Friday, November 30, 2012


This is so Wrong....Can you Imagine the Debt this goofball will rack up in another 4 years??

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, President Barack Obama's point man on the fiscal cliff negotiations, presented Republican leaders a proposal to avoid the fiscal cliff on Thursday, which gives Obama unprecedented powers to raise the debt ceiling whenever he wants.

The White House proposal includes $1.6 trillion in tax increases, a one-year deferral of sequestration, and $400 billion in savings from Medicare and other programs.
In addition, the White House's initial offer also gives Obama the authority to raise the debt ceiling essentially to infinity without congressional approval and a “multi-year” stimulus package that would be “at least” $50 billion for fiscal year 2013. 
Republican aides have noted that the White House’s proposal already breaks Obama’s campaign promise of taking a “balanced” approach to the fiscal cliff negotiations. His plan contains four times as much increased tax collection ($1.6 trillion) as spending cuts ($400 billion). Further, the White House proposal includes a new round of multi-year stimulus programs that would be “at least” $50 billion for fiscal year 2013, which, over time, would more than offset the $400 billion in claimed initial savings. 
The Democrat-controlled Senate could only find 51 votes to “pass a bill with $800 billion in new tax revenue a few months ago,” casting doubt on whether Obama's current proposal would pass. 
House Speaker John Boehner, after seeing the White House's plan, said, "no substantive progress has been made in the talks between the White House and the House over the last two weeks." Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he did not "understand" Boehner's "brain." 

Surreal: Obama's Fiscal Cliff Proposal Stuns Washington

Republicans have been asking for the White House's plan for some time now -- well, they finally got one.  Oh my:
House Republicans said on Thursday that Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner presented the House speaker, John A. Boehner, a detailed proposal to avert the year-end fiscal crisis with $1.6 trillion in tax increases over 10 years, an immediate new round of stimulus spending, home mortgage refinancing and a permanent end to Congressional control over statutory borrowing limits. The proposal, loaded with Democratic priorities and short on detailed spending cuts, was likely to meet strong Republican resistance. In exchange for locking in the $1.6 trillion in added revenues, President Obama embraced $400 billion in savings from Medicare and other entitlements, to be worked out next year, with no guarantees. He did propose some upfront cuts in programs like farm price supports, but did not specify an amount or any details.

And senior Republican aides familiar with the offer said those initial spending cuts might well be outnumbered by upfront spending increases, including at least $50 billion in infrastructure spendingmortgage relief, an extension of unemployment insurance and a deferral of automatic cuts to physician reimbursements under Medicare … The upfront tax increases in the proposal go beyond what Senate Democrats were able to pass earlier this year. Tax rates would go up for higher-income earners, as in the Senate bill, but Mr. Obama wants their dividends to be taxed as ordinary income, something the Senate did not approve. He also wants the estate tax to be levied at 45 percent on inheritances over $3.5 million, a step several Democratic senators balked at. The Senate bill made no changes to the estate tax, which currently taxes inheritances over $5 million at 35 percent.  

No wonder Mitch McConnell openly laughed at this outline; how else should one respond to a preposterous farce?  Republicans should counter-offer in kind, demanding full Obamacare repeal, across-the-board tax cuts, the Wyden/Ryan Medicare plan -- and maybe toss in articles of impeachment just for kicks.  Let's unpack the Times' report piece by piece:
(1) Obama is asking for $1.6 Trillion in tax hikes, double the number he and Boehner reportedly (almost) agreed upon last summer during the previous crisis.  Not only does he want to raise marginal tax rates on "the rich," he's also shooting to raise capital gains and dividends taxes, too.  According to NBC News, those revenues would amount to nearly $1 trillion.  Then comes an undefined $600 Billion in unspecified "new revenue," presumably from tax increases to be named later.  This element of the broader package alone is more than enough to tear the whole thing up and walk away.
(2) There are no guaranteed entitlement reforms.  There are no specified spending cuts.  Obama is willing to consider some "savings," but those would have to be discussed some other time in the future. This is what Obama fancies to be his "concession." And it comes in exchange for...Republicans agreeing to the taxmaggedon described in item #1.  As I said, surreal.
(3) There's another stimulus in this puppy.  Remember, this is supposed to be a deficit reductionplan, yet it calls for *at least* $50 Billion in new spending on infrastructure and other projects.  As the Times reports, some aides on the Hill believe the plan's guaranteed spending increases could actually outnumber its (still unspecified) cuts (!)...  
(4) Obama's proposal goes so far on investment and death tax hikes that even Congressional Democrats are looking at each other and slowly backing away.
(5) And, oh yeah, it abolishes the debt limit.  Poof.  Limitless "legal" debt for the federal government.

