The global economy is structured to systematically funnel wealth to the very top of the pyramid, and this centralization of global wealth is accelerating with each passing year. According to the United Nations, 85 super wealthy people have more money than the poorest 3.5 billion people on the planet combined. And 1.2 billion of those poor people live on less than $1.25 a day. There is something deeply, deeply broken about a system that produces these kinds of results. Seven out of every ten people on the planet live in countries where the gap between the wealthy and the poor has increased in the last 30 years. Despite our technological advances, somewhere around a billion people go to bed hungry every single night. And when our fundamentally flawed financial system finally does collapse, it will be the poor that will suffer the worst.
Now, let me make one thing clear at the outset.
Big government and more socialism are not the answer to anything. Big government and more socialism almost always result in increased oppression and increased poverty. If you want to see where that road ultimately leads to, just look at North Korea.
What we need is a system that empowers individuals and families to work hard, be creative, build businesses and to take care of themselves.
But instead, we have a system where all power and all wealth are increasingly controlled by giant banks and giant corporations that are in turn controlled by the global elite. The “financialization” of the global economy has turned almost everyone on the planet into “deft serfs”, and the compound interest on all of that debt enables the global elite to constantly increase their giant piles of money.
As I have written about previously, the total amount of government debt in the world has increased by about 40 percent since the last recession.
And when you consider all forms of debt, the grand total for the planet is now up to a whopping 223 trillion dollars.
This enables the super wealthy to constantly become even wealthier. It is like a giant vacuum cleaner that sucks wealth out of all of our pockets and transfers it to them.
It has been reported that the global elite have approximately 32 trillion dollars stashed in offshore banks around the globe.
But that is only what we know about.
What we don’t know about is probably far greater.
Just like most people don’t realize that men like Bill Gates and Carlos Slim are not the wealthiest men on the planet.
The people that are really at the top of the food chain are masters at hiding wealth and they absolutely do not want their names being thrown around in the media.
Meanwhile, those at the bottom of the pyramid continue to suffer.
For example, it was been widely reported that there are more people in slavery today than ever before in human history.
That is an absolutely amazing statistic. It is hard to comprehend how that could be possible, and yet it is. A new UN report says that there are 21 million slaves around the globe right now…
Nearly 21 million people are working as modern day slaves, falling victim to trafficking, forced labor and sexual exploitation, a new UN report finds. The illicit market in exploited people generates billions of dollars in profit worldwide.
The report by the International Labour Organization (ILO), which draws on information gathered in a 2012 survey, also found that annual profits stemming from forced labor are three times higher than previous estimates.
“Put into perspective, the 21 million victims in forced labor and the more than US$150 billion in illegal profits generated by their work exceeds the population and GDP of many countries or territories around the world,” the ILO says.
This is an utter abomination, but this is actually happening all over the planet. The following is one story that I recently came across out of India…
Dialu Nial’s life changed forever when he was held down by his neck in a forest and one of his kidnappers raised an axe to strike.
He was asked if he wanted to lose his life, a leg or a hand.
Six days earlier, Nial had been among 12 young men being taken against their will to make bricks on the outskirts of one of India’s biggest cities, Hyderabad.
During the journey, they got a chance to escape and ran for it – but Nial and a friend were caught and this was their punishment.
And yes, he did end up losing his hand.
Fortunately, most of us are not facing that kind of oppression.
But that doesn’t mean that we aren’t slaves. The borrower is the servant of the lender, and over the past four decades the total amount of debt in America has gone from about 2.2 trillion dollars to nearly 60 trillion dollars. Many of us work as “debt serfs” our entire lives, and we never even know the names or the faces of those that we are making rich as we slowly pay off our debts.
And all of this debt is one of the primary factors destroying the middle class in America. Just this past week, the New York Times reported that the wealth of “the typical household” in the United States has declined by 36 percent over the past decade…
The inflation-adjusted net worth for the typical household was $87,992 in 2003. Ten years later, it was only $56,335, or a 36 percent decline, according to a study financed by the Russell Sage Foundation. Those are the figures for a household at the median point in the wealth distribution — the level at which there are an equal number of households whose worth is higher and lower. But during the same period, the net worth of wealthy households increased substantially.
The Russell Sage study also examined net worth at the 95th percentile. (For households at that level, 94 percent of the population had less wealth and 4 percent had more.) It found that for this well-do-do slice of the population, household net worth increased 14 percent over the same 10 years. Other research, by economists like Edward Wolff at New York University, has shown even greater gains in wealth for the richest 1 percent of households.
Does that upset you when you read that?
And the outlook for the next generation is even worse. Most of our young adults are absolutely drowning in student loan debt and other forms of debt, and wages for new college graduates are terrible.
Sadly, most people don’t even realize how the global financial system works or why the gap between the super wealthy and the rest of us continues to grow so rapidly.
It has been estimated that the wealthiest one percent currently have 110 trillion dollars.
That is 65 times more wealth than the bottom half of the global population combined.
They are hoarding wealth as we approach some of the most unstable days in all of human history.
