The American Dream Is Getting Smaller, And The Reason Why Is Painfully Obvious…

Over the past decade, an unprecedented stock market boom has created thousands upon thousands of new millionaires, and yet the middle class in America has continued to shrink.  How is that even possible?  At one time the United States had the largest and most vibrant middle class in the history of the planet, but now the gap between the wealthy and the poor is the largest that it has been since the 1920s.  Our economy has been creating lots of new millionaires, but at the exact same time we have seen homelessness spiral out of control in our major cities.  Today, being part of the middle class is like playing a really bizarre game of musical chairs.  Each month when the music stops playing, those of us still in the middle class desperately hope that we are not among the ones that slip out of the middle class and into poverty.  Well over 100 million Americans receive money or benefits from the federal government each month, and that includes approximately 40 percent of all families with children.  We are losing our ability to take care of ourselves, and that has frightening implications for the future of our society.

One of the primary reasons why our system doesn’t work for everyone is because virtually everything has been financialized.  In other words, from the cradle to the grave the entire system has been designed to get you into debt so that the fruits of your labor can be funneled to the top of the pyramid and make somebody else wealthier.  The following comes from an excellent Marketwatch article entitled “The American Dream is getting smaller”

More worrying, perhaps: 33% of those surveyed said they think that dream is disappearing. Why? They have too much debt. “Americans believe financial security is at the core of the American Dream, but it is alarming that so many think it is beyond their reach,” said Mike Fanning, head of MassMutual U.S.

Almost everyone that will read this article will have debt.  In America today, we are trained to go into debt for just about everything.

If you want a college education, you go into debt.

If you want a vehicle, you go into debt.

If you want a home, you go into debt.

If you want that nice new pair of shoes, you don’t have to wait for it.  Just go into more debt.

As a result, most Americans are currently up to their necks in red ink

Some 64% of those surveyed said they have a mortgage, 56% said they had credit-card debt and 26% said they have student-loan debt. Many surveyed said they don’t feel financially secure. More than a quarter said they wish they had better control of their finances.

You would have thought that we would have learned from the very hard lessons that the crisis of 2008 taught us.

But instead, we have been on the greatest debt binge in American history in recent years.  Here is more from the Marketwatch article

It makes sense that debt is on Americans’ minds. Collectively, Americans have more than $1 trillion in credit-card debt, according to the Federal Reserve. They have another $1.5 trillion in student loans, up from $1.1 trillion in 2013. Motor vehicle loans are now topping $1.1 trillion, up from $878.5 billion in 2013. And they have another nearly $15 trillion in mortgage debt outstanding.

That is one huge pile of debt.

We criticize the federal government for running up 21 trillion dollars in debt, and rightly so, but American consumers have been almost as irresponsible on an individual basis.

As long as you are drowning in debt, you will never become wealthy.  In order to build wealth, you have got to spend less than you earn, but most Americans never learn basic fundamentals such as this in our rapidly failing system of public education.

Many Americans long to become financially independent, but they don’t understand that our system is rigged against them.  The entire game is all about keeping consumers on that debt wheel endlessly chasing that piece of proverbial cheese until it is too late.

Getting out of debt is one of the biggest steps that you can take to give yourself more freedom, and hopefully this article will inspire many to do just that.

To end this article today, I would like to share 14 facts about how the middle class in America is shrinking that I shared in a previous article

#1 78 million Americans are participating in the “gig economy” because full-time jobs just don’t pay enough to make ends meet these days.

#2 In 2011, the average home price was 3.56 times the average yearly salary in the United States.  But by the time 2017 was finished, the average home price was 4.73 times the average yearly salary in the United States.

#3 In 1980, the average American worker’s debt was 1.96 times larger than his or her monthly salary.  Today, that number has ballooned to 5.00.

#4 In the United States today, 66 percent of all jobs pay less than 20 dollars an hour.

#5 102 million working age Americans do not have a job right now.  That number is higher than it was at any point during the last recession.

#6 Earnings for low-skill jobs have stayed very flat for the last 40 years.

#7 Americans have been spending more money than they make for 28 months in a row.

#8 In the United States today, the average young adult with student loan debt has a negative net worth.

#9 At this point, the average American household is nearly $140,000 in debt.

