Just like during the last economic crisis, homeless encampments are popping up all over the nation as poverty grows at a very alarming rate. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, more than half a million people are homeless in America right now, but that figure is increasing by the day. And it isn’t just adults that we are talking about. It has been reported that that the number of homeless children in this country has risen by 60 percent since the last recession, and Poverty USA says that a total of 1.6 million children slept either in a homeless shelter or in some other form of emergency housing at some point last year. Yes, the stock market may have been experiencing a temporary boom for the last couple of years, but for those on the low end of the economic scale things have just continued to deteriorate.
Tonight, countless numbers of homeless people will try to make it through another chilly night in large tent cities that have been established in the heart of major cities such as Seattle, Washington, D.C. and St. Louis. Homelessness has gotten so bad in California that the L.A. City Council has formally asked Governor Jerry Brown to officially declare a state of emergency. And in Portland the city has extended their “homeless emergency” for yet another year, and city officials are really struggling with how to deal with the booming tent cities that have sprung up…
There have always been homeless people in Portland, but last summer Michelle Cardinal noticed a change outside her office doors.
Almost overnight, it seemed, tents popped up in the park that runs like a green carpet past the offices of her national advertising business. She saw assaults, drug deals and prostitution. Every morning, she said, she cleaned human feces off the doorstep and picked up used needles.
“It started in June and by July it was full-blown. The park was mobbed,” she said. “We’ve got a problem here and the question is how we’re going to deal with it.”
But of course it isn’t just Portland that is experiencing this. The following list of major tent cities that have become so well-known and established that they have been given names comes from Wikipedia…
- Camp Hope, Las Cruces, New Mexico 
- Camp Quixote, Olympia, Washington State
- Camp Take Notice, Ann Arbor, Michigan
- Dignity Village, Portland, Oregon
- Opportunity Village, Eugene, Oregon
- Maricopa County Sheriff’s Tent City, Phoenix, Arizona
- New Jack City and Little Tijuana, Fresno, California
- Nickelsville, located in Seattle
- Right 2 Dream Too, Portland, Oregon
- River Haven, Ventura County, California
- Safe Ground, Sacramento, California
- The Jungle, San Jose, California
- Temporary Homeless Service Area (THSA), Ontario, California
- Tent City (100+ residents) of Lakewood, New Jersey
- Tent City, Avenue A and 13th Street, Lubbock, Texas
- Tent City, New Jersey forest
- Tent City, Bernalillo County, New Mexico
- Tent City, banks of the American River, Sacramento, California
- Tent City 3, Seattle
- Tent City, Chicago, Illinois 
- Tent City 4, eastern King County outside of Seattle
- The Point, where the Gunnison River and Colorado River meet
- The Village of Hope and Community of Hope, Fresno, California
- Transition Park, Camden, New Jersey
- Tent City, Fayette County, Tennessee, 
- Camp Unity Eastside, Woodinville, WA 
- China Hat Road, Bend, Oregon
Most of the time, those that establish tent cities do not want to be discovered because local authorities have a nasty habit of shutting them down and forcing homeless people out of the area. For example, check out what just happened in Elkhart, Indiana…
A group of homeless people in Elkhart has been asked to leave the place they call home. For the last time, residents of ‘Tent City’ packed up camp.
City officials gave residents just over a month to vacate the wooded area; Wednesday being the last day to do so.
The property has been on Mayor Tim Neese’s radar since he took office in January, calling it both a safety and health hazard to its residents and nearby pedestrian traffic.
“This has been their home but you can’t live on public property,” said Mayor Tim Neese, Elkhart.
If they can’t live on “public property”, where are they supposed to go?
They certainly can’t live on somebody’s “private property”.
This is the problem – people don’t want to deal with the human feces, the needles, the crime and the other problems that homeless people often bring with them. So the instinct is often to kick them out and send them away.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t fix the problem. It just passes it on to someone else.
As this new economic downturn continues to accelerate, our homelessness boom is going to spiral out of control. Pretty soon, there will be tent cities in virtually every community in America.
In fact, there are people that are living comfortable middle class lifestyles right at this moment that will end up in tents. We saw this during the last economic crisis, and it will be even worse as this next one unfolds.
Just like last time around, the signs that the middle class is really struggling can be subtle at first, but when you learn to take note of them you will notice that they are all around you. The following comes from an excellent article in the New York Post…
Do you see grocery stores closing? Do you see other retailers, like clothing stores and department stores, going out of business?
Are there shuttered storefronts along your Main Street shopping district, where you bought a tool from the hardware store or dropped off your dry cleaning or bought fruits and vegetables?
Are you making as much money annually as you did 10 years ago?
Do you see homes in neighborhoods becoming run down as the residents either were foreclosed upon, or the owner lost his or her job so he or she can’t afford to cut the grass or paint the house?
Did that same house where the Joneses once lived now become a rental property, where new people come to live every few months?
Do you know one or two people who are looking for work? Maybe professionals, who you thought were safe in their jobs?
Don’t look down on those that are living in tents, because the truth is that many “middle class Americans” will ultimately end up joining them.
The correct response to those that are hurting is love and compassion. We all need help at some point in our lives, and I know that I am certainly grateful to those that have given me a helping hand at various points along my journey.
Sadly, hearts are growing cold all over the nation, and the weather is only going to get colder over the months ahead. Let us pray for health and safety for the hundreds of thousands of Americans that will be sleeping in tents and on the streets this winter.
Many of the exact same groups that participated in Occupy Wall Street and helped organize protest rallies in Ferguson and Baltimore are now promising to bring us “the largest civil disobedience actions in a generation”. I recently wrote about the trouble that radical leftists have caused by attempting to disrupt Trump campaign events, but now there is a very organized effort to turn this into a national movement. On March 19th, thousands of angry protesters will descend on Trump Tower in New York City to denounce Donald Trump’s “fascist policies”, and on April 2nd dozens of leftist organizations will join together to launch “Democracy Spring” in Philadelphia. From there, large numbers of liberal activists will march to Washington D.C. where they will “risk arrest” during a “peaceful” sit-in at the U.S. Capitol from April 11th to April 18th. If the radical left is this freaked out about Donald Trump now, how bad will things get if he actually becomes the Republican nominee?
I suppose that it was only a matter of time before the radical left began to specifically target Trump properties. I hope that Trump has good security, because it will definitely be tested starting tomorrow…
Left-wing demonstrators have announced their latest anti-Trump event – a march on Trump Tower in New York City to protest against The Donald’s “fascist policies”.
A Facebook page for the rally outlines the plan, organized by a group called ‘Cosmopolitan Antifascists’, to march on the building at 2pm on Saturday afternoon.
“Donald J. Trump has made headlines in recent months with his divisive rhetoric, hate speech, and extremist plans to “make America great again”. We, in fact, believe this will do the opposite to this nation. Trump’s policy threatens many of us in the Black, Latino, LGBT, Muslim, and other communities,” states the page.
According to the Facebook page for “Cosmopolitan Antifascists”, 5,000 people plan to show up and 15,000 more are “interested” in this event.
Will it turn out to be a completely peaceful protest?
Let’s certainly hope so.
Perhaps even more disturbing is what is going to happen in early April. Dozens of far left groups have gotten behind a movement that has been officially dubbed “Democracy Spring”.
Obviously, that name was chosen to conjure up memories of the “Arab Spring”, and we all remember how “peaceful” that was.
The official website of Democracy Spring tells us the following about the goals…
This spring, in the heart of the primary season, as the national election begins to take center stage, Americans of all ages, faiths, political perspectives, and walks of life will bring the popular cry for change to Washington in a way that’s impossible to ignore: with nonviolent civil disobedience on a historic scale.
We will demand that Congress listen to the People and take immediate action to save our democracy. And we won’t leave until they do — or until they send thousands of us to jail, along with the unmistakable message that our country needs a new Congress, one that that will end the legalized corruption of our democracy and ensure that every American has an equal voice in government.
