The Death Of Las Vegas

There are quite a few U.S. cities that are complete and utter economic disaster zones in 2010 (Detroit for example), but there is something about the demise of Las Vegas that is absolutely stunning.  In recent decades, Las Vegas has become a symbol for the over-the-top affluence and decadence of America.  But now it is a microcosm of the economic nightmare that has gripped the entire nation.  When the subprime mortgage crisis stuck, no major U.S. city was more devastated than Las Vegas.  When the recession went from bad to worse, Americans decided that they really didn’t need to gamble so much and casino revenues plummeted.  Suddenly unemployment started to increase dramatically in Vegas and even today it continues to soar.  Like so many other cities that are highly dependent on tourism and entertainment, Las Vegas has gone from boom to bust.  Local officials are hoping that the worst will soon be over, but the truth is that the worst is yet to come.  As the U.S. economy continues to unravel, average Americans will be spending what little money they do have to put a roof over their heads and to feed their families.   The truth is that the glory days of Las Vegas are over and they are not coming back.      (Read More...)

More Than 1 In 5 American Children Are Now Living Below The Poverty Line

Perhaps the greatest victims of the economic nightmare that is unfolding right in front of our eyes are our children.  The overall economic numbers are really bad, but when you examine the impact that this economy is having on children things get really horrifying.  Today, 1 in 5 American children live in poverty and 1 in 4 American children are on food stamps.  Experts tell us that about 50 percent of all U.S. children will be on food stamps at some point before they reach the age of 18.  Up to half a million American children are homeless even as you read this.  And yet we continue to insist that we are the wealthiest nation in the world.  Well, if we are so wealthy, then why are so many millions of our children suffering so desperately?  (Read More...)

12 Reasons Why The U.S. Housing Crash Is Far From Over

Over the past several months, many in the mainstream media have hailed the slight improvement in the U.S. real estate market as a “housing recovery”.  But the truth is that the small improvement in the numbers was primarily due to a significant number of Americans attempting to squeeze their home purchases in before the huge home buyer tax credit expired at the end of April.  Now that there is no more giant tax incentive, real estate professionals all over the United States are fearing the worst.  Mortgage defaults and foreclosures are still at record levels, and a giant “second wave” of adjustable rate mortgages is scheduled to reset in 2011 and 2012.  In addition, there are numerous indications that the U.S. economy as a whole is going to experience a dramatic downturn shortly, and if that happens it is going to be really bad news for the housing industry.  So are we about to see “Housing Crash Part 2”? (Read More...)

The Dominant Force In World Financial Markets In 2010 Is Fear

Extreme volatility is not a sign of health for financial markets.  But in 2010 financial markets around the globe are experiencing unprecented volatility.  Why?  It is because the entire world financial system has been gripped by fear.  In today’s crazed environment, it seems like just about anything can set off a major panic.  In fact, these days politicians have to be extremely careful about what they say about their national finances, because saying the wrong thing can literally send world markets into violent convulsions.  For instance, when a senior Hungarian official said that the Hungarian economy was in a “very grave situation” last week it sent world financial markets into a tailspin.  Panic was everywhere and everyone was talking about how Hungary could be the “next Greece”.  Of course on Monday Hungarian officials backed away from that comment and tried to reassure world markets that everything was fine, but the damage had been done. (Read More...)

College Students This Is Your Future: High Unemployment And Student Loan Hell

Hundreds of thousands of college students all over the United States have just graduated and are getting ready for their first taste of the real world.  Unfortunately for them, the real world is not always easy and it is not always fair.  In fact, for large numbers of recent college graduates, the transition to a world of high unemployment, brutal student loan payments and lowered expectations can be extremely sobering.  But the truth is that we have taught these young people to have a completely unrealistic view of the future.  We have told them to take out gigantic student loans without worrying about how they are going to pay them back, we have told them that if they get good grades and do everything “right” that the system will reward them with secure, fulfilling careers, and we have made high school and college so “soft and cushy” that most of these young Americans find that they don’t have the discipline and the work ethic to make it when they actually do get out into society. (Read More...)

U.S. National Debt 2010

So just how big is the U.S. national debt in 2010?  Well, according to the U.S. Treasury Department, on June 1st the U.S. National Debt was $13,050,826,460,886.97.  For those not used to seeing such big numbers, that is over 13 trillion dollars.  To give you an idea of just how much a trillion dollars is, if you had started spending one million dollars every single day when Christ was born, you still would not have spent one trillion dollars by now.  And yet somehow the U.S. government has accumulated a debt of over 13 trillion dollars.  This is a debt that we have callously placed on the backs of future generations of Americans.  Somehow we have the gall to expect our progeny to pay off the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world.  What we have done to future generations is beyond sickening. (Read More...)

Strategic Defaults: Is It Morally Right To Decide To Simply Stop Paying Your Mortgage?

In 2010, record numbers of Americans are defaulting on their mortgages.  For most of them, it is because they simply cannot afford the mortgage payments any longer.  But for a growing number of Americans, the decision to stop paying on a mortgage is not because of financial hardship.  Rather, after taking a hard look at the numbers, many Americans are simply deciding to walk away rather than continuing to make monthly payments on a home that has dramatically declined in value.  It is called a “strategic default”, and it is a phenomenon that is sweeping the nation.  So why have strategic defaults increased so dramatically?  Well, in some areas of the United States, homes are only worth about half of what they were going for at the height of the market.  So what is the morally right thing to do in that situation?  Should someone “honor the contract” that they signed and continue making payments no matter how hard it hurts, or is the morally right thing to stop making payments on the mortgage in order to put your family in a better financial position? (Read More...)

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