Taxed Into Oblivion

In the United States today, we are being taxed into oblivion, yet it is being done so stealthily that most Americans don’t even realize what is happening.  Most people are fixated on federal income tax rates, but the federal income tax is only one of the dozens of different taxes that each of us pay each year.  The politicians have learned that people get really upset when income tax rates are raised, so they have found hundreds of other ways to raise taxes on us.  What most taxpayers in the United States today are facing is “death by a thousand cuts”.  When you add up all forms of taxation from all levels of government, approximately 40 percent of all the income in the country is taken in as taxes by government.  Large numbers of Americans end up paying well over 50 percent of their income in taxes, and many of them don’t even realize that it is happening.  We truly are being taxed into oblivion, and yet the politicians just keep coming back for more.

On all levels, government just keeps growing, and all of this government has got to be paid for somehow.  Politicians have become masters at finding ways to tax us so that we won’t even feel it.  They have an endless hunger to spend more money, and they depend on us to feed that addiction.  Today, the combination of federal government spending, state government spending and local government spending now accounts for a larger share of U.S. GDP than at any other time in our history.

Yes, federal income tax rates were significantly higher 30 or 40 years ago.  But virtually every other tax you can think of has gone way up since then or did not exist back then.

Federal income taxes definitely still hurt, but the reality is that where we really get hit is in all of the other taxes that we pay.  American families pay Social Security taxes, Medicare taxes, state income taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, death taxes, various excise taxes, gasoline taxes, tire taxes, utility taxes, liquor taxes, telephone taxes and cigarette taxes just to name a few.  The truth is that there are dozens and dozens of different taxes that most Americans pay each year, and there are a whole bunch of others that get passed on to us through businesses that we deal with.

Speaking of cigarette taxes, there is legislation in Congress right now that would send taxes on tobacco products absolutely skyrocketing yet again.

I don’t smoke and I never will smoke, but I find the attack on smokers by our politicians to be seriously offensive.  If smoking is legal, then leave them alone.  Don’t tax them into oblivion just because you don’t like what they are doing.

An excerpt from S. 1403 (The IDEA Full Funding Act) is posted below.  You will notice that a portion of this legislation even refers to itself as the “Saving Lives by Lowering Tobacco Use Act”.  They are openly admitting that they want to make tobacco so expensive that people cannot afford to use it….

SEC. 3. TOBACCO TAX INCREASE AND PARITY.

(a) Short Title- This section may be cited as the ‘Saving Lives by Lowering Tobacco Use Act’.

(b) Increase in Excise Tax on Small Cigars and Cigarettes-

(1) SMALL CIGARS- Section 5701(a)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by striking ‘$50.33’ and inserting ‘$100.50’.

(2) CIGARETTES- Section 5701(b) of such Code is amended–

(A) by striking ‘$50.33’ in paragraph (1) and inserting ‘$100.50’, and

(B) by striking ‘$105.69’ in paragraph (2) and inserting ‘$211.04’.

(c) Tax Parity for Pipe Tobacco and Roll-Your-Own Tobacco-

(1) PIPE TOBACCO- Section 5701(f) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by striking ‘$2.8311 cents’ and inserting ‘$49.55’.

(2) ROLL-YOUR-OWN TOBACCO- Section 5701(g) of such Code is amended by striking ‘$24.78’ and inserting ‘$49.55’.

(d) Clarification of Definition of Small Cigars- Paragraphs (1) and (2) of section 5701(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 are each amended by striking ‘three pounds per thousand’ and inserting ‘four and one-half pounds per thousand’.

(e) Clarification of Definition of Cigarette- Paragraph (2) of section 5702(b) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by inserting before the final period the following: ‘, which includes any roll for smoking containing tobacco that weighs no more than four and a half pounds per thousand, unless it is wrapped in whole tobacco leaf and does not have a cellulose acetate or other cigarette-style filter’.

(f) Tax Parity for Smokeless Tobacco-

(1) IN GENERAL- Section 5701(e) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended–

(A) in paragraph (1), by striking ‘$1.51’ and inserting ‘$26.79’;

(B) in paragraph (2), by striking ‘50.33 cents’ and inserting ‘$10.72’; and

(C) by adding at the end the following:

‘(3) SMOKELESS TOBACCO SOLD IN DISCRETE SINGLE-USE UNITS- On discrete single-use units, $100.50 per each 1,000 single-use units.’.

You can view the full text of this legislation right here.  Please notice that some of the tax increases are absolutely mind blowing.  For example, the tax rate on pipe tobacco is going from 2.8311 cents to $49.55.

Now that is a tax increase you can really sink your teeth into.

We are seeing “quiet” tax increases like this happen on every level of government all over the United States.

Of course I haven’t even mentioned all of the fines and fees and “registration” charges that state and local governments are hitting us with.

Have you gone to renew your car registration lately?  In some states (such as California) the fees have gotten absolutely ridiculous.

Speaking of California, it looks like they are getting ready to target cellphone users once again.

According to USA Today, California is getting ready to seriously jack up the fines for talking on a cellphone while driving….

The state Senate has sent a bill to Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. raising the basic fine for a first automotive offense from $20 to $50, the Sacramento Bee reports. For subsequent offenses, the fine would rise from $50 to $100. That’s not the worst of it: by the time state and local assessments are added on, the total for a first offense rises to between $208 to $328. For additional tickets, make that $328 to $528.

Yes, talking on a cellphone while driving is dangerous.  But hitting people with tickets of $300, $400 or even $500 is not about safety.  It is all about revenue generation.

Right now we are seeing an epidemic of speed traps all over the country.  State and local governments are desperate for money, and they see speeders as an easy source of revenue. You can read more about this phenomenon right here.

Speaking of “revenue”, that seems to have become Barack Obama’s new favorite word lately.  He seems absolutely obsessed with raising more money for the federal government.  The Obamacare law was absolutely packed to the gills with new taxes, but now he wants even more.

Yes, it is true that the wealthy are getting away with murder under our current tax system.  I find it highly offensive that many people that make millions of dollars each year are able to find ways to pay much, much smaller percentages of their incomes in taxes than I do.

But raising tax rates isn’t going to solve the problem.  Those that are masters at avoiding taxes are going to continue to do so.  Meanwhile, middle class Americans and small businesses will continue to get bled to death.

Our current tax system is fundamentally broken and needs to be completely thrown out and replaced.

However, no system is going to work until the federal government gets a handle on its spending addiction.