Do you understand the threat that is being made there?
They are purposely planning to break the law and get arrested. In fact, their website says that there are already more than 2,000 people that have “pledged to risk arrest” between April 11th and April 18th…
The campaign will begin on April 2nd with a march from the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. where thousands will gather to reclaim the US Capitol in a powerful, peaceful, and massive sit-in that no one can ignore. Over 2,000 people have already pledged to risk arrest between April 11th-18th in what will be one of the largest civil disobedience actions in a generation.
And the list of groups that are backing this movement reads like a who’s who of radical leftist organizations…
15 Now Philly
100 Grannies for a Livable Future
African American Ministers in Action
American Ethical Union
American Family Voices
American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)
Big Apple Coffee Party
Brave New Films
Center for Biological Diversity
Center for the Working Poor
Citizen Action NY
Coffee Party USA
Columbus Campaign for Arms Control
Conscious Elders Network
Democracy for America
Democratic Socialists of America
Dolores Huerta Foundation
East Coast Cannabis Coalition (ECCC)
East Point Peace Academy
Elders Climate Action
Energy Action Coalition
Food & Water Watch
Franciscan Action Network
Friends of the Earth
Get Money Out – Maryland
Human Earth Animal Liberation (HEAL)
Institute for Policy Studies
Interfaith Moral Action on Climate (IMAC)
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
Jewish Voice for Peace
Just Foreign Policy
Leadership Development Initiative
March Against Corruption
March Against Monsanto
Maryland Committee to Amend
Massachusetts Communities Action Network (MCAN)
Money Out! People In!
National Organization for Women (NOW)
National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund
National People’s Action
Network of Spiritual Progressives/ Tikkun Magazine
New Hampshire Rebellion
Office of the Americas
PA United to Amend
Pay 2 Play
People Demanding Action
People for Bernie
People for the American Way
People Over Politics
People’s Empowerment Project
Pride at Work-New York City/Long Island
Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC)
Progressive Democrats of America
Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU)
Small Planet Institute
Social Security Works
South Central Wisconsin United To Amend
Stop Police Terror Project DC
Unitarian Universalist Association
Unitarian Universalist Church of Delaware County
United Native Americans
United for Peace and Justice
United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS)
United States Student Association (USSA)
United We Dream
U.S. Climate Plan
Ursulines of Tildonk for Justice & Peace
We are Woman
We the People Massachusetts
Working Families Party
World Beyond War
Young Democratic Socialists
Youth Jobs Coalition / We Have a Future
This is just the beginning. The radical left has won the hearts and minds of millions of our young people, and many of these groups are preaching a message of anger, frustration and direct confrontation.
For now, let’s hope that these “protests” are at least somewhat peaceful. But throughout history, leftist revolutions have almost always turned violent at least to a certain degree.
And let there be no confusion – the radical left very much wants a revolution. There is a reason why Bernie Sanders uses that word so much in his applause lines. It is a buzzword that evokes some very powerful imagery for the radical left.
America is changing, and not for the better. From this point forward, the radical left in America is going to become much more active, and in the end that is going to have dramatic consequences for all of us.
It has been said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Well, I would like to share a little bit of my journey with you, and hopefully this will inspire someone out there. We live in a day and age when you don’t have to be a celebrity to make a difference. I know this is true because ten years ago I was about as anonymous as you could possibly get. I was newly married and working as a lawyer in the heart of Washington D.C. not too far from the White House. That may sound glamorous to you, but it definitely was not. Approximately one out of every 12 residents of D.C. is a lawyer according to some estimates, and so they are a dime a dozen. And my work was about as meaningless as you could get. If there was a lawyer version of a toilet scrubber, that would have been me. Nobody knew who I was, and nobody cared who I was. I was having no real measurable impact on the world around me, but I wanted to. I just didn’t know how.
In 2008, I started to look into something called blogging. I learned that there were more than a million blogs already on the Internet by that time, and so I had no idea why anyone would possibly want to read anything that I had to say, but I decided to try it. I began with a few free Blogger blogs, and my readership in those days could have been measured with a magnifying glass.
But I stuck with it.
And that is one of the keys to success in any area of life. So many people give up if they don’t have immediate success. And that is so sad, because all “overnight success stories” had to start somewhere.
So do not despise small beginnings – they can ultimately lead to something great.
Eventually my readership began to grow, and the real turning point for me came when I left the legal world at the end of 2009 and started The Economic Collapse Blog. Of course that had very humble beginnings as well. The first month the site was live I only had about 4,800 pageviews. But that was a whole lot more than I had before.
Very early on I decided that I was going to try to put out the highest quality articles that I could possibly write, and people really responded to that. They knew that they weren’t getting straight answers about the economy from the mainstream media, and they were seeking out alternative sources of information. We have seen the “alternative media” absolutely explode in recent years, and I am proud to be part of that revolution.
In early 2010, my wife and I decided to take a leap and move across the country to a little town outside of Seattle, Washington. We didn’t really have much money, so it was kind of a crazy thing to do. But we felt called to do it, so by faith we packed up our lives and moved all the way across the continent. We figured that I could make a little money writing and she could make a little money painting furniture and we could figure out a way to survive somehow.
We spent a little over a year out near Seattle, and during that time The Economic Collapse Blog started to grow by leaps and bounds. We also had other websites such as End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News that were really starting to grow as well, and so we felt secure enough to seek out a more permanent home. That was always the plan anyway, because we wanted to get away from the large population centers.
God eventually led us to a wonderful home in the mountains in a very isolated part of the northwest United States. And my wife and I both agree that this is the best place that either of us have ever lived. We absolutely love the peace and quiet, and the view that we have across the valley is priceless. I could have very easily sat up on that mountain living a very quiet life for the rest of my days and been very happy.
But God had other things in mind for us. When we moved up there, we believed that God was instructing us to prepare for what He wanted us to do. So we studied, and we prayed and we kept working on our websites. And then we studied, and we prayed and we worked some more. We never knew what kinds of doors God was going to open up for us. By faith we just tried to do what we believed that He was instructing us to do.
And of course many of you already know about the amazing doors that God has been opening up for us over the past few years. He is doing things that I never even would have imagined asking Him to do.
The reason why I am sharing all of this is to say that if someone like me can be used to make a difference, so can you.
If a completely anonymous Washington D.C. lawyer can move to the mountains in the middle of nowhere and be used to touch millions of lives all over the planet, that just shows that all things are possible with God.
Of course not everyone has a talent for writing. But we all have some way to make a difference. Individually, each one of us in limited, but collectively we can make a massive difference in this world if we are willing to work together.
When I was growing up, I wanted to be a rock star someday, but to this day I still don’t have any musical talent. However, there are people out there with amazing gifts in that area, and I often find myself in awe of their talents.
Other people can make a different in other areas. What some people are about to do with YouTube videos absolutely amazes me. Others write gripping novels or host amazing radio shows. And yet others organize street protests or get heavily involved in local politics.
We all have different gifts and abilities, and we all have ways that we can make a difference.
Part of my message is to warn people about the incredibly hard times that are coming, but part of my message is also to give hope to people so that they can come through those hard times.
You may choose to curse the darkness when it comes, but I plan on lighting a candle.
No matter how bad things get, I will not bend, I will not break and I will not fear. It is when times are the darkest that the greatest heroes are needed, and we need people that are going to be willing to face the great challenges that are coming with tremendous strength and courage.
Even in the midst of all of the chaos and all of the darkness, my wife and I believe that the greatest chapters of our lives are still ahead of us.
And we invite you to work with us to make a difference. God took the broken pieces of my life and turned them into a beautiful thing, and He can do the same thing for you.
No matter how hard things may seem right now, please do not give up.
It’s not over.
