The Beginning Of The End
The Beginning Of The End By Michael T. Snyder - Kindle Version

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Child Hunger Is Exploding In Greece – And 14 Signs That It Is Starting To Happen In America Too

ChildThe world is heading into a horrific economic nightmare, and an inordinate amount of the suffering is going to fall on innocent children.  If you want to get an idea of what America is going to look like in the not too distant future, just check out what is happening in Greece.  At this point, Greece is experiencing a full-blown economic depression.  As I have written about previously, the unemployment rate in Greece has now risen to 27 percent, which is much higher than the peak unemployment rate that the U.S. economy experienced during the Great Depression of the 1930s.  And as you will read about below, child hunger is absolutely exploding in Greece right now.  Some families are literally trying to survive on pasta and ketchup.  But don’t think for a moment that it can’t happen here.  Sadly, the truth is that child hunger is already rising very rapidly in our poverty-stricken cities.  Never before have we had so many Americans unable to take care of themselves.  Food stamp enrollment and child homelessness have soared to brand new all-time records, and there are actually thousands of Americans that are so poor that they live in tunnels underneath our cities.  But for millions of other Americans, the suffering is not quite so dramatic.  Instead, they just watch their hopes and their dreams slowly slip away as they struggle to find a way to make it from month to month.  There are millions of parents that lead lives that are filled with constant stress and anxiety as they try to figure out how to provide the basics for their children.  How do you tell a child that you can’t give them any dinner even though you have been trying as hard as you can?  What many families go through on a regular basis is absolutely heartbreaking.  Unfortunately, more poor families slip through the cracks with each passing day, and these are supposedly times in which we are experiencing an “economic recovery”.  So what are things going to look like when the next major economic downturn strikes?

A recent New York Times article detailed the horrifying child hunger that we are witnessing in Greece right now.  At some schools there are reports of children actually begging for food from their classmates…

As an elementary school principal, Leonidas Nikas is used to seeing children play, laugh and dream about the future. But recently he has seen something altogether different, something he thought was impossible in Greece: children picking through school trash cans for food; needy youngsters asking playmates for leftovers; and an 11-year-old boy, Pantelis Petrakis, bent over with hunger pains.

“He had eaten almost nothing at home,” Mr. Nikas said, sitting in his cramped school office near the port of Piraeus, a working-class suburb of Athens, as the sound of a jump rope skittered across the playground. He confronted Pantelis’s parents, who were ashamed and embarrassed but admitted that they had not been able to find work for months. Their savings were gone, and they were living on rations of pasta and ketchup.

Could you imagine that happening to your children or your grandchildren?

Don’t think that it can’t happen.  Just a few years ago the Greek middle class was vibrant and thriving.

And we are starting to see hunger explode in other European countries as well.  For example, in the UK the number of people receiving emergency food rations has increased by 170 percent over the past year.

This is one of the reasons why I get upset when people say that “things are getting better”.  Yes, the stock market has been setting record highs lately, but things are most definitely not getting better.

Even during this false bubble of debt-fueled economic stability that we are enjoying right now, we continue to see hunger and poverty rise dramatically in America.

Since Barack Obama has been president, the number of Americans on food stamps has grown from 32 million to more than 47 million.

Will we all be on food stamps eventually?

Will we all become dependent on the government for our survival at some point?

According to the Boston Herald, even Tamerlan Tsarnaev was receiving government welfare benefits…

Marathon bombings mastermind Tamerlan Tsarnaev was living on taxpayer-funded state welfare benefits even as he was delving deep into the world of radical anti-American Islamism, the Herald has learned.

State officials confirmed last night that Tsarnaev, slain in a raging gun battle with police last Friday, was receiving benefits along with his wife, Katherine Russell Tsarnaev, and their 3-year-old daughter. The state’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services said those benefits ended in 2012 when the couple stopped meeting income eligibility limits.

Isn’t that crazy?

And yes, there are some people out there that are abusing the system.  In fact, the cost of food stamp fraud has risen sharply to approximately $750 million in recent years.

