The One Percent: Gigantic Government + Gigantic Corporations = Massive Wealth Inequality In America

Today, there are protests all over America that are targeting “the one percent” and all of the wealth and power that they have accumulated.  Unfortunately, many of the solutions that these protesters are advocating simply will not work and will not lead to less wealth inequality.  To understand this, you have to understand how we got to this point.  Over the past several decades, our federal government has exploded in size and our large corporations have exploded in size.  In fact, we have seen this pattern happen pretty much all over the world.  Governments and corporations all over the globe are getting much bigger.  Whenever you have very, very large concentrations of money and power like that, it is going to lead to massive wealth inequality.  The Occupy Wall Street protesters would like to frame this debate as “socialism vs. capitalism”, but the truth is that wherever you find big government you will almost always find big corporations, and wherever you find big corporations you will almost always find big government.  Sure, they spar once in a while, but the reality is that big government and big corporations work in tandem most of the time.  Sometimes big government has the upper hand and sometimes big corporations have the upper hand, but they are both collectivist institutions.  Wherever you find collectivism in the world, you will find an elite that receives most of the benefits while the rest of the population suffers.  In the United States today, our gigantic government is thriving and our gigantic corporations are thriving and the middle class is rapidly shrinking.  The solution to this is not to replace one form of collectivism with another form of collectivism.  Rather, what we need is to go back to what our founding fathers intended.  They were extremely suspicious of large concentrations of wealth and power, and they intended for us to live in a capitalist system where individuals and small businesses had the freedom to compete and thrive.

Today, Democrats tell us that we need an even bigger government and that we need to redistribute even more wealth to the poor.  But the bigger the government gets, the more poor people we seem to have.  As you will see below, the only people that seem to be thriving from big government are the bureaucrats.

Republicans tell us that we need to make life better for the big corporations.  But the reality is that the bigger our giant corporations get, the faster the middle class shrinks.  The big corporations are shipping millions of our jobs out of the country, and they are magnets for wealth and power.  If you are not aware of how overwhelmingly dominant corporations have become in our society, just read this article.

Democrats should not be defending big government, and Republicans should not be defending the abuses of the big corporations.

Whenever big government and big corporations work together there is going to be massive income inequality, and massive income inequality is not a good thing.

Yes, there are always going to be some people that do much better than others (and there is nothing wrong with that), but we should not have a system which is designed to funnel almost all of the wealth and almost all of the power to a very small minority.

In essence, this article is arguing the following….

Gigantic government = bad.

Gigantic corporations = bad.

This was the view of our founding fathers, and this is what we need to get back to.

Let’s take a look at some of the results of our current system.  Let’s start with income inequality caused by big government.

Today, the Washington D.C. region has the highest median household income in the entire nation.  According to the most recent numbers, median household income in the D.C. area is $84,523.

So what is the cause of this?

Well, it is not because Washington D.C. is a great center of industry or finance.  Rather, it is because the federal government is spending over 3 trillion dollars a year and is showering huge piles of cash on hordes of bureaucrats.

In a recent article, I noted some of the mind blowing statistics that show how bureaucrats in Washington D.C. are living the high life at our expense….

*When you total up all compensation (including health care and benefits), the average income for a federal worker in the Washington D.C. area last year was $126,369.

*In 2005, 7420 federal workers were making $150,000 or more per year.  In 2010, a whopping 82,034 federal workers were making $150,000 or more per year.  That is more than a tenfold increase in just five years.

*In 2005, the U.S. Department of Defense had just nine civilians earning $170,000 or more.  When Barack Obama took office, the U.S. Department of Defense had 214 civilians earning $170,000 or more.  In June 2010, the U.S. Department of Defense had 994 civilians earning $170,000 or more.

*Last year, federal employees “earned” approximately 447 billion dollars in total compensation.

As I have written about previously, our gigantic federal government also empowers the big corporations to continue to accumulate staggering amounts of wealth and power.  This is one reason why the big corporations contribute so much money to political campaigns.  The big corporations (and the elite that own and run them) have much more influence over the political process than we do.  They have spent decades buying politicians and getting laws passed that tilt the rules of the game radically in their favor.

This is something that our founding fathers did not want to happen.  In a 2010 article, Rick Ungar noted that there were very significant restrictions on corporations in the early days of America….

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

There was a lot of wisdom to that approach.  Our founding fathers knew that corporations would become giant magnets for wealth and power if they were allowed to grow unchecked.

Today, multinational corporations completely and totally dominate the global economy.  The following comes from a recent article I posted on The American Dream….

Corporations not only completely dominate the U.S. economy, they also completely dominate the global economy as well.  A newly released University of Zurich study examined more than 43,000 major multinational corporations.  The study discovered a vast web of interlocking ownerships that is controlled by a “core” of 1,318 giant corporations. But that “core” itself is controlled by a “super-entity” of 147 monolithic corporations that are very, very tightly knit.  As a recent article in NewScientist noted, these 147 corporations control approximately 40 percent of all the wealth in the entire network

These giant corporations are so dominant that it is nearly impossible to compete with them.  The number of small businesses in America is shrinking fast.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 16.6 million Americans were self-employed back in December 2006.  Today, that number has shrunk to 14.5 million.

This is exactly what we would expect to see under “corporatism“, but under true capitalism we would expect to see the exact opposite.

As the federal government and the big corporations continue to grow, the middle class is being wiped out.  If you doubt that the middle class is shrinking, just read this article.

Yes, there is a limited role for the federal government to play and there is a limited role for corporations to play.  But right now things are radically, radically out of balance.

This is creating a tremendous amount of income inequality in the United States.  The middle class is being systematically destroyed, and the growth of the gap between the one percent and the rest of us just continues to accelerate.

This was certainly illustrated by numbers that were recently released by the Congressional Budget Office.  The very wealthy have done extremely well over the last 30 years.  For the rest of us, things have not been so great.  The following figures come from a recent blog post by the director of the Congressional Budget Office….

CBO finds that between 1979 and 2007:

  • For the 1 percent of the population with the highest income, average real after-tax household income grew by 275 percent (see figure below).
  • For others in the 20 percent of the population with the highest income, average real after-tax household income grew by 65 percent.
  • For the 60 percent of the population in the middle of the income scale, the growth in average real after-tax household income was just under 40 percent.
  • For the 20 percent of the population with the lowest income, the growth in average real after-tax household income was about 18 percent.

Meanwhile, as a recent USA Today article noted, the middle class continues to falter in the majority of the communities around the United States….

A USA TODAY analysis of Census data found the Reno area was among 150 nationwide where the share of income going to the middle class — generally made up of households that make $20,700 to $99,900 a year — shrank from 2006 to 2010. Metro areas where the middle class’ share of income dropped outnumbered those where it grew by more than 2-to-1.

So just how well is the top one percent doing compared to the rest of us?

The following statistics should be a wake up call for all of us….

*According to the Congressional Budget Office, the top one percent is the only group that saw its share of our national income increase between 1979 and 2007.

