Epic Failure: The Supercommittee Was A Super Joke

Does anyone need any additional evidence that our political system is completely broken?  The bipartisan congressional supercommittee that was given two months to come up with at least $1.2 trillion in deficit cuts over the next decade has failed to reach an agreement.  It is an epic failure and a national embarrassment.  The truth is that they never even came close to an agreement.  In fact, as you will read below, the two sides on the panel have been barely even talking to each other.  In the end, the supercommittee was a super joke.  Meanwhile, the U.S. national debt has passed the 15 trillion dollar mark and we are facing trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see.  We are heading directly for a national financial disaster, and our “leaders” seem powerless to do anything about it.

According to the supercommittee’s rules, any plan would have had to have been submitted to the Congressional Budget Office by Monday in order to give the CBO 48 hours to analyze how much the plan would reduce budget deficits over the coming decade.

When the supercommittee was announced, it made headlines all over the world, but now it is ending with a whimper.

The supercommittee was never a good idea in the first place, but you would have thought that they could have come up with something over the course of two months.

But instead all they are giving us are a whole bunch of excuses and a whole lot of hot air.

What a joke.

Is it really that difficult to come up with $1.2 trillion in cuts over a decade?

It isn’t as if they would even be cutting very deeply.  $1.2 trillion in cuts would not even cut the budget by $150 billion a year.  We would still be talking about trillion dollar deficits way into the future.

But instead of agreeing to some token cuts, they have chosen to do nothing and to blame each other.

So now $1.2 trillion in “automatic budget cuts” will go into effect starting in 2013.  But even that $1.2 trillion figure contains a lot of “fuzzy math”.  For example, it includes $169 billion in “projected savings” from “reduced interest costs” on the national debt.

I would love to see how they came up with that figure.

In any event, the truth is that none of these numbers really matter at all.

Why?

None of the budget cuts go into effect until after the 2012 election.  That means that this Congress can vote to repeal the automatic cuts well before then.

Some in Congress are already pushing for this.  For example, U.S. Senator John McCain said the following recently….

“It’s something we passed. We can reverse it.”

Or, even more likely, once the new president and the new Congress are elected in 2012 they will almost certainly choose to abandon this agreement.

When it comes to politics, the only thing that matters is what happens before the next election.

All of this talk of future cuts is just an illusion.  When the next president and the next Congress come to power, they will want to do their own thing.

So after all of the huffing and puffing over the last couple of years, what has actually been accomplished as far as reducing our horrific budget deficits?

Not much at all.

We racked up a $1.3 trillion budget deficit during the fiscal year that just ended, and this fiscal year we will be somewhere in the same neighborhood.

We have been living in the greatest debt bubble in the history of the world, and at some point all of this is going to end very, very badly.

The total amount of debt in this country (government, business and consumer) has been rising much, much faster than our national income has.  If you don’t believe this, just check out this chart.

In particular, government debt is totally out of control.  When Barack Obama first took office, the national debt was 10.6 trillion dollars.

It is now over 15 trillion dollars.

We are in debt up to our eyeballs and we desperately need our leaders to do something about it.

But according to a recent Politico article, the members of the supercommittee haven’t even been talking to each other….

The supercommittee last met Nov. 1 – three weeks ago! It was a public hearing featuring a history lesson, “Overview of Previous Debt Proposals,” with Alan Simpson, Erskine Bowles, Pete Domenici and Alice Rivlin. The last PRIVATE meeting was Oct. 26. You might as well stop reading right there: The 12 members (6 House, 6 Senate; 6 R, 6 D) were never going to strike a bargain, grand or otherwise, if they weren’t talking to each other. Yes, we get that real deal-making occurs in small groups. But there never WAS a functioning supercommittee: There was Republican posturing and Democratic posturing, with some side conversations across the aisle.

Can you believe that?

Could it really be true that they have not met since November 1st?

Is Congress really that much of a joke?

According to Real Clear Politics, the approval rating for Congress is sitting at about 12 percent right now.

After this, it may get even lower.

Instead of working on a solution to our problems, the members of the supercommittee have been busy going on television and telling us who to blame.

The following is a short exceprt from a recent article in the Washington Post….

Republicans on the supercommittee held a conference call Saturday morning, and aides said members from both parties continued to talk by phone. But neither side was predicting a last-minute breakthrough. Instead, seven panel members booked appearances on the Sunday talk shows, as both sides readied their best arguments for why the other is at fault.