#10 Poverty rates in U.S. suburbs “have increased by 50 percent since 1990”.

#11 Almost 51 million U.S. households “can’t afford basics like rent and food”.

#12 The bottom 40 percent of all U.S. households bring home just 11.4 percent of all income.

#13 According to the Federal Reserve, 4 out of 10 Americans do not have enough money to cover an unexpected $400 expense without borrowing the money or selling something they own.

#14 22 percent of all Americans cannot pay all of their bills in a typical month.

This article originally appeared on The Economic Collapse Blog.  About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

11 Rage-Inducing Facts About America’s Wildly Out Of Control Student Loan Debt Bubble

Higher education has become one of the biggest money-making scams in America.  We tell all of our young people that if they want to have a bright future, they must go to college.  This message is relentlessly pounded into their heads for their first 18 years, and so by the time high school graduation rolls around for many of them it would be unthinkable to do anything else.  And instead of doing a cost/benefit analysis on various schools, we tell our young people to go to the best college that they can possibly get into and to not worry about what it will cost.  We assure them that a great job will be there after they graduate and that great job will allow them to easily pay off any student loans that they have accumulated.  Of course most college graduates don’t end up getting great jobs, but many of them do end up being financially crippled for decades by student loan debt.

In all of American history, we have never seen anything quite like this student loan debt bubble.  Since 2007, the total amount of student loan debt in America has nearly tripled.

Let me repeat that again.

Since 2007, the total amount of student loan debt in America has nearly tripled.

But of course the quality of college education has not tripled over that time.  Instead, it has progressively gotten worse.  At this point most college courses have been so “dumbed down” that the family pet could pass them.  If you would like to look into this more, you can find a list of 37 of the most idiotic college courses in America right here.

These days, most college courses do not require any actual writing.  Instead, your performance is judged by a series of “tests” consisting of multiple choice, fill in the blank, and true/false questions.  And the questions are usually ridiculously easy, because most of our high school graduates need to take remedial courses in basic skills when they get to college.

I spent eight years at public universities, and the quality of education that I received was a joke, and that was many years ago.  Now the quality of education has deteriorated so dramatically that most college degrees are essentially worthless from a practical standpoint, but for many professions you still need that “piece of paper” in order to “qualify” for certain jobs.

So the scam continues, and thousands upon thousands of “administrators”, “diversity specialists”, “career counselors” and “college presidents” are taking home massively bloated salaries at our expense.  Beautiful new lecture halls, residential complexes and sports stadiums are going up at colleges and universities all over the country, and textbook publishers are laughing all the way to the bank.

If everything but the basics was stripped away, the cost of actually delivering a college education to students would be quite low.  In fact, most learning could be done over the Internet.

But instead, the “college education industry” has convinced all of us that we desperately need their services, and that we shouldn’t care about the price.

Of course many of our young people are filled with regret once they get out into the real world and they realize that student loan debt is going to financially cripple them for the rest of their lives.

At this moment, America is drowning in more student loan debt than ever before.  The following are 11 rage-inducing facts about America’s wildly out of control student loan debt bubble…

#1 The student loan debt bubble has now grown to 1.4 trillion dollars.

#2 In 2007, the total amount of student loan debt in the U.S. was just 545 billion dollars.

#3 Over the previous ten years, student loan debt has grown by a staggering 176 percent.

#4 Americans now owe more on their student loans than they do on their credit cards.

#5 In 2003, student loan debt accounted for just 3.3 percent of all household debt.  Today, that number has grown to 10.5 percent.

#6 The current student loan 90-day delinquency rate is 11.2 percent.

#7 30 percent of all student loans in the United States are either in “deferment” or “forbearance”.  The most common reason a loan is placed into one of those categories is because the borrower cannot pay.

#8 It is being projected that a whopping 40 percent all student loan borrowers will default on their loans by 2023.

#9 From 2007 through 2017, “college tuition costs jumped 63 percent, school housing surged 51 percent and the price of textbooks by 88 percent.”

#10 In 2001, 18.6 percent of all U.S. households led by someone in the 18 to 34 age bracket were carrying household debt.  Today, that number has jumped to 44.8 percent.

#11 Each year, more than a million Americans default on their student loans.

