Posts Tagged ‘Despair’
Are the American people losing faith in the U.S. economy? The statistics that you are about to read might surprise you. Not everyone believes that the U.S. economy is dying (there are still millions out there that will swallow anything that the mainstream media tells them), but the reality is that there is a growing chunk of the population that has completely lost faith in our leaders and in our economic system. A brand new Gallup poll has found that the number of Americans that believe that we are in a “depression” is actually larger than the number of Americans that believe that the economy is “growing”. That is absolutely shocking because according to official government figures, the U.S. economy is growing right now and virtually nobody in the mainstream media or the government has used the term “depression” to describe the economic downturn that we went through recently. In fact, according to Gallup a total of 55% of the American people believe that we are either in a recession or a depression right now. This is clear evidence that the American people are losing faith in U.S. government economic statistics and instead they are basing their opinions on what they see in their own communities. Despite the pablum about an “economic recovery” constantly being spewed by Ben Bernanke and Barack Obama, faith in our economic system continues to decline. The truth is that the American people are not stupid. They can see what is happening to the economy.
Back when I was a teenager, one day I walked over to the local McDonald’s and filled out an application and was immediately hired.
But that is not how it works today.
Recently, McDonald’s made headlines when they held a National Hiring Day. Some commentators pointed to that event as evidence that the economy was recovering.
Well, you know what? McDonald’s ended up receiving approximately one million applications.
So how many of those people did McDonald’s hire?
They hired about 62,000 people.
That means that somewhere around 938,000 eager job applicants were turned away.
Just think about that.
Only about 6.2 percent of those that applied for a job at McDonald’s were accepted.
As Joe Weisenthal of Business Insider recently pointed out, that means that Harvard now has a higher acceptance rate than McDonald’s does.
Harvard accepts about 7% of those that apply to go to school there.
Who ever thought we would see the day when a higher percentage of applicants get accepted into Harvard than get hired at McDonald’s?
Sadly, the number of jobs continues to shrink. The competition for good jobs has become absolutely crazy.
Only 66.8% of American men had a job last year. That was the lowest level that has ever been recorded in all of U.S. history.
So why is this happening? Well, there are a lot of reasons, but as I have written about previously, the fact that millions of our jobs are being shipped overseas is a huge factor.
Without good jobs, an increasing number of Americans are being forced to turn to government assistance in order to survive.
Today, more than 44 million Americans are on food stamps. In addition, government transfer payments now make up 18 percent of all personal income in the United States.
That is frightening.
Things have gotten so bad that now even Wal-Mart is warning that their customers are running out of money.
A large percentage of Wal-Mart customers are just surviving month to month and Wal-Mart has been noticing a huge drop off in sales towards the end of the month when their customers run out of cash. The following is what the CEO of Wal-Mart had to say about this phenomenon recently….
“Purchases are really dropping off by the end of the month even more than last year.”
People are starting to get desperate. When economic times get tough, crime tends to increase. Sadly, as a report in USA Today recently noted, thefts of gasoline are increasing all over the nation.
We never had this kind of a problem back when a gallon of gas only was about a dollar a gallon.
Do you remember those days?
They weren’t that long ago.
Now it takes some people over a hundred dollars to fill up their gas tanks.
Our leaders keep promising that they know what is happening and that they are going to fix things, but most Americans are not buying it. Many Americans are completely losing faith in the system altogether.
Our economic decline has been one of the things that has fueled the growth of the prepper movement. Millions of Americans have decided that they want to start becoming independent of the system. One recent article described what some residents of Colorado are doing to prepare, but the truth is that this phenomenon is happening all over the nation….
A Black Forest resident has erected a geodesic dome on her 5-acre spread to grow vegetables, keeps horses for emergency transportation, in case she can’t get gasoline for her car, and plans to acquire chickens and goats as food sources.
A husband and wife who have a cabin on 100 acres of secluded land in Park County have weaned their property from the electric grid, acquired a three-year food supply and taken other measures to become self-sufficient.
