By TLB Contributor: Dave Hodges
America has gone back to sleep. The 2014 midterm elections are history and good guys, the Republicans, have kicked out the bad guys, the Democrats. We only have two more years to endure Obama. If it was only that simple.
This article is going to briefly examine a cross-section of indicators which are representative of how well our nation, and to some degree, our government are meeting the people’s needs.
The general areas which will be examined are employment and income, economic health of the nation as a whole, educational opportunities and heath and wellness and civil liberties.
It is time to give America her report card as we brace with great trepidation for the last two years of the most corrupt administration in American history.
Income and Employment Opportunities
First and foremost, Americans no longer live in the highest salary paying country in the world. In fact, the United States does not even crack the top ten list of the highest salary paying countries on the planet in which Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Japan, Norway, Austria, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom round out the top ten and pay their workers more than workers in the United States. In fact, the United States only ranks 20th in terms of overall gross pay!
Young adults who are degreed and/or skilled in fields such as engineering or information technology skills, are really wasting their time by working in the United States. Eight of the world’s ten highest-paying countries for information technology (IT) managers are in Western Europe, according to a new survey by Mercer Human Resource Consulting. The survey found that Swiss managers are paid the most, followed by those in Germany and Denmark. In fact, IT management is another field where U.S. workers fail to crack the top ten in income, the United States ranks 14th in IT management compensation. Even debt ridden Spain, Italy and Greece pay their IT managers more than what Americans earn on average.
Unfortunately, the public does not know what the true unemployment rate is in America because the Department of Labor plays games with the numbers. For example, if you hold a real estate license, and even if you have never sold any property, you are considered to be employed by the Federal government. If your unemployment insurance expires, it is assumed that you have found employment, even if you have not. This is referred to as the discouraged worker category.
The “Alternate Unemployment Rate” more accurately reflects the current unemployment reporting methodology adjusted for SGS-estimated long-term discouraged workers, who were eliminated from official existence by the Federal government back in 1994. That estimate is added to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimate of U-6 unemployment, which includes the previously short-term discouraged workers.
The “U-3″ unemployment rate is the monthly headline number. The U-6 unemployment rate is the BLS broadest unemployment measure, “including short-term discouraged and other marginally-attached workers as well as those forced to work part-time because they cannot find full-time employment” as this group would be categorized as the underemployed. When all figures are combined, the Shadow Stats calculations are staggering as the unemployment and underemployment rate is approaching 24%!
Shadow Stats is one of the most interesting financial websites that I have found in recent memory and they are worthy or a hearty recommendation as they give the public an accurate way to compare real unemployment to the government contrived games that are played with the unemployment numbers. The actual unemployment/underemployment rate, nearly 24%, is more than three times the government’s figures for unemployment. Shadow Stats calculations clearly tell us that we are in a very serious depression, or what Gerald Celente often refers to as the “Greatest Depression”. And when we isolate the numbers and only include young adults, the picture goes from bleak to hopeless and these statistics are the fertile breeding ground for revolution.
The segment of the population which needs have the most opportunity in the economy is literally getting killed. Consider the following statistics gathered from various sources:
During 2011, 53 percent of all Americans with a bachelor’s degree under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed.
At this point about half of all recent college graduates are working jobs that do not even require a college degree.
The number of Americans in the 16 to 29 year old age bracket with a job declined by 18 percent between 2000 and 2010.
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 since the year 2000.
In the United States today, 317,000 waiters and waitresses have college degrees.
One poll discovered that 29 percent of all Americans in the 25 to 34 year old age bracket are still living with their parents.
Young men are nearly twice as likely to live with their parents as young women the same age are.
Overall, approximately 25 million American adults are living with their parents according to Time Magazine.
Workers in modern nations have always had retirement as an incentive to work towards. Soon, the government will control all retirement accounts. Furthermore, if you live in America, you are not getting the best pension package compared to other Western nations as America ranks last in overall pension benefits. And this is in the backdrop of the Obama Administration, there are clear plans to seize your 401k pensions. This planned theft by the Obama Administration will prove to be a devastating blow to the American middle-class and will provide a knockout punch to any hope that the middle class clings to when it comes to transmitting wealth to their children and we are only a couple of short years from realizing this inevitability. At least in Greece, the people rioted when the Goldman Sachs run government stole the people’s pensions to pay down the bankers part of the derivatives debt. Conversely, Americans are merely acquiescing and passively accepting the fact that Obama and his minions are planning to steal your bank accounts, your social security, your public pensions and your 401k accounts and the process has already begun with Treasury Secretary Lew as he is borrowing against select Federal retirement accounts.
