Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The 50 Ugliest Facts About the U.S. Economy

I have an English reader who occasionally questions our reasons for "prepping." Perhaps this will help her understand.

This article is called "Presenting the Wall of Worry: The 50 Ugliest Facts About The U.S. Economy." The links supporting each point are included in the original article rather than hyperlinked here.

As we close on another week replete with ugly economic data and the usual bizarro counterintuitive market, here is a summary of the 50 most underreported facts about the state of the US economy, courtesy of the Coto report. After reading these it almost makes sense that the market has become completely desensitized to the sad reality now pervasive in this country. Readers are encouraged to add their own observations to this list. Surely if the list is doubled, the market will go up to 72,000 instead of just 36,000.

#50) In 2010 the U.S. government is projected to issue almost as much new debt as the rest of the governments of the world combined.

#49) It is being projected that the U.S. government will have a budget deficit of approximately 1.6 trillion dollars in 2010.

#48) If you went out and spent one dollar every single second, it would take you more than 31,000 years to spend a trillion dollars.

#47) In fact, if you spent one million dollars every single day since the birth of Christ, you still would not have spent one trillion dollars by now.

#46) Total U.S. government debt is now up to 90 percent of gross domestic product.

#45) Total credit market debt in the United States, including government, corporate and personal debt, has reached 360 percent of GDP.

#44) U.S. corporate income tax receipts were down 55% (to $138 billion) for the year ending September 30th, 2009.

#43) There are now 8 counties in the state of California that have unemployment rates of over 20 percent.

#42) In the area around Sacramento, California there is one closed business for every six that are still open.

#41) In February, there were 5.5 unemployed Americans for every job opening.

#40) According to a Pew Research Center study, approximately 37% of all Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 have either been unemployed or underemployed at some point during the recession.

#39) More than 40% of those employed in the United States are now working in low-wage service jobs.

#38) According to one new survey, 24% of American workers say that they have postponed their planned retirement age in the past year.
#37) Over 1.4 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009, which represented a 32 percent increase over 2008. Not only that, more Americans filed for bankruptcy in March 2010 than during any month since U.S. bankruptcy law was tightened in October 2005.

#36) Mortgage purchase applications in the United States are down nearly 40 percent from a month ago to their lowest level since April of 1997.

#35) RealtyTrac has announced that foreclosure filings in the U.S. established an all time record for the second consecutive year in 2009.

#34) According to RealtyTrac, foreclosure filings were reported on 367,056 properties in March 2010, an increase of nearly 19 percent from February, an increase of nearly 8 percent from March 2009 and the highest monthly total since RealtyTrac began issuing its report in January 2005.

#33) In Pinellas and Pasco counties, which include St. Petersburg, Florida and the suburbs to the north, there are 34,000 open foreclosure cases. Ten years ago, there were only about 4,000.

#32) In California’s Central Valley, 1 out of every 16 homes is in some phase of foreclosure.

#31) The Mortgage Bankers Association recently announced that more than 10 percent of all U.S. homeowners with a mortgage had missed at least one payment during the January to March time period. That was a record high and up from 9.1 percent a year ago.

#30) U.S. banks repossessed nearly 258,000 homes nationwide in the first quarter of 2010, a 35 percent jump from the first quarter of 2009.

#29) For the first time in U.S. history, banks own a greater share of residential housing net worth in the United States than all individual Americans put together.

#28) More than 24% of all homes with mortgages in the United States were underwater as of the end of 2009.

#27) U.S. commercial property values are down approximately 40 percent since 2007 and currently 18 percent of all office space in the United States is sitting vacant.

#26) Defaults on apartment building mortgages held by U.S. banks climbed to a record 4.6 percent in the first quarter of 2010. That was almost twice the level of a year earlier.

#25) In 2009, U.S. banks posted their sharpest decline in private lending since 1942.

#24) New York state has delayed paying bills totalling $2.5 billion as a short-term way of staying solvent but officials are warning that its cash crunch could soon get even worse.