Of course the mainstream media loves to portray preppers as “crazies”, but as the U.S. economy continues to die it would be a bit crazy not to prepare.
No job is completely safe today. Millions of Americans that assumed that their “good jobs” would always be there have had their lives shattered over the past couple of years.
There is nothing wrong with trying to become more self-sufficient.
Everyone should be thinking about either starting up a business or developing alternative sources of income. Yes, it can be exhausting to work on a side business during evening and weekends, but the time for loafing is over. Those that are going to make it through the times ahead are those that are going to be willing to work really hard.
People need to start thinking about becoming less dependent on “the system” however they can. One way to insulate yourself against rising food prices is to learn how to grow your own food.
Even if you only have a very small amount of room you can still grow your own food. For example, there is one family that is actually producing 6000 pounds of produce on just 1/10th of an acre right in the middle of Pasadena, California.
Just because we have lost some of the basic skills that previous generations possessed doesn’t mean that we can’t get them back. Back during World War II, “victory gardens” enabled Americans to grow 40 percent of all the vegetables that they needed. Those gardens greatly contributed to the war effort and helped Americans get through some very difficult times.
There are a lot of preppers out there that are totally out of debt, that own their own land, that are entirely off the electrical grid and that grow most of their own food. Many Americans would look at such people as “crazies” but those preppers will be in a much better position than most people when the economy totally collapses.
Don’t wait until it is too late to prepare. Millions of Americans are completely losing faith in our economic system. People are smart. They can see that we are living in the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world. They can see that the guts of our economic infrastructure are being ripped out and shredded. They can see that the number of people living in poverty continues to increase year after year. They can see the the number of good jobs continues to decrease year after year.
When you see a horrible storm coming the rational thing to do is to prepare. Just think about all of those tornadoes that ravaged the southeast U.S. the other day. Most of the people directly in the path of those tornadoes did whatever they could to survive when they realized the twisters were about to hit.
Well, a horrific economic storm is coming. Every American will be affected by this economic storm at least to some extent. We all need to prepare while we still can.
A recent Gallup survey shows Gallup’s Job Creation Index Sees Its Best Week Since Sept. 2008
Gallup’s Job Creation Index reached +14 during the week ending March 20 — its highest weekly level since the week ending Sept. 28, 2008. Thirty-two percent of employees nationwide say their companies are hiring and 18% say their companies are letting workers go. This is a slight improvement over the prior week, when 31% of companies were hiring and 18% letting go, and a similar reading for the month of February.
Pessimism About Finding a Quality Job Is Lowest Since October 2008
Thinking about the job situation today, would you say that now is a good time or a bad time to find a quality job?
While 83% of Americans in a separate question think March 2011 is a “bad time” to find a quality job, this is the lowest percentage since October 2008. Still, for more than two years, at least 8 in 10 Americans have been pessimistic about the job market.
Americans’ perceptions of the market for quality jobs have shown similar improvement in recent months. Nevertheless, more than 8 out of 10 Americans believe quality jobs remain hard to find.
Regardless, to the degree that the jobs situation is improving, it continues to be insufficient to significantly lower overall underemployment and unemployment.
Inquiring minds may also be interested in Gallup Poll Pegs Unemployment Rate at 10.2%, Underemployment at 19.9%, Same as Last Year
Mike “Mish” Shedlock
Financialization and centrally planned speculative credit bubbles have undermined the real economy: that’s why things are falling apart.
There is no pleasure in “I told you so” when things fall apart. Many of us recognized the artifice and folly of the credit-housing bubble “Bull market” as early as 2004, but few cared to listen because they were deeply complicit in the Status Quo’s legerdemaine: their home was rising in value, their pension fund was being fattened, their sales were rising on the onrushing tide of abundant, cheap credit, their tax revenues were soaring, and their benefits/perquisites were notching higher with every tick up of the stock and housing markets.
Faith in a centrally planned economy operating under the flimsy guise of cartel-State “capitalism” was supreme, as were greed, self-absorption and an overweening sense of entitlement to consumerist “prosperity.”
