You are not going to believe how much money is being spent on our former presidents. At a time when U.S. government spending is wildly out of control, a total of 3.6 million dollars is being used to support the lavish lifestyles of former presidents such as George W. Bush and Bill Clinton in 2012. For 2013, the plan is to increase that amount to 3.7 million dollars. But do any of them really need this kind of welfare? The truth is that all of them are very wealthy. So what justification is there for giving them so much money? You can see the GSA budget proposal for former presidents for 2013 right here. The 3.7 million dollars for 2013 does not even include the cost of Secret Service protection. Rather, it only covers expenses such as office rentals, travel, phone bills, postage, printing and pension benefits. Certainly it is not unreasonable to grant former presidents a small pension, but should we be showering them with millions of dollars each year? At a time when the federal government is drowning in so much debt, the fact that these former presidents are willing to take such huge amounts of taxpayer money really does make them look like parasites.
So why are these former presidents getting this money?
In the United States today, unemployment among those age 18 to age 34 is at epidemic levels and the number of young adults that are now living at home with Mom and Dad is at an all-time high. So why are so many of our young adults jobless? Why are record numbers of them unable or unwilling to move out on their own? Well, there are quite a few factors at work. Number one, our education system has completely and totally failed them. As I have written about previously, our education system is a joke and most high school graduates these days are simply not prepared to function at even a very basic level in our society. In addition, college education in the United States has become a giant money making scam that leaves scores of college graduates absolutely drowning in debt. Many young adults end up moving back in with Mom and Dad because they are drowning in so much debt that there are no other options. Thirdly, the number of good jobs continues to decline and this is hitting younger Americans the hardest. Millions of young people enter the workforce excited about the future only to find that there are hordes of applicants for the very limited number of decent jobs that are actually available. So all of this is creating an environment where more young adults are financially dependent on their parents that ever before in modern American history.
Since the start of the recession, the percentage of young adults in America that are employed has dropped like a rock. In 2007, the employment rate for Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 was 62.4 percent. Today, it is down to 54.3 percent.
Yes, there are certainly many out there that are lazy, but the truth is that most of them would like to work if they could. It is just that it is much harder to find a job these days.
And it isn’t just young people that think that the job market has gotten tougher. According to one recent survey, 82 percent of all Americans believe that it is harder for young adults to find jobs today than it was for their parents to find jobs.
But if they cannot get jobs, then young adults cannot financially support themselves. So more of them than ever are heading back home to live with Mom and Dad.
In the year 2000, 8.3 percent of all American women between the ages of 25 and 34 were living at home with their parents. Today, that figure is up to 9.7 percent.
In the year 2000, 12.9 percent of all American men between the ages of 25 and 34 were living at home with their parents. Today, that figure is up to an astounding 18.6 percent.
Take a moment and let those statistics sink in.
Nearly one out of every five American men from age 25 to age 34 are living at home with Mommy and Daddy.
When you look at Americans age 18 to age 24, it is even worse. Among Americans age 18 to age 24, 50 percent of all women and 59 percent of all men still live with their parents.
Those are very frightening numbers.
Part of this has to do with a fundamental cultural shift. An increasing number of parents these days expect that they will have to take care of their own children beyond the age of 22. The following is from a recent article by Pew Research….
When asked in a 1993 survey what age children should be financially independent from their parents, 80% of parents said children have to be self-reliant by age 22. In the current survey, only 67% of parents say children have to be financially independent by age 22—a drop of 13 percentage points.
But what accounts for the tremendous gender disparity that we see in the figures above?
Well, one major factor is that young women are now far more likely to pursue a college education than young men are. According to an article in the New York Times, women now account for approximately 57 percent of all enrollments at U.S. colleges and universities.
The less education you have, the more likely you are to be unemployed in America today. So that is certainly a significant factor.
But many that have gone on to college are also moving back home. When you are a young adult with no job and no prospects and you are swamped with tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt, it can be incredibly difficult to be financially independent.
After adjusting for inflation, U.S. college students are now borrowing about twice as much money as they did a decade ago. Many students that go on to graduate school end up with more than $100,000 in total student loan debt.