In fact, your future is only just beginning, and all things are possible…
On January 22nd, one of the worst east coast blizzards in history slammed into Washington D.C. like a freight train. More than three feet of snow was dumped on some areas, hundreds of thousands of people were left without power, and coastal cities all long the eastern seaboard experienced flooding to a degree not seen since Hurricane Sandy. Tens of millions of people live in communities that were completely paralyzed by this storm, and it is being projected that the total amount of economic damage done will ultimately be in the billions of dollars. January 22nd also happens to be the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in all 50 states. Since that Supreme Court decision, more than 58 million babies have been murdered in abortion clinics in America. Could it be possible that it is more than just a “coincidence” that both of these events happened on January 22nd?
In a previous article, I noted that this east coast blizzard was officially given the name “Jonas”. It turns out that “Jonas” is actually a Greek transliteration of the Hebrew name “Jonah”.
In the Bible, Jonah was sent to the city of Ninevah to warn that the judgment of God was about to come. Some are suggesting that it may not be any accident that a historic blizzard named after this Biblical prophet hit Washington D.C. on the exact anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision.
And without a doubt, this was a whopper of a storm. According to USA Today, some cities broke their all-time records for snowfall from a single storm…
It was the biggest snowstorm ever recorded for three cities — Baltimore (29.2 inches), Allentown, Pa. (31.9) and Harrisburg, Pa. (34), the National Weather Service said. New York City picked up 26.8 inches of snow, missing its all-time record by one-tenth of an inch.
In the D.C. area things were absolutely crazy. Dulles Airport got a total of 29.3 inches of snow, and Baltimore-Washington International Airport got 29.2 inches of snow. Some of the outlying areas actually got closer to three feet of snow, and it could take weeks for transportation in the region to get back to normal.
New York City got absolutely pummeled as well. CNN is reporting that John F. Kennedy International Airport got 31 inches of snow and New York’s Central Park has been buried under 27 inches of snow.
In addition to crazy amounts of snow, vast stretches right along the coast had to deal with tremendous flooding. In fact, CNN is reporting that the flooding was even worse than during Hurricane Sandy in some areas…
Margate City, just down the coast from Atlantic City, was also affected.
“In a lot of our business areas and our back bay areas, water is coming over the bulkhead in a lot of the same areas as Hurricane Sandy hit,” Lt. Matt Hankinson of the Margate City Police Department said. “Some areas I would say it’s thigh- to waist-deep.”
Farther south in North Wildwood, the high tide was much higher than anticipated and caught many of the town’s 5,000 year-round residents off guard — with flooding levels that actually exceeded those during Hurricane Sandy, said Patrick Rosenello, the city’s mayor.
Meanwhile, a very powerful El Nino pattern continues to send storm after storm slamming into the west coast. It didn’t get much publicity because of the giant blizzard on the east coast, but the California coastal city of Pacifica just declared a state of emergency due to the damage from these storms. The following comes from the Daily Mail…
As the East Coast is hit with one of the most powerful storms in recent years, the West Coast is continuing to be slammed with storms thanks to El Nino.
The city of Pacifica in northern California declared a state of emergency Friday after continuous El Nino storms slammed into the city’s coastline,KNTV reported.
A sinkhole and a severely damaged sea wall are part of the destruction in the city from the wild winter weather.
‘El Nino is hitting the city’s coastline very hard and creating almost daily reports of impacts to both public and private property,’ City Manager Lorie Tinfow told KNTV.
All of this continues a very unusual pattern of disasters that we have been witnessing over the past six months. Just consider what we have seen happen since last September…
-Around the turn of the year the middle part of the country experienced absolutely horrific flooding. The only thing people can really compare it to is the great flood of 1993, and Missouri Governor Jay Nixon says that some communities saw floodwaters get to “places they’ve never been before”. Normally if the middle of the country is going to see flooding like this, it is going to happen when the snow begins to thaw in the spring. For something like this to happen in December is absolutely unprecedented.
-Prior to that, a conveyor belt of storms that barreled into coastal areas of Oregon and Washington caused horrible flooding in many areas. In fact, in early December we witnessed the wettest day in the history of Portland, Oregon. The resulting landslides and floods made headlines all over the nation.
-Before that, the remnants of Hurricane Patricia caused nightmarish flooding in many parts of Texas. The flooding was so bad that at one point an entire train was knocked off the tracks.
-Out on the west coast, flash flooding in southern California sent rivers of mud streaming across highways in southern California. The lifeless body of one man that had his vehicle completely buried in mud was recovered several days later because that is how long it took emergency workers to get to him.
-To kick things off, moisture from Hurricane Joaquin caused horrible flooding all up and down the east coast back in early October. The governor of South Carolina said that it was the worst rain that some parts of her state had seen in 1,000 years.
All of this flooding has happened since the end of September.
Never before in U.S. history have we ever seen a series of catastrophic floods like this within such a concentrated space of time.
And let us not forget that 2015 was also the worst year for wildfires in all of U.S. history, the state of Oklahoma absolutely shattered their yearly record for earthquakes, and much of the rest of the country has been experiencing highly unusual natural disasters. In fact, the state of Alaska was hit by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake just today.
In addition, my regular readers already know that global financial markets have just had their worst start to a year in all of modern history.
Could someone be trying to tell us something?
Most people out there would dismiss such a suggestion without even thinking about it. To most Americans, it must just be a “coincidence” that we have been hit by major disaster after major disaster since the month of September.
But there are others that would point out that you eventually reap what you sow, and this nation has been doing a tremendous amount of evil for a very long time.
As I mentioned at the top of this article, America has murdered more than 58 million babies since 1973. Instead of being horrified at our crimes, we just continue to shake our fist at God as we celebrate all of the evil that we are doing. In fact, Barack Obama took time out of his day on Friday to actually celebrate the anniversary of Roe v. Wade…
President Barack Obama issued a statement today, celebrating the 43rd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that declared abortion a constitutionally protected right.
“Today, we mark the 43rd anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade, which affirmed a woman’s freedom to make her own choices about her body and her health,” said Obama.
Despite being shown our guilt over and over again, we have absolutely refused to change our ways, and so now we will pay the price for our crimes.
As I have said on television, on the radio and in my articles, 2016 is the year when everything changes.
The fat cats in Washington D.C. are living the high life, and they are doing it at your expense. Over the past decade, there has been one area of the country which has experienced a massive economic boom. Thanks to wildly out of control government spending, the Washington D.C. region is absolutely swimming in cash. In fact, at this point the state of Maryland has the most millionaires per capita in the entire nation and it isn’t even close. If you have never lived there, it is hard to describe what the D.C. area is like. Every weekday morning, hordes of lawyers, lobbyists and government bureaucrats descend upon D.C. from the surrounding suburbs. And at the end of the day, the process goes in reverse. Everyone is just trying to get their piece of the pie, and it is a pie that just keeps on growing as government salaries, government contracts and government giveaways just get larger and larger. Of course our founders never intended for this to happen. They wanted a very small and simple federal government. Sadly, today we have the most bloated central government in the history of the planet and it gets worse with each passing year.
If you were to ask most Americans, they would tell you that the wealthiest Americans probably live in cities such as New York or San Francisco. But thanks to the Obama administration (and before that the Bush and Clinton administrations), the state of Maryland is packed with millionaires. In particular, the Maryland suburbs immediately surrounding D.C. are absolutely overflowing with government fat cats that make a living at our expense. Every weekday morning, huge numbers of them leave their mini-mansions in places such as Potomac and Rockville and drive their luxury vehicles to work in the city. As the Washington Post has detailed, at this point approximately 8 percent of all households in the entire state of Maryland contain millionaires, and the rest of the area is not doing too shabby either…
In Maryland, nearly 8 out of every 100 households in 2014 had assets topping $1 million, giving the state more millionaires per capita than any other in the country, according to a new report from Phoenix Marketing International.
