The basic necessities in life just keep getting more expensive. On Tuesday, Hershey announced that the price of all of their chocolate bars is going to go up by about 8 percent. That is particularly distressing to me, because I am known to love chocolate. But if it was just chocolate that was becoming significantly more expensive perhaps that would be okay. Last month, it was coffee. J.M. Smucker, one of the largest coffee producers in the United States, announced that it planned to raise coffee prices by about 9 percent. And Starbucks has announced a bunch of price increases across the board on their coffee products. Of course we could all survive without chocolate and coffee, but as you will see below just about every food category is becoming more expensive. If this keeps up, could we eventually see armed guards in grocery stores and on food trucks?
On Wednesday, Robert Wenzel of the Economic Policy Journal shared some new data that has just been released by the federal government about food inflation over the past year. Without a doubt, these numbers are quite startling…
According to the latest data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, year-over-year gains in some food products at the producer level have been truly spectacular.
Eggs for fresh use are up 33.9%.
Pork is up 28%.
Processed turkeys are up 20.4%.
Dairy products are up 10.7%.
Fresh and dry vegetables are up 8.4%.
Fresh fruits and melons are up 7.5%.
Unfortunately, paychecks for most American families are not going up at similar rates.
What that means is more pain when we make our trips to the grocery store. Things have gotten so bad that even the mainstream media is running stories about this. For example, this excerpt comes from a recent CNBC article…
“I try to do all my local errands in one day and go up to the mall,” said Helon Rapfogel of New Jersey. “I used to go maybe twice or three times a week, and now I just go one day a week, if that much. And I try to consolidate things.”
Rapfogel said that higher costs for food and gas are hitting her overall budget.
“You sacrifice things. Like not doing an ice cream run during the week with the kids. [That could] hurt the local retailers, and we don’t want to do that … but we may have to,” she said.
At the grocery store, meat, dairy and fruit prices are all up substantially. People are even paying more for lattes at their local coffee shops. And it’s not just food—gas prices have jumped sharply on geopolitical unrest, and at the moment there’s no relief in sight.
So why is all of this happening?
Well, the truth is that a lot of factors have combined to produce something of a perfect storm.
First of all, we should talk about Federal Reserve money printing. Since the last financial crisis, the Fed has been on an unprecedented money printing spree. This has dramatically pushed up the prices of stocks, commodities and just about everything else. It was naive to think that we wouldn’t eventually see substantial food inflation as well. Just look at what “quantitative easing” has done to M1 since the last recession…
When you have more dollars chasing roughly the same amount of goods and services of course prices are going to go up.
It is just basic economics.
But according to Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, there is absolutely no reason to be concerned. The following is a video of her telling the press her view on inflation that I shared in a previous article…
But crazy Fed money printing is not the only reason why food prices are going up.
The endless drought in the western half of the country is severely hurting food production as well. The size of the U.S. cattle herd has shrunk for seven years in a row, and it is now the smallest that it has been since 1951. And the drought is hitting the state of California particularly hard, and considering the fact that it produces nearly half of all of our fresh produce that is more than a little bit alarming. Yes, we are more technologically advanced that we used to be, but we are not advanced enough to overcome an epic multi-year drought in half the nation.
In addition, we are also dealing with the worst pork virus to ever hit the United States right now. Porcine epidemic diarrhea has already wiped out about 10 percent of the pig population in the U.S., and approximately 100,000 more are dying each week. As you saw above, pork prices are already up 28 percent over the past 12 months, and if a solution is not found to this virus the price increases are going to get much worse.
Down in Florida, citrus growers are facing a horrific outbreak of citrus greening disease. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that orange production in the U.S. will be down 18 percent compared to last year, and it is expected that this will be the worst crop in close to 30 years.
Another plague known as the TR4 fungus has hit banana production. According to CNBC, this horrible fungus may eventually completely wipe out the variety of bananas that we eat today…
Banana lovers take note: The world’s supply of the fruit is under attack from a fungus strain that could wipe out the popular variety that Americans eat.
“It’s a very serious situation,” said Randy Ploetz, a professor of plant pathology at the University of Florida who in 1989 originally discovered a strain of Panama disease, called TR4, that may be growing into a serious threat to U.S. supplies of the fruit and Latin American producers.
“There’s nothing at this point that really keeps the fungus from spreading,” he said in an interview with CNBC.
While there are nearly 1,000 varieties of bananas, the most popular is the Cavendish, which accounts for 45 percent of the fruit’s global crop—and the one Americans mostly find in their supermarkets.
For decades, Americans have been able to go to the grocery stores and fill up their carts with massive amounts of very inexpensive food.
But just because it has been that way for so many years does not mean that it will be that way in the future.
Did you know that 40 percent of all American workers make less than $20,000 a year before taxes? And 65 percent of all American workers make less than $40,000 a year before taxes. If you work on Wall Street, or have a cushy job with the federal government, or work for a big tech firm out on the west coast, life is probably pretty good for you right now. But the truth is that most Americans are not living the high life. In fact, most Americans are just trying to figure out how to survive from month to month. For many Americans, making a choice between buying food for your family and paying the light bill is a common occurrence. But if you don’t live in that America, hearing that people actually live like that may sound very strange to you. After all, if everyone around you has expensive cars, the latest electronic gadgets and million dollar homes, the notion that America is in the midst of a very serious “economic decline” may seem very bizarre to you.
