10 Things That Every American Should Know About The Federal Reserve

What would happen if the Federal Reserve was shut down permanently?  That is a question that CNBC asked recently, but unfortunately most Americans don’t really think about the Fed much. Most Americans are content with believing that the Federal Reserve is just another stuffy government agency that sets our interest rates and that is watching out for the best interests of the American people.  But that is not the case at all.  The truth is that the Federal Reserve is a private banking cartel that has been designed to systematically destroy the value of our currency, drain the wealth of the American public and enslave the federal government to perpetually expanding debt.  During this election year, the economy is the number one issue that voters are concerned about.  But instead of endlessly blaming both political parties, the truth is that most of the blame should be placed at the feet of the Federal Reserve.  The Federal Reserve has more power over the performance of the U.S. economy than anyone else does.  The Federal Reserve controls the money supply, the Federal Reserve sets the interest rates and the Federal Reserve hands out bailouts to the big banks that absolutely dwarf anything that Congress ever did.  If the American people are ever going to learn what is really going on with our economy, then it is absolutely imperative that they get educated about the Federal Reserve.

The following are 10 things that every American should know about the Federal Reserve….

#1 The Federal Reserve System Is A Privately Owned Banking Cartel

The Federal Reserve is not a government agency.

The truth is that it is a privately owned central bank.  It is owned by the banks that are members of the Federal Reserve system.  We do not know how much of the system each bank owns, because that has never been disclosed to the American people.

The Federal Reserve openly admits that it is privately owned.  When it was defending itself against a Bloomberg request for information under the Freedom of Information Act, the Federal Reserve stated unequivocally in court that it was “not an agency” of the federal government and therefore not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

In fact, if you want to find out that the Federal Reserve system is owned by the member banks, all you have to do is go to the Federal Reserve website….

The twelve regional Federal Reserve Banks, which were established by Congress as the operating arms of the nation’s central banking system, are organized much like private corporations–possibly leading to some confusion about “ownership.” For example, the Reserve Banks issue shares of stock to member banks. However, owning Reserve Bank stock is quite different from owning stock in a private company. The Reserve Banks are not operated for profit, and ownership of a certain amount of stock is, by law, a condition of membership in the System. The stock may not be sold, traded, or pledged as security for a loan; dividends are, by law, 6 percent per year.

Foreign governments and foreign banks do own significant ownership interests in the member banks that own the Federal Reserve system.  So it would be accurate to say that the Federal Reserve is partially foreign-owned.

But until the exact ownership shares of the Federal Reserve are revealed, we will never know to what extent the Fed is foreign-owned.

#2 The Federal Reserve System Is A Perpetual Debt Machine

As long as the Federal Reserve System exists, U.S. government debt will continue to go up and up and up.

This runs contrary to the conventional wisdom that Democrats and Republicans would have us believe, but unfortunately it is true.

The way our system works, whenever more money is created more debt is created as well.

For example, whenever the U.S. government wants to spend more money than it takes in (which happens constantly), it has to go ask the Federal Reserve for it.  The federal government gives U.S. Treasury bonds to the Federal Reserve, and the Federal Reserve gives the U.S. government “Federal Reserve Notes” in return.  Usually this is just done electronically.

So where does the Federal Reserve get the Federal Reserve Notes?

It just creates them out of thin air.

Wouldn’t you like to be able to create money out of thin air?

Instead of issuing money directly, the U.S. government lets the Federal Reserve create it out of thin air and then the U.S. government borrows it.

Talk about stupid.

When this new debt is created, the amount of interest that the U.S. government will eventually pay on that debt is not also created.

So where will that money come from?

Well, eventually the U.S. government will have to go back to the Federal Reserve to get even more money to finance the ever expanding debt that it has gotten itself trapped into.

It is a debt spiral that is designed to go on perpetually.

You see, the reality is that the money supply is designed to constantly expand under the Federal Reserve system.  That is why we have all become accustomed to thinking of inflation as “normal”.

So what does the Federal Reserve do with the U.S. Treasury bonds that it gets from the U.S. government?

Well, it sells them off to others.  There are lots of people out there that have made a ton of money by holding U.S. government debt.

In fiscal 2011, the U.S. government paid out 454 billion dollars just in interest on the national debt.

That is 454 billion dollars that was taken out of our pockets and put into the pockets of wealthy individuals and foreign governments around the globe.

The truth is that our current debt-based monetary system was designed by greedy bankers that wanted to make enormous profits by using the Federal Reserve as a tool to create money out of thin air and lend it to the U.S. government at interest.

And that plan is working quite well.

Most Americans today don’t understand how any of this works, but many prominent Americans in the past did understand it.

For example, Thomas Edison was once quoted in the New York Times as saying the following….

That is to say, under the old way any time we wish to add to the national wealth we are compelled to add to the national debt.

Now, that is what Henry Ford wants to prevent. He thinks it is stupid, and so do I, that for the loan of $30,000,000 of their own money the people of the United States should be compelled to pay $66,000,000 — that is what it amounts to, with interest. People who will not turn a shovelful of dirt nor contribute a pound of material will collect more money from the United States than will the people who supply the material and do the work. That is the terrible thing about interest. In all our great bond issues the interest is always greater than the principal. All of the great public works cost more than twice the actual cost, on that account. Under the present system of doing business we simply add 120 to 150 per cent, to the stated cost.

But here is the point: If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill. The element that makes the bond good makes the bill good.

We should have listened to men like Edison and Ford.

But we didn’t.

And so we pay the price.

On July 1, 1914 (a few months after the Fed was created) the U.S. national debt was 2.9 billion dollars.

Today, it is more than more than 5000 times larger.

Yes, the perpetual debt machine is working quite well, and most Americans do not even realize what is happening.

#3 The Federal Reserve Has Destroyed More Than 96% Of The Value Of The U.S. Dollar

Did you know that the U.S. dollar has lost 96.2 percent of its value since 1900?  Of course almost all of that decline has happened since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913.

Because the money supply is designed to expand constantly, it is guaranteed that all of our dollars will constantly lose value.

Inflation is a “hidden tax” that continually robs us all of our wealth.  The Federal Reserve always says that it is “committed” to controlling inflation, but that never seems to work out so well.

And current Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says that it is actually a good thing to have a little bit of inflation.  He plans to try to keep the inflation rate at about 2 percent in the coming years.

So what is so bad about 2 percent?  That doesn’t sound so bad, does it?

Well, just consider the following excerpt from a recent Forbes article….

The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) has made it official:  After its latest two day meeting, it announced its goal to devalue the dollar by 33% over the next 20 years.  The debauch of the dollar will be even greater if the Fed exceeds its goal of a 2 percent per year increase in the price level.

#4 The Federal Reserve Can Bail Out Whoever It Wants To With No Accountability

The American people got so upset about the bailouts that Congress gave to the Wall Street banks and to the big automakers, but did you know that the biggest bailouts of all were given out by the Federal Reserve?

Thanks to a very limited audit of the Federal Reserve that Congress approved a while back, we learned that the Fed made trillions of dollars in secret bailout loans to the big Wall Street banks during the last financial crisis.  They even secretly loaned out hundreds of billions of dollars to foreign banks.

According to the results of the limited Fed audit mentioned above, a total of $16.1 trillion in secret loans were made by the Federal Reserve between December 1, 2007 and July 21, 2010.

The following is a list of loan recipients that was taken directly from page 131 of the audit report….

Citigroup – $2.513 trillion
Morgan Stanley – $2.041 trillion
Merrill Lynch – $1.949 trillion
Bank of America – $1.344 trillion
Barclays PLC – $868 billion
Bear Sterns – $853 billion
Goldman Sachs – $814 billion
Royal Bank of Scotland – $541 billion
JP Morgan Chase – $391 billion
Deutsche Bank – $354 billion
UBS – $287 billion
Credit Suisse – $262 billion
Lehman Brothers – $183 billion
Bank of Scotland – $181 billion
BNP Paribas – $175 billion
Wells Fargo – $159 billion
Dexia – $159 billion
Wachovia – $142 billion
Dresdner Bank – $135 billion
Societe Generale – $124 billion
“All Other Borrowers” – $2.639 trillion

So why haven’t we heard more about this?

This is scandalous.

In addition, it turns out that the Fed paid enormous sums of money to the big Wall Street banks to help “administer” these nearly interest-free loans….

Not only did the Federal Reserve give 16.1 trillion dollars in nearly interest-free loans to the “too big to fail” banks, the Fed also paid them over 600 million dollars to help run the emergency lending program.  According to the GAO, the Federal Reserve shelled out an astounding $659.4 million in “fees” to the very financial institutions which caused the financial crisis in the first place.

Does reading that make you angry?

It should.

#5 The Federal Reserve Is Paying Banks Not To Lend Money

Did you know that the Federal Reserve is actually paying banks not to make loans?

It is true.

Section 128 of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 allows the Federal Reserve to pay interest on “excess reserves” that U.S. banks park at the Fed.