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

*Between 1979 and and 2007, the average household income of the top one percent of all Americans soared from $346,600 to $1.3 million.

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

*As the “one percent” thrives, the share of the pie being enjoyed by the middle class is shrinking.  According to Heidi Shierholz, an economist with the Economic Policy Institute, about 53 percent of all income went to the middle class back in the 1970s, but today only about 46 percent of all income does.

*According to Harvard Magazine, 66% of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top one percent of all Americans.

*The wealthiest one percent of all Americans now own more than a third of all the wealth in the United States while the poorest 50 percent of all Americans collectively own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.

*The wealthiest one percent of all Americans own over 50% of all the stocks and bonds.

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

*This is all happening at a time when the United States as a whole is slipping.  Ten years ago, the United States was ranked number one in average wealth per adult.  In 2010, the United States fell to seventh.

*Income inequality is not just growing in the United States.  Today, the wealthiest one percent of the earth’s population controls 39% of the wealth.

There is certainly nothing wrong with being wealthy.  If you and your family work really hard and provide great value to the community around you then you should greatly benefit.

But a system that is designed to systematically drain wealth from the general population and transfer it into the hands of an ultra-wealthy elite is not what our founding fathers ever hand in mind.  At the time of our founding, England was dominated by big government (the monarchy) and by big business (the East India Company, for example).  Our founders warned us over and over about the potential abuses that can happen when very large concentrations of wealth and power are allowed to dominate a society.

Unfortunately, the Occupy Wall Street movement has it all wrong.  They recognize the overwhelming wealth and power accumulated by the one percent, but most of them are advocating even more collectivism as the answer.

Some of them even say that they want to “end capitalism” altogether.  Michael Moore says that he is not part of the one percent and that he wants to “end capitalism”, even though he has made millions upon millions of dollars from his various projects.

But socialism and communism never bring equality.  Like other forms of collectivism, socialism and communism almost always bring more tyranny and they almost always funnel most of the financial rewards to a very small elite.

Others simply wish to see the U.S. government transfer more wealth from the hands of the rich to the hands of the poor.

Helping the poor is certainly a noble goal, and handouts can certainly ease suffering at least temporarily.  But handouts are never a permanent solution and they can cause large numbers of people to end up becoming completely and totally dependent on the government.

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

So has the plight of the poor gotten better?

No, we now have more than 45 million Americans on food stamps, last year we had the largest increase in the number of Americans living in poverty in U.S. history and the middle class continues to shrink rapidly.

The truth is that what poor and middle class Americans really need are opportunities.  Handouts will keep people alive, but they will not give people hope and a future.

What Americans really need is an environment where they can find jobs or start small businesses.  Unfortunately, the environment for small businesses in this country is incredibly toxic and millions of our good jobs have been shipped overseas.  The big corporations have discovered that they can make even bigger profits by sending jobs to countries where it is legal to pay slave labor wages.  To say that we need big corporations because they are the ones that “create jobs” is simply not true anymore.

So now we have tens of millions of Americans that we have to take care of every single month.  There is nothing wrong with helping them survive, but giving them even more handouts is not going to permanently solve anything.

We need to have a population that is empowered to work hard, produce wealth and create a bright future for their families.

Instead, what we have is a system that greatly rewards the top one percent and that is pushing all of the rest of us toward poverty.

Gigantic government plus gigantic corporations is always going to equal massive wealth inequality.

The bigger we allow government to grow and the bigger we allow corporations to grow, the worse it is going to get.

So is any of this going to change any time soon?

Well, considering the fact that the vast majority of our politicians are in the pockets of the big corporations, I would not be getting your hopes up.

 

Rampant Unemployment = The Death Of The Middle Class – 40 Facts That Prove The Working Class Is Being Systematically Wiped Out

Without an abundance of good jobs, the middle class in the United States is going to shrivel up and die.  Right now, rampant unemployment is absolutely killing communities all over America.  Hopelessness and poverty are exploding and many are now wondering if we are actually witnessing the slow death of the middle class.  There simply are not nearly enough “good jobs” to go around anymore, and even many in the mainstream media are referring to this as a “long-term structural problem” with the economy.  The only thing that most working class Americans have to offer in the marketplace is their labor.  If nobody will hire them they do not have any other ways to provide for their families.  Well, there is a problem.  Today wealth has become incredibly centralized.  The big corporations and the big banks dominate everything.  Thanks to incredible advances in technology and thanks to the globalization of our economic system, the people with all the money don’t have to hire as many ordinary Americans anymore.  They can hire all the labor they want on the other side of the globe for a fraction of the cost.  So the rich don’t really have that much use for the working class in America anymore.  The only thing of value that the working class had to offer has now been tremendously devalued.  The wealthy don’t have to pay a lot for physical labor anymore.  Thousands of our factories and millions of our jobs have been shipped overseas and they aren’t coming back.  The big corporations are thriving while tens of millions of ordinary Americans are deeply suffering.  Almost all of the wealth being produced by our economy is going to a very centralized group of people at the very top of the food chain.  The rich are getting richer and the working class is being systematically wiped out.

So the fact that we are facing rampant unemployment that never seems to go away should not be a surprise to anyone.  Today, the “official” unemployment rate went up to 9.2 percent even though a whopping 272,000 Americans “dropped out of the labor force” in June.  The government unemployment figure that includes “discouraged workers” went up from 15.8% to 16.2%.  The mainstream media is proclaiming that this was “a horrific report” because most economists were expecting much better news.

Well, guess what?

Things are going to get a whole lot worse.

More job cuts are coming.  One recently released report found that the number of job cuts being planned by U.S. employers increased by 11.6% in June.

It is also being projected that state and local governments across the U.S. will slash nearly half a million more jobs by the end of next year.

Needless to say, things don’t look good.

Most people that still have jobs are desperately trying to hold on to them.

Employers know that most workers are easily replaceable these days, so wages are not moving up even though the cost of living is.

We are right in the middle of the worst employment downturn since World War 2.  Jay-Z recently summed up the situation this way….

“Numbers don’t lie. Unemployment is pretty high.”

Jay-Z certainly has a way with words, eh?

If something is not done about the rampant unemployment in this nation, the death of the middle class will accelerate.

Most Americans just assume that the United States will always have a large middle class, but there is no guarantee that is going to happen.  In fact, there is a whole lot of evidence that the middle class in America is rapidly shrinking.

Take a few moments to read over the facts compiled below.  Taken together, they provide compelling evidence that the working class is being systematically wiped out….

#1 Right now, the U.S. government says that 14.1 million Americans are unemployed.

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

#3 The number of Americans that are “not in the labor force” is at an all-time high.

#4 The United States has never had an employment downturn this deep and this prolonged since World War 2 ended.

#5 There are officially 6.3 million Americans that have been unemployed for more than 6 months.  That number has risen by more than 3.5 million in just the past two years.