On Wednesday, the Dow hit a brand new record high, and Wall Street celebrated. Since the financial crisis of 2008, stocks have been on an unprecedented run. The top performers in the market have not just made millions of dollars – they have made billions of dollars. Luxury apartments in Manhattan and beachfront homes in the Hamptons are selling for absolutely astronomical prices, and it seems like life in the good parts of New York City is one gigantic endless party these days.
Meanwhile, life is quite good down in Washington D.C. as well. The wealth is spread more evenly, but on average the D.C. region actually has the highest standard of living of any major U.S. city. The reason for this is the obscene growth of the federal government. Over the past couple of decades, the U.S. government has ballooned in size and so have government salaries. During one recent year, the average federal employee living in the Washington D.C. area received total compensation worth more than $126,000.
Out in the San Francisco area, Internet money is flowing like wine right now. As I wrote about yesterday, top employees of companies such as Facebook and Twitter can make millions of dollars a year. And if you were lucky to get a piece of the ownership of one of those companies at a very early stage, you are essentially set for life.
And with the Twitter IPO coming up, Internet euphoria is once again reaching a fever pitch. For example, just check out what a 56-year-old administrative assistant said this week about why she is going to buy Twitter stock…
“I’m just buying because everybody’s talking about Twitter,” she said. “I’m just gonna take a chance.”
Is that how we should make our investment decisions from now on?
Just buy a stock because everybody’s talking about it?
That is the kind of insanity that is going on in “wealthy America” right now.
If you live in “wealthy America”, what you are about to hear next will probably sound very strange.
CNN recently profiled a 44-year-old overnight prison guard named Delores Gilmore. She works really hard, but a lot of times she simply does not have enough money to pay all of her bills…
“The first of the month, I pay the rent,” she said. “The next check, I pay my light bills. Sometimes I won’t pay my rent and I pay the light bill from last month — if they cut if it off. Then I pay the rent the end of the month.”
Her life consists of going to work, taking care of her children, going to sleep, and then getting back up and repeating that same cycle once again…
“I’m not fooling anybody,” she told me. “I don’t have any friends. And that’s sad. … I go to work, come home, take them where they gotta go, if they gotta go somewhere, come back home, lay down, go to work.
“That’s what I do. All day, that’s what I do.”
Sadly, the truth is that tens of millions of Americans can identify with what she is going through on a daily basis. In millions of families, both the husband and the wife work multiple jobs and it is still not enough.
If we truly did have a free market capitalist system, the entire country would be a land of opportunity and things would be getting better for everybody. Unfortunately, that is not the case at all. The following are 21 facts about “wealthy America” and “poor America” that are hard to believe…
#1 The lowest earning 23,303,064 Americans combined make 36 percent less than the highest earning 2,915 Americans do.
#2 40 percent of all American workers (39.6 percent to be precise) make less than $20,000 a year.
#3 According to the Pew Research Center, the top 7 percent of all U.S. households own 63 percent of all the wealth in the country.
#4 On average, households in the top 7 percent have 24 times as much wealth as households in the bottom 93 percent.
#5 According to numbers that were just released this week, 49.7 million Americans are living in poverty. That is a brand new all-time record high.
#10 The six heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton have as much wealth as the bottom one-third of all Americans combined.
#1118 percent of all food stamp dollars are spent at Wal-Mart.
#12 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the middle class is taking home a smaller share of the overall income pie than has ever been recorded before.
#13 It is hard to believe, but right now 1.2 million students that attend public schools in America are homeless. That number has risen by 72 percent since the start of the last recession.
#14 One recent study discovered that nearly half of all public students in the United States come from low income homes.
#15 In 1980, CEOs at S&P 500 companies made 42 times as much as their employees did on average. Today, CEOs at S&P 500 companies make 354 times as much as their employees do on average. In fact, there are many CEOs that make more than 1000 times what the average employees in their companies make.
#16 U.S. families that have a head of household that is under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent.
The percentage of Americans that are economically independent has dropped to a stunningly low level. In order to be economically independent, you have got to be able to take care of yourself without any assistance from anyone else. Unless you are independently wealthy, that means that you either have your own business or you have a full-time job. Unfortunately, as you will see below, the percentage of Americans that are self-employed is at an all-time record low and the percentage of Americans with a full-time job has declined to a level not seen in about 30 years. As a result, more Americans than ever find themselves forced to turn to the government for assistance. When you add it all up, about half of all Americans get money from the government each month these days. And yes, there will always be poor people that cannot take care of themselves that need help, but when you have more than half of the population dependent on the government that is a major problem. You see, the truth is that our independence is systematically being taken away from us and we are steadily being made serfs of the state. And once you become a serf of the state, it is very hard to resist anything the government is doing in a meaningful way. After all, the money that you are getting from the government is enabling you to survive. In essence, your allegiance has been at least partially purchased and you may not even realize it.
Of course this is not how the United States was supposed to operate. We were never intended to be a collectivist nation. Rather, we were intended to be a country where liberty and freedom thrived and where most people would be able to independently take care of themselves.
Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly difficult to be economically independent in America today. One reason for this is that the environment for small businesses in this country is the most toxic that it has ever been before. The federal government, our state governments and even our local governments are constantly coming up with new ways to oppress small business.
And just this week we learned that the IRS is specifically targeting small business owners and sending them threatening letters.
