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Handout Nation: Combined Enrollment In America’s 4 Largest Safety Net Programs Hits A Record High Of 236 Million

Margaret Thatcher once said that the problem with socialism “is that eventually you run out of other people’s money”.  As you will see below, the combined enrollment in America’s four largest safety net programs has reached a staggering 236 million.  Of course that doesn’t mean that 236 million people are getting benefits from the government each month because there is overlap between the various programs.  For example, many Americans that are on Medicaid are also on food stamps, and many Americans that are on Medicare are also on Social Security.  But even accounting for that, most experts estimate that the number of Americans that are dependent on the federal government month after month is well over 100 million.  And now that so many people are addicted to government handouts, can we ever return to a culture of independence and self-sufficiency?

On Wednesday, CNN ran an editorial by Bernie Sanders in which he called President Trump’s proposed budget “immoral” because it would cut funding for government aid programs.

But is it moral to steal more than a hundred million dollars from future generations of Americans every single hour of every single day to pay for these programs?

Of course the answer to that question is quite obvious.

There will always be some Americans that are unable to take care of themselves, and we should want to help them.

But as millions upon millions of Americans continue to jump on to the safety net, eventually we are going to get to the point where it is going to break.

As I mentioned above, the combined enrollment in the four largest safety net programs has reached a new all-time record high…

More than 74 million Americans are on Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program).

More than  58 million Americans are on Medicare.

More than 60 million Americans are on Social Security.

Approximately 44 million Americans are on food stamps.  And even though we are supposedly in an “economic recovery”, this number is still dramatically higher than the 26 million Americans that were on food stamps prior to the last financial crisis.

When you add the figures for those four programs together, you get a grand total of 236 million, and that doesn’t even count any of the other federal programs which are helping people.

Once again, there is overlap in enrollment between these various programs, but even accounting for that most experts believe that well over a third of the country is currently receiving benefits from the government each month.

How far down this road do we have to go before people start calling it “socialism”?

As I was writing this, I was reminded of one of Benjamin Franklin’s most famous quotes

“When the people find that they can vote themselves money that will herald the end of the republic.”

In our country today, many politicians have discovered that one of the best ways to win elections is to promise the voters as much free stuff as possible.  This is one of the primary reasons why Bernie Sanders did so well.  Young people loved his socialist policies, and he received more votes from Millennials in the primaries and caucuses than Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton combined.

As older generations of Americans continue to die off, the Millennials will just become even more powerful politically.  And considering the fact that they are far more liberal than other generations, that is a very alarming prospect…

In the minds of 80 percent of baby boomers and 91 percent of elderly Americans, communism was a major problem in years past and remains a significant concern today. But millennials, aged 16 to 20 years, see it differently. Only 55 percent of the younger generation take issue with communism, 45 percent say they would vote for a socialist and 21 percent say they’d vote for a communist.

And millennials made all that clear during the Democratic presidential primary, when many of them cast their vote for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-avowed socialist. In fact, the report credits the New England lawmaker with a “bounce” that led to less than half of millennials — 42 percent — having a favorable view of capitalism.

At this point, the Republic that our founders established is barely recognizable, and if it is going to be saved we need a conservative revolution as soon as possible.

A good place to begin would be to dramatically reduce the size and scope of the federal government, and there are some promising signs in the budget that President Trump has proposed.  He wants to completely eliminate 66 federal programs, and liberals are screaming bloody murder over this.

Of course Trump’s budget is “dead on arrival” in Congress because many among his own party do not support him.  Most Republicans campaign as conservatives but govern like Democrats, and it is high time that we held them accountable for that.  In 2018 we are going get Trump a whole bunch of friends in Congress, and a lot of those establishment Republicans that have been betraying conservatives for years are going to have to find a new line of work.

We simply cannot afford to keep sending the same cast of characters back to Washington time after time.  Just look at the debacle that the effort to repeal Obamacare has become.  According to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, getting any sort of bill through the Senate is going to be extremely challenging

Referring to behind-the-scenes work among Senate Republicans on a healthcare bill, McConnell said, “I don’t know how we get to 50 (votes) at the moment. But that’s the goal.”