Our politicians are obsessed with finding someone else to blame and with getting ready for the next election.

Meanwhile, the ship is going down and people are starting to panic.

And this is not going to look good to the rest of the world at all.  There is a very real risk that one of the other major credit rating agencies will decide to downgrade U.S. debt.

The second downgrade of debt is often more important than the first.  When the first downgrade happened, U.S. debt still had a AAA rating from the other two major credit rating agencies.

But after another downgrade, the average credit rating of U.S. debt will be less than AAA.  That will mean that U.S. debt will no longer be a cash proxy.  A lot of transactions that take place right now in the financial world would not be able to happen if that takes place.

So what do our leaders need to do?

Well, the truth is that we should recognize that they are in a really, really tough position.  Decades of nightmarish decisions have left us out of good options under our current financial system.

The reality is that members of Congress are damned if they do and they are damned if they don’t.

This is what I mean – if we don’t deal with our national debt now, everyone agrees that a massive day of reckoning is coming down the road.  Greece is an example of what happens when debt catches up with a nation.

However, if we did cut the federal budget very deeply right now, it would almost certainly bring on a huge economic contraction.

Right now, insane federal spending is one of the only things keeping this economy afloat.  If you were to suddenly pull half a trillion dollars (or more) of federal spending out of the economy, it would have a devastating impact.

A lot of people out there correctly argue for a huge reduction in federal spending, but they greatly underestimate the amount of pain that it would cause.

Let there be no doubt, all of this federal debt has enabled us to enjoy a “false prosperity” for several decades, and when we dramatically cut back on spending a lot of that “false prosperity” is going to disappear.

Our “real economy” is rapidly being gutted and America is becoming poorer as a nation every single day.  One way that we have been making up the difference is by going into almost unbelievable amounts of government debt.  When the government debt bubble pops, the pain is going to be enormous.

If you do not believe this right now, you will believe it soon enough.

Not that we should keep going into huge amounts of debt.

Every dollar that we “borrow” is actually being stolen from our children and our grandchildren.

In fact, that is what Thomas Jefferson believed.  According to Jefferson, when the federal government borrows money in one generation which must be paid back by future generations it is equivalent to stealing….

And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.

We have got to stop stealing from future generations.  If they get the chance, they will curse us for what we have done to them.

Anyone out there that supports our current system of running endless budget deficits is supporting a horrific crime against our children and our grandchildren.

But once again, we all need to clearly understand that when the borrowed money stops flowing out of Washington D.C., our economy is going to get much worse.

Are you prepared for the unemployment rate to double?

Are you prepared for foreclosures to soar to unprecedented heights?

Are you prepared for economic pain unlike anything you have ever seen before?

According to the New York Times, there are 100 million Americans that are either living in poverty or that are considered to be among the “near poor” right now.

So how bad will things get if we plunge into a depression?

Anyone that believes that we can drastically cut the federal budget and improve the economy at the same time under our current system is not being rational.

Just look at what is happening to Greece.  They implemented substantial budget cuts (although not nearly big enough to bring them to a balanced budget) and they have plunged into a nightmarish economic depression.

Right now, we are in a position where we are going to experience a horrific amount of pain whatever we do.  If we keep piling up debt at this rate we will experience a nightmare, but if we pop the debt bubble and try to live within our means we will also experience a nightmare.

There is a way out of this, but our politicians are not talking about it.  As I have written about previously, if the federal government abolishes the Federal Reserve and starts issuing debt-free money, we could eliminate our federal budget deficits, cut taxes and improve the economy all at the same time.

But nobody is even talking about debt-free money.

Instead, all of our politicians are talking about “fixing” the current system.

Well, let me tell you, it is impossible to solve our problems under the current system.  If we insist on maintaining our current debt-based financial system, it will only end in a massive amount of pain.

The American people need to get educated about our financial system.  They need to learn that the Federal Reserve and the debt-based currency that they issue are at the very heart of our economic problems.

Back in 1913, prior to the passage of the Federal Reserve Act, the national debt was only about $2.9 billion.

Today, our national debt is over 5000 times larger.

Debt-based central banking is a perpetual debt machine.  It is at the heart of our financial problems and it is also at the heart of the financial problems that Europe is experiencing.