I understand that this is just an opening offer; both sides generally commence negotiations with a very robust ask, recognizing that they'll have to back down on certain elements at the bargaining table.  But this isn't a starting point.  It's an insult.  Allahpundit is beginning to convince himself that Obama has joined the cliff-diving brigade and is therefore hoping to either (a) bully Republicans into a chain-reaction cave of epic proportions, or (b) make his demands so unreasonable that GOP leadership simply cannot relent, allowing him to stick them with the blame when the economy goes up in smoke.  What should Boehner and McConnell do?  Walk away, counsels Charles Krauthammer:

Second Third look at "let it burn"?  NRO's Jim Geraghty is thinking about it long and hard:
House Speaker John Boehner says there’s been “no progress” in the budget talks in the past two weeks. At this moment, Republicans in Congress need to examine which presents a more dire threat to the country: A) A double-dip recession driven by the sequester and the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, or B) the public’s belief (verified through polling) that our giant debt, our ticking time bomb of entitlements, and our gargantuan government can be solved by “asking the richest Americans to pay a little bit more,” as Obama insists. 
Option A is terrible, but Option B is the giant locked door blocking all of the real solutions. So if we must have tax hikes, let the tax cuts for every income level expire and let everyone of every income level pay higher taxes. Destroy the illusion among so many voters that they can get all the government they want without paying more in taxes.

Jim's core question is a difficult one.  Is another painful recession (with Republicans likely getting pounded with blame) more or less harmful to the long-term interests of the nation than allowing the general public to cling for a little longer to the dangerously wrong belief that fiscal solvency is just around the corner, if only the rich may a tad more in taxes?  Before you rush to answer that question, understand that the fallout won't occur in a political vacuum.  If Republicans take the hit and get wiped out in 2014, we could have another 2009 on our hands, with no ability to block catastrophic liberal policy misadventures, which would plague the nation for decades to come.  As I see it, GOP door number one is to negotiate earnestly and try to fashion the, um, least bad deal possible to avert the cliff (which assumes Obama isn't hell-bent on going over the side).  I still think this is the likeliest outcome -- for now, at least.  GOP door number two is walking away and bringing the pain, even if it means political disaster in upcoming cycles.  That's the approach Geragthy is kicking around.  GOP door number three is stating opposition, but giving Obama what he wants via mass "present" votes.  This might spare Republicans a political massacre, but it would also help The One continue the charade and superficially delay America's bitter medicine...which we're going to have to swallow sooner or later.  Obama would just have to hope that the implosion comes sometime after January 20, 2017.  Bad options, all.  

UPDATE - I might have an idea for a potential door number four, which I'll flesh out in an upcoming post.


Obama to Republicans: My $1.6 Trillion Tax Proposal Isn't "Complicated"

This Idiot wants to Tax and spend and No Cuts??   What an Idiot! Then HE is out Campaigning....the Election is Over!

President Obama just wrapped up his first campaign speech since the election on November 6 at a toy manufacturing plant in Hatfield, Pennsylvania. It was like a step back in time. We heard more about clean energy and a “balanced” approach to making the fiscal cliff and deficit problem...worse. Obama touted his reelection, reiterating what he sees as a mandate to raise taxes on “the wealthiest” Americans.

“I want to bring down our deficits in a balanced and responsible way,” Obama said.

As usual, Obama slammed Congress as he has since 2010 for “doing nothing” and specifically asked House Republicans to green light his new $50 billion spending plan, $1.6 trillion tax hike and unlimited debt proposal saying, “It’s not that complicated.”

“All of us are going to have to get out of our comfort zones to make that happen,”
 he said.

Obama said raising taxes on the middle class would be like handing them a lump of coal for Christmas and warned against holding tax cuts hostage. Unless Congress and the White House can reach a deal, everyone’s taxes will increase by at least $2000 on January 1.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate for Republicans to hold middle class tax cuts hostage,” he said.
Obama framed his argument as cutting taxes for the middle class when in reality if Congress reaches a deal, middle class tax rates will remain the same. The only two options on the table are tax increases or keeping the current rates, not tax cuts.

