Archive for the ‘United States’ Category
If you went out and took a poll of the American people on July 4th (Independence Day) and asked them if they are free, what would the results look like? Of course the results would be overwhelmingly lopsided. Most Americans believe that they live in “the land of the free” and that they are not enslaved to anyone. But is that really the case? Slavery does not always have to involve whips and shackles. There are many other forms of slavery. One dictionary definition of a slave is “one that is completely subservient to a dominating influence”. I really like that definition. Today, millions of Americans are slaves of the system and they don’t even realize it. Debt is a form of slavery, and millions of Americans having become deeply enslaved to our debt-based financial system. When someone enslaves someone else, the goal of the master is to reap a benefit out of the slave. You don’t want the slave to just sit there and collect dust. Today, most Americans have willingly shackled themselves to a system that systematically drains their wealth and transfers it to the very wealthy. Most of them don’t even realize that they have been enslaved even as the system sucks them dry.
Just think about it. Where is the “big money” in the United States today?
When asked that question, most Americans think of Wall Street.
Well, who controls Wall Street?
The bankers do.
The borrower is the servant of the lender, and they generate massive amounts of wealth by lending us money.
Perhaps an example will be helpful.
Have you ever run up $5000 of credit card debt? Many people have run up much, much more than that, but let us use $5000 for our example.
According to the Federal Reserve, if you only make the minimum payment every month, at a 20% interest rate it will take you 49 years to pay that credit card off and you will pay back a total of $26,169.
So you would have gotten the original benefit of spending the $5000 and you would have had to work extremely hard to pay back an additional $21,169 to the bankers.
In essence, you would be working as a servant of the bankers until you had paid back that entire debt plus interest.
Unfortunately, our entire system is now designed to get you to go into debt.
It starts before we even get into the “real world”. We are constantly told that we cannot get a “good job” without a college degree, but a college education is so ridiculously expensive these days that most of us cannot afford one without going into lots of debt.
Many of you out there know exactly what I am talking about.
Do you have a pile of student loan debt?
In fact, the total pile of student loan debt in the United States is now over a trillion dollars.
Unfortunately, when a lot of us graduated we found out that the “good jobs” that we were promised simply were not there. Last year, 53 percent of all Americans with a bachelor’s degree under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed.
So many young adults are starting out life already enslaved to a gigantic pile of debt but without a good job that will enable them to comfortably service that debt.
The really “lucky” graduates from the top schools flock to Wall Street so that they can make lots of money running the debt-based financial system that is enslaving all the rest of us.
Once young people leave school, there are lots of other “debt traps” to fall into.
Once you get out into the “real world”, just about every major purchase is going to involve another pile of debt.
Do you want a house?
Do you want a car?
About 70 percent of all vehicle purchases in the U.S. now involve at least some borrowed money.
Consumer debt is particularly insidious. Our stores are filled with very beautiful things, and it is really easy to buy a bunch of stuff and “put it on plastic”.
We just keep plunging ourselves deeper and deeper into debt slavery. Most Americans never seem to learn. Over the past 30 years those of us in the “bottom 95 percent” have seen our financial shackles just get heavier and heavier. The following is from a recent CNN article….
In 1983, the bottom 95% had 62 cents of debt for every dollar they earned, according to research by two International Monetary Fund economists. But by 2007, the ratio had soared to $1.48 of debt for every $1 in earnings.
When you pile up lots of debt, you aren’t just working for yourself anymore. You are also working for those that you owe the debts to. Your hard work and sweat end up making them a lot wealthier.
Our state and local governments have enslaved themselves to debt as well. Total state and local government debt is now about 8 times higher than it was 30 years ago.
At this point, many U.S. cities are in very serious trouble with debt. In fact, another California municipality has just declared bankruptcy. On Monday, the town of Mammoth Lakes announced that it has formally filed for bankruptcy.
But this is just the beginning.
The truth is that we are a nation that is absolutely drowning in debt and we need a lot more money in order to keep up with all of this debt.
But there is a problem.
In our debt-based financial system, the creation of more money actually creates more debt.
So how are we ever going to get out of the hole that we are in?
Today, the U.S. national debt is more than 5000 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was first created back in 1913. This is why it is so important for the American people to realize that the Federal Reserve is a perpetual debt machine.
The Federal Reserve system itself does not make much money. The vast majority of the profits that the Federal Reserve makes are transferred back to the U.S. government.
But that is not what the Federal Reserve was created to do.
