Was The Economic Nightmare We Are About To Experience Foreseeable By Anyone With Half A Brain?

Has the economic nightmare that America is now entering been completely and totally foreseeable to anyone who was willing to look at the facts objectively?  Has the generation now running the United States recklessly destroyed the financial future of us all?  Will future generations look back and curse those who lived at this time for saddling them with so much debt?  When it comes to the financial condition of this country, most people want to make it into a Republican/Democrat thing, but the truth is that both parties have done a miserable job of managing the nation’s finances.  It would have been very helpful if at least one of the political parties had been the least bit interested in getting America’s financial house in order, but that was not the case.  Instead, both Republicans and Democrats worked together to pile up the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world.  They worked together to build a “global economy” that shipped a huge percentage of our manufacturing overseas.  They worked together to build a system that highly favors the biggest corporations and the international banking elite.  Now American stands on the precipice of a devastating economic collapse, and many of our politicians seem actually shocked about what is happening.

But they shouldn’t be.  All of this has been building for a long, long time.  All of this was avoidable.  The fact that the economic problems of the United States have been so clearly foreseeable and yet nothing was done to stop them has a lot of people very, very upset.  Among those who are extremely upset are some of our readers…..

Suetonious:

How long has this been obvious? Certainly was obvious to me even in the 80’s. The demographics just weren’t there to support my generation. But I knew implicitly that we would be the ones stuck with the bill – with the scumbags in DC turning around, right about now, to tell us with feigned shock – “Gee, there’s no money for you guys! How did that happen?”

I could lay all the blame on these criminals, and most of it DOES lay with them. However, I have also directly and constantly experienced wilful obtuseness and ignorance on the part of Americans, with their fingers in their ears and their tongues flapping about with “LaLaLaLaLa” – every time anyone tries to point out the blatantly obvious regarding the financial End Game.

Americans are about to get what they have denied as impossible because it was not pleasant. Now there’s some real good thinkin’. Hope they get a clue in a hurry. Americans may be decent people – but that don’t count for much when it’s coupled with voluntary pig-ignorance.

Steve:

So many people missing the point…

There are no GOOD jobs out there. People work for money not for jelly beans. Young people are “lazy” because they don’t want to flip burgers for minimum wage or less? Are you Kidding? What percentage of people over 35 are willing to do this? The kid that made my BigMac today looked to be all of 14 so I’m guessing not too many. It’s about the money people! The generation that came before us is the one responsible for rampant inflation, the trade deficit, and the general dismantling of a once great nation and the so called family unit. YOU have left us with NOTHING! YOU have sold our birth right to the highest bidder. YOU have made us the future slaves of Chinese overlords. YOU are the people unwilling to hire the young at a wage they can actually live on.

If you are over 50 and you are reading this have the decency to feel shame for what you’ve done to your children and grandchildren. We are certainly ashamed of YOU!

DavidB:

Wake up – it’s not bloody marxists – it’s your own financial, industrial and political leaders that have caused this mess and you all sat back and revelled in it. For years, America has lived high on the benefits of globalisation (heaps of cheap imports) while not realising that there is a price to pay. That price is the wholesale export of your manufacturing to Asia and Mexico – along with the jobs. These have largely been replaced by low wage service jobs. The only alternative in order to maintain your standard of living has been to resort to debt – hence the credit crunch. The credit crunch is only a symptom.

As a non American – I can only wonder at how you spend more than the rest of the world combined on defence while your economy and financial stability collapses around you.

Dan:

It is clear that it is a combination of many things that have brought us to this point in US. Illegal immigration, huge government intrusion, over-regulation, health care costs, frivolous litigation, etc., I can understand why companies move overseas. Ridiculous taxation, regulation, intrusion, health care mandates, loss of freedom, etc. Just some of the things contributing to US economic trouble.

Get govt. out of the way and private sector would fix most of the problem and most Americans would benefit from the fix. Those left out of the prosperity of America, usually want to be left out. There are exceptions, and injustice it out there. But it isn’t Govt. that should deal with the social ills of our world. Where is the Church?

