Other websites focus on the economy and I don’t usually bring that shit here. However, I often have my dousing rod out on big picture economic stuff as it has the potential to impact my family and my children. While I have faith in the U.S. as a whole to continue to provide economic opportunities abound, more and more I’ve been reading about the collapse of past empires and it worries me some. I’m a fiscal conservative by nature and if I didn’t have a family, would be pretty miserly.. not Ebinezer Scrooge miserly, but pretty tight fisted. The fact we’ve turned our economic house around in the last 5 years is a big accomplishment and we’re continuing to do what we can to stay economically solvent. However, it sure doesn’t appear that those running our country are doing the same. The Elusive Wapiti has a good post on this here, echoing my general feelings towards our country’s fiscal irresponsibility.
History is replete with examples of formerly dominant empires overextending themselves and collapsing under their own weight. One such example was ancient Athens in the run-up to the Peloponnesian war. Like the US, it stationed troops around its sphere of influence in an effort to keep its vassal states in line and, similar to what America does today, as a deterrent to aggression by regional competitors. Unfortunately, with troops stationed all over the Ionian penninsula and around the Aegean and Ionian Sea, even as far as Sicily, everything became “in the national security interest” of Athens, and the Athenian empire exhausted itself in an attempt to maintain control over it’s far-flung territories. America finds itself in a similar situation today, with the expectation that the US will “continue to lead” militarily, yet lacking the resources to sustain defense spending that exceeds the next 19biggest-spending nations combined.
For once I’d like to see a politician say: we need to get our economic house in order, first and foremost, and tighten up the tax code (force big businesses and those wealthy individuals who use tax loopholes to pay minimal or no taxes) and if necessary raise taxes and cut programs (though as noted below, many families are dependent on some of these programs for life sustenance so it’s obviously a difficult balancing act). I do not want my generation and the next generation to continue to stagnate and pay for the entitlement culture the Boomers have been perpetuating for years, and that’s even before the glut of social security payouts that are right around the corner.
The Economic Collapse blog has a post about economics of desperate American families. I wanted to share so that we remember that most of our problems are minor in the grand scheme of things and to count our blessings and appreciate what we have and the opportunity we’ve been given. Some of the facts that jumped out include:
1. One recent survey discovered that 40 percent of all Americans have $500 or less in savings.
2. A different recent survey found that 28 percent of all Americans do not have a single penny saved for emergencies.
9. In the United States today, 77 percent of all Americans are living to paycheck to paycheck at least some of the time.
10. In the United States today, more than 41 percent of all working age Americans are not working.
11. Since January 2009, the “labor force” in the United States has increased by 827,000, but “those not in the labor force” has increased by 8,208,000. This is how they have gotten the unemployment numbers to “come down”.
15. At this point, less than 25 percent of all jobs in the United States are “good jobs”, and that number continues to shrink.
16. There are now 20.2 million Americans that spend more than half of their incomes on housing. That represents a 46 percent increase from 2001.
22. Back in 1983, the bottom 95 percent of all income earners had 62 cents of debt for every dollar that they earned. By 2007, that figure had soared to $1.48.
28. The percentage of Americans that find that they are able to retire when they reach retirement age continues to decline. According to one new survey, 70 percent of middle class Americans plan to work during retirement and 30 percent plan to work until they are at least 80 years old.
32. Approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are living in homes that are either considered to be either “low income” or impoverished.
37. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, an all-time record 49 percent of all Americans live in a home where at least one person receives financial assistance from the federal government. Back in 1983, that number was less than 30 percent.
It’s scary out there. And I don’t believe that the fat-cats in Washington are looking out for our best interests. They paint the picture of “Uncle Sam” and equate it to Captain America. In reality, I feel like we’re being driven around in “Uncle Touchy’s” rape van, with an ending that’s going to leave us battered and scarred for life.
I’m not a survivalist, tinfoil hat wearing nutjob, but I’m planning to take some necessary precautions in the near future and have been researching some basic supplies, and things that I think it behooves us to have on hand, should the economic collapse continue further, the Zombie War comes to light or Contagion spreads. I’m sure as fuck not thinking my government is looking out for my survival should things really turn to shit.