In the past couple of years, spending by the federal government as a share of GDP has been the highest that it has been since World War II.

You would think that there should be plenty of fat to trim, but as the recent debt ceiling deal clearly demonstrated, our politicians do not intend to significantly reduce government spending.

They are just going to keep borrowing, spending and finding more ways to tax us.

All of this nonsense in Washington D.C. is part of the reason why Americans are so displeased with Congress at this point.  According to Gallup, 84 percent of Americans now disapprove of the way Congress is doing its job, which is a brand new all-time high.

The truth is that sending more money to Washington D.C. is not going to “fix” things.

The federal government has multiplied in size over the past several decades, and yet the number of poor people just continues to increase.

Giving the poor more handouts may ease their suffering for a little while, but it is not the solution to their problems.  What they really need are good jobs, but our politicians have very busy setting up unfair trade agreements that allow millions of our jobs to be shipped overseas, and they continue to suffocate businesses in this country with mountains of ridiculous regulations.

No, the people that truly benefit when more money flows to the federal government are the fatcats that live and work around Washington D.C.

The past few decades have been a bonanza for government contractors, lobbyists and lawyers in the D.C. area.

According to the Washington Post, those living in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area now have a higher median household income than anyone else in the country….

Washingtonians now enjoy the highest median household income of any metropolitan area in the country, and five of the top 10 jurisdictions in America — Loudoun, Howard and Fairfax counties, and Falls Church and Fairfax City — are here, census data shows.

The signs of that wealth are on display all over, from the string of luxury boutiques such as Gucci and Tory Burch opening at Tysons Galleria to the $15 cocktails served over artisanal ice at the W Hotel in the District to the ever-larger houses rising off River Road in Potomac.

There is a ton of money in the D.C. area.  I know.  I used to work there.  Approximately one third of the GDP of the region comes from spending by the federal government.  Even during this recent economic downturn, the Washington D.C. region continues to do really, really well.

So, no, raising taxes is not going to fix what ails us.  It would just feed the monster that we have created in Washington.

We are already being taxed into oblivion.  Middle class America can’t take much more of this.

We need to change our entire approach to taxation in this country, because right now our tax system is fundamentally unfair and it is not working.

So what do all of you think about our tax system?  Please feel free to post a comment with your opinion below….

 

Will The Banksters And The Corpocracy Eventually Own It All? 29 Statistics About Extreme Income Inequality In America That Will Blow Your Mind

Today, average Americans have less power relative to the monolithic corporate and governmental institutions that dominate our society than at any other point in U.S. history.  Sadly, this is not what our founding fathers ever envisioned.  Our founding fathers established a government “of the people, by the people, for the people”, but what we have today is very far from that ideal.  In America today, wealth and power are very highly concentrated, and if you have neither wealth nor power than most of our politicians really do not have any interest in you.  Over the past several decades, those with huge amounts of money and power have been busy rigging the game so that the rest of the money and power slowly but surely funnels into their hands.  If current trends continue, the banksters and the corpocracy will eventually own it all.  Below you will find 29 statistics about extreme income inequality in America.  Sadly, most of these statistics will be out of date in a year or two because wealth and power will be much more concentrated by that time.

If you are a “Kool-Aid drinking Democrat” you are going to be really upset by this article.  If you are a “Kool-Aid drinking Republican” you are going to be really upset by this article.

Most Republicans have been brainwashed into believing that “capitalism” means cheerleading while the big corporations hoover up money and power.

Most Democrats have no trouble with big corporations either because most establishment Democrats have been brainwashed into believing that large concentrations of power (whether governmental or corporate) are generally good.  Most Democrats just wish that big corporations were a little less greedy and were a little more “socially responsible”.

Today, the big banks, the big corporations and the federal government are all in bed with one another and it is average Americans that always lose out.

Our founding fathers tried to warn us about large concentrations of power.  They attempted to establish a very limited central government, they wanted to keep us free from the tyranny of the big banks and they were very suspicious of large corporations.

In a 2010 article, Rick Ungar noted that corporations were very seriously restricted in the early days of America….

After the nation’s founding, corporations were, as they are today, the result of charters granted by the state. However, unlike today, they were limited in how long they were permitted to exist (typically 20 or 30 years), only permitted to deal in one commodity, they could not own shares in other corporations, and their property holdings were expressly limited to what they needed to accomplish their corporate business goals.

My how things have changed.

“Capitalism” is supposed to be about the empowerment of individuals and families and small businesses.

Instead, today “capitalism” has come to mean something completely different.  Today, the biggest, meanest concentrations of wealth devour everyone else with a big assist from the government.

At this point, average Americans mean next to nothing in the political process.  This point was eloquently made in a recent column by Robert Reich….

The unemployed are politically invisible. They don’t make major campaign donations. They don’t lobby Congress. There’s no National Association of Unemployed People.

Their ranks are filled with women who had been public employees, single mothers, minorities, young people trying to enter the labor force, and middle-aged men who have been out of work for longer than six months. You couldn’t find a collection of people with less political clout.

I would not normally quote Robert Reich, but he made a good point.  If you don’t have an army of lobbyists or any money to give to them then most of our politicians don’t really care what you think or how much you are hurting.

Just think about the amount of power and money that Exxon Mobil or Wal-Mart has compared to the amount of power and money that an average American has.

Our society has veered very far from the egalitarian ideal that our founding fathers once hoped for.

The corporate giants are so powerful that it is next to impossible for small businesses to directly compete with them.

Just try it some time.

Many banks and corporations have become so big that the world literally cannot afford for them to fail.

For example, three U.S. corporations control approximately 90% of the world’s grain trade.

So what happens if those three corporations collapse?

That is something to think about.

But of course average Americans are never “too big to fail”.  The big banks begged and begged for bailouts, but if you are late on your debt payments they will chuck you into prison.

Also, when wealth and power are so highly concentrated, economic rewards flow only to a few.  Corporatism (as opposed to true capitalism) produces a handful of winners and a whole lot of losers.

As I have written about previously, the middle class is being destroyed.  If current trends are allowed to continue long enough we eventually won’t have much of a middle class left at all.

The following are 29 statistics about extreme income inequality in America that will blow your mind….

#1 In the United States today, the richest one percent of all Americans have a greater net worth than the bottom 90 percent combined.

#2 The wealthiest 1% of all Americans now own more than a third of all the wealth in the United States.