Both corrupt political parties enthusiastically embraced the bubble-culture of fraud and speculative excess, for they too benefited from the illusory glow of “permanent economic growth” and the ever-richer contributions from the fiefdoms, cartels and Financial Elites who gained the most from the credit-based frenzy.
The “prosperity,” “growth” and “wealth” were all illusory, but the pain is real. Hardworking, dedicated, smart, experienced people are being laid off into an economy with few prospects. Young people are graduating from university into the same bleak atmosphere of a paper-thin facade of magical thinking and propaganda finally crumbling.
Things are falling apart because the economy has been undermined by financialization and the extreme concentrations of capital and State power. I think these charts tell the story rather well:
Here we see the Federal Reserve-engineered credit-based speculative financialization bubbles and busts reflected in the stock market. All that cheap credit sloshing around created asset bubbles which sucked in capital and borrowed funds seeking extraordinary returns. Then when the bubble inevitably popped, the players were left with the debt, which remained real, while their illusory wealth vanished.
Here is the dynamic: cheap abundant credit fuels malinvestments and speculation, the acme of financialization. Real production can’t match the enormous profits generated by financial leverage and legerdemaine, so real production atrophies as capital and talent migrate to financialization.
Financialization rewards concentrations of capital that can off-load speculative risks onto the Central State while keeping profits private. Thus financial capital comes to dominate the entire economy and mechanisms of governance.
Empoyees no longer share in the gains from rising productivity: those gains flow to capital/global corporations who influence or control the political machinery.
Corporate profits have skyrocketed as Cartel/Monopoly Capital captures an ever larger share of thenational income and buys political power with that cash flow that enables Capital to offload risk on the State and insure a steady supply of cheap/free credit from the central bank (the Fed) to fund its speculations.
This concentration of wealth leads to extremes of income inequality. The gini coefficient for the U.S. is .47; researchers have identified .4 as the triggering threshold for social unrest. (0 is perfect equality, 1 is total inequality.)
The substitution of money-printing/credit creation for actual wealth creation has led to an explosion of debt across private and public sectors. This debt will soon require crushing interest payments; once again, Capital that owns the debt will profit at the expense of real production.
The cost structure of the real economy has exploded higher as the tide of cheap abundant credit has created vast imbalances. As long as the Sovereign State can borrow trillions of dollars every year to paper over inefficiencies and fraud that could not otherwise endure, then costs can rise forever. Sickcare (operated by cartel-State partnerships) is a prime example:
With tax revenues climbing along with the speculative gains, government costs also lack any limiting factors. Now that the speculative cycle of ever-greater imbalances and financialization is reaching the endgame, tax revenues are plummeting even as costs (“we were promised,” etc.) continue rising.
I have often addressed the theme of things falling apart:
The Unique Benefits of When Things Fall Apart (March 15, 2010)
Things Fall Apart: But Not Just Yet (July 26, 2010)
It is a phrase drawn from THE SECOND COMING by William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Though the poem was penned in 1919, just after the Great War destroyed all the illusions that trade and interdependent prosperity spelled the end of war, it speaks presciently to our era. The falconer circling ever farther away from the voice of its master could be interpreted as a spiritual metaphor for a culture lost in self-absorption, complicity, Empire, greed and resentful entitlement, or politically as a metaphor for a populace slipping away from the Founding Fathers’ principles of liberty and limited government and their distrust of central banks’ potential for financial destruction.
In a nation increasingly diverging into hackneyed, hardened ideological camps whose sole goal behind their soaring rhetoric is defense of their own preferred cartel-State fiefdoms, clearly the center (common ground, common sense) is not holding.
Things are falling apart because artifice, fraud and facsimiles have purchased complicity, and engineered concentrations of financial power that inevitably over-reach and implode.