Unfortunately, the American people don’t understand this, and there are virtually no politicians out there that are even talking about this.

Very dark days are ahead for America.

You had better get prepared.

The Coming European Superstate That Germany Plans To Cram Down The Throats Of The Rest Of Europe

A lot of people were puzzled about what German Chancellor Angela Merkel meant when she recently stated that the ultimate solution to the financial crisis in the EU would “mean more Europe, not less Europe”.  Well, now we are finding out.  A leaked internal German government memo entitled “The Future of the EU: Required Integration Policy Improvements for the Creation of a Stability Union” actually proposes the creation of a “European Monetary Fund” which would be given the power to run the economies of troubled European nations.  This “stability union” would be quickly followed by the creation of a full-fledged “political union”.  Essentially, this leaked memo proposes the creation of a “European Superstate” which will be crammed down the throats of the rest of Europe whether they like it or not.  National sovereignty would be a thing of the past and European bureaucrats would run everything.  Of course this will never be accepted by the people of Europe until they feel the bitter pain of the coming financial collapse, but we are starting to see that there is already a clear plan for what the Germans wish to implement in the aftermath of the coming crisis.

A lot of people have just assumed that if there is a massive financial collapse in Europe and the euro crashes that it will mean that end of the euro and potentially the breakup of the EU.  But that is not what the Germans have planned at all.

An article in the Telegraph has posted details about the leaked internal German government memo mentioned above.  It really is startling to see that a full-fledged “political union” in Europe is being discussed at the highest levels of the German government….

The six-page memo, by the German foreign office, argues that Europe’s economic powerhouses should be able to intervene in how beleaguered eurozone countries are run.

The confidential blueprint sets out Germany’s plan to tackle the eurozone debt crisis by creating a “stability union” that will be “immediately followed by moves “on the way towards a political union”.

It will prompt fears that Germany’s euro crisis plans could result in a European super-state with spending and tax plans set in Brussels.

Can you imagine what Europe would look like under such a plan?

National sovereignty would be a thing of the past.

Another article in the Telegraph says that the leaked memo proposes that immediately a “European Monetary Fund” should be set up that would have the power to take over and run the economies of European nations that get into too much debt.  But according to the memo this would just be an intermediate step toward a full “political union”….

The six-page German foreign ministry paper sets out plans for the creation of a European Monetary Fund with a transfer of sovereignty away from member states.

The fund will have the power to take ailing countries into receivership and run their economies. Even more controversially, the document, entitled The future of the EU: required integration policy improvements for the creation of a Stability Union, declares that the treaty changes are a first stage “in which the EU will develop into a political union”. “The debate on the way towards a political union must begin as soon as the course toward stability union is charted,” it concludes.

As the crisis in Europe has gotten worse, the Germans have become more aggressive about throwing their weight around.  At this point, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is the most important politician in Europe and she has been taking the lead in responding to this financial crisis.

As I have written about previously, there have been persistent rumors that French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have been “secretly plotting” to create a “new eurozone” that will fundamentally change the way that Europe is run.

For example, the following is from an article that recently came out  in the Telegraph….

France is drawing up plans to create a breakaway organisation of eurozone countries with its own treaty, parliament and headquarters – a move that could significantly undermine the existing European Union.

That same article also talked about the goals that France and Germany are hoping to achieve through all of this….

France and Germany are understood to want to strengthen the union between eurozone countries with new taxes and legal measures to stop nations borrowing and spending too much in future.

Of course it is important to note that there is no way that the people of Europe are going to go for any of this right now.

But after feeling the pain of a massive financial collapse for a while will they change their minds?

What is clear is that the status quo is not going to last much longer.  Something has got to change.  Unfortunately, Germany and France seem determined to push the rest of Europe in the direction of creating a European Superstate.

If you want to get a really good idea of what is happening in Europe right now, just check out this video of a recent speech by Nigel Farage on the floor of the European Parliament on November 16th, 2011.  Trust me, it is worth the couple of minutes that it takes to watch it.

But before fundamental structural changes take place in Europe, we are going to see an absolutely crippling financial collapse first.  With each passing day, there are more signs that things are rapidly unraveling.  The following are just a few of the noteworthy news items from Europe that have come out over the past week….

*In Italy there were violent clashes between protesters and police after Mario Monti unveiled his new austerity program.  To get an idea of how crazy things are getting over in Italy, just check out this video.

