food stamps

More Wisconsin Welfare Reform Coming?

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is pushing for additional welfare reform in the state. Reid Wilson reported Monday afternoon on The Hill website:

Twenty years after a Republican governor of Wisconsin spearheaded an ambitious welfare reform package, the current governor is trying to build momentum for a new round of reforms.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) on Monday said he would ask the state’s Republican-led legislature to undertake one of the most aggressive welfare reform packages since a wave of new measures passed in the mid-1990s.

Walker’s plan, “Wisconsin Works for Everyone,” would impose new work requirements on both able-bodied adults with school-age children who receive state food assistance and those who receive housing assistance. Both work plans, which would be tested on a pilot basis, would require recipients to be employed for at least 80 hours per month, or to be enrolled in job training programs. Those who do not meet work requirements would see part of their benefits cut…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Food stamp work requirements for abled-bodied adults without dependents have existed in Wisconsin since April 2015.

As for it’s neighbor to the south, critics contend the food stamp program in Illinois is ripe for abuse. A work requirement does not exist for even abled-bodied adults without dependents. According to the Illinois Department of Human Services:

“We expect people who can work to try and do so.”

Hmm.

Head on over to The Hill website here to read the entire piece.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Tuesday, January 24th, 2017 Employment, Government, Housing, Political Parties Comments Off on More Wisconsin Welfare Reform Coming?

More On Riots

Yesterday’s talk about riots reminded me of a post I published on Survival And Prosperity back on September 14, 2012. I blogged:

Speaking of urban riots, I recently came across an interesting read on the Western Rifle Shooters Association blog. Matt Bracken, an ex-Navy SEAL of Enemies Foreign and Domestic trilogy-fame, wrote about a vision of the future where an economic crisis leads to widespread, large-scale urban unrest in the United States. As the situation deteriorates, Bracken asks what would happen if food benefits via the national Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) system are suddenly cut off? What he pictures happening is disturbing to say the least.

You can read “Bracken: When The Music Stops – How America’s Cities May Explode In Violence” on the Western Rifle Shooters Association blog here.

Just don’t read it before you go to bed…

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Wednesday, August 12th, 2015 Civil Strife, Crime, Food, Preparedness, Self-Defense Comments Off on More On Riots

1.9 Million Illinois Residents Are ‘Food Insecure’

“Illinois is a leading producer of soybeans, corn and swine. The state’s climate and varied soil types enable farmers to grow and raise many other agricultural commodities, including cattle, wheat, oats, sorghum, hay, sheep, poultry, fruits and vegetables. Illinois also produces several specialty crops, such as buckwheat, horseradish, ostriches, fish and Christmas trees.”

-Illinois Department of Agriculture website

Last year, Illinois had a population of 12.88 million (source: U.S. Census Bureau). And almost 2 million residents suffer from “food insecurity.” Leslie Renken reported on The State Journal-Register (Springfield) website last night:

More than 1.9 million people in Illinois are classified food insecure, meaning they don’t have regular access to nutritious food, according to Feeding Illinois, the state association of eight food banks serving the state’s 102 counties.

More than one of every three children in Illinois exceed federal poverty guidelines that qualify them for food assistance at school.

Congress has cut $40 billion over the next 10 years from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program. More than 1.64 million Illinois residents participated in the program in 2010, an 11 percent increase from 2009.

All that agriculture in Illinois, and yet close to two million Illinoisans “don’t have regular access to nutritious food.”

What’s wrong with this picture?

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Renken, Leslie. “1.9 million Illinoisans ‘food insecure'” The State Journal-Register. 9 Nov. 2013. (http://www.sj-r.com/top-stories/x825429688/1-9M-Illinoisans-food-insecure?zc_p=0). 10 Nov. 2013.

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Quote For The Week

“Well, the whole thing is quite simple. We have one party that promisess endless freebies from education, healthcare, to food stamps, and even contraceptives. Then we have another party that promises austerity, cutting social security benefits, spending…etc. Guess who the voters go for? It doesn’t matter what you believe in, because the force of enticing you with ‘free stuff’ is just too overwhelming.

Even places like AZ and TX, traditionally conservative are all trending towards liberals. That’s the direction period.

I’v already tried to fight the devils for years, but honestly I’m exhausted. Now my vote goes to anyone that promises to give me more free stuff.

