Become A Teacher? 10 Examples That Show Why Becoming A Teacher Is A Dead End In This Economy

Today budget cutters are on the rampage from coast to coast and often one of their first targets is public school teachers. What we have witnessed recently in Wisconsin is just one example of this. The truth is that you do not want to become a teacher if you want to have financial security in America today. Teacher salaries are being slashed from sea to shining sea. But to a certain extent the teachers that are having their wages cut are the fortunate ones. There are thousands upon thousands of teachers that have already been laid off, and there are tens of thousands more that are about to be laid off. It is absolutely brutal out there right now. So if you are thinking about becoming a teacher you might want to think twice. Not that there are a whole lot of other jobs that are more secure right now. The truth is that there is no such thing as a “safe job” in America today.

It is very unfortunate that what is going on right now is going to scare so many young people away from becoming a teacher because the next generation could definitely use some quality teachers.

But the truth is that it is getting really hard to honestly recommend that anyone become a teacher at this point. Just consider some of the following news stories that we have seen around the nation recently….

#1 In Providence, Rhode Island the school district plans to send out dismissal notices to every single one of its 1,926 teachers.

#2 Michigan has just approved a plan to shut down nearly half of the public schools in Detroit.  Under the plan, 70 schools will be closed and 72 will continue operating.

#3 In New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie has laid off thousands of teachers and he cut a billion dollars from the state education budget.

#4 Bills in Wisconsin, Ohio, Tennessee, Indiana and Idaho would either significantly alter or completely take away the collective bargaining rights of public school teachers.

#5 The eyes of the whole country are on Wisconsin right now.  Teachers there are very alarmed about the $900 million in cuts to school funding over the next two years that are being proposed.

#6 Clay Robison, a spokesman for the Texas State Teachers Association, recently said that his organization is projecting that 100,000 school employees in the state of Texas could lose their jobs.

#7 The current plan is for more than 4,500 New York City school teachers to be laid off after this current school years ends.  This will be the most significant teacher layoffs in New York since the 1970s.

#8 In Los Angeles, more than 5,000 teachers will be receiving preliminary layoff notices due to budget cuts.

#9 Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval is being deeply criticized for the teacher pay cuts that he is proposing.

#10 StudentsFirst.org is projecting that 161,000 teachers across the United States are in danger of losing their jobs this year alone.

So in light of the facts above, should we advise any of our young people to try to become a teacher?

The worst thing about all this for young teachers is that in many areas of the country there is a rule that says the last teachers hired are the first ones that get laid off.

That is another huge incentive for young people not to choose teaching as a profession.

So why are so many teacher layoffs happening?

Well, the truth is that most of our state and local governments are very deep in debt and have run out of money.

State and local government debt has reached at an all-time high of 22 percent of U.S. GDP, and hordes of state and local governments are teetering on the brink of insolvency at this point.

When there is no more money, the cuts have to come from somewhere.  It is just really unfortunate that so many teachers are going to be put out onto the street.

People that have gone into the teaching profession have all spent a lot of time and money to get the education that they need to teach.  If they are told that they can’t do that anymore, what are they supposed to do?

Most of the time when teachers are forced out of the profession they end up having to take jobs that pay much less.  In this economy, many ex-teachers will not be able to find jobs at all.  Today, one out of every seven Americans is on food stamps, and sadly many teachers may soon be joining them.

So why don’t we just raise taxes so that all of these teachers can keep their jobs?  Well, the truth is that middle class Americans are already being taxed into oblivion.  When you add up the dozens and dozens of different taxes that Americans pay each year the overall tax burden is absolutely frightening.  There is only so much that you can squeeze out of the American people.

No, the truth is that the American people are taxed way too much already, and the big corporations and the ultra-wealthy have become experts at avoiding taxation.  Our current tax system needs to be completely scrapped and replaced with something entirely new.

If our state and local governments had not been so addicted to debt, and if our economy had been managed correctly and if about a hundred other things had been done differently we would not be having these problems.

But here we are.

Unfortunately, there does not seem to be any easy answers.

Or are there some solutions that most of us have been overlooking?  What do you all think?  What should be done about all of the teacher layoffs that are taking place all over the country?  Please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts below….

What Is Wrong With The U.S. Economy? Here Are 10 Economic Charts That Will Blow Your Mind

The 10 economic charts that you are about to see are completely and totally shocking.  If you know anyone that still does not believe that the United States is in the midst of a long-term economic decline, just show them these charts.  Sometimes you can quote economic statistics to people until you are blue in the face and it won’t do any good, but when those same people see charts and pictures suddenly it all sinks in.  What is great about charts is that you can very easily demonstrate what has been happening to the economy over an extended period of time.  As you examine the economic charts below, pay special attention to what has been happening to the U.S. economy over the last 30 or 40 years.  The truth is that what is wrong with the U.S. economy is not a great mystery.  All of the economic problems that we are experiencing now have taken decades to develop.  Hopefully the charts in this article will help people realize just how nightmarish our economic problems have become, because until people start realizing how incredibly bad things have gotten they will never be willing to accept the dramatic solutions that are necessary to fix our financial system.

The sad fact of the matter is that we have been living in the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world over the last 40 years.  All of this debt has purchased a wonderful standard of living for the vast majority of us, but all of this debt has also destroyed the economic future of our children and our grandchildren.  Someday future generations will look back on what we have done in absolute horror.

The 10 economic charts posted below are meant to shock you.  Most Americans today need to be shocked before they will be motivated to take action.  Please share these charts with as many people as you can.  Hopefully we can wake enough people up that something will be done about all of these problems while there is still time.

1 – Government spending is expanding at an exponential rate.  As you can see from the chart below, federal spending is almost 18 times higher than it was back in 1970.  Now Barack Obama has proposed a budget that would increase U.S. government spending to 5.6 trillion dollars in 2021.  Just imagine what the following chart would look like if that happens….

