A house divided against itself will surely fall. America is more divided today than it has been in decades, and the deep divisions that are tearing us apart continue to get even worse. In fact, a newly released Rasmussen Reports national survey discovered that 67 percent of voters believe that America is even more divided now than it was four years ago. We are angry, we are frustrated and we love to fight with one another, but none of this strife and discord is getting us anywhere. What most Americans can agree on is that we are facing tremendous problems as a nation. One average of recent polls found that only 26 percent of Americans believe that this country is heading in the right direction and 63.8 percent of Americans believe that this country is heading in the wrong direction. Unfortunately, there is very little agreement on what the solutions to our problems are. That is where the division is. As a nation, we no longer have a shared set of values or principles that provides a foundation for our decisions. Everyone just kind of does whatever is right in their own eyes, and the result is chaos. At a minimum, the U.S. Constitution was supposed to bond all of us together, but it has become clear that very few of our lawless politicians have any respect for that document at this point. And the American people must not have too much respect left for the Constitution either, because they keep sending the very same politicians back to Washington over and over again. Unless a miracle happens, everyone is going to keep pulling in different directions, and that is going to continue ripping our country to shreds.
The issues that divide us are countless. The following are just a few examples…
I could go on and on with this list, but I think that you get the point.
If you pick just about any issue on that list, there are large numbers of Americans that want to take us one way and large numbers of Americans that want to take us exactly in the opposite direction. In many instances, both sides consider their opponents to be the epitome of evil.
Sadly, the fights that take place among those that are supposed to be on the same side are often even more disturbing. Some of the most bitter fighting that I have ever witnessed has been between people that should be working together. In fact, it often seems like a lot of people would rather fight others in their own “movement” than do something constructive.
And actually the establishment loves when we fight with one another. The more divided that we are, the easier we are to control.
I am often asked if I think that there is any hope for a political solution in this country.
I wish that I could be more optimistic when I answer, but as divided as this country is right now I see absolutely no hope for a political solution on the national level any time soon.
We keep sending the same jokers back to D.C. again and again and yet we continue to keep expecting different results.
Are we insane or what?
In a previous article, I noted a whole bunch of other polls and surveys that show how dissatisfied the American people have become with our government…
#165 percent of Americans are dissatisfied “with the U.S. system of government and its effectiveness”. That is the highest level of dissatisfaction that Gallup has ever recorded.
#266 percent of Americans are dissatisfied “with the size and power of federal government”.
#370 percent of Americans do not have confidence that the government will “make progress on the important problems and issues facing the country in 2014.”
#4 Only 8 percent of Americans believe that Congress is doing a “good” or “excellent” job.
#5 Only 4 percent of Americans believe that it would “change Congress for the worse” if every member was voted out during the next election.
#660 percent of Americans report feeling “angry or irritable”. Two years ago that number was at 50 percent.
#753 percent of Americans believe that the Obama administration is “not competent in running the government”.
#8 An all-time low 31 percent of Americans identify themselves as Democrats.
#9 An all-time low 25 percent of Americans identify themselves as Republicans.
#10 An all-time high 42 percent of Americans identify themselves as Independents.
Clearly the American people are sick and tired of politics as usual.
But even if we voted out every single member of Congress, who would we replace them with?
That is where not having a shared set of values and principles comes into play.
Even if we could start from scratch, the new politicians that the American people would send to Congress would not suddenly look like the founding fathers.
That is because we no longer believe in the same values and principles that they did.
Instead, an entirely new Congress would probably end up looking very much like the old Congress did.
I wish that national unity was just as easy as saying something like this: “Come on guys – let’s all just get together and agree to do what is right for the country.”
That sounds really good, but what is right for the country?
In America today, there is very little agreement about what is right and wrong anymore.
And politically, it is hard enough to get a handful of people to agree on much of anything these days, much less the millions upon millions of people that would be required to form a viable political movement.
So no, I don’t believe that there will be a political solution on the national level any time soon. The government that we have already reflects what is in the hearts of the American people.
Until we start seeing hearts change on a widespread basis, we are not going to see any significant change in Washington.
Are we running out of time? For the last several years, we have been living in a false bubble of hope that has been fueled by massive amounts of debt and bailout money. This illusion of economic stability has convinced most people that the great economic crisis of 2008 was just an “aberration” and that now things are back to normal. Unfortunately, that is not the case at all. The truth is that the financial crash of 2008 was just the first wave of our economic troubles. We have not even come close to recovering from that wave, and the next wave of the economic collapse is rapidly approaching. Our economy is like a giant sand castle that has been built on a foundation of debt and toilet paper currency. As each wave of the crisis hits us, the solutions that our leaders will present to us will involve even more debt and even more money printing. And each time, those “solutions” will only make our problems even worse. Right now, events are unfolding in Europe and in the United States that are pushing us toward the next major crisis moment. I sincerely hope that we have some more time before the next crisis overwhelms us, but as you will see, time is rapidly running out.
The following are 12 things that just happened that show the next wave of the economic collapse is almost here…
#1 According to TrimTab’s CEO Charles Biderman, corporate insider purchases of stock have hit an all-time low, and the ratio of corporate insider selling to corporate insider buying has now reached an astounding 50 to 1….
While retail is being told to buy-buy-buy, Biderman exclaims that “insiders at U.S. companies have bought the least amount of shares in any one month,” and that the ratio of insider selling to buying is now 50-to-1 – a monthly record.
