Did you know that almost 70 percent of the U.S. population is essentially living paycheck to paycheck? As you will see below, a brand new survey has found that 69 percent of all Americans have less than $1,000 in savings. Of course one of the primary reasons for this is that most of us are absolutely drowning in debt. In fact, the total amount of household debt in the United States now exceeds 12 trillion dollars. So many Americans are so busy just trying to pay off their existing debts that they can’t even think about saving anything for the future. If economic conditions remain relatively stable, the fact that so many of us are living on the edge probably won’t kill us. But the moment the economy plunges into another 2008-style crisis (or worse), we could be facing a situation where two-thirds of the country is in imminent danger of running out of cash.
If you are living paycheck to paycheck, you live under the constant threat of your life being totally turned upside down if that paycheck ever goes away. During the last crisis, millions of Americans lost their jobs very rapidly, and because so many of them were living paycheck to paycheck all of a sudden large numbers of people couldn’t pay their mortgages. As a result, multitudes of American families went through the extremely painful process of foreclosure.
Unfortunately, it appears that we have not learned anything from the last go around. According to the brand new survey that I mentioned above, 69 percent of all Americans have less than $1,000 in savings…
Last year, GoBankingRates surveyed more than 5,000 Americans only to uncover that 62% of them had less than $1,000 in savings. Last month GoBankingRates again posed the question to Americans of how much they had in their savings account, only this time it asked 7,052 people. The result? Nearly seven in 10 Americans (69%) had less than $1,000 in their savings account.
Breaking the survey data down a bit further, we find that 34% of Americans don’t have a dime in their savings account, while another 35% have less than $1,000. Of the remaining survey-takers, 11% have between $1,000 and $4,999, 4% have between $5,000 and $9,999, and 15% have more than $10,000.
Perhaps the most alarming fact from this survey is that 62 percent of all Americans had less than $1,000 in savings last year. So that means that this number has gotten 7 percent worse over the last 12 months.
How did that happen? I thought the mainstream media was telling us that the economy was getting better…
Look, if you don’t have an emergency fund you are in danger of losing everything. This is a point that I have been making over and over again for years, and in an article about this new survey USA Today made this point very strongly as well…
This data is particularly worrisome since the recommendation is for Americans to have six months in expenses saved in case of an emergency, such as a large medical expense, car repair bill, or losing your job. Without this emergency fund to fall back on, millions of Americans could be risking financial disaster.
As the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, people are constantly asking me what they should do to get prepared for what is coming.
The number one thing that I always suggest is to build up an emergency fund.
In a chaotic situation it is always hard to anticipate accurately what is going to happen, but without a doubt we are all going to need to continue to pay our bills and to buy things for our families during the next crisis.
Yes, someday the U.S. dollar will become rather worthless, but until that happens you are going to need to continue to put a roof over the heads of your family and to put food on the table.
And you are going to need money to do those things.
Some time ago, the Federal Reserve also found that a large percentage of Americans are living on the edge of financial disaster. They discovered that 47 percent of all Americans could not even come up with $400 to pay for an unexpected emergency room visit without borrowing the money or selling something that they own.
If you can’t even come up with $400 you are really hurting, but that is the status of about half the country these days.
We are continually being told that the economy is strong, but that is simply not the truth.
In fact, it turns out that the period from 2005 to 2015 was the worst period for per capita real GDP growth in modern American history. The following comes from Zero Hedge…
- Growth was unusually strong in the 1960s and early 1970s. In every year from 1966 through 1973, per-capita income was up between 30 percent and 40 percent from a decade earlier. Thus, it’s not surprising that many Americans recall this as a great period for the nation’s economy.
- In every year from 1984 to 2007 — a period that economists call the Great Moderation, because of the way both growth and interest rates stabilized — per-person income was up between 20 percent and 30 percent from a decade earlier. That’s ample reason for Americans to view this as a good period for the economy.
- Cumulative per-person growth from 2005 to 2015 was lower than in any prior decade in the sample. That certainly helps explain why many Americans are unhappy with the nation’s recent economic performance.
And as I repeat over and over, Barack Obama is on track to be the one and only president in all of American history to never have a single year when the economy grew by at least 3 percent, and he has had eight years to try to accomplish that feat.
Why doesn’t Donald Trump ever bring up that amazing fact? I would think that he could get a lot of mileage out of that number.
At this point, nobody can deny that the middle class is shrinking. 61 percent of all Americans lived in middle class households in 1971, but now the middle class makes up a minority of the population for the very first time in our history.
Back in 1970, the middle class brought home approximately 62 percent of all income, but today that figure has plummeted to just 43 percent.
Those that are still doing well often dismiss those that are struggling by barking out such phrases as “get a job”, but the truth is that getting a good job is not so easy these days.
The most recent statistics show that there are 7.9 million Americans that are considered to be officially unemployed. When you add that number to the 94.1 million working age Americans that are considered to be “not in the labor force”, you get a grand total of 102 million working age Americans that do not have a job right now.
And just because you do have a job does not mean that everything is okay. As I have discussed previously, 51 percent of all U.S. workers make less than $30,000 a year according to the Social Security Administration.
Everywhere you look things seem to be getting worse and not better. Not too long ago I documented the explosion of tent cities all over the country as poverty continues to rise, and I discussed how one study found that some young women in our impoverished inner cities are so desperate that they are actually trading sex for food.
Sadly, it isn’t just a few hard cases that we are talking about. Even in areas of the country that are supposed to be “doing well” we are seeing record-setting poverty numbers. For example, it was recently reported that the number of New Yorkers sleeping in homeless shelters just set a brand new all-time high, and the number of New York families permanently living in homeless shelters is up 60 percent over the past five years.