#23) To make up for a projected 2010 budget shortfall of $280 million, Detroit issued $250 million of 20-year municipal notes in March. The bond issuance followed on the heels of a warning from Detroit officials that if its financial state didn’t improve, it could be forced to declare bankruptcy.

#22) The National League of Cities says that municipal governments will probably come up between $56 billion and $83 billion short between now and 2012.

#21) Half a dozen cash-poor U.S. states have announced that they are delaying their tax refund checks.

#20) Two university professors recently calculated that the combined unfunded pension liability for all 50 U.S. states is 3.2 trillion dollars.

#19) According to EconomicPolicyJournal.com, 32 U.S. states have already run out of funds to make unemployment benefit payments and so the federal government has been supplying these states with funds so that they can make their payments to the unemployed.

#18) This most recession has erased 8 million private sector jobs in the United States.

#17) Paychecks from private business shrank to their smallest share of personal income in U.S. history during the first quarter of 2010.

#16) U.S. government-provided benefits (including Social Security, unemployment insurance, food stamps and other programs) rose to a record high during the first three months of 2010.

#15) 39.68 million Americans are now on food stamps, which represents a new all-time record. But things look like they are going to get even worse. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is forecasting that enrollment in the food stamp program will exceed 43 million Americans in 2011.

#14) Phoenix, Arizona features an astounding annual car theft rate of 57,000 vehicles and has become the new “Car Theft Capital of the World”.

#13) U.S. law enforcement authorities claim that there are now over 1 million members of criminal gangs inside the country. These 1 million gang members are responsible for up to 80% of the crimes committed in the United States each year.

#12) The U.S. health care system was already facing a shortage of approximately 150,000 doctors in the next decade or so, but thanks to the health care “reform” bill passed by Congress, that number could swell by several hundred thousand more.

#11) According to an analysis by the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation the health care “reform” bill will generate $409.2 billion in additional taxes on the American people by 2019.

#10) The Dow Jones Industrial Average just experienced the worst May it has seen since 1940.

#9) In 1950, the ratio of the average executive’s paycheck to the average worker’s paycheck was about 30 to 1. Since the year 2000, that ratio has exploded to between 300 to 500 to one.

#8) Approximately 40% of all retail spending currently comes from the 20% of American households that have the highest incomes.

#7) According to economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, two-thirds of income increases in the U.S. between 2002 and 2007 went to the wealthiest 1% of all Americans.

#6) The bottom 40 percent of income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.

#5) If you only make the minimum payment each and every time, a $6,000 credit card bill can end up costing you over $30,000 (depending on the interest rate).

#4) According to a new report based on U.S. Census Bureau data, only 26 percent of American teens between the ages of 16 and 19 had jobs in late 2009 which represents a record low since statistics began to be kept back in 1948.

#3) According to a National Foundation for Credit Counseling survey, only 58% of those in “Generation Y” pay their monthly bills on time.

#2) During the first quarter of 2010, the total number of loans that are at least three months past due in the United States increased for the 16th consecutive quarter.

#1) According to the Tax Foundation’s Microsimulation Model, to erase the 2010 U.S. budget deficit, the U.S. Congress would have to multiply each tax rate by 2.4. Thus, the 10 percent rate would be 24 percent, the 15 percent rate would be 36 percent, and the 35 percent rate would have to be 85 percent.


Y'know, folks, a few bags of beans and rice in the cupboard really seems like a good idea.


  1. Grim, indeed.

    My reason for prepping is directly related to the US economy. As the economy continues to flounder, and the government continues to heap on taxation and regulation, then not only is the economy a problem, but related problems will occur down the road. Rampaging masses are a real possibility. Closed stores and/or late shipments of foods and goods would also be distinct possibilities. In fact, the list of ancillary problems is a long one.

    My mother always told us kids that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If she were with us today, she'd be canning like crazy.