Screw the Constitutions, self reliance…”

-Comment left on Reuters article that appeared on the Yahoo! News website early this morning

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Peter Schiff Recommends This Much Hated Investment

This week, we’ve already heard from “crash prophets” Dr. Marc Faber and Jim Rogers. I musn’t forget the CEO of Euro Pacific Capital, Peter Schiff, who appeared on CTV’s Canada AM yesterday. Discussing the Commerce Department’s report that the U.S. economy grew by 1.7% in the 2nd quarter and the popular notion that we’re in a recovery, Schiff pointed out:

If you look at the fundamentals, if you look at the contracting labor force, the declining use of energy, the explosion of poverty in America and income inequality, all the record number of people on food stamps and on disability, all the part-time jobs that are replacing the full-time jobs that we’ve lost. All of this is consistent with a shrinking economy. But the government won’t admit it.

Meanwhile, the cost of living is rising rapidly in America, and we pretend that there’s not enough inflation. And Ben Bernanke is out there trying to lay the foundation for more QE, because he knows he can never taper. He’s just bluffing. He can’t tell the market the truth that the U.S. economy is completely addicted to his monetary heroin. And the moment he takes it away, it’s going to be a complete economic withdrawal.

It’s a familiar message from Schiff. However, he also warned whoever would listen about the housing bubble and economic crisis that roared its ugly head in the fall of 2008 until he was blue in the face… and it eventually happened.

And here’s what the author of The Real Crash: America’s Coming Bankruptcy—How to Save Yourself and Your Country icon is recommending Americans do to protect themselves before the next leg of the financial crisis commences:

Buy precious metals.

Okay. He’s been saying that for a while too.

But in an interview with Greg Hunter of USAWatchdog.com that was published on YouTube.com on July 28, Schiff, who’s also the CEO of Euro Pacific Precious Metals, tells viewers about one precious metals-related investment opportunity in particular that he’s incredibly-bullish on, even though others despise it right now. From the exchange:

I think right now you’ve got the best buying opportunity of the entire bull market in gold mining stocks- gold and silver stocks. That’s why, for the first time ever, I just launched on Friday of last week my first gold mutual fund. The Euro Pacific Gold Fund [EuroPac Gold Fund] invests almost entirely in gold and silver mining companies. You know, I started my mutual fund company about 3 years ago. But at the time, gold stocks were near their highs, they had a big run. So from a timing perspective, I didn’t want to come out with a fund right after a big run. I wanted to wait for a decent pullback, so we can start the fund at a relatively low point. And then have a nice track record.

You know, most people in the financial industry, when they launch a fund, they want to sell what’s hot. Because it’s easy. It would have been easy for me to launch a gold fund 3 years ago because everybody wanted to buy gold stocks. But now is a better time as an investor. It might be a harder sell, because everybody hates gold stocks right now. But that’s when you buy in cheap- when everybody hates it. But I’m willing to educate people so that they know what they should do. I don’t want to sell people what I think they want. I want to educated people and convince them to buy what I know they need. So it might be a harder sell, but this is a great time, I think, to be investing.

You know, they say on Wall Street, it’s easy to make money, all you got to do is buy low and sell high. Well, it’s easier said than done. Because you can’t sell high until you buy low. And I’m convinced, we are buying really low right now by buying the mining stocks. So people can buy themselves or check out some information on my brand new mutual fund that came out on Friday.


“Peter Schiff: Buy Gold and Silver Now, Money Printing Until We Have A Currency Crisis & More”
YouTube Video

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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Friday, August 2nd, 2013 Commodities, Crash Prophets, Employment, Energy, Entitlements, Federal Reserve, GDP, Government, Income, Inflation, Investing, Monetary Policy, Money Supply, Mutual Funds, Poverty, Precious Metals, Recovery, Stocks Comments Off on Peter Schiff Recommends This Much Hated Investment

Number Of Poor In Chicago Suburbs Increased 99% Over Last Decade

You may have heard this one before as it concerns a future outbreak of civil strife in a downtrodden U.S. economy:

Once the urban poor stop getting government assistance- in particular, food stamps- the ensuing rioting and violence will first consume the city and then spill out into the “wealthy” suburbs.

After reading the following piece by Vikki Ortiz Healy and Matthew Walberg on the Chicago Tribune website earlier this morning, I’ve been wondering if this scenario- if it ever takes place- might not be backwards. Ortiz Healy and Walberg wrote:

Once considered the definition of the middle-class American dream, the suburbs are now home to a larger, faster-growing poor population than urban areas, according to a new analysis.