*Just like what happened when austerity was implemented in Greece, it looks like Italy is now headed down the road toward a major recession.  Industrial orders in Italy for the month of September declined by 8.5 percent.  That is really, really bad news.

*The EFSF has already been forced to buy up huge numbers of its own bonds.  That essentially means that the EFSF is already a bad joke.

*Dozens of big banks all over Europe have been downgraded in recent weeks.  Even German banks are getting downgraded now.  The other day, Moody’s downgraded the ratings of 10 major German banks.

An increasing number of people that work in the financial world are starting to get really freaked out about everything that is going on.

The following is what Mark Mobius, head of the emerging markets desk at Templeton Asset Management, had to say recently….

“There is definitely going to be another financial crisis around the corner, because we haven’t solved any of the things that caused the previous crisis.”

Willem Buiter, the chief economist of Citigroup, believes that if something is not done quickly, there will be a financial collapse in Europe in very short order….

“Time is running out fast.  I think we have maybe a few months — it could be weeks, it could be days — before there is a material risk of a fundamentally unnecessary default by a country like Spain or Italy which would be a financial catastrophe dragging the European banking system and North America with it. So they have to act now.”

Ann Barnhardt of Barnhardt Capital Management actually shut down her entire firm because she could no longer guarantee that the money her clients were putting into the futures and options markets would be safe.  Posted below are extended excerpts from the open letter that she recently released to the public.  Normally I would not post such extended excerpts, but in this case I believe that they are warranted.  What Barnhardt has written should be a huge wake up call for all of us.  It is refreshing (and a bit frightening) to get an honest assessment of the corruption in the financial world from someone that has made a good living in that world.  The following is how she began her letter….

It is with regret and unflinching moral certainty that I announce that Barnhardt Capital Management has ceased operations. After six years of operating as an independent introducing brokerage, and eight years of employment as a broker before that, I found myself, this morning, for the first time since I was 20 years old, watching the futures and options markets open not as a participant, but as a mere spectator.

The reason for my decision to pull the plug was excruciatingly simple: I could no longer tell my clients that their monies and positions were safe in the futures and options markets – because they are not. And this goes not just for my clients, but for every futures and options account in the United States. The entire system has been utterly destroyed by the MF Global collapse. Given this sad reality, I could not in good conscience take one more step as a commodity broker, soliciting trades that I knew were unsafe or holding funds that I knew to be in jeopardy.

So how did the MF Global collapse wreck the system?  Barnhardt went on to explain this….

The futures markets are very highly-leveraged and thus require an exceptionally firm base upon which to function. That base was the sacrosanct segregation of customer funds from clearing firm capital, with additional emergency financial backing provided by the exchanges themselves. Up until a few weeks ago, that base existed, and had worked flawlessly. Firms came and went, with some imploding in spectacular fashion. Whenever a firm failure happened, the customer funds were intact and the exchanges would step in to backstop everything and keep customers 100% liquid – even as their clearing firm collapsed and was quickly replaced by another firm within the system.

Everything changed just a few short weeks ago. A firm, led by a crony of the Obama regime, stole all of the non-margined cash held by customers of his firm. Let’s not sugar-coat this or make this crime seem “complex” and “abstract” by drowning ourselves in six-dollar words and uber-technical jargon. Jon Corzine STOLE the customer cash at MF Global. Knowing Jon Corzine, and knowing the abject lawlessness and contempt for humanity of the Marxist Obama regime and its cronies, this is not really a surprise. What was a surprise was the reaction of the exchanges and regulators. Their reaction has been to take a bad situation and make it orders of magnitude worse. Specifically, they froze customers out of their accounts WHILE THE MARKETS CONTINUED TO TRADE, refusing to even allow them to liquidate. This is unfathomable. The risk exposure precedent that has been set is completely intolerable and has destroyed the entire industry paradigm. No informed person can continue to engage these markets, and no moral person can continue to broker or facilitate customer engagement in what is now a massive game of Russian Roulette.

Even more frightening, Barnhardt says that the MF Global collapse is just the “tip of the iceberg” and that more collapses like this are about to happen….

