Bankrupt, Decaying And Nearly Dead: 24 Facts About The City Of Detroit That Will Shock You

Bankrupt, Decaying And Nearly Dead: 24 Facts About The City Of Detroit That Will Shock You - Photo by Angelique DuLongIf you want to know what the future of America is going to be like, just look at the city of Detroit.  Once upon a time it was a symbol of everything that America was doing right, but today it has been transformed into a rotting, decaying, post-apocalyptic hellhole.  Detroit was once the fourth-largest city in the United States, and in 1960 Detroit had the highest per-capita income in the entire nation.  It was the greatest manufacturing city the world had ever seen, and the rest of the globe looked at Detroit with a sense of awe and wonder.  But now the city of Detroit has become a bad joke to the rest of the world.  Unemployment is rampant, 60 percent of the children are living in poverty and the city government is on the verge of bankruptcy.  They say that Detroit is just a matter of “weeks or months” away from running out of cash, and when Detroit does declare bankruptcy it will be the largest municipal bankruptcy in the history of the United States.  But don’t look down on Detroit, because the truth is that Detroit is really a metaphor for what is happening to America as a whole.  In the United States today, our manufacturing infrastructure has been gutted, poverty is absolutely exploding and we are rapidly approaching national bankruptcy.  Detroit may have gotten there first, but the rest of the country will follow soon enough.

Back during the boom years, Detroit was known for making great cars.  Today, it is known for scenes of desolation and decay.  It is full of vandalized homes, abandoned schools and empty factories.  The following description of what Detroit looks like at this point is from an article by Barry Yeoman

It’s hard to describe the city’s physical landscape without producing what Detroiters call “ruin porn.” Brick houses with bays and turrets sit windowless or boarded up. Whole blocks, even clusters of blocks, have been bulldozed. Retail strips have been reduced to a dollar store here, a storefront church there, and a whole lot of plywood in between. Not a single chain supermarket remains.

So what caused the downfall of one of the greatest cities on earth?

Well, here is a hint…

Between December 2000 and December 2010, 48 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Michigan were lost.

When you are a manufacturing area, and you lose half of your manufacturing jobs over the course of a single decade, of course things are going to get really, really bad.

So just how bad have things gotten in Detroit?

The following are 24 facts about the city of Detroit that will shock you…

#1 Detroit was once the fourth-largest city in the United States, and it was once home to close to 2 million people.  But over the last several decades people have been fleeing in droves.  According to the 2010 census, only 713,000 people now live in Detroit, and city officials admit that the population has probably slipped under 700,000 at this point.

#2 The population of Detroit has declined by about 25 percent over the past decade.  The last time the population of Detroit was this low was all the way back in 1910.

#3 Today, Detroit is only the 18th-largest city in America.  It is now smaller than Austin, Texas and Charlotte, North Carolina.

#4 Back in 1960, the city of Detroit had the highest per-capita income in the United States.

#5 Today, the unemployment rate in Detroit is more than 18 percent, which is more than twice as high as the nation as a whole.

#6 According to a report that was just recently released, approximately 60 percent of all children in Detroit live in poverty.

#7 Approximately one-third of Detroit’s 140 square miles are either vacant or derelict.

#8 The city government of Detroit has closed dozens of schools and has decided to cut off public services to the “heavily blighted areas“.

#9 According to one estimate, there are 33,500 empty houses and 91,000 vacant residential lots in the city of Detroit today.

#10 The median price of a home in Detroit is just $9,000, and there are some areas of Detroit where you can still buy a house for $100.

#11 There are more than 85,000 streetlights in Detroit, but thieves have stripped so much copper wiring out of the lights that more than half of them are not working.

#12 Mayor Bing has announced a plan to reduce the number of streetlights in the city of Detroit to just 46,000.

#13 According to one very shocking report, 47 percent of all people living in the city of Detroit are functionally illiterate at this point..

#14 The murder rate in Detroit is 11 times higher than it is in New York City.

#15 There were 377 homicides in Detroit in 2011.  In 2012, that number rose to 411.

#16 Justifiable homicide in Detroit rose by an astounding 79 percent during 2011.

#17 In one recent year, the rate of self-defense killings in the city of Detroit was 2200% above the national average.

#18 Ten years ago, there were approximately 5,000 police officers in the city of Detroit.  Today, there are only about 2,500 and another 100 are scheduled to be eliminated from the force soon.

#19 Due to budget cutbacks, most police stations in Detroit are now closed to the public for 16 hours a day.

#20 Crime has gotten so bad in Detroit that even the police are are telling people to “enter Detroit at your own risk“.

#21 At one point, 100 bus drivers in Detroit refused to drive their routes because they were afraid of being attacked out on the streets in broad daylight.  The head of the bus drivers union, Henry Gaffney, said that the drivers were literally “scared for their lives“….

“Our drivers are scared, they’re scared for their lives. This has been an ongoing situation about security. I think yesterday kind of just topped it off, when one of my drivers was beat up by some teenagers down in the middle of Rosa Parks and it took the police almost 30 minutes to get there, in downtown Detroit,” said Gaffney.

#22 There have been reports that gangs of young men with AK-47s have been terrorizing gas stations all over Detroit.

#23 Detroit was once known for making some of the greatest cars in the world.  Now, it is known around the world as a dumping ground for the dead

From the street, the two decomposing bodies were nearly invisible, concealed in an overgrown lot alongside worn-out car tires and a moldy sofa. The teenagers had been shot, stripped to their underwear and left on a deserted block.

They were just the latest victims of foul play whose remains went undiscovered for days after being hidden deep inside Detroit’s vast urban wilderness — a crumbling wasteland rarely visited by outsiders and infrequently patrolled by police.

#24 Detroit’s public schools are an absolute nightmare.  The following is from one of my readers that actually attended one of the “best” public schools in Detroit…

The school was a new seven story building just a couple of years old. The bathrooms would often lack toilet paper & soap beyond the second floor (the main floor), the bathroom sinks would often not work. The water fountains on north side of the building on from the third floor & up did not work. The elevators would constantly break down. I even got stuck on the elevator before. I almost tripped down a half a flight of stairs because the elastic seal (it was the metal bar at the front of a treader of I don’t know the name of it.) the stairs was not properly installed.

Students would often have sex on the stairs & throughout the school. Parents actually called the school many times & reported kids having sex on the stairs because all of them had glass windows 270 degrees.

Even over in Europe they write stories about the dramatic decline of Detroit.  For example, the following is how one British reporter described his visit to Detroit

Much of Detroit is horribly dangerous for its own residents, who in many cases only stay because they have nowhere else to go. Property crime is double the American average, violent crime triple. The isolated, peeling homes, the flooded roads, the clunky, rusted old cars and the neglected front yards amid trees and groin-high grassland make you think you are in rural Alabama, not in one of the greatest industrial cities that ever existed.