Lunatic Fringe:

From the edge, a brief explanation…

Anyway that’s the problem. USA debt has the same problem. At 100% debt to GDP, the Fed manufactures money out of debt. The problem is supply. When the world’s greatest economy starts to crater it takes the collective action of every nation in the world to prop us up. So far, Japan, China, and Great Britain have done so. If their economies continue to deteriorate, they won’t be able to. Japan and China are in a death dance with us. To save their existing treasury investments they must continue to invest in us or lose what is on deposit. The USA has an ungodly pipeline debt of 60 trillion coming due and payable in the form of Social Security and Medicare payments. California it seems, is a petri dish, a sneak preview of our coming collapse.

That’s why expressing debt to GDP is really a pretty antiquated way of seeing the problem, although that has been a universally accepted practice. Can we survive at 125% or 150% debt to GDP? Sure. As long as the Fed isn’t audited.

If that audit ever occurs, and TRUST ME IT NEVER WILL, the world will suffer a complete and total collapse. What we don’t know, it seems, isn’t hurting us yet.

Cat Callahan:

One thing that is not allowed is for people to wipe the slate clean and begin again. The republican congress enacted DRACONIAN bankruptcy legislation so that if you declare bankruptcy, your creditors can still come after you indefinitely for collect! Check it out! My husband and I are physically disabled and my husband has a fatal illness. My parents had left a small inheritance for our medical expenses. It is now confiscated before I have even ‘inherited’ it! They want us to have a good life? Bolderdash! Or they wouldn’t allow medical bills that bankrupt the average working person./ Try finding a could where the husband works 2 jobs and the wife three, who live frugally, and still can not pay off medical bills. If I get sick again, I think I will just welcome death.

Rick:

I’m back in school myself working on an associates degree because my “hard-working” and “genius” parents knew exactly what career I was going into. Then, when that didn’t pan out and I wouldn’t continue taking their marching orders, they threw me out on the street to fend for myself. I did that successfully for three years and put up with all their bitching and abuse about not working “hard enough” or “expecting other people to take care of me.”

Fortunately, I discovered that I have a great aunt and uncle who have been letting me live with them and go back to school. I’ve got a decent part time job at the school, but I am barely making enough money to pay rent to them. My advice is don’t give up and don’t be afraid to ask for help from family and friends. I would probably be living in a card board box if not for my aunt and uncle helping me.

For all those people saying why can’t you get 3 or 4 jobs to support yourself, I hate to break it to you, but employers are not going to hire someone who is working at another place and plan their schedule around them. They are only going to hire employees that are available 24/7 and not have to pay them above minimum wage.

This is the major crisis of our times right now. Instead of blaming and bickering, let’s do what we can to help everyone out.

JM Bullion

The Health Care Reform Bill: Welcome To The Biggest Tax Increase In U.S. History

Will the health care reform bill that the Democrats are trying to figure out a way to ram through Congress end up being the biggest tax increase in U.S. history?  Unfortunately, a close reading of the bill leads to the inescapable conclusion that it will be.  You see, the crafters of this legislation were smart.  They realized that if they included one huge tax increase in the health care bill it would make headlines all over the country, so they chopped up the taxes into a bunch of smaller pieces in order to make them easier to swallow.  In fact, one review of the Senate version of the health care bill identified at least 19 tax increases.  When you put all of the tax increases together they add up to the biggest tax increase in the history of the United States.  Considering the fact that the U.S. economy is already on the verge of economic collapse, the last thing that the American people need is a massive tax increase.  But that is exactly what they are about to get.

So let’s take a closer look at some of these taxes….

*In Section 5000(A) of the Senate version of the bill (which can be found here), there is a requirement for all Americans to purchase health insurance. Those who do not obtain health coverage will be hit with an annual tax penalty of $750.

*Barack Obama is trying to sneak a large Medicare tax increase for wealthy Americans into the final version of the health care bill.  Under Obama’s proposal, individuals who earn more than $200,000 and couples who earn over $250,000 would pay an additional 2.9% surtax on unearned income from interest, dividends, annuities, royalties and rents. Up until now, employers and employees have each contributed 1.45% of each paycheck to Medicare.  But if Obama’s proposal makes it into the final bill, wealthy Americans will see their Medicare taxes absolutely skyrocket.

*In Section 9008 of the Senate version of the health care bill,  a $2.3 billion excise tax would be imposed on the pharmaceutical industry.  This tax would not be based on income.  It would solely be based on market share.  So even if a company was losing hundreds of millions of dollars it would still have to pay.

*Section 9009 of the Senate version of the health care bill imposes an “annual fee” on medical device manufacturers and importers.  Once again, this $2 billion “excise tax” would be based on market share and not on income.

