New Census Numbers Reveal Americans Are Steadily Migrating West And South – And Away From High Tax Blue States

The U.S. Census Bureau has just released their annual report on how the U.S. population is shifting, and there are some very clear patterns in the data.  If you look at this Census Bureau map, you will see lots of purple (areas where the population is growing) in the west and the south, and you will see lots of orange (areas where the population is declining) in the north and the east.  Of course this is a continuation of a pattern that we have been seeing for decades.  Given the ability to choose, many Americans would rather live in areas of the country that are warm and sunny, and that makes a lot of sense.  But that is not the only pattern that we see in the data.

From July 1, 2017 to July 1, 2018 seven of the ten counties that had the largest percentage increase in population were either in Texas or Florida

McKenzie County, ND: 7.1 percent
Williams County, ND: 5.9 percent
Comal County, TX: 5.4 percent
Kaufman County, TX: 4.7 percent
Brunswick County, NC: 4.6 percent
Walton County, FL: 4.5 percent
Midland County, TX: 4.3 percent
Osceola County, FL: 4.3 percent
St. Johns County, FL: 4.2 percent
Hood County, TX: 4.1 percent

Texas and Florida do not have a state income tax, and so that could help to explain these numbers.

The top two counties on the list are both in North Dakota, and a lot of people are being drawn up there for energy industry jobs.  McKenzie County produces more oil than any other county in the state, and even though it can get bitterly cold, many workers find the very high wages paid by the industry very alluring.

Meanwhile, some of the biggest cities in the entire nation are shrinking.

New York City is losing people for the first time in a decade, and the population of Chicago has now fallen for four years in a row

The Chicago area’s population declined for the fourth year in a row in 2018, according to the latest Census Bureau estimates.

There were 22,000 fewer residents in the 14-county metro area than in 2017, a drop of 0.2 percent, and the first time since 2010 that the area’s population has slipped below 9.5 million people. Cook County, which accounts for 55 percent of the population in the metro area, lost 24,000 residents.

Considering all of the gang violence, the absolutely insane politicians and the oppressive levels of taxation, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why people would want to leave the Windy City.

I guess the real mystery is why so many people would want to stay.

According to a report put out by North American Moving Services, Illinois is actually the top state for outbound moves, and Idaho is actually the top state for inbound moves…

Every year, roughly 14% of the US population moves from one state to another, according to Census Bureau data. But after a careful analysis of the data from 2018, North American Moving Services published its latest report on American migration patterns…and it contained some surprising conclusions.

For example, while Illinois was once again the top state for outbound moves (thanks, we imagine, to its dysfunctional state government, high taxes and massively underfunded pensions), the top state for inbound moves was…Idaho?

A quick glance at the data reveals a familiar pattern: Americans are leaving high-tax blue states in favor of red states with low taxes and low cost of living.

Hopefully the secret about how great Idaho is won’t get around too widely, because all the people from California that are moving up here have already driven home prices through the roof.

Another city that is seeing people leave in droves is Baltimore

“Thousands of people are fleeing the city each year as total population plummets to 100-year lows. There are about 46,000 vacant rowhomes scattered throughout the area, or roughly 15% of the housing stock is dormant. On a per capita basis, the city has the highest rate of homicides per 100,000 in the country. Opioids from Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland Medical Center continue to flood the poorest of neighborhoods, leaving the African American communities in a perpetual state of addiction, along with the need for constant government assistance programs. With the local economy basically a black market, gangs roam the streets like a third world country.”

I remember going to Orioles games as a kid, and at that time Baltimore was still somewhat of a vibrant city.

But now it is a rotting, decaying, drug-infested nightmare that is slowly dying right in front of our eyes.

And of course we continue to see an exodus from the California coastline, and one of the big reasons for that is because housing has gotten way too expensive

A full 43 percent of Californian voters, and an astounding 61 percent of those aged 18 to 34, feel they can’t afford to live in the state, according to a recent Quinnipiac University poll. And over three-quarters of voters agree that there’s a “housing crisis.”

The median value for a house in the Golden state is about $550,000, according to real-estate website Zillow. That’s more than twice the national median.

Of course there are many other reasons to leave California as well.  For much more on that, please see my previous article entitled “Nobody Does It Better: The Amount Of Human Feces On San Francisco Streets Is Going Up Every Single Year”.

Before I wrap up this article, I want to also say a bit about retirement migration.

As the Baby Boomers retire, millions of them are moving from cold weather states to warm weather states.

For ages, the state of Florida has been the number one destination for retirees, but now that has apparently changed.  According to Fox Business, this is the very first year that New Mexico is on top of the list…

This was the first year New Mexico topped the list. Forty-three percent of moves to New Mexico were related to retirement, while 60 percent of people moving there were between the ages of 55 and 74. The cost of living in the state is 3 percent less than the national average, while income taxes are low.

I never would have guessed that.

Perhaps the cost of housing is low and that is why a lot of retirees from California see it as a good option.

And yes, lots of Baby Boomers are still retiring in Florida, and the state is still number two on the list

While it did not make the top spot this year, Florida ranked second with 39 percent of moves into the state being retirement related. Aside from the warm weather and beach communities, Floridians are not subject to state income taxes.

In addition to everything that I have just shared, many Americans are migrating across the country for more ominous reasons.  They can see the direction this nation is headed, and they want to be positioned for what America is going to be like in the coming years.