Yes, you read that correctly. Despite all of the trouble that the IRS is currently in, they are still choosing to specifically go after small businesses with both barrels. As a recent Forbes article explained, the IRS plans to send threatening letters to 20,000 small businesses all over the country…
The tax agency is doing some targeting of its own, fingering at least 20,000 small businesses. And that number will grow. The scrutiny on this group and in this way is a little frightening. Small business people across America are receiving IRS notices. More will be coming. The IRS gathers data from many third parties—including credit card companies—to see if you picked up every nickel of income.
This is absolutely disgusting, but it is just another example of how small business is being eradicated in the United States. As I mentioned in a previous article, the percentage of Americans that are self-employed has dropped to a record low…
Well, at least we can achieve economic independence by getting a full-time job, right?
Sadly, that is becoming increasingly difficult to do as well.
The chart below was created by Chartist Friend from Pittsburgh, and it shows that the percentage of working age Americans with a full-time job dropped sharply to 47 percent during the last recession and it has stayed about that level ever since. The yellow line is the line in the chart which demonstrates this…
As you can see, we briefly touched that level in the 1970s and again briefly in the 1980s, but it is important to remember that the percentage of women that chose to seek employment was much lower back then. When you take that into account, the current level of full-time employment in this country looks even worse.
The quality of jobs in this country has been steadily falling for quite some time, and we are rapidly transitioning to an economy where part-time employment will be much more prominent.
But you can’t support a family or be economically independent on a part-time income. In fact, most of those that try to make it on a part-time income find that they must turn to the government for help.
And right now, a higher percentage of Americans are economically dependent on the government than ever before. The following is from a recent article by Charles Hugh-Smith…
Why? Because half of us are getting a direct check, benefit or payment from the state. Over 61 million people get a check from Social Security, over 50 million draw Medicare benefits, another 50 million get Medicaid benefits, 47 million receive SNAP food stamp benefits, 22 million people work directly for the state on all levels, millions more work for government contractors that are effectively proxies of the state, millions more receive Federally funded extended unemployment, retirement checks, Section 8 housing benefits, and so on.
Orwell underestimated the power of complicity. Once a citizen receives a direct payment from the state, the state has purchased their complicity, for no matter how much that citizen may complain privately about the state, he or she will never risk the payment/benefit by resisting the state in a politically meaningful way.
Once you get a check from the state, you begin loving your servitude. The collusion of the state and its central bank is truly a thing of authoritarian beauty: the central bank (the Federal Reserve) creates money out of thin air and buys government bonds with the new money. The state can thus borrow unlimited sums at low rates of interest, and continue to send tens of millions of individual payments out to buy the passivity and complicity of its citizens.
So what is the solution?
Of course the solution would be for our economy to produce more small businesses and more full-time jobs so that more people could achieve economic independence.
Sadly, right now our system is steadily killing full-time jobs and small businesses, and there does not appear to be any hope for a major turnaround any time soon.
1. Back in 1960, the ratio of social welfare benefits to salaries and wages was approximately 10 percent. In the year 2000, the ratio of social welfare benefits to salaries and wages was approximately 21 percent. Today, the ratio of social welfare benefits to salaries and wages is approximately 35 percent.
2. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 49 percent of all Americans live in a home that gets direct monetary benefits from the federal government. Back in 1983, less than a third of all Americans lived in a home that received direct monetary benefits from the federal government.
4. According to the Survey of Income and Program Participation conducted by the U.S. Census, well over 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government. Sadly, that figure does not even include Social Security or Medicare.
5. Today, the federal government runs about 80 different “means-tested welfare programs”, and almost all of those programs have experienced substantial growth in recent years.
6. The number of Americans on Social Security disability now exceeds the entire population of the state of Virginia.
7. If the number of Americans on Social Security disability were gathered into a separate state, it would be the 8th largest state in the country.
8. In 1968, there were 51 full-time workers for every American on disability. Today, there are just 13 full-time workers for every American on disability.
9. Right now, there are approximately 56 million Americans collecting Social Security benefits. By 2035, that number is projected to soar to an astounding 91 million.
14. According to one calculation, the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of “Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.”
15. According to a report from the Center for Immigration Studies, 43 percent of all immigrants that have been in the United States for at least 20 years are still on welfare.
16. Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid. Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid, and things are about to get a whole lot worse. It is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.
17. As I wrote about recently, it is being projected that the number of Americans on Medicare will grow from 50.7 million in 2012 to 73.2 million in 2025.
18. At this point, Medicare is facing unfunded liabilities of more than 38 trillion dollars over the next 75 years. That comes to approximately $328,404 for every single household in the United States.
19. Back in 1990, the federal government accounted for just 32 percent of all health care spending in America. It is being projected that the federal government will account for more than 50 percent of all health care spending in the United States very soon.
20. The amount of money that the federal government gives directly to the American people has increased by 32 percent since Barack Obama entered the White House.
Once again, there is certainly nothing wrong with helping the poor, and there will always be people that need a helping hand.
But what we have in America today is far beyond that. What we have in America today is a situation where economic independence is being systematically eradicated and the government is increasingly being expected to provide our daily bread and to take care of all of us from the cradle to the grave.
And once you are dependent on the system, at least part of you is going to become resistant to anyone or anything that threatens to bring meaningful change to the system because your survival depends on the system.
Or could I be wrong about this?
What do you think?