The rest of the Beltway isn’t lacking in millionaires either: The District and Virginia ranked in the top 10 among those with the highest number of millionaire households per capita in 2014. In Virginia, which was No. 6 on the list, 6.76 percent of the state’s 3.17 million households are millionaires. And in the District, which rounds out the top 10, 6.25 percent of its more than 292,000 households are millionaires.
And while not too many of them are millionaires, your average federal workers that toil in D.C. are doing quite well too.
Once upon a time, it was considered to be a “sacrifice” to go into “government service”.
If you can believe it, approximately 17,000 federal employees made more than $200,000 last year.
Overall, compensation for federal employees comes to a grand total of close to half a trillion dollars every 12 months.
In fact, there are tens of thousands of federal employees that make more than the governors of their own states do.
Does that seem right to you?
If you want to live “the American Dream” these days, the Washington area is the place to go. Just check out the following description of the region from the Washington Post…
Washingtonians now enjoy the highest median household income of any metropolitan area in the country, and five of the top 10 jurisdictions in America — Loudoun, Howard and Fairfax counties, and Falls Church and Fairfax City — are here, census data shows.
The signs of that wealth are on display all over, from the string of luxury boutiques such as Gucci and Tory Burch opening at Tysons Galleria to the $15 cocktails served over artisanal ice at the W Hotel in the District to the ever-larger houses rising off River Road in Potomac.
And of course let us not forget the fat cats in Congress.
According to CNN, our Congress critters are now wealthier than every before…
The typical American family is still struggling to recover from the Great Recession, but Congress is getting wealthier every year.
The median net worth of lawmakers was just over $1 million in 2013, or 18 times the wealth of the typical American household, according to new research released Monday by the Center for Responsive Politics.
And while Americans’ median wealth is down 43% since 2007, Congress members’ net worth has jumped 28%.
Not only that, there are nearly 200 members of Congress that are actually multimillionaires…
Nearly 200 are multimillionaires. One hundred are worth more than $5 million; the top-10 deal in nine digits. The annual congressional salary alone—$174,000 a year—qualifies every member as the top 6 percent of earners. None of them are close to experiencing the poverty-reduction programs—affordable housing, food assistance, Medicaid—that they help control. Though some came from poverty, a recent analysis by Nicholas Carnes, in his book White Collar Government: The Hidden Role of Class in Economic Policymaking, found that only 13 out of 783 members of Congress from 1999 to 2008 came from a “blue-collar” upbringing.
But even though almost all of them are quite wealthy, they don’t hesitate to spend massive amounts of taxpayer money on their own personal needs.
For example, according to the Weekly Standard, more than five million dollars was spent on the hair care needs of U.S. Senators alone over one recent 15 year period…
Senate Hair Care Services has cost taxpayers about $5.25 million over 15 years. They foot the bill of more than $40,000 for the shoeshine attendant last fiscal year. Six barbers took in more than $40,000 each, including nearly $80,000 for the head barber.
And in one recent year, an average of $4,005,900 was spent on “personal” and “office” expenses per U.S. Senator.
So the grand total would have been over 400 million dollars for a single year.
That seems excessive, doesn’t it?
And even when they end up leaving Washington, our Congress critters have ensured that they will continue to collect money from U.S. taxpayers for the rest of their lives…
In 2011, 280 former lawmakers who retired under a former government pension system received average annual pensions of $70,620, according to a Congressional Research Service report. They averaged around 20 years of service. At the same time, another 215 retirees (elected in 1984 or later with an average of 15 years of service) received average annual checks of roughly $40,000 a year.
If you can believe it, there are quite a few former lawmakers that are collecting federal pensions for life worth at least $100,000 annually. The list includes Newt Gingrich, Bob Dole, Trent Lott, Dick Gephardt and Dick Cheney.
Of course the biggest windfalls of all are for our ex-presidents. Most Americans would be shocked to learn that the U.S. government is spending approximately 3.6 million dollars a year to support the lavish lifestyles of former presidents such as George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
So does this make you angry?
Or are you okay with these fat cats living the high life at our expense?
Please feel free to add to the discussion by posting a comment below…
Did you know that 77 million Americans have unpaid debts that are “in collections” and that Congress is actually thinking about letting post offices offer payday loans? We live in a country where almost everyone is drowning in debt and where most people are either flat broke or very close to flat broke. Years ago, “your Mama is so broke” jokes were all the rage, and at the rate we are going they could make a big comeback. Some of my favorites were “your Mama is so broke she went to McDonald’s and put a milkshake on layaway” and “your Mama is so broke your family ate cereal with a fork to save milk”. Unfortunately, the facts that I am about to share with you are not funny at all. In fact, they are quite sobering. Yes, things are going fairly well for the elitists that live in the good areas of New York City, Washington D.C. and San Francisco right now, but most of the country is deeply struggling as our economic fundamentals continue to crumble. Please share these numbers with as many people as you can, because we need people to understand that there has not been an “economic recovery” for most of America. In fact, in many ways things just continue to get even worse. The following are 21 ways to end the phrase “Americans are so broke”…
1. Americans are so broke that about a third of them have debt collectors on their heels. One recent study discovered that more than one out of every three adults in the United States has an unpaid debt that is “in collections“. That is a total of 77 million people. In other words, the debt collection business in America is absolutely booming.
2. Americans are so broke that Congress is now actually considering allowing post offices to provide payday loans and check cashing services.
3. Americans are so broke that they are keeping their vehicles longer than ever. The average age of vehicles on America’s roads recently set a new all-time high of 11.4 years.
4. Americans are so broke that car dealers are having to go to extreme lengths to get new customers. Last year, one out of every four auto loans in the United States was made to someone with subprime credit.
5. Americans are so broke that 52 percent of them cannot even afford the homes that they are living in right now.
6. Americans are so broke that they are falling farther behind on their student loans than ever. The total amount of student loan debt in the U.S. has now reached a whopping 1.2 trillion dollars, and approximately seven million Americans are in default on their student loans at this point.
7. Young Americans are so broke that half of all college graduates are still relying on their parents financially when they are two years out of school.
8. Young Americans are so broke that only 36 percent of American adults under the age of 35 currently own a home. That is the lowest level that has ever been recorded.
9. Americans are so broke that many of them can’t even afford to shop at Wal-Mart and dollar stores anymore…
Discount stores are slowly dying.
Yesterday, Dollar Tree announced it would buy Family Dollar, a chain that is in the process of closing hundreds of stores and firing workers.
Other discount stores have been struggling as well, writes Heidi Moore at The Guardian. Fashion discounter Loehmann’s filed for bankruptcy, while Wal-Mart’s sales have declined for the past five quarters.
“There’s just not enough money deployed by American families to keep all the discount chains in business,” Moore writes.
10. Americans are so broke that they are running up record levels of debt. Overall, U.S. households are 11.68 trillion dollars in debt right now.
11. Americans are so broke that the wealth of the “typical American household” has fallen by 36 percent over the past decade.
12. Americans are so broke that one out of every four part-time workers in America is living below the poverty line.
13. Americans are so broke that more than 37 million Americans are now being served by food pantries and soup kitchens.
14. Americans are so broke that there are 49 million Americans that are dealing with food insecurity.
15. Americans are so broke that the number of people on food stamps has increased by about 14 million while Obama has been in the White House. Ten years ago, the number of women in the U.S. that had jobs outnumbered the number of women in the U.S. on food stamps by more than a 2 to 1 margin. But now the number of women in the U.S. on food stamps actually exceeds the number of women that have jobs.
16. Americans are so broke that the U.S. government has had to spend an astounding 3.7 trillion dollars on welfare programs over the past five years.
