Empty Promises: 5 Reasons Why Barack Obama’s State Of The Union Address Was Completely Wrong About The Economy

Barack Obama’s State of the Union address sure sounded good, didn’t it?  There were lots of solemn promises, lots of stuff about America’s “bright future” and a line about how we are now facing this generation’s “Sputnik moment” that will surely make headlines all over the globe.  But we all knew that Barack Obama could give a good speech.  That has never been the issue.  What the American people really need are some very real answers to some very real problems.  So were there any real answers in Barack Obama’s State of the Union address?  Well, Barack Obama promised that America will “out-innovate, out-educate and out-build” the rest of the world.  He also pledged that America will become “the best place in the world to do business” and that the government must “take responsibility” for our deficit spending.  But does all of this rhetoric mean anything or is all this just another batch of empty promises to add to the long list of empty promises that Barack Obama has already made and broken?

The American people certainly don’t need any more empty promises.  Millions of American families have been pushed to the edge of desperation by this economy.

There has been a lot of talk that the economy is “turning around”, but in many areas of the country the employment situation continues to get even worse.  Payrolls decreased in 35 U.S. states during the month of December.

The truth is that the number of “good jobs” produced by the U.S. economy continues to shrink.  In fact, only 47 percent of working-age Americans have a full-time job at this point.

The American people are not going to buy this “economic recovery” as long as unemployment remains at epidemic levels in so many areas.  Just consider some of the stunningly high unemployment rates in some of our most important states….

Nevada – 14.5%

California – 12.5%

Florida – 12.0%

So did Barack Obama propose anything substantial that will actually create real jobs?

No.

Instead, all he had to offer was just a bunch of empty promises.  It is almost as if Obama believes that a really good inspirational speech will somehow make things better.  The following are just a few of the empty promises Obama made during his address to the nation….

Empty Promise #1: America Will “Out-Innovate” The Rest Of The World And This Will Create More Jobs

During the State of the Union address, Barack Obama promised that the United States will “out-innovate” the rest of the world and that this will create more jobs.

Oh really?

Perhaps we could create some more cutting edge products like the Apple iPhone, right?

After all, Apple iPhones were one of the most wildly successful American technological innovations of the past decade.  Surely this is the kind of innovation that Obama would like to see more of.

Well, do you know where Apple iPhones are made?

Apple iPhones are manufactured in China by workers making about 293 dollars a month (and that was after a big raise).

But it isn’t just the Apple iPhone that is made overseas.  The truth is that almost all high technology products are made outside of the United States.

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

Ouch.

Not only that, another fact to note is that manufacturing employment in the U.S. computer industry was actually lower in 2010 than it was in 1975.

So exactly how is more “innovation” going to produce millions of U.S. jobs if all of the high tech manufacturing continues to be shipped out of the United States?

Empty Promise #2: America Will “Out-Educate” The Rest Of The World And This Will Create More Jobs

For decades, U.S. presidents have promised that “education” is the key to competing with the rest of the world.

Okay, if suddenly every single person in the United States had an extra college degree, would that mean that more jobs would suddenly start popping into existence?

Of course not.

Right now, we can’t produce enough nearly enough jobs for all of the college graduates that we already have.

Sadly, the truth is that we are already experiencing an epidemic of unemployment among our college graduates.  According to the Project on Student Debt, unemployment for new college graduates stood at 8.7 percent in 2009, which was way up from 5.8 percent in 2008.

But that is not the whole story.

Millions of college graduates that have been able to find jobs have ended up taking jobs that they didn’t even need a college education for.  The “underemployment rate” among college graduates is absolutely exploding.

In 1992, there were just 5.1 million “underemployed” college graduates in the United States, but by 2008 there were 17 million “underemployed” college graduates in the United States.

Many of our brightest young minds are now flipping burgers, waiting tables and welcoming people to Wal-Mart.

In fact, in the United States today 317,000 waiters and waitresses have college degrees.

Oh, but certainly the answer is to get more Americans to go to college, right?

It certainly sounds good in a speech for a politician to say that “more education” is the answer, but in the end all it amounts to is a hollow promise.

Getting more Americans to go to college will not create any more jobs, but it will create more debt.  Americans now owe more than $884 billion on student loans, which is more than the total amount that Americans owe on their credit cards.

Empty Promise #3: America Will “Out-Build” The Rest Of The World And This Will Create More Jobs

So Barack Obama says that we are going to “out-build” the rest of the world?

Well, that certainly sounds good.

But what exactly does that mean?

Does it mean that we are going to quit shutting down our factories and tearing down our economic infrastructure?

After all, over 42,000 U.S. factories have closed down for good since 2001.

So is Obama going to do something to stop the flood of jobs and factories that are leaving the United States?

No, in fact he intends to “increase” trade with countries such as China and India.  That is going to mean that thousands more factories and millions more jobs are going to be “outsourced”.

Well, what about building up infrastructure such as roads, bridges, power grids, dams and ports?

That is certainly a very good idea.

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, we need to spend approximately $2.2 trillion on infrastructure repairs and upgrades just to bring our existing infrastructure up to “good condition”.

So we desperately need some investment in that area.

But there is a big problem.

We are flat broke.