This article originally appeared on The Economic Collapse Blog.  About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

These Days Young Men In America Are Working A Lot Less And Playing Video Games A Lot More

If you could stay home and play video games all day, would you do it?  According to a brand new report that was released by the National Bureau of Economic Research on Monday, American men from the ages of 21 to 30 are working a lot less these days.  In fact, on average men in this age group worked 203 fewer hours per year in 2015 than they did in 2000.  So what did they do with all of that extra time?  According to the study, a large portion of the time that young men used to spend working is now being spent playing video games.

It is certainly no secret that young men like video games.  But the study found that in recent years the amount of time young men dedicate to gaming has shot up dramatically

Comparing data from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) for recent years (2012-2015) to eight years prior (2004-2007), we see that: (a) the drop in market hours for young men was mirrored by a roughly equivalent increase in leisure hours, and (b) increased time spent in gaming and computer leisure for younger men, 99 hours per year, comprises three quarters of that increase in leisure. Younger men increased their recreational computer use and video gaming by nearly 50 percent over this short period. Non-employed young men now average 520 hours a year in recreational computer time, sixty percent of that spent playing video games. This exceeds their time spent on home production or non-computer related socializing with friends.

Those are some absolutely staggering numbers.

But how can these young men get away with spending so much time playing video games?  After all, don’t they have bills to pay?

Well, some of them do, but a lot of them are still living at home with Mom and Dad.  According to this new report, a whopping 35 percent of young men “are living at home with their parents or a close relative”

Men ages 21 to 30 years old worked 12 percent fewer hours in 2015 than they did in 2000, the economists found. Around 15 percent of young men worked zero weeks in 2015, a rate nearly double that of 2000.

Since 2004, young men have increasingly allocated more of their free time to playing video games and other computer-related activities, according to the study. Thirty-five percent of young men are living at home with their parents or a close relative, up 12 percent since 2000.

This phenomenon is known as “extended adolescence”, and it is becoming a major societal problem.

In the old days, most young men in their twenties would be working hard, starting families and becoming solid members of their communities.

But these days, way too many young men are living in the basement with Mom and Dad and spending endless hours playing video games.

So what is going to happen when older generations of Americans start dying off and these guys are forced to become “the leaders of tomorrow”?

I love baseball, and one of the things that you learn when you follow baseball is that hitters tend to peak around the age of 27.  Of course there are plenty of exceptions to this rule, but on average there is something very special about the age of 27.

The reason I bring this up is to show that in many ways men from the ages of 21 to 30 are in their prime years.  If they are wasting those years playing video games, that is not a good thing for our society.

And of course this isn’t the first survey to find that so many young men are still living with their parents.  Not too long ago, a Census Bureau report discovered that one out of every three 18 to 34-year-old Americans is still living at home

According to the Changing Economics and Demographics of Young Adulthood report for 2016, one in three Americans ages 18 to 34 are living at home with their parents.

Coming in second place is living with a spouse (27 percent), followed by other (i.e. living with a roommate or other relatives, 21 percent), living with a boyfriend or girlfriend (12 percent) and living alone (8 percent).

The fact that only 27 percent of them are “living with a spouse” is particularly noteworthy.  As I noted in a previous article, that number has fallen by more than half since 1975…

Did you know that the percentage of 18 to 34-year-old Americans that are married and living with a spouse has dropped by more than half since 1975?  Back then, 57 percent of everyone in that age group “lived with a spouse”, but today that number has dropped to just 27 percent.

I have a new book coming out later this month, and in that book I am going to talk about some of the reasons why so few of our young people are getting married these days.  Our culture tends to glamorize the “single lifestyle”, and it also tends to portray marriage as a “ball and chain” that needs to be put off for as long as possible.  But studies have shown that married men tend to be happier, they tend to make more money, and they tend to live longer.

However, it is undeniably true that it can be very tough to start a family in today’s economic environment.  The middle class is steadily shrinking, and millions of young people are working jobs that pay close to the minimum wage.  So when you are barely scraping by, it can be quite intimidating to think about taking on all of the expenses that come with raising a child.

But as so many of us have learned, there never is a “perfect time” to have a child.  Many of our parents really had to struggle to survive when we were young, and there is nothing wrong with that.

