Tag Archives: depression

The Mad As Hell Generation

The Mad As Hell Generation: 20 Reasons Why Millions Of Americans Under The Age Of 30 Are Giving Up On The U.S. Economy

Courtesy of The Economic Collapse Blog

Millions upon millions of young Americans have completely lost faith in the U.S. economy and are mad as hell that their economic futures have been destroyed. The recent economic downturn has hit those under the age of 30 the hardest. Today, there are hordes of young people that should be entering their most productive years that are sitting home with nothing to do. Many of them have worked incredibly hard throughout high school and college. Many of them have stayed out of trouble and have done everything that “the system” asked them to do. But once they got finished with school, the promised “rewards” simply were not there. Instead, millions of young Americans are faced with crushing student loan debt loads in an economy where they can’t find good jobs. When you are in your twenties, it can be absolutely soul-crushing to send out hundreds (or even thousands) of resumes and not get a single interview. Most of us grew up believing that we would “be something” when we got older, and millions of young Americans are having those dreams brutally crushed right now. Americans under the age of 30 voted for Barack Obama in droves back in 2008 because they believed that he would make things better. Instead, Barack Obama has made things even worse. Significant numbers of young Americans are starting to wake up and realize that neither political party is providing any real answers, and they are starting to get mad as hell about it.

Americans under the age of 30 don’t want to hear that they are not going to be able to do better than their parents. They don’t want to hear that they are going to have to “pay the price” because of the mistakes of previous generations. They don’t want to hear that the “good jobs” that have been held out as a “carrot” for them all these years have disappeared and are not coming back.

Millions of young Americans want what was promised to them. They want good jobs that will enable them to enjoy the “American Dream”. They want things to go back to the way that things used to work in America.

If you spend much time around those in their twenties, you know that many of them have a look of hopelessness in their eyes. Large numbers of them have moved back in with their parents. Large numbers of them are flipping burgers or working retail jobs part-time because that is all they can find. There are even a growing number of them that have given up entirely and have completely checked out.

So are we in the process of creating a “lost generation”?

The following are 20 reasons why millions of Americans under the age of 30 are giving up on the U.S. economy….

#1 Only 55.3% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 were employed last year. That was the lowest level that we have seen since World War II.

#2 Today, there are 5.9 million Americans between the ages of 25 and 34 that are living with their parents.

#3 The economic downturn has been particularly tough on men. According to Census data, men are twice as likely to live with their parents as women are.

#4 Amazingly, less than 30 percent of all U.S. teens had a job this summer.

#5 Approximately one out of every five Americans under the age of 30 is currently living in poverty.

#6 According to one recent survey, only 14 percent of all Americans that are 28 or 29 years old are optimistic about their financial futures.

#7 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.

#8 The cost of “getting an education” has become increasingly burdensome in recent years. Average yearly tuition at U.S. private universities is now up to $27,293. That figure has increased by 29% in just the past five years.

#9 In America today, approximately two-thirds of all college students graduate with student loans.

#10 Millions of young Americans are absolutely being financially strangled by horrific student loan debt loads. Sadly, the total amount of student loan debt in the United States now exceeds the total amount of credit card debt in the United States.

#11 In 2010, the average college graduate had accumulated approximately $25,000 in student loan debt by graduation day.

#12 One-third of all college graduates end up taking jobs that don’t even require college degrees.

#13 In the United States today, there are more than 100,000 janitors that have college degrees.

#14 In the United States today, 317,000 waiters and waitresses have college degrees.

#15 In the United States today, approximately 365,000 cashiers have college degrees.

#16 In the United States today, 24.5 percent of all retail salespersons have a college degree.

#17 As the economy has crumbled, fewer young Americans have been getting married. Today, an all-time low 44.2% of Americans between the ages of 25 and 34 are married.

#18 Young Americans are becoming increasingly frustrated as our politicians stand by and do nothing while our economy is being hollowed out. The sad truth is that United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs a month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, and top politicians in both major political parties keep pushing for even more job-killing “free trade” agreements.

#19 Young Americans are becoming increasingly frustrated that pretty much the only jobs that seem to be available are low paying jobs. Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs. Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.

#20 Young Americans are becoming increasingly frustrated that previous generations have saddled them with a 14 trillion dollar national debt that they are expected to make payments on for the rest of their lives.

A lot of young Americans swing back and forth between anger and despair. Many of them worked like crazy for years because of the promise of a better life, and now they are being bitterly disappointed. Just consider the following testimonial that was recently posted on The Atlantic….

I am in my mid-20s. I have a university education. I started working when I was 14. I have chemical burns and scars over my hands from dealing with caustic cleaning chemicals. I did not want that to be my life like my uncles. I had to get out. I worked very hard in high school and volunteered and was the member of clubs and all of that great stuff. I got into a good university and worked hard. I took a language course, took things that I loved. I worked through my degree – I was even a janitor in a building that I lived in, because I needed the cut in rent. I did that for no pay.

After these months of unemployment I have fallen into a pretty major depression. I live at home, I do chores, I look for work. As much as I want to get my life together, I have some great mental health issues to deal with – but have neither the money to purchase medication that may help me, nor the ability to pay for psychological or psychiatric help.

So what can be done?

Well, someone could wave a magic wand and fix the U.S. economy, but we all know that is not going to happen.

In fact, there is all kinds of evidence that the U.S. economy is about to get even worse.

So should we just tell our young people that they might as well just give up and start making rap videos about using food stamp cards like this one? (*Warning* The video contains some very strong language.)

The number of Americans on food stamps has increased by 74 percent since 2007. Millions of young people are learning that the only way to survive is to be dependent on the government.

It certainly does not help that our entire education system is deeply broken. For example, did you know that the verbal scores on the SAT for the class of 2011 were the lowest ever recorded?

Our students have become so “dumbed down” that large numbers of them can barely even function in society once they graduate.

That is not their fault.

That is our fault.

We have failed young Americans in so many ways that it would take a series of books to detail them all.

We can say that we are sorry, but that just isn’t going to cut it.

Millions of young Americans want what was promised to them, but we no longer have it to give to them.

Anger in this nation is already starting to boil over in strange and unpredictable ways. If the economy gets even worse, we are going to have tens of millions of young Americans that are mad as hell and that are ready to riot in the streets.

What are we going to do then?

According to a recent Gallup poll, 81 percent of Americans are “dissatisfied with the way the nation is being governed”.

That is not a sign of a healthy nation.