But most of the people on these programs really need the help.  Thanks to our incredibly foolish economic policies, there are not enough good jobs for everyone and there never will be again.  The percentage of Americans that are unable to take care of themselves is going to continue to rise, and the suffering that we are witnessing right now is going to get much, much worse.

Not that things aren’t really, really bad already.  Here are some signs that child hunger in America has already started to explode…

#1 Today, approximately 17 million children in the United States are facing food insecurity.  In other words, that means that “one in four children in the country is living without consistent access to enough nutritious food to live a healthy life.”

#2 We are told that we live in the “wealthiest nation” on the planet, and yet more than one out of every four children in the United States is enrolled in the food stamp program.

#3 The average food stamp benefit breaks down to approximately $4 per person per day.

#4 It is being projected that approximately 50 percent of all U.S. children will be on food stamps before they reach the age of 18.

#5 It may be hard to believe, but approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are currently living in homes that are either considered to be either “low income” or impoverished.

#6 The number of children living on $2.00 a day or less in the United States has grown to 2.8 million.  That number has increased by 130 percent since 1996.

#7 According to Feeding America, “households with children reported food insecurity at a significantly higher rate than those without children, 20.6 percent compared to 12.2 percent”.

#8 According to a Feeding America hunger study, more than 37 million Americans are now being served by food pantries and soup kitchens.

#9 For the first time ever, more than a million public school students in the United States are homeless.  That number has risen by 57 percent since the 2006-2007 school year.

#10 Approximately 20 million U.S. children rely on school meal programs to keep from going hungry.

#11 One university study estimates that child poverty costs the U.S. economy 500 billion dollars each year.

#12 In Miami, 45 percent of all children are living in poverty.

#13 In Cleveland, more than 50 percent of all children are living in poverty.

#14 According to a recently released report, 60 percent of all children in the city of Detroit are living in poverty.

For many more facts about the dramatic explosion of poverty in this country, please see my previous article entitled “21 Statistics About The Explosive Growth Of Poverty In America That Everyone Should Know“.

Unfortunately, most of the time statistics don’t really tell the whole story.  Numbers alone cannot really communicate the soul-crushing despair that millions of American families are enduring on a daily basis at this point.

How can numbers communicate the pain that a child feels when her grandmother does not eat because there is not enough food for everyone in the family?  But this is what some families in America actually go through because there is not enough money…

Vanyshia tells about the sacrifices her Grandmother makes so that she and her siblings can eat. “Sometimes my Grandma can’t even eat because she has to feed me and my brother and sister. Sometimes I don’t eat as much as I want to because I leave some for my Grandma because I don’t want her to sit there and starve. Sometimes she doesn’t have enough money to buy food, so she has to go to the bank and borrow money. It makes me feel sad. I don’t want her to be hungry. I just feel sad sometimes,” says Vanyshia.

Things can be particularly tough when you are a single parent.  The BBC recently profiled a single mother that is struggling to raise two young children in Iowa…

“We don’t get three meals a day like breakfast, lunch and then dinner,” says Kaylie. “When I feel hungry I feel sad and droopy.”

Kaylie and Tyler live with their mother Barbara, who used to work in a factory. After losing her job, she was entitled to unemployment benefit and food stamps – this comes to $1,480 (£974) a month.

But they were no longer able to afford to live in their house, which along with bills cost $1,326 (£873) a month, leaving little for food or petrol.

Kaylie supplemented their income by collecting cans along the railway track near their old home – earning between two and five cents per can.

For more examples like this one, I encourage everyone to go watch a recent BBC documentary entitled “America’s Poor Kids” that you can see right here.

I wonder why we don’t see more stuff like this on the mainstream news in this country?

Could it be that the mainstream media does not want to admit how bad things have really gotten?

All of this is also a reminder that we need to be generous to those in need.  Times are going to get much, much harder than this, and we are all going to need one another.

