Wake Up America! 10 Very Obvious Reasons Why The Devastating U.S. Jobs Famine Is Going To Suck The Hope Right Out Of America

Do you have friends, neighbors and relatives that can’t find work?  Well, unfortunately the current U.S. jobs famine is about to get a whole lot worse.  Right now there are approximately 13.9 million unemployed Americans.  That does not count those that “are not looking for work”.  That does not count those that are working part-time jobs but that are desperate for full-time work.  The truth is that we need tens of millions more full-time jobs in order to give one to everyone that wants one.  Sadly, the long-term trends that have caused this mess continue to get worse.  Unless truly dramatic changes are made, the U.S. economy is going to continue to bleed jobs and that is going to suck the hope right out of this country.  It is time to wake up America!  It is not a big mystery why we don’t have enough jobs.  But sadly, very few of our leaders are talking about the real issues.

Something has got to be done.  Unemployment is already at epidemic levels, and this country can’t afford for things to get much worse.  Just check out how a recent article in The Wall Street Journal summarized our current predicament….

There are more unemployed than the combined populations of Wyoming, Vermont, North Dakota, Alaska, South Dakota, Delaware, Montana, Rhode Island, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, Idaho and the District of Columbia.

If they were a country, the 13.9 million unemployed Americans would be the 68th largest country in the world, bigger than the population of Greece or Portugal (each of which has 10.8 million people) and more than twice the population of Norway (4.7 million.)

Isn’t that incredible?

The number of unemployed Americans is larger than the entire population of Greece.

There are millions of Americans that will be sitting at home in front of their televisions tonight wondering why they can’t find jobs.  Last month, only 58.1% of Americans over the age of 16 were employed.  Our economy should be able to do far better than that.

All over the Internet there are stories of people that have sent out hundreds (or even thousands) of resumes and nobody even wants to interview them.  One recent survey found that approximately 80 percent of all Americans believe that it is “difficult” to find a job right now.

Unfortunately, things are going to get much, much worse before all this is over.

The following are 10 very obvious reasons why the devastating U.S. jobs famine is going to suck the hope right out of America….

#1 Our politicians simply do not care that America is bleeding jobs.  Amazingly, even with rampant unemployment plaguing this nation, Obama administration officials continue to declare that it is okay that we are losing manufacturing jobs because a lot of cheaper products are things that “we don’t want to make in America” anyway.  The following is what U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk told Tim Robertson of the Huffington Post the other day….

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.

The economic negligence that recent administrations have demonstrated has been absolutely mind boggling.  Blue collar male workers in particular are being absolutely devastated by the loss of manufacturing jobs.  Back in 1967, 97 percent of men with a high school degree between the ages of 30 and 50 had jobs.  Today, that figure is down to 76 percent.

#2 The Obama administration has now instituted a policy of “backdoor amnesty” for illegal immigrants by executive fiat.  Janet Napolitano has announced that from now on there will be a case-by-case review of all deportation cases.  Cases involving criminals will be prioritized and most others will be thrown out.  A list of 19 factors that will allow government officials to use “prosecutorial discretion” in immigration cases has been distributed.  Recently, I listed a few of those “factors” on The American Dream website….

-arrival in the U.S. as a young child

-actively “pursuing an education”

-serving or served in the U.S. military

-spouse of someone in the U.S. military

-18 years old or younger

-“elderly”

-pregnant or nursing

-victim of a “serious crime”

-serious disability or health problem

-caring for a family member with a serious disability or health problem

Obviously, it is not going to be too difficult for most illegal immigrants to fit into at least one of those categories.

On top of everything else the Obama administration has announced that it will now allow illegal immigrants to apply for work permits….

Illegal aliens living in the United States typically don’t apply for work permits for fear of deportation, but under the new policy, they could apply for work permits if granted deferred action or parole and compete with 22 million Americans who can’t find a full-time job.

So now blue collar Americans workers will have even more competition for the dwindling number of jobs.

#3 State and local governments all over the country are dead broke, and an atmosphere of austerity is sweeping the nation.  Right now state and local governments are slashing jobs at an unprecedented rate.

In the past, government jobs were considered to be very secure and they definitely paid a lot higher than average.  But now that era is coming to an end, at least on the state and local government levels.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, state and local governments have eliminated more than half a million jobs since August 2008.  UBS Investment Research is projecting that state and local governments in the U.S. will cut 450,000 more jobs by the end of 2012.

#4 U.S. businesses are being absolutely crushed by mountains of nightmarish regulations, and yet the federal government, the state governments and local governments just continue to pile them on.  For example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is projecting that the food service industry will have to spend an additional 14 million hours every single year just to comply with new federal regulations that mandate that all vending machine operators and chain restaurants must label all products that they sell with a calorie count in a location visible to the consumer.  Due to these kinds of ridiculous regulations, many business owners have simply given up and many other potential business owners figure that owning a business is just not worth the hassle.

#5 As I have written about so many times before, the “global economy” is really bad for American workers.  When we merged our economy with the economies of nations where it is legal to pay slave labor wages, we made it inevitable that we would start losing massive amounts of jobs.

Why would a giant corporation pay a U.S. worker 10 to 20 times as much as a worker on the other side of the globe?  Investors actually expect big companies to have an “outsourcing” strategy today.  When more jobs get shipped out of the country, profits go up, stock prices go up and executive bonuses go up.