#6 It now takes the average unemployed worker in America about 40 weeks to find a new job.  Just check out this chart….

#7 There are now about 7.25 million fewer jobs in America than when the recession began back in 2007.

#8 Back in 2000, the employment to population ratio was over 64 percent.  Today, it is sitting at just 58.2%.

#9 Only 66.8% of American men had a job last year.  That was the lowest level that has ever been recorded in all of U.S. history.

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

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

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

#13 According to a report released in February from the National Employment Law Project, higher wage industries are accounting for 40 percent of the job losses in America but only 14 percent of the job growth.  Lower wage industries are accounting for just 23 percent of the job losses but 49 percent of the job growth.

#14 The United States has lost a staggering 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000.

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

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

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

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

#19 The United States now spends more than 4 dollars on goods and services from China for every one dollar that China spends on goods and services from the United States.

#20 Since China entered the WTO in 2001, the U.S. trade deficit with China has grown by an average of 18% per year.

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

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

#23 In 2002, the United States had a trade deficit in “advanced technology products” of $16 billion with the rest of the world.  In 2010, that number skyrocketed to $82 billion.

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

#25 Since 2001, over 42,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States have been closed.

#26 There were more manufacturing jobs in the United States in 1950 than there are today.

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

#28 When you adjust wages for inflation, middle class workers in the United States make less money today than they did back in 1971.

#29 One recent survey found that 9 out of 10 U.S. workers do not expect their wages to keep up with soaring food prices and soaring gas prices over the next 12 months.

#30 Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.

#31 One out of every six elderly Americans now lives below the federal poverty line.

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

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

#34 As 2007 began, there were 26 million Americans on food stamps.  Today, there are more than 44 million Americans on food stamps, which is an all-time record.

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

#36 59 percent of all Americans now receive money from the federal government in one form or another.

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

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

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

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

The cold, hard reality of the matter is that the United States is experiencing a long-term economic decline.

Every single day, more American families fall out of the middle class and into poverty.  There are millions of American families out there tonight that are just barely hanging on by their fingernails.

More Americans than ever are constantly borrowing more money just to stay afloat.  Even as rampant unemployment plagues this nation and even as wages remain stagnant, middle class Americans are increasing their use of credit.

A CNBC article noted the increase in consumer borrowing that we have seen recently….

The Federal Reserve says consumer borrowing rose $5.1 billion following a revised gain of $5.7 billion in April. Borrowing in the category that covers credit cards increased, as did borrowing in the category for auto and student loans.

It is very hard to live “the American Dream” without going into huge amounts of debt these days.

But for an increasing number of Americans, “the American Dream” is just a distant memory.

Tonight, there are large numbers of people living in the tunnels under the city of Las Vegas.  As the wealthy live the high life in the casinos and hotels above them, an increasing number of desperate “tunnel people” are attempting to carve out an existence in the 200 mile long labyrinth of tunnels that stretches beneath Vegas.  It is a nightmarish environment, but it is all those people have left.

Don’t look down on them, because you never know who might be next.

If you lost your current job, how long would you be able to survive?

Unfortunately, as bad as things are now, the reality is that this is just the beginning.

You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Do what you can to make sure that you and your family are not totally wiped out by the next wave of the economic collapse.

The State Of The Economy

The U.S. economy is like a rubber band that is being pulled in several different directions at the same time.  Everyone knows that at some point it is going to snap, but nobody is quite sure exactly when it is going to happen.  Right now, the state of the economy is not good, and it is going to get a whole lot worse.  Sadly, most Americans don’t even understand the economic fundamentals well enough to be able to ask the right questions to our politicians.  Today, the United States consumes far more wealth than it produces every single month.  That means we are continually getting poorer.  U.S. debt is also rising at a far greater rate than U.S. GDP is.  On an individual level, if your assets were going down every single month and if you were going into more debt every single single month it would be easy to understand what was happening.  However, most Americans can’t really seem to grasp what is taking place on a national level.  Our politicians and the mainstream media just keep telling them that everything is going to be okay and they just keep believing it.

These days our leaders are resorting to increasingly desperate measures in order to help revive the economy.  On Thursday, Barack Obama decided to release 30 million barrels of oil from the U.S. strategic oil reserve.

Yes, that will drive down oil prices for a few days, but what is going to happen someday if we actually need to use that strategic oil reserve?

But in many ways you can’t blame Obama for trying.  He desperately wants to get reelected and he knows that his campaign will be highly dependent on the state of the economy.  Look for Obama to pull out all the stops as we get closer to the fall of 2012.

Sadly, the truth is that it almost does not matter what the Democrats or the Republicans do at this point.  The long-term trends are so powerful now that it would take a miracle to reverse them. We are facing an “economic tsunami” that is just going to keep on destroying middle class America.

If you went to a store today, and there were two somewhat similar products sitting on the shelf and one cost ten times more than the other one, which one would you buy?

Well, that is the situation facing American workers today.  They have been pushed into one giant globalized labor pool, but big corporations are allowed to pay workers on the other side of the globe slave labor wages.  It costs ten times more (at least) to hire a blue collar American worker than it does to hire a blue collar worker in most areas of Asia.

As a result of the globalization of labor, we have seen a mass exodus of jobs out of the United States, and wages for many of the jobs that remain have been significantly depressed.

There simply are not nearly enough jobs for all Americans at this point.

Recent college grads are finding this out.  A new study that was conducted by Rutgers University discovered that over 30 percent of all those that graduated from college between 2006 and 2010 were not able to get a job within six months of graduation.

But unemployment is only part of the story.  There are millions upon millions of Americans that are “underemployed” today.

There are hordes of highly educated, hard working Americans that are working temporary or part-time jobs at close to minimum wage because that is all they can get.

With good jobs being so scarce, American families are finding it more difficult than ever to make ends meet.

One recent survey found that 9 out of 10 U.S. workers do not expect their wages to keep up with the rising cost of basics such as food and gasoline over the next year.

I talked about the rising cost of food in my recent article entitled “Why Are Food Prices Rising So Fast?”  Today, one out of every seven Americans is already on food stamps, and if the cost of living keeps rising this quickly we are going to see millions more of our fellow citizens clamoring for government assistance.

The decline of the American consumer is having other effects as well.

For example, pre-orders for Christmas toys from China are way down.

It looks like this holiday season is not going to be as “merry” as usual.

It would be nice if we could say that the economy is improving, but that simply is not the case.

American households are in a far different place than they were prior to the recent recession.

For example, did you know that home values in the United States have plummeted $6.6 trillion since the peak back in 2007?

U.S. homeowners have taken the brunt of that decline.  According to the Federal Reserve, average home equity has fallen from 61 percent in 2001 to 38 percent in the first quarter of 2011.

That is a colossal shift.

If U.S. homeowners only own 38 percent of their homes, then who owns the rest?

The banks do.

Doesn’t that just make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?

Health care is another area where American families are getting squeezed.

Today, the United States spends more on health care per person than any other country in the world.