During the 2000s, the number of poor living in U.S. suburbs grew by 64 percent — more than twice the 29 percent growth rate in cities.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

This rapid growth in the number of poor living in the suburbs is evident in the Chicagoland area. Ortiz Healy and Walberg added:

The shifting poverty demographic can be seen in Chicago’s suburbs, where the number of poor increased by 99 percent in the last decade — from 363,966 to 724,233, said Elizabeth Kneebone, co-author of “Confronting Suburban Poverty in America.”

That was a greater increase than recorded in the New York City or Los Angeles regions, according to the book.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Now, if you’ve never encountered a fictitious scenario where the urban poor riot after seeing their government benefits cut off, I suggest you read “Bracken: When The Music Stops – How America’s Cities May Explode In Violence” on the Western Rifle Shooters Association blog here. Incredibly thought-provoking stuff.

Still, perhaps U.S. metropolitan areas of the future will resemble other countries where wealth is concentrated in the city center and poverty is forced out into the periphery- including the suburbs.

And should a major crisis emerge in this type of setup where government assistance is cut off, it’s possible that civil strife will work its way towards the center, rather than away from it.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Ortiz Healy, Vikki and Walberg, Matt. “More poor in U.S. suburbs than cities, report says.” Chicago Tribune. 21 May 2013. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-poverty-report-20130521,0,6518088.story). 21 May 2013.

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Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013 Civil Strife, Demographics, Entitlements, Government, Main Street, Population, Poverty, Public Safety, Security, Self-Defense, Wealth Comments Off on Number Of Poor In Chicago Suburbs Increased 99% Over Last Decade

2012 Election Thoughts

For months now I’ve been saying to those people closest to me that Barack Obama will be reelected as President of the United States of America. Granted, last week I did mention to my girlfriend that Mitt Romney might have a shot at the White House based on analysis done by FOX News and Glenn Beck’s The Blaze TV (these two media outlets need to win back any confidence I had in them as a result). Now that Election Day has come and gone, here are some thoughts about the whole spectacle.

The main reason I kept saying Obama would get reelected as President was that the votes were already “bought and paid for.” A lot of Americans receive government benefits (49.1 percent of Americans lived in a household where at least one member of the family received such benefits in 2011, according to the Wall Street Journal earlier this year). The Obama administration has demonstrated these past four years that it’s willing to provide these benefits (part ideology, part political strategy). If you are someone receiving this, why would you endanger the status quo by voting for someone else who might take it away as part of some publicized push for smaller government living within its means? Where could all this lead to? Full-fledged dependency and eventual bondage, if one buys into the Cycle of the Body Politic.

Young American voters could be more “left-leaning” than their predecessors. How left? Well, “socialist” might not be too far off the mark if one subscribes to the findings of a Pew Research Center survey from December 2011. I wrote back on September 27:

You see, not only am I aware that a good number of Americans aren’t put-off by the idea of socialism anymore, but a recent poll even showed a majority of young Americans aged 18-29 have a positive view of it.

From the Pew Research Center website back on December 28, 2011:

Socialism is a negative for most Americans, but certainly not all. Six-in-ten (60%) say they have a negative reaction to the word; 31% have a positive reaction…

Fully nine-in-ten conservative Republicans (90%) view socialism negatively, while nearly six-in-ten liberal Democrats (59%) react positively.

The poll of 1,521 adults conducted back in early December 2011 revealed that among the 18-29 age group, 49 percent had a positive view of socialism as compared to 43 percent having a negative view.

Is Obama and his White House socialist? I don’t know. Are they “left-leaning?” The available evidence suggests so. Which could be why a lot of young American voters are drawn to the Democrats.

Public sector unions obviously played a big role in this election. I understand that such groups work toward the benefit of their members. However, does such activity work contrary to the common good, destabilizing increasingly financially-challenged public agencies, as critics suggest? Plenty of insolvent government organizations could be available for study shortly.

While incumbent politicians can be more difficult to dislodge from office, President Obama retained the White House despite a dismal economic record in his first term. Measures of (un)employment, food stamps, poverty, budget deficits, national debt, for example, grew increasingly worse over the past four years. I know, what about those “5 million jobs created” the Democrats kept touting during the campaign? Problem is, a closer look at what was “created” reveals a lot of low-paying positions. Burger flippers won’t be spearheading a U.S. economic recovery anytime soon. Perhaps Americans aren’t voting based on their wallets as much anymore. Or perhaps their pocketbooks haven’t been hit hard enough. That may be just a matter of time.

