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Monday, April 6, 2015

Recommended Reading

(This post will remain here for a few days because the material merits more than a casual reading)

See The Death of the American Dream in 22 Numbers by Michael Snyder. Can you dispute the points made? If not, do you have any ideas whatsoever for remedying this situation — or for protecting oneself and family?

For your convenience, most of Mr. Snyder's essay is below the fold:
...The following are 22 numbers that are very strong evidence of the death of the American Dream…

#1 The Obama administration tells us that 8.69 million Americans are “officially unemployed” and that 92.90 million Americans are considered to be “not in the labor force”. That means that more than 101 million U.S. adults do not have a job right now.

#2 One recent survey discovered that 55 percent of Americans believe that the American Dream either never existed or that it no longer exists.

#3 Considering the fact that Obama is in the White House, it is somewhat surprising that 55 percent of all Republicans still believe in the American Dream, but only 33 percent of all Democrats do.

#4 After adjusting for inflation, median household income has fallen by nearly $5,000 since 2007.

#5 After adjusting for inflation, “the median wealth figure for middle-income families” fell from $78,000 in 1983 to $63,800 in 2013.

#6 At this point, 59 percent of Americans believe that “the American dream has become impossible for most people to achieve”.

#7 In 1967, 53 percent of Americans were considered to be “middle income”. But today, only 43 percent of Americans are.

#8 For each of the past six years, more businesses have closed in the United States than have opened. Prior to 2008, this had never happened before in all of U.S. history.

#9 According to the New York Times, the “typical American household” is now worth 36 percent less than it was worth a decade ago.

#10 According to one recent report, 43 million Americans currently have unpaid medical debt on their credit reports.

#11 Traditionally, owning a home has been one of the key indicators that you belong to the middle class. Unfortunately, the rate of homeownership in the U.S. has now been falling for seven years in a row.

#12 According to a survey that was conducted last year, 52 percent of all Americans cannot even afford the house that they are living in right now.

#13 While Barack Obama has been in the White House, the number of Americans on food stamps has gone from 32 million to 46 million.

#14 The number of Americans on food stamps has now exceeded the 46 million mark for 38 months in a row.

#15 Right now, more than one out of every five children in the United States is on food stamps.

#16 According to a Washington Post article published just recently, more than 50 percent of the children in U.S. public schools now come from low income homes. This is the first time that this has happened in at least 50 years.

#17 According to the Census Bureau, 65 percent of all children in the United States are living in a home that receives some form of aid from the federal government.

#18 In 2008, 53 percent of all Americans considered themselves to be “middle class”. But by 2014, only 44 percent of all Americans still considered themselves to be “middle class”.

#19 In 2008, 25 percent of all Americans in the 18 to 29-year-old age bracket considered themselves to be “lower class”. But in 2014, an astounding 49 percent of all Americans in that age range considered themselves to be “lower class”.

#20 It is hard to believe, but an astounding 53 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year.

#21 According to one recent survey, 62 percent of all Americans are currently living paycheck to paycheck.

#22 According to CNN, the typical American family can only “replace 21 days of income with readily accessible funds”....
Go HERE to read the entire essay and to access the embedded hot links. Worth your time and consideration.


  1. As for #1, ObamaCo wants to make it look rosy with deceptive unemployment figures that don't count the millions forced out of their jobs by his policies

  2. " Can you dispute the points made?"

    NO! One thing is certain; a [virtual] economy based largely on debt and not on productivity by its available workforce is un-sustainable. So unless and until the electorate realizes this it will just get worse as we approach Greece on steroids!

  3. I wouldn't dispute much of it.

    What continues to surprise me is how often people think American economic history started in 2008.
    These are all trends that do not have any reason to mitigate in the current corporate culture.

    We will continue to whine about "Obamacare" (with the term continuing to highlight the right's pathology) and never question the deficiencies of a for profit health delivery system.
    And if we don't deal with the health care issue in America the rest doesn't make much sense.

    It's like the morons in California buying into limiting personal water usage as a solution when personal use is about 10-15% of total utilization and subsidizing high use agriculture like almond groves.

    But it is true that most of us are asleep or too glued to social media or getting all wound up about some dumbass pizzeria in Indiana.

    Stick a fork in the Republic.

    1. Ducky: I have some major problems with "for profit" healthcare, but I have even more problems with the worst solution: total state control (single payer... where the rulers make the decisions and can shoot you for disagreeing). We need decentralization, no big players, LOTS of competition. Are you willing to put up with that? Or is the end game more central state power for you?

    2. Ducky also said: "We will continue to whine about "Obamacare" (with the term continuing to highlight the right's pathology) "

      Journalists coined the term. The Obama regime has fully embraced it, and has used it their advertising. Which means that the term must "highlight" the left's "pathology" as well, right?

      Personally, I think the Obamacare label is generous. There's not much "care" in it, as it forces companies to cut hours from 40 to 30, forces firings and cutting other benefits (the law punishes companies with a fine for hiring more than 50 people!), and has caused healthcare to get more expensive (less affordable) while causing people to lose insurance and their doctor.

