What Happens When You Work As Hard As You Can And It Is Not Enough?

Once upon a time, most of us who live in America were taught that no matter what happens, if you are willing to work hard enough and long enough you can pull yourself up by your bootstraps and be able to live the American Dream.  But today that is not reality for millions of Americans.  Instead, millions of Americans find themselves working night and day and still not being able to make it.  Millions of others have poured their hearts and souls into their jobs and now find themselves out of work and out of luck by no fault of their own.  So what do you do when you work as hard as you possibly can and it is just not enough?

Financial stress has become a way of life for tens of millions of people.  Whether it is the rising cost of living, predatory credit card interest rates or mortgages that have just adjusted, many Americans now find themselves absolutely stretched to the limit.  Not only that, but local, state and federal government authorities are all raising taxes and are inventing more ways than ever to drain cash out of us.  This all comes at a time when the U.S. economy is crashing hard.

So what do you do if you have worked as hard as you can and you just don’t have enough money at the end of the month?  What do you do if you are willing to give everything you have to an employer but nobody is hiring?  What do you do if your best efforts are not even enough to put food on the table and a roof over your head?

Well, perhaps we could all move to Detroit.  There are some houses in Detroit that you can actually now buy for just one dollar.  That is if you don’t mind living in an area that looks like a war zone.

Other Americans are turning to more desperate measures.  An increasing number of Americans are turning to bankruptcy.  According to the American Bankruptcy Institute, U.S. consumer bankruptcy filings surged 14% in February compared with a year earlier.  But bankruptcy just eliminates some debts – it doesn’t put food on the table.

The truth is that millions of Americans are really hurting and there are no easy answers.

Today we wanted to share with you the stories of three of our readers who are facing very difficult economic situations.  All of them have worked incredibly hard and yet all of them are finding out that all of their hard work is not quite enough in today’s economy….

Ian:

I am 23 and have been living out of my car in Los Angeles since March 2009. I work a full-time job as a night auditor for a hotel making only 10.00 an hour. I am saddled with debt from only a year or so of college at a university, credit card balances from just making means pass the past couple years when money has been very tight. I never have a balance over 500.00 in my account because the second i get my deposit (which 300-400 dollars of it the government feels compelled to take) i have to spend well more than half of it on bills and it doesn’t include any rent payments because i can’t even afford those right now. In 3-4 months i’ll have a lot of debt paid down (will still have student loan debt for a long time), and MAY be able to find a place to stay but thats if i don’t ever buy food, gas, or wash my laundry. I’ve spent the past year trying to find a simple part-time job, i don’t care if it pays 5.00 an hour, i would do it because it means i could secure myself at least a basement to rent out from someone’s house. After a year of doing this i am sick and tired of being harassed by the general public and safety officers and being pushed out of every public place i should be entitled to take a nap in during the day. It sounds real easy to just go out there and pursue something different, but until you can understand the stress of self-reliance on yourself, having no immediate family within a reasonable distance, and knowing what its like to have your only personal connections be the 3-4 people you work with–you can’t criticize me. Plus try working 11pm-7am 5 days a week for the past year and tell me how your emotional, physical, and mental capabilities are holding up! To make things worse my family is absolutely torn apart because of this economic mess and i’m stuck in the middle of my parent’s divorce with my mom trying to advocate herself as both my friend and mother and expects me to dually play these roles in her life without going crazy because she’s being a psycho but doesn’t know it because all the drugs she has taken over the past 4 years from her different doctors have messed up her ability to think clearly… another reason why i never go to the doctors.. ever.. i don’t trust them and i don’t trust anyone.

point is i’m glad i’m going through all this crap right now because when the rest of the people out there finally have to give up the money they are afraid they wont be able to set aside for their annual cruise they routinely people will cry travesty!! I kinda sorta find a weird solace in the inevitable collapse of our economy… its that i wont be so hardly affected… i know how to be poor and make ends meet during hard and trying times, and i know there are others out there like this too… and we will stand strong and mighty in spite of opposition and will prevail.. i hope lol.