President Obama’s speech today was part of a larger campaign to sell his new tax plan to the country because after all, despite the election ending nearly a month ago, he just couldn’t help himself.

“I’m already missing spending time on the campaign trail,” he said.

And we thought we were moving forward.

Benghazi 'Narrative' Reads Like TWA 800's

Earlier this week on The O'Reilly FactorBill O'Reilly and Charles Krauthammer came to the same -- and obvious -- conclusion as to why the Obama White House felt compelled to misrepresent the events at Benghazi on September 11.  As O'Reilly noted, the administration hoped "to tamp the story down so it didn't intrude on their narrative that the Obama administration had decimated al-Qaeda." 
"The real story would have gone against the narrative," Krauthammer agreed, adding, "I'm not saying that there was a deliberate conspiracy from day one, but as this story unfolded, they saw a way to make this non-political."
Sixteen years ago, also in the home stretch of a difficult re-election campaign, Bill Clinton faced a problem very similar to Obama's.  An event took place that threatened the "peace and prosperity" theme of his campaign -- specifically, the July 17, 1996, shoot-down of TWA Flight 800, with 230 people on board, just 10 miles off the coast of Long Island. 
I use the word "shoot-down" with total confidence.  Along with investigative reporter James Sanders, I produced a video on the subject called Silenced and wrote a book called First Strike.  In a sense, Sanders was the Nakoula Basseley Nakoula of this event.  To prevent Sanders from reporting on the story, the FBI arrested him and his wife Elizabeth and convicted both of conspiracy.  As with Nakoula, the nation's civil libertarians chose not to notice.
It was the Sanderses' story, especially Elizabeth's, that first got me interested in the case four years after TWA Flight 800 went down.  A reluctant conspiracy theorist, I read everything I could find on the crash before I agreed to do the video.  By this time, the NTSB hearings had played out.  The evidence for a missile strike was overwhelming to any dispassionate observer.  So was the evidence of a cover-up.
Although the word was not used back then, the Clinton White House, with the help of a complicit media, rewrote the event's "narrative" to assure re-election.  Again, as with Benghazi, that narrative was clumsily improvised almost on a daily basis.  Knowing the media had his back, Clinton responded much as Obama did: deny, obfuscate, and kick the investigatory can down the road until after the election.
One central figure appeared in each drama: Hillary Clinton.  She stood by Obama's side in the Rose Garden on September 12 as he spun reality into confection.  She, Bill, and Sandy Berger holed themselves up in the White House family quarters, assessing their narrative options throughout that long night of July 17, 1996.
On that fateful night, FAA air traffic controllers saw an unknown object "merge" with the doomed 747 seconds before it exploded, and they rushed the tape to the White House.  Hundreds of people saw what the controllers did from the ground.  FBI witness No. 73, an aviation buff, watched a "red streak" with a "light gray smoke trail" move up toward the airliner and then go "past the right side and above the aircraft before arcking [sic] back down toward the aircrafts [sic] right wing."  She even reported the actual breakup sequence before the authorities figured it out on their own.
High-school principal Joseph Delgado told the FBI that he had seen an object like "a firework" ascend "fairly quick," then "slow" and "wiggle," then "speed up" and get "lost."  Then he saw a second object that "glimmered" in the sky, higher than the first, then a red dot move up to that object, then a puff of smoke, then another puff, then a "firebox."  He drew a precise image of the same for the FBI.