2 – U.S. government debt is absolutely exploding.  The U.S. national debt is currently $14,081,561,324,681.83.  It is more than 14 times larger than it was back in 1980.  Unfortunately, the national debt continues to grow at breathtaking speed.  In fact, the Obama administration is projecting that the federal budget deficit for this year will be an all-time record 1.6 trillion dollars.  Can we afford to continue to accumulate debt at this rate?….

3 – Unless something changes right now, the outlook for U.S. government finances in future years is downright apocalyptic.  The chart posted below is from an official U.S. government report to Congress.  As you can see, it is projected that interest on our exploding national debt is absolutely going to spiral out of control if we continue on the path that we are currently on….

4 – Household debt has soared to almost unbelievable levels over the last 30 years.  The sad truth is that it is not just the U.S. government that has a massive debt problem.  U.S. households have also been accumulating debt at a staggering rate.  Total U.S. household debt did not pass the 2 trillion dollar mark until the mid-1980s, but now total U.S. household debt is well over 13 trillion dollars….

5 – The total of all debt (government, business and consumer) in the United States is now well over 50 trillion dollars.  For the past couple of years this figure has been hovering around a level that is equivalent to approximately 360 percent of GDP.  This is a debt bubble that is absolutely unprecedented in U.S. history….

6 – As tens of thousands of U.S. factories get shut down and as millions of our jobs get shipped overseas, the number of unemployed Americans continues to go up and up and up.  As you can see from the chart below, there has been a long-term trend of increasing unemployment in the United States.  In fact, there are about 3 and a half times as many unemployed workers in the United States today as there were when 1970 began.  These jobs losses are going to continue as long as we allow our corporations to pay slave labor wages to workers on the other side of the globe.  All of the major trends in global trade are very bad for the U.S. middle class.  For example, the U.S. trade deficit with China for 2010 was 27 times larger than it was back in 1990.  How long will our politicians stand by as our nation bleeds jobs?….

7 – The median duration of unemployment in the United States is in unprecedented territory.  For most of the post-World War 2 era, when the median duration of unemployment in America reached 10 weeks that was considered a national crisis.  Well, today competition for jobs is so intense that the median duration of unemployment is now well over 20 weeks….

8 – Since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913, the value of the U.S. dollar has declined by over 95 percent.  One of the reasons given for the existence of the Federal Reserve is that the Fed helps control inflation.  But that is a huge lie.  The truth is that the United States never had consistently rampant inflation until the Federal Reserve took control.  In particular, once the U.S. totally went off the gold standard in the 1970s inflation really started escalating out of control….

9 – Now the Federal Reserve says that the solution to our current economic problems is to print even more money out of thin air.  The games that the Federal Reserve is playing with our money supply are simply inexcusable.  Just look at what the Federal Reserve has done to the monetary base since the beginning of the recession….

10 – All of this new money is creating tremendous inflation.  In particular, the price of oil is now ridiculously high.  A high price for oil is very, very bad for the U.S. economy.  Our entire economic system is based on being able to use massive quantities of very cheap oil.  Unfortunately, that paradigm is starting to break down and the consequences will be very bitter.  Back in mid-2008, the price of oil hit an all-time record of $147 a barrel and subsequently the world financial system imploded a few months later.  Well, the price of oil is on the march again and that is very bad news for the U.S. economy….

Needless to say, if the economic trends documented by the charts above continue the U.S. economy will be totally wiped out.  The U.S. economy as it currently exists is unsustainable by definition.  It is only a matter of time before we slam into an economic brick wall.

We have developed an economy that cannot function without debt, and at this point it seems like almost everyone is drowning in red ink.  The federal government is massively overextended, most of our state and local governments are massively overextended, most of our major corporations are massively overextended and the majority of U.S. consumers are massively overextended.

The only way that the game can continue is for the Federal Reserve to print increasingly larger amounts of paper money out of thin air and for everyone in the economic food chain to go into increasingly larger amounts of debt.

But no debt spiral can go on forever.  At some point this entire house of cards is going to collapse.

When that happens, there is going to be economic pain that is greater than anything that this country has ever seen before.

Someday we will all desperately wish that we could go back to the “good times” of 2011.  A great economic collapse is coming, and all of us had better get ready.

Is Ben Bernanke A Liar, A Lunatic Or Is He Just Completely And Totally Incompetent?

Did you see Ben Bernanke’s testimony before the House Budget Committee on Wednesday? It was quite a show. Bernanke seems to believe that if he just keeps on repeating the same mantras over and over that somehow they will become true. Bernanke insists that the economy is getting much better, that quantitative easing will lower long-term interest rates, that all of this money printing by the Federal Reserve is not causing inflation and that the Fed knows exactly what needs to be done to dramatically reduce unemployment inside the United States.  So is anyone out there still actually buying what Bernanke is selling?  Sure, a handful of people in the mainstream media still have complete faith in Bernanke.  But for the rest of us, it is becoming increasingly clear that there is something really “off” about Bernanke.  So just what is going on with him?  Is he lying to all of us on purpose?  Could he be insane?  Is he just completely and totally incompetent?

Bernanke’s track record of failure is absolutely stunning.  Before discussing some of his most recent comments, let’s review some of the pearls of wisdom that Bernanke has shared with us in recent years….

2005:  “House prices have risen by nearly 25 percent over the past two years. Although speculative activity has increased in some areas, at a national level these price increases largely reflect strong economic fundamentals.”

2005: “We’ve never had a decline in house prices on a nationwide basis. So, what I think what is more likely is that house prices will slow, maybe stabilize, might slow consumption spending a bit. I don’t think it’s gonna drive the economy too far from its full employment path, though.”

2006: “Housing markets are cooling a bit. Our expectation is that the decline in activity or the slowing in activity will be moderate, that house prices will probably continue to rise.”