#2 On Friday we learned that personal income in the United States experienced its largest one month decline in 20 years…
Personal income decreased by $505.5 billion in January, or 3.6%, compared to December (on a seasonally adjusted and annualized basis). That’s the most dramatic decline since January 1993, according to the Commerce Department.
#3 In a stunning move, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder says that he will appoint an emergency financial manager to take care of Detroit’s financial affairs…
Snyder, 54, took a step he avoided a year ago, empowering an emergency financial manager who can sweep aside union contracts, sell municipal assets, restructure services and reorder finances. He announced the move yesterday at a public meeting in Detroit.
If this does not work, Detroit will almost certainly have to declare bankruptcy. If that happens, it will be the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.
#4 On Friday it was announced that the unemployment rate in Italy had risen to 11.7 percent. That was a huge jump from 11.3 percent the previous month, and Italy now has the highest unemployment rate that it has experienced in 21 years.
#5 The youth unemployment rate in Italy has risen to a new all-time record high of 38.7 percent.
#6 On Friday it was announced that the unemployment rate in the eurozone as a whole had just hit a brand new record high of 11.9 percent.
#7 On Friday it was announced that the unemployment rate in Greece has now reached 27 percent, and it is being projected that it will reach 30 percent by the end of the year.
#8 The youth unemployment rate in Greece is now an almost unbelievable 59.4 percent.
#9 On Saturday, hundreds of thousands of protesters filled the streets of Lisbon and other Portuguese cities to protest the austerity measures that are being imposed upon them. It was reportedly the largest protest in the history of Portugal.
#10 According to Goldman Sachs, bank deposits declined all over Europe during the month of January.
#11 Over the weekend, the deputy governor of China’s central bank declared that China is prepared for a “currency war“…
A top Chinese banker said Beijing is “fully prepared” for a currency war as he urged the world to abide by a consensus reached by the G20 to avert confrontation, state media reported on Saturday.
Yi Gang, deputy governor of China’s central bank, issued the call after G20 finance ministers last month moved to calm fears of a looming war on the currency markets at a meeting in Moscow.
Those fears have largely been fuelled by the recent steep decline in the Japanese yen, which critics have accused Tokyo of manipulating to give its manufacturers a competitive edge in key export markets over Asian rivals.
#12 Italy is an economic basket case at this point, and the political gridlock in Italy is certainly not helping matters. Former comedian Beppe Grillo’s party could potentially tip the balance of power one way or the other in Italy, and over the weekend he made some comments that are really shaking things up over in Europe. For one thing, he is suggesting that Italy should hold a referendum on the euro…
“I am a strong advocate of Europe. I am in favor of an online referendum on the euro,” Beppe Grillo told Bild am Sonntag.
Such a vote would not be legally binding in Italy, where referendums can only be used to repeal laws or parts of laws, but would carry political weight. Grillo has said in the past that membership of the euro should be up to the Italian people.
In addition, Grillo is also suggesting that Italy’s debt has gotten so large that renegotiation is the only option…
In an interview with a German magazine published on Saturday, Mr Grillo said that “if conditions do not change” Italy “will want” to leave the euro and return to its former national currency.
The 64-year-old comic-turned-political activist also said Italy needs to renegotiate its €2 trillion debt.
At 127 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), it is the highest in the euro zone after Greece.
“Right now we are being crushed, not by the euro, but by our debt. When the interest payments reach €100 billion a year, we’re dead. There’s no alternative,” he told Focus, a weekly news magazine.
He said Italy was in such dire economic straits that “in six months, we will no longer be able to pay pensions and the wages of public employees.”
And of course government debt has taken center stage in the United States as well.
The sequester cuts have now gone into effect, and they will definitely have an effect on the U.S. economy. Of course that effect will not be nearly as dramatic as many Democrats are suggesting, but without a doubt those cuts will cause the U.S. economy to slow down a bit.
Well, everyone should keep watching Europe very closely, and it will also be important to keep an eye on Wall Street. There are a whole bunch of indications that the stock market is at or near a peak. For example, just check out what one prominent stock market analyst recently had to say…
“Every reliable technical tool is warning of major peaking action,” said Walter Zimmerman, the senior technical analyst at United-ICAP. “This includes sentiment, momentum, classical chart patterns, and Elliott wave analysis.
“Most of the rally in the stock market since 2009 can be chalked up to the Federal Reserve’s attempt to create a ‘wealth effect’ through higher stock market prices. This only exacerbates the downside risk. Why? The stock market no is longer a lead indicator for the economy. It is instead reflecting Fed manipulation. Pushing the stock market higher while the real economy languishes has resulted in another bubble.
“The next leg down will not be a partial correction of the advance since the 2009 lows. It will be another major financial crisis. The worst is yet to come.”
Sadly, most people will continue to deny that anything is wrong until it is far too late.
Many areas of Europe are already experiencing economic depression, and it is only a matter of time before the U.S. follows suit.
Time is running out, and I hope that you are getting ready.
So what do you think?
How much time do you believe that we have left before the next wave of the economic collapse strikes?
Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below…
The American people have spoken. It is estimated that approximately 6 billion dollars was spent on political campaigns in 2012, and we ended up exactly in the same place that we were before. Barack Obama is still in the White House, the Democrats still have solid control of the U.S. Senate and the Republicans still have solid control of the U.S. House of Representatives. Clearly, the American people want more of the same, and that is really bad news. The path that we have been on will only lead to unprecedented disaster, and now it is abundantly clear that there are not going to be any solutions to our problems on the national level. Not that things would be that much different if we reversed things and gave Republicans control of the White House and the Senate and we gave Democrats control of the U.S. House of Representatives. Over the past several decades, nothing has really seemed to get any better no matter what faces we have sent to Washington. But this time there is really a feeling of “finality” to things. The American people have made their choices, and those choices are going to have consequences. There is no turning back now. The politicians that we have chosen reflect who we are as a nation. It is not just our leaders that have turned their backs on the U.S. Constitution and on the principles that this country was founded upon – the truth is that the majority of the American people have rejected them. We have willingly chosen our destiny, and there are no more excuses.
