Experts Warn Of A Complete And Utter Economic Meltdown As The Global Coronavirus Death Toll Explodes

Everyone that tried to tell us that this pandemic would fade away quickly has been proven dead wrong.  Right now, approximately 187 million Americans are under “shelter-in-place” orders as COVID-19 sweeps across the nation like wildfire.  There are now more than 43,000 confirmed cases in the U.S., but by the time many of you read this article that number is likely to be far higher.  But what is even more concerning is what we are seeing with the cases that have come to a final resolution one way or the other.  Of all U.S. cases that have been officially resolved, 553 patients have died and only 295 patients have recovered.  Over time, the number of patients that have officially recovered will eventually surpass the number that have died for a couple of reasons.  For one, some victims are dying in just a few days while it can take weeks for some patients to fully recover.  Secondly, more widespread testing will start to reveal more mild cases, and most of those mild cases will ultimately recover.  But without a doubt it is starting to appear that the U.S. will have a very high death rate like we are seeing in Italy, Spain and other western European nations.  Monday was the very first time that more than 100 Americans died in a single day, and it looks like the days ahead could be much, much worse.

Overall, the global death toll is rising at a pace that is very alarming.  It hit 16,000 on Monday, and that means it only took six days to double from 8,000.

If the death toll keeps doubling like that, we are going to be in very big trouble.

The number of confirmed cases is rising at an exponential rate as well, and on Monday the head of the WHO warned that this pandemic “is accelerating”

The coronavirus “pandemic is accelerating,” World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned Monday.

Almost every country in the world has reported cases, he announced in a Geneva press conference.

“It took 67 days from the first reported case to reach the first 100,000 cases. Eleven days for the second 100,000 and just four days for the third 100,000,” he said.

As I write this article, there are 260,133 open cases around the world and 118,947 closed cases.

Out of the closed cases, 86 percent of the victims have recovered and 14 percent of the victims have died.

To put that into perspective, the Spanish Flu pandemic that stretched from 1918 to 1920 had a death rate of less than 3 percent.

But even after everything that has transpired, there are still lots of Americans that are not taking this pandemic seriously.  I don’t understand this, because all of our medical authorities are warning us that the worst is yet to come.  In fact, Surgeon General Jerome Adams just told us that “it’s going to get bad” …

Surgeon General Jerome Adams warned Monday that the coronavirus outbreak will worsen this week and said people across the country are not taking the threat seriously enough.

“I want America to understand this week, it’s going to get bad,” Adams said in an interview on the “TODAY” show.

And as I have been warning for weeks, this pandemic is going to plunge the United States and the entire globe into a horrifying economic nightmare.

At this point, even CNN is using “the d-word”….

A global recession, once unthinkable in 2020, is now a foregone conclusion and some experts warn that the pandemic could drag the world’s economy into a depression. More bad news: The coronavirus outbreak may just be getting started.

Central banks and governments are now unleashing a tsunami of interest rate cuts, loan guarantees and new spending, tapping emergency powers to reassure investors, cushion the shock to companies and workers and preserve the foundations of a functioning economy for the future.

A month ago, most Americans wouldn’t have imagined that such a thing could be possible.

But now “the everything bubble” has burst and we have just witnessed the fastest 30 percent decline for the S&P 500 in all of U.S. history

Twenty-two days.

That’s all it took for the S&P 500 to fall 30% from its record high, the fastest drop of this magnitude in history.

The second, third and fourth quickest 30% pullbacks all occurred during the Great Depression era in 1934, 1931 and 1929, respectively, according to data from Bank of America Securities.

In the short-term, the good news for investors is that we should see a substantial bounce in stock prices this week, and that could especially be true when Congress finally gets around to passing their “stimulus” package.

But whether the market goes up or down in the short-term, it isn’t going to stop the complete and utter economic meltdown that is now unfolding.

According to billionaire Tom Barrack, the commercial mortgage market is on the precipice of a historic collapse…

Real estate investor Tom Barrack said the U.S. commercial-mortgage market is on the brink of collapse and predicted a “domino effect” of catastrophic economic consequences if banks and government don’t take prompt action to keep borrowers from defaulting.

Barrack, chairman and chief executive officer of Colony Capital Inc., warned in a white paper and in a subsequent interview on Bloomberg Television of a chain reaction of margin calls, mass foreclosures, evictions and, potentially, bank failures due to the coronavirus pandemic and consequent shutdown of much of the U.S. economy.

Sadly, Barrack is 100 percent correct.

All of the dominoes are going to fall, and it is going to be horrifying to watch.

Meanwhile, we could be on the verge of a shutdown “of virtually all passenger flights across the U.S.”

Major U.S. airlines are drafting plans for a potential voluntary shutdown of virtually all passenger flights across the U.S., according to industry and federal officials, as government agencies also consider ordering such a move and the nation’s air-traffic control system continues to be ravaged by the coronavirus contagion.

No final decisions have been made by the carriers or the White House, these officials said. As airlines struggle to keep aircraft flying with minimal passengers, various options are under consideration, these people said.

To me, this is something that is exceedingly difficult to imagine, but we will see things a lot stranger than this in the days ahead.

As America literally shuts down from coast to coast, the job losses are going to be absolutely staggering.  In fact, we are being warned to expect numbers that are unlike anything we have ever seen before

Upcoming weekly jobless claims will shatter the standards set even during the worst points of the financial crisis and the early-1980s recession, with Bank of America forecasting a total of 3 million when the number is released Thursday. Those figures are expected to be so bad, in fact, that the Trump administration, according to several media reports, has asked state officials to delay releasing precise counts.

If this pandemic stretches on for an extended period of time, we will very quickly surpass the unemployment levels that we witnessed during the Great Recession.

Back then, the unemployment rate didn’t exceed 10 percent, but now the head of the St. Louis Fed is warning that we may see a 30 percent unemployment rate in the second quarter

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard predicted the U.S. unemployment rate may hit 30% in the second quarter because of shutdowns to combat the coronavirus, with an unprecedented 50% drop in gross domestic product.

Could things actually deteriorate that rapidly?

I sure hope not, because most American families are just barely scraping by

How long could you sustain your household if you were to stop earning income? If you are like most Americans, the answer is not for long. Only 40 percent of Americans can afford an unexpected $1,000 expense with their savings. In fact, nearly 80 percent of workers are living paycheck to paycheck. It is no surprise that the probability of an economic recession brought on by the coronavirus pandemic caused many to worry.

For years, many of us have been begging and pleading with people to get ready.  We warned that when things finally broke loose that events would move very quickly.  I even co-authored an entire book entitled “Get Prepared Now”, but now it is too late to get prepared in advance because a day of reckoning is now upon us.  I really like how Mike Adams of Natural News made this point

Over the last several days, I’ve been called by many people I haven’t heard from in years. Suddenly they’re interested in what I have to say, even though they ignored everything I said for the last decade. And they want to assure me they’re “fully prepared” with 2-3 weeks of food.

These are the same people who probably have four months’ worth of toilet paper, but only a 3-week supply of food.

I’m not even trying to educate them at this point. That day is long gone. Anyone who thinks “2-3 weeks of food” is going to carry them through a national food supply line collapse, a global consumer goods supply line collapse and a systemic, cascading finance and banking collapses is living in a land of sheer delusion.

A lot of the same people that didn’t listen and didn’t get prepared in advance are now trying to convince us that this crisis will soon be gone.

And it would be wonderful if they are right.

But at this moment the global numbers are rising rapidly with each passing hour, and the global economy is literally imploding all around us.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all many people as we possibly can.

This Is Why People All Over America Are Scared To Death Of Being Tested For The Coronavirus…

How would you feel if you received a bill for more than $34,000 after being tested and treated for the coronavirus?  This pandemic is showing the entire world that the U.S. healthcare system is deeply, deeply broken, and there is no way that we can continue to go on like this.  If coronavirus testing is quick, inexpensive and widely available all over the rest of the globe, why can’t that be the case here too?  Democrats and Republicans have been fighting about fixing our healthcare system all the way back to the 1990s and they haven’t gotten the job done.  Now we have a system that is a complete and utter embarrassment, and it is about to be overwhelmed by the greatest public health crisis that any of us have ever seen.

Even under normal circumstances, most Americans are deathly afraid to go to the hospital because of what it will cost.

I have written about this numerous times before, but not even I would have imagined that getting tested and treated for coronavirus would cost more than $34,000

A woman in the United States says she was billed $34,927.43 after being tested and treated for the coronavirus, Time magazine reports.

When Danni Askini first came down with the symptoms of the virus — shortness of breath, a fever, a cough and migraines — she was told by a doctor to go to the emergency room. There, she was told she had pneumonia and could go home. She visited the emergency room two more times as her symptoms persisted and worsened before she was finally tested for the coronavirus. Three days later her results showed she had COVID-19.

How in the world is it possible for a bill to get that high?

As Danni pointed out, she now owes the hospital more than she paid for both of her college degrees.

Sadly, she is going to be far from alone.  According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, coronavirus victims all over America are going to get hit with extremely high medical bills…

A new analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that the average cost of COVID-19 treatment for someone with employer insurance—and without complications—would be about $9,763. Someone whose treatment has complications may see bills about double that: $20,292. (The researchers came up with those numbers by examining average costs of hospital admissions for people with pneumonia.)

What this means is that if even a single member of your family catches the virus it could instantly wipe you out financially, and this is especially true if you do not have health insurance.

Congress has passed a bill which will now cover the cost of coronavirus testing, but the bad news is that “it doesn’t do anything to address the cost of treatment”

Public health experts predict that tens of thousands and possibly millions of people across the United States will likely need to be hospitalized for COVID-19 in the foreseeable future. And Congress has yet to address the problem. On March 18, it passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which covers testing costs going forward, but it doesn’t do anything to address the cost of treatment.

For those that catch the virus, and officials are warning that will eventually be most of us, treatment is going to cost far, far more than testing will.

You may think that you will just tough things out at home, but if this virus hits you hard enough you will either go to the hospital or you will die.

For a moment, I would like for you to consider what a medical worker in Louisiana is saying about the patients that he is treating

“With our coronavirus patients, once they’re on ventilators, most need about the highest settings that we can do. About 90% oxygen, and 16 of PEEP, positive end-expiratory pressure, which keeps the lung inflated. This is nearly as high as I’ve ever seen. The level we’re at means we are running out of options.

“In my experience, this severity of ARDS is usually more typical of someone who has a near drowning experience — they have a bunch of dirty water in their lungs — or people who inhale caustic gas. Especially for it to have such an acute onset like that. I’ve never seen a microorganism or an infectious process cause such acute damage to the lungs so rapidly. That was what really shocked me.”

Many coronavirus victims have described being in a state where they constantly feel like they are drowning.

And this medical worker in Louisiana says that there is a really good reason for that, because the severe cases that he is treating are “essentially drowning in their own blood and fluids because their lungs are so full”

“When someone has an infection, I’m used to seeing the normal colors you’d associate with it: greens and yellows. The coronavirus patients with ARDS have been having a lot of secretions that are actually pink because they’re filled with blood cells that are leaking into their airways. They are essentially drowning in their own blood and fluids because their lungs are so full. So we’re constantly having to suction out the secretions every time we go into their rooms.”

For the moment, there are still enough ventilators in the U.S. for everyone, but we are still in the very early chapters of this pandemic.

Over in Europe, many hospitals are already being completely overwhelmed.  In Italy, one doctor is reporting that patients over the age of 60 are now being refused access to artificial respiratory machines

Peleg said that, from what he sees and hears in the hospital, the instructions are not to offer access to artificial respiratory machines to patients over 60 as such machines are limited in number.

When things get bad enough, doctors are going to have to make choices about who lives and who dies here too.

It is hoped that the measures that are being taken all over the nation will start to slow down the spread of this virus.

But millions of Americans continue to go to work each day, and many of them simply can’t afford not to work.

In fact, it is being reported that many delivery drivers continue reporting for work each day even though they are clearly very sick…

An increasing number of the workers sorting those boxes, loading them into trucks and then transporting and delivering them around the country have fallen sick.

They have coughs, sore throats, aches and fevers — symptoms consistent with the coronavirus. Yet they are still reporting for their shifts in crowded shipping facilities and warehouses and truck depots, fearful of what will happen if they don’t.

So the next time a delivery truck comes to your home, you may want to keep your distance.

We have never seen anything like this before.  The entire western world is shutting down simultaneously, and it is being estimated that nearly a billion people are now under lockdown orders

Close to one billion people worldwide were confined to their homes on Saturday as the global coronavirus death toll shot past 11,000 and US states rolled out lockdown measures already imposed across swathes of Europe.

The pandemic has completely upended lives across the planet, restricting movement, shutting schools and forcing millions to work from home.

Needless to say, this is going to be absolutely devastating for the economy.

If you can believe it, Morgan Stanley is now projecting a 30 percent decline in U.S. GDP on an annualized basis during the second quarter…

We now see 1Q GDP dropping by 2.4% as economic activity has come to a near standstill in March, followed by a record-breaking drop of 30.1% in 2Q. We estimate that March will also mark the first drop in nonfarm payrolls, down 700k. We expect a record-high unemployment rate, averaging 12.8% in 2Q.

We assume sharp declines in areas of consumer discretionary spending like travel, dining out, other services and motor vehicle spending among others. This will leave a large hole in consumer spending in 2Q, when we expect real personal consumption expenditures to contract at a 31% annualized pace.

And the president of the St. Louis Fed is being even more pessimistic

In an interview with Bloomberg, the president of the St. Louis Fed, predicted that U.S. unemployment rate may hit 30% in the second quarter because of shutdowns to combat the coronavirus, coupled with an unprecedented 50% drop in US GDP. That would be an outcome worse not only than every prior war the US has (officially) waged, but more than twice as dire as the worst days of the Great Depression.

It sure didn’t take much to plunge the U.S. into a horrifying economic depression.

Two months ago, everything seemed just fine to most people.

But now financial markets are crashing, workers are losing jobs at an unprecedented rate, and many of the businesses that are now being closed down will never open again.

Fear of the coronavirus has collapsed “the everything bubble”, and what we have experienced so far is just the beginning…

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all many people as we possibly can.

A Shocking New Survey Finds That Most Americans Are Completely Unprepared For The Next Recession

Just like in 2008, most Americans are living right on the edge financially, and so any sort of an economic downturn is going to be extremely painful for tens of millions of American families. When you have not built up a financial cushion, any sort of a setback can be absolutely disastrous. During the last recession, millions of Americans suddenly lost their jobs, and because most of them were living paycheck to paycheck a lot of them suddenly couldn’t pay their mortgages. In the end, millions of Americans lost their homes during the “subprime mortgage meltdown”, and today the housing bubble is even larger than it was back then. Sadly, the reality of the matter is that many of us are just barely scraping by from month to month, and that is a very dangerous position to be in.

A new survey that was just released shows just how vulnerable American consumers have become at this point in time. According to the survey, the top financial priority for 38 percent of all Americans is just trying to pay the bills, and for 19 percent of all Americans it is dealing with credit card debt. The following comes from Fox Business

Among survey respondents in the nationally representative poll, 38 percent said their top financial priority is “just staying current on living expenses or getting caught up on all the bills.” Almost 3 in 10 respondents (29 percent) said their chief priority was “saving more money,” and 19 percent indicated they were mainly working on paying down debt from products like credit cards and student loans.

So that means that for nearly 60 percent of all Americans, the top financial priority each month is either finding a way to pay the bills or dealing with credit card debt.

And if you are struggling to pay the bills each month or you are drowning in credit card debt, the truth is that you are definitely not ready for the next recession.

The same survey also discovered that a very large percentage of Americans are not following any sort of a financial budget

More than a decade into the longest economic expansion on record, almost two-fifths of people said in a new Bankrate poll that their main financial priority was just keeping their heads above water on living expenses rather than saving money.

Nearly as many of those surveyed said that they’re not following financial budgets, according to Bankrate’s September Financial Security Poll.

So many people out there spend money whenever they feel like it and they don’t have any sort of a plan for their finances.

And then when they get deep into debt they wonder how that could have possibly happened.

It is so important to take charge of your money and to have a plan for where you want to go financially. Because if you don’t have a plan for your money, I promise you that somebody else does. As many of us have learned the hard way, it is all too easy to fall victim to all of the financial predators that are constantly circling these days. The big financial institutions want to get Americans into as much debt as possible, because the deeper we are in debt the more money they make.

In our society, everything has become all about extracting as much money out of you as possible. Even when we are at the checkout counter at the supermarket we are asked if we want to get some “cash back” so that they can charge us a “convenience fee” and make even more money. And of course most of the money that is extracted out of us ultimately ends up at the very top of the financial pyramid, and as a result the gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” continues to grow.

In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau is telling us that the gap between the rich and the poor is now “greater than it has ever been”

In the midst of the longest economic expansion the United States has ever seen, with poverty and unemployment rates at historic lows, the separation between rich and poor from 2017 and 2018 was greater than it has ever been, federal data show.

To be fair, the U.S. Census Bureau has only been measuring this since 1967, and so it is entirely possible that things could have been even worse earlier in our history.

But the numbers do clearly show that the gap has been steadily widening for years, and at this point wealth inequality in the U.S. is far greater than it is in any country in Europe

The Gini index measures wealth distribution across a population, with zero representing total equality and 1 representing total inequality, where all wealth is concentrated in a single household. The indicator has been rising steadily during the past several decades. When the Census Bureau began studying income inequality more than 50 years ago, the Gini index was 0.397. In 2018, the Gini index rose to 0.485.

By comparison, no European country had a Gini index greater than 0.38 between 2017 and 2018.

So what this means is that we have a small group of people at the top of the pyramid doing really, really well, but meanwhile most of the rest of us are deeply struggling.

In fact, survey after survey has shown that the vast majority of Americans are currently living paycheck to paycheck.

The way that our entire system is structured greatly favors Wall Street, the big banks, the largest corporations and those with enormous amounts of money. And they are able to maintain control of the system by literally buying elections and controlling public opinion through their control of the mainstream media. Our founders were deeply suspicious of large concentrations of power, and we need to return to the values that our nation was founded upon if we ever hope to turn things around.

Unfortunately, more Americans that ever are convinced that socialism is the answer to the problems that I just discussed, and this is fueling the rise of politicians such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

But socialist experiments have failed all throughout human history, and socialism would fail here too.

Big government is never the answer. Sadly, we already have the biggest government in the history of the world, and many Americans seem absolutely determined to make it even bigger.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time. Of course the most important thing that we can share with people is the gospel of Jesus Christ, and if you would like to learn more about how you can become a Christian I would encourage you to read this article.

