75 Economic Numbers From 2012 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe

Tyler Durden's picture

Compiled by Michael of Investment Watch blog,

What a year 2012 has been!  The mainstream media continues to tell us what a “great job” the Obama administration and the Federal Reserve are doing of managing the economy, but meanwhile things just continue to get even worse for the poor and the middle class.  It is imperative that we educate the American people about the true condition of our economy and about why all of this is happening.  If nothing is done, our debt problems will continue to get worse, millions of jobs will continue to leave the country, small businesses will continue to be suffocated, the middle class will continue to collapse, and poverty in the United States will continue to explode.  Just “tweaking” things slightly is not going to fix our economy.  We need a fundamental change in direction.  Right now we are living in a bubble of debt-fueled false prosperity that allows us to continue to consume far more wealth than we produce, but when that bubble bursts we are going to experience the most painful economic “adjustment” that America has ever gone through.  We need to be able to explain to our fellow Americans what is coming, why it is coming and what needs to be done.  Hopefully the crazy economic numbers that I have included in this article will be shocking enough to wake some people up.

The end of the year is a time when people tend to gather with family and friends more than they do during the rest of the year.  Hopefully many of you will use the list below as a tool to help start some conversations about the coming economic collapse with your loved ones.  Sadly, most Americans still tend to doubt that we are heading into economic oblivion.  So if you have someone among your family and friends that believes that everything is going to be “just fine”, just show them these numbers.  They are a good summary of the problems that the U.S. economy is currently facing.

The following are 75 economic numbers from 2012 that are almost too crazy to believe...

#1 In December 2008, 31.6 million Americans were on food stamps.  Today, a new all-time record of 47.7 million Americans are on food stamps.  That number has increased by more than 50 percent over the past four years, and yet the mainstream media still has the gall to insist that “things are getting better”.

#2 Back in the 1970s, about one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps.  Today, about one out of every 6.5 Americans is on food stamps.

#3 According to one calculation, the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of “Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.”

#4 According to one recent survey, 55 percent of all Americans have received money from a safety net program run by the federal government at some point in their lives.

#5 For the first time ever, more than a million public school students in the United States are homeless.  That number has risen by 57 percent since the 2006-2007 school year.

#6 Median household income in the U.S. has fallen for four consecutive years.  Overall, it has declined by over $4000 during that time span.

#7 Families that have a head of household under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent.

#8 The percentage of working age Americans with a job has been under 59 percent for 39 months in a row.

#9 In September 2009, during the depths of the last economic crisis, 58.7 percent of all working age Americans were employed.  In November 2012, 58.7 percent of all working age Americans were employed.  It is more then 3 years later, and we are in the exact same place.

#10 When you total up all working age Americans that do not have a job in America today, it comes to more than 100 million.

#11 According to one recent survey, 55 percent of all small business owners in America “say they would not start a business today given what they know now and in the current environment.”

#12 The number of jobs at new small businesses continues to decline.  According to economist Tim Kane, the following is how the decline in the number of startup jobs per 1000 Americans breaks down by presidential administration

Bush Sr.: 11.3

Clinton: 11.2

Bush Jr.: 10.8

Obama: 7.8

#13 The U.S. share of global GDP has fallen from 31.8 percent in 2001 to 21.6 percent in 2011.

#14 The United States has fallen in the global economic competitiveness rankings compiled by the World Economic Forum for four years in a row.

#15 There are four major U.S. banks that each have more than 40 trillion dollars of exposure to derivatives.

#16 In 2000, there were more than 17 million Americans working in manufacturing, but now there are less than 12 million.

#17 According to the Pew Research Center, 61 percent of all Americans were “middle income” back in 1971.  Today, only 51 percent of all Americans are.

#18 The Pew Research Center has also found that 85 percent of all middle class Americans say that it is harder to maintain a middle class standard of living today than it was 10 years ago.

#19 62 percent of all middle class Americans say that they have had to reduce household spending over the past year.

#20 Right now, approximately 48 percent of all Americans are either considered to be “low income” or are living in poverty.

#21 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.

#22 According to one survey, 77 percent of all Americans are now living paycheck to paycheck at least part of the time.

#23 Back in 1950, more than 80 percent of all men in the United States had jobs.  Today, less than 65 percentof all men in the United States have jobs.

#24 The average amount of time that an unemployed worker stays out of work in the United States is 40 weeks.

#25 If you can believe it, approximately one out of every four American workers makes 10 dollars an hour or less.

#26 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.