Mike Wire, a no-nonsense millwright and U.S. Army vet, watched events unfold from the Beach Lane Bridge in Westhampton on Long Island.  Wire had seen a white light traveling skyward from the ground at approximately a 40-degree angle, sparkling and zigzagging before culminating in a massive fireball.
In a confidential taped interview with historian Taylor Branch on August 2, 1996, Clinton laid the blame for the presumed missile attack on Iran.  "They want war," he told Branch.  Clinton may or may not have been lying, but he did not want to mess with Iran, at least not right before an election he already had in the bag.
To control the post-crash narrative, the White House allowed the FBI to talk only to The New York Times.  Four weeks after the disaster, the Times would report, "Now that investigators say they think the center fuel tank did not explode, they say the only good explanations remaining are that a bomb or a missile brought down the plane."
A missile attack was too obvious and ominous.  So a week later, likely under White House pressure, and without any new evidence, the FBI shifted its storyline fully away from a missile to a bomb.  "Prime Evidence Found That Device Exploded in Cabin of Flight 800," reported the Times above the fold on August 23, just a few days before the Democratic National Convention.  The Times reached this conclusion by interviewing exactly none of the 270 FBI eyewitnesses to a likely missile strike.  Sanders and I interviewed scores of them.
But even this scenario threatened the peace and prosperity message to be promoted at the Democratic National Convention just days away.  And so the story was allowed to die.  For the next three weeks, there was no meaningful reporting at all.
In mid-September, two months after the crash, the FBI shifted the narrative once again from a bomb to a center fuel tank explosion, a possibility that had been ruled out a month earlier.  The other media unquestioningly followed the Times.  They too had a president to re-elect.
"Stories damaging to the media's preferred candidates are never tied together into a coherent narrative," writes John Hayward in an insightful Human Events article on Benghazi.  "You don't see links drawn between Event A, Speech B, and Subcommittee Hearing C.  You're not constantly reminded of inconvenient things the beloved candidate said last year, last month, or last week."
So it was with TWA Flight 800.  No one in the media saw fit to ask what happened to the "prime evidence" of August 23 or the "only good explanations" of August 14 or of Clinton's "they want war" of August 2.
As each week passed, even the Clintons had to be stunned that so obvious a truth remained so thoroughly ignored.  To sustain the lie, however, insiders had to tell more lies still.
The FBI would fabricate a second interview with Witness No. 73 that never took place.
The CIA -- yes, that CIA-- would fabricate a second interview with Mike Wire that also never took place.  NTSB insiders would lie outright about what Joseph Delgado saw, but the election came and went without anyone even knowing who these people were.
In 1996, however, there was no ubiquitous internet, no Facebook, no YouTube.  Fox News came online only later that year.  It would have been impossible for any White House to pull this massive a misdirection off in 2012 so close to home.  America would have seen videos of the shoot-down online before the White House could control the information flow.
In 2012, Obama had the advantage of geography.  No helpful citizens fixed their smartphones on the destruction of the American consulate in Benghazi.  He had the advantage also of a major media sixteen years more corrupt than in 1996
Obama had the disadvantage, however, of serving in a fully interactive age.  The added scrutiny has made Obama's attempt to bury the story seem obvious and amateurish by comparison to Clinton's -- at least to those who are paying attention.  Unfortunately, those paying attention include not a single major media reporter.

