Posts tagged Wealth
The Most Homeless Children In New York City Since The Great Depression
At a time when Wall Street is absolutely swimming in wealth, New York City is experiencing an epidemic of homelessness. According to the New York Times, the last time there was this many homeless children in New York City was during the days of the Great Depression. And the number of homeless children in the United States overall recently set a new all-time record. As I mentioned yesterday, there are now 1.2 million public school kids in America that are homeless, and that number has gone up by about 72 percent since the start of the last recession. As Americans, we like to think of ourselves as “the wealthiest nation on the planet”, and yet the number of young kids that don’t even have a roof over their heads at night just keeps skyrocketing. There truly are “two Americas” today, and unfortunately most Americans that live in “good America” don’t seem to really care too much about the extreme suffering that is going on in “bad America”. In the end, what kind of price will we all pay for neglecting the most vulnerable members of our society?
If you live in “good America”, I very much encourage you to read an excellent piece about homelessness in New York City that was just published in the New York Times. What some young kids have to go through on a nightly basis should break all of our hearts…
She wakes to the sound of breathing. The smaller children lie tangled beside her, their chests rising and falling under winter coats and wool blankets. A few feet away, their mother and father sleep near the mop bucket they use as a toilet. Two other children share a mattress by the rotting wall where the mice live, opposite the baby, whose crib is warmed by a hair dryer perched on a milk crate.
Could you imagine having your own family live like that? The name of the little girl in the story is Dasani, and every night her family sleeps in a city-run homeless shelter that sounds like it is straight out of a horror movie…
Her family lives in the Auburn Family Residence, a decrepit city-run shelter for the homeless. It is a place where mold creeps up walls and roaches swarm, where feces and vomit plug communal toilets, where sexual predators have roamed and small children stand guard for their single mothers outside filthy showers.
It is no place for children. Yet Dasani is among 280 children at the shelter. Beyond its walls, she belongs to a vast and invisible tribe of more than 22,000 homeless children in New York, the highest number since the Great Depression, in the most unequal metropolis in America.
You can read the rest of that excellent article right here. Sadly, there are countless other children just like Dasani that live like this day after day, month after month, year after year.
Shouldn’t we be able to do better than this as a society? After all, the stock market has been hovering near record highs lately, and Wall Street is absolutely drenched with wealth for the moment.
With so much wealth floating around, why are New York City subways being “overrun with homeless” right now?
Something has gone horribly wrong.
I think that a recent editorial by David Simon, the creator of the Wire, summarized things pretty well. We are not “one America” anymore, and most of the people that live in “good America” don’t really care much about those living in “bad America”…
America is a country that is now utterly divided when it comes to its society, its economy, its politics. There are definitely two Americas. I live in one, on one block in Baltimore that is part of the viable America, the America that is connected to its own economy, where there is a plausible future for the people born into it. About 20 blocks away is another America entirely. It’s astonishing how little we have to do with each other, and yet we are living in such proximity.
There’s no barbed wire around West Baltimore or around East Baltimore, around Pimlico, the areas in my city that have been utterly divorced from the American experience that I know. But there might as well be.
Once upon a time, things were different in America. Nobody resented businessmen for building strong businesses and making lots of money. And successful businessmen such as Henry Ford hired large numbers of American workers and paid them very well. He felt that his workers should make enough money to buy the cars that they were building. In those days, businessmen were loyal to their workers and workers were loyal to those that employed them.
Unfortunately, those days are long gone. Today, in business schools all over America students are taught that the sole purpose of a corporation is to make as much money as possible for the stockholders. Not that there is anything wrong with making money. But at this point we have elevated greed above all other economic goals. Taking care of one another isn’t even a consideration anymore.
In the old days, big businesses actually needed our labor. But that is now no longer the case. Today, corporations are shipping millions of our jobs overseas and they are replacing as many of us with technology as they possibly can. The value of the labor of the working man is declining with each passing day.
As a result, the fortunes of big business and American workers are increasingly diverging. For example, the disconnect between employment levels and stock prices has never been greater in this country. If you doubt this, just check out this chart.
And instead of fixing things, Barack Obama is negotiating a secret treaty which will result in millions more American jobs being shipped overseas. The following is a brief excerpt about this secret treaty from an Australian news source…
The government has refused the Senate access to the secret text of the trade deal it is negotiating in Singapore, saying it will only be made public after it has been signed.
