100 Million Poor People In America And 39 Other Facts About Poverty That Will Blow Your Mind

Every single day more Americans fall into poverty.  This should deeply alarm you no matter what political party you belong to and no matter what your personal economic philosophy is.  Right now, approximately 100 million Americans are either “poor” or “near poor”.  For a lot of people “poverty” can be a nebulous concept, so let’s define it.  The poverty level as defined by the federal government in 2010 was $11,139 for an individual and $22,314 for a family of four.  Could you take care of a family of four on less than $2000 a month?  Millions upon millions of families are experiencing a tremendous amount of pain in this economy, and no matter what “solutions” we think are correct, the reality is that we all should have compassion on them.  Sadly, things are about to get even worse.  The next major economic downturn is rapidly approaching, and when it hits the statistics posted below are going to look even more horrendous.

When it comes to poverty, most Americans immediately want to get into debates about tax rates and wealth redistribution and things like that.

But the truth is that they are missing the main point.

The way we slice up the pie is not going to solve our problems, because the pie is constantly getting smaller.

Our economic infrastructure is being absolutely gutted, the U.S. dollar is slowly losing its status as the reserve currency of the world and we are steadily getting poorer as a nation.

Don’t be fooled by the government statistics that show a very small amount of “economic growth”.  Those figures do not account for inflation.

After accounting for inflation, our economic growth has actually been negative all the way back into the middle of the last decade.

According to numbers compiled by John Williams of shadowstats.com, our “real GDP” has continually been negative since 2005.

So that means we are getting poorer as a nation.

Meanwhile, we have been piling up astounding amounts of debt.

40 years ago the total amount of debt in the United States (government, business and consumer) was less than 2 trillion dollars.

Today it is nearly 55 trillion dollars.

So we have a massive problem.

Our economic pie is shrinking and millions of Americans have been falling out of the middle class.  Meanwhile, we have been piling up staggering amounts of debt in order to maintain our vastly inflated standard of living.  As our economic problems get even worse, those trends are going to accelerate even more.

So don’t look down on the poor.  You might be joining them a lot sooner than you might think.

The following are 40 facts about poverty in America that will blow your mind….

#1 In the United States today, somewhere around 100 million Americans are considered to be either “poor” or “near poor”.

#2 It is being projected that when the final numbers come out later this year that the U.S. poverty rate will be the highest that it has been in almost 50 years.

#3 Approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are living in homes that are either considered to be either “low income” or impoverished.

#4 Today, one out of every four workers in the United States brings home wages that are at or below the poverty level.

#5 According to the Wall Street Journal, 49.1 percent of all Americans live in a home where at least one person receives financial benefits from the government.  Back in 1983, that number was below 30 percent.

#6 It is projected that about half of all American adults will spend at least some time living below the poverty line before they turn 65.

#7 Today, there are approximately 20.2 million Americans that spend more than half of their incomes on housing.  That represents a 46 percent increase from 2001.

#8 During 2010, 2.6 million more Americans fell into poverty.  That was the largest increase that we have seen since the U.S. government began keeping statistics on this back in 1959.

#9 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the percentage of “very poor” rose in 300 out of the 360 largest metropolitan areas during 2010.

#10 Since Barack Obama became president, the number of Americans living in poverty has risen by 6 million and the number of Americans on food stamps has risen by 14 million.

#11 Right now, one out of every seven Americans is on food stamps and one out of every four American children is on food stamps.

#12 It is projected that half of all American children will be on food stamps at least once before they turn 18 years of age.

#13 The poverty rate for children living in the United States is 22 percent, although when the new numbers are released in the fall that number is expected to go even higher.

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

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

#16 In 2010, 42 percent of all single mothers in the United States were on food stamps.

#17 According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 36.4 percent of all children that live in Philadelphia are living in poverty, 40.1 percent of all children that live in Atlanta are living in poverty, 52.6 percent of all children that live in Cleveland are living in poverty and 53.6 percent of all children that live in Detroit are living in poverty.

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

#19 Child homelessness in the United States has risen by 33 percent since 2007.

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

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

#22 A higher percentage of Americans is living in extreme poverty (6.7 percent) than has ever been measured before.

#23 If you can believe it, 37 percent of all U.S. households that are led by someone under the age of 35 have a net worth of zero or less than zero.

#24 A lot of younger Americans have found that they cannot make it on their own in this economy.  Today, approximately 25 million American adults are living with their parents.

#25 Today, one out of every six elderly Americans lives below the federal poverty line.

#26 Amazingly, the wealthiest 1 percent of all Americans own more wealth than the bottom 95 percent combined.

#27 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.

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

#29 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.

#30 Right now, the United States actually has a higher percentage of workers doing low wage work than any other major industrialized nation does.

#31 Half of all American workers earn $505 or less per week.

#32 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”.

#33 Federal housing assistance outlays increased by a whopping 42 percent between 2006 and 2010.

#34 Approximately 50 million Americans do not have any health insurance at all right now.

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

#36 It is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.

#37 Back in 1990, the federal government accounted for 32 percent of all health care spending in America.  Today, that figure is up to 45 percent and it is projected to surpass 50 percent very shortly.

#38 Overall, the amount of money that the federal government gives directly to the American people has risen by 32 percent since Barack Obama entered the White House.

#39 It was recently reported that 1.5 million American families live on less than two dollars a day (before counting government benefits).

#40 The unemployment rate in the U.S. has been above 8 percent for 40 months in a row, and 42 percent of all unemployed Americans have been out of work for at least half a year.

Recently, I wrote a long article about why there will never be enough jobs in the United States ever again.

That means that a whole lot of Americans are not going to be able to take care of themselves.

As our economy gets even worse, there is going to be a tremendous need for more love, compassion and generosity all over the country.

Don’t be afraid to lend a helping hand, because someday you may need one yourself.

Scenes Of Despair

Sometimes it can be easy to forget that behind all of the horrible economic numbers that we hear about are millions of real people that have had their lives absolutely devastated by this economy.  Elderly couples are being brutally evicted from their homes, young families are living in their cars, terminally ill people are dying because they cannot afford medication that they need and millions of parents can’t sleep at night as they wrestle with anxiety over not being able to provide for their children.  Often those that lose their jobs or their homes discover that people start looking at them very differently and that there is very little compassion out there these days.  As you will read about below, one major U.S. bank is even kicking an elderly woman with stage 4 breast cancer out of her home because she cannot make her full mortgage payment each month.  When the next major global financial catastrophe happens, we are going to see a whole lot more economic despair.  Will society respond to that crisis by becoming warmer and more compassionate, or will the world around us become even more cold and even more cruel?  As bad as things are right now, it truly is frightening to think about what the world is going to look like after the next major economic downturn.