The Mainstream Media Says The Middle Class Isn’t Shrinking – But That Is Only Because Their Definition Includes Lots Of Poor People

If you ask the mainstream media, they will tell you that about half the country is still middle class. In fact, a CNBC article that just came out says that “52% of American adults live in ‘middle class’ households”. Of course that is down from 61 percent in 1971, but considering everything we have been through in recent years, that still looks pretty good. But is it the truth? In the end, it all comes down to how you define “the middle class”. If I defined the middle class as anyone that makes from zero dollars to a trillion dollars a year, then 100 percent of Americans would be considered “middle class” by that definition. So we can’t just look at the final number they give us. Instead, we have to dig deeper and find out how they came up with the number in the first place.

The larger the household, the more income it takes to sustain a middle class lifestyle. And according to CNBC, the definition of a “middle class household” is extremely broad at every household size…

  • Household of one: $26,093 to $78,281
  • Household of two: $36,902 to $110,706
  • Household of three: $45,195 to $135,586
  • Household of four: $52,187 to $156,561
  • Household of five: $58,347 to $175,041

If you are single person and you are making just $26,000 a year, there is no way that you should be considered part of “the middle class”.

First of all, there is no way that you would be able to buy a home in most major U.S. cities these days, and home ownership has always been considered to be one of the key hallmarks of the middle class.

Secondly, $26,000 a year breaks down to just a little over $2,000 a month before taxes. After paying for rent, health insurance and a little bit of food, there wouldn’t be any money left.

You can define that as a “middle class lifestyle” if you want, but I sure don’t.

Over the past decade, the cost of living has increased at a far faster pace than our paychecks have. As a result, many Americans that used to live middle class lifestyles are no longer able to do so.

Health insurance is just one example. Thanks to Obamacare, health insurance premiums have absolutely skyrocketed, and this is financially crippling families all over the nation. In addition to health insurance, here are just a few of the other expenses that average American families must pay on a regular basis…

-rent or mortgage payment

-the power bill

-the water bill

-food

-phone

-Internet

-vehicle payment(s)

-gasoline

-vehicle repairs

-car insurance

-dental bills

-home or rental insurance

-life insurance

-student loan debt payments

-credit card payments

-furniture, clothing and other necessities

If you are making just two or three thousand dollars a month before taxes, there is no way that you can cover all of that.

So I am sorry, but the way that CNBC is defining “the middle class” is just wrong.

Considering everything that I have just discussed, it should not be surprising to learn that a survey conducted earlier this year found that 78 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck at least part of the time.

And if you are living paycheck to paycheck, there is a really good chance that you are not middle class.

Of course another major factor is geography. If you live in a very expensive coastal city like New York or San Francisco, it has been estimated that it now takes approximately $350,000 a year to be part of the middle class…

Here’s a sad reality: In order to raise a family in an expensive coastal city like San Francisco or New York, you’ve now got to make $350,000 or more a year.

You can certainly live on less, but it won’t be easy if your goal is to raise a family, save for your children’s education, save for your own home and save for retirement (so you can actually retire by a reasonable age).

When I was growing up, I thought that if someone was making $50,000 a year that person really had it made.

But these days $50,000 a year will barely get you above poverty level depending on the size of your household and where you live.

In a desperate attempt to maintain a middle class lifestyle when their incomes don’t really allow for it, many Americans are going into shocking amounts of debt. And these days even our young adults are piling on debt as if tomorrow will never come

Millennials carry an average of $27,900 in debt, not including mortgages, according to new data released today by Northwestern Mutual. Gen Z, the oldest of whom are now 22 years old, have an average debt of $14,700.

Having sizable debt at a young age “is the new normal,” said Chantel Bonneau, wealth management advisor at Northwestern Mutual. “There are lots of people who exit school, and before they start their first job, have debt. That is a different situation from 30 years ago.”

But when you pile on too much debt, it can become financially suffocating very quickly, and many of our young people actually report becoming “physically ill” from worrying about it so much…

About 45% of millennials and 43% of Gen Z reported feeling guilty about their debt at least every month — more than other age groups. But debt is a major stressor across age groups. One-fifth of all respondents said their debt made them physically ill at least monthly, 45% said it made them anxious at least monthly, and 35% said they felt guilty once a month or more.

Overall, U.S. households are now over 13 trillion dollars in debt, and one of the primary reasons why we have accumulated so much debt is because most of us want to live lifestyles that we haven’t really earned.

We are also facing record levels of corporate debt, local government debt, state government debt and federal government debt. And when this debt bubble bursts, it will completely destroy our system.

We have entirely mortgaged our future for short-term gain, and we are so proud whenever the short-term economic numbers tick up a little bit.

But in the process we have completely destroyed the future for every generation of Americans that was supposed to come after us, and that is not something to smile about at all.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time. Of course the most important thing that we can share with people is the gospel of Jesus Christ, and if you would like to learn more about how you can become a Christian I would encourage you to read this article.

The Suicide Rate In The U.S. Has Hit The Highest Level In 50 Years, And There Is Concern That It Will Go Much Higher

Despite the fact that more money is being spent on suicide prevention efforts than ever before in our history, the suicide rate in the United States continues to rise dramatically. As you will see below, one new study has discovered that our suicide rate actually increased by 41 percent between 1999 and 2016. Even though we have the highest standard of living that any generation of Americans has ever enjoyed, we are an exceedingly unhappy nation and we are killing ourselves in unprecedented numbers. This shouldn’t be happening, but unfortunately the forces that have taken over our culture have convinced multitudes of Americans that their lives are not worth living any longer. In a culture where truth has been abandoned, it is easy for lies to run rampant, and it takes a great deal of deception to get someone to willingly choose to embrace suicide. No matter what you are going through right now, there is always a way to turn things around, and we all have been given lives worth living.

Sadly, the suicide rate in this country has continued to escalate year after year. According to the Los Angeles Times, 2017 is “the latest year for which reliable statistics are available”, and in that year the U.S. suicide rate hit a 50 year high…

Whether they are densely populated or deeply rural, few communities in the United States have escaped a shocking increase in suicides over the last two decades. From 1999 to 2016, suicide claimed the lives of 453,577 adults between the ages of 25 and 64 — enough to fill more than 1,000 jumbo jets.

Suicides reached a 50-year peak in 2017, the latest year for which reliable statistics are available.

These numbers come from a new study that was just released, and it claims that our suicide rate actually increased by 41 percent between 1999 and 2016…

The researchers evaluated national suicide data collected between 1999 and 2016, then created a county-by-county estimation of suicide rates among all adults between the ages of 25-64. In that time period, suicide rates rose an astonishing 41%; from a median of 15 suicides per 100,000 county residents in 1999 to 21.2 in the last three years of analysis.

And suicide is also a rapidly growing problem among our teens and young adults as well.

In fact, suicide is now the second leading cause of death for Americans from age 10 to age 24.

Everyone goes through very low times, and for many people it can seem like those low times will never end. But when I was at my lowest points many years ago, I always had faith that better days were coming, even though at the time I couldn’t even imagine the absolutely amazing things that were ahead for me. The point that I am trying to make is that we simply do not know what the future will hold. No matter how dark things may seem to you right now, a miracle could literally be right around the corner.

This new study that just came out also discovered that suicide rates are significantly higher in rural parts of the country

It was noted that suicide rates were at their highest in less-populous counties and in areas where people have lower incomes and diminished access to resources. For example, between 2014 and 2016, there were 17.6 suicides per 100,000 people in large metropolitan counties, noticeably lower than the 22 suicides per 100,000 people recorded in rural counties.

The quality of life in rural areas is so much nicer in so many ways, but there is also a lot of isolation and poverty as well. Humans are meant to be social creatures, and when there aren’t a lot of people around that can feed feelings of depression. And if someone is deeply struggling with poverty, it can be difficult to see a way out in an area with few economic opportunities. According to Brookings Institution research analyst Carol Graham, many Americans living in such areas “see no optimism for the future”

“These are the places that used to be thriving rural places, near enough to cities and manufacturing hubs,” she said. “They’re places that accord with a stereotypical picture of stable blue-collar existence — and a quite nice existence — for whites in the heartland.”

With the collapse of extractive industries such as coal mining, the departure of manufacturing jobs, and a strapped agricultural economy, “these communities just got flipped on their head,” Graham observed. “And the people in those places became unhinged. You’d have a sense of places where everything has left. And among those who stay, you see no optimism for the future.”

If this is happening now, while economic conditions are still relatively stable, what is going to happen to the suicide rate during the next major U.S. economic downturn?

There is never, ever, ever a good reason for someone to commit suicide, but unfortunately during the next recession we are likely to see the suicide rate rise substantially higher.

Another factor that is resulting in a higher rate of suicide in rural areas is a lack of health insurance

Last but certainly not least, a lack of health insurance coverage is significantly associated with rising suicide rates in rural US counties.

Specifically, the researchers observed that the more people in a county who didn’t have health insurance coverage, the higher that county’s suicide rate was.

When you are buried in medical bills that you know that you will never be able to pay, it can be exceedingly difficult to envision brighter days ahead. Our healthcare system is deeply, deeply broken, and this is something that I wrote about on Tuesday.

It is such a tragedy when people choose to end their lives because of financial circumstances, because financial circumstances are always temporary.

No matter how bad things are in your life right now, there is always a way to turn them around. The best days of your life could still be ahead for you, but you have got to be willing to believe that this is true.

Life is an absolutely incredible gift, and don’t let anyone ever convince you that you should end it.

It has been said that life is like a coin. You can spend it any way that you want, but you can only spend it once. I would encourage you to spend it loving others greatly, enjoying each day to the fullest, and doing something that truly matters.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

This Is Why So Many Americans Are Deathly Afraid Of Going To The Hospital…

What you are about to read in this article is likely to make you very angry. Once upon a time, the primary mission of our hospitals was to help people, but today they have become vicious financial predators. Many Americans try very hard to avoid visiting the hospital because of what it might cost, but if an emergency happens there is no choice. They often get us when we are at our most vulnerable, and they never explain to us in advance how much their services will actually cost. And then eventually when the bills start arriving we discover that they have charged us 30 dollars for a single aspirin or “$2,000 for a $20 feeding tube”. It is a giant scam, but they have been getting away with it for decades, and so they just keep on doing it. And many hospitals go after those that are not able to pay their ridiculous bills extremely aggressively. Just consider the following example which comes to us from USA Today

Heather Waldron and John Hawley are losing their four-bedroom house in the hills above Blacksburg, Virginia. A teenage daughter, one of their five children, sold her clothes for spending money. They worried about paying the electric bill. Financial disaster, they said, contributed to their divorce, finalized in April.

Their money problems began when the University of Virginia Health System pursued the couple with a lawsuit and a lien on their home to recoup $164,000 in charges for Waldron’s emergency surgery in 2017.

I can’t imagine any surgery that should ever cost $164,000. You can buy an entire house for that amount of money. It is highway robbery, and those that are engaged in this sort of predatory pricing are literally crooks.

Sadly, Heather Waldron and John Hawley have a lot of company. Over the past six years, the University of Virginia Health System has sued 36,000 patients

The family has lots of company: Over six years ending in June 2018, the health system and its doctors filed 36,000 lawsuits against patients, seeking a total of more than $106 million, seizing wages and bank accounts, putting liens on property and homes and forcing families into bankruptcy, a Kaiser Health News analysis found.

Yes, the University of Virginia Health System saves lives every single day, but the way that they are running their operation is bringing great shame to the entire state of Virginia.

Of course there are many other hospitals all across the country that are behaving in a similar manner. This next example comes from CNN

When Donna Hernandez had the flu last year, she went to her local emergency room in New Mexico, where she received two IV bags of saline, a dose of antiviral medication and a drug to help with her nausea.

She says after about two and a half hours, she was on her way.

Hernandez recovered from the flu, but still hasn’t recovered from the shock of the bill she received afterward. It was for more than $6,000.

Are you kidding me?

Hernandez didn’t stay overnight and she didn’t have any surgery.

How in the world can that hospital possibly justify a bill for more than $6,000?

Like I said, they are a bunch of crooks.

But their racket is completely legal, and those participating are becoming exceedingly wealthy at our expense. If you can believe it, the University of Virginia Health System has made a profit of $554 million over the past six years, and the CEO brings in an exceedingly bloated salary

UVA Medical Center, the flagship of UVA Health System, earned $554 million in profit over the six years ending in June 2018 and holds stocks, bonds and other investments worth $1 billion, according to financial statements. CEO Sutton-Wallace earns a salary of $750,000, with bonus incentives that could push her annual pay close to $1 million, according to a copy of her employment contract, obtained under public information law.

Our “healthcare system” is deeply, deeply broken, and it is destroying lives all across America.

A single trip to the hospital can ruin you financially for the rest of your life, and one recent survey found that health costs are “the main financial worry” for Americans aged 25 to 45…

According to a survey of 1,000 Americans aged 25-45, financial stress and worries are quite literally making people sick. Respondents listed health care as the main financial worry of their lives, and three in four admitted to having a “negative experience” due to financial stress. Ironically, 39% said that financial stress has had a negative impact on their health; indicating a troubling cycle of financial stress brought on by health care costs, which in turn leads to more health problems.

And that same survey discovered that a substantial percentage of respondents have actually been avoiding the “healthcare system” because of what it might cost

In fact, three in four surveyed young adults reported taking “risky” actions to save money on medical expenses. More specifically, 33% delayed seeking medical help in the hope that their condition would just go away, 27% considered avoiding medical attention due to high deductibles, and 22% scheduled a medical appointment but never showed after considering the bill.

In America today, 66.5 percent of all bankruptcies are related to medical bills, and most of those that go bankrupt actually have health insurance.

Those that follow my work regularly know that I have been writing about these things for a long time, and I am deeply frustrated that things just seem to get worse with each passing year.

At one time, the medical profession was a noble path, and those that sacrificed so much to help others were greatly admired.

But now the “healthcare system” in America has become a cesspool of greed, and for many of those that are attracted to it the main goal is to make as much money as possible.

Just because it is currently legal, that does not mean that the predatory behavior of the industry is moral.

The U.S. “healthcare system” accounts for nearly a fifth of our entire economy, and if it was a country it would have the fifth largest GDP on the entire planet.

But at this point it has become a great shame to the entire nation, and it needs to be completely torn down and rebuilt from scratch.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

The Most Medicated Country In The World: 46% Of Americans Have Taken A Pharmaceutical Drug Within The Last 30 Days

If it seems like about half the country is on drugs, that is because it is actually true. According to a new survey from the National Center for Health Statistics, almost half of all Americans have taken a pharmaceutical drug within the past 30 days, and that officially makes us “the most medicated country in the world”. And needless to say, those dealing these drugs are becoming exceedingly wealthy at our expense. The average American spends $1,200 a year on prescription drugs, but of course many Americans spend far more than that and others spend nothing at all. In recent years there has been a tremendous backlash against the big pharmaceutical corporations, because many of them have become exceedingly greedy. As you will see below, prices have been raised on 650 different drugs this year alone. Once they get their claws into you, the pharmaceutical giants want to get every last penny out of you that they possibly can.

Without a doubt, there are some pharmaceutical drugs that greatly help people. In fact, many people wouldn’t be alive today without them.

On the other hand, it has been estimated that Americans spend somewhere around $200 billion a year on drugs that they do not need, and this new survey from the National Center for Health Statistics discovered that 46 percent of all Americans have taken a prescription drug within the last 30 days

Nearly half of people in the US are taking prescription drugs, a new report reveals.

The National Center for Health Statistics surveyed people across the US, and found that about 46 percent of respondents had taken at least one prescription drug in the past month.

I am sorry, but there is no way that half the country needs to be hooked on drugs.

And for senior citizens that number is much higher. In fact, the survey found that a whopping 85 percent of Americans over the age of 60 are currently on at least one pharmaceutical drug.

For adults under the ago of 60, antidepressants are being taken more than anything else

For young adults antidepressants are king. According to the most recent numbers, 11.4 percent of 20- to 59-year-olds had taken a drug to help with their mood in the last month when they took the survey.

Could this help to explain why so many people are walking around like zombies these days?

And since nearly all mass shooters have been found to be on some kind of mind-altering drug, perhaps Congress should finally take some action in this area. It can be exceedingly difficult to get off these insidious drugs, and many that get hooked on them end up staying on them for the rest of their lives.

Of course antidepressants are just one part of the problem. For example, opioids are some of the most addictive drugs on the entire planet, and their overuse has destroyed countless lives all across America.

Like those that deal illegal drugs, once the big pharmaceutical companies have their hooks in you they are not afraid to take full advantage of it. And even though many Americans rely on life-saving drugs to literally stay alive, big pharma just keeps jacking up prices year after year after year. As I mentioned above, prices have been raised on 650 different medications this year alone

More than 650 products had price increases this year, through early February, according to Rx Savings Solutions, which sells software to employers and insurers to reduce drug costs. The industry justifies the moves as essential for investing in research and development. Drugmakers often point out that they see very little of the increases because of the big rebates they distribute to others in the supply chain, including insurers and pharmacy benefit managers, who in turn blame Pharma for setting high list prices.

In most cases, we are not just talking about a price increase of a dollar or two either.

For example, one study found that out-of-pocket costs for multiple sclerosis medications had gotten 20 times greater between 2004 and 2016

The study, published Wednesday in the journal Neurology, found that the average out-of-pocket costs for people taking medications for multiple sclerosis had risen the greatest over the past 12 years, costing 20 times more in 2016 than in 2004.

“Out-of-pocket costs have risen to the point where neurologists should be able to consider the potential financial burden for the patient when prescribing medication, but they do not have this information available to them,” said Dr. Brian C. Callaghan, the study’s lead author and assistant professor of neurology at the University of Michigan.

When you have to pay 20 times as much for the same medicine 12 years later, that is some serious price gouging.

But even worse if what Catalyst Pharmaceuticals just did.

They took a drug that literally makes it possible for people with Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome to be able to walk and jacked the price all the way up to $375,000 a year

Bhanu Patel couldn’t believe the news. The cost of the medication that allows her to move — the one that enabled her to walk stairs again — shot up to $375,000.

Fear gripped her: What would this mean for her independence? Would she become a financial burden on her family? How is this possible in the country that’s given her so much?

Thankfully, there was so much outrage that the FDA decided to undercut them

The FDA announced Monday that it was approving a separate drug for pediatric patients with a rare, painful neuromuscular disease called Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome, also known as LEMS. The disease weakens and fatigues muscles, causing agonizing pain to the point at which patients struggle to walk.

The move sparked celebration in the LEMS community and tanked the stock of Catalyst Pharmaceuticals, maker of the $375,000 drug, called Firdapse. The company’s stock price has dropped about 50% since Monday.

Look, nobody is suggesting that pharmaceutical companies should not be allowed to make a profit.

But when you act like a pig, you are going to get slaughtered, and Catalyst Pharmaceuticals deserves everything that is happening to it.

Once upon a time, the medical industry was all about helping people, but now it is all about making as much money as possible. We desperately need to fundamentally reform our healthcare system, but Congress is not going to do that any time soon.