The sad truth is that the foundations of America are crumbling and we have millions upon millions of young people that are incredibly angry and incredibly frustrated.

It does not take a genius to figure out that is a recipe for disaster.

So please pray for America.

We are going to need it.

SOURCE

Obama’s urgent jobs plan: ‘Right now’ means sometime next month…after vacation… maybe

Obama’s urgent jobs plan: Right now, ‘right now’ means sometime next month maybe

Everybody remembers the urgency of President Obama’s attitude toward the awful jobs situation.

Back in early August, Obama said the jobs situation was so urgent that he was going to give another speech about it — in a month or so, in September after his vacation on Martha’s Vineyard.

And then in September the president announced he would give his major jobs speech to a joint session of Congress on Sept. 7. But he neglected to check with congressional leaders first. And they suggested the 8th. So, since it was their House, the 8th it was.


“Tonight,” the president said in the first 34 of his 4,021 words to a national television audience that night, “we meet at an urgent time for our country. We continue to face an economic crisis that has left millions of our neighbors jobless, and a political crisis that has made things worse.”

The speech got panned as another political campaign one with Obama announcing, in effect, that….
…since the first stimulus spending plan of $787 billion hadn’t really worked, maybe another $447 billion stimulus spending plan would.

This is the kind of thinking that can make sense within Washington. But since “stimulus” has become a laugh line, he didn’t use that word anymore.

And, hey, the debt ceiling had been raised to $16 trillion. (Speaking of which the president speaks on the debt this morning in another speech because he’s a Real Good Talker.) So why not spend a half-trillion more to look like he’s doing something about the terrible jobs situation with 14+ million unemployed?

If Republicans didn’t bite, no one would know Obama’s Plan B was never going to work anyway. And he could try to blame the GOP next year for failing schools and rusting bridges. This also seems to make sense within WasObama prepares to speaks at the white househington these days.

The president was in such a hurry to get this new spending going, everyone remembers, that during that address he said the phrase “right now” seven times. He didn’t actually mean right now that night because the NFL season was opening a few minutes after his remarks.

But Obama did want to show how really urgent he said the situation was, even though it had taken him 961 days as president to say them. And even though from Day #1 of the brief Obama Era polls had shown jobs and the economy were the No. 1 priority among voters but he pursued healthcare and financial reforms first. And even though unemployment had been at or above 9% for 26 of the last 28 months.

So, given the president’s professed urgency, the next day, Sept. 9, everyone asked where was his jobs legislation?

And, well, it seems the urgent jobs bill hadn’t actually been written yet but should be ready in a week or two. When the laughter died, the White House said on second thought the legislation would be ready for a photo op the next Monday.

Well, here we are on the next Monday after that next Monday and we’ve just learned from the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, Dick Durbin, that actually it seems that body won’t really be seriously getting into the legislation for a while yet. The Senate has some other more important business to handle. And then there’s this month’s congressional vacation, which in Washington is called “a recess,” like elementary school.

Here’s the revealing exchange with a persistent host Candy Crowley on CNN’s “State of the Union:”

CROWLEY: When is the bill going to get on the floor?

DURBIN: The bill is on the calendar. Majority leader Reid moved it to the calendar. It is ready and poised. There are a couple other items we may get into this week not on the bill and some related issues that may create jobs. But we’re going to move forward on the president’s bill. There will be a healthy debate. I hope the Republicans will come to…

CROWLEY: After the recess, so next month? Or when will it actually begin to act on?

DURBIN: I think that’s more realistic it would be next month.

So, as of right now, “right now” uttered on Sept. 8 really means sometime at least one month later.

Good thing the president’s own Democratic party controls the Senate. Because, otherwise, there might be some kind of silly, unnecessary delays in deliberating Obama’s urgent jobs bill that he says will surely help the nation’s unemployed millions if only those Republicans don’t connive to slow things down.

SOURCE

Nearly 40 percent of Europeans suffer mental illness

Nearly 40 percent of Europeans suffer mental illness

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By Kate Kelland

“The truth about cures without drugs is suppressed, unless it suits the purpose of the censor to garble it. Whether these cures are effected by chiropractors, Naturopaths, Naprapaths, Osteopaths, Faith Healers, Spiritualists, Herbalists, Christian Scientists, or MDs who use the brains they have, you never read about it in the big newspapers.” …Morris A. Bealle

(Reuters) – Europeans are plagued by mental and neurological illnesses, with almost 165 million people or 38 percent of the population suffering each year from a brain disorder such as depression, anxiety, insomnia or dementia, according to a large new study.

With only about a third of cases receiving the therapy or medication needed, mental illnesses cause a huge economic and social burden — measured in the hundreds of billions of euros — as sufferers become too unwell to work and personal relationships break down.

“Mental disorders have become Europe’s largest health challenge of the 21st century,
” the study’s authors said.

At the same time, some big drug companies are backing away from investment in research on how the brain works and affects behavior, putting the onus on governments and health charities to stump up funding for neuroscience.

“The immense treatment gap … for mental disorders has to be closed,”
said Hans Ulrich Wittchen, director of the institute of clinical psychology and psychotherapy at Germany’s Dresden University and the lead investigator on the European study.

“Those few receiving treatment do so with considerable delays of an average of several years and rarely with the appropriate, state-of-the-art therapies.”

Wittchen led a three-year study covering 30 European countries — the 27 European Union member states plus Switzerland, Iceland and Norway — and a population of 514 million people.

A direct comparison of the prevalence of mental illnesses in other parts of the world was not available because different studies adopt varying parameters.

Wittchen’s team looked at about 100 illnesses covering all major brain disorders from anxiety and depression to addiction to schizophrenia, as well as major neurological disorders including epilepsy, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis.

The results, published by the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ENCP) on Monday, show an “exceedingly high burden” of mental health disorders and brain illnesses, he told reporters at a briefing in London.

Mental illnesses are a major cause of death, disability, and economic burden worldwide and the World Health Organization predicts that by 2020, depression will be the second leading contributor to the global burden of disease across all ages.

Wittchen said that in Europe, that grim future had arrived early, with diseases of the brain already the single largest contributor to the EU’s burden of ill health.

The four most disabling conditions — measured in terms of disability-adjusted life years or DALYs, a standard measure used to compare the impact of various diseases — are depression, dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, alcohol dependence and stroke.

The last major European study of brain disorders, which was published in 2005 and covered a smaller population of about 301 million people, found 27 percent of the EU adult population was suffering from mental illnesses.