If things are this bad during an “economic recovery”, what are they going to look like once the economy really starts imploding?
And considering the fact that almost 70 percent of the population has virtually no savings, could our nation handle an extended economic downturn that may be even worse than what we experienced in 2008 and 2009?
As a nation we truly are living on the edge, and it isn’t going to take very much at all to push us into oblivion.
What can you do when you are working 60 hours a week at three part-time jobs and it is still not enough? In America today, many people have taken on more than one job in a desperate attempt to make ends meet, but they still come up short at the end of the month. And those that are actually working are the fortunate ones, because in one out of every five families in the United States nobody has a job. There are more than 100 million working age Americans that are currently not employed (yes this is true), and as I pointed out yesterday, job cut announcements by major firms are currently running 24 percent ahead of last year’s pace. But unemployment is just part of the overall problem. There is this growing misconception out there that if you “have a job” that you must be doing okay. Unfortunately for the growing number of “working poor” in America, that is not true at all.
Just consider the case of 55-year-old Erlinda Delacruz. At one time she had a good full-time manufacturing job, but then her factory closed down. Millions of other Americans have also seen their good paying jobs sent out of the country in recent years, and yet our politicians refuse to do anything about it. Today, she works 60 hours a week at three different part-time jobs and she still makes less than she once did at the manufacturing plant…
For 15 years, Erlinda Delacruz had a full-time manufacturing job in rural Winters, Texas.
It gave her health benefits and four weeks of paid vacation along with a salary that supported a good life. Then the rug was pulled from under her in 2009, when the plant closed. Since then, it’s been a battle of survival as Delacruz worked a string of part-time jobs. Last summer, she even lost her home to foreclosure.
Delacruz, 55, still works part-time. Except at three different places — Monday through Wednesday she works eight hours a day at a senior citizens center serving meals, and Thursday through Sunday Delacruz divides her time between two other jobs as a cashier at Walmart (WMT) and the Wes-T-Go convenience store.
She told CNN that she lives paycheck to paycheck”, and just like half the country, she is basically flat broke at this point.
Barack Obama promised to be the hero of the working class when he was elected, but it seems like almost everything that he has done has hurt the working class even more.
Take Obamacare for example. Health insurance premiums have soared through the roof since Obamacare was implemented, and many struggling families now find that they can no longer afford health insurance at all.
And many of those that have signed up for Obamacare are often discovering that many doctors and hospitals won’t even accept their coverage. The following comes from the New York Times…
AMY MOSES and her circle of self-employed small-business owners were supporters of President Obama and the Affordable Care Act. They bought policies on the newly created New York State exchange. But when they called doctors and hospitals in Manhattan to schedule appointments, they were dismayed to be turned away again and again with a common refrain: “We don’t take Obamacare,” the umbrella epithet for the hundreds of plans offered through the president’s signature health legislation.
“Anyone who is on these plans knows it’s a two-tiered system,” said Ms. Moses, describing the emotional sting of those words to a successful entrepreneur.
“Anytime one of us needs a doctor,” she continued, “we send out an alert: ‘Does anyone have anyone on an exchange plan that does mammography or colonoscopy? Who takes our insurance?’ It’s really a problem.”
Unfortunately, things are not going to be getting any better for the working class because we have now entered the early stages of the next major economic downturn.
Earlier today, I received an email from someone that works for a very large company that provides produce for some of the biggest grocery chains in America. According to him, there has been a dramatic decline in orders coming in recently, and this is something that didn’t even happen during the depths of the last major recession.
So why in the world would that be happening if the economy was in good shape?
I have been receiving similar anecdotal reports from people all over America. We may not be experiencing a full-blown economic implosion like Venezuela is quite yet, but we are starting to slide in that direction.
And just like in Venezuela and elsewhere around the globe, when economic conditions get harder violent crime goes up. I have warned that this would happen over and over again, and it is already starting to happen in major cities all over the nation…
According to new reports, 2016 is shaping up to be an even more murderous year than last in over two dozen major U.S. cities as homicides rise at their fastest pace yet.
Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas and Las Vegas have seen the worst, all of which experienced increased homicides in 2015, evidenced by acceleration of murders in the first three months of 2016.
Law enforcement officials and experts are saying the increase over the last year is due to many factors, including an uptick in gang and drug-related violence. Yet, many believe cops and citizens are now interacting differently since the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement has shifted attitudes to distrust police.
Of course we haven’t even gotten to the bad stuff yet.
What we have seen so far is just the very beginning of the chaos that is coming to America.
Before I go today, I want to mention a couple of things.
First of all, the Dow was down another 180 points today, and someone out there is betting unprecedented amounts of money that a major market crash is imminent. Just check out this chart. You buy shares of financial instruments such as UVXY because you think that the market is going to implode. So if there is a giant market crash in our very near future, whoever purchased all of those shares of UVXY stands to make an enormous amount of money.
Secondly, I really started to sound the alarm about German banking giant Deutsche Bank back in September. And sure enough – their stock price plunged to an all-time record low earlier this year.
But now the whispers are getting louder that even bigger trouble is ahead for this pillar of the European financial system. The following originally comes from Berenberg analyst James Chappell…
Too many problems still: The biggest problem is that DBK has too much leverage. On our measures, we believe DBK is still over 40x levered. DBK can either reduce assets or increase capital to rectify this. On the first path, the markets do not exist in the size nor pricing to enable it to follow this route. Going down the second path also seems impossible at the moment, as the profitability of the core business is under pressure. Seeking outside capital is also likely to be difficult as management would likely find it hard to offer any type of return on new capital invested.
Keep a close eye on Deutsche Bank. They may very well end up providing us with the next “Lehman Brothers moment” that so many people have been waiting for.