#27 Right now, more than 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government.  And that does not even count Social Security or Medicare.  Overall, there are almost 80 different “means-tested welfare programs” that the federal government is currently running.

#28 When you account for all government transfer payments and all forms of government employment, more than half of all Americans are now at least partially financially dependent on the government.

#29 Barack Obama has been president for less than four years, and during that time the number of Americans “not in the labor force” has increased by nearly 8.5 million.  Something seems really “off” about that number, because during the entire decade of the 1980s the number of Americans “not in the labor force” only rose by about 2.5 million.

#30 Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.

#31 According to USA Today, many Americans have actually seen their water bills triple over the past 12 years.

#32 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.

#33 Right now, approximately 25 million American adults are living with their parents.

#34 As the economy has slowed down, so has the number of marriages.  According to a Pew Research Center analysis, only 51 percent of all Americans that are at least 18 years old are currently married.  Back in 1960, 72 percent of all U.S. adults were married.

#35 At this point, only 24.6 percent of all jobs in the United States are good jobs.

#36 In 1999, 64.1 percent of all Americans were covered by employment-based health insurance.  Today, only 55.1 percent are covered by employment-based health insurance.

#37 Recently it was announced that total student loan debt in the United States has passed the one trillion dollar mark.

#38 If you can believe it, one out of every seven Americans has at least 10 credit cards.

#39 One survey of business executives has ranked California as the worst state in America to do business for 8 years in a row.

#40 In the city of Detroit today, more than 50 percent of all children are living in poverty, and close to 50 percent of all adults are functionally illiterate.

#41 It is being projected that half of all American children will be on food stamps at least once before they turn 18 years of age.

#42 More than three times as many new homes were sold in the United States in 2005 as will be sold in 2012.

#43 If you can believe it, 53 percent of all Americans with a bachelor’s degree under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed last year.

#44 The U.S. economy continues to trade good paying jobs for low paying jobs.  60 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession were mid-wage jobs, but 58 percent of the jobs created since then have been low wage jobs.

#45 Our trade deficit with China in 2011 was $295.5 billion.  That was the largest trade deficit that one country has had with another country in the history of the planet.

#46 The United States has lost an average of approximately 50,000 manufacturing jobs a month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

#47 According to the Economic Policy Institute, America is losing half a million jobs to China every single year.

#48 The U.S. tax code is now more than 3.8 million words long.  If you took all of William Shakespeare’s works and collected them together, the entire collection would only be about 900,000 words long.

#49 According to the IMF, the global elite are holding a total of 18 trillion dollars in offshore banking havens such as the Cayman Islands.

#50 The value of the U.S. dollar has declined by more than 96 percent since the Federal Reserve was first created.

#51 2012 was the third year in a row that the yield for corn has declined in the United States.

#52 Experts are telling us that global food reserves have reached their lowest level in almost 40 years.

#53 One recent survey discovered that 40 percent of all Americans have $500 or less in savings.

#54 If you can believe it, one recent survey found that 28 percent of all Americans do not have a single penny saved for emergencies.

#55 Medical costs related to obesity in the United States are estimated to be approximately $147 billion a year.

#56 Corporate profits as a percentage of GDP are at an all-time high.  Meanwhile, wages as a percentage of GDP are near an all-time low.

#57 Today, the wealthiest 1 percent of all Americans own more wealth than the bottom 95 percent combined.

#58 The wealthiest 400 families in the United States have about as much wealth as the bottom 50 percent of all Americans combined.

#59 The six heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton have a net worth that is roughly equal to the bottom 30 percentof all Americans combined.

#60 At this point, the poorest 50 percent of all Americans collectively own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.

#61 Nearly 500,000 federal employees now make at least $100,000 a year.

#62 In 2006, only 12 percent of all federal workers made $100,000 or more per year.  Now, approximately 22 percent of all federal workers do.

#63 If you can believe it, there are 77,000 federal workers that make more than the governors of their own states do.

#64 Nearly 15,000 retired federal workers are collecting federal pensions for life worth at least $100,000 annually.  The list includes such names as Newt Gingrich, Bob Dole, Trent Lott, Dick Gephardt and Dick Cheney.

#65 U.S. taxpayers spend more than 20 times as much on the Obamas as British taxpayers spend on the royal family.

#66 Family homelessness in the Washington D.C. region (one of the wealthiest regions in the entire country) has risen 23 percent since the last recession began.