So do you have any stories of poverty or child hunger from your area of the country to share?  Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…

Child Hunger

Corporatism: A System Of Control Designed By The Monopoly Men Of The Global Elite

Corporatism: A System Of Control Designed By The Monopoly Men Of The Global EliteThe Dow is at a record high and so are corporate profits – so why does it feel like most of the country is deeply suffering right now?  Real household income is the lowest that it has been in a decade, poverty is absolutely soaring, 47 million Americans are on food stamps and the middle class is being systematically destroyed.  How can big corporations be doing so well while most American families are having such a hard time?  Isn’t their wealth supposed to “trickle down” to the rest of us?  Unfortunately, that is not how the real world works.  Today, most big corporations are trying to minimize the number of “expensive” American workers on their payrolls as much as they can.  If the big corporation that is employing you can figure out a way to replace you with a worker in China or with a robot, it will probably do it.  Corporations are in existence to maximize wealth for their shareholders, and most of the time the largest corporations are dominated by the monopoly men of the global elite.  Over the decades, the politicians that have their campaigns funded by these monopoly men have rigged the game so that the big corporations are able to easily dominate everything.  But this was never what those that founded this country intended.  America was supposed to be a place where the power of collectivist institutions would be greatly limited, and individuals and small businesses would be free to compete in a capitalist system that would reward anyone that had a good idea and that was willing to work hard.  But today, our economy is completely and totally dominated by a massively bloated federal government and by absolutely gigantic predator corporations that are greatly favored by our massively bloated federal government.  Our founders tried to warn us about the dangers of allowing government, banks and corporations to accumulate too much power, but we didn’t listen.  Now they dominate everything, and the rest of us are fighting for table scraps.

In early America, most states had strict laws governing the size and scope of corporations.  Individuals and small businesses thrived in such an environment, and the United States experienced a period of explosive economic growth.  We showed the rest of the world that capitalism really works, and we eventually built the largest middle class that the world had ever seen.

But now we have replaced capitalism with something that I like to call “corporatism”.  In many ways, it shares a lot of characteristics with communism, and that is why nations such as communist China have embraced it so readily.  Under “corporatism”, monolithic predator corporations run around sucking up as much wealth and economic power as they possibly can.  Most individuals and small businesses cannot compete and end up getting absorbed by the corporations.  These mammoth collectivist institutions are in private hands rather than in government hands (as would be the case under a pure form of communism), but the results are pretty much the same either way.  A tiny elite at the top gets almost all of the economic rewards.

There are some out there that would suggest that the answer to our problems is to move more in the direction of “socialism”, but to be honest that wouldn’t be the solution to anything.  It would just change how the table scraps that the rest of us are getting are distributed.

If we truly wanted a return to prosperity, we need to dramatically shift the rules of the game so that they are tilted back in favor of individuals and small businesses.  A much more pure form of capitalism would mean more wealth, less poverty and a more equitable distribution of the economic rewards in this country.

But it will never happen.  Most of our politicians are married to the big corporations and the wealthy elitists that fund their campaigns.  And most Americans are so uneducated that they believe that what we actually have today is “capitalism” and that the only alternative is to go “to the left” toward socialism.

Very few people out there are suggesting that we need to greatly reduce the power of the federal government and greatly reduce the power of the big corporations, but that is exactly what we need to do.  We need to give individuals and small businesses room to breathe once again.

With each passing year, things get even worse.  In fact, the founder of Subway Restaurants recently said that the environment for small businesses is so toxic in America today that he never would have been able to start Subway if he had to do it today.

For much more on how small business is being strangled to death in the United States, please see my previous article entitled “We Are Witnessing The Death Of Small Business In America“.

What I want to do now is to discuss some of the results that “corporatism” is producing in America.

First of all, we continue to see incomes go down even though we live in an inflationary economy.

As Time Magazine recently reported, personal incomes took a huge nosedive during the month of January…

Data released by the Commerce Department last week showed that personal income fell 3.6% in January, the biggest decline in 20 years. The drop was even bigger when taxes and inflation are taken into account. Real personal disposable income fell by 4%, the biggest monthly drop in half a century.

But this is part of a longer term trend.  Median household income in the U.S. has declined for four consecutive years, and it is now significantly lower than it was all the way back in 2001

Real median US household income — that’s “real,” as in “adjusted for inflation” — was $50,054 in 2011, the most recent data available from the US Census Bureau. That’s 8% lower than the 2007 peak of $54,489.