Under a scenario of gathering the votes needed for passage in the 100-seat chamber, Republican Vice President Mike Pence would be called upon to cast any potential tie-breaking Senate vote.

McConnell opened the interview by saying, “There’s not a whole lot of news to be made on healthcare.” He declined to provide any timetable for producing even a draft bill to show to rank-and-file Republican senators and gauge their support.

And yet somehow when Obama was in office the Republicans in the House and the Senate were able to easily pass a bill to repeal Obamacare and get it to Obama’s desk.

Why can’t they get that exact same bill to Trump’s desk?

We definitely need to “drain the swamp” in D.C., and we can start with Congress.

But the alliance between big money and big government is going to be hard to defeat, and so if we want our country back we are going to have to fight harder than we have ever fought before.

Watch Venezuela, Because Food Shortages, Looting And Economic Collapse Are Coming To America Too

Venezuela Economic CollapseThe full-blown economic collapse that is happening in Venezuela right now is a preview of what Americans will be experiencing in the not too distant future.  Just a few years ago, most Venezuelans could never have imagined that food shortages would become so severe that people would literally hunt dogs and cats for food.  But as you will see below, this is now taking place.  Sadly, this is what the endgame of socialism looks like.  When an all-powerful government is elevated far above all other institutions in society and radical leftists are given the keys to the kingdom, this is the result.  Food shortages, looting and rampant violent crime have all become part of daily life in Venezuela, and we all need to watch as this unfolds very carefully, because similar scenarios will soon be playing out all over the planet.

The funny thing is that Venezuela actually has more “wealth” than most countries in the world.  According to the CIA, Venezuela actually has more proven oil reserves than anyone else on the globe – including Saudi Arabia.

So how did such a wealthy nation find itself plunged into full-blown economic collapse so rapidly, and could a similar thing happen to us?

The president of Venezuela has declared a 60 day state of emergency in a desperate attempt to restore order, but most people don’t anticipate that it will do much good.  Social order continues to unravel as the economy systematically implodes.  The Venezuelan economy shrunk by 5.7 percent last year, and it is being projected that it will contract by another 8 percent in 2016.  Meanwhile, inflation is raging wildly out of control.  According to the IMF, the official inflation rate in Venezuela will be somewhere around 720 percent this year and 2,200 percent next year.

If people are able to get their hands on some money, they immediately rush out to the stores to use it before the prices go up again.  This has created devastating shortages of food, basic supplies and medicine.

Electricity is also in short supply, and a two day workweek has been imposed on many government employees in a desperate attempt to save power.  Violent crime is seemingly everywhere, and most law-abiding Venezuelans lock themselves in their homes at night as a result.

Much of the crime is being perpetrated by the mafia and the gangs, but sometimes it is just normal people looking for food.  Desperate people do desperate things, and according to the Guardian there have been “107 episodes of looting or attempted looting in the first quarter of 2016″…

Crowds of people in Venezuela have stolen flour, chicken and even underwear this week as looting increases across the country in the wake of shortages of many basic products. Many people have adopted the habit of getting up in the dead of night to spend hours in long lines in front of supermarkets. But as more end up empty-handed and black market prices soar, plundering is rising in Venezuela, an Opec nation that was already one of the world’s most violent countries.

There is no official data, but the Venezuelan Observatory for Social Conflict, a rights group, have reported 107 episodes of looting or attempted looting in the first quarter of 2016. Videos of crowds breaking into shops, swarming on to trucks or fighting over products frequently make the rounds on social media, though footage is often hard to confirm.

One example of this looting took place on May 11th.  Thousands of hungry people stormed Maracay Wholesale Market in central Venezuela, and the police seemed powerless to stop them

“They took milk, pasta, flour, oil, and milk powder. There were 5,000 people,”one witness told Venezuela outlet El Estímulo.

People from across the entire state came to the supermarket because there were rumors that some products not found anywhere else would be sold there.