There is nothing that can replace the joy that family can bring, and we need to encourage our young people to embrace marriage and parenthood.  The family is one of the fundamental building blocks of society, and without strong families there is no way that our country is going to have any sort of a positive future.

Why Are So Many Millennials Living With Their Parents Instead Of Getting Married And Starting Their Own Families?

Did you know that the percentage of 18 to 34-year-old Americans that are married and living with a spouse has dropped by more than half since 1975?  Back then, 57 percent of everyone in that age group “lived with a spouse”, but today that number has dropped to just 27 percent.  These numbers come from “the Changing Economics and Demographics of Young Adulthood” report that was just released by the U.S. Census Bureau.  Some are postulating that the reason for this dramatic cultural shift is a phenomenon known as “extended adolescence”, while others fear that large numbers of young men and/or young women are giving up on the concept of marriage altogether.

Instead of getting married and starting their own households, many young adults are deciding that living with Mom and Dad is the best approach.  In fact, this new Census Bureau report found that one out of every three 18 to 34-year-old Americans is currently living with their parents

According to the Changing Economics and Demographics of Young Adulthood report for 2016, one in three Americans ages 18 to 34 are living at home with their parents.

Coming in second place is living with a spouse (27 per cent), followed by other (i.e. living with a roommate or other relatives, 21 per cent), living with a boyfriend or girlfriend (12 per cent) and living alone (8 per cent).

Once the last recession ended, this trend was supposed to start reversing, but instead the number of young adults still living at home has just continued to increase.  This is going to have very serious implications for our looming retirement crisis, and that is something that I am going to write about later today on End Of The American Dream.

And a lot of these young adults are not being productive members of society at all.  In fact, this new report from the Census Bureau found that one out of every four 25 to 34-year-old Americans that are currently living at home do not have a job and they are not going to school either.

In other words, they need to get a life.  I really like how a recent CNBC editorial made this point…

One of the most memorable Saturday Night Live sketches ever was broadcast in 1986 when guest host William Shatner played himself appearing at fictional Star Trek convention. After fielding one childish question after another from costumed fans in their late 20s and 30s, Shatner loses his cool and shouts: “GET A LIFE, will you people? I mean, for crying out loud, it’s just a TV show! … Move out of your parents’ basements! Get your own apartments and GROW THE HELL UP!”

Thirty-one years later, it sure seems like all of America needs to heed that message. Here’s why: The Census Bureau now says that more 18-34 year-olds are living with their parents than with a spouse.

But a lot of young men these days do not even want to go down the traditional route of marriage, family, career, etc.

In fact, a lot of them are forsaking the concept of marriage together.  Author Suzanne Venker says that a lot of these men are blaming their lack of desire to get married on modern women

“When I ask them why, the answer is always the same: women aren’t women anymore.” Feminism, which teaches women to think of men as the enemy, has made women “angry” and “defensive, though often unknowingly.”

“Now the men have nowhere to go. It is precisely this dynamic – women good/men bad – that has destroyed the relationship between the sexes. Yet somehow, men are still to blame when love goes awry.”

“Men are tired,” Venker wrote. “Tired of being told there’s something fundamentally wrong with them. Tired of being told that if women aren’t happy, it’s men’s fault.”

On the flip side, a lot of women are extremely distressed that so few men seem to have the willingness to commit these days.  So many men just want to run around having sex with an endless series of women without ever putting a wedding ring on any of their fingers.

Of course many men figure that if they can get some of the best benefits of marriage (sex, companionship, etc.) without having to make a commitment then that is a pretty good deal for them.

Personally, I am a huge advocate of marriage, but the rest of society is moving in the exact opposite direction.  According to the Pew Research Center, 44 percent of 18 to 29-year-old Americans now believe that “marriage is becoming obsolete”.  And for a lot more numbers like this, please see my previous article entitled “43 Facts About Love, Sex, Dating And Marriage That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe”.

But of course not all young adults that are living at home are doing it for the wrong reasons.  Thanks to our long-term economic decline, it is much more difficult for young people to find good paying jobs today than it was several decades ago.  The following comes from CNS News

“More young men are falling to the bottom of the income ladder,” says the Census Bureau study. “In 1975, only 25 percent of men, aged 25 to 34, had incomes of less than $30,000 per year. By 2016, that share rose to 41 percent of young men (incomes for both years are in 2015 dollars).”