So how do you think all of this will play out? Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…
Everywhere you look, Americans appear to be extremely obsessed with wealth and money. These days, networks such as CNN endlessly run “news stories” with titles such as “Best cars for the super rich“. We have television shows where people proudly show off how wealthy they are, and it seems like Hollywood is putting out an endless parade of movies that glorify the lifestyles of the elite. We have hordes of motivational speakers and “life coaches” that will teach you how to be “more successful” in life, and every small movement in the stock market is carefully monitored by the mainstream news media. Even in the world of faith, we have an entire class of ministers known as “prosperity preachers”, and many of those ministers wear that label quite proudly. Yes, those that grew up in the 1980s may have been the “greed is good” generation, but the truth is that they didn’t have anything on us. As a society we love money, and we are not ashamed to admit it. In fact, there are times we absolutely revel in it. For example, Time Magazine published an article this year entitled “Science Proves It: Greed Is Good” and hardly anyone even raised an eyebrow. But where will America’s sick obsession with wealth and money end? Could it end up destroying us?
I got the idea for this article when I was browsing through CNN’s website. The following are eight “news stories” about wealth that were featured on CNN just on Thursday alone…
#1 “The richest Americans in history”
#2 “How much do you need to be happy?”
#3 “Where are the super rich?”
#4 “From broke to billionaire”
#5 “Homes: What $25 million buys around the world”
#6 “Best cars for the super rich”
#7 “America’s homes are bigger than ever”
#8 “Mega yacht with a movie theater”
This is what passes for news these days?
It has been said that we tend to talk about the things that we are obsessed with.
And CNN is clearly obsessed with wealth.
Not that there is anything wrong with having money.
If none of us had any money, we would all be homeless and starving. So the truth is that money can be very useful. But when it becomes an idol, that is when it becomes a problem.
And because we have taught entire generations of Americans that becoming wealthy is one of the primary goals in life, it is creating a tremendous amount of envy, jealousy, frustration and anger among those that have not been able to become wealthy.
In recent years, the level of bitterness and resentment that the rest of the nation has toward the very wealthy has risen to an unprecedented level. It has become exceedingly apparent that the system is designed to funnel wealth to the very top of the food chain, and many of those at the bottom of the food chain are starting to become extremely upset about this.
Since the last financial crisis, almost all of the income gains have gone to the top one percent of all income earners. The following comes from a recent Huffington Post article…
Economic statistics show that incomes for the top 1 percent of U.S. households soared 31 percent from 2009 through 2012, after adjusting for inflation, yet inched up an average of 0.4 percent for those making less. Many economists are sounding alarms that the income gap, greater now than at any time since the Depression, is hurting the economy by limiting growth in consumer spending.
And income inequality has become such a hot topic that it has even produced a New York Times bestseller by a French economist named Thomas Piketty. This is what CBS News recently had to say about his book…
His book has landed on that debate like a bomb. Piketty’s thesis: that the rate of return on capital, such as real estate, dividends and other financial assets, is racing away from the rate of growth required to maintain a healthy economy. If that trend continues for an extended period of time — if wealth becomes ever more concentrated in the hands of a few — then inequality is likely to get worse, says Piketty, 43, who started his academic career as an assistant professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and who now teaches at the Paris School of Economics.
Another reason “Capital” has caught the public’s attention is that inequality is evident in what are by now a host of familiar symptoms. Stagnant pay, except among the super-rich. Soaring health care and education costs. The diminished expectations commonly found in young, especially those lacking college degrees, and old alike, as retirement becomes something to endure rather than to enjoy.
It would be foolish to deny that the gap between the rich and the poor is growing. Even as the stock market reaches unprecedented heights, the middle class is dying and one out of every five children in America is living in poverty.
On a global scale, the wealthiest one percent now have 65 times more wealth than the entire poorest half of the global population does.
That is an astounding figure.
Most people don’t realize this, but the ultra-wealthy have approximately 32 trillion dollars (that we know about) stashed in offshore banks around the planet. That amount of money would almost be about enough to pay off the entire U.S. national debt and buy every good and service produced in the United States for an entire year.
Meanwhile, the poorest half of the world’s population only owns about 1 percent of all global wealth, and about a billion people throughout the world go to bed hungry every night.
If greed was going to save the world, it would have done it by now. At this point, the wealthy have accumulated more wealth than they ever have before. For example, according to Zero Hedge the total amount of wealth in the U.S. has just hit a brand new record high…
Earlier today the Fed released its latest Flow of Funds report, which showed that in the first quarter household net worth rose from last quarter’s $80.3 trillion to a new record high of $81.8 trillion, driven by a $1.5 trillion increase in total assets while household liabilities were virtually unchanged in the quarter. And since the Fed is onboarding all the liabilities why should households bother with debt: that’s what the central bank balance sheet is for.
As for the proceeds, they go to the mega rich: of the $81.8 trillion in net worth, 70.4% of the total amount or $67.2 trillion, was in financial assets: the higest it has ever been courtesy of just one person: Ben Bernanke, and to a far lesser extent Janet Yellen who however is tasked with picking up Bernanke’s pieces.
But of course most people who are rich are only rich on paper.
As noted above, 67.2 trillion dollars of the total of 81.8 trillion dollars of wealth in this nation is made up of financial assets.