Please feel free to share your opinion by posting a comment below…
Trying to find a job in America today can be an incredibly frustrating experience. Most of the jobs that are available seem to pay very little, and there is intense competition for just about any job that is open. But it wasn’t always like this. When I was in high school, I was immediately hired when I applied for a job at McDonalds because they were so desperate for workers that they would hire just about anyone that could flip a burger. But in this economic environment, a single nationwide hiring event conducted by McDonalds resulted in a million job applications, and only a small percentage of those applicants were actually hired. Our economy simply does not produce enough jobs for everyone anymore, and the percentage of “good jobs” continues to decline. That means that it is getting really hard to find a job that will enable you to support a family, and a lot of people end up doing jobs that they are massively overqualified for. But when times are tough, people are going to do what they have to do in order to survive.
One thing that we have seen in recent years is an explosion in the number of “temp workers” in America. Even some of the largest companies in America are using them. They like the flexibility of being able to bring in workers when they need them and of being able to dump them the moment they don’t need them anymore. Sadly, those that work in the “temp industry” often work in deplorable conditions for very little pay. The following is a brief excerpt from an absolutely outstanding Pro Publica article…
In cities all across the country, workers stand on street corners, line up in alleys or wait in a neon-lit beauty salon for rickety vans to whisk them off to warehouses miles away. Some vans are so packed that to get to work, people must squat on milk crates, sit on the laps of passengers they do not know or sometimes lie on the floor, the other workers’ feet on top of them.
This is not Mexico. It is not Guatemala or Honduras. This is Chicago, New Jersey, Boston.
The people here are not day laborers looking for an odd job from a passing contractor. They are regular employees of temp agencies working in the supply chain of many of America’s largest companies – Walmart, Macy’s, Nike, Frito-Lay. They make our frozen pizzas, sort the recycling from our trash, cut our vegetables and clean our imported fish. They unload clothing and toys made overseas and pack them to fill our store shelves. They are as important to the global economy as shipping containers and Asian garment workers.
Many get by on minimum wage, renting rooms in rundown houses, eating dinners of beans and potatoes, and surviving on food banks and taxpayer-funded health care. They almost never get benefits and have little opportunity for advancement.
But these are the types of jobs the U.S. economy is “creating” these days. Low paying part-time jobs are continually becoming a bigger part of the economy. This is one of the primary reasons why the middle class in America is shrinking.
You can’t support a family on what most of these part-time jobs pay. But our economy is not producing many high quality full-time jobs these days. The average quality of American jobs just continues to sink.
The following are 15 signs that the quality of jobs in America is going downhill really fast…
#1 The number of part-time workers in the United States has just hit a brand new all-time high, but the number of full-time workers is still nearly 6 million below the old record that was set back in 2007.
#2 In America today, only 47 percent of adults have a full-time job.
#3 Even though the U.S. economy created nearly 200,000 jobs in June, the number of full-time jobs actually decreased.
#4 There are now 2.7 million temp workers in the United States – a new all-time high.
#10 High paying manufacturing jobs continue to be shipped overseas. Sadly, there are fewer Americans employed in manufacturing now than there was in 1950 even though the population of the country has more than doubled since then.
#11 Today, the United States actually has a higher percentage of workers doing low wage work than any other major industrialized nation does.
#12 The U.S. economy continues to trade good paying jobs for low paying jobs. 60 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession were mid-wage jobs, but 58 percent of the jobs created since then have been low wage jobs.
#13 Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs. Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.
#14 At this point, an astounding 53 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year.
#15 According to a study that was released by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, only 24.6 percent of all jobs in the United States qualify as “good jobs” at this point. In a previous article, I detailed the three criteria that they used to define what a “good job” is….
#1 The job must pay at least $18.50 an hour. According to the authors, that is the equivalent of the median hourly pay for American workers back in 1979 after you adjust for inflation.
#2 The job must provide access to employer-sponsored health insurance, and the employer must pay at least some portion of the cost of that insurance.
#3 The job must provide access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan.
All of this is absolutely heartbreaking.
Once upon a time, just about any adult that was willing to work hard in America could go out and find a good paying job that would support a middle class lifestyle.
Now those days are gone forever.
But different conditions exist in different parts of the country.
What are you seeing in your area?
Are good jobs difficult to find?
Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…
Should we all quit working and jump on board the Obama gravy train? Of course I am being facetious, but when you are barely surviving does there come a point when it just becomes easier to give up and totally rely on the government? Today, the federal government runs nearly 80 different means-tested welfare programs, and many state and local governments have their own welfare programs on top of that. If you become an expert on those programs and you learn how to game the system, can you live more comfortably than someone that lives honestly and works as hard as they can and yet still makes less than 10 dollars an hour? Now, right from the outset of this article, let me make it abundantly clear that I do not believe that most people are abusing the system. As I have written about over and over, the number of Americans living in poverty is rapidly increasing because there are not enough jobs. There are not enough jobs because we are shipping millions of them out of the country to the other side of the globe, and we are also losing millions of jobs to technology. There have always been those that need our help, and because of the foolish decisions that we have made as a nation, the ranks of the poor will continue to expand. But it is also true that there are some people out there that are very brazenly abusing the system. For example, is it really fair for people on food stamps to buy prime rib and lobster while many working families barely survive? People like that are taking advantage of their fellow Americans, and they are making it harder for the people that really need the help to be able to get it.
Unfortunately, we are rapidly becoming an “entitlement society”. Close to half the country lives in a home that receives some sort of monetary benefits from the federal government each month at this point.
In particular, the food stamp program has experienced explosive growth in recent years. Since Obama has been president, the number of Americans on food stamps has grown by more than 49 percent, and more than 11,000 people a day have enrolled in the food stamp program since Obama entered the White House.