I have absolutely no problem at all with young adults that are living at home temporarily for economic reasons.  These Millennials are simply victims of our failing economy, and thus we should not be so quick to judge them.

And many of these young people graduate from college already saddled with tremendous amounts of debt.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cost of going to college has increased by an astounding 63 percent since 2006.  We assure our youngsters that they will get good paying jobs when they graduate that will enable them to pay off those student loans, but once they do finally graduate many of them are discovering that the good paying jobs that we promised them do not exist.

Today, Americans owe more than a trillion dollars on their student loans.  It has become a major national crisis, and it is financially crippling an entire generation.

So the next time you hear of a young adult that is still living at home, don’t be so quick to judge until you know the facts.

Yes, there are many that need a good kick in the pants to get them going in life, but there are also millions that are simply victims of our ongoing long-term economic collapse.

Generation Snowflake: Percentage Of Young Adults Living With Their Parents Hasn’t Been This High Since 1940

snowflake-public-domainHave we failed this generation of young adults by not equipping them to be able to handle the harsh realities of the real world?  According to the Wall Street Journal, the percentage of Americans in the 18 to 34-year-old age bracket that are currently living with their parents hasn’t been this high in 75 years.  At this point nearly 40 percent of our young adults in that age range are living at home, and many are concerned that this could have some alarming implications for the future of our nation.

In the United States today, more than 60 million people live in multi-generational households, and it is a good thing to have a tight family.  But at some point young adults need to learn how to live their own independent lives, and in millions of cases this independence is being delayed or is never happening at all.

There are many factors involved in this trend.  First of all, there is truly a lack of good jobs despite what we are being told about an “economic recovery”.  Millions of young adults are graduating from college only to discover that there is a very limited number of good jobs available for our college graduates.  So some college graduates are able to secure the types of jobs that they were hoping for, but millions of others are not.

Normally when a recession ends, the percentage of young adults living with their parents starts to go back down.  But this has not happened this time around.  Instead, the percentage of young adults that live at home has just continued to rise

The trend runs counter to that of previous economic cycles, when after a recession-related spike, the number of younger Americans living with relatives declined as the economy improved.

The result is that there is far less demand for housing than would be expected for the millennial generation, now the largest in U.S. history. The number of adults under age 30 has increased by 5 million over the last decade, but the number of households for that age group grew by just 200,000 over the same period, according to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.

Another major factor in all of this is the fact that Americans are getting married later in life than ever before and they are having fewer kids than previous generations.

In the old days, people got married young and they set up their own households even if they were dirt poor.  But these days we have hordes of single young adults that are perfectly content to sit at home and sponge off of Mommy and Daddy.

There seems to be a real lack of toughness to this generation of young adults, and many that have perceived this lack of toughness have resorted to referring to them as “Generation Snowflake”.  Over the past 12 months this term has become so common that the Guardian has dubbed it “the defining insult of 2016″…

Until very recently, to call someone a snowflake would have involved the word “generation”, too, as it was typically used to describe, or insult, a person in their late teens or early 20s. At the start of November, the Collins English Dictionary added “snowflake generation” to its words of the year list, where it sits alongside other vogue-ish new additions such as “Brexit” and “hygge”. The Collins definition is as follows: “The young adults of the 2010s, viewed as being less resilient and more prone to taking offence than previous generations”. Depending on what you read, being part of the “snowflake generation” may be as benign as taking selfies or talking about feelings too much, or it may infer a sense of entitlement, an untamed narcissism, or a form of identity politics that is resistant to free speech.

The phrase came to prominence in the UK at the beginning of 2016, after Claire Fox, director of the thinktank Institute of Ideas, used it in her book I Find That Offensive to address a generation of young people whom she calls “easily offended and thin-skinned”.

Of course there are exceptions.  I have some close friends that are young adults in this age range, and they are extraordinary people.

But overall, we seem to have dramatically failed this generation.  Maybe it is because we tend to baby our children from a very early age, and we want to protect them from danger so much that we never allow them to be exposed to the challenges that they need to face in order to toughen up and mature.