2007: “At this juncture, however, the impact on the broader economy and financial markets of the problems in the subprime market seems likely to be contained. In particular, mortgages to prime borrowers and fixed-rate mortgages to all classes of borrowers continue to perform well, with low rates of delinquency.”

2007: “It is not the responsibility of the Federal Reserve – nor would it be appropriate – to protect lenders and investors from the consequences of their financial decisions.”

2008: “The Federal Reserve is not currently forecasting a recession.”

So should we believe anything that Bernanke is saying now?

Of course not.

Obviously Bernanke has been feeding us all a whole bunch of nonsense for a very long time.

So what conclusion should we come to about Bernanke at this point?

Well, as I see it, there are three primary alternatives….

1 – Bernanke knows that what he is telling us is wrong and he is purposely trying to deceive us.  That would make him a liar.

2 – Bernanke actually believes what he is saying because he is completely delusional.  That would make him a lunatic.

3– Bernanke actually believes what he is saying because he simply does not understand economics.  This would make him completely and totally incompetent.

In any event, someone with Bernanke’s track record should not still have such a high level job.  He should have been asked to resign long, long ago.

But instead, Obama nominated him for another term and he was approved by our incompetent Congress.

It is a crazy world in which we live.

So what is Bernanke saying now?

Let’s take a look at some of his main points…..

Bernanke Says That One Of The Main Goals Of Quantitative Easing Is To Reduce Long-Term Interest Rates

During one interview about QE2, Bernanke made the following statement….

“The money supply is not changing in any significant way. What we’re doing is lowering interest rates by buying Treasury securities.”

In fact, Bernanke elaborated on that point during his remarks on Wednesday….

Conventional monetary policy easing works by lowering market expectations for the future path of short-term interest rates … By comparison, the Federal Reserve’s purchases of longer-term securities do not affect very short-term interest rates, which remain close to zero, but instead put downward pressure directly on longer-term interest rates.  With the Fed funds rate at the zero bound, the Fed had to resort to unconventional policy to provide further accommodation.

So how is all that working out?

Terribly.

The yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes has risen from 2.49 percent back in November to 3.65 percent at the close of business on Wednesday.

Oops.

Long-term interest rates were supposed to go down as a result of quantitative easing, but instead they have increased substantially.

Looks like Bernanke was wrong about another one.

Bernanke Says That Quantitative Easing Is Not Going To Cause Inflation

The price of wheat has roughly doubled since last summer, the price of corn has roughly doubled since last summer and the price of oil is marching up towards $100 a barrel.

But oh, there is no inflation so there is no need to worry according to Bernanke.

Food riots are breaking out around the globe, but Bernanke says that the inflation in those countries is being caused by their own central banks.

Bernanke says that the Federal Reserve has nothing to do with international inflation even though the U.S. dollar is the primary reserve currency of the world.

Bernanke says that even though consumers are seeing huge price increases in the supermarket and at the gas pump that we aren’t really seeing any real inflation because the fraudulent U.S. consumer price index says so.

It is a wonder that anyone still considers this guy to be credible.

Bernanke Says That Quantitative Easing Is Helping The Economy Recover And Is Reducing Unemployment

During his remarks on Wednesday, Bernanke said that the recent decline in the U.S. unemployment rate was “grounds for optimism”.

And, of course, he is glad to take part of the credit for the “recovery”.

Oh really?

Things are getting better?

As I wrote about a few days ago, the “decline” in the U.S. unemployment rate during January to 9.0% is no reason to celebrate.

First of all, the U.S. economy must add 150,000 jobs each month just to keep up with population growth.

During January, the U.S. economy only added 36,000 jobs.

So why did the unemployment rate go down?

Well, the U.S. government said that 504,000 American workers “dropped out of the labor force” in January.

Well, isn’t that convenient.

Let’s just pretend a half million unemployed workers are not even there.

Yeah, that will make the numbers look better!

Sadly, the number of Americans that are “not in the labor force” but that would like a job right now has hit an all-time record high.  If you add all of those people into the official unemployment figure it would jump to 12.8%.

The truth is that the employment situation in America is not getting any better.  In fact, according to Gallup, the unemployment rate actually increased to 9.8% at the end of January.

Perhaps Bernanke should reconsider how much “better” things are really getting.

Bernanke Says That Now Is Not The Time To Reduce The Deficit

When it comes to the national debt, Ben Bernanke is constantly talking out of both sides of his mouth.

Bernanke is constantly saying that the exploding U.S. national debt is very dangerous (and he is very right about that point), but Bernanke also says that now is definitely not the time to do anything about it.

In fact, recently Bernanke has been purposely stepping into the partisan debate about whether to raise the debt ceiling or not.

Bernanke says that Republicans should stand down and that now is not the time to be playing political games with the debt ceiling.  Bernanke has been warning that the consequences for not raising the debt ceiling could be catastrophic….

“We do not want to default on our debts. It would be very destructive.”

Over and over Bernanke has been saying that the economic recovery is still fragile and that now is not the time be cutting deeply into the federal budget.

So when is the right time?

Well, with these central bankers it seems like it is never time to address all of this debt.  It seems like they always want us to “have a long-term plan” to tackle the debt in the future but to keep borrowing and spending in the present.

Well, it looks like that is exactly what the Obama administration plans to keep doing.  This year it is being projected that the U.S. government will have the biggest budget deficit ever recorded – approximately 1.5 trillion dollars.

Keep in mind that the total U.S. national debt did not surpass 1.5 trillion dollars until the mid-1980s.

That means that this year we will accumulate more debt than we did for over the first 200 years that this nation was in existence.

Oh, but according to Bernanke we better not do anything to address our out of control debt because that would “harm the economic recovery”.

In the end, all of this government debt is going to become so monstrous that it is going to swallow us whole.  We can try to keep running from it, but we can’t hide.  Someday the gigantic debt monster that we have created is going to catch up with us.