Actually, the truth is that there are millions upon millions of hard working American families that are desperately trying to make it on their own and that don’t want to become financial dependents of the federal government. Unfortunately, it can be a little disheartening when you are barely making it from month to month and yet you see others using government benefit cards to buy luxury items.
The other day my wife came across a discussion on Facebook that really caught her attention. I thought that I would share with you all the post that got that discussion going. As far as I can determine, this woman shared what she believed she actually saw at her local grocery store, but I have no way of determining if this story is true or not. But I have seen quite a few similar stories of food stamp abuse in the past. Either way, I think the following story will be good to help spark a conversation about whether our current system is broken or not. All of the names have been removed so as to protect the identity of the woman that originally posted this on Facebook…
Okay…so, I’m going to go on a rant for a minute…just to get it off my chest…
**** & I went to the grocery store to pick up a few things because we were getting low…sooo, we pick up our 40% off chicken and buy one get two free items and proceed to checkout.
There is a woman ahead of us with a child about 4 years old. The woman, I couldn’t help but notice….had beautiful fingernails, clearly professionally done…and I also noticed her brand new IPHONE…which she was talking on, and I think that is rude while you are being checked out. Her little girl was commenting on the TWO live lobsters in a bag on the checkout, asked if it was going to hurt when they get cooked, her mom brushed her off…at that time I took a look at what else she had on the counter…A HUGE roast, sirloin tips, shrimp, beef ribs and pork ribs…only the prime cuts… I thought to myself….mmmmmm someone is having a yummy dinner and must have a great job as I could not afford these things (not that I’d get my nails done anyway)….
So…the cashier gives her a total and what does she pull out of her wallet but a BENEFIT card!!!!!!! I had all I could do to contain myself…
Sometimes people need help, and I’m okay with that, and those who need it should get it….BUT…if you can afford the latest IPHONE and fancy nails then why in the world are the taxpayers paying for your LOBSTER?!!!! If she really needed help and food, she should have been buying the “sale” items…40% off chicken, buy one get one free cheese ravioli…you know, like the rest of us working class have to buy!
It especially makes me mad because there ARE PEOPLE WHO NEED HELP and can’t get it…My son and his girlfriend and brand new baby aren’t eligible for an ounce of help…they tried, she works days and he works nights so that they don’t have to pay for day-care, they use inexpensive diapers and try to save money anyway they can, they struggle to make ends meet and to pay for their straight talk phones and to boot are paying off college loans…but they supposedly make too much…c’mon, really, he works at McDonalds and she works in a nursing home…lets be real here…those are the type that SHOULD get help…UGHHHH Our system is broken and something needs to be done about it!!!
There, that’s my rant…kudo’s to you if you managed to read the whole thing as I know it was an awful long rant….Gotta go work now, Thanks for listening.
In response to her story, dozens of people posted comments. Quite a few people said that they had seen similar things where they lived.
What everybody can agree upon is that the number of food stamp recipients is absolutely exploding. The following is from a recent CNS news article…
When Obama entered office in January 2009 there were 31,939,110 Americans receiving food stamps. As of November 2012—the most recent data available—there were 47,692,896 Americans enrolled, an increase of 49.3 percent.
But this didn’t just start under Obama. Back in the year 2000, there were just 17 million Americans on food stamps.
30 million more have been added to the program since then.
And of course food stamps is not the only federal welfare program that is being abused.
According to the Wall Street Journal, there has been a tremendous amount of abuse in the free cell phone program as well.
The U.S. government spent about $2.2 billion last year to provide phones to low-income Americans, but a Wall Street Journal review of the program shows that a large number of those who received the phones haven’t proved they are eligible to receive them.
The Lifeline program—begun in 1984 to ensure that poor people aren’t cut off from jobs, families and emergency services—is funded by charges that appear on the monthly bills of every landline and wireless-phone customer. Payouts under the program have shot up from $819 million in 2008, as more wireless carriers have persuaded regulators to let them offer the service.
A lot of people refer to those free cell phones as “Obamaphones”, but the truth is that the program has been going on for a long time. It just has accelerated greatly under Obama.
So what is the solution to all of this?
Well, what we really need are a lot more jobs, but in the State of the Union address last night Obama simply rehashed a lot of the same tired proposals that he and our former presidents have been promoting for years.
If we continue to do the same things that we have been doing, we are going to continue to get the same results.
There is a reason why the percentage of the civilian labor force in the United States that is employed has been steadily declining every single year since 2006. We keep pursuing foolish policies, and those policies are steadily destroying our economy.
Sadly, many of our politicians appear to be engaged in some form of “doublethink”. The things that they tell us will solve our problems are actually the things that are making our problems even worse.
For example, Barack Obama says that we need even more “free trade agreements” and that we need to integrate our economy into the emerging one world economic system even more deeply.
But as I have shown in article after article, the “free trade” agenda of the global elite has resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of U.S. businesses and millions of good paying U.S. jobs.
And of course Obama once promised that he would never “rest” until he had fixed our employment problems, but that hasn’t exactly been the truth either. The following is from a recent article by Dan Gainor…
Back in 2009, the president promised never to “rest” until the job situation was fixed. Nearly four years later, he’s done a lot of resting.
According to The Weekly Standard, Pres. Obama has had 83 vacation days overall and Factcheck.org says he took 26 of those in 2009. That means the president has taken at least 57 vacation days since his vow not to “rest.”
But hey, he needs his rest. Life is rough. U.S. taxpayers only spend about a billion dollars a year on the Obamas. How is he supposed to scrape by on such limited resources?