Lynn:

To all you ignorant people making comments about unemployment like it is welfare, you need to find out the facts. I have worked since I was 16 and am now 48. I have pulled pallet jacks, worked as a distribution clerk, personnel clerk, Import specialist, went to college, I have paid my dues.

I didn’t ask for 3 companies I worked for to have huge Reductions In Force and eventually close their doors. I do not feel guilty receiving unemployment benefits to keep from loosing my car and home. I don’t have luxurious things. All you people making those ignorant comments about receiving money without working; When you loose your job and Walmart isn’t even hiring lets see how you are affected when you cant pay your bills on time. Get off of your soap boxes obviously if you are so well off in this economy you must be getting help from mommy and daddy or have an inheritance cause this economy is bad and getting worse. I know of people who were executives in large companies who lost everything not by any fault of their own… Wake up you Self Righteous hateful judgemental people because if you have not been affected yet just wait…

Baby Boomer:

Yes, it is difficult for the younger generation. However, I must admit that a lot of young people lack any sort of ambition or drive. I also realize that the economy is crumbling and there is less opportunity than ever before, at least in my lifetime and I am pushing 60.

I am a high school graduate (barely) and am self-taught. I worked in a factory for 20 years before they shipped all the factory jobs to the slave gulags in Asia and Mexico (thanks NAFTA). In the mid-90s I learned HTML and web technology (on my own; they didn’t teach this stuff in college back then; I hit the books) and after a long period of knocking on doors got a job with a web technology company.

I moved to a larger city where there was more opportunity and within two years more than doubled my income.

But then the bankers decided to pull the plug on the wildly exuberant (thanks to the bankers and Wall Street investors) internet boom and by 2001 my income had dropped by a third and I was working for the government (a state university), mostly because I had no choice (all my former coworkers were unemployed, replaced by Indians and Chinese programmers who worked at half or less the salary). Believe me, working for the government is hell, you are considered less than whale dung.

A few years later I transitioned my flagging internet skills and my self-taught writing and editing skills into a decent job with an online news site. I work 70 hours a week (including Saturday and Sunday) and earn what I did in 1998. Needless to say, inflation has taken the shine off it all.

I don’t mind working 70 plus hours a week, although my body is beginning to complain (I have arthritis, tendinitis, and carpal tunnel from all those countless hours before the computer).

I have no illusion of retirement. By the time I am 70 there will be no social security. I will probably work until I drop. That’s the way it is.

Things could be a lot better, but we have no political will and much of the younger generation is politically brain dead. We need to get rid of the Federal Reserve and take control of our money and get back to the Constitution. I think we are going in the opposite direction.

I tell young people to find a niche and fill it and you will be alright, for now. After the bottom falls out, though, I think we will all be screwed.

Unfortunately, it no longer matters how hard you work. We are becoming a third world country like Mexico and that includes the mentality of the populace.

That’s my two cents.

A postscript: Younger people are going to be confronted with a lot of older people living in the streets in the not too distant future. This will be difficult to deal with unless you have a heart of stone.

There is absolutely no political will to deal with the large Baby Boomer generation that will in a few short years not be able to work anymore. Most of them will not have the option of living with their children (if they have children) because their children will be unemployed or outright impoverished. In most third world countries there is a strong family sense; we don’t have that here, so expect to see granny dumpster-diving (or fighting for a position at the dumpster, if there will be a dumpster to be had).

Sorry to be a downer. We have about five years (or less) to take back the country, get the money system right, and get rid of the bankster criminals (I dream of Nuremberg trials).

Short of that, expect to be worse off than a sharecropper or serf on some duke’s estate (the new royalty consists of transnational corporations and as Mussolini said, corporatism is the essence of fascism).