17. Americans are so broke that more than 20 percent of all children in the U.S. are living in poverty.
18. Americans are so broke that we have a record number of kids sleeping in the streets. In fact, we have more than a million public school children that are homeless at this point.
19. Americans are so broke that 76 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.
20. Americans are so broke that 26 percent of Americans have absolutely no emergency savings whatsoever.
21. Americans are so broke that approximately two-thirds of all Americans do not have enough money saved up to cover six months of expenses if an emergency arose.
If things are this bad now, during the so-called “economic recovery”, how bad will things get during the next major economic downturn?
Unfortunately, most Americans have been lulled into a false sense of security. The financial crisis of 2008 seems like ancient history to most of them now, and most people appear to believe that our leaders have “fixed” whatever was wrong the last time.
Of course that is not the case at all. In fact, our long-term problems have just continued to grow since then.
The truth is that what we are experiencing right now is about as good as things are going to get for the U.S. economy. When the next crisis arrives, all of the numbers in the list above are going to rapidly get a lot worse.
So enjoy the rest of this “bubble” while you still can. It certainly will not last for too much longer.
Has the next major economic downturn already started? The way that you would answer that question would probably depend on where you live. If you live in New York City, or the suburbs of Washington D.C., or you work for one of the big tech firms in the San Francisco area, you would probably respond to such a question by saying of course not. In those areas, the economy is doing great and prices for high end homes are still booming. But in most of the rest of the nation, evidence continues to mount that the next recession has already begun for the poor and the middle class. As you will read about below, major retailers had an absolutely dreadful start to 2014 and home sales are declining just as they did back in 2007 before the last financial crisis. Meanwhile, the U.S. economy continues to lose more good jobs and 20 percent of all U.S. families do not have a single member that is employed at this point. 2014 is turning out to be eerily similar to 2007 in so many ways, but most people are not paying attention.
During the first quarter of 2014, earnings by major U.S. retailers missed estimates by the biggest margin in 13 years. The “retail apocalypse” continues to escalate, and the biggest reason for this is the fact that middle class consumers in the U.S. are tapped out. And this is not just happening to a few retailers – this is something that is happening across the board. The following is a summary of how major U.S. retailers performed in the first quarter of 2014 that was put together by Jim Quinn…
Wal-Mart Profit Plunges By $220 Million as US Store Traffic Declines by 1.4%
Target Profit Plunges by $80 Million, 16% Lower Than 2013, as Store Traffic Declines by 2.3%
Sears Loses $358 Million in First Quarter as Comparable Store Sales at Sears Plunge by 7.8% and Sales at Kmart Plunge by 5.1%
JC Penney Thrilled With Loss of Only $358 Million For the Quarter
Kohl’s Operating Income Plunges by 17% as Comparable Sales Decline by 3.4%
Costco Profit Declines by $84 Million as Comp Store Sales Only Increase by 2%
Staples Profit Plunges by 44% as Sales Collapse and Closing Hundreds of Stores
Gap Income Drops 22% as Same Store Sales Fall
American Eagle Profits Tumble 86%, Will Close 150 Stores
Aeropostale Losses $77 Million as Sales Collapse by 12%
Best Buy Sales Decline by $300 Million as Margins Decline and Comparable Store Sales Decline by 1.3%
Macy’s Profit Flat as Comparable Store Sales decline by 1.4%
Dollar General Profit Plummets by 40% as Comp Store Sales Decline by 3.8%
Urban Outfitters Earnings Collapse by 20% as Sales Stagnate
McDonalds Earnings Fall by $66 Million as US Comp Sales Fall by 1.7%
Darden Profit Collapses by 30% as Same Restaurant Sales Plunge by 5.6% and Company Selling Red Lobster
TJX Misses Earnings Expectations as Sales & Earnings Flat
Dick’s Misses Earnings Expectations as Golf Store Sales Plummet
Home Depot Misses Earnings Expectations as Customer Traffic Only Rises by 2.2%
Lowes Misses Earnings Expectations as Customer Traffic was Flat
That is quite a startling list.
But plummeting retail sales are not the only sign that the U.S. middle class is really struggling right now. Home sales have also been extremely disappointing for quite a few months. This is how Wolf Richter described what we have been witnessing…
This is precisely what shouldn’t have happened but was destined to happen: Sales of existing homes have gotten clobbered since last fall. At first, the Fiscal Cliff and the threat of a US government default – remember those zany times? – were blamed, then polar vortices were blamed even while home sales in California, where the weather had been gorgeous all winter, plunged more than elsewhere.
Then it spread to new-home sales: in April, they dropped 4.7% from a year ago, after March’s year-over-year decline of 4.9%, and February’s 2.8%. Not a good sign: the April hit was worse than February’s, when it was the weather’s fault. Yet April should be the busiest month of the year (excellent brief video by Lee Adler on this debacle).
We have already seen that in some markets, in California for example, sales have collapsed at the lower two-thirds of the price range, with the upper third thriving. People who earn median incomes are increasingly priced out of the market, and many potential first-time buyers have little chance of getting in. In San Diego, for example, sales of homes below $200,000 plunged 46% while the upper end is doing just fine.
As Richter noted, sales of upper end homes are still doing fine in many areas.
But how long will that be able to continue if things continue to get even worse for the poor and the middle class? Traditionally, the U.S. economy has greatly depended upon consumer spending by the middle class. If that continues to dry up, how long can we avoid falling into a recession? For even more numbers that seem to indicate economic trouble for the middle class, please see my previous article entitled “27 Huge Red Flags For The U.S. Economy“.
Other analysts are expressing similar concerns. For example, check out what John Williams of shadowstats.com had to say during one recent interview…
We’re turning down anew. The first quarter should revise into negative territory… and I believe the second quarter will report negative as well.
That will all happen by July 30 when you have the annual revisions to the GDP. In reality the economy is much weaker than that. Economic growth is overstated with the GDP because they understate inflation, which is used in deflating the number…
What we’re seeing now is just… we’ve been barely stagnant and bottomed out… but we’re turning down again.
The reason for this is that the consumer is strapped… doesn’t have the liquidity to fuel the growth in consumption.
Income… the median household income, net of inflation, is as low as it was in 1967. The average guy is not staying ahead of inflation…
This has been a problem now for decades… You were able to buy consumption from the future by borrowing more money, expanding your debt. Greenspan saw the problem was income, so he encouraged debt expansion.
That all blew apart in 2007/2008… the income problems have continued, but now you don’t have the ability to borrow money the way you used to. Without that and the income problems remaining, there’s no way that consumption can grow faster than inflation if income isn’t.
As a result – personal consumption is more than two thirds of the economy – there’s no way you can have positive sustainable growth in the U.S. economy without the consumer being healthy.
The key to the health of the middle class is having plenty of good jobs.
But the U.S. economy continues to lose more good paying jobs.
For example, Hewlett-Packard has just announced that it plans to eliminate 16,000 more jobs in addition to the 34,000 job cuts that have already been announced.
Today, there are 27 million more working age Americans that do not have a job than there were in 2000, and the quality of our jobs continues to decline.
This is absolutely destroying the middle class. Unless the employment situation in this country starts to turn around, there does not seem to be much hope that the middle class will recover any time soon.
Meanwhile, there are emerging signs of trouble for the wealthy as well.
For instance, just like we witnessed back in 2007, things are starting to look a bit shaky at the “too big to fail” banks. The following is an excerpt from a recent CNBC report…
Citigroup has joined the ranks of those with trading troubles, as a high-ranking official told the Deutsche Bank 2014 Global Financial Services Investor Conference Tuesday that adjusted trading revenue probably will decline 20 percent to 25 percent in the second quarter on an annualized basis.
“People are uncertain,” Chief Financial Officer John Gerspach said of investor behavior, according to an account from the Wall Street Journal. “There just isn’t a lot of movement.”