The fabric of our society is unraveling right in front of our eyes, and a lot of people just want somewhere safe, secure and sane to raise their families.

Unfortunately that is not so easy to find anymore, and the social decay that is eating away at our country like cancer is spreading a little bit more with each passing day.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Do You Know What Is In The Tax Bill That Congress Is About To Pass?

A conference committee has been merging the tax bills that were passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate, and even though we could still see some minor changes, it looks like the major parameters of the final bill have now been agreed upon.  The final bill will be known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and we are being told that it will be one of the largest tax cuts in U.S. history.  Unfortunately, the impact on our tax bills will be relatively minor, but at least it is a step in the right direction.  The following summary of the major provisions in the final bill comes from AOL

  • A less generous corporate rate cut: Republicans may cut the corporate rate to 21% from the current federal rate of 35%, instead of the 20% proposed in both the house and Senate bills. The new rate would start in 2018.
  • A lower top individual tax rate: The top individual bracket would drop to 37% instead of the 38.5% proposed in the Senate bill. It would still be down from the current 39.6%.
  • Keep the estate tax, but raise the threshold to qualify: Instead of phasing out the estate tax over time, like the House bill, the compromise bill would instead simply increase the threshold for an estate to qualify — from $5.6 million to around $11 million. That aligns with the Senate bill.
  • Repeal the corporate alternative minimum tax (AMT): The corporate AMT in the Senate bill was a sore spot for many companies because it would have negated the effects of many popular deductions and credits, like the research and development credit.

The reduction in the corporate tax rate is probably the most important provision in this tax overhaul package.  For decades, the United States has had a much higher corporate tax rate than much of the rest of the world, and this has given large corporations an incentive to locate operations elsewhere.  By making the corporate tax rate more competitive with everyone else around the globe, it is hoped that this will mean more good jobs for American workers.

This bill also reduces individual tax rates, but not by that much.  So you will notice a reduction in your tax bill, but don’t expect anything “game changing” in nature.

In addition, this bill will eliminate the Obamacare individual mandate.  This is something that should have been done back in January, and I am very happy that Congress is finally getting it done.

It is anticipated that both the House and the Senate will vote on the final version of this tax bill next week.

Sadly, it is not a slam dunk that this bill will actually get through the Senate.

Senator Bob Corker voted against the original Senate bill, and he may vote against this version too.

Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Susan Collins of Maine have also expressed reservations about this bill, and it is unclear how they will vote at this point.

And let us not forget that Senator John McCain’s health is rapidly failing.  Hopefully he would be present for any vote, but there is no guarantee that will happen.

In the end, Republicans can only lose two votes in the Senate, and so this is going to come down to the wire.

But President Trump is quite optimistic that this bill will succeed, and he says that it will “breathe new life into the American economy”

“Our tax cuts will break down — and they’ll break it down fast — all forms of government and all forms of government barriers and breathe new life into the American economy,” Trump said.

“They will unleash the American people, they will tear down the constraints on discovery, innovation and creation, and they will restore the hopes and dreams of the American family. Millions of middle class families will win under our plan.”

Of course even if this bill passes, our tax code will still be a complete and utter nightmare.

The tax code will still be over two million words, and the regulations will still be more than seven million words.  Our system will still greatly favor those that can hire accountants and tax attorneys to find every conceivable loophole possible, and it will still be a tremendous burden on the middle class.

If I am elected to Congress, I am going to fight to completely abolish the IRS and the income tax.  As I travel around Idaho and speak to groups, many are extremely receptive to these proposals, but they wonder how we would fund the government without an income tax.

Well, the truth is that the individual income tax only accounts for about 46 percent of all federal revenue, so we could definitely eliminate the individual income tax but we would also have to dramatically reduce the size of the federal government at the same time.

And we have a historical precedent for what this would look like.

Between 1872 and 1913 there was no federal income tax, and it was the best period of economic growth in U.S. history.

Of course the Democrats are not just going to roll over and allow us to cut the size of the federal government in half, so in the short-term we can focus on some other solutions.  A flat tax or a fair tax would both be far superior to the system that we have today, and there are some very good proposals already out there that just need to be implemented.

I once spent an entire year studying our tax code, and I still shudder when I think about those 12 months.  Our tax code is a complete and utter abomination, and while I applaud Congress for trying to “simplify” it, the truth is that this bill that is about to be passed won’t make that much of a difference.

We need to fundamentally change the way that we fund government in this nation, and that is why I want to completely abolish the income tax.  The system that we have right now is simply not fixable, and we should not pretend that any “tax reform bill” is going to solve our problems.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

Welcome To The Hunger Games: Trump’s Tax Plan Is Going To Mean A Battle Royal Among D.C. Lobbyists

Are you ready for mass chaos in Washington?  There are lobbyists for just about every cause that you can possibly imagine, and they are always working hard to influence members of Congress on their particular issues.  But when you are talking about a major tax reform bill, that is something that virtually every single lobbyist in the entire city will want to be involved in.  Our tax code is over two million words long, and the regulations are over seven million words long, and any changes to our immensely complex system could have absolutely enormous implications.  There will be winners and there will be losers with any piece of legislation, and lobbyists will zealously fight to defend the turf belonging to their particular clients.  Often lobbyists from different sides will literally be pitted directly against one another, and it won’t be pretty.  In fact, one analyst that works for Cowen Washington Research Group says that we could soon be watching “the corporate hunger games”

Almost every industry, special interest, and consumer group has an interest in the tax code, especially if the package ends up being as ambitious as Trump and Republican leaders want it to be. Chris Krueger, an analyst at Cowen Washington Research Group, told Business Insider that the battle over which loopholes to keep and which to throw out could get nasty.