As the final round of ministerial talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership resumed on Sunday, Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz wrote to each of the 12 participating nations warning that the deal and the secrecy surrounding it presented ”grave risks”.
So why aren’t we hearing much about this secret treaty from U.S. news sources?
If this is going to affect millions of American jobs, shouldn’t the mainstream media be making a big deal out of this?
And even if we weren’t losing millions of jobs to the other side of the planet, we would still be losing millions of jobs to advancements in technology. In fact, a CNBC article that was posted earlier this week seems to look forward to the day when nobody will have to worry about the low pay that fast food workers get anymore because they will all be replaced by droids…
Maybe so, but as fast food workers protest low wages and the president of the United States equates hard work with the right to decent pay, the rise of technology once again proves to be no stunt, or laughing matter. McDonald’s, where food production is already about as mechanized as food science allows, stopped updating the famous number “served” figure at its restaurants back in 1994—just short of 100 billion—but how long will it be before trillions are served their burgers and fries by a drone, after being cooked by a droid? Those machines work for cheap, and the best thing is, they have no concept of hard work, or dignity, or the foresight to consider whether or not the “cool” things they can do ultimately contribute, or detract, from a strong, consumer-dependent economy.
So what is the solution to all of this?
Where will the millions of desperately needed jobs for “bad America” come from?
Well, it appears that good ideas are in short supply these days. In fact, some of the ideas being promoted by our “leaders” are absolutely insane. For example, one prominent entrepreneur recently suggested that the solution to our employment crisis is for Congress to pass an immigration bill which would bring in 30 million more low-skilled workers over the next ten years…
Middle class Americans face a tough future because robots and machinery are eliminating their jobs, according to Steve Case, an entrepreneur who earned roughly $1 billion by creating the first successful internet firm, America Online.
But Congress could help the situation by passing an immigration bill that would import some foreign entrepreneurs and almost 30 million low-skilled workers over the next decade, Case told an audience of D.C. lobbyists and lawyers gathered on Tuesday by the business-backed Bipartisan Policy Center.
Exactly how would this improve the employment situation in this country?
I still cannot figure that one out.
But there are people out there that actually believe this stuff.
Meanwhile, many parts of Europe are suffering through similar things.
Over 124 million people in the European Union – or almost a quarter of its entire population – live under the threat of poverty or social exclusion, a report by EU’s statistical office has revealed.
Last year, 124.5 million people, or 24.8 percent of Europe’s population were at risk of poverty or social exclusion, compared to 24.3 percent in 2011 and 23.7 percent in 2008, the Eurostat said in a document published earlier in the week.
So what is going to fix this?
Where are the good jobs for workers in North America and Europe going to come from in the years ahead?
This article first appeared here at the Economic Collapse Blog. Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.
Image credit: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com
Today’s Wealth Destruction Is Hidden by Government Debt
Still unnoticed by a large part of the population is that we have been living through a period of relative impoverishment. Money has been squandered in welfare spending, bailing out banks or even — as in Europe — of fellow governments. But many people still do not feel the pain.
However, malinvestments have destroyed an immense amount of real wealth. Government spending for welfare programs and military ventures has caused increasing public debts and deficits in the Western world. These debts will never be paid back in real terms.
The welfare-warfare state is the biggest malinvestment today. It does not satisfy the preferences of freely interacting individuals and would be liquidated immediately if it were not continuously propped up by taxpayer money collected under the threat of violence.
Another source of malinvestment has been the business cycle triggered by the credit expansion of the semi-public fractional reserve banking system. After the financial crisis of 2008, malinvestments were only partially liquidated. The investors that had financed the malinvestments such as overextended car producers and mortgage lenders were bailed out by governments; be it directly through capital infusions or indirectly through subsidies and public works. The bursting of the housing bubble caused losses for the banking system, but the banking system did not assume these losses in full because it was bailed out by governments worldwide. Consequently, bad debts were shifted from the private to the public sector, but they did not disappear. In time, new bad debts were created through an increase in public welfare spending such as unemployment benefits and a myriad of “stimulus” programs. Government debt exploded.
In other words, the losses resulting from the malinvestments of the past cycle have been shifted to an important degree onto the balance sheets of governments and their central banks. Neither the original investors, nor bank shareholders, nor bank creditors, nor holders of public debt have assumed these losses. Shifting bad debts around cannot recreate the lost wealth, however, and the debt remains.