Meanwhile, Americans are still incredibly pessimistic about the economy. The following is what one recent survey found…
Eight in 10 Americans are skeptical that career and employment opportunities will be better for the next generation.
More than half of Americans say the economy will not fully recover from the 2007-2009 recession for another six years; 29% believe the economy will never fully recover.
73% of Americans were directly impacted by the recession: individuals surveyed had either lost a job themselves or a family member/close relative had been out work because of the economic downturn.
The majority of survey participants said college would become unaffordable for most young Americans.
56% reported having fewer savings than before the recession.
More than half of those who were laid off or lost a job said they cut back on medical treatment or doctor visits.
40% of Americans have borrowed money from family or friends.
Nearly 25% of participants said they have sought professional help for stress or depression.
And as you can see from the charts in this article, U.S. businesses remain very pessimistic about the future of the economy as well.
The victory by Barack Obama on election night has resulted in a huge wave of firings and layoffs all over America. A large number of businesses seem to have suddenly shifted into panic mode. The number of layoff announcements that we have seen in the last 48 hours has been absolutely shocking. So why is this happening? Well, the truth is that the federal government is absolutely suffocating small businesses all over America with rules, regulations and taxes. If you have never tried to run a small business, then you have no idea how oppressive this system actually is for people that are trying to run small businesses successfully. It has steadily gotten worse over the years no matter who has been in the White House and no matter who has controlled Congress. So we shouldn’t put 100% of the blame on Obama. Bush massively expanded government and made things harder on small business people too. But what many small business people were looking for on this election day was just a little bit of help. Many were desperately holding out hope that Obamacare would be repealed so that they would not have to get rid of some of their employees. Many were hoping to get a little bit of relief from the crippling regulations and taxes that are absolutely crushing them. But now that Barack Obama has been given another four years, they understand that there is no hope on the horizon and that things are only going to get worse. So they are making the hard decisions that they feel are necessary in order to survive in this economic environment.
And I certainly don’t blame them. You only want to have employees if you can make a profit on them. And in this environment it is getting harder than ever to make a profit on an employee. You see, the truth is that what you cost your employer goes far beyond your salary or your hourly wage. I think many of you would be absolutely shocked if you learned how much it actually costs your employer to employ you. And now thanks to Obamacare, that cost is going to go up even more.
Many businesses are not even feasible at all in this economic environment. Many small businesses had been holding out hope that somehow this election might turn things around and make it possible for them to keep going, but when Obama won it was kind of like the straw that broke the camel’s back.
You can’t do what the federal government and the state governments are doing to us and expect to have a thriving economy. They are choking the life out of us.
New businesses and small businesses are supposed to be at the heart of our economic system. Unfortunately, the environment that has been created is absolutely killing them. This is a recipe for disaster.
In a previous article, I noted that the number of jobs created at new businesses in 2010 in the United States was less than half of what it was back in the year 2000.
Now we can expect that number to get even worse and we can expect large numbers of small businesses to shrink in size or close their doors completely.
The following is a list of some of the post-election firings and layoffs that we have seen since Tuesday night…
A Utah coal company owned by a vocal critic of President Barack Obama has laid off 102 miners.
The layoffs at the West Ridge Mine are effective immediately, according to UtahAmerican Energy Inc., a subsidiary of Murray Energy Corp. They were announced in a short statement made public Thursday, two days after Obama won re-election.
The layoffs are necessary because of the president’s “war on coal,” the statement said. The slogan is one used frequently during the election by Murray Energy CEO Robert Murray, who was an ardent supporter of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
In its statement, UtahAmerican Energy blames the Obama administration for instituting policies that will close down “204 American coal-fired power plants by 2014″ and for drastically reducing the market for coal.
I work for the oldest and largest health insurer in the state of Ohio in the underwriting department. At 9 a.m.this morning, my department (about 50) were called into a meeting in the executive boardroom. We were informed that due to a provision in the healthcare ‘reform’ effective 2014 called guarantee issue, our services would no longer be needed, and we were offered severance So Obama got to keep his job, and we lost ours. It is maddening that some tyrant 400 miles away can have such a ruinous effect on peoples lives.
A Las Vegas business owner with 114 employees fired 22 workers today, apparently as a direct result of President Obama’s re-election.
“David” (he asked to remain anonymous for obvious reasons) told Host Kevin Wall on 100.5 KXNT that “elections have consequences” and that “at the end of the day, I need to survive.”
Here’s an excerpt from the interview. Click the audio tab below to hear even more from this compelling conversation:
“I’ve done my share of educating my employees. I never tell them which way to vote. I believe in the free system we have, I believe in the right to choose who they want to be president, but I did explain as a business owner that I have always put my employees first. I always made sure that when I went without a paycheck that [I] made sure they were paid. And I explained that I always put them first and unfortunately I’m at a point where I’m being forced to have to worry about me and my family now and a business that I built from just me to 114 employees.
#4 Posted below is a list of layoff headlines from the past few days that was posted on AmericanThinker.com…
Obama was “fired up” and so were the voters, and so now, the mass firings begin. Here’s a collection of today’s headlines. Please say a prayer for the families who will be suffering. Had Romney won, many of these companies would now be hiring.