There is so much going on “under the surface” right now, and I am convinced that it will not stay “under the surface” for very much longer.
The global financial system is starting to come apart at the seams even as you read this article, and this is going to have enormous implications for every man, woman and child on the planet in the years ahead.
So as bad as things are for the working class in America right now, the truth is that they are about to get a whole lot worse.
Since the depths of the last recession, the price of ground beef in the United States has doubled. Has your paycheck doubled since then? Even though the Federal Reserve insists that we are in a “low inflation” environment, the government’s own numbers show that the price of ground beef has been on an unprecedented run over the past six years. In early 2009, the average price of a pound of ground beef was hovering near 2 dollars. In February, it hit a brand new all-time record high of $4.238 per pound. Even just 12 months ago, the price of ground beef was sitting at $3.555 per pound. So we are talking about a huge increase. And this hits American families where they really live. Each year, the average American consumes approximately 270 pounds of meat. The only nation in the world that eats more meat than we do is Luxembourg. If the paychecks of American workers were going up fast enough to deal with this increase, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. But of course that is not happening. In an article just last week, I showed that real median household income is a couple thousand dollars lower now than it was during the depths of the last recession. The middle class is being squeezed, and we are rapidly getting to the point where burgers are going to be considered a “luxury” item.
The following chart was posted by the Economic Policy Journal on Wednesday, and it incorporates the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. When I first saw it, I was rather stunned. I knew that the price of ground beef had become rather outrageous in my local grocery stores, but I had no idea just how much damage had been done over the past six years…
The biggest reason why the price of ground beef has been going up is the fact that the U.S. cattle herd has been shrinking. It shrunk seven years in a row, and on January 1st, 2014 it was the smallest that it had been since 1951.
The good news is that the decline appears to have stopped, at least for the moment. According to the Wall Street Journal, the size of the U.S. cattle herd actually increased by 1 percent last year…
The U.S. cattle herd expanded in 2014 for the first time in eight years, offering hope to consumers that beef prices could start to subside after soaring to a series of records.
The nation’s cattle supply increased 1% in the year through Jan. 1 to 89.8 million head, according to data released Friday by the U.S. Agriculture Department, reversing a steady decline fueled by prolonged drought in the southern U.S. Great Plains and industry consolidation that encouraged many ranchers to thin herds.
But an increase of 1 percent is just barely going to keep up with the official population growth rate. If you factor in illegal immigration, we are still losing ground.
And if we have another major drought in cattle country this summer, the cattle herd is going to start shrinking again.
In addition, the price of food overall has been steadily rising for years. Here is a chart that I shared the other day…
It boggles the mind that the Federal Reserve can claim that we are in a “low inflation” environment. Anyone that goes grocery shopping feels the pain of these rising prices every time that they go to the store.
In the list that I put together yesterday, I included the following statistic…
Almost half of all Americans (47 percent) do not put a single penny out of their paychecks into savings.
One of the primary reasons why so many Americans are not saving any money is because many families simply cannot save any money. Their paychecks are stagnant while the cost of living just keeps going up and up.
There simply are not enough “good jobs” out there anymore. Our economy continues to bleed middle class jobs and the competition for the jobs that remain is quite intense.
Do you know what the two most common occupations in America today are?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they are “retail sales clerk” and “cashier”.
And of course neither of those “occupations” pays even close to what is required to support a middle class family.
On average, a retail sales clerk makes $24,020 a year, and a cashier makes $20,670 a year.
Because the quality of our jobs has declined so much, there are millions of American families today in which both the mother and the father are working multiple jobs in a desperate attempt to make ends meet each month.
But don’t worry, the Federal Reserve says that we are nearly at “full employment“, and Barack Obama says that everything is going to be just fine.
Actually, the truth is that things are about to get a lot worse. At this point, we are even getting pessimistic numbers out of the Federal Reserve. Just this week we learned that the Fed is now projecting that economic growth for the first quarter of 2015 will be barely above zero…
From almost 2.5% GDP growth expectations in February, The Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow model has now collapsed its estimates of Q1 GDP growth to just 0.2% – plunging from +1.4% just 2 weeks ago. The reality of plunging capex and no decoupling is starting to rear its ugly head in the hard data and as the sun warms things up, weather will start to lose its ability to sway sentiment.
We are at a turning point. The bubble of false stability that we have been living in is rapidly coming to an end, and when people start to realize that another great economic crisis is coming there is going to be a lot of panic.
And as far as food prices go, they are just going to keep taking a bigger chunk out of all of our wallets.
As high as prices are already, the truth is that your food dollars are never going to go farther than they do right now.
So let us hope for the best, but let us also get prepared for the worst.
When the coming economic crisis strikes, more than half the country is going to be financially wiped out within weeks. At this point, more than 60 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, and a whopping 24 percent of the country has more credit card debt than emergency savings. One of the primary principles that any of these “financial experts” that you see on television will teach you is to have a cushion to fall back on. At the very least, you never know when unexpected expenses like major car repairs or medical bills will come along. And in the event of a major economic collapse, if you do not have any financial cushion at all you will be a sitting duck. Yes, I know that there are millions upon millions of families out there that are just trying to scrape by from month to month at this point. I hear from people that are deeply struggling in this economy all the time. So I don’t blame them for not being able to save lots of money. But if you are in a position to build up an emergency fund, you need to do so. We have been experiencing an extended period of relative economic stability, but it will not last. In fact, the time for getting prepared for the next great economic downturn is rapidly running out, and most Americans are not ready for it at all. The following are 14 signs that most Americans are flat broke and totally unprepared for the coming economic crisis…
#1 According to a survey that was just released, 24 percent of all Americans have more credit card debt than emergency savings.