You Call This An Economic Recovery? 44 Million Americans On Food Stamps and 10 Other Reasons Why The Economy Is Simply Not Getting Better
When Barack Obama, the Federal Reserve and the mainstream media tell us that we are in the middle of an economic recovery, is that supposed to be some kind of sick joke? According to newly released numbers, over 44 million Americans are now on food stamps. That is a new all-time record and that number is 13.1% higher than it was just one year ago. So how many Americans have to go on food stamps before we can all finally agree that the U.S. economy is dying? 50 million? 60 million? All of us? The food stamp program is the modern equivalent of the old bread lines. More than one out of every seven Americans now depends on the federal government for food. Oh, but haven’t you heard? The economy is showing dramatic improvement. Corporate profits are up. The stock market is soaring. Happy days are here again.
It just seems inconceivable that anyone can claim that the economy is improving when the number of Americans on food stamps continues to set a brand new record every single month. But the food stamp program is not the only indicator that the economy is still having massive problems. The following are 10 more reasons why the U.S. economy is simply not getting any better….
#1 Some recent statistics actually indicate that the number of unemployed Americans is still going up. According to Gallup, unemployment in the United States rose to 10.3% at the end of February. That is the highest number Gallup has reported since early last year.
#2 The housing industry is still a complete and total disaster. In fact, new home sales in the U.S. in January were 11.2% lower than they were in December. Not only that, the number of new home sales in January was 18.6% lower than the number of new home sales in January 2010. That is not a sign of improvement.
#3 There wouldn’t even be much of a housing industry at all at this point if it was not for the U.S. government. Right now the U.S. government is either writing or guaranteeing well over 90 percent of all mortgages in the United States. So what would the housing market look like in 2011 if the government was not in the picture?
#4 In 2010, more than a million U.S. families lost their homes to foreclosure for the first time ever, and that number is expected to go even higher in 2011.
#5 Due to rampant economic decay and record numbers of foreclosures there are areas in most of our major cities that now look like “war zones”. For example, the Huffington Post is reporting that there are now approximately 15,000 vacant buildings in the city of Chicago and there are approximately 60,000 vacant houses and apartments in the city of Las Vegas.
#6 According to the Oil Price Information Service, U.S. drivers spent an average of $347 on gasoline during the month of February, which was 30 percent more than a year earlier. This represented 8.5% of median monthly income. So what is going to happen when gas prices go even higher? Sadly, the average price of gasoline in the U.S. has risen another 4 cents since yesterday and it is likely to go much higher from here.
#7 The U.S. trade deficit continues to grow. The trade deficit was about 33 percent larger in 2010 than it was in 2009, and the 2011 trade deficit is expected to be even bigger.
#8 The CredAbility Consumer Distress Index, which measures the average financial condition of U.S. households, declined in every single quarter in 2010.
#9 The number of Americans that have become so discouraged that they have given up searching for work completely now stands at an all-time high.
#10 The U.S. national debt is growing faster than ever. The Obama administration is projecting that the federal budget deficit for this fiscal year will be a new all-time record 1.65 trillion dollars. It is hard to even imagine how much money that is. If you went out today and started spending one dollar every single second, it would take you over 31,000 years to spend one trillion dollars. Long ago the U.S. government should have been getting these deficits under control, but instead they are just getting even larger.
So in light of the statistics above, can anyone really claim that we are in the middle of an economic recovery?
The truth is that there is no sign that any of the long-term trends that are destroying the U.S. economy are even slowing down.
Millions of jobs continue to be shipped overseas.
The U.S. dollar continues to be devalued.
The federal government continues to go into more debt.
State and local governments continue to go into more debt.
Our trade deficit continues to grow.
Our cities continue to be transformed into wastelands as they are being systematically deindustrialized.
The number of Americans that are dependent on the government continues to soar.
The U.S. middle class continues to shrink.
I know that I harp on these themes over and over, but it is vitally important that everyone understands that the mainstream media is lying to us.
The U.S. economy is dying a very painful death and there is no hope on the horizon.
Things are not going to be getting better. Well, they may get a bit better for the boys down on Wall Street, but for the rest of us our standards of living are going to continue to decline.
The best days for the U.S. economy are already behind us. What lies ahead is a whole lot of pain.
We are going to pay the price for decades of corruption and incompetence.
An economic collapse is coming and you had better get ready.