So for now the big pharmaceutical companies will continue to try to get as many of us as possible hooked on their drugs, and they will continue to try to squeeze every single penny out of us that they possibly can.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Husband Kills Wife, Then Himself Because They Couldn’t Pay Their Medical Bills

This is yet another example that shows how broken the U.S. healthcare system has become.  When faced with potentially losing their home due to rapidly escalating medical bills, one husband in Florida decided to kill his wife and then himself because he saw no way out.  The following comes from News4JAX

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office won’t identify the victims, but family members said John and Gwendolyn Thombleson died in the home. The husband’s sister said after the wife had surgery eight months ago, her health began declining rapidly and she developed several health conditions, including dementia.

The medical bills were piling up, and neighbors told News4Jax that John Thombleson had said their insurance was expiring, leaving them no way to pay for the mounting expenses.

Medical bills are the number one reason why American families go bankrupt, and the very last conversation that one neighbor had with John Thombleson was about “their mounting medical bills”

The neighbor who lives across the street said the last time he spoke with John Thombleson, the conversation was about the couple potentially losing their home because of their mounting medical bills.

Nobody in this country should be killing themselves over medical bills.

Congress needs to fix our deeply broken healthcare system, and they need to do it now.

Shocking New Study Finds That 137 Million Americans Suffered “Medical Financial Hardship In The Past Year”

The healthcare system in the United States is deeply broken, and it is causing massive financial pain for millions of American families. Previously, I have published articles where I talked about how medical bills are the primary factor in two-thirds of all personal bankruptcies in the United States, and that Americans had to borrow a whopping 88 billion dollars last year to cover medical costs. This is happening even though more than 90 percent of all Americans have some form of health coverage. Thanks to soaring deductibles and health insurance policies that are absolutely riddled with loopholes, more Americans than ever are being wiped out by medical bills. And now a brand new study that was conducted by researchers from the American Cancer Society has discovered that 137.1 million Americans suffered “medical financial hardship in the past year”. The following comes directly from the study

Approximately 137.1 million (95% CI 132.7–141.5) adults reported any medical financial hardship in the past year. Hardship is more common for material, psychological and behavioral domains in adults aged 18–64 years (28.9%, 46.9%, and 21.2%, respectively) than in adults aged ≥ 65 years (15.3%, 28.4%, and 12.7%, respectively; all p < .001). Lower educational attainment and more health conditions were strongly associated with hardship intensity in multivariable analyses in both age groups (p < .001). In the younger group, the uninsured were more likely to report multiple domains of hardship (52.8%), compared to those with some public (26.5%) or private insurance (23.2%) (p < .001). In the older group, individuals with Medicare only were more likely to report hardship in multiple domains (17.1%) compared to those with Medicare and public (12.1%) or Medicare and private coverage (10.1%) (p < .001).

We are the wealthiest nation on the entire planet, and we should have the greatest healthcare system.

This shouldn’t be happening.

And the conclusion that the study ultimately reached is that things are likely to get even worse as we move into the future

Medical financial hardship is common in the USA, especially in adults aged 18–64 years and those without health insurance coverage. With trends towards higher patient cost-sharing and increasing health care costs, risks of hardship may increase in the future.

When I ran for Congress, I strongly stressed the need for a complete and total overhaul of our healthcare system, but unfortunately our current representatives in Washington don’t seem too interested in that.

Today, many Americans try to avoid our healthcare system as much as possible because they are afraid of being hit with absolutely ridiculous bills.

Just consider the case of 9-year-old Oakley Yoder. She went for a hike in the woods at summer camp, and a snake bite forced her to go to the hospital

It was dusk as Oakley Yoder and the other summer camp kids hiked back to their tents at Illinois’ Jackson Falls last July. As the group approached a mound of boulders blocking the path, Oakley, then 9, didn’t see the lurking snake — until it bit a toe on her right foot.

“I was really scared,” Oakley said. “I thought that I could either get paralyzed or could actually die.”

So how much do you think her treatment cost?

A few hundred dollars?

A few thousand dollars?

Actually, the total bill was $142,938

Total bill: $142,938, including $67,957 for four vials of antivenin ($55,577.64 was charged for air ambulance transport). The balance included a ground ambulance charge and additional hospital and physician charges, according to the family’s insurer, IU Health Plans.

This is yet another example that shows that our current system needs to be totally dismantled and rebuilt from scratch.

You could buy an entire house for $142,938.

Here are some more facts from a previous article that show just how dramatically the U.S. healthcare system has failed…

3.7 trillion dollars was spent on health care in the United States in 2018. That breaks down to $10,739 per person.

-If our health care system was a country, it would have the fifth largest GDP on the entire planet.

76 percent of Americans believe that they pay too much for the quality of health care that they receive.

-Out of the 36 counties in the OECD, the U.S. ranks 31st in infant mortality.

-Prescription drugs are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States today.

-Pharmaceutical companies spend approximately 30 billion dollars a year to market their drugs to all of us.

Nearly half of all U.S. doctors are considering leaving the field of medicine, and health insurance companies are the primary reason.

-The median charge for visiting an emergency room in the United States is well over a thousand dollars.

I could go on and on all day, but let me give you just one more example of how flawed our healthcare system has become.

John Kapoor, the billionaire founder of Insys Theraputics, was just found guilty of bribing doctors to prescribe high doses of a painkiller called Subsys

Kapoor oversaw a marketing strategy at Insys that hired doctors as speakers at educational seminars as cover to pay them more than $1m to prescribe high doses of Subsys to patients who did not need it. Prosecutors said the seminars were no more than social gatherings at expensive New York restaurants followed by company sales reps taking the physicians to strip clubs and bars.

Prosecutors showed the jury spreadsheets of payments to doctors and how much the company profited from each bribe. In one instance, the company paid nearly $260,000 to two New York doctors who wrote more than $6m worth of Subsys prescriptions in 2014. Insys employees also posed as doctors to give insurance companies invented diagnoses to get approval for payments for the drug.

In this case justice was done, but the truth is that this sort of stuff happens in the medical world constantly.

Our entire healthcare system is now completely dominated by the pharmaceutical giants, the big health insurance companies and greedy corporate interests.

They don’t care about us. All they really care about is making as much money as possible, and if people get hurt in the process they are willing to live with that.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Americans Had To Borrow 88 BILLION Dollars To Cover Their Medical Bills Last Year

I know that the headline sounds outrageous, but it is actually true. According to a brand new report that was just released, Americans had to borrow 88 billion dollars to cover their medical bills last year. That is a truly astounding number, and it shows just how dramatically our current health care system has failed. And even though the vast majority of Americans are covered by “health insurance”, millions of us are deathly afraid to go to the hospital because of what it might cost. Today, two-thirds of all personal bankruptcies in the United States are caused by medical bills, and most of the people going bankrupt actually had health insurance. Overall, more than half a million American families are financially ruined by medical bills each year, and meanwhile our “representatives” in Washington are doing absolutely nothing to fix the problem.

Surveys have shown that up to two-thirds of the country is living paycheck to paycheck at least part of the time, and an unexpected medical bill can be absolutely devastating for those that are just barely scraping by.

Without much of a financial cushion to fall back on, many families must borrow money when confronted with a large medical expense, and the scale at which this is happening is absolutely stunning

Health care costs in the United States are generally measured as the highest in the world. Last year, many Americans could not afford their health care costs and so borrowed $88 billion to pay for that portion they could not afford.

According to a new West Health and Gallup poll, in a new report titled “The U.S. Healthcare Cost Crisis,” the $88 billion was borrowed in the year before the survey, which was done from January 14 to February 20. The poll was conducted via a random group of 3,537 adults over 18 living in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

How in the world is this possible?

After all, more than 90 percent of all Americans have some form of health coverage. So why did Americans need to borrow 88 billion dollars to cover their unpaid medical bills last year alone?

Well, first of all it is important to remember that health insurance deductibles have gotten obscenely huge. The following numbers come from a CNN article about Obamacare

The law sets a ceiling on how much consumers have to spend on health care. In 2019, it’s $7,900 for a single person and double that for a family. Some bronze plans peg their deductibles to those levels.

The average deductible for a 2019 bronze policy — which have higher deductibles, but lower premiums than other tiers of Obamacare plans — is nearly $5,900, while the average maximum of out-of-pocket limit is just under $7,000, according to Health Pocket, an online health insurance shopping tool. Family bronze plans have an average deductible of just under $12,200 and an average out-of-pocket maximum of nearly $14,000.

Secondly, even if you have surpassed your deductible, there is still no guarantee that your health insurance company will cover your medical bills. If you do not jump through every single little hoop they want you to jump through, in many instances they will leave you high and dry. When I was running for Congress I had personal conversations with so many people that had been screwed over by the health insurance companies. The more claims they deny, the more money they make, and they have become masters at finding even the smallest loophole that will enable them to wiggle off the hook.

Of course there are some health insurance companies out there that are doing a good job, but the bad apples give the entire industry a very bad name.

We have a system that is deeply broken, and it greatly frustrates me that both political parties seem so uninterested in getting a solution through Congress.

Here are some more numbers that show the current state of the U.S. health care system…

3.7 trillion dollars was spent on health care in the United States in 2018. That breaks down to $10,739 per person.

-If our health care system was a country, it would have the fifth largest GDP on the entire planet.

76 percent of Americans believe that they pay too much for the quality of health care that they receive.

-Out of the 36 counties in the OECD, the U.S. ranks 31st in infant mortality.

-Prescription drugs are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States today.

-Pharmaceutical companies spend approximately 30 billion dollars a year to market their drugs to all of us.

Nearly half of all U.S. doctors are considering leaving the field of medicine, and health insurance companies are the primary reason.

-The median charge for visiting an emergency room in the United States is well over a thousand dollars.

When I was growing up, my mother took me and my siblings to the doctor constantly. But I don’t know anyone that does that today, because it would be ridiculously expensive in most cases.

And one recent survey actually found that 41 percent of all Americans decided against an emergency room visit last year “due to cost”

Another major personal financial concern among Americans is that 45% worry that a “major health care event” would leave them bankrupt, the West Health-Gallup survey found. Additionally, in the past year, 41% said they did not visit an emergency room due to cost.

Fifteen million Americans “deferred” purchasing prescription drugs in the past year because of costs as well. Finally, 76% believe the problem will become worse because health care costs will rise more over the next two years.

Fixing our horribly broken health care system needs to be a top national priority, but earlier today Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made it abundantly clear that nothing will be done about Obamacare in the Senate until the 2020 election. And of course the Democrats are not going to make any major moves on health care until the 2020 election either.

Unfortunately, we are stuck with what we have got for the moment.

Our health care crisis is a national nightmare that never seems to end, and it gets worse with each passing year.

So for now, just hope that nobody in your family becomes seriously ill, because if that happens there is a good chance you might go bankrupt.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

A New Study Discovers Two-Thirds Of All Bankruptcies In The United States Are Primarily Caused By Medical Bills

Our health insurance system is theoretically supposed to prevent Americans from going bankrupt when they are hit by huge medical bills. But in case after case, that is simply not happening. Even though more Americans are “covered by health insurance” than ever before, a new study has found that “about 530,000 families each year are financially ruined by medical bills and sicknesses”, and most of those families actually had health insurance. These days, most health insurance policies closely resemble Swiss cheese because they are so full of loopholes, and health insurance companies have become masters at finding ways to wiggle off the hook. So every year hundreds of thousands of American families find themselves facing huge medical bills that they did not expect to be paying, and as a result medical expenses are the primary factor in 66.5 percent of all personal bankruptcy filings in the United States…

For many Americans, putting one’s health first can mean putting one’s financial status at risk. A study of bankruptcy filings in the United States showed that 66.5% were due, at least in part, to medical expenses.

The study, led by Dr. David Himmelstein, Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York’s (CUNY) Hunter College and Lecturer at Harvard Medical School, indicates that about 530,000 families each year are financially ruined by medical bills and sicknesses. It’s the first research of its kind to link medical expenses and bankruptcy since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010.

But wasn’t Obamacare supposed to make things better?

Yes, that was what we were promised, but the authors of the study discovered that the percentage of bankruptcies caused by medical bills actually went up by 2 percent after Obamacare went into effect…

The current study found no evidence that the ACA reduced the proportion of bankruptcies driven by medical problems: 65.5% of debtors cited a medical contributor to their bankruptcy in the period prior to the ACA’s implementation as compared to 67.5% in the three years after the law came into effect. The responses also did not differ depending on whether the respondent resided in a state that had accepted ACA’s Medicaid expansion. The researchers noted that bankruptcy is most common among middle-class Americans, who have faced increasing copayments and deductibles in recent years despite the ACA. The poor, who were most helped by the ACA, less frequently seek formal bankruptcy relief because they have few assets (such as a home) to protect and face particular difficulty in securing the legal help needed to navigate formal bankruptcy proceedings.

Even though more Americans are “in the system” than ever before, clearly what we are doing is simply not working.

As I detailed in my article entitled “$3.5 Trillion A Year: America’s Health Care System Has Become One Of The World’s Largest Money Making Scams”, our health care industry has become all about grabbing as much money as humanly possible. We are being taken advantage of when we are at our most vulnerable, and the level of greed that we see in the system is absolutely sickening.

As Dr. David Himmelstein has astutely observed, most Americans are “just one serious illness away from bankruptcy”…

Dr. David Himmelstein, the lead author of the study, a Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York’s (CUNY) Hunter College and Lecturer at Harvard Medical School commented: “Unless you’re Bill Gates, you’re just one serious illness away from bankruptcy. For middle-class Americans, health insurance offers little protection. Most of us have policies with so many loopholes, copayments and deductibles that illness can put you in the poorhouse. And even the best job-based health insurance often vanishes when prolonged illness causes job loss – just when families need it most.”

You may think that your health insurance policy is somehow different.

You may actually believe that your health insurance company will be there for you when you need them the most.

And they might be. But the truth is that hundreds of thousands of American families have discovered that most health insurance companies will turn on you the moment it becomes advantageous for them to do so.

It turns out that most doctors dislike the health insurance companies too. Just check out these numbers

Are health insurance policies creating nightmares for physicians and hazards for their patients? A new study finds that nearly nine in ten doctors believe barriers set by insurance plans have led to worsened conditions for patients in need of care.

Researchers with Aimed Alliance, a non-profit that seeks to protect and enhance the rights of health care consumers and providers, say that doctors are so fed up with the constant headaches caused by insurers, two-thirds would recommend against pursuing a career in medicine, and nearly half (48%) are considering a career change altogether.

If health insurance companies acted with compassion and always fulfilled the promises that they made, then the rest of us wouldn’t be so hard on them.

But of course the health insurance companies look like saints when compared to the ultra-greedy pharmaceutical companies. When one pharmaceutical company recently hiked the annual price of a low-cost drug to $375,000, it just about caused Senator Bernie Sanders to cough up a lung

Sen. Bernie Sanders sent a blistering letter to a pharmaceutical company on Monday, demanding answers about its decision to charge $375,000 for a formerly low-cost drug and calling it corporate greed at its worst.

“Catalyst’s decision to set the annual list price at $375,000 is not only a blatant fleecing of American taxpayers, but is also an immoral exploitation of patients who need this medication,” the independent senator from Vermont wrote. “Simply put, it is corporate greed.

“I am profoundly concerned that Catalyst’s actions will cause patients to suffer or die.”

Fixing our deeply, deeply broken health care system has got to be a top national priority, but at this point neither party has a plan that will turn things around.

So we are stuck with what we have currently got, and it is getting worse with each passing day.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

$3.5 Trillion A Year: America’s Health Care System Has Become One Of The World’s Largest Money Making Scams

If the U.S. health care system was a country, it would have the fifth largest GDP on the entire planet. At this point only the United States, China, Japan and Germany have a GDP that is larger than the 3.5 trillion dollar U.S. health care market. If that sounds obscene to you, that is because it is obscene. We should want people to be attracted to the health care industry because they truly want to help people that are suffering, but instead the primary reason why people are drawn to the health care industry these days is because of the giant mountains of money that are being made. Like so many other things in our society, the health care industry is all about the pursuit of the almighty dollar, and that is just wrong.

In order to keep this giant money machine rolling, the health care industry has to do an enormous amount of marketing. If you can believe it, a study that was just published found that at least 30 billion dollars a year is spent on such marketing.

Hoping to earn its share of the $3.5 trillion health care market, the medical industry is pouring more money than ever into advertising its products — from high-priced prescriptions to do-it-yourself genetic tests and unapproved stem cell treatments.

Spending on health care marketing nearly doubled from 1997 to 2016, soaring to at least $30 billion a year, according to a study published Tuesday in JAMA.

This marketing takes many different forms, but perhaps the most obnoxious are the television ads that are endlessly hawking various pharmaceutical drugs. If you watch much television, you certainly can’t miss them. They always show vibrant, smiling, healthy people participating in various outdoor activities on bright, sunny days, and the inference is that if you want to be like those people you should take their drugs. And the phrase “ask your doctor” is usually near the end of every ad…

The biggest increase in medical marketing over the past 20 years was in “direct-to-consumer” advertising, including the TV commercials that exhort viewers to “ask your doctor” about a particular drug. Spending on such ads jumped from $2.1 billion in 1997 to nearly $10 billion in 2016, according to the study.

As a result of all those ads, millions of Americans rush out to their doctors to ask about drugs that they do not need for diseases that they do not have.

And on January 1st, dozens of pharmaceutical manufacturers hit Americans with another annual round of massive price increases.

But everyone will just keep taking those drugs, because that is what the doctors are telling them to do. But what most people never find out is that the pharmaceutical industry goes to great lengths to get those doctors to do what they want. According to NBC News, the big drug companies are constantly “showering them with free food, drinks and speaking fees, as well as paying for them to travel to conferences”.

It is a legal form of bribery, and it works.

When you go to most doctors, they will only have two solutions to whatever problem you have – drugs or surgery.

And since nobody really likes to get cut open, and since drugs are usually the far less expensive choice, they are usually the preferred option.

Of course if doctors get off the path and start trying to get cute by proposing alternative solutions, they can get in big trouble really fast

Today’s medical doctors are not allowed to give nutritional advice, or the American Medical Association will come shut them down, and even if they were, they don’t know the right things to say, because they weren’t educated that way in medical college. So instead, M.D.s just sling experimental, addictive drugs at symptoms of deeper rooted sicknesses, along with immune-system-destroying antibiotics and carcinogenic vaccines.

That’s why any medicine that wrecks your health is easy to come by, just like junk food in vending machines. The money isn’t made off the “vending” products, the money is made off the sick fools who are repeat offenders and keep going back to the well for more poison – it’s called chronic sick care or symptom management. Fact: Prescription drugs are the fourth leading cause of death in America, even when “taken as directed.”