Day Of Reckoning: Congress Cuts Off Federal Unemployment Benefits For Millions Of Unemployed Americans

Starting on Monday, the unemployed in the U.S. will no longer be able to apply for federal unemployment benefits or the COBRA health insurance subsidy.  This means that millions of Americans that have been unemployed for a long period of time may suddenly find themselves without an unemployment check and without any health coverage.  You see, normally state-funded unemployment benefits last for about 26 weeks.  After that, federal unemployment benefits kick in.  During this recent economic crisis, the U.S. Congress has approved up to an additional 73 weeks of unemployment benefits for unemployed Americans.  But now the U.S. Senate has not approved an extension, and so now millions of unemployed Americans that are relying on federal unemployment benefits will stop getting checks once their current federal benefits run out.  Millions more will not be able to apply for federal unemployment benefits.

So what could this mean?

It could mean that large numbers of Americans may soon be forced into bankruptcy.

It could mean that large numbers of Americans may soon lose their homes.

It could mean that large numbers of Americans may soon be devastated by medical bills they simply cannot pay.

It could mean that large numbers of Americans may soon be forced to live in the streets.

But should we expect the federal government to pay long-term unemployment benefits for all unemployed Americans indefinitely?

That gets really expensive very quickly.  Considering the fact that the U.S. national debt is growing exponentially, the U.S. government cannot really afford to be throwing around cash as if it was water.

But with millions upon millions of Americans completely broke and unable to find jobs, what else can you do?

The reality is that it is extremely likely that the U.S. Congress will find a way to come to an agreement to extend these benefits at some point in the coming days.

So total catastrophe is likely to be avoided.

At least for now.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve’s $1.25 trillion program to push down mortgage rates is scheduled to expire on March 31st.

So what is that going to mean?

It is going to mean that mortgage rates are going to start to rise.

That will mean that less people will be able to afford to buy homes and it will mean that there are going to be even more foreclosures.

That is not good news for the housing market.

Even now, sales of previously owned homes plunged in January to their lowest level since last summer.

So what is going to happen when mortgage rates start to rise?

The reality is that the U.S. housing market is simply not going to recover to previous levels.  In fact, all signs point to another major housing market disaster in the years ahead.

Home loan standards are tightening.

Mortgage rates are rising.

The big banks are hoarding cash and have reduced lending.

Another massive wave of adjustable rate mortgages is scheduled to reset between 2010 and 2012 which will force another gigantic pile of foreclosures on to the market.

So where in the world is the “housing recovery” going to come from?

There are going to be many more houses for sale and many fewer qualified buyers.

It does not take an economic genius to figure out what that is going to do to housing prices.

Hopefully the U.S. government and the financial powers that be can figure out a way to stabilize things for a while.

But there is no getting around the fact that the U.S. is headed for an economic collapse.

By borrowing gigantic piles of cash the U.S. government can put the pain off for a little while, but by doing so they make the eventual collapse much worse.

So what do you think?  Feel free to leave a comment with your opinion…

Panama Tours

 

The American Economy: The Wealthy Make The Mistakes But The Hard Working Middle Class Pays The Price

This is how the U.S. economy works much of the time – the wealthy make most of the big economic mistakes but the hard working middle class ends up paying for them. This time around is no exception. The financial crisis of the past several years was caused by Wall Street, but they got bailed out and relatively few of them lost their jobs. However, even though middle class and working class Americans were not the ones who made the mess, they are paying for it dearly. This is especially true when it comes to unemployment. While it is true that jobs are being lost on every level of American society, the reality is that unemployment is hitting Americans on the lowest end of the income scale the hardest.

Just check out the chart below.  The ten percent of Americans that have the lowest household incomes have an unemployment rate of over 30 percent, while the ten percent of Americans that have the highest household incomes have an unemployment rate just about 3 percent….

Does this seem right to you?

After all, we were promised that we needed to bail out Wall Street so that they could help “Main Street”.