    I'd like to add, as a California resident, that many of the stats for this state are heavily skewed due to the illegal alien population here.
    Many bought homes with little or no down payment or ability to pay monthly payments. They lost their homes and the rest of us are left holding the bag. Illegals are included in the jobless numbers, and many of them were unemployed when the EPA drastically reduced the amount of water the San Joaquin Valley farmers could use for irrigation. (Due to wacko environmentals worried about the welfare of a fish in the delta that few even knew existed. As a result of helping the fish, many farm families lost their orchards, their incomes, and their land. Many illegals lost their jobs and went onto the public dole.) 1 in 8 Americans lives in California (I'd guess 1 in 4 illegals lives here, too) and as California goes, so goes the nation...eventually. If we the people of California cannot find the courage to tighten our entitlement belts and reduce the cost of government, this state will fail and bring down the country with it. It is a numbers game and California has most of the numbers. Pray for us, we need to get our ship of state righted.

    Entitlements are not sustainable. They are destroying this country and the Western World. Self-reliance and personal responsibility are the only ways to achieve and maintain freedom.

    Now stepping off my soapbox.

    Anonymoous Twit

  2. And for those of us that live in hurricane prone areas, I implore y'all to stock up in preparation for emergency supply disruption if you haven't already done so. My local grocery store's shelves are thinly stocked and it wouldn't take much to completely clear their stock.

  3. Thanks from your English reader Patrice :)

    Yes it all sounds very worrying I agree. But then I don't have sufficient economic knowledge to translate it into likey effects on the streets.

    I was a child during WW2 when the whole productive capacity of the UK was concentrated on simple survival and creating weapons of destruction. There was a little bit of hoarding but not much as there was little to hoard. At the end of war millions of homes had been destroyed and the country was bankrupt.

    Somehow we survived . . . .

  4. Thought you might enjoy that, Quedula (wink).

    However I feel compelled to point out there are some critical differences between "hoarding" and "prepping." (Sorry to SHOUT using capital letters, but there's no option to italicize in the comments section.)

    Hoarding implies that we who are preparing are DOING SO AT THE EXPENSE OF OTHERS. It implies that we are somehow wrong to store rice and beans to feed our families during hard times. That by storing food, we are literally taking it out of the mouths of others. It implies that there are shortages, and WE ARE TAKING MORE THAN OUR FAIR SHARE. That by ramping up our own food storage, we are causing others to go hungry.

    I'm sure you'll agree that none of these implications are true. We who are preparing are, BY DEFINITION, doing so during "easy" times. Right now food and other resources are abundant and relative cheap. Virtually anyone can do *something* to prepare for future shortages. Most just CHOOSE not to.

    My God, if you lived through post-WWII England, I would think you of all people would be first in line to have a year's worth of food and supplies on hand, lest you have a repeat of the horrible hardship England experienced during that dark time.

    Methinks this subject is worthy of a separate post...

  5. Exactly. The time to gather emergency supplies is when there isn't an emergency. There will be more supplies available for everybody that way.

  6. I love England, my linage is English and Irish and some dambable German.Quedula must have been too young to appreciate what was happening. If you look at her site you can see that they are enjoying the fruits of those who have gone before (both English and American. Enjoy Quedula, it likely will not last.

  7. Save the Canning JarsJuly 14, 2010 at 8:36 PM

    I appreciated the distinctions made between hoarding and preparing. Under a loose definition of hoarding, one could make the argument that my extended family is hoarding vacations because they have had more than their fair share. Or that Jay Leno is hoarding cars because he has too many classics. Or that Stacy London from TLC's What Not to Wear is hoarding shoes because she has something crazy like 200 pairs.

    But the reality is that there are vacations, classic cars, and shoes enough for the masses.
    There is enough food as well. America is indeed a blessed nation.

    So what I'm doing is preparing, not hoarding.
    I just chose to skip the vacations and use my discretionary funds to purchase next years food in advance. For now, it's still a free country and I can have 10 bags of beans and rice if I want them. You can too...it's your choice!