“Welcome tribunes to the corporate hunger games!” Kruger said in an email. “Only one-sixth of lobbyists were involved with health care (give or take — assuming it is one-sixth of economy). Six-sixths of lobbyists are involved in taxes.”

There is so much at stake, and if the Republicans are able to get something passed it probably won’t look much like the plan that Trump originally proposed.  But it is so important to do something, because today Americans spend more on taxes than they will on food, clothing, and housing combined.  That is morally wrong, and we desperately need tax relief.

Trump’s tax plan would nearly double the standard deduction, and that would be a wonderful thing.  It would provide instant tax relief to working class Americans, and that is something that I would greatly applaud.

Trump’s tax plan would also great reduce the tax rate for corporations.  Our big corporations certainly don’t need the help, but we do want to get our rate more in line with the rest of the planet.  Because our corporate tax rate is one of the highest in the world, it actually encourages companies to set up shop some place else.  Being more competitive with the rest of the world would likely mean more jobs for the American people.

Trump’s tax plan would also reduce the number of tax brackets for individuals.  Instead of seven, now there would just be three tax brackets of 12 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent.  To me, those rates are way too high, but of course I would like to eliminate the individual income tax entirely.

Many are criticizing Trump’s plan for proposing to raise at least a trillion dollars over the next decade by getting rid of the deduction for state and local income taxes.  For those that live in very high tax states such as California, that deduction is a really big deal

High-income Californians, for instance, pay as much as 13.3 per cent of their income to the state in addition to their federal taxes. New Yorkers can pay up to 8.82 per cent.

Just seven U.S. states have no personal income taxes, including Texas, Florida and Nevada.

Hopefully the Republicans can pass some sort of tax reform in the short-term, because the status quo is definitely not acceptable.

When the income tax was first introduced in 1913, the vast majority of taxpayers were being taxed at a rate of just one percent.  The following comes from Politifact

The 1913 law imposed a tax of 1 percent on income up to $20,000, for both individual and joint filers. However, exemptions from the tax — the first $3,000 of income for individuals and the first $4,000 for joint filers — meant “virtually all middle-class Americans” were excused from paying, according to W. Elliot Brownlee’s book, Federal Taxation in America. The law also put in place a graduated surtax on incomes above $20,000; the highest rate paid, 7 percent, applied to Americans making more than $500,000 (about $11.4 million in 2011 dollars).

Today, Americans are being taxed into oblivion.  It has been reported that we spend more than 6 billion hours a year on our taxes, and I once wrote an article detailing 97 different ways that various levels of government extract revenue from all of us.

Every year government just gets bigger and bigger on the federal, state and local levels.  And the bigger government gets, the more oppressive it tends to become.

Personally, I would love to start starving the beast that the left has created, and a great way to do that would be to completely eliminate the federal income tax.

A lot of people could not even imagine a world without a federal income tax.  But the truth is that our country once thrived under such a system.  In fact, the greatest period of economic growth in U.S. history was between 1872 and 1913 when there was no income tax at all.

And we could do it again.  Today, the individual income tax only accounts for about 46 percent of all federal revenue, and if we reduced the federal government to a size that our founders would have wanted, we would be more than okay.

But even if we can’t greatly reduce the size of the federal government in the short-term, we can at least go to a very basic flat tax or a fair tax, and both of those systems would be far superior to what we have today.

If we can’t get a flat tax or a fair tax right now, we should at least try to dramatically reduce tax rates and simplify the tax code as much as humanly possible.

But if we do get a short-term victory, the battle is definitely not over.  In the long-term, we need to be very clear that our goal should be to abolish the income tax, the IRS and the Federal Reserve entirely.  Anything short of that is not good enough.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

Hate Taxes? You Certainly Are Not Alone…

Taxes - Public DomainAt this time of the year, millions of Americans are rushing to file their taxes at the last minute, and we are once again reminded just how nightmarish our system of taxation has become.  I studied tax law when I was in law school, and it is one of the most mind-numbing areas of study that you could possibly imagine.  At this point, the U.S. tax code is somewhere around 4 million words long, which is more than four times longer than all of William Shakespeare’s works put together.  And even if you could somehow read the entire tax code, it is constantly changing, and so those that prepare taxes for a living are constantly relearning the rules.  It has been said that Americans spend more than 6 billion hours preparing their taxes each year, and Politifact has rated this claim as true.  We have a system that is as ridiculous as it is absurd, and the truth is that we don’t even need it.  In fact, the greatest period of economic growth in all of U.S. history was when there was no income tax at all.  Why anyone would want to perpetuate this tortuous system is beyond me, and yet we keep sending politicians to Washington D.C. that just keep making this system even more complicated and even more burdensome.

If you hate taxes, you are far from alone.  According to NBC News, here are some of the things that Americans would rather do than pay taxes…

Six percent would rather sell a kidney, eight percent would rather name their first-born “Taxes,” and 11 percent would rather spend three years cleaning the bathrooms at noro-torious Chipotle.

Of course our system was never intended to be like this anyway.  Our founders hated taxes, and they fought a very bitter war to escape the yoke of oppressive taxation.  During his very first inaugural address, Thomas Jefferson clearly expressed what he thought about taxes…

A wise and frugal government… shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.

