20 Signs You Might Be A Typical American Worker

Once upon a time, anyone that was relatively competent and willing to work hard could go out and easily get a job that would enable that person to financially support a family.  Unfortunately, that is simply no longer true anymore.  Well paying “middle income jobs” are being rapidly replaced with “low income jobs” and part-time jobs.  As the economy crumbles, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the typical American worker to survive from month to month.  The number of companies that provide benefits such as health insurance has fallen steadily over the past ten years, and paychecks have not been keeping up with the rising prices of food and gas.  Average American families are seeing their budgets squeezed like never before, and many of them are going into huge amounts of debt in order to make up the difference.  Sadly, this is a problem that has developed over an extended period of time and that is not going to be reversed overnight.  Over the past four decades, the ratio of wages and salaries to GDP in America has fallen dramatically.  The typical American worker is not as valued as much as he or she used to be, and if current trends continue even more of us will be working part-time jobs or “low income jobs” in the years ahead.

In America today there is a great deal of focus on the unemployed, but there are also millions upon millions of Americans that are working part-time jobs because that is all that they can find.

It can be absolutely soul crushing to go all the way through school getting good grades, spend a ton of money on an education, and then work for 8 bucks an hour doing meaningless work for some predator corporation that simply does not care about how talented you are.

Today, an astounding 48 percent of all Americans are considered to be either “low income” or are living in poverty.

According to the New York Times, approximately 100 million Americans are either living in poverty or in “the fretful zone just above it”.

A lot of those people actually do have jobs.  Unfortunately, a part-time job that pays 8 or 9 dollars an hour just will not get you anywhere close to getting over the poverty line.

This is not the way that the U.S. economy used to work.  Back in the old days, good paying jobs that would allow you to live “the American Dream” were plentiful.

But now millions upon millions of Americans are scrambling for anything that they can get.  According to a recent survey conducted by Gallup, the percentage of Americans that are working part-time jobs but that would like full-time jobs is now higher than it has been at any other time in the last two years.

In this economy, a good paying full-time job is incredibly precious.  If you still have one, you should consider yourself to be very fortunate.

Check out the following chart.  It is a chart that shows the level of wages and salaries as a percentage of GDP in the United States since the late 1940s.  As you can see, the slice of the pie being taken home by American workers has been dropping like a rock since about 1970….

Is that a clear trend or what?

And it is going to continue year after year as long as we continue to pursue the same foolish economic policies.

As our politicians continue to allow millions of American jobs to be shipped overseas, competition for the jobs that remain inside this country is becoming extremely intense.

Back in 1967, 97 percent of all U.S. men with a high school degree between the ages of 30 and 50 had jobs.  Today, that figure is down to 76 percent.

As you read this, there are hordes of hard working American workers sitting at home staring at their televisions as they wonder why nobody will hire them.

Right now, if you gathered together all of the unemployed people in the United States, they would constitute the 68th largest country in the world.

That is absolutely insane.

But even if you do have a job that does not mean that you are in good shape.  The percentage of “low income jobs” just continues to climb.  Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs.  Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.

Many Americans work as hard as they can and still find that they must turn to the government for financial assistance.  According to author Paul Osterman, about 20 percent of all U.S. adults are currently working jobs that pay poverty-level wages.

And that number is just going to keep climbing unless we change what we are doing as a nation.

Perhaps you are working a “low income job” right now.  Most of us have worked a job like that at least once in our lives.  Hopefully you will find the following list amusing.  Yes, I have exaggerated a few things slightly, but I think you will get the point.

The following are 20 signs you might be a typical American worker….

#1 If you are working three jobs and you still don’t have enough money at the end of the month, you might be a typical American worker.

#2 If your job involves asking the question “Would you like fries with that?”, you might be a typical American worker.

#3 If you shop at the dollar store because Wal-Mart is too expensive, you might be a typical American worker.

#4 If your job requires you to wear a smock, a brightly colored polo shirt or lots of “flair”, you might be a typical American worker.

#5 If people are constantly asking you where the restroom is while you are at work, you might be a typical American worker.

#6 If your employer hires extra part-time workers in order to avoid giving anyone full-time hours, you might be a typical American worker.

#7 If you are required to watch a mindless “training video” after being hired, you might be a typical American worker.