  8. Dear Patrice,
    When someone can't see the obvious, no amount of explaining and reasoning will ever convince them. They will continually compare the world today with the way it was 40 or 50 years ago, insisting "we came out okay then, we will now." The only way they will finally realize how wrong they've been is when it's all gone and they're starving! Of course, by then it will be too late. That's when they'll come knocking on your door, begging for help. Ignorance (in other words, human nature) can be awfully frustrating at times! You'd be better off talking to one of your cows.

  9. Lloyd is a real barrel of laughs as usual. Can anyone tell me what he is talking about and what it has to do with "prepping"?

  10. Patrice. I think "hoarding" implies laying up in secret, not taking more than your fair share. During the war we had fair shares imposed by rationing. As a result of this the nation's nutritional health actually improved. You may understand then why I am somewhat sceptical about the value of "prepping". But it is not just me, prepping isn't going on in the UK at all, even though I am sure we wouldn't be immune from the kind of economic collapse you fear. I can only suggest It amounts to an interesting contrast between different mindsets that I am otherwise at a loss to explain. . . .

  11. Have you also considered the practical difficulties of keeping a year's food in store? Unless you are prepared leave it to get older & older & less & less nutritious then, one year after you have laid it up, you need to start consuming and continuously replenishing it.

    Eventually you will be continually consuming one year old food in preparation for an emergency that may never happen, or take a different outcome to the expected . . .

  12. Quedula,

    I'm someone whose father was a World War Two combat veteran who spent time in your country, and whose country spent its blood and treasure to help defeat your enemy in those horrifying and tragic times.

    Therefore, I seriously doubt you're clueless as to what Lloyd's saying, so I won't bother to respond to your question. I will, however point out that your swipe at him smacks of snark and tacks hard into the wind of personal attack.

    As for your statements about "fair shares imposed by rationing" and how "as a result of this the nation's health actually improved," well, that's just a lot of fried ice cream, in my opinion, and I'll tell you why.

    Based on the documentaries and historical accounts I've seen and read on this subject, as well as on first-hand stories shared with me by friends and family who lived through it, I have to say your version of history sounds considerably less than accurate. To me it sounds skewed to support a particular world view that includes a thinly veiled condescension toward some our values and practices. It also ignores the valiant efforts of the many folks in your country who did everything they could to deal with the widespread conditions of near starvation by gardening and providing as well as they were able for themselves and others during those times of "fair shares imposed by rationing."

    This conversation is, as you wrote, "an interesting contrast between different mindsets," but unlike you, I, and I'm confident others here, are not at a loss to explain it. Foremost among the possible explanations, I think, is the fact that we're not nearly as conditioned to deep government intrusion and control and dependency as so many in the UK appear to be.

    Additionally, many if not most of us who post here are Christians, and as such we are taught to be good stewards, prepare for the future and always share with the less fortunate if possible. These are good things to do and are examples many of us had set for us by parents and grandparents of very modest means, who struggled and worked hard, but who nonetheless always found a way to help a neighbor or loved one in need...even if they lived in England.

    All this, coupled with your statement that "prepping isn't going on in the UK at all," which is an assertion you can't possibly validate, leaves me in complete agreement with Patrice's thoughts
    that this is indeed a subject worthy of a separate post. I look forward to it.

    A. McSp

  13. quedula, why is the definition of hoarding important? Whatever the definition, nobody in the USA is taking food out of your mouth or out of the mouths of babes. In fact, you may be very glad some Americans are prepping because your country may need my country's help (again) and some of us might be able to provide it...because we were prepared in advance. Don't bite the hand that may eventually feed you.

    This is the first (and hopefully last) time I have been ticked off by someone's post on this blog. You don't understand why we do what we do, so what? Frankly, it's not my job to explain anything to anybody. I don't understand your condescending attitude, care to explain that?

