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36 Tough Questions About The U.S. Economy That Everyone Should Be Asking

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

If the economy is improving, then why aren't things getting better for most average Americans?  They tell us that the unemployment rate is going down, but the percentage of Americans that are actually working is exactly the same it was three years ago.  They tell us that American families are in better financial shape now, but real disposable income is falling rapidly.  They tell us that inflation is low, but every time we go shopping at the grocery store the prices just seem to keep going up.  They tell us that the economic crisis is over, and yet poverty and government dependence continue to explode to unprecedented heights.  There seems to be a disconnect between what the government and the media are telling us and what is actually true. 

With each passing day the debt of the federal government grows larger, the financial world become even more unstable and more American families fall out of the middle class.  The same long-term economic trends that have been eating away at our economy like cancer for decades continue to ruthlessly attack the foundations of our economic system. 

We are rapidly speeding toward an economic cataclysm, and yet the government and most of the media make it sound like happy days are here again.  The American people deserve better than this.  The American people deserve the truth.  The following are 36 hard questions about the U.S. economy that the mainstream media should be asking...

#1 If the percentage of working age Americans that have a job is exactly the same as it was three years ago, then why is the government telling us that the "unemployment rate" has gone down significantly during that time?

#2 Why are some U.S. companies allowed to exploit disabled workers by paying them as little as 22 cents an hour?

#3 Why are some private prisons allowed to pay their prisoners just a dollar a day to do jobs that other Americans could be doing?

#4 Why is real disposable income in the United States falling at the fastest rate that we have seen since 2008?

#5 Why do 53 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year?

#6 Why are wages as a percentage of GDP at an all-time low?

#7 Why are 76 percent of all Americans living paycheck to paycheck?

#8 Why are so many large corporations issuing negative earnings guidance for this quarter?  Does this indicate that the economy is about to experience a significant downturn?

#9 Why is job growth at small businesses at about half the level it was at when the year started?

#10 Why are central banks selling off record amounts of U.S. debt right now?

#11 Why did U.S. mortgage bonds just suffer their biggest quarterly decline in nearly 20 years?

#12 Why did we just witness the largest weekly increase in mortgage rates in 26 years?

#13 Why has the number of mortgage applications fallen by 29 percent over the last eight weeks?

#14 Why has the number of mortgage applications fallen to the lowest level in 19 months?

#15 If the U.S. economy is recovering, why is the mortgage delinquency rate in the United States still nearly 10 percent?

#16 Why did the student loan delinquency rate in the United States just hit a brand new all-time high?

#17 Why is the sale of hundreds of millions of dollars of municipal bonds being postponed?

#18 What are the central banks of the world going to do when the 441 trillion dollar interest rate derivatives bubble starts to burst?

#19 Why is Barack Obama secretly negotiating a new international free trade agreement that will impose very strict Internet copyright rules on all of us, ban all "Buy American" laws, give Wall Street banks much more freedom to trade risky derivatives and force even more domestic manufacturing offshore?

#20 Why don't our politicians seem to care that the United States has run a trade deficit of more than 8 trillion dollars with the rest of the world since 1975?

#21 Why doesn't the mainstream media talk about how rapidly the U.S. economy is declining relative to the rest of the planet?  According to the World Bank, U.S. GDP accounted for 31.8 percent of all global economic activity in 2001.  That number dropped to 21.6 percent in 2011.

#22 Why is the percentage of self-employed Americans at a record low?

#23 What are we going to do if dust bowl conditions continue to return to the western half of the United States?  If the drought continues to get even worse, what will that do to our agriculture?

#24 Why is the IRS spending thousands of taxpayer dollars on kazoos, stove top hats, bathtub toy boats and plush animals?

#25 Why did the NIH spend $253,800 "to study ways to educate Boston’s male prostitutes on safe-sex practices"?

#26 Why do some of the largest charities in America spend less than 5 percent of the money that they bring in on actual charitable work?

#27 Now that EU finance ministers have approved a plan that will allow Cyprus-style wealth confiscation as part of all future bank bailouts in Europe, is it only a matter of time before we see something similar in the United States?

#28 Why does approximately one out of every three children in the United States live in a home without a father?

#29 Why are more than a million public school students in the United States homeless?

#30 Why are so many cities all over the United States passing laws that make it illegal to feed the homeless?

#31 Why is government dependence in the U.S. at an all-time high if the economy is getting better?  Back in 1960, the ratio of social welfare benefits to salaries and wages was approximately 10 percent.  In the year 2000, the ratio of social welfare benefits to salaries and wages was approximately 21 percent.  Today, the ratio of social welfare benefits to salaries and wages is approximately 35 percent.

