The US Economy is Stuck in Misery
by Joel S. Hirschhorn
Again we say, the "end of days" is about money. The
"And he [i.e., the "false prophet] causeth
all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond,
to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
"AND THAT NO MAN MIGHT BUY OR SELL, SAVE HE
THAT HAD THE MARK or the name of the beast (i.e., the
Antichrist), or the number of his name." (Rev.
"Buying" and "selling?" - what's
that all about? - it's about MONEY!
Yes - the "Great Deception" of the "end
of days" will involve false "signs and wonders,"
"false doctrine," the "New Age," false
forms of ecumenicism, etc. But more than most Christians
want to admit, it is also about money - that's what the
"Mark of the Beast" is all about! - MONEY!
What does that mean to us on a personal basis? - Well,
it means this: We may be clear on the "New Age;"
we may be doctrinally correct insofar as the Word of God
is concerned; we may not be "taken in" by false
"signs and wonders." But what about money? What
is our connection with money? Does it have a hold on our
life? Are we able to walk away from it? - and saying "Yes,
we are able to do so" means nothing. It's what we
do on THAT DAY that counts! Saying so means nothing. Doing
something about it is what means something.
CHRISTIANS IN AMERICA ARE BEING TESTED TODAY – AND I
AM VERY MUCH AFRAID MOST OF THEM WILL
FAIL THE TEST – THEY ARE ALTOGETHER IN LOVE WITH MONEY,
AND WHEN SOMEONE EVENTUALLY COMES ALONG AND PROMISES TO
ALEVIATE THEIR ECONOMIC MISERY, MOST CHRISTIANS WILL GIVE
IN TO HIS BLANDISHMENTS.
Christians will fail the test
Speaking to those who constituted the religious establishment
of His day, Jesus said:
"Ye search the scriptures; for in them ye think
ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify
"And ye will not come to me, that ye might have
"I receive not honour from men.
"But I know you, that ye have not the love of God
"I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me
not: IF ANOTHER SHALL COME
IN HIS OWN NAME, HIM YE WILL RECEIVE." (John
middle class is dead. The US has produced a self-sustaining
two-class society. Most Lower Class Americans are in bad or
uncertain economic shape but the rich and powerful Upper Class
crowd keeps making and spending money as if there has been no
Talk about a possible double-dip recession misses the larger
reality: For many millions of Americans the first recession is still here;
there has been no recovery for them. And only 23 percent of people believe
that things will get better.
A new survey by the Pew Research Center provides disturbing
data that no amount of lies from politicians can refute. The fact is,
the US economy will not regain lasting health. The scope of the economic
shock is shown by the 60 percent of Americans that have cut down on borrowing
and spending. And nearly 50 percent are in worse financial shape because
of the economic downturn. Forty percent of adults have tapped savings and
retirement accounts to make ends meet. Nearly 25 percent have had to borrow
money from someone. Ten percent have moved back with their parents to survive
the economic tsunami, and that rises to 24 percent for workers between 18
and 29 years old.
Going home to mom and dad
More and more Americans now recognize that retirement will
have to wait. For those 62 and older and still working, 35 percent have postponed
retirement. That jumps to 60 percent as a likely action for working adults
between ages 50 and 61. Replace the golden years with the disappointment
years, especially when inevitable reduced Social Security and Medicare benefits
For those still lucky enough to have jobs, the Commerce Department
reports that the personal savings rate in May -- the part of wage income
that goes unspent -- rose to 4 percent, the highest amount in nearly a year,
as anxious consumers faced continued economic woes, such as fears about losing
jobs or homes, affording food and health care, and a tumbling stock market.
And always remember that the official jobless rate of just
under 10 percent is pure bunk; it really is close to 20 percent nationally,
and a lot worse in many places and for African-Americans and Hispanics. The
average time for being without a job is now six months, with many more people
jobless for a whole lot more, often several years. All this means suppressed
consumer spending and continued high home foreclosure rates. No big surprise
that consumer confidence crashed almost 10 points between May and June. Welcome
to high anxiety.
Also keep in mind that even as the general consumer spending
shows little life, the Upper Class keeps on living it up. Gallup reported
"Upper-income Americans' self-reported spending rose 33% to an average of
$145 per day in May -- up from $109 per day in April 2010 and May 2009, and
the highest monthly average since November 2008." The rest of the population's
self-reported spending averaged $59 per day in May. So, rich Americans are
spending nearly twice as much as the vast majority of Americans every day.
Indeed, Tiffany reports sales up 17 percent in the jeweler's most recent quarter.
Overall US luxury sales, says MasterCard SpendingPulse, jumped 22.7 percent
in March, over the previous year. The increase in luxury buying appears to
be coming almost totally from the "ultra-affluents," those households
making over $250,000 a year. Their first-quarter spending increased 22.6
percent, meaning that they have returned to spending at pre-recession levels.
And here is a gem of a new statistic. In 2009, the Economic
Policy Institute reports that the typical working American with a four-year
college degree took home $1,025 per week, $5 a week less than Americans with
a four-year degree took home, after adjusting for inflation, in the year 2000.
How's that for progress?
Meanwhile, almost half of U.S. companies that reduced or suspended
their contributions to employee retirement plans during the recession haven't
The ultra ugly truth is that there is very little hope for
the US economy providing true prosperity for the vast majority of people in
the foreseeable future. Unemployment will remain high and consumer spending
will remain low except for the wealthy. Economic inequality is terrible and
punishing most Americans who should forget about that fabled American dream.
To visualize America 's staggeringly unequal distribution of wealth, suggests
University of Tennessee at Martin historian David Barber, envision a 100-seat
auditorium filled with 100 people. If seating in that auditorium reflected
our current wealth distribution, the single richest person in the hall "would
be able to spread out smartly" over nearly 43 seats. The poorest 60
would have to squeeze into just one.
A tidal wave of economic
misery is coming - and it's aimed straight at you!
And when if finally hits, will you be able to say with
the prophet Habakkuk:
"Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be
on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food; Though the flock be
cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the
stalls - YET I WILL REJOICE IN THE LORD, I WILL JOY
IN THE GOD OF MY SALVATION." (Habakkuk 3:17-18) ?
America is suffering a permanent destruction of jobs.
JPMorgan Chase's Chief Economist Bruce Kasman told Bloomberg:
"[We've had a] permanent destruction of hundreds of
thousands of jobs in industries from housing to finance."
The chief economists for Wells Fargo Securities, John
"Companies "really have diminished their willingness
to hire labor for any production level. It's really
a strategic change where companies will be keeping fewer
employees for any particular level of sales, in good
times and bad."
And David Rosenberg writes:
"The number of people not on temporary layoff surged
220,000 in August and the level continues to reach new
highs, now at 8.1 million. This accounts for 53.9% of
the unemployed - again a record high - and this is a
proxy for permanent job loss; in other words, these
jobs are not coming back. Against that backdrop, the
number of people who have been looking for a job for
at least six months with no success rose a further half-percent
in August, to stand at 5 million - the long-term unemployed
now represent a record 33% of the total pool of joblessness."
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