Switching gears, let’s talk about hospitals for a moment.

When you go to the hospital, it is often during a great time of need. If you are gravely ill or if an accident has happened and you think you might die, you aren’t thinking about how much your medical care is going to cost. At that moment you just want help, and that is a perfect opportunity for predators to take advantage of you.

Just consider the example of 24-year-old Nina Dang. She broke her arm while riding her bicycle in San Francisco, and so she went to the emergency room.

The hospital that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg donated so much money to definitely fixed her arm, but later they broke her bank account when they hit her with a $24,000 bill

A bystander saw her fall and called an ambulance. She was semi-lucid for that ride, awake but unable to answer basic questions about where she lived. Paramedics took her to the emergency room at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, where doctors X-rayed her arm and took a CT scan of her brain and spine. She left with her arm in a splint, on pain medication, and with a recommendation to follow up with an orthopedist.

A few months later, Dang got a bill for $24,074.50. Premera Blue Cross, her health insurer, would only cover $3,830.79 of that — an amount that it thought was fair for the services provided. That left Dang with $20,243.71 to pay, which the hospital threatened to send to collections in mid-December.

Most Americans assume that if they have “good health insurance” that they are covered if something major happens.

But as Dang found out, you can still be hit with crippling hospital bills even if you have insurance.

Today, medical debt is the number one reason why Americans declare bankruptcy. Because of the way our system is set up, most families are just one major illness away from financial ruin.

And this kind of thing is not just happening in California. The median charge for a visit to the emergency room nationally is well over a thousand dollars, and you can be billed up to 30 dollars for a single pill of aspirin during a hospital stay.

Our health care system is deeply broken, and it has been designed to squeeze as much money out of all of us as it possibly can.

Unfortunately, we are stuck with this system for now. The health care industry is certainly not going to reform itself, and the gridlock in Washington is going to make a political solution impossible for the foreseeable future.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Middle Class Erosion: 33 Million Americans Will Not Travel During The Holidays Because They Can’t Afford To Do So

We have repeatedly been told that the U.S. economy is “booming”, but meanwhile the middle class in the United States continues to be hollowed out. The financial bubbles that the Federal Reserve has created have been a great blessing for those at the very top of the economic pyramid, but most of the country is still deeply struggling. According to one survey, 78 percent of all full-time workers in the U.S. live paycheck to paycheck, and that doesn’t even include part-time workers or those that are unemployed. We have also been told that unemployment is “low”, but the real numbers tell us that there are more working age Americans without a job in 2018 than there was at any point during the last recession. Most of the people that my wife and I know are struggling, and I continually get emails from readers all over the country that are struggling. The sad truth is that the middle class is slowly but surely dying, and more people are falling into poverty with each passing day.

And we got more evidence of this fact on Tuesday. According to one new survey, 33 million Americans will not travel during the holiday season because they simply cannot afford to do so…

Wallet Hub’s Winter Travel Survey has revealed a disturbing trend: 33 million Americans won’t travel this winter because they can’t afford it.

I have been warning about the effect that rising interest rates would have on the economy, and rising rates are being blamed for this travel slowdown. The following comes from MSN

However, Americans are still feeling the pinch of the pocketbook—part of that has to do with rising interest rates.

“U.S. consumers will be shelling out billions of dollars in extra charges they otherwise could be spending on other things such as travel,” said Mark A. Bonn, director of the resort and vacation rental management program at Florida State University. “This makes it difficult to travel now, let alone after the holiday spending has ended.”

But of course the truth is that most Americans were deeply struggling long before interest rates started to rise.

Those of us in our prime working years can try to work even harder to make ends meet, but when you are elderly and on a fixed income, there is little that can be done.

According to the Sacramento Bee, 9 million elderly Americans across the country “can’t afford to eat”, and in one of their recent articles they featured the plight of 71-year-old Floridian Janet Burke…

Burke is one of the nearly 9 million elderly people at risk of hunger in the United States. In Florida, with the highest percentage of people 60 and older, more than 750,000 elderly need food assistance, according to experts.

The problems confronting the elderly have become one of the hot topics for candidates this election year. Candidates in South Florida have pointed to the needs of the elderly as one of the key concerns voiced by voters.

More than 100 million Americans receive assistance from the government each month, but many citizens do not believe in receiving any help and so they just quietly suffer as they search for a way to make things better.

Today, I would like to share with you a testimony from someone that has been there. My good friend Daisy Luther knows what it is like to barely survive from month to month, and the way that she described those struggles in one of her most recent articles was extremely poignant

Let’s talk about poverty.

I don’t mean the kind you’re talking about when your friends invite you to go shopping or for a night out and you say, “No, I can’t. I’m poor right now.”

I don’t mean the situation when you’d like to get a nicer car but decide you should just stick to the one you have because you don’t have a few thousand for a down payment.

I don’t mean the scene at the grocery store when you decide to get ground beef instead of steak.

I’m talking about when you have already done the weird mismatched meals from your pantry that are made up of cooked rice, stale crackers, and a can of peaches, and you’ve moved on to wondering what on earth you’re going to feed your kids.

Or when you get an eviction notice for non-payment of rent, a shut-off notice for your utilities, and a repo notice for your car and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about any of those notices because there IS NO MONEY.

If you’ve never been this level of broke, I’m very glad.

I have been this broke. I know that it is soul-destroying when no matter how hard you work, how many part-time jobs you squeeze in, and how much you cut, you simply don’t make enough money to survive in the world today.

If the U.S. economy really is “booming”, then why are millions upon millions of American families struggling like this?

Sadly, it is because the truth is that the U.S. economy is not “booming”, and we continue to get more indications that another major economic downturn is imminent.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Blueprints have been proposed that would mean much better days ahead for America, but most Americans seem quite content with the status quo.

Most Americans seem to want corrupt politicians in Washington, a Federal Reserve system that is bankrupting future generations, an exploding national debt, a deeply oppressive system of taxation and a bloated national government that is becoming more monstrous with each passing day.

In this day and age, “liberty” and “freedom” are seen as antiquated concepts that are standing in the way of “progress”, and more government always seems to be the “solution” that is proposed whenever any crisis arises.

If we truly want to turn America around, we need to return to the values and the principles that once made this nation so great, and right now that simply is not happening…

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

The Last Days Warrior Summit is the premier online event of 2018 for Christians, Conservatives and Patriots. It is a premium-members only international event that will empower and equip you with the knowledge and tools that you need as global events begin to escalate dramatically. The speaker list includes Michael Snyder, Mike Adams, Dave Daubenmire, Ray Gano, Dr. Daniel Daves, Gary Kah, Justus Knight, Doug Krieger, Lyn Leahz, Laura Maxwell and many more. Full summit access will begin on October 25th, and if you would like to register for this unprecedented event you can do so right here.

After You Read What They Did To One Elderly Couple, You Will Question Everything About Our Barbaric Healthcare System

Most Americans are just a single illness away from losing everything. In our country today, medical bills are the number one reason why people go bankrupt, and many of them even had “good health insurance”. As you will see below, even if you have “good health insurance” you can still be stuck with a $100,000 bill for a single hospital stay. Our healthcare system does not work, it is absolutely barbaric, and both political parties have completely dropped the ball. The big health insurance corporations now dominate the entire industry, and they have become masters at finding loopholes that will allow them to wiggle out from having to pay claims. The entire purpose of these companies is to take in as much money as possible and to pay out as little as they can, and in the process millions upon millions of American families are being financially ruined.

Today I would like to share with you what happened to one elderly couple once the wife got cancer. The wife actually had really good health insurance through her work, but that didn’t save them from financial disaster. The following story has been shared all over social media, and it really touched my heart when I read it, and I believe that it will touch yours as well…

Could you imagine having to choose between food or medicine?

Sadly, that is exactly the situation that many elderly Americans find themselves in today.

And it isn’t just elderly Americans that are getting squeezed by this barbaric system. When a 44-year-old history teacher from Austin, Texas named Drew Calver had a heart attack, he was assured by the hospital that they would “accept his insurance”

The heart attack was a shock for Calver, an avid swimmer who had competed in an Ironman triathlon just five months before.

Despite the surprise, Calver asked from his hospital bed whether his health insurance would cover all of this, a financial worry that accompanies nearly every American hospital stay. He was concerned because St. David’s is out-of-network on his school district health plan. The hospital told him not to worry and that they would accept his insurance, Calver said.

But when he got out of the hospital, the bills started coming, and the hospital claimed that he owed them more than a hundred thousand dollars

$164,941 for a four-day hospital stay, including $42,944 for four stents and $10,920 for room charges. Calver’s insurer paid $55,840. The hospital billed Calver for the unpaid balance of $108,951.31.

What that hospital is doing is morally wrong. Any hospital that would charge $164,941 for a four-day stay should be immediately shut down and investigated for criminal activity.

You could buy five or six really nice new vehicles or a new home for that amount of money. There is absolutely no justification for a bill that large.

These hospitals get us when we are at our most vulnerable, and they never tell us what things are going to cost up front.

Then later they stick us with absolutely outrageous bills and they expect us to pay.

When confronted about this ridiculous bill, the hospital initially claimed that “we did everything right”

In a statement, St. David’s HealthCare defended its handling of Calver’s bill and sought to blame the school district and Aetna for offering such a narrow network.

“While we did everything right in this particular situation, the structure of the patient’s insurance plan as a narrow network product placed a large portion of the financial responsibility directly on the patient because our hospital was not in-network,” the hospital said.

But then more media scrutiny came, and the hospital decided that Calver only owed them $782.29

Shortly after this story by Kaiser Health News and NPR was published and broadcast on Monday, St. David’s said it was now willing to accept $782.29 to resolve the $108,951 balance because Drew Calver qualifies for its “financial assistance discount.” In a statement, the hospital said this offer was contingent on Calver submitting his application for a discount based on his household finances.

If you ask me, $782.29 is still pretty outrageous, but it is a whole lot better than $108,951.31.

I can’t imagine how anyone could possibly defend our current healthcare system, but some people actually do.

They tell us that we have the most expensive healthcare system in the entire world because we are getting the best care.

Really?

According to Newsweek, the United States is actually “the most dangerous country in the developed world to give birth”…

The U.S. is the most dangerous country in the developed world to give birth in according to a report.

About 50,000 women are “severely injured” during childbirth, and about 700 women die every year. Half of these deaths could have been prevented, as could the injuries, if correct safety procedures had been followed, according to an investigation by USA Today.

That sure doesn’t sound like “the best care” to me.

Our medical professionals have been trained to offer only two solutions. Either they will cut you open or they will pump you full of drugs.

Sadly, even our children are being pumped full of pharmaceutical drugs these days…

The investigators found that nearly 1 in 5 kids uses prescription medications. The use of prescription medications was highest among teen girls (28 percent), and boys aged 6 to 12 (26.5 percent).

The most commonly prescribed drugs were asthma medications, antidepressants and stimulants used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Every time either the Republicans or the Democrats come up with a new plan, it almost always results in health insurance premiums going up and the quality of care going down.

Our healthcare system is a complete and utter disaster. It has devolved into a giant money making scam in which the medical industry systematically sucks the lifeblood out of sick and vulnerable Americans. The bottom line has become king, and most medical professionals are attracted to the industry these days because of how much money they will make.

In the end, the medical industry should be completely and utterly ashamed of themselves for what they are doing to this country.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

This Story Is A Perfect Example Of The Economic Despair That Most American Families Are Enduring In This “Booming” Economy

The middle class in America is being systematically eviscerated right in front of our eyes. I don’t normally do this, but today I want to share with you an email that was recently sent to me by a reader. I asked for permission to share her story with all of you, because I think that it will be encouraging for a lot of people out there to understand that they aren’t alone. In this supposedly “booming” economy, millions upon millions of American families are barely making it from month to month even though they are working as hard as they possibly can. But because the mainstream media has been endlessly touting “good economic news” for the last several years, many of those that are struggling end up believing that something must be wrong with them since they aren’t participating in all of the “prosperity”. But of course the truth is that almost all of the economic rewards have been going to the very top of the economic pyramid. Meanwhile, the middle class continues to shrink and more families fall into poverty with each passing month.

As you read the email that I am about to share with you, there are several things that I want you to notice.

#1 These people are not lazy. The husband has a good job for the area in which they live, and the wife is working very hard to bring in some online income as she takes care of the kids. So neither of them would be considered to be “unemployed”.

#2 They are also very frugal. They have cut expenses as far as they can, and they are still not able to make ends meet.

#3 They are being crushed by medical bills. Our healthcare system is a completely and total nightmare, and there are no solutions in sight. Thanks to the Democrats, soaring health insurance premiums are absolutely crushing middle class families. And the Republicans have had almost two years to try to fix things, and they have completely failed to get anything done. Shame on all of them.

#4 Almost everyone that they know is on government assistance, and so far they have resisted the urge to follow suit. Right now, more than 100 million Americans receive assistance from the government every month, and we are rapidly being transformed into a full-blown socialist nation.

I could say so much more, but let me get right to the email. This story really touched my heart, and I know that it will touch your heart as well…

I and my husband have been reading your blog for five or six years now. So many of your articles sound just like us, and I just wanted to share our situation and perspective as conservative Christians who were actually taught Biblical handling of money. Hopefully it will help you with your writing!

Unlike most millennials, we came into marriage with no debt and a decent savings. We have always lived on a strict budget that usually doesn’t include clothing or eating out; most of the time it doesn’t even include saving! We have never used credit cards. I am very frugal, shopping by what’s on sale, buying in bulk, cooking from scratch, and often doing without. We eat beans more than anything else. We own one vehicle, and half the time have to borrow a car from family because ours breaks down and we don’t have the money to fix it.

We work hard. My husband works for the county more than full time, and makes quite a bit more than most jobs in our area (minimum wage is 8.25 here), but a third of his check goes straight to taxes. I worked outside the home before we had children, and now have a blog and an online business that make a few hundred a month on average. We also work hard growing a large garden and keeping a few animals for food.

Unfortunately we just can’t make ends meet. We’ve used up all of our savings and haven’t been able to replace it. Family members are giving us $500-$1000 every month. We’ve both been in the hospital a few times for injury and illness, and each time costs thousands of dollars. We spent our tax return this year on medical bills, and still owe thousands to the local hospital.

We see what is going on in this country, and around the world, and we want to be prepared, but instead of getting ahead we just get more and more behind. We’ve already sold everything that was worth anything.

After taxes, the biggest expense that is killing us is insurance. All the types of insurance that are mandatory or just seem like a necessity now – health insurance, car insurance, insurance for our mobile home and rental property (required by our landlord), life insurance that is necessary with my husband’s job.

Medical bills are next on the list – who can afford to go to a doctor nowadays, even with insurance? We do everything possible to avoid doctor visits, even having our last child at home without a midwife even though I am considered high risk. Sometimes emergencies happen though, and going to the doctor just isn’t avoidable.

Pretty much all of our friends and co-workers are getting government help every month. Honestly we’d be a lot better off if we did to, but we don’t want to. It’s not the government’s job to take care of everybody.

But really, what are we supposed to do? Is there anything we can do to fix the mess our economy is in? Is there anything people like us can do to get out of this situation, or is it just a hopeless downward spiral that’s going to get worse and worse till we are living under a bridge?

I wrote her back and tried to encourage her. No matter how bad things seem to be in life, there is always a way to turn things around if you just keep on fighting.

And things could turn around for America too, but we would have to be willing to fundamentally change our ways, and at this moment there are no indications that this will happen any time soon.

I get accused of being all about “doom and gloom”, but in my latest book I set forth a detailed prescription for what we need to do to turn things around. And I ran for Congress on a platform of positive solutions, but that message didn’t resonate enough with the voters.

Inexplicably, most Americans seem to like the status quo even though the system is literally coming apart at the seams all around us.

What we have been doing as a nation does not work, it is not sustainable, and it has become exceedingly clear that a day of reckoning is rapidly approaching. At this point it is so obvious that even the mainstream media is starting to warn of imminent economic disaster.

For years, many of us have been warning what would happen if we did not change our ways, and we have been trying to offer alternative solutions, but most Americans continue to embrace the current system and believe that it will be able to survive despite all of the evidence to the contrary.

In the end, it is probably going to take a complete and utter collapse of the current system before most people will wake up, and that is something that nobody will enjoy.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

$28,166: What It Costs To Provide Health Care For An American Family Of Four For One Year

One of the primary reasons why the middle class in America is disappearing so rapidly is because of skyrocketing health care costs. Families all over the country are being absolutely crushed by extremely high health insurance premiums, ridiculously high deductibles and very large out-of-pocket expenses that were not anticipated. In fact, medical bills are the number one reason why individuals go bankrupt in the United States today. Once upon a time, the medical profession was all about helping people, but today it has become a heartless money-making operation that is dominated by health insurance corporations and pharmaceutical companies. If we do not make major changes quickly, our out of control health care system will destroy the middle class in our country all by itself.

I knew that health care costs were astronomical, but I had no idea that health care costs for an average family of four for one year had hit $28,166

The total costs for a typical family of four insured by the most common health plan offered by employers will average $28,166 this year, according to the annual Milliman Medical Index.

The estimate includes the average cost of health insurance paid by employers and employees, as well as deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses.

That is a crazy amount of money. Once upon a time, you could buy an entire house in America for $28,000. But now that will only cover health care costs for a single year.

The largest portion of that amount goes to pay for health insurance. For those that receive health benefits at work, usually the employer pays most of that bill

Last year, the premium for the most popular health plan offered by employers — what is known as a preferred provider organization — for family coverage was $19,481, according to the annual survey done by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust.

Employers paid $13,430 and employees paid $6,050 of the premium on average.

When you break down that total, it comes to more than $1,500 a month just for health insurance.

That is insane.

And of course those of us that are self-employed or that work for businesses that don’t provide health insurance have to pay for it all on our own.

Needless to say, that can be financially crippling. And thanks to Obamacare, it is harder than ever before. Not too long ago, I wrote about one family in Virginia that is now faced with the prospect of paying $3,000 a month for an Obamacare plan…

Could you afford to pay $3000 a month for health insurance? Previously, Ian Dixon had been paying $900 a month for health insurance for his family of four, but thanks to changes in the Charlottesville insurance market, a similar plan will now cost him more than $3,000 a month.

This is one of the biggest reasons why the percentage of Americans that are self-employed is hovering near record lows. People simply cannot afford the health insurance.

And every year it gets worse. For 2018, it was being projected that the average rate increase for Obamacare plans would be 37 percent.

If our paychecks were going up 37 percent each year, that would be fine.

But of course that just isn’t happening.

This is one of our great long-term challenges as a society. We have got to get health care costs under control if our system is going to be sustainable.

There is absolutely no reason why an appendectomy in the United States needs to be 10 times more expensive than an appendectomy in Mexico. The quality of care in Mexico is not 10 times worse than in the United States. In fact, it is actually pretty comparable to what we have here, and many Americans are now taking “medical vacations” to have procedures performed down there because our system is so badly broken.