Sadly, we are also one of the sickest populations on the planet.

What is up with that?

Once upon a time the United States had a middle class that was the envy of the entire globe.

Now it is being ripped to shreds at every turn.

Today, approximately half of all Americans say that they could not come up with $2,000 within 30 days without selling away some possessions.

The vast majority of us are basically flat broke and surviving from month to month.

Meanwhile, our vaunted financial system just may be on the verge of another meltdown.

There has been all sorts of volatility in the marketplace recently and there are all kinds of signs that Wall Street is about to go into panic mode.

For example, Moody’s recently warned that it may downgrade the debt ratings of Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo.

Barclays Capital, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley are all either already laying workers off or are rumored to be considering it.

Frank Davis, director of sales and trading with LEK Securities, says that there is a lot of pessimism on Wall Street right now….

“There’s a lot of emotion in this market at the moment, and the conversations among traders are nearly all leaning toward the bear side”

As the financial system spins out of control, the Federal Reserve is increasing the number of workers that it is “embedding” at the big Wall Street banks.

I guess the Fed wants to keep a closer eye on things as they come crashing down.

Sadly, so much of this would be much easier to fix if our nation was not drowning in debt.

Since Barack Obama was elected, the national debt has increased by nearly 4 trillion dollars. If you and I went out today and started repaying that 4 trillion dollars at a rate of one dollar per second, it would take over 120,000 years to do it.

Most Americans have a hard time comprehending these kinds of numbers. Janet Tavakoli tried to put our debt situation into perspective in her latest column….

David Walker, the former U.S. comptroller general, says it’s even worse than that. When he takes into account future obligations for Medicare, Social Security, Federal debt, Military retirement, Civil servant retirement, and more, we owe $546,663 per household. That doesn’t even include your local debt — it may not be as bad as if you lived in Illinois, but it’s substantial nonetheless — and personal debt including mortgages and consumer debt that average more than $120,000 per household.

But you don’t have to toss wild numbers around to get an idea of how much trouble we are in.

As I have written about recently, there is increasing evidence all around us that the collapse of society is accelerating.  We are seeing disturbing reports of civil unrest pop up all over the U.S. at an alarming rate.

According to a CBS affiliate in Chicago, earlier this week approximately 50 young people conducted a shocking mob robbery of a drug store located on the Magnificent Mile in Chicago….

Some 50 young people barged into a Walgreens at Michigan and Chicago on the Magnificent Mile on Tuesday afternoon. They took bottled drinks and sandwiches off the shelves, then ran off, CBS 2′s Suzanne Le Mignot reports.

When large groups of young people get together and agree to commit crimes that should be a huge red flag for all of us.

We are a nation that is deeply, deeply divided.  Hatred is growing and the love of most Americans is growing cold.

As I have written about previously on “The American Dream“, the American people are actually encouraged to hate one another these days….

The truth is that the “establishment” is constantly trying to divide us and get us fighting with one another.  They pit the Republicans against the Democrats (even as though control both sides).  They pit one race against another.  They pit one gender against another.  We are told that the rich are against the poor, the north is against the south, urban is against rural and that there are even “generational battles” going on.  Frustration and hate are rapidly growing in the United States today, and a lot of that frustration and hate is unfortunately aimed at the targets that the mainstream media has programmed all of us to hate.  Meanwhile, those at the top of the pyramid who are controlling the whole game love it when we are divided because we can never become united and challenge their control.

We need to come together as a nation.  If we don’t, we are going to face an unprecedented nightmare when the economy collapses.

So what do you think about the state of the economy?  Please feel free to leave a comment with your opinion below….

18 Signs The Collapse Of Society Is Accelerating

As the U.S. economy collapses, the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted is going to begin to disappear.  In fact, there are already an increasing number of signs that the collapse of society is accelerating.  In cities such as Chicago, roving packs of young people are “mob robbing” local businesses, randomly assaulting tourists and shoppers and are even pulling people out of vehicles.  This isn’t just happening in the “bad areas” anymore. Over the past couple of months this type of crime has been common in some of the wealthiest areas of Chicago.  In fact, many Chicago residents are now referring to “the Magnificent Mile” as “the Mug Mile”.  But it isn’t just in Chicago that this is happening.  During this past Memorial Day weekend, cities all over the United States experienced a stunning wave of mass violence.  We are supposed to be an “example” for the rest of the world, but as our economic wealth crumbles we are witnessing the collapse of society all around us.  So what is going to happen when the economy gets even worse?

The United States used to be a fairly civilized society.  But now very few people seem to care how they treat others.  That is even the case with our own government.  As you will see below, the government is now sending SWAT teams in and dragging people out of their homes over unpaid student loans.

So if the government is going to be so brutal, what kind of message does that send to our young people?

Today our young people are facing a future that looks incredibly bleak.  It is hard to have faith in the “system” when the “system” simply does not work any longer.

What are you supposed to say to a young person when you know very well that there are no jobs and that there is very little hope?

Most Americans don’t understand what is causing the collapse of the economy, but most of them do have a sinking feeling that something has seriously gone wrong.

For the last few years the American people have waited patiently for our politicians to “fix things”, but they have not gotten the job done.

Instead, our economic situation is still declining.

So now frustration is starting to boil over, and it is only going to get worse.

The following are 18 signs that the collapse of society is accelerating….

#1 In a brand new article, Janet Tavakoli has vividly described the wave of shocking violence that is currently sweeping the city of Chicago.  What she says is happening to Chicago right now is beyond alarming….

This year, all hell has broken loose in downtown Chicago. Years of under-hiring have resulted in a police force that is unprepared for wildings and gang violence. Moreover, concealed carry in Chicago is illegal, unless one follows the Constitution.

Tourists and residents have been attacked by mobs of youths on buses, on beaches, on bicycle paths, near the shops of the Magnificent Mile, and outside their homes. Mobs of shoplifters plagued “Mug Mile” stores.

Terror has descended on many of the wealthiest areas of Chicago.  Some are even calling on Chicago residents to completely avoid areas like the Magnificent Mile during the weekends until more police are brought in.

Mobs of young people are “swarming” retail stores, assaulting shoppers and pedestrians and even pulling people out of their cars.

The following is one eyewitness account of the “wildings” in Chicago that Tavakoli included in her recent article….

At about 11pm last Friday night, June 3rd, I heard shouting, screaming, horns blaring and tires screeching from my apartment…When I looked out my window to the street below I saw a crowd of about 20 young people…directly across the street from the entrance to my building. They were leaning on parked cars and clogging the street. They were screaming at people walking and driving by. I watched them stop vehicles, including taxi cabs, and pull people from the vehicles…It was a frightening scene and I was sure someone was going to be hurt.

#2 If you don’t pay your student loans you may find yourself getting dragged out of your home by a SWAT team.

You doubt this?

The following is how an article in The Daily Mail recently described one recent SWAT team raid in California that was apparently ordered by the Department of Education….