Although the 2005 study cannot be compared directly with the latest finding — the scope and population was different — it found the cost burden of these and neurological disorders amounted to about 386 billion euros ($555 billion) a year at that time. Wittchen’s team has yet to finalize the economic impact data from this latest work, but he said the costs would be “considerably more” than estimated in 2005.

The researchers said it was crucial for health policy makers to recognize the enormous burden and devise ways to identify potential patients early — possibly through screening — and make treating them quickly a high priority.

“Because mental disorders frequently start early in life, they have a strong malignant impact on later life,” Wittchen said. “Only early targeted treatment in the young will effectively prevent the risk of increasingly largely proportions of severely ill…patients in the future.”

David Nutt, a neuropsychopharmacology expert at Imperial College London who was not involved in this study, agreed.

“If you can get in early you may be able to change the trajectory of the illness so that it isn’t inevitable that people go into disability,
” he said. “If we really want not to be left with this huge reservoir of mental and brain illness for the next few centuries, then we ought to be investing more now.”

(Reporting by Kate Kelland; Editing by Matthew Jones)

SOURCE

READ MY LIPS…NO NEW JOBS!

US economy created no job growth in August, data show
First time since 1945 that government has reported net monthly job change of zero

WASHINGTON — Employment growth ground to a halt in August, as sagging consumer confidence discouraged already skittish U.S. businesses from hiring, keeping pressure on the Federal Reserve to provide more monetary stimulus to aid the struggling economy.

Nonfarm payrolls were unchanged last month, the Labor Department said Friday. It was the first time since 1945 that the government has reported a net monthly job change of zero. The August payrolls report was the worst since September 2010, while nonfarm employment for June and July was revised to show 58,000 fewer jobs


“The bottom line is this is bad,”
Diane Swonk, chief economist with financial services firm Mesirow Financial, told CNBC Friday.

Despite the lack of employment growth, the jobless rate held steady at 9.1 percent in August. The unemployment rate is derived from a separate survey of households, which showed an increase in employment and a tick up in the labor force participation rate.

While the jobs report underscored the frail state of the economy, the hiring slowdown probably will not be seen as a recession signal as layoffs are not rising that much.

A strike by about 45,000 Verizon Communications workers helped push employment in the information services down by 48,000. Allowing for the decline from the Verizon strike, private payrolls would have risen by 62,000.

A rough month


“August was a pretty rough month for the economy,
” said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics in West Chester, Pa. “We saw financial markets tighten. I think businesses sort of responded by putting hiring on the back burner,” he said before the release of the report.

An acrimonious political fight over U.S. debt, which culminated in the downgrade of the country’s AAA credit rating from Standard & Poor’s, and a worsening debt crisis in Europe ignited a massive stock market sell-off last month and sent business and consumer confidence tumbling.

With the unemployment rate stuck above 9 percent and confidence collapsing, President Barack Obama is under pressure to come up with ways to spur job creation. The health of the labor market could determine whether he wins a second term in next year’s elections.

Obama will lay out a new jobs plan in a speech to the nation next Thursday.

“The economy is slowly grinding to a halt,
” said Steve Blitz, senior economist for ITG in New York. “The problem, however, on the policy side is that I wonder whether the numbers are truly weak enough to galvanize a political response.”

“To me, the major take away from this number is that it keeps policy in limbo — it’s bad but not bad enough,
” he added.

The weak employment data could strengthen the hand of officials at the U.S. central bank who were ready at their August meeting to do more to help the sputtering economy.

The Fed cut overnight interest rates to near zero in December 2008 and it has bought $2.3 trillion in securities. Many analysts say its arsenal is now largely depleted, although they expect it to do more to try to prop up growth.

Dodging recession

Although hiring cooled, there is little sign companies responded to the darkening outlook by laying off workers. First-time applications for state unemployment benefits have hovered around 400,000 for weeks.

The steady jobless claims, relatively strong consumer spending, continued demand for manufactured goods and increases in industrial production suggest the economy will steer clear of recession.

“We do not expect the economy to slump, but rather to slouch and stagger,” said Patrick O’Keefe, head of economic research at accounting firm J.H. Cohn in Roseland, New Jersey.
Story: Nursing tops list of high-paid jobs of the future

Still, analysts warn the economy is so weak, any fresh shock could send it tumbling. In the first half of the year, the economy expanded at less than a 1 percent annual rate, bad news for the estimated 14 million unemployed Americans.

If job growth does not accelerate, it could take more than four years to return to the pre-recession employment level.

Private payrolls increased only 17,000 after rising 156,000 in July. Government employment fell 17,000, contracting for a 10th straight month. The decline in government payrolls was tempered by the return of 23,000 state workers in Minnesota after a partial government shutdown in July.

Details of the employment report were weak, with manufacturing payrolls falling 3,000, reflecting the slump in business confidence. Factories added 36,000 new workers in July as disruptions to motor vehicle production caused by a shortage of parts from Japan eased.

The average work week dropped to 34.2 hours, the fewest since January, from 34.3 hours. Average hourly earnings fell three cents.

SOURCE

10 Banks Own 77 Percent Of All U.S. Banking Assets: Too Big To Fail?

Too Big To Fail?: 10 Banks Own 77 Percent Of All U.S. Banking Assets

Courtesy of The Economic Collapse Blog

Back during the financial crisis of 2008, the American people were told that the largest banks in the United States were “too big to fail” and that was why it was necessary for the federal government to step in and bail them out. The idea was that if several of our biggest banks collapsed at the same time the financial system would not be strong enough to keep things going and economic activity all across America would simply come to a standstill. Congress was told that if the “too big to fail” banks did not receive bailouts that there would be chaos in the streets and this country would plunge into another Great Depression. Since that time, however, essentially no efforts have been made to decentralize the U.S. banking system. Instead, the “too big to fail” banks just keep getting larger and larger and larger. Back in 2002, the top 10 banks controlled 55 percent of all U.S. banking assets. Today, the top 10 banks control 77 percent of all U.S. banking assets. Unfortunately, these giant banks are also colossal mountains of risk, debt and leverage. They are incredibly unstable and they could start coming apart again at any time. None of the major problems that caused the crash of 2008 have been fixed. In fact, the U.S. banking system is more centralized and more vulnerable today than it ever has been before.

It really is difficult for ordinary Americans to get a handle on just how large these financial institutions are. For example, the “big six” U.S. banks (Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo) now possess assets equivalent to approximately 60 percent of America’s gross national product.