Big corporations don’t exist to provide you with jobs.  They exist to maximize shareholder wealth.  If taking your job away and giving it to someone in Asia will make more money for them, then that it exactly what they are going to do.

#6 Unfair trade is absolutely killing our economy.  It would be one thing if the U.S. was running a massive trade deficit solely because we were incompetent.  But the truth is that a big factor is that a number of our “trade partners” are economic predators that are purposely trying to prey on us.

The other day, I wrote about some of the things that China does to steal our jobs, our factories and our wealth….

China massively subsidizes their biggest corporations, they brazenly steal technology from anyone that they can, they openly manipulate exchange rates and they allow their workers to be paid slave labor wages.

Today, we spend about 4 dollars on imports from China for every 1 dollar that China spends on imports from us.  China now even makes more beer than we do.  Even the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on the National Mall was made in China.

Until our politicians start insisting on a level playing field, all of this is going to continue.

#7 Small businesses are traditionally one of the primary engines of job growth in this country.  But right now, small businesses all over America are having a really hard time getting anyone to loan them money.  A big reason for this is that the Federal Reserve is actually paying banks not to make loans.  Unfortunately, if small businesses can’t get the money that they need, then they can’t hire people.

#8 A lot of people may not want to hear this, but businesses in the United States are being absolutely taxed into oblivion.  The U.S. now has the highest corporate tax rate in the world, but that is only a very small part of the story.

Michael Fleischer, the President of Bogen Communications, wrote an op-ed last year for the Wall Street Journal entitled “Why I’m Not Hiring”.  The following is how Paul Hollrah of Family Security Matters summarized the nightmarish taxes that are imposed when Fleischer hires a new worker….

According to Fleischer, Sally grosses $59,000 a year, which shrinks to less than $44,000 after taxes and other payroll deductions. The $15,311 deducted from Sally’s gross pay is comprised of New Jersey state income tax: $1,893; Social Security taxes: $3,661; state unemployment insurance: $126; disability insurance: $149; Medicare insurance: $856; federal withholding tax: $6,250; and her share of medical and dental insurance: $2,376. Roughly 25.9 percent of Sally’s income is siphoned off by Washington and Trenton before she receives her paychecks.

But then there are the additional costs of employing Sally. In addition to her gross salary, her employer must pay the lion’s share of her healthcare insurance premiums: $9,561; life and other insurance premiums: $153; federal unemployment insurance: $56; disability insurance: $149; worker’s comp insurance: $300; New Jersey state unemployment insurance: $505; Medicare insurance: $856; and the employer’s share of Social Security taxes: $3,661.

Over and above her gross salary, Bogen Communications must pay an additional $15,241 in benefits and state and federal taxes, bringing the total cost of employing Sally to approximately $74,241 per year. Sally gets to keep $43,689, or just 58.8% of that total.

After reading all that, can you really blame business owners for not wanting to hire additional workers?

#9 The national debt is like a giant albatross around the neck of the economy. The U.S. national debt has increased by more than 4 trillion dollars since Barack Obama took office.  The rampant government spending that has been going on has not done much to create new jobs, but it will be a massive burden that will weigh down economic growth for many years to come.

When a nation is drowning in debt, a tremendous amount of economic resources must go to servicing that debt.  Right now, hundreds of billions of dollars a year that could be used to build up our economy are instead being used to pay interest on the national debt.  If interest rates go up significantly, we could soon be paying over a trillion dollars a year just in interest on the national debt.

#10 Right now America is very deeply divided and a tremendous sense of pessimism has set in.  One recent survey found that 48 percent of Americans believe that it is likely that another great Depression will begin within the next 12 months.  With such a negative feeling in the air, it is going to make it even less likely that business owners will be in the mood to hire people.

I know that I pick on Detroit a lot, but it really is a microcosm of what is happening to America.  The following video contains some absolutely amazing footage of the ruins of Detroit….

Sadly, what is happening to Detroit is happening in hundreds of other communities across the United States.

All over America, neighborhoods that were once teeming with hope and prosperity are now falling apart.  Hopelessness is rampant and it is spreading.  The number of Americans on food stamps has increased 74% since 2007.  If not for our increasingly overwhelmed “safety net”, we would already have mass rioting in the streets.

Sadly, we are already seeing all sorts of signs that society is collapsing.  As the economy continues to fall apart, the violence in our neighborhoods is going to get even worse.

The following is one very shocking recent example from the Chicago Tribune….

Moments before she was slain last week on Chicago’s Southwest Side, 17-year-old Charinez Jefferson begged the gunman not to shoot because she was pregnant, prosecutors said today.

Despite her plea, Timothy Jones, 18, opened fire on Jefferson anyway, yelling an expletive at her as he shot her in the head, prosecutors said. He then stood over her as she lay on the ground and fired several more times, striking her in the chest and back.

America is changing.  The country that so many of us have loved all of our lives is becoming unrecognizable.  Large numbers of communities have had all of the hope sucked right out of them.  Tens of millions of Americans that want to do things the “right way” are rapidly losing faith in the system.

When you can’t get a decent job after months and months of trying it can be absolutely soul-crushing.

What do you tell someone that has spent a year sending out resumes and has used up all of their savings?

The era of endless prosperity for America is at an end.  The cold, hard consequences of decades of bad decisions are starting to set in.