In recent weeks, officials at JPMorgan Chase and Barclays also both reported likely drops in trading revenue. JPMorgan said it expected a decline of 20 percent of the quarter, while Barclays anticipates a 41 percent drop, prompting it to announce mass layoffs that will pare 19,000 jobs by the end of 2016.
Remember, very few people expected a recession the last time around either. In fact, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke repeatedly promised us that we would not have a recession and then we went on to experience the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
It will be the same this time as well. Just like in 2007, we will continue to get an endless supply of “hopetimism” from our politicians and the mainstream media, and they will continue to fill our heads with visions of rainbows, unicorns and economic prosperity for as far as the eyes can see.
But then the next recession will strike and most Americans will be completely blindsided by it.
Did you know that the number of Americans on welfare is higher than the number of Americans that have full-time jobs? Did you know that 1.2 million public school students in the U.S. are currently homeless? Anyone that uses the term “economic recovery” to describe what is happening in the United States today is being deeply insulting to the nearly 150 million Americans that are considered to be either “poor” or “low income” at this point. Yes, things are great in New York City, Washington D.C. and San Francisco, but almost everywhere else economic conditions continue to steadily get worse. The gap between the wealthy and the poor is at a level that America has never seen before, and this is beginning to create a “Robin Hood mentality” that could cause a tremendous amount of social chaos in the years ahead. Anger at the “haves” in America continues to rise at a very alarming pace, and the “have nots” are becoming increasingly desperate. At some point all of this anger is going to boil over, and you won’t want to be anywhere around major population centers when that happens. Despite unprecedented borrowing by the federal government in recent years, and despite unprecedented money printing by the Federal Reserve, poverty in the United States keeps getting worse with each passing year. The following are 29 incredible facts which prove that poverty in America is absolutely exploding…
1. What can you say about a nation that has more people getting handouts from the federal government than working full-time? According to the latest numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of people receiving means-tested welfare benefits is greater than the number of full-time workers in the United States.
2. New numbers have just been released, and they show that the number of public school students in this country that are homeless is at an all-time record high. It is hard to believe, but right now 1.2 million students that attend public schools in America are homeless. That number has risen by 72 percent since the start of the last recession.
3. When I was growing up, it seemed like almost everyone was from a middle class home. But now that has all changed. One recent study discovered that nearly half of all public students in the United States come from low income homes.
4. How can anyone deny that we are a socialist nation when half the people are getting money from the federal government each month? According to the most recent numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau, 49.2 percent of all Americans are receiving benefits from at least one government program.
5. Signs of increasing poverty are even showing up in the wealthiest areas of the nation. According to the New York Post, New York subways are being “overrun with homeless“.
6. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately one out of every six Americans is now living in poverty. The number of Americans living in poverty is now at a level not seen since the 1960s.
7. The gap between the rich and the poor in the United States is at an all-time record high. The wealthy may not consider this to be much of a problem, but those at the other end of the spectrum are very aware of this.
8. The “working poor” is one of the fastest growing segments of the U.S. population. At this point, approximately one out of every four part-time workers in America is living below the poverty line.
9. According to numbers provided by Wal-Mart, more than half of their hourly workers make less than $25,000 a year.
10. A recent Businessweek article mentioned a study that discovered that 300 employees at one Wal-Mart in Wisconsin receive a combined total of nearly a million dollars a year in public assistance…
“A decent wage is their demand—a livable wage, of all things,” said Representative George Miller (D-Calif.). The problem with companies like Wal-Mart is their “unwillingness, not their inability, to pay that wage,” he said. “They hand off the difference to taxpayers.” Miller was referring to a congressional report (PDF) released in May that calculated how much Walmart workers rely on public assistance. The study found that the 300 employees at one Supercenter in Wisconsin required some $900,000 worth of public assistance a year.
11. The stock market may be doing great (for the moment), but incomes for average Americans continue to decline. In fact, median household income in the United States has fallen for five years in a row.
12. The quality of the jobs in America has been steadily dropping for years. At this point, one out of every four American workers has a job that pays $10 an hour or less.
13. According to a Gallup poll that was recently released, 20.0% of all Americans did not have enough money to buy food that they or their families needed at some point over the past year. That is just under the record of 20.4% that was set back in November 2008.
14. Young adults are particularly feeling the sting of poverty these days. American families that have a head of household that is under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent.
15. As I wrote about a few weeks ago, one out of every five households in the United States is on food stamps. Back in the 1970s, about one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps.
16. The number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the entire population of Spain.
17. According to one calculation, the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of “Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.”
18. We are told that we live in the “wealthiest nation” on the planet, and yet more than one out of every four children in the United States is enrolled in the food stamp program.
19. The average food stamp benefit breaks down to approximately $4 per person per day.
20. It is being projected that approximately 50 percent of all U.S. children will be on food stamps before they reach the age of 18.
21. Today, approximately 17 million children in the United States are facing food insecurity. In other words, that means that “one in four children in the country is living without consistent access to enough nutritious food to live a healthy life.”
22. It may be hard to believe, but approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are currently living in homes that are considered to be either “low income” or impoverished.
23. The number of children living on $2.00 a day or less in the United States has grown to 2.8 million. That number has increased by 130 percent since 1996.
24. In Miami, 45 percent of all children are living in poverty.
25. In Cleveland, more than 50 percent of all children are living in poverty.
26. According to a recently released report, 60 percent of all children in the city of Detroit are living in poverty.
27. According to a Feeding America hunger study, more than 37 million Americans are now being served by food pantries and soup kitchens.
28. The U.S. government has spent an astounding 3.7 trillion dollars on welfare programs over the past five years.
29. It has been reported that 4 out of every 5 adults in the United States “struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives”.
These poverty numbers keep getting worse year after year no matter what our politicians do.
So is there anyone out there that would still like to argue that we are in an “economic recovery”?
And as I mentioned above, the “have nots” are becoming increasingly angry at the “haves”. For example, just check out the following excerpt from a recent New York Post article…
The maniac who butchered a Brooklyn mom and her four young kids confessed that he did it because he was jealous of their way of life, a police source told The Post on Sunday.
“The family had too much. Their income (and) lifestyle was better than his,” the source said.
The bloody suspect was caught holding the kitchen knife he used during the Saturday night rampage inside the Sunset Park apartment where he had been staying with the victims, the source added.
Sadly, this was not an isolated incident. All over the western world, a “Robin Hood mentality” is growing. This is something that I am so concerned about that I made it a big part of my new book. At this point, even wealthy Hollywood-types such as actor Russell Brand are calling for a socialist-style “revolution” and a “massive redistribution of wealth“.
Perhaps Brand does not understand that what he is calling for would mean redistributing most of his own wealth away from him.
When the next major wave of the economic collapse strikes, I fear that all of this anger and frustration that are growing among the poor will boil over in some very frightening ways. I believe that we will see a huge spike in crime and that we will eventually see communities all over America looted and burning.
But I am not the only one that is thinking along these lines. A new National Geographic Channel movie entitled “American Blackout” attempts to portray the social chaos that could erupt in the event of an extended national power failure…
American Blackout, National Geographic Channel’s two-hour, edge-of-your-seat movie event imagines the story of a national power failure in the United States caused by a cyberattack — told in real time, over 10 days, by those who kept filming on cameras and phones. You’ll learn what it means to be absolutely powerless.
You can view a clip of the film that was made available by NatGeo for the SHTFplan.com community right here.
What would you do if something like that happened to you?
How would you handle desperate, hungry people at your fence asking for food?
And what if those people were armed and were not “asking nicely” for your food?
Don’t ignore what is happening in America right now. It is setting the stage for some very chaotic times.
Get ready while you still can.