And it certainly doesn’t help that many of our young adults enter “the real world” already drowning in tens of thousands of dollars of debt.  According to CNN, about 70 percent of all college graduates in the U.S. will leave school with student loan debt, and the average loan balance for those college graduates is approximately $28,950.  Paying off student loan debt can be extremely painful, and it can be financially crippling for young people that are just trying to start their new lives.

When our high school kids are looking toward the future, we very much encourage them to go to the very best schools that they can possibly get into, and we tell them to not even worry about the cost.  We promise them that there will be plenty of good jobs once they graduate, and we push them into these loans without even warning them to consider the future implications.

According to a stunning article in the Wall Street Journal, many Baby Boomers are actually having money taken out of their Social Security checks because of unpaid student loans.  So when you go into student loan debt, it can literally haunt you for the rest of your life…

The government has collected about $1.1 billion from Social Security recipients of all ages to go toward unpaid student loans since 2001, including $171 million last year, the Government Accountability Office said Tuesday. Most affected recipients in fiscal year 2015—114,000—were age 50 or older and receiving disability benefits, with the typical borrower losing about $140 a month. About 38,000 were above age 64.

The report highlights the sharp growth in baby boomers entering retirement with student debt, most of it borrowed years ago to cover their own educations but some used to pay for their children’s schooling. Overall, about seven million Americans age 50 and older owed about $205 billion in federal student debt last year. About 1 in 3 were in default, raising the likelihood that garnishments will increase as more boomers retire.

What we are doing is clearly not working, but I am not particularly optimistic that this system will be fixed any time soon.

If you are a young person, you need to have a solid plan before pursuing an expensive college education.  Many young people just major in anything that they want without even considering if it will lead to a good career.  And instead of working hard to graduate in four years, many decide that they want to stretch the “college experience” out for five or six years so that they can party as much as possible before entering the real world.

The real world is a cold, cruel place, and if you start your new life drowning in debt that is just going to make things even more difficult for you.

On a personal note, I want to thank everyone that has supported the growth of The Most Important News.  It is a central news hub where you can find all of my articles, posts by incredible guest authors and many of the key news stories from all over the globe all gathered in one place.  Some technical issues have forced the site to be down for extended periods of time lately, but now it is being migrated to a much more powerful server.  I will not be updating it during the migration, but I should resume a normal posting schedule again very soon.

And I would like to thank all of my readers for making 2016 an absolutely amazing year.  I love you all, and I wish you all the very best as we head into what should prove to be a very “interesting” 2017.

Overwhelmed By Debt, Nearly 1 In 5 Young Adults Live With Their Parents Or Grandparents

Young Man - Public DomainIn America today, more than 60 million people live in multi-generational households.  That number is so large that it may seem difficult to believe, but the truth is that vast numbers of young adults have had to move back in with their parents and grandparents in recent years due to the deteriorating economy.  Millions of our young people cannot find decent jobs once they leave school, and millions of them are absolutely overwhelmed by debt.  Of course some of them are just lazy, but whatever the reason it is undeniable that multi-generational households are on the rise.  According to the Pew Research Center, 12 percent of the U.S. population was living in multi-generational households back in 1980.  Today, that number is up to 19 percent.  That means nearly one out of every five U.S. adults now live with their parents or their grandparents.

One of the big culprits, of course, is student loan debt.

According to CNN, approximately 70 percent of all college graduates will have student loan debt to pay off once they leave school, and the average loan balance for those graduates is about $28,950.

But there are many that run up $50,000 or $100,000 in debt at high end schools.  We encourage our young people to apply to the “best schools” that they possibly can, and we tell them that they shouldn’t worry about how much it will cost.  We assure them that they will be able to easily pay back any debts once they leave college because of the “good jobs” that they will get upon graduation.

Unfortunately, millions upon millions of our young people have discovered that the good jobs that they were promised simply do not exist.

We are also seeing other forms of debt rise to frightening levels in this nation.  The following comes from the New York Times

Over all, Americans’ use of credit cards has recently been creeping up again: Household debt in the United States increased by $35 billion, to $12.29 trillion, during the second quarter of 2016, a 0.3 percent rise from the previous quarter that was driven by credit cards and auto loans, according to a report released on Tuesday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

We often criticize the federal government for being 19.4 trillion dollars in debt, and rightly so, but let us not forget that U.S. households are 12.2 trillion dollars in debt.

