The Beginning Of The End
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Money Is A Form Of Social Control And Most Americans Are Debt Slaves

Money Is A Form Of Social Control And Most Americans Are Debt Slaves - Photo by Serge Melki from Indianapolis, USAIs America really “the land of the free”?  Most people think of money as simply a medium of exchange that makes economic transactions more convenient, but the truth is that it is much more than that.  Money is also a form of social control.  Just think about it.  What did you do this morning?  Well, if you are like most Americans, you either got up and went to work (to make money) or to school (to learn the skills that you will need to make money).  We spend a great deal of our lives pursuing the almighty dollar, and there are literally millions of laws, rules and regulations about how we earn our money, about how we spend our money and about how much of our money the government gets to take from us.  Not that money is a bad thing in itself.  Without money, it would be really hard to have a modern society.  Unfortunately, our money is based on debt, and debt levels in the United States have exploded to absolutely unprecedented levels in recent years.  The borrower is the servant of the lender, and if you are like most Americans, nearly every major purchase that you make in your life is going to involve debt.  Do you want to get a college education so that you can get a “good job”?  You are told to get a student loan.  Do you want a car?  You are encouraged to get an auto loan and to stretch out the payments for as long as possible.  Do you want a home?  You are probably going to end up with a big fat mortgage.  And of course I could go on and on and on.  The cold, hard truth of the matter is that most Americans are debt slaves.  Most of us spend our entire lives trapped in an endless cycle of debt that we never escape until we die, and meanwhile our years of hard labor are greatly enriching those that own our debts.

Have you ever found yourself wondering why you can never seem to get ahead financially no matter how hard you work?

Well, it is probably because you have gotten yourself enslaved to debt.

Just consider the following example about credit card debt from a former Goldman Sachs banker

On the debt side of things, how much does your credit card company earn if you carry just an average of a $5,000 credit card balance, paying, say, 22% annual interest rate (compounding monthly) for the next 10 years?

In your mind you owe a balance of only $5,000, which is not a huge amount, especially for someone gainfully employed.  After all, $5,000 is just a quick Disney trip, or a moderately priced ski-trip, or that week in Hawaii.  You think to yourself, “how bad could it be?”

The answer, including the cost of monthly compounding, is $44,235, or about 9 times what it appears to cost you at face value.

But a large percentage of Americans never pay off their credit cards at all.  They make small payments each month, but then they just keep on adding to their balances.

In the end, that is financial suicide.

If you carry an “average balance” on your credit cards each month, and those credit cards have an “average” interest rate, you could end up paying millions of dollars to the credit card companies by the end of your life…

Let’s say you are an average American household, and you carry an average balance of $15,956 in credit card debt.

Also, as an average American household, let’s assume you pay an average current rate of 12.83%.

Finally, let’s assume you carry this average balance for 40 years, between ages 25 and 65.  How much did your credit card company make off of you and your extreme averageness?

Answer: $2,629,618.64

Sadly, approximately 46% of all Americans carry a credit card balance from month to month.

How stupid can we be as a nation?

When you become enslaved to the credit card companies, your toil and sweat makes them much wealthier.  It is a form of slavery that does not require anyone pointing a gun at you.

But we never seem to learn.  Incredibly, 43 percent of all American families spend more than they earn each year.

As the chart below demonstrates, consumer credit actually declined for a short while during the last recession, but now it has turned around and the growth of consumer credit is on the same trajectory as it was before the last economic crisis…

Consumer Debt

Today, the total amount of consumer credit in the United States is 15 times larger than it was 40 years ago.

And every major “milestone” in our lives typically involves even more debt.

-The total amount of student loan debt in the United States recently passed a trillion dollars, and approximately two-thirds of all college students graduate with student loan debt at this point.

-Total home mortgage debt in the United States is now about 5 times larger than it was just 20 years ago, and mortgage debt as a percentage of GDP has more than tripled since 1955.