The past four years confirmed for many Americans the transformation of the news media from watchdog journalists to unofficial mouthpieces of the Democratic Party (the press being merely a mouthpiece for any party is bad). I have some journalism experience in my background, and my training included an emphasis on unbiased reporting. Being exposed to the amount of news material I am on a daily basis, it’s all too obvious to me that either that training is no longer given, a refresher course is desperately needed, or today’s journalists just don’t give a damn about it anymore. Sad. The way I look at it, if reporters not assigned to pen an op-ed/column feel the need to express the political creature in them, then get a personal blog! And let’s exchange links. Otherwise, do your country a huge favor and once again occupy the role of the “Fourth Estate”- an independent press. Continue on as the “American Pravda” and suffer the inevitable consequences.

Since Chicago/Cook County/Illinois Democrats play a significant role in running the country, one need only look at where they originate from to get an idea of where they might be taking the country these next four years. Anyone who spends enough time on this blog reading those posts written for my local audience knows exactly where that is:

Into the ground.

While Chicago and Cook County have significant financial woes, the State of Illinois is essentially bankrupt. Too many benefits, too much spending, too little cutbacks, too much borrowing, and now the fee and tax hikes on residents and businesses. It’s going to get ugly in the “Land of Lincoln” real fast. California and Illinois are the two U.S. states competing with each other to go under first as the financial crisis worsens, according to some very smart people. Yet, don’t expect any regime change in “Madiganistan” any time soon. As I wrote back on March 21:

As a result of this redistricting, Democrats could very likely control the state legislature in Illinois for a number of years. Monique Garcia, Alissa Groeninger, and Ray Long wrote on the Chicago Tribune website last night:

Even before unofficial results rolled in, some sitting Republican lawmakers were bound to lose in DuPage County, casualties of the Democratic-drawn state legislative districts. The map is tilted so heavily toward Democrats that the party led by House Speaker Michael Madigan, the Illinois Democratic chairman, is all but ensured November general election victories that could set it on a course to control the General Assembly for the next decade.

And from a Chicago Tribune editorial piece this morning:

Democrats had virtually locked in their Springfield majorities before the first voters cast the first early ballots on Oct. 22. More than half of these legislative races weren’t even contested by both major parties. And while some of the new district boundaries gave Republicans tremendous advantage, the aggregate effect was to keep Illinois and its 12.8 million citizens under one-party rule.

Voters evidently like it that way.

Yes they do. Especially as votes were also “bought and paid for” here in the ‘Stan.

Before this post is misconstrued as being merely some Obama/Democrat-bashing piece, regular readers of the blog know that I foresee a U.S. financial crash at the end of all this “kicking the can down the road.” That being said, at this point in the game, I don’t think it really matters anymore whether the Democrats or Republicans are in charge as it concerns where our economy and larger financial system is eventually heading. Enough damage has already been done (think of the Titanic and her compartments being punctured just enough to guarantee her inevitable demise) that America is fast-approaching a tipping point as both major national political parties make matters worse by refusing to scale back the obscene amounts of government spending when given the chance. If you think about it, when it comes to fiscal policy, both parties have shown to be no better than a two-headed monster. Barack Obama’s economic polices from 2008-2012, in general, were really just an extension of George W. Bush’s economic policies. Spending, stimulus, government intervention, you get the picture. Rather than sit down, have a mature conversation with the nation about the unsustainable track we’re on concerning our finances, and stop the spending, both the Democrats and Republicans continue to pander to Main Street’s desire for more stuff, more benefits, more borrowing, more debt. This time around, Barack Obama and the Democrats won. In the longer run, everyone looks to lose.

In the meantime, congratulations Mr. President and the Democratic Party on your Election Day victory.

Sources:

Izzo, Phil. “Number of the Week: Half of U.S. Lives in Household Getting Benefits.” Real Time Economics. 26 May 2012. (http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2012/05/26/number-of-the-week-half-of-u-s-lives-in-household-getting-benefits/?KEYWORDS=number+of+the+week). 7 Nov. 2012.