Sadly, this figure of $28,166 for a family of four will be out of date by next month.

According to one expert quoted by USA Today, every single month the number goes up by another one hundred dollars…

“But every month, a family of four’s health care costs are going up $100 a month,” Weltz said.

The costs have been going up by that amount — on average — for more than a decade.

I have to admit that our health care system makes me angry. Today, the U.S. health care system accounts for nearly one-fifth of the U.S. economy, but back in 1960 it only accounted for about 5 percent of the overall economy.

There is no reason why we can’t start moving back toward that level. We just need to reintroduce true competition and free market principles into our health care system. Those that have been abusing their power need to be held accountable, and something desperately needs to be done about the health insurance companies and the big pharmaceutical giants. In one recent year, more than 100 billion dollars was spent on cancer drugs, and that is absolutely outrageous.

If you go all the way back to 1960, an average of $146 was spent on health care per person for the entire year.

So for a family of four, the total would have been about $600, but now it is over $28,000.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

On a per capita basis, we spend far, far more than anyone else in the world on health care.

If you can believe it, we actually spend nearly twice as much as most of the other industrialized nations in the world on a per capita basis.

The only way that we are going to have a thriving middle class is if we get health care costs under control, but unfortunately Congress is such a mess right now that nothing is likely to get done for the foreseeable future.

So our health care system is going to continue to deteriorate, and many Americans will continue to travel overseas when they need important procedures to be done.

Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

Getting Trump Elected Was Not Enough – We Need A Thousand Liberty Candidates To Run For Office All Over The Nation

The last few weeks have shown us that getting Donald Trump elected is not enough.  This Congress is being called “the most unproductive in 164 years”, and thanks to all of the RINOs in the Republican Party Trump’s agenda is sitting dead in the water.  Obamacare has not been repealed, taxes have not been cut, there is no funding for a border wall, and Planned Parenthood is still fully funded.  It has become clear that simply getting the Republicans control of the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives is not going to get us where we want to go.  Starting in 2018, we are going to have to work very hard to replace bad Republicans with liberty candidates that will fight relentlessly for our values.

And I am not just talking about getting a handful of liberty candidates elected.  What we really need is for a thousand good men and women to step forward to run for seats on the national, state and local levels all over the nation.

If we sit back and do nothing we are just going to get more of the same, and that is not an option.

The gridlock in D.C. is not just frustrating to us.  After the latest effort to repeal Obamacare flopped in the Senate, President Trump was visibly frustrated too

“We are in this room to deliver on our promise,” Trump said. “We have no choice, we have to repeal and replace Obamacare. We can repeal it but the best is repeal and replace and let’s get going. I intend to keep my promise and I know you will, too.”

He added: “People are hurting. Inaction is not an option and frankly, I don’t think we should leave town unless we have a health insurance plan, unless we can give our people great health care because we are close, we are very close.”

I applaud Trump for urging Congress to stay in town.  Most people don’t realize this, but Congress actually gets the entire month of August off every year.  It would be inexcusable for them to do that again this year with so much unfinished business, but I have a feeling that they are going to stick to the schedule anyway.

Since I am running for Congress, I decided that it would be a good idea to look into how these guys actually spend their time, and I have been absolutely astounded by what I have learned.  Members of Congress work less than three days a week on average.  And on those “work days”, they spend about twice as much time “dialing for dollars” as they do on the business of the people.

No wonder they never seem to get anything done.

So when they complain that they don’t have enough time to get a health care bill passed I don’t have a lot of sympathy for them.

But if all of the Republicans that voted for past Obamacare repeals would just vote for this one it would already be over.  In particular, there are three liberal Senators that are at the heart of the problem

One is Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski; another is Maine Sen. Susan Collins; a third is Shelly Moore Capito of West Virginia. All three of them were all over Obamacare repeal — when they knew then-President Obama would veto those bills.

Now, as we can see, they never really intended to support a real effort to repeal Obamacare, as evidenced by the pitiful excuses they are offering now in opposition to the same legislation they once supported.

Hopefully the Republicans in the Senate can pull something together, because Obamacare is absolutely suffocating families all over this country financially, and doing nothing is not going to be acceptable.

Of course getting Obamacare repealed is just the beginning of what needs to be done.  There are literally dozens of issues that need to be addressed, and the Republicans are missing a once in a generation opportunity to dramatically change the direction of the federal government.

Hordes of Democrats are already lining up to run for Congress, and there is no guarantee that the Republicans will keep control of the Senate and the House in 2018.

Normally things shift in the direction of the opposition party during the first mid-term election of a new presidency, but that doesn’t have to happen this time around.

Yes, if we trot out the same old tired professional politicians that have been making a mess of things in Washington there is a good chance that we could get creamed.

But if instead we have fresh, vibrant liberty candidates challenge Republican incumbents in primaries all over the nation, we could actually turn 2018 into a revolution in our direction.

I think that almost all of us are deeply frustrated with professional politicians that use labels such as “conservative”, “pro-life” and “pro-gun” to get our votes but then repeatedly betray our values once they get into office.

Just because someone in an “incumbent” does not mean that they are going to get a free pass this time around.

As I have said before, I believe that this is going to be the most important mid-term election in modern American history, and if the Democrats take control of both houses of Congress it could completely doom Donald Trump’s presidency.

If we are going to win, now is the time to get involved, because most elections are won or lost long before election day rolls around.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

Hordes Of Anti-Trump Democrats Are Lining Up To Run For Congress In 2018

If Republicans don’t wake up, there is a very real possibility that we could lose control of the House of Representatives in 2018.  And if that happens, Donald Trump’s agenda will be dead in the water because the Democrats will use their majority to block everything.  Trump’s surprise election victory last November was perhaps the single most galvanizing moment for grassroots Democrats in this generation.  Just as the election of Barack Obama gave rise to the Tea Party movement, we are now seeing a tremendous amount of energy among liberals all over the nation.  If Republicans cannot match this energy, we are going to be in for quite a shock in November 2018.

There have been times in the past when it has been difficult for the Democrats to find viable candidates to challenge Republican incumbents in the House, but that is definitely not the case this time around.  For example, just check out what has already been happening in California

Eight challengers have lined up to take on Central Valley Republican Jeff Denham. An equal number have jumped into the fray against embattled San Diego-area Rep. Duncan Hunter, the focus of a Justice Department criminal investigation regarding his alleged use of campaign funds to pay for family expenses.

Controversial Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of Huntington Beach, recently in the headlines for his own dealings with Russia, has seven Democrats contesting his reelection. Rep. Steve Knight of Palmdale has six.

And that same Politico article goes on to describe how similar things are happening all over the nation.

One of the big reasons why so many Democrats are stepping forward is because they smell blood.  During the first mid-term election of a new presidency, the opposing party almost always picks up seats in the House.  In fact, Democratic strategist Garry South says the average number of seats picked up during such elections is 23

Democratic strategist Garry South, who advised presidential campaigns for Al Gore and Joe Lieberman, said the enthusiasm is especially revved-up because “Democrats need only 24 seats nationally to flip to get control of the House’’ — and more than a quarter of those may be in California.

History is on their side, he argues: Over the past 20 cycles in the first term of a presidency, Republican or Democratic, “the average number flipped has been 23 seats.”

Could you imagine the gridlock in D.C. if the Democrats are able to pull this off?

Donald Trump would essentially just be killing time until 2020 because he would be able to get absolutely nothing through Congress.

And that is why it is so frustrating that the Republicans are squandering the opportunity that they have been given right now.  The American people gave them control of the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives, and they can’t seem to get anything accomplished.

This is a once in a generation opportunity to completely reshape the federal government, and the Republicans are falling flat on their faces.  And of course the biggest reason why the Republicans can’t get anything done is because of all the RINOs (Republicans in name only) that are holding up Trump’s agenda.

One of my slogans is “Every RINO needs to go”, and I am encouraging good men and women to step forward all over the nation to challenge the Republican incumbents that have been betraying conservative values over and over again.

But so far Democrats are having a much easier time getting people to run than we are.

If good men and women don’t step forward, we are going to end up with candidates such as Kid Rock and Caitlyn Jenner

Olympic gold medalist and transgender activist Caitlyn Jenner is the latest celebrity to reveal she has considered launching a run for Senate, telling radio host John Catsimatidis she is in the process of determining her future in activism and politics.

“I have considered it. I like the political side of it,” Jenner, who is a Republican, told Catsimatidis on AM 970 in New York.

Is that what you want?

In my brand new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters”, I discuss why I decided to run for Congress.  If you would have asked me in April if I would ever run for public office I probably would have laughed at you, but in May my life turned totally upside down when I was moved in a completely unexpected direction.

I believe that 2018 is going to be the most important mid-term election in modern American history.

We can seize this opportunity and send hundreds of candidates that love liberty and freedom to Washington and to state legislatures all over the nation, or we can apathetically sit back and watch the control freaks take even more control of things.

There has never been a more important time to get involved, and I hope that you will join me in trying to make a difference.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

The Republicans In Congress Have Betrayed Us Again

I guess by now we should be accustomed to politicians lying to us.  For years, Republicans have been promising to repeal Obamacare if we would just give them control of the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives.  We did that, and now they are breaking that promise.  Because even if “Obamacare 2.0” miraculously gets through the Senate, most of the essential elements of Obamacare will survive.  If you look at the latest Senate bill, most of the Obamacare subsidies are still in there, many of the Obamacare taxes are still in there, and most of the Obamacare regulations are still in there.  On top of everything else, the bill would create an absolutely massive health insurance company bailout superfund, and that is something that the Democrats never even dared to do.  The bill being pushed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wouldn’t actually fix much of anything, and it certainly cannot be called a “repeal” of Obamacare.

I have said this before, and I will say it again.  The Republicans got a bill to repeal Obamacare through Congress and on to Barack Obama’s desk in early 2016.  Obama vetoed that bill, but now the Republicans should take that exact same bill and get it to Donald Trump’s desk.

Of course repealing Obamacare won’t fix our deeply broken health care system.  But it would be a giant step in the right direction.

So why won’t the Republican do it?

Instead, they are trying to “fix” Obamacare, and that is about as futile as trying to “fix” a steaming pile of garbage.

In a recent editorial, Rand Paul explained why he cannot support this bill

The Senate Obamacare bill does not repeal Obamacare. Not even close.

In fact, the Senate GOP bill codifies and likely expands many aspects of Obamacare.

The Senate Obamacare-lite bill codifies a federal entitlement to insurance. With the Senate GOP bill, Republicans, for the first time, will signal that they favor a key aspect of Obamacare – federal taxpayer funding of private insurance purchases.

The bill will transfer billions of dollars to people who will then transfer billions of dollars to insurance companies. What a great business model – encourage the federal government to use taxpayer money to buy a private company’s product. Great business model, that is, if you are Big Insurance. Remarkable.

The Senate Obamacare-lite bill does what the Democrats forgot to do – appropriate billions for Obamacare’s cost-sharing reductions, aka subsidies. Really? Republicans are going to fund Obamacare subsidies that the Democrats forgot to fund?

Since it looked like the first version of the bill was destined to fail, Mitch McConnell released a new version of the bill today which includes even more government spending and interference

Seeking to quell a revolt from more than one-fifth of his conference, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed to forego two significant tax cuts for the wealthy and instead pour hundreds of billions of dollars back into the proposal he released two weeks ago. There’s now $45 billion to combat opioid addiction and even more funding to help mitigate higher insurance costs for low-income people and to stabilize the individual markets. An additional $70 billion would go to states to to help drive down premiums, on top of $112 billion that was in the original proposal. McConnell’s target was senators toward the center of the Republican ranks, who represented the largest bloc of opposition to his first legislative draft.

This version is almost certainly destined to fail as well, because Rand Paul and Susan Collins have already come out against it, and McConnell can only afford to lose one more vote.

If a Republican bill cannot get through the Senate, McConnell is already talking about a bipartisan effort that would involve cooperation with the Democrats.  And of course the Democrats will want to keep as much of Obamacare as they possibly can.

So at the end of the day it looks like we are going to end up with either “Obamacare”, “Obamacare 2.0” or “a new and improved version of Obamacare”.

Did we really spend all of that time, effort and energy getting Republicans elected for this?

Time after time these professional politicians use labels such as “Republican”, “conservative” and “Pro-Life” to get elected, but then once they get into office they betray our values over and over again.

When are we going to start electing real conservatives instead of placeholders?  When the Democrats get power, they aggressively move their agenda forward, but when Republicans get power nothing too significant ever seems to change.

If I get the chance to go to Washington, I plan to be a wrecking ball.  Party leaders like Mitch McConnell won’t like that very much, but if we can get enough good people elected in 2018 the Republicans will have entirely new leadership soon enough.

Health care is an issue that deeply affects all of us.  So many middle class families have seen their health insurance premiums go up by hundreds of dollars a month, and that can be absolutely crippling for a family budget.  At one point a health insurance company tried to double what I was paying per month, and so I can definitely relate to what so many others are going through.

We have got to dramatically lower health care costs.  That means that we need substantial legal reform so that the cost of malpractice insurance goes way down, we need to remove as many “paper pushers” from the system as possible, and we need to restore as much competition to the system on every level as possible.

The health care system should be built around doctors and patients.  There is way, way too much bureaucracy in the system right now, and lots of people that are never directly involved in providing health care are becoming exceedingly wealthy as a result.

Ronald Reagan once famously said that “government is the problem”, and this is another case where that phrase rings so true.

If you take the shackles off, the free market system actually works extremely well, but these days both parties seem to want to constantly drag us toward socialism.

If we do nothing, they will win, and that is why we need to stand up and fight for what we believe while we still can.

The Way Congress Is Handling Health Care Shows Why They Only Have A 17 Percent Approval Rating

The Senate health care bill was unveiled on Thursday, and it appears to be dead on arrival. At least four conservative senators say that they can’t vote for the current version because it doesn’t go far enough, while several moderate Republicans are expressing concerns that it goes too far in repealing popular Obamacare provisions. You can read the full text of the bill here. Since Democrats are going to be united in voting against any bill that the Republicans put forward, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can only lose two Republican votes if he wants something to pass. I don’t know how that is going to be possible, and so in the end we may be stuck with Obamacare for the foreseeable future and that would be a total disaster.

It is astounding to me that Republicans don’t want to pass the exact same clean Obamacare repeal bill that they got to Obama’s desk in 2016. If they got that same bill to Trump’s desk, he would sign it. Instead of trying to do everything at once, just repeal Obamacare and then start working on various pieces of the health care system one at a time.

According to Real Clear Politics, Congress currently has an average approval rating of just 17.6 percent. It is an institution that has failed the American people over and over again, and we are never going to move things in a positive direction in this country until we do something to clean up that cesspool of filth and corruption.

If we truly want to fix health care in this country, we need to rebuild the entire system from the ground up based on free market principles. But of course the bill that was just unveiled in the Senate simply tries to patch up the system we already have, and that ultimately won’t work…

The bill is very similar to the version of the House bill that passed last month but with some key changes. The text released Thursday showed the Senate legislation would still make major changes to the nation’s health care system, repealing Obamacare’s individual mandate, drastically cutting back federal support of Medicaid, eliminating Obamacare’s taxes on the wealthy, insurers and others. The Senate plan however would keep Obamacare’s subsidies to help people pay for individual coverage.

One thing that is good about the Senate bill is that it would eliminate Medicaid reimbursements for Planned Parenthood for 12 months, but of course this is something that would need to be made permanent as soon as possible.

A more detailed list of major changes that the Senate bill makes was posted on Zero Hedge

  • Gives subsidies illegal immigrants if they are working in the United States
  • Subsidies based on 350% Federal Poverty Level, not 400%.
  • Gets rid of business and consumer mandates with no penalty
  • Qualified plans don’t need to provide abortion coverage unless it’s to save the life of the mother
  • Each state gets 15-10 Billion for uninsurables
  • Cadillac tax is gone
  • OTC med tax is gone
  • HSA penalty tax is 10%
  • Prescription tax is gone
  • Medical device tax is gone
  • Business owners can deduct part d expense again
  • Deductible medical expenses are back to 7.5% instead of 10% AGI
  • Tanning tax is gone (ironic)
  • Net investment tax is gone
  • HSA deductibility will be adjusted every year for COLA
  • Both spouses can now make catch-up contributions to a family HSA
  • 60 day limitation to setting up an HSA account when first getting the plan for purposes of a current claim
  • No coverage for abortion clinics
  • Repeal of cost-sharing subsidy
  • MLR set by states
  • Grants for states battling opiod addiction (like mine)
  • CHIP is reauthorized
  • $5,000 app fee to create small business association health pool
  • Psychiatric coverage is limited to institutionalized individuals only, and for stays up to 30 days but not to exceed 90 days
  • The Senate draft health-care bill doesn’t currently include a provision penalizing people who don’t maintain continuous coverage

Overall, the Senate bill would be a bit of an improvement over Obamacare.

But a slight improvement over a major disaster is still a disaster.

Shortly after the bill was unveiled, four conservative senators announced that they cannot vote for the bill the way that it stands now…

However, four conservative Republican senators —Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Mike Lee of Utah— said they “are not ready to vote for this bill” because it does not go far enough in repealing Obamacare. Separately, moderate GOP Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada said he has “serious concerns” about the bill’s impact on Medicaid patients.

“Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor,” Paul, Cruz, Johnson and Lee said in a joint statement. “There are provisions in this draft that represent an improvement to our current health care system, but it does not appear this draft as written will accomplish the most important promise that we made to Americans: to repeal Obamacare and lower their health care costs.”

On the other end of the spectrum, a couple of RINO (Republican in name only) senators are expected to object to the bill because it would reduce funding for Planned Parenthood

The Senate bill would cut Medicaid funds from organizations that provide abortions for one year. It does not mention Planned Parenthood by name, but the legislation is clearly targeting the organization, which Republican leaders have promised to defund.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, have both expressed concerns about any legislation that defunds Planned Parenthood. Murkowski said Thursday she was still reviewing the bill’s provisions.

President Trump says that the Senate bill is not a finished product and that it is open for negotiation.

But I don’t see how in the world anyone is going to be able to craft something that will be acceptable to at least 50 Republicans in the Senate.

Unfortunately, even if the Republicans pass a health care bill somehow it will not fix the giant mess that our system has become.

One step in the right direction would be to legalize the kind of national buying groups that Rand Paul has proposed

Imagine if the tens of millions of people who belong to Credit Unions, or organizations like the NRA or ACLU, could negotiate as a group for health insurance and drug prices! Imagine the insurance executives and drug companies coming on bended knee to negotiate for the business of tens of millions of people!