#3 The wealthiest 1% of all Americans own over 50% of all the stocks and bonds.

#4 The poorest 50% of all Americans collectively own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.

#5 According to a joint House and Senate report entitled “Income Inequality and the Great Recession“, the top one percent of income earners in the United States brought in a total of 10.0 percent of all income income in 1980, but by the time 2008 had rolled around that figure had skyrocketed to 21.0 percent.

#6 Between 1979 and and 2007, the average household income of the top 1% of all Americans soared from $346,600 to $1.3 million.  During that same time period the average household income for middle class Americans increased only slightly.

#7 According to Harvard Magazine, 66% of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all Americans.

#8 More than 3 billion people, close to half the world’s population, live on less than 2 dollar a day.

#9 According to a new report from the AFL-CIO, the average CEO made 343 times more money than the average American did last year.

#10 The number of “low income jobs” in the U.S. has risen steadily over the past 30 years and they now account for 41 percent of all jobs in the United States.

#11 Since 1979, real median weekly earnings for high school dropouts has declined by 22 percent.

#12 During this economic downturn, employee compensation in the United States has been the lowest that it has been relative to gross domestic product in over 50 years.

#13 Half of all American workers now earn $505 or less per week.

#14 Since the year 2000, we have lost 10% of our middle class jobs.  In the year 2000 there were about 72 million middle class jobs in the United States but today there are only about 65 million middle class jobs.  Meanwhile, our population has gotten significantly larger.

#15 Ten years ago, the United States was ranked number one in average wealth per adult.  In 2010, the United States fell to seventh.

#16 According to one recent study, approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States were living below the poverty line in 2010. In the UK and in France that figure is well under 10 percent.

#17 Today, one out of every four American children is on food stamps.

#18 It is being projected that approximately 50 percent of all U.S. children will be on food stamps at some point in their lives before they reach the age of 18.

#19 According to Moody’s Analytics, the wealthiest 5% of households in the United States now account for approximately 37% of all consumer spending.

#20 The number of Americans that are going to food pantries and soup kitchens has increased by 46% since 2006.

#21 The U.S. poverty rate is now the third worst among the developed nations tracked by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

#22 Approximately half of all American workers make $25,000 a year or less.

#23 The wealthiest 1% of the earth’s population controls 39% of the wealth.

#24 It is estimated that over 80 percent of the world’s population lives in countries where the income gap between the rich and the poor is widening.

#25 One year after the recent financial collapse the top 25 hedge fund managers earned a total of approximately $25 billion.  That breaks down to an average of $1 billion each.

#26 Bill Gates has a net worth of somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 billion dollars.  That means that there are approximately 140 different nations that have a yearly GDP which is smaller than the amount of money Bill Gates has.

#27 It is estimated that the entire continent of Africa owns approximately 1 percent of the total wealth of the world.

#28 The top 0.01% of Americans make an average of $27,342,212.  The bottom 90% make an average of $31,244.

#29 58 percent of the members of Congress are millionaires while only about 1 percent of the general population is made up of millionaires.

So what is the solution?

Well, our liberal friends insist that the solution to all of this inequality is to tax the rich and to distribute the wealth to the poor.

Well, there are three major problems with that.

Number one, when you raise taxes too high you eliminate the incentive to work hard.

Number two, when you make it too easy to depend on government handouts you create an underclass of economic parasites.

Number three, the big corporations and the ultra-wealthy have become masters at avoiding taxation no matter what the rates are.

Before you tax the rich too much, you might want to consider the consequences of doing so.

Why should someone bust his or her rear end to run a business and make a lot of money if the government is just going to come along and take over half of all the money that is made?

Personally, if I ever get into a tax bracket where over half the money I make goes to the government then I simply will not work nearly as hard at that point.

But if that starts happening on a large scale, then you have a significant loss of economic activity which hurts the economy overall.

Already, the top 20 percent of all income earners in the United States pay approximately 86 percent of all federal income taxes.

When the government “steals from the rich” and “gives to the poor”, that also tends to create a large group of people that decides that it is easier to take from the government than it is to work for a living.

In 1980, government transfer payments accounted for just 11.7% of all income.  Today, government transfer payments account for 18.4% of all income.

That is not a good trend.

At this point, U.S. households are now receiving more income from the U.S. government than they are paying to the government in taxes.

That is not even close to sustainable, but nobody wants to give up their “government benefits”.

Today, 59 percent of all Americans receive money from the federal government in one form or another.

Yes, there will always be those that cannot help themselves and we should always have a “safety net”.

But when you look around it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that things have gotten completely and totally out of control.

Right now, an all-time record 44 million Americans are on food stamps.

Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid.  Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid.

The U.S. government is even handing out billions of dollars to homeowners that are delinquent on their mortgages.

This is not a formula for long-term economic success.

When people get addicted to government checks they never want to stop.

But this is not what the poor need.

What the poor need are good jobs that pay good wages.  Unfortunately, we keep shipping millions of those jobs overseas.  So now the Chinese economy is thriving and our formerly great manufacturing cities are turning into hellholes.

Handouts do not give people hope, dignity and a future, but jobs can.

Also, as I have written about before, the big corporations and the ultra-wealthy have become masters at avoiding taxes.  There is a reason why approximately a third of all the wealth in the world is held in “offshore” tax havens.

What U.S. corporations are able to get away with is absolutely amazing.

The following figures come directly out of a report by Citizens for Tax Justice.  These are combined figures for the tax years 2008, 2009 and 2010.

During those three years, all of the corporations below made a lot of money.  Yet all of them paid net taxes that were below zero for those three years combined.

How is that possible?  Well, it turns out that instead of paying in taxes to the federal government, they were actually getting money back.

So for these corporations, their rate of taxation was actually below zero.

If you have not seen these before, you are going to have a hard time believing some of these statistics…..

*Honeywell*

Profits: $4.9 billion

Taxes: -$34 million

*Fed Ex*

Profits: $3 billion

Taxes: -$23 million

*Wells Fargo*

Profits: $49.37 billion

Taxes: -$681 million

*Boeing*

Profits: $9.7 billion

Taxes: -$178 million

*Verizon*

Profits: $32.5 billion

Taxes: -$951 million

*Dupont*

Profits: $2.1 billion

Taxes -$72 million

*American Electric Power*

Profits: $5.89 billion

Taxes -$545 million

*General Electric*

Profits: $7.7 billion

Taxes: -$4.7 billion

Are you starting to get the picture?