Why couldn’t we have listened to him?

When the federal income tax was originally introduced a little more than a century ago, most Americans were taxed at a rate of only 1 percent.

But of course once they get their feet in the door, the social planners always want more, and today we are being taxed into oblivion.  Below, I would like to share with you three quick facts about our taxes that come from the Tax Foundation

-This year, Tax Freedom Day falls on April 24, or 114 days into the year (excluding Leap Day).

-Americans will pay $3.3 trillion in federal taxes and $1.6 trillion in state and local taxes, for a total bill of almost $5.0 trillion, or 31 percent of the nation’s income.

-Americans will collectively spend more on taxes in 2016 than they will on food, clothing, and housing combined.

That last statistic is a huge sore point with me.

How can anyone argue that we are not a socialist society when the government takes more of our money than we spend on food, clothing and housing combined?

What they are doing to us is deeply wrong and it is fundamentally un-American.

And of course the elite have the resources to be able to hire very expensive tax attorneys that help them manipulate the game in their favor.  At the end of the day, many extremely wealthy Americans end up paying a much lower percentage of their income to the government than you or I do.

For example, just consider what the Clintons have been doing

The Clintons and their family foundation have at least five shell companies registered to the address 1209 North Orange Street in Wilmington, Delaware — which is also home to some 280,000 other companies who use the location to take advantage of the state’s low taxes, limited disclosure requirements, and other business incentives.

Two of the five are tied to Bill and Hillary Clinton specifically. One, WJC, LLC, is used by the former president to collect his consulting fees. The other, ZFS Holdings, LLC, was used by the former secretary of state to process her $5.5 million book advance from Simon & Schuster. Three additional shell companies belong to the Clinton Foundation.

One could argue that they are simply “playing the game”, but why do we have to play such a complicated game in the first place?

Another thing that frustrates me is how our tax money is being wasted.  Speaking of the Clintons, did you know that Bill Clinton still receives close to a million dollars from the federal government every year?  Since he left office in 2001, he has been given approximately 16 million of our tax dollars.

Does that seem right to you?

Of course there are other examples that should make us all sick as well.  Tens of millions of our tax dollars have been spent on Obama vacations, and Planned Parenthood received 528 million taxpayer dollars in one recent year.

Our system is deeply, deeply broken, but I am under no illusion that it will change any time soon.  It will probably just continue to roll along until it eventually collapses under its own weight.

And of course it isn’t just income taxes that I am talking about.  Our politicians have become masters at inventing ways to extract money from all of us.  If you doubt this, just look at the list that I have shared below.  It comes from my previous article entitled “A List Of 97 Taxes Americans Pay Every Year“, and it shows how the politicians are squeezing money out of us in just about every way that you can imagine…

#1 Air Transportation Taxes (just look at how much you were charged the last time you flew)

#2 Biodiesel Fuel Taxes

#3 Building Permit Taxes

#4 Business Registration Fees

#5 Capital Gains Taxes

#6 Cigarette Taxes

#7 Court Fines (indirect taxes)

#8 Disposal Fees

#9 Dog License Taxes

#10 Drivers License Fees (another form of taxation)

#11 Employer Health Insurance Mandate Tax

#12 Employer Medicare Taxes

#13 Employer Social Security Taxes

#14 Environmental Fees

#15 Estate Taxes

#16 Excise Taxes On Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans

#17 Federal Corporate Taxes

#18 Federal Income Taxes

#19 Federal Unemployment Taxes

#20 Fishing License Taxes

#21 Flush Taxes (yes, this actually exists in some areas)

#22 Food And Beverage License Fees

#23 Franchise Business Taxes

#24 Garbage Taxes

#25 Gasoline Taxes

#26 Gift Taxes

#27 Gun Ownership Permits

#28 Hazardous Material Disposal Fees

#29 Highway Access Fees

#30 Hotel Taxes (these are becoming quite large in some areas)

#31 Hunting License Taxes

#32 Import Taxes

#33 Individual Health Insurance Mandate Taxes

#34 Inheritance Taxes

#35 Insect Control Hazardous Materials Licenses

#36 Inspection Fees

#37 Insurance Premium Taxes

#38 Interstate User Diesel Fuel Taxes

#39 Inventory Taxes

#40 IRA Early Withdrawal Taxes

#41 IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax)

#42 IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)

#43 Library Taxes

#44 License Plate Fees

#45 Liquor Taxes

#46 Local Corporate Taxes

#47 Local Income Taxes

#48 Local School Taxes

#49 Local Unemployment Taxes

#50 Luxury Taxes

#51 Marriage License Taxes

#52 Medicare Taxes

#53 Medicare Tax Surcharge On High Earning Americans Under Obamacare

#54 Obamacare Individual Mandate Excise Tax (if you don’t buy “qualifying” health insurance under Obamacare you will have to pay an additional tax)

#55 Obamacare Surtax On Investment Income (a new 3.8% surtax on investment income)

#56 Parking Meters

#57 Passport Fees

#58 Professional Licenses And Fees (another form of taxation)

#59 Property Taxes

#60 Real Estate Taxes

#61 Recreational Vehicle Taxes

#62 Registration Fees For New Businesses

#63 Toll Booth Taxes

#64 Sales Taxes

#65 Self-Employment Taxes

#66 Sewer & Water Taxes

#67 School Taxes

#68 Septic Permit Taxes

#69 Service Charge Taxes

#70 Social Security Taxes

#71 Special Assessments For Road Repairs Or Construction

#72 Sports Stadium Taxes

#73 State Corporate Taxes

#74 State Income Taxes

#75 State Park Entrance Fees

#76 State Unemployment Taxes (SUTA)

#77 Tanning Taxes (a new Obamacare tax on tanning services)

#78 Telephone 911 Service Taxes

#79 Telephone Federal Excise Taxes

#80 Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Taxes

#81 Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Taxes

#82 Telephone State And Local Taxes

#83 Telephone Universal Access Taxes

#84 The Alternative Minimum Tax

#85 Tire Recycling Fees

#86 Tire Taxes

#87 Tolls (another form of taxation)

#88 Traffic Fines (indirect taxation)

#89 Use Taxes (Out of state purchases, etc.)