#2 That same survey discovered that an additional 13 percent of all Americans do not have any credit card debt, but they do not have a single penny of emergency savings either.
#3 At this point, approximately 62 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.
#4 Adults under the age of 35 in the United States currently have a savings rate of negative 2 percent.
#5 More than half of all students in U.S. public schools come from families that are poor enough to qualify for school lunch subsidies.
#6 A study that was conducted last year found that more than one out of every three adults in the United States has an unpaid debt that is “in collections“.
#7 One survey discovered that 52 percent of all Americans really cannot even financially afford the homes that they are living in right now.
#8 According to research conducted by Atif Mian of Princeton University and Amir Sufi of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, 40 percent of Americans could not come up with $2000 right now without borrowing it.
#9 That same study found that 60 percent of Americans could not say yes to the following question…
“Do you have 3 months emergency funds to cover expenses in case of sickness, job loss, economic downturn?”
#10 A different study discovered that less than one out of every four Americans has enough money stored away to cover six months of expenses.
#11 Today, the average American household is carrying a grand total of 203,163 dollars of debt.
#12 It is estimated that less than 10 percent of the entire U.S. population owns any gold or silver for investment purposes.
#13 48 percent of all Americans do not have any emergency supplies in their homes whatsoever.
#14 53 percent of all Americans do not even have a minimum three day supply of nonperishable food and water in their homes.
Perhaps none of this concerns you.
Perhaps you think that this bubble economy can persist indefinitely.
Well, if you won’t listen to the more than 1200 articles that set out the case for the coming economic collapse on my website, perhaps you will listen to former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. The following is what he recently told one interviewer…
We asked him where he thought the gold price will be in five years and he said “measurably higher.”
In private conversation I asked him about the outstanding debts… and that the debt load in the U.S. had gotten so great that there has to be some monetary depreciation. Specially he said that the era of quantitative easing and zero-interest rate policies by the Fed… we really cannot exit this without some significant market event… By that I interpret it being either a stock market crash or a prolonged recession, which would then engender another round of monetary reflation by the Fed.
He thinks something big is going to happen that we can’t get out of this era of money printing without some repercussions – and pretty severe ones – that gold will benefit from.
And as I have stressed so frequently, the signs that the next crisis is almost here are all around us.
For example, the Baltic Dry Index has just plunged to a fresh record low, and things have already gotten so bad that some global shippers are now filing for bankruptcy…
The unintended consequences of a money-printed, credit-fueled, mal-investment-boom in commodities (prices – as opposed to physical demand per se) and the downstream signals that sent to any and all industries are starting to bite. The Baltic Dry Index has plunged once again to new record lows and the collapse of the non-financialized ‘clean’ indicator of the imbalances between global trade demand and freight transport supply has the real-world effects are starting to be felt, as Reuters reports the third dry-bulk shipper this month has filed for bankruptcy… in what shippers call “the worst market conditions since the ’80s.”
Perhaps you do see things coming.
Perhaps you do want to get prepared.
If you are new to all of this, and you don’t quite know how to get started preparing, please see my previous article entitled “89 Tips That Will Help You Prepare For The Coming Economic Depression“. It will give you some basic tips that you can start implementing right away.
And of course one of the most important things is something that I talked about at the top of this article.
If at all possible, you have got to have an emergency fund. When the coming economic storm strikes, your family is going to need something to fall back on.
If you are trusting in the government to save you when things fall apart, you will be severely disappointed.
It is absolutely amazing what some people will do to make a living in this economy. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and we have not seen this kind of desperation for jobs in America since the Great Depression of the 1930s. What some people are willing to put up with just to bring home a paycheck these days will totally shock you. For example, would you slaughter dogs all day long even though you are really a dog lover? Would you personally train your replacement from China even though you knew he was about to take your job? Would you trade sex for a job? There are people out there actually doing all these things and worse. Every night in America, millions upon millions of people roll around endlessly in their beds and stare at their ceilings for hours because they can’t sleep. They are sick to their stomachs because their money is gone and nobody will hire them. They can’t provide even the basics for their families and they feel worthless. Unemployment can be absolutely soul crushing and it can suck the life right out of you. Things were supposed to be better by now, but they aren’t. The month after Barack Obama took office the unemployment rate broke the 8 percent barrier and it has stayed above it ever since. But the truth is that the “official” unemployment number greatly understates the real amount of suffering that is going on out there. In reality, the percentage of working age Americans that have jobs is lower today than when the last recession ended. There are millions upon millions of Americans that are desperate for some hope, and there is no hope on the horizon. In fact, things are going to be getting a whole lot worse for the U.S. economy.
I like personal stories because they tell us things that all of the economic statistics in the world never could.
There are millions of Americans that have had their lives totally turned upside down by this economy. They feel abandoned and worthless, and many of them feel as though life is no longer worth living.
As you read the following stories, try to put yourself in their shoes and try to feel their pain.
Also, try to remember that these kinds of stories are going to multiply in the years ahead as the U.S. economy falls apart all around us.
A 61-Year-Old Woman Begging For A Job
A recent article posted on gawker.com included the story of a 61-year-old woman who has been through hell and back during this economic downturn….
I sent out close to 500 resumes. Most never were even acknowledged and those that were I was told I was over qualified. When you would press them they would fumble but I was sure my age was part of the “over qualified”. The thoughts of wanting life to be over were with me every day. I wanted the horror to stop. Every time I would hear of the unemployment rates I would cry-what about ME.
At one point she was so desperate she took a job where she was making the decision about what dogs to slaughter at an animal shelter. Approximately 85 percent of the dogs at the shelter ended up being killed, and she was working about 80 hours a week doing this. The really sad part is that she really loves dogs….