Meanwhile, big corporations are absolutely raking in the cash.  The following is from a recent New York Times article

“So far in this recovery, corporations have captured an unusually high share of the income gains,” said Ethan Harris, co-head of global economics at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “The U.S. corporate sector is in a lot better health than the overall economy. And until we get a full recovery in the labor market, this will persist.”

The result has been a golden age for corporate profits, especially among multinational giants that are also benefiting from faster growth in emerging economies like China and India.

Today, corporate profits as a percentage of U.S. GDP are at an all-time high, but wages as a percentage of U.S. GDP are near an all-time low.

Just check out the following chart.  Corporate profits have absolutely exploded over the past decade…

Corporate Profits After Tax

Meanwhile, wages as a percentage of GDP continue to fall rapidly…

Wages And Salaries As A Percentage Of GDP

Most of the jobs being created in America today are “low wage” jobs.  Tens of millions of Americans are working as hard as they can only to find that they can barely put food on the table and provide a roof over the heads of their children.  The ranks of the “working poor” are exploding and the middle class continues to shrink.

Many of you that are reading this article are members of the working poor.  You know what it is like to stare up at your ceiling at night wondering how you are going to pay the bills next month.

Today, most Americans are living very close to the edge financially.  A recent article by NBC News staff writer Allison Linn shared some of their stories.  The following is one example…

Crystal Dupont knows what it’s like to try to live on the federal minimum wage.

Dupont has no health insurance, so she hasn’t seen a doctor in two years. She’s behind on her car payments and has taken out pawn shop and payday loans to cover other monthly expenses. She eats beans and oatmeal when her food budget gets low.

When she got her tax refund recently, she used the money to get ahead on her light bill.

“I try to live within my means, but sometimes you just can’t,” said Dupont, 25. The Houston resident works 30 to 40 hours a week taking customer service calls, earning between $7.25 and $8 an hour. That came to about $15,000 last year.

It’s a wage she’s lived on for a while now, but just barely.

Sadly, the number of Americans that are “just barely” surviving continues to grow.

But if corporate profits are soaring to unprecedented heights, then who is getting all of those rewards?

The monopoly men of the global elite are.

Just check out the following video which does a great job of illustrating how corporatism has systematically funneled all of the economic rewards in our system to the very top…

Once again, I want to make it very clear that I am not advocating socialism as the answer in any way, shape or form.  Socialism takes away the incentive to create wealth and it almost always results in almost all of the economic rewards going to a very tiny elite anyway.

As I said earlier, what we need is a return to a much more pure form of capitalism, but this is so foreign to the way that most people think that most people will not be able to grasp this.

It certainly would be possible to greatly reduce the power of the federal government and greatly reduce the power of the big corporations at the same time, but this is so “outside the box” for most people that they cannot even conceive of doing such a thing.

We need to create an environment where individuals and small businesses can thrive once again.  But instead, most of us are content to continue “playing the game” and getting enslaved in even more debt.

For example, according to CNBC, auto loans just continue to get larger and continue to get stretched out for longer periods of time…

American car buyers, attracted by new models and cheap financing, are taking out bigger auto loans and stretching out the terms of those loans to a new record length.

New analysis from Experian Automotive shows the average new car loan in the fourth quarter of last year was $26,691 and stretched out over an average of 65 months. The length of the average loan is one month longer than the previous record set in the third quarter of last year.

What will they think of next?

Will we eventually have auto loans that get paid off over 10 years?

By the way, that is another way that the monopoly men of the global elite get all of our money.  They enslave us to debt, and we spend year after year of our lives slaving away to make them even wealthier.

They are very smart.  There is a reason why they have 32 TRILLION dollars stashed away in offshore tax havens.  They know how to play the game, and they are very happy that most of the rest of us are asleep.

Fortunately, it appears that an increasing number of Americans are waking up.