#67 If Bill Gates gave every single penny of his fortune to the U.S. government, it would only cover the U.S. budget deficit for about 15 days.

#68 During fiscal year 2012, 62 percent of the federal budget was spent on entitlements.

#69 Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid.  Today, approximately one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid.

#70 It is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.

#71 Medicare is also growing by leaps and bounds.  As I wrote about recently, it is being projected that the number of Americans on Medicare will grow from 50.7 million in 2012 to 73.2 million in 2025.

#72 Thanks to our foolish politicians (including Obama), Medicare is facing unfunded liabilities of more than 38 trillion dollars over the next 75 years.  That comes to approximately $328,404 for each and every household in the United States.

#73 Amazingly, the U.S. national debt is now up to 16.3 trillion dollars.  When Barack Obama first took office the national debt was just 10.6 trillion dollars.

#74 During the first four years of the Obama administration, the U.S. government accumulated about as much debt as it did from the time that George Washington took office to the time that George W. Bush took office.

#75 Today, the U.S. national debt is more than 5000 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was originally created back in 1913.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
ball-and-chain's picture

Yesterday I called my poor old mother.

I asked her if the sky is falling.

She said yes.

I asked her what to do.

She said that I should run to the hills.

I believe her.

I'd be crazy not to.


cossack55's picture

"wake some people up"  WTF  Most amerikans can't count to 75 (without the aid of their flat screen remote)

Cunnial's picture

Jesus Christ... You lads are fucked...

TPTB_r_TBTF's picture

Your kind are debt free?  No?

Allow me to quote yourself back to you:

Jesus Christ... You lads are fucked...

Chupacabra-322's picture


Americans now more than ever are armed to teeth and intend to arrest, each and every single CRIMINAL, Treasonist, Tyrannical Government Official. While simultaneously restoring a Consitutional Republic.   

Row Well Number 41's picture

Please,  They are buying because they think they won't be able to buy them later, and Americians always want what they can't have.  If you told them, no more iPads after next month they would buy those just as fast.


JR's picture

It appears Americans will not allow their freedom to be captured by gun control. Here is an interesting comparison of attitudes on gun use.

Israel Private Gun Ownership vs. United States Private Gun Ownership |The LRC Blog

Posted by David Kramer on December 21, 2012. (This post includes a picture of Israeli children on an outing accompanied by their teacher with a rifle ("assault weapon”) slung across her back, purse in hand –with the caption, “Why Israel Doesn’t Have USA-Style School Massacres: Only in America and other Socialist countries would teachers be denied the means to defend student safety. With this caveat by Kramer: [Correction to the person who created this: Israel is even more socialist than the United States.]

[Thanks to Randy Peoples]

UPDATE: My friend David Sack writes:

"In Israel, there is virtually NO private gun ownership (the exception being Jews, and not Arabs, who live in the “occupied territories”). Almost every weapon belongs to the army, police force, or private security firms licensed by the national police. What you do have (which is similar to Switzerland, I think) is anyone who is on active duty or the reserves (which is effectively the entire male population from 18 to about 50, and many women as well) are *required* to have their military issued weapons with them, or secured in their homes for easy access. In addition, schools, camps, youth tour groups, etc., are required to have “security” on premises or when going on trips. Security for these functions are provided either by private companies (which give the guards police-sanctioned guns) or by off-duty military reserve personnel who carry their army issued firearms. The upshot of all this is that while Israel is a heavily armed society, there is very little “private” ownership of firearms (hence, your socialist comment). This creates all sorts of bureaucratic hassles as well, as they are required to account for the bullets they use, which means that there is almost no target practice outside of government facilities which are specially designated for that purpose and for which bullets may be obtained. I was on a trip once with a guy who wanted to fire his newly issued M-16 (fully automatic) but refused to fire it on automatic mode and only took a couple of shots (and only let me take a couple of shots) because he had to account for the bullets, and didn’t want to waste them by taking target practice outside of a government facility."


knowless's picture

Nother mass killing in Pennsylvania today, i think 7 down including gunman, 2
State troopers

JR's picture

And already the state-connected media is using this latest tragedy to further the State’s agenda, such as this conclusion by Slate:

“Nonetheless, the deaths are the latest in a surprising total of gun-related fatalities in the week since last Friday's tragedy in Newtown and no doubt will make it that much more difficult for the NRA to shrink the larger debate about guns that is currently going on inside the Beltway and outside.”

Pat Buchanan wrote on December 18:

If assault rifles are evil things that ought not be in the hands of decent Americans, why do “shoot-to-kill” video games feature these weapons?