I have proposed legalizing nationwide Association Health Plans. My Senate Bill 222 does just that. I have advised the President to act through his Secretary of Labor to review existing law and make it explicitly known that national associations can negotiate as one to bring down insurance prices.

And I would also like to see an expansion of direct primary care and other models that bypass the health insurance companies entirely.

The health insurance companies collectively make a profit of 15 billion dollars a year, and they are a big part of what is wrong with our current system.

There is so much that needs to be done to fix things, and both parties are failing the American people.

So let’s hope that we can remove a lot of these incumbents in 2018, because we definitely need some fresh thinking in Washington.

(Originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog)

Rush Limbaugh And Ann Coulter Are Right – America Is On The Verge Of Widespread Chaos And Civil Unrest

Things will never be the same in America from this moment forward.  When 66-year-old James Hodgkinson attempted to gun down as many Republican members of Congress as possible at a baseball field in Virginia, he permanently shattered the notion that we could go back to the way that things used to be in this country.  At one time, Republicans and Democrats may have strongly disagreed with one another over the issues, but there was always a certain code of civility that everyone understood and respected.  But now that is long gone, and if our politicians and the big media outlets continue to fuel the rising hatred in this country, it won’t be too long before we are dealing with widespread chaos and civil unrest from coast to coast.

Most of the anger and frustration that we are currently witnessing is being fueled by the left.  On his radio show yesterday, Rush Limbaugh accused the left of openly promoting violence

“I have been worried for quite a while about the cumulative effect or impact of this constant anti-Trump hysteria everywhere in mainstream media: New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC,” Limbaugh told listeners.

“It’s hysteria. It’s lies. It’s things that are completely manufactured about Trump personally, about Trump and Russia, about climate change, about any number of things.

“I have been very concerned about what all of this is doing to the average, base Democrat voter. I have sensed them getting more and more fringe and imbalanced, and the evidence for it is everywhere in the things that they tweet. They openly promote violence, and advocate some of the most despicable things happening to their political enemies.”

Someone like James Hodgkinson is not produced in a vacuum.  There has been a steady pattern of threats and violence against Republicans since the election, and all that Hodgkinson did was take things to the next level.  Breitbart has put out an article entitled “15 Times Celebrities Envisioned Violence Against Trump and the GOP”, and WND published an even longer list entitled “20 times violence threatened, used, in wake of Dems’ political collapse”.  When celebrities, politicians and media personalities constantly use language that is seething with hatred, it shouldn’t surprise us when their followers engage in violent acts.

I have warned many times in the past about the civil unrest that is coming, and now many of my fellow conservative commentators are sounding the alarm as well.  For example, in the aftermath of the attack in Virginia radio host Michael Savage made the following chilling statement to his audience: “We are at a boiling point. There’s going to be a civil war.”

No American should ever want to see such a thing happen, but the left just keeps getting more and more radical.  And even Hillary Clinton recently stated that she has joined “the Resistance”.  The following comes from Ann Coulter

Recently, Hillary announced her steadfast opposition to the winning candidate using a military term, saying she’d joined the “Resistance.”

Imagine if Trump lost and then announced that he’d joined the “RESISTANCE.” He’d be accused of trying to activate right-wing militias. Every dyspeptic glance at an immigrant would be reported as fascistic violence.

But the media seem blithely unaware that the anti-Trump “Resistance” has been accompanied by nonstop militaristic violence from liberals.

In recent weeks, I have heard from so many people all over the nation that are extremely excited about the possibility of me running for Congress.  But anyone that is considering running for public office these days has to consider the fact that they will become potential targets for violence.  For example, just recently one very sick individual actually threatened to hang Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz…

“I feel very safe and secure at the Capitol,” Chaffetz said Wednesday. “We work in a fortress with literally thousands of people to protect us, but once we leave the Capitol, it’s a whole different equation.”

Chaffetz wants U.S. marshals to be charged with assessing threats against members of Congress and securing them in more high-profile and widely attended events.

Chaffetz was the focus of a March death threat in which a Florida man vowed in a voicemail to “hunt your a– down, wrap a rope around your neck and hang you from a lamppost,” according to court records.

Could you imagine if your wife found that voicemail before you did?

But this is what the left is becoming.  Because they don’t have any sort of a positive message to offer, they have to resort to threats, intimidation and violence.  I have been writing about this quite a bit lately, and it turns out that Rush Limbaugh very much feels the same way…

They don’t have an agenda that’s optimistic and upbeat that they can run on, and they don’t dare be honest about their real agenda. So all they can do is to continue to do what they’ve been doing, and it’s not healthy, it’s not uplifting, it’s not inspiring. It isn’t representative or reflective of any of the traditional American values that for so long have united us. A sense of optimism, a sense of can-do, a sense of unity, a sense of nationhood. All of these things are under assault.

If the left continues to go down this path, the anger and the frustration are going to continue to grow, and eventually cities all over America are going to burn.  This is the kind of a scenario that I laid out in The Beginning Of The End, and now it is actually starting to play out right in front of us.

Today, this nation is more divided than it has ever been in my entire lifetime, and I don’t see that changing any time soon.  In fact, I expect even more anger and even more hatred as the divisions deepen.

Without each passing year, the left moves even farther to the left.  It has gotten to the point where many on the far left actually refer to Hillary Clinton as a “moderate”, which is funny because at one time she was a cutting edge liberal.

On the right, there is an emerging movement to return to the values and the principles that this country was founded upon.  So if the left doesn’t like current Republican leadership, then they really aren’t going to like the hardcore constitutional conservatives that are going to start replacing them.

We are in a battle for the soul of our nation, and the future of America is literally at stake.

It is a battle that we cannot afford to lose, because if the left wins there literally will be no viable future for our country at all.

Democrats Are Already Using The Shooting Of Steve Scalise To Call For More Gun Control

The left never lets a good crisis go to waste.  Within hours of the shooting of U.S. Representative Steve Scalise and other Republicans at a baseball field in Virginia, top Democrats were already calling for more gun control.  Of course the shooter, 66-year-old James Hodgkinson, is from a state that already has some of the toughest gun laws in the entire nation.  And the largest city in Illinois, Chicago, is plagued by rampant gun violence on a daily basis.  Alternatively, crime rates tend to be very low where rates of gun ownership are very high.  Up here in north Idaho, anyone that would dare to break into homes at night would have a very, very short criminal career.  Gun owners are the number one crime deterrent, but liberals still don’t understand this.

Every time an Islamic terrorist or a crazed leftist starts shooting people, the left immediately pounces on it as an excuse to start promoting gun control again.  For example, just consider what Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe had to say just hours after the shooting

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) advocated for stricter gun laws on Thursday after Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and several others were shot on a baseball field in the Washington suburb of Alexandria, Va.

“I think we need to do more to protect all of our citizens,” McAuliffe said at a press conference. “I have long advocated — this is not what today is about — but there are too many guns on the streets. We lose 93 million Americans a day to gun violence. I have long talked about this. Background checks and shutting down gun show loopholes, and that’s not for today’s discussion, but it’s not just about politicians. We worry about this every day for all of our citizens.”

Of course this is complete nonsense, but the truly frightening thing about this is that McAuliffe is very, very seriously thinking of running for president.  In fact, from what I hear it is a near certainty that “Bill Clinton’s best friend” will run in 2020 if Hillary Clinton does not.

If many liberals had their way, even the police would be disarmed.  But if the Capitol Hill police at that baseball field had not been armed on Wednesday, there would have been nobody to stop James Hodgkinson from killing one member of Congress after another

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., described the chaotic scene to Fox News: “We were like sitting ducks.”

“Without the Capitol Hill police it would have been a massacre,” Paul said, calling the scene “sort of a killing field.”

In fact, Senator Paul believes that “nobody would have survived” if the Capitol Hill Police had not been there to shoot back…

“I can tell you, that I think with absolute certainty, nobody would have survived without the Capitol Hill Police. They saved everybody’s life. Incredibly brave and deserve everyone’s praise, because, with this guy, who knows what his — how heavily armed he was, but nobody else had a weapon. So, he was just killing everyone — he would have. … They deserve our gratitude for saving — it would have been a massacre without them.”

It could have easily been the worst tragedy in the history of the United States Congress.  Even with such a quick response by the Capitol Hill Police, Representative Mo Brooks says that Hodgkinson still got off “50-100 shots”

“Behind third base, I see a rifle…I hear Steve Scalise over near 2nd base scream,” Brooks said. “…While all of this is going on, Steve Scalise our whip was lying on the ground near the second base position crawling into right field, leaving a trail of blood.”

Brooks said the gunman was using the dugout as cover and estimated the assailant got off 50-100 shots during the attack on the 15-25 people gathered at the field.

And of course this is far from an isolated incident.  In an article earlier today, I noted the string of violent attacks on Republican members of Congress in recent months.  The threats, violence and intimidation coming from the left are steadily getting worse, and I strongly believe that security for members of Congress needs to be greatly strengthened.  In the past, we mainly had to be concerned about security for the President, the Vice-President and a handful of other really high profile targets, but now every single member of Congress is a potential target.

I also believe that all members of Congress should be allowed to be armed no matter where they travel.  Alternatively, a Secret Service detail could be assigned to each one, but that would be quite expensive.  What is clear is that the limited security that we have gotten away with in the past for members of Congress simply is not going to work any longer.

James Hodgkinson fully intended to kill every single Republican member of Congress on that baseball field.  So if there is anyone out there that disagrees with me, I would ask you to carefully consider this eyewitness account from Representative Mike Bishop

As we were standing here this morning, a gunman walked up to the fence line and just began to shoot. I was standing at home plate and he was in the third base line. He had a rifle that was clearly meant for the job of taking people out, multiple casualties, and he had several rounds of magazines that he kept unloading and reloading it. Firing it.

The only reason—the only reason—why any of us walked out of this thing: By the grace of God, one of the folks here had a weapon to fire back and give us a moment to find cover. Because we were inside the backstop and if we didn’t have that cover by a brave person who stood up and took a shot themselves, we would not have gotten out of there and every one of us would have been hit. Every single one of us.

The bad guys are always going to be able to find weapons, and more gun control is never going to be the answer.

In this case, I am so very thankful for the guns that were at that baseball field, because they saved a lot of lives today.

We Want A Government So Small That We Can Barely See It

We need to fundamentally redefine the relationship between government and the people in this country.  Today, we have become so accustomed to big government that most of us can’t even imagine another way of doing things.  And I am not just talking about the federal government either.  Even in a red state like Idaho, the state government has become a sprawling bureaucracy that requires 3.5 billion dollars a year to keep going.  And all over the country many local governments are “supersized” as well.  But this isn’t the way that our Founding Fathers intended for things to work.  They intended to create a society where government is very limited and where liberty and freedom are maximized.

Back in 2015, U.S. Senator Rand Paul made headlines all over the country when he tweeted that he wanted “a government so small I can barely see it!”

In my opinion, we need 99 more senators that see things the exact same way.

The reason why we want the federal government to be so limited is because there is an inverse correlation between the size of government and the level of freedom and liberty that we are able to enjoy.  In other words, every time government gets bigger, we lose more freedom and liberty.  And when government becomes the center of virtually everything (like in North Korea), the result is nightmarish tyranny.

We have been trained to believe that government should be working to solve all of our problems, but the truth is that much of the time government is the problem.

Those that are constantly advocating big government solutions to everything are actually promoting an anti-liberty agenda.  If we can get people to start understanding this, it will result in an enormous political shift in this country.

We need to start having more conversations about the proper role of government in our society.  Government does have a role, but that role should be very limited.  I really like how Idaho State Representative Karey Hanks made this point just recently…

What is the “proper function” of government? It is debated on TV, social media and election campaigns. Many people don’t care much, as long as they have gas in the car, a paycheck, food to eat and a little spare time. Life is good! How many people actually take the time to vote in any given election?

Laws were established by our Founding Fathers to preserve freedom–not restrict it. They believed laws should be enacted only to protect against physical harm, theft and involuntary bondage. Government should not be a means of compelling citizens to perform acts of charity against their will—“redistribution of wealth” in current terminology.

“Redistribution of wealth” is one of my pet peeves.  The federal government should not be taking trillions of dollars away from some Americans and giving that money to other Americans.

But that is precisely what is happening, and if our Founding Fathers could see what is happening today they would be rolling over in their graves.

Of course the centerpiece of the system is the income tax.  In 1913, a very basic income tax was introduced and most Americans were taxed at a rate of only one percent.  But of course once the progressives get their feet in the door they are never satisfied, and so our tax system has just gotten bigger and more complicated with each passing year.

According to Forbes, Congress has made more than a change a day to the tax code since 2001, and at this point it is nearly four million words long…

How complicated? Since 2001, Congress has made nearly 5,000 changes to the Tax Code. That’s more than a change per day. The Tax Code is now about four million words, nearly as long as seven versions of War and Peace or the novel version of Les Miserables and just under four times the number of words in all of the Harry Potter books put together.

Americans spend approximately six billion hours complying with the tax code every year.

That breaks down to 8,758 lifetimes spent on taxes every 12 months.

How much better would our society be if the American people could spend all of that time on more productive matters?

If I run for Congress, and if I end up winning, one of my long-term goals will be to completely eliminate the income tax.  But we will need a lot more liberty-minded people to win seats in Congress in order for that to happen, and so I am encouraging as many as possible to consider running in 2018.

We also need to dramatically reduce the red tape that is absolutely killing entrepreneurs and small businesses all over the nation.

And it isn’t just the federal government that is doing this.  Sometimes it is state and local governments that are the worst offenders, and I want to share one example with you from right here in Idaho

Miranda Hale, Nadia Saakyan and Micalah Howard are three innovative women who launched a mobile makeup-application business that fits today’s busy lifestyles. The trio came up with an original idea: Bring the make-up studio to help brides feel just a little more beautiful on their special day, no matter the location.

Yet, senseless state regulations ruined the trio’s dream. Idaho rules don’t allow the three to apply makeup anywhere outside of a licensed and inspected beauty salon.

This regulation, and hundreds more like it, were not built for the modern economy. Outdated regulations stifle innovation and kill jobs.

This is the sort of thing that I would expect to see in California, but unfortunately it is happening right here in my state.

If we sit back and do nothing, then nothing is going to change.  The reason why we have so many rules and regulations is because control freaks tend to be greatly attracted to the world of politics.  And once they get into positions of power, they love to lord it over the rest of us and impose as many rules and regulations as they possibly can.

It is time for those of us that believe in constitutional values to rise up and take our country back.  It won’t be easy, but if we want this nation to have any sort of a future at all we have no choice but to act.

‘Julius Caesar’, Antifa And Kathy Griffin All Show That The Left Has Absolutely No Positive Message To Offer

The endgame of the radical left is a nation filled with hatred, anger and violence.  Is this really a message that the American people are going to embrace?  For decades, Democrats have been getting a tremendous amount of mileage out of “divide and conquer” tactics.  In other words, they get one group of people to support them by pointing a finger of accusation at another group.  Just recently, I published an article entitled “A List Of 100 Things That Liberals Hate About America”, and I could have easily doubled or tripled that list.  The left specializes in hate, and the presidency of Donald Trump has been like throwing red meat to a bunch of sharks that are in a feeding frenzy.  Lacking any kind of a positive message to share, the left is in the process of self-destructing as they show the entire world how intellectually and morally bankrupt they truly are.

The New York theater group that is producing a twisted version of “Julius Caesar” in which a character that is dressed up just like Donald Trump is viciously assassinated is a perfect example of what I am talking about.  The following comes from Piers Morgan

The play portrays Caesar as a tempestuous, petulant blond-haired businessman in an expensive business suit with an American pin flag and over-long ties who takes baths in a gold bathtub.

His wife Calpurnia has an Eastern European accent and wears designer clothes.

So, it’s Donald Trump.

It ends with Caesar/Trump being brutally murdered by Roman senators who fear he has become too power hungry.

Only in this case, the assassins are all women and minorities, two groups that Trump has been accused of marginalising.

By the end of the assassination scene, Trump’s shirt is absolutely soaked with blood, and it is quite obvious that the producers intended to create a spectacle that is as gruesome as they could possibly get away with.

But instead of reacting to this play with horror, many on the left are absolutely gushing over it.  For instance, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria actually called it “a masterpiece”.

And despite all of the public outrage that we have seen in recent days, Time Warner, the New York Times and the New York City government plan to continue funding the production.

Even more alarming than “Julius Caesar” is the relentless campaign of violence and intimidation being waged by Antifa.  They are supposed to be “anti-fascists”, but instead they employ many of the exact same tactics and methods that hardcore fascists used all the way back in the 1930s.  If these radical leftists ultimately have their way in our society, free speech will become a thing of the past.  The following comes from a National Review article

Lately, Antifa have emerged as the militant fringe of #TheResistance against Donald Trump — who, they maintain, is a fascist, ushering into power a fascist regime. In Washington, D.C., Antifa spent the morning of Inauguration Day lighting trash cans on fire, throwing rocks and bottles at police officers, setting ablaze a limousine, and tossing chunks of pavement through the windows of several businesses. On February 1, Antifa set fires and stormed buildings at the University of California–Berkeley to prevent an appearance by Breitbart provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos. (They succeeded.) In April, they threatened violence if Ann Coulter spoke on the campus; when the university and local law enforcement refused to find a secure location for her to speak, she withdrew, saying the situation was too dangerous.

In the end, these radicals are doing us a tremendous favor.  As the left shows us what they are really all about, the American people are going to be so revulsed by what they see that they will look elsewhere for answers.

So when Kathy Griffin posed for her now infamous photograph with “Donald Trump’s severed head”, she did a tremendous amount of damage to her own political movement.

At first she issued a seemingly heartfelt apology, which was the right thing to do, but shortly thereafter she held an absolutely shameful press conference in which she blamed Trump for ruining her life

In a news conference on Friday, Griffin’s attorney Lisa Bloom accused Trump and his family of “using their power to target her.”

“If you don’t stand up, you get run over,” Griffin said. “What’s happening to me has never happened in this great country. A sitting president of the U.S. … is personally trying to ruin my life forever.”

Bloom said the comedian was contacted by the U.S. Secret Service and said she has retained a criminal lawyer.

“As a result of the first family bullying her, she has been vilified, getting death threats, fired from multiple jobs and had multiple events canceled,” Bloom said.

But of course it wasn’t Trump that ruined her life.

She did that all on her own.

The reason why the left resorts to anger, hate, threats and violence is because they do not have the ammunition to win in the marketplace of ideas.

To the left, more government is the answer to just about every problem.  But there is an inverse relationship between government and liberty.  The bigger government becomes, the less liberty we have.  Every new rule, regulation or law restricts our ability to live our own lives as we see fit in some way, and our founders intended for the federal government to be greatly limited because they wanted a nation where freedom and liberty would be maximized.

So the message of the left is fundamentally an anti-liberty message.