So what happens if there is a major financial crisis (such as the derivatives bubble bursting) which causes the total amount of financial wealth in the United States to drop by 50% or more?
What would such an event do to our country?
We are so obsessed with wealth and money that it is truly frightening to think about how we would react as a society if it was taken away.
But this current financial bubble will not last forever.
At some point it will come to an end.
When it does, will our society throw a massive temper tantrum?
Did you know that the 85 richest people in the world have about as much wealth as the poorest 50% of the entire global population does? In other words, 85 extremely wealthy individuals have about as much wealth as the poorest 3,500,000,000 do. This shocking statistic comes from a new report on global poverty by Oxfam. And actually Oxfam’s report probably significantly underestimates the true scope of the problem, because Oxfam relies on publicly reported numbers. At the very top of the food chain, the global elite are masters at hiding their wealth. In fact, as I have written about previously, the global elite have approximately 32 trillion dollars (that we know about) stashed in offshore banks around the world. That would be about enough to pay off the entire U.S. national debt and buy every good and service produced in the United States for an entire year. These elitists live on an entirely different planet than the rest of us do. In fact, according to Oxfam, the richest one percent of the global population has 65 times more wealth than the bottom half of the global population combined.
There is certainly nothing wrong with making money. In fact, the founders of the United States intended for this nation to be a place where free markets thrived and where everyone could pursue their dreams. Unfortunately, this country (along with the rest of the world) has moved very much in the opposite direction. Today, we have a debt-based global financial system which is dominated by gigantic predator corporations and big banks. Working together with national governments, these corporations and banks have constructed a system that I like to call “Corporatism” in which the percentage of all global wealth that is being funneled to the very top of the pyramid steadily grows over time.
The Founding Fathers were very correct to be very suspicious of large concentrations of power. In the early days of the United States, the federal government was very small and the size and scope of corporations was greatly limited. Our nation thrived and a huge middle class blossomed.
Sadly, over the past several decades the pendulum has completely swung in the other direction. Today, our society is completely and totally dominated by big banks, big corporations and big government.
And of course this is also happening in virtually every other nation on the face of the planet. The global elite have rigged the game to send just about all of the rewards their way, and it is working. The following are facts taken directly from Oxfam’s latest report…
•Almost half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just one percent of the population.
•The wealth of the one percent richest people in the world amounts to $110 trillion. That’s 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world’s population.
•The bottom half of the world’s population owns the same as the richest 85 people in the world.
•Seven out of ten people live in countries where economic inequality has increased in the last 30 years.
•The richest one percent increased their share of income in 24 out of 26 countries for which we have data between 1980 and 2012.
•In the US, the wealthiest one percent captured 95 percent of post-financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom 90 percent became poorer.
Starting on Wednesday, several thousand members of the global elite will gather for the World Economic Forum meetings in Davos, Switzerland. The following is how USA Today described this conference.
For several days at the end of January, presidents, prime ministers, monarchs and corporate titans jostle with actors, rock stars and major influencers for top billing at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. The confab takes place in the Alpine village of Davos, about 90 miles southeast of Zurich, and for a brief spell each year the pristine ski resort half-sheds its Graubünden roots and becomes a ground zero for the political and business elite.
Unless you are independently wealthy, you can forget about going to this conference. A ticket to Davos is going to cost you about $30,000, and that is on top of the $55,000 that it costs to join the organization.
Needless to say, it is an organization of the elite, by the elite and for the elite.
This year, the theme of the meeting is “The Reshaping of the World: Consequences for Society, Politics and Business“. And the founder of the World Economic Forum says that the time has come to press the “reset” button for the global economy…
It’s time to press the “reset” button on the world, the founder of the World Economic Forum said Wednesday, addressing media ahead of the WEF’s much ballyhooed annual meeting in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, that gets underway in a week’s time.
“The world is complex, it’s fast-moving, it’s interconnected, and we in Davos want to provide a mirror to the world as it is. It is not a meeting devoted to one set of issues. It’s a meeting that address the complexity of our world,” said Klaus Schwab, the WEF’s founder and executive chairman.
At first glance, that sounds pretty good.
Personally, I would love to hit a “reset” button for the global economy.
But what the elite mean by “reset” is much different from what most of the rest of us would mean.
The following is an excerpt from the executive summary for the agenda for the 2014 World Economic Forum…
“At an international level, the formal architecture for global governance was not designed for the interdisciplinary challenges and collective action problems of today. As a result, international cooperation has yet to fully enter the information age and capture its associated productivity gains.”
For the global elite, the answers to our problems always involve more centralization and more “global governance”. In other words, the answers to our problems always involve giving them more control and more power.
The elite never actually want the pendulum to swing back in the direction of the “little guy”. The elite are generally pleased with how the game is being played because they are winning.
Most people don’t even realize that they are participants in a debt-based neo-feudalist system in which money is being used as a form of social control.
As I have written about previously, there is about 190 trillion dollars of debt in the world, but global GDP is only about 70 trillion dollars.