Unless a dramatic change of course happens, the long-term trends noted above are going to get progressively worse.  It won’t matter who is running Congress and it won’t matter who is in the White House.

Right now our economy is rapidly hurtling downhill on a bus without brakes and we are headed directly for a cliff.

Please wake up America.

 

10 Reasons Why It Has Become So Soul-Crushingly Difficult To Find A Job In America Today

Have you been unemployed lately?  If so, then you probably know how frustrating it is to try to find a job in the United States today. It now takes the average unemployed worker about 33 weeks to find a job.  There are millions of Americans that have not been able to find a full-time job even after searching hard for an entire year.  Some areas of the United States have been devastated so badly by the economic downturn that they are starting to resemble war zones.  Unless you have been there, it is hard to even try to describe the extreme frustration that one feels when you are unable to pay the mortgage and feed your family.  It can be absolutely soul-crushing.  But it is not the fault of those who are unemployed.  The truth is that our economy is dying and it is not producing nearly enough jobs anymore.  Unfortunately, as you will see from the facts listed below, most of the things that are causing our economy to die have no realistic chance of being changed any time soon.

The following are 10 reasons why it has become so insanely difficult to find a job in America today….

#1 There are a lot fewer job openings in the United States today.  The number of U.S. job openings declined once again in December.  Prior to the most recent economic downturn, there were usually somewhere around 4.5 to 5 million job openings in America.  Today there are about 3 million.

#2 There is a lot more competition for the very few job openings that are actually available.  According to Gallup, the U.S. unemployment rate has been hovering around 10 percent for over a year.  When Gallup includes “underemployed Americans” that have part-time jobs but really want full-time jobs in the numbers, they get a lot worse.  Currently, Gallup says that 19.3 percent of the workforce is either unemployed or underemployed.

#3 The U.S. economy is producing an extremely low number of new jobs.  The federal government says that only about 36,000 jobs were added in January.  Well,  an increase of 150,000 jobs per month is necessary just to keep up with population growth.  We continue to fall farther and farther behind.

#4 All across the nation, state and local governments are rapidly cutting jobs.  Government jobs used to be considered some of the safest jobs available, but today state and local governments all across America are facing horrific budget crunches.  In fact, things have gotten so extreme that some cities are cutting their police forces by up to 50 percent.

#5 U.S. businesses are being absolutely crushed by regulations, and yet the government just keeps piling them on.  For example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is projecting that the food service industry will have to spend an additional 14 million hours every single year just to comply with new federal regulations that mandate that all vending machine operators and chain restaurants must label all products that they sell with a calorie count in a location visible to the consumer.  These kinds of ridiculous regulations are chasing U.S. businesses out of the country at a blistering pace.

#6 When you combine all forms of taxation, businesses pay more taxes in the United States than just about anywhere else in the world.  Some of the biggest corporations have figured out how to get around this, but many other businesses are being absolutely crushed by this.  All of this taxation is also chasing businesses out of the country.  Now Barack Obama is at it again.  He has just proposed an increase in unemployment taxes.  This is going to make it even less likely that businesses will want to hire more employees.

#7 Advances in technology mean that less workers are needed today.  A robot can do the labor that a hundred workers used to perform.  A computer can do the work that a thousand people used to perform.  Our society now needs less manual labor than it used to, and that is not going to change.  In fact, our society is only going to become more computerized and more automated.  That means that the ultra-wealthy do not need as many of us to work for them.

#8 Nations such as China are taking jobs away from us.  Tens of thousands of factories and millions of jobs are moving to China.  There is a reason why Barack Obama mentioned China four times during his State of the Union address.  China now even makes more beer than the United States does.  China has been very shrewd.  They have invited international corporations to come over and take advantage of their vast population by paying them slave labor wages.  The U.S. middle class is being shredded by this.  Why should companies pay U.S. workers 10 or 20 times more than they could pay a Chinese worker?

#9 Every single year, the U.S. buys hundreds of billions of dollars more stuff from the rest of the world than they buy from us.  This is called a trade deficit, and it is killing the U.S. economy.  The hundreds of billions of dollars going to the rest of the world could be going to U.S. businesses, and in turn U.S. businesses would need more workers.  But instead of fixing our trade balance problem, our politicians continue to insist that “globalism” is going to be really, really “good” for us.

#10 Every single year the U.S. federal government spends hundreds of billions of dollars just on interest on the national debt.  This is money that we don’t get any economic benefit from.  If we were not in so much debt, the U.S. government would be able to spend that money on goods and services inside the United States and that would support a lot more jobs.  This is just one of the ways that our horrific national debt is a tremendous drag on our economy.

This Economy Is Ripping The Dignity Of Millions Of Unemployed Americans To Shreds

If you can still put a roof over your head and food on the table for your family, you should consider yourself to be very fortunate.  There are millions of Americans out there right now that are really, really suffering.  The cold, hard reality of it is that there aren’t even close to enough jobs out there for everyone right now.  It is almost as if we are all caught in a really bizarre game of musical chairs where the losers get stripped of their tickets to the middle class.  What this horrible economy is doing to the dignity of millions of middle class Americans is incredibly saddening.  There are a lot of very highly educated and very hard working Americans who cannot seem to get jobs no matter what they do and now find themselves doing whatever they can just to survive.  It can be really hard to keep your dignity when you played by all the rules and you worked as hard as you could all your life and now you find yourself a half step away from being homeless.  Those of us who are still doing okay should never look down on those who are struggling in this economy, because the truth is that any of us could be next.   