“Illinois Democrats and their realm.” Chicago Tribune. 7 Nov. 2012. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-edit-legis-1107-20121107,0,2900759.story). 7 Nov. 2012.

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Romney 3, Obama 0

Last night I watched the last in a series of U.S. Presidential debates between former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and the sitting President Barack Obama.

Once again, the incumbent came out swinging. However, despite it sounding once again like the audience was in his corner, President Obama lost.

More so than in the second debate, if you ask me.

An analyst on one of the TV stations covering the debate said it best when she pointed out that Obama was, in effect, debating himself. Since his Republican challenger lacked significant foreign policy experience (the supposed focus of last night’s exchange), it was the incumbent’s record in this area over the past four years that came under scrutiny.

And plenty of dedicated observers of U.S. foreign policy- myself included- will tell you that it’s in shambles.

Particularly in the Middle East.

As I see it, the Obama administration, in its attempt to tone-down what it perceives as an overly-aggressive U.S. foreign policy under the Republicans, has:

Not deterred Iran from advancing towards a nuclear weapon. Regular readers of this blog know that I believe the Islamic Republic of Iran continues to take advantage of proposed “talks” and other delays to continue work on such a weapon. Notwithstanding military action, they will get a nuke. The prospect of having one is just too tempting. Pop one or two of these over the U.S., and we’ll have a real problem on our hands.

Not left a stable regime in place in Iraq. I predict a real power vacuum here in the coming years, with a number of internal and external actors vying for ultimate control of the geopolitically-important failed state and its resources.

Made a big blunder in announcing the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Afghanistan in 2014. Nothing like giving an enemy a timetable to work with. I suspect Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and their allies will throw everything they’ve got at our men and women in uniform over there as the end of 2014 draws closer, knowing full-well they need only sustain such intensity until the announced exit date. Then what? Attack us on our home soil, possibly. Some terrorism experts have suggested one reason why Al-Qaeda hasn’t launched a massive operation against the United States mainland since 9/11 is because they’ve figured out it’s simply easier to kill scores of Americans on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. Remember, their stated goal is 4 million Americans dead. Back to being another failed state down the road.

Alienated our ally Israel. President Obama seems to see Israel- like past U.S. foreign policy- as being too aggressive. And it doesn’t appear the sitting President doesn’t care too much for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu either- despite Vice President Biden and all that “Bibi” talk from the Vice Presidential debate. Consider the following:

November 3, 2011- Several media outlets reported an open-mic incident where then French President Nicolas Sarkozy told his American counterpart, “Netanyahu, I can’t stand him. He’s a liar.” Obama reportedly responded with, “You are sick of him, but I have to work with him every day.”

September 11, 2012- The White House said President Obama would not meet Prime Minister Netanyahu during a U.S. visit later that month. A number of media outlets suggested the Israeli leader was being spurned.

September 12, 2012- President Obama was taped for the CBS show 60 Minutes. From an exchange with Steve Kroft:

KROFT: You’re—you’re saying you don’t feel any pressure from Prime Minister Netanyahu in the middle of a campaign to try and get you to change your policy and draw a line in the sand? You don’t feel any pressure?

OBAMA: When it comes to our national security decisions, any pressure that I feel is simply to do what’s right for the American people. And I am going to block out any noise that’s out there.

Israeli concern over an Iranian nuke is “noise?”

Don’t even get me started on Libya and the deaths of 4 Americans, including an ambassador.

How the Obama administration has handled the Middle East is indicative of U.S. foreign policy as a whole.

Weak.

Worse yet, our adversaries recognize it and actively exploit it.

It shouldn’t be too much of surprise U.S. foreign policy has come to this. After all, Democrats aren’t really known to be big on foreign affairs. If anything, they seem to look at it as an annoyance.

Whenever I think of foreign policy in the Clinton years, two words come to mind.

Cruise missiles.

These days, perhaps it can reduced to just one word.

Drones.

Mitt Romney did a good job at pointing out the poor foreign policy record of the Obama administration.

But, truth be told, most Americans don’t care too much about international affairs.

The Republican challenger won this last debate not by talking about foreign policy- as was the intended focus- but by leading the discussion back to President Obama’s equally-dismal record on the economy.

This is what I meant when I said “more so than in the second debate, if you ask me” earlier in this post.