What Barack Obama has pulled off is absolutely mind blowing. First of all, I must acknowledge that the Obama campaign had the best “ground game” in the history of American politics. Their ability to deliver their voters to the polls was absolutely amazing. Yes, the election was close, but I thought it would be much closer. The Obama “ground game” made a significant difference.
Having said that, it says a lot about who we are as a nation that the American people would willingly send Barack Obama back to the White House for a second term. You could almost excuse the American people for having the wool pulled over their eyes the first time, but at this point American voters have had four years to evaluate Barack Obama and learn what he is all about.
Barack Obama, like many of our politicians, is a con man. He just doesn’t have a few skeletons in his closet – he has a whole army of them. Over the course of two presidential campaigns he has refused to release his school records, there are very serious irregularities concerning his Social Security number, and he has managed to keep vast stretches of his past a total secret to the American people. Anyone applying for a decent job or trying to get into a decent school would have been required to disclose more background information than Barack Obama has revealed to the American people. What Obama has pulled off is completely and totally absurd. I truly believe that Barack Obama will someday be regarded as one of the greatest con men of all time.
But even setting all of that aside, the outrageous things that Barack Obama has publicly said and done should be more than enough for every American that loves the U.S. Constitution to reject him. The truth is that no American should have ever cast a single vote for him for any political office under any circumstances.
And yet now he is headed for a second term in the White House, and now he will feel absolutely no accountability to the voters since he will not be running in 2016. He can do whatever he wants over the next four years, and nobody can do anything about it.
Not that Mitt Romney would have been much different. Out of all of the Republican candidates, the Republicans selected the candidate that was most similar to Barack Obama. During primary season, in many of my articles I pleaded with the Republicans not to choose Mitt Romney. I warned that large numbers of very conservative voters would refuse to support him in the general election. I was horrified by how Romney treated Ron Paul and his supporters during the primaries. It turns out that Romney desperately could have used their help in swing states that Romney barely lost like Ohio, Virginia and Florida.
In the end, Mitt Romney ran one of the most inept campaigns in modern American political history. Except for his one brief shining moment during the first debate, Romney just seemed to keep falling flat on his face over and over. He seemed to have absolutely no idea how to attack Obama’s track record, and he kept shifting positions every five minutes. To be honest, his campaign was an embarrassment to the Republican Party.
I know that a lot of Republicans are mourning today, but things would not have been much different under a Romney administration. Romney was perhaps the most liberal candidate the Republicans have ever nominated for president, and Obama and Romney were perhaps the two most similar candidates that we have ever seen run against each other on the national stage.
The fact that the Republicans picked Mitt Romney says a whole lot about the Republican Party just like the fact that the Democrats picked Barack Obama says a whole lot about who they are.
But let us not overlook the other choices that the American people made yesterday either.
The U.S. Senate has been an abysmal failure for years, and yet the American people just keep voting for more of the same.
If you can believe it, the U.S. Senate has not passed a budget in over 1,200 days.
In fact, the last time the U.S. Senate passed a budget, there was no such thing as an iPad.
But not only did the American people allow Democrats to keep control of the U.S. Senate, the Democrats actually gained a couple of extra seats, and several of the newly elected Senators are extremely liberal.
And keep in mind that all of the new Senators that were elected yesterday will not be up for re-election until 2018.
That is very frightening to think about.
The funny thing is that the American people also gave the Republicans very firm control of the U.S. House of Representatives once again. It is almost as if they were saying that they want things to remain exactly the same as they are right now.
So we can definitely expect more gridlock in Washington. And perhaps that is a small piece of good news to come out of all this.
If we can get our politicians fighting with each other so much that they can’t get anything done, perhaps they will have less of a chance of messing this country up even worse than it already is.
This election season was the last, best chance that the American people had to bring about changes on the national level. Unfortunately, the Republicans, the Democrats and the American people all failed miserably in this regard.
As far as the economy is concerned (after all, this is a column about economics), we will continue to steamroll toward collapse at record speed. It is now glaringly obvious that there will be no political solutions to our problems on the national level.
So you better brace for impact, because a crash is coming.
And I think we just got a preview of coming attractions. The Dow was down by more than 300 points on Wednesday.
I wish that I could be more optimistic, but the truth is that there is no hope on the horizon on the national level. The American people have spoken, and they have made their choices.
The beginning of each year is a great time to evaluate the direction of your life and to ask yourself some very important questions. Often we get so busy just living life that we lose our perspective. It is important for each of us to take time once in a while to reassess how our lives are going. It is also important for all of us to reassess the direction that our nation is heading in every so often. The truth is that America has gotten badly off track. We have abandoned the principles which once made this country great, and this country is literally falling apart all around us. Hopefully the questions below will not just get you focused on our problems. Hopefully they will also spur you to think about solutions. Both individually and as a nation, we are in a lot of trouble. We need to start asking better questions and we need to rediscover the things that once made America the greatest nation on earth. If we are willing to humble ourselves and change course then there is hope for us. If not, then the road that we are currently on will only lead to national disaster.
The following are 112 questions to ask yourself in 2012….
