Has The United States Become A Nation With No Economic Spine?

What are hard working Americans who have scrimped and saved and have done everything “right” financially for decades supposed to think about all of these “bailouts” and of the massive financial mess in Washington?  How are people who have handled their own finances admirably supposed to feel now that the foolishness of others is leading us all towards a horrific economic collapse?  Well, a reader named “Mae” recently left a comment that I think does a good job of communicating what a lot of hard working Americans are feeling right now: My situation is this – we have lived our lives playing by the rules: never carried debt on a credit card that we couldn’t pay off by the due date. If we couldn’t afford the item, we didn’t buy it. We always had a Christmas Club which enabled us to pay cash for the holiday. We payed ourselves first after every paycheck whether it was $10 or $100, whatever we could afford. We made double payments on our mortgage when we could which helped us to pay off our modest home 10 years early. We knew that we couldn’t afford to “have it all” so we made our choices early on and stuck with it. We sacrificed the fancy vacations in order to do large home repairs (like a new roof) ourselves. We didn’t buy expensive cars and now own one outright and carry a small loan on another. That’s our only debt besides monthly bills. We chose jobs that provided health care benefits. We did everything right…we saved and saved and saved to have a decent retirement but of course last year took half the value of our 401k. (Read More...)

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. (Read More...)

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke Warns Congress That The Federal Reserve Will Not “Print Money” To Pay For The Exploding U.S. National Debt

On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned Congress that the Federal Reserve does not plan to “print money” to help Congress finance the exploding U.S. national debt.  In fact, Bernanke told Congress that the U.S. could soon face a debt crisis as bad as the one in Greece if the U.S. government does not get things in order financially.  This represents a fundamental change in policy for the Federal Reserve, because they have been enabling the massive borrowing by the U.S. government over the past couple of years by “buying” the majority of new U.S. government debt that has been issued.  But now the fat cats over at the Federal Reserve have apparently changed their minds.  Using uncharacteristic bluntness, Bernanke told Congress that the Federal Reserve is “not going to monetize the debt”. (Read More...)

15 Reasons Why Barack Obama’s Declaration That “A Second Depression Is No Longer A Possibility” Is Dead Wrong

Is the United States economy headed for another Great Depression?  Well, according to Barack Obama, that is no longer possible.  According to Obama, the United States has avoided an economic collapse and is headed for another wonderful era of growth and prosperity.  But is Obama right?  Do the economic signs indicate that the U.S. is headed towards recovery or towards even more difficult times?  As you shall see below, there is no way in the world that Barack Obama should have ever said that “a second depression is no longer a possibility”.  In fact, as the U.S. financial system continues to crumble, it is likely that those words will be exploited by his political adversaries again and again.  If you are a politician and you are going to issue a guarantee, you had better be able to deliver the goods.  In this case, Obama is making a promise that defies all of the economic data. (Read More...)

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. (Read More...)

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. (Read More...)

The Credit Card Trap: How U.S. Credit Card Companies Are Sucking The Financial Life Out Of The American Consumer

There have been very few things more damaging to American consumers over the past couple of decades than credit card debt.  Easy credit has enabled many of us to live absolutely fabulous lifestyles, but outrageously high interest rates, ridiculous penalties and predatory fees have sucked the financial life out of millions of American families.  It is very easy to blame the rapidly exploding debt of the U.S. government for the economic collapse that we are now experiencing, but the truth is that tens of millions of Americans have created their own personal economic disasters by overusing credit cards.  The temptation of easy credit has been too much for millions of Americans to resist, but now all of that easy credit is proving to be incredibly difficult to pay back, and massive debt problems are literally tearing many American families apart. (Read More...)

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