    Anonymous Twit

  14. Dear A.McSp,
    Thank you for your reponse. I will try to answer the points you made in order and as briefly as possible
    1) I do now understand a little better what Lloyd was getting at but don't know why he brings my website in or why he makes the final veiled threat.
    2) Here is a quote from http://www.history.ac.uk/ihr/Focus/War/londonRation.html:- "It is generally accepted that food rationing improved the nation’s health through the imposition of a balanced diet with essential vitamins."
    3) I assure you that I, no one in my family and no one I knew or went to school with, was anywhere near starving. We kept chickens in the backyard, had a share in a pig and an allotment.
    4) I think you are possibly right that Britons may be more accepting of government intervention than Americans. They may also be more inclined to look to government for solutions.
    5) If you are suggesting that only avowed Christians are capable of moral behaviour I profoundly disagree, but this is not the place to debate this.
    6) I do live in the UK and am an avid follower of news, politics, current affairs etc. I am 99.9% certain that if "prepping" was going on in the UK I would have heard about it. I think commonsense requires you to accept this as fact or provide contrary evidence.

  15. Dear Anonymous Twit,
    I wasn't aware I had ticked you, or anyone off. Just trying to have a discussion about "prepping" and get a better understanding of the Amercian psyche.
    If I sounded condescending, perhaps you should try changing your pseudonym.

  16. Patrice,
    Apologies if you think I'm monopolising this thread but on the subject of Britain's nutrition during WW2 you and your readers might be interested in this article:-

  17. I certainly don't mind the lively debate as long as everyone stays polite.


  18. Quedula,

    You lost me at "veiled threat." I don't know what compels you to create such baseless, accusatory and incendiary mental images, but I ain't rollin' in that lowest common denominator mud-hole with ya, honey.

    The above also applies to your comment number 5.

    Your posts on this subject don't realy seem to be about having a mutually respectful discussion. They seem to be much more about an escalating, flame-throwing trollishness wrapped in a pseudo-intellectual blanket of pretense and defensive rationalization.

    You say you're "just trying to have a discussion about 'prepping' and get a better understanding of the American psyche"....??? Is your study technique based on how folks respond to your bogus accusations and personal insults? And are you unclear that we're here to learn about practical things and not to provide a venue for your armchair psychoanalysis? Do you truly believe there is such a thing as "the American psyche?" Seriously?

    I'm pleased to think your family and community fared so well through the period we've discussed, and would suggest to you it was perhaps due to someone's having been somehow prepared. Those chickens and pigs you wrote about didn't pop out of thin air, and going shares in livestock is, by definition, a form of preparedness. But I feel certain, based on what I've seen, read and heard, that many many war-battered Brits were not as fortunate and did not fare as well.

    You're sending mixed messages, and you're putting them out here among a bunch of folks who may very possibly be disinclined to overlook that fact.

    Simply put, as far as I'm concerned, too many of your words lack quedability.

    A. McSp.

  19. Dear Patrice and all,

    I just discovered this blog about a week ago and am loving it!

    I have also been following the Paratus Familia blogspot, which Patrice links here on her site.

    Please read Enola Gay's post titled "Why Prepare (and what we are preparing for)". And then check out the 4th comment. It is not very nice. I am not a good arguer, and have been trying to formulate a response in my head all day, but I'm not sure how to address it.

    Please check it out if you have time.

    Jenna in Florida

  20. You LIVE to tick people off Quedula. Here's the point I was driving at. Chickens must be smarter than you because at least they wait until AFTER the eggs are laid to start clucking. I'm pleased that you are so self satisfied and confident that nothing can possibly go wrong. Just try to enjoy your good fortune and shut your yapper. We love LIBERTY!

  21. Welcome, Jenna! Glad to have you aboard.

    Remember, folks, I don't mind a lively debate **as long as everyone stays polite.**


  22. A. McSp you rock!

    trollishness - $5.00
    armchair pyschoanalysis - $10.00
    quedability - priceless!

    Anonymous Twit

  23. Very nice AT! I wish I had thought of that.

  24. Well, A.T. you know what I always say...
    it takes one to know one! You rock too!


    A. McSp.

  25. Dear A.McSp,
    Why are you being so vituperative?
    I tried to answer your points simply & calmly to the best of my ability. You accuse me of "personal insults"! Have I insulted you just by saying you are are wrong? How can we have a discussion if it simply requires me to agree with everything you say?
    I look forward to a REASONED response if Patrice will bear with it.