Teco Coal officials announce layoffs
Momentive Inc plans temporary layoffs for 150
Wilkes-Barre officials to announce mandatory layoffs
600 layoffs at Groupon
More layoffs announced at Aniston Weapons Incinerator
Murray Energy confirms 150 layoffs at 3 subsidiaries
130 laid off in Minnesota dairy plant closure
Stanford brake plant to lay off 75
Turbocare, Oce to lay off more than 220 workers
ATI plans to lay off 172 workers in North Richland Hills
SpaceX claims its first victims as Rocketdyne lays off 100
Providence Journal lays off 23 full-time employees
CVPH lays off 17
New Energy lays off 40 employees
102 Utah miners laid off because of ‘war on coal’, company says
US Cellular drops Chicago, cuts 640 jobs
Career Education to cut 900 jobs, close 23 campuses
Vestas to cut 3,000 more jobs
First Energy to cut 400 jobs by 2016
Mine owner blames Obama for layoffs (54 fired last night)
Canceled program costs 115 jobs at Ohio air base
AMD trims Austin workforce – 400 jobs slashed
100 workers lose jobs as Caterpillar closes plant in Minnesota
Exide to lay off 150 workers
TE Connectivity to close Guilford plant, lay off 620
More Layoffs for Major Wind Company (3,000 jobs cut)
Cigna to lay off 1,300 workers worldwide
Ameridose to lay off hundreds of workers
#5 According to the Blaze, the following major corporations have all announced layoffs in just the past two days…
#6 The following is a list of companies that will be laying off workers just because of Obamacare that was compiled by FreedomWorks…
Dana Holding Corp.
As recently as a week ago, a global auto parts manufacturing company in Ohio known as Dana Holding Corp., warned their employees of potential layoffs, citing “$24 million over the next six years in additional U.S. health care expenses”. After laying off several white collar staffers, company insiders have hinted at more to come. The company will have to cover the additional $24 million cost somehow, which will likely equate to numerous cuts in their current workforce of 25,500 worldwide.
One of the biggest medical device manufacturers in the world, Stryker will close their facility in Orchard Park, New York, eliminating 96 jobs in December. Worse, they plan on countering the medical device tax in Obamacare by slashing 5% of their global workforce – an estimated 1,170 positions.
In October of 2009, Boston Scientific CEO Ray Elliott, warned that proposed taxes in the health care reform bill could “lead to significant job losses” for his company. Nearly two years later, Elliott announced that the company would be cutting anywhere between 1,200 and 1,400 jobs, while simultaneously shifting investments and workers overseas – to China.
In March of 2010, medical device maker Medtronic warned that Obamacare taxes could result in a reduction of precisely 1,000 jobs. That plan became reality when the company cut 500 positions over the summer, with another 500 set for the end of 2013.
A short list of other companies facing future layoffs at the hands of Obamacare:
Smith & Nephew – 770 layoffs
Abbott Labs – 700 layoffs
Covidien – 595 layoffs
Kinetic Concepts – 427 layoffs
St. Jude Medical – 300 layoffs
Hill Rom – 200 layoffs
A lot of other businesses are going to reduce the number of employees they have or reduce the average work week in order to avoid the Obamacare insurance coverage mandate that will soon be implemented.
This is how CNSNews.com describes the choice that many employers will be facing…
That section, known as the employer mandate, requires any business with 50 or more full-time employees to provide at least the minimum level of government-defined health coverage to those employees. In other words, a business must provide insurance if it has 50 or more employees working an average of just 30 hours per week, which is 10 hours per week fewer than the traditional 40-hour work week.
Thus, by cutting employees’ hours to ensure they average less than the 30 per week, employers could potentially avoid the cost of providing the minimum insurance levels mandated by Obamacare.
So if your company trims the number of workers to just under 50 or starts going to “29 hour work weeks”, then you will know who to blame.
All of this is complete and utter insanity. We are committing national economic suicide.
But perhaps we deserve this. After all, Americans willingly chose their leaders on election day. It is getting harder and harder to deny that our politicians are truly a reflection of who we are as a nation.
The American people chose this path, and now we get to see where it leads us.
Once upon a time, anyone that was relatively competent and willing to work hard could go out and easily get a job that would enable that person to financially support a family. Unfortunately, that is simply no longer true anymore. Well paying “middle income jobs” are being rapidly replaced with “low income jobs” and part-time jobs. As the economy crumbles, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the typical American worker to survive from month to month. The number of companies that provide benefits such as health insurance has fallen steadily over the past ten years, and paychecks have not been keeping up with the rising prices of food and gas. Average American families are seeing their budgets squeezed like never before, and many of them are going into huge amounts of debt in order to make up the difference. Sadly, this is a problem that has developed over an extended period of time and that is not going to be reversed overnight. Over the past four decades, the ratio of wages and salaries to GDP in America has fallen dramatically. The typical American worker is not as valued as much as he or she used to be, and if current trends continue even more of us will be working part-time jobs or “low income jobs” in the years ahead.
In America today there is a great deal of focus on the unemployed, but there are also millions upon millions of Americans that are working part-time jobs because that is all that they can find.
It can be absolutely soul crushing to go all the way through school getting good grades, spend a ton of money on an education, and then work for 8 bucks an hour doing meaningless work for some predator corporation that simply does not care about how talented you are.
Today, an astounding 48 percent of all Americans are considered to be either “low income” or are living in poverty.
According to the New York Times, approximately 100 million Americans are either living in poverty or in “the fretful zone just above it”.
A lot of those people actually do have jobs. Unfortunately, a part-time job that pays 8 or 9 dollars an hour just will not get you anywhere close to getting over the poverty line.