For those that want to read even more about the horrifying downfall of Detroit, there are some amazing charts that graphically show the decline of Detroit right here.

So what is the solution?

How can we fix Detroit?

Well, why don’t we just build a monorail!  Of course that sounds ridiculous, but the federal government has actually committed $25 million to construct “a streetcar line” that nobody really wants and that very few people would probably actually use.  Perhaps they could be excused for wasting so much money on a bad idea if there had not already been 24 failed attempts to develop a successful public transit system in Detroit over the past four decades.

Well, why don’t we just build a bunch of theme parks instead?  After all, tourists would just flock to Detroit, right?

It has been suggested that Detroit would be ideal for an “automotive theme park”, and there is actually one group of investors that wants to turn some of the worst areas of Detroit into a “zombie theme park”.

What will they think of next?

Actually, a much better idea would have been to not allow millions of our good paying manufacturing jobs to be shipped to the other side of the world, but it is too late for that at this point.

But once again, please do not look down on the city of Detroit.  Instead, let the city of Detroit serve as a warning for the rest of us.

The truth is that the entire U.S. economy is in an advanced state of decline…

-The percentage of the civilian labor force in the United States that is employed has been steadily declining every single year since 2006.

-An astounding 53 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year.

-Amazingly, there are hundreds of thousands of Americans with either Master’s degrees or Ph.D.s that are enrolled in the food stamp program at this point.

We are a nation that consumes far more wealth than we produce, we are a nation that is constantly bleeding jobs, businesses and wealth, and we are a nation that is going deeper into debt with each passing day.

Yes, Detroit may have gone over the edge into economic oblivion first, but the rest of the nation is steamrolling down the exact same path that Detroit has gone.

Is it too late for us to change direction?

Please feel free to share your thoughts on that question by leaving a comment below…

Detroit - Photo by Albert duce

The Federal Government Hands Out Money To 128 Million Americans Every Month

The Federal Government Hands Out Money To 128 Million Americans Every MonthThe number of Americans receiving money directly from the federal government has grown from 94 million in the year 2000 to over 128 million today.  A shocking new research paper by Patrick Tyrrell and William W. Beach contains that statistic and a whole bunch of other very revealing numbers.  According to their research, the federal government hands out money to 41.3 percent of the entire population of the United States each month.  Overall, more than 70 percent of all federal spending goes to what they call “dependence-creating programs”.  It is the most massive wealth redistribution scheme in the history of the world, and it continues to grow at a very rapid pace with each passing month.  But can we really afford this?  Of course we never want to see a single person go without food to eat or a roof to sleep under, but can the federal government really afford to support 128 million Americans every month?  If millions more Americans keep jumping on to the “safety net” each year, how long will it be before it breaks and it is not there for anyone?  The federal government is already drowning in debt.  This year the U.S. national debt will easily blow past the 17 trillion dollar mark and we are rapidly heading toward financial oblivion.  We are stealing more than 100 million dollars from our children and our grandchildren every single hour of every single day with no end in sight.  If we don’t get our finances in order as a nation, what will the end result be?

According to Tyrrell and Beach, federal spending on entitlement programs has been rising more than 6 times as fast as population growth has in recent years…

Between 1988 and 2011, spending on dependence-creating federal government programs has increased 180 percent versus “only” a 62 percent increase in the number of people who are enrolled in federal government programs, and a 27 percent increase in the population. Not only are more people enrolled in government programs than ever before, but more US taxpayer dollars are being spent on each recipient every year.

But even though the numbers that Tyrrell and Beach present in their paper are incredibly shocking, the truth is that they have probably underestimated the true scope of government dependence in America today.  Just consider the following numbers…

Food Stamps

Back in the year 2000, there were about 17 million Americans on food stamps.  That number has exploded to more than 47 million today.

Medicaid

If you can believe it, today more than 70 million Americans are on Medicaid, and it is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.

Social Security

Right now, there are more than 53 million Americans on Social Security, and that number is projected to absolutely explode as huge waves of Baby Boomers retire in the coming years.

Medicare

As I wrote about in a previous article, the number of Americans on Medicare is expected to grow from 50.7 million in 2012 to 73.2 million in 2025.

And those are only four examples of government programs that have seen their numbers explode in recent years.  There are so many more that could be mentioned.  Overall, the federal government runs nearly 80 different “means-tested welfare programs“, and almost all of them are experiencing explosive growth.

So is the “128 million” figure that Tyrrell and Beach have come up with actually too low?  I believe that it is.  But in any event, nobody can deny that the “welfare state” in the U.S. has absolutely mushroomed in size since the turn of the century.

According to one recent poll, 55 percent of all Americans say that they have received money from a safety net program run by the federal government at some point in their lives.  We are a nation that has become very comfortable leaning on Uncle Sam for help.

And poor people from all around the globe see how good things are here and they are eager to get a seat at the table.  In a previous article, I talked about a federal government website (“WelcomeToUSA.gov“) that actually teaches new immigrants how to apply for welfare once they are able to get into the United States.

Will we all eventually becoming dependent on the government?  If that happens will we still be free men and women?

Once someone is dependent on the government, they become forced to do what the government tells them to do in order to survive.  If we all eventually become dependent on the federal government, how much power will that give them over us?

That is something to think about.

Another thing to ponder is how the U.S. middle class is rapidly disappearing.

There will always be poor people, and we should always take care of them, but what we should be truly alarmed about is how the middle class in America has been dramatically shrinking in recent years.

One of the biggest reasons why so many Americans are applying for government assistance these days is because there simply aren’t enough jobs for everyone.  Politicians from both political parties have fully embraced the one world “free trade” economic agenda of the global elite, and as a result millions of our jobs are being shipped out of the country.  Big corporations can either choose to pay U.S. workers a living wage with benefits, or they can choose to set up shop on the other side of the globe where it is legal to pay workers slave labor wages with no benefits.  Plus there are much fewer taxes and regulations to deal with typically on the other side of the globe.

As long as this nation pursues this “one world economic agenda”, there will never be enough jobs in the United States ever again.  Chronic unemployment will become the new normal.  Our formerly great manufacturing cities will continue to degenerate into gang-infested war zones.

Apologists for the current system continue to insist that the answer is “more education”, but the truth is that government dependence is even exploding among those with advanced degrees.  The following is a brief excerpt from a recent article on The Chronicle Of Higher Education

People who don’t finish college are more likely to receive food stamps than are those who go to graduate school. The rolls of people on public assistance are dominated by people with less education. Nevertheless, the percentage of graduate-degree holders who receive food stamps or some other aid more than doubled between 2007 and 2010.