Do you want to see where this country is headed? If so, don’t focus on the few areas that are still very prosperous. New York City has Wall Street, Washington D.C. has the federal government and Silicon Valley has Google and Facebook. Those are the exceptions. The reality is that most of the country has been experiencing a slow decline for a very long time and once thriving cities such as Gary, Indiana and Flint, Michigan have become absolute hellholes. They are examples of what the rest of America will look like soon. 60 years ago, most Americans were decent, hard working people and there were always good jobs available for anyone that was willing to roll up his or her sleeves and put in an honest day of work. But now all of that has changed. Over the past decade, tens of thousands of manufacturing facilities have shut down and millions of jobs have left the country. Cities such as Cleveland, Baltimore and Detroit were once shining examples of everything that was right about America, but now they stand out like festering sores. The “blue collar cities” have been hit the hardest by the gutting of our economic infrastructure. There are many communities in America today where it seems like all of the hope and all of the life have been sucked right out of them. You can see it in the eyes of the people. The good times are gone permanently and they know it. Unfortunately, the remainder of the country will soon be experiencing the despair that those communities are feeling.
The following are 12 hellholes that are examples of what the rest of America will look like soon….
#1 Gary, Indiana
Gary, Indiana was once a great industrial city.
Today, it is one of the ten most dangerous cities in America, and the population has fallen by about 50 percent.
The following is from a recent Daily Mail article….
Frequently rated one of the ten most dangerous cities in the United States, Gary once boomed with jobs and opportunities but now faces the acute difficulties of America’s growing rust belt, with 22 percent of families in the once-great city now lying below the poverty line.
This modern American ghost town began life as home for workers at the United States Steel Corporation plant until economic competition from abroad forced a 90 percent job cut.
It is hard to describe what is happening to Gary without using the word “depressing”. You can watch a great video that shows what Gary, Indiana looks like these days right here.
This is what happens when industry leaves and there are no jobs. Gary has become a wasteland and there is essentially no hope for a turnaround.
The following is how James Kunstler described what he experienced when he traveled through Gary, Indiana recently….
Between the ghostly remnants of factories stood a score of small cities and neighborhoods where the immigrants settled five generations ago. A lot of it was foreclosed and shuttered. They were places of such stunning, relentless dreariness that you felt depressed just imagining how depressed the remaining denizens of these endless blocks of run-down shoebox houses must feel. Judging from the frequency of taquerias in the 1950s-vintage strip-malls, one inferred that the old Eastern European population had been lately supplanted by a new wave of Mexicans. They had inherited an infrastructure for daily life that was utterly devoid of conscious artistry when it was new, and now had the special patina of supernatural rot over it that only comes from materials not found in nature disintegrating in surprising and unexpected ways, sometimes even sublimely, like the sheen of an oil slick on water at a certain angle to the sun. There was a Chernobyl-like grandeur to it, as of the longed-for end of something enormous that hadn’t worked out well.
Sadly, Gary is far from alone. There are a whole host of other formerly great U.S. cities that are degenerating into hellholes as well.
#2 Chicago, Illinois
There is something truly special about Chicago. Most of America loved the Bears of the Walter Payton era, the Bulls of the Michael Jordan era and the Cubs of the Ernie Banks era. Chicago is also known for great architecture and great pizza.
But these days “the windy city” is becoming known for other things.
The murder rate in Chicago is up 38 percent so far this year, and the recent spike in violence in the city has made national headlines.
As I noted the other day, there are only about 200 police officers in Chicago’s Gang Enforcement Unit to deal with an estimated 100,000 gang members.
That means that those officers are outnumbered 500 to 1, and more gang members pour into the city every single day.
The escalating violence in Chicago was detailed in a recent article in the Telegraph….
“This is a block-to-block war here, a different dynasty on every street,” said a dreadlocked young man heavily inked in gang tattoos who calls himself “Killer”.
“All the black brothers just want to get rich, but we got no jobs and no hope. We want the violence to stop but you ain’t safe if you ain’t got your pistol with you. Too many friends, too many men are being killed. We don’t even cry at funerals no -more. Nobody expects to live past 21 here.”
The victims and killers are mainly black males aged between 15 and 35, often with gang affiliations – but not exclusively. A seven-year-old girl, Heaven Sutton, was buried this month after being gunned down at her mother’s street sweet store. And last week, two girls aged 12 and 13 were shot and badly-wounded as they walked home from a newly-opened community centre.
If you are thinking of moving to Chicago, you might want to think again.
#3 Detroit, Michigan
I have written repeatedly about Detroit because it is a perfect example of what the rest of America is going to look like soon.
Once upon a time it was regarded as one of the top manufacturing cities the world had ever seen, but today it has become a total hellhole.
There are very few decent jobs available, poverty has exploded and crime is everywhere.
If you can believe it, 53.6% of all children in Detroit are living in poverty, and only 25 percent of all students in Detroit graduate from high school at this point.
And as I wrote about recently, justifiable homicide in Detroit increased by a whopping 79 percent during 2011, and the rate of self-defense killings in Detroit is now approximately 2200% above the national average.
Is it any wonder that you can still buy a house for $100 in some areas of Detroit?
The truth is that many areas of Detroit now resemble a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Perhaps that is why one team of investors actually wants to turn some of the worst areas of Detroit into a zombie theme park….
Derelict areas of Detroit face being taken over by hordes of ‘flesh and brain-eating zombies’ if an ambitious business plan takes off.
Entrepreneur Mark Siwak wants to create live-action terror theme park ‘Z World’ on Motor City’s run-down and abandoned streets.
Customers would pay to be chased by professional actors and try to seek shelter in ghostly homes, factories and businesses.
You can see some great video of the “ruins of Detroit” right here.
#4 Stockton, California
Stockton is one of the ten most dangerous cities in America and it recently made national headlines when it declared bankruptcy.
Unfortunately, as spending on law enforcement has declined it has given the criminals a lot more room to operate in Stockton. The following is from a recent Business Insider article….
The city has cut more than $90 million in spending over the past few years, specifically in its police department. The city has cut over one quarter of its police jobs, which has led to a “surge in murders,” and has created an “emboldened criminal element” in the city. According to police spokesman Joe Silva, the city has had 87 murders since the start of 2011, 29 of which have already occurred this year. In contrast, there were 35 murders in 2009 and 48 in 2010. With six months left in the year, there have already been more murders in the city since the start of 2011 than the two-year stretch of 2009-2010.
A while back in Stockton a billboard was put up with the following message: “Welcome to the 2nd most dangerous city in California. Stop laying off cops.”
#5 Flint, Michigan
Flint, Michigan is a city that Michael Moore has made famous. Flint once supported hordes of middle class workers thanks to a thriving auto industry, but today it is a just a rotting shell. It looks like a war went through it and nobody bothered to clean up the mess.
At this point, the murder rate in Flint, Michigan is worse than the murder rate in Baghdad. That is how nightmarish things have become in Flint.
The following is from an article in the New York Times….
It’s not that the cops here are scared; it’s just that they’re outmanned, outgunned and flat broke.
Flint is the birthplace of General Motors and the home of the U.A.W.’s first big strike. In case you didn’t know this, the words “Vehicle City” are spelled out on the archway spanning the Flint River.
But the name is a lie. Flint isn’t Vehicle City anymore. The Buick City complex is gone. The spark-plug plant is gone. Fisher Body is gone.
What Flint is now is one of America’s murder capitals. Last year in Flint, population 102,000, there were 66 documented murders. The murder rate here is worse than those in Newark and St. Louis and New Orleans. It’s even worse than Baghdad’s.
Politicians love to go to Flint and make speeches, but things never get any better. The following are comments that Joe Biden made about Flint, Michigan during a recent speech he gave to promote a jobs bill….
“In 2008, when Flint had 265 sworn officers on their police force, there were 35 murders and 91 rapes in this city. In 2010, when Flint had only 144 police officers, the murder rate climbed to 65 and rapes–just to pick two categories–climbed to 229. In 2011, you now only have 125 shields. God only knows what the numbers will be this year for Flint if we don’t rectify it.”