There is no way that all of this debt could ever be paid off at one time. It is mathematically impossible. Over time, all of this debt transfers the wealth of the planet away from us and to the global elite. If this game was allowed to go on long enough, eventually they would have nearly all of it.
And some would argue that we are already getting close to that point. A study by the World Institute for Development Economics Research discovered that the bottom half of the global population only owns approximately 1 percent of all wealth, and at this point about a billion people throughout the world go to bed hungry every night.
This is one of the reasons why I am so adamant about the fact that the Federal Reserve needs to be shut down. It is at the very heart of the debt-based system that we have in the United States, and over the past 100 years it has brought us to the brink of economic Armageddon.
Sadly, most Americans do not understand any of these things. They just assume that the debt-fueled prosperity that we have been enjoying will be able to go on indefinitely.
So is there any hope for the “little guy”?
Well, you could try to win the one billion dollar NCAA tournament bracket contest that Warren Buffett is backing.
Or you could go out and try to win the lottery or try to date a famous professional athlete.
But the odds of any of those things actually happening are so low that they aren’t even worth mentioning.
Personally, I would rather spend my time trying to wake people up and help them understand how our global system really works.
I believe that a “great awakening” is coming.
I believe that millions of people are going to start breaking out of the “matrix of control” that has such a tight grip on their lives and are going to start thinking for themselves.
I believe that as the darkness gets even darker that the light is going to get even brighter. I believe that we are going to see “renewal” on a whole bunch of different levels.
Yes, a great economic collapse is coming.
Yes, there is going to be a tremendous amount of pain.
But it won’t all be bad news.
The times ahead are going to be full of adventure and excitement for those who are willing to embrace it.
So what do you think about what is coming in the years ahead? Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…
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.
If you want to live the high life, you don’t have to become a rap star, a professional athlete or a Wall Street banker. All it really takes is winning an election. Right now, more than half of all the members of Congress are millionaires, and most of them leave “public service” far wealthier than when they entered it. Since most of them have so much money, you would think that they would be willing to do a little “belt-tightening” for the sake of the American people. After all, things are supposedly “extremely tight” in Washington D.C. right now. In fact, just the other day Nancy Pelosi insisted that there were “no more cuts to make” to the federal budget. But even as they claim that things are so tough right now, our politicians continue to live the high life at the expense of U.S. taxpayers. The statistics that I am about to share with you are very disturbing. Please share them with everyone that you know. The American people deserve the truth.
According to the Weekly Standard, an absolutely insane amount of money is being spent on the “hair care needs” of U.S. Senators…
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.
Keep in mind that there are only 100 U.S. Senators, and many of them don’t have much hair left at this point.
But hair care is just the tip of the iceberg. The following are 21 other ways that our politicians are living the high life at your expense…
#1 According to Roll Call’s annual survey of Congressional wealth, the super wealthy in Congress just continue to get much wealthier even though they are supposedly dedicating their lives to “public service”…
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) is the richest Member of Congress for the second year in a row, reporting a vast fortune that in 2011 had a minimum net worth surpassing $300 million for the first time.
McCaul is followed by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who reported a minimum net worth of $198.65 million, and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who reported a minimum net worth of $140.55 million. The two lawmakers swapped places since last year’s list.
The lawmakers who round out the top five, Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), also flipped positions from 2010 to 2011, with Warner’s reported minimum worth rising about $9 million to $85.81 million and Rockefeller’s minimum worth rising slightly to $83.08 million.
#2 Amazingly, the 50th most wealthy member of Congress has a net worth of 6.14 million dollars.
#3 At this point, more than half of those “serving the American people” in Congress are millionaires.
#4 In one recent year, an average of $4,005,900 of U.S. taxpayer money was spent on “personal” and “office” expenses per U.S. Senator.
#5 Once they leave Washington, former members of Congress continue to collect huge checks 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.
#6 Speaker of the House John Boehner would bring home a yearly pension of close to $85,000 if he left Congress when his current term ends in 2014.
#7 At this point, quite a few former lawmakers are collecting federal pensions for life worth at least $100,000 annually. That list includes such notable names as Newt Gingrich, Bob Dole, Trent Lott, Dick Gephardt and Dick Cheney.
#8 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.
#9 Nearly 500,000 federal employees now make at least $100,000 a year.
#10 During one recent year, the average federal employee in the Washington D.C. area received total compensation worth more than $126,000.
#11 During one recent year, compensation for federal employees came to a grand total of approximately 447 billion dollars.
#12 If you can believe it, there are 77,000 federal workers that make more than the governors of their own states do.
#13 When Joe Biden and his staff took a trip to London, the hotel bill cost U.S. taxpayers $459,388.65.
#14 Joe Biden and his staff also stopped in Paris for one night. The hotel bill for that one night came to $585,000.50.
#15 When Biden and his staff visited Moscow for two days in 2011, the total hotel bill came to $665,445.00.
#16 During 2012, the salaries of Barack Obama’s three climate change advisers combined came to a grand total of more than $370,000.
#17 Overall, 139 different White House staffers were making at least $100,000 during 2012, and there were 20 staffers that made the maximum of $172,200.
#18 It is estimated that the trip that the Obamas took to Africa cost U.S. taxpayers about 100 million dollars.