It means that there are millions upon millions of angry, disillusioned and frustrated young adults out there today. A recent USA Today article told the story of 32-year-old Dennis Hansen….
After a year without work, Hansen, 32, was hired to monitor Lake Michigan and Lake Superior water for the state and federal governments over two summers. He also had short stints as a census worker and as an extra post office hand during one holiday crush.
It hasn’t been enough: Hansen says he has a $13,000 credit card debt and that’s just for basics — his $600 monthly mortgage, heat and food.
“It’s definitely a roller coaster,” Hansen says, with the ups coming when he’s done well in a job interview and the downs when there’s a rejection: “That’s when I’m frustrated, angry and wondering why I went to college for 10 years.”
If the economy was humming along on all cylinders, it would be easy to blame our young adults for being too lazy.
But these days most young adults have to scramble like crazy just to get a really low paying job. Large numbers of very talented young adults are waiting tables, flipping burgers or stocking shelves at Wal-Mart.
And this reality is reflected in the overall economic statistics. Since the year 2000, incomes for U.S. households led by someone between the ages of 25 and 34 have fallen by about 12 percent after you adjust for inflation.
The “wealth gap” between younger Americans and older Americans is also growing and recently hit a new all-time high. U.S. households led by someone 65 years of age or older are now 47 times wealthier than U.S. households led by someone 35 years of age or younger.
But this is not good for our society. When there is civil unrest, it is not those 65 and older that take to the streets.
We desperately need our economy to get healthy again so that our young adults can get good jobs, get married, set up households, raise families and be productive members of society.
Instead, the percentage of young adults that have jobs is near an all-time low, the percentage of young adults living with their parents is at an all-time high, the proportion of adults in the United States that are married is at an all-time low and we have hordes of angry, frustrated young adults with plenty of time on their hands.
You don’t have to be a genius to see trouble on the horizon.
What is going to happen when the next major financial crisis comes and the economy gets significantly worse than it is now?
In the end, we are going to reap what we have sown. We have fundamentally failed our young adults, and those failures are going to produce some very bitter fruit.
We have all been lied to. For decades, the leaders of both major political parties have promised us that they can fix our current system and that they can get our national debt under control. As the 2012 election approaches, they are making all kinds of wild promises once again. Well you know what? It is all a giant sham. The United States has gotten into so much debt that there will be no coming back from this. The current system is irretrievably broken. 30 years ago the U.S. debt was a horrific crisis that was completely and totally out of control. If we would have dealt with it back then maybe we could have done something about it. But now it is 15 times larger, and we are adding more than a trillion dollars to the debt every single year. The facts that you are about to read below should set America on fire with anger. Please share them with as many people as you can. What we are doing to our children and our grandchildren is absolutely nightmarish. Words like “abuse”, “financial rape”, “theft” and “crime” do not even begin to describe what we are doing to future generations. We were the wealthiest nation on earth, but it wasn’t good enough just to squander all of our own money. We had to squander the money of our children and our grandchildren as well. America has been so selfish and so self-centered that it is hard to argue that we don’t deserve what is about to happen to this country. We have stolen the future of America, and yet we strut around as if we are the smartest generation that ever walked the face of the earth.
All of this prosperity that we see all around us is just an illusion. It is a false prosperity that has been purchased by the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world.
Did you know that if you added up all forms of debt in the United States and divided it up equally that every single family in the country would owe more than $683,000?
We are a nation that is absolutely addicted to debt, and the U.S. debt crisis threatens to destroy everything that our forefathers built.
Yes, everything may seem fine for the moment, but what do you think would happen if the federal government suddenly adopted a balanced budget?
1.3 trillion dollars a year would be sucked right out of the economy and we would be looking at an “economic readjustment” that would be mind blowing.
Enjoy this false prosperity while you can, because it is not going to last.
Debt is a very cruel master, and our day of reckoning is almost here.
The following are 34 shocking facts about U.S. debt that should set America on fire with anger….
