The American Dream
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Sorry to break this to you, but the future for most Americans is going to be pretty crappy. Unless you are independently wealthy, the chances are good that you will have a low paying job, that you will be drowning in a sea of bad debts and that you will have to go on government assistance at some point. Most American families are completely dependent on their jobs for income, and right now good jobs are disappearing at a frightening pace.
Over the last couple of decades, millions of high paying manufacturing jobs have been shipped out of the country and they are being replaced by low paying service jobs. Small business creation is being absolutely crushed by the federal government, and millions of illegal immigrants have been allowed in to the country and they are now competing for the limited number of jobs that are still available. The vast majority of the money and the vast majority of the power in this country are now in the hands of either the big corporations or the government. Together, the big corporations and the government are absolutely crushing everyone else. If you are not part of the “privileged class”, there is a good chance that your job is serving them. Perhaps you are bringing them lunch or cutting their hair or stocking shelves for them. Once upon a time, America was “the land of opportunity”, but now that has all changed. Tomorrow morning, millions of Americans will get up and go to pathetic, low paying jobs and millions of others will wonder why they can’t find anyone to hire them. Sadly, if nothing is done to reverse the long-term trends that are destroying our economy, the number of “working poor” is going to continue to increase.
Our founding fathers never intended for this to happen. Our founding fathers intended to set up a capitalist system in which the power of the central government and the power of corporations was greatly limited. The idea was that individuals and small businesses should be given the chance to grow and thrive in a free market system.
But that is not what we have today. Instead of capitalism, what we have today is much more aptly described as “corporatism”. There are very few areas of the economy where the corporations and the government do not totally dominate.
For a while things worked fairly well because the big corporations were providing millions and millions of good jobs for American workers. But now the big corporations have figured out that they don’t really need expensive American workers and they are shipping millions of our jobs out of the country.
But the mainstream media keeps insisting that everything is going to be okay if we all just have a positive attitude.
I had to laugh when I read the following line in an article posted on USA Todayrecently….
Chances are your negative state of mind has a lot to do with the double-dip crowd’s Weather Channel-like warnings of another catastrophic economic storm bearing down on the USA.
Look, chanting positive affirmations over and over is not going to zap good jobs into existence out of thin air.
Right now there is intense competition for any good jobs that happen to become available. For example, last month approximately 17,000 people applied for 600 jobs that came open at Ford’s Louisville Assembly Plant. So those that applied were facing 27 to 1 odds.
The sad thing is that those jobs only paid 15 dollars an hour. Back in the old days, a job at a Ford plant could easily support an entire family. One of my grandfathers worked at a Ford plant for years. Now, such a job will barely get you out of poverty.
But those Ford jobs are far better alternatives than working at Wal-Mart or flipping burgers down at the local Dairy Queen.
When I was growing up, they told us in school that we were becoming a “service economy”. At the time I had only a vague idea what that meant.
Now I know that it means lots of crappy, low paying jobs for everyone.
The following chart shows the growth of service jobs since 1940. As you can see, we now have almost 6 times as many service jobs in our economy as we did back in 1940….
Now let us take a look at a chart that shows the growth of manufacturing jobs. As you can see, we now have less people employed in manufacturing than we did 60 years ago even though our population has absolutely exploded since then. The decline in manufacturing jobs has become especially pronounced over the past decade….
In general, true wealth is created when something comes out of the ground or when something is made.
So if we are importing far more natural resources than we are exporting and if we are not making much of anything in this country anymore, what does that mean for the future of America?
Every single month, we send far, far more money to the rest of the world than they send to us.
That means that we are getting poorer.
Meanwhile, we are also getting into much more debt as a nation every single month.
That is also a huge drain on our national wealth.
The size of the “American pie” is continually getting smaller, and the people that are suffering the most from it are those on the bottom of the food chain.
Right now, unemployment in the United States is at epidemic levels and the number of “working poor” is absolutely exploding. Last year, 19.7% of all U.S. working adults had jobs that would not have been enough to push a family of four over the poverty line even if they had worked full-time hours for the entire year.
How would you feel if you worked as hard as you could all year and your family was still living in poverty?
Sadly, unless something dramatic is done, the number of working poor is going to continue to increase.
Perhaps you are reading this and you have a low income job.
Do you want to know where your good job went?
It was likely shipped out of the country. The corporations have figured out that they can make much larger piles of money if they make stuff on the other side of the globe where they can legally pay slave labor wages to the workers. The United States has lost a staggering 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000, and over 42,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States have been closed down since 2001.
But that is only part of the story. The Obama administration recently announced that it will not be deporting most illegal aliens any longer. Only convicted criminals and “security risks” will be targeted from now on.
So now blue collar American workers will have even more competition for the few remaining jobs.
Once upon a time in this country, you could support an entire family very well with the income from one construction job.
Today, that is no longer true. Competition from illegal aliens has massively driven down construction wages in many areas of the country.
But you know what? Large numbers of blue collar workers will run out and vote for Obama once again in 2012.
He may be shipping our jobs out of the country, but he sure does deliver a good speech. The following is from a speech that Obama gave at a union rally in Detroit on Monday….
“That’s why we chose Detroit as one of the cities that we’re helping revitalize in our “Strong Cities, Strong Communities” initiative. We’re teaming up with everybody — mayors, local officials, you name it — boosting economic development, rebuilding your communities the best way, which is a way that involves you. Because despite all that’s changed here, and all the work that lies ahead, this is still a city where men clocked into factories. This is the city that built the greatest middle class the world has ever known. This is the city where women rolled up their sleeves and helped build an arsenal for democracy to free the world. This is a city where the great American industry has come back to life and the industries of tomorrow are taking root. This is a city where people, brave and bold, courageous and clever, are dreaming up ways to prove the skeptics wrong and write the next proud chapter in our history.”