But that didn’t happen, did it?

Instead, it appears that previously bailed out corporations are going back to their old ways of paying out ridiculous bonuses.

For example, the CEO of General Motors is in line to get a $9 million pay package. 

What in the world?

A company that was so flat broke that it would have likely collapsed without U.S. government intervention is handing out 9 million bucks to the CEO?

Something is very, very wrong.

And the truth is that working class Americans are getting pissed off.

For example, one Ohio man actually decided to bulldoze his own home rather than let the bank take it in foreclosure proceedings.

Now that is an incredibly destructive and vindictive act, but it just shows how angry some people are getting.

Many working class and middle class Americans feel powerless as the politicians and the wealthy recklessly destroy the U.S. economy.

Just consider the following chart.  The U.S. government has massively increased spending at a time when revenues are decreasing sharply.  Does this look like a “recovery” to you?….

The truth is that the U.S. national debt is wildly out of control.  In 2010, the U.S. government is projected to issue almost as much new debt as the rest of the governments of the world combined.

In fact, it is anticipated that the U.S. national debt will climb to an unprecedented 200 percent of GDP by 2038 without a fundamental change in course.

Is this kind of reckless financial mismanagement going to cause an economic collapse?

Of course.

And Americans are starting to wake up and realize this.

In a recent ABC News poll, 87 percent of Americans said that they are concerned about the U.S. national debt.

In a new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey, 86 percent of Americans believe that the U.S. system of government is broken.

And it is broken.

So is it still possible to repair it?

Feel free to leave a comment with your opinion….

Barack Obama, The Federal Reserve And The New York Times: Millions Of Unemployed Americans Are NOT Going Back To Work Any Time Soon

Most Americans seem to be under the impression that the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs over the last few years will soon be going back to work as the U.S. economy recovers.  But that is not going to happen.  In fact, even Barack Obama, the Federal Reserve and the New York Times are all admitting that millions of unemployed Americans are not going back to work any time soon – and they are some of the biggest optimists regarding the long-term prospects for the U.S. economy.  Many are calling this a “jobless recovery”, but what we are experiencing right now is not a “recovery” at all.  Rather, we are currently in a “lull” in the economic storm.  All of the “bailouts” and “stimulus packages” have stabilized the U.S. economy for now, but they have made our long-term debt problems far worse.

So what does that mean?

It means that eventually millions and millions more Americans will lose their jobs.

So don’t count on the millions of Americans who are currently unemployed going back to work any time soon.

Even the most important newspaper in the United States (the New York Times), the most important financial institution in the nation (the Federal Reserve) and the president of the United States (Barack Obama) all say that the employment situation is not going to improve for quite some time…. 

*Barack Obama’s most recent budget proposal projects that the U.S. unemployment rate will remain at about 10% in 2010.  Of course we all know that the current official unemployment rate of approximately 10% is actually more like 18-22% in reality.

*The Federal Reserve also caused a stir recently when they said that the official U.S. unemployment rate will continue to stay up around 10% throughout 2010.

*In a recent article entitled “Millions of Unemployed Face Years Without Jobs”, the New York Times admitted that millions of Americans that have lost their jobs during this “recession” may be out of work for years.

Meanwhile, according to the Department of Labor, approximately 2.7 million unemployed Americans will lose their unemployment check before the end of April unless the U.S. Congress decides to extend their payments.

So what happens when millions of unemployed Americans don’t even have an unemployment check coming in?

Things are getting bad out there, and many financial institutions are beginning to take steps to protect themselves.

In fact, Citibank is now telling some of their customers that they are reserving the right to require 7 days advance notice before allowing a customer to withdraw their own money.

Yes, this is true.

Citibank is currently sending the following notification to their customers all over the United States, but according to them it was only supposed to go to their customers in Texas: “Effective April 1, 2010, we reserve the right to require (7) days advance notice before permitting a withdrawal from all checking accounts. While we do not currently exercise this right and have not exercised it in the past, we are required by law to notify you of this change.”