This is not the way that the U.S. economy used to work. Back in the old days, good paying jobs that would allow you to live “the American Dream” were plentiful.
But now millions upon millions of Americans are scrambling for anything that they can get. According to a recent survey conducted by 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.
In this economy, a good paying full-time job is incredibly precious. If you still have one, you should consider yourself to be very fortunate.
Check out the following chart. It is a chart that shows the level of wages and salaries as a percentage of GDP in the United States since the late 1940s. As you can see, the slice of the pie being taken home by American workers has been dropping like a rock since about 1970….
Is that a clear trend or what?
And it is going to continue year after year as long as we continue to pursue the same foolish economic policies.
As our politicians continue to allow millions of American jobs to be shipped overseas, competition for the jobs that remain inside this country is becoming extremely intense.
Back in 1967, 97 percent of all U.S. men with a high school degree between the ages of 30 and 50 had jobs. Today, that figure is down to 76 percent.
As you read this, there are hordes of hard working American workers sitting at home staring at their televisions as they wonder why nobody will hire them.
But even if you do have a job that does not mean that you are in good shape. The percentage of “low income jobs” just continues to climb. Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs. Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.
Many Americans work as hard as they can and still find that they must turn to the government for financial assistance. According to author Paul Osterman, about 20 percent of all U.S. adults are currently working jobs that pay poverty-level wages.
And that number is just going to keep climbing unless we change what we are doing as a nation.
Perhaps you are working a “low income job” right now. Most of us have worked a job like that at least once in our lives. Hopefully you will find the following list amusing. Yes, I have exaggerated a few things slightly, but I think you will get the point.
The following are 20 signs you might be a typical American worker….
#1 If you are working three jobs and you still don’t have enough money at the end of the month, you might be a typical American worker.
#2 If your job involves asking the question “Would you like fries with that?”, you might be a typical American worker.
#3 If you shop at the dollar store because Wal-Mart is too expensive, you might be a typical American worker.
#4 If your job requires you to wear a smock, a brightly colored polo shirt or lots of “flair”, you might be a typical American worker.
#5 If people are constantly asking you where the restroom is while you are at work, you might be a typical American worker.
#6 If your employer hires extra part-time workers in order to avoid giving anyone full-time hours, you might be a typical American worker.
#7 If you are required to watch a mindless “training video” after being hired, you might be a typical American worker.
#8 If the company you work for is owned by someone on the other side of the world, you might be a typical American worker.
#9 If a trained seal could do your job and you feel like your expensive education is going to waste, you might be at typical American worker.
#10 If you don’t have any health insurance at all, you might be a typical American worker. Only about 25 percent of all part-time workers in the United States receive employee benefits such as health insurance or paid sick leave.
#11 If your car is older than your kids are, you might be a typical American worker.
#12 If you can’t afford to buy the things that you are selling to the public, you might be a typical American worker.
#13 If the balances on your credit cards are larger than your bank accounts are, you might be a typical American worker.
#14 If going to Burger King is your idea of “fine dining”, then you might be a typical American worker.
#15 If it costs more to fill up your car with gas than you will make at your job today, you might be a typical American worker. The price of gasoline has increased by 83 percent since Barack Obama first took office, and the average cost of a gallon of gas in the United States is now up to $3.52.
#16 If you eat your cereal with a fork so that you can save milk, you might be a typical American worker.
#17 If your electricity bill keeps going up but your paycheck never does, you might be a typical American worker.
#18 If it feels like you are losing an organ every time you pay for health insurance each month, you might be a typical American worker.
#19 If you feel like your employer is constantly tempted to replace you with someone younger and cheaper, then you might be a typical American worker.
#20 If you are so poor that you cannot even afford to pay attention, you might be a typical American worker.
Unfortunately, a lot more Americans are going to be forced into working these kinds of jobs if current trends continue.
Since the year 2000, we have lost 10% of our middle class jobs even though our population has increased by more than 30 million since then. In the year 2000 there were about 72 million middle class jobs in the United States, but today there are only about 65 million middle class jobs.
The lack of good jobs in America has some very real consequences. In particular, our young adults are really feeling the pain of not being able to find quality employment.
According to a recent poll conducted by Generation Opportunity, huge numbers of Americans in the 18 to 29 year old age bracket are delaying major life decisions due to the poor economy….
-44% are delaying buying a home
-28% are delaying saving for retirement
-27% are delaying paying off student loans or other debt
-27% are delaying going back to school or getting more education
-23% are delaying starting a family
-18% are delaying getting married
All of those things take a lot of money, and if you simply don’t have the money it makes things really tough.
Sadly, the economy is about to get even worse.
As I have written about previously, what is going on in Greece right now is a warning sign for the rest of the world, and we are on the precipice of another major global financial crisis.
There are an increasing number of voices in the financial world that believe that we are going to see a Greek default in March. So will this actually happen? I certainly don’t know. But what some folks are currently saying about the situation sure does make for interesting reading.
In the old days, you could graduate from college, get a good job, work for the same company for 30 years, save up for retirement and count on a comfortable life in your old age.
That paradigm is now totally shattered. The entire global economic system is in a state of chaos and things change faster today than they ever have before.
If you have a job today, it may be gone tomorrow.
The financial institution or insurance company that you are working with today may be out of business by next month.
We live in a world that is becoming increasingly unstable. That is why it is imperative to try to become more self-sufficient and less dependent on the system.
It is tough to plan in such an environment, but one thing is for sure – tough times are coming and things are not going to get any easier than they are now.
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.