#8 If the company you work for is owned by someone on the other side of the world, you might be a typical American worker.

#9 If a trained seal could do your job and you feel like your expensive education is going to waste, you might be at typical American worker.

#10 If you don’t have any health insurance at all, you might be a typical American worker.  Only about 25 percent of all part-time workers in the United States receive employee benefits such as health insurance or paid sick leave.

#11 If your car is older than your kids are, you might be a typical American worker.

#12 If you can’t afford to buy the things that you are selling to the public, you might be a typical American worker.

#13 If the balances on your credit cards are larger than your bank accounts are, you might be a typical American worker.

#14 If going to Burger King is your idea of “fine dining”, then you might be a typical American worker.

#15 If it costs more to fill up your car with gas than you will make at your job today, you might be a typical American worker.  The price of gasoline has increased by 83 percent since Barack Obama first took office, and the average cost of a gallon of gas in the United States is now up to $3.52.

#16 If you eat your cereal with a fork so that you can save milk, you might be a typical American worker.

#17 If your electricity bill keeps going up but your paycheck never does, you might be a typical American worker.

#18 If it feels like you are losing an organ every time you pay for health insurance each month, you might be a typical American worker.

#19 If you feel like your employer is constantly tempted to replace you with someone younger and cheaper, then you might be a typical American worker.

#20 If you are so poor that you cannot even afford to pay attention, you might be a typical American worker.

Unfortunately, a lot more Americans are going to be forced into working these kinds of jobs if current trends continue.

Since the year 2000, we have lost 10% of our middle class jobs even though our population has increased by more than 30 million since then.  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.

The lack of good jobs in America has some very real consequences.  In particular, our young adults are really feeling the pain of not being able to find quality employment.

According to a recent poll conducted by Generation Opportunity, huge numbers of Americans in the 18 to 29 year old age bracket are delaying major life decisions due to the poor economy….

-44% are delaying buying a home

-28% are delaying saving for retirement

-27% are delaying paying off student loans or other debt

-27% are delaying going back to school or getting more education

-23% are delaying starting a family

-18% are delaying getting married

All of those things take a lot of money, and if you simply don’t have the money it makes things really tough.

Sadly, the economy is about to get even worse.

As I have written about previously, what is going on in Greece right now is a warning sign for the rest of the world, and we are on the precipice of another major global financial crisis.

There are an increasing number of voices in the financial world that believe that we are going to see a Greek default in March.  So will this actually happen?  I certainly don’t know.  But what some folks are currently saying about the situation sure does make for interesting reading.

In the old days, you could graduate from college, get a good job, work for the same company for 30 years, save up for retirement and count on a comfortable life in your old age.

That paradigm is now totally shattered.  The entire global economic system is in a state of chaos and things change faster today than they ever have before.

If you have a job today, it may be gone tomorrow.

The financial institution or insurance company that you are working with today may be out of business by next month.

We live in a world that is becoming increasingly unstable.  That is why it is imperative to try to become more self-sufficient and less dependent on the system.

It is tough to plan in such an environment, but one thing is for sure – tough times are coming and things are not going to get any easier than they are now.

16 Statistics Which Show That The Number Of Americans Dependent On The Government Is At An All-Time High

A higher percentage of the American population is receiving government benefits than ever before.  Yes, there have always been poor people that have needed our assistance, but what does it say about our economy that the number of Americans dependent on the government is at an all-time high?  Every night on the evening news we are told that the economy is improving, and Barack Obama is endlessly giving speeches about the “economic recovery” that is supposedly underway.  But that is not the reality on the ground for those on the bottom rungs of the income ladder in America.  People are really hurting out there, and the number of Americans that are turning to the government for financial assistance just continues to increase.  Yes, we should always have a “safety net”, but right now our “safety net” is becoming massively overloaded as millions more Americans jump on to it every single year.  What all of these impoverished Americans really need are jobs, but the U.S. Congress and the past several administrations have been systematically killing job growth in America.  So unfortunately the number of poor Americans is going to continue to rise, and that is really bad news for a nation that is already drowning in debt.

Some people out there want to blame the poor for the statistics that you are about to read, but that is a mistake.  Yes, there are a lot of people out there that are abusing the system, and that needs to be stopped.

But many Americans that are dependent on the government are in that situation because there simply are not enough jobs in this country.