I have learned over the last week that MF Global is almost certainly the mere tip of the iceberg. There is massive industry-wide exposure to European sovereign junk debt. While other firms may not be as heavily leveraged as Corzine had MFG leveraged, and it is now thought that MFG’s leverage may have been in excess of 100:1, they are still suicidally leveraged and will likely stand massive, unmeetable collateral calls in the coming days and weeks as Europe inevitably collapses. I now suspect that the reason the Chicago Mercantile Exchange did not immediately step in to backstop the MFG implosion was because they knew and know that if they backstopped MFG, they would then be expected to backstop all of the other firms in the system when the failures began to cascade – and there simply isn’t that much money in the entire system. In short, the problem is a SYSTEMIC problem, not merely isolated to one firm.

So what does Barnhardt say that we should all do?  She is actually recommending that everyone should completely abandon the futures and options markets….

And so, to the very unpleasant crux of the matter. The futures and options markets are no longer viable. It is my recommendation that ALL customers withdraw from all of the markets as soon as possible so that they have the best chance of protecting themselves and their equity. The system is no longer functioning with integrity and is suicidally risk-laden. The rule of law is non-existent, instead replaced with godless, criminal political cronyism.

Remember, a few weeks ago I warned you all that a massive derivatives crisis is coming.  Anyone that plays around with derivatives at this point is playing with fire.  Barnhardt says that she will never reopen her firm until Barack Obama is removed from office and fundamental reforms to the financial system have been implemented….

Finally, I will not, under any circumstance, consider reforming and re-opening Barnhardt Capital Management, or any other iteration of a brokerage business, until Barack Obama has been removed from office AND the government of the United States has been sufficiently reformed and repopulated so as to engender my total and complete confidence in the government, its adherence to and enforcement of the rule of law, and in its competent and just regulatory oversight of any commodities markets that may reform. So long as the government remains criminal, it would serve no purpose whatsoever to attempt to rebuild the futures industry or my firm, because in a lawless environment, the same thievery and fraud would simply happen again, and the criminals would go unpunished, sheltered by the criminal oligarchy.

We are on the verge of a financial crisis that could potentially be just as bad (or even worse) than the financial crisis of 2008.

Right now, 2012 is shaping up as a very, very bad year.

As I have written about previously, when European leaders proposed that private Greek bondholders should take a “50% haircut”, they massively undermined faith in the European financial system.

Now panic and fear are in the air and it is unlikely that financial markets will be calmed any time soon.

Already, there are early signs of the kind of massive credit crunch that almost brought about “the end of the world” in financial markets back in 2008.

For example, a CNBC article that was posted on Friday reported that the flow of credit in Europe is seriously drying up….

Fear over European banks’ exposure to risky government debt stalked markets and harried bank executives on Friday, as unsecured lending between banks evaporated and the cost of secured loans rose.

And as a recent article posted on Zero Hedge discussed, a similar thing is starting to happen in the United States….

The entire dollar funding market is now at levels not seen since the Lehman collapse and is effectively frozen. Only this time it is much, much worse as never before has the global central bank cadre been assumed and implied to be backstopping the global liquidity cascade. Ex-out the implied backstop by the monetary authorities, and liquidity is now locked up more than ever in the history of capital markets.

So what should we do about this?

We should take action and get prepared for what is coming.

Unfortunately, an increasing number of Americans seem to be “checking out” instead.  According to a recent Gallup poll, alcohol consumption in the United States has hit a 25 year high.  More than one out of every ten Americans over the age of 12 is on prescription antidepressants, and most American families spend endless hours staring at the television in an attempt to escape the pain and the frustration that they constantly feel.

Hopefully by working together we can help more Americans (and more Europeans as well) to wake up, to get off their couches, and to take action in a positive way.

Time is running out and the economic crisis is rapidly getting worse.

We don’t have any time to waste.

35 Facts About The Gutting Of America’s Industrial Might That Should Make You Very Angry

Did you know that an average of 23 manufacturing facilities were shut down every single day in the United States last year?  As World War II ended, the United States emerged as the greatest industrial power that the world has ever seen.  But now America’s industrial might is being gutted like a fish and both political parties seem totally unconcerned.  Yes, we will always need trading relationships that are fair and balanced with other countries that have economic systems that are similar to our own.  However, the truth is that most of our trading relationships are neither “fair” nor balanced.  For example, China manipulates currency rates so that Chinese products are much cheaper than they should be, they brazenly steal our technology and we let them get away with it, they deeply subsidize their most important industries and they exploit their citizens by allowing them to be paid slave labor wages.  How in the world does that resemble the “free market” at work?  Predatory nations such as China do everything that they can to distort the free market.  So why in the world would any rational economist ever recommend that we should keep trading with other countries that are cheating us blind?  After you read the facts in this article about the gutting of America’s industrial might, hopefully you will get very angry.  We need the American people to start getting very upset about these very important issues.