During that three-year period, the number of people with master’s degrees who received food stamps and other aid climbed from 101,682 to 293,029, and the number of people with Ph.D.’s who received assistance rose from 9,776 to 33,655, according to tabulations of microdata done by Austin Nichols, a senior researcher with the Urban Institute. He drew on figures from the 2008 and 2011 Current Population Surveys done by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor.

After reading that, does anyone still believe that “more education” is the answer to our problems?

What we need is more jobs, and lots of them.  Unfortunately, our politicians continue to pursue policies that absolutely kill American jobs.

So the number of Americans that are forced to turn to the government for assistance will continue to grow, as will our national debt.

Sadly, most Americans still don’t realize what is happening.  Most of them are still listening to those in the mainstream media that are insisting that everything is going to be just fine.

For example, the most famous economic journalist in the country, Paul Krugman of the New York Times, recently wrote that the deficit crisis has been “solved”…

True, there are projected problems further down the road, mainly because of the continuing effects of an aging population. But it still comes as something of a shock to realize that at this point reasonable projections do not, repeat do not, show anything resembling the runaway deficit crisis that is a staple of almost everything you hear, including supposedly objective news reporting.

So you heard it here first: while you weren’t looking, and the deficit scolds were doing their scolding, the deficit problem (such as it was) was being mostly solved.

Oh really?

I don’t know how in the world Paul Krugman can get paid to write such nonsense, but the truth is that our government debt problems are only just beginning.

In a previous article, I explained that the unfunded liabilities of the federal government are growing so rapidly that we could not cover them even if we raised the highest tax rate to 100%…

According to Chris Cox and Bill Archer, two men who served on Bill Clinton’s Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform, there is no way in the world that we could raise taxes high enough to pay for all of the obligations that we are currently taking on.  They say that even if we taxed all corporations and all individuals at a 100% tax rate on all income over $66,193,  “it wouldn’t be nearly enough to fund the over $8 trillion per year in the growth of U.S. liabilities.

Yes, Paul Krugman, we do have a spending problem.  Even if Bill Gates gave every single penny of his fortune to the federal government, it would only cover the U.S. budget deficit for about 15 days.  We simply cannot go on spending money like this.

If anyone out there believes Paul Krugman and is convinced that the federal government is no longer facing a massive debt problem, please read this article: “55 Facts About The Debt And U.S. Government Finances That Every American Voter Should Know“.

But if we can’t afford to do all of this spending, then why are we doing it?

Well, it is because there are a whole lot of people out there that are really hurting.  Poverty in the U.S. is absolutely exploding, and the gap between the wealthy and the poor has grown to unprecedented heights.

According to a recent article posted on Economy In Crisis, the bottom 60 percent of all Americans only own 2.3 percent of all the financial wealth in the nation combined.

That is astounding.

If you live in a wealthy area of the country, you may look around and things may look really good to you.  But in many other areas of the country things are worse than they have ever been in the post-World War II era.  For the first time ever, more than a million public school students in the United States are homeless.  That number has risen by 57 percent since the 2006-2007 school year.

Can you imagine that?  We have over a million kids that are attending our public schools that do not have a home to go back to at night.

Our economy desperately needs more jobs, but we just continue to lose more of them.  On Thursday, it was announced that American Express is eliminating 5,400 more jobs.  More announcements like this come out just about every day now.  65 percent of all Americans expect 2013 to be a year of “economic difficulty”, and there aren’t a whole lot of reasons to be optimistic about things at this point.

When you lose your job, it can feel like your entire life is falling apart.  The competition for jobs is absolutely fierce, and a lot of workers have fallen through the cracks.  In this rough economic environment, there are millions of Americans that have never been able to put the pieces of their lives back together.  A recent CNN article profiled a 42-year-old woman up in Oregon named Lynette who has had her life totally turned upside down by unemployment…

I’m a single mom with a son in high school.

Three years ago, I was laid off from a job working at a propane company. I had just gotten back on my feet after battling breast cancer, then cervical cancer, but the economy tanked, and I was the first to go.

I am now 42, and the cancer is gone. But it appears my employability is also gone.

She used to work in a position that helped others find government assistance, but now she is the one who has been forced to seek it…

Before I was diagnosed with cancer, I worked for the state of Oregon and was the number one service manager for the Department of Human Services. My job was to help low income families find work and get food stamps and insurance. Now, I cannot even get a job at McDonalds, and I’m the one living on social assistance.

Does anyone out there have a similar story to share?  If so, please feel free to share it below…

Get Your Free Money!

Large Cities All Over America Are Degenerating Into Gang-Infested War Zones

Large Cities All Over America Are Degenerating Into Gang-Infested War ZonesLarge U.S. cities that the rest of the world used to look at in envy are now being transformed into gang-infested hellholes with skyrocketing crime rates.  Cities such as Chicago, Detroit, Camden, East St. Louis, New Orleans and Oakland were once bustling with economic activity, but as industry has fled those communities poverty has exploded and so has criminal activity.  Meanwhile, financial problems have caused all of those cities to significantly reduce their police forces.  Sadly, this same pattern is being repeated in hundreds of communities all over the nation.  The mainstream media loves to focus on mass shooters such as Adam Lanza, but the reality is that gang violence is a far greater problem in the United States than mass shooters ever will be.  There are approximately 1.4 million gang members living in America today according to the FBI.  That number has shot up by a whopping 40 percent just since 2009.  There are several factors fueling this trend.  Unemployment among our young people is at an epidemic level, about one out of every three U.S. children lives in a home without a father, and there are millions of young men who have come into this country illegally and have no way to legally support themselves once they arrive in our cities.  Gangs provide a support system, a feeling of “community”, and a sense of purpose for many young people.  Unfortunately, most of these gangs use violence and crime to achieve their goals, and they are taking over communities all over America.  If your community is not a gang-infested war zone yet, you should consider yourself to be very fortunate.  If nothing is done about this, the violence and the crime that is fueled by these gangs will continue to spread, and eventually nearly every single community in the United States will be affected by it.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the large cities all over America that are degenerating into gang-infested war zones…

East St. Louis

East St. Louis has a national reputation for being a city that you want to avoid.  The following is from a recent Bloomberg article about the growing crime in that community…

Dodging open manholes where thieves had swiped cast-iron covers, Stephen Wigginton drives the crumbling streets of his hometown, East St. Louis, Illinois, pointing out new landmarks in America’s most violent city.

There’s the shopping mall where a police officer was shot in the face, a youth center that saw a triple homicide in September, and scattered about the city of 27,000 are brightly lit gas stations that serve as magnets for carjackers, hit-and-run robbers and killers.