And unfortunately, the Obama administration and the U.S. Congress continue to pursue the same job-killing policies that have gotten us into this mess in the first place.  So millions of Americans that have learned to survive as government dependents are not being given the opportunity to break out of that cycle.  When there is a shortage of decent jobs, it is easy to give up.  Many tend to become more and more comfortable being dependent on the government as time goes by.

Once you become addicted to getting a government check in the mail, it can be very difficult to give that up.  There are some that get trapped in a life of government dependence for years or even decades.

The following are 16 statistics which show that the number of Americans dependent on the government is at an all-time high….

#1 According to the Census Bureau, 49 percent of all Americans live in a home that gets direct monetary benefits from the federal government.  Back in 1983, less than a third of all Americans lived in a home that received direct monetary benefits from the federal government.

#2 The amount of money that the federal government gives directly to Americans has increased by 32 percent since Barack Obama entered the White House.

#3 The number of Americans receiving Social Security disability benefits has increased by 10 percent since Barack Obama first took office.

#4 Back in 1990, the federal government accounted for 32 percent of all health care spending in America.  Today, that figure is up to 45 percent and it is projected to surpass 50 percent very shortly.

#5 The number of Americans on food stamps recently hit a new all-time high.  It has increased by 3 million since this time last year and by more than 14 million since Barack Obama first entered the White House.

#6 Today, one out of every seven Americans is on food stamps and one out of every four American children is on food stamps.  This is unprecedented in American history.

#7 In 2010, 42 percent of all single mothers in the United States were on food stamps.

#8 Back in 1980, government transfer payments accounted for just 11.7% of all income.  In 2010, government transfer payments accounted for 18.4% of all income, which was a new all-time high.

#9 By the end of 2011, approximately 55 million Americans received a total of approximately 727 billion dollars in Social Security benefits.  As the retirement crisis becomes much worse, that dollar figure is projected to absolutely skyrocket.

#10 According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Social Security system paid out more in benefits than it received in payroll taxes in 2010.  That was not supposed to happen until at least 2016.

#11 Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid.  Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid, and things are about to get a whole lot worse.  It is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.

#12 The U.S. government now says that the Medicare trust fund will run out five years faster than previously anticipated.

#13 The total cost of just three federal government programs – the Department of Defense, Social Security and Medicare – exceeded the total amount of taxes brought in during fiscal 2010 by 10 billion dollars.

#14 It is being projected that entitlement spending by the federal government will nearly double by the year 2050.

#15 Right now, spending by the federal government accounts for about 24 percent of GDP.  Back in 2001, it accounted for just 18 percent.

#16 When you total it all up, American households are now receiving more money directly from the federal government than they are paying to the government in taxes.

Once again, I am not blaming the poor.  Almost all of us know of someone that is on government assistance.  Most of them are not dependent on the government because they are lazy or because they want to cheat the system.  Most of them have just had their dreams crushed by this horrible economy and need a helping hand.

It is incredible how anyone can run around claiming that the U.S. economy is heading in the right direction with all of this going on.

Yes, things are going fairly well for the boys and girls down on Wall Street, but for the vast majority of Americans things are looking quite bleak.

For example, things have gotten so bad that the state of Florida is actually considering using ballparks and sports stadiums as shelters for the homeless.

But when it comes to so many people being financially dependent on the federal government, there is a major problem.

The problem is that the federal government is absolutely drowning in debt.

So why don’t our politicians just explain to the American people that we need to start cutting back and reducing the size of some of these programs?

Well, if any of our politicians try to do that they won’t get elected next time around.

The truth is that the American people are deeply addicted to government money.

Any politician that proposes significant cuts to Social Security or Medicare is a goner.

Every poll or survey that is done on this subject shows that the American people are overwhelmingly against cuts to programs like Social Security and Medicare.

So politicians will just keep spending money like there is no tomorrow, and the American people will just keep sending them back to Washington.

But just like we saw in Greece, a day of reckoning comes eventually.

There will come a time when the federal government will not be able to steal 150 million dollars an hour from our children and our grandchildren.

There will come a time when there will not be enough money for all of these growing social programs.

So once the government checks stop rolling in, what is going to happen then?