“There were 250 people for each National Guard officer… lots of people and few soldiers. At least one officer was beat up because he tried to stop the crowd,” another source told El Estímulo.

You can see some rough footage of this incident right here

It is important to remember that this was not an isolated incident.  As people have become hungrier and hungrier, there have been reports of looting at “pharmacies, shopping malls, supermarkets, and food delivery trucks“.  During some of these episodes there have actually been people chanting “we are hungry”.

Other Venezuelans have resorted to digging in dumpsters and trash cans for food.  This many seem detestable to many Americans, but when you are desperately hungry you may be surprised at what you are willing to do.

And as I mentioned above, some Venezuelans and now actually hunting dogs and cats for food

Ramón Muchacho, Mayor of Chacao in Caracas, said the streets of the capital of Venezuela are filled with people killing animals for food.

Through Twitter, Muchacho reported that in Venezuela, it is a “painful reality” that people “hunt cats, dogs and pigeons” to ease their hunger.

You may be tempted to dismiss these people as “barbarians”, but someday Americans will be doing the exact same thing.

There has been a breakdown of basic social services in Venezuela as well.  Acute shortages of drugs and medical supplies are having absolutely tragic results.  When I read the following from the New York Times, this crisis in Venezuela become much more real to me…

By morning, three newborns were already dead.

The day had begun with the usual hazards: chronic shortages of antibiotics, intravenous solutions, even food. Then a blackout swept over the city, shutting down the respirators in the maternity ward.

Doctors kept ailing infants alive by pumping air into their lungs by hand for hours. By nightfall, four more newborns had died.

So once again I ask – how did such a thing happen to such a wealthy nation?

Here is Business Insider’s explanation…

The real culprit is chavismo, the ruling philosophy named for Chavez and carried forward by Maduro, and its truly breathtaking propensity for mismanagement (the government plowed state money arbitrarily into foolish investments); institutional destruction (as Chavez and then Maduro became more authoritarian and crippled the country’s democratic institutions); nonsense policy-making (like price and currency controls); and plain thievery (as corruption has proliferated among unaccountable officials and their friends and families).

Are not the same things happening here?

The U.S. government is mismanaging our money too.  During Barack Obama’s eight years in the White House, the U.S. national debt has risen by more than eight trillion dollars.  We waste money in some of the most bizarre ways imaginable, and at this point our national debt is nearly the double the size it was just prior to the last major financial crisis.

Institutional destruction is also a legacy of the Obama regime.  With each passing day, our society resembles the Republic that our founders originally intended less and less, and it resembles socialist dictatorships more and more.  We may as well not even have a Constitution anymore, because at this point nobody really follows it.

The third thing that Business Insider mentioned, “nonsense policy-making”, is a perfect description of what has been going on in Washington D.C. these days.  Perhaps that is why Congress only has a 12.8 percent approval rating right now.

Lastly, thievery and corruption are also out of control in our nation too.  The elite and special interest groups spend massive amounts of money to get their favorites into office, and in turn those politicians shower their good friends with money and favors.  It is a very sick relationship, but that is how our system now works.

We are sitting on the largest mountain of debt in the history of the planet, and our debt-fueled prosperity is completely dependent on the rest of the world lending us gigantic amounts of money at ridiculously low interest rates and continuing to use our increasingly shaky currency which we are debasing at a staggering pace.

We consume far more than we produce, and unlike Venezuela we aren’t sitting on hundreds of billions of barrels of oil.  The amount of “real wealth” that we actually have does not justify our current standard of living.  The only way that we are able to live the way that we do is by stealing consumption from the future.  One study has found that our debt level is the highest that it has been since the Great Depression of the 1930s, and yet we continue to race down this road to economic oblivion without even thinking twice about it.

What you sow is what you will reap.

And just like Venezuela, America will ultimately reap a very bitter harvest.