I wish I could make $7.7 billion, pay no taxes and have the government give me $4.7 billion on top of it.

Our system has become corrupted beyond all recognition.

We need to throw out the current system of taxation and come up with something entirely new.

In fact, the truth is that for most of U.S. history there was not a federal income tax at all.  But that is a story for another day.

If you believe in the U.S. Constitution and in the republic that our founding fathers established, then the very high concentrations of wealth and power in our society today should greatly concern you.  Income inequality is not a “Democrat” or a “Republican” issue.  A vibrant, thriving middle class should be a goal all of us can embrace.

But I have a feeling a whole lot of “Democrats” and a whole lot of “Republicans” were deeply offended by this article.  Feel free to express your opinion by leaving a comment below….

Barack Obama’s Budget For 2012: A Complete And Total Joke

Is Barack Obama trying to play a joke on all of us?  The budget that the Obama administration has submitted for fiscal 2012 is so out of touch with reality that it may as well be a budget for “Narnia”, “Fantasy Island”, “Atlantis” or some other mythical land.  You can view the hard numbers for Barack Obama’s 2012 budget right here.  Obama’s budget assumes that the U.S. will experience economic growth of over 5 percent for most of the coming decade.  That is so far-fetched that “optimistic” is not the right word for it.  It also assumes that U.S. government income (primarily made up of taxes on all of us) will more than double over the next ten years.  For 2011, the budget projects that the U.S. government will take in a total of 2.1 trillion dollars, and for 2021 the budget projects that the U.S. government will take in a total of 4.9 trillion dollars.  For the Obama administration to assume that the federal government will be able to drain an extra 2.8 trillion dollars per year out of the American people by the year 2021 is ridicul0us beyond belief.  In his new budget Barack Obama does propose some very, very modest spending cuts that he knows have no chance of getting through Congress.  Barack Obama’s budget for 2012 also does not even attempt to make any cuts to entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare.  In essence, you can sum up Barack Obama’s budget proposal for 2012 by saying that it is a complete and total joke.  This budget is so delusional and so out of touch with reality that it is hard to imagine anyone taking it seriously.

Oh, but Obama is really trying to sell it hard.  When Obama unveiled this new  $3.7 trillion budget for 2012 at a middle school in Baltimore, he insisted that his plan will make it “so that every American is equipped to compete with any worker anywhere in the world.

Well, that is a nice sound bite, but as I have written about previously, unless Barack Obama suddenly finds a way to stop multinational corporations from paying slave labor wages to their workers on the other side of the globe the job losses in America are going to continue.

But that is a topic for another day.  Getting back to the 2012 budget, Obama is proposing to cut more than a trillion dollars from federal budget deficits over the next ten years.

That sounds really good until you figure out that means that the cuts only amount to about $100 billion a year.  Considering the fact that Obama’s budget is projecting that we will have a $1.6 trillion budget deficit this year alone, that really is not a whole heck of a lot to be cutting.

The truth is that Barack Obama should be proposing spending cuts that are at least ten times as large if he was actually serious about addressing our budget woes.

But at least Obama is not proposing an increase in spending.

Oh wait, he actually is.

In fact, under Obama’s budget, U.S. government spending will soar from 3.8 trillion dollars this year to 5.6 trillion dollars in 2021.

But the mainstream media is solely focusing on the budget cuts that Obama is proposing.

Apparently they are trying to cast him as some sort of “fiscal conservative”.

Try not to laugh.

But the modest cuts that Obama is proposing are at least some place to start.

Under Obama’s budget, approximately half of all government agencies will have their funding decreased from 2010 levels.

In fact, approximately 33 billion dollars would be saved by scaling back or shutting down 200 federal programs.

Of course Obama’s fellow Democrats in Congress will never go along with many of these cuts, but at least it is something.

However, this is where most in the mainstream media stop their analysis.

They don’t take a closer look at the numbers in Obama’s budget.

They don’t question the wacky economic growth assumptions.

They don’t question the bizarre government income projections.

But even with the Obama administration’s crooked numbers, the federal deficit still never drops below 600 billion dollars over the next decade and a total of 7.2 trillion dollars is still added to the national debt over the next decade.

If economic growth ends up being much lower, or if the U.S. government is not able to get twice as much money out of the American people by the end of the decade then the projections would look much, much different.

So where does the Obama administration assume all of that extra money for the government is going to come from?

Oh, from raising taxes of course.

The Obama budget assumes that there will be significant tax increases starting in the year 2013.

A recent article on CNBC summarized some of the tax increases that the Obama budget calls for….

The plan unveiled Monday includes tax increases for oil, gas and coal producers, investment managers and U.S.-based multinational corporations. The plan would allow Bush-era tax cuts to expire at the end of 2012 for individuals making more than $200,000 and married couples making more than $250,000.

Wealthy taxpayers would have their itemized deductions limited, including deductions for mortgage interest, charitable contributions and state and local taxes.

There are many liberals (such as my friend Gary) that would love to see these tax increases go into effect, but Obama knows that there is no chance that they will ever see the light of day unless the Democrats retake the House of Representatives.

But most of Obama’s budget for 2012 is based on things that simply never even have a chance of happening.

The reality is that Obama’s budget for 2012 is a great work of fiction.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government continues to accumulate staggering amounts of debt.

In fact, Obama’s budget admits that we will witness the biggest one year debt increase in history this year.

In 2011, the gross federal debt with surpass 15 trillion dollars.  In fact, it is being projected by some analysts that this will be the year when the debt finally becomes larger than the size of the entire U.S. economy.

Ouch.

But Obama insists that he is taking this debt problem very seriously.

Obama insists that he is committed to making “deep” cuts.

In fact, as he announced this new budget Obama stated that these budget cuts hit “many programs whose mission I care deeply about, but meeting our fiscal targets while investing in our future demands no less.”

Do any of you actually believe him?

Not that the Obama administration is in an easy position.  The truth is that the U.S. government (both Republicans and Democrats) have been horribly irresponsible with our money for decades.

The 14 trillion dollar national debt problem that we have now did not develop overnight.

Neither will it be solved overnight.

But Obama is not even trying to address the tough issues such as Social Security and Medicare.

The truth is that the federal debt problem cannot be solved without addressing our out of control entitlement programs.

So why didn’t Obama address them in his budget?

Well, the reality is that Obama is not stupid.  Social Security and Medicare are political sacred cows.  Obama is not going to do anything at this point that would cost him millions of votes in 2012.