If You Are A Blue Collar Worker In America You Are An Endangered Species

Have you ever heard of the dodo bird?  Once upon a time, dodo birds lived on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean.  But if you go there today you won’t find any because they are extinct.  Well, if you are a blue collar worker in America today it looks like you are headed for a similar fate.  Blue collar workers are truly becoming an “endangered species” in the United States.  In the old days, the balance of power between business owners and labor was more even because they both needed each other.  But today that has all changed.  Thanks to robotics, automation and computers there is simply not as much of a need for physical laborers anymore and nothing is going to reverse that trend.  Big employers will continue to look for ways to replace men with machines, and there is nothing wrong with that.  But there is another major trend that is also destroying blue collar jobs in America that we should do something about.  Right now, it is perfectly legal for big corporations to shut down manufacturing facilities in the United States and send the jobs over to nations on the other side of the globe where it is legal to pay slave labor wages and where there are barely any regulations.  As you will see later on this article, this has been the biggest reason for the shocking blue collar job losses in America over the past decade.  The big corporations don’t care that you need to pay the mortgage and put food on the table for your families.  All they care about it the bottom line, and if dramatic changes are not made soon, the number of blue collar jobs leaving the United States will continue to increase.

Once upon a time, almost everyone who wanted a job in America could get one.  If you go back a few decades, you will find that about 95 percent of all men between the ages of 25 and 54 had a job.  Today that figure is struggling to stay above 80 percent.

If you are a blue collar worker in America, you are simply not valued.  Your bosses are constantly trying to think of ways to replace you or send your job overseas.

According to Reuters, 23.7 million American workers are either unemployed or underemployed right now.  The more “blue collar” you are, the more likely you are to be unemployed.  The following chart that shows the unemployment rate during 2010 broken down by level of education comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics….

If you are an unskilled worker in America today, you simply are not needed.  Yes, once upon a time nearly anyone could go out and get a factory job, but those days are over.  Neither major political party seems the least bit interested in trying to keep manufacturing jobs in America.

Back in the year 2000, more than 20 percent of all jobs in America were manufacturing jobs.  Today, about 5 percent of all jobs in America are manufacturing jobs.

To have that huge of a shift in a little over a decade is absolutely mind blowing.

Many Americans had been hoping that Barack Obama would stand up for the working man like he promised to do.  But just like so many of Obama’s other promises, that one was totally worthless as well.

The Obama administration has been pushing hard for even more “free trade” deals that will allow big corporations to ship even more of our jobs out of the country.  The Obama administration simply does not value blue collar jobs at all.  In fact, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk is running around telling the press that there are lots of things that “we don’t want to make in America” anymore.

If you are a blue collar worker, Barack Obama does not care about you.

He never cared about you.

In fact, the vast majority of the politicians in both major political parties do not care about you.

What they do care about is winning elections and taking care of the big donors that keep helping them win elections.

Many of those donors are systematically shipping huge numbers of our jobs overseas.

In addition, now that labor has become a “global commodity”, wages for the jobs that remain in America are being steadily driven lower.

A recent White House reported entitled “Investing in America: Building an Economy That Lasts” actually bragged that our trade policies have driven wages in America down.  The following chart is from that report….

We were told that the “one world economy” would be great for America, but the truth is that it has only been great for the giant corporations.  For the average working man, it has been a disaster.

But we should have all seen this coming.  It didn’t take a genius to figure out what was going to happen once you put American workers into the same labor pool as slave laborers on the other side of the world.  After all, what greedy corporate executive really wants to pay U.S. workers ten to twenty times as much compensation just because it is the “right” thing to do?

Today, formerly great cities all over America are being transformed into hellholes while shiny, new industrial cities are popping up all over China.

For example, a couple of decades ago the Chinese city of Shenzhen was a sleepy little fishing town.

In 2012, it is a teeming metropolis of over 13 million people.

Foxconn (the builder of iPhones, iPads and many other products that we buy) runs a factory in Shenzhen that employs over 400,000 people.  Most of those people work for about a dollar an hour.

A recent article posted on Business Insider described the incredibly long hours and the nightmarish working conditions that those workers must endure.  The following is a brief excerpt from that article….

A Chinese working “hour” is 60 minutes–unlike an American “hour,” which generally includes breaks for Facebook, the bathroom, a phone call, and some conversation. The official work day in China is 8 hours long, but the standard shift is 12 hours. Generally, these shifts extend to 14-16 hours, especially when there’s a hot new gadget to build.

