When Barack Obama visited Buffalo recently, he was greeted by a billboard advertisement with a very pointed message about unemployment. In just a few words it summarized the frustrations of an entire region. The billboard along I-190 had this very simple message for Obama: "Dear Mr. President, I need a freakin job. Period. Sincerely, inafj.org." As word about this billboard got out, it quickly made headlines all over the United States. Why? Well, the truth is that millions of hard working Americans are extremely frustrated about their lack of work right now. When you don't have a job and you can't provide for your family, very little else seems to matter. In fact, according to a recent Gallup poll, unemployment is now the second most important issue to American voters. The number one issue is the economy.
The reality is that the American people don't want excuses.
They want jobs.
And some are getting so desperate that they are even putting up billboards to express their frustrations.
So who sponsored the billboard in Buffalo?
Well, it was actually sponsored by a group organized by Buffalo businessman Jeff Baker. It turns out that Baker lost his own small business 15 months ago. His business had employed 25 people, and when he was forced to close it he described it as "the most heartbreaking situation" of his entire life.
Baker's group, INAFJ ("I Need A Freakin Job"), says that they are not about playing politics. What they want is only one thing.
They want someone to put the American people back to work. Baker recently explained it this way....
"Nothing else matters unless the American people are working."
In some areas of the United States, the situation is beyond desperate. Detroit is a great example of this. Not only does the city resemble a war zone at this point, but Detroit's mayor says that the unemployment rate in his city is somewhere around 50 percent.
So how in the world is a major city supposed to function when 40 to 50 percent of the people living there can't get the work that they need?
The sad thing is that Detroit used to be one of the most prosperous areas in the United States. Once upon a time, the auto industry was booming and there were lots of great jobs available for blue collar workers.
But that all seems so far away now.
For decades, the politicians in Washington D.C. have allowed (or even encouraged) the offshoring of our manufacturing jobs, and now we are a nation with a dwindling manufacturing base that is rapidly bleeding cash.
In fact, the U.S. trade deficit widened for the second consecutive month in March to its highest level since December 2008. Every single month we buy much more from the rest of the world than they buy from us. That means that wealth is constantly flowing out of this nation, and no end to the bleeding is in sight.
The truth is that America's twin deficits (the trade deficit and the massive U.S. government budget deficit) are absolutely destroying the financial condition of this nation. For years and years economists have warned that these deficits would bring about a day of reckoning at some point, and now that day is here.
We are told by the media that we have entered an economic recovery, but with tens of millions of Americans not able to get the work that they need, most people are not convinced. In fact, a new poll shows that 76 percent of Americans believe that the U.S. economy is still in a recession.
But this is nothing compared to what is coming.
The truth is that the United States is rapidly becoming a service economy. Service jobs pay less than manufacturing jobs do, and the rapid advance of technology in recent decades has made human labor increasingly unnecessary.
That means that the "system" does not need our labor as much as it once did.
This is leading to a situation where there is a widening gap between the "haves" and the "have nots". In fact, the bottom 40 percent of those living in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.
But not everyone has been hurting during this financial crisis.
Did you know that the number of millionaires in the United States rose 16 percent to 7.8 million in 2009?
Not only that, but an analysis of income-tax data by the Congressional Budget Office a few years ago found that the top 1% of households in the United States own nearly twice as much of the corporate wealth as they did just 15 years ago.
The elite are getting richer, while at the same time tens of millions of other Americans are finding it increasingly more difficult to survive.
That is why groups like INAFJ are becoming so popular. They are tapping into the frustration of the growing number of Americans who are desperately trying to make it from month to month. The following is a short video that INAFJ posted on YouTube about their organization....
So do have a story of economic frustration that you would like to share with the world?
Have you found yourself working harder and harder for less and less?
Does it seem like you come up short at the end of every month no matter how hard you try?
If you have a story, we would love to share it with our readers. Please feel free to post your tale of economic frustration in the comments section below....