-Car loans just keep getting longer and longer, and approximately 70 percent of all car purchases in the United States now involve an auto loan.

-Want to get married?  That average cost of a wedding is now $26,989 which is probably going to mean even more debt unless you have wealthy parents.

-Do you have a serious medical problem?  According to a report published in The American Journal of Medicine, medical bills are a major factor in more than 60 percent of the personal bankruptcies in the United States.

Are you starting to understand why approximately half of all Americans die broke?

And I have not even begun to talk about our collective debts yet.

Government debt is a collective form of debt.  You may not have voted for any of the politicians that have been racking up debt in your name, but part of it still belongs to you.

Since the year 2000, state and local government debt has more than doubled.  These are collective debts for which we are all responsible…

State And Local Government Debt

And of course the biggest collective debt of all is the U.S. national debt.

In a previous article, I discussed how the national debt has exploded out of control in recent years.  If you can believe it, the U.S. debt to GDP ratio has increased from 66.6 percent to 103 percent since 2007, and the U.S. government accumulated more new debt during Barack Obama’s first term than it did under the first 42 U.S. presidents combined.

When you break things down by household, the numbers look even more frightening.

During Barack Obama’s first four years in the White House, the amount of new debt accumulated by the federal government breaks down to approximately $50,521 for every single household in the United States.

And as I have mentioned previously, if you started paying off just the new debt that the federal government has accumulated during the Obama administration at the rate of one dollar per second, it would take more than 184,000 years to pay it off.

Well, you might argue, none of that debt will ever be paid off in our lifetimes.

And you would be right.

But what we are doing is consigning our children, our grandchildren and all future generations of Americans to a lifetime of debt slavery.

How nice of us, eh?

Over the past 10 years, the U.S. national debt has grown by an average of 9.3 percent per year, but the overall U.S. economy has only grown by an average of just 1.8 percent per year.

How do we expect to continue doing this?

Fortunately, more Americans are starting to wake up to how foolish all of this is.

For example, the following is what Home Depot Founder Kenneth Langone told CNBC on Tuesday…

“The fundamentals haven’t changed … And we don’t know when the storm is going to hit,” he predicted. “It has to happen.If you look at our debt to GDP, eventually you reach a point where there’s no turning back.”

He used an analogy to make his point. “If you had one meal left, and you had your grandchild with you, would you eat if or give it to your grandchild?”

He said all people would say “give it to my grandchild.”

But pursuing the president’s vision, he argued, “[Is] eating the grandchildren’s breakfast, lunch and dinner right now. And the [grandchildren] haven’t been born yet.”

What we are doing to our children and our grandchildren is beyond criminal.  We are selling away their futures in order to make our lives more pleasant.

Right now, we are stealing more than 100 million dollars from our children and our grandchildren every single hour of every single day.

So where is the outrage over this theft?

Sadly, most Americans don’t even realize that all of this is by design.  When the Federal Reserve system was created back in 1913, it was designed to get the U.S. government trapped in an endless spiral of debt.

And it worked.  Today, the U.S. national debt is now more than 5000 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was first created.

Our society has become addicted to debt, and that means that we have become addicted to slavery.

We are not the “land of the free”.  The truth is that we are now the “land of the servants”.

Over the past 40 years, the total amount of debt owed in the United States (government, business, consumer, etc.) has grown from less than 2 trillion dollars to more than 55 trillion dollars

Total Credit Market Debt Owed

So who benefits from all of this?

I talked about this in a previous article.  The ultra-wealthy and the international bankers make enormous profits by lending money to all the rest of us.

According to a stunning report that was released last summer, the global elite have up to 32 trillion dollars stashed away in offshore tax havens around the globe.

How did they get so much money?

The borrower is the servant of the lender.  They have gotten rich at our expense.

But most people live their entire lives without ever understanding how the game is being played.

