Tag Archives: recession

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

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

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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

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

Why the Jobs Situation Is Worse Than It Looks

Why the Jobs Situation Is Worse Than It Looks

By Mortimer B. Zuckerman

Posted: June 20, 2011

The Great Recession has now earned the dubious right of being compared to the Great Depression. In the face of the most stimulative fiscal and monetary policies in our history, we have experienced the loss of over 7 million jobs, wiping out every job gained since the year 2000. From the moment the Obama administration came into office, there have been no net increases in full-time jobs, only in part-time jobs. This is contrary to all previous recessions. Employers are not recalling the workers they laid off from full-time employment.
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The real job losses are greater than the estimate of 7.5 million. They are closer to 10.5 million, as 3 million people have stopped looking for work. Equally troublesome is the lower labor participation rate; some 5 million jobs have vanished from manufacturing, long America’s greatest strength. Just think: Total payrolls today amount to 131 million, but this figure is lower than it was at the beginning of the year 2000, even though our population has grown by nearly 30 million.

The most recent statistics are unsettling and dismaying, despite the increase of 54,000 jobs in the May numbers. Nonagricultural full-time employment actually fell by 142,000, on top of the 291,000 decline the preceding month. Half of the new jobs created are in temporary help agencies, as firms resist hiring full-time workers.

Today, over 14 million people are unemployed. We now have more idle men and women than at any time since the Great Depression. Nearly seven people in the labor pool compete for every job opening. Hiring announcements have plunged to 10,248 in May, down from 59,648 in April. Hiring is now 17 percent lower than the lowest level in the 2001-02 downturn. One fifth of all men of prime working age are not getting up and going to work. Equally disturbing is that the number of people unemployed for six months or longer grew 361,000 to 6.2 million, increasing their share of the unemployed to 45.1 percent. We face the specter that long-term unemployment is becoming structural and not just cyclical, raising the risk that the jobless will lose their skills and become permanently unemployable.

Don’t pay too much attention to the headline unemployment rate of 9.1 percent. It is scary enough, but it is a gloss on the reality. These numbers do not include the millions who have stopped looking for a job or who are working part time but would work full time if a position were available. And they count only those people who have actively applied for a job within the last four weeks.

Include those others and the real number is a nasty 16 percent. The 16 percent includes 8.5 million part-timers who want to work full time (which is double the historical norm) and those who have applied for a job within the last six months, including many of the long-term unemployed. And this 16 percent does not take into account the discouraged workers who have left the labor force. The fact is that the longer duration of six months is the more relevant testing period since the mean duration of unemployment is now 39.7 weeks, an increase from 37.1 weeks in February. [See a slide show of the 10 best cities to find a job.]

The inescapable bottom line is an unprecedented slack in the U.S. labor market. Labor’s share of national income has fallen to the lowest level in modern history, down to 57.5 percent in the first quarter as compared to 59.8 percent when the so-called recovery began. This reflects not only the 7 million fewer workers but the fact that wages for part-time workers now average $19,000—less than half the median income.

Just to illustrate how insecure the labor movement is, there is nobody on strike in the United States today, according to David Rosenberg of wealth management firm Gluskin Sheff. Back in the 1970s, it was common in any given month to see as many as 30,000 workers on the picket line, and there were typically 300 work stoppages at any given time. Last year there were a grand total of 11. There are other indirect consequences. The number of people who have applied for permanent disability benefits has soared. Ten years ago, 5 million people were collecting federal disability payments; now 8 million are on the rolls, at a cost to taxpayers of approximately $120 billion a year. The states today owe the federal insurance fund an astonishing $90 billion to cover unemployment benefits.

In past recessions, the economy recovered lost jobs within 13 months, on average, after the trough. Twenty-three months into a recovery, employment typically increases by around 174,000 jobs monthly, compared to 54,000 this time around. In a typical recovery, we would have had several hundred thousand more hires per month than we are seeing now—this despite unprecedented fiscal and monetary stimulus (including the rescue of the automobile industry, whose collapse would likely have lost a million jobs). Businesses do not seem to have the confidence or the incentive to add staff but prefer to continue the deep cost-cutting they undertook from the onset of the recession.