To illustrate, let us consider Robinson Crusoe and the younger Friday on their island. Robinson works hard for decades and saves for retirement. He invests in bonds issued by Friday. Friday invests in a project. He starts constructing a fishing boat that will produce enough fish to feed both of them when Robinson retires and stops working.
At retirement Robinson wants to start consuming his capital. He wants to sell his bonds and buy goods (the fish) that Friday produces. But the plan will not work if the capital has been squandered in malinvestments. Friday may be unable to pay back the bonds in real terms, because he simply has consumed Robinson’s savings without working or because the investment project financed with Robinson’s savings has failed.
For instance, imagine that the boat is constructed badly and sinks; or that Friday never builds the boat because he prefers partying. The wealth that Robinson thought to own is simply not there. Of course, for some time Robinson may maintain the illusion that he is wealthy. In fact, he still owns the bonds.
Let us imagine that there is a government with its central bank on the island. To “fix” the situation, the island’s government buys and nationalizes Friday’s failed company (and the sunken boat). Or the government could bail Friday out by transferring money to him through the issuance of new government debt that is bought by the central bank. Friday may then pay back Robinson with newly printed money. Alternatively the central banks may also just print paper money to buy the bonds directly from Robinson. The bad assets (represented by the bonds) are shifted onto the balance sheet of the central bank or the government.
As a consequence, Robinson Crusoe may have the illusion that he is still rich because he owns government bonds, paper money, or the bonds issued by a nationalized or subsidized company. In a similar way, people feel rich today because they own savings accounts, government bonds, mutual funds, or a life insurance policy (with the banks, the funds, and the life insurance companies being heavily invested in government bonds). However, the wealth destruction (the sinking of the boat) cannot be undone. At the end of the day, Robinson cannot eat the bonds, paper, or other entitlements he owns. There is simply no real wealth backing them. No one is actually catching fish, so there will simply not be enough fishes to feed both Robinson and Friday.
Something similar is true today. Many people believe they own real wealth that does not exist. Their capital has been squandered by government malinvestments directly and indirectly. Governments have spent resources in welfare programs and have issued promises for public pension schemes; they have bailed out companies by creating artificial markets, through subsidies or capital injections. Government debt has exploded.
Many people believe the paper wealth they own in the form of government bonds, investment funds, insurance policies, bank deposits, and entitlements will provide them with nice sunset years. However, at retirement they will only be able to consume what is produced by the real economy. But the economy’s real production capacity has been severely distorted and reduced by government intervention. The paper wealth is backed to a great extent by hot air. The ongoing transfer of bad debts onto the balance sheets of governments and central banks cannot undo the destruction of wealth. Savers and pensioners will at some point find out that the real value of their wealth is much less than they expected. In which way, exactly, the illusion will be destroyed remains to be seen.
Philipp Bagus is an associate professor at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos. He is an associate scholar of the Ludwig von Mises Institute and was awarded the 2011 O.P. Alford III Prize in Libertarian Scholarship. He is the author of The Tragedy of the Euro and coauthor of Deep Freeze: Iceland’s Economic Collapse. The Tragedy of the Euro has so far been translated and published in German, French, Slovak, Polish, Italian, Romanian, Finnish, Spanish, Portuguese, British English, Dutch, Brazilian Portuguese, Bulgarian, and Chinese. See his website.
Image credit: https://www.mises.org
Judge Napolitano: Obama’s health care lies are much worse that Nixon’s or Clinton’s lies (Video)
The President was either flat out ignorant of how the new health care program would impact people’s insurance premiums, or he flat out lied over and over to the American people. Take your pick. There aren’t too many other possibilities, and it’s hard to figure which is worse.
I take that back. Calculated deception is worse that bone headed ignorance. And I don’t think ignorance is what were are dealing with here.
The President knew that Obamacare would be repealed if the American people knew they were going to lose their health coverage and that premiums would skyrocket. Sebelius knew this. The whole White House team knew. Pelosi knew. A good part of the media knew.
But Obamacare was such an opportunity for the government to take over a large swathe of the economy (in partnership with the large health insurance companies – at least initially) that the president’s crew in the White House and beyond felt,”The truth be damned. One way or another, we are doing this.”
At least that’s what I think they probably thought.
The ends justify the means. “One has to break a a few eggs to make an omelet.” Lie. Cheat. Steal. All in the name of “social justice.”
By Tyler Durden
Obama’s ‘Socialism’ Experiment Brought Home
Submitted by Martin Armstrong via Armstrong Economics,
An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that Obama’s socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.