At Foxconn, they don’t really care about the health and safety of the workers.  Workers are expected to do the same repetitive tasks as rapidly as they can for as long as they can.  When their bodies break down, they are fired….

Some workers can no longer work because their hands have been destroyed by doing the same thing hundreds of thousands of times over many years (mega-carpal-tunnel). This could have been avoided if the workers had merely shifted jobs. Once the workers’ hands no longer work, obviously, they’re canned.

But the Obama administration insists that allowing big corporations to ship our jobs over to countries with working conditions like that is “good for the economy”.

Well, it might be good for the profits of the largest corporations, but it is a total nightmare for the rest of us.  Just consider the following stats….

*The United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs per month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

*Between December 2000 and December 2010, 38 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Ohio were lost, 42 percent of the manufacturing jobs in North Carolina were lost and 48 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Michigan were lost.

*According to U.S. Representative Betty Sutton, America has lost an average of 15 manufacturing facilities a day over the last 10 years.  During 2010 it got even worse.  Last year, an average of 23 manufacturing facilities a day shut down in the United States.

*In all, more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States have shut down since 2001.

*According to one study, between 1969 and 2009 the median wages earned by American men between the ages of 30 and 50 dropped by 27 percent after you account for inflation.

*According to Professor Alan Blinder of Princeton University, 40 million more U.S. jobs could be sent offshore over the next two decades.

Are you starting to get the picture?

If you are a blue collar worker that cannot find a job, it is not because you have failed as a human being.

Rather, the truth is that you cannot find a job because of the failed trade policies of the federal government.

We are experiencing the bitter fruit of a “one world economy”.  Globalization was never intended to make the lives of American workers better, and now many are finally waking up and realizing this.

Hopefully, as Americans wake up on these issues they will fight to turn this nation in a more positive direction.

Unfortunately, way too many Americans are giving up hope completely.  The following comes from a recent article in the Guardian….

The year 2011 will be remembered as the time when many ever-optimistic Americans began to give up hope. President John F Kennedy once said that a rising tide lifts all boats. But now, in the receding tide, Americans are beginning to see not only that those with taller masts had been lifted far higher, but also that many of the smaller boats had been dashed to pieces in their wake.

As I have written about so many times, we are watching the middle class in America be systematically destroyed.

The economy is not getting better.  There may be moments when the economy seems like it is improving, but the reality is that we are mired in a nightmarish long-term decline.  If you are not yet convinced of this, please see this article and this article.

Even those running our economy are saying that things are not going to be getting much better any time soon.

For example, the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Charles Evans, recently admitted that the employment picture is not going to be much brighter than it is now by the end of 2012.  He recently said that “at the end of the year, we’re not going to be very different from 8.5 percent unemployment.”

And remember – history has shown us that most pronouncements by Federal Reserve officials are usually far too optimistic.

If you are a blue collar worker in America, there is simply not too much to be optimistic about right now.

You might want to think about how you and your family are going to survive without any work.

The millions of jobs that have been sent overseas are not coming back.  Even if you still have a decent job, now is the time to be developing a side business or developing other alternative streams of income.

What you don’t want to do is to just sit there and hope that somehow things will “magically” turn around if we just vote in the “right” politician.

If you want to get a really good idea of what is really going on with the U.S. economy right now, just go tour some of the formerly great industrial cities in the “Rust Belt”.

In Cuyahoga County, Ohio one out of every five houses is sitting vacant.  It is not that those homes are not needed – it is just that there are not nearly enough people with good jobs available to buy up all of the foreclosures.

So thousands of perfectly good houses are being torn down.  The following comes from a recent CBS News report by Scott Pelley….

Across America, recession-fueled foreclosures and plummeting home values have left countless properties abandoned and vulnerable to looting. As Scott Pelley reports, the problem has gotten so bad in Cleveland, Ohio, that county officials have demolished more than 1,000 homes this year – and plan to demolish 20,000 more – rather than let the blight spread and render nearby homes worthless.

Can you imagine that?

20,000 homes being demolished in one county alone?

Of course Detroit is in even worse shape than Cleveland.  If you can believe it, the median price of a home in Detroit is now just $6000.