Many of the stories that you are about to read are truly heartbreaking.  Unfortunately, they represent thousands upon thousands of other stories that never make it into the news….

Foreclosing On An Elderly Woman With Stage 4 Breast Cancer

Wells Fargo is threatening to evict an elderly woman with stage 4 breast cancer named Cindi Davis from her family home in North Carolina….

“They want us to make a house payment of almost $900 a month,” Cindi told the station of their lender, Wells Fargo bank. “We can afford maybe half that. I pay $1,100 a month in prescription medications.”

The couple says they have tried to work with Wells Fargo, even sending notes from Cindi’s doctors explaining her condition, but haven’t been able to come to a workable solution.

“They’re just going to put us out and it’s like, we are willing to pay what we can pay, but it’s not enough,” Cindi said.

Her cancer is in her lungs, lymph nodes and on her liver and she’s gone through a double mastectomy and multiple chemotherapy treatments, but Cindi has handled her disease like a fighter.

Cindi and her husband say that if they are evicted they may have to move in to their pickup truck.

Can you imagine living your last days in a truck as you try desperately to battle stage 4 breast cancer?

Crushing Poverty In Greece

As I have written about before, Greece is essentially experiencing a full-blown economic depression at this point.

There is a severe shortage of medicine in Greece right now, and many doctors are essentially volunteers at this point because so few people can actually afford to pay their bills.  The following description of the chaos in the Greek healthcare system comes from a recent Natural News article….

The economic situation in Greece is only continuing to worsen, as reports indicate that hospitals and care centers throughout the nation are running completely out of medicines, and many healthcare workers are now voluntarily providing care services without pay.

Strapped with spiraling debt, the Greek healthcare, which is government-run, has had to receive gobs of international financial aid just to keep operating with some semblance of normalcy. There has also been plenty of IOUs issued, and desperate patients quietly forking over cash “gifts” to doctors to receive treatments. All in all, the healthcare situation is in utter chaos, save for those that have sacrificed their own time, often free of charge, just to help those in need.

But it is not just the healthcare system that is deeply troubled.

Economic conditions have gotten so bad in Greece that some parents are actually abandoning their children in the streets according to the Daily Mail….

Children are being abandoned on Greece’s streets by their poverty-stricken families who cannot afford to look after them any more.

Youngsters are being dumped by their parents who are struggling to make ends meet in what is fast becoming the most tragic human consequence of the Euro crisis.

Could you ever do that to your children?

Sadly, it looks like things are going to get even worse in Greece.  It is being projected that the unemployment rate in Greece will reach 30 percent by the end of the year.

Economic Shutdown In Portugal

Greece is not the only European nation that is going through an economic nightmare right now.  The truth is that much of southern Europe is virtually shutting down right now.

Simon Black has described what he witnessed during a recent visit to Porto – the second largest city in Portugal….

Excluding the city’s still-bustling tourist areas, it’s very quiet around the city.

Street-level retail shops and restaurants are either devoid of customers or have been vacated. On many blocks I’ve seen more “for lease” signs than operating businesses.

Officially, the unemployment rate is 15.2% in Portugal, and the economy will contract 3% this year… yet the clear lack of economic activity suggests the real figures are much greater.

Without doubt, reality has set in. Locals have capitulated ‘hope’ that the good times will magically re-appear and have adjusted their habits accordingly.

American Families Living In Their Cars

In some areas of the United States you would never even know that an economic crisis is happening, but in other areas things are clearly falling apart very rapidly.  There is a very serious shortage of decent jobs in most parts of the country, and we are seeing clear signs of societal breakdown in many of our major cities.

During the last recession, millions of Americans lost their jobs.  Because a lot of them did not have much money saved up, many of those unemployed Americans also quickly lost their homes.

In the end, some of them ended up living in their vehicles.

And living in a car can be absolute hell.  The following is from an ABC News report….

Three children — one suffering second-degree burns — were taken into protective custody Monday after they were discovered living with their parents in a “filthy” car in a Walmart parking lot.

Police were called to the parking lot Monday morning in Mount Dora, Fla., where they found the family of five living in a 1987 Cadillac Coupe de Ville full of clothes and garbage. Police told the Orlando Sentinel that days-old chicken bones were strewn about the car, along with a spoiled carton of milk and a bottle of tequila.

Other families try to make the best of it that they can.  The following is one touching example from a recent 60 Minutes report….

This is the home of the Metzger family. Arielle, 15. Her brother Austin, 13. Their mother died when they were very young. Their dad, Tom, is a carpenter.  And, he’s been looking for work ever since Florida’s construction industry collapsed. When foreclosure took their house, he bought the truck on Craigslist with his last thousand dollars. Tom’s a little camera shy – thought we ought to talk to the kids – and it didn’t take long to see why.

Pelley: How long have you been living in this truck?

Arielle Metzger: About five months.

Pelley: What’s that like?

Arielle Metzger: It’s an adventure.

Austin Metzger: That’s how we see it.

Pelley: When kids at school ask you where you live, what do you tell ’em?

Austin Metzger: When they see the truck they ask me if I live in it, and when I hesitate they kinda realize. And they say they won’t tell anybody.

Arielle Metzger: Yeah it’s not really that much an embarrassment. I mean, it’s only life. You do what you need to do, right?

Could you imagine being 13 years old or 15 years old and living in a truck?

Unfortunately, during the next major economic downturn a whole lot more families are going to end up living like this.

Desperately Hoping For Rain

Yesterday I wrote about how corn crops are dying all over the United States right now.

For most Americans, this will just mean higher prices at the grocery store.

But for corn farmers, a lack of rain can be absolutely devastating.  The following are some recent comments from farmers about this crippling drought on agweb.com….

I am a small farmer, but my crops in Wayne County, Ill., are the worst I have had sine 1952-53. Corn will be lucky to make 10 bu. and beans are going downhill. It’s been over 100 degrees for 11 straight days. Bad crop.

—-

Dryland corn is done! Some people in denial need to walk in field. Later corn tasseled and pollinating with no silks! No rain in seven days or low humidity 90 degrees and warmer by weekend. Yield range for corn on our farms…0 to 0 bpa. Soybeans…if it rains which is a big if may have some hope, not holding my breath!!