In 2008 I was able to get a job at the local shelter as a dog trainer. That turned into a job as an Operations Manager. Though I was thankful for the job we had a euthanasia rate of nearly 85%. I was the one that would be the decision maker on who lives and dies of over 10,000 animals per year and the toll mentally was hard. Being salary I was working nearly 80 hours a week due to shorthanded staff.
After she was fired for not being aggressive enough in killing off dogs, she started endlessly sending out resumes once again. Nobody wants to hire her, and she essentially feels like an old lady begging for a job….
Since February I began sending out 3 resumes a day. As the no return answer, over qualified and now I was getting I was out of engineering too long I started to set my sights lower. I have sent in resumes to sit in the booth in gas stations, secretary and so on. Local colleges have said I am qualified to teach there but they have no openings. I am for all purposes the old lady begging for a job.
Personally Training Their Replacements
If you knew that your company was going to tear down your factory and send your job to China, would you personally train your replacement?
That is what a whole bunch of workers in Illinois are doing.
The following is from a recent article that appeared in the Guardian….
The shock of losing a precious job in a town afflicted by high unemployment is always hard. A foundation for a stable family life and secure home instantly disappears, replaced with a future filled with fears over health insurance, missed mortgage payments and the potential for a slip below the breadline.
But for Bonnie Borman – and 170 other men and women in Freeport, Illinois – there is a brutal twist to the torture. Borman, 52, and the other workers of a soon-to-be-shuttered car parts plant are personally training the Chinese workers who will replace them.
It’s a surreal experience, they say. For months they have watched their plant being dismantled and shipped to China, piece by piece, as they show teams of Chinese workers how to do the jobs they have dedicated their lives to.
Can you imagine that?
Would you be willing to do the same thing just to keep the paychecks coming in for as long as possible?
Sadly, both major political parties are obsessed with promoting unrestricted free trade even though millions of American jobs continue to go overseas.
Our top political candidates even argue about which of them love “free trade” more.
It truly is sickening.
Do you remember when U.S. taxpayers bailed out the auto industry?
Well, since the auto industry bailout approximately 70 percent of all GM vehicles have been built outside the United States.
The insanity has gotten to such a level that some Americans simply cannot take it anymore. Just consider the following example from a recent article by Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele….
On his last day on the job, Kevin Flanagan, after clearing out a few personal effects and putting them in boxes in the back of his Ford Ranger, left the building where he’d worked for seven years.
He settled into the front seat of his pickup truck on the lower level of the company garage, placed a 12-gauge Remington shotgun to his head, and pulled the trigger. He was 41 years old.
He was a computer programmer. He’d been a programmer his entire working life. Until, that is, his job was shipped overseas. The business of moving traditional U.S. jobs abroad-called “outsourcing”-has been one of this country’s few growth industries. It’s the ultimate short-sighted business promoted by the country’s elite because it means lower wages and fatter profits. As for the American workers eliminated along the way, they are just collateral damage.
It turns out that Kevin’s replacement was a programmer from India that he personally trained.
Trading Sex For A Job
If you were truly desperate, would you trade sex for a job?
I hope not, but that is exactly what some Americans are doing.
The following is a story from a desperate unemployed woman that was posted on gawker.com recently….
I have been very depressed since I lost my job. I go through periods where I spend most of my days in bed, and although I’ve had a few interviews those people don’t even have the decency to let you know the position is filled. Sometimes I’d call for weeks asking for updates only to get the HR persons voicemail, and they’d never return my calls. With no experience I can’t even get a job waiting tables. I apply to every job in the paper and online, whether I’m qualified or not, and have had 7 interviews total, none of which ended with a job offer. Living paycheck to paycheck would be a blessing at this point.
She has become so desperate that she is even willing to trade her body for a paycheck….
The current ‘bright side’ is that I know someone who owns a small retail clothing chain and has offered me a minimum wage job there on the condition that we become ‘close friends’. I think you & I both know what that entails, but at this time in my life it seems like a better alternative than losing the little that I have. I’d have a paycheck equal to what I am getting on unemployment with the opportunity for overtime and advancements, full benefits and a schedule that would allow me to continue schooling.
A Lot More Layoffs Coming Soon
The frightening thing is that a whole lot more layoffs are on the horizon.
Just check out this excerpt from a recent article on thehill.com….
Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney are going forward with plans to issue layoff notices to thousands of employees due to looming defense cuts under sequestration, despite administration claims that such warnings are unnecessary.
So how many jobs will be lost?
Unfortunately, it is being projected that we could be looking at a million jobs lost….
Top industry officials have said publicly that automatic cut under sequestration could lead to the loss of 1 million defense-related jobs.
Industry leaders and their supporters in Congress say those job losses would hit battleground states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Florida particularly hard.
Like I have written about before, we simply cannot continue to steal more than a trillion dollars from future generations every single year, but when we do make deep cuts to the federal budget the economic pain is going to be immense.
We already have more than 100 million Americans on welfare.
What is this country going to look like if things get even worse?
The good news is that if you do lose your job and your home you might have somewhere to sleep. New York City is opening up a bunch of new homeless shelters….
New York City has opened nine new shelters in the last two months in efforts to handle the city’s rapidly growing homeless population, officials said.
The city recorded 43,731 homeless people in shelters this week, which is up 18 percent from the 37,143 at the same time last year, The New York Times reported.
So don’t get too down.
If you can’t find a job and you can’t afford a home perhaps you can at least get into one of those shiny new homeless shelters.
Seriously, I don’t actually want anyone reading this to end up in a homeless shelter.
That is why I endlessly urge people to adjust their priorities and to work as hard as they can right now to prepare for the very hard economic times that are coming.