“It’s the Wild West,” said Wigginton, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Illinois.

Today, the murder rate in East St. Louis is 17 times higher than the national average, but financial problems have forced huge cuts to the police budget.  The number of police patrolling the streets of East St. Louis was reduced by 33 percent between 2008 and 2011.  Police in the city admit that they are outgunned and outmanned, but there is not much that can be done about it.

Camden

Camden, New Jersey is another city that has experienced huge cuts to the police budget.  Their police force shrank by about a third between 2008 and 2011.  Today, Camden is considered to be one of the most dangerous cities in America and it has a murder rate that is about ten times higher than New York City.

The gangs have a very strong hold over Camden, and kids kill kids on a regular basis in the city.  The following is a brief excerpt from a recent article about the horrible violence that is plaguing Camden

At the vigil last week, residents prayed that Camden would simply find peace and that the masked gunman who killed Jewel Manire and Khalil Gibson would be caught.

As it grew darker, Michael Benjamin stood toward the back of the crowd, his son huddled even closer now, and shook his head.

“I’ve known at least 45 kids who’ve been killed in my lifetime,” he said, the boy holding his finger. “I stopped counting in 2004, though.”

Chicago

In recent years there have been massive cuts to the police budget in Chicago due to financial difficulties.  At the same time, gang activity has dramatically increased in the city.

As a result, Chicago has become known for murders and violence.  The murder rate in Chicago was about 17 percent higher in 2012 than it was in 2011, and Chicago is now considered to be “the deadliest global city“.

If you can believe it, the number of murders in Chicago during 2012 was roughly equivalent to the number of murders in the entire country of Japan during 2012.

And the primary reason for all of this violence in Chicago is the gangs.  As I have written about previously, there are only about 200 police officers assigned to Chicago’s Gang Enforcement Unit.  It is their job to handle the estimated 100,000 gang members living in the city.

Approximately 80 percent of all murders and shootings in the city of Chicago are gang-related, and as the gangs continue to grow in size the violence in the city is going to get even worse.  If Barack Obama wants to do something about violence in America, perhaps he should start with his home city.

Detroit

I write a lot about Detroit, but that is because they are a perfect example of where the rest of America is headed if something dramatic is not done.

Detroit used to be one of the greatest manufacturing cities the world has ever seen, but over the past several decades the economic infrastructure of Detroit has been gutted and now there is very little industry left in the city.

Over half the children in the city live in poverty and a sense of hopelessness hangs in the air.  At the same time, financial problems have forced the city to lay off huge numbers of cops.  Back in 2005, there were about 4,000 police officers in Detroit.  Today there are only about 2,500 and another 100 are scheduled to be eliminated from the force soon.

Meanwhile, crime in Detroit just continues to get even worse.  There were 377 homicides in Detroit in 2011.  In 2012, that number rose to 411.

Things have gotten so bad that even even the Detroit police are telling people to “enter Detroit at your own risk“.

New Orleans

New Orleans was a crime-infested city even before Hurricane Katrina hit it in 2005, but life has never quite been the same since that time.

The gangs have a very strong presence in the city, and there simply are not enough financial resources to keep crime in check.

If New Orleans was considered to be a separate nation, it would have the 2nd highest murder rate on the entire planet.  There are some areas of New Orleans that you simply do not ever want to venture into at night.

Meanwhile, the police force has been such a mess in recent years that the federal government finally decided to step in.  It is hoped that the “reforms” will mean less crime in New Orleans in future years, but I wouldn’t count on it.

Oakland

Today, there are 626 police officers in Oakland, California.  That is about a 25 percent decline from the 837 police officers that were patrolling the streets of Oakland back in December 2008.

Predictably, criminals have stepped in and have taken advantage of the situation.  At one point in 2012, burglaries in the city of Oakland were up 43 percent over the previous year.

If you can believe it, more than 11,000 homes, cars and businesses were burglarized in Oakland during 2012.  That breaks down to approximately 33 burglaries a day.

Stockton

Police cuts in the city of Stockton, California have been so severe that the Stockton Police Officers’ Association ran a billboard advertisement with the following message at one point: “Welcome to the 2nd most dangerous city in California: Stop laying off cops!”

At the same time, crime in Stockton continues to get even worse.  there have been more than 250 gold chain robberies in Stockton since the month of April, and there is no indication that crime in the city is going to slow down any time soon.

So what is the solution?

Should we have everyone turn in their guns?

No, that would just make the problem even worse.  The gangs aren’t going to turn in their guns.  The only people who would turn in their guns would be law-abiding citizens.  That would just make them even more vulnerable to the violence and crime that are starting to spread like wildfire all over the nation.

We don’t have a gun problem in America.  What we have is a gang problem.

In 2006, the Justice Department’s National Drug Intelligence Center reported that Mexican drug cartels were actively operating in 50 different U.S. cities.  By 2010, that number had risen to 1,286.

Many of these gang members run up long criminal records, but our overcrowded prison systems just keep releasing them back into the streets.  The results of this philosophy have been predictable.  The following is from a recent article by Daniel Greenfield

A breakdown of the Chicago killing fields shows that 83% of those murdered in Chicago last year had criminal records. In Philly, it’s 75%. In Milwaukee it’s 77% percent. In New Orleans, it’s 64%. In Baltimore, it’s 91%. Many were felons who had served time. And as many as 80% of the homicides were gang related.

Chicago’s problem isn’t guns; it’s gangs. Gun control efforts in Chicago or any other major city are doomed because gangs represent organized crime networks which stretch down to Mexico, and trying to cut off their gun supply will be as effective as trying to cut off their drug supply.

This is not a time to take away the ability of law-abiding American families to defend themselves.  Instead, people need to put even more emphasis on self-defense as police forces all over the country are cut back.

Just recently, the city attorney of San Bernardino, California told citizens living there to “lock their doors and load their guns” because the police force in that city is being cut back again.

And that is good advice.  As the economy continues to decline and as millions more Americans fall into poverty, the violence is going to get even worse.

What would you do if a desperate criminal broke into your house and started searching through your home room by room?  That is the horrifying situation that one young mother down in Georgia was recently faced with

She quickly retreated to an attic crawlspace with the children, but not before she also picked up her handgun.

The burglar, whom police identified as Paul Ali Slater, did a room-by-room search of the home, and when he reached the attic, she was ready.

Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman told WSBTV: ‘The perpetrator opens that door. Of course, at that time he’s staring at her, her two children and a .38 revolver.’

She reportedly fired all six rounds, missing only once. The other shots hit Slater about the face and neck.

Sheriff Chapman told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: ‘The guy’s face down, crying. The woman told him to stay down or she’d shoot again.’

What would have happened if she had not had any way to defend herself and her children?