#19 The Obamas only have one dog named “Bo”, but the White House “dog handler” reportedly makes $102,000 per year and sometimes he is even flown to where the Obamas are vacationing so that he can take care of the dog.
#20 There is always at least one projectionist at the White House 24 hours a day just in case there is someone that wants to watch a movie. Apparently turning on a DVD player is too much to ask.
#21 In one recent year, more than 1.4 billion dollars was spent on the Obamas. Meanwhile, British taxpayers only spent about 58 million dollars on the entire royal family.
So who pays for all of this extravagance?
The American people do of course.
Unfortunately, what most of our politicians fail to understand is that most families are struggling tremendously right now.
This week, Yahoo featured the story of a 77-year-old former executive that is now flipping burgers and serving drinks to make ends meet. He says that he now earns in a week what he once earned in a single hour, but he is thankful to have a job in this economic environment…
It seems like another life. At the height of his corporate career, Tom Palome was pulling in a salary in the low six-figures and flying first class on business trips to Europe.
Today, the 77-year-old former vice president of marketing for Oral-B juggles two part-time jobs: one as a $10-an-hour food demonstrator at Sam’s Club, the other flipping burgers and serving drinks at a golf club grill for slightly more than minimum wage.
While Palome worked hard his entire career, paid off his mortgage and put his kids through college, like most Americans he didn’t save enough for retirement. Even many affluent baby boomers who are approaching the end of their careers haven’t come close to saving the 10 to 20 times their annual working income that investment experts say they’ll need to maintain their standard of living in old age.
So many Americans are barely making it from month to month at this point. Most people work very, very hard for their money, and it is very discouraging to see our politicians waste our hard-earned tax dollars so frivolously.
Fortunately, there are signs that the American people are starting to get fed up with all of this. According to a stunning new Gallup survey, more Americans than ever before (60 percent) believe that the federal government has too much power.
So what do you think?
Do you think that the government is too big and too wasteful?
Please feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…
The percentage of Americans that are economically independent has dropped to a stunningly low level. In order to be economically independent, you have got to be able to take care of yourself without any assistance from anyone else. Unless you are independently wealthy, that means that you either have your own business or you have a full-time job. Unfortunately, as you will see below, the percentage of Americans that are self-employed is at an all-time record low and the percentage of Americans with a full-time job has declined to a level not seen in about 30 years. As a result, more Americans than ever find themselves forced to turn to the government for assistance. When you add it all up, about half of all Americans get money from the government each month these days. And yes, there will always be poor people that cannot take care of themselves that need help, but when you have more than half of the population dependent on the government that is a major problem. You see, the truth is that our independence is systematically being taken away from us and we are steadily being made serfs of the state. And once you become a serf of the state, it is very hard to resist anything the government is doing in a meaningful way. After all, the money that you are getting from the government is enabling you to survive. In essence, your allegiance has been at least partially purchased and you may not even realize it.
Of course this is not how the United States was supposed to operate. We were never intended to be a collectivist nation. Rather, we were intended to be a country where liberty and freedom thrived and where most people would be able to independently take care of themselves.
Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly difficult to be economically independent in America today. One reason for this is that the environment for small businesses in this country is the most toxic that it has ever been before. The federal government, our state governments and even our local governments are constantly coming up with new ways to oppress small business.
And just this week we learned that the IRS is specifically targeting small business owners and sending them threatening letters.
Yes, you read that correctly. Despite all of the trouble that the IRS is currently in, they are still choosing to specifically go after small businesses with both barrels. As a recent Forbes article explained, the IRS plans to send threatening letters to 20,000 small businesses all over the country…
The tax agency is doing some targeting of its own, fingering at least 20,000 small businesses. And that number will grow. The scrutiny on this group and in this way is a little frightening. Small business people across America are receiving IRS notices. More will be coming. The IRS gathers data from many third parties—including credit card companies—to see if you picked up every nickel of income.
This is absolutely disgusting, but it is just another example of how small business is being eradicated in the United States. As I mentioned in a previous article, the percentage of Americans that are self-employed has dropped to a record low…
Well, at least we can achieve economic independence by getting a full-time job, right?
Sadly, that is becoming increasingly difficult to do as well.
The chart below was created by Chartist Friend from Pittsburgh, and it shows that the percentage of working age Americans with a full-time job dropped sharply to 47 percent during the last recession and it has stayed about that level ever since. The yellow line is the line in the chart which demonstrates this…
As you can see, we briefly touched that level in the 1970s and again briefly in the 1980s, but it is important to remember that the percentage of women that chose to seek employment was much lower back then. When you take that into account, the current level of full-time employment in this country looks even worse.
The quality of jobs in this country has been steadily falling for quite some time, and we are rapidly transitioning to an economy where part-time employment will be much more prominent.
But you can’t support a family or be economically independent on a part-time income. In fact, most of those that try to make it on a part-time income find that they must turn to the government for help.