Now is not the time to be going on expensive vacations and now is not the time to be blowing your money on all kinds of stupid stuff.
We are moving into the most difficult times that any of us have ever seen, and if you do nothing to prepare yourself you will be very sorry.
The crumbling U.S. economy is putting an extraordinary amount of financial stress on American families. For many Americans, “flat broke” has become a permanent condition. Today, over half of all American families live paycheck to paycheck. Unemployment is rampant and those that do actually have jobs are finding that their wages are rising much more slowly than prices are. The financial condition of average American families continues to decline and this is showing up in all of the recent surveys. For example, according to a new Gallup poll, “lack of money/low wages” is the number one financial concern for American families. To make ends meet, many American families are going into even more debt and more American families than ever are turning to government assistance. Right now, more Americans than at any other point since World War II are flat broke and have lost hope. Until this changes, the frustration level in this country is going to continue to grow.
The following are 10 facts about the financial condition of American families that will blow your mind…..
#1 Only 58 percent of Americans have a job right now.
#2 Only 56 percent of Americans are currently covered by employer-provided health insurance.
#3 The median yearly wage in the United States is $26,261.
#4 The average American household is carrying $75,600 in debt.
#5 Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.
#6 At this point, American families are approximately 7.7 trillion dollars poorer than they were back in early 2007.
#7 The poorest 50% of all Americans now own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.
#8 According to one study, approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States were living below the poverty line in 2010.
#9 Today, there are more than 44 million Americans on food stamps, and nearly half of them are children.
#10 According to Newsweek, close to 20 percent of all American men between the ages of 25 and 54 do not have a job at the moment.
So what is causing all of this?
Where in the world did all of the good jobs go?
Well, the truth is that millions of them have been shipped overseas.
Our politicians promised us that merging our economy with the economies of other nations where it is legal to pay slave labor wages to workers would not create more unemployment inside America.
They were dead wrong.
Now we are being told that we just need to accept a lower standard of living.
For example, billionaire Howard Marks says that it is time for all of us to just accept that the standard of living of American workers is inevitably going to decline to the level of the rest of the world….
“In addition to balancing the budget and growing the economy, I think we have to accept that the coming decades are likely to see U.S. standards of living decline relative to the rest of the world. Unless our goods offer a better cost/benefit bargain, there’s no reason why American workers should continue to enjoy the same lifestyle advantage over workers in other countries. I just don’t expect to hear many politicians own up to this reality on the stump.”
Are you willing to accept that?
Well, most Americans appear to be willing to accept this “new reality” because they keep sending most of the exact same bozos back to Washington D.C.
Meanwhile, the job losses continue to get worse. As I wrote about the other day, as the U.S. economy has started to slow down again we are starting to see another huge wave of layoffs all over America.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out where all of our jobs are going. But unfortunately, most Americans don’t understand what is happening because neither the mainstream media nor our politicians are telling them the truth.
For much more on how millions of our good jobs are being shipped out of the country, please see another article I recently published entitled “How Globalism Has Destroyed Our Jobs, Businesses And National Wealth In 10 Easy Steps“.
But it is not just the globalization of the economy that is destroying our jobs.
The federal government bureaucracy has become so oppressive that it is amazing that anyone is still willing to hire workers in this day and age.
Hiring workers has become so complicated and so expensive that many small business owners want to avoid it at all cost.
For example, a small business owner identified as “007” recently left the following comment on one of my recent articles….
Speaking as a small employer, I would rather have a root canal than another employee. Let’s see. You first have to hire someone you trust without some labor lawyer suing you for some type of discrimination. Then you have OSHA to make sure your work place is safe. Then you have workmans compensation insurance, unemployment taxes, health insurance, liability insurance, now Obamacare. Oh be careful not to be deemed to have a “hostile work environment”. Then you have to negotiate the labor laws. The Department of Labor is constantly cranking out regulation.
Then you get the pleasure of paying payroll taxes both state and federal along with the required filing of a multitude of payroll forms. Miss filing or paying these taxes and you will be crushed with interest and penalties.
Of course, you are competing with businesses that can hire at a fraction of the cost of American Labor and with very little regulations. In this economy, no one in their right mind is hiring into this unstable and declining economy.
If business turns down all you have to worry about is laying off workers. Of course your unemployment insurance tax will go up 200% for years. Then you only have to then worry about a wrongful termination law suit.
The entire system is stacked against American workers.
If you are a blue collar worker, you should give up hope that things are going to get better. The system has failed you.
You can stop waiting for the “good jobs” to come back.
They aren’t coming back.
That is one reason why I try to encourage everyone to become more independent of the system.
As our economic system continues to degenerate, Americans are going to become increasingly desperate.
Sadly, desperate people do desperate things. Already we are starting to see signs that the fabric of American society is starting to be ripped to shreds.
So what is going to happen if the economy gets even worse?
There is a limit to how many people we can actually put in prison. The reality is that the number of Americans in prison has nearly tripled since 1987.
Our prisons are already dangerously overcrowded. As society falls apart, many communities will simply not be able to shove more people behind bars.
Even with our prisons stuffed to the gills, many of our largest cities continue to be transformed into absolute hellholes.
Detroit is now the 3rd most dangerous city on the entire planet and New Orleans is now the 9th most dangerous city on the entire planet.
So what are our leaders doing about all of this?
Well, they appear to be too busy fighting with each other and cheating on their wives to do much about our problems.
According to Politico, U.S. Representative David Wu is the latest member of Congress to be accused of a sex scandal….
Rep. David Wu has been accused of an “unwanted sexual encounter” with the teenage daughter of a longtime friend, the latest scandal to engulf the troubled Oregon Democrat.
