Tikun Olam-תיקון עולם: Make the World a Better PlaceJuly 8, 2011 1:43 AM
Picture, it's 1947, you're a Jewish resident of the Yishuv contemplating an impending vote in the UN General Assembly to recognize the UN Partition and create a new State of Israel. You're anticipating the support of both the Soviet Union and the United States. But nothing is certain. That's when you hear that the U.S.
Jul 8, 2011
Posted: 07 Jul 2011 10:54 PM PDT
If you do not want to feel really depressed, you might not want to read this article. The U.S. economy is coming apart at the seams, and there are a whole lot of indications that things are about to get even worse. After a time of relative stability, the pace of job cuts is starting to pick up again, inflation is rising but paychecks are not, the U.S. housing crisis shows no signs of ending, millions of American families are drowning in debt and all of the recent polls show that the faith of the American people in our economy is eroding. As you read the statistics in this article, try to keep in mind that there are scores of families from coast to coast that are barely surviving from month to month. It can be a soul-crushing experience to work as hard as you can and yet just barely be able to pay the mortgage and put food into the mouths of your kids. The reason why so many Americans believe that we are in a "recession" or a "depression" is because that is what they feel like they are living through every single day.
The number of Americans that are really depressed about the direction of the economy continues to grow. At first most Americans had expected the U.S. economy to bounce back after the recession "like it always does", but now hope is turning into desperation as people start realizing that this time things are different.
Most Americans are very eager for things to go back to normal. Unfortunately, things look like they are about to get even worse.
The following are 16 reasons to feel really depressed about the direction of the economy….
#1 A newly released National Federation of Independent Business poll discovered that U.S. small businesses let go of more workers than they hired in June. Previously, the poll had registered four monthly gains in net jobs in a row. Some analysts believe that this may be another indication that the employment market is getting softer once again.
#2 Another newly released jobs report found that the number of job cuts being planned by U.S. employers increased by 11.6% in June.
#3 There are fewer payroll jobs in the United States today than there were back in 2000 even though we have added 30 million people to the population since then.
#4 There are officially 6.2 million Americans that have been unemployed for more than 6 months. There are millions of others that have also been out of work that long but they have become so discouraged about looking for work that the U.S. government considers them "to no longer be in the workforce".
#5 It now takes the average unemployed worker in America nearly 40 weeks to find a new job.
#6 Paychecks are not keeping up with inflation. In May, the average hourly wage in the United States was 1.6 percent lower than 12 months earlier.
#7 Food and gas prices have been absolutely soaring over the past year. McDonald's, Hershey and Coca-Cola have all announced price increases this year. One recent survey found that 9 out of 10 U.S. workers do not expect their wages to keep up with soaring food prices and soaring gas prices over the next 12 months.
#8 There are disturbing indications that the business community expects the economy to slow down even more in the months ahead. For example, pre-orders for Christmas toys from China are way down.
#9 As of April, there were 6.39 million home loans in the United States that were either delinquent or in foreclosure. Included in that were 675,000 home loans that had not had a single payment made on them in two years.
#10 Approximately 28 percent of all home loans in the United States are currently "underwater".
#11 Overall, American households are about 7.7 trillion dollars poorer than they were back in early 2007.
#12 As a percentage of GDP, the total amount of debt in the United States is now far higher than it ever has been in any other era of U.S. history. Things were not even close to this bad during the Great Depression.
#13 One of the key measures of consumer confidence in the United States has hit a seven-month low.
#14 According to Gallup, the percentage of Americans that lack confidence in U.S. banks is now at an all-time high of 36%.
#15 According to one recent poll, 39 percent of Americans believe that the U.S. economy has now entered a "permanent decline".
#16 Another recent survey found that 48 percent of Americans believe that it is likely that another great Depression will begin within the next 12 months.
So what is the United States going to look like if we do have another major economic downturn?
If the U.S. economy continues to get worse and worse, will what is happening in Greece eventually start happening in this country?
Let us certainly hope that our cities do not descend into chaos any time soon.
However, we should not just stick our heads in the sand and pretend that everything is going to be okay.
Those of us that are aware of what is happening to the economy should take this time to get prepared.
We should all be getting out of debt. When the economy tanks and interest rates start to spike you don't want a horde of creditors hunting you down.
We should all be reducing our expenses and learning to live on less. It is those that are "lean and mean" that will have the best chance of making it through a major downturn successfully.
We should all be storing up emergency food and supplies. After all, you take out insurance on all kinds of other things, don't you? We all need to be fully prepared just in case the worst happens.
The truth is that most Americans are totally unprepared for economic troubles. As the financial crisis of 2008 demonstrated, when people lose their jobs and their wealth they will come in and take everything away from you.
And it is not just your home that you could lose. When you don't have any more money left there is a chance that authorities will take everything away from you.
For example, according to one local news report, six kids were taken away permanently from their parents just because they were homeless and living in a storage shed….
"You shouldn't take our kids because we've fallen on hard times," said Prince Leonard, a married father of six whose family resides in a northeast Houston storage shed.
The Leonards moved in three years ago after the father, an unemployed welder, was hired as a maintenance worker.
Well, it turns out that the storage shed actually had "an air conditioner, a refrigerator and two personal computers", so they were not living too terribly.
But this is what happens to so many poor families today – "child protective services" will come in and take their children away at the drop of a hat.
Poor people are an easy target. They know that they are unlikely to fight back and so thousands and thousands of young children are constantly being ripped out of homes and never returned.
Don't think that it can never happen to you. It is happening all over the country.
The sad reality of the matter is that "the American Dream" is dying.
Every month more American families are slipping out of the middle class and into poverty.
Over the past four years, the number of Americans on food stamps has risen by 18 million. A higher percentage of Americans is enrolled in government anti-poverty programs than ever before.
There will be millions of Americans that will not be able to sleep tonight because they are being eaten alive by worry and fear. If the economy does not turn around soon, there will be even more American families that are living in their cars and eating out of dumpsters.
Our economic problems are a horrible nightmare that never seems to end. We are literally watching the greatest economy on earth crumble before our very eyes.
So if you feel really depressed about all this, nobody is going to blame you.
But pulling yourself together and getting yourself and your family prepared for the really hard times that are coming might be a better course of action.
Reprinted from The American Dream