—–

This is my 50th year of grain farming, so I think that I can say that I’ve seen it all. This is worse than 1988-Much worse for corn. Beans could still be fair if it starts to rain soon. Sat.-Sun. rains totaled only 1/4 inch.

—–

This is worse than 1983 and 1988. Corn yield will be 30 to 40% of last year’s yield. The jury is still out on the beans. $10 corn is likely, because there will be so little of it relative to demand. Very sad…

You can see some incredible pictures of the drought in the middle part of the country right here.

When the economy falls to pieces, the politicians and the big banks get all the air time, but it is average hard working people that feel the most pain.

As the economy gets a lot worse (and it will) there is going to be a huge need for more love and compassion.  The government is not going to be able “to save” everyone, and even now way too many people are falling through the cracks in the “safety net”.

Instead of looking down on the homeless and the unemployed, don’t be afraid to give them a helping hand up.

You never know, you might be the one in need of some assistance someday.

America In Decline: The Soul Crushing Despair Of Lowered Expectations

All over America tonight there are people that believe that their lives are over.  When you do everything that you know how to do to get a job and you still can’t get one it can be absolutely soul crushing.  If you have ever been unemployed for an extended period of time you know exactly what I am talking about.  When you have been unemployed for month after month it can be very tempting to totally cut yourself off from society.  Those that are kind will look at you with pity and those that are cruel will treat you as though you are a total loser.  It doesn’t matter that America is in decline and that our economy is not producing nearly enough jobs for everyone anymore.  In our society, one of the primary things that defines our lives is what we do for a living.  Just think about it.  When you are out in a social situation, what is one of the very first things that people ask?  They want to know what you “do”.  Well, if you don’t “do” anything, then you are not part of the club.  But the worst part of being unemployed for many Americans is the relentless pressure from family and friends.  Often they have no idea how hard it is to find a job in this economy – especially if they still have jobs.  Sometimes the pressure becomes too great.  Sadly, we are seeing unemployment break up a lot of marriages in America today.  Things are really hard out there right now.  A very large number of highly educated Americans have taken very low paying service jobs in recent years just so that they can have some money coming in even as they “look for something else”.  Unfortunately, in many cases that “something else” never materializes.  In the past, America was “the land of opportunity” where anything was possible.  But today America has become “the land of lowered expectations” and the worst is yet to come.

We live during a time when “the American Dream” is literally being redefined.  In the old days, just about anyone could get a good job that would pay enough to make it possible to buy a house, buy a nice car and raise a family.

Unfortunately, those days are long gone.  The following is from a recent NPR article….

The town of Lorain, Ohio, used to embody this dream. It was a place where you could get a good job, raise a family and comfortably retire.

“Now you can see what it is. Nothing,” says John Beribak. “The shipyards are gone, the Ford plant is gone, the steel plant is gone.” His voice cracks as he describes the town he’s lived in his whole life.

“I mean, I grew up across the street from the steel plant when there was 15,000 people working there,” he says. “My dad worked there. I worked there when I got out of the Air Force. It’s just sad.”

We live in an economy that is in serious decline.  In this environment no job is safe.  In fact, even Goldman Sachs is laying off workers these days.

Millions of Americans are suffering from deep depression because they can’t find jobs.  Many of them are sitting at home right now blankly starting at their television screens as they wonder why nobody wants to hire them.  Some have been unemployed for years and have sent out thousands upon thousands of resumes.  The following is from a recent article by J.D. Hicks….

I have a brilliant cousin with a $180K Syracuse education working part-time at a department store. She has literally sent out 38,000 resumes in the span of a year to no avail. I have another very bright friend with the kindest heart who is so desperate he has applied for dishwashing jobs and didn’t get them, sending him deeper into depression. I’m sure we all know people like this, or perhaps have even been there ourselves.

Society has trained us to believe that we are worthless without a job. Indeed, we feel worthless when we are unemployed with few prospects of making money. Family, friends, and peers constantly remind us in subtle and not-so-subtle ways that we “need” a job.

Have you ever been unemployed?

How did it make you feel?

How were you treated by your family and friends?

In the old days, a college education was almost a guaranteed ticket to the middle class.

But these days, a college education guarantees you absolutely nothing.

As a recent article by Jed Graham detailed, most young unemployed workers in America today have at least some college education….

For the first time in history, the number of jobless workers age 25 and up who have attended some college now exceeds the ranks of those who settled for a high school diploma or less.

Out of 9 million unemployed in April, 4.7 million had gone to college or graduated and 4.3 million had not, seasonally adjusted Labor Department data show.

Overall, 53 percent of all Americans with a bachelor’s degree under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed last year.

It is tough to tell young college graduates with their whole lives ahead of them that they need to lower their expectations because America is in decline.

So where did all the jobs go?

Well, one place they went is overseas.  Over the past couple of decades, millions upon millions of good jobs have left the United States and have gone over to the other side of the world.

That is why you see gleaming new factories going up all over China even while our once great manufacturing cities are turning into crime-infested warzones.

But as a recent WND article reported, the WTO has a solution.  They plan to replace “Made in China” labels with “Made in the World” labels so that we don’t feel so bad about losing our jobs and our economic infrastructure…

The World Trade Organization is moving closer to eliminating country-of-origin labels and replacing them with “Made in the World” initiative labels because they say we need to “reduce public opposition to free trade” and “re-engineer global governance.”

As the number of middle class jobs has steadily declined in recent years, the number of low paying service jobs has increased.

In a previous article, I discussed how approximately one out of every four U.S. workers now makes $10 an hour or less.

Could your family survive on 10 dollars an hour?

Today, you can find hordes of very smart, very talented Americans flipping burgers, waiting tables and welcoming people to Wal-Mart.

Sadly, the United States now has a higher percentage of workers doing low wage work than any other major industrialized nation does.

Perhaps we should applaud our leaders for doing such a great job of destroying the American Dream.

Because so many Americans are working crappy jobs, a very large percentage of them have absolutely no savings to speak of.

According to one survey, 42 percent of all American workers live paycheck to paycheck.

I am constantly encouraging people to save up an “emergency fund” that will enable them to pay their bills for at least 6 months if they suddenly become unemployed.

Unfortunately, for many Americans that is simply not possible.  Way too many families are just barely scraping by from month to month.

Another area of the economy where Americans are facing lowered expectations is in housing.

In the old days, most Americans dreamed of owning their own homes.

But today we are being told that things have changed.  For example, a recent USA Today article was entitled “Home rentals — the new American Dream?“….