So Barack Obama ignored most of the $4 trillion in budget cuts recommended by the White House-appointed deficit commission.

It kind of makes you wonder why Obama ever appointed a “deficit commission” in the first place.

One area that Obama does attempt to cut in his new budget is military spending.  Obama’s budget for 2012 sets military spending at 5 percent below what the Pentagon requested for 2011.

In fact, Obama’s defense budget would slash military spending by $78 billion over the next five years.

His budget also assumes that we are not going to get involved in any more wars, which is not necessarily a safe assumption.

So will these military spending cuts actually get through Congress?

Not likely.

The Republicans control the House of Representatives, and they are not likely to take too kindly to large cuts to the defense budget.

In fact, the truth is that not too many of Barack Obama’s spending cuts are likely to survive in Congress.

As a recent article on CNN explained, Barack Obama’s budget plan must navigate a vast array of congressional committees in the coming months and by the time it emerges it is likely to be radically changed from its current form….

Before it gets back to Obama’s desk for a signature, the spending blueprint will go through no less than 40 congressional committees, 24 subcommittees, countless hearings and a number of floor votes in the House and Senate.

As our Congress critters have demonstrated over and over and over, they love to spend our money on some of the most wasteful things imaginable.

For example, a total of $3 million has already been granted to researchers at the University of California at Irvine so that they can play video games such as World of Warcraft.

Something seems to happen to people who get elected to Congress.  Almost all of them seem to develop an addiction to spending our hard-earned money.

Let us hope that something changes in that regard, because right now government debt is completely and totally out of control.

In fact, the U.S. national debt is currently increasing by approximately 4 billion dollars every single day.

In the end, if something is not done about all this debt it will destroy the entire U.S. financial system.

But our politicians just keep putting it off and putting it off.

Eventually we will reap what we have sown.  Debt is a very cruel master, and nobody can run from it forever – not even the U.S. government.

Ashley’s Tragic Story: A Heartbreaking Example Of How The Economic Collapse Of America Is Destroying Lives

What you are about to read is perhaps the most heartbreaking story that I have ever come across. It is so tragic that I am not even quite sure how to introduce it. Some time ago, a reader named Ashley sent me an email that described the nightmare that she has been living through over the past year. Ashley’s email was very different from the vast majority of emails I usually receive, and I wrote her back right away and asked her some questions. One of the most important questions I asked was whether or not she really wanted me to share her story with the public. Privacy is such a precious thing, and I wanted her to understand that if I shared her story that thousands upon thousands of people would end up seeing it. After considering what I had to say, Ashley said that she was 100% sure that I should share her story because she felt that it could really help some people.

Sometimes it can be really easy to get lost in the economic numbers and to forget that this economy is really and truly destroying lives. The truth is that there are millions of Americans out there today that are hurting just like Ashley is. Her story is more dramatic than most, but that doesn’t mean that we all don’t know someone that could use our help. We have lost our sense of community in America, and thousands upon thousands of people like Ashley are falling through the cracks.

I cannot even imagine going through the things that Ashley has had to go through over the past year.  If you think about it, please say a prayer for her.  Also, let this story be an inspiration to all of us to stop being so cold-hearted and to help out those in need that are all around us.

The following is Ashley’s story as told in her own words….

*****

Dear Michael,

My name is Ashley. I live in Upstate New York I have been reading your Economic Collapse blog for the past year. Everything that you have said is true. Our economy is dying, and the economic collapse has destroyed the lives of many, many people. I should know. I am one of them. I lost my house, my car, my feet and my father, all in just seven months.

My father and I had a great life together. He raised me as a single parent. My mother died while giving birth to me. So it was just him and me as I was growing up, and things were wonderful for us, but then everything changed.

In September of 2009, my father was laid off from his job after 26 years. He tried so hard to find another job, but he just couldn’t get one. The economy was too horrible. As a result of the loss of income, he was unable to continue making the mortgage and car payments. Our car was repossessed, and not long after that, the bank foreclosed on us and we lost our house.

We moved into a low rent, hole in the wall apartment and lived off of his savings and his unemployment benefits for the next few months. Finally, in December of 2009, I was lucky enough to get a part time job at a pizza place. It was a really long walk from our apartment, but we needed the money badly. So I took the job.

By mid winter, my old snow boots, which had successfully lasted me through several terrible winters, were beginning to rapidly deteriorate. They had holes all over them and they were splitting at the seams. My feet were soaked and freezing all day long. At that point, we were lucky to have food on the table. We had to watch every penny. We couldn’t afford to get me new boots. So I had to make do with the ones I had. My father worked feverishly to try and repair them. He spent hours supergluing them duct taping them. In addition to that, I doubled up on socks and wore plastic bags inside my boots, but nothing did any good. My feet still got drenched.

One morning, in mid February of 2010, I took the last walk I would ever take on my own two feet. There was a huge blizzard raging outside, but we couldn’t afford to lose a day’s worth of pay. So I ventured out into the blizzard and made the long trudge to work anyway. As usual, my feet were drenched and freezing within minutes of leaving my apartment, but there was no choice but to just stick it out. So I kept going. I finally arrived at work to find the place closed. Nobody had called to tell me. There was nothing to do but turn around and make the long trudge back home. By the time I got home, I knew that something was seriously wrong with my feet. They felt horrible. My father helped me out of my drenched boots and socks and we discovered that my feet were all purple and swollen. They were severely frostbitten.

My father was terrified to take me to the emergency room because that would have bankrupted us. So he did everything he could to try and rewarm my feet at home. He spent the next several days giving me hot chocolate, bundling my feet up in blankets, putting my feet on his stomach, etc. But nothing did any good. My feet didn’t get any better. They just kept getting worse. They eventually turned black and began to ooze. At that point, my father broke down and called a car service to take us to the hospital. The doctors told us that, given the extent of the damage, they would not able to save my feet. The frostbite had progressed too far. I ended up having both of my feet amputated.

For the next whole month, my father didn’t do anything but sob. He sobbed himself to sleep every night. He blamed himself for me losing my feet. I rolled myself into his room on my wheelchair every night and wrapped my arms around him as tight as I could. I told him that it wasn’t his fault and that I didn’t blame him for anything. I told him he was the best father any girl could ever have and that I wouldn’t trade him for anything. I think it helped a little in the moment, but as time went on, he just fell further and further into depression.