Could you imagine having to give your bank 7 days notice before you take your money out?

Dark economic times are ahead.

The truth is that the once great U.S. economy is crumbling.  Just check out the chart below.  Does this look like part of a “normal” economic cycle to you?….

Will This Generation Of Young Americans Be Able To Make It In Hard Times?

Our recent article entitled “A Record Number Of Young Americans Are Unemployed – Are They Just Lazy Or Are There Simply No Jobs Available?” has generated some absolutely outstanding comments.  We have held back on publishing the best of those comments until now because we wanted to feature them all in one place.  The truth is that this economic downturn is having a disproportionate impact on young Americans.  So why is this?  Well, that is what we want to explore.  In today’s economic climate, it can be very difficult to get that first job.  In fact, in some areas of the U.S. today it is close to impossible to get a great job even if you have tons of experience.  But there are some young Americans who are making it out there and who are doing very well despite what the economy is doing.

Certainly when you talk about any very large group of people there are going to be exceptions.  There are some young adults in America today who are absolutely shining examples of what it means to be a hard working American.  But are they the exceptions or are they the rule?

Some would argue that we have raised a generation that is spoiled, lazy and who expect everything in life to just be handed to them.  Of course one could very easily say that is now true of the American people in general.

The American people have had it so good for so long that most of them have no conception of what it means to suffer.  This is especially true of our young people unfortunately.  But now hard times are coming.

Will our young people be able to make it?

Will we be able to make it?

The following are four excellent comments that were left by readers of this website.  They all make excellent points and they all touched us on an emotional level.  Especially Brian’s story.  Never give up Brian.

After reading the comments below, we encourage you to add your own comments at the end of the article.  Do you think that Americans (especially young Americans) are going to be able to make it through the tough times that are ahead, or are we in really, really big trouble?

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Annie:

I can definitely see many people having temper tantrums. I see it on a small scale now.

I managed a retail establishment last year that is seasonal. All of the employees that the owner hired that were under 40 I had to fire. The first half were lazy obsessively texting internet surfing junkies or illegal aliens I had to fire. Oh boy did they think I was a bitch, but I got the job done, on time and under budget.

The 2 best employees I had was a 40 year old white man and a 65 year old Columbia woman. The man was a class A employee. He made slightly over minimum wage but he was grateful to have a job. Worked anytime I asked him. If I were to call him, he’d be on the next bus to show up for work. Wanted to work, needed to work. Stellar employee. Anytime I get a call in regard to a reference to him, I gave him high accolades.

The Columbian woman, same thing. Showed up on time, dressed professional, spoke professionally on the phone and interact with the customers like a class act.

The Nintendo generation (boy that’s a good one) is full of lazy, obese, low IQ brain dead people. There are few good young people out there, but they are far and few between. When I go to a retail store, I purposely try to pick a register that has a baby boomer working it. If I happen to get a younger man/woman, it’s a joke. They rarely make eye contact and mumble intelligible. I leave the register and don’t even know what they said.

Just to screw with them sometimes I mumble something stupid like I’m being beamed up to Mars after I leave here to see if they’re really paying attention.

The entitlement mentality is the worst. All of these kids want a $100K job or something close. Those days are over unless you get a cushy government job. I’ve been in and out of work for the last 3 years. It’s been rough for me. I’ve worked minimum wage jobs, scavenged for cans and bottles to sell for money, held garage sales, etc…to put food on the table. Many people would think they’re too good to do what I do.