#4 According to Wikipedia, the monetary base “consists of coins, paper money (both as bank vault cash and as currency circulating in the public), and commercial banks’ reserves with the central bank.” Currently the U.S. monetary base is sitting somewhere around 2.7 trillion dollars. So if you went out and gathered all of that money up it would only make a small dent in our national debt. But afterwards there would be no currency for anyone to use.
#9 According to the GAO, the U.S. government is facing 34 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities for social insurance programs such as Social Security and Medicare. These are obligations that we have already committed ourselves to but that we do not have any money for.
#10 Others estimate that the unfunded liabilities of the U.S. government now total over 117 trillion dollars.
#11 According to the GAO, the ratio of debt held by the public to GDP is projected to reach 287 percent of GDP by 2086.
#18 When you add up all spending by the federal government, state governments and local governments, it comes to 46.6% of GDP.
#19 Our nation is more addicted to government checks than ever before. In 1980, government transfer payments accounted for just 11.7% of all income. Today, government transfer payments account for 18.4% of all income.
#21 A staggering 48.5% of all Americans live in a household that receives some form of government benefits. Back in 1983, that number was below 30 percent.
#22 Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid. Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid.
#23 In 1950, each retiree’s Social Security benefit was paid for by 16 U.S. workers. According to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are now only 1.75 full-time private sector workers for each person that is receiving Social Security benefits in the United States.
#24 The U.S. government now says that the Medicare trust fund will run out five years faster than they were projecting just last year.
#25 Right now, spending by the federal government accounts for about 24 percent of GDP. Back in 2001, it accounted for just 18 percent.
#26 If the U.S. government was forced to use GAAP accounting principles (like all publicly-traded corporations must), the U.S. government budget deficit would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 trillion to $5 trillion each and every year.
#27 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 add more than a trillion dollars to the national debt.
#28 If right this moment you went out and started spending one dollar every single second, it would take you more than 31,000 years to spend one trillion dollars.
#29 A trillion $10 bills, if they were taped end to end, would wrap around the globe more than 380 times. That amount of money would still not be enough to pay off the U.S. national debt.
#30 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 470,000 years to pay off the national debt.
#31 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.
#32 According to Professor Laurence J. Kotlikoff, the U.S. is facing a “fiscal gap” of over 200 trillion dollars in the future. The following is a brief excerpt from a recent article that he did for CNN….
The government’s total indebtedness — its fiscal gap — now stands at $211 trillion, by my arithmetic. The fiscal gap is the difference, measured in present value, between all projected future spending obligations — including our huge defense expenditures and massive entitlement programs, as well as making interest and principal payments on the official debt — and all projected future taxes.
#33 If you add up all forms of debt in the United States (government, business and consumer), it comes to more than 56 trillion dollars. That is more than $683,000 per family. Unfortunately, the average amount of savings per family in the U.S. is only about $4,735.
#34 The U.S. national debt is now more than 5000 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was created back in 1913.
But do our leaders care about statistics such as these?
In fact, Barack Obama says that we need to raise the debt limit by another 1.2 trillion dollars.
The absurdity of raising the debt limit when we are already in so much debt is beautifully illustrated by the video posted below….
I just thought that video was so well done.
The “huge cuts” that Congress has agreed to are absolutely meaningless when compared to how rapidly our debt is exploding.
Calling those cuts “pocket change” would be an insult to pocket change.
But it is not just U.S. debt that is the problem. The European debt crisis threatens to completely unravel in 2012 and Japan actually has the highest debt to GDP ratio in the entire industrialized world.
In 2012, a total of 7,600,000,000,000 dollars of debt must be rolled over by the G-7 nations, Brazil, Russia, India and China.
That doesn’t even count new borrowing. That number just represents old debts that are coming due that must be refinanced.
Anyone out there that insists that this debt bubble can be fixed under our current system is lying.
A massive amount of financial pain is coming.
It is time for Americans to wake up from their television-induced comas.
It is time for Americans to get very angry.
Your future has been destroyed and the future of your children and grandchildren has been destroyed.