#1 Are Barack Obama and Mitt Romney really the best that America can come up with?
#2 Right now the nations of the world are 55 trillion dollars in debt. How long will it be before this system of debt totally collapses?
#3 What things in life are you truly grateful for? Do you ever take time to thank those that have been so good to you?
#4 In 2012, when you add the maturing debt that the Italian government must roll over to their projected budget deficit, it comes to 23.1 percent of Italy’s GDP. How in the world is Italy going to be able to handle that in this economic environment?
#5 What do you feel like you are missing in life? Are you actively looking for those things?
#6 According to a survey conducted by the National Geographic Society, only 37 percent of all Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 can find Iraq on a map of the world. What does that say about our education system?
#7 Do you give more than you take? Would you rather serve people or be served?
#29 What is the best piece of advice that you have ever gotten? Are you still following it?
#30 Is it a good thing that the wealthiest 10 percent of all Americans have 56 percent of all the wealth?
#31 What books do you need to put on your reading list this year?
#32About half of all Americans are now either living in poverty or are considered to be low income. So are we still a “wealthy” nation?
#33 What are the things that you do that waste the most time?
#34 Why aren’t more Americans concerned that the trade deficit is increasing again? This is one of the things that killed the Greek economy and it is most definitely sucking the life out of our own economy. Could it be that most Americans have become so “dumbed down” that they don’t even know what a trade deficit is?
#35 What would happen to you and your family if you suddenly lost your job?
#59 What would your plan be if there was a major volcanic eruption on the west coast of the United States?
#60 If 63 percent of all mortgaged properties in the state of Nevada are still “underwater”, then how in the world can anyone claim that there is a light at the end of the tunnel for the housing crisis?
#61 Why is the federal government arresting people who produce raw milk?
#68 While the TSA is groping millions of Americans at airports every year, rampant sex trafficking is going on in virtually every major American city. Isn’t it time that we admitted that our allocation of law enforcement resources is very seriously flawed?
#69 How can you make next week better than this week?
#70 One recent survey found that only 29 percent of people would describe themselves as “very happy”. So what does that say about the state of our country?
#71 Do you consider yourself to be good? If so, how did you determine that?
#72 If we are on the verge of a global recession, then why is the stock market still so high?
#73 What would happen if government spending was cut by 50 percent?
#74 Is the euro going to eventually fall to parity with the U.S. dollar?
#75 If the euro fails, what will Europe do? Would national currencies make a comeback or would a new “European currency” be created?
#79 Is it likely that your eating habits will send you to an early grave? If so, why not make this the year when they change?
#80 Why aren’t politicians from either major political party doing something to stop the massive flood of blue collar jobs that is pouring out of this country? Don’t they care about average Americans?
#81 Why do we spend so much time on things that simply do not matter?
#82 Since 1971, consumer debt in the United States has increased by a whopping 1700%. Is that a sign of a nation that is going to be prosperous in the long run?
#83 Does the U.S. need a new major political party?
#84 The U.S. debt problem continues to escalate. During the Obama administration, the U.S. government has accumulated more debt than it did from the time that George Washington took office to the time that Bill Clinton took office. Very few of our politicians seem alarmed by this. Are we the stupidest generation in American history?
#85 Does the U.S. need a new Constitutional Convention?
#86 When we finally see the U.S. economy collapse, who will be in better shape – those that have spent years preparing or those that have not prepared at all?
#87 Are you so afraid to fail that you simply do not even try anymore?
#88 We are facing the most horrific retirement crisis in U.S. history. Right now, more than 10,000 Baby Boomers are turning 65 every single day. So where in the world are we going to get all the money we need to pay them the retirement benefits that we have promised them? Isn’t the Social Security system essentially one gigantic Ponzi scheme?
#89 If people started following your example, would that be a good thing?
#90 According to one Gallup survey, 7 out of every 10 Americans believe that religion is losing influence in the United States. Is that good for America or bad for America?
#91 Do you ever do anything that is outside of your comfort zone?
#92 The U.S. dollar has lost well over 95 percent of its value since the Federal Reserve was created, the U.S. national debt is more than 5000 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was created and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has a track record of incompetence that is absolutely mind blowing. So what possible justification is there for allowing the Federal Reserve to continue to issue our currency and run our economy?
#93 If you lost everything that you currently own, would your life be over?
#94 If the European financial system is going to be just fine, then why is the UK government preparing feverishly for the collapse of the euro?
#95 When you meet someone for the first time, do you tend to instantly love them or do you tend to instantly judge them?
#96 If the one thing that almost everyone in the Republican Party seems to agree on is that Obamacare is bad, then why is the candidate that created the plan that much of Obamacare was based upon about to run away with the race for the Republican nomination?
#97 Do you feel like you are truly alive? If not, what can you do to change that?
#98 Why have we allowed the “too big to fail” banks to become even larger?
#99 Who are you living your life for? Does the answer to that question excite you or depress you?
#100 One recent survey found that 77 percent of all U.S. small businesses do not plan to hire any more workers. So where are all of the jobs for the “economic recovery” going to come from?
#101 As you have gotten older, have you also become more loving?
#102 Since 1964, the reelection rate for members of the U.S. House of Representatives has never fallen below 85 percent. How stupid can the American people possibly be? They keep sending the exact same Congress critters back to Washington D.C. over and over and over.
#103 Do you treat others the way that you would like to be treated?
#104 According to a recent Pew Research Center analysis, only 51 percent of all Americans that are at least 18 years old are currently married. Back in 1960, 72 percent of all U.S. adults were married. Without strong family units, can America survive?