Why does Hollywood glamorize assault rifles in action-packed films of slaughter starring Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chuck Norris and Jason Statham?

Few of America’s young have seen an assault weapon fired outside the military. Scores of millions have seen them fired on TV. Many of our movies are advertisements for the efficiency of assault weapons in the hands of good guys doing heroic deeds.

Are the folks who think America would be a better place with a more restrictive Second Amendment willing to restrict the First Amendment to stop all distribution of movies and cable shows that depict famous actors blasting enemies with assault weapons?

Not long ago, there existed in our hearts “a fear of God.” …

But if God is dead, not to worry. Just put the gun to your head and pull the trigger, and it’s over. No trial. No disgrace. No prison. Nothing to worry about anymore.

No voice of conscience told Adam: Do not do this evil thing! Now he is no longer a nobody, a nerd, a recluse. He is famous. Everybody is talking about him, and ruminating on what might have motivated him.

Adam wanted to be somebody. And now he is.

And out there others like him are thinking: That could be me.


Yen Cross's picture

JR. I hope you get this before the Sunday open. Yer probably busy with Sue Ellen and the kids.

 The sar 4hour line on aud/usd is stretched like an O-Ring on a NASA shuttle booster/ If you want a free 50 pips, the 38.2% retrace comes in around 1.0457.

  Be well, and Merry Christmas.

JR's picture

Thanks, Yen. And once again, as another year passes in the enjoyment of your good company and insight, a Merry Christmas!

EscapingProgress's picture

That's a nice fantasy, but it won't happen. Americans are far too cowardly. If Americans were going to collectively do anything it would have happened before the gov't acquired remote control drones with guided bombs, militarized the police, and made it legal to indefinitely detain anyone without trial or charge.

That gov't gravy just tastes too darn good, and empty gov't promises sound so lovely!

Wanton1's picture

ADL lobbyist, Herman Edelsberg, to Norman Dodd quote:


"We will excercise our power and it will destroy us, but it will destroy everything else in the process."

mr_bad's picture

Well, when you put it like that, the American culture sounds incredibly shitty...

Peter Pan's picture

Why only 75 amazing facts? There is virtually no aspect of US society and its economy that is not mind boggling. How about student debt, demographic lethargy, prison populations, gun sales, foreign entanglements, working hand in hand with Al Quaeda, Ben's printing atrocities, etc etc etc.

The only things that are surprisingly low are penalties on banks and jailings of crooked bankers.

Iconoclast's picture

Sure, agree with all of that, I wonder how much student debt has risen in real and inflation terms for each student over the past 20/30 years? What are the figures for entry level salaries after graduation? In the UK it's approx 23k but it was 17k about 25 years back and life is sure more expensive than six grand a year, what's the youth unemployment rate in the USA atm?

TPTB_r_TBTF's picture

The rate of un-/underemployed graduates in the USSA is 53.6%.


Clowns on Acid's picture

Peter Pan - It's called negative correlation of > 90%. Try arguing that logically (even using math) with the left wing facsists. It has to come to a head....and it will. 

knukles's picture

I'm relieved that it ain't so bad, after all.....


dick cheneys ghost's picture

Great list but did not see any mention of the endless wars/military spending.


Just remember, 12 yr long wars are by design not accident


Happy Holidays to all and THANKS to ZH for all you do!!

syntaxterror's picture

It's been endless wars for the last FIFTY years. Korea. Vietnam. Central America. War on Drugs. War on Common Sense. War on Science. Iraq I. Iraq II. Kosovo. Libya. I can keep going on and it will never end.

toady's picture

Don't forget the war on Christmas!

#49 - 18 trillion in the Cayman Islands

#73 - 16.9 trillion deficit

I know where the next war should be!

flattrader's picture

Did Faux News ever say who won the "War on Christmas"?  Is it still on-going?

optimator's picture

Add the "War on Poverty", courtesy of LBJ, to your list.

toady's picture

I thought that one was the 'war on the poor'...

Row Well Number 41's picture

It's like having to be tied to, and help haul, a fat man up a snow covered mountian, in avalanch conditions, during a blizzard.  When he slips, and he will, we all go down with him... unless you cut the rope.


Yes We Can. But Lets Not.'s picture

You'll be arrested and imprisoned for cutting the rope.