Are we on the verge of a massive financial collapse in Europe? Rumors of an imminent default by Greece are flying around all over the place and Greek government officials are openly admitting that they are running out of money. Without more bailout funds it is absolutely certain that Greece will soon default on their debts. But German officials are threatening to hold up more bailout payments until the Greeks “do what they agreed to do”. The attitude in Germany is that the Greeks must now pay the price for going into so much debt. Officials in the Greek government are becoming frustrated because the more austerity measures they implement, the more their economy shrinks. As the economy shrinks, so do tax payments and the budget deficit gets even larger. Meanwhile, hordes of very angry Greek citizens are violently protesting in the streets. If Germany allows Greece to default, that is going to start financial dominoes tumbling around the globe and it is going to be a signal to the financial markets that there is a very real possibility that Portugal, Italy and Spain will be allowed to default as well. Needless to say, all hell would break loose at that point.
So why is Greece so important?
Well, there are two reasons why Greece is so important.
Number one, major banks all over Europe are heavily invested in Greek debt. Since many of those banks are also very highly leveraged, if they are forced to take huge losses on Greek debt it could wipe many of them out.
Secondly, if Greece defaults, it tells the markets that Portugal, Italy and Spain would likely not be rescued either. It would suddenly become much, much more expensive for those countries to borrow money, which would make their already huge debt problems far worse.
If Italy or Spain were to go down, it would wipe out major banks all over the globe.
Financial turmoil in Europe is no longer a problem of small, peripheral economies like Greece. What’s under way right now is a full-scale market run on the much larger economies of Spain and Italy. At this point countries in crisis account for about a third of the euro area’s G.D.P., so the common European currency itself is under existential threat.
Most Americans don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the financial condition of Europe.
But they should.
Right now, the U.S. economy is really struggling to stay out of another recession. If Europe has a financial meltdown, there is no way that the United States is going to be able to avoid another huge economic downturn.
If you think that things are bad now, just wait. After the next major financial crisis what we are going through right now is going to look like a Sunday picnic.
The following are 20 signs of imminent financial collapse in Europe….
#1 The yield on 2 year Greek bonds is now over 60 percent. The yield on 1 year Greek bonds is now over 110 percent. Basically, world financial markets now fully expect that Greece will default.
#2 European bank stocks are getting absolutely killed once again today. We have seen this happen time after time in the last few weeks. What we are now witnessing is a clear trend. Just like back in 2008, major banking stocks are leading the way down the financial toilet.
#3 The German government is now making preparations to bail out major German banks when Greece defaults. Reportedly, the German government is telling banks and financial institutions to be prepared for a 50 percent “haircut” on Greek debt obligations.
#4 With thousands upon thousands of angry citizens protesting in the streets, the Greek government seems hesitant to fully implement the austerity measures that are being required of them. But if Greece does not do what they are being told to do, Germany may withhold further aid. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble says that Greece is now “on a knife’s edge“.
#5 Germany is increasingly taking a hard line with Greece, and the Greeks are feeling very pushed around by the Germans at this point. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard made this point very eloquently in a recent article for the Telegraph….
Germany’s EU commissioner Günther Oettinger said Europe should send blue helmets to take control of Greek tax collection and liquidate state assets. They had better be well armed. The headlines in the Greek press have been “Unconditional Capitulation”, and “Terrorization of Greeks”, and even “Fourth Reich”.
#6 Everyone knows that Greece simply cannot last much longer without continued bailouts. John Mauldin explained why this is so in a recent article….
It is elementary school arithmetic. The Greek debt-to-GDP is currently at 140%. It will be close to 180% by year’s end (assuming someone gives them the money). The deficit is north of 15%. They simply cannot afford to make the interest payments. True market (not Eurozone-subsidized) interest rates on Greek short-term debt are close to 100%, as I read the press. Their long-term debt simply cannot be refinanced without Eurozone bailouts.
#7 The austerity measures that have already been implemented are causing the Greek economy to shrink rapidly. Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos has announced that the Greek government is now projecting that the economy will shrink by 5.3% in 2011.
#8 Greek Deputy Finance Minister Filippos Sachinidis says that Greece only has enough cash to continue operating until next month.