A father was dragged from his home and handcuffed in front of his children by a SWAT team looking for his estranged wife – to collect her unpaid student loans.

A stunned Kenneth Wright had his front door kicked in by the raiding party at 6 am yesterday before being dragged onto his front porch, handcuffed and led to a police car with his three children.

He says he was then detained for six hours while officers looked for his wife – who no longer lives at the house.

#3 One town in Connecticut was forced to shut down a beautiful new fountain because too many people were using it as a toilet.

#4 This most recent Memorial Day weekend, cities all over America literally turned into war zones.  There were reports of mass violence in Miami, New York, Chicago, Charlotte, Myrtle Beach, Nashville and Boston among other places.

If you want to see video of some of the violence in Miami as it was happening, you can view it here.  The video is quite disturbing so please don’t let any small children view it.

#5 One of the hottest books in America right now is a “children’s book” entitled “Go The F*k To Sleep“.

#6 A teenage girl in Washington state recently shot her Dad with a hunting bow because he took away her cell phone.

#7 In New York City, one 32-year-old man was recently charged with sexually assaulting an 85-year-old woman.

#8 Democratic strategist James Carville recently made national headlines when he told talk show host Don Imus the following….

“You know, look — this is a humanitarian — you know, you’re smart enough to see this . . . People, you know, if it continues, we’re going to start to see civil unrest in this country. I hate to say that, but I think it’s imminently possible.”

#9 According to one new study, the percentage of U.S. households that contain a married couple with children has fallen from 44.3% in 1960 to 20.2% today.

#10 In Atlanta, two dozen teens recently violently assaulted two Delta flight attendants on a train for no apparent reason.  The following is how a local Atlanta newspaper described the attacks….

Their “Clockwork Orange” style blitz was over soon after it began. The teens boarded the train, headed to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, at the Garnett station a little after midnight seemingly intent on instilling fear. They succeeded.

“There was blood everywhere, people were hollering and screaming,” a witness told Channel 2 Action News. “We were intimidated. People were terrified. People were trying to run. But there was nowhere to run.”

#11 Federal prosecutors in Indianapolis have announced that they have broken up one of the largest child pornography rings ever discovered.  It was based in Bloomington, Indiana.

Are any small towns still safe?

#12 Barack Obama’s food safety chief is defending armed raids of raw milk producers (including a raid on an Amish farmer) and he says that the FDA will “keep doing our public health job“.

#13 In Florida, a 45-year-old Polk County sheriff’s deputy has been charged with strapping children to a desk and spanking them with sex toys.

#14 In Sioux City, Iowa a 41 year old man recently walked into the office where his boss worked and beat the living daylights out of him.  The boss suffered four chipped teeth and needed surgery to repair his nose.  Apparently the boss was planning to fire the man.

#15 A 20-year-old woman in Oklahoma has been charged with killing the family cat and using the blood as part of a costume she planned to wear to a Lady Gaga concert.

#16 McDonald’s recently held a “National Hiring Day” and about a million Americans showed up to apply for jobs at McDonald’s restaurants all around the nation.  Well, in Cleveland a horrible fight broke out between some girls and it ended up with three people being run over by a car.  You can view video of this incident right here.  Please do not watch the video if you are sensitive to graphic violence.

#17 All over the United States, vicious restaurant brawls have been erupting with alarming frequency and many of them are being posted up on YouTube for the world to see.  You can see one example of this phenomenon right here.

#18 From coast to coast, “mob robbing” has become a very disturbing trend.

So what is a “mob robbing”?

Well, basically dozens of young people storm into a store together, grab whatever they want, and storm back out again.

Recent examples of this have been caught on video in Washington D.C. and in Las Vegas.

So does anyone still doubt that we are starting to see the collapse of society?

Sadly, things are going to get a whole lot worse.

In response to a recent article entitled “The Coming Economic Hell For American Families“, a frequent commenter on my site known as “El Pollo De Oro” left the following comment about the collapse of society that is beginning to unfold….

Yes, it’s going to be VERY violent in The Banana Republic of America. Carjacking, kidnapping, drug trafficking, armed robbery and murder for hire will be major growth industries in the BRA when millions of formerly middle class Americans, now the neo-poor/neo-peasants, become increasingly desperate. The horrifying violence in Mexico will become a fact of life on this side of the border, the brutal kidnappings of the Philippines and Papua New Guinea will plague the BRA as well. Formerly middle class Americans who find themselves living in shantytown slums won’t like their new accommodations, and many of them will turn to violent crime in the hope of improving their miserable circumstances.

The truth is that about the only thing keeping our society together has been the unprecedented affluence that we have been enjoying over the past few decades.

Once that affluence is gone, the true character of the American people will come out, and we may not like what we see.

That is one reason why I pound on the economic crisis this nation is facing day after day.  Once our wealth is gone, there is going to be chaos in the streets of America.

So what are you seeing in your area of the country?  Do you see signs that the collapse of society is accelerating where you live?  Please feel free to leave a comment with your opinion below….

When Faith In U.S. Dollars And U.S. Debt Is Dead The Game Is Over – And That Day Is Closer Than You May Think

A day is coming when the rest of the world will decide that it no longer has faith in U.S. dollars or in U.S. debt.  When that day arrives, the game will be over.  Traditionally, two of the biggest things that the U.S. economy has had going for it were the U.S. dollar and U.S. Treasuries.  The U.S. dollar has been the default reserve currency of the world for decades.  All over the globe it was seen as a strong, stable currency that was desirable for international trade.  U.S. government debt has long been considered the “safest debt” in the entire world.  Whenever there was a major crisis, investors would flock to U.S. Treasuries because they were considered a rock.  Sadly, all of this is now changing.  Today the rest of the world is losing faith in the U.S. financial system.  In fact, even the United Nations is now warning of the collapse of the dollar.  But if the U.S. dollar and U.S. Treasuries collapse, that will be an absolute nightmare for the U.S. economy.  If the rest of the world does not want our dollars someday, then what are we going to give them in exchange for all of the oil and all of the cheap imported goods they send us?  If the rest of the world does not want our debt someday, then how in the world are we going to be able to continue to consume far, far more wealth than we produce?

The rest of the world is watching the U.S. government run up record-setting budget deficits and they are watching the Federal Reserve print money like there is no tomorrow and they realize that the U.S. financial system is slowly imploding.

As mentioned above, now even the United Nations is warning that the U.S. dollar could collapse.  The following is a brief excerpt from a recent news report put out by Reuters….

The United Nations warned on Wednesday of a possible crisis of confidence in, and even a “collapse” of, the U.S. dollar if its value against other currencies continued to decline.

In a mid-year review of the world economy, the UN economic division said such a development, stemming from the falling value of foreign dollar holdings, would imperil the global financial system.

But it is not just the United Nations that is concerned about the U.S. dollar.

On April 18th, Standard & Poor’s altered its outlook on U.S. government debt from “stable” to “negative” and warned that the U.S. could soon lose its prized AAA rating.