That is something that we all need to think about.

For the last couple of decades, we have been fortunate to live in an era of falling crime rates.  Unfortunately, that era is now over.  Large cities all over the country are degenerating into gang-infested war zones, and what we are seeing right now is just the tip of the iceberg.

After the economy collapses, millions of people are going to become incredibly desperate and things are going to get much, much worse than this.

So what are you seeing in your area of the country?  Please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts below…

Crime

Say Goodbye To The Good Life

Say Goodbye To The Good Life - The U.S. Capitol With A Babylonian Holiday Tree In The ForegroundWill this be the last normal holiday season that Americans ever experience?  To many Americans, such a notion would be absolutely inconceivable.  After all, in the affluent areas of the country restaurants and malls are absolutely packed.  Beautiful holiday decorations are seemingly everywhere this time of the year and children all over the United States are breathlessly awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus.  Even though poverty is exploding to unprecedented levels, most families will still have mountains of presents under their Christmas trees.  Of course a whole lot of those presents were purchased with credit cards, but people don’t like to talk about that.  It kind of spoils the illusion.  Sadly, the truth is that our entire economy is a giant illusion.  The extreme prosperity that we have been enjoying has been fueled by debt, and any future prosperity that we will experience is completely dependent on our ability to go into even more debt.  The total amount of debt in our economy is almost 10 times larger than it was just 30 years ago, but we don’t like to think about that too much.  Most Americans are way too busy living the good life to be bothered with “doom and gloom”.  Well, get ready to say goodbye to normal.  As history has shown us, no financial bubble lasts forever, and time is rapidly running out for us.

You know that the hour is late when even mainstream news sources start publishing articles with titles such as this: “Will 2013 Mark the Beginning of American Decline?

That article appeared on Bloomberg.com the other day, and it was written by Simon Johnson, a former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund.  He is convinced that a day of reckoning is coming for U.S. government finances, and he seems resigned to the fact that we will not be ready when that day arrives…

“Sooner or later, it will be America’s turn to fall out of favor with investors and to see its own interest rates rise. It is hard to know when that day will come, or precisely what pressures the country will face.

Let me only venture one forecast: We will not be ready.”

Other analysts are far more pessimistic.  For example, the following is what Gerald Celente said about the “bond bubble” during a recent interview with King World News

Eric King: “Gerald, I wanted to take a look at this upcoming issue you have coming out. (In here it says,) ‘Bonds Away! The bond bomb is ready to explode … threatening to make the real estate and dot-com bubbles, and even the Great Recession, look like market corrections.’ Can you talk about that?”

Celente: “Yes. This piece is being penned by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, the former Assistant Treasury Secretary under Ronald Reagan. And he is convinced that the bond bubble is about to burst. This cannot continue to go on the way it is. Everyone knows that the whole game is rigged, and so is this….”

“The whole game is rigged. It’s ready to go down, and Dr. Paul Craig Roberts believes it’s ‘Bonds Away’ in 2013 as the bond bubble explodes and brings about a financial disaster even worse than the Great Depression.”

Eric King: “He’s saying here it’s a road to financial collapse that we are going to head down when this thing bursts.”

Celente: “It is. Because the whole world is being propped up by these phony bonds and it’s going to collapse. It has to happen. Interest rates are going to start going up, and when they do the bond bubble explodes. You cannot keep interest rates at zero for this amount of time and expect anything other than disaster to follow.”

For much more on all this, you can listen to another excellent interview with Gerald Celente right here.

Our politicians just assume that we will be able to borrow trillions upon trillions of dollars far into the future at super low interest rates, but that is a very dangerous assumption.

As I noted the other day, the average rate of interest on U.S. government debt was 2.534 percent at the end of November.  If that number just rose to where it was about a decade earlier we would be in a massive amount of trouble.

Back in the year 2000, the average rate of interest on U.S. government debt was 6.638 percent.  If we were at that level today, the U.S. government would be paying out more than a trillion dollars a year just in interest on the national debt.

But our politicians just keep borrowing and spending as if we could do this forever.

From the time that George Washington was inaugurated (1789) to the time that George W. Bush was inaugurated (2001), the U.S. government accumulated about 5.7 trillion dollars of debt.

During the first four years of the Obama administration, the U.S. government accumulated about 5.7 trillion dollars of debt.

How can anyone support this kind of insanity?

You can see an excellent video demonstrating the vastness of our national debt right here.  In the end, all of this debt will absolutely destroy the U.S. dollar, our economic system and the bright futures that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have.

As if all of that was not enough to be concerned about, there is also the threat that Wall Street could implode at any time.  Most Americans have no idea that Wall Street has been transformed into the largest casino in the history of the world.  The “too big to fail” banks are the ringleaders, and the derivatives bubble hangs over our financial system like a “sword of Damocles” that could fall at virtually any moment.

Everything will remain fine as long as the spiral of derivatives that our bankers have constructed remains perfectly balanced.  But if something happens and it becomes unbalanced and starts to collapse, the consequences could be unlike anything we have ever seen before.

A recent Zero Hedge article entitled “1000x Systemic Leverage: $600 Trillion In Gross Derivatives ‘Backed’ By $600 Billion In Collateral” detailed how there is barely any collateral backing up the hundreds of trillions of dollars of derivatives that are out there…

But a bigger question is what is the actual collateral backing this gargantuan market which is about 10 times greater than the world’s combined GDP, because as the “derivative” name implies all this exposure is backed on some dedicated, real assets, somewhere. Luckily, the IMF recently released a discussion note titled “Shadow Banking: Economics and Policy” where quietly hidden in one of the appendices it answers precisely this critical question. The bottom line: $600 trillion in gross notional derivatives backed by a tiny $600 billion in real assets: a whopping 0.1% margin requirement! Surely nothing can possibly go wrong with this amount of unprecedented 1000x systemic leverage.

Our entire economy has become a giant pyramid of debt, risk and leverage.  At some point there is going to be a giant crash.  When that happens, people are going to become very desperate.

When people become very desperate, they often accept “solutions” that they were not willing to consider previously.

We need to learn some lessons from history.  This is exactly the kind of thing that happened back in the 1930s.

For example, an elderly woman named Kitty Werthmann is telling audiences what life was like in Austria back in the late 1930s…

“In 1938, Austria was in deep Depression. Nearly one-third of our workforce was unemployed. We had 25 percent inflation and 25 percent bank loan interest rates.”

“Farmers and business people were declaring bankruptcy daily. Young people were going from house to house begging for food. Not that they didn’t want to work; there simply weren’t any jobs.”