#90 Utility Taxes

#91 Vehicle Registration Taxes

#92 Waste Management Taxes

#93 Water Rights Fees

#94 Watercraft Registration & Licensing Fees

#95 Well Permit Fees

#96 Workers Compensation Taxes

#97 Zoning Permit Fees

So after reading all of this, are you still satisfied with how our present system operates?

Please feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…

*About the author: Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog. Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled “The Rapture Verdict” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.*

9 Of The Top 10 Occupations In America Pay An Average Wage Of Less Than $35,000 A Year

CashierAccording to stunning new numbers just released by the federal government, nine of the top ten most commonly held jobs in the United States pay an average wage of less than $35,000 a year.  When you break that down, that means that most of these workers are making less than $3,000 a month before taxes.  And once you consider how we are being taxed into oblivion, things become even more frightening.  Can you pay a mortgage and support a family on just a couple grand a month?  Of course not.  In the old days, a single income would enable a family to live a very comfortable middle class lifestyle in most cases.  But now those days are long gone.  In 2014, both parents are expected to work, and in many cases both of them have to get multiple jobs just in order to break even at the end of the month.  The decline in the quality of our jobs is a huge reason for the implosion of the middle class in this country.  You can’t have a middle class without middle class jobs, and we have witnessed a multi-decade decline in middle class jobs in the United States.  As long as this trend continues, the middle class is going to continue to shrink.

The following is a list of the most commonly held jobs in America according to the federal government.  As you can see, 9 of the top 10 most commonly held occupations pay an average wage of less than $35,000 a year

  1. Retail salespersons, 4.48 million workers earning  $25,370
  2. Cashiers  3.34 million workers earning $20,420
  3. Food prep and serving staff, 3.02 million workers earning $18,880
  4. General office clerk, 2.83 million working earning $29,990
  5. Registered nurses, 2.66 million workers earning $68,910
  6. Waiters and waitresses, 2.40 million workers earning $20,880
  7. Customer service representatives, 2.39 million workers earning $33,370
  8. Laborers, and freight and material movers, 2.28 million workers earning $26,690
  9. Secretaries and admins (not legal or medical),  2.16 million workers earning $34,000
  10. Janitors and cleaners (not maids),  2.10 million workers earning, $25,140

Overall, an astounding 59 percent of all American workers bring home less than $35,000 a year in wages.

So if you are going to make more than $35,000 this year, you are solidly in the upper half.

But that doesn’t mean that you will always be there.

More Americans are falling out of the middle class with each passing day.

Just consider the case of a 47-year-old woman named Kristina Feldotte.  Together with her husband, they used to make about $80,000 a year.  But since she lost her job three years ago, their combined income has fallen to about $36,000 a year

Three years ago, Kristina Feldotte, 47, and her husband earned a combined $80,000. She considered herself solidly middle class. The couple and their four children regularly vacationed at a lake near their home in Saginaw, Michigan.

But in August 2012, Feldotte was laid off from her job as a special education teacher. She’s since managed to find only part-time teaching work. Though her husband still works as a truck salesman, their income has sunk by more than half to $36,000.

“Now we’re on the upper end of lower class,” Feldotte said.

There is a common assumption out there that if you “have a job” that you must be doing “okay”.

But that is not even close to the truth.

The reality of the matter is that you can even have two or three jobs and still be living in poverty.  In fact, you can even be working for the government or the military and still need food stamps

Since the start of the Recession, the dollar amount of food stamps used at military commissaries, special stores that can be used by active-duty, retired, and some veterans of the armed forces has quadrupled, hitting $103 million last year. Food banks around the country have also reported a rise in the number of military families they serve, numbers that swelled during the Recession and haven’t, or have barely, abated.

There are so many people that are really hurting out there.

Today, someone wrote to me about one of my recent articles about food price increases and told me about how produce prices were going through the roof in that particular area.  This individual wondered how ordinary families were going to be able to survive in this environment.

That is a very good question.

I don’t know how they are going to survive.

In some cases, the suffering that is going on behind closed doors is far greater than any of us would ever imagine.

And often, it is children that suffer the most

A Texas couple kept their bruised, malnourished 5-year-old son in a diaper and locked in a closet of their Spring home, police said in a horrifying case of abuse.

The tiny, blond-haired boy was severely underweight, his shoulder blades, ribs and vertebrae showing through his skin, when officers found him late last week.

You can see some photos of that poor little boy right here.

I hope that those abusive parents are put away for a very long time.

Sadly, there are lots of kids that are really suffering right now.  There are more than a million homeless schoolchildren in America, and there are countless numbers that will go to bed hungry tonight.