    3. single payer... where the rulers make the decisions and can shoot you for disagreeing
      Yeah, that's the way it works in France, Japan, Australia, Sweden etc.

      I don't unerstand your comment. Seems you'd rather be in the hands of a clerk who stays employed by turning down your claim.


    4. "Yeah, that's the way it works in France, Japan, Australia, Sweden etc."

      Yeah and here's the way it works in America:

      Medicare Unfunded Liability $79,039,266,097,010.64
      Prescription Drug Unfunded Liability $19,946,337,638,101.75
      National Healthcare Unfunded Liability $9,202,831,990,983.08

    5. Yeah, we've got a problem with costs. You'll have a tough time finding an argument there.
      Unfortunately, Citizens United gives us a good idea of how much power we have over the for profit insurers and providers.

      Just leaving it to the unregulated "free market"(LMAO)™ will resolve things at the cost of shortened life spans.

      Or maybe we can talk about end of life costs without some dipstick like Caribou Barbie yammering about "death panels".

      Oh, by the way, I was being sarcastic in reference to dmarks' rather strange comment about rulers shooting you.

    6. Nothing strange about it. The government can and will do you bodily harm if you refuse to pay it tribute.

      Like a mugger in that way.

    7. And Ducky, death panels are part of single payer. Obama has admitted that he would prefer single payer, ultimately. And many Dems do favor it. So, it does remain a danger.

    8. Single Payer is the true end goal. As Socialism leads to Communism, Obamacare wrecks the system completely and leads to the lefts inevitable conclusion of single payer.

    9. SF,
      Single Payer is the true end goal.

      And some have so stated. I don't have the links handy, but I have certainly read and seen a lot about the end goal.

    10. About single payer:

      The Ugly Truth About Canadian Health Care (dated 2007).

      I saw something recently published about problems with Canadian single payer, but can't find the link right now. Will look some more.

    11. From this recent article:

      ...A letter from the Moncton Hospital to a New Brunswick heart patient in need of an electrocardiogram said the appointment would be in three months. It added: "If the person named on this computer-generated letter is deceased, please accept our sincere apologies."

      The patient wasn't dead, according to the doctor who showed the letter to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. But there are many Canadians who claim the long wait for the test and the frigid formality of the letter are indicative of a health system badly in need of emergency care.

      Americans who flock to Canada for cheap flu shots often come away impressed at the free and first-class medical care available to Canadians, rich or poor. But tell that to hospital administrators constantly having to cut staff for lack of funds, or to the mother whose teenager was advised she would have to wait up to three years for surgery to repair a torn knee ligament....

  4. Wow! I find myself largely in agreement with Ducky, minus his criticism of for-profit healthcare and his sour rhetorical flourishes.

    Our government has set it up so that more and more market signals are masked, and we do not see the real cost of what we consume.

    The rich, the corporations, the finance industry and the US government form a very real axis of evil, and they are destroying our nation.

    1. Silver said: "Our government has set it up so that more and more market signals are masked, and we do not see the real cost of what we consume."

      Any in much of it, the costs are MORE than they should be. Do you agree that we should remove the massive extra taxes on healthcare equipment, gasoline, and other things, so they are taxed just like any other good or service?

      This is not an insane call to eliminate taxes. It is just a call to tax things all like normal.

    2. The equipment tax (which I don't favor) contributes to higher premiums?

      You pick that over the 20% of private sector insurance premiums that for profit insurers rake of the top for doing nothing as opposed to the much lower Medicare overhead?


    3. dmarks: I don't see it as an issue of taxes. The healthcare market is crazy irrational, and that contributes to price inflation.

      I would like to see some simple, rational government action. California is in a panic over their drought with Governor Moonbeam supposedly threatening people with fines for taking what he considers to be too long in the shower.

      What they should be doing is raising the price of water. Raise it high enough, and people will police themselves.

      We had a water shortage a few years ago, and the city limited lawn watering day and went to a tiered price structure for the water bill.

      Even as a libertarian, I have no problem with such actions. Water is a public resource delivered by a public utility. If you want people to conserve it, make it more expensive.

      Spying on people's showers is a creepy, statist solution, but more government penetration is the progressive way.

    4. Silver... regarding water... I've lived in So Cal and Las Vegas all of my life. While it is true that the cost of water will regulate some, those that can afford to pay the higher costs will just continue to use and waste large amounts of water.

      I could take you down countless streets here in Vegas where homes all are valued in multi million values. Few of them are landscaped in Xeriscape, many have lush green lawns and are watered daily, while us working stiffs, cannot afford it.

      In the Los Angeles area, the largest water users per capita, are not the poor folks of Pacoima or Pomona, but the slightly better off communities of Newport Beach, Beverly Hills and Malibu.

      With their ability to just pay whatever it costs, that is unlikely to change.

      It will take a government stepping in and limiting usage. Period.

      The California situation is a national emergency. No water = less food and massively higher food prices for the entire nation. Failure of all levels of government, across the US, to understand and respond to this, is simply malpractice, no matter the political party.