The Austrian people were really hurting and they were desperate for answers.  When Hitler came to them with “solutions”, they were ready to embrace him with open arms…

“We looked to our neighbor on the north, Germany, where Hitler had been in power since 1933.” she recalls. “We had been told that they didn’t have unemployment or crime, and they had a high standard of living.”

“Nothing was ever said about persecution of any group – Jewish or otherwise. We were led to believe that everyone in Germany was happy. We wanted the same way of life in Austria. We were promised that a vote for Hitler would mean the end of unemployment and help for the family. Hitler also said that businesses would be assisted, and farmers would get their farms back.””Ninety-eight percent of the population voted to annex Austria to Germany and have Hitler for our ruler.”

“We were overjoyed,” remembers Kitty, “and for three days we danced in the streets and had candlelight parades. The new government opened up big field kitchens and everyone was fed.”

Sadly, America is already starting to go down the same path in many ways.  If you doubt this, you can read the rest of her account right here.

Right now, things are still relatively good in America.  Yes, there are a whole host of economic numbers that look really bad, but what we are experiencing right now is nothing compared to the horrific economic pain that is coming.

When our economy finally crashes, nobody is going to be able to press a button and restore things to how they were previously.  We will be told that we have to “adjust” and consider “new solutions” to our “new challenges”.  Someday we will look back on the good life that we were enjoying in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and wish that we could go back to those days.

So enjoy the relative peacefulness and prosperity of these times while you still can.  A horrific economic collapse is on the way, and once it strikes none of our lives will ever be the same.

Santa Claus - A Symbol Of Our Materialism

20 Signs That The U.S. Poverty Explosion Is Hitting Children And Young People The Hardest

20 Signs That The U.S. Poverty Explosion Is Hitting Children And Young People The Hardest - Photo by Franco FoliniThe mainstream media continues to insist that the economy is “getting better”, but the poverty numbers for children and young people just continue to explode.  For example, did you know that the poverty rate for families with a head of household under the age of 30 is a whopping 37 percent?  Children and young people sure didn’t cause our recent economic downturn, but they sure are getting hit the hardest by it.  According to the U.S. Department of Education, for the first time ever more than a million U.S. public school students are homeless.  That seems like an impossible number, but it is actually true.  How in the world could the “wealthiest nation on earth” get to the point where more than a million children can’t count on a warm bed to sleep in at night?  Sadly, a huge number of American children can’t count on a warm dinner either.  About a fourth of them are enrolled in the food stamp program.  What do you do if you are a parent in that kind of situation?  How do you explain to your kids that you can’t afford a nice home like everybody else has or that you can’t afford to go to the grocery store and buy them some dinner?

Young people are experiencing very rough times right now as well.  If you are under the age of 30, it is really, really difficult to get a job in America today.  The competition for the few decent jobs that seem to be available is absolutely crazy.  Unemployment among young people is at a level that we have not seen since World War II, and this is causing major problems.

Even if you do have a college degree, there is no guarantee that you will be able to get any type of a job.  In fact, more than half of all college graduates under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed last year.  There are millions of very talented college graduates that are waiting tables, making sandwiches or stocking shelves down at the local branch of a global retail conglomerate.  Meanwhile, they are saddled with record breaking amounts of student loan debt.

This is easily the worst economic environment that we have seen for young people since the Great Depression of the 1930s.  The number of good jobs continues to decline.  Many young people are faced with the choice of taking a bad job or having no job at all.

If you are under 30 in America today, you better hope that you come from a wealthy family or that you have some really good connections, because otherwise the future looks pretty bleak for you.

The following are 20 signs that the U.S. poverty explosion is hitting children and young people the hardest…

1. If you can believe it, a higher percentage of children is living in poverty in America today than was the case back in 1975.

2. More than one out of every five children in the United States is currently living in poverty.

3. According to U.S. Census data, 57 percent of all American children live in a home that is either considered to be “poor” or “low income”.

4. Median household income for families with children dropped by a whopping $6,300 between 2001 and 2011.

5. For the first time ever, more than a million public school students in the United States are homeless.  That number has risen by 57 percent since the 2006-2007 school year.

6. It is being projected that half of all American children will be on food stamps at least once before they turn 18 years of age.

7. One university study estimates that child poverty costs the U.S. economy 500 billion dollars each year.

8. The 18 to 24 age group has a higher unemployment rate than any other age group in the United States.

9. Young adult employment is now at the lowest level that we have seen since World War II.

10. In 2007, the unemployment rate for the 20 to 29 age bracket was about 6.5 percent.  Today, the unemployment rate for that same age group is about 13 percent.

11. Families that have a head of household under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent.

12. Family homelessness in the Washington D.C. region (one of the wealthiest regions in the entire country) has risen 23 percent since the last recession began.

13. Since the year 2000, incomes for U.S. households led by someone between the ages of 25 and 34 have fallen by about 12 percent after you account for inflation.

14. In 1984, the median net worth of households led by someone 65 or older was 10 times larger than the median net worth of households led by someone 35 or younger.  Today, the median net worth of households led by someone 65 or older is 47 times larger than the median net worth of households led by someone 35 or younger.

15. During 2011, 53 percent of all Americans with a bachelor’s degree under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed.

16. Many young people are finding that they cannot afford to get married these days.  Sadly, an all-time low 44.2 percent of all Americans between the ages of 25 and 34 are married right now.

17. Right now, approximately 53 percent of all Americans in the 18 to 24 age group are living at home.

18. The number of Americans in the 25 to 34 age group that live with their parents has grown by 25 percent since 2007.

19. One survey discovered that 85 percent of all college seniors plan on moving back in with their parents after graduation.

20. Overall, approximately 25 million American adults are living with their parents in the United States right now according to Time Magazine.

After reading all of those statistics, do you still doubt that America is in decline?  If so, you can find some more shocking statistics right here.

The truth is that it should be painfully evident to anyone with a brain that our economy is not working correctly anymore.  We have lots of talented people, but there are not nearly enough jobs and a lot of those very talented people end up sleeping out in the streets.

A recent New York Times article told the story of a young man named Duane Taylor.  Sadly, there are way too many young people out there today that are experiencing the same kind of things that he is…

Duane Taylor was studying the humanities in community college and living in his own place when he lost his job in a round of layoffs. Then he found, and lost, a second job. And a third.

Now, with what he calls “lowered standards” and a tenuous new position at a Jack in the Box restaurant, Mr. Taylor, 24, does not make enough to rent an apartment or share one. He sleeps on a mat in a homeless shelter, except when his sister lets him crash on her couch.

“At any time I could lose my job, my security,” said Mr. Taylor, explaining how he was always the last hired and the first fired. “I’d like to be able to support myself. That’s my only goal.”

There are millions upon millions of young people in America today that feel totally lost because they cannot find their places in the world.