For example, I wanted to share with you all an excerpt from a comment that one of my readers left on one of my recent articles

In the past year, I’ve been slowly but surely waking up to the nonsense happening around me. There’s so many things I need to simply get off my chest, so excuse the length of this post. Recently in the past two years, I’ve gotten married and have been medically discharged from the Marines after being injured in Afghanistan. Being 23 years old and married, my goal is secure a secure a future for my family, but with the way things are going, I’m not exactly sure how much of a future we’re going to have in 50 years. I can’t explain it, but I’ve felt this need to change my attitude and motivations lately.

I started by turning off the garbage music, television and other mindless entertainment that seems to plague my generation. It was easier than it looked – I don’t miss most of it really. The next order of business was to educate myself on world news, so that’s what I did. Every day, like clockwork, I check all major mainstream news feeds (NBC, Fox, Abc, CNN, Reuters, BBC, etc.) as well as not-so-mainstream news sites – yours being one of them. It’s incredible how fast our world changes and the manner in which it changes. The local 10 o’clock doesn’t show anything but local news, sports, weather, lottery #’s and whatever else they decide to throw in. It’s a night and day difference once you start to actually research and see what’s happening all over the world. Look at the number of comments about a news story on the economy and then look at a celebrity story on the “news”….People are so blind, it truly amazes me. My friends, family and classmates at college seem to be under a spell of some sort. They’re distracted – and it’s contagious. Nobody I know gives a damn about global affairs/economics. They’re more interested in the newest iPhone, cars, shows, movies, and just about anything else you can think of. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with these things, but my friends/family/peers are CONSUMED by these distractions. When the election was taking place in 2012, every Tom, Dick and Harry on Facebook had an opinion and rant. After the circus ended however, everyone simply went back to posting about parties, kittens, Farmville etc. It’s a huge joke. For me, it’s little terrifying and exciting to see history unfolding in front of our eyes. This country of ours is going through big changes now that will most certainly affect our future, so I strive to adapt and prepare myself and my family. I’m looking at buying my first home this summer. Right now I live in an apartment right outside Philly and spend more money on rent than most pay for a mortgage. I need a house with a little land to raise chickens, grow fruits/vegetables, store canned food – and to be as independent from the system as I can. For my job, I wanted a skill/trade that people would always need, so I picked the funeral business. On the side, I work in construction and have been learning everything there is to know about building with my own two hands. I feel as though these old forgotten skills are going to be handy in a short while.

Hopefully we can get a lot more people to wake up and start breaking out of “the matrix” of control that is all around us.

Right now, the system is designed to continually funnel more money and more power to the very top of the pyramid.  The global elite are becoming more dominant with each passing day.  Unless something dramatic happens, at some point the American people will become so powerless that they won’t be able to do anything about it even if they wanted to.

The idea of a very tiny elite completely dominating all the rest of us goes against everything that America is supposed to stand for.  In the end, it will result in absolute tyranny if it is not stopped.

Who Runs The World - Solid Proof That A Core Group Of Wealthy Elitists Are Pulling The Strings

You Will Not Believe What Some People Are Willing To Do For A Paycheck These Days

It is absolutely amazing what some people will do to make a living in this economy.  Desperate times call for desperate measures, and we have not seen this kind of desperation for jobs in America since the Great Depression of the 1930s.  What some people are willing to put up with just to bring home a paycheck these days will totally shock you.  For example, would you slaughter dogs all day long even though you are really a dog lover?  Would you personally train your replacement from China even though you knew he was about to take your job?  Would you trade sex for a job?  There are people out there actually doing all these things and worse.  Every night in America, millions upon millions of people roll around endlessly in their beds and stare at their ceilings for hours because they can’t sleep.  They are sick to their stomachs because their money is gone and nobody will hire them.  They can’t provide even the basics for their families and they feel worthless.  Unemployment can be absolutely soul crushing and it can suck the life right out of you.  Things were supposed to be better by now, but they aren’t.  The month after Barack Obama took office the unemployment rate broke the 8 percent barrier and it has stayed above it ever since.  But the truth is that the “official” unemployment number greatly understates the real amount of suffering that is going on out there.  In reality, the percentage of working age Americans that have jobs is lower today than when the last recession ended.  There are millions upon millions of Americans that are desperate for some hope, and there is no hope on the horizon.  In fact, things are going to be getting a whole lot worse for the U.S. economy.