At one time, it would have been unthinkable for Standard & Poor’s to do such a thing.

But today it is amazing that it has taken them so long to make such a move.  U.S. government finances are falling apart.

When the credit rating of U.S. government debt starts declining, interest rates will go up.  Just ask the government of Greece how painful that can be.  Today, Greece is paying over 16 percent on 10 year bonds.

The following is what John Williams of Shadow Government Statistics recently had to say about why Standard & Poor’s issued such a warning about U.S. government debt….

S&P is noting the U.S. government’s long-range fiscal problems. Generally, you’ll find that the accounting for unfunded liabilities for Social Security, Medicare and other programs on a net-present-value (NPV) basis indicates total federal debt and obligations of about $75 trillion. That’s 15 times the gross domestic product (GDP). The debt and obligations are increasing at a pace of about $5 trillion a year, which is neither sustainable nor containable. If the U.S. was a corporation on a parallel basis, it would be headed into bankruptcy rather quickly.

Look, the rest of the world is not stupid.  They know that the U.S. government is hurtling towards financial disaster.  The appetite among foreigners for U.S. government debt is decreasing rapidly.

In fact, according to Zero Hedge, foreigners are dumping U.S. debt at a very rapid pace right now.

In addition, the cost to insure U.S. debt has risen sharply in recent days.

Right now, the Federal Reserve has been buying up most new U.S. government debt with dollars that it has created out of thin air.  This is a giant Ponzi scheme, and it is a major contributing factor to the decline of faith in the U.S. dollar.

The dollar has fallen by 17 percent compared to other major national currencies since 2009.  What makes that fact even sadder is that all major currencies have been rapidly losing value compared to hard assets over that time period.  The dollar is just sliding faster than almost all of the other global currencies that are constantly losing value as well.

Anyone with half a brain could have seen that this would be the end result of reckless government borrowing, but unfortunately our politicians have been ignoring this problem for decades.

Now a day or reckoning is fast approaching and it is going to be very painful.

The U.S. government has piled up the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world.  Just consider a few shocking facts about this unprecedented debt….

*If the U.S. national debt (more than 14 trillion dollars) was reduced to a stack of 5 dollar bills, it would reach three quarters of the way to the moon.

*The U.S. government borrows about 168 million dollars every single hour.

*If Bill Gates gave every penny of his fortune to the U.S. government, it would only cover the U.S. budget deficit for 15 days.

*It is now being projected that by the year 2021, interest payments on the national debt will amount to $1.1 trillion dollars a year.

In a previous article on The American Dream, I detailed some more absolutely horrifying statistics about U.S. government debt….

#1 If you divide the national debt up equally among all U.S. households, each one owes a staggering $125,475.18.

#2 The federal government has borrowed 29,660 more dollars per household since Barack Obama signed the economic stimulus law two years ago.

#3 During Barack Obama’s first two years in office, the U.S. government added more to the U.S. national debt than the first 100 U.S. Congresses combined.

#4 In the new budget that the Obama administration has proposed, the U.S. government would spend 3.7 trillion dollars in 2012 and by 2021 the U.S. government would be spending a whopping 5.6 trillion dollars per year.

#5 The U.S. government currently has to borrow approximately 41 cents of every single dollar that it spends.

#6 The total compensation that the federal government workforce earned last year came to a grand total of approximately 447 billion dollars.

#7 The U.S. national debt is currently rising by well over 4 billion dollars every single day.

#8 The U.S. government is borrowing over 2 million more dollars every single minute.

#9 The U.S. national debt is over 14 times larger than it was just 30 years ago.

#10 Unfunded liabilities for entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare are estimated to be well over $100 trillion, and nobody in the U.S. government seems to have any idea how we are actually even going to come close to meeting all of those obligations.

#11 If you were alive when Christ was born and you spent one million dollars every single day since that point, you still would not have spent one trillion dollars by now.  But this year alone the U.S. government is going to go about 1.6 trillion dollars more into debt.

#12 If the federal government began right at this moment to repay the U.S. national debt at a rate of one dollar per second, it would take over 440,000 years to pay off the national debt.

So have our politicians learned anything from the mistakes of the past?

No.

The U.S. government continues to spend money on some of the most ridiculous things imaginable.  For example, the Department of Health and Human Services has just announced a brand new $500 million program that will, among other things, seek to solve the problem of 5-year-old children that “can’t sit still” in a kindergarten classroom.

Isn’t it good to see the government investing our hard-earned tax dollars so wisely?

Of course if our kids weren’t being constantly fed foods packed with sugar, high fructose corn syrup and aspartame we wouldn’t have to spend 500 million dollars to deal with this problem.

When it comes to government waste, nobody seems to do it any better than the U.S. government.

Our politicians continue to assume that the rest of the world will always want our dollars and our debt, but that is simply not the case.

Over the past couple of years, global leader after global leader has publicly talked about the need for a new world reserve currency.

In fact, globalist institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank have been very busy discussing what the world is going to use as a global reserve currency after the death of the dollar.

The rest of the world is not sitting around waiting to see if the U.S. financial system is going to recover.  They are already making plans for the demise of the dollar.  They are increasingly using other currencies to trade with.  They are becoming more hesitant to buy more of our debt.  They are realizing that the days of U.S. dominance are coming to an end.

So what is that going to mean for us?

It is going to be a complete and total disaster.

Right now, we live far, far beyond our means.  We borrow gigantic piles of money to make up the difference between what we produce and what we consume.  We are absolutely dependent on the fact that the rest of the world will take our dollars in exchange for the things that we need.

The current situation is not sustainable.

It will come to an end.

When it does, our standard of living is going to feel like it has changed overnight.

65 Ways That Everything That You Think That You Own Is Being Systematically Taken Away From You

Everything that you own is slowly being taken away from you.  It is being done purposely and it is being done by design.  Many Americans like to think of themselves as “well off”, but as will be demonstrated below, we don’t “own” nearly as much as we think that we do.  The truth is that most of us have to frantically run around accumulating wealth as rapidly as we can so that we can somehow stay ahead of the rate that wealth is being taken away from us.  The entire system is designed to take what you have away from you.  There are many ways that this is accomplished – taxation, inflation, debt, interest, fines, fees, tickets, government seizures and good old-fashioned corporate greed.  If you tried to just sit back and do nothing but hold on to the wealth that you already have you would find out that it would disappear rather quickly.  When you take the time to really analyze our system the conclusion is undeniable – everything that you think that you own is being systematically taken away from you.

There is a reason why the wealthiest one percent of all Americans control 40 percent of all the wealth in the United States.  The system is designed to funnel all of the wealth to them and to the government.  Average Americans are experiencing a declining standard of living and it is not by accident.

Just check out some of the ways that our wealth is being taken from us….

#1 Do you think that you own your house?  You might want to think again.  Most Americans that “own a home” are paying a mortgage.  If you stop paying that mortgage you will lose that home.  Over a million American families were kicked out of their homes last year.  This year a million more American families will get the boot.

