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37 Facts That Show How Cruel This Economy Has Been To Millions Of Desperate American Families

Have you ever laid in bed awake at night with a knot in your stomach because you didn’t know how your family was possibly going to make it through the next month financially?  Have you ever felt the desperation of not being able to provide the basic necessities for your family even though you tried as hard as you could?  All over America tonight, there are millions of desperate families that are being ripped apart by this economy.  There aren’t nearly enough jobs, and millions of Americans that actually do have jobs aren’t making enough to even provide the basics for their families.  When you have tried everything that you can think of and nothing works, it can be absolutely soul crushing.  Today, one of my regular readers explained that he was not going to be online for a while because his power had been turned off.  He has been out of work for quite a while, and eventually the money runs out.  Have you ever been there?  If you have ever experienced that moment, you know that it stays with you for the rest of your life.  If you are single that is bad enough, but when you have to look into the eyes of your children and explain to them why there won’t be any dinner tonight or why they have to move into a homeless shelter it can feel like someone has driven a stake into your heart.  In this article you will find a lot of very shocking economic statistics.  But please remember that behind each statistic are the tragic stories of millions of desperately hurting American families.

Over the past decade, things have steadily gotten worse for American families no matter what our politicians have tried.  Poverty and government dependence continue to rise.  The cost of living continues to go up and incomes continue to go down.  It is truly frightening to think about what this country is going to look like if current trends continue.

The following are 37 facts that show how cruel this economy has been to millions of desperate American families…

1. One recent survey discovered that 40 percent of all Americans have $500 or less in savings.

2. A different recent survey found that 28 percent of all Americans do not have a single penny saved for emergencies.

3. In the United States today, there are close to 10 million households that do not have a single bank account.  That number has increased by about a million since 2009.

4. Family homelessness in the Washington D.C. region (one of the wealthiest regions in the entire country) has risen 23 percent since the last recession began.

5. The number of Americans living in poverty has increased by about 6 million over the past four years.

6. Median household income has fallen for four years in a row.  Overall, it has declined by more than $4000 over the past four years.

7. 62 percent of middle class Americans say that they have had to reduce household spending over the past year.

8. According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 85 percent of middle class Americans say that it is more difficult to maintain a middle class standard of living today than it was 10 years ago.

9. In the United States today, 77 percent of all Americans are living to paycheck to paycheck at least some of the time.

10. In the United States today, more than 41 percent of all working age Americans are not working.

11. Since January 2009, the “labor force” in the United States has increased by 827,000, but “those not in the labor force” has increased by 8,208,000.  This is how they have gotten the unemployment numbers to “come down”.

12. Sadly, 60 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession were mid-wage jobs, but 58 percent of the jobs created since then have been low wage jobs.

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

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

15. At this point, less than 25 percent of all jobs in the United States are “good jobs”, and that number continues to shrink.

16. There are now 20.2 million Americans that spend more than half of their incomes on housing.  That represents a 46 percent increase from 2001.

17. According to USA Today, many Americans have actually seen their water bills triple over the past 12 years.

18. Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.

19. In 1999, 64.1 percent of all Americans were covered by employment-based health insurance.  Today, only 55.1 percent are covered by employment-based health insurance.

20. Health insurance premiums rose faster than the overall rate of inflation in 2011 and that is happening once again in 2012.  In fact, it has been happening for a very long time.

21. According to one recent survey, approximately 10 percent of all employers in the United States plan to drop health coverage when key provisions of the new health care law kick in less than two years from now.

22. Back in 1983, the bottom 95 percent of all income earners had 62 cents of debt for every dollar that they earned.  By 2007, that figure had soared to $1.48.

23. Total home mortgage debt in the United States is now about 5 times larger than it was just 20 years ago.

24. Total consumer debt in the United States has risen by 1700 percent since 1971.

25. Recently it was announced that total student loan debt in the United States has passed the one trillion dollar mark.

26. According to one recent survey, approximately one-third of all Americans are not paying their bills on time at this point.

27. Right now, approximately 25 million American adults are living at home with their parents.

28. The percentage of Americans that find that they are able to retire when they reach retirement age continues to decline.  According to one new survey, 70 percent of middle class Americans plan to work during retirement and 30 percent plan to work until they are at least 80 years old.

29. The U.S. economy lost more than 220,000 small businesses during the recent recession.

30. In 2010, the number of jobs created at new businesses in the United States was less than half of what it was back in the year 2000.

31. Back in 2007, 19.2 percent of all American families had a net worth of zero or less than zero.  By 2010, that figure had soared to 32.5 percent.

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

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

34. In October 2008, 30.8 million Americans were on food stamps.  Today, 46.7 million Americans are on food stamps.

35. Approximately one-fourth of all children in the United States are enrolled in the food stamp program.

36. Right now, more than 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government.  And that does not even count Social Security or Medicare.

37. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, an all-time record 49 percent of all Americans live in a home where at least one person receives financial assistance from the federal government.  Back in 1983, that number was less than 30 percent.

What makes all of this even more frightening is that many homeless shelters and food banks around the nation are so overloaded at this point that they are already over capacity.  Just consider this example

When Janice Coe, a homeless advocate in Loudoun County, learned through her prayer group that a young woman was sleeping in the New Carrollton Metro station with a toddler and a 2-month-old, she sprang into action.

Coe contacted the young woman and arranged for her to take the train to Virginia, where she put the little family up in a Comfort Suites hotel. Then Coe began calling shelters to see who could take them.

Despite several phone calls, she came up empty. Coe was shocked to learn that many of the local shelters that cater to families were full, including Good Shepherd Alliance, where Coe was once director of social services.

“I don’t know why nobody will take this girl in,” Coe said. “The baby still had a hospital bracelet on her wrist.”

Keep in mind that Loudoun Country is smack dab in the middle of one of the wealthiest areas of Virginia.

So if things are that bad in the wealthy areas, exactly how bad are things getting in many of the poorer areas?

Unfortunately, things continue to get worse for this economy.  DuPont has just announced plans to eliminate 1,500 jobs.  There are more major layoff announcements almost every single day.  So how bad will things get when our crumbling economic system finally collapses?  When kind of chaos will be unleashed all over the nation when millions upon millions of Americans finally lose all hope?

In the introduction to this article, I mentioned that one of my regular readers has had his lights turned off.  The following is how he described his situation

No gas, no water, no electricity at my house. Couldn’t pay the bills. I’m broke. Desperately searching for any means of income, or at least enough cash to get the juice (electricity) restored.

Typing this missive in a dark house using the battery on my laptop. Feels like I’m camping out at home. Hope to get this situation fixed tomorrow… somehow. Needless to say, I *…. hate this.

I was ready for this, but it is still a major league inconvenience. For those of you who DO have power, etc. – and are not ready… oh brother. You need to get ready. Seriously, you do. Because what I’m going through is just an inconvenience. It may someday be a normal occurence. Ugh. (expletives deleted)

Hopefully a way can be found to get his situation turned around, but the truth is that there are tens of millions of other similar stories out there in America today.

What about you?  What are things like in your neck of the woods?  Please feel free to share your thoughts below…

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

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

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

Wasn’t that video absolutely mind blowing?

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

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

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

So what are those people going to do after that?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Worst Time Of The Year?

For a lot of Americans, this is the worst time of the year.  If you don’t have any money, it can be really hard to hear others go on and on about how good “Santa Claus” was to them this year.  For many, there is simply not much to be cheerful about as the year ends.  There are millions of people in this country that do not have a “happy family” to spend the holidays with, there are millions of people in this country that do not have any money to spend on gifts, and there are millions of people that are either already sleeping in the streets or that are in imminent danger of losing their homes.  It can be really difficult to feel “holiday cheer” when you are freezing cold and you don’t have any food in your stomach.  The realization that you are not going to enjoy any of the good things that other people get to enjoy this time of the year is enough to push many people over the edge.  Yes, for most of the country this time of the year is filled with food, family and fun but for millions of others this time of the year tends to magnify despair, depression and thoughts of suicide.  If you are blessed as we get ready to enter 2012, please remember those out there that are really hurting.  If someone does not help them, they might not make it to 2013.

In our society today, the “holiday season” is held up as the ultimate time of the year.  Often expectations are so high that they are almost impossible to fulfill.  The truth is that materialism is never going to bring anyone true fulfillment, and once Christmas is over many Americans are left with a very hollow feeling.

But all of the “Christmas hype” on television and in the movies can make it seem like this is a “magical” time of the year for most people.  For those that are in a tremendous amount of emotional pain, the holidays can be excruciating because they can feel as though they are “missing out” on all the fun and happiness that everyone else is experiencing.  That is why for many Americans that are “on the edge”, this can be the absolute worst time of the year.

When people go “over the edge”, the consequences can be devastating.

For example, have you noticed how there always seems to be a rash of murder-suicides at this time of the year?

One murder-suicide that made national headlines happened down in Texas.  It turns out that the killer actually dressed up as Santa Claus.  The following description of this stunning incident comes from an article posted on USA Today….

Police said the man they believe is responsible for a Christmas Day shooting that left him and six members of his extended family dead was dressed as Santa Claus.

Grapevine police spokesman Sgt. Robert Eberling said Monday the shooter “showed up shortly before the incident took place” in the Santa outfit and was a member of the family opening gifts in the apartment.

Could you imagine being killed by a family member dressed as Santa Claus?

But sometimes people do not snap in a family setting.  For some, it is the work environment that sets them off.  Just consider the following example from a recent article in the Washington Post….

A Southern California Edison employee chatted calmly with co-workers in the moments between gunning down four managers during a rampage at an office complex, authorities said as the building reopened Tuesday.