Steve and Jodi Jacobson bought their Phoenix-area “dream home” in 2005. They built flagstone steps to the front door. They tiled the kitchen and bathroom. They entertained often, enjoying their mountain views.

“We put our soul into that house,” says Steve Jacobson, 37.

Then, home prices tanked more than 50%. Steve, a software quality assurance engineer, suffered pay cuts. In 2010, foreclosure claimed the home and their $100,000 down payment.

The Jacobsons didn’t lose their desire to live in a single-family home, however. They now rent one, like many other former homeowners displaced by foreclosure.

Is that what we are supposed to tell future generations of Americans?

“Listen Johnny and Suzie, if you work really, really hard at your minimum wage jobs perhaps someday you will be able to rent a home that has been foreclosed by a big, greedy bank”.

It is so sad to watch what is happening to this country.

These days many Americans are scratching and clawing and doing everything that they can to make it, but they still find themselves short on money at the end of the month.

Many are turning to debt in an attempt to bridge the gap.  According to CNN, 40 percent of “low- and middle-income households” are using credit cards to pay for basic living expenses.

Overall, U.S. consumers have more than 11 trillion dollars in debt right now.

That is an incredible number.

As the economy has declined, a lot of families have completely given up trying to make it on their own and have turned to the U.S. government for financial help.  Today, an astounding 49.1 percent of all Americans live in a home where at least one person receives government benefits.

Just think about that number for a while.  It is one of the clearest signs that America is in deep, deep decline.

Unfortunately, things are about to get even worse.  The next wave of the financial crisis is unfolding in Europe and we will all be talking about another “major global recession” very soon.

That means that unemployment in the United States is going to get a lot worse.

For the millions upon millions of Americans that are already suffering through the horror of unemployment, that is really bad news.

Posted below is a trailer for a new HBO documentary entitled “Hard Times: Lost on Long Island”.  Please take a few minutes to watch this video, because I think it does a good job of showing the soul crushing despair that many unemployed Americans are going through right now….

So do any of you have any stories of lowered expectations to share?  Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below….

Class Warfare Is Being Used To Divide America – And It Is Working

At a time when America desperately needs to come together, we are becoming more divided than ever.  The mainstream media and most of our politicians love to pit us against one another in dozens of different ways, and right now class warfare has become one of their favorite tools for getting us to hate one another.  If you are struggling in this economy, you are being told that “the wealthy” are the cause of your problems.  If you have money, you are being told that the poor hate you and want to tax you into oblivion.  Class warfare has already become a dominant theme in the 2012 race for the White House, and there will certainly be endless speeches given along these lines by politicians from both major political parties all the way up to election day.  Class warfare will be used by both sides as a way to divide America and get votes.  And the frightening thing is that it is clearly working.  There is more hatred between the poor and the wealthy in America today than at any other time that I can remember.  But hating people because of how much money they have or don’t have is not going to solve anything.  Instead, it is just going to cause more problems.

The other day, Yale economics professor Robert Shiller told CNBC that the globe is already in a state of “late Great Depression“.  The United States is heading into unprecedented economic and financial problems and we desperately need to pull together as a country and solve these problems.

But instead, our leaders are tapping into the politics of division in a desperate attempt to get elected in the fall.

Rather than focus on real issues and real solutions, our politicians attempt to make “the wealthy” or “welfare recipients” the focus of our debates.

Well, you know what?

Most people that are rich and most people that are poor are not purposely trying to abuse the system.  Most of them are hard working people that are trying to do the best that they can in a world that is increasingly going crazy.

These days, the Occupy Wall Street crowd loves to talk about how evil the “1 percent” is.  But most of the “1 percent” are people that have worked really hard and that have been fortunate enough to get some really good breaks in life.

Yes, there are some among the “1 percent” that do some really bad things.  The too big to fail banks and the big money managers on Wall Street should be held accountable for the crimes that they have committed.

But most wealthy Americans are not trying to oppress the poor.  Most of them are just trying to do the best that they can for themselves and their families.

Neither are most poor people trying to abuse the system either.

Yes, without a doubt there are some that do not want to work and that want to live on government benefits indefinitely.

But that is a minority.

Most Americans that are receiving government benefits today would rather be working good jobs that would enable them to provide for their families.

Most Americans understand that government handouts can never provide dignity and hope for a better future.

But if you don’t demonize the poor and you point out the decline of the middle class, many Republicans will call you a “liberal” or a “socialist”.

And if you don’t demonize the rich and you don’t blame them for all of our economic problems, many Democrats will call you a “pig” or a “fascist”.

Unfortunately, playing the blame game is not going to get us anywhere.

The number of Americans living in poverty increased dramatically under George W. Bush and it also increased dramatically under Barack Obama.

Our country is drowning in debt, millions of our jobs are being shipped overseas, the middle class is shrinking at an astounding pace, and the Federal Reserve continues to destroy our financial system.

Getting angry at the wealthy or the poor is not going to fix those problems.

But it will distract us from the reality that both major political parties have been doing a horrible job.

Sadly, Americans seem to really enjoy blaming one another these days.  Just check out some of the slogans that have been seen on various signs at Occupy Wall Street protests….

“They Only Call It Class Warfare When We Fight Back”

“Eat The Rich – Feed The Poor”

“The Rich Are Wrecking The Planet”

So will destroying the lives of the rich solve our problems?

Of course not.

The truth is that we should want millions more Americans to be prosperous.  We should be cheering for one another instead of tearing one another down.

But that is heresy to many on the left.

On the right, it is heresy even to mention that our tax system is fundamentally flawed and that it has thousands of loopholes that are being abused by the very wealthy.

In a previous article, I detailed how many of the largest and most profitable corporations in America get away with paying absolutely nothing in taxes.

There is something very wrong with that.

Our income tax system should be abolished altogether, but if we do have to pay income taxes, then it is fundamentally unfair for some people and businesses to be able to pay little or nothing while the rest of us get absolutely obliterated by taxes.

But if you try to say that to many on the right, they will look at you in horror.

The other day, there was a New York Times article that detailed the extreme measures that Apple takes to avoid paying taxes.  It turns out that Apple sets up shell offices all over the globe in order to evade taxation….

As it has in Nevada, Apple has created subsidiaries in low-tax places like Ireland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and the British Virgin Islands — some little more than a letterbox or an anonymous office — that help cut the taxes it pays around the world.

That same article talked about how Apple has become a model which hundreds of other companies have followed.  To giant corporations such as Apple, tax evasion has become an art form….