But it is really hard to win over voters with an anti-liberty message, and so that is why leftist politicians have to resort to “divide and conquer” and other tactics that distract voters from the real issues.

And unfortunately, those of us on the right have not always had a clear message because our party has been dominated for way too long by “big government Republicans”.  It has been really hard to communicate a pro-liberty message when so many top Republicans have been responsible for growing the size of government on the federal, state and local levels over the past several decades.

In just a few weeks, I am going to release a new book with an exceedingly positive message for America.  When it is ready, you will be able to find it on my author page.  Yes, we are facing immense challenges as a nation due to decades of incredibly foolish decisions, but that doesn’t mean that we should throw in the towel.

What we really need is a new American awakening.  We need to rediscover the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and our other founding documents.  And we also need to rediscover the values and the principles that this nation was founded upon.

If we will embrace those values and those principles, we will have a chance to become “the land of the free” once again.

But if we continue to embrace the values that the left is trying to impose upon all of us, our future is going to be exceedingly bleak indeed.

They Want To Make The Rest Of The Country Just Like California

If millions are leaving California because life there is so horrible, then why would those same people want to try to make their new communities more like the state that they just left?  About five million people have migrated out of the state of California over the past decade, and most of them are leaving for very good reasons.  The number one destination for ex-Californians is Texas, and this has caused the state to move a little bit to the left politically.  For example, Trump beat Clinton by only about 9 percent in Texas back in November.  It is getting to the point where many people in Texas are starting to resent anyone with a California license plate, because there are so many ex-Californians that would like to turn Texas into another version of their home state.

Similar things are happening here in Idaho.  It seems like half the people that my wife and I meet are transplants from California, and some of them are exceptionally good people.  Like my wife and I, a large number of them decided to move here because they wanted to find some place where they could live free.   Needless to say, north Idaho seems like paradise to many that have just escaped the nightmare of living “the California Dream”.

But there are others that move up here from “the golden state” that are absolutely determined to impose their leftist values on all the rest of us.  But if those values were such a failure in California, then why in the world would you want to bring them here?

It has been estimated that over a quarter of all new Idaho residents come from California.  If they are coming here to embrace our way of life that is wonderful, but if they are coming here to try to change us that is another thing entirely.

In many ways north Idaho is very similar to northern California before it was completely spoiled.  Not too long ago, KQED interviewed one ex-Californian that said that the wooded mountains here remind her of “the California she knew in the 1970s”…

When Adrien Koch retired last summer from her job with FEMA in the Bay Area, she and her husband resettled in the wooded mountains of north Idaho. They had visited only a few months before on a vacation but had quickly fallen in love. For Koch, Idaho reminded her of the California she knew in the 1970s.

“It’s kind of like a better time that’s gone by,” Koch says. “It’s a much slower pace, [and] people are more down to earth here.”

And fortunately, Koch is one of those ex-Californians that loves north Idaho just the way that it is

“I immediately tell people, especially if they’re not from California, I am not one of those people who want to change Idaho,” Koch says. “I love it the way it is, that’s why we’re here.”

But of course there are others that come here with the intention of making their new home much more “progressive”.  Fortunately, the number of crazy leftists is still fairly limited at this point.  Hillary Clinton only received 27.5 percent of the vote in Idaho last November, and so this is not going to become a blue state any time soon.

I just don’t understand why anyone would want to move to Texas or Idaho or anywhere else and try to make it more like California.  Just consider the following…

-California has the highest state income tax rates in the entire country.

-California has been ranked as the absolute worst state for business for 12 consecutive years.

-Los Angeles has the worst traffic on the entire planet, and San Francisco is not too far behind.

-Thanks to unchecked illegal immigration and sanctuary cities that are allowed to flout the law without consequence, gang activity and crime are growing problems in the state.

And of course the state legislature just continues to pass one insane law after another.  The one that requires farmers “to cut methane emissions from dairy cows” by 40 percent by 2030 is one of my favorites

In yet another attack on California businesses, yesterday Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill (SB 1383) that requires the state to cut methane emissions from dairy cows and other animals by 40% by 2030.  The bill is yet another massive blow to the agricultural industry in the state of California that has already suffered from the Governor’s passage of a $15 minimum wage and a recent bill that makes California literally the only state in the entire country to provide overtime pay to seasonal agricultural workers after working 40 hours per week or 8 hours per day (see “California Just Passed A $1.7 Billion Tax On The Whole Country That No One Noticed“).

According to a statement from Western United Dairymen CEO, Anja Raudabaugh, California’s Air Resources Board wants to regulate animal methane emissions even though it admits there is no known method for achieving the the type of reduction sought by SB 1383.

And just recently, a group of California state legislators decided that it would be a grand idea to try to push through a single-payer healthcare system that would cost taxpayers 400 billion dollars a year

With Obamacare under assault in Washington by Republicans who see it as a broken system that hamstrings people with high premiums and inadequate access to medical care, Atkins and Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, are pushing a bill through the state Legislature that would replace Obamacare with a government-run system.

Everyone would be covered, including undocumented immigrants. Under the proposal, there would be no need for insurance companies; no more monthly premiums or out-of-pocket costs for doctor visits and prescriptions.

The authors haven’t said exactly how they’d pay the projected cost of $400 billion a year, although they acknowledge it would use existing health care money in addition to new taxes.

If you follow my work on a regular basis, you know that political correctness is one of my pet peeves, and California has become the epicenter of political correctness in our nation today.  Things have gotten so bad in the state that it is now considered to be a “mircoaggression” for professors in the University of California system to tell their students that “America is the land of opportunity” because it might offend someone.

When I was a young adult, I once dreamed of living right along the coast in California, but I couldn’t imagine living there now.

That once great state has become a symbol of everything that is wrong with America, and instead of making the rest of the country more like California, what we actually need to do is to make California much more like the rest of the country.

Is This The Best Thing That Donald Trump Has Done So Far?

On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives finally approved a bill that would repeal and replace significant portions of the law that created Obamacare. But it was a very close vote. On Donald Trump’s 105th day in the White House, 217 members of the House voted in favor of the bill, and 213 members of the House voted against the bill. Of course “Trumpcare” is far from perfect, and it actually does very little to fix our rapidly failing healthcare system, but the reason why this is the best thing that Trump has done so far is because this bill would greatly reduce federal funding for Planned Parenthood. But first this bill must get through the Senate before it can become law, and that is looking extremely doubtful at this point. In fact, The Hill is reporting that one Republican Senator has said that this bill has less than a 20 percent chance of succeeding in the Senate…

A senior GOP senator said the chances of getting 51 votes for legislation based on the House healthcare bill are less than 1 in 5.

The senator also put the chances that the House bill will meet Senate budgetary rules preventing a filibuster at less than 1 in 5, meaning portions of the legislation would have to be removed.

Lawmakers are keeping quiet about their concerns because they want to help Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), whose job they fear may be in jeopardy if the House fails again to approve an ObamaCare repeal bill.

Yes, I know that Trump and the Republicans in the House were greatly celebrating on Thursday, but there really isn’t anything to celebrate yet.

The Senate is probably going to come up with an entirely different version of this legislation, and it is likely to look far different from the bill that just passed the House.

If a bill of some sort can actually get through the Senate, and that is a huge “if”, then an attempt would be made to reconcile the differences between the two bills, and then the final version would be submitted to both the House and the Senate for an up or down vote.

The problem is that the Senate is not going to pass anything like the version that the House just came up with, and conservatives in the House are likely to balk at anything that the Senate comes up with.

So please don’t think that an Obamacare repeal is a done deal.

The truth is that it probably is not going to happen any time soon.

But for the moment, I am going to applaud President Trump and House Republicans for doing something right. I have been very tough on them in recent weeks, and rightly so, but when they do something good I am certainly going to give them the praise that they are due.

The bill that the House just passed would greatly reduce federal funding for Planned Parenthood, and that fact alone more than makes up for all of the other flaws in it. The following comes from CNS News

The American Health Care Act—the Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill that the House of Representatives passed by a 217-to-213 vote this afternoon–will temporarily and significantly reduce, but not eliminate, federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

The bill will prevent Planned Parenthood from receiving funding through “mandatory” federal funding streams—primarily Medicaid—for exactly one calendar year after the president signs it.

But it does not prevent Planned Parenthood from getting “discretionary” funding through the Title X family planning program.

It is just for one year, which is far from ideal, but at least for 12 months Planned Parenthood would see their funding go down by hundreds of millions of dollars

The pro-life bill would eliminate more than $390 million (over 86%) of over $450 million in annual federal funding to Planned Parenthood, from all mandatory spending programs. The measure also redirects funding to community health centers which outnumber Planned Parenthood facilities 20 to 1 and offer a wider array of health care services, but not abortion.

Of course this is one of the provisions in the bill that some Republicans in the Senate want to eliminate.

It is extremely unlikely that any bill that even defunds Planned Parenthood in part will ever get through the Senate, but Trump should make an all-out effort to get this accomplished anyway.

And if Republican leadership can somehow get a bill through the Senate and signed into law that at least significantly reduces federal funding for Planned Parenthood, I will officially take back all of the negative things that I have said about the Republicans so far this year.

This week President Trump also signed a landmark executive order that does a great deal to protect religious liberty

The order, signed during a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden, directs the Internal Revenue Service to exercise “maximum enforcement discretion” over the so-called Johnson amendment, which prevents churches and other tax-exempt religious organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates. The order also provides “regulatory relief” for organizations that object on religious grounds to a provision in Obamacare that mandates employers provide certain health services, including coverage for contraception.

All Americans, including Christians, should be free to express their political beliefs without fearing repercussions from the federal government. The Johnson Amendment was probably always unconstitutional, and that is one of the reasons why it has never really been enforced. Congress should go even farther and completely repeal it, and hopefully that will happen someday.

So once again I want to take this opportunity to applaud Trump for doing something right. This is a good executive order, although it doesn’t quite go far enough. A major war against people of faith is being waged by very powerful forces in this country, and I am thankful for a president that is at least trying to keep some of the heat off of our backs.

I tend to get criticized by both the pro-Trump and anti-Trump camps because I try to be objective.

When our politicians do things that are wrong, I am going to say that they are wrong.

And when our politicians do things that are right, I am going to say that they are right.

We lose credibility when we act as cheerleaders for politicians that are “on our side” no matter what they say or do.

In our society today, there is a desperate need for people that are willing to think critically and that are willing to cling objectively to the truth.

Because once we let go of the truth we are all in trouble…

(Originally posted on The Economic Collapse Blog)

Broken America

Is this the beginning of the end for the United States of America? It has been said that a house divided against itself will surely fall, and today we live in a shattered union. In all my years, I have never seen so much strife, discord, bitterness and resentment in this country. Everyone can see what is happening, but nobody can seem to stop it. Politically, you have got tens of millions of people trying to pull America one way, and you have got tens of millions of people trying to pull it the exact opposite way. As I discussed in a previous article, the term “civil war” is now being thrown around by some pundits even though nobody has started shooting yet. We are a deeply divided and broken nation, and if we don’t find a way to fix things America will not survive.

Every survey and opinion poll that has been taken recently backs up what I am saying. For example, a Gallup survey that was conducted after the election in November found that an all-time record high 77 percent of all Americans believe that “the nation is divided on the most important values”…

Seventy-seven percent of Americans, a new high, believe the nation is divided on the most important values, while 21% believe it is united and in agreement. Over the past 20+ years, the public has tended to perceive the nation as being more divided than united, apart from two surveys conducted shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

So how do you fix this?

Nobody can force half the population to suddenly change their views on the most important issues of the day.

Earlier today, I wrote an article about how America is becoming a “politically-correct madhouse“, and there really is no compromising with the forces of political correctness. Either you get in line or you are the enemy.

Once upon a time the values enshrined in the U.S. Constitution by our founders united us, but today about half the country has completely rejected those values.

Those that would like to restore our constitutional values find themselves diametrically opposed to the agenda that progressives are trying to shove down our throats, and personally I don’t see much room for compromise between the two sides.

Given enough time, one side would ultimately vanquish the other side, but I don’t know if America has enough time left for that to happen.

There were some that had been hoping that our new president would unite the country, but you can throw that idea right out the window. According to numbers from Public Policy Polling, nearly half the nation already wants him to be impeached…

On our first poll of his Presidency voters were evenly divided on Trump, with 44% approving of him and 44% also disapproving. Now his approval rating is 43%, while his disapproval has gone all the way up to 53%. If voters could choose they’d rather have both Barack Obama (52/44) or Hillary Clinton (49/45) instead of Trump.

Just three weeks into his administration, voters are already evenly divided on the issue of impeaching Trump with 46% in favor and 46% opposed.

The political divisions in this nation are just going to grow worse and worse.

But just because we vehemently disagree with someone politically does not mean that we should hate that person.

I know that it can be infuriating to see some politician get up and start spouting off ideas that would be extremely damaging to this country. But if we choose to hate our political “enemies”, we become part of the problem.

It is easy to love someone that agrees with you about most things. The real challenge is finding a way to love those that believe things that you may find truly repulsive.

That doesn’t mean that you have to agree with what they believe. I am not saying that at all. You can disagree very strongly with someone and still love that person.

Unfortunately, the hearts of most people have grown cold in America. As hatred, anger and frustration continue to grow, it is only a matter of time before we start seeing outbursts of violence. Rioting, looting and civil unrest are going to become commonplace in communities all over the U.S., and eventually some of our major cities will burn. In my latest book I warned that the “thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted will disappear”, and thousands upon thousands of Americans that can see this coming are already fleeing the big cities.

What particularly disturbs me is when I see people that are supposed to be on the same side fighting each other.

If you are around someone long enough, eventually they are going to do or say something to offend you. None of us is going to agree 100 percent on everything, and it is a horrible shame to allow one disagreement to ruin what should be a great relationship.

If you do not learn to forgive, every relationship that you ever have in your life will ultimately fail, because everyone is going to let you down at some point.

And you may think that you are making the other person pay a price by refusing to forgive, but the truth is that you will be the one that will end up suffering. Even medical science has found that there are health benefits to forgiving and that unforgiveness can actually help bring on serious illnesses. The following comes from the official website of Johns Hopkins Medicine

Whether it’s a simple spat with your spouse or long-held resentment toward a family member or friend, unresolved conflict can go deeper than you may realize—it may be affecting your physical health. The good news: Studies have found that the act of forgiveness can reap huge rewards for your health, lowering the risk of heart attack; improving cholesterol levels and sleep; and reducing pain, blood pressure, and levels of anxiety, depression and stress. And research points to an increase in the forgiveness-health connection as you age.

“There is an enormous physical burden to being hurt and disappointed,” says Karen Swartz, M.D., director of the Mood Disorders Adult Consultation Clinic at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Chronic anger puts you into a fight-or-flight mode, which results in numerous changes in heart rate, blood pressure and immune response. Those changes, then, increase the risk of depression, heart disease and diabetes, among other conditions. Forgiveness, however, calms stress levels, leading to improved health.

There are people that are reading this article that need to pick up the phone right now and apologize to someone that they have been refusing to forgive.

Yes, without a doubt that would be difficult.  But you might just be surprised how much grace a little humility can unleash.

You may not be able to fix our broken nation, but you certainly can fix the broken relationships in your own life.

And if millions of Americans decided to choose love and forgiveness rather than hatred, anger, bitterness and resentment, it would most definitely have a transformative effect on the entire country.

I would like to close with some very wise words from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

(Originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog)

12 Signs That America Has Become A Politically-Correct Madhouse

What in the world has happened to the United States?  We are rapidly getting to the point where political correctness is in danger of becoming our national religion.  Of course most people would not even call it a “religion”, but for most Americans this unwritten set of rules shapes everything that they think, do and say.  Many had been hoping that the spell of political correctness would be broken by the election of Donald Trump, but that obviously has not happened.  The forces of political correctness still have a stranglehold on our education system, on all forms of entertainment, on our legal system, and on most of the politicians in both political parties.

The unwritten rules of political correctness are shifting and changing all the time, and if you don’t keep up with them the penalties can be extremely severe.

If you do or say the wrong thing at the wrong time, you could lose your friends, you could lose your job, and you could potentially even lose your reputation.

In fact, there have been numerous people over the past year that have been publicly crucified in the court of public opinion for doing or saying something that was not politically-correct.

And with each passing day, the forces of political correctness take a little bit more ground.  The following are 12 signs that America has become a politically-correct madhouse…

#1 According to Time Magazine, a book entitled “Santa’s Husband” will be released on October 10th by a major U.S. publisher that depicts Santa as “a gay man in an interracial relationship”.

#2 A middle school in North Hollywood is facing substantial budget cuts because they have too many non-minority students

Outrage has grown at Walter Reed Middle School in North Hollywood, as the school faces layoffs and increased class sizes due to a law limiting funds for schools with a higher white student body.

The Los Angeles Unified School District provides more funding for schools where the white population is below 30 percent.

In a letter to parents, the district noted the highly regarded middle school had been above the percentage for the past couple years.

#3 According to Michael Moore, historians will mark “March 28, 2017, as the day the extinction of human life on earth began” because Donald Trump has rolled back Obama’s climate change regulations.

#4 One of my readers just sent me a photo that his 16-year-old son took at school.  It is a photo of a slide that was being projected on to a large screen at the front of his classroom that contained this message: “Polls show that young people today are more accepting of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people than ever before.  Why do you think that is?”

#5 An elementary school in California has banned the game of “tag” because it is too dangerous.

#6 At one high school in Iowa, students were recently denounced as “racists” for dressing up in red, white and blue for a basketball game.

#7 In North Carolina, as early as the first grade a “gender unicorn” is being used to teach children “about sexual orientation and gender identity“…

Just last year in our home city of Charlotte, North Carolina, the Charlotte Mecklenburg School System used the “gender unicorn” to teach students—as young as first grade—all about sexual orientation and gender identity. This cute, little, fury animal was used to promote the idea that sexual orientation asks the question, “Who do you go to bed with?” while gender identity asks the question, “Who do you go to bed as?” And these can be fluid, of course. Kids can change whenever and however they want.

#8 According to Dr. Michael Brown, bathroom scales have been taken out of the gym at one college campus for a very strange reason: “Administrators at Carleton University have removed the bathroom scales from the campus gym, claiming that ‘being fixated on weight’ does not ‘have any positive affect [sic] on your health.'”

#9 A Christian university in Minnesota has told professors “to stop using terms such as ‘man’ and ‘mankind’ because they are too masculine“.

#10 Snickers bars will soon be sold in rainbow wrappers “as part of a pro-LGBT ad campaign“.

#11 A 32-year-old man will now compete in international volleyball events as a transgender woman, and may end up qualifying for the Olympics as a female athlete…

The now 32-year old says volleyball has been the constant in a life full of changes. In January, she was just approved by USA Volleyball to compete as a woman. Before that, she was required to play in the men’s division at all USAV sanctioned events.