The professor then said, “OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama’s plan”.. All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A…. (substituting grades for dollars – something closer to home and more readily understood by all).
After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.
The second test average was a D! No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.
As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.
To their great surprise, ALL FAILED and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed. Could not be any simpler than that.
Here are possibly the 5 key points about such an experiment:
1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.
2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!
5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.
Or in graphical format…
29 Incredible Facts Which Prove That Poverty In America Is Absolutely Exploding
Did you know that the number of Americans on welfare is higher than the number of Americans that have full-time jobs? Did you know that 1.2 million public school students in the U.S. are currently homeless? Anyone that uses the term “economic recovery” to describe what is happening in the United States today is being deeply insulting to the nearly 150 million Americans that are considered to be either “poor” or “low income” at this point. Yes, things are great in New York City, Washington D.C. and San Francisco, but almost everywhere else economic conditions continue to steadily get worse. The gap between the wealthy and the poor is at a level that America has never seen before, and this is beginning to create a “Robin Hood mentality” that could cause a tremendous amount of social chaos in the years ahead. Anger at the “haves” in America continues to rise at a very alarming pace, and the “have nots” are becoming increasingly desperate. At some point all of this anger is going to boil over, and you won’t want to be anywhere around major population centers when that happens. Despite unprecedented borrowing by the federal government in recent years, and despite unprecedented money printing by the Federal Reserve, poverty in the United States keeps getting worse with each passing year. The following are 29 incredible facts which prove that poverty in America is absolutely exploding…
1. What can you say about a nation that has more people getting handouts from the federal government than working full-time? According to the latest numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of people receiving means-tested welfare benefits is greater than the number of full-time workers in the United States.
2. New numbers have just been released, and they show that the number of public school students in this country that are homeless is at an all-time record high. It is hard to believe, but right now 1.2 million students that attend public schools in America are homeless. That number has risen by 72 percent since the start of the last recession.
3. When I was growing up, it seemed like almost everyone was from a middle class home. But now that has all changed. One recent study discovered that nearly half of all public students in the United States come from low income homes.
4. How can anyone deny that we are a socialist nation when half the people are getting money from the federal government each month? According to the most recent numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau, 49.2 percent of all Americans are receiving benefits from at least one government program.
5. Signs of increasing poverty are even showing up in the wealthiest areas of the nation. According to the New York Post, New York subways are being “overrun with homeless“.
6. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately one out of every six Americans is now living in poverty. The number of Americans living in poverty is now at a level not seen since the 1960s.
7. The gap between the rich and the poor in the United States is at an all-time record high. The wealthy may not consider this to be much of a problem, but those at the other end of the spectrum are very aware of this.
9. According to numbers provided by Wal-Mart, more than half of their hourly workers make less than $25,000 a year.
10. A recent Businessweek article mentioned a study that discovered that 300 employees at one Wal-Mart in Wisconsin receive a combined total of nearly a million dollars a year in public assistance…
“A decent wage is their demand—a livable wage, of all things,” said Representative George Miller (D-Calif.). The problem with companies like Wal-Mart is their “unwillingness, not their inability, to pay that wage,” he said. “They hand off the difference to taxpayers.” Miller was referring to a congressional report (PDF) released in May that calculated how much Walmart workers rely on public assistance. The study found that the 300 employees at one Supercenter in Wisconsin required some $900,000 worth of public assistance a year.
11. The stock market may be doing great (for the moment), but incomes for average Americans continue to decline. In fact, median household income in the United States has fallen for five years in a row.
13. According to a Gallup poll that was recently released, 20.0% of all Americans did not have enough money to buy food that they or their families needed at some point over the past year. That is just under the record of 20.4% that was set back in November 2008.
14. Young adults are particularly feeling the sting of poverty these days. American families that have a head of household that is under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent.
16. The number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the entire population of Spain.
17. 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.”
18. We are told that we live in the “wealthiest nation” on the planet, and yet more than one out of every four children in the United States is enrolled in the food stamp program.
19. The average food stamp benefit breaks down to approximately $4 per person per day.
20. It is being projected that approximately 50 percent of all U.S. children will be on food stamps before they reach the age of 18.
21. Today, approximately 17 million children in the United States are facing food insecurity. In other words, that means that “one in four children in the country is living without consistent access to enough nutritious food to live a healthy life.”
