an implosion of historic proportions.

The easiest way to deal with a debt spiral is to let it keep going and going.  That is what the United States has done.  Sure, “kicking the can down the road” makes the crisis much worse in the long run, but bringing the pain into the present is not a lot of fun either.

Europe has decided to do something that is unprecedented in the post-World War II era.  They have decided to put very strict limits on budget deficits and to impose tough sanctions on any nations that break the rules.  They have also decided that they are not going to allow the European Central Bank to fund the debts of troubled nations with reckless money printing.

Without a doubt, this is a German solution for a German-dominated Europe.  Germany does not want to pay for the debt mistakes of other EU nations, and so they are shoving bitter austerity down the throats of those that have gotten into too much debt.

But this solution is not going to be implemented without a massive amount of pain.

In fact, this solution is going to make a massive financial collapse much more likely.  The following are 17 signs that the European financial system is heading for an implosion of historic proportions….

#1 As noted above, when you reduce government spending you also slow down the economy.  We have already seen what brutal austerity has done to Greece – 100,000 businesses have shut down, a third of the population is living in poverty and there is rioting in the streets.  Now that brand of brutal austerity is going to be imposed in almost every single nation in Europe.

#2 As the economy slows down in Europe, unemployment will rise.  There are already 10 different European nations that have an “official” unemployment rate of over 10 percent and the next recession has not even officially started yet.

#3 Before it is all said and done, the EU nations that are drowning in debt will likely need trillions of euros in bailout money just to survive.  But at this point Germany and the other wealthy nations of northern Europe are sick and tired of bailouts and do not plan to hand over trillions of euros.

#4 The European Central Bank could theoretically print up trillions of euros and buy up massive amounts of European sovereign debt, but this would go against existing treaties and most of the major politicians in Europe are steadfastly against this right now.  But without such intervention it is hard to see how the ECB will be able to keep bond yields from absolutely skyrocketing for long.  In fact, without massive ECB intervention it is hard to see how the eurozone is going to be able to stay together at all.  Graeme Leach, the chief economist at the Institute of Directors, said the following recently….

“Unless the ECB begins to operate as a sovereign lender of last resort function, with massive purchases of eurozone public debt, the inexorable logic is that the eurozone will break up.”

#5 European leaders are hoping that the new treaty that was just agreed to will be ratified by the end of the summer.  In reality, it will probably take much longer than that.  German Chancellor Angela Merkel has made it clear that the solution to this debt crisis is going to take a long time to implement….

“It’s a process, and this process will take years.”

Unfortunately, Europe does not have years.  Europe is rapidly running out of time.  A massive financial crisis is steamrolling right at them and they need solutions right now.

#6 Sadly, the cold, hard reality of the matter is that none of the fundamental problems that Europe is facing were fixed by this recent “agreement” as Ambrose Evans-Pritchard recently noted in one of his columns….

There is no shared debt issuance, no fiscal transfers, no move to an EU Treasury, no banking licence for the ESM rescue fund, and no change in the mandate of the European Central Bank.

In short, there is no breakthrough of any kind that will convince Asian investors that this monetary union has viable governance or even a future.

Germany has kept the focus exclusively on fiscal deficits even though everybody must understand by now that this crisis was not caused by fiscal deficits (except in the case of Greece). Spain and Ireland were in surplus, and Italy had a primary surplus.

#7 Nobody wants to lend to European banks right now.  Everyone knows that there are dozens of European banks in danger of failing, and nobody wants to throw any more money into those black holes.  The U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank have been lending them money, but a lot of European banks are already starting to run out of “acceptable forms of collateral” for those loans as one Australian news source recently explained….

“If anyone thinks things are getting better, they simply don’t understand how severe the problems are,” a London executive at a global bank said. “A major bank could fail within weeks.”

Others said many continental banks, including French, Italian and Spanish lenders, were close to running out of the acceptable forms of collateral, such as US Treasury bonds, that could be used to finance short-term loans.

Some have been forced to lend out their gold reserves to maintain access to US dollar funding.

So will the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank keep lending them money once they are out of acceptable collateral?

If not, we could start to see banks fail in rapid succession.

Charles Wyplosz, a professor of international economics at Geneva’s Graduate Institute, is absolutely certain that we are going to see some major European banks collapse….

“Banks will collapse, including possibly a number of French banks that are very exposed to Greece, Portugal, Italy and Spain.”

#8 Not only does nobody want to lend money to them, major banks all over Europe are also dramatically cutting back on lending to consumers and businesses as they attempt to meet new capital-adequacy requirements by next June.

According to renowned financial journalist Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, European banks need to reduce the amount of lending on their books by about 7 trillion dollars in order to get down to safe levels….

Europe’s banks face a $7 trillion lending contraction to bring their balance sheets in line with the US and Japan, threatening to trap the region in a credit crunch and chronic depression for a decade.