#32 Why does the number of Americans on food stamps exceed the entire population of the nation of Spain?

#33 The number of Americans on food stamps has grown from 32 million to 47 million while Barack Obama has been occupying the White House.  So why is Obama paying recruiters to go out and get even more Americans to join the program?

#34 Today, there are 56 million Americans collecting Social Security benefits.  In 2035, there will be 91 million Americans collecting Social Security benefits.  Where in the world will we get the money for that?

#35 Why has the value of the U.S. dollar fallen by over 95 percent since the Federal Reserve was created back in 1913?

#36 Why has the size of the U.S. national debt gotten more than 5000 times larger since the Federal Reserve was created back in 1913?


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Mon, 07/01/2013 - 18:37 | 3711615 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Larry Ellison's compensation was up 24% last year while shareholders were down 22%...

There is your fucking answer....

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 19:02 | 3711700 spine001
spine001's picture

The system is not stable. The world was never ready for globalization. As globalization breaks the barriers between Countries. Let me add a simple question:

Why should a worker in Vietnam, Africa, China, Argentina, etc. earn 1/10th of what the same worker would make for the same work in the EU or the USA?

Once you can answer that one you will understand why the whole system is going down unless the current leaders find a way to manage the transition without internal rebellion and war.

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 19:47 | 3711878 noless
noless's picture

The solution is to slowly destabilise individuals and families and to make groups dependant.. Add on top of that a public education system which is nothing more than political indoctrination and rudimentary skills, with a splash of "yay we did it" and "my degree means I'm competent", and you get a structure where the majority doesn't even realize what they're losing, throw in some "medications" for "depression" or "anxiety" wtf ever, and all the free porn, gossip, sports, or societaly unrestricted sex you want, and you have an entire population with no capacity or will (to even know they should or need to) resist.

The hubristic arrogance of the American populace in the face of what "free (slave) trade" actually is/was will be their downfall.

On a side note, my current temp gigs up tomorrow on no notice, anyone hiring? I work cheap.

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 20:07 | 3711951 jbvtme
jbvtme's picture



short answer: zionism

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 20:22 | 3711998 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

You have to be fucking kidding me...

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 23:00 | 3712470 jbvtme
jbvtme's picture

america's problems begin and end with the federal reserve.  zionists all.  you're doing a fine job of kidding yourself. you don't need me 

The Federal Reserve Bank is a consortium of 9 Jewish-owned & associated banks with the Rothschilds at the head:

$1. Rothschild Banks of London and Berlin

$2. Lazard Brothers Banks of Paris

$3. Israel Moses Seif Banks of Italy

$4. Warburg Bank of Hamburg and Amsterdam

$5. Lehman Brothers of NY

$6. Kuhn, Loeb Bank of NY (Now Shearson American Express)

$7. Goldman, Sachs of NY

$8. National Bank of Commerce NY/Morgan Guaranty Trust (J. P. Morgan Bank - Equitable Life - Levi P. Morton are principal shareholders)

$9. Hanover Trust of NY (William and David Rockefeller & Chase National Bank NY are principal shareholders).


Mon, 07/01/2013 - 23:34 | 3712620 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Did you know that there is the inverse of Godwin's Law?

It basically says that the first person to proclaim "You're a Jew!" looses the debate. A clear variation of that is emerging at ZH, when anytime a person calls someone a Zionist or invokes Zionism...

Thanks for posting...

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 23:42 | 3712655 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture


Tue, 07/02/2013 - 00:17 | 3712738 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Yep, sometimes my typing gets ahead of itself... Sue me...

If I typed at the speed you read and comprehend we could still get away with using 1200 baud modems...

Tue, 07/02/2013 - 01:25 | 3712880 rocker
rocker's picture

You da Man, right on Meister.

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 19:47 | 3711882 bjfish
bjfish's picture

Just answer me one question?

#34 Today, there are 56 million Americans collecting Social Security benefits.  In 2035, there will be 91 million Americans collecting Social Security benefits. 

Where in the world will we get the money for that?

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 20:10 | 3711958 jbvtme
jbvtme's picture

quantitative bleating?

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 20:39 | 3712068 PKF
PKF's picture

Anyone who forecasts what is going to happen in 2035 will be wrong. 

Hell, Big Pharma will come up with some big plague and 3/4 of the US population will be gone. 

Or maybe a big CME from our sun, and we'll be living back in the days of 1840.

Mother Nature will have the final Word.