But hang on. Even to come up with the 54,000 new jobs, the Bureau of Labor Statistics assumed that 206,000 jobs were created by newly formed companies that its analysts believe—but can’t prove—were, in effect, born in May under the so-called birth/death model, which relies primarily on historical extrapolations. Without this generous assumption in the face of a slowing economy, the United States would have lost jobs in May. Last year the bureau assumed that 192,000 jobs were created through new start-ups in the comparable month, but on review most of them eventually had to be taken out, as start-ups have been distressingly weak given the lack of financing from their traditional sources such as bank loans, home equity loans, and credit card lines. [Read more stories on unemployment.]

Where are we today? We have seemingly added jobs, but it is not because hiring has increased. In February 2009 there were 4.7 million separations—that is, jobs lost—but by March 2011 this had fallen to 3.8 million. In other words, the pace of layoffs has diminished, but that is not the same thing as more hiring. The employment numbers look better than they really are because of the aggressive layoffs in the early part of this recession and the reluctance of American business to rehire workers. In fact, the apparent improvement in job numbers has been made up of one part extra hiring and two parts reduced firing.

Even during past recessions, American firms still hired large numbers of workers as part of the continual cycle of replacing employees. Of the 150 million workers or job seekers in America, about one third turn over in a typical year, leaving their old jobs to take new ones. High labor “churn” is characteristic of our economy, reflecting workers moving to better jobs and higher wages and away from declining sectors. As Stanford business professor Edward Lazear explains so clearly in the Wall Street Journal, the increase in job growth over the past two years is attributable to a decline in the number of layoffs, not from increased hiring. Typically, when the labor market creates 200,000 jobs, it has been because 5 million were hired and 4.8 million were separated, not just because there were 200,000 hires and no job losses. But when an economy has bottomed out, it has already shed much of its excess labor, as illustrated by the decline in layoffs—from approximately 2.5 million in February 2009 to 1.5 million this April. In a healthy labor market like the one that prevailed in 2006 and into 2007, American firms hired about 5.5 million workers per month. This is now down to about 4 million a month. Quite simply, businesses have been very disciplined in their hiring practices.

We are nowhere near the old normal. Throughout this fragile recovery, over 90 percent of the growth in output has come from productivity gains. But typically at this stage of the cycle, labor has already taken over from productivity as the major contributor of growth. That is why we generally saw nonfarm payroll gains exceeding 300,000 per month with relative ease. This time we have recouped only 17 percent of the job losses 23 months after the recession began, as compared to 207 percent of the jobs lost from previous recessions (with the exception of 2001). There is no comfort either in two leading indicators of employment, with no growth in the workweek or in factory overtime.

Clearly, the Great American Job Machine is breaking down, and roadside assistance is not on the horizon. In the second half of this year (and thereafter?), we will be without the monetary and fiscal steroids. Nor does anyone know what will happen to long-term interest rates when the Federal Reserve ends its $600 billion quantitative easing support of the capital markets. Inventory levels are at their highest since September 2006; new order bookings are at the lowest levels since September 2009. Since home equity has long been the largest asset on the balance sheet of the average American family, all home­owners are suffering from housing prices that have, on average, declined 33 percent (compare that to the Great Depression drop of 31 percent).

No wonder the general economic mood is one of alarm. The Conference Board measure of U.S. consumer confidence slumped to 60.8 percent in May, down from 66 percent in April and well below the average of 73 in past recessions, never mind the 100-plus numbers in good times. Never before has confidence been this low in the 23rd month of a recovery. Gluskin Sheff’s Rosenberg captured it perfectly: We may well be in the midst of a “modern depression.”

Our political leadership in both Congress and the White House will surely bear the political costs of a failure to work out short- and long-term programs to fix the job shortage. The stakes are too high to play political games.

SOURCE

Extreme Couponing: Desperate Economic Times Call For Desperate Measures

Extreme Couponing: Desperate Economic Times Call For Desperate Measures

Even in the midst of a horrific economic decline, there are tools that all of us can use to make the most of our limited resources. This includes doing some things that many of us never imagined that we would do. A couple of months ago I never would have imagined that I would be doing an article on coupons. But in these desperate economic times you have to look for any economic edge that you can get. Did you know that it is possible to get $500 worth of groceries for less than 10 dollars? I didn’t know that either until I started watching a show called “Extreme Couponing” on cable television. I was amazed as I watched person after person get over 95 percent off on their groceries. Personally, I have always thought that clipping coupons was a waste of time. Sure, you might save a few bucks, but I really didn’t think it was worth the time or the effort. Well, my opinion has changed. There are a growing number of people out there that are using coupons to provide all of the groceries that their families need almost for free. In an economic environment where incomes are going down but food prices continue to go up, “extreme couponing” is a financial weapon that virtually anyone can use.