When nobody wants to lend to the banks, and when the banks severely cut back on lending to others, that is called a “credit crunch”.  In such an environment, it is incredibly difficult to avoid a major recession.

#9 European banks are absolutely overloaded with “toxic assets” that they are desperate to get rid of.  Just as we saw with U.S. banks back in 2008, major European banks are busy trying to unload mountains of worthless assets that have a book value of trillions of euros.  Unfortunately for the banks, virtually nobody wants to buy them.

#10 European bond yields are still incredibly high even though the European Central Bank has spent over 274 billion dollars buying up European government bonds.

Up until now, the European Central Bank has been taking money out of the system (by taking deposits or by selling assets for example) whenever it injects new money into the system by buying bonds.  That makes this different from the quantitative easing that the U.S. Federal Reserve has done.  But at some point the European Central Bank is going to run out of ways to take money out of the system, and when that happens either the Germans will have to allow the ECB to print money out of thin air to buy bonds with or we will finally see the market determine the true value of European government bonds.

#11 Bond yields are going to become even more important in 2012, because huge mountains of European sovereign debt are scheduled to be rolled over next year.  For example, Italy must roll over approximately 20 percent of its entire sovereign debt during 2012.

#12 Once the new treaty is ratified, eurozone governments will lose the power to respond to a major recession by dramatically increasing government spending.  So if the governments of Europe cannot spend more money in response to the coming financial crisis, and if the ECB cannot print more money in response to the coming financial crisis, then what is going to keep the coming recession from turning into a full-blown depression?

#13 Credit rating agencies are warning that more credit downgrades may be coming in Europe. For example, Moody’s recently stated the following….

“While our central scenario remains that the euro area will be preserved without further widespread defaults, shocks likely to materialise even under this ‘positive’ scenario carry negative credit and rating implications in the coming months. And the longer the incremental approach to policy persists, the greater the likelihood of more severe scenarios, including those involving multiple defaults by euro area countries and those additionally involving exits from the euro area.”

#14 S&P has put 15 members of the eurozone (including Germany) on review for a possible credit downgrade.

#15 The stock prices of many major European banks are in the process of collapsing.  If you doubt this, just check out the charts in this article.

#16 Bank runs have begun in some parts of Europe.  For example, a recent article posted on Yahoo News described what has been going on in Latvia….

Latvia’s largest bank scrambled Monday to head off a run among depositors who were gripped by rumours of the bank’s imminent ruin.

Weekend rumours that Swedbank was facing legal and liquidity problems in Estonia and Sweden sent thousands of Latvians to bank machines on Sunday, with some lines reaching as many as 50 people.

The Greek banking system is literally on the verge of collapse.  According to a recent Der Spiegel article, the run on Greek banks is rapidly accelerating….

He means that the outflow of funds from Greek bank accounts has been accelerating rapidly. At the start of 2010, savings and time deposits held by private households in Greece totalled €237.7 billion — by the end of 2011, they had fallen by €49 billion. Since then, the decline has been gaining momentum. Savings fell by a further €5.4 billion in September and by an estimated €8.5 billion in October — the biggest monthly outflow of funds since the start of the debt crisis in late 2009.

#17 There are already signs that European economic activisty (as well as global economic activity) is really starting to slow down.  Just consider the following statistics from a recent article by Stephen Lendman….

In November, French business confidence fell for the eighth consecutive month. In October, Japanese machinery orders dropped 6.9%, following an 8.2% plunge in September.

South Africa just reported a 5.6% drop in manufacturing activity. Britain recorded a 0.7% decline. China’s October exports fell 1.7% after dropping 3.8% in September.

Korea’s exports are down three consecutive months. Singapore’s were off in September and October. Indonesia’s plunged 8.5% in October after slipping 2% in September. India’s imploded 18.3% after being flat in September.

Are you starting to get the picture?

Europe is in a massive amount of trouble.

The equation is simple….

Brutal austerity + toxic levels of government debt + rising bond yields + a lack of confidence in the financial system + banks that are massively overleveraged + a massive credit crunch = A financial implosion of historic proportions

Unless something truly dramatic happens, the economy of Europe is a dead duck.

There is no way that Europe is going to be able to substantially reduce the flow of money coming from national governments and substantially reduce the flow of money coming from the banks and still be able to avoid a major recession.

Look, I want it to be very clear that I am in no way advocating government debt in this article.  It is just that under the debt-based monetary paradigm that we are all operating under, there is no way that you can dramatically reduce government spending without experiencing a whole lot of pain.

An economic “perfect storm” is developing in Europe.  All of the things that need to happen for a major recession to occur are falling into place.

So does anyone out there disagree with me?  Does anyone think that Europe is going to be just fine?

Please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts below….

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