But when those families get booted out onto the street they don’t get their down payments back.  They don’t get all the mortgage payments that they have made back.  The banks get to keep all of the money and all of the houses.

Perhaps you don’t have a mortgage.  Does that mean that you “own your home”?

No, not really.  Just refuse to pay your property taxes and watch what happens.  At best you can say that you have the right to rent your home from the government.

In any event, the reality is that the banks now own more of “our homes” than we do.  During the most recent recession, the total amount of U.S. home equity owned by the banks surpassed the total amount of U.S. home equity owned by the rest of us for the first time ever.

Things used to be far different in this country.  Once upon a time American families owned most of the houses and most of the land in this nation.

But now the banks own most of it.  Sadly, most American families that believe that they “own homes” are actually enslaved to 20 or 30 year debt contracts.

#2 Do you think that you own your car?  You don’t own it if you are still making payments on it.  If you stop making payments you will rapidly lose that car.

But even if your car is paid off, you can only operate that car if you do the following….

*You must pay the license fee

*You must pay the car registration fee

*You must pay the emissions inspection fee

*You must pay the property taxes on that car (if that applies in your area)

*You must pay the tire taxes

*You must pay the gas taxes

If you have paid all of those taxes, then you are permitted to drive only where the government allows you to drive and only under the rules that the government sets for you.

But at least you “own” your car, right?

#3 What about your possessions?  Do you own them?

Well, yes, you probably own some possessions.

But that doesn’t mean that they are not enslaving you.

After all, did you use a credit card to pay for any of them?

If so, you could end up paying much more for your possessions than you originally thought that they cost.

For example, if you only make the minimum payment on your credit card each month, a $6,000 credit card bill could end up costing you over $30,000 (depending on the interest rate).

#4 Do you own your education?  Well, it is undeniable that nobody can ever take it away from you.  But if you took out student loans that debt may end up enslaving you for decades.

The borrower is the servant of the lender and student loan debt is more of a financial drain on Americans than ever before.  Americans now owe more on student loans than they do on credit cards.  As hard as that is to believe, that is actually true.  Americans now owe more than $903 billion on student loans, which is a new all-time record.

#5 Will you protect your wealth if you put your money in the bank?

No, in fact your wealth will be systematically destroyed in the bank.

Inflation is a hidden tax on every single dollar that you own.  It destroys the value of all dollars in existence.  There are some Americans that have been saving money for decades, but those savings are being taxed into oblivion by inflation.  Many experts are now projecting that the average price of a gallon of gasoline will hit $5 by the end of the year.  So the next time you go to the gas pump just take a moment to think about how your wealth is being drained away by inflation.

#6 Insurance costs continue to soar.  After insuring everything in our lives many of us barely have any money left over to actually live our lives with.  In particular, health insurance premiums have become completely and totally ridiculous.  According to the Los Angeles Times, Blue Shield of California plans to raise rates an average of 30% to 35%, and some individual policy holders could see their health insurance premiums rise by a whopping 59 percent this year alone.  So how are American families supposed to survive if they keep on handing over bigger and bigger chunks of their income to the health care industry?

#7 State and local governments all over the nation have turned to ticket writing as a primary revenue source.  In fact, in some areas of the country traffic citations are soaring at a crazy rate.  For example, 110,000 more traffic citations were written in Los Angeles County last fiscal year than were written in the fiscal year immediately prior to the last recession.

The truth is that the police even realize what is going on.  Just consider the following quote from from Police Chief Michael Reaves of Utica, Michigan….

“When I first started in this job 30 years ago, police work was never about revenue enhancement, but if you’re a chief now, you have to look at whether your department produces revenues.”

#8 Some states have decided to simply confiscate wealth even if nothing has been done wrong.  For example, the state of California is aggressively seizing “unclaimed” safe deposit boxes.  If you have a safe deposit box that you have not checked on in a while you might want to make sure that it is still there.

#9 You might end up losing your valuables when you cross the border.  It is being reported that U.S. border agents are now regularly seizing laptops and other electronic devices as people cross the border.  In many cases those items are never returned.

#10 If you don’t pay your property taxes, you will lose your house and it will likely be a big Wall Street bank that will be taking it from you.  As I have written about previously, the big Wall Street banks are buying up thousands upon thousands of tax liens and are making a killing by socking distressed homeowners with predatory interest, outrageous penalties and almost unbelievable legal fees.

#11 Of course the biggest way that our wealth is being drained is through federal income taxes.  The reason that the Federal Reserve and the IRS were established back in 1913 was to redistribute wealth.  Wealth is transferred from the American people to the U.S. government and then ultimately to the elite and to the causes that the elite favor.

But federal taxes are only one of the taxes that we pay.  The truth is that the average American pays dozens of different taxes each year.  Just check out a few examples of the different taxes that drain our wealth….

#12 Accounts Receivable Taxes

#13 Building Permit Taxes

#14 Capital Gains Taxes

#15 CDL License Taxes

#16 Cigarette Taxes

#17 Corporate Income Taxes

#18 Court Fines (indirect taxes)

#19 Dog License Taxes

#20 Federal Unemployment Taxes (FUTA)

#21 Fishing License Taxes

#22 Food License Taxes

#23 Gasoline Taxes

#24 Gift Taxes

#25 Hunting License Taxes

#26 Inheritance Taxes

#27 Inventory Taxes

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

#29 IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)

#30 Liquor Taxes

#31 Local Income Taxes

#32 Luxury Taxes

#33 Marriage License Taxes

#34 Medicare Taxes

#35 Payroll Taxes

#36 Property Taxes

#37 Real Estate Taxes

#38 Recreational Vehicle Taxes

#39 Road Toll Booth Taxes

#40 Road Usage Taxes (Truckers)

#41 Sales Taxes

#42 Self-Employment Taxes

#43 School Taxes

#44 Septic Permit Taxes

#45 Service Charge Taxes

#46 Social Security Taxes

#47 State Income Taxes

#48 State Unemployment Taxes (SUTA)

#49 Telephone federal excise taxes

#50 Telephone federal universal service fee taxes

#51 Telephone federal, state and local surcharge taxes

#52 Telephone minimum usage surcharge taxes

#53 Telephone recurring and non-recurring taxes

#54 Telephone state and local taxes

#55 Telephone usage charge taxes

#56 Toll Bridge Taxes

#57 Toll Tunnel Taxes

#58 Traffic Fines (indirect taxation)

#59 Trailer Registration Taxes

#60 Utility Taxes

#61 Vehicle License Registration Taxes

#62 Vehicle Sales Taxes

#63 Watercraft Registration Taxes

#64 Well Permit Taxes

#65 Workers Compensation Taxes

Even the future is being taken away from us.  The future is literally being stolen from our children and our grandchildren.  They will be inheriting the 14 trillion dollar (and still rising) national debt that we have accumulated.  What we have done to future generations is unthinkable, and yet we continue to endlessly borrow more money.  The Congressional Research Service estimates that the U.S. government will need to borrow $738 billion between April 1st and September 30th.  Faith in U.S. Treasuries is falling so rapidly that now the biggest bond fund in the world, PIMCO, is actually shorting U.S. Treasuries.