We are a society that feels entitled to everything, and we are not afraid to go into debt to get it.  And unfortunately we have passed on this “entitlement mentality” to the next generation.

In a recent blog post, Jenna Abrams did an amazing job of describing the crisis that we are facing with our young adults today.  Here is an excerpt…

Today I asked my followers how would they describe Millennials and this is what I got: “lazy”, “thin-skinned”, “spoiled”, “selfish”, “undisciplined”, “self-absorbed”, ”fragile”, “oblivious”, etc. and I can agree on this. This generation is really what you call it. But there was one description that is the most accurate.  “Raised by neglectful, over-compensating for inadequacy, self-serving parents.”

You’re in charge. You insisted your children and grandchildren have to get higher education instead of taking a blue-collar job or just entering the workforce after school like your generation did. Most of you pay for that (often unnecessary) higher education. You are overprotective and prevent your children from playing outside and making mistakes you had a chance to make to gain that thick skin. You don’t let your 12-year-old kid stay at home alone because they are too young. And who is wrong when your child has a conflict at school? I bet you always blame the other side, not your “special snowflake”. And how you get surprised that the whole generation gets offended by facing the truth: they are not special. It must hurt, right?

This generation of young adults is the most “educated” in our history, and yet they also appear to be one of the least competent.  Just check out these numbers from CBS News

Half of American Millennials score below the minimum standard of literacy proficiency. Only two countries scored worse by that measure: Italy (60 percent) and Spain (59 percent). The results were even worse for numeracy, with almost two-thirds of American Millennials failing to meet the minimum standard for understanding and working with numbers. That placed U.S. Millennials dead last for numeracy among the study’s 22 developed countries.

In the old days, our institutions of higher learning had exceedingly high standards and they demanded the best from students.  Today, our system of higher education is a joke, and many of our best colleges are more focused on political correctness and “safe spaces” than they are on preparing our young people for the harsh realities of the real world…

At Brown University – like Harvard, one of the eight elite Ivy League universities – the New York Times reported students set up a “safe space” that offered calming music, cookies, Play-Doh and a video of frolicking puppies to help students cope with a discussion on how colleges should handle sexual assault.

A Harvard student described in the university newspaper attending a “safe space” complete with “massage circles” that was designed to help students have open conversations.

We have raised a generation of overly-coddled, self-absorbed boys and girls that have never learned how to become men and women.  They don’t understand how things really work, and they are completely and utterly unprepared for the exceedingly difficult times that are coming.

And since our education system is completely and totally dominated by progressives, our young people have had decades of liberal propaganda pumped into their skulls, and the results are absolutely frightening.

For example, one survey discovered that 62 percent of Millennials say that they are “liberal”, and 42 percent of them say that they are “socialists”.

A different survey discovered that more than half of all U.S. adults under the age of 30 say that they reject capitalism.

If the coming election were to be determined by the Millennials, Hillary Clinton would win by one of the biggest landslides in U.S. history.  But of course she wouldn’t have even been the nominee for the Democrats, because Bernie Sanders would have crushed Clinton.

If something is not done, this is what the future of America is going to look like.

I don’t know about you, but to me that is a rather distressing thought.

The Student Loan Delinquency Rate In The United States Has Hit A Brand New Record High

College Graduation - Photo by Mando vzl37 million Americans currently have outstanding student loans, and the delinquency rate on those student loans has now reached a level never seen before.  According to a new report that was just released by the U.S. Department of Education, 11 percent of all student loans are at least 90 days delinquent.  That is a brand new record high, and it is almost double the rate of a decade ago.  Total student loan debt exceeds a trillion dollars, and it is now the second largest category of consumer debt after home mortgages.  The student loan debt bubble has been growing particularly rapidly in recent years.  According to the Federal Reserve, the total amount of student loan debt has risen by 275 percent since 2003.  That is a staggering figure.  Millions upon millions of young college graduates are entering the “real world” only to discover that they are already financially crippled for decades to come by oppressive student loan debt burdens.  Large numbers of young people are even putting off buying homes or getting married simply because of student loan debt.