So the banks can just send their cash to the Fed and watch the money come rolling in risk-free.

So are many banks taking advantage of this?

You tell me.  Just check out the chart below.  The amount of “excess reserves” parked at the Fed has gone from nearly nothing to about 1.5 trillion dollars since 2008….

But shouldn’t the banks be lending the money to us so that we can start businesses and buy homes?

You would think that is how it is supposed to work.

Unfortunately, the Federal Reserve is not working for us.

The Federal Reserve is working for the big banks.

Sadly, most Americans have no idea what is going on.

Another example of this is the government debt carry trade.

Here is how it works.  The Federal Reserve lends gigantic piles of nearly interest-free cash to the big Wall Street banks, and in turn those banks use the money to buy up huge amounts of government debt.  Since the return on government debt is higher, the banks are able to make large profits very easily and with very little risk.

This scam was also explained in a recent article in the Guardian….

Consider this: we pretend that banks are private businesses that should be allowed to run their own affairs. But they are the biggest scroungers of public money of our time. Banks are lent vast sums of money by central banks at near-zero interest. They lend that money to us or back to the government at higher rates and rake in the difference by the billion. They don’t even have to make clever investments to make huge profits.

That is a pretty good little scam they have got going, wouldn’t you say?

#6 The Federal Reserve Creates Artificial Economic Bubbles That Are Extremely Damaging

By allowing a centralized authority such as the Federal Reserve to dictate interest rates, it creates an environment where financial bubbles can be created very easily.

Over the past several decades, we have seen bubble after bubble.  Most of these have been the result of the Federal Reserve keeping interest rates artificially low.  If the free market had been setting interest rates all this time, things would have never gotten so far out of hand.

For example, the housing crash would have never been so horrific if the Federal Reserve had not created such ideal conditions for a housing bubble in the first place.  But we allow the Fed to continue to make the same mistakes.

Right now, the Federal Reserve continues to set interest rates much, much lower than they should be.  This is causing a tremendous misallocation of economic resources, and there will be massive consequences for that down the line.

#7 The Federal Reserve System Is Dominated By The Big Wall Street Banks

Even since it was created, the Federal Reserve system has been dominated by the big Wall Street banks.

The following is from a previous article that I did about the Fed….

The New York representative is the only permanent member of the Federal Open Market Committee, while other regional banks rotate in 2 and 3 year intervals.  The former head of the New York Fed, Timothy Geithner, is now U.S. Treasury Secretary.  The truth is that the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has always been the most important of the regional Fed banks by far, and in turn the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has always been dominated by Wall Street and the major New York banks.

#8 It Is Not An Accident That We Saw The Personal Income Tax And The Federal Reserve System Both Come Into Existence In 1913

On February 3rd, 1913 the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified.  Later that year, the United States Revenue Act of 1913 imposed a personal income tax on the American people and we have had one ever since.

Without a personal income tax, it is hard to have a central bank.  It takes a lot of money to finance all of the government debt that a central banking system creates.

It is no accident that the 16th Amendment was ratified in 1913 and the Federal Reserve system was also created in 1913.

They have a symbiotic relationship and they are designed to work together.

We could fill Congress with people that are committed to ending this oppressive system, but so far we have chosen not to do that.

So our children and our grandchildren will face a lifetime of debt slavery because of us.

I am sure they will be thankful for that.

#9 The Current Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, Has A Nightmarish Track Record Of Incompetence

The mainstream media portrays Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke as a brilliant economist, but is that really the case?

Let’s go to the videotape.

The following is an extended excerpt from an article that I published previously….

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In 2005, Bernanke said that we shouldn’t worry because housing prices had never declined on a nationwide basis before and he said that he believed that the U.S. would continue to experience close to “full employment”….

“We’ve never had a decline in house prices on a nationwide basis. So, what I think what is more likely is that house prices will slow, maybe stabilize, might slow consumption spending a bit. I don’t think it’s gonna drive the economy too far from its full employment path, though.”

In 2005, Bernanke also said that he believed that derivatives were perfectly safe and posed no danger to financial markets….

“With respect to their safety, derivatives, for the most part, are traded among very sophisticated financial institutions and individuals who have considerable incentive to understand them and to use them properly.”

In 2006, Bernanke said that housing prices would probably keep rising….

“Housing markets are cooling a bit. Our expectation is that the decline in activity or the slowing in activity will be moderate, that house prices will probably continue to rise.”

In 2007, Bernanke insisted that there was not a problem with subprime mortgages….

“At this juncture, however, the impact on the broader economy and financial markets of the problems in the subprime market seems likely to be contained. In particular, mortgages to prime borrowers and fixed-rate mortgages to all classes of borrowers continue to perform well, with low rates of delinquency.”

In 2008, Bernanke said that a recession was not coming….

“The Federal Reserve is not currently forecasting a recession.”

A few months before Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac collapsed, Bernanke insisted that they were totally secure….

“The GSEs are adequately capitalized. They are in no danger of failing.”

For many more examples that demonstrate the absolutely nightmarish track record of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, please see the following articles….

*”Say What? 30 Ben Bernanke Quotes That Are So Stupid That You Won’t Know Whether To Laugh Or Cry

*”Is Ben Bernanke A Liar, A Lunatic Or Is He Just Completely And Totally Incompetent?

But after being wrong over and over and over, Barack Obama still nominated Ben Bernanke for another term as Chairman of the Fed.

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#10 The Federal Reserve Has Become Way Too Powerful

The Federal Reserve is the most undemocratic institution in America.

The Federal Reserve has become so powerful that it is now known as “the fourth branch of government”, but there are less checks and balances on the Fed than there are on the other three branches.

The Federal Reserve runs the U.S. economy but it is not accountable to the American people.  We can’t vote those that run the Fed out of office if we do not like what they do.

Yes, the president appoints those that run the Fed, but he also knows that if he does not tread lightly he won’t get the money from the big Wall Street banks that he needs for his next election.

Thankfully, there are a few members of Congress that are complaining about how much power the Fed has.  For example, Ron Paul once told MSNBC that he believes that the Federal Reserve is now actually more powerful than Congress…..

“The regulations should be on the Federal Reserve. We should have transparency of the Federal Reserve. They can create trillions of dollars to bail out their friends, and we don’t even have any transparency of this. They’re more powerful than the Congress.”

As members of Congress such as Ron Paul have started to shed some light on the activities of the Federal Reserve, that has caused many in the mainstream media to come to the defense of the Fed.

For example, a recent CNBC article entitled “If The Federal Reserve Is Abolished, What Then?” makes it sound like there is absolutely no other rational alternative to having the Federal Reserve run our economy.

But this is not what our founders intended.

The founders did not intend for a private banking cartel to issue our money and set our interest rates for us.

According to Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Congress has been given the responsibility to “coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures”.

So why is the Federal Reserve doing it?

But the CNBC article mentioned above makes it sound like the sky would fall if control of the currency was handed back over to the American people.

At one point, the article asks the following question….

“How would the U.S. economy then function? Something has to take its place, right?”

No, the truth is that we don’t need anyone to “manage” our economy.

The U.S. Treasury could be in charge of issuing our currency and the free market could set our interest rates.

We don’t need to have a centrally-planned economy.

We aren’t China.

And it goes against everything that our founders believed to be running up so much government debt.

For example, Thomas Jefferson once declared that if he could add just one more amendment to the U.S. Constitution it would be a ban on all government borrowing….

I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution. I would be willing to depend on that alone for the reduction of the administration of our government to the genuine principles of its Constitution; I mean an additional article, taking from the federal government the power of borrowing.

Oh, how things would have been different if we had only listened to Thomas Jefferson.

Please share this article with as many people as you can.  These are things that every American should know about the Federal Reserve, and we need to educate the American people about the Fed while there is still time.

Yes, It Is Halftime In America – So Now Is The Time To Get Your Financial Priorities In Order

Did you see the Chrysler commercial featuring Clint Eastwood that aired during the Super Bowl the other night?  It was entitled “It’s Halftime In America”, and it was truly a great ad.  To me, it was the most memorable Super Bowl ad this year by far.  It conjured up images of the America that so many of us remember so fondly.  It reminded us of how life in this country used to be.  Unfortunately, America is currently headed down a road that is taking us in the opposite direction.  Yes, it is halftime in America, but there is no guarantee that what is ahead is going to be great.  In fact, if we continue to make the same choices that we have been making, a national nightmare is inevitable.  Let us hope and pray for a fundamental change of direction for America, but let us also prepare for what is going to happen if that does not take place.  There is a “pause in the action” at the moment, so now is the time to get your financial priorities in order.  Now is the time to prepare for the storm that is coming.  If you wait until the storm is right on top of you it will probably be too late.

But I must admit that I really loved that ad.  First of all, any Super Bowl ad that includes Clint Eastwood is almost automatically going to be a great ad.  Secondly, it was very refreshing to see a commercial address some of the very serious problems that this country is facing.

The ad ended with Eastwood making the following statement….