For much more on all of this, please read my recent article entitled “Formerly Great Cities All Over America Are Turning Into Open, Festering Sores“.

It would be great if I could tell you that hope is just around the corner, but it is not.  The plight of the blue collar worker in America is going to get worse and worse.

But just because blue collar workers in America are an endangered species does not mean that you have to be a victim.

We should all seek to become less dependent on the system.

If you are completely and totally dependent on having a “job” (just over broke), then you have put yourself in a very vulnerable position.

That job could disappear at any moment.

Over the next few years, the number of good jobs is going to continue to decrease.  Things are going to be really tough.  But those that have prepared and that have tried to become more independent are going to be in much better shape than those that have not.

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….

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

Find A Job? Good Luck In This Economy – 10 Reasons Why The Latest Unemployment Numbers Are No Reason To Cheer

The U.S. government is telling us that the unemployment rate fell all the way down to 9.0% in January.  Should we all cheer?  Is it now going to be a lot easier to find a job?  Has the economy finally turned around?  Are happy days here again?  Well, it is a good thing to have a positive attitude, but the truth is that there is just not much to cheer about when you take a closer look at the recent unemployment numbers.  First of all, the U.S. economy only added 36,000 jobs in January.  Economists had been expecting an increase of about 145,000 jobs, and an increase of 150,000 jobs per month is necessary just to keep up with population growth.  So why did the unemployment rate go down?  Well, the government says that over half a million Americans suddenly dropped out of the labor force in January.  That doesn’t make a lot of sense, but this is how the government calculates their numbers.  So what happened to those 500,000 Americans?  Did they all win the lottery?  Have they all become independently wealthy?  Did they all die?  No, the vast majority of them are still around and the vast majority of them still desperately need jobs.  It is just that the government does not count them as “looking for work” anymore.

It would be great if the employment situation in America actually was getting better.  All the time people send me absolutely heartbreaking stories about what they have had to endure in this economy.  Soon I hope to share some of those stories with you all.  It is hard to try to describe the absolute horror that many Americans are going through right now.

People would like to believe that things are going to get better, but unfortunately that is just not going to be the case.  The government can try to massage the numbers to make them look better, but the truth is that the tens of millions of American families that are deeply suffering right now are not fooled.

The following are 10 statistics that reveal that the latest unemployment numbers from the government are no reason to cheer….

#1 According to CNBC, economists were expecting the U.S. economy to add 145,000 jobs during January. Obviously the 36,000 figure was a huge disappointment.

#2 Approximately 150,000 jobs need to be added to the economy each month just to keep up with population growth.

#3 The government jobs report also indicated that 504,000 Americans “dropped out of the labor force” in January.  That may make the unemployment numbers look better, but the truth is that the vast majority of those 500,000 Americans still need incomes and still need jobs.

#4 According to the latest numbers from Gallup, the unemployment rate actually increased to 9.8% at the end of January.

#5 Gallup’s measure of “underemployment” (those that are unemployed plus those that are working part-time but want full-time employment) was sitting at 18.9% at the end of January.

#6 As I reported yesterday, there are approximately 28 million Americans that would like full-time jobs but that don’t have full-time jobs.

#7 According to Zero Hedge, 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%.

#8 According to Calculated Risk, this is the deepest and most brutal employment downturn that the United States has experienced since World War II.  The current employment downturn started 37 months ago and there doesn’t seem to be any indication that we will return to pre-recession levels any time soon.

#9 The U.S. Labor Department has also announced that job growth during 2010 was much weaker than they had previously reported. The numbers for 8 months were revised down, and the numbers for 4 months were revised up. After all of the revisions are accounted for, it turns out that a total of 215,000 fewer jobs were created during 2010 than originally calculated.

#10 According to one brand new survey, 4 out of every 10 Americans are struggling “a lot” to pay the bills right now.

The situation is not pretty out there.  The U.S. needs tens of millions more jobs than we have right now.

So where are all of our jobs going?  The video posted below contains some very strong hints.  The truth is that globalism is ripping our economic infrastructure apart, and all of the crazy rules and regulations we keep heaping on business are not helping either….

U.S. workers have been merged into a “global labor pool” where we are expected to directly compete for jobs with people making slave labor wages on the other side of the globe.