So why is this happening?  Well, a big part of the problem is that the cost of college tuition has gotten wildly out of control.  Since 1978, the cost of college tuition has risen even more rapidly then the cost of medical care has.  Tuition costs at public universities have risen by 27 percent over the past five years, and there appears to be no end in sight.

We keep encouraging our young people to take out all of the loans that are necessary to pay for college, because a college education is supposedly the “key” to their futures.

But is that really the case?

Sadly, the reality of the matter is that millions of young Americans are graduating from college only to discover that the jobs that they were promised simply do not exist.

In fact, at this point about half of all college graduates are working jobs that do not even require a college degree.

This is leading to mass disillusionment with the system.  One survey found that 70% of all college graduates wish that they had spent more time preparing for the “real world” while they were still in college.

And because so many of them cannot get decent jobs, more college graduates then ever are finding that they cannot pay back the huge student loans that they were encouraged to sign up for.  The following is from a recent Bloomberg article.

Eleven percent of student loans were seriously delinquent — at least 90 days past due — in the third quarter of 2012, compared with 6 percent in the first quarter of 2003, according to the report by the U.S. Education Department.  Almost 30 percent of 20- to 24-year-olds aren’t employed or in school, the study found.

Everyone agrees that we are now dealing with an unprecedented student loan debt bubble, but none of our leaders seem to have any solutions.

The two charts posted below come from a recent Zero Hedge article, and they are very illuminating.  The first chart shows how the amount of student loan debt owned by the federal government has absolutely exploded in recent years, and the second chart shows how the percentage of student loan debt that is at least 90 days delinquent has risen to a brand new record high…

Delinquent Student Loans - Zero Hedge Chart

How is the economy ever going to recover if an increasingly large percentage of our young college graduates are financially crippled by student loan debt?

And things are about to get even worse.

If Congress takes no action, the interest rate on federal student loans is going to double to 6.8 percent on July 1st.  That rate increase would affect more than 7 million students.

And debt burdens just continue to increase in size.  In fact, according to one recent study, “70 per cent of the class of 2013 is graduating with college-related debt – averaging $35,200 – including federal, state and private loans, as well as debt owed to family and accumulated through credit cards.”

This is one reason why there is so much poverty among young adults in America today.  As I mentioned in a previous article, families that have a head of household that is under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent.  For much more on the student loan debt bubble and how it is crippling an entire generation of Americans, please see my recent article entitled “29 Shocking Facts That Prove That College Education In America Is A Giant Money Making Scam“.

And of course delinquency rates remain very high on other forms of debt as well.  For example, delinquency rates on home mortgages have typically been around 2 to 3 percent historically.  But as you can see from the chart below, the delinquency rate on single-family residential mortgages is currently close to 10 percent…

Delinquency Rate On Single-Family Residential Mortgages

So are we really having an “economic recovery”?

Of course not.

Things are good for those that have lots of money in the stock market (for now), but for the vast majority of Americans things continue to get worse.

And we continue to forget the lessons that we should have learned from the financial crisis of 2008.  Right now, we are seeing a resurgence of cash out financing.  But this time, people are leveraging their inflated stock portfolios instead of their home equity.  The following is from a  CNN report

The recent run-up in the market, financial advisers say, has led to a resurgence of the type of loan not seen since the end of the housing boom — cash out financing. But this time, though, people aren’t tapping their inflated house for money. These days stock portfolios appear to be the well of choice.

Financial planners say in recent months clients have taken out so-called margin loans to buy real estate, fund small business acquisitions, or to provide gap financing before a traditional loan could be secured from a bank.

“No one wants to be out of the market for 90 days,” says Mark Brown, a financial planner for Brown Tedstron in Denver. “People just don’t want to sell right now.”

We are a nation that is absolutely addicted to debt.  We know that it is wrong, but we just can’t help ourselves.

We are like the 900 pound man that recently died.  He knew that he was eating himself to death, but he just couldn’t stop.

In the end, we are going to pay a great price for our gluttony.  Everyone in the world can see that we are killing the greatest economy that ever existed, but we simply do not have the self-discipline to do anything about it.