Do you have friends, neighbors and relatives that can't find work? Well, unfortunately the current U.S. jobs famine is about to get a whole lot worse. Right now there are approximately 13.9 million unemployed Americans. That does not count those that "are not looking for work". That does not count those that are working part-time jobs but that are desperate for full-time work. The truth is that we need tens of millions more full-time jobs in order to give one to everyone that wants one. Sadly, the long-term trends that have caused this mess continue to get worse. Unless truly dramatic changes are made, the U.S. economy is going to continue to bleed jobs and that is going to suck the hope right out of this country. It is time to wake up America! It is not a big mystery why we don't have enough jobs. But sadly, very few of our leaders are talking about the real issues.
Something has got to be done. Unemployment is already at epidemic levels, and this country can't afford for things to get much worse. Just check out how a recent article in The Wall Street Journal summarized our current predicament....
There are more unemployed than the combined populations of Wyoming, Vermont, North Dakota, Alaska, South Dakota, Delaware, Montana, Rhode Island, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, Idaho and the District of Columbia.
If they were a country, the 13.9 million unemployed Americans would be the 68th largest country in the world, bigger than the population of Greece or Portugal (each of which has 10.8 million people) and more than twice the population of Norway (4.7 million.)
Isn't that incredible?
The number of unemployed Americans is larger than the entire population of Greece.
There are millions of Americans that will be sitting at home in front of their televisions tonight wondering why they can't find jobs. Last month, only 58.1% of Americans over the age of 16 were employed. Our economy should be able to do far better than that.
All over the Internet there are stories of people that have sent out hundreds (or even thousands) of resumes and nobody even wants to interview them. One recent survey found that approximately 80 percent of all Americans believe that it is "difficult" to find a job right now.
Unfortunately, things are going to get much, much worse before all this is over.
The following are 10 very obvious reasons why the devastating U.S. jobs famine is going to suck the hope right out of America....
#1 Our politicians simply do not care that America is bleeding jobs. Amazingly, even with rampant unemployment plaguing this nation, Obama administration officials continue to declare that it is okay that we are losing manufacturing jobs because a lot of cheaper products are things that "we don't want to make in America" anyway. The following is what U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk told Tim Robertson of the Huffington Post the other day....
Let's increase our competitiveness... the reality is about half of our imports, our trade deficit is because of how much oil [we import], so you take that out of the equation, you look at what percentage of it are things that frankly, we don't want to make in America, you know, cheaper products, low-skill jobs that frankly college kids that are graduating from, you know, UC Cal and Hastings [don't want], but what we do want is to capture those next generation jobs and build on our investments in our young people, our education infrastructure.
The economic negligence that recent administrations have demonstrated has been absolutely mind boggling. Blue collar male workers in particular are being absolutely devastated by the loss of manufacturing jobs. Back in 1967, 97 percent of men with a high school degree between the ages of 30 and 50 had jobs. Today, that figure is down to 76 percent.
#2 The Obama administration has now instituted a policy of "backdoor amnesty" for illegal immigrants by executive fiat. Janet Napolitano has announced that from now on there will be a case-by-case review of all deportation cases. Cases involving criminals will be prioritized and most others will be thrown out. A list of 19 factors that will allow government officials to use "prosecutorial discretion" in immigration cases has been distributed. Recently, I listed a few of those "factors" on The American Dream website....
-arrival in the U.S. as a young child
-actively "pursuing an education"
-serving or served in the U.S. military
-spouse of someone in the U.S. military
-18 years old or younger
-pregnant or nursing
-victim of a "serious crime"
-serious disability or health problem
-caring for a family member with a serious disability or health problem
Obviously, it is not going to be too difficult for most illegal immigrants to fit into at least one of those categories.
On top of everything else the Obama administration has announced that it will now allow illegal immigrants to apply for work permits....
Illegal aliens living in the United States typically don't apply for work permits for fear of deportation, but under the new policy, they could apply for work permits if granted deferred action or parole and compete with 22 million Americans who can't find a full-time job.
So now blue collar Americans workers will have even more competition for the dwindling number of jobs.
#3 State and local governments all over the country are dead broke, and an atmosphere of austerity is sweeping the nation. Right now state and local governments are slashing jobs at an unprecedented rate.
In the past, government jobs were considered to be very secure and they definitely paid a lot higher than average. But now that era is coming to an end, at least on the state and local government levels.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, state and local governments have eliminated more than half a million jobs since August 2008. UBS Investment Research is projecting that state and local governments in the U.S. will cut 450,000 more jobs by the end of 2012.
#4 U.S. businesses are being absolutely crushed by mountains of nightmarish regulations, and yet the federal government, the state governments and local governments just continue to pile them on. For example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is projecting that the food service industry will have to spend an additional 14 million hours every single year just to comply with new federal regulations that mandate that all vending machine operators and chain restaurants must label all products that they sell with a calorie count in a location visible to the consumer. Due to these kinds of ridiculous regulations, many business owners have simply given up and many other potential business owners figure that owning a business is just not worth the hassle.
#5 As I have written about so many times before, the "global economy" is really bad for American workers. When we merged our economy with the economies of nations where it is legal to pay slave labor wages, we made it inevitable that we would start losing massive amounts of jobs.
Why would a giant corporation pay a U.S. worker 10 to 20 times as much as a worker on the other side of the globe? Investors actually expect big companies to have an "outsourcing" strategy today. When more jobs get shipped out of the country, profits go up, stock prices go up and executive bonuses go up.