*Section 9010 of the Senate version of the health care bill would also impose an “annual fee” on health insurance providers.  This $6.7 billion tax would also be allocated based on market share.

So how much of these new taxes on health insurance companies, drugmakers and medical device manufacturers do you think will be passed on to consumers?

Anyone want to take a guess?

Just because a particular tax increase is not directed at you does not mean that it won’t take money out of your pocket.

Let’s look at some more (yes, there are more) of the tax increases….

*Section 9001 of the Senate version of the health care bill contains an excise tax on “Cadillac” health plans.  In other words, if you have provided your family with the very best in health coverage you get to be taxed extra.  This tax is particularly harsh.  Section 9001 imposes a 40 percent tax on the portion of insurance premiums exceeding $8,500 a year for individuals and $23,000 a year for family plans.  In order to hide the tax, it will be imposed on the health insurance companies who issue the policies.  But do you think that they will not pass that cost on to their customers?

So now the American people will be highly penalized for getting really good health care plans.

*Section 9017 of the Senate version of the health care bill imposes an excise tax on elective cosmetic medical procedures.  Any voluntary cosmetic procedures will now be subjected to a 5 percent tax.  All of those boob jobs are about to get a lot more expensive.

*The House version of the health care bill would impose a 5.4 percent income tax increase on individuals making more than $500,000 and on couples making more than $1 million.

So if you are living the American Dream you are about to pay a lot more for it if the House version of the health care bill gets adopted.

Let’s break this down a little bit.

Currently, the top income tax rate in the United States is 35 percent.

If existing Bush tax cuts expire in 2011 as Barack Obama wants them to, the top tax rate will go back up to 39.6 percent.

But this new “health care tax” would jack things up even higher.

Another 5.4 percent would take the highest tax rate in America to 45 percent.  That is before any state, local or property taxes are even paid.

Pretty soon it won’t even be worth it to work hard in America anymore.

But that is not the end of the tax increases.

A PricewaterhouseCoopers’ analysis for America’s Health Insurance Plans found that family health insurance premiums would be approximately $4,000 a year higher if the health care reform bill is passed.

Can you afford to pay over $300 a month more for health insurance for your family?

Are you starting to get the idea?

This health care reform bill will be an absolute financial disaster for America.  But considering the fact that the Senate version of the bill is 2409 pages long, hardly anyone will ever take the time to read the whole thing.

And yes, the Democrats are likely to tweak things a little more as they try to figure out how to sneak a final version through, but there is now one thing that seems virtually certain.

This is going to be the biggest tax increase in U.S. history.

Isn’t that exciting?

Virginia Hands Out 6996 Traffic Tickets In One Weekend In An Effort To Raise Revenue For The State Government

In the old days, police officers wrote traffic tickers primarily to keep people safe and to prevent citizens from breaking the traffic laws.  But in the new Amerika, all of that has changed.  Now traffic tickets are primarily viewed as a revenue raising tool for state and local governments.  For example, a federally funded ticketing blitz in the state of Virginia resulted in a total of 6996 traffic tickets being handed out this past weekend.  This most recent ticketing blitz is part of a campaign code-named “Operation Air, Land & Speed”.  Last Saturday and Sunday state troopers were ordered to absolutely saturate Interstate 95 and Interstate 81 and to issue as many traffic tickets as humanly possible during those two days.  Why?  Well, it turns out that the state of Virginia has a 2.2 billion dollar budget deficit that they are trying to deal with, and so they need to find some quick sources of cash. 

You see, state and local governments all over the nation are massively jacking up traffic fines and are starting to write a lot more tickets in an attempt to “enhance” their streams of revenue.

In other words, state and local governments across the U.S. are broke and so they need some suckers to prey on.

Not that it was ever a good idea to break the traffic laws.  But now even a minor violation can put a massive hole in your wallet.  For instance, driving as little as 15 miles an hour over the speed limit in Virginia can get you a reckless driving charge that can carry a fine of up to $2500.

So why the hefty fines?

Well, the law increasing the traffic fines in Virginia clearly admitted why they are so high….

“The purpose of the civil remedial fees imposed in this section is to generate revenue.” (Virginia Code 46.2-206.1)

Are you starting to get the picture?

But this kind of thing is not just happening in Virginia.

“Sobriety checkpoints” in the state of California are increasingly bring used as revenue raising operations.  It turns out that these sobriety checkpoints are far more likely to seize cars from unlicensed motorists than they are to catch drunk drivers.