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/11/benghazi_narrative_reads_like_twa_800s.html#ixzz2DlDQeth1

All Of This Whining About The Fiscal Cliff Is Pathetic

Interesting Reading

The fiscal cliff is coming!  Run for the hills!  There have been endless stories in the mainstream media about the "fiscal cliff" that our country is facing if the Democrats and the Republicans can't come to some sort of an agreement.  If there is no agreement, taxes will go up and government spending will be reduced by a very small amount.  And yes, that would likely push the U.S. economy into another recession, although there are many that would argue that we are already in a recession right now.  In any event, there is a tremendous amount of distress out there about the fact that something might interrupt the debt-fueled prosperity that we have all been enjoying.  You can almost hear them now: "No! Please don't cut government spending! Please don't raise taxes! Please keep stealing more than 100 million dollars from our children and our grandchildren every single hour of every single day so that we can continue this economic illusion that feels so very good."  The American people want the government to give everything to everybody, but they definitely do not want to pay for it.  They want a big government that showers them with government checks and government benefits, but they don't want to cough up the ridiculous amount of money that it would take to fund such a government.  So we just keep ripping off our kids and our grandkids.  What we are doing to future generations is not just immoral, it is criminal.  If they get the chance, someday they will look back and curse us for destroying their futures and destroying their country.  So why do we continue to do this to them?  Because we are greedy and selfish and we are absolutely desperate to maintain the massively overinflated standard of living that we have been enjoying.  We have lived way above our means for so long that we don't even know what "normal" is supposed to be anymore.
But nobody can spend far more money than they bring in forever.  At some point an adjustment comes, and our adjustment is going to be exceedingly painful.
Right now, the overwhelming consensus in the United States seems to be that we should put off any economic pain for as long as possible.  The American people don't want significant cuts to government spending and they don't want taxes to be raised to pay for the spending that we are already doing.
But if the Republicans and the Democrats don't agree to a deal soon, we are going to see taxes raised substantially and government spending cut by a little bit.  A recent CBS News article did a good job of describing exactly what this "fiscal cliff" that we are facing actually is...
There are two parts to the so-called fiscal cliff. The first is the scheduled expiration of the tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 under President George W. Bush, the payroll tax holiday enacted under President Obama, and a host of other tax breaks. The second is $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts to defense and domestic programs that are looming due to a 2011 deal that resulted from House Republicans' reluctance to raise the debt limit.
Now, it's true that if lawmakers fail to work out any sort of deal, there will be severe long-term consequences for the economy: According to the Tax Policy Center, going off the "cliff" would affect 88 percent of U.S. taxpayers, with their taxes rising by an average of $3,500 a year. Many economists, as well as the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, say the combination of spending cuts and tax hikes that are set to take effect would tip the economy into a new recession.
Please keep in mind that the "$1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts" is not for a single year.  When you break it down, the cuts to spending would be somewhere around 100 billion dollars a year.  And a lot of those "cuts" are actually spending increases that would be cancelled.  So those spending cuts would not really put much of a dent in our yearly budget deficits at all.
The tax increases would be more significant.  Middle class families would be paying thousands of dollars more per year in taxes.  These tax increases would raise some more revenue for the federal government, but they would also do significant damage to the economy in the short-term.
Do you know what they call a combination of government spending cuts and tax increases over in Europe?
They call it "austerity".
Nations like Greece and Spain have tried this.  They cut spending and raised taxes in an attempt to reduce government budget deficits.  What happens is that the spending cuts and the tax increases cause a significant economic slowdown and this causes tax revenues to come in much lower than projected.  So then more spending cuts and tax hikes are necessary in order to try to get closer to balancing the budget.  But then tax revenues fall even more.
In the end, both Greece and Spain still have large budget deficits and yet the economies of both nations are suffering through depression-like conditions.  The unemployment rate in both nations is now over 25 percent.  Just check out this chart right here to see how nightmarish austerity has been for the economies of both Greece and Spain.
So that is why everybody is freaking out about the fiscal cliff.  They don't want to go down the same road of austerity.  They want to keep living in an economic fantasy land where we can borrow our way to "prosperity".
But it is all a lie.  The lines at the Apple stores, the crazed consumers on Black Friday, the restaurants teeming full with people and the government that thinks that it can take care of everyone from the cradle to the grave and yet keep taxes low.  It is all a giant lie.
And no, please do not think that I am in favor of raising taxes.  I most definitely am not.  I believe that the government brings in more than enough money already.
Personally, I believe that we could have a system that completely eliminates income taxes and that funds the government through tariffs and various other forms of taxation.  It was good enough for the Founding Fathers and it should be good enough for us.  But that is a subject for another article.
Our current system has allowed us to live way beyond our means for an extended period of time, but it is only a matter of time until it all comes crashing down.
In fact, the game is already over.  We have already destroyed the future.  At this point it is only a matter of how long we can keep kicking the can down the road and putting off the pain.
Sadly, what we have done on a national level is simply a reflection of our "buy now, pay later" society.  We have become a nation that is constantly willing to sacrifice the future in order to make the present more pleasant.
Just check out this video.  We have become addicted to a prosperity that we cannot possibly pay for.  But as long as someone will keep lending us the money we will continue to enjoy it.
As I have mentioned previously, the government has spent about 11 dollars for every 7 dollars of revenue that it has actually brought in while Barack Obama has been president.
We print, borrow and spend without giving any thought to what we are doing to the future of this country.  We areshredding confidence in our currency and we are wrecking the greatest economic machine that the world has ever seen.
And all of our politicians and all of our "leaders" prance about as if they are the smartest generation of Americans ever, and they think that they are an "example" for the rest of the world, but if our Founding Fathers were around today they would be absolutely horrified about what they have done to the country that they built.
If you think that the economy is bad now, you just wait.
We are still in the "economic fantasy land" phase where we are enjoying a massively inflated standard of living constructed on a mountain of borrowed fiat currency.  Our economy is being held up by trillions of borrowed dollars, and all of that money makes the U.S. economy appear to be far more prosperous than it actually should be.
When we have to start living closer to what our real standard of living should be things are going to get really bad.
Most Americans simply don't understand that if the federal government went to a balanced budget tomorrow it would instantly plunge the U.S. economy into a depression.
Just look at Greece and Spain.  The same thing is going to happen to us one way or another.
So enjoy this false prosperity while you still can.  This is about as good as things are going to get, and from here on out it is downhill for America.