What the Federal Reserve was created to do was to set up a system where the U.S. government would borrow money and pay interest on it instead of just creating the money itself.
Last year the U.S. government spent more than 454 billion dollars just on interest on the national debt. That is a form of national slavery. 454 billion dollars that we worked very hard to make was taken from us and transferred into the pockets of some very wealthy people.
The truth is that the U.S. government does not actually need to ever borrow a single penny from anyone. As a sovereign government it could directly issue money into circulation.
But lending money to governments is very, very profitable and it is the kind of thing that wars are fought over.
For example, the First Bank of the United States (the very first central bank in our country) was established in 1791 and the charter for that bank expired in 1811 and was not renewed.
So what happened the very next year?
The War of 1812. During that war Washington D.C. was actually captured and burned. The final major battle of that war was the battle of New Orleans which took place on January 8, 1815.
So what happened the very next year?
President James Madison signed the charter for the Second Bank of the United States on April 10, 1816.
The goal has always been to enslave the American people. Debt is used to enslave us individually, it is used to enslave our businesses, it is used to enslave our state and local governments and it is used to enslave our federal government.
So are you a slave of the system?
If you are in debt, then you are a slave at least to some degree.
Unfortunately, the global financial system has become so saturated with debt that it is now on the verge of collapse. It appears that things could be getting significantly worse during the second half of this year, and the years ahead do not look very promising at all.
Sadly, most Americans do not see any of this coming. In fact, a new CNN/ORC International poll has found that about 60 percent of all Americans think that the U.S. economy will be in good shape next year.
Can you believe that?
The mainstream media has done a fantastic job of brainwashing the general public.
The “blue team” is convinced that if Barack Obama wins the election and the Democrats take control of both houses of Congress that prosperous times are on the way.
The “red team” is convinced that if Mitt Romney wins the election and the Republicans take control of both houses of Congress that the U.S. economy will be put back on the right track.
Well, the truth is that there is not going to be a solution to our economic problems on the national level. We have accumulated the greatest mountain of debt in the history of the world, and it is going to collapse and crush us no matter which brand of corrupt politicians we sent to Washington.
On July 4th, millions upon millions of Americans will celebrate “Independence Day” with cookouts, parades and fireworks without ever realizing the true nature of what is really going on.
Hopefully we can get more of them educated while there is still time.
How many people know that today is not the birthday of our nation in terms of the war of Independence, nor the day on which peace was achieved, free of British rule?
Rather, it was the day that a handful of brave men stood and affixed signatures to a document we call The Declaration of Independence.
I wish to quote it, in full, and annotate it in the context of the present day.
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
It is only fair to tell people why you are driven to tell the present government to “Go to Hell“, and challenge them that should they refuse to let you be in peace, you will, if necessary, endeavor to send them to Hell before they do so to you.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
It was held that you are not entitled to happiness — only its pursuit. That is, there is no guarantee of success in human endeavors. Indeed, it is often the attempt that is as rewarding, or nearly so, as the achievement itself.
— That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,
Government has no power that the people do not consent to. Any such taking of power by government is illegitimate.
— That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Should government take powers without consent of the governed the people have the right to rise and alter or abolish that government, through peaceful means if possible, but through force if necessary.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
Men and women are, for the most part, unwilling to commit to the most-serious of change and its potential consequence. This is a good thing and aligns with the best outcomes for the people in the general sense.
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
It is not just the right of the people to rise and demand that government cease abusive practices, it is the duty of the people to do so.
— Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
Gee, where have we seen this of late? Barclays anyone? Rigging LIBOR is just part of it. Despite claims that “Nobody committed any crimes” (ala Gary Johnson and President Obama) the fact of the matter is that the government has jailed people for rigging the price of cardboard boxes! Yet banksters have laundered money for drug cartels, ripped off each and every resident in an entire county (Jefferson County), committed hundreds of thousands of admitted counts of perjury with robosigned and otherwise defective affidavits and assignments knowingly presented to courts (which, incidentally, they’re still doing in that they’re presenting affidavits claiming that a particular entity owns a given mortgage while fully aware that they don’t) and now, it turns out, they riggedthe largest interest-rate market base used in worldwide commerce, in concert and intentionally so as to skim off profits from their derivative contracts.
The common word for most of this, under any rational examination, is RACKETEERING. RICO is a law that was put in place to bust gangsters who conspired among themselves and with others to rig various contracts and steal from people on a pretty-much continual basis.
But when banks do it nobody will jail them.