But if you live in wealthy enclaves on the east or west coasts, all of this may sound truly bizarre to you.  Where you live, you may look around and not see any poverty at all.  That is because America has become increasingly segregated by wealth.  Some are even calling this the “skyboxification of America”

The richest Americans—the much-talked about 1 percent—are a cloistered class. As the Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz scathingly put it, they “have the best houses, the best educations, the best doctors, and the best lifestyles, but there is one thing that money doesn’t seem to have bought: an understanding that their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live.” The Harvard political philosopher Michael Sandel has similarly lamented the “skyboxification” of American life, in which “people of affluence and people of modest means lead increasingly separate lives.”

The substantial and growing gap between the rich and everyone else is increasingly inscribed on our geography. There have always been affluent neighborhoods, gated enclaves, and fabled bastions of wealth like Greenwich, Connecticut; Grosse Pointe, Michigan; Potomac, Maryland; and Beverly Hills, California. But America’s bankers, lawyers, and doctors didn’t always live so far apart from teachers, accountants, and small business owners, who themselves weren’t always so segregated from the poorest, most struggling Americans.

Nobody should talk about an “economic recovery” until the middle class starts growing again.

Even as the stock market has soared to unprecedented heights over the past year, the decline of middle class America has continued unabated.

And most Americans know deep inside that something is deeply broken.  For example, a recent CNBC All-America Economic Survey found that over 80 percent of all Americans consider the economy to be “fair” or “poor”.

Yes, for the moment things are going quite well for the top 10 percent of the nation, but that won’t last long either.  None of the problems that caused the last great financial crisis have been fixed.  In fact, they have gotten even worse.  We are steamrolling toward another great financial crisis and our leaders are absolutely clueless.

When the next crisis strikes, the economic suffering in this nation is going to get even worse.

As bad as things are now, they are not even worth comparing to what is coming.

So I hope that you are getting prepared.  Time is running out.

 

29-Year-Old Welfare Parasite Would Not Accept An $80,000 A Year Job Driving A Truck

Truck North DakotaWhat should be done with a 29-year-old welfare parasite that believes that in addition to practicing with his rock band, his main job in life is to “make sure the sun’s up and the girls are out”?  Most people that receive government assistance truly need the help and do not abuse the system, but there are definitely others that do abuse the system and do not make any excuses for doing so.  When 29-year-old Jason Greenslate was recently asked if he would be willing to take a job driving a truck in North Dakota for $80,000 a year, he said that he would not.  He would rather keep purchasing sushi and lobster with his EBT card and hanging out with his rock band.  Greenslate seems very happy with his taxpayer-funded lifestyle, and he says that he wants “to thank the United States of America, and the situation — the way things are set up”.  Is this really what we pay taxes for?  The rest of us are taxed into oblivion so that we can fund the endless partying of parasites like Jason Greenslate?  What in the world is happening to this country?

If you have never heard of Jason Greenslate, let me get you caught up by quoting the article that I wrote about him last year

When he was asked if he ever had any interest in actually getting a job, his response was “not whatsoever“.  Instead, he says that his job is to “make sure the sun’s up and the girls are out” and he would rather spend his days partying.  Of course every American should be free to live their own lives as they see fit, but the problem is that Jason Greenslate is using food stamps to help support his lifestyle.  In fact, he took Fox News into the gourmet section of a local supermarket where he purchased sushi and lobster with his EBT card.  Sadly, he is just like millions of other young men in America today that seemingly have had the drive to succeed and to be independent totally sucked out of them.  But what is the future of America going to look like if we continue to produce millions upon millions of young men that have absolutely no desire to make a living, get married and start a family?

Just recently, Sean Hannity had Greenslate on his program and asked him if he felt bad that his fellow Californians are being taxed at extremely high levels in order to pay for his lifestyle.   Sadly, this does not appear to bother Greenslate.  The following is from a recent Fox News article

Hannity pointed out that Greenslate rides around in a Cadillac Escalade and frequents strip clubs, all while receiving government assistance and not working at a job that actually pays.

When Hannity asked Greenslate who he thinks pays for his food stamps and free health care, Greenslate said, “Government, taxes, us, the people.”

“Not you, because you’re not paying taxes,” Hannity responded.

Hannity went on to point out that nearly 60 cents out of every working Californian’s dollar goes to taxes. “You’re taking their money and you just don’t seem to care,” Hannity said.

“Who says I don’t care?” Greenslate asked, adding that he was “thankful.”

Hannity even asked Greenslate if he would take a job as a truck driver for $80,000 a year, and Greenslate refused

Hannity went for broke: “If I could get you a job that would pay you $80,000 a year driving a truck in North Dakota, would you take it?

Greenslate paused for a moment to think about it: “No.

Of course most Americans actually do want to work, and only go on government assistance if they really need it.  Unfortunately, however, there are a lot of “Jason Greenslates” out there, and their numbers are growing with each passing year.

And without a doubt, life is tough if you are trying to survive at the low end of the wage scale these days.  It is hard enough to take care of yourself, much less an entire family, on 9 or 10 dollars an hour.

For many, it is simply easier to give up on working for a living and depend on the government instead.