Yes, not everyone can take it to the extent that many of these “extreme couponers” do. There are some women that spend 40, 50 or even 60 hours a week on their couponing. Most people cannot afford to do that.

But even if you just spend a couple of hours a week you can still save significant money. At a time when many family budgets are tighter than ever, saving 50 or 100 bucks at the grocery store can mean a world of difference.

Not only that, but “extreme couponing” is a great way to build up your stockpile of emergency food. Everyone should have enough food in their homes to feed their families for at least a year. Unfortunately, many people don’t have that kind of money. That is where “extreme couponing” comes in.

If you are willing to put a little hard work in, you can build a stockpile of emergency food for pennies on the dollar.

Extreme couponing is not complicated and thanks to the new TLC show it is becoming extremely popular. The following is how a recent article on MSNBC describes these “extreme couponers“….

Hard-core couponers are in it to win it — for free, if at all humanly possible. They plot their grocery-store trips with the precision of military commanders. They load up three or four shopping carts at a time. They test the mettle — and the congeniality — of cashiers by having them tally dozens of discounts on their behalf.

And what do they get in exchange? Hundreds of dollars’ worth of merchandise for as little as $5 to $10, the applause of onlookers — and a surge of adrenaline that can be downright addicting.

If you have never seen the show, you should check it out at least once. The following is a very brief preview of “Extreme Couponing”….

Yes, people are actually doing this. In fact, some of my readers are actually doing this.

On a recent article entitled “Inflation 2011: Honey – They Shrunk Our PayChecks” one of my regular readers named Maria shared that her and her circle of friends have adopted extreme couponing as a way to fight back against the bad economy….

In the last six months, I have seen a complete attitude adjustment in many of our friends and family. As a result, a resource sharing group has formed amongst us. We share work, ideas and tips on everything from budgeting to gardening. All of us have curtailed the “luxuries” like gym memberships, expensive clothing, latte’s and mochas from those expensive little stops on the way to work, dining at restaurants, first run movies at the theater, and a myriad of other little things.

Our latest discovery is the world of couponing. Anyone interested in dramatically cutting their household and grocery expenses should take a serious look at TheKrazyCouponLady.com and read their book, Pick Another Checkout Lane, Honey. I never understood how couponing could make a difference until I read this book. Our group now looks at coupons almost as a tax free source of income, because it is saving us hundreds of dollars a month…no exaggeration.

I admit, I am not as diligent as the others about using coupons, but even with my minimal efforts I saved 60% on my meat purchases last month. That was huge for my family of 6. Our home is out in the country near a rural community, and the only grocery store in town is Safeway. I never shopped there before, because it was too expensive. I drove into the big city once every three months to do our grocery shopping at the “discount” stores. Now, using coupons on sale items, I can shop at the local Safeway and save more money on food and gas.

Sadly, this extreme couponing phenomenon will not be around forever. As thousands more pile on to the bandwagon, it is inevitable that food producers and retailers will start changing the rules. So take advantage of extreme couponing while you can.

Look, I never imagined that I would be recommending that people should start clipping coupons. But when any of us are presented with solid evidence that we are wrong about something, we need to be willing to change.

Personally, I am not an expert on coupons.

Thankfully, there are some people out there that are, and they have shared their knowledge for free on the Internet. The following are some of the best extreme couponing sites around if you are interested in learning more….

*The Krazy Coupon Lady

*Tips From a Mom of 3

*Coupon Geek

*Saving with Shellie

*Couponing 101

*Jill Cataldo

*My Frugal Adventures

*How To Shop For Free With Kathy Spencer

*Clippin\' With Carrie

*Money Saving Mom

People are always urging me to write more about solutions. Well, extreme couponing is a solution. A lot of us men might not like the idea of “extreme couponing” because it may not seem like a very “manly” thing to do, but the truth is that it works. In these desperate economic times, you have got to do what you have got to do. Today, one out of every four American children is on food stamps. An increasing number of children are falling into poverty. If it takes clipping coupons in order to survive, then that is just what we are going to have to do.