THE GRADE FOR THIS CATEGORY IS AN F
What about post-secondary education, don’t we offer great and affordable post-secondary education? Surely, our universities and colleges, renowned around the planet for their trend setting research endeavors, must offer a quality education. Unfortunately, for our young people seeking a quality and affordable education, in order to compete on a global scale in which they must have access to the best and most cost effective education system in the world, we have left our students hanging. The Education Policy Institute assessed the affordability of higher education costs and found that the United States ranks 13th in higher education affordability. The results of the EPI’s findings are as follows:
|3. The Netherlands
|4. Belgium (Flemish Community)
|6. Belgium (French Community)
|13. United States
Are students getting what they pay for? One survey found that 70% of all college graduates wish that they had spent more time preparing for the “real world” while they were still in college. Moreover, the college loan practices, in the United States, which serve to underwrite much of the cost of a college education, are the most predatory in the world. As of last year, bankruptcy cannot cancel out a student loan debt and delinquent college students can now go to jail for nonpayment. In fact, several federal agencies have even “swat teamed” many delinquent student loan defaulters. Nowhere else in the world can we find evidence of these types of predatory practices being used against college students as we do here in the United States.
The scourge of the new Common Core curriculum has successfully invaded our schools. Despite the claims that Common Core will make students “college ready”, there is not one shred of research proof to support that statement. Yet, our schools are drinking from the Koolaid and have embraced this approach to education wholeheartedly and our children are the guinea pigs for this grand educational experiment. In Arizona, concerns among parents ran so high that the State’s Department of Education changed the name of Common Core in an attempt to fool the public.
The concerns about Common Core are many and varied and limited space prevents me from listing all the concerns. Instead, I have chosen to list merely a cross-section of concerns regarding the Common Core math curriculum.
The exclusion of key math concepts is commonplace under Common Core. The Pioneer Institutes examination of Common Core revealed the following deficiencies:
- “Common Core fails to teach prime factorization and consequently does not include teaching about least common denominators or greatest common factors.
- Common Core fails to include conversions among fractions, decimals, and percents, identified as a key skill by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
- Common Core de-emphasizes algebraic manipulation, which is a prerequisite for advanced mathematics, and instead effectively redefines algebra as “functional algebra”, which does not prepare students for STEM careers.
- Common Core does not require proficiency with addition and subtraction until grade 4, a grade behind the expectations of the high-performing states and our international competitors.
- Common Core does not require proficiency with multiplication using the standard algorithm (step-by-step procedure for calculations) until grade 5, a grade behind the expectations of the high-performing states and our international competitors.
- Common Core does not require proficiency with division using the standard algorithm until grade 6, a grade behind the expectations of the high-performing states and our international competitors.
- Common Core starts teaching decimals only in grade 4, about two years behind the more rigorous state standards, and fails to use money as a natural introduction to this concept.
- Common Core fails to teach in K-8 about key geometrical concepts such as the area of a triangle, sum of angles in a triangle, isosceles and equilateral triangles, or constructions with a straightedge and compass that good state standards include.”
Common Core was developed by “Education for All” which is a think tank within the UNESCO network of the United Nations. Do we really have to go to foreigners to develop a sound education system? Not one educator or state legislator was involved in the initial creation of Common Core. And the implementation of Common Core is being insisted upon by the Federal government despite not having performed one beta test designed to test the assumptions of this new approach to educating our children. Your children, this year, are the pilot test.
Despite the flaws in an educational approach which are many and varied, there are still some wonderful educators, administrators and school board members which do indeed provide a quality education for our children in a limited number of locations. They are, however, too far and few between.
THE GRADE FOR THIS CATEGORY IS A D-
Overall Economic Health of the Country
America only has to look at three economic indicators to know that we are in a lot of trouble, The budget deficit is $17 trillion dollars, unfunded (partially or otherwise) mandated social programs constitutes another $222 trillion dollars and the credit swap derivatives total between $1 quadrillion dollars to $1.5 quadrillion dollars.
When we look at Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and all the government programs that we all take for granted, the price tag is a whopping $222 trillion dollars. These numbers are going to be exacerbated and grow exponentially because the bulk of the baby boomers are entering retirement age. Even if we took every single penny that the federal government takes in and devote it to paying off these social programs, it would take 111 years to pay off this debt.
In the United States, credit swap derivatives created national debt totals of over one quadrillion dollars. That is one thousand trillion dollars! The entire GDP of the planet is estimated at $66 trillion dollars. And somehow, in the infinite wisdom of Congress in 2008, we falsely and naively believed that a $750 billion transfer of wealth (i.e., Bailout #1) was magically going to save the economy and the collective futures of the American middle class. In short, the debt created by futures speculation is approximately 16 times greater than the sum total of the entire wealth on the planet! And we think we are going to climb out of this? We could fund 1,000 bailouts and the eventual outcome will be the same, slavery by debt.