As will be discussed below, the U.S. government is flat broke.  Not only that, our state governments are flat broke and our local governments are flat broke.

So where will the trillions of dollars that we need for infrastructure come from?

Obama did not even come close to answering that question.

Empty Promise #4: America Will Become “The Best Place In The World To Do Business” And This Will Create More Jobs

It was incredible that Barack Obama could suggest that America is “the best place in the world to do business” with a straight face.

First of all, when you consider all forms of taxation, U.S. businesses face one of the most oppressive taxation regimes in the entire world.

But not only that, U.S. businesses also have to deal with one of the most horrific regulatory environments in the history of mankind.

As I have written about previously, the mountains of red tape that U.S. businesses have to wade through just continues to grow every single year.

The Federal Register is the main source of regulations for U.S. government agencies.  In 1936, the number of pages in the Federal Register was about 2,600.  Today, the Federal Register is over 80,000 pages long.

So is Barack Obama going to do anything about that?

Of course not.

In fact, Barack Obama and the Democrats have been really busy passing even more ridiculous regulations.

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.

Empty Promise #5: Barack Obama Pledges To “Take Responsibility” For Our Deficit Spending

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.

In fact, since Barack Obama took office, the U.S. government has gotten us into so much new debt that it breaks down to $10,429.64 for each of the 308,745,538 people counted by the 2010 U.S. census.

So is that “taking responsibility” for our deficit spending?

When Barack Obama took office, the U.S. national debt was 10.6 trillion dollars.

Today it is over 14 trillion dollars.

Government debt is absolutely out of control.  At this point, the U.S. national debt is increasing by roughly 4 billion dollars every single day.

If all of this debt is not brought under control, it will bring down the entire U.S. financial system.  According to a recent U.S. Treasury report to Congress, the U.S. national debt will reach 19.6 trillion dollars in 2015.

Can you imagine being 20 trillion dollars in debt?

That is 20,000,000,000,000 dollars.

So it would be really great if Barack Obama could do something about all of this debt, but based on his track record perhaps we should not be holding our breath.

Not that Obama is to blame for all of this.

The sad reality is that both parties have been involved in a massive debt orgy for decades and decades.  Now the day of reckoning is almost here and it is going to be incredibly painful.

We are in so much trouble that it is hard to even try to put it into words.  None of our politicians are telling us the whole truth.  We are headed for a complete and total disaster.

Where Are The Jobs?

Most Americans don’t really care about the economic minutiae that many of us who study the U.S. economy love to pour over.  When it comes to the economy, the typical American citizen just wants to be able to get a good job, make a decent living and put bread on the table for the family.  For generations, this arrangement has worked out quite well.  The U.S. economy has provided large numbers of middle class jobs and the American people have worked hard and have helped this nation prosper like no other.  But now people are starting to notice that something has shifted.  Millions of people are looking around and are realizing that the jobs that are supposed to be there are not there anymore.  The American people are still working hard (and in many cases harder than ever) but all of that hard work is producing fewer and fewer rewards.  Often politicians will placate voters by telling them that they are working harder and harder for less and less.  That tends to ring true with voters because that is a very accurate description of what so many of them are actually experiencing, but what the politicians don’t tell us is that they are the ones to blame for the situation that we are in.  As millions of jobs become obsolete because of technology and millions of other jobs are shipped overseas, our politicians tell us over and over that we can “compete” with anyone and that if we will just go out and get some more education we can make it happen.  But those of us who are extremely over-educated know what a fraud that line is.  The truth is that there are not nearly enough jobs for all of us no matter how “educated” we are.  This is creating a lot of anger and frustration, and now even the IMF is warning that we could see “an explosion of social unrest” if high unemployment persists.

But what can be done?  You can’t force large corporations to hire people.  The reality is that there are a couple of huge factors that have brought us to this point.  First of all, advanced technology means that big corporations need fewer people to do the same amount of work now.  Secondly, the globalization of our economy means that U.S. workers have now been merged into a global labor pool where they are in direct competition with workers who are more than happy to make less than a dollar an hour on the other side of the world.

This all means that the labor of American workers is less valuable to global corporations than it ever has been before.  Advanced technology and computers have enabled corporations to operate leaner and meaner.  If they do need some old-fashioned muscle for certain tasks they can always run out and set up a facility in some third world nation where they can pay people close to slave labor wages and where they don’t have to worry much about taxes, regulations, unions, health benefits or pension plans.  

What did you think was going to happen when the United States entered into all of these “free trade” agreements with nations around the world that did not have minimum wage laws?

U.S. corporations are not in existence to provide the American people with jobs.  They are in existence to make money.  If they can make more money by shipping jobs overseas, then that is exactly what they are going to do.

According to Tax Notes, between 1999 and 2008 employment at the foreign affiliates of U.S. parent companies skyrocketed 30 percent to 10.1 million. During that same time period, U.S. employment at American multinational corporations declined 8 percent to 21.1 million.

Are you starting to see the picture?

Global corporations based in the U.S. have been creating lots of jobs – just not in the United States.

In fact, things only seem to be accelerating.

In 2008 alone, U.S. employment at American multinational corporations fell by 445,500.