But don’t look down on Flint – these kinds of conditions are coming to where you live soon enough.
#6 West Philly
Did you know that 36.4% of all children that live in Philadelphia are living in poverty?
There are some sections of Philadelphia that are actually very nice, but there are others that look like society has forgotten about them for decades.
A recent article by Jim Quinn entitled “More Than 30 Blocks Of Grey And Decay” described the depressing conditions in West Philadelphia. Quinn refers to his drive through this area as “the 30 Blocks of Squalor”….
The real unemployment rate exceeds 50%, murder is the number one industry, with drugs a close second.
But it was not always this way. Once upon a time, West Philly was actually a thriving area and was full of middle class families.
So what happened?
That is a very good question.
According to Quinn, the physical decay in West Philly is matched by the social decay….
The once proud homes are in shambles. Bags of garbage dot the landscape. Most of the people who live here are parasites on society. Personal responsibility, work ethic, education and marriage are unknown concepts in this community. Even though more than 50% of the students in West Philly drop out of high school and the SAT scores of West Philly High students are lower than whale ****, the bankrupt school district spent $70 million to build a new high school/prison to babysit derelicts and future prison inmates. The windows do not have steel bars yet, as the architect was smart to put all windows at least eight feet above street level.
These days there is a lot of despair in “the city of brotherly love”. It is so sad to see what is happening to what once was such a proud city.
#7 Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland has always had a love/hate relationship with itself. Many who live there call it “the mistake by the lake”, but the truth is that it was once a truly great city.
Sadly, today it is symbol of what has gone wrong with America.
There has been a steady stream of businesses that have left Cleveland and today 52.6% of all children that live in Cleveland are living in poverty.
There are not enough good jobs in Cleveland anymore, and so there are not enough workers to buy the tens of thousands of homes that have been foreclosed or abandoned.
So what is being done with all of those empty homes?
Unfortunately, they are being torn down.
The following comes from a recent CBS News report by Scott Pelley….
Across America, recession-fueled foreclosures and plummeting home values have left countless properties abandoned and vulnerable to looting. As Scott Pelley reports, the problem has gotten so bad in Cleveland, Ohio, that county officials have demolished more than 1,000 homes this year – and plan to demolish 20,000 more – rather than let the blight spread and render nearby homes worthless.
Does that seem right to you?
Should Cleveland be destroying tens of thousands of homes that families could be using?
Something has gone very, very wrong in this country.
#8 Camden, New Jersey
If you want to see what a hellhole looks like just visit Camden, New Jersey.
Although you will probably want to take an armed escort with you.
As industry has abandoned Camden, the gangs have basically taken over. The “growth industries” in Camden these days are drug dealing and prostitution.
In an article entitled “City of Ruins“, reporter Chris Hedges described what life is like in Camden at this point….
There are perhaps a hundred open-air drug markets, most run by gangs like the Bloods, the Latin Kings, Los Nietos and MS-13. Knots of young men in black leather jackets and baggy sweatshirts sell weed and crack to clients, many of whom drive in from the suburbs. The drug trade is one of the city’s few thriving businesses. A weapon, police say, is never more than a few feet away, usually stashed behind a trash can, in the grass or on a porch.
Not that other cities in New Jersey are shining examples for the rest of the world either.
For example, if you want to get really depressed just drive through the bad parts of Newark some time.
#9 St. Louis
According to U.S. News and World Report, the most dangerous city in the United States is St. Louis.
If you have a death wish, just wander around the streets of East St. Louis at night.
There is a decent chance that someone will shoot you.
Things were not always this way in St. Louis. But today things have gotten so bad that you can find packs of wild dogs roaming the city digging through trash and threatening children.
The following is from a report by the local CBS affiliate in St. Louis….
…Lewis Reed is sounding the alarm. “I’ve witnessed packs of dogs, 10 and 15 dogs running together, and I’ve seen all these dogs I’m talking about they don’t have collars, they don’t have tags, these are truly wild dogs,” he said.
Reed says stray dogs are terrorizing the north side. “It’s obscene that parents have to walk their kids to school, in some parts of the city, with a golf club to fend off wild dogs.”
This kind of thing is actually happening in America?
#10 New Orleans, Louisiana
The problems that New Orleans has experienced have been well documented.
But unlike most of the cities listed above, at least New Orleans has an excuse. New Orleans permanently lost 29% of its population after Hurricane Katrina, and large sections of the city were essentially destroyed by that storm.
Even today, there are still some areas of New Orleans that look as if they have just been bombed.
It has been estimated that about 20 percent of the homes in New Orleans are still standing vacant, and poverty is rampant. New Orleans will probably never fully recover to the level it was at before Hurricane Katrina hit.
#11 Oakland, California
Oakland has always been in the shadow of San Francisco, and the contrast between the two cities continues to grow.
Oakland has always been considered one of the more dangerous cities in America, and this year crime rates in Oakland are rising rapidly. The following is from a recent article in the New York Times….
At the beginning of April, murders in Oakland were up 26 percent over a year ago, rapes were up 41 percent, and robberies were up 35 percent.
When Chief Batts arrived as a “change agent” in 2009, the police department employed 837 officers. It now has 635. The department no longer responds to burglaries that are not still in progress, and frequently does not respond to other calls for help.
So if your house has been robbed and the burglars are gone what are you supposed to do?
Due to a crippling lack of resources, the previous police chief decided that his department would no longer be able to respond to all crimes.
The following is a partial list of the crimes that police in Oakland are no longer likely to respond to….
- grand theft
- grand theft: dog
- identity theft
- false information to peace officer
- required to register as sex or arson offender
- dump waste or offensive matter
- loud music
- possess forged notes
- pass fictitious check
- obtain money by false voucher
- fraudulent use of access cards
- stolen license plate
- embezzlement by an employee
- attempted extortion
- false personification of other
- injure telephone/power line
- interfere with power line
- unauthorized cable tv connection
So what do you do if you are a victim of one of those crimes in Oakland?
That is a very good question.
#12 Baltimore, Maryland
If you can believe it, Baltimore was actually once a great city.
But today it has become a crime-ridden, drug-infested hellhole.
I used to drive up to Baltimore all the time. It truly is a “blue collar” city. There are a lot of really hard working people there.
Unfortunately, there are not nearly enough jobs for everyone and a lot of people have turned to drugs and crime.
There are some areas of Baltimore that you really should never enter by yourself. If you do go into them, you might not make it back out.
There was one incident in Baltimore earlier this year that was particularly disturbing.
One poor young man had gotten drunk and was apparently wandering around all by himself. Some thugs approached him and they clearly sensed that he was vulnerable. So they knocked him to the ground, stripped him of his car keys, his watch, his money, his cell phone and his clothes.
A crowd gathered around to watch, and instead of helping the man, several of them got out their cell phones and laughed hysterically while they recorded the incident with their cell phone cameras for YouTube.
What made all of this even sadder is that this happened right in front of a Baltimore courthouse.
What in the world has happened to this nation?
All of us that still love this country should be deeply saddened by everything above.
America is rotting from the inside out, and if we are ever going to find any solutions we need to start admitting how bad things have really become.
The truth is that our problems are not limited to one political party, one special interest group or to one region of the country. The social decay that is plaguing America can literally be found everywhere.
For much more on this, please see the following four articles….
1) “25 Signs The Collapse Of America Is Speeding Up As Society Rots From The Inside Out”
2) “70 Reasons To Mourn For America”
3) “20 Signs That Society Is Breaking Down And That America Has Been Overrun By Psychos”
4) “12 Factors That Are Turning The Streets Of America Into A Living Hell”
So don’t laugh at Detroit or Cleveland or St. Louis.
The rest of the country is declining too.
If the city where you live is not a hellhole already, it will be soon enough.