The Future Of America? – More Than Half Of All U.S. Adults Under Age 30 Now Reject Capitalism

Young People Abstract - Public DomainA shocking new survey has found that support for capitalism is dying in America.  In fact, more than half of all adults in the United States under the age of 30 say that they do not support capitalism at this point.  You might be tempted to dismiss them as “foolish young people”, but the truth is that they are the future of America.  As older generations die off, they will eventually become the leaders of this country.  And of course our nation has not resembled anything close to a capitalist society for quite some time now.  In a recent article, I listed 97 different taxes that Americans pay each year, and some Americans actually end up returning more than half of what they earn to the government by the time it is all said and done.  So at best it could be said that we are running some sort of hybrid system that isn’t as far down the road toward full-blown socialism as most European nations are.  But without a doubt we are moving in that direction, and our young people are going to be cheering every step of the way.

When I first heard of this new survey from Harvard University, I was absolutely stunned.  The following is from what the Washington Post had to say about it…

The Harvard University survey, which polled young adults between ages 18 and 29, found that 51 percent of respondents do not support capitalism. Just 42 percent said they support it.

It isn’t clear that the young people in the poll would prefer some alternative system, though. Just 33 percent said they supported socialism. The survey had a margin of error of 2.4 percentage points.

Could it be possible that young adults were confused by the wording of the survey?

Well, other polls have come up with similar results

The university’s results echo recent findings from Republican pollster Frank Luntz, who surveyed 1,000 Americans between the ages of 18 and 26 and found that 58% of respondents believed socialism to be the “more compassionate” political system when compared to capitalism. And when participants were asked to sum up the root of America’s problem in one word, 29% said “greed.”

This trend among our young people is very real, and you can see it in their support of Bernie Sanders.  For millions upon millions of young adults in America today, Hillary Clinton is not nearly liberal enough for them.  So they have flocked to Sanders, and if they had been the only ones voting in this election season, he would have won the Democratic nomination by a landslide.

Sadly, most of our young people don’t seem to understand how socialism slowly but surely destroys a nation.  If you want to see the end result of socialism, just look at the economic collapse that is going on in Venezuela right now.  The following comes from  a Bloomberg article entitled “Venezuela Doesn’t Have Enough Money to Pay for Its Money“…

Venezuela’s epic shortages are nothing new at this point. No diapers or car parts or aspirin — it’s all been well documented. But now the country is at risk of running out of money itself.

In a tale that highlights the chaos of unbridled inflation, Venezuela is scrambling to print new bills fast enough to keep up with the torrid pace of price increases. Most of the cash, like nearly everything else in the oil-exporting country, is imported. And with hard currency reserves sinking to critically low levels, the central bank is doling out payments so slowly to foreign providers that they are foregoing further business.

Venezuela, in other words, is now so broke that it may not have enough money to pay for its money.

We are losing an entire generation of young people.  These days, there is quite a lot of talk about how we need to get America back to the principles that it was founded upon, but the cold, hard reality of the matter is that most of our young people are running in the opposite direction as fast as they can.

And Americans under the age of 30 are not just becoming more liberal when it comes to economics.  Surveys have found that they are more than twice as likely to support gay rights and less than half as likely to regularly attend church as the oldest Americans are.

So why is this happening?

Well, the truth is that our colleges and universities have become indoctrination centers for the progressive movement.  I know, because I spent eight years at public universities in this country.  The quality of the education that our young people are receiving is abysmal, but the values that are being imparted to them will last a lifetime.

And of course the same things could be said about our system of education all the way down to the kindergarten level.  There are still some good people in the system, but overall it is overwhelmingly dominated by the progressives.

Meanwhile, the major entertainment providers in the United States are also promoting the same values.  In a recent article entitled “Depressing Survey Results Show How Extremely Stupid America Has Become“, I discussed a Nielsen report which detailed how much time the average American spends consuming media on various electronic devices each day…

Watching live television: 4 hours, 32 minutes

Watching time-shifted television: 30 minutes

Listening to the radio: 2 hours, 44 minutes

Using a smartphone: 1 hour, 33 minutes

Using Internet on a computer: 1 hour, 6 minutes

Overall, the average American spends about 10 hours a day consuming one form of entertainment or another.