Both major political parties promised us that globalization would be wonderful for the U.S. economy.  Well, in the first decade of this century less net jobs were created than in any other decade since the Great Depression.

The “free trade” polices of the globalists have been an abysmal failure.  Tens of thousands of factories, millions of jobs, and hundreds of billions of dollars of our national wealth have gone to countries that engage in predatory trade practices and that exploit slave labor pools.

How in the world are American workers supposed to compete against workers that make less than a dollar an hour (with no benefits) on the other side of the globe?

If you support the version of “free trade” that most of our politicians are promoting, then you are supporting the one world economic system that the global elite are trying to establish.  In this one world economic system, American workers will increasingly be forced to compete for jobs with the cheapest labor on the planet.  This will continue to force the standard of living of American workers way, way down and it will continue to absolutely destroy the middle class.

The following are 35 facts about the gutting of America’s industrial might that should make you very angry….

#1 According to U.S. Representative Betty Sutton, America has lost an average of 15 manufacturing facilities a day over the last 10 years.

#2 Sadly, it looks like this trend is picking up momentum.  During 2010, an average of 23 manufacturing facilities a day were shut down in the United States.

#3 Since 2001, the U.S. has lost a total of more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities.

#4 According to the Economic Policy Institute, the U.S. economy loses approximately 9,000 jobs for every $1 billion of goods that are imported from overseas.

#5 The United States has had a negative trade balance every single year since 1976, and since that time the United States has run a total trade deficit of more than 7.5 trillion dollars with the rest of the world.

#6 Back in 1979, there were 19.5 million manufacturing jobs in the United States.  Today, there are 11.6 million.  That represents a decline of 40 percent during a time period when our overall population experienced tremendous growth.

#7 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.

#8 Back in 1970, 25 percent of all jobs in the United States were manufacturing jobs. Today, only 9 percent of all jobs in the United States are manufacturing jobs.

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

#10 The Economic Policy Institute says that since 2001 America has lost approximately 2.8 million jobs due to our trade deficit with China alone.

#11 All over the United States, road and bridge projects are being outsourced to Chinese firms.  Just check out the following excerpt from a recent ABC News article….

In New York there is a $400 million renovation project on the Alexander Hamilton Bridge.

In California, there is a $7.2 billion project to rebuild the Bay Bridge connecting San Francisco and Oakland.

In Alaska, there is a proposal for a $190 million bridge project.

These projects sound like steps in the right direction, but much of the work is going to Chinese government-owned firms.

“When we subsidize jobs in China, we’re not creating any wealth in the United States,” said Scott Paul, executive director for the Alliance for American Manufacturing.

#12 If you can believe it, the United States spends about 4 dollars on goods and services from China for every one dollar that China spends on goods and services from the United States.

#13 The U.S. trade deficit with China rose to an all-time record of 273.1 billion dollars in 2010.  This is the largest trade deficit that one nation has had with another nation in the history of the world.

#14 The U.S. trade deficit with China in 2010 was 27 times larger than it was back in 1990.

#15 The new World Trade Center tower is going to be made with imported glass from China and imported steel from Germany.

#16 The new MLK memorial on the National Mall was made in China.

#17 Do you remember when the United States was the dominant manufacturer of automobiles and trucks on the globe?  Well, in 2010 the U.S. ran a trade deficit in automobiles, trucks and parts of $110 billion.

#18 In 2010, South Korea exported 12 times as many automobiles, trucks and parts to us as we exported to them.

#19 Even in high technology products we are being destroyed.  In 2002, the United States had a trade deficit in “advanced technology products” of $16 billion with the rest of the world.  In 2010, that number skyrocketed to $82 billion.

#20 China has now become the world’s largest exporter of high technology products.

#21 Back in 1998, the United States had 25 percent of the world’s high-tech export market and China had just 10 percent. Ten years later, the United States had less than 15 percent and China’s share had soared to 20 percent.

#22 Manufacturing employment in the U.S. computer industry was actually lower in 2010 than it was in 1975.