If you really want to read some horror stories about what long-term unemployment is doing to some people in America, you should go spend an hour or two over at Unemployed-Friends some time.  It is a great forum with a lot of great resources for the unemployed, but it also contains dozens and dozens and dozens of heartbreaking stories from middle class Americans who have had their lives shattered by this economic downturn.      

The following is a typical story on Unemployed-Friends.  It is from a 48 year old Air Force veteran who has lost everything and is now sleeping in his vehicle.  It turns out that Scott48’s job was shipped off to India and now he has been out of work for over two years….

“I am a 48 year old USAF Vet. I got my house in 1996 with the help of the VA. In 2009 the company I worked for went out of buisness(gone to India) I then became a 99er. I notified Wells Fargo that I lost my job and they said they would work with me, the next mortgage statement I got they conveniently increased my mortgage! With what I got from UE was enough for the house but I had to cut out the luxury of food, gas, utillities, insurance, entertainment and alcohol. That was it for me, so the forecloser ball was in motion. I had to give my dog to my cousin so he would get fed, I took everything I owened to the auction( execpt tools, clothes, pictures, tech manuals and my Saxophone) and sold it. I went to a half-way house the VA recomended for a week and it was joke, so my cousin said I could stay with her. After 4 months she diecided that I wasnt looking hard enough and kicked me out, and Ive applied for everything except selling myself. This summer I was staying in an abandoned house due to forecloser and the real estate company has now put it on the market, and I am now on the street sleeping in my vehicle or a friend here and there. Keeping clean is going to be a challenge cuz the Flying J truck stops charge $10 for a shower, rip-off. What a country!”

The truth is that this economy is driving many Americans to the brink of desperation.  Even recent college graduates are becoming desperate enough to actually consider suicide.  The following story is from an Unemployed-Friends user known as 08pacollegegrad….

“I could just take any job like working at fast food places, but I hear people who try can’t even get hired there. I went to Wendy’s for lunch the other day and I thought of picking up an application…but the slot where they keep the applications was completely empty. That should say it all. Plus, I feel like if I take just any job…I will be set back further and never be able to gain experience in my chosen fields.

I follow up on job applications, but employers ignore me for the most part when I try to contact them. I sent five follow up e-mails last week and got no responses. I contacted an employer expressing my interest in working for them, but all they gave me is the link to their online application system that I have never gotten a job from.

I am thinking of applying for more internships (I have already done two), but I don’t want employers to think why I am applying for an internship when I should have had a full fledged job by now.

I have almost killed myself over my situaion and am taking anti-depressants right now. I see a psychiatrist every 4-6 weeks, but I still have days where I feel so empty. I am sick of sitting at home searching for jobs and praying for a response that never comes.”

Many Americans spend day after day after day looking for a job that never comes.  The sense of hopelessness that can build after doing this for a few years is almost indescribable.  The following is another incredibly sad story from an Unemployed-Friends user known as feuxdejoie….

“I lost my job in June 2008, my husband was working but sentenced to prison for 4 years, for DUI, no accidents or injuries. I had been using my unemployment to pay bills but my last check came June 12, 2010. I’m alone and scared. The city that I live in has the highest unemployment in the State, Illinois. Our children are grown and I sit alone all day searching for jobs. My husband can only call once a month because of the outrageous rates for telephone calls. I’m at the end of my rope and don’t know where to turn if they don’t pass a tier V for unemployment or open up some jobs.
I turned 50 in April and had worked all of my life, starting at age 14 with a work permit! My employer stated to me that they needed someone bilingual and terminated me even after I told them that I would take classes to learn.  I signed up for college and began classes in January then unemployment told me that I wasn’t elgible for unemployment while attending school.”

There are millions of Americans who believe that their lives are over because they can’t get decent jobs.  When you lose your job, your home, your car, your health insurance and then finally your unemployment insurance runs out, it is easy to lose all hope as an Unemployed-Friends user named Ember has done….

“so i feel pretty much hopeless. been unemployed since July 2008. in over two years i haven’t even been called for an interview. tired of looking and applying for jobs outside of my field that require experience i don’t have. it’s all for naught. i have two bachelor of science degrees. my BS degrees, cuz that’s what they’re worth. since losing my job i’ve gotten divorced. lost my house. lost my health insurance. totalled my car and sustained chronic back pain. and moved in with my mom. and did i mention, when all this started i was a new mom, just back from maternity leave? so (now) i’m raising a toddler on my own, with no income. my unemployment insurance ran out a few weeks ago. i don’t even know what to do now. i just want to disappear. i’m tired of trying. i’m tired of being a burden on everyone. if i didn’t have the responsibility to take care of my child i wouldn’t be around anymore.”

This final example is from an Unemployed-Friends user identified as Faith1028.  Be warned that this one will shake you to your core if you have any sensitivity at all.  As you read this, keep in mind that this kind of thing is literally happening to millions of Americans these days…. 

“HI, y’all! This is my story. I’m from Chicago.

I lost my job 11.06.09 – I did my best to remain positive & confident that I would get a job by the end of November.