“This country can’t be knocked out with one punch. We get right back up again, and when we do the world is going to hear the roar of our engines. Ya, it’s halftime in America, and our second half is about to begin”

A video of the complete ad is posted below….

Kudos to Chrysler for producing such an extraordinary ad.  I have to admit that I actually prefer Chrysler to Ford and GM.  I like their style and I think they make some very nice vehicles.

But Chrysler is far from out of the woods.  They almost went under during the last recession, and if the U.S. economy experiences another major recession they might not survive it.

Yes, Chrysler did earn $183 million in 2011.

But in 2010, Chrysler lost $652 million.

Hopefully Chrysler can string a few more profitable years together, but there is certainly no guarantee that is going to happen.

As I have written about previously, the U.S. auto industry is in the midst of a nightmarish long-term decline.

The combined U.S. market share of the “Big Three” U.S. automakers fell from 70% in 1998 to 53% in 2008.

When you examine the numbers over a longer time frame, they are even more striking.

For example, in 1970 General Motors had about a 60 percent share of the U.S. automobile market, but today that figure is down to about 20 percent.

In an effort to cut costs, U.S. automakers have been eliminating jobs and sending jobs out of the country.

In the year 2000, the U.S. auto industry employed more than 1.3 million Americans.  Today, the U.S. auto industry employs about 698,000 people.

So the U.S. auto industry has not exactly bounced back.

They have survived for now, but there is no guarantee that this is going to be permanent.

Many considered the Chrysler Super Bowl ad to be an endorsement of the auto bailouts and of the economic policies of the Obama administration.

But that wasn’t the case at all.  In fact, it turns out that Clint Eastwood was actually a harsh critic of the auto bailouts as Reuters recently noted….

“We shouldn’t be bailing out the banks and car companies,” actor, director and Academy Award winner Eastwood told the Los Angeles Times in November 2011. “If a CEO can’t figure out how to make his company profitable, then he shouldn’t be the CEO.”

And Clint Eastwood certainly did not mean to endorse Obama during the commercial.  The following is what Eastwood told Fox News about the ad….

“I just want to say that the spin stops with you guys, and there is no spin in that ad. On this I am certain.

l am certainly not politically affiliated with Mr. Obama. It was meant to be a message about just about job growth and the spirit of America. I think all politicians will agree with it. I thought the spirit was OK.”

The cold, hard reality of the matter is that America has not “bounced back” since 2008.  Sadly, the truth is that we are even in worse condition than we were back then….

-Our national debt has risen by about 50 percent since 2008.

-Our states are in more debt than ever.

-Our local governments are in more debt than ever.

-The U.S. economy has lost about 6 million jobs since 2008.

-Approximately 14 million more Americans have gone on food stamps since Barack Obama became president.

-More Americans are living in poverty than ever before.

-New home sales in the United States hit a brand new all-time record low during 2011.

-The number of “long-term unemployed workers” has more than doubled since Barack Obama entered the White House.

-The amount of money that the federal government gives directly to Americans has increased by 32 percent since Barack Obama entered the White House.

-Despite claims that things are “getting better”, the truth is that the percentage of Americans that actually have jobs is almost exactly the same as it was two years ago.

Amazingly, Barack Obama seems to think that he has done a good job and that he deserves a second term.  On Sunday, Obama told NBC’s Matt Lauer the following….

“I deserve a second term, but we’re not done”

Many Americans are buying into the hype.  A new ABC News/Washington Post poll has found that Barack Obama’s approval rating is actually rising.

But it won’t last long.  As the economy crumbles his approval rating will start going down once again.

The sad truth is that America is in the middle of a long-term economic decline because our economy is not built on a solid foundation.

The false prosperity that we are enjoying now is being fueled by the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world.  We consume far more wealth than we produce, and we pay for it by constantly going into more debt.

At some point the merry-go-round is going to stop and when it does it is going to be incredibly painful.

An increasing number of Americans are waking up to this reality.  One recent survey found that 61 percent of all Americans believe that there will be “a major catastrophic event” in the United States within the next 20 years.  A significant portion of them believe that the “catastrophic event” will be economic in nature.

That same survey found that only 15 percent of all Americans feel as though they are completely prepared for the coming catastrophic event.

Remember what happened back in 2008.  When the financial crisis struck, millions of Americans lost their jobs very rapidly.  Since many of them did not have any money stored up, a lot of them lost their homes as well.

Since it is “halftime in America”, now is the time to get prepared for the next great financial crisis.

Now is the time to reduce your expenses.

Now is the time to get out of debt.

Now is the time to set aside some money so that you will have something to live on if you do happen to lose your job.  I typically recommend that you have at least 6 months of living expenses stored up.

Now is the time to start a side business.  Even if you are broke, there are some businesses out there that you can start up for no money.  It isn’t easy to start a business with no money, but it can be done.

Now is the time to grow a garden.  Fruits and vegetables are often some of the most expensive items at the grocery store, and by growing them yourself you become less dependent on the system.

And that is the key.  We all want to try to become less dependent on the system.

There is no guarantee that your job will always be there.

There is no guarantee that your insurance company or the financial institutions that you are working with today will always be there.

There is no guarantee that the government will be there “to save you” when you really need it.

Yes, it is halftime in America.

So get ready for the second half, because it is going to be a real nightmare.

America After Dark: Desperate Meth Heads, Rampant Human Trafficking And Millions Of Criminal Predators Searching For A New Victim

When the sun goes down every night, America becomes a very frightening place.  There are communities all over the country where drug dealing, human trafficking and gang violence have gotten so out of control that authorities don’t really know what to do about it.  In America tonight, thousands of meth heads will break into homes as they desperately search for enough money for another hit.  In America tonight, thousands of children will be sold for sex at truck stops and on street corners.  In America tonight, millions of criminal predators will be searching for a new victim.  From the top levels of the federal government all the way down to the most depraved criminals on the street, America is rotting.  Once upon a time our tremendous affluence masked the moral decay that was happening in this nation, but now that the economy is falling apart the damage to the fabric of our society is being revealed.  We have become a nation of addicts, junkies, thrill seekers and predators.  When we finally see the U.S. economy fully collapse, millions of desperate, angry and depraved monsters will take out their sick frustrations on all the rest of us.

It isn’t talked a lot about anymore, but the meth epidemic in America is getting worse.  According to PBS, there are approximately 1.4 million meth users in America.  Meth is unbelievable addictive and it can absolutely destroy your life.  If you doubt this, just check out these before and after pictures.

Sadly, there are indications that meth use is on the rise once again.  According to the DEA, meth seizures increased from 2,839 in 2007 to 6,168 in 2010.

When you take meth, it can literally make you crazy.  The following is from a recent USA Today article….

A mother in Bakersfield, California, was sentenced Tuesday for stabbing her newborn while in a meth rage. An Oklahoma woman drowned her baby in a washing machine in November. A New Mexico woman claiming to be God stabbed her son with a screwdriver last month, saying, “God wants him dead.”

Large numbers of meth addicts turn into thieves when they run out of money.  Often, they will steal just about anything they can in order to get money for their next hit.  Some things that meth addicts have stolen recently include agricultural plumbing, copper wiring and lawn sprinklers.

And making meth can be extremely dangerous as well.  U.S. hospitals are filled with thousands and thousands of uninsured burn patients that were horribly burned while trying to make “shake and bake” meth.

The following comes from a recent Daily Mail article….

It is filling hospitals with thousands of uninsured burn patients requiring millions of dollars in advanced treatment – a burden so costly that it is contributing to the closure of some burns units.

So-called ‘shake-and-bake’ meth is produced by combining raw, unstable ingredients in a two-litre bottle.

But if the person mixing the noxious brew makes the slightest error, such as removing the cap too soon or accidentally perforating the plastic, the concoction can explode, searing flesh and causing permanent disfigurement, blindness or even death.

A survey of key hospitals in America’s most-active meth states showed that up to a third of patients in some burns units were hurt while making meth, and most were uninsured.

But of course meth is just one of the highly addictive drugs that are plaguing our youth.  There are many other nightmarish drugs that could also be discussed.  Nearly every community in America is dealing with some sort of a drug problem, and despite the “war on drugs” this crisis just seems to keep getting worse every single year.

Perhaps even more alarming is the rise of human trafficking in America.

When I was going through school, I was taught that slavery had been abolished in the United States.

But that was a lie.

Right now, thousands upon thousands of Americans are living as slaves.  Most of them are sex slaves.  As you read this, there are women all over America that are literally chained to beds in dark rooms where men pay their “owners” to have sex with them.

The following stats about human trafficking come from a recent Detroit Free Press article….

• Human trafficking is a $32-billion industry worldwide.

• Up to 2 million people are trafficked worldwide every year. Of those, 15,000-18,000 are in the U.S.

• Eight in 10 human trafficking cases involve the sex industry; the others involve labor trafficking.

• In 2010, 2,515 human trafficking cases were under investigation in the U.S.