#23 In 2008, 1.2 billion cellphones were sold worldwide.  So how many of them were manufactured inside the United States?  Zero.

#24 The United States now has 10 percent fewer “middle class jobs” than it did just ten years ago.

#25 Today, American workers are bringing home a much smaller share of economic pie.  Over the past decade, the ratio of wages to GDP has been declining very steadily.

#26 Now that millions of our jobs have been exported, there aren’t nearly enough jobs left for all of us.  Right now, the average amount of time that a worker stays unemployed in the United States is approximately 39 weeks.

#27 There are fewer payroll jobs in the United States today than there were back in 2000 even though we have added 30 million extra people to the population since then.

#28 If you gathered together all of the workers that are “officially” unemployed in the United States today, they would constitute the 68th largest country in the world.

#29 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.

#30 As the number of good paying jobs declines, America’s middle class is rapidly shrinking.  In 1970, 65 percent of all Americans lived in “middle class neighborhoods”.  By 2007, only 44 percent of all Americans lived in “middle class neighborhoods”.

#31 In the United States today, corporate profits are at a record high, and yet employment numbers have still not rebounded.  Obviously something is structurally wrong.

#32 The Obama administration says that there are certain things that “we don’t want to make in America” anymore.  If you don’t believe this, just check out what U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk recently told Tim Robertson of the Huffington Post about the Obama administration’s attitude toward keeping manufacturing jobs in America….

Let’s increase our competitiveness… the reality is about half of our imports, our trade deficit is because of how much oil [we import], so you take that out of the equation, you look at what percentage of it are things that frankly, we don’t want to make in America, you know, cheaper products, low-skill jobs that frankly college kids that are graduating from, you know, UC Cal and Hastings [don’t want], but what we do want is to capture those next generation jobs and build on our investments in our young people, our education infrastructure.

#33 Jeffrey Immelt, the head of Barack Obama’s highly touted “Jobs Council”, has shipped tens of thousands of good jobs out of the United States.

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

#35 One recent poll found that 41 percent of all Americans believe that “the American Dream has been lost”.

Yes, it is fun to go out and fill up our shopping carts with “cheap products” from the other side of the world, but when we do that it destroys our jobs, our businesses and our communities.

Our addiction to cheap foreign products is incredibly self-destructive.  Essentially what we are doing is that we are ripping apart pieces of our own home and throwing them into the fire in an attempt to keep it going.  Eventually we will cannibalize our entire home.

And we never really think about what it is like for the slave laborers that make all these cheap products for us.  The following is from an article in the Telegraph about what conditions at one major Chinese manufacturing facility are like….

So far, at least 16 people have jumped from high buildings at the factory so far this year, with 12 deaths. A further 20 people were stopped by the company before they could attempt to kill themselves.

The hysteria at Longhua, where between 300,000 and 400,000 employees eat, work and sleep, has grown to such a pitch that workers have twisted Foxconn’s Chinese name so that it now sounds like: “Run to your Death”.

If we stay on this current path, even more of our formerly great manufacturing cities will turn into post-industrial hellholes.

Once upon a time, I also bought the “free trade” propaganda hook, line and sinker.  But then I opened up my mind and I learned the truth.

This nation is losing jobs, factories and wealth at a pace that is almost unbelievable.

Something desperately needs to be done.

Is there anyone out there that is willing to defend the emerging one world economic system that is stealing our jobs and killing the middle class?

If so, I challenge you to take your best shot.  Leave a comment below and explain to the rest of us why we are wrong.

We need to debate these issues because the myth of “free trade” is absolutely killing us.

Please wake up and get angry about these issues America.

Dumpster Diving?

Have you ever thought about getting your food out of a trash can?  Don’t laugh.  Dumpster diving has become a hot new trend in America.  In fact, dumpster divers even have a trendy new name.  They call themselves “freegans”, and as the economy crumbles their numbers are multiplying.  Many freegans consider dumpster diving to be a great way to save money on groceries.  Others do it because they want to live more simply.  Freegans that are concerned about the environment view dumpster diving as a great way to “recycle” and other politically-minded freegans consider dumpster diving to be a form of political protest.  But whatever you want to call it, the reality is that thousands upon thousands of Americans will break out their boots, rubber gloves and flashlights and will be jumping into dumpsters looking for food once again tonight.

So is this actually legal?