In no civilized country in the world do the banks have the right to steal money from citizen depositors. However, in America, this is already being accomplished as ex-Goldman Sachs CEO and ex-senator and ex-governor, John “the Don” Corzine, stole 1.2 billion dollars from secured deposits from MF Global, lied to congress about his actions and today is enjoying the fruits of his thievery.Let’s not forget that the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals who just ruled that banks can steal the money of its depositors and it is legal! This would have been a SHTF moment in every other Western country, but Americans are taking this grand theft on their backsides, sipping a beer and bemoaning the performance of their favorite NFL team.
I have chronicled in a recent article that JP Morgan Chase and HSBC are making it almost impossible to wire money out of their banks into overseas accounts. Further, the IMF has announced plans to tax all bank accounts to the tune of 10% and that is just for starters. Can America be far behind? And the rich are getting richer at the expense of the middle class.
Over 50 percent of all stocks and bonds are owned by just 1 percent of the U.S. population
THE GRADE FOR THIS CATEGORY IS AN F
Health and Wellness
Well, we may not have our money, but at least we have our health. Unfortunately, that is not quite true either as the United States spends more than the next 12 nations for health care. However, it seems as if we are spending more and enjoying it less as, despite our exorbitant spending on health care, the United States ranks 50th in the world in life expectancy. Cuba, Puerto Rico and Spain have higher life expectancies than the United States. Americans live in the only country in the world where its citizens cannot bargain shop for its medicines in foreign countries because the pharmaceuticals have convinced congress to establish a pharmaceutical monopoly over US citizens. Death by doctor is reaching catastrophic proportions and the most dangerous place for a sick person to go is to the hospital.
In the modern world, we pay the most for health care and have one of the lowest life spans and one of the highest infant mortality rates and things are only going to get worse under Obamacare!
And speaking of Obamacare, are we, as a nation, ready for the massive Ebola outbreak coming in 2015?
THE GRADE FOR THIS CATEGORY IS AN F
Well, we may not have our health and we may not have our wealth, but at least we have our freedoms, don’t we? Nothing could be further from the truth. Our local police forces are being federalized and incidences of unwarranted police brutality are skyrocketing.
According to the Economist Intelligence UnitDemocracy Index 2013, the United States is tied with Romania for forty-ninth in civil liberties. Several countries such as Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and Norway are tied for first.
With the Patriot Acts, the NDAA and several other draconian pieces of legislation designed to protect us from the boogey men we call terrorists, we have lost Habeus Corpus, we are losing our free speech rights to the United Nations and every form of due process that we once cherished under our Constitution. And if you don’t like the unfolding criminal enterprise system which suddenly appeared before our collective eyes, the bankers have rolled out a technocratic police state which would make Stalin and Hitler envious. Both the police state and impending martial law are bolstered by the fact that the Department of Homeland Security has purchased 2.2 billion rounds of high tech bullets engraved with the names of citizens who dare to oppose this tyranny! The Constitution has been destroyed and thrown on to the garbage pile of history. And only in tin horn dictatorships and communist countries do we find this kind of criminal enterprise flourishing!
THE GRADE FOR THIS CATEGORY IS AN F
General Satisfaction with the American Government
How good do we have it in America? Despite the media propaganda about how good we have it in America, Americans are leaving the country at breakneck speed and the annual rate of expatriation is growing as over 150,000 Americans departed the former land of liberty for greener pastures overseas in the past year. In total, over five million Americans are choosing to live outside the United States.
The expatriation is mostly confined to the upper middle class. However, we can rightly assume that a general level of discontent exists among the middle class as well. And the latter statement is based upon what is going in Eastern Colorado where local residents want to withdraw from Colorado so they can better counter the Agenda 21 inspired tyranny. And in Northern California and Southern Oregon, two counties have already voted to withdraw from California to better fight the Federal Agenda 21 forces. No less that fifteen counties are preparing to join them.
It is easy to conclude that some people are voting with their feet while others are trying to take matters into their own hands. Should anyone be surprised if the number of expatriates grows by tenfold, or even a hundred fold, in the couple of years?
Congressional approval has dipped to an all-time low of 9%. Obama’s popularity ratings are plummeting as well.
THE GRADE FOR THIS CATEGORY IS AN F
America has historically been the beacon of freedom and the land of opportunity which has attracted tens of millions of immigrants to the shores of our once great country in search of a better way of life. The reminders to our presumed national good fortune are constant as we are bombarded by messages from the corporate controlled media about how good we have it in American and that we have it so good here that anyone desiring to leave should be considered to be crazy.
Unfortunately, the worm has turned. The governing elite have lost the confidence of the governed and America is a train wreck waiting to happen, the 2014 midterm elections notwithstanding.
THE OVERALL GRADE FOR HOW AMERICA IS DOING IS A MISERABLE F
About the Author
Dave Hodges is the host of the popular radio talk show, which airs from 9 PM to Midnight (Central). The show can be heard by clicking the following icon in the upper right hand corner of The Common Sense Show.
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