When you allow that much “programming” into your mind, it is inevitable that it is going to shape your values, and our young people are more “plugged in” than any of the rest of us.

So yes, I believe that it is exceedingly clear why we should be deeply concerned about the future of America.  The values that are being relentlessly pounded into the heads of our young people are directly opposed to the values that this nation was founded upon, and it is these young people that will determine the path that this country ultimately takes.

*About the author: Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog. Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled “The Rapture Verdict” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.*

America: Where Hard Working, Productive Members Of Society Pay For The Health Care Of Everyone Else

ObamacareEverybody in America wants health care – but most Americans seem to want someone else to pay for it.  In the United States today, the way that our system works is that the hard working, productive members of society pay for the health care of everyone else.  At least under socialism everyone gets the same benefits.  Our system of health care is a very twisted version of socialism where millions upon millions of very hard working people are forced to pay for the health care of others, but often can’t afford to purchase decent health insurance for themselves.  Personally, I don’t have a big employer paying for my health care so I have to buy it myself, and I just got a letter from my health insurance company telling me that I have another massive rate increase coming up.  Have you gotten a similar letter?  Health insurance premiums are going up all over America, and this is just the beginning.  In fact, the CEO of Aetna says that health insurance rates for many Americans will double when the major provisions of Obamacare kick in next year.

It would be bad enough if hard working Americans just had to pay for their own health insurance.  But no, they are also expected to pay for the health care of members of Congress, employees of the IRS and other federal agencies, state and local government employees, their adult kids (because they can’t afford health insurance), the elderly, the poor, and now under Obamacare they will also be expected to subsidize the health plans of tens of millions of other Americans that are not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid.

When you add it all up, the hard working, productive members of society are at least partially subsidizing the health care of well over half of all Americans while having to pay for their own health care at the same time.

Needless to say, it isn’t too hard to see who is getting the raw end of the deal.

Members of Congress certainly don’t want to pay for their own health care.  There was panic in the halls of Congress recently when they started realizing that due to certain provisions in Obamacare they may soon be forced to pay for their own health insurance plans.  There was widespread moaning and complaining about how they would be facing “thousands of dollars in additional premium payments” every year.

Things got so bad that Barack Obama got personally involved in the effort to find a solution.  Thankfully, members of Congress can relax because a ruling is being issued that will allow the federal government to continue to subsidize 75 percent of the cost of their health plans…

Lawmakers and staff can breathe easy — their health care tab is not going to soar next year.

The Office of Personnel Management, under heavy pressure from Capitol Hill, will issue a ruling that says the government can continue to make a contribution to the health care premiums of members of Congress and their aides, according to several Hill sources.

A White House official confirmed the deal and said the proposed regulations will be issued next week.

And the IRS, which has been put in charge of imposing the rules of Obamacare on all the rest of us, is freaking out about the fact that some members of Congress would like to force them to personally participate in Obamacare

The union that represents IRS employees is urging its members to write to their congressmen to help get the union out of Obamacare.

The following are some excerpts from a letter that the union that represents IRS employees sent to members of Congress…

“H.R. 1780 would put federal employees in a special class where they would be prohibited from receiving health insurance through their employer. It would treat federal employees differently from state and local government employees and most employees of large private sector companies who receive health insurance benefits through their employer. The primary purpose of the Affordable Care Act was to provide a marketplace for the sale and purchase of health insurance for those who do not have such coverage – not to take coverage away from employees who already receive it through their employers,” the letter reads.

“I work hard and am proud of the services that I provide to your constituents every day. One of the main benefits I receive as a federal employee is the ability to purchase health insurance coverage through the FEHBP with an employer contribution towards those benefits. Please let me know your views on this legislation. I look forward to hearing back from you,” the letter concludes.

This is just shameful.  If the IRS is going to impose Obamacare on the rest of America, then it should be good enough for them too.

Just check out acting IRS chief Danny Werfel begging for employees of his agency not to have to go on Obamacare…

But we have always had to at least partially subsidize the health plans of federal, state and local government workers.