Today, most Americans see that the Dow is back above 14,000 and they hear the mainstream media telling them that happy days are here again and so they just believe that things are going to turn out okay somehow.

And it certainly does not help that most people seem to let others do their thinking for them.  In fact, about 23% of all Americans can’t even read at this point.

So is there any hope for us?

Please feel free to post a comment with your opinion below…

Money - Photo by selbstfotografiert

Forsaken And Forgotten

America is becoming a very cold place.  If you don’t have money, you don’t really matter much in our society.  The ads on television aren’t for you – they are directed at people that actually have good jobs and that can afford to buy the nice little “extras” in life.  The politicians aren’t really interested in you either – they figure that they can buy your vote with all of the money that they are getting from the wealthy people.  When you don’t have money, even friends and relatives start to distance themselves from you.  Perhaps they are afraid that you will ask them for money or perhaps they are afraid that your “failure” will start to rub off on them.  When people know that you are struggling for money, the barriers immediately go up.  In the United States today, there are tens of millions of people that have been forsaken and forgotten.  They mostly stay at home (if they still have a home), and for most of them quiet desperation has become a way of life.  You won’t ever read much about them or see them appear much on television because nobody really cares too much about them.  As far as society is concerned, there are just way too many of them and they are a problem that “the government” should be able to handle anyway.  Sadly, the truth is that many communities all across America want absolutely nothing to do with those that can’t take care of themselves.  All over the country cities are passing laws making it illegal to feed the homeless, and in other instances cities are actually making it illegal to be homeless.  Unfortunately, this problem is not going away.  In fact, the number of Americans living in poverty increases with each passing day.  So where do we go from here?

These days, a lot of formerly middle class Americans are down on their luck and can’t even afford to buy enough food.  The following is from a recent Yahoo article….

Cheryl Preston knows that others are worse off. But she’s still hungry.

As grocery prices creep higher and her income sags, rationing her family’s food is a daily task. The 54-year-old mother of three and grandmother of three in Roanoke, Va., says there are days she skips meals so her husband and son can eat. If they notice, she says, she’ll let them think she’s fasting. She waters down the milk and juice to make it last longer. She visits food pantries, but it’s not enough.

Have you ever had to skip meals because you simply could not afford to buy enough food?

Have you ever wondered how you were going to make it to the next paycheck?

When you look into the eyes of your hungry children and you realize that your best efforts have not been good enough to provide what they need it can be absolutely soul crushing.

And when you have lost everything it quickly becomes apparent that most people in society simply do not care about you.

About a third of the country is already on some form of welfare.  Another family falling out of the middle class and into poverty is not going to cause anyone to sit up and take notice.

The middle class in America is being absolutely shredded.  In a recent article I wrote entitled “84 Statistics That Prove That The Decline Of The Middle Class Is Real And That It Is Getting Worse” I detailed this very clearly.  But most Americans don’t think about this very much because they are just focused on what is going on in their own little worlds.  If they still have their jobs and if their family and friends are still doing okay then they are likely to believe that everything is just fine.

But everything is not fine.

According to the Pew Research Center, 61 percent of all Americans were “middle income” back in 1971.

Today, only 51 percent of all Americans are “middle income”.

There aren’t enough good jobs in this country and there never will be enough good jobs ever again.

Those that are just entering the job market understand very clearly that there are not enough good jobs.

Of the recent college graduates that have been fortunate enough to actually get a job, about half of them have taken jobs that do not even require a college degree.

But at least if you have a job, even if it is really crappy, you still matter in this economy.

Many of those that are not working at all have been completely forsaken and forgotten.

Over the past year, approximately 1.3 million Americans have seen their extended unemployment benefits end.  Most of them are considered to have “dropped out of the labor force” even though they aren’t working, they don’t have any income coming in and they are very desperate.  They are told to go “get a job” in an economy that does not produce enough jobs for everyone.  The music stopped playing and they were left without a seat and nobody really cares too much.