December 2009 – Still no job. I’m getting food stamps (LINK card) & Unemployment Benefits. Not much money at all, but I’m surviving. Thanks to all this stress, my stomach has been burning and/or been painful daily for all December. I puked my guts out on the 26th.

January 2010 – My stomach is still hurting every day. I had to close out my savings account. I haven’t told my slumlord or my fellow tenants that I lost my job; I go on pretending I’m still going to work everyday. Unfortunately on the 26th, I got my eviction notice. I called the office to ask why. The response was “I don’t know.” I became hysterical. I’ve no job, no money, no family/friends to help. (I have many *relatives*, but no *family*.) I truly believed my only alternative was suicide. I wanted to say good-bye to my brother (my only sibling), but we haven’t spoken to each other for over 4 years; I no longer have his address/phone number. I found him on Facebook. I didn’t bring up my situation because I felt he wouldn’t care. We exchanged a few messages and that was it. I haven’t heard from him since. Good riddance.

February 2010 – Someone found a family that I can stay with for only $250/month! My own room! They turned out to be aquaintances of mine. Vegetarian, too! At least I have a place to stay. I’d rather live alone, but, hey, I’m desperate! — And I’m not too crazy about the bedbugs. OW!

June/July 2010 – Thanks to daily/nightly use of citrine crystals since 30 May, I have no more stomach problems!
Thanks to weekly use of a natural (green!) pesticide from PlusNaturalEnzymes.com, I no longer have a problem with bedbugs! However…
Mid-June, my Unemployment Benefits ran out. Of course, I’m still looking for a job! What am I supposed to do – put a gun to someone’s head and force them to hire me? As of this date, I have $12 left to my name; $0 in my chequeing account. I recently reapplied for and am now receiving food stamps. Before I got my food stamps back, I’ve eaten whatever (Vegetarian!) food I can get, even stuff I’m allergic to. As a result, I’ve become sick: cold-like symptoms, pain in lower intestines…and a rash over my arms, legs, & neck. Oh, does it itch! At least my food allergies are not life-threatening.
Needless to say, my depression has gotten worse.

I am really trying hard to remain positive — and alive.
But why? Is it really all worth it?

I haven’t paid July’s rent, and the people I’m staying with are getting very *impatient*; I fear I’ll be evicted again! The money is coming! It’s not my bloody fault!

Someone on Twitter sent me a link to this site. I know I’m not the only one suffering; some folks have already committed suicide. I don’t want to die, but I don’t want to be homeless, either. I am so bloody scared.
Just give me money that my tax dollars paid for!
–Or better yet: GIVE ME A BLASTED JOB!!”

The really sad thing is that there are countless other stories just like these being posted all over the Internet all the time.

People are hurting.

People are losing hope.

So how did we get here?

Well, it turns out that the “haves” have figured out that they really don’t need the “have nots” after all.  Incredible advances in technology have increasingly enabled employers to replace humans with machines and computers.  In addition, as we have detailed previously, millions upon millions of middle class American jobs are being shipped off to China and to dozens of third world nations where workers are more than happy to work for less than a tenth of what an American worker would make.

All of those jobs that have been lost to technology and that have been sent overseas are not going to come back.  The hordes of long-term unemployed that we are seeing now is just the beginning.  It is going to get a lot worse.

So the next time you hear a hard luck story from an unemployed American, don’t look down on that person.

You might be next.

College Students This Is Your Future: High Unemployment And Student Loan Hell

Hundreds of thousands of college students all over the United States have just graduated and are getting ready for their first taste of the real world.  Unfortunately for them, the real world is not always easy and it is not always fair.  In fact, for large numbers of recent college graduates, the transition to a world of high unemployment, brutal student loan payments and lowered expectations can be extremely sobering.  But the truth is that we have taught these young people to have a completely unrealistic view of the future.  We have told them to take out gigantic student loans without worrying about how they are going to pay them back, we have told them that if they get good grades and do everything “right” that the system will reward them with secure, fulfilling careers, and we have made high school and college so “soft and cushy” that most of these young Americans find that they don’t have the discipline and the work ethic to make it when they actually do get out into society.

So needless to say, the first six months after graduation can be a complete shock for many college graduates.

In a piece recently published on MSN Money, journalist Joe Queenan described the tough environment that 2010 college graduates are being thrown into as they enter the real world….

They will enter an economy where roughly 17% of people aged 20 through 24 do not have a job, and where two million college graduates are unemployed. They will enter a world where they will compete tooth and nail for jobs as waitresses, pizza delivery men, file clerks, bouncers, trainee busboys, assistant baristas, interns at bodegas.

But waiting tables, delivering pizzas or greeting customers at the local Wal-Mart is not what most college graduates signed up for when they invested tens of thousands of dollars and four years (if not longer) of their lives in an education.

Unfortunately, that is where our economy is at today.

“Good jobs” are very few and far between and those freshly graduating from college are finding themselves suddenly thrust into an extremely competitive job market.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in March the national rate of unemployment in the U.S. was 9.7%, but for Americans younger than 25 years of age it was 18.8%.

In fact, according to a recent Pew Research Center study, approximately 37% of all Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 have either been unemployed or underemployed at some point during this recession.

But what makes things even worse for college graduates is that so many of them are coming out of school with absolutely crushing student debt loads.

Today, approximately two-thirds of all U.S. college students graduate with student loans.

But it isn’t just that they have student loans.  The loan balances that many of these students are graduating with these days are absolutely obscene.