So how profitable are these “sobriety” checkpoints?

Well, research done by the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley with California Watch discovered that impounds at “sobriety” checkpoints in 2009 alone generated approximately 40 million dollars in towing fees and police fines.

That is what you call a source of revenue.

In Detroit, even the police admit that the fundamental nature of police work is changing.  Just consider the following quote from from Police Chief Michael Reaves of Utica, Michigan….

“When I first started in this job 30 years ago, police work was never about revenue enhancement, but if you’re a chief now, you have to look at whether your department produces revenues.”

Sgt. Richard Lyons of Trenton, Michigan is even more blunt about what is happening in his community….

“They’re trying to use police officers to balance the budget on the backs of drivers, and it’s too bad. The people we count on to support us and help us when we’re on the road are the ones who end up paying the bills, and they’re ticked off about it. We might as well just go door to door and tell people, ‘Slide us $100 now since your 16-year-old is going to end up paying us anyway when he starts driving.’ You can’t blame people for getting upset.”

But some localities are converting to even more automated ways of making money from drivers.

For example, “red-light cameras” have become huge revenue raising tools in many areas of the country.  In Los Angeles, revenue from red-light cameras has doubled from $200,000 a month in 2007 to $400,000 a month at the end of 2009.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger wants cities and counties in his state to take things even farther.  He wants them to install speed sensors on existing red-light cameras.  Speeders caught by these sensors would face fines ranging from $225 to $325.

Don’t all of us wish we could start a business that could make so much money from each customer?

California state officials believe that these speed sensors would raise more than 300 million dollars for the state of California by the end of 2011.

All of this is enough to make one want to drive like a grandmother.

Except then they would get you for going too slow.

Seriously.

The reality is that you have to be very, very careful out there now because the nature of driving in America has fundamentally changed.

Whether it is rapidly increasing traffic fines or all of the toll roads going in everywhere, American drivers are increasingly being viewed as a big fat revenue source.

And as the current economic collapse gets even worse, drivers are going to be preyed upon even more by state and local governments.

If you have not already done so, now is the time to change the way that you drive.  Don’t give state and local governments an excuse to take even more of your hard-earned money from you than they are already.

Has The United States Become A Nation With No Economic Spine?

What are hard working Americans who have scrimped and saved and have done everything “right” financially for decades supposed to think about all of these “bailouts” and of the massive financial mess in Washington?  How are people who have handled their own finances admirably supposed to feel now that the foolishness of others is leading us all towards a horrific economic collapse?  Well, a reader named “Mae” recently left a comment that I think does a good job of communicating what a lot of hard working Americans are feeling right now: My situation is this – we have lived our lives playing by the rules: never carried debt on a credit card that we couldn’t pay off by the due date. If we couldn’t afford the item, we didn’t buy it. We always had a Christmas Club which enabled us to pay cash for the holiday. We payed ourselves first after every paycheck whether it was $10 or $100, whatever we could afford. We made double payments on our mortgage when we could which helped us to pay off our modest home 10 years early. We knew that we couldn’t afford to “have it all” so we made our choices early on and stuck with it. We sacrificed the fancy vacations in order to do large home repairs (like a new roof) ourselves. We didn’t buy expensive cars and now own one outright and carry a small loan on another. That’s our only debt besides monthly bills. We chose jobs that provided health care benefits. We did everything right…we saved and saved and saved to have a decent retirement but of course last year took half the value of our 401k.

Now, I’m expected to sit back and watch Bush, Congress and Obama bail everyone out because they didn’t have the fiscal discipline to manage their money?? I’m supposed to feel bad for people who bought homes they couldn’t afford? or cars they couldn’t pay for? or $1000 cell phone bills? or $20,000 in credit card debt? HELL NO! I’m livid! If I ran my checkbook the way Washington is running the national checkbook, I’d be thrown in jail!

All we can do now is educate as many people as possible about what is happening and hopefully vote all these s.o.b.’s out of office and replace them with fiscally conservative candidates who will vote for term limits. The days of a career politician are over. I don’t know if we can turn any of this around – it will take a lot of hard work to make the tough decisions, but they have to be made if we’re to survive. How many people have the guts to work through this? Not many…we’ve become a spoiled, selfish, arrogant and hypocritical nation with no spine.

Liberty Silver Coins

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