34 Signs That America Is In Decline

The United States is clearly in an advanced state of decline.  Many people around the world (and even inside America) rejoice at this, but not me.  I mourn for the country that I was born in and that I still love.  Yes, the United States has never been perfect, but the Republic that our Founding Fathers started truly has been a light to the rest of the world in a lot of ways over the centuries.  Unfortunately, our foundations are badly rotting and our nation is collapsing all around us.  Many Americans like to think that the United States is greater today than it has ever been before, but the truth is that America is like a patient that has stage 4 cancer that has spread to almost every area of the body.  Our nation is being destroyed in thousands of different ways, and more distressing news emerges with each passing day.  This article will mainly focus on the economic decline of America, but much could also be said about our social, political, moral and spiritual decline as well.  We are simply not the same country that we used to be.  Americans are proud, selfish, greedy, arrogant, ungrateful, treacherous and completely addicted to entertainment and pleasure.  Our country is literally falling apart all around us, but most Americans are so plugged into entertainment that they can't even be bothered to notice what is happening.  Most Americans seem to assume that we will always have endless prosperity just because of who we are, but unfortunately that simply is not true.  We inherited the greatest economic machine the world has ever seen and we have wrecked it, and now a very painful day of reckoning is approaching.  But most people will not understand until it is too late.
The following are 34 signs that America is in decline...
#1 According to the World Bank, U.S. GDP accounted for 31.8 percent of all global economic activity in 2001.  That number dropped to 21.6 percent in 2011.  That is not just a decline - that is a freefall.  Just check out the chart inthis article.
#2 According to The Economist, the United States was the best place in the world to be born into back in 1988.  Today, the United States is only tied for 16th place.
#3 The United States has fallen in the global economic competitiveness rankings compiled by the World Economic Forum for four years in a row.
#4 According to the Wall Street Journal, of the 40 biggest publicly traded corporate spenders, half of them plan to reduce capital expenditures in coming months.
#5 More than three times as many new homes were sold in the United States in 2005 as will be sold in 2012.
#6 America once had the greatest manufacturing cities on the face of the earth.  Now many of our formerly great manufacturing cities have degenerated into festering hellholes.  For example, the city of Detroit is on the verge of financial collapse, and one state lawmaker is now saying that "dissolving Detroit" should be looked at as an option.
#7 In 2007, the unemployment rate for the 20 to 29 age bracket was about 6.5 percent.  Today, the unemployment rate for that same age group is about 13 percent.
#8 Back in 1950, more than 80 percent of all men in the United States had jobs.  Today, less than 65 percent of all men in the United States have jobs.
#9 If you can believe it, approximately one out of every four American workers makes 10 dollars an hour or less.
#10 Sadly, 60 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession were mid-wage jobs, but 58 percent of the jobs created since then have been low wage jobs.
#11 Median household income in America has fallen for four consecutive years.  Overall, it has declined by over $4000 during that time span.
#12 The U.S. trade deficit with China during 2011 was 28 times larger than it was back in 1990.
#13 Incredibly, more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States have been shut down since 2001.  During 2010, manufacturing facilities were shutting down at the rate of 23 per day.  How can anyone say that "things are getting better" when our economic infrastructure is being absolutely gutted?
#14 Back in early 2005, the average price of a gallon of gasoline was less than 2 dollars a gallon.  During 2012, the average price of a gallon of gasoline has been $3.63.
#15 In 1999, 64.1 percent of all Americans were covered by employment-based health insurance.  Today, only 55.1 percent are covered by employment-based health insurance.
#16 As I have written about previously, 61 percent of all Americans were "middle income" back in 1971 according to the Pew Research Center.  Today, only 51 percent of all Americans are "middle income".
#17 There are now 20.2 million Americans that spend more than half of their incomes on housing.  That represents a 46 percent increase from 2001.
#18 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the poverty rate for children living in the United States is about 22 percent.