In the old days, you could give tax breaks to U.S. firms and that would spur them to do more business and to hire more workers.  But today, if U.S. multinationals decide they wish to expand they will just go hire more third world workers and pocket the rest of the profits for themselves.

The reality is that we are facing a very disturbing long-term trend in the United States.  Today, over half of all unemployed workers in the United States have been out of work for over six months.  In fact, the duration of unemployment in the United States has spiked up to the highest level it has been at since World War II.

This has created a growing subclass of people in the United States who feel that the system has failed them.  The anger and the frustration in the country is rising every day.  You can almost feel it.

In fact, the IMF is warning that we are at risk of “an explosion of social unrest” due to this unemployment crisis.

The head of the IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, recently made the following statement at an Oslo jobs summit with the International Labour Federation….

“The labour market is in dire straits. The Great Recession has left behind a waste land of unemployment.”

So exactly what is going to turn that around?

Are millions of jobs going to suddenly hop up and return home from overseas?

Is the U.S. government going to suddenly eliminate a whole raft of taxes and regulations and are U.S. workers going to suddenly become much cheaper?

Is the U.S. trade deficit crisis suddenly going to reverse and turn into huge trade surpluses for the United States?

Of course none of those things is going to happen.

America is going to continue to bleed jobs, wages inside the United States are going to continue to be forced down and the standard of living for most Americans is going to continue to deteriorate.

Plus, if the American people don’t have good jobs, they can’t buy homes.  In fact, a growing number of Americans are finding out that they can’t even afford the homes they are in right now.  CNBC is reporting that the nation’s banks repossessed a record number of homes in August.

But for many Americans, a foreclosure is just the beginning of their problems.  People are falling out of the middle class at an alarming rate.  Approximately 45 million Americans were living in poverty during 2009.  That is an absolutely astounding figure.

The American people are getting mad and faith in the economy is plummeting.  According to Gallup, confidence in the economy is way down compared to to the same period last year.

So what is going to happen when (not if) things get even worse?

Well, some investors are already anticipating rough times ahead and are flocking to commodities.  The price of gold soared to a record intra-day high of $1,276.50 an ounce on Tuesday, and the price of gold and other commodities will probably continue to climb as economies around the world continue to destabilize.

These are very, very difficult times that we are moving into.  There are not going to be nearly enough jobs for everyone.  People you know are going to be unemployed.  People you know are going to lose their homes.  People you know might even end up living on the streets.

Just hope that you don’t end up being one of them.

It’s A Great Time To Be A New College Graduate: High Unemployment, Crappy Service Jobs And Crippling Student Loan Debt

Today, America’s best and brightest are graduating from college full of hopes and dreams, but cold, hard economic reality is rapidly crushing many of them.  Record numbers of college graduates cannot find jobs.  Hordes of others have been forced to take very low paying service jobs.  At the same time, student loan debt loads have become more crushing than ever.  The truth is that it is a really, really bad time to be a fresh college graduate.  After spending tens of thousands of dollars and investing four (or more) years of their lives in an education, millions of recent college graduates find themselves waiting tables, tending bar, delivering pizzas and working next to (or subordinate to) people who never even went to college.  At one time, a college degree was an automatic ticket to the middle class, but now for many Americans all a college degree means is crushing loan payments, sleepless nights and mind-numbing frustration.   

We were always told that a college degree was supposed to prepare us for life in the real world.  But today, the vast majority of college graduates end up moving back in with their parents.

In fact, a recent survey of last year’s college graduates found that 80 percent moved right back home with their parents after graduation.  That was up substantially from 63 percent in 2006.

So why are 80 percent of our college graduates moving back in with their parents?

Well, because they can’t get jobs.

Two million recent college graduates are unemployed, and millions of others are working in fast food joints, at big box stores and in other very low paying service positions.

The stories that some recent college grads tell are so bizarre that they border on the unbelievable.

The Huffington Post recently featured the story of Kyle Daley – a highly qualified UCLA graduate who has been unemployed for 19 months….

I spent my time at UCLA preparing for the outside world. I had internships in congressional offices, political action committees, non-profits and even as a personal intern to a successful venture capitalist. These weren’t the run-of-the-mill office internships; I worked in marketing, press relations, research and analysis. Additionally, the mayor and city council of my hometown appointed me to serve on two citywide governing bodies, the planning commission and the open government commission. I used to think that given my experience, finding work after graduation would be easy.

At this point, however, looking for a job is my job. I recently counted the number of job applications I have sent out over the past year — it amounts to several hundred. I have tried to find part-time work at local stores or restaurants, only to be turned away. Apparently, having a college degree implies that I might bail out quickly when a better opportunity comes along.

The sad thing is that so many of these recent college graduates can’t even get hired for retail jobs.  A reader of my column on The American Dream blog named Kate is a recent college graduate who is experiencing the kind of extreme frustration that so many new graduates are going through right now….

I just graduated college in May… Moved to a new state and am now living with my boyfriend who should not and cannot continue to have to pay everything because i just plain can’t get a job.

I’m over qualified for retail survivor jobs… so I lie on my application. But then retail stores just plain don’t hire full time. So even if I could get a job as a cashier someplace… I’d only work enough hours to maybe pay for my car payment/ car insurance/ gas…. and my half of rent/electric and such is out of the question… not to mention charged to the limit credit cards from being unemployed and student loans that will hit in just a matter of months.