22. It may be hard to believe, but approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are currently living in homes that are considered to be either “low income” or impoverished.
23. The number of children living on $2.00 a day or less in the United States has grown to 2.8 million. That number has increased by 130 percent since 1996.
24. In Miami, 45 percent of all children are living in poverty.
25. In Cleveland, more than 50 percent of all children are living in poverty.
26. According to a recently released report, 60 percent of all children in the city of Detroit are living in poverty.
27. According to a Feeding America hunger study, more than 37 million Americans are now being served by food pantries and soup kitchens.
28. The U.S. government has spent an astounding 3.7 trillion dollars on welfare programs over the past five years.
29. It has been reported that 4 out of every 5 adults in the United States “struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives”.
These poverty numbers keep getting worse year after year no matter what our politicians do.
So is there anyone out there that would still like to argue that we are in an “economic recovery”?
And as I mentioned above, the “have nots” are becoming increasingly angry at the “haves”. For example, just check out the following excerpt from a recent New York Post article…
The maniac who butchered a Brooklyn mom and her four young kids confessed that he did it because he was jealous of their way of life, a police source told The Post on Sunday.
“The family had too much. Their income (and) lifestyle was better than his,” the source said.
The bloody suspect was caught holding the kitchen knife he used during the Saturday night rampage inside the Sunset Park apartment where he had been staying with the victims, the source added.
Sadly, this was not an isolated incident. All over the western world, a “Robin Hood mentality” is growing. This is something that I am so concerned about that I made it a big part of my new book. At this point, even wealthy Hollywood-types such as actor Russell Brand are calling for a socialist-style “revolution” and a “massive redistribution of wealth“.
Perhaps Brand does not understand that what he is calling for would mean redistributing most of his own wealth away from him.
When the next major wave of the economic collapse strikes, I fear that all of this anger and frustration that are growing among the poor will boil over in some very frightening ways. I believe that we will see a huge spike in crime and that we will eventually see communities all over America looted and burning.
But I am not the only one that is thinking along these lines. A new National Geographic Channel movie entitled “American Blackout” attempts to portray the social chaos that could erupt in the event of an extended national power failure…
American Blackout, National Geographic Channel’s two-hour, edge-of-your-seat movie event imagines the story of a national power failure in the United States caused by a cyberattack — told in real time, over 10 days, by those who kept filming on cameras and phones. You’ll learn what it means to be absolutely powerless.
What would you do if something like that happened to you?
How would you handle desperate, hungry people at your fence asking for food?
And what if those people were armed and were not “asking nicely” for your food?
Don’t ignore what is happening in America right now. It is setting the stage for some very chaotic times.
Get ready while you still can.
This article first appeared here at the Economic Collapse Blog. Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.
Image credit: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com
Are the Producers (in society) Losing to the Predators?
This is an article which should be read by anyone who understands the mission of Against Crony Capitalism.
What is a society to do as the population keeps getting older, when the economically “productive” people number fewer than the people who are retiring? This is the great question which is confronting this country and Europe right now. How can the 20th Century welfare state survive in the face of such an important demographic shift?
The answer is that it can not. We will go through hell coming to this understanding however.
(From Real Clear Markets)
Most Americans seem indifferent as to how they get ahead, whether by wealth creation or redistribution. The choice seems abstract. Fair enough. But for the country, the choice matters enormously. The appeal of the affluent society was that one group’s gains didn’t have to come at the expense of others’. The promise of economic growth was oversold, but it had the healthy effect of encouraging an expansive and inclusive vision of America.
What’s emerging today is more self-interested and self-destructive. The dilemma of a rich society is that its prospects can be undermined by its very abundance. Countries preoccupied with distributional wars are distracted from production.
Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org
About Nick Sorrentino
Nick Sorrentino is the co-founder and editor of AgainstCronyCapitalism.org. A political and communications consultant with clients across the political spectrum, he lives just outside of Washington DC where he can keep an eye on Leviathan.
Too Poor To Prepare
Published by TruthNeverTold
Too Poor To Prepare is a short video offering suggestions for all, not only those in financial hard times, how they can prepare and make a positive impact in their life and those around them.
This is disheartening as Poland appeared until very recently to be on the fast track to legit 1st tier European status. Sadly it has just taken a big step off of this track.