And incidentally, Barclays has suggested that The Fed knew the banks were rigging LIBOR and did nothing about it. This means that under any reasonable interpretation of the law, if this is true then The Fed was complicit and therefore the institution and those within it should be held personally and corporately to criminal account.
Or how about GlaxoSmithKline, which was just fined $3 billion for a long-running scam in which it both promoted drugs off-label and failed to report safety data that put people at risk?
I note that $3 billion is less than 3% of GSK’s market capitalization and under 7% of one year’s revenue. Despite pleading guilty to criminal charges not one individual has been charged or imprisoned and the firm can, and will, simply add the cost of the fines to the price of its products, forcing you, the patient, to pay for its criminal conduct.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
You mean like Obamacare?
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
What need of a Representative House (or Senate, in this case) when you simply ignore the constitutional requirements thereof (specifically, to pass a budget)?
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
Ditto. Oh, as for those invasions, what of the TSA’s invasions of the people?
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
Who needs to be naturalized? In the US you need only steal your way into America and under Obama you can then steal from everyone else — forever! Oh, and lest you think this is just a Democrat problem, you’re wrong. The Republicans won’t put a stop to this crap either, and neither will Gary Johnson, allegedly-Libertarian, who thinks it’s just fine that 20 million people began their life in the United States by committing a criminal act as their very first act upon entry to the country!
What a nice standard we set for expected behavior (and we then are surprised when thuggery becomes, for many, a way of life?)
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
What the hell happened with Roberts? I don’t recall anyone (yet) suggesting articles of Impeachment for him, although he damn well ought to be for his torture of the Constitution in upholding PPACA.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
You mean like the TSA?
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
You mean like the Drug Warriors who have raided state-licensed and approved marijuana dispensaries?
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
Not yet….. I don’t think, anyway.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
“What is the UN” for $200 Alex.
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
Oh, gee, the list here is too long to compile in a reasonable form. NDAA, The Patriot Act, PPACA, TARP and on and on and on.
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
What is forcing States to assent to everything from driver license requirements (e.g. REAL ID) to drinking ages (21) to the former “double nickel” speed limit?
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
See above, plus PPACA.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
You mean like raiding the wrong house, which can and occasionally has resulted in the cops shooting innocent people?
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Yeah, the people said 300:1 NO to TARP. John McCain and Obama, along with Congress, said this to the people:
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
So let’s see….
Theft and fraud en-masse, at a scale dwarfing all other crime by citizens, committed by banksters and other corporate interests, including drug companies.
Intentional and admitted criminal conduct by both in multiple cases, including criminal conduct that has caused death and severe injury.
Intentional concealment by government of unlawful activity (“Gunwalker”) that also has led to death of innocent citizens and peace officers.
Sexual assaults on a daily basis of persons doing nothing more than attempting to travel, without articulable suspicion or probable cause (the TSA.)
and much more (like we need more?)
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
Hmmmm…. not yet.
And, I hope, not necessary.
But on this 4th Day of July, 2012, let us all remember exactly how America was born. Tax rates that were one tenthof today’s, along with usurpations and abuses that were trivial compared to that suffered by the people of this nation today on a daily basis.
Yet those usurpations of 1776, truly trivial in scope and oppression compared to that which we suffer today, led the people to rise and demand that government cease and desist, and when it refused, they took arms and expelled that government, replacing it with one of their own design.
In 1776 nobody was imprisoned for consuming (or growing) a plant.
In 1776 nobody had their breasts and genitals groped simply because they attempted to travel within the boundaries of what was to become The United States.
In 1776 nobody questioned your right to ride a horse or operate a carriage for your own personal conveyance upon the roads of the day.
In 1776 you decided when to pay a doctor, and you were never compelled to pay for someone else’s attendance by a physician or stay in a hospital.
In 1776 government did not routinely protect the firms responsible for more than one quarter of all gross domestic product from ruin and personal imprisonment of their officers and employees when they committed gross offenses of theft, fraud and even caused death among the population.
In 1776 nobody needed a permit to fashion, sell, or possess a firearm.
In 1776 nobody needed permission to speak, or to assemble upon the public square.
In 1776 nobody was forced to pay someone else’s debts to which they had not consented or were related to.
Finally, in 1776, free of all of these usurpations of today, the American middle class was alive and well, and our nation-to-be enjoyed a standard of living that, on a comparable basis, was arguably the best in the world. Free enterprise provided true upward mobility for anyone of sufficient desire, wealth was for the most part yours to keep once lawfully acquired with tax rates a tiny fraction of what is assessed today, the right to protect oneself and one’s family was unquestioned and the right to personal travel using the means common to the day on an unfettered basis formed a key part of the mobility and vitality of our nation-to-be’s people and business ventures.