The more time you spend thinking about that, the more you start realizing that the standard of living of average American families is going to continue to decline.

Unfortunately, as I wrote about in a recent article entitled “Nothing Is Stable Anymore“, the world is changing faster today than at any other time during our lifetimes.  Everything that we used to assume about employment, money, our economy and our finances is being turned upside down.  We now live in a world where very little can be taken for granted.

2011 has already been a very tumultuous year.  The world is being transformed.  Nobody knows for sure what is going to happen next.

One thing to really keep an eye on is the price of oil.  Right now, large numbers of investors are betting that the price of oil will rise to $125 a barrel by May.  Shockingly, some investors are even betting that the price of oil will rise to $250 a barrel by next December.

If oil starts to spike dramatically, it will have tremendous implications for the U.S. economy.  Our entire economic system runs on oil.  The price of oil affects the price of everything else.

If the price of oil keeps going up it is inevitably going to cause a slowdown in the U.S. economy and it will cause the unemployment situation to get even worse.

So be glad that the employment situation is at least somewhat stable for now, because if things take a bad turn for the worse in 2011 who knows what kind of unemployment numbers we’ll be talking about a year from now.

Tent Cities, Homelessness And Soul-Crushing Despair: The Legacy Of Decades Of Government Debt And Mismanagement Of The Economy

For decades, our politicians have been deeply addicted to government debt, they have stood idly by as millions of our jobs have been shipped overseas and they have passed countless business-crushing regulations and they never thought that it would catch up with us.  Well, it has.  America has been living in the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world, and now that bubble is starting to pop.  There has never been such an extended period of unemployment in the United States since the Great Depression, and millions of Americans are losing their homes.  Homelessness is skyrocketing, tent cities are popping up everywhere and countless numbers of American families are experiencing the soul-crushing despair that comes from desperately trying to hang on for month after month after month.

Now, because of the horrific hole that our politicians have dug for us, we are faced with some heartbreaking choices.  For example, right now the U.S. Congress is deciding whether or not to extend long-term unemployment benefits for the nation’s jobless.

Extending those benefits through the end of February would add another $12.5 billion to the U.S. national debt.  But not doing it would cut off the only lifeline that many Americans have just in time for the holidays.

The extension of jobless benefits that was passed last summer expires on December 1st.  If these long-term benefits are not renewed, approximately 2 million unemployed Americans will lose their checks.

But what can the U.S. Congress do?  Just keep going into endless amounts of debt?  As I have written about previously, the United States is never going to see another balanced budget ever again under the current system.  The U.S. government is flat out broke.  Somehow our politicians desperately need to find a way for the federal budget to stop hemorrhaging red ink.

There is no more “extra money” to spend.  The U.S. government has piled up the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world and we are headed for a complete and total economic disaster because of it.

But what are we going to do?  Are we going to let millions of Americans starve in the streets?

It’s not just the rapidly rising number of homeless Americans that is the problem.  Millions of Americans are not going to be able to heat their homes this winter.  Millions of others are going to have to choose between buying medicine and buying food because they will not be able to afford both.

How would you like to be at a point where you could not go to the doctor because you knew that you could not pay the deductible?

How would you like to be at a point where you had to decide whether to buy diabetes medicine or to buy macaroni and cheese to feed your family?

More than 42 million Americans are now on food stamps, and that number keeps going up month after month after month.

Just think about that.

42 million Americans would not be able to eat if the U.S. government did not give them handouts.

The safety net is getting awfully crowded.

If you really want to see some soul-crushing desperation, go check out the flood tunnels under the city of Las Vegas.  But do not do this alone – it is very dangerous down there.  Today, there are hordes of “tunnel people” who call those dark tunnels home.  Nobody knows for sure how many people are down there (some people say that it is well into the thousands), but everyone agrees that the number is rapidly growing.

But in many major U.S. cities there are no flood tunnels to go to.  Instead, in many areas of the United States huge tent cities have sprouted.  The following is a video news report from the BBC about the tent cities that are popping up all over America….

But it is not just “drug addicts” and the “mentally ill” that are going to these tent cities.  One anonymous unemployed woman identified only as “Kaynonymous” is a highly educated professional who figures that she will end up in a tent city soon….