#19 Back in 1983, the bottom 95 percent of all income earners in the United States had 62 cents of debt for every dollar that they earned.  By 2007, that figure had soared to $1.48.
#20 Total home mortgage debt in the United States is now about 5 times larger than it was just 20 years ago.
#21 Total credit card debt in the United States is now more than 8 times larger than it was just 30 years ago.
#22 The value of the U.S. dollar has declined by more than 96 percent since the Federal Reserve was first created.
#23 According to one survey, 29 percent of all Americans in the 25 to 34 year old age bracket are still living with their parents.
#24 Back in 1950, 78 percent of all households in the United States contained a married couple.  Today, that number has declined to 48 percent.
#25 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 49 percent of all Americans live in a home that receives direct monetary benefits from the federal government.  Back in 1983, less than a third of all Americans lived in a home that received direct monetary benefits from the federal government.
#26 In 1980, government transfer payments accounted for just 11.7 percent of all income.  Today, government transfer payments account for more than 18 percent of all income.
#27 In November 2008, 30.8 million Americans were on food stamps.  Today, 47.1 million Americans are on food stamps.
#28 Right now, one out of every four American children is on food stamps.
#29 As I wrote about the other day, according to one calculation the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of "Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming."
#30 Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid.  Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid, and things are about to get a whole lot worse.  It is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.
#31 In 2001, the U.S. national debt was less than 6 trillion dollars.  Today, it is over 16 trillion dollars and it is increasing by more than 100 million dollars every single hour.
#32 The U.S. national debt is now more than 23 times larger than it was when Jimmy Carter became president.
#33 According to a PBS report from earlier this year, U.S. households that make $13,000 or less per year spend 9 percent of their incomes on lottery tickets.  Could that possibly be accurate?  Are people really that foolish?
#34 As the U.S. economy has declined, the American people have been downing more antidepressants and other prescription drugs than ever before.  In fact, the American people spent 60 billion dollars more on prescription drugs in 2010 than they did in 2005.
So what are our "leaders" doing about all of this?
Not much.
They just continue to insist that everything is "just fine".
Sadly, the truth is that they live in a world that is very different from most of the rest of us.
Barack Obama is getting ready to take a 20 day vacation to Hawaii.
When was the last time you got to take a 20 day vacation?
And most of our "leaders" have no idea what it is like to struggle from month to month on a paycheck.
Overall, more than half of the members of Congress are millionaires.  We are led by wealthy men who are serving the interests of other wealthy men.
But the problem with our system is not limited to the president and the members of Congress.  The truth is that the political system in America has become a colossal beast that just continues to grow no matter who is in power.  The political establishment of both parties is totally dependent on this beast, and they will continue to feed it and serve it because it has been very good to them.  The following is from an outstanding article by Steve McCann...
The Republican and Democratic political establishments are made up of the following: 
1) many current and nearly all retired national office holders whose livelihood and narcissistic demands depends upon fealty to Party and access to government largesse;
2) the majority of the media elite, including pundits, editors, writers and television news personalities based in Washington and New York whose proximity to power and access is vital to their continued standard of living;  
3) academia, numerous think-tanks, so-called non-government organizations, and lobbyists who fasten onto those in the administration and Congress for employment, grants, favorable legislation and ego-gratification;  
4) the reliable deep pocket political contributors and political consultants whose future is irrevocably tied to the political machinery of the Party; and
5) the crony capitalists, i.e. leaders of the corporate and financial community as well as unions whose entities are dependent on or subject to government oversight and/or benevolence .
Do you think that there is any chance that this insidious system will be uprooted any time soon?
Of course not.
We will continue on the same path that we are on right now and America will continue to decline.
Many will rejoice as America falls, but I will not.
I will mourn for a mighty Republic that has fallen and for a dream that has been lost.