So, yes, there are a whole lot of reasons to be really upset with Ben Bernanke.

Perhaps he would be a fun guy to sit down and talk to at a backyard barbecue, but he isn’t the type of person that you would want to entrust with any real responsibility, and he most definitely is not someone that should be running the largest economy in the history of the planet.

Pissed Off!: 67 Percent Of Americans Are Dissatisfied With The Size And Influence Of Major Corporations

The American people are becoming increasingly angry about the extraordinary amount of power and influence that corporations have in the United States today.  A new Gallup poll found that 67 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the size and influence of major corporations in the United States today.  Not only that, the most recent Chicago Booth/Kellogg School Financial Trust Index found that only 26 percent of Americans trust our financial system at this point.  The mainstream media is acting as if this is a new phenomenon, but the truth is that a dislike of giant corporations goes all the way back to the founding of this nation.  Our founders held a deep distrust for all big concentrations of power, and they intended to set up a nation where no one person or no one institution could become too powerful.

Unfortunately, we have very much strayed from those principles.  In the United States today, the federal government completely dominates all other levels of government and mammoth international corporations completely dominate our economy.

If our founding fathers could see what is going on today they would probably roll over in their graves.

The history of the corporation can be traced back to the early part of the 17th century when Queen Elizabeth I established the East India Trading Company.

Our founders were not too fond of the East India Trading Company.  In fact, it was their tea that was dumped into the harbor during the original Boston Tea Party.

In his book entitled “Unequal Protection”, Thom Hartman described the great antipathy that our founders had for the East India Trading Company….

“Trade-dominance by the East India Company aroused the greatest passions of America’s Founders – every schoolboy knows how they dumped the Company’s tea into Boston harbour. At the time in Britain virtually all members of parliament were stockholders, a tenth had made their fortunes through the Company, and the Company funded parliamentary elections generously.”

So a disgust for great concentrations of financial power is built into our national DNA.

Many people today think of giant international corporations as being synonymous with “capitalism”, but that is just not the case.

Our founders envisioned a land where free enterprise could flourish in an environment where no institution held too much power.

So this false left/right debate about whether we should give more power to the government or more power to the corporations is largely a bunch of nonsense.

If the founders were around today they would say that we need to take a lot of power away from both of them.

Fortunately, it looks like the American people are starting to think the same thing.  Not only are the American people dissatisfied with government, they are also becoming increasingly dissatisfied with big corporations.

As mentioned above, according to Gallup two-thirds of Americans are now dissatisfied with the size and influence of major corporations in America today….

As you can see, the gap between those in favor of the size and influence of major corporations and those not in favor has been significantly widening over the past decade.

That is a good thing.

Not only that, but the latest Chicago Booth/Kellogg School Financial Trust Index shows that Americans have very little trust in the financial system at this point.

The following are some of the key findings from their most recent report….

*Only 26 percent of Americans trust the nation’s financial system.

*Only 13 percent of Americans trust big corporations.

*Only 16 percent of Americans trust the stock market.

*Only 43 percent of Americans trust the banks.

These numbers are staggering, but they should not be surprising.  The American people were not pleased at all when the major banks and big financial institutions were showered with bailouts during the recent financial crisis.  A lot of that anger is still simmering.

The recent housing collapse, which is still ongoing, was caused in great part by the behavior of the major banks and big financial institutions, but it is the American people which have suffered the most from it.  The following very brief animation from Taiwan demonstrates this very humorously….

The American people are still wondering where their “bailouts” are.  Most of the big banks and big corporations seem to be thriving even while the number of Americans slipping into poverty continues to grow.

According to Calculated Risk, approximately 15 million Americans are unemployed, about 9 million Americans are working part-time for “economic reasons” and approximately 4 million American workers have left the labor force since the beginning of the economic downturn.

When you total that all up, you get 28 million Americans that wish they had full-time jobs.

Ouch.

There are other numbers that are very disturbing as well.  In the month of November, the number of people on food stamps set another new all-time record: 43.6 million Americans.

So we have tens of millions of Americans that can’t get the jobs that they want and we have tens of millions of Americans that can’t feed themselves without government assistance.

No wonder so many people are angry at the big corporations!

The U.S. government has showered the big corporations and the big banks with bailouts, tax breaks and cheap loans and yet the big corporations and the big banks are not coming through for the American people.

Meanwhile, food prices continue to go up.  According to the United Nations food agency, global food prices set another new all-time record during the month of January, and they are expected to continue rising for months to come.

That certainly is not going to ease tensions in the Middle East and elsewhere around the world.  When people are not able to pay for the food that they need that tends to make them very, very angry.

For now we are not likely to see food riots in the United States, but as food prices rise all of those food stamp cards are not going to go as far as they used to.  Average American families are going to feel more strain at the supermarket.  There will be less money available for other things.

A key indicator to watch is the price of oil.  The price of oil is one of the key components of the price of food, and if we see the price of oil go up to $120 or $150 a barrel that could mean really bad things for both the U.S. economy and the overall global economy.

If we do see another financial crisis like we did in 2008, is the U.S. government going to rush to bail out the big corporations and the big banks like they did the last time?

As we have seen from the numbers above, that certainly would not sit well with the American people.

Warning Signs

Do you see all of the warning signs that are flashing all around you?  These days it seems like there is more bad economic news in a single week than there used to be in an entire month.  2011 is already shaping up to be a very dark year for the world economy.  The price of food is shooting through the roof and we have already seen violent food riots in countries like Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia.  World financial markets are becoming increasingly unstable as the sovereign debt crisis continues to get worse.  Meanwhile, the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits is up, foreclosures are up and poverty continues to spread like a plague throughout the United States.  What we are starting to see around the globe is a lot like the “stagflation” of the 1970s.  All of the crazy money printing that has been going on is overheating prices for agricultural commodities and precious metals, but all of this new money is not doing much to help the average man or woman on the street.