Apple, for instance, was among the first tech companies to designate overseas salespeople in high-tax countries in a manner that allowed them to sell on behalf of low-tax subsidiaries on other continents, sidestepping income taxes, according to former executives. Apple was a pioneer of an accounting technique known as the “Double Irish With a Dutch Sandwich,” which reduces taxes by routing profits through Irish subsidiaries and the Netherlands and then to the Caribbean. Today, that tactic is used by hundreds of other corporations — some of which directly imitated Apple’s methods, say accountants at those companies.

So what is the solution to all of this?

Raising income taxes won’t work too well because the tax lawyers are always several steps ahead of our politicians.

The truth is that when taxes get raised it is always the middle class that gets absolutely clobbered and the wealthy always find more ways to reduce their exposure.

Just take a look at Mitt Romney.  He made more than 42 million dollars in 2010 and yet Romney had an effective tax rate of only 14 percent.

If I could find a way to have an effective tax rate of only 14 percent I would be jumping up and down for joy, and so would millions of other Americans.

Our tax system is deeply, deeply broken and needs to be thrown into the trash can.

Abandoning the current tax system would not solve all of our problems, but it would be a start.

Unfortunately, neither political party is willing to even consider this.

Instead, the Democrats want to raise taxes a little bit and the Republicans want to lower taxes a little bit.

But neither alternative will do much of anything to solve any of the real problems we are facing.

Our economy is dying and it is not producing nearly enough jobs for all of us.  When Barack Obama took office, the number of “long-term unemployed workers” in America was 2.6 million.  Today, it is 5.3 million.

At this point, an astounding 53 percent of all college graduates under the age of 25 are either unemployed or underemployed.

So where is all of the “change” that Obama promised?

Things just keep getting worse.

Since Obama has been in the White House, 14 million more Americans have gone on food stamps, and more than 25 percent of all American children are enrolled in the program today.

How will class warfare help those people?

Will blaming the wealthy make things better for them?

They are already receiving government handouts.

Will increasing those handouts a little bit more fundamentally change their lives for the better?

Of course not.

What those people need are good jobs.

But instead, both the Democrats and the Republicans continue to pursue the same job killing policies that have been destroying American jobs for decades.

Without good jobs, the number of Americans dependent on the government is going to continue to grow.

In a previous article, I detailed the explosive growth of social welfare benefits that we have seen under both Republicans and Democrats….

Back in 1960, social welfare benefits made up approximately 10 percent of all salaries and wages.  In the year 2000, social welfare benefits made up approximately 21 percent of all salaries and wages.  Today, social welfare benefits make up approximately 35 percent of all salaries and wages.

The goal should not be to rape the rich and give out even more social welfare benefits.

Instead, the goal should be to develop an economy that creates good jobs.

We need have an economy that empowers individuals and small businesses.

Instead, we have an economy dominated by big government and big corporations.

We have an economy that funnels the vast majority of the economic rewards to a tiny elite while most of the rest of us struggle.

Just consider the following statistics….

*Back in the 1970s, the top 1 percent of all income earners in the United States brought in about 8 percent of all income.  Today, they bring in about 21 percent of all income.

*The following is how income gains in the U.S. were distributed during 2010….

-37 percent of all income gains went to the top 0.01 percent of all income earners

-56 percent of all income gains went to the rest of the top 1 percent

-7 percent of all income gains went to the bottom 99 percent

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

*According to Forbes, the 400 wealthiest Americans have more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans combined.

So what is the solution to that problem?

Is it to attack the rich and take away all their money and give more government handouts to the poor?

Of course not.

Rather, we need to change the rules of the game so that individuals and small businesses are empowered to succeed.

We need to decentralize economic power and dramatically reduce the undue influence that big government and giant corporations have over our economic system.

We need to create an environment where almost anyone that has a good idea and that is willing to work hard can succeed.

But instead of focusing on real solutions like shutting down the Federal Reserve, converting to debt-free currency, eliminating the income tax, shutting down the IRS, massively reducing the size of government and getting rid of thousands upon thousands of unneeded regulations, the mainstream media and our politicians are going to continue to try to get Americans to blame one another for our problems.

The efforts to divide America are working, and hatred is growing to unprecedented levels in this country.

Eventually this will lead to mass rioting in our major cities and that will make our problems far worse.

Hatred and division are not going to bring us a better future.

They are only going to destroy us from within.

We don’t need hate.

What we need is more love and more solutions.

Unfortunately, our leaders are leading us down a very dark path, and we are heading for a future that is going to be a complete mess.

50 Economic Numbers From 2011 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe

Even though most Americans have become very frustrated with this economy, the reality is that the vast majority of them still have no idea just how bad our economic decline has been or how much trouble we are going to be in if we don’t make dramatic changes immediately.  If we do not educate the American people about how deathly ill the U.S. economy has become, then they will just keep falling for the same old lies that our politicians keep telling them.  Just “tweaking” things here and there is not going to fix this economy.  We truly do need a fundamental change in direction.  America is consuming far more wealth than it is producing and our debt is absolutely exploding.  If we stay on this current path, an economic collapse is inevitable.  Hopefully the crazy economic numbers from 2011 that I have included in this article will be shocking enough to wake some people up.

At this time of the year, a lot of families get together, and in most homes the conversation usually gets around to politics at some point.  Hopefully many of you will use the list below as a tool to help you share the reality of the U.S. economic crisis with your family and friends.  If we all work together, hopefully we can get millions of people to wake up and realize that “business as usual” will result in a national economic apocalypse.

The following are 50 economic numbers from 2011 that are almost too crazy to believe….

#1 A staggering 48 percent of all Americans are either considered to be “low income” or are living in poverty.

#2 Approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are living in homes that are either considered to be “low income” or impoverished.

#3 If the number of Americans that “wanted jobs” was the same today as it was back in 2007, the “official” unemployment rate put out by the U.S. government would be up to 11 percent.

#4 The average amount of time that a worker stays unemployed in the United States is now over 40 weeks.

#5 One recent survey found that 77 percent of all U.S. small businesses do not plan to hire any more workers.

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

#7 Since December 2007, median household income in the United States has declined by a total of 6.8% once you account for inflation.

#8 According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 16.6 million Americans were self-employed back in December 2006.  Today, that number has shrunk to 14.5 million.

#9 A Gallup poll from earlier this year found that approximately one out of every five Americans that do have a job consider themselves to be underemployed.

#10 According to author Paul Osterman, about 20 percent of all U.S. adults are currently working jobs that pay poverty-level wages.

#11 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.

#12 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.

