If you add together all of the money owned by the poorest 3.8 billion people living on this planet, it would roughly equal the wealth controlled by the 26 wealthiest men in the world. Oxfam has just issued a brand new report on global inequality, and what they have discovered is making headlines all over the globe. The rich just keep getting richer, and meanwhile the slice of the pie owned by the poor just keeps getting smaller. Today, almost half the world lives on less than $5.50 a day, and approximately 795 million people “do not have enough food”. And even in a “wealthy country” like the United States, the gap between the rich and the poor is the largest that it has been since the 1920s, and more than half a million Americans are homeless right now. This growing inequality is a ticking time bomb, and at some point it is going to explode.
The borrower is the servant of the lender, and one of the primary ways that the elite keep the rest of us subjugated is through the $244,000,000,000,000 mountain of global debt that has been accumulated. Every single day, the benefits of our labor are going to enrich somebody else. A portion of the taxes that are deducted from your paycheck is used to pay interest on government debt. A portion of the profits that your company makes probably goes to servicing some form of business debt. And most Americans are continuously making payments on their mortgages, their auto loans, their credit card balances and their student loan debts. But most people never stop to think about who is becoming exceedingly wealthy on the other end of these transactions. Needless to say, it isn’t the 46 percent of the global population that is living on less than $5.50 a day.
Is the mainstream media overhyping the economic impact of the government shutdown for political purposes? Of course they are. Once upon a time the mainstream media in the United States at least attempted to maintain a facade of objectivity, but those days are long gone. In this case, they want to stir up as much public resentment against President Trump as possible in order to try to force him to end the government shutdown. And when NBC News breathlessly declared that the U.S. “would face an economic hellscape” if this shutdown stretches on for an extended period of time, their article quickly went viral all over the Internet.
In just a few days, this will officially be the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, and there is no end in sight. President Trump is pledging that he will not sign any spending bill unless it includes funding for a border wall, and the Democrats are promising their supporters that they will never agree to a single penny for a wall. This could be the confrontation that ends up defining Trump’s presidency, and whoever backs down now is going to look incredibly weak. But the longer this shutdown lasts, the more painful things are going to become for the hundreds of thousands of federal workers that are going without pay, and for the hundreds of thousands of workers that are employed by government contractors that rely on business from the federal government.
When the cost of living rises faster than paychecks do year after year, eventually that becomes a very big problem. For quite some time I have been writing about the shrinking middle class, and one of the biggest culprits is inflation. Every month, tens of millions of American families struggle to pay the bills, and most of them don’t even understand the economic forces that are putting so much pressure on them. The United States never had a persistent, ongoing problem with inflation until the debt-based Federal Reserve system was introduced in 1913. Since that time, we have had non-stop inflation and the U.S. dollar has lost more than 98 percent of its value. If our paychecks were increasing faster than inflation this wouldn’t be a problem, but in recent years this has definitely not been the case for most Americans.
It is hard to live the American Dream when the deck is stacked against you. Our politicians stood idly by as millions of good paying jobs were shipped overseas, our economic infrastructure was absolutely gutted and multitudes of small businesses were choked to death by miles of red tape. Now, we are reaping the consequences. In America today, nobody has a job in one out of every five families, and there are more than 100 million working age Americans that are currency not working. And thanks to our transition to a “service economy”, many of those that are actually working are deeply struggling too. According to the Social Security Administration, 51 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year. And the Federal Reserve says that 47 percent of all Americans could not pay an unexpected $400 emergency room bill without borrowing the money from somewhere or selling something. That means that about half the country is flat broke, and things get even more precarious for working families with each passing day.
What can you do when you are working 60 hours a week at three part-time jobs and it is still not enough? In America today, many people have taken on more than one job in a desperate attempt to make ends meet, but they still come up short at the end of the month. And those that are actually working are the fortunate ones, because in one out of every five families in the United States nobody has a job. There are more than 100 million working age Americans that are currently not employed (yes this is true), and as I pointed out yesterday, job cut announcements by major firms are currently running 24 percent ahead of last year’s pace. But unemployment is just part of the overall problem. There is this growing misconception out there that if you “have a job” that you must be doing okay. Unfortunately for the growing number of “working poor” in America, that is not true at all.