Romney kept hammering away at Obama’s domestic record as it pertains to take-home pay, unemployment, food stamps, government overreach, over-regulation, small-business woes, trillion dollar deficits, the $16 trillion national debt, the list goes on, and all the way to the end.

It was circling back to the Chicago Democrat’s domestic record these past four years that won the Republican challenger the debate.

In fact, all three debates.

Whether this will translate into a White House win come November 6 remains to be seen.

Regrettably, when it comes to that financial crash I predict is in store for us, I doubt a Romney win will make much of a difference at this point in the game. Economic pain is a certainty. Still, if he’s elected President of the Unites States and implements a sustained, meaningful program of fiscal responsibility, our financial “reckoning day” may not be as devastating as I suspect it would be should the nation continue on its current path.

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Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012 Asia, Debt Crisis, Deficits, Employment, Europe, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Government, Income, Middle East, Military, Political Parties, Spending, War Comments Off on Romney 3, Obama 0

Romney 2, Obama 0

Just got done watching the second in a series of U.S. Presidential debates between former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and the sitting President Barack Obama.

Predictably, the incumbent came out swinging after getting spanked in their first meeting.

However, despite a venue that sounded like it was full of his supporters tonight, Barack Obama fell short.

I give the President credit. It’s obvious he’s worked tremendously hard to get back into the game.

Yet, it’s become all too clear to many on Main Street- painfully in quite a number of cases- that regardless of how it’s spun, Barack Obama’s record in the White House over the past 4 years has been pretty poor.

Something which his challenger, Mitt Romney, seized on and kept hammering home tonight. As the Republican presidential candidate pointed out:

We have a record to look at.

And it’s a handicap I’m sure even Obama’s closest advisers are aware of (in spite of what they tell the public).

I know. “5 million jobs created.” Ever bother to look at what kinds of jobs were created? I have. Lots of low-paying ones.

Throw in where the country’s at with (un)employment, food stamps, poverty, budget deficits, national debt, the list goes on, and the last 4 years have been pretty ugly in retrospect.

Which is probably why President Obama kept talking up other subjects tonight like ObamaCare, the auto industry bailout, Planned Parenthood- things the government can give/provide for you, yet way beyond the scope of what the Founding Fathers ever intended for our republic.

Now, Mitt Romney didn’t bring his “A” game like last time, but his performance was still good enough to win the debate. In addition to the Republican contender pointing out the dismal economic reality of the last 4 years, his arguments made more sense. Especially as it concerned job creation. Consider this. Due to the state of the nation’s labor market these days, I’m guessing many Americans voters will be casting ballots with their pocketbooks in mind come November. The vastly-experienced challenger repeatedly emphasized his intent to create jobs and grow incomes by building-up small businesses and making America more attractive to foreign investment.

President Obama plans on creating more jobs by continuing his same policies and by expanding educational and training opportunities.

More burger flippers?

And education and training is nice and all, but what good is a degree/certificate if no one’s hiring in the first place?

Sounds like the U.S. President might be putting the cart before the horse here.

To many Americans watching the debate, Romney’s repeated emphasis on job creation was probably music to their ears.

One more thing. Barack Obama may have inadvertently shot himself in the foot (no pun intended) when he admitted tonight his desire to re-introduce the assault “weapons” ban that expired a few years back. Anti-gun groups and many in the mainstream media have tried desperately-hard for some time now to try and convince Americans that President Obama wouldn’t push gun “control” if he’s re-elected.

And then he goes on national TV and says he supports a new gun ban.

That’ll go over real well in those “swing states” with lots of firearm enthusiasts.

1994 all over again?

Anyway, it was a feisty debate. Barack Obama looked like a different man (still not as eloquent as with a teleprompter though), but Mitt Romney remained composed and pulled out the victory by repeatedly bringing up the sitting President’s track record in his first term and by emphasizing the Republican plan for creating new jobs, something I think will be key come Election Day.