And right now, a higher percentage of Americans are economically dependent on the government than ever before. The following is from a recent article by Charles Hugh-Smith…
Why? Because half of us are getting a direct check, benefit or payment from the state. Over 61 million people get a check from Social Security, over 50 million draw Medicare benefits, another 50 million get Medicaid benefits, 47 million receive SNAP food stamp benefits, 22 million people work directly for the state on all levels, millions more work for government contractors that are effectively proxies of the state, millions more receive Federally funded extended unemployment, retirement checks, Section 8 housing benefits, and so on.
Orwell underestimated the power of complicity. Once a citizen receives a direct payment from the state, the state has purchased their complicity, for no matter how much that citizen may complain privately about the state, he or she will never risk the payment/benefit by resisting the state in a politically meaningful way.
Once you get a check from the state, you begin loving your servitude. The collusion of the state and its central bank is truly a thing of authoritarian beauty: the central bank (the Federal Reserve) creates money out of thin air and buys government bonds with the new money. The state can thus borrow unlimited sums at low rates of interest, and continue to send tens of millions of individual payments out to buy the passivity and complicity of its citizens.
So what is the solution?
Of course the solution would be for our economy to produce more small businesses and more full-time jobs so that more people could achieve economic independence.
Sadly, right now our system is steadily killing full-time jobs and small businesses, and there does not appear to be any hope for a major turnaround any time soon.
At this point, the number of Americans that are financially dependent on the government is absolutely staggering, and it gets worse with each passing year. Just consider the following statistics which come from one of my previous articles entitled “21 Facts About Rising Government Dependence In America That Will Blow Your Mind“…
1. Back in 1960, the ratio of social welfare benefits to salaries and wages was approximately 10 percent. In the year 2000, the ratio of social welfare benefits to salaries and wages was approximately 21 percent. Today, the ratio of social welfare benefits to salaries and wages is approximately 35 percent.
2. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 49 percent of all Americans live in a home that gets direct monetary benefits from the federal government. Back in 1983, less than a third of all Americans lived in a home that received direct monetary benefits from the federal government.
3. Overall, more than 70 percent of all federal spending goes to “dependence-creating programs”.
4. According to the Survey of Income and Program Participation conducted by the U.S. Census, well over 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government. Sadly, that figure does not even include Social Security or Medicare.
5. Today, the federal government runs about 80 different “means-tested welfare programs”, and almost all of those programs have experienced substantial growth in recent years.
6. The number of Americans on Social Security disability now exceeds the entire population of the state of Virginia.
7. If the number of Americans on Social Security disability were gathered into a separate state, it would be the 8th largest state in the country.
8. In 1968, there were 51 full-time workers for every American on disability. Today, there are just 13 full-time workers for every American on disability.
9. Right now, there are approximately 56 million Americans collecting Social Security benefits. By 2035, that number is projected to soar to an astounding 91 million.
10. Overall, the Social Security system is facing a 134 trillion dollar shortfall over the next 75 years.
11. The number of Americans on food stamps has grown from 17 million in the year 2000 to more than 47 million today.
12. Back in the 1970s, about one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps. Today, about one out of every 6.5 Americans is on food stamps.
13. Today, the number of Americans on food stamps exceeds the entire population of the nation of Spain.
14. According to one calculation, the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of “Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.”
15. According to a report from the Center for Immigration Studies, 43 percent of all immigrants that have been in the United States for at least 20 years are still on welfare.
16. Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid. Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid, and things are about to get a whole lot worse. It is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.
17. As I wrote about recently, it is being projected that the number of Americans on Medicare will grow from 50.7 million in 2012 to 73.2 million in 2025.
18. At this point, Medicare is facing unfunded liabilities of more than 38 trillion dollars over the next 75 years. That comes to approximately $328,404 for every single household in the United States.
19. Back in 1990, the federal government accounted for just 32 percent of all health care spending in America. It is being projected that the federal government will account for more than 50 percent of all health care spending in the United States very soon.
20. The amount of money that the federal government gives directly to the American people has increased by 32 percent since Barack Obama entered the White House.
21. When you total it all up, American households are now receiving more money directly from the federal government than they are paying to the government in taxes.
Once again, there is certainly nothing wrong with helping the poor, and there will always be people that need a helping hand.
But what we have in America today is far beyond that. What we have in America today is a situation where economic independence is being systematically eradicated and the government is increasingly being expected to provide our daily bread and to take care of all of us from the cradle to the grave.
And once you are dependent on the system, at least part of you is going to become resistant to anyone or anything that threatens to bring meaningful change to the system because your survival depends on the system.
Or could I be wrong about this?
What do you think?
Please feel free to share your opinion by posting a comment below…
Broke nations are bailing out other broke nations with borrowed money. Round and round we go – where we stop nobody knows. As of April, 41 different countries had active financial “arrangements” with the IMF. Sometimes they are called “bailouts” and sometimes they are called other things, but in every single case they involve loans. And most of the time, these loans come with very stringent conditions. It is a form of “global governance” that most people don’t even know about. For decades, the IMF has been able to use money as a way to force developing nations to do what it wants them to do. But up until fairly recently, this had mostly only been done with poor nations. But now an increasing number of wealthy nations are turning to the IMF for help. We have already seen Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Cyprus receive bailouts which were partly funded by the IMF, Spain has received a bailout for its banking sector, and as I noted yesterday, it is being projected that Italy will need a major bailout within six months. How long can this go on before the entire system collapses?