• Eighty-three percent of victims in confirmed sex trafficking cases in the U.S. in 2010 were American citizens

Many Americans would be absolutely horrified to learn what goes on behind closed doors in America.

All over the nation tonight, vicious monsters will be selling or “renting” young children to other vicious monsters for sex.

The following story of one human trafficking victim comes from a recent Fox News article….

Today, Keisha Head is a wife and mother of three. But more than decade ago, she was the victim of a notorious human trafficker.

At 16-years old, Head says she was being sold on the streets of Atlanta for sex.

“I did not know that a normal, average man who was a preacher, who was a lawyer, who was a senator – could turn into this monster,” Head said. “That is the scariest moment when you are amongst people who claim to be normal yet they purchase you and they turn into these monsters. They rape you. They beat you. And then act as if they’re normal. These are not your normal pedophiles.”

When you push morality out of the schools and out of public life, this is the kind of thing that starts happening.

Thousands upon thousands of other women “work for themselves” on the streets of America.  Some are willing to let strangers have sex with them for next to nothing.

For example, one woman in Los Angeles was recently arrested for approaching customers at one McDonald’s and offering sexual favors in exchange for Chicken McNuggets.

A lot of really weird stuff happens in America after dark.

As the economy has crumbled, thieves all over the country have become increasingly bold and increasingly desperate.

The following are just a few recent examples….

*In Fresno, California the damage caused by thieves stealing copper wire from city street lights is costing the city approximately $50,000 a month.  So far, about 2,500 street lights have been stripped of their wiring.

*In northern Alabama, one group of crooks has been using a forklift to pull entire ATM machines out of the ground.

*A while back, a team of ambitious thieves in Pennsylvania actually stole an entire 50 foot long bridge.

Other crimes are committed by members of the government.  In Chicago, the bodies of poor people that don’t have enough money to bury themselves are being treated with absolutely no respect at all by government officials.  Just check out what Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart says that he found….

“Babies are buried 10, 15 to a box.  They’re buried in there with animal remains.  They’re buried in there with arms and legs from body parts they found during the course of the year.  It is not anything that our county or society should ever sit there and say is acceptable”

Can you imagine that?

What kind of a monster would do such a thing?

Of course I could go on for ages about the sick corruption of our government officials, but that will have to be left for another day.

For now, I want to focus on another rising problem in our society.  As I wrote about the other day, the FBI says that there are now 1.4 million gang members living inside the United States.  That number has risen by an astounding 40 percent since 2009.

Nearly every major U.S. city has areas that are essentially “owned” by gangs.  Some of these gangs are the size of small armies.  For example, it is estimated that the Latin Kings have 18,000 members in the city of Chicago alone.

When civil unrest erupts in America, these organized groups of criminal predators will have a field day.  Even now, law enforcement authorities in many areas of the country are having an incredibly difficult time trying to contain them.

As things fall apart all around us, an increasing number of Americans are coming to the realization that they are not going to be able to depend on someone else to defend themselves and their families.

Perhaps that is why the American people stocked up on firearms at an astounding rate during 2011.

In some areas of the country, a firefight can potentially erupt just about at any time.  The following is from an article that was recently posted on standwitharizona.com….

Barbed wire fencing doesn’t keep illegal aliens off the property anymore. One Starr County, TX rancher doesn’t have time to worry about the illegals these days. He now worries about the smugglers protecting their loads.

“I don’t think they would have any conscience of taking someone’s life,” the rancher says.

He saw that will to kill firsthand. A smuggler shot at him on his own land.

“One round was fired at me, and it missed my head by about two feet,” says the rancher.

He says there’s only way to react.

“Fire all the rounds you have, reload, and do it again,” says the rancher.

We don’t do ourselves any favors by pretending that America is going to somehow turn around and become the safe, friendly place that it used to be.

There are millions of criminal predators in this country today that have little or no conscience.  They don’t care about you, your spouse or your children.  All they care about is feeding their addictions.

In the months and years to come, the economy is going to get worse.  As it does, all of those predators are going to become even more desperate.

Desperate people do desperate things.

America is going to become a very frightening place.  But instead of curling up into a ball and crying about it, the better response is to be strong and courageous and to get prepared the best that you can.

24 Statistics To Show To Anyone Who Believes That America Has A Bright Economic Future

Beware of bubbles of false hope.  Right now there is a lot of talk about how the U.S. economy is improving, but it is all a lie.  The mainstream media can be very seductive.  When you sit down to watch television your brain tends to go into a very relaxed mode.  In such a state, it becomes easy to slip thoughts and ideas past your defenses.  Sometimes when I am watching television I realize what the media is trying to do and yet I can still feel it happening to me.  In this day and age, it is absolutely critical that we all think for ourselves.  When you look at the long-term trends and the long-term numbers, a much different picture of the U.S economy emerges than the one that is painted for us on television.  Over the long-term, the number of good jobs in America has been steadily going down.  Over the long-term, the number of Americans living in poverty and living on food stamps has been steadily going up.  Over the past couple of decades, tens of thousands of businesses, millions of jobs and trillions of dollars of our national wealth have gone out of the country.  Our debt is nearly 15 times larger than it was 30 years ago, and U.S. consumer debt has soared by 1700% over the past 40 years.  Year after year the rate of inflation goes up faster than our incomes do, and this is absolutely devastating the middle class.  Anyone who believes that we can keep doing the same things that we have been doing and yet America will still have a bright economic future is delusional.  Until the long-term trends which are taking the U.S. economy straight into the toilet are reversed, any talk of a bright economic future is absolute nonsense.

In America today, we have such a short-term focus.  We are all so caught up with what is happening right now.  Our attention spans seem to get shorter every single year.  At this point it would not be hard to argue that kittens have longer attention spans than most of us do.  (If you have ever owned a kitten you know how short their attention spans can be.)  Things have gotten so bad that most of our high school students cannot even answer the most basic questions about our history.  If people are not talking about it on Facebook or Twitter it is almost as if it does not even matter.

But any serious student of history knows that is is absolutely crucial to examine long-term trends.  And when you look at the long-term trends, it rapidly becomes apparent that the U.S. economy is in the midst of a nightmarish long-term decline.

The following are 24 statistics to show to anyone who believes that America has a bright economic future….

#1 Inflation is a silent tax that steals wealth from all of us.  We continue to shell out increasing amounts of money for the basic things that we need, and yet our incomes are not keeping pace.  Just check out the following example.  Gasoline prices have been trending higher for several years in a row as one blogger recently noted….

January 2009           $1.65

January 2010           $2.57

January 2011           $3.04

January 2012           $3.29

#2 If you can believe it, the average American household spent approximately $4,155 on gasoline during 2011.

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

#4 Health care costs continue to rise at a very alarming pace.  According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, health care costs accounted for just 9.5% of all personal consumption back in 1980.  Today they account for approximately 16.3%.

#5 Getting a college education has also become insanely expensive in America.  After adjusting for inflation, U.S. college students are borrowing about twice as much money as they did a decade ago.

#6 To get the same purchasing power that you got out of $20.00 back in 1970 you would have to have more than $116 today.

#7 To get the same purchasing power that you got out of $20.00 back in 1913 you would have to have more than $457 today.

#8 There are fewer payroll jobs in the United States today than there were back in 2000 even though we have added more than 30 million extra people to the population since then.

#9 The U.S. economy is bleeding millions of good jobs.  Greedy CEOs are systematically shipping them overseas and our politicians are standing around and doing nothing about it.  This has gone on year after year after year.  The following is from a recent article by Paul Craig Roberts….

In the first decade of the 21st century, Americans lost 5,500,000 manufacturing jobs. US employment in the manufacture of computer and electronic products fell by 40%; in the production of machinery by 30%, in motor vehicles and and parts by 44%, and in the manufacture of clothing by 66%.

#10 Our economic infrastructure is being torn apart right in front of our eyes.  In 2010, an average of 23 manufacturing facilities a day shut down in the United States.  Overall, more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States have shut down since 2001.

We have made it legal for big corporations to send millions of jobs to countries where it is legal to pay slave labor wages, where the tax burden is much lighter and where there are barely any regulations.  The following is a brief excerpt from a recent article posted on Economy in Crisis….

Back in the ‘80s, I called my friend Walter in California and asked: “On your next expansion we need a plant in South Carolina.” Walter replied: “We don’t produce anything in the United States. It’s all in China. China furnishes you the plant on a year-to-year basis. If your investment works out, you don’t have to pay any corporate tax; just reinvest it for another plant and more profit. If it doesn’t work out, you can walk away with no legacy costs. I send a quality controller to watch production. I check on it every day. I don’t have any labor, health, safety, or environmental concerns, and have time to play a round of golf.” The bleeding of jobs off-shore started in the ‘80s — now hemorrhages under Bush and Obama. Waiting for the economy to bounce back; calling this “the worst recession” is a bum rap. The reason the economy hasn’t bounced back since 2008 is because the economy is being off-shored.

#11  As a result of our insane economic policies, our trade balances are absolutely exploding.  For example, the U.S. trade deficit with China in 2010 was 27 times larger than it was back in 1990.