These huge banks are giant financial vacuum cleaners. Over the past couple of decades we have witnessed a financial consolidation in this country that is absolutely unprecedented.

This trend accelerated during the recent financial crisis. While the big boys were receiving massive bailouts, the hundreds of small banks that were failing were either allowed to collapse or they were told that they should find a big bank that was willing to buy them.

As a group, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo held approximately 22 percent of all banking deposits in FDIC-insured institutions back in 2000.

By the middle of 2009 that figure was up to 39 percent.

That is not just a trend – that is a landslide.

Sadly, smaller banks continue to fail in large numbers and the big banks just keep growing and getting more power.

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Today, there are more than 1,000 U.S. banks that are on the “unofficial list” of problem banking institutions.

In the absence of fundamental changes, the consolidation of the banking industry is going to continue.

Meanwhile, the “too big to fail” banks are flush with cash and they are getting serious about expanding. The Federal Reserve has been extremely good to the big boys and they are eager to grow.

For example, Citigroup is becoming extremely aggressive about expanding….

Citigroup has been hiring dozens of investment bankers, dialing up advertising and drawing up plans to add several hundred branches worldwide, including more than 200 in major cities across the United States.

Hopefully the big banks will start lending again. The whole idea behind the bailouts and all of the “quantitative easing” that the Federal Reserve did was to get money into the hands of the big banks so that they would lend it out to ordinary Americans and get the economy rolling again.

Well, a funny thing happened. The big banks just sat on a lot of that money.

In particular, what they did was they deposited much of it at the Fed and drew interest on it.

Since 2008, excess reserves parked at the Fed have grown by nearly 1.7 trillion dollars. Just check out the chart posted below….

The American people were promised that TARP and all of the other bailouts would enable the big banks to lend out lots of money which would help get the economy going for ordinary Americans again.

Well, it turns out that in 2009 (the first full year after Congress passed the bailout legislation) U.S. banks posted their sharpest decline in lending since 1942.

Lending has never fully recovered since the crash of 2008. The big financial institutions like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase have been able to get all the cash that they need, but they have not passed that generosity along to ordinary Americans.

In fact, the biggest U.S. banks have actually reduced small business lending by about 50 percent since the crash of 2008.

That doesn’t sound like what we were promised.

These “too big to fail” banks have been able to borrow gigantic amounts of money from the Fed for next to nothing and yet they still refuse to let credit flow to local communities. Instead, the big banks have found other purposes for all of the super cheap money that they have been getting from the Fed as Ellen Brown recently explained….

It can be very profitable indeed for the big Wall Street banks, but the purpose of the near-zero interest rates was supposed to be to get banks to lend again. Instead, they are, indeed, paying “outrageous bonuses to their top executives;” using the money to engage in the same sort of unregulated speculation that nearly brought down the economy in 2008; buying up smaller banks; or investing this virtually interest-free money in risk-free government bonds, on which taxpayers are paying 2.5 percent interest (more for longer-term securities).

What makes things even worse is that these big banks often pay next to nothing in taxes.

For example, between 2008 and 2010, Wells Fargo made a total profit of 49.37 billion dollars.

Over that same time period, their tax bill was negative 681 million dollars.

Do you understand what that means? Over that 3 year time period, Wells Fargo actually got 681 million dollars back from the U.S. government.

Isn’t that just peachy?

Meanwhile, the big financial giants have not learned their lessons and they continue to do business pretty much as they did it prior to 2008.

The big banks continue to roll up massive amounts of risk, debt and leverage.

Today, Wall Street has become one giant financial casino. More money is made on Wall Street by making side bets (commonly referred to as “derivatives”) than on the investments themselves.

If the bets pay off for the big financial institutions, mind blowing profits can be made. But if the bets go against the big financial institutions (as we saw in 2008), firms can collapse almost overnight.

In fact, it was derivatives that almost brought down AIG. The biggest insurance company in the world almost folded in 2008 because of a whole bunch of really bad bets.

The danger from derivatives is so great that Warren Buffet once called them “financial weapons of mass destruction”. It has been estimated that the notional value of the worldwide derivatives market is somewhere in the neighborhood of a quadrillion dollars.

The largest banks have tens of trillions of dollars of exposure to derivatives. When the next great financial collapse happens, derivatives will almost certainly be at the center of it once again. These side bets do not create anything real for the economy – they just make and lose huge amounts of money. We never know when the next great derivatives crisis will strike. Derivatives are essentially like a “sword of Damocles” that perpetually hangs over the U.S. financial system.

When I start talking about derivatives I get a lot of people in the financial community mad at me. On Wall Street today you can bet on just about anything you can imagine. Almost everyone in the financial world has gotten so used to making wild bets that they couldn’t even imagine a world without them. If anyone even tried to put significant limits on futures, options and swaps it would cause Wall Street to throw a hissy fit.

But someday the dominoes are going to start to fall and the house of cards is going to come crashing down. It is an open secret that our financial system is fundamentally unsound. Even a lot of people working on Wall Street will admit that. It is just that people are so busy making such big piles of money that nobody wants the party to stop.

The world is dangerous. Are you prepared? Get a Safety Kit and Stay Safe Today!

It is only a matter of time until some of these big banks get into a huge amount of trouble again. When that happens, we might really find out whether they are “too big to fail” or whether we could get along just fine without them.

SOURCE

10 Signs That The American People Are Starting To Freak Out About The Condition Of The Economy

10 Signs That The American People Are Starting To Freak Out About The Condition Of The Economy

Courtesy of The Economic Collapse Blog

All over America, restlessness and frustration are growing. It has now been almost three years since the great financial crash of 2008, and yet the U.S. economy is still a complete and total mess. In fact, there are all sorts of signs that things are about to get even worse, and the American people are just about fed up. Virtually every major poll, survey and measure of consumer confidence shows that the American people are becoming more pessimistic about the economy. Millions of hard working Americans that worked their fingers to the bone for their employers and that did everything “right” are sitting at home on their couches tonight staring blankly at the television. Many of them still have a hard time believing that they were laid off and that there is nobody out there that wants to give them a good job. There are millions of other Americans that won’t get much sleep tonight because they will spend much of the night rolling around in bed wondering how they are possibly going to be able to pay the mortgage. We have never faced such an extended economic downturn in modern U.S. history, and a lot of people are starting to freak out about the condition of the economy. As Gerald Celente likes to say: “When people lose everything and have nothing left to lose – they lose it.”