As we have said many times on this site we are witnessing the ebbing of the economic tide around the world. Greece, Portugal, Spain, Ireland, Argentina, Cyprus, Italy, Hungary, Japan, France, the United Kingdom are all dealing with unprecedented (at least in the modern era) economic challenges. China and the USA because of unique circumstances are a little further behind but the waters are moving out in these countries too, and it is becoming more obvious.
This is why the Fed is not “tapering.” Things are bad. The bile of 2007/2008 which floats through the world’s economic bloodstream was never purged. A more calamitous economic disruption than 2008 is likely to happen in the relatively near future (years not decades) and there will be seizures of assets in other countries along the way. Plan accordingly.
Nothing is 100%. Perhaps things calm down. Perhaps a solution other than coming clean economically on a global scale will be found. Perhaps there is some way forward other than letting markets finally clear. Perhaps gravity will no longer work. But I doubt it. You should doubt it too.
Poland has pulled a destructive stunt worthy of Argentina. It is seizing half of the Polish people’s private retirement funds. All government bonds in these pension-plan portfolios are being forcibly transferred to the government. Since the bonds are no longer held by investors, the government is declaring that the national debt has been reduced by the face value of those securities. Neat trick, including the spin on this Soviet-style seizure: The government is calling the nationalization a “pension overhaul.” The ghosts of Stalin and Lenin must be smiling.
$5.25 Million For Senate Hair Care And 21 Other Ways Politicians Are Living The High Life At Your Expense0
$5.25 Million For Senate Hair Care And 21 Other Ways Politicians Are Living The High Life At Your Expense
If you want to live the high life, you don’t have to become a rap star, a professional athlete or a Wall Street banker. All it really takes is winning an election. Right now, more than half of all the members of Congress are millionaires, and most of them leave “public service” far wealthier than when they entered it. Since most of them have so much money, you would think that they would be willing to do a little “belt-tightening” for the sake of the American people. After all, things are supposedly “extremely tight” in Washington D.C. right now. In fact, just the other day Nancy Pelosi insisted that there were “no more cuts to make” to the federal budget. But even as they claim that things are so tough right now, our politicians continue to live the high life at the expense of U.S. taxpayers. The statistics that I am about to share with you are very disturbing. Please share them with everyone that you know. The American people deserve the truth.
According to the Weekly Standard, an absolutely insane amount of money is being spent on the “hair care needs” of U.S. Senators…
Senate Hair Care Services has cost taxpayers about $5.25 million over 15 years. They foot the bill of more than $40,000 for the shoeshine attendant last fiscal year. Six barbers took in more than $40,000 each, including nearly $80,000 for the head barber.
Keep in mind that there are only 100 U.S. Senators, and many of them don’t have much hair left at this point.
But hair care is just the tip of the iceberg. The following are 21 other ways that our politicians are living the high life at your expense…
#1 According to Roll Call’s annual survey of Congressional wealth, the super wealthy in Congress just continue to get much wealthier even though they are supposedly dedicating their lives to “public service”…
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) is the richest Member of Congress for the second year in a row, reporting a vast fortune that in 2011 had a minimum net worth surpassing $300 million for the first time.
McCaul is followed by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who reported a minimum net worth of $198.65 million, and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who reported a minimum net worth of $140.55 million. The two lawmakers swapped places since last year’s list.
The lawmakers who round out the top five, Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), also flipped positions from 2010 to 2011, with Warner’s reported minimum worth rising about $9 million to $85.81 million and Rockefeller’s minimum worth rising slightly to $83.08 million.
#2 Amazingly, the 50th most wealthy member of Congress has a net worth of 6.14 million dollars.
#3 At this point, more than half of those “serving the American people” in Congress are millionaires.
#4 In one recent year, an average of $4,005,900 of U.S. taxpayer money was spent on “personal” and “office” expenses per U.S. Senator.
#5 Once they leave Washington, former members of Congress continue to collect huge checks for the rest of their lives…
In 2011, 280 former lawmakers who retired under a former government pension system received average annual pensions of $70,620, according to a Congressional Research Service report. They averaged around 20 years of service. At the same time, another 215 retirees (elected in 1984 or later with an average of 15 years of service) received average annual checks of roughly $40,000 a year.
#6 Speaker of the House John Boehner would bring home a yearly pension of close to $85,000 if he left Congress when his current term ends in 2014.
#7 At this point, quite a few former lawmakers are collecting federal pensions for life worth at least $100,000 annually. That list includes such notable names as Newt Gingrich, Bob Dole, Trent Lott, Dick Gephardt and Dick Cheney.