Do you remember what the economy was like in America during the 70s?  We had high unemployment and high inflation at the same time.  It was horrible.  Well, all the warning signs are there for a stagflation repeat.  Unemployment is at epidemic levels and it isn’t showing any signs of decreasing much any time soon.  Meanwhile, the crazy money printing that the Federal Reserve and other central banks have been doing is starting to cause significant inflation.  The price of oil is about to cross the 100 dollar a barrel mark and the UN is forecasting that the global price of food is going to increase by 30 percent by the end of the year.

So, yes, there are some really, really good reasons to be incredibly concerned about the global economy in 2011.

Meanwhile, the only solutions that our global leaders seem to be offering are more money printing, more government debt and more financial control by international organizations.

The truth is that we have a real mess on our hands.  The following are 20 economic warning signs that should be of great concern to all of us….

#1 Over the past seven days, the price of wheat has risen by 11 percent as concerns about food shortages continue to grow around the world.

#2 The price of corn is up a staggering 94 percent since last June.

#3 The United Nations is projecting that the global price of food will increase by 30 percent in 2011.

#4 According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose last week to the highest level since last October.

#5 According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, of the 14 million Americans “officially” unemployed in December, 30% of them had been unemployed for one year or longer.

#6 Beginning in the month of March, the U.S. Postal Service will begin shutting down up to 2,000 post offices across the United States.

#7 In an absolutely stunning move, Standard & Poor’s has downgraded Japanese government debt from AA to AA-.

#8 72 percent of the major metropolitan areas in the United States had more foreclosures in 2010 than they did in 2009.

#9 Approximately 5 million homeowners in the United States are at least two months behind on their mortgages, and it is being projected that over a million American families will be booted out of their homes this year alone.

#10 According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Social Security system will run a deficit of 45 billion dollars this year.  When the new payroll tax breaks are factored in, the projected “Social Security deficit” for this year swells to 130 billion dollars.

#11 The U.S. money supply has been rising at a pace that is absolutely unprecedented.

#12 Right now, money is flowing out of bonds at an absolutely staggering pace.

#13 The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the price of food increased 50 percent faster than the overall rate of inflation during 2010.

#14 According to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, visits to soup kitchens are up 24 percent over the past year.

#15 During the last school year, almost half of all school children in the state of Illinois came from families that were considered to be “low-income”.

#16 Those living in the town of Discovery Bay, California will soon not be permitted to use cash to pay for any public services.  Could this be another disturbing step in the direction of a cashless society?

#17 French President Nicolas Sarkozy says that the IMF should be given the power to enforce new rules that would be designed to prevent “global economic imbalances” from happening.

#18 The U.S. government is currently borrowing about 40 cents of every single dollar that it spends.

#19 According to the Congressional Budget Office, the U.S. government will have the biggest budget deficit ever recorded (approximately 1.5 trillion dollars) this year.

#20 It is being projected that the U.S. national debt will increase by $150,000 per U.S. household between 2009 and 2021.

So is there any good news?

Well, yes there is.

U.S. Representative Ron Paul has introduced a new bill to audit the Federal Reserve.  Let us hope that the move to audit the Fed fares better in the 112th Congress than it did in the 111th Congress.  It would be wonderful if the American people could actually learn what has been going on inside the Fed all this time.

But mostly the news about the global economy is really bad.  There have been some people that have been warning for decades that all of this money printing and all of this government debt would eventually catch up with us.  Now we have almost reached the moment of reckoning that the doomsayers have been warning about for so long, and it is going to be really painful to go through it.

Thanks to the greatest debt bubble in the history of the world, we have been living beyond our means for decades.  When “times were good” it was not because either the Republicans or the Democrats were doing something right.  The truth is that both political parties have been horribly addicted to government debt.  The debt-fueled prosperity that our politicians purchased for us is starting to come to an end, and an economic implosion is coming that most Americans will never see coming.

But hopefully most of the readers of this article are much wiser than the average American.  The warning signs are there.  Now is the time to take action and get prepared.

Shut Down The Federal Reserve, Break Up The Big Banks And 16 Other Ideas Barack Obama Could Have Proposed If He Actually Wanted To Fix The Economy

How do we fix the economy?  That is a question that tens of millions of Americans are asking right now.  Republicans are harshly criticizing the empty economic proposals being put forward by Barack Obama and the Democrats, but the Republicans don’t seem to have any real solutions either.  There is talk of cutting taxes a little bit more, reducing federal spending a little bit and getting rid of a few useless federal regulations but doing any of those things would essentially be like spitting into Niagara Falls – the effect would not really be noticeable at all.  As this column has documented over and over and over, the economic and financial problems that we are facing are so enormous that radical solutions are needed.  In essence, what we need is not an “economic bandage” or two – what we need is major reconstructive surgery.  If dramatic action is not taken, our economy is going to completely collapse.

Is anything that Barack Obama is currently proposing going to help fix the economy?  No, of course not.  As I wrote about the other day, Obama’s address to the nation was packed with empty promises and a whole lot of inspirational nonsense.  There were no real solutions to the very real problems we are facing.

So is there anything that we could do to actually start fixing things?

Yes, but the solutions are radical.  They would cause quite a bit of chaos.  They would not be easy for people to accept.

But the truth is that our economy and our financial system have terminal cancer.  If something radical is not done quickly we are going to lose the patient.

The following are 16 ideas that Barack Obama could have proposed if he actually wanted to fix the economy….

#1 We Must Shut Down The Federal Reserve

If you are not willing to accept this, you may as well not read the rest of the solutions.  The truth is that the U.S. government will never be able to solve the national debt problem until the Federal Reserve is shut down.  The U.S. government should nationalize all Federal Reserve assets and start issuing currency that is completely and totally debt-free.