Doesn’t that sound nice?
I know that I was a little bit inspired when I read that.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
But where are the jobs?
I have written extensively about the lack of jobs in this country. It is not a great mystery what is happening to them, and it is not a great mystery about what is needed to start getting them back.
But sadly, very few of our major politicians are even addressing the real issues.
On Thursday, Barack Obama is going to unveil his latest “jobs plan”. It will almost certainly be some rehashed nonsense that involves even more government spending.
Look, if you gathered together all of the unemployed people in the United States, they would constitute the 68th largest country in the world.
We have a national crisis on our hands. We need very real solutions to our very real problems.
According to John Williams of shadowstats.com, when you factor in all of the short-term discouraged workers, all of the long-term discouraged workers and all of those working part-time because they cannot find full-time employment, the real unemployment rate is now approximately 23 percent.
Things appear even more frightening when you look at the number of Americans that actually do have jobs. Right now, only 47 percent of the U.S. workforce is “fully employed” at this point.
Things wouldn’t be so bad if millions of unemployed people could run out and start their own businesses. But in America today, it is incredibly difficult to start a small business. The federal government, our state governments and our local governments have piled mountains of ridiculous regulations on to our businesses.
Big corporations that have teams of attorneys on staff can handle all of the regulations.
Most individuals and small businesses can’t.
But even if you are able to successfully navigate all of the red tape, you will still likely find yourself struggling to survive as you compete against the big corporate machines.
The big corporations have spent decades stacking things in their favor, and competing against them is not easy.
Millions of Americans are sitting at home today wondering why their businesses failed or why their careers went up in smoke. Meanwhile, their bank accounts continue to go down and their bad debts continue to pile up.
As bad as things have been, you would think that the big banks would show just a little bit of compassion on all of us.
But sadly, that is just not the case. In fact, they are becoming more insensitive than ever.
It turns out that the big financial institutions will come after your relatives even after you are dead. An article on CNN recently described the letter that Denise Towley received just two weeks after her mother passed away….
“We have recently learned that [your mother], a valued Discover Card customer, has passed away. Please accept our sincere apologies,” stated the letter from Discover, which Townley sent to CNNMoney.
It then offered her or another family member the “opportunity” to assume the balance on her mother’s credit card and offered a special introductory APR of 0% for the first six months (the APR would increase to 13.24% after that). If Townley wasn’t interested in taking over the account, then the bank wished to discuss how the estate planned to pay off her mother’s credit card balance.
But that example is nothing compared to the next one that you are about to read.
Bank of America recently called one grieving widow up to 48 times a day to remind her that her husband’s debts needed to be paid. The following is an excerpt from a recent article in the Daily Mail….
The bank told the widow that it was unable to stop the calls until the debt was paid as they were computer generated.
Mrs Crabtree claimed that the calls began the day after her husband died of cancer.
She told the bank that she only had $5,000 cash to hand, which was needed for food and to bury her husband, but debt collectors told her that she must use it to pay them.
Mrs Crabtree said she and her family spent her husband’s wake repeatedly hanging up the phone on calls from the bank.
Can you believe that?
These are yet more examples of why I encourage everyone to get out of debt as fast as they can. The banks are not nice and they are not going to show you any mercy.
But isn’t the government doing something about the banks? After all, the federal agency that watches over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has filed lawsuitsagainst 17 major financial institutions, right?
Well, yes, some of those financial institutions are going to get slap on the wrist.
But nobody is going to go to jail.
Rather, this is all about the federal government getting a cut of the action.
That is how this kind of thing works. Everyone gets a cut.
The federal government is not going to give the homes back to the victims of mortgage fraud.
The federal government is not going to take the money and give it to the people that lost everything.
No, any money from the future settlement will go right into the pockets of the government.
This is not going to fix anything for the large numbers of Americans that were defrauded.
Tonight, there are countless numbers of families all across America that are one step from living on the street. According to the Daily Mail, “millions of Americans” are now living in budget motels because they are out of other options….
They are known as the last resort. Millions of Americans are staying in budget long-stay motels as the country’s economic problems get worse.
The grisly rooms are seen as the lowest of the U.S. housing ladder, only just above a cardboard box.
In tiny rooms with paper-thin walls and nylon sheets, vulnerable Americans are making their homes for a few hundred bucks a month.
I write a lot about how the middle class is being destroyed in this country, but it cannot be stressed enough.
We are literally watching the slow destruction of the greatest middle class that ever existed.
The poverty that we are now witnessing in some areas of the nation is absolutely jaw-dropping. For example, approximately one-third of the entire population of Alabama is now on food stamps.
Faith in the government is rapidly diminishing. A recent Washington Post poll found that only 26 percent of Americans believe that the federal government can solve the economic problems that we are now facing.
Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans seem to have any real answers these days.
A lot of Americans have given up hope and have become deeply pessimistic. According to one recent poll, 39 percent of Americans believe that the U.S. economy has now entered a “permanent decline”.
Sadly, they are right. The U.S. economy has entered a permanent decline.
If our politicians were trying to do the right things, we might have half a chance.
But with the way things are going, the vast majority of Americans are going to be facing a very bleak future.
Ignoring the truth is not going to change it. The U.S. economy is slowly dying and nothing is being done to fix it.
The frightening thing is that this is about as good as things are going to get. From here on out, the economy is generally going to get progressively worse.
An economic storm is coming.
You better get ready.