Well, that would depend on how much money the lender has.
And so where does the IMF get their money?
The IMF gets their money from a bunch of nations that are absolutely drowning in debt themselves.
The IMF is funded by “wealthy” nations that dominate the global economy. The following is how Wikipedia describes the IMF’s quota system…
The IMF’s quota system was created to raise funds for loans. Each IMF member country is assigned a quota, or contribution, that reflects the country’s relative size in the global economy. Each member’s quota also determines its relative voting power. Thus, financial contributions from member governments are linked to voting power in the organization.
These are the five largest contributors to IMF funding…
United States – 16.75%
Japan – 6.23%
Germany – 5.81%
France – 4.29%
UK – 4.29%
But those countries are in trouble themselves. The U.S. has a debt to GDP ratio of over 100%. Japan has a debt to GDP ratio of over 200%.
The truth is that these countries are funding the IMF with borrowed money.
So what happens when the contributors run out of money and can’t contribute anymore?
All over the globe, an increasing number of countries are reaching out to the IMF for help. For example, on Thursday we learned that Pakistan is getting a new bailout from the IMF…
Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund have reached an initial agreement on a bailout of at least $5.3 billion.
Pakistani Finance Minister Muhammad Ishaq Dar and IMF mission chief Jeffrey Franks announced the agreement at a press conference Thursday.
And the new government in Egypt is hoping that the revolution that just occurred will not stop the flow of IMF funds…
In recent months, a handful of neighboring countries such as Qatar have been keeping Egypt’s economy afloat by loaning the country’s central bank cash. That has bought Morsi government time to delay implementing the politically-sensitive measures the IMF has sought as a precondition before it gives Cairo a $4.8 billion credit line. In particular, the IMF had said that Egypt must raise taxes and begin phasing out fuel subsidies.
It’s not the only cash at stake. Other international donors have vowed another $9.7 billion for the country once the IMF program is in place. Roughly $1.55 billion in bilateral aid from Washington could also be held up: under U.S. law, the administration can’t loan money to countries where the military is involved in an unconstitutional change in government.
But what often happens with these bailouts is that the “conditions” that are imposed prove extremely difficult to meet. For example, Greece has not implemented all of the “reforms” that they were ordered to implement, and so the flow of future funds may be threatened…
As Greece looks set to miss a key reform deadline set by international lenders, which could jeopardize further financial aid, a Greek government minister said it wasn’t Greece’s fault that it couldn’t live up to the demands of a flawed bailout program.
“There are failures [by Greece],but you assume that the program that has been effectively imposed on us is perfect, which is far from the case,” Nikos Dendias, minister of Public Order and Citizen Protection, told CNBC on Thursday.
His comments come after Greek finance ministry officials said on Wednesday that Greece would not meet targets on reforming its public sector by the deadline set by international lenders, putting further financial aid in jeopardy.
Once a nation gets hooked on bailout money from the IMF or from other international sources, it can be very hard to get off of it. But that is what these globalist organizations like – they want to be able to use money as a form of control.
As we saw with Greece, sometimes a nation will need bailout after bailout. And it appears that is also going to be the case with Portugal. The Portuguese government is on the verge of collapsing and their financial situation is being described as “very fragile”…
Portugal had been held up as an example of a bailout country doing all the right things to get its economy back in shape. That reputation is now harder to sustain and even before this latest crisis, the International Monetary Fund reported last month that Lisbon’s debt position was “very fragile”.
Coming soon after the near-collapse of the Greek government, which has been given until Monday to show it can meet the demands of its own EU-IMF bailout, the euro zone may be on the brink of falling back into full-on crisis.
Right now, Portuguese bond yields are absolutely soaring and the Portuguese economy is rapidly heading into depression.
Portugal is going to desperately need the assistance of the IMF.
But what happens when the nations that primarily fund the IMF start failing themselves?
The U.S. is a complete and total financial disaster and so is Japan. Much of Europe is already experiencing a full-blown economic depression and even China is showing signs of trouble.
So if the “wealthy” nations fail, who is going to be there to help the “poor” nations?
Did you know that you are involved in the most massive Ponzi scheme that has ever existed? To illustrate my point, allow me to tell you a little story. Once upon a time, there was a man named Sam. When he was younger, he had been a very principled young man that had worked incredibly hard and that had built a large number of tremendously successful businesses. He became fabulously wealthy and he accumulated far more gold than anyone else on the planet. But when he started to get a little older he forgot the values of his youth. He started making really bad decisions and some of his relatives started to take advantage of him. One particularly devious relative was a nephew named Fred. One day Fred approached his uncle Sam with a scheme that his friends the bankers had come up with. What happened next would change the course of Sam’s life forever.
Even though Sam was the wealthiest man in the world by far, Fred convinced Sam that he could have an even higher standard of living by going into a little bit of debt. In exchange for IOUs issued by his uncle Sam, Fred would give him paper notes that he printed off on his printing press. Since the paper notes would be backed by the gold that Sam was holding, everyone would consider them to be valuable. Sam could take those paper notes and spend them on whatever his heart desired. Uncle Sam started to do this, and he started to become addicted to all of the nice things that those paper notes would buy him.