In some areas, dumpster diving is considered to be legal.  In other areas, dumpster divers are technically breaking trespassing laws.  Although in most areas the police have so many other problems that they aren’t really concerned about cracking down on dumpster divers.

One of the biggest issues facing dumpster divers is safety.  Crawling around in back alleys and side streets in the middle of the night is not exactly the safest thing to do.  But the lure of large amounts of free food is enough to keep some people coming back over and over again.

During the recent economic downturn, the popularity of dumpster diving has exploded.  Today, there are dumpster diving meetup groups, dumpster diving Facebook groups, and even entire organizations such as Food Not Bombs that openly encourage their members to go dumpster diving.

If your family was going hungry, would you go dumpster diving?

You might be surprised at who is doing it.  Dumpster diving is not just for the homeless and the unemployed anymore.  A lot of people that have decent jobs have picked up on the trend.

Just check out the following example from a recent MSNBC article….

A programmer by day, Todd takes to the streets of North Carolina by night, digging through Dumpsters at drug stores and grocery stores all around his rural neighborhood.

“You would be simply amazed at what businesses throw out,” he said. “I’ve only had to buy two loaves of bread all year. … Last week I had a trunk full of cereal, cookies, chips and ramen noodles.”

Todd slinks in and out of smelly places with low-light flashlights to evade rent-a-cops who will shoo him away.  Most nights, his 14-year-old son comes along.

Dumpster diving has become such a prominent trend that even big television news networks are doing stories about it….

The truth is that dumpster diving is just another sign of the times.

Food prices continue to rise and this is putting incredible stress on the budgets of average American families.  We just saw another huge rise in food prices during the month of August.  Just check out the following data from a recent article posted on The Economic Policy Journal….

The index for finished consumer foods jumped 1.1 percent (13.2 percent annualized) in August, the third straight rise. Over thirty percent of the August advance can be traced to meat prices, which climbed 2.4 percent (28.8 percent annualized). Higher prices for processed poultry and eggs for fresh use also were major factors in the increase in the finished foods index.

If you are married and have a couple of children it can cost a lot of money to feed them every single month.  It is not hard to understand the allure of dumpster diving for people that are having a hard time making ends meet.

Other Americans are choosing to dumpster dive because they believe that it helps them live a simpler lifestyle.  There is a growing movement of people in America that are rejecting all of the “consumerism” that we see all around us.

Today, the average U.S. household has 13 different credit cards.  We are constantly being bombarded with ads that tell us that we need more stuff in order to be happy.

Well, a lot of people have decided that is a lot of bunk and they are doing whatever they can to simplify.

Other dumpster divers are absolutely horrified by how much food is wasted in America.

It has been estimated that 263,013,699 pounds of food is thrown out in the United States every single day.

Can you imagine?

We are probably the most wasteful nation on the planet.  With the number of hungry people in the world, it is absolutely criminal how much food that we waste.

So in that sense, it is probably a good thing that dumpster divers are saving some of that food from the landfills and are finding positive uses for it.

But what is going to happen when the economy gets even worse and we start seeing fights over the food that has been left in dumpsters?

In my recent special report about poverty in America, I noted that 46.2 million Americans are now living in poverty.  For now, the U.S. government is helping feed over 45 million Americans through the food stamp program, but what is going to happen once the social safety net starts to break?

The number of good jobs in America continues to decline, and thousands more Americans fall into poverty every single day.  Things have gotten so bad that other countries are actually making videos that make fun of our poverty.

This country is rapidly losing confidence in our leaders and hopelessness is spreading like wildfire.  Today it was revealed that Barack Obama’s disapproval rating has now set a new high of 55%.  Not only that, 62% of the American people disapprove of the way that he is handling the economy.  It turns out that they don’t really think much of the Obama jobs plan after all.

Unfortunately, even though our economy is rapidly falling apart and most of our leaders are either deeply corrupt or completely incompetent, most Americans are still way too apathetic.  If you can believe it, the American people spend a whopping 53 million minutes a month on Facebook.

Hopefully we can get more Americans to wake up.  Hopefully we can get them to understand that they need to get active, that they need to prepare and that they need to get their priorities in order.

Right now, dumpster diving is cute and fun and an interesting way to save money, but in the future there will be millions of Americans digging around in trash cans if we don’t get this economy turned around.

This country is rapidly changing, and not for the better.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!