The US Economy is Stuck in Misery

by Joel S. Hirschhorn


Again we say, the "end of days" is about money. The Bible says:

"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. 13:16-17)

"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.

Most 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 of me.

"And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

"I receive not honour from men.

"But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.

"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 5:39-43)


The 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 recession.

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.

Going home to mom and dad

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.

 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 hit hard.

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.

Real rate of unemployment is 20 percent [Please see our article, "A Permanent 30% Unemployment Rate."]

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 restored them.

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 Silvia, says:

"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."