    5. Well Dave, in olden times people grew lawns to show they were rich enough not to need the land to grow food.

    6. Dave,

      A tiered pricing scheme would take care of it. Once someone goes above what a normal quota of water would be, the price jumps.

      Hotels could simply meter water usage and tack that on to the bill.

    7. SIlver, I still contend, and the evidence, so far anyways, that tiered pricing does not affect those with the financial resources to ignore the price increases.

      If, as you mention, there is a "normal quota of water" that can be agreed on, when people go over that, why not cut them off?

      If we are willing to essentially fine them, why not bar them from access?

    8. About the California drought...

      Building so much in a desert and then turning the area into a lush paradise via irrigation and other means has never made sense to me.

      Mr. AOW grew up in Southern California. The property had plants, succulents, and ivy. Very little watering had to be done.

      Question: How much water is required for all those swimming pools in Southern California? It used to be that not every house had a swimming pool. But now? Most homes have their own private swimming pools. I myself saw the burgeoning of those swimming pools: big contrast between 1975 (my first trip to Los Angeles) and 2005. Lots more subdivisions, too.

    9. AOW: Same argument for cities in Nevada and Arizona.

      I remember reading years ago about how water is the most precious natural resource, and whoever wrote that was right.

      Malthusian progressives will use this to argue for depopulating the planet, but its really a matter of too many people living where the natural resources cannot support them. It's all cyclical anyway.

  5. "The equipment tax (which I don't favor) contributes to higher premiums?"

    It actually makes healthcare less affordable. It forces companies to charge more for equipment (a cost that ends up with patients), while encouraging such companies to offshore and downsize.

    "much lower Medicare overhead?" with terrible care besides,.

  6. Welcome to Slumerica.


  7. Full Video: Rand Paul presidential announcement


  8. "#1 The Obama administration tells us that 8.69 million Americans are “officially unemployed” and that 92.90 million Americans are considered to be “not in the labor force”. That means that more than 101 million U.S. adults do not have a job right now."

    Isn't this a bit misleading in that the huge number of unemployed quoted surely includes minor children, the chronically ill, the mentally retarded, retirees, street people most of whom are mentally ill alcoholics, drug addicts, etc. and inhabitants of nursing homes and mental institutions as well as able-bodied adults who could and should be working to earn their daily bread?

    I think in order to be fair and honest the 100+ million "unemployed" should be broken down into the categories cited above. It would give a more balanced, realistic, less agenda-driven picture.

    ALSO: How many considered "employed" by the government statistic mills are in fact UNDEREMPLOYED –– i.e. not working full time, or only working a chicken-sh-t jobs when they'd formerly been employed in a professional position or on the executive level?

  9. "Underemployed" is rather subjective, meaningless. In it we are looking at those who are employed, but not at some different and perhaps imaginary job position they may or may not even qualify for.

    1. Dmarks,
      I doubt that FT meant the term in a subjective, meaningless sense.

      See this definition of "underemployed":

      1.employed at a job that does not fully use one's skills or abilities.

      2.employed only part-time when one is available for full-time work.

      3.not utilized fully.

      It seems to me that Definition 1 could be extended to refer to an individual who previously held an "upper echelon" job in a particular profession, got laid off, then, once unemployment insurance ran out, took a job working in a warehouse -- because any income beats zero income. This example comes to mind because something very like that happened to Mr. AOW and a friend of mine.

      I also know several people in the situation described in Definition 2; some employers will not hire people over 29 hours per week so as not to be required to furnish employer-based health insurance.

    2. Excellent description, AOW. I think the subjectivity lies in number 1. I see it strongest in, say, a neurosurgeon now delivering papers. Less so with a useless bureaucrat, an laid off auto worker formerly paid $50 to build a shoddy heap for Chrysler, or executive in Solyndra or Enron.

      Good point at the end in how Obamacare forces companies to cut hours and reduce paychecks by 1/4.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. Jew-jit-sue at work.

  10. @ FT,

    You make good points. Without the various specifics that you identify, the aggregated ball of crap that we are handed is all but meaningless.

    1. Unemployed explicitly means actively looking for work.

      In FT's world that evidently includes alcoholic street people.
      In the normal world of labor statistics, it doesn't.

    2. Duck,
      The word unemployed is supposed to mean without a job; out of work.

      I'm not sure that not in the labor force equates with unemployed.

    3. The unemployment statistic is explicitly defined as actively looking for work.

      The labor force participation rate is a separate statistic that is also published.

      Unfortunately, those with Obama Derangement Syndrome do believe that the statistics were created and manipulated by the current administration.

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. "The unemployment statistic is explicitly defined as actively looking for work"
      Nobody can even get logical definitions anymore.
      And there are many definitions of 'unemployment figures', many of which deal with the just plain unemployed, actively looking or not.

      Even they're confused.

  11. This definition of unemployment is great! "Unemployed explicitly means actively looking for work"

    The use of the prefix "un" before a word is used to negate the meaning of the word. Take for example do/undo or fold/unfold.

    So Ducky to make your assertion true the meaning of "employed" would have to be someone who has a job and is actively looking not to have a job!!!

    An honorable thought, regardless...


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