They are angry, frustrated, depressed, desperate and disillusioned.  They felt like they did everything that the system told them to do, and now they feel like the system is failing them.

An unemployed 2010 graduate of the University of Florida named Lance Fuller expresses similar sentiments on his blog entitled “Voices Of A Lost Generation“…

They are the countless young men and women eager for an opportunity but have found few, if any. They have desirable skills, are highly educated, and are more than willing to work.

Sadly, crippled by college debt and graduated into a struggling economy, they stand little chance to find gainful employment in their chosen fields and take temporary jobs they are overqualified for. They lie waiting for the dream job they went to school for — but it probably doesn’t exist.

My name is Lance and sadly, I share in this story. Like my twentysomething peers, I am one of the thousands of faces of America’s Generation U — Unfortunate, Unlucky, and Unemployed.

I am fortunate that I have never been without money to buy food and have never had to spend a night on the street.  But tonight millions upon millions of Americans under the age of 30 will be faced with those kinds of circumstances.

Please say a prayer for them.  They didn’t cause the economic mess that we are in, but they are certainly paying the price for the mistakes that were made.

Does anyone out there have a similar story to the ones that were shared in this article?  If so, please feel free to share it below.  Perhaps your story will encourage someone else out there who is going through a really hard time right now.

Sad Child - Photo by David Shankbone

What In The World Are Barack Obama And John Boehner Thinking?

What In The World Are Barack Obama And John Boehner Thinking?Barack Obama and John Boehner both seem absolutely determined to drive U.S. government finances off a cliff.  The mainstream media would have you believe that there are vast ideological differences between the two of them and that they are bitter enemies, but that is simply not the case.  Both of them say that tax increases are “necessary”, but they disagree over the details.  Both are seeking about a trillion dollars of spending cuts and about a trillion dollars of new “revenue”, but they don’t see eye to eye on how to get there.  But overall, they are both definitely playing in the same ballpark.  And those numbers certainly do sound impressive until you realize that they are talking about a time span of ten years.  Personally, I would love to see federal spending cut by a trillion dollars this year.  But that will never happen.  A trillion dollars over the course of a decade breaks down to about 100 billion dollars per year.  That still sounds like a lot of money until you put it up next to the trillion dollar deficits that we have been running for four years in a row.  Even if somehow those spending cuts turned out to be real (which they aren’t), they would still only put a very small dent in our yearly budget deficits.  Obama and Boehner both want to continue to have a gigantic federal government that showers people with government money, and both of them want to continue to pass much of the burden for paying for this gigantic government on to future generations.  And both of them want to continue to steal more than 100 million dollars an hour from our children and our grandchildren in order to maintain the false bubble of debt-fueled prosperity that we are enjoying right now.  This is incredibly foolish and they are leading us down a path that will lead to national ruin.

Sadly, even the pathetically small “budget cut” and “new revenue” figures that they are floating around turn out to be quite hollow when you inspect them more closely.

For example, the “new revenue” figures that both Obama and Boehner are talking about rely on extremely unrealistic assumptions about U.S. economic growth.  In order to meet their revenue projections, the U.S. economy would need to grow significantly faster than it is right now and we would need to get through the entire decade without having a single recession.

What do you think the chance of that happening is?

But that is the way that things work in Washington D.C. – our politicians function in a world where it is assumed that everything will work out just perfectly in the future.

For example, if the figures put out at the beginning of the Bush administration were to be believed, we should be absolutely swimming in government surpluses by now.

That didn’t work out too well, did it?

The “spending cuts” are even more illusory.

Obama is projecting that we will save 130 billion dollars by manipulating the way that inflation is calculated for annual increases in Social Security benefits.

But our politicians are already pretending that there is hardly any inflation when any rational person can see that prices are soaring.

So can they really manipulate the numbers to make them look even smaller?

By doing so, they would be cheating elderly Americans out of 130 billion dollars.  But I guess this is more convenient for our politicians than going after real government waste.

Obama also plans to save $290 billion by having lower interest payments on U.S. government debt.

Try not to laugh.

The average rate of interest on U.S. government debt was 2.534 percent at the end of November.  That is ridiculously low.  The only place it is going to go in future years is up.

Back in the year 2000, the average rate of interest on U.S. government debt was 6.638 percent.  If the average rate of interest on U.S. government debt rose back to that level, we would be paying out more than a trillion dollars a year just in interest on the national debt.

So Obama’s projection that we are going to save 290 billion dollars over the next ten years by forcing interest rates on U.S. government debt even lower is insanely optimistic.  Only a delusional person would make such an assumption.

And most of the savings from the “projected spending cuts” that Obama and Boehner are proposing would not happen until later in the decade.

After all, they don’t want to “hurt the economy” right now.

In fact, Obama is actually proposing that we should increase spending by $80 billion this year so that we can encourage economic activity.

So don’t let anyone fool you with any nonsense about how Obama and Boehner are working on a plan that would get U.S. government finances in order.

No matter how their “negotiations” turn out, we will continue to run trillion dollars deficits year after year with no end in sight.

If Americans want a monstrous federal government that passes out government checks like candy, then they should pay for it.  Personally, I think that taxes are already way, way too high and that the government already brings in more than enough money.

If Americans don’t want to pay much higher taxes, then they should tell the government to quit spending money that we don’t have.

But all of this trying to have it both ways has got to stop.  We are destroying the future for our children and our grandchildren.  We have already run up 16 trillion dollars in debt and we can’t even seem to slow down our reckless debt binge.  If they get the chance, someday future generations will curse us for what we did to them.

The funny thing is that John Boehner was supposed to be a “conservative” that was going to do something about all of this debt.  But since John Boehner has been Speaker of the House, the U.S. House of Representatives has approved legislation that has increased the size of our national debt by approximately $18,944 per household.

Thanks John.

Meanwhile, our economy continues to unravel, good jobs are becoming even more scarce, and poverty continues to explode.

For example, did you know that there are now more than one million homeless students in America?  Sadly, it’s true…

The number of homeless students in America topped one million for the first time last year as a result of the economic recession, a number that has risen 57 percent since 2007.

The US Department of Education found that of these 1,065,794 children, many lived in abandoned homes, cheap hotels, stations, church basements and hospitals. Some spent their time sleeping over at the houses of various friends whenever they could. Others fell victim to drugs and sexual abuse, in some cases trading sexual acts for food, clothing and shelter or selling illegal drugs.

Even in the midst of our debt-fueled prosperity, the number of Americans that are dependent on the government just continues to rise.

According to one recent survey, 55 percent of all Americans have received money from a safety net program run by the federal government at some point in their lives.

So how bad will things get when we eventually quit borrowing so much money and we start living within our means?