Any other jobs either don’t exist or they just ALL want 5 years professional experience…. which is impossible for someone who just graduated and has been working part time retail jobs since high school.

But it just isn’t college graduates that are suffering.  The truth is that this economic downturn has been hurting everyone….

*According to a recent Pew Research poll, approximately 37% of all Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 have either been unemployed or underemployed at some point during the recession.

*A different Pew Research survey found that 55 percent of American workers have experienced either unemployment, a pay decrease, a reduction in hours or an involuntary move to part-time work since the recession began.

*According to another survey, 28% of all U.S. households have at least one member that is currently looking for a full-time job.

For many U.S. households, the person looking for a job is a recent college graduate.

As you read this, hordes of highly qualified college grads are out applying for jobs as waitresses, pizza delivery men, grocery checkout clerks and hamburger flippers.

Even those who are able to get decent jobs are finding themselves disappointed.  Starting salaries for college graduates across the United States are down in 2010.

But why shouldn’t starting salaries be down?  It is the employers that hold all the leverage – not the new graduates.

Meanwhile, many of these college graduates are graduating with crushing student debt loads.  Today, many students borrow 10, 20 or even 30 thousands dollars per year while they are in school.

Federal statistics reveal that only 36 percent of the full-time students who began college in 2001 received a bachelor’s degree within four years.

That is a very sad statistic.

The truth is that college courses have become so “dumbed down” in 2010 that even the family dog should be able to graduate from most U.S. colleges in four years.

Even after 6 years, that same group’s graduation rate was still only 57 percent.

Very sad.

But getting back to the point, every single one of those years most college students are racking up huge amounts of debt.

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

Student loan balances of over $50,000 are becoming quite common among our college grads.  In fact, some students end up with over $100,000 in student loan debt by the time they are done.

Unfortunately, student loan debt is some of the cruelest debt out there.

Federal bankruptcy law makes it nearly impossible to discharge student loan debts, and many recent grads end up with loan payments that absolutely devastate them financially at a time when they are struggling to get on their feet and make something of themselves.

So what do you think?  Can you identify with this article?  Are you a recent college graduate or do you have a recent college graduate living back at home?  If so, please feel free to share your story in the comments section below….

The American People Don’t Need More Handouts – What They Need Are Good Jobs

Without millions more good jobs, the U.S. economy is simply never, ever going to recover.  But at this point, there is every indication that the U.S. economy is going to continue to bleed jobs.  In the past, employment would bounce up and down as the economy went through various cycles.  But today what we are witnessing is something much different.  Over the past 30 or 40 years, literally millions of good jobs have been shipped off to China, India and to dozens of third world nations where half-starving workers are more than happy to slave away for big global corporations for less than a dollar an hour.  In the new “global economy” that we were promised would be so good for us, the expensive American worker is obsolete.  The giant global predator corporations that now dominate our economy do not exist to provide you and your family with a nice home, two cars and college educations for all your children.  No, their goal is to keep costs as low as possible so that their profits will be as high as possible.  For many of these giant global predator corporations, that means that paying workers as close to zero as possible is the best decision for the bottom line. 

The truth is that the American people were never told that “free trade” and a “global economy” would mean that they would soon be lumped into a giant global labor pool and would be forced to compete for jobs with people on the other side of the globe.

No, we were just told that we should enjoy all of the cheap plastic crap made overseas that all of the “big box” retail stores were pushing us to buy.

Well, the party was fun while it lasted.  Americans ran up unprecedented amounts of debt on their credit cards buying all this stuff, while our once great manufacturing cities degenerated into rotted-out war zones.

But isn’t it a good thing to get all these products at such a cheap price?

After all, who wants to pay substantially more for things?

Well, running an economy this way is kind of like tearing off pieces of your house in order to keep your fire going.  Sure the fire will burn brightly for a while, but eventually you will have torn down your entire house.

One way or another, we end up paying dearly for the jobs we have shipped overseas.

You see, the millions of Americans who are now chronically unemployed because of “free trade” have to be supported by the U.S. government.

That means that it is the U.S. taxpayers who end up footing the bill.

You didn’t think that we were going to let all of those unemployed workers starve in the streets, did you?

Without good jobs, an increasing number of Americans are becoming completely dependent on government handouts.

Already, state governments across the United States are going broke trying to pay out unemployment benefits to the hordes of Americans who don’t have a job and can’t find a job.

In addition, for the first time in U.S. history, more than 40 million Americans are on food stamps, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that number will go up to 43 million Americans in 2011.

Also, according to one new study, somewhere around 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010, which is the highest rate in 20 years.

The truth is that more Americans are dependent on direct payments from the federal government than ever before.

But how long can we afford to support the millions upon millions of Americans who have been impoverished by this new “global economy”?

The U.S. government budget deficit was a record $1.4 trillion in 2009.  Now the White House says that we will exceed that figure in 2010 and again in 2011.

So just how long can we afford to run deficits equivalent to 10 percent of GDP?

Anyone with half a brain knows that these kind of debts are not anywhere close to sustainable.

So where is the money going to come from to pay for these exploding government programs?

Well, from you of course.