#13 One recent survey found that one out of every three Americans would not be able to make a mortgage or rent payment next month if they suddenly lost their current job.

#14 The Federal Reserve recently announced that the total net worth of U.S. households declined by 4.1 percent in the 3rd quarter of 2011 alone.

#15 According to a recent study conducted by the BlackRock Investment Institute, the ratio of household debt to personal income in the United States is now 154 percent.

#16 As the economy has slowed down, so has the number of marriages.  According to a Pew Research Center analysis, only 51 percent of all Americans that are at least 18 years old are currently married.  Back in 1960, 72 percent of all U.S. adults were married.

#17 The U.S. Postal Service has lost more than 5 billion dollars over the past year.

#18 In Stockton, California home prices have declined 64 percent from where they were at when the housing market peaked.

#19 Nevada has had the highest foreclosure rate in the nation for 59 months in a row.

#20 If you can believe it, the median price of a home in Detroit is now just $6000.

#21 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 18 percent of all homes in the state of Florida are sitting vacant.  That figure is 63 percent larger than it was just ten years ago.

#22 New home construction in the United States is on pace to set a brand new all-time record low in 2011.

#23 As I have written about previously, 19 percent of all American men between the ages of 25 and 34 are now living with their parents.

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

#25 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%.

#26 One study found that approximately 41 percent of all working age Americans either have medical bill problems or are currently paying off medical debt.

#27 If you can believe it, one out of every seven Americans has at least 10 credit cards.

#28 The United States spends about 4 dollars on goods and services from China for every one dollar that China spends on goods and services from the United States.

#29 It is being projected that the U.S. trade deficit for 2011 will be 558.2 billion dollars.

#30 The retirement crisis in the United States just continues to get worse.  According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 46 percent of all American workers have less than $10,000 saved for retirement, and 29 percent of all American workers have less than $1,000 saved for retirement.

#31 Today, one out of every six elderly Americans lives below the federal poverty line.

#32 According to a study that was just released, CEO pay at America’s biggest companies rose by 36.5% in just one recent 12 month period.

#33 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.

#34 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.

#35 According to an analysis of Census Bureau data done by the Pew Research Center, the median net worth for households led by someone 65 years of age or older is 47 times greater than the median net worth for households led by someone under the age of 35.

#36 If you can believe it, 37 percent of all U.S. households that are led by someone under the age of 35 have a net worth of zero or less than zero.

#37 A higher percentage of Americans is living in extreme poverty (6.7%) than has ever been measured before.

#38 Child homelessness in the United States is now 33 percent higher than it was back in 2007.

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

#40 Sadly, child poverty is absolutely exploding all over America.  According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 36.4% of all children that live in Philadelphia are living in poverty, 40.1% of all children that live in Atlanta are living in poverty, 52.6% of all children that live in Cleveland are living in poverty and 53.6% of all children that live in Detroit are living in poverty.

#41 Today, one out of every seven Americans is on food stamps and one out of every four American children is on food stamps.

#42 In 1980, government transfer payments accounted for just 11.7% of all income.  Today, government transfer payments account for more than 18 percent of all income.

#43 A staggering 48.5% of all Americans live in a household that receives some form of government benefits.  Back in 1983, that number was below 30 percent.

#44 Right now, spending by the federal government accounts for about 24 percent of GDP.  Back in 2001, it accounted for just 18 percent.

#45 For fiscal year 2011, the U.S. federal government had a budget deficit of nearly 1.3 trillion dollars.  That was the third year in a row that our budget deficit has topped one trillion dollars.

#46 If Bill Gates gave every single penny of his fortune to the U.S. government, it would only cover the U.S. budget deficit for about 15 days.

#47 Amazingly, the U.S. government has now accumulated a total debt of 15 trillion dollars.  When Barack Obama first took office the national debt was just 10.6 trillion dollars.

#48 If the federal government began right at this moment to repay the U.S. national debt at a rate of one dollar per second, it would take over 440,000 years to pay off the national debt.

#49 The U.S. national debt has been increasing by an average of more than 4 billion dollars per day since the beginning of the Obama administration.

#50 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.

Of course the heart of our economic problems is the Federal Reserve.  The Federal Reserve is a perpetual debt machine, it has almost completely destroyed the value of the U.S. dollar and it has an absolutely nightmarish track record of incompetence.  If the Federal Reserve system had never been created, the U.S. economy would be in far better shape.  The federal government needs to shut down the Federal Reserve and start issuing currency that is not debt-based.  That would be a very significant step toward restoring prosperity to America.

During 2011 we made a lot of progress in educating the American people about our economic problems, but we still have a long way to go.

Hopefully next year more Americans than ever will wake up, because 2012 is going to represent a huge turning point for this country.

Let Them Eat Cake: 10 Examples Of How The Elite Are Savagely Mocking The Poor

There is absolutely nothing wrong with working hard and making a lot of money, but there is something wrong with being completely arrogant and smug about it.  Today, many among the elite are savagely mocking the poor, and that is a huge mistake.  You shouldn’t kick people when they are down.  There are tens of millions of Americans that are deeply frustrated about losing their homes, losing their jobs or barely being able to survive in this economy.  These frustrations have been one of the primary reasons for the rise of the Tea Party movement and the rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement.  What these movements have in common is that people in both movements are sick and tired of the status quo and they want something to be done about our broken system.  There are huge numbers of families out there right now that have just about reached the end of their ropes.  Instead of showing compassion, many of the ultra-wealthy have decided that it is funny to mock the poor and those that are suffering.  So how are all of these protesters going to respond to the “let them eat cake” attitude of the Wall Street elite?  The protesters are being told that nothing that they can do will change anything and that they should be grateful for what Wall Street and the ultra-wealthy have done for them.  They are essentially being told that they should just shut up and go home.  So will we see these protest movements become discouraged and die down, or will the patronizing attitudes of so many among the elite just inflame them even further?

Right now, there really are two different “Americas”.  In one America, the stock market is surging, corporate profits are soaring and BMW is operating factories at 110% of capacity just to keep up with demand.

In the other America, unemployment is rampant, millions of families are being kicked out of their homes and more than 45 million Americans are on food stamps.

There is more economic frustration in this country today than there has been at any other time since the Great Depression.  We are watching pressure build to very dangerous levels.

It is important to note that I certainly do not agree at all with the solutions being put forward by the organizers of the Occupy Wall Street protests.  As I have written about previously, collectivism is one of our biggest problems, and more collectivism is not going to solve anything.

But it is definitely understandable that people are incredibly upset about this economy and that they want to protest.  Most Americans realize that something is fundamentally wrong with our economic system.