This country is a complete and total mess. Tens of millions of American families are flat broke and are about to slip into poverty. Meanwhile, our politicians continue to prove that they are some of the most corrupt on the planet.
There are many out there that still believe that America has a bright future ahead.
It is getting really hard to see why anyone could possibly believe that.
Barack Obama recently made the following statement to American families that are struggling to survive in this economy: “If you’re a family trying to cut back, you might skip going out to dinner, or you might put off a vacation.” A few days after making that statement Obama sent his wife and children off on yet another vacation, this time to a luxury ski hotel in Vail, Colorado. But the Obamas are not the only ones enjoying the high life. Wealthy corporate executives and greedy Wall Street fatcats insist that profit margins are too tight to hire more American workers, and yet sales of luxury cars, private jets and vacation homes are soaring. Meanwhile, most American families are going through economic hell right now. In 2010, more Americans than ever before were living below the poverty line. Over 4 million Americans have been unemployed for more than a year, and over 5 million Americans are at least two months behind on their mortgage payments. As the Obamas and wealthy corporate executives jet off to fancy ski resorts, half of all American workers are earning $505 or less per week and 55 percent of American families are living paycheck to paycheck. Something is very wrong with this picture.
So is there anything wrong with working hard and enjoying the fruits of success? Of course not, as long as it was done honestly and not on the backs of the American taxpayers. But the truth is that many of the corporate executives that are enjoying luxury vacations right now would not even have companies to run if the American taxpayers had not stepped in and bailed them out during the financial crisis. Thanks to the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve, Wall Street bankers and top corporate executives are once again enjoying bonuses that most of us would consider obscene.
Meanwhile, most of the rest of the country is suffering very deeply.
Over the past several decades, the biggest financial institutions and the biggest corporations have worked really hard to “fix” the rules of the game in their favor. The truth is that our economy is no longer a “free market” capitalist system. Rather, what we have now is more accurately described as “corporatism” or “neo-feudalism”. The big corporations dominate almost everything, and whatever they don’t dominate the government does.
One of the key features of a “corporatist” system is that it tends to funnel all the wealth to the very top.
Back in 1976, the top 1 percent of earners in the United States took in 8.9 percent of all income. By 2007, that number had risen to 23.5 percent.
There are two different Americas today. There is the America of the gated communities, the private planes and the good life, and there is the America of declining wages, thrift stores and rising desperation.
What is saddest of all is that the most vulnerable people in society often suffer the most from all of this.
According to one recent study, approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States were living below the poverty line in 2010.
Do you think that the Obamas are thinking about any of this while they are enjoying their stay at a luxury ski hotel in Vail, Colorado?
The truth is that leadership is not just about words. Leadership is about setting an example.
Back in August, Michelle Obama took her daughter Sasha and 40 of her friends for a vacation in Spain.
So what was the bill to the taxpayers for that little jaunt across the pond?
It is estimated that vacation alone cost U.S. taxpayers $375,000.
Hey, Barack Obama won the most votes in 2008 and so if he wants his family to get as much enjoyment out of these four years as they can that is his prerogative.
However, if he wants to tell American families that they “might put off a vacation” after all the vacations that the Obamas have taken over the past two years then he is just being a massive hypocrite.
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.
During his first two years in office, he also managed to play 29 rounds of golf.
Oh, but it is the rest of us that have to cut back on our vacations.
But it is not just the Obamas that are enjoying the high life right now.
The wealthy have recovered nicely from the “recession” and now they are spending money by the gobs once again.
According to Moody’s Analytics, the wealthiest 5% of households in the United States account for approximately 37% of all consumer spending.
Life is very good in America if you have got enough money.
A recent article in USA Today detailed some of the things that wealthy corporate executives are spending money on in 2011….
Luxury and high-end marketers have picked up on what they hope is a growing trend, offering products that bank on a looming spending spree. Germany’s PG-Bikes is rolling out the $80,000 Black Trail, a battery-powered bicycle. Swiss watchmaker Richard Mille is selling $525,000 timepieces. Steinway has launched a John Lennon-themed grand piano — at $90,000 and up. After selling out a $245,000 model, automaker Porsche is planning the 918 Spyder, a hybrid car that could sell for more than $630,000.
Nearly all luxury brands experienced a resurgence in 2010. Just check out some of the sales increases for luxury car brands….
At the exact same time, however, life is getting really, really hard for the rest of America.
As I wrote about yesterday, the U.S. middle class continues to be decimated even in the midst of this “economic recovery”.
There are tens of millions of Americans that would like to have a full-time job that are not able to get a full-time job. The number of Americans on food stamps has gone from about 26 million at the start of 2007 to 43 million today and it continues to set a brand new record every single month. One out of every six Americans is now enrolled in at least one anti-poverty program run by the federal government.
Our economy has become a complete and total nightmare.
Over the past couple of days some of the readers of this column have been sharing some of their economic horror stories. But they are far from alone. There are literally millions of Americans with economic horror stories out there. It is just that we don’t get to hear too many stories from the “other America” on our televisions.
The following stories of economic pain are from people just like you and me. Times are incredibly hard for most of America right now, and they are only getting harder with each passing month….
My mother is unemployed. She is 61 years old, has 25 years of experience working for a major telecommunications corporation, and has a four-year degree. I watch her send application after application to employers with no response. I watch her get contacted by recruiters who say she is a ‘perfect fit’ for a job and never deliver. I watch her slide into depression and staying in bed many hours of the day.
I am 38 years old, I have mental illness, and I recently lost my job as a delivery driver because the owner sold his business to a competitor.
I don’t believe that either my mother or I will ever be employed again. I am beginning to feel that I am permanently in the world of the unemployed.