Big corporations don't exist to provide you with jobs. They exist to maximize shareholder wealth. If taking your job away and giving it to someone in Asia will make more money for them, then that it exactly what they are going to do.
#6 Unfair trade is absolutely killing our economy. It would be one thing if the U.S. was running a massive trade deficit solely because we were incompetent. But the truth is that a big factor is that a number of our "trade partners" are economic predators that are purposely trying to prey on us.
The other day, I wrote about some of the things that China does to steal our jobs, our factories and our wealth....
China massively subsidizes their biggest corporations, they brazenly steal technology from anyone that they can, they openly manipulate exchange rates and they allow their workers to be paid slave labor wages.
Today, we spend about 4 dollars on imports from China for every 1 dollar that China spends on imports from us. China now even makes more beer than we do. Even the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on the National Mall was made in China.
Until our politicians start insisting on a level playing field, all of this is going to continue.
#7 Small businesses are traditionally one of the primary engines of job growth in this country. But right now, small businesses all over America are having a really hard time getting anyone to loan them money. A big reason for this is that the Federal Reserve is actually paying banks not to make loans. Unfortunately, if small businesses can't get the money that they need, then they can't hire people.
#8 A lot of people may not want to hear this, but businesses in the United States are being absolutely taxed into oblivion. The U.S. now has the highest corporate tax rate in the world, but that is only a very small part of the story.
Michael Fleischer, the President of Bogen Communications, wrote an op-ed last year for the Wall Street Journal entitled "Why I'm Not Hiring". The following is how Paul Hollrah of Family Security Matters summarized the nightmarish taxes that are imposed when Fleischer hires a new worker....
According to Fleischer, Sally grosses $59,000 a year, which shrinks to less than $44,000 after taxes and other payroll deductions. The $15,311 deducted from Sally’s gross pay is comprised of New Jersey state income tax: $1,893; Social Security taxes: $3,661; state unemployment insurance: $126; disability insurance: $149; Medicare insurance: $856; federal withholding tax: $6,250; and her share of medical and dental insurance: $2,376. Roughly 25.9 percent of Sally’s income is siphoned off by Washington and Trenton before she receives her paychecks.
But then there are the additional costs of employing Sally. In addition to her gross salary, her employer must pay the lion’s share of her healthcare insurance premiums: $9,561; life and other insurance premiums: $153; federal unemployment insurance: $56; disability insurance: $149; worker’s comp insurance: $300; New Jersey state unemployment insurance: $505; Medicare insurance: $856; and the employer’s share of Social Security taxes: $3,661.
Over and above her gross salary, Bogen Communications must pay an additional $15,241 in benefits and state and federal taxes, bringing the total cost of employing Sally to approximately $74,241 per year. Sally gets to keep $43,689, or just 58.8% of that total.
After reading all that, can you really blame business owners for not wanting to hire additional workers?
#9 The national debt is like a giant albatross around the neck of the economy. The U.S. national debt has increased by more than 4 trillion dollars since Barack Obama took office. The rampant government spending that has been going on has not done much to create new jobs, but it will be a massive burden that will weigh down economic growth for many years to come.
When a nation is drowning in debt, a tremendous amount of economic resources must go to servicing that debt. Right now, hundreds of billions of dollars a year that could be used to build up our economy are instead being used to pay interest on the national debt. If interest rates go up significantly, we could soon be paying over a trillion dollars a year just in interest on the national debt.
#10 Right now America is very deeply divided and a tremendous sense of pessimism has set in. One recent survey found that 48 percent of Americans believe that it is likely that another great Depression will begin within the next 12 months. With such a negative feeling in the air, it is going to make it even less likely that business owners will be in the mood to hire people.
I know that I pick on Detroit a lot, but it really is a microcosm of what is happening to America. The following video contains some absolutely amazing footage of the ruins of Detroit....
Sadly, what is happening to Detroit is happening in hundreds of other communities across the United States.
All over America, neighborhoods that were once teeming with hope and prosperity are now falling apart. Hopelessness is rampant and it is spreading. The number of Americans on food stamps has increased 74% since 2007. If not for our increasingly overwhelmed "safety net", we would already have mass rioting in the streets.
Sadly, we are already seeing all sorts of signs that society is collapsing. As the economy continues to fall apart, the violence in our neighborhoods is going to get even worse.
The following is one very shocking recent example from the Chicago Tribune....
Moments before she was slain last week on Chicago's Southwest Side, 17-year-old Charinez Jefferson begged the gunman not to shoot because she was pregnant, prosecutors said today.
Despite her plea, Timothy Jones, 18, opened fire on Jefferson anyway, yelling an expletive at her as he shot her in the head, prosecutors said. He then stood over her as she lay on the ground and fired several more times, striking her in the chest and back.
America is changing. The country that so many of us have loved all of our lives is becoming unrecognizable. Large numbers of communities have had all of the hope sucked right out of them. Tens of millions of Americans that want to do things the "right way" are rapidly losing faith in the system.
When you can't get a decent job after months and months of trying it can be absolutely soul-crushing.
What do you tell someone that has spent a year sending out resumes and has used up all of their savings?
The era of endless prosperity for America is at an end. The cold, hard consequences of decades of bad decisions are starting to set in.
Unless a dramatic change of course happens, the long-term trends noted above are going to get progressively worse. It won't matter who is running Congress and it won't matter who is in the White House.
Right now our economy is rapidly hurtling downhill on a bus without brakes and we are headed directly for a cliff.
Please wake up America.