Not that it is easy to find any kind of work these days.  The percentage of low wage jobs in our economy has steadily risen, and the competition for those jobs can be very intense.  Large numbers of college-educated workers are now finding themselves forced to apply for low wage jobs, and this is forcing many less educated workers out of the labor force entirely.  The following comes from a recent CNBC article

Today’s low-wage workers are also more educated, with 41 percent having at least some college, up from 29 percent in 2000. “Minimum-wage and low-wage workers are older and more educated than 10 or 20 years ago, yet they’re making wages below where they were 10 or 20 years ago after inflation,” said Mr. Schmitt, senior economist at the research center. “If you look back several decades, workers near the minimum wage were more likely to be teenagers—that’s the stereotype people had. It’s definitely not accurate anymore.”

But when many college-educated professionals start working these sorts of jobs, they find that they require extremely hard work.

For example, posted below is an excerpt from an article entitled “My Life as a Retail Worker: Nasty, Brutish, and Poor” by reporter Joseph Williams.  Let’s just say that he didn’t really care for his time working in retail after he unexpectedly lost his job…

It didn’t matter if it was at the beginning of my shift, if the store was empty, or if my knees, back, and feet ached from hours of standing. Park your behind while on the clock, went the unspoken rule, and you might find it on a park bench scanning the want-ads for a new job.

Another quick observation: Working in retail takes more skill than just selling stuff. Besides the mindless tasks one expects—folding, stacking, sorting, fetching things for customers—I frequently had to tackle a series of housekeeping chores that Stretch never mentioned in our welcome-aboard chat. Performed during the late shift, those chores usually meant I’d have to stay well past the scheduled 9 p.m. quitting time.

Mop the floors in the bathroom, replace the toilet paper and scrub the toilets if necessary. Vacuum. Empty the garbage. Wipe down the glass front doors, every night, even if they don’t really need it.

Yes, working in retail can be physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting.

I know this from personal experience.  In my younger years, I worked a number of retail jobs.

But nobody should be afraid of a little hard work.

That is what built America.

If you do have a job, you should be thankful.  The truth is that there are millions of Americans out there that would do just about anything for a decent job at this point.

Of course the U.S. economy should be doing better that it is right now.  I truly wish that it was like the good old days when any hard working person could easily find a decent job.  Thanks to decades of incredibly foolish decisions by our leaders, those days are permanently gone.

And if you think that things are bad now, just wait.  The U.S. economy is already heading toward another recession, and the next great financial crisis is rapidly approaching.

So let us enjoy this period of relative stability while we can.

Very soon, millions more Americans will be losing their jobs and the number of people that actually need government assistance is going to go even higher.

How The Super Rich Avoid Taxes Even As They Demand That The Rest Of Us Pay More

The way that we tax people in the United States is fundamentally broken and should be completely discarded.  The U.S. tax code is absolutely riddled with loopholes that allow the super rich to legally avoid taxes while many of the rest of us are being taxed into oblivion.  In our system of taxation, middle class families that work hard and try to play by the rules are deeply penalized while those that are willing to abuse the system make out like bandits.  There is something fundamentally wrong with a system that enables wealthy politicians such as Barack Obama and Mitt Romney to pay a smaller percentage of their incomes in taxes than millions of middle class families.  Mitt Romney has millions of dollars parked down in the Cayman Islands and in other tax havens.  He does this to avoid taxes.  Unfortunately, most Americans do not have the resources to funnel money through offshore tax havens.  Most Americans just automatically have their paychecks shredded by taxes and then try to live on whatever is left over.  Most Americans are just trying to survive financially from one month to the next.  But the super rich have options.  Thanks to technology, they can live almost anywhere they want and they can run their companies and manage their investments from anywhere in the world.  The truth is that the wealthier you are the easier it is to avoid taxes.  But even as the ultra-wealthy do their best to avoid taxes, many of them still feel free to demand that the rest of us be taxed more.

So what are some of the ways that the super rich avoid taxes?

Well, let’s start with those that are just “somewhat wealthy”.  Many millionaires still want or need to be U.S. citizens, so they are subject to the U.S. tax code.  Fortunately for them, their tax lawyers know of thousands of loopholes that have been designed to help the rich avoid taxes.

The following is from a recent article by Jen Talley….

Some of the richest people in the country pay the least, relatively speaking, in taxes. How is this possible? Answer: Through the clever manipulation of the U.S. tax code’s loopholes. And it works: as income rises, effective tax rates rise as well, but only up to a point. IRS data shows that the effective income tax rate flattens out at just over 24 percent for those making over a million dollars. As income exceeds $1.5 million, the rate begins to decline; those with incomes above $10 million pay an average income tax rate of around 19 percent. So, how do they do it?

You could write an entire series of books on the technical details of how this gets done.  Trust me, I studied tax law when I was in law school.

If you are interested in digging into some of the technical details of tax avoidance, a recent Businessweek article detailed 10 ways that the wealthy use our current tax code to avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes.  It is an article worth reading if you have the time.

Sadly, tax avoidance by the wealthy is not just something that happens in the United States.  The truth is that the exact same kind of thing happens in the UK as well.

There is not an easy fix to this problem.  Our politicians have had decades to try to come up with a fair tax system and they have completely failed.  The wealthy are always several steps ahead of them.

But federal taxes are not the only taxes that can be avoided.  The vast difference in state tax rates creates another opportunity.

One advantage that wealthy Americans have is that they are far more mobile than most other Americans are.  So if they don’t like the tax system in one state they can simply pick up and move to another state.

According to the Tax Foundation, 3.4 million Americans left New York state between 2000 and 2010.

So where did they go?

The following is from a recent CNS News article….