Every single month, the number of good jobs continues to go down. Wall Street actually rewards companies that have a good “outsourcing strategy“. As I have written about previously, a growing percentage of the jobs that are being “created” these days are very low paying jobs. But you can’t support a family, pay a mortgage or even afford decent health insurance on what you would make stocking shelves at Target or passing out buckets of chicken for KFC.

The American people keep waiting for “hope” and “change” to show up, but all they get instead are more helpings of “despair” and “frustration“.

Sadly, most Americans still cling to the hope that if the “next election” will just turn out the right way that things will be okay. But the truth is that things seem to stay on pretty much the same course no matter who we put into office.

For many years the status quo seemed to be okay for most people, but now we are starting to reap the results of the economic seeds that we have sown.

Now our economic decline is starting to accelerate and people are starting to panic. Most Americans may not know why all of this is happening, but what many of them do know is that something in their gut is telling them that things have gone terribly, terribly wrong somehow.

The following are 10 signs that the American people are starting to freak out about the condition of the economy….

#1 Things have already gotten so bad that Americans will literally trample one another just to get on a waiting list for rental assistance vouchers. Just check out the following excerpt from a local news report about a recent incident in Texas….

At least eight people were hurt Thursday morning while scrambling to line up for a limited number of Dallas County rental vouchers — after waiting for hours in their cars.

People lined up Thursday morning to apply for Dallas County Section 8 housing vouchers. Dallas County sheriff’s spokesman Kim Leach estimated the crowd at about 5,000.

Video of this incident is posted below. One of the people that was trampled was a pregnant woman….

#2 Almost every measurement of consumer confidence is going down. For example, the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index fell from 61.7 in May to 58.5 in June.

#3 The Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index has fallen to 63.8 after being at 71.5 in June. It is now the lowest that it has been since the last recession “ended”.

#4 The Rasmussen Consumer Index is down 9 points from a month ago.

#5 A recent poll taken by Rasmussen found that 68 percent of Americans believe that we are actually in a recession right now.

#6 According to Gallup, the percentage of Americans that lack confidence in U.S. banks is now at an all-time high of 36%.

#7 In many areas of the United States this summer, just about anything that is not bolted down is being stolen by people that are desperate for money.

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#8 According to one recent poll, 39 percent of Americans believe that the U.S. economy has now entered a “permanent decline”.

#9 Another recent survey found that 48 percent of Americans believe that it is likely that another great Depression will begin within the next 12 months.

#10 According to a brand new Reuters/Ipsos poll, 63 percent of Americans believe that the nation is on the wrong track. That figure is three percent higher than it was last month.

One of the only things preventing chaos from breaking out in the streets of our cities from coast to coast is government handouts.

Today, almost 20 percent of all personal income in the United States comes from benefits provided by the federal government.

You don’t believe this? Just check out what the New York Times recently had to say….

Close to $2 of every $10 that went into Americans’ wallets last year were payments like jobless benefits, food stamps, Social Security and disability, according to an analysis by Moody’s Analytics.

There are tens of millions of Americans that are living “on the edge”, but at least the massive government handout programs are enabling most of them to survive.

So what happens when the checks from the government stop coming?

Look, I am not advocating that the “welfare society” that we have become is a good thing. Today, Americans receive more in direct government benefits than they pay in taxes. That is not even close to sustainable.

What I am pointing out is that tens of millions of Americans that are deeply suffering are currently being pacified by these government handouts. Once the handouts are cut significantly or taken away completely it is going to unleash a lot of anger and frustration.

Of course what the American people really need are good jobs that will give them dignity and allow them to provide for their families, but millions of those keep getting shipped out of the country.

So the only thing that millions of Americans still have to hang on to are their government benefits. Once that changes a whole lot of people are going to throw a fit.

In fact, we are already seeing some really bizarre behavior across the United States. In many areas of the country we are literally watching society crumble right in front of our very eyes.

But not all Americans will resort to lawless behavior. In fact, there are a lot of really good, hard working people out there that this economy has left behind.

There are some people that have put in decades of hard work only to see their dreams shrivel up over the past few years.

Some of the stories people send me are absolutely heartbreaking. I have looked at each and every comment that has been left on The Economic Collapse over the past couple of years. Needless to say, it has taken a huge investment of my time to go through more than 20,000 comments. But in the process I have gotten a very good idea of what people are going through across the nation.

So how badly are people hurting? Well, a reader identified as “Anna44” recently shared with us what some of her family members have been going through in this economy….

My B-I-L was a dealership owner/manager who worked long hours over 38 years and had to close his doors when Saturn was dissolved. When his dealership went under, 72 others lost their job. That’s 72 families who took a hit. He lost his home, everything. A few of his former employees lost their homes as well eventually. They were not lazy or WORTHLESS. It took him a year and a half to finally find something, but now he lives in a hotel unable to qualify for a house or apartment. This is an educated man who competed nationwide for top dog and got it more then once. His biggest fault? He’s almost 60, young enough to need the work, but too old to be hired.

As for my husband- 26 years AF officer, handling millions & billions on International & National levels has just entered his 7th month of unemployment. Two tours abroad- lazy he is NOT. He doesn’t qualify for unemployment, nor is he counted because he gets a retirement check. He wants and needs to work- yet there is little out there. If he doesn’t find something soon, we too will lose the home we sunk every cent into after 20 years of saving for it!

All across America tonight there are similar stories. People have done everything “right” all of their lives and they are frustrated that now they have been pushed to the edge of poverty by this economy.

Unfortunately, it looks like things may soon get even worse. Economist David Rosenberg recently told CNBC the following….

“We’re just one small shock away from the economy going back into recession.”

That is not what the American people want to hear.

What they want to hear is that things are about to get better.

What they want to hear is that things are going to get back to normal soon.

Sadly, that is just not going to be the case.

The economy is going to get worse and worse, and the frustration and the anger of the American people is just going to continue to grow.

SOURCE

7 reasons U.S. needs a Good Depression now

7 reasons U.S. needs a Good Depression now

Don’t raise debt ceiling, save us from worse later

By Paul B. Farrell, MarketWatch

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (MarketWatch) — No, do not raise the debt-ceiling. You heard me: Block the debt ceiling vote. Don’t raise it. America’s out-of-control. A debt addict. Time to detox. Deal with the collateral damage before it’s too late.