#105 Do you prefer to forgive those that have hurt you or do your prefer to hold long grudges?
#106 According to an analysis of Census Bureau data done by the Pew Research Center, the median net worth for households led by someone 65 years of age or older is 47 times greater than the median net worth for households led by someone under the age of 35. So why are so many young people so broke?
#107 Do you tell your family and your friends that you love them or do you just assume that they already know?
#108 According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 36.4% of all children that live in Philadelphia are living in poverty, 40.1% of all children that live in Atlanta are living in poverty, 52.6% of all children that live in Cleveland are living in poverty and 53.6% of all children that live in Detroit are living in poverty. How bad are things going to be when the economy gets even worse?
#109 If Bill Gates gave every single penny of his fortune to the U.S. government, it would only cover the U.S. budget deficit for about 15 days. How in the world can we justify putting so much debt on to the backs of future generations?
#110 How do you want the story of your life to end?
#111 Will the years ahead find you cowering in fear or will they find you enjoying greater adventures than you ever dreamed of?
#112 If you had the opportunity to tell everyone in America one thing, what would it be?
According to a whole host of polls and surveys, the American people are incredibly angry right now. The American people are hopping mad at the government, the American people are hopping mad about the economy and the American people are hopping mad about the direction that this country is headed. Never before in modern U.S. history have the American people been this angry. There is vast disagreement about what the solutions to our problems actually are, but what everyone can agree on is that the American people are absolutely seething with anger right now. The statistics that you are about to read are mind blowing. We used to be such a happy country. Once upon a time we were one of the happiest places on earth. But as the economy has fallen to pieces anger has been steadily growing. If something is not done to turn the economy around eventually this anger is going to erupt in frightening and unpredictable ways.
The American people are not equipped to handle hard times. We are incredibly spoiled. Most of us have only known good times, and most of us have been taught that we will have endless prosperity all of our lives because we live in the greatest nation on earth.
Well, “the greatest nation on earth” is about to get a massive wake up call. We are up to our eyeballs in debt and we are bleeding jobs, businesses and wealth at an astounding pace. Our economy is dying right in front of our eyes, and most Americans have been so “dumbed-down” that they don’t even realize what is happening.
But what most Americans do know is that things are “bad” and they want someone to “fix” things. They know that something is “not right” and they want things to go back to the way things used to be. The longer it takes for things to return to “normal”, the angrier they are going to get.
The following are 16 statistics which prove that the American people are absolutely seething with anger right now….
#1 A new Washington Post poll has found that a whopping 78 percent of Americans are dissatisfied “with the way this country’s political system is working”.
#2 That same poll found that only 26 percent of Americans believe that the federal government can solve the economic problems that we are now facing.
So why doesn’t the government step in and spend a whole bunch of money and make everything all better?
Well, the problem is that we have done this time after time before and now we are broke.
We have been living way, way beyond our means for decades and now the bills are coming due.
David Walker, the former Comptroller General of the United States, has been warning about our debt problem for years. Walker says that the United States is heading for a “sudden and very painful” economic collapse….
“Here’s the bottom line. If you take the total liabilities of the United States – public debt, unfunded pensions, retiree health care, under funding with regard to social security, with regard to medicare, a range of commitments and contingencies – as of September 30 2010 we would have had to have had $61.6 trillion dollars in the bank in order to be able to defease those obligations.”
The cold, hard truth is that the U.S. national debt should have been addressed many years ago when it was still relatively small.
At this point, there is no solution to our national debt problem under our current financial system.
But Illinois is not alone. All over the country, state and local governments have been implementing austerity measures.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, state and local governments have slashed more than half a million jobs since August 2008.
That is a whole lot of good jobs that aren’t there anymore.
But government debt is not the only debt problem that we are facing. Personal debt is also a raging crisis.
According to USDebtClock.org, the total amount of personal debt in the United States is now over 16 trillion dollars. The exploding levels of personal debt have created a tremendous amount of stress in households from coast to coast.
When I was growing up, it seemed like almost everyone was in the middle class. But today the middle class is shrinking at lightning speed.
In fact, there are some cities such as Detroit where the poverty rate is over 35 percent.
It is hard to believe what is happening to America. Today, there are over 45 million Americans on food stamps. That number has increased by approximately 12 percent in the last year alone.
There are currently 34 million Americans that need a full-time job. Unemployment is rampant and there is intense competition even for part-time jobs that pay minimum wage.
So where did all of the jobs go?
Well, as I have written about previously, globalism is absolutely devastating our economy. Millions of our jobs have been shipped to countries where labor is far, far cheaper and they aren’t coming back.
In addition, millions of Americans that do still have jobs are also deeply struggling right now. There are millions and millions of Americans that are working part-time jobs because that is all that they can find right now. Millions of other Americans are flat broke and are discovering that their paychecks are “shrinking” due to inflation. Wages have barely risen while prices for food and other necessities are skyrocketing.
Most families are really struggling to get by right now.
According to the Washington Post, the average yearly income of the bottom 90 percent of U.S. income earners is $31,244.
It is really hard to pay a mortgage and feed a family on that income.
The only people that seem to be doing well are at the very top.
For those seeking to move outside of the United States, figuring out the best country to move to can be a very daunting task. There are a ton of social, cultural, economic and safety issues to be considered. In addition, those who have never been outside of North America should not underestimate the severe “culture shock” that can take place when moving to another nation. While moving outside of the United States may seem like an attractive alternative, the truth is that it is not easy and it is not something to be done lightly. But there have been many Americans who have done it successfully and are now loving life. Our recent article, “Is Moving Out Of The United States A Way To Escape The Coming Economic Collapse?”, generated some really great comments about what various areas of the world are like for Americans who move there. Today we wanted to share with you some of those comments. These commenters have some very strong opinions about where the best places for Americans to move to are, but the reality is that each person and each situation is different so keep that in mind as you read these….