The Project on Student Debt estimates that 206,000 U.S. college students graduated with more than $40,000 in student loan debt in 2008.  Using 2008 dollars as a baseline, that represents a ninefold increase over the number of students graduating with that amount of debt in 1996.

Most college students don’t think much about all of the debt that they are accumulating while they are in school.

But once they get out, the sudden realization that they have gotten themselves into student loan payments that they cannot possibly handle can be completely demoralizing.

The New York Times recently profiled Cortney Munna – a recent college graduate who has not been able to get a “good job” and who now finds herself in student loan hell.  She recently told the New York Times that she would be more than glad to give back her education if she could just get out of all this debt….

“I don’t want to spend the rest of my life slaving away to pay for an education I got for four years and would happily give back.”

In recent years, millions of young college graduates have found that the “great education” that they thought they were getting actually doesn’t get them very far at all in the real world.

In fact, they often find themselves taking jobs where they work right next to other people their age who never even went to college.

So a lot of young college graduates find themselves wishing that they could just “return” their education and get all that money back.

But there is no walking away from student loan debt.

The truth is that federal bankruptcy law makes it nearly impossible to discharge student loan debts.

Basically, once you get into student loan hell there is no escape.

So now we have hundreds of thousands of college graduates that can’t get good jobs and that have brutal student loan payments that they can’t possibly handle.

No wonder so many of them seem so angry and depressed.

But the funny thing is that so many that are still in college are so unbelievably optimistic about the future.

Edwin Koc, director of research for the National Association of Colleges and Employers says that those approaching college graduation are an extremely confident bunch….

“Over 90 percent think they have a perfect résumé. The percentage who think they will have a job in hand three months after graduation is now 57 percent. They’re still supremely confident in themselves.”

So have we done a good job of teaching them to have confidence in themselves or have we done them a disservice by allowing so many of them to live in complete denial?

The truth is that the U.S. economy is in the process of collapsing, and we need to prepare our young people for the tough times that are ahead.  Life is going to require an extreme amount of hard work and discipline in the years ahead, and unfortunately those qualities are not in great supply among young Americans right now.

Actually, the “real world” is not going to be getting easier for any of us.  We are all going to require an attitude adjustment if we are going to successfully navigate the difficult times that are coming.  So let’s not be too hard on new college graduates and other young Americans.  The truth is that the vast majority of us are “soft” at least to some degree because of the decadent society in which we live.  Let’s just hope that somehow we can all find enough inner strength to endure the great challenges that are going to confront us in the years ahead.

The Extreme Frustration Of Unemployed Americans

When Barack Obama visited Buffalo recently, he was greeted by a billboard advertisement with a very pointed message about unemployment.  In just a few words it summarized the frustrations of an entire region.  The billboard along I-190 had this very simple message for Obama: “Dear Mr. President, I need a freakin job. Period. Sincerely, inafj.org.”  As word about this billboard got out, it quickly made headlines all over the United States.  Why?  Well, the truth is that millions of hard working Americans are extremely frustrated about their lack of work right now.  When you don’t have a job and you can’t provide for your family, very little else seems to matter.  In fact, according to a recent Gallup poll, unemployment is now the second most important issue to American voters.  The number one issue is the economy.

The reality is that the American people don’t want excuses.

They want jobs.

And some are getting so desperate that they are even putting up billboards to express their frustrations.

So who sponsored the billboard in Buffalo?

Well, it was actually sponsored by a group organized by Buffalo businessman Jeff Baker.  It turns out that Baker lost his own small business 15 months ago.  His business had employed 25 people, and when he was forced to close it he described it as “the most heartbreaking situation” of his entire life.

Baker’s group, INAFJ (“I Need A Freakin Job”), says that they are not about playing politics.  What they want is only one thing.

Jobs.

They want someone to put the American people back to work.  Baker recently explained it this way….

“Nothing else matters unless the American people are working.”

In some areas of the United States, the situation is beyond desperate.  Detroit is a great example of this.  Not only does the city resemble a war zone at this point, but Detroit’s mayor says that the unemployment rate in his city is somewhere around 50 percent.

So how in the world is a major city supposed to function when 40 to 50 percent of the people living there can’t get the work that they need?

The sad thing is that Detroit used to be one of the most prosperous areas in the United States.  Once upon a time, the auto industry was booming and there were lots of great jobs available for blue collar workers.

But that all seems so far away now.

For decades, the politicians in Washington D.C. have allowed (or even encouraged) the offshoring of our manufacturing jobs, and now we are a nation with a dwindling manufacturing base that is rapidly bleeding cash.

In fact, the U.S. trade deficit widened for the second consecutive month in March to its highest level since December 2008.  Every single month we buy much more from the rest of the world than they buy from us.  That means that wealth is constantly flowing out of this nation, and no end to the bleeding is in sight.

The truth is that America’s twin deficits (the trade deficit and the massive U.S. government budget deficit) are absolutely destroying the financial condition of this nation.  For years and years economists have warned that these deficits would bring about a day of reckoning at some point, and now that day is here.

We are told by the media that we have entered an economic recovery, but with tens of millions of Americans not able to get the work that they need, most people are not convinced.  In fact, a new poll shows that 76 percent of Americans believe that the U.S. economy is still in a recession.

But this is nothing compared to what is coming.