I like personal stories because they tell us things that all of the economic statistics in the world never could.

There are millions of Americans that have had their lives totally turned upside down by this economy.  They feel abandoned and worthless, and many of them feel as though life is no longer worth living.

As you read the following stories, try to put yourself in their shoes and try to feel their pain.

Also, try to remember that these kinds of stories are going to multiply in the years ahead as the U.S. economy falls apart all around us.

A 61-Year-Old Woman Begging For A Job

A recent article posted on gawker.com included the story of a 61-year-old woman who has been through hell and back during this economic downturn….

I sent out close to 500 resumes. Most never were even acknowledged and those that were I was told I was over qualified. When you would press them they would fumble but I was sure my age was part of the “over qualified”. The thoughts of wanting life to be over were with me every day. I wanted the horror to stop. Every time I would hear of the unemployment rates I would cry-what about ME.

At one point she was so desperate she took a job where she was making the decision about what dogs to slaughter at an animal shelter.  Approximately 85 percent of the dogs at the shelter ended up being killed, and she was working about 80 hours a week doing this.  The really sad part is that she really loves dogs….

In 2008 I was able to get a job at the local shelter as a dog trainer. That turned into a job as an Operations Manager. Though I was thankful for the job we had a euthanasia rate of nearly 85%. I was the one that would be the decision maker on who lives and dies of over 10,000 animals per year and the toll mentally was hard. Being salary I was working nearly 80 hours a week due to shorthanded staff.

After she was fired for not being aggressive enough in killing off dogs, she started endlessly sending out resumes once again.  Nobody wants to hire her, and she essentially feels like an old lady begging for a job….

Since February I began sending out 3 resumes a day. As the no return answer, over qualified and now I was getting I was out of engineering too long I started to set my sights lower. I have sent in resumes to sit in the booth in gas stations, secretary and so on. Local colleges have said I am qualified to teach there but they have no openings. I am for all purposes the old lady begging for a job.

Personally Training Their Replacements

If you knew that your company was going to tear down your factory and send your job to China, would you personally train your replacement?

That is what a whole bunch of workers in Illinois are doing.

The following is from a recent article that appeared in the Guardian….

The shock of losing a precious job in a town afflicted by high unemployment is always hard. A foundation for a stable family life and secure home instantly disappears, replaced with a future filled with fears over health insurance, missed mortgage payments and the potential for a slip below the breadline.

But for Bonnie Borman – and 170 other men and women in Freeport, Illinois – there is a brutal twist to the torture. Borman, 52, and the other workers of a soon-to-be-shuttered car parts plant are personally training the Chinese workers who will replace them.

It’s a surreal experience, they say. For months they have watched their plant being dismantled and shipped to China, piece by piece, as they show teams of Chinese workers how to do the jobs they have dedicated their lives to.

Can you imagine that?

Would you be willing to do the same thing just to keep the paychecks coming in for as long as possible?

Sadly, both major political parties are obsessed with promoting unrestricted free trade even though millions of American jobs continue to go overseas.

Our top political candidates even argue about which of them love “free trade” more.

It truly is sickening.

Do you remember when U.S. taxpayers bailed out the auto industry?

Well, since the auto industry bailout approximately 70 percent of all GM vehicles have been built outside the United States.

The insanity has gotten to such a level that some Americans simply cannot take it anymore.  Just consider the following example from a recent article by Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele….

On his last day on the job, Kevin Flanagan, after clearing out a few personal effects and putting them in boxes in the back of his Ford Ranger, left the building where he’d worked for seven years.

He settled into the front seat of his pickup truck on the lower level of the company garage, placed a 12-gauge Remington shotgun to his head, and pulled the trigger. He was 41 years old.

He was a computer programmer. He’d been a programmer his entire working life. Until, that is, his job was shipped overseas. The business of moving traditional U.S. jobs abroad-called “outsourcing”-has been one of this country’s few growth industries. It’s the ultimate short-sighted business promoted by the country’s elite because it means lower wages and fatter profits. As for the American workers eliminated along the way, they are just collateral damage.

It turns out that Kevin’s replacement was a programmer from India that he personally trained.