Lacking all of the technological marvels of the day and having none of the modern conveniences and knowledge of science, medicine and industry, we were far more free, far more prosperous on a comparable basis and actually had a reason to look forward to the next morning with more, rather than less, freedom in our future.
So as you gather around the BBQ, play on your boats and drink beer with your friends on this 4th of July, please take the time to contemplate what life was really like in 1776, what it is really like today, and why you, I, and everyone else continue to consent to the abuses and usurpations that are shoved down our throats by the thugs in both industry and government.
Perhaps that will add a bit of sobriety to your celebration.
The USSC upheld Obamacare by, basically, twisting the Constitution into a pretzel, crapping on it, whizzing on that and then eating it.
Finding first that the Commerce Clause bars the government from compelling one to enter into commerce, the analysis then turned to whether there was any way to save the constitutionality of the act.
The justices found one.
They re-interpreted the penalty clause as a tax.
And of course, Congress can levy taxes.
That’s the path taken by this tortured process — a path that could only be dreamed up if someone had already determined the outcome they sought instead of being an independent jurist.
The real surprise, however, is that Chief Justice Roberts, believed to be a strict constructionist on the court, managed to not only agree with this piece of tortured logic he found and constructed it as the opinion is his!
So much for judicial restraint and strict construction!
You really ought to read the dissent that starts on page 127 of the opinion. Justice Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy and Alito eviscertate the majority, saying in part:
Here, however, Congress has impressed into servicethird parties, healthy individuals who could be but are not customers of the relevant industry, to offset the undesirable consequences of the regulation. Congress’ desire to force these individuals to purchase insurance is motivatedby the fact that they are further removed from the marketthan unhealthy individuals with pre-existing conditions, because they are less likely to need extensive care in the near future. If Congress can reach out and command even those furthest removed from an interstate market to participate in the market, then the Commerce Clause becomes a font of unlimited power, or in Hamilton’s words, “the hideous monster whose devouring jaws . . . spare neither sex nor age, nor high nor low, nor sacred nor profane.” The Federalist No. 33, p. 202 (C. Rossiter ed. 1961).
What little was left of The Constitution died today, June 28th, 2012.
And incidentally, the math on federal health spending coupled with this decision means that by the time a 55 year old man reaches 85 (his life expectancy, roughly) the Federal government will be attempting to spend roughly $15 trillion a year on health care.
(No it won’t, no we won’t get that far, and the detonation of our government on the fiscal side is now assured — or your health care will be sacrificed. This is mathematics, not politics.)
In the week ending June 16, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claimswas 387,000, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 389,000. The 4-week moving average was 386,250, an increase of 3,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 382,750.
Well, no, it’s not. And that’s a problem.
Ominously, the “big table” was almost flat — roll-offs in the extended benefits are countered by new claims in the 26 week “basic” program, which may indicate building layoff pressures once again.
This is not confirmed, but it’s definitely not a good sign, and this far into the so-called “recovery” we should be well on our way to solid, week-over-week gains in these statistics.
It’s not happening.
There is no recovery folks, and there can’t be — there is simply too much debt and thus far everyone’s “prescription” for how to “fix it” is to…. wait for it… add more!
This economic decline has been really hard on everyone, but it has been particularly hard on American men. During the last recession male employment dropped like a rock and it has not recovered much at all since then. That is why many referred to the last recession as a “mancession”. Industries where men are disproportionately represented such as construction and manufacturing have really been hit hard in recent years. In the old days, you could take a high school education down to the local factory and get a job that would enable you to live a middle class lifestyle and support a growing family on just that one income. Sadly, those days are long gone. Today, American men live in a world where their labor is not really needed. Wages are falling because almost any worker can be easily replaced by the vast pool of unemployed American workers that are currently searching for work, and a lot of big companies are shifting labor-intensive jobs overseas where workers only make a small fraction of what they make in the United States. American workers (especially those without much education) are considered to be expensive liabilities in a world where labor has become a global commodity. So the percentage of working age American men that have jobs is likely to continue to decline and wages are likely to continue to stagnate as well.
For many men, a long-term bout with unemployment can almost be worse than a major illness. It can be really hard to feel like a man when you don’t have a job. Men often see themselves as filling the “provider” role, and when they aren’t providing for their families self-esteem can fall through the floor. It is easy to feel worthless when there is no money coming in and your wife and your kids are looking at you with worry every single day.