But if you live in the good areas of New York City, Boston, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco or Seattle this article might seem like complete nonsense to you.  After all, corporate profits are at an all-time high and the stores and malls where you live are packed with people.  Everyone around you is driving new cars, wearing designer clothes and using the latest tech gadgets.

But it is not like that everywhere in America.

There are two Americas today.  One is swimming in money and is seemingly more prosperous than ever.

The other America is a complete and total economic nightmare.

Just check out the percentage of blighted properties in some of America’s most run down cities….

Baltimore: 14 percent

Cleveland: 19 percent

Youngstown, Ohio: 21 percent

New Orleans: 21 percent

Detroit: 24 percent

Flint, Michigan: 27 percent

But those that are paying millions of dollars for dinky little apartments in New York City may be wondering what all the fuss is about.

Well, in the forgotten areas of America “despair” is what people experience on a good day.  Unemployment and government dependence are a way of life, and alcohol and drugs are used to dull the pain.  The following is from a recent article by Chris Hedges.  It describes what life is like in the little town of Gary, West Virginia….

Joe and I are sitting in the Tug River Health Clinic in Gary with a registered nurse who does not want her name used. The clinic handles federal and state black lung applications. It runs a program for those addicted to prescription pills. It also handles what in the local vernacular is known as “the crazy check” — payments obtained for mental illness from Medicaid or SSI — a vital source of income for those whose five years of welfare payments have run out. Doctors willing to diagnose a patient as mentally ill are important to economic survival.

“They come in and want to be diagnosed as soon as they can for the crazy check,” the nurse says. “They will insist to us they are crazy. They will tell us, ‘I know I’m not right.’ People here are very resigned. They will avoid working by being diagnosed as crazy.”

The reliance on government checks, and a vast array of painkillers and opiates, has turned towns like Gary into modern opium dens. The painkillers OxyContin, fentanyl — 80 times stronger than morphine — Lortab, as well as a wide variety of anti-anxiety medications such as Xanax, are widely abused. Many top off their daily cocktail of painkillers at night with sleeping pills and muscle relaxants. And for fun, addicts, especially the young, hold “pharm parties,” in which they combine their pills in a bowl, scoop out handfuls of medication, swallow them, and wait to feel the result.

There are hundreds of small towns all over America today just like Gary that have been forsaken by society.  Most people in those towns are just “existing” and gave up all hope of a better life long ago.

Some of these stories are being told in a new documentary film called “American Winter”.  You can view the trailer for the film right here.  It is a very powerful 5 minutes and 41 seconds.

Sadly, the truth is that there really does not need to be so much suffering in America.

Did you know that Americans waste 165 billion dollars worth of food each year?

That could sure feed a lot of hungry people.

And the overwhelming greed that we see in society today is absolutely astounding.

For example, Yahoo recently profiled a hoarder who packed her home with $500,000 worth of “stuff” that she could not resist buying….

There are shoe closets, and then there are shoe rooms. Monte, a retired teacher in her fifties, had scattered $20,000 worth of footwear throughout six rooms in her home. Some were organized by color, but most lay in mountainous piles of clutter in her 4,000 square foot home outside Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Over a period of 10 years, she’d spent over $500,000 on clothing, accessories and home furnishings, all of which lay strewn across her kitchen, entryway and bedrooms, tags intact.

But far worse are the “Rich Kids of Instagram“.  It has apparently become trendy for wealthy kids to take pictures of themselves enjoying their outrageous wealth.  It truly is disgusting.

Meanwhile, most American families are really struggling to get by.  In fact, 77 percent of all Americans live paycheck to paycheck at least some of the time.

And jobless claims are rising again.  We are on the verge of another major economic crisis and that means that millions more Americans are going to lose their jobs and their homes.

If you think that things are bad now, just wait, because things are about to get a whole lot worse.

Don’t be afraid to reach out and help those that are hurting.  When things are the darkest, that is when heroes are needed the most.

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