On the morning of March 15th, 2010, I was awakened by a knock on the door from a police officer. He told me that my father was dead. I told the officer that was ridiculous and that there had been a mistake, but he insisted that my father was dead and that I should come with him. I went racing into my father’s room as fast as my wheelchair could carry me, but he was gone. There was a note on his bed that he had left for me. In the note, he told me that he loved me dearly. He loved me more than anything, but that he had failed me. He told me that I would be better off without him. At that moment, my heart stopped as I began to realize what must have happened. Horrified, I made my way back to the police officer, and he told me that my father had jumped out the window of our apartment in the middle of the night. I went into shock and begged the police officer to let me see him, but he insisted that I wouldn’t want to see him that way. I started sobbing so hard that the police ended up having to take me to the hospital.

I’ve cried myself to sleep every night since. I’ll never understand how my father could have thought that I’d be better off without him. If only he had known how much I needed him. If it wasn’t for my extremely kind hearted and caring neighbor, I don’t know where I would be right now. She’s such a sweet lady. After I lost my father, she took me in and took care of me as though I were her own family. She has gradually helped nurse me back to health, both physically and mentally.

This is probably going to sound really crazy, but throughout this past year, you have been one of my heroes, Michael. As devastating as the truth of your words may be, it is refreshing that somebody has the good sense and the good judgement to come forward and say them. All the government and the media do is lie to us, every single day. I only wish more people would listen to you and heed your warnings. Feel free to post my story on your blog if you would like. You have my permission to do so. I just ask that you not reveal my full name and my email address. Just use my first name. Perhaps my story will serve some purpose in the way of helping to wake some of these idiots up and getting them to realize that this nightmare is real.

Best Regards,

Ashley

Less Money, More Problems

How in the world is the U.S. economy going to recover if the American people have less money to spend?  Millions of American families are heading into 2011 knowing that either they won’t be seeing an increase in income or that their incomes will be smaller next year.  Long-term unemployment benefits are being cut off for millions of Americans, federal workers are having their wages frozen, Social Security recipients are not going to get a cost of living increase for 2011, taxes are going up for the vast majority of U.S. families and employers are forcing pay cuts on their workers across the United States.  Meanwhile, the cost of food just keeps going up, the cost of gas just keeps going up and the cost of health care just keeps going up.  So what are millions of American families that are already stretched to the limit going to do when they have less money in 2011?

Millions of unemployed American workers are heading for a very bleak 2011.  Unless Congress acts, and there is no indication that is going to happen, approximately 2 million Americans will stop receiving unemployment checks over the next couple months.

The government is really between a rock and a hard place on this one.  After all, who is so heartless that they actually want to cut off the little financial support that millions of deeply struggling American families are depending on?  Not extending the long-term unemployment benefits is going to mean more Americans are going to lose their homes, more Americans are going to go bankrupt and more Americans will end up in tent cities.

But as CNN recently reported, extending the long-term unemployment benefits through next year would cost the federal government $56.4 billion that we simply do not have.  The U.S. government is absolutely drowning in red ink and cannot afford to just chuck another 56 billion dollars more debt on to the pile.

At this point even Barack Obama is taking some small steps to get federal spending under control.  He has just announced a plan to freeze the pay of federal government workers for the next two years.

So how are federal government workers handling the news that they will not be seeing any raises for the next coupe of years?

Not well.  In fact, many of them are absolutely furious.

But can you blame them?

How would you feel if your wages were just frozen for two years and yet the price of everything just continues to keep going up?

Meanwhile, the Social Security Administration announced last month that there will be no cost of living adjustments for Social Security benefits once again next year.

According to the government, the cost of living is not going up.

So now our seniors will just have to stretch those meager checks even more.

As if all that wasn’t bad enough, now a whole slew of tax increases is coming.  The U.S. Congress is busy debating which (if any) of the Bush tax cuts that they are going to allow to expire, but the truth is that the Bush tax cuts are only a small part of the story.  There are so many tax increases scheduled to go into effect in 2011 that it is hard to keep track of them all.  In fact, there are many (myself included) that are calling 2011 “the year of the tax increase“.

But it is not just the federal government that is raising taxes.  In the past two years, 36 of the 50 U.S. states have jacked up taxes or fees.

In addition, many local governments are so strapped for cash that they are going to absolutely ridiculous lengths to raise cash.  For example, from now on if you are caught jaywalking in Los Angeles you will be slapped with a $191 fine.

This kind of thing is happening all over America.  Police departments are being turned into revenue raising operations.  Police are so busy writing tickets that they barely have any time to investigate actual crimes anymore.

Unfortunately, all of this latest news comes at a time when incomes are already down from coast to coast.  Median household income in the U.S. declined from $51,726 in 2008 to $50,221 in 2009.  Some areas are declining faster than others, but the truth is that almost all areas of the United States have been seeing incomes go down.  In fact, of the 52 largest metro areas in the United States, only the city of San Antonio did not see a decline in median household income during 2009.

Times are getting really tough.  Employers all over America are forcing their employees to take pay cuts.  Even some of the most prominent unions are agreeing to unprecedented concessions.  For example, just check out what The New York Times says is going on over at General Motors….

In its most recent union contract, General Motors is paying new employees $14 an hour, half the rate it pays its long-term workers.

Unfortunately, American families are going to have to try to do more with less during a time when prices are going to be going up.  Most economists agree that all of the quantitative easing that the Federal Reserve is doing is going to cause inflation to start increasing significantly at some point.  In fact, some of the top Federal Reserve officials have publicly stated that they want to purposely raise the rate of inflation as a way to stimulate the economy.

One of the great things about Americans is our relentless sense of optimism, but it is time for a major reality check.  Our economic system is in an advanced state of decay.  Our nation is a sea of red ink from coast to coast, we continue to consume tens of billions more than we produce every single month and we are rapidly being transformed into a post-industrial wasteland.

The economy is not going to be “getting better” in the long-term.  Unless fundamental changes are made to our economic system, we are going to continue to speed toward a horrific economic collapse.

The storm clouds are gathering on the horizon and time is running out.  It is imperative that we all make the most out of every single day because night is coming soon.