The big change under Obamacare is that we will soon be subsidizing the health plans of tens of millions of our fellow Americans.

CNN says that 26 million Americans will be eligible for health insurance subsidies, but others believe that the true number is far, far higher than that.

For example, according to CNBC, a family of three in New York that earns $78,120 a year would be eligible for a subsidy of more than five thousand dollars…

In New York, a family of three whose annual income totals $78,120, would pay $12,784 for the second-lower-priced silver plan on that state’s insurance exchange. After getting a $5,363 tax credit, the family’s net cost for the insurance would be $7,421.

So who pays for that?

You and I do through our tax dollars.

And if you can believe it, Obamacare actually provides an incentive to not work too hard, because if you make too much money you could lose your health insurance subsidy…

Working more could ultimately mean thousands of dollars less for you under a quirk in the new health-care law going into effect this fall. This could prompt some people to cut back on their hours to avoid losing money.

“Working more can actually leave you worse off,” the price-comparison site ValuePenguin.com notes in a new analysis.

“It’s sort of an absurd scenario,” said Jonathan Wu, ValuePenguin.com’s co-founder. “It’s something for people to be aware of.”

In that scenario, an individual or family whose annual income surpasses maximums set by the federal government—if only by $1—will totally lose subsidies available to buy health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

What a perverse system.

And of course Obamacare will allow young adults to stay on the health insurance policies of their parents until they reach 26 years of age.  As I mentioned the other day, 36 percent of all young adults in the 18 to 31 age bracket are currently living with their folks.  In most of those cases, the parents have to end up footing the bill for health care because the kids simply cannot afford it.

Medicaid continues to expand as well.  Certainly helping the poor is a very good thing, but unfortunately the number of poor just continues to explode.

Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid.  Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid, and things are about to get a whole lot worse.

Right now, there are more than 56 million Americans on Medicaid, and it is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.

It is going to take a whole lot of money to support 72 million Medicaid patients.

And then of course there is Medicare.

When Medicare was first established, we were told that it would cost about $12 billion a year by the time 1990 rolled around.

Instead, it actually cost the federal government $110 billion in 1990, and it will cost the federal government close to $600 billion this year.

But if you think this is bad, just wait until all of the Baby Boomers retire.  It is being projected that the number of Americans on Medicare will grow from a little bit more than 50 million today to 73.2 million in 2025.  By then, we would be spending well over a trillion dollars a year on Medicare.

As you can see, under Obamacare the vast majority of all Americans will have their health care at least partially subsidized.

And it expected that our tax dollars will somehow be enough to pay for all of this.

The truth is that we have a deeply broken system.  Costs are spiraling out of control and nobody is quite sure how to fix things.  The following statistics come from one of my previous articles entitled “50 Signs That The U.S. Health Care System Is A Gigantic Money Making Scam“…

This year the American people will spend approximately 2.8 trillion dollars on health care, and it is being projected that Americans will spend 4.5 trillion dollars on health care in 2019.

The United States spends more on health care than Japan, Germany, France, China, the U.K., Italy, Canada, Brazil, Spain and Australia combined.

If the U.S. health care system was a country, it would be the 6th largest economy on the entire planet.

Back in 1960, an average of $147 was spent per person on health care in the United States. By 2009, that number had skyrocketed to $8,086.

The sad thing is that many hard working Americans in the private sector are being forced to subsidize the health care of others, but they can’t even afford decent health care for themselves.

For example, I know of one hard working couple that has a health plan that has a $1,000 deductible.  Even with that deductible, their health insurance premiums are absolutely ridiculous.  Their health care strategy is simply to avoid going to the hospital or visiting a doctor as much as possible.

And of course health insurance companies make money by providing as little health care as possible.  Many Americans have discovered that when you need them the most, some health insurance companies will try to get out of covering you any way that they possibly can.

The reality is that just because you have health insurance that does not mean that you are “covered”.

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

So what is the bottom line?

The bottom line is the system stinks, and Obamacare is going to make things a whole lot worse.

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