The truth is that the United States is rapidly becoming a service economy.  Service jobs pay less than manufacturing jobs do, and the rapid advance of technology in recent decades has made human labor increasingly unnecessary.

That means that the “system” does not need our labor as much as it once did.

This is leading to a situation where there is a widening gap between the “haves” and the “have nots”.  In fact, the bottom 40 percent of those living in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.

But not everyone has been hurting during this financial crisis.

Did you know that the number of millionaires in the United States rose 16 percent to 7.8 million in 2009?

Not only that, but an analysis of income-tax data by the Congressional Budget Office a few years ago found that the top 1% of households in the United States own nearly twice as much of the corporate wealth as they did just 15 years ago.

The elite are getting richer, while at the same time tens of millions of other Americans are finding it increasingly more difficult to survive.

That is why groups like INAFJ are becoming so popular.  They are tapping into the frustration of the growing number of Americans who are desperately trying to make it from month to month.  The following is a short video that INAFJ posted on YouTube about their organization….

So do have a story of economic frustration that you would like to share with the world?

Have you found yourself working harder and harder for less and less?

Does it seem like you come up short at the end of every month no matter how hard you try?

If you have a story, we would love to share it with our readers.  Please feel free to post your tale of economic frustration in the comments section below….

Paupers In The Land Our Forefathers Conquered

A long time ago, in an America now far, far away, the majority of the American people owned the land that they live on.  The term “my land” actually meant something back then.  But today that has fundamentally changed.  Now the majority of the American people owe on the land that they live on.  In fact, most of them owe big money to the giant corporate banking interests that control the mortgage industry.  So how did the American people come to be debtors and paupers in the land that our forefathers conquered?  Today when someone says that they “bought a house” what they really mean is that they have signed up for 30 years (or more) of bloated mortgage payments which they care barely afford.  As you will see below, the percentage of residential mortgage debt to total home equity (housing net worth) in the United States continues to rise at a staggering pace.  In fact, thanks to the housing crash, for the first time in American history residential mortgage debt far surpasses the total home equity owned by all Americans.  So what does that mean?  It means that the big corporate banks have more of an interest in America’s homes than we do now.

So how are we getting our land taken from us?

Well, you can thank rampant inflation and the housing bubble.

Back in 1980, the United States was pushing up towards a total of $1 billion in total residential mortgage debt.  It took us over 200 years to get to that point as a nation.

By 1990, the United States approximately doubled that amount and was sitting at about $2 trillion  in total residential mortgage debt.

By the year 2000, the United States had just about $5 trillion in total residential mortgage debt.

By 2008, the United States had over $10 trillion in total residential mortgage debt.

Do you notice a trend?

In just the past 30 years the amount of residential mortgage debt in the United States has increased tenfold.

Meanwhile, thanks to the housing crash, home equity has taken a nosedive.  As you can see from the chart below, total residential mortgage debt in the U.S. now far exceeds total home equity….

So what does this mean?  It means that the banks have more of a financial interest in America’s homes than we do.  It means that we are quickly becoming paupers and debt slaves.

As you can see from the chart below, back in 1945 total home equity as a percentage of home value was extremely high (80%).  Home equity exceeded total residential mortgage debt by about a 4 to 1 margin.  But today total residential mortgage debt exceeds home equity and the situation is rapidly becoming worse….

We were all told to buy into the system and we could live the American Dream.  We were told to get a “good job” with one of the big global corporations and we were told to get a mortgage so that we could build up equity.  Well, that has turned out great for most of us, hasn’t it?

The reality is that the system so many of us trusted is dying.  We are now at the point where the system cannot provide jobs for millions of us anymore.  If unemployment continues to soar as it has, millions more of us will find ourselves destitute and homeless on the continent our forefathers conquered….

So how did all of this happen?

Back in 1913, the U.S. Congress gave control over U.S. currency to the Federal Reserve.  Since that time, the value of the U.S. dollar has slowly been eroded.  $1.00 in 1914 (the year after the Federal Reserve was established) had about the same buying power as $21.59 in 2010.  That means that the U.S. dollar has lost over 95 percent of its purchasing power since then.

So the accumulated wealth that our parents and grandparents hand down to us is being constantly devalued.  The only way to keep up with rising prices on land and on everything else is to go out into the system to get more of the “currency” that is controlled and manipulated by the Federal Reserve and the big corporate banks.  But what most of us don’t realize is that the game is rigged to slowly transfer the wealth of the nation over to them.

The house always wins in the end.

Thanks to the greed and stupidity of the American people, we have accumulated the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world.  It was a fun party while we were piling up all the debt, but now the bankers have us where they want us.

If only we had listened to those among our founding fathers who warned us about this trap.

For example, the words of Thomas Jefferson in a letter to John Taylor dated May 28th, 1816 ring more true today than they ever have….

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.

The truth is that the American people are being swindled and most of them don’t even realize it.  The wealth of America is slowly being transferred to the big banks.  All of the interest that we pay month after month after month makes them rich.

The financial system of the United States is broken.  But until the U.S. economy totally collapses most Americans will not realize it.  By then it will be far too late.