Hangfire's picture

Since Obama's "Mission Accomplished" moment in May 2011 there have been over 600 US military personnel killed in Afghanistan.  

falak pema's picture


One argument is recurrent here on ZH and often presented in a contradictory light : the exposure of the 4 TBTF major US banks to derivative bubble; estimated here at over 40 TRillion each for all of them. 

All the while we hear that US banks are the MOST capitalised and least exposed to domino effects UNLIKE EURO ZONE BANKS.

These two statements are diametrically contradictory. And our ZH editors have skated over this by having their contributors post one thing and its opposite on a recurrent basis. 

The finger pointing to Euro bank undercapitalisation is chronic; aka french banks as stated in the Kyle Bass presentation, and he like the other contributors say "OUR US banks are better protected". 

It is also often mentioned that derivative exposure of EUro zone banks is much lower than UK and US banks. I don't know if this is true. 

So either as this article says the derivative bubble IS a major risk in Anglo banking and of greater systemic dimension than Euro banking undercapitalisation or its the contrary. Which is It?

Nobody denies that Euro banking exposure is 4 times GDP, and undercapitalisation makes domino effect very likely. 33 trillion banking domino is bigger than 9 trillion collective GDP, even if the bad HF bank ECB keeps printing it is not capitalised either with  good collateral. 

But a 120 trillion + derivative bubble risk in USA for the 4 major banks puts it in another league altogether. 


Pareto's picture

I agree.  Plus it depends on the composition of that derivative exposure.  Naked v. covered shorts and longs.  Invloved in, v. "exposed to" mean different things, IMO.  I mean if 120M were really exposed or unsecured debt instruments (swaps), I don't think you can hide that risk from the market.  Maybe you can.  But, if 120M doesn't cause concern from the market's perspective, then I'm thinking no amount ever would.



Hangfire's picture

#73 Might as well be $16.4 trillion, at least it will be within the next 24 hours.   

Iconoclast's picture

How have gun sales increased since 2000 in percentage terms? Similarly what links are there between the economic failure and the increase in the prison population?

Gamma735's picture

Private prisons is a growth opportunity.

gould's fisker's picture

God forbid data like this was aired during an election year except on a renegade website like ZH--it might even cause a few to wonder whether some democratic type activity might be taking place.  But there's nothing to worry about on that account in our present day cabbage patch kid nation, move along and oogle your gizmo pretending to live a quasi relevant existence.



Gamma735's picture

I foresee a new growth opportunity, opening a bunch of franchise crematoriums.  All these baby boomers will be dying in the coming years and they will not be able to afford traditional funerals and caskets. 

Hangfire's picture

You definitely have a point there, but if you live in California like I do that would be a definite clean air violation.  As it is I'm sure all the crematoriums out here are all Grand fathered in.   

ShrNfr's picture

Mercury emissions and all. Not sure that they are. They will probably have to put in stack scrubbers and buy carbon credits.

ShrNfr's picture

Price out a grave site sometime and get back to me. You will want to scatter the ashes except that will be banned by the EPA somehow.

razorthin's picture

You just gave me an idea for my junk silver.

New World Chaos's picture

Your big bucks will come from subcontracting to FEMA.  Hope you hid your ZH identity well or you may end up in your own oven.

Vendetta's picture

perhaps, but how do you know they won't be used to create soylent green to feed their jobless children and grandchilfdren?

Yes We Can. But Lets Not.'s picture

When things are in a more advanced state of collapse when Obooba is finally ushered out of town to build that library on the Rezko tract, he may want to borrower from Hillary's playbook and develop a concussion (you know, knock a 2-iron off a big oak straight back at your noggin) to shirk that feeling of responsibility.  Yeah, 'the bucks stops here, blah blah blah', but what if you can't remember anything?

Pooper Popper's picture

Ill dig a hole ,you print some money,       Benny!


Ill dig a hole,you print some money ,      Benny!



xamax's picture

But Stocks go up, thats all that counts. I expect S&P's to have a nice year end rally and push to 1480.

Merry Christmas !

Rathmullan's picture

So what? Europe's fixed and debt doesn't matter as it just gets defaulted on leaving equities as the only game in town.

--Chuck E (cheese) Shumer

dark pools of soros's picture

The amount of chosen people affected by any of this: 0

Monedas's picture

"The real problem is all the scumbags we share the planet with .... let's nuke 'em and start all over from the beginning one more time again !" .... Monedas    1929

ugmug's picture

Entitlement and debt junkies don't need no stinkin' numbers.

Where's Humphrey Bogart when you really need him?

Monedas's picture

This is the Friday humour eschew the rag thread .... isn't it ?