Recent College Graduate:

I recently graduated with a BBA in finance from prestigious university. I wanted to comment of this article because I can completely identify with the subject, in fact, when I saw the picture I laughed to myself and was like that’s me, kinda sad huh. I now live with parents and have no intention of looking for a job. I have been highly motivated my entire life and was well on my way to getting a job in a hedge fund or private equity firm within the oil and gas industry. However a couple months before graduation, something snapped and I became very depressed and lost almost all motivation. I think its because I really woke up the the reality that the the path that the US is on economically speaking is unsustainable. I don’t feel like there is any money to be made anymore. Of course in the short term I could be making about $75,000 a year (typical starting pay for classmates of mine), however I don’t see a point. The dollar will most likely be gone in the next two years and honestly we are on the verge of social and political chaos…I think the best use of my time presently is to prepare myself and get my family prepared for what lies ahead. So from the horses mouth so to speak, as a 22 year old college graduate, that is my opinion.

Brand:

Many recent college grads move back home for two reasons.

First, the education system has become absolutely addicted to debt. Look at the cost of tuition over the last three decades, and then look at the number of loans issued by Sallie Mae. As soon as demand went through the roof, the universities started doubling and tripling tuition rates, while offering in-house consultation on how to maximize student loans. Twenty years ago, most college students didn’t graduate $40-60,000 in the debt.

Second, it’s a tough job market. If you’ve got a tuition payment to make, and you can’t get a job, then it’s reasonable to move back in with mom and dad for a while. That’s what family is for. They have every right to expect you to pull your weight, including doing chores and getting a part-time job to help pay for food and utilities. Of course, when mom and dad get old, they have the right to live at *your* place for a while, at least until they require permanent care.

I don’t dispute that there are a lot of lazy punks out there. I also happen to think that kids go $40-60,000 into debt while majoring in dead-end subjects that offer no chance of repaying their loans. But there are also plenty of responsible young people who get stuck between a rock and a hard place, and there’s nothing wrong with taking a little family help as long as it’s appreciated and repaid in kind.

Just my two cents.

Brian:

I am 31 year old male, but everyone says I look 17-20. I had a son at 18 and never had the money to go to an expensive college to get a degree and got turned down for a federal grant/loan, but I did save and go to community college for paramedic. The above article really bothered me because for years I have been put down by older adults, Friend of court, and places I applied to for work for taking care of my grandparents who have been married almost 60 years, and my mother who has MS. My grandmother has never had a license and my grandfather has had emphysema for 20 years and is on oxygen, and my mother uses a wheel chair or a walker on her good days. (the bad are spent crying in pain in bed, sleeping, or bed ridden for days, sometimes weeks at a time.) FOC says I don’t send enough directly to her and taking care of my family is not a “real” job since I do not pay federal tax’s or get paid a weekly check they can commandeer(that’s a whole other story, I guess they didn’t get the memo that woman are to pass men as family “breadwinners” this year or next.), other older adults say I need to look out for myself and get a real job, and the jobs I do apply for,(to work nights or part time) also say it is not a job and therefore I have a huge employment gap on my resume. I have lived on and off between my grandparents and mothers in Michigan my whole life. I stayed with grandparents because my mom waitress-ed full time at night when I was younger.I do not care what they say, I love my family and will help them no matter what, until they pass or they can afford a home nurse. On the nights and weekends that I don’t have my son, I sit home and reading and learning programming and web design. I am willing to work hard anywhere for any (legal) pay. Everyone complains about everyone else and thinks it is so easy to get a job until it happens to them. I glad I don’t care about money and I do not have anything worth anything, so it can’t be taken away. Maybe all the people who were doing the complaining on the board up there should give me and people like me a chance. We might just be the most kind, loyal, hard working person you ever had working with or for. I just would like to let you know, Not being able to financially support myself makes me feel like a loser and maybe I am just a burden on my family and it would be better of if I just”went away”. If it would not hurt my son and family so much, I would be gone.

Survive After Collapse

OOPS! – U.S. Government Unemployment Numbers Have To Be Revised Because They Were Off By Almost One MILLION!