“I’m a 99er too. 53, female, single and once on track with an IT career. No one in their right mind would consider me for an IT position after being gone from the field for over 2 years. I have officially been a 99er since May 2010. In Aug. 2010 all of my savings and retirement funds were finally depleted–not only can I no longer make my mortgage payment, I can no longer afford utilities either. I’m just not sure that the 99ers ever had a voice outside of union organizers and even with them it was too little too late. Guess I’ll be seeing ya’ll in the soup kitchens and tent cities. I do still have my tent…”

So we should just extend the long-term unemployment benefits, right?  Well, according to a recent poll commissioned by the National Employment Law Project, 73 percent of Americans want Congress to continue paying out extended unemployment benefits.

But it is not just that simple.

America is broke.

The entire financial system is dying.

The U.S. government desperately needs to stop spending so much money.

But how can we turn our backs on people who are desperately hurting?

There are millions of Americans that have just about reached the end of their ropes.  For example, one 43-year-old woman named Jacqueline recently expressed some of the extreme frustration that she is experiencing on her blog….

I am one of the 6 million poor, unemployed middle-aged Americans struggling without any safety net or income other than food stamps. I have resorted to salvaging scrap metal just to survive while keeping up an increasingly hopeless job search. On May 4th, 2010 just three weeks before my 43rd birthday ago I got slapped with a diagnosis of very early stage glaucoma when I had a six year long overdue optical exam for badly needed new glasses. Without treatment — including ophthalmologist’s glaucoma monitoring exams — I will end up blind and permanently disabled. It’s not a matter of “if”, it’s a matter of when.

As a society, we will be judged by how we treat those who are the most vulnerable.  It can seem easy to bash those who have lost everything, but someday you might end up in that position.  In the following video, police in St. Petersburg, Florida are seen using box cutters to slice up the tents that the homeless were sleeping in….

Hopefully you were deeply disturbed by that video.

We have gotten ourselves into a giant mess, and things are only going to get worse.

Unfortunately, some extremely painful decisions are going to have to be made.

The truth is that we are so deeply in debt that the U.S. government just cannot be spending any extra money right now.

However, we also cannot turn our backs on millions of American families that are going to lose their homes and go hungry if we do not help them.

So what do we do?

What hurting Americans need most of all are not handouts – what they really need are good jobs.

But good jobs are being shipped overseas at a breathtaking pace.  The United States has lost approximately 42,400 factories since 2001.  The greatest economic machine in the history of the world is literally having its guts ripped out, and most of you kept voting in jokers who supported all of this deindustrialization.

For decades, our politicians kept telling us how wonderful globalization would be for America.  We didn’t listen when Ross Perot warned us about “the great sucking sound” that these “free trade” agreements would bring about.

Well, look how all of that turned out.  In 1985, the U.S. trade deficit with China was 6 million dollars for the entire year.  In the month of August alone, the U.S. trade deficit with China was over 28 billion dollars.

In case you can’t figure it out, that means that 28 billion dollars of our national wealth was transferred to China in just one month.

This is happening month after month after month.

And yet Barack Obama continues to get up and tell us how wonderful globalism is.  During his recent trip to India, Barack Obama made the following statement….

“This will keep America on its toes. America is going to have to compete. There is going to be a tug-of-war within the US between those who see globalization as a threat and those who accept we live in a open integrated world, which has challenges and opportunities.”

Yes, globalization is a threat.  We should have never merged our economy with the economy of China where workers make less than a tenth of what an American worker makes.

Jobs are flooding out of the U.S. and they are flooding into places like India and China where labor is far, far cheaper.

But without good jobs, how in the world are average Americans going to pay the bills?

The answer is that an increasing number of them are not.  1.41 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009 – a 32 percent increase over 2008.

Incomes are going down.  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.

Things are getting worse instead of getting better.

And things are going to continue to get worse because the U.S. government goes into more debt every single month, most state and local governments go into more debt every single month, and thanks to America’s exploding trade deficit, tens of billions of our national wealth gets transferred out of the United States every single month.

The U.S. economy is dying.  There are going to be even more tent cities and even more hungry Americans.  The scale of the economic nightmare that we are facing in the years ahead is going to be unimaginable.

So if you get to enjoy a warm dinner and you get to sleep in a warm bed tonight, please consider yourself to be very fortunate.  Someday soon you also may find those things cruelly stripped away from you.

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