Under such a system, it is conceivable that U.S. budget deficits could be eliminated entirely and that over time the entire U.S. government debt could be retired.

One of the biggest threats of going to such a system would be inflation, but remember, the United States has only had a major, ongoing problem with inflation since the Federal Reserve was created back in 1913.  The U.S. dollar has lost well over 95 percent of its value since the Federal Reserve was created, and so it is hard to imagine that we would do even worse without the Federal Reserve.

In any event, it is the fundamental right of any sovereign nation to be able to issue and control its own currency.  This right was given to the U.S. government by the U.S. Constitution and it is time for the U.S. government to reclaim that right.

#2 We Must End Trade With All Nations That Allow Their Citizens To Be Paid Slave Labor Wages Or That Do Not Respect Basic Human Rights

This would dramatically reduce the “outsourcing” of our jobs and our industries almost overnight.  The truth is that it was never a good idea to put American workers in direct competition with hundreds of millions of workers that are making slave labor wages on the other side of the globe.

Trading with nations that have a similar wage structure to ours and that respect basic human rights (Canada, for example) is a very good thing.  However, all of the “free trade” agreements that politicians from both parties have been pushing down our throats for decades are literally wrecking the U.S. economy.

Since 2001, over 42,000 factories have been shut down in the United States.  This proposal would go a long way towards stopping the bleeding, and if some of these countries are willing to raise their wage levels significantly then we would be able to resume trade with them in the future on a much more level playing field.

#3 We Must Radically Reduce The Size Of The Federal Government

Our big, fat government is a big, fat drain on our economy.  We have millions of paper pushers that don’t contribute much of anything of real value.

Not only that, but some of the things that the U.S. government wastes money on are absolutely mind blowing.  There is a reason why our founders insisted that we have a very limited government.  It is time to get back to those principles.

The Congressional Budget Office is projecting that the U.S. government budget deficit for this year will be nearly $1.5 trillion.

Talk about ridiculous!

I estimate that we could easily cut the size of government in half without hampering how effective it is.

We could start by abolishing the Department of Education.  After that, there are several dozen other government agencies and institutions which are worthy candidates for elimination.

#4 We Must Provide Temporary Jobs For The American People During The Economic Transition

If the Federal Reserve is shut down and the size of the federal government is cut in half, it would cause quite a bit of economic chaos.  During this transition it will be important to help people survive.

Instead of just passing out a bunch of handouts, a better alternative would be getting the American people working on something constructive.

During this time, the U.S. government could use all of the untapped labor of the unemployed to build massive infrastructure projects.

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, we need to spend approximately $2.2 trillion on infrastructure repairs and upgrades just to bring our existing infrastructure up to “good condition”.

So there is certainly a lot to do.

These jobs would just be temporary until new manufacturing facilities are set up and jobs in private industry are plentiful again.

Having the American people produce something of value is better than just handing them endless unemployment checks.

#5 We Must Ban All Short Selling

When you allow greedy individuals the opportunity to make lots of money by betting against the U.S. economy, it gives those individuals an incentive to make sure that those bets pay off.

Yes, this proposal is controversial, but it just makes sense.  If people want to make money, it should be because a company is doing well and not because someone is failing.

#6 We Must Ban Virtually All Derivatives

Once upon a time, derivatives were for hedging risk, but that is not what they are primarily being used for anymore.

Now derivatives are being used to bet on almost anything that you can possibly imagine.

Our financial markets have been turned into a gigantic financial casino.

The derivatives bubble is somewhere in the neighborhood of one quadrillion dollars and it could burst at any moment.

These weapons of financial mass destruction must be banned.

#7 We Must Break Up The Big Wall Street Banks

The big Wall Street banks have far too much power and far too much control.  They have come to dominate our entire financial system.

In a capitalist system, too much power concentrated in too few hands is not a good thing.  The corruption that has gone on at many of these institutions is absolutely unbelievable.

These banks need to be broken up into much smaller pieces for the good of our country.

#8 We Must Initiate A Massive Law Enforcement Crackdown On Our Financial Markets

As noted above, the corruption that has been going on down on Wall Street has been absolutely sickening.  We need a massive law enforcement crackdown on all of this fraud in order to restore faith in the financial system.

Just one small example of this corruption happened during the recent housing crash.  Goldman Sachs sold mortgage-related securities that were absolute junk to trusting clients at vastly overinflated prices and then made huge profits betting against those exact same securities.

So do you think that Goldman Sachs or any of the other major players on Wall Street will ever receive more than a slap on the wrist for all the things that have gone on in recent years?

Of course they won’t – unless the American people start demanding it.

#9 We Must Order U.S. Oil Companies To Use Untapped Oil Reserves In The United States And We Must Aggressively Develop Alternative Energy Sources

Right now, the price of oil is pushing up towards 100 dollars a barrel.  If oil passes that mark, it is going to put tremendous inflationary pressure on the entire global economy.

Sadly, there is no need for such a high price for oil.  There are vast, vast reserves of oil that are virtually untapped inside the United States.  These are mostly in the western states and up in Alaska.  We have enough to supply very cheap oil to the entire country for decades.

The U.S. government needs to order these oil companies to quit playing games and to start pumping this oil.

However, it is undeniable that we also need to develop alternative energy sources.  In fact, we should set up a “Manhattan Project”-style team to aggressively pursue this goal.

In the past, U.S. oil and car companies have blatantly repressed alternative energy projects.  The U.S. government should tell U.S. corporate executives that if they ever even think of doing such a thing again that they will be locked away so fast that it will make their heads swim.

#10 We Must Stop Paying Farmers Not To Grow Food

Instead of paying farmers not to grow food, we need to find ways to encourage them to grow as much food as possible.  A horrible global food crisis is coming and we are going to need huge stockpiles of everything.