27 Signs That The Standard Of Living For America’s Middle Class Is Dropping Like A Rock

If you still have a job and you can put food on the table and you still have a warm house to come home to, then you should consider yourself to be very fortunate.  The truth is that every single month hundreds of thousands more Americans fall out of the middle class and into poverty.  The statistics that you are about to read are incredibly sobering.  Household incomes are down from coast to coast.  Enrollment in government anti-poverty programs sets new records month after month after month.  Home ownership is down, personal bankruptcies are way up and there are not nearly enough jobs to go around.  Meanwhile, the price of basics such as food and health care continue to skyrocket.  Don’t be fooled by a rising stock market or by record bonuses on Wall Street.  The U.S. economy is not getting better.  After World War II, the great American economic machine built the largest and most vigorous middle class in the history of the world, but now America’s middle class is disintegrating at a blinding pace.

Most of those who write about the plight of the American middle class believe that things can be turned around and that the middle class will eventually be stronger than it ever has been.  But unfortunately, that is just not the case.  As a society, we have lived far, far beyond our means for decades.  Now the bills are coming due and none of our leaders seem to know what to do.

Meanwhile, the U.S. economy is being rapidly assimilated into the emerging one world economy.  Middle class American workers now find themselves in direct competition for jobs with the cheapest labor on the other side of the globe.  Of course many multinational corporations have taken advantage of this by moving factories and jobs to countries like China where blue collar workers make about a dollar an hour.  This has helped raise the standard of living for workers in those nations by a nominal amount, but it has been absolutely devastating for the standard of living of America’s middle class.

So what does all of this mean?

It means that the U.S. economy is headed for collapse and middle class Americans are in for some really, really hard times.

The following are  27 signs that the standard of living for America’s middle class is dropping like a rock….

#1 Household spending for the middle fifth of all U.S. income earners was down 3.5% in 2009.  That was the steepest one year decline since records began being kept back in 1984.

#2 Median household income in the United States fell from $51,726 in 2008 to $50,221 in 2009.

#3 According to one new report, in 2009 residents of New York state experienced their first full-year decline in income in more than 70 years.

#4 Of the 52 largest metro areas in the United States, only the city of San Antonio did not see a decline in median household income in 2009.

#5 Home ownership in the United States declined for the third year in a row in 2009.

#6 In 2009, approximately 4 million Americans fell out of the middle class and now live below the federal poverty line.

#7 The number of Americans enrolled in the food stamp program has set a new all-time record for 20 consecutive months

#8 In July (the last month for which data is available), 41.8 million Americans were on food stamps.

#9 The number of Americans in the food stamp program skyrocketed more than 55 percent between December 2007 and July 2010.

#10 In 2009, more than 48 million Americans were enrolled in the Medicaid program.

#11 One out of every six Americans is now enrolled in at least one anti-poverty program run by the U.S. government.

#12 According to one recent study, approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010.

#13 According to the Cato Institute, anti-poverty spending by the U.S. government has increased 89 percent over the past decade.

#14 The cost of health care increased a staggering 9.6% for all U.S. households from 2007 to 2009.

#15 It turns out that only the top 5 percent of all U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.

#16 35 percent of all U.S. households now live on $35,000 or less.

#17 New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says that Wall Street bonuses for 2009 were up 17 percent when compared with 2008.

#18 According to a poll taken in 2009, 61 percent of Americans “always or usually” live paycheck to paycheck.  That was up substantially from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.

#19 Today, 28% of all American households have at least one member that is searching for a full-time job.

#20 Nearly 10 million Americans now receive unemployment insurance, which is almost four times as many that were receiving it back in 2007.

#21 A recent Pew Research survey found that 55 percent of the U.S. labor force has experienced either unemployment, a pay decrease, a reduction in hours or an involuntary move to part-time work since the recession began.

#22 In 2009, 43.6 million Americans were living in poverty.  Sadly, the number of Americans living in poverty has increased for three consecutive years, and the 43.6 million poor Americans in 2009 was the highest number that the U.S. Census Bureau has ever recorded in 51 years of record-keeping.

#23 A staggering 25 percent of all American adults now have a credit score below 599.

#24 It is estimated that nearly a third of all Americans cannot qualify for a mortgage because of low credit scores.

#25 For the first time in U.S. history, banks own a greater share of residential housing net worth in the United States than all American households put together.

#26 Over 1.4 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009, which represented a stunning 32 percent increase over 2008.

#27 According to a new report by the U.S. Census Bureau, the bottom fifth of all U.S. income earners brought in just 3.4 percent of all income in 2009 while the top fifth brought in a whopping 49.4 percent of all income.

So is there any hope that things will turn around soon?

No, not really.

At this point, even some of the top economic authorities in the nation are admitting that we are headed for very difficult times.

Goldman Sachs recently announced that the U.S. economy is likely to be either “fairly bad” or “very bad” over the next 6 to 9 months.

Not only that, but Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke now says that the U.S. economy is in a situation that is dire and “unsustainable”.

Not that Goldman Sachs or Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke should be trusted when it comes to the economy.

When it comes to the problems we are facing, the truth can be found in the long-term trends.  If you have not done so already, please read “11 Long-Term Trends That Are Absolutely Destroying The U.S. Economy“.  It will open your eyes to the true horrors that our economy is now facing.

But statistics alone do not tell the real story.

Sometimes what gets lost in the endless economic statistics is the very real pain of the millions of Americans who are trying to live through this.  The following story from the Unemployed Friends website is from a woman named Leetah who is desperately hoping to be able to get through this upcoming winter….

The place I live in right now has no jobs and no places to live. My fiance, Lloyd, and I have been looking for anything but he lost his job from McDonald’s and the factories (the only jobs to make a living off of) consider him an insurance liability. I can’t get hired to a factory because of I was fired from our major factory for attendance (I had to miss 3 days of work because I was sick). So we are moving to the Edmond/OKC region where we are hoping to find a job and a place with running water and heating. We’ve spent the last few years without heat and running water and so having a place with water and heat would be heaven.

Winter is coming up fast and I am so afraid. Last winter we almost died from the cold and now the thought of cold makes my throat close up and my heart pound. But it isn’t just ourselves we are looking out for, we have our dog too. Our wonderful APBT Maggie who is 2-years-old and has been with us since she was 5-months-old. She’s our baby girl and we can’t lose her. We almost lost her to the cold too and it scared me so much. We are going to be living in our car soon with our dog.

I am hoping to be able to keep our food stamps in the new city so we can still eat. I have already applied for ten+ jobs and nothing yet but I am keeping my hopes up. Hopefully it will get easier to find a job once we get there. Then we just have to save up and then we can afford an apartment. Now finding an apartment with my awesome dog is another story.

Please say a prayer for those who are out of work and on the verge of being forced out on the street.