USAV requires transgender women to undergo hormone replacement therapy consistently for at least one year — with proper documentation — and they also have to change their identification, like passports and birth certificates, to female. Before, some organizations, including the Olympics, would require trans athletes to have sex reassignment surgery.

#12 Planned Parenthood has killed millions of children, but nobody from that organization ever seems to get into trouble with the law.  Instead, two activists that exposed the fact that Planned Parenthood is auctioning off baby parts to the highest bidder have been charged with 15 felonies in the state of California.

In this type of environment, people like me are becoming dinosaurs.  If you follow my work on a regular basis, you know that I am not afraid to do or say things that might offend some people.

Of course I am not actually trying to offend anyone, but I won’t let the forces of political correctness dictate what I can or cannot say about a particular topic.

Ultimately, political correctness is a tool that progressives use to silence the opposition.

They want to make it a crime to think or say anything that they might find offensive, and to a substantial degree it is working.

Our founders intended for us to permanently have a right to free speech, but now we have moved into a time when saying the wrong thing can get you brutally persecuted.

I would like to be optimistic that we can start to roll back the forces of political correctness, but as I noted at the beginning of this article, they have control of our schools, our courts, our entertainment and most of our political leaders.

But of course we can never give up the fight, because if they win life in America will ultimately become a complete and total nightmare.

Member Of Congress Warns Of A 1,000 Point Stock Market Crash If Obamacare Lite Does Not Pass

Are we going to see a dramatic stock market plunge if the effort to get “Obamacare Lite” through the U.S. House of Representatives ultimately fails? On Thursday, a vote on the Republican healthcare bill was postponed once it became clear that there would not be enough votes for it to pass. House Republican leaders are still optimistic that there will still be a vote on Friday, but that is far from certain. Many strong conservatives in the House are balking at supporting this bill because while it does eliminate a few of the most troublesome provisions of Obamacare, it keeps many of the elements of Obama’s signature healthcare law that have proven to be popular with the American people. In other words, this bill is much more about “tweaking” Obamacare than “repealing” it.

This is the first major legislative test for President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan, and so far they are failing. House Republican leaders have gone into panic mode, because a “no” vote could have some very serious implications outside of Washington. In fact, one member of Congress is warning that if this bill does not pass that we could see the Dow drop 1,000 points in a single day

It happened in real life on Sept. 29, 2008, when the House first voted on a Wall Street bailout intended to stem the financial crisis. In a swirl of uncertainty, Republican members stampeded to “no,” defeated the measure and watched the Dow tumble by more than 700 points. The same thing could happen on the GOP health bill, a veteran member told CNBC on Thursday — only bigger.

“If this goes down, we could take a 1,000-point market hit,” the member said. To be sure, traders and investors tell CNBC the market likely will go lower if there is no compromise Thursday, but the decline won’t likely come near a 1,000-point drop. That would represent a nearly 5 percent drop in the Dow, a bit less than the 7 percent decline when the index fell 777 points in September 2008.

And even if this bill does pass, we are probably headed for some sort of significant downturn anyway. Sven Henrich has just told CNBC that he believes that “the market could see a 5 to 10 percent drop in the near term”…

The market has enjoyed a stellar bull run, but a correction is likely looming, according to Sven Henrich, also known as the “Northman Trader.”

A very long-term analysis of the S&P 500, in conjunction with a look at the CBOE Volatility Index, leads Henrich to believe the market could see a 5 to 10 percent drop in the near term.

But fixing our failing healthcare system is far more important than trying to prop up the financial markets, and so the strong conservatives in the House are quite right to stand by their principles.

Simply “tweaking” Obamacare is not going to fix anything, and it is extremely disappointing that President Trump and Paul Ryan are advocating such an approach.

Thankfully, there are a number of strong conservatives in Congress that are willing to take a stand for what is right even if it means standing up against their own party. One of those principled conservatives is Senator Rand Paul, and he says that right now there are at least 35 Republican “no” votes in the House, and that would be enough to kill the bill…

I think there’s easily 35 no votes right now so unless something happens in the next 24 hours, I would predict they pull the bill and start over. I think if conservatives stick together, they will have earned a seat at the table where real negotiation to make this bill an acceptable bill will happen. But it’s interesting what conservatives are doing to change the debate. We went from keeping the Obamacare taxes for a year—hundreds of billions of dollars—but they’re coming towards us because we’re standing firm. So we have to stick together, and if we do stick together there will be a real negotiation on this. The main goal I have is not to pass something that does not fix the situation. If a year from now, insurance rates and premiums are still going through the roof and it’s now a Republican plan it will be a disservice to the president and all of us if we pass something that doesn’t work.

If this bill is ultimately defeated, I have an idea that might work.

Why don’t we get the government out of the healthcare business entirely?

Once upon a time when we actually let the free market determine the allocation of healthcare resources, we had the best healthcare system in the entire world.

But after decades of experimenting with socialist principles and adding mountains of rules, regulations and red tape to the system, we have a giant mess on our hands.

Either we need to go back to a true free market system, or we might as well go ahead and just socialize the entire thing.

Right now, hard working families have to pay for their own healthcare and also pay for the socialized healthcare that more than 125 million other Americans are receiving.

Yes, when you add up all of the Americans that are on Medicaid, CHIP, Medicare and other government programs, it comes to more than 125 million people.

So a lot of hard working families are scared to ever go to the hospital because their insurance deductibles are so high, and yet their taxes go to pay for all of the free healthcare that people on government assistance are receiving.

If the government is going to pay for the healthcare for nearly half the country, why should the rest of us have to pay for ours?

What we have now is such a ridiculous system, and what President Trump and Paul Ryan are proposing is not “free market” in any way, shape or form.

So I say let this horrible bill fail even if it means that financial markets will freak out for a little while.

Hopefully what transpires over the coming days will cause Republican leadership to go back to the drawing board, and a clean repeal of Obamacare would be a really good place to start.

(Originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog)

16 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Live In California

It has been said that “as California goes, so goes the nation”. That is why it is such a shame what is happening to that once great state. At one time, California seemed to be the epicenter of the American Dream. Featuring some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the entire world, the gorgeous weather and booming economy of the state inspired people from all over the world to move to the state. But now people are moving out of the state by the millions, because life in California has literally become a nightmare for so many people.

I certainly don’t have anything against the state personally. My brother and sister were both born there, and I spent a number of my childhood years in stunning northern California. When I was younger I would sometimes dream of getting a place on the coast eventually, but for reasons I will discuss below I no longer think that would be advisable.

In fact, if I was living in California today I would be immediately looking for a way to move out of the state unless I specifically felt called to stay. The following are 16 reasons why you shouldn’t live in California…

#1 The entire California coastline is part of the “Ring of Fire” seismic zone that roughly encircles the Pacific Ocean. The San Andreas Fault has been described as a “time bomb“, and at some point there will be a catastrophic earthquake that absolutely devastates the entire region. In fact, a study that was just released says that a “major earthquake” on the San Andreas Fault “is way overdue”

A recently published study reveals new evidence that a major earthquake is way overdue on a 100 mile stretch of the San Andreas Fault from the Antelope Valley to the Tejon Pass and beyond.

Researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey released the results of the years-long study warning a major earthquake could strike soon.

#2 Out of all 50 states, the state of California has been ranked as the worst state for business for 12 years in a row

In what is sounding like a broken record, California once again ranked dead last in Chief Executive magazine’s annual Best and Worst States for Business survey of CEOs – as it has all 12 years the survey has been conducted. Texas, meanwhile, earned the top spot for the 12th straight year.

Among the survey’s subcategories, the 513 CEOs from across the nation ranked California 50th in taxation and regulation, 35th in workforce quality and 26th in living environment, which includes cost of living, the education system and state and local attitudes toward business. Notably, California placed worst among the nine states in the Western region in all three categories.

#3 California has the highest state income tax rates in the entire nation. For many Americans, the difference between what you would have to pay if you lived in California and what you would have to pay if you lived in Texas could literally buy a car every single year.

#4 The state government in Sacramento seems to go a little bit more insane with each passing session. This time around, they are talking about going to a single-payer healthcare system for the entire state that would cost California taxpayers 40 billion dollars a year

On Friday, State Senator Ricardo Lara introduced legislation that would transition California’s healthcare into a single-payer system. (RELATED: Read what a retired colonel said about the real purpose of Obamacare). The system would be very similar to the healthcare system currently in place in Canada and would cost California taxpayers roughly $40 billion for the first year alone. Given the poor economic climate California has already created for itself, this will no doubt be just one more burden on the people of California, and one step closer towards total bankruptcy.

Micah Weinberg, the president of the Economic Institute at the Bay Area Council, raised concerns over the financial consequences of the proposed legislation. “Where are they going to come up with the $40 billion?” he asked. He went on to suggest that adopting a state level single-payer system is “just not feasible to do as a state.”

#5 The traffic in the major cities just keeps getting worse and worse. According to USA Today, Los Angeles now has the worst traffic in the entire world, and San Francisco is not far behind.

#6 A lot of money is being made in Silicon Valley these days (at least for now), but poverty is also exploding in the state. In desperation, homeless people are banding together to create large tent cities all over the state, and the L.A. City Council recently asked Governor Jerry Brown “to declare homelessness a statewide emergency“.

#7 Thanks to unchecked illegal immigration, crime is on the rise in many California cities. The drug war that has been raging for years in Mexico is increasingly spilling over the border, and many families have moved out of the state for this reason alone.

#8 California is one of the most litigious states in the entire nation. According to the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, the “lawsuit climate” in California is ranked 47th out of all 50 states.

#9 Every year wildfires and mudslides wreak havoc in the state. Erosion is particularly bad along the coast, and I have previously written about how some portions of the California coastline are literally falling into the ocean.

#10 California has some of the most ridiculous housing prices in the entire country. Due to a lack of affordable housing rents have soared to wild extremes in San Francisco, where one poor engineer was actually paying $1,400 a month to live in a closet.

#11 All over the state, key infrastructure is literally falling to pieces. Governor Jerry Brown recently issued a list of key projects that needed to be done as soon as possible, and the total price tag for that list was 100 billion dollars. Of course that list didn’t even include the Oroville Dam, and we all saw what happened there.

#12 Radiation from the ongoing Fukushima nuclear disaster continues to cross the ocean and wash up along the California coastline. The impact of this crisis on the health of those living along the west coast could potentially be felt for generations.

#13 Illegal drug use in the state is on the rise again, and emergency rooms are being flooded by heroin overdose victims.

#14 On top of everything else, it is being reported that Russia is “quietly ‘seeding’ the U.S. shoreline with nuclear ‘mole’ missiles”. The following comes from retired colonel and former Russian defense ministry spokesman Viktor Baranetz

“What are these mysterious ‘asymmetrical responses’ that our politicians and generals speak about so often? Maybe it’s a myth or a pretty turn of phrase? No! Our asymmetrical response is nuclear warheads that can modify their course and height so that no computer can calculate their trajectory. Or, for example, the Americans are deploying their tanks, airplanes and special forces battalions along the Russian border. And we are quietly ‘seeding’ the U.S. shoreline with nuclear ‘mole’ missiles (they dig themselves in and ‘sleep’ until they are given the command)[…]

“Oh, it seems I’ve said too much. I should hold my tongue.”

Hopefully what Baranetz is claiming is not accurate, because if it is even partly true the implications are absolutely staggering.

#15 North Korea is a major nuclear threat as well. It is being reported that the North Koreans are developing an ICBM that could potentially reach the west coast of the United States…

Defense officials have warned that North Korea is on the brink of producing an ICBM that could target the United States. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un announced in January during his New Year’s address that Pyongyang had “entered the final stage of preparations to test-launch” an ICBM that could reach parts of the United States.

#16 Someday a very large earthquake will produce a major tsunami on the west coast. According to the Los Angeles Times, one study found that a magnitude 9.0 earthquake along the Cascadia fault could potentially produce a massive tsunami that would “wash away coastal towns”…

If a 9.0 earthquake were to strike along California’s sparsely populated North Coast, it would have a catastrophic ripple effect.

A giant tsunami created by the quake would wash away coastal towns, destroy U.S. 101 and cause $70 billion in damage over a large swath of the Pacific coast. More than 100 bridges would be lost, power lines toppled and coastal towns isolated. Residents would have as few as 15 minutes notice to flee to higher ground, and as many as 10,000 would perish.

Scientists last year published this grim scenario for a massive rupture along the Cascadia fault system, which runs 700 miles off shore from Northern California to Vancouver Island.

Over the past decade, approximately five million people have moved away from California.

After reading this article, perhaps you have a better understanding why so many people are getting out while they still can.

To me, one of the greatest concerns is the rise in seismic activity that we are seeing all over the world. In my latest book I express my belief that the United States will be greatly affected by this increase in seismic activity, and California is going to get hit harder than just about anywhere else.

Once again, I don’t have anything against California or the people that live there. It is such a beautiful place, and it once held so much promise.

Unfortunately that promise has been shattered, and there is a mass exodus out of the state as families flee the horrific nightmare that California is in the process of becoming.

(Originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog)

How Angry Will You Be If The Republicans In Congress Do Not Repeal Obamacare?

Top Republicans are now publicly saying that Obamacare will never be fully repealed. In fact, many Republicans in Congress are already using the term “repair” instead of “repeal” to describe what is going to happen to Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law. Without a doubt, the Republicans in Congress are eventually going to do something, but strategists in both parties are now suggesting that most of the key elements of Obamacare are going to remain once everything is all said and done. It will be put into a more “conservative” package, but it will still be Obamacare.

On Thursday, former House Speaker John Boehner made headlines all over the country when he said that a complete repeal of Obamacare is “not what’s going to happen”. Instead, Boehner said that Republicans are going to “fix Obamacare” and that they will “put a more conservative box around it” in order to keep their constituents happy.

Of course this isn’t what we voted for. For years, Republican politicians all across the country have been promising that Obamacare would be repealed once they got control of Congress, but now Boehner is telling us that all of that was just “happy talk”

Earlier in the panel discussion, Boehner said he “started laughing” when Republicans started talking about moving lightning fast on repeal and then coming up with an alternative.

“In the 25 years that I served in the United States Congress, Republicans never, ever, one time agreed on what a health care proposal should look like. Not once,” Boehner said. “And all this happy talk that went on in November and December and January about repeal, repeal, repeal—yeah, we’ll do replace, replace—I started laughing, because if you pass repeal without replace, first, anything that happens is your fault. You broke it.”

When the Republicans finally get around to doing something, they will inevitably declare it to be a great victory, but will it actually be that much different from what we have now?

Yes, the IRS penalty for not having health insurance will probably go. But there will still be coverage for children up to the age of 26, there will still be mandatory coverage for preexisting conditions, there will still be mandatory coverage for maternity expenses, there will still be some form of Medicaid expansion and there will still be subsidies for the poor.

In the end, we are still going to have a healthcare system where half the country pays for the healthcare for the other half of the country.

That isn’t fair, and it never will be. One half of the country shouldn’t have to pay much higher rates for their own health insurance and also pay for the healthcare of everyone else in the nation as well. Either we should go back to a free market system, or they might as well go ahead and socialize the entire thing.

The thought of sticking with what we have right now is utter insanity, but unfortunately that is what top Republicans mean when they speak of “repairing” Obamacare. The following comes from the New York Times

“When you talk about ‘repeal,’ you have just used a word that is very polarizing,” said Representative Tom MacArthur, Republican of New Jersey, who meets weekly with moderate Republicans and Democrats of equal number. “When you go to Democrats and say, ‘Help us repeal,’ that puts them in a box. If you say, ‘Would you help us repair something?’ people start listening in a whole other way.”

How in the world do you “repair” a steaming pile of garbage?

I just don’t understand.

What the Republicans need to do is very simple. As Jim Demint has suggested, the Republicans in Congress simply need to pass the same Obamacare repeal that Barack Obama vetoed not too long ago…

Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint, the former South Carolina Republican senator, called on activists attending the Conservative Political Action Conference to push their members of Congress to send to President Donald Trump the same legislation that dismantled the law and was vetoed by President Barack Obama with all due haste.

“We must and we can repeal Obamacare now,” DeMint said. “They should send that same bill to President Trump right now.”

So what is keeping Republicans in Congress from moving forward?

One thing is the defunding of Planned Parenthood. Some liberal Republicans are promising to vote against any Obamacare repeal bill that defunds Planned Parenthood

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) says she will not vote for an ObamaCare repeal bill that defunds Planned Parenthood.

In her address to Alaska’s state legislature Wednesday, the moderate Republican offered her firmest commitment yet that she will not support defunding Planned Parenthood.

“I, for one, do not believe that Planned Parenthood has any place in our deliberations on the Affordable Care Act,” she said.

Another thing that is giving some Republicans pause are the angry protesters that they are running into at town hall meetings…

U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa and Reps. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Tom McClintock of California are among Republicans who faced hostile audiences at recent town hall meetings.

This comes after the Women’s March on Washington that drew hundreds of thousands of protestors the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

“Republicans need to be paying attention and doing their best to understand the energy from the town halls,” said Nathan Gonzales, editor and publisher of Inside Elections, a Washington-based publication that tracks congressional races.

Of course a lot of those “angry protesters” are from Barack Obama’s private army of more than 30,000 volunteers that are being deployed around the nation in a desperate attempt to defend Obamacare.

In the end, the truth is that the Republicans should be listening to the voters that sent them to Washington in the first place. Most of those voters expected an immediate Obamacare repeal, and now that it has not happened it is making for a very confusing tax season. The following comes from Politico

Republicans’ stalled campaign to repeal the Affordable Care Act is sowing confusion among those now trying to do their taxes.

Many taxpayers believe Republicans have already repealed the law, tax preparers say, and they’re surprised and upset to learn they are still subject to Obamacare’s penalty for failing to have health insurance — a charge that climbed this year to more than $2,000 per family.

Until it is repealed, Obamacare will continue to kill jobs and will continue to kill the middle class.

It was one of the worst pieces of legislation ever written, and it boggles the mind that so many Republicans in Congress are hesitant about repealing it.

Unfortunately, just as I portray in my novel, America is rapidly going crazy.

We have been given over to a reprobate mind, and our leaders can’t even seem to think straight any longer.

If Obamacare is going to be repealed, now is the time. Please contact your representatives in Congress and tell them that a “fix” will not work and that we want Obamacare to be completely repealed and replaced with a free market alternative.

(Originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog)

John Boehner: Republicans won’t repeal and replace Obamacare

Former House Speaker John Boehner predicted on Thursday that a full repeal and replace of Obamacare is “not going to happen.”

Boehner, who resigned in 2015 amid unrest among conservatives, said at an Orlando health care conference that the idea that a repeal-and-replace plan would blitz through Congress is just “happy talk.”

Instead, he said changes to former President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement would likely be relatively modest.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

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