#11 We Must Secure The U.S. border With Mexico

Illegal immigration costs the U.S. economy tens of billions of dollars (conservatively) every single year.  We need to secure the border and make sure that all of our immigrants are coming through the “front door”.

#12 We Must Shut Down The IRS

Did you know that the United States has only had an income tax for less than 100 years?  For most of our history, the U.S. government got along just fine without taxing personal income.

The IRS is massive waste of time, energy and resources.  There are many alternatives that could easily replace the income tax and the ridiculous tax code that we have right now.

For example, a flat tax or a national sales tax could both potentially work, although both have their problems.

Personally, I am convinced that we could have a system that would not require any taxation of income by the U.S. government whatsoever.

Just imagine how much time, how much energy and how many resources would be saved!

#13 We Must Slash Red Tape And The Miles Of Ridiculous Regulations

In the United States today, you almost have to be insane to start up a new business.  When you consider all sources of taxation, U.S. businesses face one of the highest overall levels of taxation in the entire world.  Not only that, but U.S. businesses face miles and miles of absolutely ridiculous regulations and red tape.

As I wrote about in a previous article, if you want to do business in the United States today, you better be prepared for a regulatory nightmare….

If you plan to start a business in America today, you better get a hold of a good lawyer.  In fact, if you want to be safe, you better get a small army of lawyers.  You are going to need an expert on the federal regulations that apply to your business, you are going to need an expert on the state regulations that apply to your business and you are going to need an expert on the local regulations that apply to your business.

There are going to literally be thousands of regulations that apply to any business started inside the United States today.  There is no way that you will ever be able to learn them all.  Not only that, but the truth is that your lawyers will only be aware of a small fraction of them.

Until the regulatory environment in this country dramatically changes, companies are going to continue to be motivated to leave the United States.

#14 We Must Conduct A Massive Law Enforcement Crackdown On The Health Care Industry

It should not cost $30,000 for a one day stay in the hospital in this country.

The truth is that the American people are being ripped off big time.

We need to conduct a massive law enforcement crackdown on all the big hospitals and all the big health care companies.

We need to conduct a massive law enforcement crackdown on all the big health insurance companies.

We need to conduct a massive law enforcement crackdown on all the big pharmaceutical companies.

We also need massive medical malpractice reform.

Not only that, we also should end the monopoly of the AMA immediately.  We need to reintroduce honest, legitimate competition back into the medical system.

In addition, we need to make sure that natural health practitioners are able to compete on a fair and equal basis in this country.

As I have written about previously, the health care industry in the United States has become all about making as much money as possible.

That must change.

#15 We Must Stop Trying To Police The World

We will always need a very strong military force, but it is absolutely ridiculous that we have troops stationed in approximately 130 different countries today.

This is a tremendous drain on our national resources and we are spread way too thin militarily.  It is about time that many off these other countries started protecting themselves for a while.

#16 We Must Pull Out Of The United Nations And We Must Dramatically Reduce Foreign Aid

The United Nations is a massive waste of time, energy and resources.  We should have pulled the plug on that ridiculous globalist organization long before now.

In addition, we need to dramatically cut back on foreign aid until we get our own house in order.  We should only help the most desperate nations until we get our own economy back on track.

#17 We Must End All Of The Ridiculous Police State Measures Which Are Chasing Tourists Away From Our Soil

Tourism is a very, very important industry to the United States.  But today, all of the incredibly intrusive police state measures that the past few administrations have introduced are chasing millions of tourists away and are ruining our national reputation.

For example, there are many cultures around the globe where it would be unthinkable to have anonymous security goons feel up the private areas of women and children before they are allowed to get on an airplane.  Rather than put up with such nonsense, millions of tourists are simply going to choose to spend their money somewhere else.

#18 We Must Seize The Assets Of The Ultra-Wealthy Individuals And International Banks That Have Been Committing Fraud Against The U.S. Government For Decades

Once the Federal Reserve is shut down, it will be important to hold those that have been defrauding the U.S. government responsible.  Once a full audit of the Federal Reserve is conducted and evidence of criminal activity is uncovered, those involved should be arrested and all of their assets should be seized and frozen pending trial.

If the things that have been going on inside the Federal Reserve are ever fully exposed, it will make the whole Bernie Madoff scandal look like a nickel and dime operation.

But that is why there has never been a full, comprehensive audit of the Federal Reserve since it was created back in 1913.  The American people are not supposed to see what happens inside that institution.

Unfortunately, even though economic times are a little rough, things are still good enough that the vast majority of Americans are not ready to start demanding the kind of radical changes listed above.

Not only that, but the kind of radical changes listed above would be fought against by the establishment every step of the way.  Those with money and power are not going to step aside just because “justice” demands it.

What is probably going to happen is that the “establishment politicians” that the establishment has bought and paid for are just going to continue to propose half-baked solutions to our problems as this country continues to tumble towards economic oblivion.

So what do all of you readers think?  Is there hope that someday we will see some real economic solutions implemented in this country?

Paper Money Madness: Inflation-Fueled Economic Growth Does Not Indicate That An Economy Is Getting Stronger

If the U.S. economy “grows” by 4 percent in 2011, but by the end of the year we are paying $3.00 for a loaf of bread, $4.00 for a gallon of milk and $5.00 for a gallon of gasoline are the American people going to be better off economically or worse off?  The answer is obvious, but most “experts” in the mainstream media continue to insist that as long as U.S. GDP is increasing and as long as the stock market is going up that our economy is improving.  But that is just not the case.  If the amount of money in circulation was relatively constant, those measurements would be helpful, but unfortunately the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve are dramatically pumping up the money supply right now.  Just because larger amounts of paper money are changing hands does not mean that the economy is getting stronger.  Of course GDP is going to rise when there is much more money in the system.  But economic growth that is fueled by inflation is just an illusion and it is not an indicator of economic health at all.