Recently I dubbed 2011 “the year of the tax increase”.  A whole slew of new taxes is scheduled to go into effect starting next year that will impact every single American taxpayer.

It is almost enough to make you want to stop working and start collecting government handouts instead.

But the American people don’t need even more handouts.

Handouts are only a temporary solution to a long-term problem.

What the American people need are good jobs.

But where in the world are these jobs going to come from?

The reality is that in the new “global economy”, the United States is a very unattractive place to do business.

If you were a global corporation, would you rather open a new facility in the third world where there are very few rules and regulations and where people will work for less than a dollar an hour, or would you rather open a new facility in the United States where there are literally thousands of laws and regulations to comply with and where you are going to have to pay workers at least ten times as much?

It doesn’t take a genius to see where all of this is headed.

For decades, an increasing number of Americans have been forced into lower paying service jobs, but now there aren’t even nearly enough of those to go around. 

But it isn’t just the jobs that have been shipped overseas that are depressing wages and causing unemployment to skyrocket.  The millions of illegal immigrants that have flooded unchecked across the border have depressed wages and fundamentally changed the employment picture in industries such as construction and food service. 

Not only that, but in this environment not even high tech workers are safe.  In fact, there are some corporations in the high tech industry that have been openly abusing worker visas to ship in large numbers of foreign workers to replace more expensive American employees.

What all this means is that it is becoming much more difficult to live a middle class lifestyle in the United States.

Perhaps that is why one of my articles struck such a nerve recently.  An article that I originally wrote for The American Dream blog and adapted by Business Insider has gone mega-viral and has ended up on Yahoo Finance.  The article was entitled “The Middle Class In America Is Radically Shrinking – Here Are The Stats To Prove it” and it has received over 9000 comments on Yahoo.

So why did it provoke such an extraordinary response?

Well, because it hits people where they live.

Today, millions of American families are really struggling.  Record numbers of middle class Americans are receiving foreclosure notices and record numbers of middle class Americans are going bankrupt.

In fact, more Americans than ever find themselves just trying to survive.

According to a poll taken in 2009, 61 percent of Americans “always or usually” live paycheck to paycheck, which was up from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.

You see, the truth is that most American families are not concerned with saving for retirement or even with planning for next year.  In this economic environment, most American families are worried about how they are going to survive until next month.

So who has been doing well in the new global economy?

The very, very wealthy of course.

According to Harvard Magazine, 66% of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all Americans.

Now, the truth is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with making money, but by any reasonable standard an economic system that produces such skewed results is horribly broken.

So will “redistributing the wealth” solve things?

No, it won’t.

At best, “redistributing the wealth” is only a temporary solution and it always ends up creating a lot of long-term problems.

What the American people really need are millions more good jobs.

But as we have seen, the current imbalances in the new “global economy” make it more likely that the American people will continue to lose millions more good jobs rather than gaining them.

Unless something is done, the standard of living for middle class Americans will continue to be forced down as labor increasingly becomes a global commodity.

So are you just going to accept that, or are you going to start demanding that your representatives change things?

The choice is up to you.

More Than 1 In 5 American Children Are Now Living Below The Poverty Line

Perhaps the greatest victims of the economic nightmare that is unfolding right in front of our eyes are our children.  The overall economic numbers are really bad, but when you examine the impact that this economy is having on children things get really horrifying.  Today, 1 in 5 American children live in poverty and 1 in 4 American children are on food stamps.  Experts tell us that about 50 percent of all U.S. children will be on food stamps at some point before they reach the age of 18.  Up to half a million American children are homeless even as you read this.  And yet we continue to insist that we are the wealthiest nation in the world.  Well, if we are so wealthy, then why are so many millions of our children suffering so desperately? 

Part of the reason is because an increasing number of parents can’t find work.  According to a U.S. Labor Department report, the average duration of unemployment in the United States hit 34.4 weeks in May, which was a big increase from 33 weeks during April.  To give you some perspective how incredibly bad that is, the average duration of unemployment was only 16.5 weeks in December 2007.

The truth is that when U.S. workers lose their jobs they are finding it exceedingly difficult to find new ones.

In fact, 45.9% of those currently unemployed in America have been out of work longer than six months.  That is the highest percentage since the Labor Department began keeping track of this statistic back in 1948.

So is there much hope that things will turn around soon?

No, not really.

In fact, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says that unemployment is likely to remain “high for a while”.

That means a lot of children are going to continue to suffer.

According to one shocking new study, 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010. 

That means that more than 1 in 5 American children are now living in poverty.

That is a national disgrace.

Not only that, but the same report estimates that up to 500,000 children may currently be homeless in the United States.

Perhaps we should all think about that while we are enjoying our nice dinners tonight.

But most of us don’t think that it is our job to do anything about it.  Most of us have been trained that it is the job of the government to fix people’s problems.

We have created a monolithic welfare state and record numbers of Americans are now dependent on it.

In fact, for the first time ever, more than 40 million Americans are on food stamps.

40.2 million Americans received food stamps in March, which was a whopping 21 percent increase from a year earlier.

But it is bad enough that 1 out of every 8 Americans is on food stamps.  What is far more tragic is that one out of every four U.S. children is now on food stamps.  In fact, as mentioned previously, experts tell us that half of all U.S. children will be on food stamps at some point before they turn 18.