#12 As you read this, there are millions of Americans out there wondering why they can’t find any jobs.  According to Reuters, 23.7 million American workers are either unemployed or underemployed right now.

#13 The number of good jobs has been steadily shrinking in America.  Since the year 2000, the United States has lost 10% of its middle class jobs.  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.

#14 Over the last three decades, the percentage of low income jobs has consistently risen.  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.

#15 The number of middle class neighborhoods also continues to decline.  In 1970, 65 percent of all Americans lived in “middle class neighborhoods”.  By 2007, only 44 percent of all Americans lived in “middle class neighborhoods”.

#16 A decade ago, the United States was ranked number one in average wealth per adult.  By 2010, the United States had fallen to seventh.

#17 Our incomes continue to go down.  Since December 2007, median household income in the United States has declined by a total of 6.8% once you account for inflation.

#18 Unfortunately, middle class Americans have been seeing their incomes decline for a very long time.  According to one study, between 1969 and 2009 the median wages earned by American men between the ages of 30 and 50 dropped by 27 percent after you account for inflation.

#19 Since 1971, consumer debt in the United States has increased by a whopping 1700%.  Unfortunately, U.S. consumers have still not learned how to stay out of debt.  According to a recent article posted on Financial Armageddon, the rate of personal savings in the United States is rapidly falling right now at the same time that the total amount of consumer credit is absolutely skyrocketing.

#20 The number of children living in poverty in America keeps rising year after year. The percentage of children living in poverty in the United States increased from 16.9 percent in 2006 to nearly 22 percent in 2010.

#21 The number of Americans on food stamps continues to set new all-time records.  Just check out the following progression….

October 2008: 30.8 million Americans on food stamps

October 2009: 37.6 million Americans on food stamps

October 2010: 43.2 million Americans on food stamps

October 2011: 46.2 million Americans on food stamps

#22 The U.S. debt problem has gotten completely and totally out of control.  Recently, the debt of the federal government surpassed 100% of GDP for the first time ever.

#23 During the Obama administration, the U.S. government has accumulated more debt than it did from the time that George Washington took office to the time that Bill Clinton took office.

#24 Barack Obama’s proposed 2012 budget projects that the national debt will rise to 26 trillion dollars a decade from now.  And his budget numbers are ridiculously optimistic.

Are you starting to get the picture?

All of the long-term economic numbers are progressively getting worse.

As the economy continues to crumble, large numbers of Americans are becoming really desperate.  For example, a recent Mother Jones article detailed how large numbers of formerly middle class Americans are now actually growing marijuana in an effort to make ends meet.

As things continue to get worse, people will become even more desperate.  There are millions of people out there that find themselves unable to pay the mortgage and put food on the table for their families.  When people hit rock bottom, they often find themselves doing things that they never dreamed that they would do.

Meanwhile, the big Wall Street banks just keep getting larger and more powerful.  We have allowed the “too big to fail” banks to become much bigger than they have ever been before.  The total assets of the six largest U.S. banks increased by 39 percent between September 30, 2006 and September 30, 2011.

Wealth is becoming increasingly concentrated at the very top even as the overall economic pie in America continues to get smaller.

As our economic problems become worse, more Americans than ever are trying to find ways to “escape”.

For example, according to one new government report one out of every six adults in America is a binge drinker.

Other Americans “tune out” by watching endless hours of television, by playing endless hours of video games or by indulging in endless hours of other forms of entertainment.

There are even some Americans that are giving up completely.  For example, one elderly man actually robbed a bank just so that he could get arrested and be taken to prison where he would get free health care.

But as I have written about previously, now is not the time to give up.  Instead, now is the time to prepare for the great challenges that are ahead.

Almost every generation in history has been faced with great challenges and great hardships at some point.

Yes, there will be some incredibly hard times ahead, but that also means that there will be a need for some great heroes.

Just because the U.S. economy is falling apart does not mean that life is over.

We are living during one of the most exciting times in all of human history.  Instead of cowering in fear, let us embrace these times and focus on becoming the people that we were created to be.

The Tim Tebow Comeback Story Continues But There Will Be No Miracle Comebacks For The U.S. Economy

Never in the history of the NFL has there ever been anything like this.  Today, Tim Tebow engineered yet another miraculous 4th quarter comeback.  Almost everyone has been expecting this unprecedented string of comebacks to come to an end, yet Tebow just keeps pulling off miracle after miracle.  It seems like nearly every week now we are talking about another unbelievable Tim Tebow comeback.  It is truly a great story, and what is wonderful about Tebow is that he is not out to glorify himself.  He is very humble, he always recognizes his teammates and he is a terrific role model for a generation of American youth that is in desperate need of one.  Unfortunately, there is not going to be a similar comeback story for the U.S. economy.  It is late in the 4th quarter, we have accumulated over 50 trillion dollars of total debt as a nation, and our economic guts are being ripped out at a rate that is almost impossible to believe.  The game is essentially over and we are headed for an incredible amount of economic pain as a nation.

We desperately need a “political Tim Tebow” to come along to dismantle our current debt-based economic system.  But instead, the corrupt politicians in Washington D.C. just keep patching up our current system and hope that somehow it will recover.

Unfortunately, this is about as good as things are going to get for the U.S. economy.  The federal government and the Federal Reserve are already pushing things to the “red line”, and all of that effort has not accomplished much.

We have been experiencing “economic stagnation” for much of the past year, and there is not much more that they can do to improve things under our current system.

Right now, the Federal Reserve has pushed interest rates as low as they can go.  They can’t go any lower.

Right now, the federal government is borrowing and spending unprecedented amounts of money.  Federal spending cannot go much higher.

Right now, we have already seen tax cut after tax cut and virtually none of them have been paid for.  Any additional tax cuts will just send our budget deficits even higher.

Right now, we have already seen unprecedented intervention by the Federal Reserve.  They have done just about everything short of dropping huge bags of money over the countryside from helicopters.

The federal government and the Federal Reserve have done just about everything that they can possibly do to “stimulate” the economy, and yet things just keep getting worse.

So what is going to happen when the federal government and the Federal Reserve quit stimulating the economy?

As I wrote about the other day, when evaluating the future of the U.S. economy, it is vitally important to look at the balance sheet numbers and the long-term trends.

When you do that, you suddenly do not feel so good about the upward “blips” that we have seen in the economy lately.

Yes, the “official” unemployment rate recently went down slightly.  But as Mac Slavo recently pointed out, even with the recent “improvement” the truth is that the “real” level of unemployment in the United States is still well over 20 percent.

And all of the long-term trends indicate that we heading for a massive amount of trouble.

The number of good jobs continues to decline.  Even though our population is rapidly increasing, there are 10 percent fewer middle income jobs in the U.S. today than there were a decade ago.

In recent years, the employment to population ratio has been steadily declining.  At the start of the recession it was at 62.7%.  Today, it is at 58.5%.

Household incomes continue to go down as well.  Since December 2007, median household income in the United States has declined by a total of 6.8% once you account for inflation.

So why is this happening?  Well, as I wrote about recently, the United States has the worst balance of trade in the entire world by far.

Wealth, jobs and economic infrastructure are pouring out of this country and very few politicians are trying to stop it.

An average of 23 manufacturing facilities were shut down every single day in the United States last year.

That represents a huge amount of lost jobs.

So do you hear any political candidates talking about how they are going to stop this from happening or about how they are going to get all of those lost jobs back?

Overall, the U.S. has lost a total of more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities since 2001.

So how can an economy be great when it is constantly bleeding huge amounts of economic infrastructure?

We have become way too dependent on other nations for the things that we need.

How much trouble would we be in if Saudi Arabia suddenly decided to quit shipping us oil or if China suddenly decided to quit shipping us cheap plastic products to sell in our stores?

Right now, businesses are absolutely racing to get out of the United States.  Big corporations are shipping as many jobs as they possibly can out of the country.  Our insane economic policies have turned American workers into tremendous liabilities.

One economist from Princeton University is warning that 40 million more U.S. jobs could be sent offshore over the next two decades if nothing is done to stop this.

So why aren’t more politicians screaming and yelling about this?

Without good jobs, Americans are falling out of the middle class in staggering numbers.

Since 2007, the number of children living in poverty in the state of California has increased by 30 percent.

So is that a sign that things are getting better or that things are getting worse?

A higher percentage of Americans is living in extreme poverty than has ever been measured before.  Not only that, 2.6 million more Americans fell into poverty last year.  That was also a new all-time record.

So are those signs that things are getting better or that things are getting worse?

The American people generally do not understand why these things are happening, but they are clearly getting frustrated.

A recent Gallup poll found that an all-time record 76 percent of all Americans believe that most members of Congress do not deserve to be reelected.

But when election time rolls around, they will probably send most of them back to Washington D.C. anyway.

Our politicians keep kicking the can down the road, but time for doing that is running out.  The unprecedented “stimulus” efforts by the federal government will be coming to an end sooner or later.