We need to fix America’s looming credit default, failing economy and our screwed-up banking system. Now, with a Good Depression. If we just kick the can down the road one more time, we’ll be trapped into repeating our 1930’s tragedy, a second Great Depression.

The U.S. needs to invest in a massive public works program, and rich people and corporations should pay more taxes. Barton Biggs, of Traxis Partners, shares his views with the Simon Constable.

Yes, depression. Spelled: d-e-p-r-e-s-s-i-o-n. Wake up America, recessions do not work. Won’t work in the future. Remember that 30-month recession after the dot-com crash? Didn’t work. Why? Because in the decade since that 2000 peak, Wall Street’s lost an inflation–adjusted 20% of America’s retirement money.

And what about the so-called Great Recession of the 2008 credit meltdown? Didn’t work either. In fact, made matters worse: Wall Street got richer by stealing from the other 98% of Americans, the middle class, the poor. And now their conservative puppets in Washington want to make matters worse, widening the wealth gap further to benefit the Super Rich.

Seems nobody really gives a damn about our great nation any more. America’s now a capitalists anarchy: “Every (rich) man for himself.” Proxy battles are fought by high-priced lobbyists in a broken political system. America needs a 21-gun wake-up call. Yes, that’s why America needs a Good Depression. The economy’s bad now. But kicking the can down the road again will make matters much worse later.
America’s leaders lost their moral compass, lack a public conscience

This is not our first call for a Good Depression. As early as 2005 we began reporting on excessive debt. In November 2007 we warned of a crash dead ahead. The subprime credit meltdown had been accelerating for many months, although for a year our leaders kept misleading Americans: Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s “it’s under control.” Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s delusional “best economy I’ve ever seen in my lifetime.”

In August 2008 came the original of our seven reasons why America needs a Good Depression. Yes August, just two months before Wall Street banks collapsed into de facto bankruptcy, after many warnings predicting a crisis. This was no Black Swan. In September 2008 we reported on Naomi Klein, author of “Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism,” warning of Wall Street’s insidious plan to take over America:

“Nobody should believe the overblown claims that the market crisis signals the death of ‘free market’ ideology.” Then as the meltdown went nuclear, Klein warned: “Free market ideology has always been a servant to the interests of capital, and its presence ebbs and flows depending on its usefulness to those interests. During boom times, it’s profitable to preach laissez faire, because an absentee government allows speculative bubbles to inflate.”

But “when those bubbles burst, the ideology becomes a hindrance, and it goes dormant while big government rides to the rescue. But rest assured,” she predicted, Reaganomics “ideology will come roaring back when the bailouts are done. The massive debts the public is accumulating to bail out the speculators will then become part of a global budget crisis that will be the rationalization for deep cuts to social programs, and for a renewed push to privatize.”

Totally predictable: No Black Swans in 2000, 2008 … nor in 2012

Yes, all was predictable: The events of the past few years were well known in advance. In fact, the events of the entire decade were predictable. The rich got richer off the backs of the middle class and the poor. Why? “There’s class warfare all right,” warns Warren Buffett. “But it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

And they are also blind and deaf to the havoc their free-market Reaganomics policies are creating, selfishly undermining America, the world’s greatest economic power.

Lessons learned? Zero. Why? Wall Street, Washington and Corporate America are focused on one narrow-minded short-term strategy: Economic g-r-o-w-t-h, bull markets, megabonuses, tax cuts. In good times they tout “free markets.” But when greed bombs, they throw free-market “principles” under the Reagan Revolution bus and unleash their mercenary lobbyists to go whining to Congress for huge taxpayer bailouts and access at the Fed discount window, to siphon off more taxpayer money. And they’ll do it again soon,

Wall Street and their cronies are doing such a miserable job, America needs a new strategy: First, stop “kicking the can down the road.” Let a good old-fashioned Good Depression do the job that our hapless, happy-talking leaders refuse to do. Take our medicine. Let a new depression clean house and reawaken Americans to core values.

Trust me folks, it’s either a Good Depression now … or a Great Depression 2. Here are seven reasons favoring the do-it-now strategy:

1: Capitalism’s now a lethal soul sickness, needs a reawakening

What’s the real problem? Not the economy, not markets, nor even politics. Yes, our economic pains are real. But they’re just symptoms. Something’s structural wrong. Since 2000 endless bad news: Greed, deceit, stupidity, corruption, unethical behavior, lack of moral conscience.

The real problem’s deep in our character, the “mutant capitalism” Jack Bogle warned of in “The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism.” Sadly, that battle was lost. With it we lost our soul, our moral compass. America’s character is measured by our net worth.

2. We’re already in the early stages of a Great Depression

Comparing today with the Great Depression is common sport. In a Newsweek special “Seeing Shades of the 1930s,” Dan Gross wrote: “Wall Street, after two terms of a business-friendly Republican president, self-immolated on a pyre of greed, incompetence and excessive optimism.” Today’s “new normal” economy means high unemployment for years, inflation driving prices, rising interest rates, more debt, chaos.

We are destroying ourselves from within. Former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker warns that “there are striking similarities between America’s current situation and that of another great power from the past: Rome.” Three reasons “worth remembering: declining moral values and political civility at home, an overconfident and overextended military in foreign lands, and fiscal irresponsibility by the central government.” We are becoming more vulnerable to external enemies.

The world is dangerous. Are you prepared? Get a Safety Kit and Stay Safe Today!

3. Good Depression exposes our self-destruct bubble-thinking

Before the 2008 crash, “Irrational Exuberance” author Robert Shiller warned in the Atlantic magazine that “bubbles are primarily social phenomena. Until we understand and address the psychology that fuels them, they’re going to keep forming.” Housing inflated 85% in the decade: “Historically unprecedented … no rational basis for it.”

Bubble thinking is an toxic virus that infected everyone. Shiller warns of another coming: “We recently lived through two epidemics of excessive financial optimism … we are close to a third episode.”

4. Good Depression will stir outrage, force real reforms

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Jim Grant, editor of the Interest Rate Observer, wrote: “Why No Outrage? Through history, outrageous financial behavior has been met with outrage. But today Wall Street’s damaging recklessness has been met with near-silence, from a too tolerant populace.” Grant worries that Wall Street will run “itself and the rest of the American financial system right over a cliff.”

But we only went to the edge in 2008. Today, a rebellious “throw the bums out” hostility is blowing a new kind of bubble: Three years ago we did not have Tea Party, union fights, the Arab Spring and Greek austerity riots, all signs of an dark angry future sweeping across America.