Where are they escaping to?  The Tax Foundation found that more than 600,000 New York residents moved to Florida over the decade – opting perhaps for the Sunshine State’s more lenient tax system – taking nearly $20 billion in adjusted growth income with them.

There is no state income tax in Florida.  So moving from New York to Florida can end up saving you a bundle.

The same kind of migration is happening out west as well.  According to that same CNS article, hundreds of thousands of people have been moving from California (a high tax state) to Texas (no state income tax)….

Between 2000 and 2010, the most recent data available, 551,914 people left California for Texas, taking $14.3 billion in income.  Texas has no state income tax or estate tax.

A total of 48,877 people moved to Texas from California between 2009 and 2010 alone, totaling $1.2 billion in income.  Another 28,088 from California relocated to Nevada and 30,663 to Arizona, a loss of  $699.1 million and $707.8 million in income respectively.

Not that anyone really needs much of an excuse to move away from California.  It is rapidly decaying right in front of our eyes.

But a lot of families do not have the same options that wealthy people do. Unfortunately, most average Americans are tied to their jobs and it would be much more difficult for them to pick up and move across the country.  In this economy it can be economic suicide to give up a good job.

The reality is that most of us simply do not have the resources to play the same kinds of games that the wealthy play.

Sadly, even our most prominent politicians avoid taxes.

Just look at Massachusetts Senator John Kerry.  He has avoided approximately $500,000 in taxes by docking his yacht in Rhode Island rather than in Massachusetts.

Yet Kerry sure does love to call for more taxes on the rest of us, doesn’t he?

Now let’s talk about the “super rich” and the “ultra-wealthy”.  For many people that are worth billions of dollars, tax avoidance has become an art from.

Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin made national headlines recently when he gave up his U.S. citizenship, but the truth is that his case is small potatoes compared to the global elite and the shadow banking system that supports them.

According to the IMF, the global elite are holding a total of 18 trillion dollars in offshore banks.

That amount is more than the GDP of the United States for an entire year.

So what do I mean by “offshore banks”?  I defined the term in a previous article….

Well, the term originally developed because the banks on the Channel Islands were “offshore” from the United Kingdom.  Most “offshore banks” are still located on islands today.  The Cayman Islands, Bermuda, the Bahamas, and the Isle of Man are examples of this.  Other “offshore banking centers” such as Monaco are actually not “offshore” at all, but the term applies to them anyway.

Traditionally, these offshore banking centers have been very attractive to both criminals and to the global elite because they would not tell anyone (including governments) about the money that anyone had parked there.

It has been reported that 80 percent of all international banking transactions involve offshore banks.  A whopping 1.4 trillion dollars is being held in offshore banks in the Cayman Islands alone.

An article that appeared in the Guardian estimated that a third of all the wealth on the entire planet is being kept in offshore banks.  One of the primary reasons for this is tax avoidance.

A lot of wealthy individuals never even visit these tax havens and yet reap the benefits anyway.  The truth is that tax avoidance has become way too easy.  The following example is from a recent Politico article….

A plausible scenario plays out like this: I hire an accountant. Doing her job, my accountant tells me that if I sign a few legal documents and route my money through a small Caribbean island, I could keep more of my paycheck and pay a lower tax rate. I may have earned my money in the United States, but legally I can claim that it was, in fact, earned in a tax haven.

Are you disgusted yet?

You should be.

But even though they avoid taxes like the plague, many of these elitists have the gall to call for higher taxes on all the rest of us.

For example, let’s review what the managing director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, said in a recent interview….

“Do you know what? As far as Athens is concerned, I also think about all those people who are trying to escape tax all the time. All these people in Greece who are trying to escape tax.”

Even more than she thinks about all those now struggling to survive without jobs or public services? “I think of them equally. And I think they should also help themselves collectively.” How? “By all paying their tax. Yeah.”

It sounds as if she’s essentially saying to the Greeks and others in Europe, you’ve had a nice time and now it’s payback time.

“That’s right.” She nods calmly. “Yeah.”

And what about their children, who can’t conceivably be held responsible? “Well, hey, parents are responsible, right? So parents have to pay their tax.”

Well, it turns out that she doesn’t pay any income taxes at all on her own income….

The IMF chief Christine Lagarde was accused of hypocrisy yesterday after it emerged that she pays no income tax – just days after blaming the Greeks for causing their financial peril by dodging their own bills.

The managing director of the International Monetary Fund is paid a salary of $467,940 (£298,675), automatically increased every year according to inflation. On top of that she receives an allowance of $83,760 – payable without “justification” – and additional expenses for entertainment, making her total package worth more than the amount received by US President Barack Obama according to reports last night.

Her “diplomatic status” allows her to escape all income taxes.

So perhaps she should pay her “fair share” before pointing the finger at anyone else.

But she is not the only one being hypocritical.

The super rich claim that they should pay lower taxes on investment income for the good of our “capitalist system”, but when their banks are about to go under they are more than happy to have those losses be socialized.

As I wrote about yesterday, the stage is already set for another massive round of bailouts when the next great financial crisis strikes.  Once again our taxes will pay for the mistakes of the ultra-wealthy.

The truth is that our system is fundamentally broken.

We need to abolish the income tax and shut down the IRS.

Those two steps alone would do wonders for our economic system.

We also need to shut down the Federal Reserve and break up the too big to fail banks.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of our politicians are not even willing to consider any of those solutions.

So our fundamentally broken system will continue to chug along.

It really is sad.

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