FINCA BAYANO

12 Reasons Why Millions Of Americans Are Incredibly Angry About The State Of The U.S. Economy

We have reached a very interesting turning point in American history.  More than at any other point in modern times, Americans are deeply angry about the state of the economy.  In fact, it is no stretch to say that millions of U.S. citizens are hopping mad about the economic situation.  Most of them don’t know exactly what is wrong, and even fewer of them have any idea about how to go about fixing things, but they do know one thing.  They know that they are mad.  As Americans, we were raised with the belief that our overwhelmingly powerful economic machine would always provide good jobs and prosperity for all of us as long as we worked hard.  But we have come to learn that is not true.  We have come to learn that our politicians and our leaders have squandered the great inheritance that our forefathers left for us.  We have come to learn that the financial future of our nation is beyond bleak.  We have come to learn that our government has piled up the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world.  Now the foolish decisions of the past several decades are catching up with us.  The U.S. economy is experiencing structural failure, and the American people are angry.  They want answers.  They want someone to fix things.  They want things to go back to the way they used to be.

But that isn’t going to happen.  Once the American people truly start realizing that, the anger that will erupt will dwarf what we are seeing now.

Not that they are aren’t already incredibly steamed.  The following are 12 reasons why many Americans are absolutely furious about the state of the U.S. economy….

#1) There simply are not enough jobs for everyone.  The number of unemployed Americans per job opening has started to increase again, hitting 5.5 in February.  Even many of those who are able to get some work find themselves only able to obtain part-time employment.  Gallup’s underemployment measure hit 20.0% on March 15th.  This was up from 19.7% two weeks earlier and 19.5% at the start of the year.

#2) More Americans than ever find themselves having to rely on the U.S. government just to survive.  According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, about 39.4 million Americans, a new all-time record, received food stamps in January.  This was up 22% from a year earlier.  In fact, the number of Americans on food stamps has hit all-time records for 14 consecutive months.

#3) Foreclosures continue to set records across the United States.  RealtyTrac, the California-based authority on property trends and valuations, projects that there will be 4.5 million home foreclosures before the end of this year.  If you figure 4 people per household, that is another 18 million people that will be forced out of their homes.

#4) As unemployment and foreclosures continue to soar, “tent slums” have started popping up all over the United States.  Is this why our founding fathers fought and died?  So we could all live in “tent slums” as the big fat cats on Wall Street roll around in their bailout cash?

#5) But even with all of these economic problems, the price of food is going up.  Rising demand and reduced supply drove supermarket prices for 16 basic foods up 6.2% in the first quarter of 2010.

#6) Due to the exploding government debt, the American people are going to be confronted with some tough choices.  According to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, the United States will soon have to make difficult choices between higher taxes and reduced social spending.  Either alternative will slow down the U.S. economy.

#7) Meanwhile, corruption in the financial system is running rampant.  The CEOs of bailed-out regional banks are actually getting big raises.  The guy who helped bring down AIG is going to get off scott-free and will be able to keep the millions in profits that he made in the process.

#8) But the biggest fraud is being committed by the boys at the top of the food chain.  A whistle blower has come forward with “smoking gun” evidence of price manipulation by major financial institutions in the precious metals markets.  The scope of this fraud is in the trillions of dollars.  The American people can’t stomach much more of this type of thing.

#9) Almost all financial experts agree that the era of super cheap money is over and that interest rates are about to rise significantly.  This is going to make it much more expensive for most Americans to borrow money to buy a home, to buy a car, to buy things with their credit cards or to borrow money for education.  Those who already have adjustable loans are going to find a much larger portion of their income going to pay interest.  Needless to say, this is going to cause the U.S. economy to experience a significant slowdown.

#10) One of the biggest things that the American people are upset about is the “health care reform” bill that was just rammed down their throats.  It turns out that “health care reform” is actually going to be the biggest tax increase in American history.  Not only that, but because of taxes and mandates imposed upon health insurance companies by the legislation, health insurance premiums are also about to increase substantially.  So where will the average American family get the money to pay for these increases?

#11) In addition, the new health care law that was supposed to give all of us much better health care is actually going to force the cancellation of at least 60 doctor-owned hospitals that were scheduled to be opened according to the executive director of Physician Hospitals of America.  Why?  Well, it turns out that the new law singles out physician-owned hospitals, making new physician-owned projects ineligible to receive payments for Medicare and Medicaid patients.

#12) The reality is that Americans are increasingly becoming disenchanted with the lack of leadership in both political parties.  Approval ratings for leaders in both parties are extremely low, and anger at politicians is at an all-time high.  The Tea Party movement is just one symptom of the seething anger many Americans are feeling.  While many Americans are gathering together at large protest rallies to demonstrate against the policies of the government, others are expressing their displeasure on blogs and websites.  There has never been a moment in modern times when Americans have been so disenchanted with their political leadership.

This anger is not going to go away.  It could be soothed a bit if the U.S. economy was fully fixed and things went back to the way they used to be.  But as noted previously, that just is not going to happen.  Harder times are ahead.  Americans are going to get angrier and angrier.

But there is not much that can be done to prevent that anger.  The politicians who are in office when things really hit the fan are going to take the brunt of the anger, but it won’t be their fault.  The truth is that this economic collapse has been building for decades.  The American people are just not going to understand that the financial system cannot be fixed overnight.

Dark times are coming.  It is not going to be pretty.  There is going to be a lot of anger and a lot of hate.  But all of these economic problems could be seen well ahead of time and there have been those who have been screaming and yelling about them for decades.

But very few people wanted to listen.

Austin Coins

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