Monday, July 1, 2013
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If the economy is improving, then why aren't things getting better for most average Americans? They tell us that the unemployment rate is going down, but the percentage of Americans that are actually working is exactly the same it was three years ago. They tell us that American families are in better financial shape now, but real disposable income is falling rapidly. They tell us that inflation is low, but every time we go shopping at the grocery store the prices just seem to keep going up. They tell us that the economic crisis is over, and yet poverty and government dependence continue to explode to unprecedented heights. There seems to be a disconnect between what the government and the media are telling us and what is actually true. With each passing day the debt of the federal government grows larger, the financial world become even more unstable and more American families fall out of the middle class. The same long-term economic trends that have been eating away at our economy like cancer for decades continue to ruthlessly attack the foundations of our economic system. We are rapidly speeding toward an economic cataclysm, and yet the government and most of the media make it sound like happy days are here again. The American people deserve better than this. The American people deserve the truth. The following are 36 hard questions about the U.S. economy that the mainstream media should be asking...
#1 If the percentage of working age Americans that have a job isexactly the same as it was three years ago, then why is the government telling us that the "unemployment rate" has gone down significantly during that time?
#2 Why are some U.S. companies allowed to exploit disabled workers by paying them as little as 22 cents an hour?
#3 Why are some private prisons allowed to pay their prisoners just a dollar a day to do jobs that other Americans could be doing?
#4 Why is real disposable income in the United States falling at the fastest rate that we have seen since 2008?
#5 Why do 53 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year?
#6 Why are wages as a percentage of GDP at an all-time low?
#7 Why are 76 percent of all Americans living paycheck to paycheck?
#8 Why are so many large corporations issuing negative earnings guidance for this quarter? Does this indicate that the economy is about to experience a significant downturn?
#9 Why is job growth at small businesses at about half the level it was at when the year started?
#10 Why are central banks selling off record amounts of U.S. debtright now?
#11 Why did U.S. mortgage bonds just suffer their biggest quarterly decline in nearly 20 years?
#12 Why did we just witness the largest weekly increase in mortgage rates in 26 years?
#13 Why has the number of mortgage applications fallen by 29 percent over the last eight weeks?
#14 Why has the number of mortgage applications fallen to the lowest level in 19 months?
#15 If the U.S. economy is recovering, why is the mortgage delinquency rate in the United States still nearly 10 percent?
#16 Why did the student loan delinquency rate in the United States just hit a brand new all-time high?
#17 Why is the sale of hundreds of millions of dollars of municipal bondsbeing postponed?
#18 What are the central banks of the world going to do when the 441 trillion dollar interest rate derivatives bubble starts to burst?
#19 Why is Barack Obama secretly negotiating a new international free trade agreement that will impose very strict Internet copyright rules on all of us, ban all "Buy American" laws, give Wall Street banks much more freedom to trade risky derivatives and force even more domestic manufacturing offshore?
#20 Why don't our politicians seem to care that the United States has run a trade deficit of more than 8 trillion dollars with the rest of the world since 1975?
#21 Why doesn't the mainstream media talk about how rapidly the U.S. economy is declining relative to the rest of the planet? According to the World Bank, U.S. GDP accounted for 31.8 percent of all global economic activity in 2001. That number dropped to 21.6 percent in 2011.
#22 Why is the percentage of self-employed Americans at a record low?
#23 What are we going to do if dust bowl conditions continue to return to the western half of the United States? If the drought continues to get even worse, what will that do to our agriculture?
#24 Why is the IRS spending thousands of taxpayer dollars on kazoos, stove top hats, bathtub toy boats and plush animals?
#25 Why did the NIH spend $253,800 "to study ways to educate Boston’s male prostitutes on safe-sex practices"?
#26 Why do some of the largest charities in America spend less than 5 percent of the money that they bring in on actual charitable work?
#27 Now that EU finance ministers have approved a plan that will allowCyprus-style wealth confiscation as part of all future bank bailouts in Europe, is it only a matter of time before we see something similar in the United States?
#28 Why does approximately one out of every three children in the United States live in a home without a father?
#29 Why are more than a million public school students in the United States homeless?
#30 Why are so many cities all over the United States passing lawsthat make it illegal to feed the homeless?
#31 Why is government dependence in the U.S. at an all-time high if the economy is getting better? Back in 1960, the ratio of social welfare benefits to salaries and wages was approximately 10 percent. In the year 2000, the ratio of social welfare benefits to salaries and wages was approximately 21 percent. Today, the ratio of social welfare benefits to salaries and wages is approximately 35 percent.
#32 Why does the number of Americans on food stamps exceed the entire population of the nation of Spain?
#33 The number of Americans on food stamps has grown from 32 million to 47 million while Barack Obama has been occupying the White House. So why is Obama paying recruiters to go out and get even more Americans to join the program?
#34 Today, there are 56 million Americans collecting Social Security benefits. In 2035, there will be 91 million Americans collecting Social Security benefits. Where in the world will we get the money for that?
#35 Why has the value of the U.S. dollar fallen by over 95 percentsince the Federal Reserve was created back in 1913?
#36 Why has the size of the U.S. national debt gotten more than 5000 times larger since the Federal Reserve was created back in 1913?
The U.S. is near the bottom of the developed world in median wealth, probably the best gauge for the economic strength of the middle class.
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A recent article by Les Leopold informed us that our nation is near the bottom of the developed world in median wealth, probably the best gauge for the economic strength of the middle class. The source of the information, theGlobal Wealth Databook, provides additional evidence of our decline from our once-lofty position as an egalitarian country with opportunities for nearly everyone.
The data is summarizedbelow. Column 4 reveals that the U.S. is near the top of the developed world in average wealth, in good part because of its many millionaires (Col 8). Median wealth per adult, in Column 5, is much lower. As a sign of the distance between America's middle class and its national wealth, Column 6 shows that the ratio of median to mean in the U.S. is lower than in any country except Russia.
The impact of all this is shown in Column 7. Median-level adults in the U.S. get a smaller percentage of their nation's wealth than in any other country except China and India.
To view Column 7 in another way, a middle-class adult in Finland owns $122 for every billion dollars of his or her nation's wealth. In Canada it's $13. In the U.S. it's 60 cents. Only China (40 cents) and India (30 cents) give their middle-class adults less.
America's middle class is sliding out of the developed world and toward third-world status. Column 9 makes it clear. Among all the nations of the world with at least a quarter-million adults, only Russia, Ukraine, and Lebanon are more unequal in their wealth distribution. Most of the third world countries are, sad to say and hard to believe, fairer to their middle classes than we are.