So is anyone still not convinced that the U.S. economic system is broken?

So who is doing well these days?

The wealthy.

In 2009, the number of millionaires in the United States rose 16 percent to 7.8 million.

Wall Street bonuses for 2009 were up 17 percent when compared with 2008.

The rich are getting richer as the poor are getting poorer.  According to the United Nations, the United States has the highest level of income inequality of all of the highly industrialized nations.

The poor are left with an increasingly smaller slice of the pie to divide among themselves.  In fact, those in the bottom 40 percent now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.

But the truth is that as the U.S. economy continues to fall apart, we are all going to experience some very difficult times.

In particular, when the U.S. economy finally completely implodes, it is those who are almost entirely dependent on the “system” that will suffer the most pain.  The vast majority of Americans live month to month, don’t grow any of their own food and could only last a couple of weeks on the food that they currently have in their homes.  So what will happen to those people when the system fails?

And in case you think that this kind of talk is fearmongering, perhaps you should start listening to what some of the top financial analysts around the world are saying. 

For example, Anthony Fry, the senior managing director at Evercore Partners, recently told CNBC that things are getting so bad out there that he is “considering investing in barbed wire and guns”.

Yes, things are really getting that bad.

Years ago the old timers would warn us that someday we would see Americans standing in bread lines.

Well, today food stamps are the new bread lines, and 40 million Americans a month find themselves dependent on the U.S. government for the food that they need to survive.

If that doesn’t send a chill down your spine perhaps you should check your pulse.

When a government has to feed 40 million people a month that means that the system is badly broken.

How many tens of millions of people have to be on food stamps before we can all agree that we are in a complete and total economic nightmare?

If you know of family or friends that are hurting, please consider helping them out.  The truth is that in the end we are all in this together.  The government is not going to save us.  The collapsing U.S. economy is not going to save us.  But if we all roll up our sleeves and work together perhaps we can make it through the difficult years that are coming.

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.

25 Questions To Ask Anyone Who Is Delusional Enough To Believe That This Economic Recovery Is Real

If you listen to the mainstream media long enough, you just might be tempted to believe that the United States has emerged from the recession and is now in the middle of a full-fledged economic recovery.  In fact, according to Obama administration officials, the great American economic machine has roared back to life, stronger and more vibrant than ever before.  But is that really the case?  Of course not.  You would have to be delusional to believe that.  What did happen was that all of the stimulus packages and government spending and new debt that Obama and the U.S. Congress pumped into the economy bought us a little bit of time.  But they have also made our long-term economic problems far worse.  The reality is that the U.S. cannot keep supporting an economy on an ocean of red ink forever.  At some point the charade is going to come crashing down. 

And GDP is not a really good measure of the economic health of a nation.  For example, if you would have looked at the growth of GDP in the Weimar republic in the early 1930s, you may have been tempted to think that the German economy was really thriving.  German citizens were spending increasingly massive amounts of money.  But of course that money was becoming increasingly worthless at the same time as hyperinflation spiralled out of control.

Well, today the purchasing power of our dollar is rapidly eroding as the price of food and other necessities continues to increase.  So just because Americans are spending a little bit more money than before really doesn’t mean much of anything.  As you will see below, there are a whole bunch of other signs that the U.S. economy is in very, very serious trouble. 

Any “recovery” that the U.S. economy is experiencing is illusory and will be quite temporary.  The entire financial system of the United States is falling apart, and the powers that be can try to patch it up and prop it up for a while, but in the end this thing is going to come crashing down.

But as obvious as that may seem to most of us, there are still quite a few people out there that are absolutely convinced that the U.S. economy will fully recover and will soon be stronger than ever.

So the following are 25 questions to ask anyone who is delusional enough to believe that this economic recovery is real….  

#1) In what universe is an economy with 39.68 million Americans on food stamps considered to be a healthy, recovering economy?  In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts that enrollment in the food stamp program will exceed 43 million Americans in 2011.  Is a rapidly increasing number of Americans on food stamps a good sign or a bad sign for the economy?

#2) According to RealtyTrac, foreclosure filings were reported on 367,056 properties in the month of March.  This was an increase of almost 19 percent from February, and it was the highest monthly total since RealtyTrac began issuing its report back in January 2005.  So can you please explain again how the U.S. real estate market is getting better?

#3) The Mortgage Bankers Association just announced that more than 10 percent of U.S. homeowners with a mortgage had missed at least one payment in the January-March period.  That was a record high and up from 9.1 percent a year ago.  Do you think that is an indication that the U.S. housing market is recovering?

#4) How can the U.S. real estate market be considered healthy when, for the first time in modern history, banks own a greater share of residential housing net worth in the United States than all individual Americans put together?

#5) With the U.S. Congress planning to quadruple oil taxes, what do you think that is going to do to the price of gasoline in the United States and how do you think that will affect the U.S. economy?

#6) Do you think that it is a good sign that Arnold Schwarzenegger, the governor of the state of California, says that “terrible cuts” are urgently needed in order to avoid a complete financial disaster in his state?