In a recent article, author Bruce Krasting listed a whole bunch of reasons why the economic can is not going to be able to be kicked down the road much farther.  The following are some of the things that he says are scheduled to end by the beginning of 2013….

A) The Bush tax cuts on those making more than $200k will expire.

B) The Bush tax cuts on those making less than $200k will also expire.

C) The Patch on AMT will expire.

D) The 2% payroll tax holiday will expire for all workers on 12/31/12 (I’m sure the current holiday will be rolled for another year)

E) The 99-week extended unemployment benefits die on 12/31. (The emergency benefits will also be extended for 2012)

F) There will have to be a budget that is approved. Alternatively, a series of continuing resolutions is required to avert a government shutdown. We have not had an approved budget in over 900 days.

G) 2013 is the first year that there will be mandatory caps on discretionary spending. These limits will result in a YoY decline in government spending.

H) The Federal Reserve has promised to keep interest rates at zero into 2013. While it is possible that the Fed could continue the madness for even longer, the reality is that interest rates have nowhere to go but up.

I) By January 2013 it will be painfully evident that the country’s key social programs, Social Security and Medicare will be running in the red at a pace that is far higher than anyone considered possible. The need for dramatic changes in these programs will have to come onto the table. The implications of this will be significant.

J) In 2013 the issues of Fannie, Freddie, FHA and the Federal Home Loan Banks must be addressed. The problems at the housing agencies has festered too long.

K) The country will face another debt ceiling extension. The last time cost us our AAA.

Sadly, we will probably not have to wait until 2013 to feel a whole lot of economic pain.

The reality is that a 15 trillion dollar debt and trillion dollar yearly budget deficits are not sustainable.  We have created a situation where a horrible crash is inevitable, and there is no way that our current debt-based system can be fixed to keep a nightmarish collapse from happening.

During the Obama administration, the U.S. government has accumulated more debt than it did from the time that George Washington took office to the time that Bill Clinton took office.  That is a recipe for national financial suicide.

Meanwhile, despite what you may have heard, the European debt crisis has not been fixed.

Not at all.

The truth is that none of the fundamental problems were fixed by this recent “agreement” as Ambrose Evans-Pritchard recently noted in one of his columns….

There is no shared debt issuance, no fiscal transfers, no move to an EU Treasury, no banking licence for the ESM rescue fund, and no change in the mandate of the European Central Bank.

In short, there is no breakthrough of any kind that will convince Asian investors that this monetary union has viable governance or even a future.

Germany has kept the focus exclusively on fiscal deficits even though everybody must understand by now that this crisis was not caused by fiscal deficits (except in the case of Greece). Spain and Ireland were in surplus, and Italy had a primary surplus.

For many more reasons why Europe is headed for big trouble, please read this article: “22 Reasons Why We Could See An Economic Collapse In Europe In 2012“.

When Europe goes down, it is going to have a devastating impact on the United States.

Meanwhile, the economies of China and Japan are also steamrolling toward recession.

There is simply way too much debt in the world, and a great day of reckoning is coming.

Combined, the industrialized nations of the world borrowed more than 10 trillion dollars this year, and that number is expected to soar even higher next year.

Jim Cramer of CNBC stated recently that the global economy is at “DEFCON 3, two stages from a financial collapse so huge it’s hard to get your mind around.”

Most Americans don’t understand this yet.  But hopefully we can get more of them educated while there is still time.

The global financial system is a big shell game.  It is a gigantic mountain of debt, leverage and risk.

You would have thought that we would have learned some key lessons from the financial crisis of 2008, but we didn’t.

Back in 2002, the top 10 U.S. banks controlled 55 percent of all U.S. banking assets.  Right now, the top 10 U.S. banks control 77 percent of all U.S. banking assets.

Today, the “too big to fail” banks are larger than ever.  The total assets of the six largest U.S. banks increased by 39 percent between September 30, 2006 and September 30, 2011.

So instead of doing something about the “too big to fail” banks, they are now more “too big to fail” than ever.

As big banks and big corporations have come to dominate our economy more than ever before, wealth and power have also become much more concentrated….

*The wealthiest 1 percent of all Americans now own more than a third of all the wealth in the United States.

*The poorest 50 percent of all Americans collectively own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.

*The six heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton have a net worth that is roughly equal to the bottom 30 percent of all Americans combined.

*Overall, the wealthiest one percent of all Americans have a greater net worth than the bottom 90 percent combined.

It would be wonderful if we could send a “Tim Tebow of politics” to Washington D.C., but instead the Democrats and the Republicans look like they just plan to give us more of the same.

Are the Republicans really going to nominate someone who co-sponsored 418 bills with Nancy Pelosi?  The truth is that the latest “anti-Romney candidate” is almost a clone of Mitt Romney.

Newt Gingrich is essentially an older, ruder version of Barack Obama.  If you are counting on him to “save America” then you are going to be incredibly disappointed.

Sadly, we just do not have nearly enough men like Tim Tebow in America today.  The following comes from a recent profile of Tebow that recently appeared in the Wall Street Journal….

While at Florida, Mr. Tebow became well known for spending his summers helping the poor and needy in the Philippines. He also spoke in prisons and appeared to accept every opportunity to volunteer. He encouraged his teammates and classmates to follow his lead.

You can see video of Tim Tebow speaking to a group of prisoners at the Lake City Correctional Facility while he was still attending the University of Florida right here.

Unfortunately, there is no “Tim Tebow comeback” on the horizon for the U.S. economy at this point.

But when the U.S. economy does get worse, we can take a cue from Tim Tebow and be very generous with those in need.  There are going to be a lot of people that will be really hurting, and those of us that have been blessed should do what we can to help them out.

A lot of people say that my site is all about “doom and gloom”, but telling the truth to the American people is never a bad thing.

We do not do ourselves any favors by sticking our heads in the sand and pretending that everything is going to be okay.

There is going to be no miracle comeback for the U.S. economy.

A horrific economic collapse is coming.

You better get ready.

Poverty In America: A Special Report

America is getting poorer.  The U.S. government has just released a bunch of new statistics about poverty in America, and once again this year the news is not good.  According to a special report from the U.S. Census Bureau, 46.2 million Americans are now living in poverty.  The number of those living in poverty in America has grown by 2.6 million in just the last 12 months, and that is the largest increase that we have ever seen since the U.S. government began calculating poverty figures back in 1959.  Not only that, median household income has also fallen once again.  In case you are keeping track, that makes three years in a row.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, median household income in the United States dropped 2.3% in 2010 after accounting for inflation.  Overall, median household income in the United States has declined by a total of 6.8% once you account for inflation since December 2007.  So should we be excited that our incomes are going down and that a record number of Americans slipped into poverty last year?  Should we be thrilled that the economic pie is shrinking and that our debt levels are exploding?  All of those that claimed that the U.S. economy was recovering and that everything was going to be just fine have some explaining to do.

Back in the year 2000, 11.3% of all Americans were living in poverty.  Today, 15.1% of all Americans are living in poverty.  The last time the poverty level was this high was back in 1993.

However, it is important to keep in mind that the government definition of poverty rises based on the rate of inflation.  If inflation was still calculated the way that it was 30 or 40 years ago, the poverty line would be much, much higher and millions more Americans would be considered to be living in poverty.

So why is poverty in America exploding?  Who is getting hurt the most?  How is America being changed by this?  What is the future going to look like if we remain on the current path?

Let’s take a closer look at poverty in America….

The Shrinking Number Of Jobs

Unemployment is rampant and the number of good jobs continues to shrink.  Once upon a time in America, if you really wanted a job you could go out and get one.  Today, competition for even the lowest paying jobs has become absolutely brutal.  There simply are not enough chairs at the “economic table”, and not being able to get a good job is pushing large numbers of Americans into poverty…..

*There are fewer payroll jobs in the United States today than there were back in 2000 even though we have added 30 million people to the population since then.

*Back in 1969, 95 percent of all men between the ages of 25 and 54 had a job.  In July, only 81.2 percent of men in that age group had a job.

*If you gathered together all of the unemployed people in the United States, they would constitute the 68th largest country in the world.

*According to John Williams of shadowstats.com, if you factored in all of the short-term discouraged workers, all of the long-term discouraged workers and all of those working part-time because they cannot find full-time employment, the real unemployment rate right now would be approximately 23 percent.

*If you have been unemployed for at least one year, there is a 91 percent chance that you will not find a new job within the next month.

The Working Poor

The number of low income jobs is rising while the number of high income jobs is falling.  This has created a situation where the number of “the working poor” in America is absolutely skyrocketing.  Millions of Americans are working as hard as they can and yet they still cannot afford to lead a middle class lifestyle.

*Since the year 2000, we have lost approximately 10% of our middle class jobs.  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.

*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.

*Between 1969 and 2009, the median wages earned by American men between the ages of 30 and 50 dropped by 27 percent after you account for inflation.