5. Good Depression forces Wall Street to think outside the box

In a powerful Bloomberg Markets feature, “No Easy Fix,” we’re told Wall Street’s “profit formula has hit a wall.” Their “money-making machine is broken and efforts to repair it after the biggest losses in history are likely to undermine profits.”

Even Mad Money’s Jim Cramer openly admits hedge fund managers are pocketing megaprofits at capital gains rates while laughing at the stupidity of a broken political system that gives hundreds of billions in tax breaks to the richest, then takes taxes off the table as our middle class is dying under massive unsustainable deficits. Soon angry mobs will “fix” Wall Street.

6. Good Depression will deflate America’s warring soul

The American economy is a “war economy” driven by a egomaniac. I saw it firsthand as a U.S. Marine. Americans love being king of the hill, world’s cop, the global superpower. Why else spend 54% of our tax dollars on a war machine, 47% of the world’s total military budgets.

Why? Our war machine generates such “spectacular profits that many people around the world” are convinced America’s “rich and powerful must be deliberately causing catastrophes so that they can exploit them,” warns Klein in “Shock Doctrine.” No wonder the GOP takes military spending, like tax cuts for the rich, off-the-table: The war industry is a major political donor.

7. Good Depression now … avoids a far bigger depression later

In “The Price of Liberty: Paying for America’s Wars,” Robert Hormats, undersecretary of state and a former Goldman Sachs vice chairman, traces America’s wartime financing from the Revolutionary War to present wars. He warns that today we’re “relying on faith over experience, hoping that sustained growth will erase deficits and that the ballooning costs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will be manageable in the coming decades without difficult reforms.”

Absent a brutal reset, we are on a historically predictable course says Kevin Phillips, Nixon strategist and author of “Wealth & Democracy:“Most great nations, at the peak of their economic power, become arrogant and wage great world wars at great cost, wasting vast resources, taking on huge debt, and ultimately burning themselves out.” Yes, burned out, unprepared.

So pray for a Good Depression earlier rather than later. Choose now and we can be prepared for whatever comes. Or a Great Depression will hit later, when we’re least prepared, the problems bigger, our faith weaker … don’t raise the debt ceiling.

SOURCE

Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Prepper Dad?

Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Prepper Dad? Even Robert Kiyosaki Is Warning That An Economic Collapse Is Coming

Are you familiar with Robert Kiyosaki? He is best known for the “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” series of books. Over 26 million books authored by Kiyosaki have been sold and he is recognized as a financial expert by millions of people across the globe. Well, guess what? Even Robert Kiyosaki is warning that an economic collapse is coming. In fact, Kiyosaki and his team of financial experts are encouraging Americans to stock up on food, guns, and precious metals. This is yet another sign of just how close we are to the total collapse of the U.S. Economy. Kiyosaki, who once co-authored a book with Donald Trump entitled “Why We Want You To Be Rich” is now a full-fledged prepper. As even more prominent Americans start warning that an “economic collapse” is coming do you think that the American people will finally wake up and start paying attention?

The statements that Robert Kiyosaki makes in the video posted below are absolutely jaw-dropping. Once upon a time he was all about teaching people how they could get rich, but now he is talking about storing food, buying guns, investing in precious metals and preparing for the coming crash.

The following are 11 of the best Kiyosaki “sound bites” from the video below….

#1 “when the economy crashes as we predict”

#2 “the crowds come rushing in to buy gold and silver”

#3 “we could either go into a depression or we go to hyperinflation”

#4 “or we could also go to war”

#5 “buy a gun”

#6 “I’m preparing”

#7 “I’m prepared for the worst”

#8 “so come to my house and I’m armed and dangerous and I’ll welcome you”

#9 “we have food, we have water, we have guns, gold and silver, and cash”

#10 “the credit card system shuts down, the world shuts down”

#11 “the supermarkets have less than 3 days supply”

If you have not seen this video yet, it is definitely worth the 8 minutes that it takes to watch it. Robert Kiyosaki seems to be extremely alarmed about the future of the U.S. economy….

It certainly seems as though the entire financial culture in America is changing.

Once upon a time everyone wanted to know how to get rich. Now, with the wealth of America being bled dry, people are seeking to survive.

Now everyone wants to know how to survive the collapse that is coming.

As I have written about previously, even people like Tony Robbins and Donald Trump are warning that an economic collapse is coming.

The world is dangerous. Are you prepared? Get a Safety Kit and Stay Safe Today!

Everyone wants to know where the best place is to live to weather the financial storm.Economic pessimism is seemingly everywhere and almost every recent survey indicates that the American people are losing faith in the U.S. economy.

For example, in a recent article I noted that 48 percent of Americans believe that it is likely that another great Depression will begin within the next 12 months.

According to Gallup, the percentage of Americans that lack confidence in U.S. banks is now at an all-time high of 36%. Back in 2007, just 14% of Americans lacked confidence in U.S. banks. Nearly 50 million Americans subsist off food stamps. What happens when the economy, and the government, collapses?

In order for society to function correctly, people need to be able to trust each other and they need to be able to trust the major institutions that hold society together.

Once confidence in our major societal institutions is gone, it is going to be incredibly difficult to get it back.

Sadly, the reality is that many of our major financial institutions have been untrustworthy for a very long time. It is just that the American people are only just now starting to wake up to that fact.

For example, the Federal Reserve has been at the heart of our economic problems for decades but most Americans have not realized it.

But now that is starting to change. According to one recent poll, only 30% of Americans currently view Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke favorably.

The American people are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with an economic system where the vast majority of the rewards flow to Wall Street, the big banks, the biggest corporations and the ultra-wealthy.

According to the Washington Post, the top 0.1% of all income earners in the United States took home 2.6% of the nation’s earnings in 1975. By 2008, the top 0.1% were taking home 10.4% of the nation’s earnings.

The Washington Post also says that after adjusting for inflation, the average income of the top 0.1% of all Americans jumped by 385 percent between 1970 and 2008 while the average income for the bottom 90 percent of all Americans actually fell by one percent.

The sad truth is that income inequality in the United States has become a major problem. A very small sliver of the population is reaping almost all of the rewards and the middle class is being ripped to shreds. Conservatives, liberals, Democrats, Republicans and libertarians should all be alarmed by this.

Meanwhile, the national debt continues to explode. Right now, U.S. government debt is expanding at a rate of $40,000 per second.