A very basic example shows this very easily.  Imagine if suddenly everyone in the United States had the amount of money they owned instantly doubled.  Would the U.S. economy be twice as healthy?  Of course not.  Very quickly prices would rise to meet the new level of money.

Well, in the United States today our “authorities” are pumping massive amounts of new dollars into the system.  That is one reason why so many people are so upset about the Federal Reserve’s “quantitative easing 2” program.  The Federal Reserve is creating money out of thin air and pumping it into the financial system.  The first people that get their hands on this new money are Wall Street banks and major financial institutions.  The idea is that eventually all of this new money will “trickle down” and will help average Americans, but that just does not seem to be happening.

In addition, when the U.S. government goes into more debt, this also creates more money.  The U.S. government has accumulated far more new debt during the last two years than it ever has in any other two year period. When the U.S. government spends all of this money that it borrows it introduces a massive amount of new money into the system.

There are many ways to measure the money supply, and one of the most basic (M1) is displayed below.  As you can see, thanks to the actions of the Federal Reserve and the U.S. government, the money supply is rising at an almost exponential rate at this point.  The money supply has grown rapidly at various points in the past, but what we are witnessing now is really unprecedented…..

So what happens when you have a lot more money chasing roughly the same number of goods and services?

Well, you have inflation of course.

Are our “leaders” alarmed by any of this?

No, in fact they plan to pump up the money supply even more.  The Federal Reserve seems content to continue their “quantitative easing” program and Barack Obama is proposing all kinds of new federal spending which will be funded by more debt.

So the truth is that we had better have some significant “economic growth” during 2011.  If this amount of money is pumped into our financial system and we don’t see any “economic growth” then that would be an indication of a major league economic breakdown.

But instead of looking at things rationally, many mainstream economists are hailing the fact that the U.S. economy may grow by a few percentage points in 2011 as a sign that happy days are here again.

According to a recent article in USA Today, economists are becoming increasingly optimistic about 2011, and the consensus seems to be that economic growth in the United States will fall somewhere between 3 and 4 percent….

Economists are more optimistic about the recovery than they were just a few months ago, significantly upgrading their forecasts for 2011 as consumers open their wallets.

Unfortunately, the irrational optimism is not limited to just the United States.  As global leaders prepare to descend on the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland many mainstream media outlets are declaring that the worldwide financial crisis is over and that we are now entering a glorious boom time for the global economy.  For example, the following is how one recent article from Bloomberg opened….

For only the third time since the Industrial Revolution, the world may be entering a long-term growth cycle that will lift all economies simultaneously, driving bond yields and commodity prices higher.

People don’t seem to realize that just because more money is changing hands and just because financial markets are going higher that it doesn’t mean that the economic situation is improving.

If a rising GDP and a soaring stock market truly were strong indicators of economic health, then Zimbabwe would have been one of the strongest economies on the planet over the last 10 years.

Inflation changes everything.

Unfortunately, official U.S. government inflation figures have become so manipulated that they are of basically no value at this point.  Whenever one particular category starts to experience significant inflation, the U.S. government simply removes that category from the inflation calculations.  Over the past 40 years the way that inflation is calculated has been changed way too many times.

If you really want to get a good idea of what is happening with inflation, a good thing to do is to look at the basic commodities that everyone uses around the world.

For example, according to the United Nations, the global price of food hit an all-time high in December.  Not only that, but almost every major agricultural commodity that you could possibly name experienced a double-digit percentage increase in price during 2010.

In addition, the price of oil is steamrolling towards $100 a barrel again.  In fact, many analysts are convinced that the price of oil will set a new all-time record in 2011.

A recent editorial in Newsweek was not optimistic that we will be able to stem this rising tide of inflation….

The final dam to stopping $150-a-barrel oil and $4-a-gallon gas is being breached, as financial regulation continues its daily erosion into worthlessness.

So what is the answer to these problems?

Well, according to many of the top “economic leaders” in the world, the solution is to create even more money and even more credit.

Between 2000 and 2009, the total amount of credit in the world grew from 57 trillion dollars to 109 trillion dollars.  Now the World Economic Forum says that we need to grow the total amount of credit by another 100 trillion dollars over the next ten years to “support” the anticipated amount of “economic growth” around the world that they expect to see.

Does that make any sense?

We have to double the amount of debt in the world so that the world economy can grow?

But this is what the world economic system has become at this point.  It is a never ending debt spiral that requires constantly increasing levels of debt and paper money.

That is a huge reason why precious metals such as gold and silver are becoming so popular.  Investors are becoming sick and tired of the constantly inflating paper currencies.  Gold and silver are both very much in demand right now.  For example, the Chinese are voraciously gobbling up gold right now.  Also, the Central Bank of Russia has announced plans to purchase 100 metric tons of gold per year in order “to replenish the country’s gold reserves”.

But what about average Americans?  What is going to happen to them in a world where prices are rising rapidly?

Well, the answer is very simple.  In an environment of rapidly rising prices, the standard of living for most Americans is going to go down.

In this economic environment, employers are simply not going to increase salaries fast enough to keep up with the rising price of food, gas and health care.

In addition, there are tens of millions of Americans that are on fixed incomes.  As prices rise, those fixed incomes will simply not go as far.

So the truth is that most Americans are going to find their finances stretched even thinner in the months and years to come.

Inflation is like a thief.  When prices rise it means that the purchasing power of all the dollars that we have accumulated goes down.

But for our politicians, inflation can be a helpful thing.  They can take inflation-fueled “economic growth” numbers and claim that their policies are working and that the economy is becoming healthier.

A year from now when these jokers trot out their “economic growth” numbers and yet the cost of nearly everything you buy has increased dramatically, don’t you believe their propaganda.

Yes, U.S. economic numbers are most likely going to experience a little bit of inflation-fueled “growth” in 2011.

But it will not mean that our economy is improving.

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