Tue, 07/02/2013 - 17:28 | 3715325 Voicefather
Voicefather's picture

Or a cure for aging so we have no more need for social security except for the disabled. Crossing my fingers!


Mon, 07/01/2013 - 20:45 | 3712084 LongBallsShortBrains
LongBallsShortBrains's picture

It is in the lockbox.

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 21:34 | 3712232 holdbuysell
holdbuysell's picture

Greenspan answered this question in 2005:

To paraphrase: we can provide cash payments in any size and as far out in time as you like, but we cannot guarantee their purchasing power.

1 min excerpt here:

Tue, 07/02/2013 - 03:50 | 3713026 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

Don't worry, that one guy with a job... the president... will pay for it all...

They'll just raise his taxes to of his salary... THE REAL QUESTION IS WHO WILL PAY FOR THE PRESIDENTS SALARY!!!

Tue, 07/02/2013 - 08:58 | 3713438 esum
esum's picture

Why should a worker in Vietnam, Africa, China, Argentina, etc. earn 1/10th of what the same worker would make for the same work in the EU or the USA?

In the Asian case, becasue they prefer that to looking at the buttcheeks and asshole and smeling farts of a water buffalo pulling a plow thru the rice paddy or bending over in the hot sun all day in the rice fields.

The same reason 30 million illegals have crossed the texmex border..... an upgrade in economic status in the case of a laborer or closer access to the market in the case of the cartel drug dealer... 

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 19:02 | 3711715 max2205
max2205's picture


Mon, 07/01/2013 - 18:39 | 3711629 A. Magnus
A. Magnus's picture

The mainstream media are a bunch of collaborating cocksuckers who couldn't find their own asses if their fingers were stapled to their ass cheeks. Those piece-of-shit, assmunch motherfuckers will NEVER have the balls to ask real questions or tell the truth because if they did that they would be out of a job. Journalists who work for large media companies are nothing more than whores in Madison Avenue attire...looking to them for the truth is like looking to Obama for promoting world peace...

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 18:49 | 3711663 DavidPierre
DavidPierre's picture


Jim Willie lays it all out.

He sez ZH is the best blog on the web.

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 19:36 | 3711830 dick cheneys ghost
dick cheneys ghost's picture

J Willie loves the Hedge...........thats awesome.........great interview thanks for posting

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 19:18 | 3711776 I need Another Beer
I need Another Beer's picture

I like the way U think

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 20:46 | 3712090 LongBallsShortBrains
LongBallsShortBrains's picture

When you hire whores, you get whores.

Tue, 07/02/2013 - 06:54 | 3713130 Brit_Abroad
Brit_Abroad's picture

When you hire whores, you get fucked


There, fixed it for ya

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 18:45 | 3711649 Fox-Scully
Fox-Scully's picture

"Journalists who work for large media companies........."  Please do not call them journalists!

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 18:48 | 3711666 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

#37... WTFF?

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 18:53 | 3711688 Peter Pan
Peter Pan's picture

Why why why ????

We know why.

The question is WHEN.....?

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 19:03 | 3711719 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture


Mon, 07/01/2013 - 19:21 | 3711782 Colonel Klink
Colonel Klink's picture

Because we're all just nattering nabobs of negativity and they're the beacon of truth!


Mon, 07/01/2013 - 19:25 | 3711794 knukles
knukles's picture

Lies.  All lies from the Great Right Wing Conspiracy.

(who were the great left wing conspiracy when Bush was in office and...)

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 19:41 | 3711853 HowardBeale
HowardBeale's picture

Obama: "Because I said so."

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 21:07 | 3712155 JohnnyBriefcase
JohnnyBriefcase's picture

Unfortunately for him that doesn't work on anyone over five years of age.

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 19:46 | 3711864 Umh
Umh's picture

#22 because you have to be big business to play footsies with Uncle Sam the gatekeeper.

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 19:45 | 3711870 Umh
Umh's picture

#36 because inflation was and is the plan.

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 19:47 | 3711874 Long-John-Silver
Long-John-Silver's picture

Look Over There!


The government and it's media propaganda arm is keeping everyone distracted.

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 20:06 | 3711937 joego1
joego1's picture

Ever since I started reading zero hedge I feel like my gut feelings about what was happening in the financial markets were finally confirmed. I now invest only in things that I have some control physical control over locally. Everything else is an illusion.

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 20:49 | 3712100 LongBallsShortBrains
LongBallsShortBrains's picture

How did you blow out your trading account? Those are the best stories.