Wake Up! 11 Facts That Show That Europe Is Heading Into An Economic Depression

Europe is not just heading into another recession.  The truth is that Europe is heading into a full-blown depression.  The economy of the EU is actually larger than the U.S. economy, and we are watching it melt down right in front of our eyes.  Things just continue to get worse in Europe, and yet somehow the authorities over in Europe just keep insisting that everything is going to be "just fine".  Well, everything is not "just fine" over in Europe right now.  Unemployment in the eurozone has just hit another brand new record high.  In some nations in Europe, the unemployment rate is already significantly higher than anything the United States experienced during the Great Depression of the 1930s.  Europe is a continent that is collapsing under the weight of its own debt, and this is just the beginning.  A lot more pain is on the way.  Officials over in Europe are trying to hold the European financial system together with duct tape and prayers, but it could literally fall apart at any moment.  Europe has a much larger banking system than the United States does, so when a financial collapse happens in Europe, it is going to be very significant for the entire globe.  Sadly, most Americans do not even pay attention to much of anything that is happening in Europe.  They tend to think that the United States is the center of the universe and that as long as we are fine that everything will be okay.  Well, all of those people who are not paying attention need to wake up.  First of all, the U.S. economy is most definitely in decline.  Secondly, the European economy is imploding right in front of our eyes and Europe is going to end up dragging the entire globe down with it.
The following are 11 facts that show that Europe is heading into an economic depression...
1. The economies of 17 out of the 27 countries in the EU have contracted for at least two consecutive quarters.
2. Unemployment in the eurozone has hit a brand new all-time record high of 11.7 percent.
3. The unemployment rate in Portugal is now up to 16.3 percent.  A year ago it was just 13.7 percent.
4. The unemployment rate in Greece is now up to 25.4 percent.  A year ago it was just 18.4 percent.
5. The unemployment rate in Spain has hit a brand new all-time record high of 26.2 percent.  How much higher can it possibly go?  This is already higher than the unemployment rate in the United States ever reached during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
6. Youth unemployment levels in both Greece and Spain are rapidly approaching the 60 percent level.
7. Earlier this month, Moody's stripped France of its AAA credit rating, and wealthy individuals are leaving France in droves as the socialists implement plans to raise taxes to very high levels on the rich.
8. Industrial production is collapsing all over Europe.  Just check out these numbers...
You don’t have to be an economic genius to understand that the perpetual uncertainty over the Eurozone’s future has led to a widespread freeze on industrial investment and development. Industrial production is collapsing at an accelerating rate, falling 7% year-on-year in Spain and Greece, 4.8% in Italy, and 2.1% in France.
9. There are even trouble signs in the "stable" economies in Europe.  In Germany, factory orders in September were down 3.3 percent from the month before, and retail sales in October declined 2.8 percent from the previous month.
10. The debt of the Greek government is now projected to hit 189 percent of GDP by the end of this year.
11. The Greek economy has shrunk by more than 7 percent this year, and it is being projected that the Greek economy will contract by another 4.5 percent in 2013.
But sometimes you can't really get a feel for how bad things really are over there just from the raw economic numbers.
Many people that are living through these depression-like conditions are totally giving in to despair.  Just check out the following example from an RT article from earlier this year...
A 61-year-old Greek pensioner has hung himself from a tree in a public park after succumbing to the pressure of crushing debt. A note in his pocket indicates he is merely the latest in a rash of economic crisis-induced suicides.
The pensioner’s lifeless body was found dangling by an attendant in a public park not far from his home in the suburb of Nikaia, Athens. The attendant also found a suicide note in the man’s pocket, The Athens news reports.
The man, identifying himself as Alexandros, said he was a man of few vices who “worked all day.”  However, he blamed himself from committing one “horrendous crime”: becoming a professional at the age of 40 and plunging himself into debt. He referred to himself as a 61-year-old idiot who had to pay, hoping his grandchildren would not be born in Greece, as the country’s prospects were so bleak.
Please take note of what is happening in places like Greece and Spain right now, because similar conditions will soon be coming to the United States.
This is one reason why I try so hard to encourage people to prepare for what is coming.  There is hope in understanding what is coming and there is hope in getting prepared.
You don't want to end up getting blindsided by the coming crisis and end up sitting on a park bench trying to figure out if life is still worth living or not.
Life is most definitely worth living.  Yes, a storm is coming and the world is going to become incredibly unstable in more ways than one.  But if you understand what is coming and you work hard to prepare, then you and your family will have a chance to thrive even in the midst of the storm.
Please learn from what is happening over in Europe.  The economic horror show that is unfolding over there is going to come to America too, and time is running out.