As you read this, there are millions upon millions of unemployed men sitting at home with a glazed look in their eyes. When you talk with these men, many of them seem as though the life has been sucked right out of them.
As I wrote about recently, when you cannot find a job month after month after month people start to look at you differently. Some start to look at you with pity in their eyes, and others start to look at you with disgust in their eyes.
Most Americans don’t really understand how much the economy has fundamentally changed, and many of them still believe that it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a job in “the greatest economy on earth”.
But things have changed. If you don’t have a college education or some highly specialized skills then it is going to be exceedingly difficult to get a good paying job in this economy.
Unfortunately, finding a job is not going to be getting any easier. Times are hard now, but they are going to be getting a lot harder.
The following are 16 signs that this economic decline is sucking the life out of the American male….
#1 During the last recession, men lost twice as many jobs as women did.
#2 According to the Economic Policy Institute, the “real entry-level hourly wage for men who recently graduated from high school” has declined from $15.64 in 1979 to $11.68 last year.
#3 During the recent economic downturn millions of men saw their family finances get absolutely destroyed. According to the Federal Reserve, the median net worth of families in the United States declined “from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010“.
#4 As you can see from the chart below, in the 1950s there were times when nearly 85 percent of all working age men had a job. Sadly, that number has stayed below 65 percent since the end of the last recession….
#5 More unemployed fathers than ever are staying at home with the kids. Over the past decade the number of “stay at home dads” has doubled.
#6 Prior to the recession, women accounted for approximately 45 percent of the workforce. Now, they account for 49.4 percent of the workforce.
#7 According to one new survey, 23 percent of all small business owners in America have gone for more than a year without pay. More than half of all small business owners are men.
#8 The decline in manufacturing jobs has had a disproportionate impact on men. Back in 1940, 23.4% of all American workers had manufacturing jobs. Today, only 10.4% of all American workers have manufacturing jobs.
#9 More than half of all middle management jobs in America are now held by women.
#10 More than half of all health care jobs in America are now held by women.
#11 American men love to watch television. But because of harsh economic conditions more families than ever are eliminating cable television service. According to one survey, a whopping 6.9 million American homes cancelled cable service last year.
#12 According to the New York Times, approximately 57 percent of all Americans that are currently enrolled in college are women.
#13 According to one study, between 1969 and 2009 the median wages earned by American men between the ages of 30 and 50 dropped by 27 percent after you account for inflation.
#14 According to another study, “young, urban, childless women” make more money in America today than young, urban, childless men do.
#15 According to CNN, in the United States today men in the 25 to 34 age bracket are nearly twice as likely to live with their parents as women the same age are….
The number of adult children who live with their parents, especially young males, has soared since the economy started heading south. Among males age 25 to 34, 19% live with their parents today, a 5 percentage point increase from 2005, according to Census data released Thursday. Meanwhile, 10% of women in that age group live at home, up from 8% six years ago.
#16 Our system often treats elderly American men like absolute trash. Just check out what happened to one elderly veteran up in Montana recently….
Warren C. Bodeker is an 89 year old World War II Army Airborne combat veteran and war hero, living in Montana, who is being thrown off of his own land and thrown out of his own house, by Montana Federal Bankruptcy Trustee, Christy Brandon, with the approval of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Montana. And to make matters worse, Warren’s wife Lorna just died of cancer this past year, and is buried there on their land, right next to the house. Warren had planned to live there till he died and then be buried right next to his wife, there on their property at 11 Freedom Lane, in the town of Plains, Montana, but now, not only is he being forced off his land, he is being forced to exhume his wife’s body and take her with him.
As the ability of men (and women) to take care of their families continues to decline, the middle class continues to shrink rapidly.
Most Americans continue to expect our economy to be able to bounce back to where it was before, but the truth is that the U.S. economy is in the midst of a long-term decline.
We are heading for an absolute economic nightmare, and we desperately need to come together as a nation and find some real solutions.
Unfortunately, our nation is becoming more divided than ever, and most of our politicians are proposing that we continue to do the exact same things that got us into this mess.
So what do all of you think about “the mancession” and what this economic decline is doing to the American male? Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below….
Lawrence Lessig: On America’s Lost Ability to Govern, Legalized Corruption, our Broken Republic, and How to Approach Fixing It
Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig expounds on what has become of this Republic. There is much more to this presentation than what is contained in the selected notes below. Please watch/listen to it in its entirety (embedded below).