I’ve lived in China, Vietnam, and am currently living in Malaysia for the last few years. I’ve also traveled extensively during that time. Given the likely future problems in the US it’s certainly prudent to at least evaluate an alternative.
Our top two choices would be New Zealand (NZ) and Costa Rica (CR) with Malaysia coming in 3rd. NZ and CR are both beautiful countries and pretty much self-sufficient in needed resources. English, of course, is the language of NZ and it is widely spoken in CR. Though if you choose a country where English is not the native language; you’d be way better off learning the local language.
Some other options would be: Thailand; a beautiful very expat friendly country. Indonesia, in particular Bali. Vietnam and Cambodia would be OK for the more adventurous and they are cheap, cheap. Australia is fine, though the prices are pretty much US level. Singapore is nice if you want to live in one big city. Malaysia is interesting. It tries very hard to get expats to retire there. They have a formal program called “Malaysia My Second Home” (MM2H). You apply for it, and if you meet the criteria, you get a 10 yr, unlimited entry visa. There should be no trouble renewing it. You need to keep about $30,000 USD in a local bank account, buy a home that costs at least $175,000 USD, and have an income of $3,000 a month. I suspect these requirements will lessen. The program is relatively new and the government hasn’t seem to have chosen which expat group they’re really targeting: rich foreigners, well off investors, or retirees with more modest moola. The country is beautiful and fairly cheap to live in. We have a gorgeous 5,000 sf apartment with great, modern security features. Did I mention it’s on the beach with amazing views. The cost? About $2,400 USD a month!! Our electric bill, and we run the aircon a lot; is $25 bucks. We haven’t used our health insurance yet, as we’d not hit the deductible limit and the prices are very cheap. And the quality of care is 1st rate. My daughter twisted her ankle recently so we put the system to the test. The initial exam by an orthopedic surgeon, xrays, and a soft cast cost about $35 USD! Follow-up visits with the orthopedic surgeon cost $9 USD! Pretty darn good. My primary concern? The worry that the country will become too islamic. It is the official state religion though now it does treat the Chinese and Indian minorities relatively fairly. I’m just not sure it can resist the tendency for islam to become more intrusive and radical. Hopefully not, but the jury is still out.
Overall I’d suggest doing some research and find a few contenders. Then go to these places for a vacation. That will give you some 1st hand data. One thing you notice living overseas is that Americans are the least adventurous, 1st world; folks. We need to get over that.
Gringo in Brazil:
I recently made the move to Brazil with my family based primarily on the social and economic factors I witnessed and experienced. In Michigan, I found my business drying up, my home value plummeting, the job market disappearing, etc. More importantly, if the youth I saw at the malls and high schools are any indication of the future leadership of our country; we are in serious trouble. With less than 50% of our youth even graduating from High School, how do we stand a chance.
Fortunately I speak fluent Portuguese so I am able to adapt. I am earning about $1,300/mo plus commissions which is enough for a simple apartment and living expenses. My wife is looking for the right job and should be able to earn about the same which will afford us a modest lifestyle.
Most Americans couldn’t cope with the heat, mosquitoes, open sewers, long lines, hellish traffic, and other cultural issues, unless they could afford to live in a luxury neighborhood and have a maid and personal assistant. However, the outlook here in Brazil is very positive. Most young people are investing in their education and advancement. I liken it to stepping back 70 years in our country and being on the verge of a great industrial revolution that I can be a part of. I have decided it is better to be starting at the bottom of the hill, climbing towards the top, then to be at the top and sliding out of control towards the bottom.
If you can afford it, do what my wife and I did, we took a two month “vacation” a couple of years ago, rented a furnished apartment and did a trial “residency” in which we had time to evaluate the pros and cons. When we moved here last month, we were well prepared, knowing what we were getting into, bringing along the necessary items and resources to be able to live relatively comfortably.
If you can master the native language sufficiently (or take an immersion course when you arrive for 6 months), you can often get a job at a language school, or company needing bi-lingual workers or professionals. Best bet is to scour the classifieds online ahead of time so you have something guaranteed when you arrive.
Australia is the best country in the world to live in. This is the statement of Australians who have been to USA and other countries. It is what USA used to be years ago. It will be a few years before Australia becomes like USA. USA has left its Christian roots and I am afraid there are those who will make sure it never goes back.
Singapore is the best place to live and work. It has a real future and very reasonable taxes. Peaceful, modern, they even speak English (kind of). Bring your best attitude and a necktie, because you have to work and you have to be kind to your neighbors. Who wants to be cloistered nervously behind a wall, anyway?
Best places as far as quality of life? Social Democratic countries like Scandanavia- Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark.
If language is a problem Canada would be the closest best choice, then Australia, New Zealand, and for Central America, Costa Rica would be the number one choice for climate, civility, medical care and a beautiful environment.
For most places that provide good quality of life, expect to pay high taxes, which most civilized countries, yours excepted, equate with civilization. I’m afraid you folks are letting your inherent selfishness, ignorance of other cultures, militarism and a “screw you Jack, I’ve got mine” mentality destroy you.
Better than moving, stay there and try to turn things around. You have too much that is still good to lose it all. We’re all hoping-well, your firends are anyway- that you’ll pull out of this before its too late.