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 20:08 | 3711956 HurricaneMoney
HurricaneMoney's picture

Why even ask such questions ?

Everything is going as planned!

The only question to ask, is when the order will be given to begin the crash of all the world markets.

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 20:11 | 3711967 q99x2
q99x2's picture

Who they trying to kid. Everyone knows that the economy is improving for the criminals that are stealing everyone else's money. What do you Eric Holder is doing by putting banksters above the law, being Mr. Goody-Two-Shoes?

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 20:32 | 3712044 10mm
10mm's picture

When i hear fellow govt workers really complaining,then,and ONLY then i know were in trouble.

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 20:47 | 3712092 LongBallsShortBrains
LongBallsShortBrains's picture


Mon, 07/01/2013 - 20:48 | 3712099 GeneH3
GeneH3's picture

Nothing to see here. Move along.

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 20:50 | 3712105 LongBallsShortBrains
LongBallsShortBrains's picture

Why do we have an unconstitutional central bank?????

What's a central bank?

That's why

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 21:16 | 3712177 Xibalba
Xibalba's picture


Mon, 07/01/2013 - 21:19 | 3712185 Van Halen
Van Halen's picture

Forget the point of this article. Just try asking any of the potatoes that voted for Obama these questions and you'll get "Well, Bush blah blah" or "Cheney blah blah" or "Reagan blah blah" or "Nixon blah blah". There is no reasoning with people who are happy with their mostly or totally free beer, TV, couch, and roof over their heads. They have no interest in learning that we are at the brink. In thier minds, this will never end. And besides, Bush blah blah...

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 21:32 | 3712219 moonstears
moonstears's picture

Hey, whateva happened to all the bitcoin articles? I was almost there, really hoping to ... nevermind.

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 22:30 | 3712383 tony bonn
tony bonn's picture

"Feeding The Homeless BANNED In Major Cities All Over America"

to the father of all heaven and earth in the name of his son jesus i pray damnation and destruction on the wicked government and people of nyc, philadelphia, orlando, houston, las vegas, and all others who have dared to deprive the homeless and hungry of food, shelter, and dignity

fuck all of you goddamned satan worshipping cunts!!!!!!

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 22:40 | 3712416 Curt W
Curt W's picture

I worship nothing, god and satan are both constructs of the human mind.

They are used to place blame, or shame.

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 23:51 | 3712680 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

They are used to control mankind.   It works remarkably well too.

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 23:03 | 3712492 machinegear
machinegear's picture

WTF is this ZH? Sesame Street? Do we have a new number every day?

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 23:23 | 3712574 Lord Koos
Lord Koos's picture

'Why did the NIH spend $253,800 "to study ways to educate Boston’s male prostitutes on safe-sex practices"?'


To stop the spread of AIDS, why do you think?  That amount is a pittance to spend on a public health initiative.

Tue, 07/02/2013 - 03:00 | 3712988 bunnyswanson
bunnyswanson's picture


Tue, 07/02/2013 - 03:50 | 3713029 dunce
dunce's picture

They already know how to have safe perverted sex, they really do not want to do it that way. If they did, the disease would soon be under control.

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 23:38 | 3712634 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

You know things are bad when the average worker produces x amount of goods but is paid so little he can only buy x/5. 


Tue, 07/02/2013 - 03:55 | 3713032 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

And imagine if that job is flipping 1 dollar burgers...

Tue, 07/02/2013 - 03:52 | 3713031 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

Why do we even bother... the shit is hitting the fan today and will hit the fan tomorrow.

Tue, 07/02/2013 - 08:07 | 3713281 earnulf
earnulf's picture

In regards to #2 : Disabled folks are allowed to be paid a commensurate wage based on their ability to produce.   Unlike the "normal" worker who can be paid at least minimum wage for not producing at a certain pace, disabled workers are paid based on their ability to do the same job as a normal person.    If the disabled person can do 30% of what a normal worker can do, they can be paid 30% of the "prevailing wage".

These measurements have to be made every year (prevailing wage) and are dependent on the industry.   If the disabled person can exceed the average level, they are paid above the prevailing wage.   (105% gets 105% of the prevailing wage).     

Put it another way, you're a business that has to decide between employing a normal worker who does 100 wigets a day or four disabled persons who can only produce an average of 25 widgets per day.     The commensurate minimum wage allows you to employ 4 people and get the production of 1 at the wages of 1.     Do away with that and do you really think those 4 people are going to be paid the same as a normal worker if they can only do 25% of the work?     

We'd all like to be paid 100K/year, but then a Big Mac would cost 500 dollars.


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