  26. Lloyd, I'm not at all confident that nothing can go wrong. But I and, I believe, the vast majority of Britons are more phlegmatic about it than you and some of your fellow Americans are. Do you happen to know if the attitudes expressed on this blog also exist on the east & west coasts?

  27. Jenna,
    Thank you.
    I have read the Enola Gay post you mention. Very interesting. A completely different religiously-based perspective on prepping!
    All religions seem to be based on pick & mix. :)

  28. Jenna, thanks for the tip about the post on this subject that you found on Enola Gay's site, Familia Paratus.

    I did go there and read it, and it was clear why it left you feeling the way it did. I found some good responses, and I posted one myself.

    The most prominent common element I'm seeing in these posts that come out against preparedness is confusion. The posters are clueless about the practices and principles of preparedness, but that doesn't stop them from going on and on and on about why it's wrong or why we shouldn't do it. Uh...what's wrong with this picture?

    Students of The Word know who's the author of confusion and what to do when it comes against us.

    Thanks again for the heads up.

    A. McSp

  29. What to do when one's own blogs get little traffic? Hijack a popular one.

    Anonymous Twit

  30. A.T. you may want to consider prefacing such posts with an SBR advisory...(Swallow before reading). I dang near blew coffee all over my screen.

    Still laughing.

    A. McSp

  31. Ohhh YEAH ! Look out Leno writers. AT has it going on!

  32. Umm.. where am I Quedula? I am in the center of this great country. I have some how managed to keep up on what those folks are talking about. May I suggest that perhaps you are not up to speed on what is happenning there. They are feeling cheated and uneasy. Change is in the air. It smells like...VICTORY!

  33. Victory LLoyd? Over who exactly?

  34. Over the misguided and delusional Democrats now calling all the shots in our country quedula. I guess that I should add that they are aided by a tiny group of Republican frauds. I truley wish you could get your house in order in Britain before you throw rocks at others. It just sounds so Muslim.

  35. The debt will get us. It might not be this year it might be next or even 2012. When the interest rates begin to rise they will rise to double digits. At that point just the interest due on the debt each year will exceed the entire budget a few years ago. We will either have to declare a national bankruptcy with some very nasty international implications or print $15 trillion and pay it off. Printing money will destroy our economy and quite probably the international economy as well. But ironically it is probably the best option available to us. My fear is we will have politicians who are unable to do it, to pull the trigger, and we will have a deep malaise until it falls apart. My second fear is even if we were to print $15 trillion our problems would be far from over and our typical incredibly stupid politicians will just keep printing money thinking we can print our way out of it. But whatever happens it will take a long time before it gets better; ten years or more.

  36. Just a suggestion for those of you who do not want to live off your one year old food storage. One of the things I store that has a short storage life is oil. So what I do is when it approaches it's use by date I give it to the local food bank and replace it with fresh. I have recently decided to do that with all/most of the foods with short storage life. This is about 1/4th of what I store since most of it will keep for more years then I expect to be around. A cheap solution that keeps me from having to constantly paw through my cans and buckets trying to use stuff before it goes bad.

  37. Hi, I am new to this site too. I have felt the need to prep lately and here is why....

    S will hit the fan and all of us have to be able to live and take care of family.

    My mom used to say (back in the Y2K scare) "you buy insurance for your house and car, why not buy some insurance for this too!)
    The way I see it, if I have a stockpile of food and personal needs here on my land for taking care of my family, I have not purchased much that will not be used. I have it here and know if the power goes out, or income does not come in, or any of the other things that can go wrong, I can feed my family and keep them warm and safe.
    I love the sites here that help me with my thoughts and preparations for caring for my family. God bless all of you, and together, we will be fine! But like mom said "Buy some insurance!!!"

  38. Worried in TN, welcome aboard. Glad you found us.

    - Patrice

  39. Quedula said "I do live in the UK and am an avid follower of news, politics, current affairs etc. I am 99.9% certain that if "prepping" was going on in the UK I would have heard about it."

    It's going on in the UK