Investigators still were trying to determine what pushed gunman Andre Turner to finish a normal workday by shooting the workers with a semiautomatic handgun before turning it on himself.

We have also seen shocking murder-suicides reported in recent days in Illinois, in California, in Colorado and in Arizona.

Every year we also see reports of Christmas presents being stolen right out from under the tree.  The following comes from an article in the Los Angeles Times….

A Northern California family victimized in a burglary a few days before Christmas is hoping to at least get their dog back.

The Lancers lost all of the presents under the tree along with their dog when their home in Morgan Hill, southeast of San Jose, was broken into last week, authorities said Sunday.

There are a lot of people out there that do not have any hesitation about stealing from others.  Desperate people do desperate things, and right now the number of desperate people in America is growing.

Tonight, there are millions upon millions of Americans that cannot find work and that are incredibly stressed.  The truth is that there are not nearly enough jobs for everyone.  If the number of Americans considered to be “looking for work” was the same today as it was back in 2007, the “official” unemployment rate would be up to 11 percent.

But the Obama administration does not want to report such a depressing number.

8.6 percent just sounds so much more pleasant.

For even more crazy economic numbers that show just how bad the U.S. economy really was in 2011, just check out this article.

But of course our leaders are enjoying a good, long break from all of the “hard work” that they have put in toward fixing the economy.

Nancy Pelosi has jetted off to Hawaii and is spending her holidays in a suite that rents for $10,000 a night.

Barack Obama and his family are in Hawaii as well.  It has been estimated that their Hawaiian vacation will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 million dollars.

It is shameful that our “leaders” are enjoying such luxury at a time when so many millions of Americans are barely surviving.

One of the reasons why my site has struck such a nerve is because the pain that millions of Americans are going through right now is very real.

For example, the following is a comment that a reader identified as “Ricci” left on one of my recent articles….

I sleep in my car. I have nowhere else to go. It gets really cold and hurts my bones. I would love love love to go back to work but I was hospitalized 12 times in two years. I wouldn’t be able to keep a job because of my health i’m not dependable. THESE are the people who are homeless. It’s also a LOT of veterans that are homeless. But I sleep in my car. Often on family property and I’m still stalked and harassed by police and I’m sick of it.

In another comment, Ricci shared even more of her story….

Wow….do you really think that? I am a licensed social worker for 10 years. In 2005 I lost a son & daughter 3 hours after they were born. For 3 years I suffered in pain, still working my ass off, but found I was very ill. After chemo, immuno-suppressants, and a myriad of other medications I could not afford, I went bankrupt and lost my house. By this time, I was awarded disability on the first try w/o an attorney. I wasn’t expected to live. But here I am. I can barely move somedays I hurt so much. I don’t have family willing to take me in. I look fine on the outside you know. If I would just have more faith or exercise more or eat the right foods I would be cured. Whatever. I often worked 50 to 60 hours a week to protect kids from real problems (not taken away for poverty as people say……so sick of the myths about social services). Anyway, before that I worked mental health, and worked in the school district. I have busted my ass to care for other people. My husband left, children died, and when my health failed I lost everything and fell through the cracks. It’s people like me who are homeless…I do not drink. I do not use drugs. I can barely get the medications I need even w/ supplemental insurance. I get stalked and harassed by police if I so much as get tired and pull over so I don’t wreck. I was on my dad’s property in my car 3 times in two months I was approached by police…one time there were 4 cops that came to my car……on our family’s private property. My car has totally been profiled. I’m so sick of it. At this point, I would be better off dead.

So what do you say to someone like Ricci?

I have never slept in my car.  I have never lost a son or daughter.  I have never lost a house.  I have never been homeless.

How can I identify with someone who has gone through all of that?

But we do need to tell people like Ricci not to ever give up.   The vast majority of us have been at very low points in our own lives, and the secret is to keep on fighting and to never, ever give up.  No matter how bad things get, they can always be turned around if you will just have faith.

We should remember to pray for people like Ricci and the millions of other Americans that are going through similar trials.  We should also look for ways to help people that are really hurting in our own communities.

Yes, we cannot possibly rescue everyone is hurting.  But what we can do is love the one that is in front of us.

Unfortunately, our economic problems are only going to get worse.  America is in the middle of a long-term decline that is rapidly accelerating.  That means that there are going to be lots more people that are going to lose their jobs and their homes.

So let us do what we can to focus on real world solutions and to focus on preparing for the hard times that are coming.

We waste so much time on unnecessary things.  For example, did you know that there are over 695,000 status updates on Facebook every single minute?

Every 60 seconds.

Amazing.

As bad as 2011 was, it looks like 2012 is going to be significantly worse.  It won’t be the end of the world of course, but huge challenges are ahead.  Now is the time to get our priorities in order and to start focusing on the things that really matter.

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