Time is running out folks.
Not all Americans are “ugly Americans.” We are guests in the host country and most expats act as such. I retired in Sept 2009 and plan on living, teaching, and writing in Thailand. I have lived and worked overseas before, so this is nothing new for me. You make do and blend in and stay out of trouble. Leave your attitudes and preconceptions at the door when you check in. Otherwise, you will be creating problems for those of us who wish to live in peace and enjoy the pleasures of a different culture.
There are over 100,000 Americans living in Costa Rica and loving it. Things are getting stronger here everyday and in most schools they teach English for half the day and Spanish for the other. The majority of the people like Americans and if you want to have it shipped here you can get everything here that you can get there. WalMart is the largest retail chain here as well as there.
This week Costa Rica moved ahead of the US in medical care. A huge % of the national income is from Medical Tourism. They are using adult stem cell treatment here to cure MS, Heart Decease, diabetes, Spinal Cord Injuries, Cancer and many other conditions. A good source for getting information on Costa Rica is the Association of Residents of Costa Rica.
They have a seminar once a month that brings in Doctors, Lawyers, Dentist, Shippers, Realtors, Investment Councilors and many other experts to brief you on the pros and cons of moving to Costa Rica. There are many communities here that are all American and the “Culture Shock” is nonexistent. The weather is perfect and they have never had a hurricane.
We moved to the French Riviera 10 years ago when we retired. Cost of living here in Nice is much less than New York or any other major American city. We’re on the sea, a big plus, near Italy, also a big plus, and we enjoy terrific food that we can afford. The medical system in France is incomparable and truly inexpensive compared to the U.S. We calculated our fixed living expenses for the year: it came to 11,000 Euros, or about $15,000 for all our taxes, medical coverage, utilities, condo fees, dentistry, etc. We live in a 2 bedroom top floor condo with a very large terrace and 2 balconies. There’s plenty of money left for travel, dining out, movies, and quick jaunts up to London and Paris for culture and ethnic food (especially London). Don’t regret the move at all.
I moved to Ensenada Mexico in 2000. It was the best thing I ever did for my future because there is no future in America. I now enjoy more freedom than I ever had in the US. Spanish is easy to learn and the people are much more friendly here. There are lots of ex-pats here also. In the coming years the US is going to be the worst place to be. Escape now while you still can.
I am an American that immigrated to Australia in 2001 (after Bush took office). My wife and I didn’t like what we saw coming. Politically, culturally, financially and socially.
When Big Media first started covering the US’s economic problems here in 2008 they drug out the old phrase “When America catches a cold Australia gets a flu”. Two plus years on and this couldn’t be further from the truth. The economy here is going great guns, and demand from Asia and a better government are a good part of the reason.
House prices are having solid gains every year, unemployment is reasonably steady, and the federal reserve is trying to raise interest rates to cool the economy (.25% again today)
To that point, the government here doesn’t subsidise 30 year fixed mortgages the way they do in the US, so they can still manage the economy by slightly manipulating interest rates. The longest you can fix a mortgage for is 5 years, at a very high premium, so most people don’t.
America has become an after thought, if not the laughing stock, of many Australians. It saddens me to see how far everything has fallen over there. I no longer try to defend the US or the American people. The time for real public outrage passed many years ago, and I have not only given up on the government, but also on the people themselves. So many dear family and friends spend their lives watching TV while their freedoms, lifestyle, culture and wealth were/are being destroyed around them. Ignorant and apathetic to the realities of the real world. Living with some strange notion of the past as if it represents the present.
Not all is doom and gloom here. And although it could still come, if it does it will have little, if nothing at all, to do with the problems in America.
Is taking all of our money out of the big banks part of the solution to America’s financial problems? The truth is that people across the United States are angrier about financial and economic issues than they ever have been in modern history. It did not sit well with millions upon millions of hard working Americans to watch their tax dollars being used to fund multi-million dollar bonuses at big financial institutions that were just bailed out by the U.S. government. It made Americans even angrier when these big banks that got the bailouts actually decreased their lending. It has been the big banks who got the massive government-funded bailouts who have been hoarding their cash, while the local community banks and credit unions that have been serving their customers loyally for generations have been left to die by the feds. Now the banking industry in the United States is more centralized than ever. At the end of 2007, the “Big Four” U.S. banks – Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo – held 32 percent of all deposits in FDIC-insured institutions. As of June 30th of last year it was 39 percent.
So are we going to let the big banks swallow the whole pie or are we going to do something about it?
Well, there are some people who are doing something about it. Arianna Huffington and Rob Johnson of the Huffington Post have started “The Move Your Money Campaign” which calls on all Americans to take their money out of these big banks and put it into smaller community banks and credit unions.
So is it working? A recent Zogby Interactive poll found that 9% of all U.S. adults have already taken some of their business away from big banks as a protest.
The reality is that it is impossible to vote the bankers out of their positions. So if we want to change the banking system, perhaps the best way is to take our cash away from the bankers.
But will it work?
Are the big banks simply too big and too powerful to even be bothered by a protest of this nature?
Perhaps, but nothing great was ever accomplished by not trying.
When they began this campaign at the end of last year, Arianna Huffington and Rob Johnson described their reasoning this way….
The big banks on Wall Street, propped up by taxpayer money and government guarantees, have had a record year, making record profits while returning to the highly leveraged activities that brought our economy to the brink of disaster. In a slap in the face to taxpayers, they have also cut back on the money they are lending, even though the need to get credit flowing again was one of the main points used in selling the public the bank bailout. But since April, JP Morgan/Chase, Citibank, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo — all of which took billions in taxpayer money — have cut lending to businesses by $100 billion.