What a mess! We all knew that U.S. government unemployment numbers were off, but this is ridiculous. It is now being reported that the U.S. may lose 824,000 jobs when the government releases its annual revision to employment data on February 5th.  How in the world could the original figures be so far off?  The truth is that U.S. government figures have been getting more and more out of touch with reality each year.  Government bureaucrats have been monkeying with the “definitions” of unemployment and inflation for decades, and at this point the figures they give us mean little to nothing.  For example, the U.S. government has been telling us that the unemployment rate in the U.S. is somewhere around 10 percent, while everyone knows that the “real” number is somewhere in the neighborhood of 20-22 percent.

But one thing is for certain – unemployment is going up.  The Labor Department announced on Tuesday that unemployment rose in 82 percent of U.S. metro areas during the month of December.

For those keeping score at home, that is not good news.

And all of this unemployment is starting to create huge social problems.

According to a new study from America’s largest food bank operator, the number of Americans in need of food aid has jumped 46 percent in just the last three years.

A 46 percent increase in hunger in just 3 years?

What is going to happen when the economy really collapses?

So is life good for anyone right now?

Oh yeah – life is really good for the companies that the U.S. government bailed out.  In fact, it was just reported that AIG was scheduled to distribute about $100 million in bonuses to its employees on Wednesday.

AIG is giving out about 100 million in bonuses while hunger and unemployment throughout the U.S. are rocketing into the stratosphere – is anyone else disgusted by that?

The truth is that the whole system is failing and we are headed for an economic collapse.  The U.S. economy is in a slow death spiral, and it is only a matter of time until the U.S. dollar implodes.  Ron Paul is warning about that in the video posted below, and he also says that when the dollar does collapse that it could cause a total breakdown of law and order in American society….

What in the world are the American people going to do when the crap really does hit the fan?

Things haven’t even gotten really bad yet and yet Americans are already more doped up on antidepressants than anyone else in the world.  In fact, Americans, who make up about 6 percent of the population of the world, consume approximately 66 percent of the world’s supply of antidepressants.

What a sad nation we have become.

Really, really hard times are on the horizon, and the vast majority of Americans simply do not have the capacity to handle them.

What a mess.

A Record Number Of Young Americans Are Unemployed – Are They Just Lazy Or Are There Simply No Jobs Available?

A record number of young Americans are now unemployed.  According to a new report based on U.S. Census Bureau data, only 26 percent of American teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 had jobs in late 2009 which represents a record low since statistics began to be kept in 1948.  So why is this happening?  Certainly it is much harder to find a job today than it was just 3 or 4 years ago.  But are there other factors involved?  Even when the economy was still flying high back in the middle of the decade, an increasing number of young people were moving back in with Mom and Dad after they graduated from college.  Is it our fault for raising kids who simply cannot adjust to the real world?  Is society to blame for all of the young Americans who believe that everything should be handed to them on a silver platter without them having to work for it?  Or would young Americans be more than willing to step up if there were good opportunities available to them?

The quality of young adults in America today is a theme that a number of our readers have commented on recently.  In particular, there were four comments that were so exceptional that we thought they deserved special attention and we have reproduced them below.  If there is any hope for the future of America, it will be crucial for the next generation to step up to the plate.

But are they capable of it?  Please read the following comments left by our readers and then post your own comment and let us know what you think….

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Joyce:

I keep hearing conservatives say we need to get rid of “Social Security” and go back to when families took care of family members. These people have to be “out of touch with reality” because the family unit has been broken for years in this country and continues to break down. Disabled, elderly people, in general, have no family members willing to help them. Children and grandchildren often have no time for their older parents and grandparents and often feel that older and disabled folk are in the way and only contact them when they themselves need money or wish to check on their possible inheritance from older members of their family. Many young people think nothing of “stealing” from thier parents and elderly grandparents if they think they can get away with it. Many families with children have only one adult or parent to support and nurture the children and many women, right here in Missoula, Montana, are supporting thier “boy friends” and fewer and fewer “couples” are getting “married”. A large number of family units are in deep financial trouble as the good paying jobs keep disappearing and the materialistic young people feel they must buy the latest new toy or electronic gadget on the market. Even these college graduates often leave college with huge debts they incurred in the form of student loans and are often in serious financial trouble. Where is the “family” support and help for the elderly and disabled coming from??? Many young adults often try to make older folks feel they have outlived thier welcome no matter how hard they worked when they were young to help build the nation these young people feel belongs only to them.