Trading Sex For A Job

If you were truly desperate, would you trade sex for a job?

I hope not, but that is exactly what some Americans are doing.

The following is a story from a desperate unemployed woman that was posted on gawker.com recently….

I have been very depressed since I lost my job. I go through periods where I spend most of my days in bed, and although I’ve had a few interviews those people don’t even have the decency to let you know the position is filled. Sometimes I’d call for weeks asking for updates only to get the HR persons voicemail, and they’d never return my calls. With no experience I can’t even get a job waiting tables. I apply to every job in the paper and online, whether I’m qualified or not, and have had 7 interviews total, none of which ended with a job offer. Living paycheck to paycheck would be a blessing at this point.

She has become so desperate that she is even willing to trade her body for a paycheck….

The current ‘bright side’ is that I know someone who owns a small retail clothing chain and has offered me a minimum wage job there on the condition that we become ‘close friends’. I think you & I both know what that entails, but at this time in my life it seems like a better alternative than losing the little that I have. I’d have a paycheck equal to what I am getting on unemployment with the opportunity for overtime and advancements, full benefits and a schedule that would allow me to continue schooling.

A Lot More Layoffs Coming Soon

The frightening thing is that a whole lot more layoffs are on the horizon.

Just check out this excerpt from a recent article on thehill.com….

Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney are going forward with plans to issue layoff notices to thousands of employees due to looming defense cuts under sequestration, despite administration claims that such warnings are unnecessary.

So how many jobs will be lost?

Unfortunately, it is being projected that we could be looking at a million jobs lost….

Top industry officials have said publicly that automatic cut under sequestration could lead to the loss of 1 million defense-related jobs.

Industry leaders and their supporters in Congress say those job losses would hit battleground states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Florida particularly hard.

Like I have written about before, we simply cannot continue to steal more than a trillion dollars from future generations every single year, but when we do make deep cuts to the federal budget the economic pain is going to be immense.

We already have more than 100 million Americans on welfare.

What is this country going to look like if things get even worse?

The good news is that if you do lose your job and your home you might have somewhere to sleep.  New York City is opening up a bunch of new homeless shelters….

New York City has opened nine new shelters in the last two months in efforts to handle the city’s rapidly growing homeless population, officials said.

The city recorded 43,731 homeless people in shelters this week, which is up 18 percent from the 37,143 at the same time last year, The New York Times reported.

So don’t get too down.

If you can’t find a job and you can’t afford a home perhaps you can at least get into one of those shiny new homeless shelters.

Seriously, I don’t actually want anyone reading this to end up in a homeless shelter.

That is why I endlessly urge people to adjust their priorities and to work as hard as they can right now to prepare for the very hard economic times that are coming.

Now is not the time to be going on expensive vacations and now is not the time to be blowing your money on all kinds of stupid stuff.

We are moving into the most difficult times that any of us have ever seen, and if you do nothing to prepare yourself you will be very sorry.

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.

18 Sobering Facts Which Prove That The Middle Class Is Not Being Included In This “Economic Recovery”

Have you heard the news?  The stock market is absolutely soaring and according to the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve we are in the beginning stages of a robust economic recovery.  Yippee!  The S&P 500 is up 6.8 percent so far in 2011, and the stock market recently hit a two and a half year high.  So shouldn’t we all be celebrating?  Well, if stock market performance was an accurate measure of economic health, then Zimbabwe would have had one of the healthiest economies on the entire globe during the last decade.  But just like Zimbabwe’s stock market was artificially pumped up with “funny money” that was rapidly being devalued, so is ours.  All of the “quantitative easing” that the Federal Reserve has been doing is pumping plenty of money into the financial markets and is helping to inflate a false stock market bubble, but it is doing very little to alleviate the suffering of the U.S. middle class.  In fact, when you take a closer look at the numbers you quickly find out that the suffering of the middle class is getting even worse.

According to Gallup, the unemployment rate is now over 10%.  The number of Americans that have given up looking for work recently set a new all-time record.  The number of mortgages in foreclosure tied a record high during the fourth quarter of 2010.  Gas and food prices are rising rapidly.  The number of Americans on food stamps continues to increase every single month.