Unfortunately, most of them do not understand how we have gotten to this point or what it is going to take to fix things.  That is one of the reasons why I write about economic issues so much.  We desperately need to educate America.

But what is undeniable is that there is a growing rage in this country that protest movements such as the Occupy Wall Street are giving a voice to.

Our system is badly broken.  The people out there protesting in the streets may not understand much, but they do understand that something needs to change.

The Wall Street elite should be taking these protests as a signal that they need to get their house in order.  The status quo just is not going to cut it.  But instead of taking leadership and calling for significant change, many among the elite are openly mocking the protesters.

The incredible arrogance displayed by so many on Wall Street and by so many in Washington D.C. is absolutely appalling.

The following are 10 examples of how the elite are openly mocking the poor in America today….

#1 According to an article in The New York Times, poor families that lost their homes to foreclosure were openly mocked during a Halloween party thrown by the law firm of Steven J. Baum.  This particular law firm represents many of the largest mortgage lenders in the United States….

The firm, which is located near Buffalo, is what is commonly referred to as a “foreclosure mill” firm, meaning it represents banks and mortgage servicers as they attempt to foreclose on homeowners and evict them from their homes. Steven J. Baum is, in fact, the largest such firm in New York; it represents virtually all the giant mortgage lenders, including Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

Photos from this Halloween party are posted on The New York Times website.  To say that they are appalling would be a huge understatement.  The following is how The New York Times described one of the photos….

In one, two Baum employees are dressed like homeless people. One is holding a bottle of liquor. The other has a sign around her neck that reads: “3rd party squatter. I lost my home and I was never served.” My source said that “I was never served” is meant to mock “the typical excuse” of the homeowner trying to evade a foreclosure proceeding.

#2 To many on Wall Street, the OWS protests are one big joke.  In fact, Wall Street executives have been spotted sipping champagne while watching the Occupy Wall Street protests from their balconies.

#3 In response to the Occupy Chicago protests, signs were put up in the windows of the building where the Chicago Board of Trade is located that spelled out this sentence: “We Are The 1%“.

#4 Many columnists for major financial publications have had no fear of mocking the Occupy Wall Street protesters.  For example, Doug Hirschhorn recently wrote the following for Forbes….

As your Occupation of Wall Street continues, you may want to grasp a few things. First, it is not going to change anything in the short term and probably not much in the long-term either.

I hate to be the bearer of that news, but money makes the world go round and “Wall Street” is all about money. Second, the top traders, banks and hedge funds are still going to out earn and generate substantial profits from speculating on the disconnects in the prices of things generated from all the moving parts in the global economy and it has nothing to do with why you lost your house or job or can’t find a job. If anything the successful ones are helping you, your pensions funds, retirement savings and the economy in general. If Wall Street stops. The world stops. Period.

#5 Instead of attempting a balanced report on the Occupy Wall Street protests, Erin Burnett of CNN openly made fun of them during a recent broadcast.  After being a stalwart on CNBC for so many years, Burnett has very close ties to Wall Street and apparently she does not like anyone criticizing her friends.  You can see video of Burnett mocking the Occupy Wall Street movement right here.

#6 Barack Obama continues to mock the poor by telling them to cut back on vacations and little luxuries like going out to eat while at the same time sending his own family out on incredibly expensive vacations.  The following is one example I noted in an article earlier this year….

Barack Obama recently made the following statement to American families that are struggling to survive in this economy: “If you’re a family trying to cut back, you might skip going out to dinner, or you might put off a vacation.” A few days after making that statement Obama sent his wife and children off on yet another vacation, this time to a luxury ski hotel in Vail, Colorado.

Later on in that same article I mentioned another outrageously expensive vacation taken by the Obamas that was paid for by our taxes….

Back in August, Michelle Obama took her daughter Sasha and 40 of her friends for a vacation in Spain.

So what was the bill to the taxpayers for that little jaunt across the pond?

It is estimated that vacation alone cost U.S. taxpayers $375,000.

During a time when so many millions of American families are deeply, deeply suffering it is truly appalling that the residents of the White House would be so insensitive.

#7 Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain recently declared that anyone that is unemployed or poor in America should only blame themselves….

“Don’t blame the big banks. If you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself.”

#8 Sometimes our politicians are so insensitive that it is almost hard to believe.  In an interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News while she was still the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi stated that we need poor people to have less children because it costs the government so much money to take care of them….

PELOSI: Well, the family planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children’s health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those – one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So no apologies for that?

PELOSI: No apologies. No. we have to deal with the consequences of the downturn in our economy.

#9 Warren Buffett has some interesting observations on class warfare.  He is one of the few wealthy Americans that is willing to say what everyone else is thinking.  Back in 2006, Buffett was quoted as saying the following in an article in The New York Times….

“There’s class warfare, all right,” Mr. Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

Buffett was not taking pride in the fact that the elite have won, but there are many others among the elite that are very proud of what they have done and they are not afraid to look down on the poor.

The level of income inequality that we have in the United States today is absolutely amazing.  According to data from a few years ago, the average household income for the top 0.01% of all Americans was $27,342,212.  According to that same data, for the bottom 90% of all Americans the average household income was just $31,244.

#10 Every single day, our “representatives” in Washington D.C. are living the high life at our expense.  It is amazing that out of the entire population of the United States, we continue to overwhelming elect rich people to Congress.  As I noted in a recent article, more than half of all the members of Congress are millionaires, and the median wealth of a U.S. Senator in 2009 was 2.38 million dollars.

Without a doubt, the wealthy rule over us all and they intend to maintain control and perpetuate the system which has rewarded them so handsomely.

When necessary, they are not afraid to call in the police to bust some skulls.  Sadly, we are already seeing some brutally violent confrontations between law enforcement authorities and Occupy Wall Street protesters in many areas of the country.  The other day, I wrote about the horrific violence that took place in Oakland recently….

Unfortunately, the authorities are not just going to sit by and watch these protests happen.  In fact, they are already clamping down hard in many areas of the nation.  For example, police in Oakland recently used tear gas and rubber bullets to break up the Occupy protest in that city.  When police opened fire, the streets of Oakland literally became a war zone for a few minutes.  You can see shocking videos of the violence here, here and here.

Power and wealth have become incredibly concentrated in the United States today.  As one scientific study demonstrated recently, the elite control almost the entire global economy.  In fact, the University of Zurich study discovered that there are just 147 gigantic corporations at the core of it all.