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Elldee:

I do know a few individuals in their 20s who are hard workers. One is my son. He was going to college full-time, employed part-time, participates in auto racing, and served in the Army Reserves as a staff sergeant. He was recruited by the race car owner because of his work ethic. He just graduated from college in December with a degree in mechanical engineering technology, has his resume out there and is waiting to hear back. In the meantime, he is working full-time in construction and part-time for a company that builds race car engines. I know I may be accused of being partial because he’s my son, but he is a good worker, loyal, dedicated, motivated, and engaged in whatever he is doing.

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Penny:

I’m 65, and came from very creative, old style common sense family. I know how to do so many things from scratch it would blow your mind. THAT is what gives me confidence.

SKILLS for life, on all levels. I can grow, cook,& preserve food.I can throw together a meal for 6 or more in a hurry out of almost anything. How many of you can make a noodle, a mainstay of hard times ? Can you grow a patch of potatoes? Repair shoes, make shoes for a small child. Hand sew? Mend or iron. Hand wash clothes. Do you know what basic tools are for. What if the web goes? Do you know how to use a library?

More to the point, can you tell when you can’t afford something? Can you tell when you need to go back down the technology scale to provide your needs, because that’s where it’s cheaper? Can you steam rice, mash potatoes? Stop a leak? Can you figure out the cost of your appliances so you know what to turn off and leave off?

Can you tell you can’t afford to use the dryer? Do you know enough about nutrition to know you need to plant a garden? Do you know how much effort is needed for basic jobs, or how long it takes? Can you make yourself get up and walk to get what you need when you have enough for food and gas, but not both? Skills are also nice for barter.

I saw a show on Western kids working in rice fields in Thailand. What BS.Supposedly they’d been there working for 6 weeks. They still had body fat and a double chin.Anybody doing day long hard agri work for 6 weeks would be getting lean and mean.

Character is built as you learn skills and come to respect your own efforts; then you understand the efforts of all. Morality isn’t a stamp you stick on someone, it’s innate unless it’s corrupted. I don’t know what’s happened to our lazy behinds, but it doesn’t seem to me we’ve had enough physical work required of us, so we don’t have a clue how much we’ll need to do..the whines will be heard to the skies, then weeping..we should start a skill bulletin board and tell each other what we know while we have time.

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Kelly:

I work in an ER…. When the s–t really hits the fan, most Americans (90%) will totally fall apart… If they can’t handle a paper cut now (I kid you not!), can you imagine the chaos when things really get rough? When the vicodin runs out? Some parasites make 2-3 visits or more a week to the ER for BS….. the human devolution is truly mind-boggling…

90% of americans are totally worthless parasites… I hired an american to mow my lawn… he got a cell phone call in the middle of it, said he would come back, never did! I had to finish the half-mowed lawn myself….. I went thru 8 people mowing my lawn, till I finally found someone reliable, on time, gentle w the equipment, willing to work hard…… me! Yep, it is that bad… I hired myself to mow my lawn… Now I am hiring myself to plant it in wildflowers for the coming days when lawnmowing will become impossible…

One of the 8 failures was a 16 year old native born American kid doing some landscaping for me… I had to show him how to use a shovel. He had never picked one up before… Unbelievable! … I told him to slope the dirt away from the house so the water would run down and away from the foundation. He asked me, “What is slope?” I had to draw him a picture!! Pitiful… Down the toilet the american empire falls….

Austin Coins