Every single minute we steal another 2 million dollars away from our children and our grandchildren.

But if we stop this theft it would throw the U.S. economy into a horrible economic crisis that would be far worse than what we are experiencing right now.

That is why the vast majority of our politicians do not have the guts to do it.

We truly are caught between a rock and a hard place.

But people like Robert Kiyosaki can see what is coming, and they are getting prepared.

Are you prepared?

Many of our young people have come up with their own versions of an “economic stimulus plan“. In past articles I have documented many of the signs that society is collapsing, including the disturbing rise of the “mob robbery” phenomenon.

Well, just the other day there was another very shocking mob robbery in the city of Philadelphia.

On Thursday, a mob of 40 teens and young adults invaded a Sears department store on 69th Street, grabbed all of the merchandise that they could carry, and stormed right back out again.

We are starting to see these kinds of large scale crimes happen from coast to coast. States are even considering secession.

So what is going to happen to America if the economy experiences the kind of full out collapse that Robert Kiyosaki is talking about?

We live in very interesting times.

I hope that you are getting prepared. This survival manual will help you prepare!

SOURCE

It’s the Aspartame stupid! Diet soda linked to heightened stroke risk

Diet Soda: Fewer Calories, Greater Stroke Risk?

Controversial Study Linking Diet Soda to Heightened Stroke Risk Draws Skepticism

KATIE MOISSE ABC News Medical Unit

New research that links diet soda consumption with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke has doctors urging caution about the controversial and preliminary results.

According to a study of more than 2,500 people presented today as a poster at the American Stroke Association International Stroke Conference in Los Angeles, people who drank diet soda daily had a 61 percent increased risk of cardiovascular events compared to those who drank no soda, even when accounting for smoking, physical activity, alcohol consumption and calories consumed per day.

“This study suggests that diet soda is not an optimal substitute for sugar-sweetened beverages, and may be associated with a greater risk of stroke,” Hannah Gardener of the University of Miami and her colleagues reported at the conference.

But the questionnaire-based study garnered criticism by experts in diet, nutrition and vascular disease.

“This study has major flaws and should not change anyone’s diet soda consumption,” said ABC News Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser.

DANGER DANGER

The researchers used data obtained though the multi-ethnic, population-based Northern Manhattan Study to examine risk factors for stroke, heart attack and other vascular events such as blood clots in the limbs. While 901 participants reported drinking no soda at the start of the study, 163 said they drank one or more diet sodas per day.

“One of the many flaws here is that participants were asked about soda intake at only one point in time, when they entered the study,” Besser said. “It is difficult to imagine that people’s intake of soda is constant during that period.”

Connie Diekman, a registered dietician and director of University Nutrition at Washington University in St Louis, said, “Population-based studies provide some ‘food for thought’ but shouldn’t be used as the basis of nutrition guides for individuals. This study would be another one that indicates more controlled studies are needed.”

Drinking regular or diet soda has previously been linked to diabetes and metabolic syndrome, a precursor to diabetes. Surprisingly, Gardener and colleagues failed to detect an increased cardiovascular risk among daily drinkers of regular soda.

“Unfortunately, it may be that individuals with poor dietary habits do resort in some kind of calorie balancing and continue to eat high-calorie sweet foods but reduce their guilt by drinking diet soda,” said Dr. Howard Weintraub, clinical director of the New York University Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, explaining the propensity to wash down a high-fat meal with low-cal soda.

Although the authors went on to control for metabolic syndrome (a component of which is obesity), peripheral vascular disease and cardiac disease history later in their analysis — lowering the magnitude of increased risk to 48 percent — they did not account for variations in eating habits.

“In my 20 years of clinical practice, patients who consume diet soda tend to have more of a sweet tooth; to get more sweet cravings; to eat more foods with added sugar; and to like and eat more processed food than patients who avoid both regular and diet soda,” said Dr. David Katz, director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center.

Tumor from Aspartame consumption

Work in Progress’

Dr. Ralph Sacco, chair of neurology at the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine and senior author on the report, said, “As a first step, we just looked at total calories. It’s a work in progress.”

Although the authors controlled for vascular disease and metabolic syndrome, Miami’s Sacco theorized that drinking diet soda might increase stroke and heart attack risk by modulating vascular risk factors and metabolism.

“When we control for these, we still see an association but it’s attenuated a bit,” Sacco said, adding that people who drank daily diet soda had a higher mean body-mass index and were slightly more likely to have diabetes.

“I think we need confirmation in other, larger data sets,” Sacco said. “We find this intriguing but it requires follow-up.”

Critics also noted the failure to control for a family history of cardiovascular disease or hyperlipidemia, both of which are known risk factors for stroke and heart attack, according to Dr. Nehal Mehta, director of the Inflammatory Risk Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania.

And the study population may have been at a higher-than-normal risk for cardiovascular events, with an event rate of 22 percent compared with the expected rate of 8 to 10 percent, Mehta said.

Roughly three-quarters of the study participants were African-American or Hispanic; both considered to be at a higher risk for cardiovascular problems.

But some experts welcomed the study as a “wake-up call” for many to ditch diet soda in favor of water and other more natural beverages.

“Any way you slice it, soda drinking is not healthy and should be done sparingly,” said Dr. Peter McCullough, consultant cardiologist and chief academic and scientific officer for St. John Providence Health System and the Providence Park Heart Institute in Southfield, Mich.

Love at first.......

“The study highlights the increasingly negative information we are getting about the consumption of non-caloric sweetened beverages,” said Dr. Jana Klauer, a New York City-based private practice physician specializing in weight control and nutrition. “People drink them to save calories and enjoy a sweet taste, but diet soda hasn’t lead to weight loss and now appears to be causing more problems than it solves.”

Dr. Cam Patterson, chief of cardiology and director of the University of North Carolina McAllister Heart Institute, said, “We can’t ignore this association but we really don’t know what it means right now. It is implausible to me that diet drinks actually cause heart disease, but it does make sense that people who drink diet sodas might make other lifestyle choices, like exercising less, that contribute to the results of this study.

“I’ll continue to pack a diet soda with my lunch, but I’ll look more carefully at what else is in my lunch box,” Patterson said, “and I’ll pay more attention to what I’m doing while I’m drinking my diet soda.”

KATIE MOISSE ABC News Medical Unit

Feb. 9, 2011

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/HeartHealth/diet-soda-linked-heart-attack-stroke-risk/story?id=12868269