#7) But it just isn’t California that is in trouble.  Dozens of U.S. states are in such bad financial shape that they are getting ready for their biggest budget cuts in decades.  What do you think all of those budget cuts will do to the economy?

#8) In March, the U.S. trade deficit widened to its highest level since December 2008.  Month after month after month we buy much more from the rest of the world than they buy from us.  Wealth is draining out of the United States at an unprecedented rate.  So is the fact that the gigantic U.S. trade deficit is actually getting bigger a good sign or a bad sign for the U.S. economy?

#9) Considering the fact that the U.S. government is projected to have a 1.6 trillion dollar deficit in 2010, and considering the fact that if you went out and spent one dollar every single second it would take you more than 31,000 years to spend a trillion dollars, how can anyone in their right mind claim that the U.S. economy is getting healthier when we are getting into so much debt?

#10) The U.S. Treasury Department recently announced that the U.S. government suffered a wider-than-expected budget deficit of 82.69 billion dollars in April.  So is the fact that the red ink of the U.S. government is actually worse than projected a good sign or a bad sign?

#11) According to one new report, the U.S. national debt will reach 100 percent of GDP by the year 2015.  So is that a sign of economic recovery or of economic disaster?

#12) Monstrous amounts of oil continue to gush freely into the Gulf of Mexico, and analysts are already projecting that the seafood and tourism industries along the Gulf coast will be devastated for decades by this unprecedented environmental disaster.  In light of those facts, how in the world can anyone project that the U.S. economy will soon be stronger than ever?

#13) The FDIC’s list of problem banks recently hit a 17-year high.  Do you think that an increasing number of small banks failing is a good sign or a bad sign for the U.S. economy?

#14) The FDIC is backing 8,000 banks that have a total of $13 trillion in assets with a deposit insurance fund that is basically flat broke.  So what do you think will happen if a significant number of small banks do start failing?

#15) Existing home sales in the United States jumped 7.6 percent in April.  That is the good news.  The bad news is that this increase only happened because the deadline to take advantage of the temporary home buyer tax credit (government bribe) was looming.  So now that there is no more tax credit for home buyers, what will that do to home sales? 

#16) Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac recently told the U.S. government that they are going to need even more bailout money.  So what does it say about the U.S. economy when the two “pillars” of the U.S. mortgage industry are government-backed financial black holes that the U.S. government has to relentlessly pour money into?

#17) 43 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved for retirement.  Tens of millions of Americans find themselves just one lawsuit, one really bad traffic accident or one very serious illness away from financial ruin.  With so many Americans living on the edge, how can you say that the economy is healthy?

#18) The mayor of Detroit says that the real unemployment rate in his city is somewhere around 50 percent.  So can the U.S. really be experiencing an economic recovery when so many are still unemployed in one of America’s biggest cities?

#19) Gallup’s measure of underemployment hit 20.0% on March 15th.  That was up from 19.7% two weeks earlier and 19.5% at the start of the year.  Do you think that is a good trend or a bad trend?

#20) One new poll shows that 76 percent of Americans believe that the U.S. economy is still in a recession.  So are the vast majority of Americans just stupid or could we still actually be in a recession?

#21) The bottom 40 percent of those living in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.  So is Barack Obama’s mantra that “what is good for Wall Street is good for Main Street” actually true?

#22) Richard Russell, the famous author of the Dow Theory Letters, says that Americans should sell anything they can sell in order to get liquid because of the economic trouble that is coming.  Do you think that Richard Russell is delusional or could he possibly have a point?

#23) Defaults on apartment building mortgages held by U.S. banks climbed to a record 4.6 percent in the first quarter of 2010.  In fact, that was almost twice the level of a year earlier.  Does that look like a good trend to you?

#24) In March, the price of fresh and dried vegetables in the United States soared 49.3% – the most in 16 years.  Is it a sign of a healthy economy when food prices are increasing so dramatically?

#25) 1.41 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009 – a 32 percent increase over 2008.  Not only that, more Americans filed for bankruptcy in March 2010 than during any month since U.S. bankruptcy law was tightened in October 2005.  So shouldn’t we at least wait until the number of Americans filing for bankruptcy is not setting new all-time records before we even dare whisper the words “economic recovery”?

The Declining Value Of Work

One of the great joys that men in free societies have long enjoyed is the ability to earn an honest wage for an honest day of work.  In particular, the amazing capitalist engine that powered the U.S. economy for decade after decade greatly rewarded the incredible hard work and industriousness of the American people.  America was known as the land of opportunity, and we built the largest middle class in the history of the world by working incredibly hard.  But today, all of that is fundamentally changing.  Thanks to rapid advances in technology, and thanks to the globalization of the work force, the labor of American workers is rapidly losing value.  Automation, robotics and computers have made many jobs obsolete.  Today one man can do the work that a hundred men used to do.  Not only that, but today American workers literally have to compete against workers from all over the globe.  Global corporations often find themselves having to choose whether to build a factory in the United States or in the third world.  But in the third world workers often earn less than 10% of what American workers earn, corporations are often not required to provide any benefits to workers, and there are usually hardly any oppressive government regulations.  How can American workers compete against that?

The truth is that labor is now a global commodity.  How can an American worker compete against a desperate, half-starving worker in the third world that will work like mad for a dollar an hour?