*According to a report released in February from the National Employment Law Project, higher wage industries are accounting for 40 percent of the job losses in America but only 14 percent of the job growth.  Lower wage industries are accounting for just 23 percent of the job losses but 49 percent of the job growth.

*Half of all American workers now earn $505 or less per week.

*Last year, 19.7% of all U.S. working adults had jobs that would not have been enough to push a family of four over the poverty line even if they had worked full-time hours for the entire year.

*The number of Americans that are going to food pantries and soup kitchens has increased by 46% since 2006.

Unprecedented Dependence On The Government

Because they cannot get good jobs that will enable them to support themselves and their families, millions of Americans that used to be hard working contributors to society are now dependent on government handouts.  Nearly every single measure of government dependence is at a record high, and there are no signs that things are going to turn around any time soon.

*One out of every six Americans is now enrolled in at least one government anti-poverty program.

*Nearly 10 million Americans now receive unemployment benefits.  That number is almost four times larger than it was back in 2007.

*More than 45 million Americans are now on food stamps.  The number of Americans on food stamps has increased 74% since 2007.

*Approximately one-third of the entire population of Alabama is now on food stamps.

*More than 50 million Americans are now on Medicaid.

*Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid.  Today, approximately one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid.

*In 1980, just 11.7% of all personal income came from government transfer payments.  Today, 18.4% of all personal income comes from government transfer payments.

The Suffocating Cost Of Health Care

Millions of American families are being financially crippled by health care costs.  The U.S. health care system is deeply, deeply broken and Obamacare is going to make things even worse.  Health care is one of the top reasons why American families get pushed into poverty.  Most of us are just one major illness or disease from becoming financially wrecked.  Just ask anyone that has gone through it.  The health insurance companies do not care about you and they will try to wiggle out of their obligations at the time when you need them the most.  If you talk to people that have been through bankruptcy, most of them will tell you that medical bills were at least partially responsible.

*In America today, there are 49.9 million Americans that do not have any health insurance.  One single medical bill could easily wipe out the finances of most of those people.

*Only 56 percent of Americans are currently covered by employer-provided health insurance.

*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.  Of those bankruptcies that were caused by medical bills, approximately 75 percent of them involved individuals that actually did have health insurance.

*According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, health care costs accounted for just 9.5% of all personal consumption back in 1980.  Today they account for approximately 16.3%.

More Children Living In Poverty

The United States has a child poverty rate that is more than twice as high as many European nations.  We like to think that we have “the greatest economy on earth”, but the reality is that we have one of the highest child poverty rates and it increased once again last year.

*The poverty rate for children living in the United States increased to 22% in 2010.  That means that tonight more than one out of every five U.S. children is living in poverty.

*The poverty rate for U.S. adults is only 13.7%.

*Households that are led by a single mother have a 31.6% poverty rate.

*Today, one out of every four American children is on food stamps.

*It is being projected that approximately 50 percent of all U.S. children will be on food stamps at some point in their lives before they reach the age of 18.

*There are 314 counties in the United States where at least 30% of the children are facing food insecurity.

*More than 20 million U.S. children rely on school meal programs to keep from going hungry.

*It is estimated that up to half a million children may currently be homeless in the United States.

The Plight Of The Elderly

The elderly are also falling into poverty in staggering numbers.  They may not be out protesting in the streets, but that does not mean that they are not deeply, deeply suffering.

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

*Between 1991 and 2007 the number of Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 that filed for bankruptcy rose by a staggering 178 percent.

*The Baby Boomers have only just begun to retire, and already our social programs for seniors are starting to fall apart.  In 1950, each retiree’s Social Security benefit was paid for by 16 U.S. workers.  According to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are now only 1.75 full-time private sector workers for each person that is receiving Social Security benefits in the United States.

Squeezed By Inflation

Rising inflation is squeezing the budgets of average American families like never before.  Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke claims that inflation is still low, but either he is delusional or he has not been to a supermarket lately.

Personally, I do a lot of grocery shopping at a number of different stores, and without a doubt prices are absolutely soaring.  Many of the new “sale prices” are exactly what the old “regular prices” were just a few weeks ago.

Some companies have tried to hide these price increases by shrinking package sizes.  But there is no hiding the pain on the old wallet once you fill up your cart with what you need to feed your family.

*Over the past year, the global price of food has risen by 37 percent and this has pushed approximately 44 million more people around the world into poverty.

*U.S. consumers will spend approximately $491 billion on gas this year.  That is going to be a brand new all-time record.

*Right now, the average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States is $3.649.  That is 94 cents higher than 12 months earlier and it is a brand new record for this time of the year.

A Smaller Share Of The Pie

The size of the “economic pie” in America is shrinking, and the share of the pie for those that are poor is shrinking a lot faster than the share of the pie for those that are wealthy.

*According to the Washington Post, the average yearly income of the bottom 90 percent of all U.S. income earners is now just $31,244.

*When you look at the ratio of employee compensation to GDP, it is now the lowest that is has been in about 50 years.

*At this point, the poorest 50% of all Americans now control just 2.5% of all of the wealth in this country.

*Big corporations are even recognizing the change that is happening to America. Just consider the following example from a recent article in the Huffington Post….

Manufacturers like Procter & Gamble, the household-goods giant responsible for everything from Charmin and Old Spice to Tide, are concentrating their efforts on luxury and bargain items, putting less emphasis on products aimed at the middle class, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Conclusion

America is fundamentally changing.  We were a nation that had the largest middle class in the history of the globe, but now we are becoming a nation that is deeply divided between the haves and the have nots.

Perhaps you are still doing fine.  But don’t think that economic disaster cannot strike you.  Every single day, thousands more Americans will lose their jobs or will discover a major health problem.  Every single day, thousands more Americans will lose their homes or will be forced to take a pay cut.

If you still have a warm, comfortable home to sleep in, you should be thankful.  Poverty is a very sneaky enemy and it can strike at any time.  If you are not careful, you might be the next American to end up sleeping in your car or living in a tent city.

It is easy to disregard a couple of statistics, but can you really ignore the vast amount of evidence presented above?

It is undeniable that America is getting poorer.  Poverty is spreading and hopelessness and despair are rising.  There is a reason why the economy is the number one political issue right now.  Millions upon millions of Americans are in deep pain and they want some solutions.

Unfortunately, it appears quite unlikely that either major political party is going to offer any real solutions any time soon.  So things are going to keep getting worse and worse and worse.

Should we just keep doing the same things that we have been doing over and over and over and yet keep expecting different results?

What we are doing right now is not working.  We are in the midst of a long-term economic decline.  Both major political parties have been fundamentally wrong about the economy.  It is time to admit that.

If we continue on this path, poverty in America is going to continue to get a lot worse.  Millions of families will be torn apart and millions of lives will be destroyed.

America please wake up.

Time is running out.

Wake Up America! 10 Very Obvious Reasons Why The Devastating U.S. Jobs Famine Is Going To Suck The Hope Right Out Of America

Do you have friends, neighbors and relatives that can’t find work?  Well, unfortunately the current U.S. jobs famine is about to get a whole lot worse.  Right now there are approximately 13.9 million unemployed Americans.  That does not count those that “are not looking for work”.  That does not count those that are working part-time jobs but that are desperate for full-time work.  The truth is that we need tens of millions more full-time jobs in order to give one to everyone that wants one.  Sadly, the long-term trends that have caused this mess continue to get worse.  Unless truly dramatic changes are made, the U.S. economy is going to continue to bleed jobs and that is going to suck the hope right out of this country.  It is time to wake up America!  It is not a big mystery why we don’t have enough jobs.  But sadly, very few of our leaders are talking about the real issues.

Something has got to be done.  Unemployment is already at epidemic levels, and this country can’t afford for things to get much worse.  Just check out how a recent article in The Wall Street Journal summarized our current predicament….

There are more unemployed than the combined populations of Wyoming, Vermont, North Dakota, Alaska, South Dakota, Delaware, Montana, Rhode Island, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, Idaho and the District of Columbia.

If they were a country, the 13.9 million unemployed Americans would be the 68th largest country in the world, bigger than the population of Greece or Portugal (each of which has 10.8 million people) and more than twice the population of Norway (4.7 million.)

Isn’t that incredible?

The number of unemployed Americans is larger than the entire population of Greece.

There are millions of Americans that will be sitting at home in front of their televisions tonight wondering why they can’t find jobs.  Last month, only 58.1% of Americans over the age of 16 were employed.  Our economy should be able to do far better than that.

All over the Internet there are stories of people that have sent out hundreds (or even thousands) of resumes and nobody even wants to interview them.  One recent survey found that approximately 80 percent of all Americans believe that it is “difficult” to find a job right now.

Unfortunately, things are going to get much, much worse before all this is over.

The following are 10 very obvious reasons why the devastating U.S. jobs famine is going to suck the hope right out of America….

#1 Our politicians simply do not care that America is bleeding jobs.  Amazingly, even with rampant unemployment plaguing this nation, Obama administration officials continue to declare that it is okay that we are losing manufacturing jobs because a lot of cheaper products are things that “we don’t want to make in America” anyway.  The following is what U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk told Tim Robertson of the Huffington Post the other day….

