How do you save a city that is dramatically declining like Detroit? Well, for the mayor of Detroit the answer is simple – you bulldoze one-fourth of the city. Faced with a 300 million dollar budget deficit and a rapidly dwindling tax base, Detroit finds itself having to make some really hard choices. During the glory days of the 1950s, Detroit was a booming metropolis of approximately 2 million people, but now young people have left in droves and the current population is less than a million. The true unemployment rate for those still living in Detroit is estimated to be somewhere around 45 to 50 percent, and poverty and desperation have become entrenched everywhere. In many areas of the city, only one or two houses remain occupied an an entire city block. In fact, some areas of Detroit have so many vacant, burned-out homes that they literally look like war zones. And yes, it is true that there are actually some houses in Detroit that you can actually buy for just one dollar. According to one recent estimate, Detroit has 33,500 empty houses and 91,000 vacant residential lots. So what can be done when an entire city experiences economic collapse? (Read More...)
The Move Your Money Campaign – Is Taking Our Money Away From The Big Banks The Answer?
Is taking all of our money out of the big banks part of the solution to America’s financial problems? The truth is that people across the United States are angrier about financial and economic issues than they ever have been in modern history. It did not sit well with millions upon millions of hard working Americans to watch their tax dollars being used to fund multi-million dollar bonuses at big financial institutions that were just bailed out by the U.S. government. It made Americans even angrier when these big banks that got the bailouts actually decreased their lending. It has been the big banks who got the massive government-funded bailouts who have been hoarding their cash, while the local community banks and credit unions that have been serving their customers loyally for generations have been left to die by the feds. Now the banking industry in the United States is more centralized than ever. At the end of 2007, the “Big Four” U.S. banks – Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo – held 32 percent of all deposits in FDIC-insured institutions. As of June 30th of last year it was 39 percent. (Read More...)
All Money In The United States Comes Into Existence As Debt – So What Will Happen Now That Bank Lending In The U.S. Is Contracting At The Fastest Rate In History?
Most Americans who closely follow economics understand that all money in the United States comes into existence as debt. Either the Federal Reserve creates it when the U.S. government borrows money, or private banks create it when they use fractional reserve banking to make loans to customers. If lending increases, it is going to create new money and increase the money supply. But if lending declines, it is going to take money out of the system and will decrease the money supply. So why is this important? It is important because without sufficient lending, the U.S. economy will seize up and grind to a standstill. Unfortunately, we have created an economic system that is fueled by credit, and without enough credit businesses can’t expand or hire more workers, individuals can’t buy homes and cars and there will not be any hope that the U.S. economy will function at previous levels. (Read More...)
What Happens When You Work As Hard As You Can And It Is Not Enough?
Once upon a time, most of us who live in America were taught that no matter what happens, if you are willing to work hard enough and long enough you can pull yourself up by your bootstraps and be able to live the American Dream. But today that is not reality for millions of Americans. Instead, millions of Americans find themselves working night and day and still not being able to make it. Millions of others have poured their hearts and souls into their jobs and now find themselves out of work and out of luck by no fault of their own. So what do you do when you work as hard as you possibly can and it is just not enough? (Read More...)
The 2009 Financial Report Of The U.S. Government Is Out – America’s Economic Goose Is Cooked
The 2009 Financial Report Of The U.S. Government has finally been released, and the news is not good. It basically confirms much of what we already know – that the United States government is a complete financial mess. The U.S. government budget deficit for 2009 was a record-setting 1.417 trillion dollars. The total liabilities of the U.S. government rose from 12.178 trillion dollars at the end of 2008 to 14.123 trillion dollars by the end of 2009. At their present rates of growth, the interest on the national debt and spending on entitlement programs will gobble up almost every single dollar of federal revenue by the end of the decade. Throughout the report, the word “unsustainable” is repeatedly used. The authors of the report understand that the U.S. government simply cannot keep spending and borrowing like it has been recently. But if the U.S. government slows down this reckless spending even a little bit it could literally plunge the U.S. economy into a deflationary depression. In fact, even with all of the “bailouts” and “stimulus packages” there are many who would argue that we are already in a depression. In any event, the authors of the report make it clear that the United States government is facing a financial crisis of unprecedented magnitude. (Read More...)
Is Moving Out Of The United States A Way To Escape The Coming Economic Collapse?
With the U.S. economy in a death spiral, many Americans have been wondering if moving out of the United States is a way to escape the coming economic collapse. While it is true that the U.S. economy will drag down the rest of the economies around the globe at least to an extent, the reality is that someone living on an island in the middle of nowhere will be able to weather the coming economic storm a whole lot better than someone in New York or Los Angeles. But is moving out of the United States a practical alternative? First of all, it is very important to realize that moving some to another country can cause a massive culture shock. Even a nation that you would think would be somewhat similar such as the U.K. can be radically different from what most Americans are accustomed to. In addition, in some cases there can be huge taxes and fees imposed on those moving to a new country. (Read More...)
The Chair Of The European Commission Calls For A European Economic Government
The recent economic collapse in Greece has caused a significant weakening of the Euro and has created a measure of financial panic all over Europe. So what solutions are being put forward by the governments of Europe? More centralization, more globalization and more power for the EU. For example, the German and French finance ministers have formulated a draft plan that would significantly strengthen “financial policy cooperation” within the EU. In essence, the plan would create the framework for a “European economic government” that would have substantial power over the economic decisions of member nations. But if Brussles continues to swallow more and more economic power, where does that do to the governments of individual member nations? (Read More...)
Has The United States Become A Nation With No Economic Spine?
What are hard working Americans who have scrimped and saved and have done everything “right” financially for decades supposed to think about all of these “bailouts” and of the massive financial mess in Washington? How are people who have handled their own finances admirably supposed to feel now that the foolishness of others is leading us all towards a horrific economic collapse? Well, a reader named “Mae” recently left a comment that I think does a good job of communicating what a lot of hard working Americans are feeling right now: My situation is this – we have lived our lives playing by the rules: never carried debt on a credit card that we couldn’t pay off by the due date. If we couldn’t afford the item, we didn’t buy it. We always had a Christmas Club which enabled us to pay cash for the holiday. We payed ourselves first after every paycheck whether it was $10 or $100, whatever we could afford. We made double payments on our mortgage when we could which helped us to pay off our modest home 10 years early. We knew that we couldn’t afford to “have it all” so we made our choices early on and stuck with it. We sacrificed the fancy vacations in order to do large home repairs (like a new roof) ourselves. We didn’t buy expensive cars and now own one outright and carry a small loan on another. That’s our only debt besides monthly bills. We chose jobs that provided health care benefits. We did everything right…we saved and saved and saved to have a decent retirement but of course last year took half the value of our 401k. (Read More...)