You never know, you might be next.

The Proof Is In The Numbers: America Is Getting Poorer

How in the world can anyone claim that things are getting better?  Sometimes the numbers are so clear that they simply cannot be denied.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, median household income in the United States fell from $51,726 in 2008 to $50,221 in 2009.  That was the second yearly decline in median household income in a row.  In other words, America is getting poorer.  Just let that statistic above sink in for a little bit.  In 2009, American families had roughly $1,500 less coming in than the year before.  Not that the cost of living has gone down either.  Have you been to the supermarket lately?  Things are getting ridiculous out there.  In fact, middle class American families are being squeezed as never before.  More mothers and fathers are scrambling to find second and third jobs just to pay the mortgage and to keep the lights on and to put food on the table.  This is not a time of prosperity in America.  We are in a state of serious decline and it is time to wake up and admit it.

When you stop and analyze the new Census data, something jumps out at you right away.  You quickly realize that these income declines are not limited to just a few regions of the country – they are literally happening from coast to coast.

The U.S. economy is in deep, deep trouble and the proof is in the numbers.  The following are 12 statistics that reveal just how far the standard of living in America is declining….

1According to the Census Bureau, median household income dropped in 34 U.S. states in 2009, and the only state where median household income actually increased was in North Dakota.

2 – The Census Bureau data also revealed that of the 52 largest metro areas in America, only the city of San Antonio did not see a decline in median household income in 2009.

3 – 35 percent of all U.S. households now live on $35,000 or less.

4 – According to the Census Bureau, the percentage of Americans living below the poverty line is the highest it has been in 15 years.

5 – The number of Americans enrolled in the food stamp program passed the 41 million mark for the first time ever in June.

6 – The number of Americans in the food stamp program increased a staggering 55 percent from December 2007 to June 2010.

7One out of every six Americans is now enrolled in at least one anti-poverty program run by the federal government.

8 – Nearly 10 million Americans now receive unemployment insurance, which is almost four times as many that were receiving it back in 2007.

9 – In 2009, U.S. consumer spending experienced the biggest decline since 1942.

10 – As millions of young Americans struggled just to survive, marriages fell to a record low in 2009.  Today, only 52% of Americans 18 years or older are married. 

11 – The only group that saw their household income increase in 2009 was those making $180,000 or more.

12– According to the Huffington Post, the gap between the richest and poorest Americans grew in 2009 to its largest margin ever….

The top-earning 20 percent of Americans – those making more than $100,000 each year – received 49.4 percent of all income generated in the U.S., compared with the 3.4 percent made by the bottom 20 percent of earners, those who fell below the poverty line, according to the new figures. That ratio of 14.5-to-1 was an increase from 13.6 in 2008 and nearly double a low of 7.69 in 1968.

Not that it is a bad thing to make money. 

Contrary to what our socialist friends may think, it is actually a very good thing to work hard and make money.

The point is that the game is rigged and the bottom 80 percent of us are being left behind.

The middle class is being systematically destroyed.  At the rate we are going, we will eventually have a very small group of ultra-wealthy Americans and a gigantic mountain of very poor Americans that are barely able to survive.

The answer to this is not a “redistribution of wealth”. 

What middle class Americans actually need are good jobs with good benefits.

You know, the kind of jobs that the U.S. economy used to produce.

For the vast majority of Americans, all they have to offer in the marketplace is their labor.  If they cannot get someone to hire them for a wage that will enable them to take care of their families then they simply cannot make it without government assistance.

But what our leaders have done in the name of “globalism” is that they have essentially merged our economy with the economies of nations such as China where blue collar workers are paid about a dollar an hour to do the same jobs that American workers get paid 15 to 20 dollars an hour to do.

As a result, jobs and factories are fleeing the United States so rapidly it is hard to even describe.  The deindustrialization of America is happening right in front of our eyes, but the American people have become so dumbed down that most of them don’t even seem to have the capacity to understand what is going on. 

Quite a few advocates of “free trade” (which is not “free” or “fair” at all under our current system) have left comments on my columns telling me that the American people better just suck it up because this is how it is now and the world isn’t going back.  These advocates of the globalist system say that the American people just need to toughen up and learn to compete and need to just accept that the standard of living for workers across the globe is going to be equalized and that is all there is to it.

So are you ready to have the same standard of living as a Chinese sweatshop worker who works 12 hours a day for one dollar an hour?

That is where we are headed.

But things did not have to be this way.  We did not have to merge our economy with communist China and allow them to keep their currency devalued 40 percent lower than it should be so that they could dump massive amounts of cheap goods on our shores.  We did not have to elect politicians that believe that “globalism” is the answer to all of our problems.  We did not have to sign on to the WTO, NAFTA and all the other “free trade” agreements that are destroying the American middle class.

Labor is now a global commodity.  American workers are now part of the global labor force.  The bargaining power of the average American worker has dropped through the floor.  Now the monolithic predator corporations that dominate our economy don’t even have to deal with American workers if they don’t want to.

Very few of our politicians admitted that merging us into a one world economy would mean a dramatic decline in the standard of living of middle class Americans.

But that is exactly what is happening.

Meanwhile, the federal government, our state governments and our local governments keep going into massive amounts of new debt in an effort to keep paying the bills. 

There are some state governments, like Illinois, that are basically flat broke.  In fact, Illinois doesn’t even bother to pay many of their bills anymore.

Of course the federal government is the worst offender of them all.  The U.S. national debt is rapidly approaching 14 trillion dollars, and most of us have gotten so accustomed to it that we don’t even talk about it much anymore.

That is how bizarre things have gotten.

As America keeps getting poorer, and as U.S. taxpayers see their incomes continue to decline, how in the world are U.S. government finances going to turn around?

The truth is that our leaders should be in full blown crisis mode in an attempt to fix this thing.  Pieces of the U.S. economy are literally falling off all around us and our leaders are pushing the debt accelerator to the floor as we head toward a giant cliff.

But instead our politicians are prancing about the countryside telling us that everything is going to be just great as long as we cast our votes for them in the fall.

And the mainstream media keeps telling us that the “recession” is over and that soon the U.S. economy will be better than ever.

Is it any wonder that faith in the mainstream media is now at an all-time low?      

According to a new poll just released by Gallup, the number of Americans that have little to no trust in the mass media (57%) is at an all-time high.

A significant percentage of the American people is starting to wake up.

What about you?

Are you awake yet?

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