#9 Major banks in the U.S., in Japan and in Europe have a tremendous amount of exposure to Greek debt. If they are forced to take major losses on Greek debt, quite a few major banks that are very highly leveraged could suddenly be in danger of being wiped out.
#10 If Greece goes down, Portugal could very well be next. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard of the Telegraph explains it this way….
Yet to push Greece over the edge risks instant contagion to Portugal, which has higher levels of total debt, and an equally bad current account deficit near 9pc of GDP, and is just as unable to comply with Germany’s austerity dictates in the long run. From there the chain-reaction into EMU’s soft-core would be fast and furious.
#11 The yield on 2 year Portuguese bonds is now over 15 percent. A year ago the yield on those bonds was about 4 percent.
#13 Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Spain owe the rest of the world about 3 trillion euros combined.
#14 Major banks in the “healthy” areas of Europe could soon see their credit ratings downgraded. For example, there are persistent rumors that Moody’s is about to downgrade the credit ratings of several major French banks.
#15 Most major European banks are leveraged to the hilt and are massively exposed to sovereign debt. Before it fell in 2008, Lehman Brothers was leveraged 31 to 1. Today, major German banks are leveraged 32 to 1, and those banks are currently holding a massive amount of European sovereign debt.
#16 The ECB is not going to be able to buy up debt from troubled eurozone members indefinitely. The European Central Bank is already holding somewhere in the neighborhood of 444 billion euros of debt from the governments of Greece, Italy, Portugal, Ireland and Spain. On Friday, Jurgen Stark of Germany resigned from the European Central Bank in protest over these reckless bond purchases.
“Should the ECB see its assets fall by just 4.23pc in value . . . its entire capital base would be wiped out.”
#18 The recent decision issued by the German Constitutional Court seems to have ruled out the establishment of any “permanent” bailout mechanism for the eurozone. Just consider the following language from the decision….
“No permanent treaty mechanisms shall be established that leads to liability for the decisions of other states, especially if they entail incalculable consequences”
#19 Economist Nouriel Roubini is warning that without “massive stimulus” by the governments of the western world we are going to see a major financial collapse and we will find ourselves plunging into a depression….
“In the short term, we need to do massive stimulus; otherwise, there’s going to be another Great Depression”
#20 German Economy Minister Philipp Roesler is warning that “an orderly default” for Greece is not “off the table“….
”To stabilize the euro, we must not take anything off the table in the short run. That includes, as a worst-case scenario, an orderly default for Greece if the necessary instruments for it are available.”
Right now, Greece is caught in a death spiral. The more austerity measures they implement, the more their economy slows down. The more their economy slows down, the more their tax revenues go down. The more their tax revenues go down, the worse their debt problems become.
Greece could end up leaving the euro, but that would make their economic problems far, far worse and it would be very damaging to the rest of the eurozone as well.
Quite a few politicians in Europe are touting a “United States of Europe” as the ultimate solution to these problems, but right now the citizens of the eurozone are overwhelming against deeper economic integration.
Plus, giving the EU even more power would mean an even greater loss of national sovereignty for the people of Europe.
That would not be a good thing.
So what we are stuck with right now is the status quo. But the current state of affairs cannot last much longer. Germany is getting sick and tired of giving out bailouts and nations such as Greece are getting sick and tired of the austerity measures that are being forced upon them.
At some point, something is going to snap. When that happens, world financial markets are going to respond with a mixture of panic and fear. Credit markets will freeze up because nobody will be able to tell who is stable and who is about to collapse. Dominoes will start to fall and quite a few major financial institutions will be wiped out. Governments around the world will have to figure out who they want to bail out and who they don’t want to bail out.
It will be a giant mess.
For decades, the governments of the western world have been warned that they were getting into way too much debt.
For decades, the major banks and the big financial institutions were warned that they were becoming way too leveraged and were taking far too many risks.
Well, nobody listened.
So now we get to watch a global financial nightmare play out in slow motion.
Grab some popcorn and get ready. It is going to be quite a show.