When you base an entire economy on debt, eventually you end up with money problems that never seem to end.  As a nation we are now enslaved to a vicious spiral of debt that is going to destroy everything that our forefathers worked so hard to build.

As the debt loads of our federal, state and local governments become even more burdensome, they are going to want even more money from us.  For decades we gave in to new tax after new tax thinking that it would finally satisfy them.  But it never seems to be enough.  They always want more.

It is the same thing with the banksters.  They are never satisfied either.  They always want more assets and they always want more Americans to be enslaved to debt.

Unfortunately, most Americans are so caught up in the “rat race” that they never take much time to think about who designed the race or why they are running it.

Hopefully more Americans will wake up and will realize that our entire economy and our entire financial system need to be reformed.  Our current system is inherently flawed and it will eventually impoverish the vast majority of us if we allow it to.

The Japanese Economy Is In Much Bigger Trouble Than Most People Think

Now that nearly a month has gone by since the horrific tsunami in Japan on March 11th, it is starting to become clear just how much economic damage has been done.  The truth is that the Japanese economy is in much bigger trouble than most people think.  This is almost certainly going to be the most expensive disaster in Japanese history.  The tsunami that struck Japan on March 11th swept up to 6 miles inland, destroying virtually everything in the way.  Thousands upon thousands of Japanese were killed and entire cities were wiped off the map.  Yes, Japan is a resilient nation, but exactly how does a nation that is already drowning in debt replace dozens of cities and towns that are suddenly gone?  The truth is that thousands of square miles have been more completely destroyed than if they had been bombed by a foreign military force. The loss of homes, cars, businesses and personal wealth is almost unimaginable. It is going to take many years to rebuild the roads, bridges, rail systems, ports, power lines and water systems that were lost.  Nobody is quite sure when the rolling blackouts are going to end, and nobody is quite sure when all of the damaged manufacturing facilities are going to be fully brought back online.

On top of everything else, the nuclear crisis at Fukushima never seems to end.  In fact, it seems to get worse with each passing day.

According to the Los Angeles Times, it has now been announced that seawater off the coast of Japan near the Fukushima facility was recently found to contain 7.5 million times the legal limit of radioactive iodine….

The operator of Japan’s stricken Fukushima nuclear plant said Tuesday that it had found radioactive iodine at 7.5 million times the legal limit in a seawater sample taken near the facility, and government officials imposed a new health limit for radioactivity in fish.

Do you think anyone is going to want any Japanese seafood after this?

In fact, at this point one must really question the long-term prospects for the seafood industry in that entire region of Asia.  There are going to be tens of millions of people (myself included) that will no longer want anything to do with any seafood that comes from that part of the world.

Sadly, some nuclear experts now claim that it could take years to bring the reactors at Fukushima fully back under control.

At the end of this crisis, how large of an area around Fukushima will be uninhabitable?

A 20 km radius?

A 30 km radius?

A 40 km radius?

More?

Japan is the third largest economy in the world, but it never was a large nation to begin with.  Now that the tsunami and the nuclear crisis at Fukushima have made the amount of usable land significantly smaller, what is that going to mean for the future of the Japanese economy?

That is a very good question.

The truth is that there are already signs that the Japanese economy is regressing into another recession.

According to The Telegraph, one major manufacturing index in Japan has already shown a very serious decline….

The purchasing mangers’ index (PMI) gave an early indication of the extent of the damage wreaked on the economy as it dropped 6.5 points to a reading of 46.4, the largest slide since the survey began in late-2001.

In particular, the auto industry is really being affected by this crisis.  Vehicle supply chains all over the globe are now in a state of chaos.

Approximately 3,000 individual parts go into every single new vehicle.  If even one of those parts is missing, a new car or truck cannot be built.

So just how big of a problem are we looking at?

Well, it was originally projected that 72 million vehicles would be built around the globe in 2011.

As a result of the crisis in Japan, approximately 5 million of those vehicles will not be built.

That is very serious.

In fact, Goldman Sachs is projecting that this crisis is currently costing automakers in Japan $200 million every single day.

Ouch!

A recent article on CNBC detailed some of the problems that Japanese automakers are facing right now….

In the weeks ahead, car buyers will have difficulty finding the model they want in certain colors, thousands of auto plant workers will likely be told to stay home, and companies such as Toyota, Honda and others will lose billions of dollars in revenue. More than two weeks since the natural disaster, inventories of crucial car supplies — from computer chips to paint pigments — are dwindling fast as Japanese factories that make them struggle to restart.

Unfortunately, the worst for the auto industry is yet to come.  AutoNation is warning that “production disruptions will significantly impact product availability from Japanese auto manufacturers in the second and third quarters of 2011.”

Because of supply chain disruptions, a number of North American manufacturing facilities look like they will be shutting down at least for a while.

For example, Toyota has announced that it will be shutting down all of its North American factories for a certain period of time because of shortages of parts from Japan.

But Toyota is far from alone as a recent report in The Globe and Mail made quite clear….

Honda Motor Co. Ltd. has already slashed output by half at its North American plants, while Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. will shut all its U.S. and Mexican plants for at least one week in April. Ford Motor Co., too, has halted production at a truck plant in Kentucky this week.

So why don’t North American facilities just switch to other suppliers?

Unfortunately, as CNN recently noted, it is just not that simple….

Japanese companies also specialized in making the array of highly specialized computer chips that control everything from the engine to the brakes in modern cars. Computer chip production is a complex process that can take weeks and involves hundreds of individual steps, Morgan Stanley analyst Noriaki Hirakata said.

Not only that, but if an automaker is forced to find a new source for an electronic chip, the process of “certifying” a new computer chip supplier — that is, determining that a new company can meet all the requirements for cost, quality and quantity — can take as long as a year, Hirakata said.

The truth is that this is a complete and total economic disaster.

The Japanese economy is not going to be the same for many years to come.  In fact, many are now warning that this could be one of the triggers that could lead to another major global financial crisis.

One of the big fears is that Japan will need to sell off a large amount of U.S. Treasuries to fund the rebuilding of that nation.

If that were to happen, it could result in a “liquidity crisis” similar to what we saw in 2008.  Already the rest of the world is really starting to lose confidence in the U.S. dollar and in U.S. Treasuries, and if Japan starts massively dumping U.S. government debt things could get out of control fairly quickly.

In any event, it is undeniable that the Japanese economy has been absolutely devastated by this crisis.  In fact, when you combine the tsunami and the nuclear crisis, this could be the biggest economic disaster that any major industrial power has faced since World War 2.

So will the crisis in Japan push the rest of the globe into another major recession?

Only time will tell.

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