It is not a good thing that such a very small group of people completely dominates all the rest of us.

Once again, there is absolutely nothing wrong with working hard, making great contributions to society and becoming very wealthy.

However, what we have today is a fundamentally broken system that funnels most of the wealth and most of the power into the hands of the ultra-wealthy and the gigantic corporations that they own.

It would be great if the American people could come together and work to make some positive changes to our system.

But right now, it appears that strife, discord and hatred are going to continue to rapidly grow in this country.  We have become a very divided nation and we are watching anger and frustration grow to very dangerous levels.

All of this is a recipe for mass chaos.  Our country is marching toward a date with disaster and right now we show no signs of changing course.

Please pray for America.

We definitely need it.

Layoffs, Layoffs Everywhere You Look There Are Layoffs

The competition for jobs in the United States is absolutely brutal right now, and it is about to get worse.  A new wave of layoffs is sweeping across America.  During tough economic times, Wall Street favors companies that are able to cut costs, and the fastest way to “cut costs” is to eliminate employees.  After a period of relative stability, the employment picture in the U.S. is starting to get bleaker again.  New applications for unemployment benefits have now been above 400,000 for 15 straight weeks.  Finding a good job is kind of like winning the lottery in this economy. Our federal government and the state governments have made it incredibly complicated and extremely expensive to have employees on the payroll.  It is getting harder and harder to get a large enough return to justify the time and expense that hiring employees requires.  So many firms now find themselves trying to do more with the employees that they already have.  Other companies are turning to temp agencies as a way to reduce costs and increase workplace flexibility.  A lot of the big corporations are sending as much work as they can overseas where the wages are far lower and where the regulatory environment is much simpler.  All of this is really bad news for American workers that just want good jobs that will enable them to provide for their families.

When we first started seeing huge numbers of layoffs a few years ago, I encouraged people to look into government jobs because I thought that they would be a lot more stable in this economic environment.

But today that is no longer true.  In fact, state and local governments all over the United States are responding to massive budget problems by slashing payrolls in an unprecedented fashion.

Sadly, the reality is that the number of “secure jobs” is rapidly declining in America.  If you have a “job” (“just over broke”) right now, you might not have it for long.  That is one reason why everyone should be trying to become more independent of the system.

Once upon a time the U.S. economy produced a seemingly endless supply of good jobs.  This helped us develop the largest and most vibrant middle class in modern world history.

But now employees are regarded as “costly liabilities”, and businesses and governments alike are trying to reduce those “liabilities” as much as they can.

This summer the pace of layoffs seems to be accelerating all over the nation.  Just check out what has been happening over the past few weeks….

-Lockheed Martin has made “voluntary layoff offers” to 6,500 employees.

-Detroit is losing even more jobs. American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings has told the remaining 300 workers at its manufacturing facility in Detroit that their jobs will be ending in early 2012.

-Layoff notices have been sent to 519 employees of Milwaukee Public Schools, and more than 400 open positions are going to go unfilled.

-The Gap has announced that up to 200 stores will be closed over the next two years.

-Cisco has announced plans to lay off 9 percent of their total workforce.

-Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says that 625 city employees will be losing their jobs as a result of cutbacks.

-Pharmaceutical giant Merck recently dumped 51 workers from an office in Raleigh, North Carolina.

-Perkins has revealed that they will be closing 58 restaurants.

-This week, Goldman Sachs announced that they will be eliminating 1,000 jobs.

-Cracker Barrel is rapidly reducing staff at its headquarters.

-Telecommunications and web marketing firm Crexendo has announced that it will be laying off about 30 percent of its workforce.

-Borders has announced that they will be shutting down their remaining 399 stores and that 10,700 employees will lose their jobs.

-Now that the space shuttle program has ended, thousands of NASA employees will be losing their jobs.

Sadly, there are hundreds of more examples of recent layoffs and job losses.  One website that tracks these layoffs daily is Daily Job Cuts.  It is pretty sad when there are entire websites that are devoted to chronicling how fast our economy is bleeding jobs.

What is worse is that it looks like the pace of layoffs is going to keep increasing.

One report that was recently released found that the number of job cuts being planned by U.S. employers increased by 11.6% in June.

That is not good news.

Things don’t look good for employees of state and local governments either.

State and local governments have eliminated approximately 142,000 jobs so far this year.

That is bad, but this is just the beginning.

UBS Investment Research is projecting that state and local governments in the U.S. will combine to slash a whopping 450,000 jobs by the end of next year.

Ouch.

Barack Obama and Ben Bernanke keep trying to tell us that the economy is improving, but that simply is not the case.  Yes, some of the largest corporations have announced big earnings, but that is not translating into lots of jobs for American workers.

Today, most large corporations only want to have as many U.S. workers as absolutely necessary.  In a world where labor has been globalized, it just doesn’t make sense for corporations to shell out massive amounts of money to American workers when they can legally get away with paying slave labor wages to workers on the other side of the globe.

So if it seems like it is far harder to get a good job in America today than it used to be, the truth is that you are not imagining things.

Our entire system discourages job creation inside the United States.  Every single year, even more ridiculous job-killing regulations are being passed on the federal and state levels.  It has become extremely expensive and ridiculously complicated to hire people.

So how are American families surviving?  Those that still do have jobs are finding that wages are not going up but the cost of living rapidly is.  Many American families are making up the difference by using their credit cards more.

In June, credit card purchases in the U.S. increased by 10.7 percent compared to the same month a year ago.

It looks like a whole lot of people have not learned their lessons about how bad credit card debt is.

Millions of other American families have fallen out of the middle class completely.  Today, one out of every six Americans is enrolled in at least one government anti-poverty program.  The level of economic suffering in this country continues to soar.

In fact, the number of Americans that are now sleeping in their cars or living in tent cities remains at staggering levels.

What we are witnessing in this country is not just a “recession” or an “economic downturn”.  What we are witnessing are fundamental economic changes.

Until there are fundamental policy changes in the United States, there will continue to be huge waves of layoffs and millions of jobs will continue to be shipped out of the country.

In the old days, one could go to college, get a good job with one company for 30 years and retire with a big, fat pension.

Now, that way of doing things is completely and totally dead.

Today, there is virtually no loyalty out there.  It doesn’t matter how long you have been working at a particular job.  When it becomes financially expedient to get rid of you, that is exactly what is going to happen.

It is a cold, cruel world out there right now.  Don’t assume that you will always have a good job.  The world is rapidly changing.

Don’t get caught in the trap of believing that the way that things were is the way that things are always going to be in the future.

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