As mentioned above, all of this exposure on television is going to mean that “extreme couponing” is not going to be around forever. When too many people start jumping on a boat it is inevitable that it is going to sink.

But while this tool still exists, why not use it?

In particular, this is a great way to build up your emergency food stockpile for a fraction of the cost.

So what do all of you think about extreme couponing? Do you think it is a good tool? Do you have other tools that you would suggest for saving money in this tough economy? Feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts below….

SOURCE

Another Great Depression has begun!

Another Great Depression Has Begun

By Wayne Allyn Root

The best professional poker players in the world earn millions by reading and reacting to “tells,” their opponents’ verbal and nonverbal traits. They notice the way an opponent is smiling, frowning, laughing, tapping their hands, sweating, or blinking their eyes. All these “tells” can be a sign of their opponent’s cards. The ability to read “tells” is the difference between living the life of your dreams versus bankruptcy and depression.

The same holds true in deciphering our economic troubles. If you’ve been paying attention to the news, several ominous signs have appeared that foretell economic disaster.

The first sign is the fact Bill Gross, head of the world’s largest bond fund (PIMCO), has just sold all his domestic government bond holdings. Every single dollar.

In my opinion Bill Gross is one of the 10 smartest men on this planet. He knows everything about the economy and bonds. His sell-off indicates he believes local, state and our federal government are all on the verge of disaster — insolvency, bankruptcy, and default on bond obligations.

To make matters worse, Gross disclosed he bought emerging market bonds with the money from the sale of U.S. bonds. That means Gross has more faith in Brazil, Russia, and African nations than in the Unites States.

The next “tell” of economic disaster is even more ominous. Wall Street insiders are startled at how much money the Fed is pumping into the financial system. With over $500 billion pumped in during just the past three months, the vertical line for 2011 now reaches straight to the stars — a sign of complete financial panic.

The last time such large amounts of money were pumped into the system was in the fall of 2008, when the U.S. economic system was on the verge of epic collapse.

The next “tell” is that secretive Fed officials normally do not talk publicly about how bad things are. That’s why it is so frightening that, only days ago, Dallas Federal Reserve President Richard Fisher admitted in a media interview “the U.S. is on a fiscal path towards insolvency.” When a Fed official talks about “fiscal insolvency,” it’s time to get concerned, very concerned.

The next “tell” is a recent housing study proving the housing market is actually worse off now than in the depths of the Great Depression. From 1929 to 1932 new home sales in the United States declined 80 percent. From 2005 to today, new home sales have plunged 82 percent. Even more frightening, the plunge seems to be accelerating.

Other disastrous “tells” that financial Armageddon is upon us are new reports that the consumer confidence index just suffered the 5th largest drop in history, and inflation at the producer level just spiked up in the largest one-month rise since the dreaded inflation and economic malaise of the 1970s.

The final “tell” is moronic leftist moviemaker Michael Moore recently stating that America is not broke. He thinks we have plenty of money to keep spending on entitlements, more stimulus, and obscene pensions for millions of government employees.

Moore is the guy who thinks Cuba’s medical system is better than ours. He obviously thinks the answer to unsustainable debt and spending addiction is . . . more spending.

Moore is a symbol of the delusional thinking of Obama and his entire socialist cabal, which has wrecked the U.S. economy, spent us into insolvency, encouraged our entitlement addiction, and left us at the brink of economic Armageddon.

I believe these “tells” are sure signs that the Great Obama Depression has arrived. How we respond will determine if America survives, or we face the same fate as other great empires (Greek, Roman, British) that self-destructed based on mountains of debt, entitlements, welfare, corruption, too many citizens working for or dependent on government, and great armies spread throughout the globe fighting expensive wars.

I say to my fellow patriots and freedom fighters — libertarians, conservatives and tea partyers — let’s lead the charge for change. The lives and freedom of our children and grandchildren depend on winning this battle. And we shall.

Wayne Allyn Root is a former libertarian vice presidential nominee. He now serves as chairman of the Libertarian National Congressional Committee. He is the best-selling author of “The Conscience of a Libertarian: Empowering the Citizen Revolution with God, Guns, Gold & Tax Cuts.” His website: ROOTforAmerica.com

http://www.newsmax.com/WayneAllynRoot/barack-obama-depression-1929/2011/03/28/id/390889