Yes, right now the economic situation is not in free fall like it was a couple years ago.  We should be thankful for that.  Periods of relative stability such as we are enjoying now will be few and far between in the years ahead.  This “bubble” of economic calm is a great opportunity that we should all be taking advantage of.

However, those that are hoping that this is an economic “turning point” and that things will soon be back to “normal” are going to be greatly disappointed.  This is about as “normal” as things are going to be ever again.

Even during this time of relative economic stability, the U.S. middle class is still being ripped to shreds.  If there are those among your family and friends that are somehow convinced that the U.S. economy is recovering nicely, you might want want to show them the following 18 very sobering facts….

#1 According to Gallup, the U.S. unemployment rate is currently 10.3 percent.  When you add in part-time American workers that want full-time employment, that number rises to 20.2 percent.

#2 According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of job openings in the United States declined for a second straight month during December.

#3 There are currently more than 4 million Americans that have been unemployed for more than a year.

#4 The number of Americans that have become so discouraged that they have given up searching for work completely now stands at an all-time high.

#5 Gasoline prices in the United States recently hit a 28-month high.

#6 During the 4th quarter of 2010, 4.63 percent of all U.S. home loans were in foreclosure.  That matched the all-time high, and it was up significantly from 4.39 percent in the 3rd quarter.

#7 It is estimated that there are about 5 million homeowners in the United States that are at least two months behind on their mortgages, and it is being projected that over a million American families will be booted out of their homes this year alone.

#8 Almost 14 percent of all credit card accounts in the United States are currently 90 days or more delinquent.

#9 The average credit card rate in the United States had increased to a whopping 13.44 percent at the end of 2010.

#10 Americans now owe more than $890 billion on student loans, which is even more than they owe on credit cards.

#11 Average household debt in the United States has now reached a level of 136% of average household income.  In China, average household debt is only 17% of average household income.

#12 U.S. life expectancy at birth is now three years less than Canada and four years less than Japan.

#13 New home sales in the state of California were at the lowest level ever recorded in the month of January.

#14 43 percent of all mortgages in south Florida are currently underwater.

#15 Prior to the most recent economic downturn, there were usually somewhere around four to five million job openings in America.  Today there are about 3 million.

#16 When you adjust wages for inflation, middle class workers in the United States make less money today than they did back in 1971.

#17 One out of every seven Americans is now on food stamps.

#18 One out of every six elderly Americans now lives below the federal poverty line.

You know things are bad when articles start popping up in the mainstream news instructing us how to interact socially with the hordes of unemployed Americans that are out there today.  A recent USA Today article entitled “What not to say to someone who is unemployed” listed some of the things that you should not say to someone that does not have a job.  The following are some of their suggestions on what NOT to say….

“Hey, have you found anything yet?”

“How’s the search going?”

“You just have to pound the pavement.”

“Something will turn up.”

“It’s tough out there.”

“Other people are going through the same thing.”

“Maybe you’re asking for too much money.”

“Maybe you should go back to school.”

“There are plenty of jobs out there.”

I am sure most of us have heard things like this at one time or another.  It can be a soul-crushing thing to have others like at you in pity because you don’t have a job and you can’t pay the mortgage and feed your family.

Most unemployed Americans are not lazy.  The vast majority of them desperately want jobs.  But the U.S. economy is not producing nearly enough jobs today.  As noted above, the U.S. economy currently has about 3 million job openings, but approximately 20 percent of the workforce wants to find a full-time job.  The demand for jobs is far, far, far greater than the supply.

Unfortunately, this is the legacy of decades of bad economic decision-making.  The U.S. economy should be able to provide work for every single person that wants it, but because of the choices that have been made that will never be the case again.

The middle class in America is being ripped to shreds right in front of our eyes and very little is being done to stop it.  Desperation is rising across the nation.  More Americans slip into poverty every single day.  It is almost as if a cloud of gloom and despair has descended upon the U.S. economy and every single month the situation only seems to get darker.

So what about you?  How has this economy affected you and your family?  Please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts below….

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