But this is what we get for letting the politicians push “free trade” down our throats.

Most American workers had no idea that free trade would mean that they would suddenly be competing for jobs against workers in the Philippines and Malaysia.

But that is the cold, hard reality of globalism.

All of this free trade has been very hard on American workers as factory after factory has closed, but it has allowed the big corporations to get exceedingly wealthy.

The top executives at the big global corporations are certainly enjoying all of this free trade.  Their salaries have soared.

In 1950, the ratio of the average executive’s paycheck to the average worker’s paycheck was about 30 to 1.  Since the year 2000, that ratio has ranged between 300 to 500 to one.

The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.

That is what globalism is all about.

The elite make out like bandits as they exploit third world labor pools, while the American middle class finds itself slowly being crushed out of existence.

According to the United Nations Gini Coefficient (which measures distribution of income), the United States has the highest level of inequality of all of the highly industrialized nations.

Increasingly, all of the rewards are going to those at the top, while the vast majority of Americans are left wondering why things just don’t seem to work out for them.

According to economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, two-thirds of income increases between 2002 and 2007 went to the wealthiest 1% of Americans.

Life is good if you are in the top one percent.

Unfortunately, that does not include any of us.

Instead, the American middle class is gradually being pushed into lower paying service jobs.  But it is really hard to feed a family by cutting hair or by greeting the folks who come walking into the local Wal-Mart.

If you talk to many Americans, they just can’t seem to figure out why they can’t make things work out even though they are working as hard as they can.  Millions of Americans have found themselves taking on second (and in many cases third) jobs in an attempt to provide for their families.

But what they don’t understand is that the global elite have turned labor into a globalized commodity.

American workers are not faced with a level playing field.  Just check out some of the pay levels around the world that American workers must compete against….

In Bangladesh, a garment worker makes 22 cents an hour. The wage in Cambodia is 33 cents an hour; in Pakistan, 37 cents an hour; in Vietnam, 38 cents; in Sri Lanka, 43 cents; Indonesia, 44 cents; India, 55 cents; China, 86 cents; the Philippines, $1.07; and Malaysia, $1.18.

Do any of you want to work for $1.18 an hour with no benefits?

But that is your competition.

Wages are being driven down and big global corporations are loving it.

This isn’t capitalism.

This is the global elite pushing us into a cruel system of economic slavery where they control all of the wealth and the rest of us struggle to survive as we work our tails off for them.

Already we are seeing large numbers of Americans becoming absolutely desperate to get even a low paying job.

For example, over one three day period, approximately 10,000 people showed up to apply for 90 jobs making washing machines in Kentucky for $27,000 a year.

Can your family live on $27,000 a year?

But that is considered a good wage now.

Actually, the folks who are making really good wages now are those who work for the U.S. government.

Yes, life is good if you are a servant of the system.

Today, the average federal worker now earns about twice as much as the average worker in the private sector.

Of course government employees basically produce next to nothing except red tape.

The U.S. government doesn’t seem to care if they are productive or not.  They just keep borrowing more money and getting us into even more financial trouble.

But at least there is somewhere for middle class families to get decent jobs.

In fact, it is getting really hard to live a middle class lifestyle in America without relying on the government in some way.

The truth is that good jobs are becoming increasingly scarce.

That is why it is absolutely imperative for all of us to try to become as independent as possible.

That means getting out of debt.

That means starting our own businesses.

That means learning how to grow a garden.

Many of those who continue to blindly rely on the system to provide them with a “job” (“just over broke”) will end up bitterly disappointed in the end.

Millions of Americans have already lost their jobs and millions more Americans will lose their jobs as we move along through the next few years.

In fact, with all of the amazing advances in technology that we have seen over the past couple of decades, the global elite are starting to realize that they really don’t need 6 billion workers after all.

Instead, those among the global elite are increasingly viewing all of us as a burden.  They openly ask why they should have to take care of so many “useless eaters”.  After all, if the system does not need all of us to keep functioning, then what good are we to them?

So these days you are starting to hear a lot about the dangers of “overpopulation” and the need to control population growth.

In fact, just over one year ago Bill Gates, David Rockefeller, Warren Buffett, George Soros, Michael Bloomberg, Ted Turner, Oprah Winfrey and other very wealthy power brokers held a clandestine meeting in New York.

So what was the topic?

Population control.

One anonymous attendee of the meeting was quoted in a U.K. newspaper as saying that overpopulation “is something so nightmarish that everyone in this group agreed it needs big-brain answers.”

Are you starting to get the idea?

Instead of being viewed as valuable workers, now we are being viewed by the elite as pests that have multiplied to the point where we are now out of control.

What a strange world we live in now.

We need to get back to the America where good workers are valued and where hard work is rewarded.

We need to get back to the America where having a large middle class is an important national goal.

We need to get back to the America where we build American businesses, where we hire American workers and where we buy American products.

But unless the American people wake up, American workers are going to continue to be devalued.

Are we actually going to sit back and let American living standards decline to third world standards?

It is up to this generation to reject globalism and to reclaim the great free enterprise principles that this nation was founded on.

If someday our children and grandchildren exist in a world where they are considered just another part of the third world labor pool they will know who to blame.

The Economic Collapse