On to the next, and final, debate…

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Wednesday, October 17th, 2012 Bailouts, Education, Employment, Firearms, Government, Gun Rights, Income, Main Street, Mainstream Media, Political Parties, Poverty Comments Off on Romney 2, Obama 0

Report: U.S. Middle Class In Big Trouble

Argentine blogger Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre wrote way back on Halloween 2008 in his blog Surviving In Argentina about how his country’s middle class became poor. FerFAL recalled:

It’s 1:06 AM over here. I just finished showering and my wife and son are asleep. I was putting shampoo on my hair, thinking about what I wrote today on this post, and remembered the exact moment when I realized along with several other people, not only that TSHTF (that we all knew) but that the world we once new no longer existed, and that this was not a hurricane, this was an ice age period, it wouldn’t just go away…

It happened 4 years ago, almost a year after the December 2001 crisis. It was a social studies class and this teacher, don’t remember if it was a he or a she, was explaining the different kinds of social pyramids. God! Now I remember more! We even had a text book with those darn, cruel pyramids! The first pyramid explained the basic society. A pyramid with two horizontal lines, dividing those on top (high social class) those in the middle (middle class) and the bottom of the pyramid (the poor, proletarian). The teacher explained that the middle of the pyramid, the middle class, acted as a cushion between the rich and the poor, taking care of the social stress. The second pyramid had a big middle section, this was the pyramid that represents 1st world countries. In which the bottom is very thin and arrows show that there is a possibility to go from low to middle class, and from middle to the top of the social pyramid. Our teacher explained that this was the classic, democratic capitalist society, and that on countries such as Europeans one, socialists, the pyramid was very similar but a little more flat, meaning that here is a big middle section, middle class, and small high and low class. There is little difference between the three of them.

The third pyramid showed the communist society. Where arrows from the low and middle class tried to reach the top but they bounced off the line. A small high society and one big low society, cushioned by a minimal middle class section of pyramid. Then we turned the page and saw the darned fourth pyramid. This one had arrows from the middle class dropping to the low, poor class.

“What is this?” Some of us asked.

The teacher looked at us. “This is us”

“It’s the collapsed country, a country that turns into 3rd world country like in pyramid five where there is almost no middle class to speak, one huge low, poor class, and a very small, very rich, top class.”

“What are those arrows that go from the middle to the bottom of the pyramid?” Someone asked.

You could hear a pin drop. “That is middle class turning into poor”.

I won’t lie, no one cried, though people rubbed their faces, held their heads and their breath…

I couldn’t help but think of Aguirre’s story as I read a report yesterday about the middle class in this country. Sherle R. Schwenninger and Samuel Sherraden of the Washington, D.C.-based New America Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy institute, recently evaluated the state of America’s middle class after the “Great Recession.” What they found was truly disturbing. Here are some bullets from their report “The American Middle Class Under Stress”:

Middle-income jobs are disappearing from the economy. The share of middle-income jobs in the United States has fallen from 52% in 1980 to 42% in 2010. Middle-income jobs have been replaced by low-income jobs, which now make up 41% of total employment.

• 17 million Americans with college degrees are doing jobs that require less than the skill levels associated with a bachelor’s degree.

Real wages have stagnated over the past two decades, and in recent months, have actually fallen. Over the past year, nominal wages grew only 1.7% while all consumer prices, including food and energy, increased by 2.7%.

Wages and salaries have fallen from 60% of personal income in 1980 to 51% in 2010. Government transfers have risen from 11.7% of personal income in 1980 to 18.4% in 2010, a post-War high. There are 8.5 million people receiving unemployment insurance and over 40 million receiving food stamps.

• Health care spending increased from 9.5% of personal consumption in 1980 to 16.3% in 2010.

• The average cost of one year of college is $21,000. After adjusting for inflation, it has risen 72% since 1990.

• The share of personal consumption spent on food and energy has risen from 13.4% in 2002 to 15.3% in 2010.

Household net worth declined from $65.7 trillion in the second quarter of 2007 to $56.8 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2010. The middle class, which has much more of its net worth tied up in home equity, has borne the brunt of this decline.

Over the past three decades, household debt as a share of disposable income increased from 68% to 116%.

Unless this trend is somehow reversed, I fear yesterday will be that day when I look back and realize the American middle-class had started off on its journey to becoming impoverished.

You can read the entire New America Foundation report on their website here (.pdf format).

Source:

Aguirre, Fernando. “Thoughts on Urban Survival.” Surviving in Argentina. 31 Oct. 2008. (http://ferfal.blogspot.com/2008/10/thoughts-on-urban-survival-2005.html). 11 May 2011.

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Wednesday, May 11th, 2011 Debt Crisis, Education, Employment, Energy, Food, Government, Health, Housing, Income, Insurance, Main Street, Net Worth, Poverty, Spending, Wages Comments Off on Report: U.S. Middle Class In Big Trouble
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