There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil, to one who is striking at the roots. Henry David Thoreau, 1846
On American Greatness: There is a feeling today among Americans that we might not make it. The feeling of inevitability of American greatness is gone… that we have becomeBritain orRome orGreece. A generation ago, Reagan rallied the nation to deny a similar charge by Jimmy Carter. Reagan was right. But it is different today. Not that we as a people have lost anything of our potential. But we as a Republic have.
On America’s ability to govern: Our capacity for governing seems to have come to an end. The thing we were once most proud of, our Republic, is what we have learned to ignore. Government is an embarrassment. It has lost the capacity to make the most essential decisions. A ship that cannot be steered is a ship that will sink. This is a multiparty frustration. Left and right. As policies get systematically blocked, we must seek out the Thoreauvian root skill.
An example of how lobby money leads to bad law: Bill Clinton signed the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act in 1998, extending the term of existing copyrights by 20 years. Congress must have asked itself, “Did it advance the public good?” Copyrights are supposed to work by giving incentives to creating work. Incentives are prospective. Extending existing copyright terms does not produce additional work. The work had already been created. Milton Friedman said he would only join the brief (against the Act) if it had the term “no brainer” in it. Congress unanimously extended the term. There was more than $6m in lobby money from Disney and related companies. Public good be damned.
On the Wall Street Collapse: According to Simon Johnson and James Kwak, what explains the collapse is a perverse mix of too little government and too much government. Too little governmentt in the form of deregulation. In the 1990’s, financial innovators produced new financial instruments – namely derivatives. Those innovations were invisible to the market because a series of regulatory changes made it so that they did not have to satisfy standard exchange-based rules that had existed for decades: that they be traded on a public exchange; transparent; and subject to anti- fraud requirements. In the 1980’s, 98% of trades were subject to those New Deal rules. By 2008, 90% of trades were part of the shadow-banking economy.
Johnson & Kwak argue there was also too much government. Throughout the 90’s they sent a clear message that there was an implicit government guarantee. We socialized the risk and privatized the upside.What we got was the dumbest form of socialism in history. This is an insanely stupid way to set up financial markets.
On what transpired after the crisis hit in 2008: It gets worse after 2008. Wall Street still had the power to blackmail Congress into giving them a get out of jail free card. They managed to prevent change to the basic architecture that led to the instability that brought our economy over the cliff. We went from “Too Big to Fail” to “Too Bigger to Fail”, because of the “financial reform” that we have passed since 2008.
On why we are unable to regulate sensibly in this context: Since the 1990’s the fastest growing sector for campaign donations has been the financial sector. It all comes down to campaign contributions. Finance and insurance companies are the biggest donors. Money buys results in congress.
On what it means for Americans: No respectable liberal, conservative, or libertarian could defend these practices. These are abominations. The belief that we have a bought Congress erodes trust and participation. Recent polls indicate that ~9% of Americans have confidence in Congress.
On who Congress works for: The people are no longer the intended beneficiaries of government. And government is no longer dependent upon the people. Government is dependent upon their benefactors. They spend 30% to 70% of their time thinking about how to raise money. They become shape-shifters. They are constantly aware of what will bring in money. In 2010, 0.05% of Americans maxed out on campaign contributions. This is legalized corruption. It is a corruption of the dependence our framers intended. We have the wrong dependence inside the core of Congress.
Oh what constitutes a Republic: A Republic is a Representative Democracy. It is a democracy with a branch dependent on the people alone. We have lost that.
On what money does to the legislative process: One quoted study indicates that there is a vast discrepancy between what Congress does and what the vast majority of the population desires. Congress consistently does what the wealthiest desire.
On what we need now: Public funding of campaigns.
On why public funding of campaigns is so difficult to achieve: The problem is that Capitol Hill has become a farm league for K Street. Members and staffers and bureaucrats have a long-term view of eventually becoming lobbyists. It is a system where everybody depends on the current corrupt system surviving. Congress is not going to legislate against the system they have an interest in sustaining.
On what the alternative is: We must find ways to get around the cancer at the center of our government. Ordinary means are not appropriate. We need active, engaged politics. We must reclaim governing away from the professional politicians. It may not be possible.
On how to proceed: We must find common ground. We must become Thoreauvian root strikers. We must have courage.
Link to Lawrence Lessig’s book: Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress – and a Plan to Stop It
Link to original post at Blip.tv: Republic, Lost