I graduated college in May 2000 with a Bachelors degree in Broadcasting/Minored in History. I have worked for major corporations as an Enterprise Sales Consultant selling Servers. I was a Network Engineer for Qwest Communications. I even worked for the Federal Government and held a Security Clearance for 4 years. I also won Dell Small Business Sales Consultant of the quarter as well. But since I don’t have an active clearance anymore no one wants to hire me in D.C. I lost my job in 07/2010 and from 07/2010-Present I have been unemployed. My food stamps were also recently cut off last month since the State of Virginia decided that for a household of 1 you can’t make more than $1178 a month. I make $1250 a month in Unemployment compensation before taxes so according to the Government I am too rich to receive Food stamps now. My Rent, Gas and Car insurance is $1000 a month and I am holding on for dear life. I am currently in the process of declaring Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and using my tax return to pay the attorney $1500 to file. That leaves me with only #250 a month for food, water and cell phone.
I have a list compiled in my Google email with approximately 784 applications I have filled out for every government agency, defense contractor and job available in the Washington, DC area. I even applied to Carmax and my old job in college waiting tables at red Lobster and the moving company I used to work at during the summers in college. If its bad for someone like me with over 10 years of Sales, Server/computer experience, Investigations and Network Engineering than I can’t imagine how bad it is for people that just have a high school diploma. I have been on one interview out of the almost 1000 jobs I have applied to (It takes about 2 hours to apply to one job). The one interview I went on offered me less than my unemployment gives me at $8 an hour. I can sit at home and make more money on unemployment than 80% of the jobs that I have applied too and even those jobs don’t call me. Is this what America has become? Is this what I sacrificed 5 years of my life in college from 17 years old to 21 years old and spent $40,000 to get a worthless degree that won’t even get you hired?
Well, My family has been ripped to shreds alright.
Overall combined (My father, and myself) make about 60k a year. We can barely survive we keep looking to cut things, and make things cheaper but it’s just not working fast enough.
My wife can’t find a job, and now student loans are starting to become issues. (won’t go in to further details).
Tax returns taken, and various other things, Can’t even afford dental care. We don’t even get to go out anymore, and lucky to get any type of snacks. Just so you know there are 5 people living in this house.
The only reason I am not out on the street is that when I had money I paid off my mortgage.
However, because I did that, my food stamp allotment is only $25 a month. The heating assistance I get only paid for less than one months’ heat out of the six months I need here in Pennsylvania. All other expenses use up what’s left, so you learn to eat at home; I try not to leave the house because it’s going to cost me money.
I blame Congress for destroying America. They have given tax breaks to themselves and their rich friends at our expense. Did you know that anybody who serves 5 years in Congress gets a FULL pension at age 62? Us peasants work for 45 years and then if we retire at age 62 we are forced to give up 25% of what we earned.
I lost my house, my family was split, and all my savings is gone.
I have lost hope. I served in the military, went to college and have high tech skills. My country doesn’t give a ***** about me. The bankers are as evil as the communists and I hate them.
I’m also 38, and have worked in IT since the mid 90s. I lost my full time job in April ’03, and have only been able to find short term temporary work since. The contracts started to get shorter and fewer as the years went on, so in spring ’10 I retrained to be an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) but have not been able to find work in the last 9 months. An ambulance company I applied with said that they have hundreds of applications in several Northern CA counties but no job openings. And health care jobs are supposed to be on the the only areas of growth. I deliver pizzas for cash on and off and am getting unemployment.
I lost track of how many resumes I’ve sent out during the past several months. My neighbors think I’m trying to win the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes or something (yeah, that would help too! Ha!)
Maybe I should go back to school and become an RLP (Rejection Letter Professional).
The rent at the place I lived was so high that I couldn’t afford it on a school bus driver’s salary, which I was doing for the past few years, because in spite of 30 years clerical experience, where I performed every function from clerk typist to executive legal secretary, I could not find employment. So I applied for subsidized housing and was forced to move back to Chicago, where the crime rate is very high in certain areas.
Before I moved I was getting $200 in food stamps, but now that I am in subsidized housing, I have to go and reapply and if I get anything at all, I have heard that it will be about $52 a month! Although the rent is subsidized, I have to pay for my own heat, and the building in which I live is completely electric! Energy assistance doesn’t cover it. They give with one hand and take away with the other.
All of the people above are still “surviving”, but what do you think is going to happen to many of them as the cost of living goes up dramatically? Brent crude just hit $108 a barrel and the UN says that the global price of food recently hit a new all-time high.
Americans on fixed incomes or that are on government assistance are going to be absolutely devastated if prices for basics such as food and gas rise substantially.
Not only that, but budget cuts on the federal, state and local levels are also going to hurt many of these people deeply.
But this is where we are at as a nation. A small privileged class is enjoying the high life while a rapidly growing poverty class pleads for the government to toss them some more crumbs.
The American people deserve better than this. They deserve an economy that will provide them with good jobs which will enable them to pay their mortgages and feed their families.
Unfortunately, the U.S. economy is dying. The number of good jobs is actually declining. The middle class is being systematically wiped out.
The answer is not to “tax the rich” so that we can toss the rapidly growing poverty class a few more crumbs. The answer is to radically transform our economy back into the kind of economy our founding fathers originally intended.
But wealthy corporate executives and politicians such as Barack Obama are not going to have any of that. Those sitting on top don’t want any real change to happen. Sadly, the general population has become so dumbed-down that they don’t even know the questions that they should be asking.
So unfortunately it appears we are going to keep heading down the exact same economic path that we have been heading for decades. The middle class will keep being ripped apart and politicians like George W. Bush and Barack Obama will just keep on smiling.