#8 The U.S. government is spending approximately 3.6 million dollars a year to support the lavish lifestyles of former presidents such as George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
#9 Nearly 500,000 federal employees now make at least $100,000 a year.
#10 During one recent year, the average federal employee in the Washington D.C. area received total compensation worth more than $126,000.
#11 During one recent year, compensation for federal employees came to a grand total of approximately 447 billion dollars.
#12 If you can believe it, there are 77,000 federal workers that make more than the governors of their own states do.
#13 When Joe Biden and his staff took a trip to London, the hotel bill cost U.S. taxpayers $459,388.65.
#14 Joe Biden and his staff also stopped in Paris for one night. The hotel bill for that one night came to $585,000.50.
#15 When Biden and his staff visited Moscow for two days in 2011, the total hotel bill came to $665,445.00.
#16 During 2012, the salaries of Barack Obama’s three climate change advisers combined came to a grand total of more than $370,000.
#18 It is estimated that the trip that the Obamas took to Africa cost U.S. taxpayers about 100 million dollars.
#19 The Obamas only have one dog named “Bo”, but the White House “dog handler” reportedly makes $102,000 per year and sometimes he is even flown to where the Obamas are vacationing so that he can take care of the dog.
#20 There is always at least one projectionist at the White House 24 hours a day just in case there is someone that wants to watch a movie. Apparently turning on a DVD player is too much to ask.
#21 In one recent year, more than 1.4 billion dollars was spent on the Obamas. Meanwhile, British taxpayers only spent about 58 million dollars on the entire royal family.
So who pays for all of this extravagance?
The American people do of course.
Unfortunately, what most of our politicians fail to understand is that most families are struggling tremendously right now.
This week, Yahoo featured the story of a 77-year-old former executive that is now flipping burgers and serving drinks to make ends meet. He says that he now earns in a week what he once earned in a single hour, but he is thankful to have a job in this economic environment…
It seems like another life. At the height of his corporate career, Tom Palome was pulling in a salary in the low six-figures and flying first class on business trips to Europe.
Today, the 77-year-old former vice president of marketing for Oral-B juggles two part-time jobs: one as a $10-an-hour food demonstrator at Sam’s Club, the other flipping burgers and serving drinks at a golf club grill for slightly more than minimum wage.
While Palome worked hard his entire career, paid off his mortgage and put his kids through college, like most Americans he didn’t save enough for retirement. Even many affluent baby boomers who are approaching the end of their careers haven’t come close to saving the 10 to 20 times their annual working income that investment experts say they’ll need to maintain their standard of living in old age.
So many Americans are barely making it from month to month at this point. Most people work very, very hard for their money, and it is very discouraging to see our politicians waste our hard-earned tax dollars so frivolously.
Fortunately, there are signs that the American people are starting to get fed up with all of this. According to a stunning new Gallup survey, more Americans than ever before (60 percent) believe that the federal government has too much power.
So what do you think?
Do you think that the government is too big and too wasteful?
Image credit: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com
By Tyler Durden
Rejoice America: You Are Now $3 Trillion Wealthier… Due To A Definition Change
Two months ago the US suddenly found itself “wealthier” by over $500 billion in Gross Domestic Product as a result of a simple definition revision that retroactively added trillions in cumulative gains from, wait for it, intangibles. More importantly, as Paul Singer explained, “As part of the revisions, the Bureau of Economic Analysis will change the way pension payments are counting in GDP. Previous to the change, when a company paid money into a pension plan, the money was counted as wages in the GDP calculation. After the change, what companies have promised to pay in the future, not what they are actually paying, will be added to GDP. This is fantastic. The bigger the unpayable promise made to unsuspecting retirees (promises that are not fully funded), the more GDP supposedly goes up!” As it turns out, it was not just economic “output” that benefited from this definition change. As today’s release of the Fed’s very much revised Flow of Funds report confirmed, US households as of this moment are wealthier by over $3 trillion, just because the re-definition of the Pension Fund line item, which is no longer counted as “Reserves” but the broader “Entitlements.”
End result: whereas Americans last quarter had net worth of $70.3 trillion, as a result of this revision, they now have $73.5 trillion. Revisionist Definition wealth for everyone!
Unfortunately, “wealth” attained as a result of definition changes can’t be spent at places like Wal Mart, which perhaps explains why, as reported earlier, it has just a bit too much inventory in backlog and has to cut orders due a pile up in merchandise.