Nobody is looking forward to that day.  Certainly not our politicians.  They don’t want to be blamed for all of the painful adjustments that will happen once the party ends.

So they just keep borrowing and spending.  But at some point the music will stop and the house of cards will come crashing down.

It won’t happen this week or this month, but it will happen soon enough.

I hope that you are ready.

Obama And Boehner

All Of This Whining About The Fiscal Cliff Is Pathetic

The fiscal cliff is coming!  Run for the hills!  There have been endless stories in the mainstream media about the “fiscal cliff” that our country is facing if the Democrats and the Republicans can’t come to some sort of an agreement.  If there is no agreement, taxes will go up and government spending will be reduced by a very small amount.  And yes, that would likely push the U.S. economy into another recession, although there are many that would argue that we are already in a recession right now.  In any event, there is a tremendous amount of distress out there about the fact that something might interrupt the debt-fueled prosperity that we have all been enjoying.  You can almost hear them now: “No! Please don’t cut government spending! Please don’t raise taxes! Please keep stealing more than 100 million dollars from our children and our grandchildren every single hour of every single day so that we can continue this economic illusion that feels so very good.”  The American people want the government to give everything to everybody, but they definitely do not want to pay for it.  They want a big government that showers them with government checks and government benefits, but they don’t want to cough up the ridiculous amount of money that it would take to fund such a government.  So we just keep ripping off our kids and our grandkids.  What we are doing to future generations is not just immoral, it is criminal.  If they get the chance, someday they will look back and curse us for destroying their futures and destroying their country.  So why do we continue to do this to them?  Because we are greedy and selfish and we are absolutely desperate to maintain the massively overinflated standard of living that we have been enjoying.  We have lived way above our means for so long that we don’t even know what “normal” is supposed to be anymore.

But nobody can spend far more money than they bring in forever.  At some point an adjustment comes, and our adjustment is going to be exceedingly painful.

Right now, the overwhelming consensus in the United States seems to be that we should put off any economic pain for as long as possible.  The American people don’t want significant cuts to government spending and they don’t want taxes to be raised to pay for the spending that we are already doing.

But if the Republicans and the Democrats don’t agree to a deal soon, we are going to see taxes raised substantially and government spending cut by a little bit.  A recent CBS News article did a good job of describing exactly what this “fiscal cliff” that we are facing actually is…

There are two parts to the so-called fiscal cliff. The first is the scheduled expiration of the tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 under President George W. Bush, the payroll tax holiday enacted under President Obama, and a host of other tax breaks. The second is $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts to defense and domestic programs that are looming due to a 2011 deal that resulted from House Republicans’ reluctance to raise the debt limit.

Now, it’s true that if lawmakers fail to work out any sort of deal, there will be severe long-term consequences for the economy: According to the Tax Policy Center, going off the “cliff” would affect 88 percent of U.S. taxpayers, with their taxes rising by an average of $3,500 a year. Many economists, as well as the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, say the combination of spending cuts and tax hikes that are set to take effect would tip the economy into a new recession.

Please keep in mind that the “$1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts” is not for a single year.  When you break it down, the cuts to spending would be somewhere around 100 billion dollars a year.  And a lot of those “cuts” are actually spending increases that would be cancelled.  So those spending cuts would not really put much of a dent in our yearly budget deficits at all.

The tax increases would be more significant.  Middle class families would be paying thousands of dollars more per year in taxes.  These tax increases would raise some more revenue for the federal government, but they would also do significant damage to the economy in the short-term.

Do you know what they call a combination of government spending cuts and tax increases over in Europe?

They call it “austerity”.

Nations like Greece and Spain have tried this.  They cut spending and raised taxes in an attempt to reduce government budget deficits.  What happens is that the spending cuts and the tax increases cause a significant economic slowdown and this causes tax revenues to come in much lower than projected.  So then more spending cuts and tax hikes are necessary in order to try to get closer to balancing the budget.  But then tax revenues fall even more.

In the end, both Greece and Spain still have large budget deficits and yet the economies of both nations are suffering through depression-like conditions.  The unemployment rate in both nations is now over 25 percent.  Just check out this chart right here to see how nightmarish austerity has been for the economies of both Greece and Spain.

So that is why everybody is freaking out about the fiscal cliff.  They don’t want to go down the same road of austerity.  They want to keep living in an economic fantasy land where we can borrow our way to “prosperity”.

But it is all a lie.  The lines at the Apple stores, the crazed consumers on Black Friday, the restaurants teeming full with people and the government that thinks that it can take care of everyone from the cradle to the grave and yet keep taxes low.  It is all a giant lie.

And no, please do not think that I am in favor of raising taxes.  I most definitely am not.  I believe that the government brings in more than enough money already.

Personally, I believe that we could have a system that completely eliminates income taxes and that funds the government through tariffs and various other forms of taxation.  It was good enough for the Founding Fathers and it should be good enough for us.  But that is a subject for another article.

Our current system has allowed us to live way beyond our means for an extended period of time, but it is only a matter of time until it all comes crashing down.

In fact, the game is already over.  We have already destroyed the future.  At this point it is only a matter of how long we can keep kicking the can down the road and putting off the pain.

Sadly, what we have done on a national level is simply a reflection of our “buy now, pay later” society.  We have become a nation that is constantly willing to sacrifice the future in order to make the present more pleasant.

Just check out this video.  We have become addicted to a prosperity that we cannot possibly pay for.  But as long as someone will keep lending us the money we will continue to enjoy it.

As I have mentioned previously, the government has spent about 11 dollars for every 7 dollars of revenue that it has actually brought in while Barack Obama has been president.

We print, borrow and spend without giving any thought to what we are doing to the future of this country.  We are shredding confidence in our currency and we are wrecking the greatest economic machine that the world has ever seen.

And all of our politicians and all of our “leaders” prance about as if they are the smartest generation of Americans ever, and they think that they are an “example” for the rest of the world, but if our Founding Fathers were around today they would be absolutely horrified about what they have done to the country that they built.

If you think that the economy is bad now, you just wait.

We are still in the “economic fantasy land” phase where we are enjoying a massively inflated standard of living constructed on a mountain of borrowed fiat currency.  Our economy is being held up by trillions of borrowed dollars, and all of that money makes the U.S. economy appear to be far more prosperous than it actually should be.

When we have to start living closer to what our real standard of living should be things are going to get really bad.

Most Americans simply don’t understand that if the federal government went to a balanced budget tomorrow it would instantly plunge the U.S. economy into a depression.

Just look at Greece and Spain.  The same thing is going to happen to us one way or another.

So enjoy this false prosperity while you still can.  This is about as good as things are going to get, and from here on out it is downhill for America.

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