Meanwhile, America’s Main Street community banks — the vast majority of which avoided the banquet of greed and corruption that created the toxic economic swamp we are still fighting to get ourselves out of — are struggling. Many of them have closed down (or been taken over by the FDIC) over the last 12 months. The government policy of protecting the Too Big and Politically Connected to Fail is badly hurting the small banks, which are having a much harder time competing in the financial marketplace. As a result, a system which was already dangerously concentrated at the top has only become more so.
How else are we going to hold these bankers accountable? They have abused us and have abused the entire financial system, so they do not deserve our business any longer.
To promote The Move Your Money Campaign, filmmaker/author Eugene Jarecki produced the stirring YouTube video posted below. This video makes it exceedingly clear why we all need to start boycotting the big banks immediately…..
Please share this video with all of your friends and family. The reality is that the U.S. government has made it abundantly clear that the big banks are “too big to fail” and will always get bailed out, while all of the small banks and credit unions will be allowed to die and their assets will be divided up by the sharks.
If that does not sound like a good plan to you, then do something about it.
Pull your money out of the big banks.
Encourage your friends and family to do the same.
Otherwise the banking system of the United States will soon be concentrated in the hands of just a few and then we will all pay the price.
With the U.S. economy in a death spiral, many Americans have been wondering if moving out of the United States is a way to escape the coming economic collapse. While it is true that the U.S. economy will drag down the rest of the economies around the globe at least to an extent, the reality is that someone living on an island in the middle of nowhere will be able to weather the coming economic storm a whole lot better than someone in New York or Los Angeles. But is moving out of the United States a practical alternative? First of all, it is very important to realize that moving some to another country can cause a massive culture shock. Even a nation that you would think would be somewhat similar such as the U.K. can be radically different from what most Americans are accustomed to. In addition, in some cases there can be huge taxes and fees imposed on those moving to a new country.
But if you are looking for a change and are ready for something different, moving to another country may work out for you. In particular, moving to another country tends to work out for those who already have money and do not have to work. The dollar is still strong in many areas of the world (especially the third world), so if you have a sufficient bankroll saved up there are areas of the world where you can literally live like a king.
However, if you still need to work, moving to another country can present a huge challenge. The truth is that wages in many areas of the world (especially in the third world) are much lower than in the United States. On the flip side, the cost of living is often much lower in other areas of the world.
So is moving to another country the right answer for everyone? No, of course not. But for some people it may be a wonderful alternative.
To give you more of a perspective on moving out of the United States, we have posted two comments from our readers below. The first is from a reader named Chris who is very excited about moving his family to the Philippines. The second is from a reader named John who provides an alternative viewpoint on what living in the Philippines is like….
Well I feel the same way as Mae does. I can see what is the possible outcome; a deflationary depression, an inflationary depression, dollar devaluation, confiscation of our money, confiscation of gold, a “freeze” on our savings accounts, etc…
Well so what is our solution? Well my wife is a Filipino American. She was born here. But she has very close ties to her ancestral homeland. So we are going to move in April 2010. We are going to move to a remote town/village. We already bought some land under her father’s name who lives there now and had a beautiful 3000 square foot Spanish villa built two years ago. Plus we bought lots and lots of land where we can grow our own organic food and raise chickens.
Even though as a whole the Philippines is a poor society, they are moving forward. If you have about $150,000 or more, you can live like a king with all of the Western accommodations. If you are living in the U.S.A. then move. Our country won’t be the same in the next coming years. I will wait for this storm to pass. Then I can either choose to stay in the Philippines or come back to America.
Remember, whatever you do, prepare yourself. “Prepare for the worst and hope for the best”.
I was talking to a friend here in the Philippines this afternoon who has two young adult children who are both working full time jobs. He is worried that they will NEVER be able to have a home of their own or even ever an apartment. They both work for Call centers and their jobs USED to based in the USA. They are happy to have a job but they are only earning 13,000 pesos a month. That is about $300 !!!
The same exact job in the states is paying over $400 a week! The of living is less in the Philippines BUT things are NOT so cheap that you could have a home of your own. $300 a month is NOT very much money NO MATTER where in the world you live. The cost of gasoline is MORE here, about $4.00 a gallon. Going out to eat at McDonalds appears to cost less BUT the serving sizes are less so in the long run you pay the same. The wages for a McDonalds employee is about $7 a day so the employees can not even afford to eat at McDonalds!
The employers are making MILLIONS off of the cheap labor. The jobs that used to be in the states are NOW here but the BOSS MAN is making even MORE PROFIT. The employers do not have the misc. taxes to pay like they would in the states. The wages are obviously several hundred dollars or more LESS than the same job in the states. These employers have NOT reduced the cost of their products or services so they are really raking in the bucks.
The american people have lost their jobs and they will NOT see them return. And the people here who are now doing those same jobs are not much better off. The filipino employees are wise enough to understand they are being taken advantage of but there is nothing they can do. They need a job also, so complaining about the low wages does nothing. There are thousands that will take the job you do not want.
Many areas in the Philippines are incredibly wealthy. You see housing developments that the average american could not afford to live in. I see cars that cost tens of thousands of dollars on the road everyday. They have huge shopping malls that are bursting at the seams with stores in EVERY retail location. Unlike the mall in my home town of Cedar Rapids Iowa. The mall there looks like a GHOST TOWN.
The only people that are winning are the CORPORATIONS that are raking in huge profits while the little guy suffers.