Fred took the IOUs that he received from his uncle and he auctioned them off to the bankers. But there was a problem. The IOUs issued by Uncle Sam had to be paid back with interest. When the time came to pay back the IOUs, Uncle Sam could not afford to pay back the debts, pay the interest on those debts, and buy all of the nice things that he wanted. So Uncle Sam issued even more IOUs than before so that he could get enough notes to pay off his debts. As time rolled on, this pattern just kept on repeating. Uncle Sam repeatedly paid off his old debts by taking out even larger new debts.
Meanwhile, since the notes that Uncle Sam was using were backed by gold, everyone else in the world decided to start using them to trade with one another. This was greatly beneficial to Uncle Sam, because the rest of the world was glad to send him oil, home electronics, plastic trinkets and anything else that Uncle Sam wanted in exchange for his gold-backed notes.
Eventually, however, the rest of the world started to suspect that the number of gold-backed notes that Uncle Sam was issuing far exceeded the amount of gold that Uncle Sam actually had. So the rest of the world started to trade in their notes for gold.
And by that time Uncle Sam definitely did not have enough gold to back up his notes. Realizing that the scheme was starting to collapse, one day Uncle Sam announced that his notes would no longer be backed by gold. But he insisted that the rest of the world should continue using his notes because he was the wealthiest man on the planet and everyone should just trust him.
And the rest of the world did continue to trust him, although it wasn’t the same as before.
As Uncle Sam got greedier and greedier, he started to issue IOUs and spend notes at a rate that nobody ever dreamed possible. The great businesses that Uncle Sam had built when he was younger were starting to decline, and Uncle Sam started buying far more stuff from the rest of the world than they bought from him. The rest of the world was still glad to take Uncle Sam’s notes because they used them to trade with one another, but they started accumulating far more notes than they actually needed.
Not sure exactly what to do with mountains of these notes, the rest of the world started to loan them back to Uncle Sam. It eventually got to the point where Uncle Sam owed the rest of the world trillions of these notes. Even though the notes were losing value at a rate of close to 10 percent a year, Uncle Sam somehow convinced the rest of the world to loan him notes at an average rate of interest of less than 3 percent a year.
One day Uncle Sam woke up and realized that the amount of debt that he owed was now more than 5000 times larger than it was when Fred had first approached him with this ill-fated scheme. Uncle Sam now owed more than 16 trillion notes to his creditors, and Uncle Sam had already made future financial commitments of 202 trillion notes that he would never be able to pay. Meanwhile, the notes that Fred had been printing up for Uncle Sam were now worth less than 5 percent of their original value. Uncle Sam was becoming concerned because some of his other relatives were warning that this whole scheme was about to collapse.
Sadly, Uncle Sam did not listen to them. Uncle Sam knew that if he admitted how fraudulent the financial scheme was, the rest of the world would quit sending him all of the things that he needed in exchange for his notes and they would quit lending his notes back to him at super low interest rates.
And if the rest of the world lost confidence in his notes and quit using them, Uncle Sam knew that his standard of living would go way, way down. That was something that Uncle Sam could not bear to have happen.
When a financial crisis almost caused the scheme to crash in 2008, a desperate Uncle Sam went to Fred and asked for help. In response, Fred started printing up far more notes than ever before and started directly buying up large amounts of IOUs from Uncle Sam with the notes that he was creating out of thin air. Fred hoped that the rest of the world would not notice what he was doing.
It seemed to work for a little while, but then an even worse financial crisis came along. Once again, Uncle Sam started issuing massive amounts of new IOUs and Fred started printing up giant mountains of new notes to try to fix things, but their desperate attempts to keep the system going were to no avail. The rest of the world started to realize that they had been sucked into a massive Ponzi scheme, and they lost confidence in the notes that Uncle Sam was using. Suddenly nobody wanted to lend notes to Uncle Sam at super low interest rates anymore, and people started asking for far more notes in exchange for the things that Uncle Sam wanted.
Uncle Sam’s standard of living dropped dramatically. Since he could no longer flood the world with his notes, Uncle Sam could not continue to consume far, far more wealth than he produced. Uncle Sam sunk into a deep depression as he watched the scheme fall apart all around him.
Uncle Sam had once been the wealthiest man on the entire planet, but now he was a broke, tired old man that was absolutely drowning in debt. Unfortunately, once he was down on his luck the rest of the world did not have any compassion for him. In fact, much of the rest of the world celebrated the downfall of Uncle Sam.
All of this could have been avoided if Uncle Sam had never agreed to Fred’s crazy scheme. And once Uncle Sam made the decision to stop backing his notes with gold, it was only a matter of time before the scheme was going to collapse.
Does this little story sound crazy to you? It shouldn’t. The truth is that you are involved in such a scheme right now. In case you haven’t figured it out, “Uncle Sam” is the United States, the “notes” are U.S. dollars, and “Fred” is the Federal Reserve.
Please share this story with as many people as you can. Our country is headed for complete and total financial disaster, and we need to get people educated about this while there is still time.