Let’s increase our competitiveness… the reality is about half of our imports, our trade deficit is because of how much oil [we import], so you take that out of the equation, you look at what percentage of it are things that frankly, we don’t want to make in America, you know, cheaper products, low-skill jobs that frankly college kids that are graduating from, you know, UC Cal and Hastings [don’t want], but what we do want is to capture those next generation jobs and build on our investments in our young people, our education infrastructure.

The economic negligence that recent administrations have demonstrated has been absolutely mind boggling.  Blue collar male workers in particular are being absolutely devastated by the loss of manufacturing jobs.  Back in 1967, 97 percent of men with a high school degree between the ages of 30 and 50 had jobs.  Today, that figure is down to 76 percent.

#2 The Obama administration has now instituted a policy of “backdoor amnesty” for illegal immigrants by executive fiat.  Janet Napolitano has announced that from now on there will be a case-by-case review of all deportation cases.  Cases involving criminals will be prioritized and most others will be thrown out.  A list of 19 factors that will allow government officials to use “prosecutorial discretion” in immigration cases has been distributed.  Recently, I listed a few of those “factors” on The American Dream website….

-arrival in the U.S. as a young child

-actively “pursuing an education”

-serving or served in the U.S. military

-spouse of someone in the U.S. military

-18 years old or younger

-“elderly”

-pregnant or nursing

-victim of a “serious crime”

-serious disability or health problem

-caring for a family member with a serious disability or health problem

Obviously, it is not going to be too difficult for most illegal immigrants to fit into at least one of those categories.

On top of everything else the Obama administration has announced that it will now allow illegal immigrants to apply for work permits….

Illegal aliens living in the United States typically don’t apply for work permits for fear of deportation, but under the new policy, they could apply for work permits if granted deferred action or parole and compete with 22 million Americans who can’t find a full-time job.

So now blue collar Americans workers will have even more competition for the dwindling number of jobs.

#3 State and local governments all over the country are dead broke, and an atmosphere of austerity is sweeping the nation.  Right now state and local governments are slashing jobs at an unprecedented rate.

In the past, government jobs were considered to be very secure and they definitely paid a lot higher than average.  But now that era is coming to an end, at least on the state and local government levels.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, state and local governments have eliminated more than half a million jobs since August 2008.  UBS Investment Research is projecting that state and local governments in the U.S. will cut 450,000 more jobs by the end of 2012.

#4 U.S. businesses are being absolutely crushed by mountains of nightmarish regulations, and yet the federal government, the state governments and local governments just continue to pile them on.  For example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is projecting that the food service industry will have to spend an additional 14 million hours every single year just to comply with new federal regulations that mandate that all vending machine operators and chain restaurants must label all products that they sell with a calorie count in a location visible to the consumer.  Due to these kinds of ridiculous regulations, many business owners have simply given up and many other potential business owners figure that owning a business is just not worth the hassle.

#5 As I have written about so many times before, the “global economy” is really bad for American workers.  When we merged our economy with the economies of nations where it is legal to pay slave labor wages, we made it inevitable that we would start losing massive amounts of jobs.

Why would a giant corporation pay a U.S. worker 10 to 20 times as much as a worker on the other side of the globe?  Investors actually expect big companies to have an “outsourcing” strategy today.  When more jobs get shipped out of the country, profits go up, stock prices go up and executive bonuses go up.

Big corporations don’t exist to provide you with jobs.  They exist to maximize shareholder wealth.  If taking your job away and giving it to someone in Asia will make more money for them, then that it exactly what they are going to do.

#6 Unfair trade is absolutely killing our economy.  It would be one thing if the U.S. was running a massive trade deficit solely because we were incompetent.  But the truth is that a big factor is that a number of our “trade partners” are economic predators that are purposely trying to prey on us.

The other day, I wrote about some of the things that China does to steal our jobs, our factories and our wealth….

China massively subsidizes their biggest corporations, they brazenly steal technology from anyone that they can, they openly manipulate exchange rates and they allow their workers to be paid slave labor wages.

Today, we spend about 4 dollars on imports from China for every 1 dollar that China spends on imports from us.  China now even makes more beer than we do.  Even the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on the National Mall was made in China.

Until our politicians start insisting on a level playing field, all of this is going to continue.

#7 Small businesses are traditionally one of the primary engines of job growth in this country.  But right now, small businesses all over America are having a really hard time getting anyone to loan them money.  A big reason for this is that the Federal Reserve is actually paying banks not to make loans.  Unfortunately, if small businesses can’t get the money that they need, then they can’t hire people.

#8 A lot of people may not want to hear this, but businesses in the United States are being absolutely taxed into oblivion.  The U.S. now has the highest corporate tax rate in the world, but that is only a very small part of the story.

Michael Fleischer, the President of Bogen Communications, wrote an op-ed last year for the Wall Street Journal entitled “Why I’m Not Hiring”.  The following is how Paul Hollrah of Family Security Matters summarized the nightmarish taxes that are imposed when Fleischer hires a new worker….

According to Fleischer, Sally grosses $59,000 a year, which shrinks to less than $44,000 after taxes and other payroll deductions. The $15,311 deducted from Sally’s gross pay is comprised of New Jersey state income tax: $1,893; Social Security taxes: $3,661; state unemployment insurance: $126; disability insurance: $149; Medicare insurance: $856; federal withholding tax: $6,250; and her share of medical and dental insurance: $2,376. Roughly 25.9 percent of Sally’s income is siphoned off by Washington and Trenton before she receives her paychecks.

But then there are the additional costs of employing Sally. In addition to her gross salary, her employer must pay the lion’s share of her healthcare insurance premiums: $9,561; life and other insurance premiums: $153; federal unemployment insurance: $56; disability insurance: $149; worker’s comp insurance: $300; New Jersey state unemployment insurance: $505; Medicare insurance: $856; and the employer’s share of Social Security taxes: $3,661.

Over and above her gross salary, Bogen Communications must pay an additional $15,241 in benefits and state and federal taxes, bringing the total cost of employing Sally to approximately $74,241 per year. Sally gets to keep $43,689, or just 58.8% of that total.

After reading all that, can you really blame business owners for not wanting to hire additional workers?

#9 The national debt is like a giant albatross around the neck of the economy. The U.S. national debt has increased by more than 4 trillion dollars since Barack Obama took office.  The rampant government spending that has been going on has not done much to create new jobs, but it will be a massive burden that will weigh down economic growth for many years to come.

When a nation is drowning in debt, a tremendous amount of economic resources must go to servicing that debt.  Right now, hundreds of billions of dollars a year that could be used to build up our economy are instead being used to pay interest on the national debt.  If interest rates go up significantly, we could soon be paying over a trillion dollars a year just in interest on the national debt.

#10 Right now America is very deeply divided and a tremendous sense of pessimism has set in.  One recent survey found that 48 percent of Americans believe that it is likely that another great Depression will begin within the next 12 months.  With such a negative feeling in the air, it is going to make it even less likely that business owners will be in the mood to hire people.

I know that I pick on Detroit a lot, but it really is a microcosm of what is happening to America.  The following video contains some absolutely amazing footage of the ruins of Detroit….

Sadly, what is happening to Detroit is happening in hundreds of other communities across the United States.

All over America, neighborhoods that were once teeming with hope and prosperity are now falling apart.  Hopelessness is rampant and it is spreading.  The number of Americans on food stamps has increased 74% since 2007.  If not for our increasingly overwhelmed “safety net”, we would already have mass rioting in the streets.

Sadly, we are already seeing all sorts of signs that society is collapsing.  As the economy continues to fall apart, the violence in our neighborhoods is going to get even worse.

The following is one very shocking recent example from the Chicago Tribune….

Moments before she was slain last week on Chicago’s Southwest Side, 17-year-old Charinez Jefferson begged the gunman not to shoot because she was pregnant, prosecutors said today.

Despite her plea, Timothy Jones, 18, opened fire on Jefferson anyway, yelling an expletive at her as he shot her in the head, prosecutors said. He then stood over her as she lay on the ground and fired several more times, striking her in the chest and back.

America is changing.  The country that so many of us have loved all of our lives is becoming unrecognizable.  Large numbers of communities have had all of the hope sucked right out of them.  Tens of millions of Americans that want to do things the “right way” are rapidly losing faith in the system.

When you can’t get a decent job after months and months of trying it can be absolutely soul-crushing.

What do you tell someone that has spent a year sending out resumes and has used up all of their savings?

The era of endless prosperity for America is at an end.  The cold, hard consequences of decades of bad decisions are starting to set in.

Unless a dramatic change of course happens, the long-term trends noted above are going to get progressively worse.  It won’t matter who is running Congress and it won’t matter who is in the White House.

Right now our economy is rapidly hurtling downhill on a bus without brakes and we are headed directly for a cliff.

Please wake up America.

 

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