Is America About To Reach A Breaking Point?

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

In America today, there are close to 50 million people living in poverty and there are more than 100 million people that get money from the federal government every month.  As the middle class disintegrates, poverty is climbing to unprecedented levels.  Even though the stock market has been setting record high after record high, the amount of anger and frustration boiling just under the surface in our nation grows with each passing day.

And now extended unemployment benefits have been cut off for 1.3 million unemployed Americans, and it is being projected that a total of 5 million unemployed Americans will lose their benefits by the end of 2014.  In addition, as I have written about previously, 47 million Americans recently had their food stamp benefits reduced.  The conditions for a "perfect storm" are certainly being created.  So how much longer will it be until we see all of this anger and frustration boil over in the streets of our major cities?  Is America about to reach a breaking point?

If you think that the title of this article is "alarmist", you probably have not been paying attention to what has been happening over the past few weeks.  For example, a 600 person brawl broke out at at movie theater in Jacksonville, Florida just the other day...

Five teenagers were arrested when a 600-person brawl broke out in a Florida movie theater’s parking lot on Christmas night.

Described by police as a “melee,” the fight occurred around 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday outside the Hollywood River City 14 movie theater in Jacksonville when a group tried to storm the theater’s doors without purchasing tickets, police said. Several had rushed an off-duty police officer working as a security guard.


The officer “administered pepper spray to disperse the group, locked the doors and called for backup, following protocol,” said Lauri-Ellen Smith, a spokeswoman for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.


Soon after the pepper spray was used, “upward of 600 people moving throughout a parking lot about the size of a football field began fighting, disrupting and jumping on cars,” she said.

And a "flash mob" of "400 crazed teens" was so violent that it forced a mall in Brooklyn to shut down just a few days ago...

A wild flash mob stormed and trashed a Brooklyn mall, causing so much chaos that the shopping center was forced to close during post-Christmas sales, sources said Friday.


More than 400 crazed teens — who mistakenly thought the rapper Fabolous would perform — erupted into brawls all over Kings Plaza Shopping Center in Mill Basin on Thursday at 5 p.m., sources said.


The troublemakers looted and ransacked several stores as panicked shoppers ran for the exits and clerks scrambled to pull down metal gates.

In addition, the release of new Air Jordan sneakers caused mini-riots and brawls to break out all over the country just before Christmas.

So why is all of this happening?

Of course people will come up with all sorts of theories to explain these outbreaks of violence, but what pretty much everyone should be able to agree on is that we are seeing levels of anger and frustration rise to very dangerous levels in this country.

Right now, there are approximately 6 million Americans in the 16 to 24-year-old age group that are not in school and that are not working either.  What that means is that we have an alarmingly high number of very frustrated young people that do not have anything better to do than to cause trouble.

In some of our largest cities this has become a massive problem.  In fact, quite a few major U.S. cities actually have more than 100,000 "idle youth" living in them…

Just look at some of the nation’s largest cities. Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Miami, Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Riverside, Calif., all have more than 100,000 idle youth, the Opportunity Nation report found.

But the Obama administration says that this should not be a problem.  In fact, the Obama administration tells us that the unemployment rate has been steadily "declining" and that there are plenty of opportunities for everyone.

Of course that is a giant lie.  Just before the last recession, about 63 percent of all working age Americans had a job.  During the recession that number fell below 59 percent and it has stayed there ever since...

Employment-Population Ratio 2013

So the notion that we are experiencing an "employment recovery" is absolutely laughable.

But most of our politicians appear to believe this lie, and it is being used as justification to cut off extended unemployment benefits.

And the funny thing is that by cutting off these benefits, it is going to make it appear as though unemployment has gone down even more.  Millions of unemployed workers that are being forced into the streets will now be counted as having "left the labor force", and it is being projected that the unemployment rate could decline by as much as half a percentage point as a result.

What a joke.

A lot of the people that are having their benefits cut off are really hurting.  For instance, consider the case of 63-year-old paralegal Laura Walker...

“Not all of us have savings and a lot of us have to take care of family because of what happened in the economy,” said Walker, of Santa Clarita, who said she has applied for at least three jobs a week and shares an apartment with her unemployed son, his wife and two children. “It’s going to put my family and me out on the streets.”

So what is she going to do?

Well, at this point she appears to be down to just one option...

“I just don’t know what to do, except pray.”

And of course the unemployed are not the only ones that have had their benefits cut.  As I mentioned above, all 47 million Americans that are currently on food stamps recently had their benefits reduced.  The following is an excerpt from a recent article by Mac Slavo...

Earlier this year government benefits for nutritional assistance were reduced after the expiration of emergency legislation that was enacted following the 2008 financial collapse. Nearly all of the 48 million people receiving food stamp distributions were affected. The move led to warnings from food pantries and recipients around the country who said that the $40 billion in cuts would leave many American families without the ability to put food on dinner tables across America. According to Feed America, the roughly $29 per family that would no longer appear on their EBT cards will amount to about 1.5 billion meals in 2014.

The fact that government dependence has soared to all-time highs even in the midst of this so-called "economic recovery" is just another sign that the middle class is dying.  For years, middle class families have tried strategy after strategy in an attempt to survive, but now it has become apparent that the middle class is rapidly approaching a breaking point...

Rising income inequality is starting to hit home for many American households as they run short of places to reach for a few extra bucks.

As the gap between the rich and poor widened over the last three decades, families at the bottom found ways to deal with the squeeze on earnings. Housewives joined the workforce. Husbands took second jobs and labored longer hours. Homeowners tapped into the rising value of their properties to borrow money to spend.


Those strategies finally may have run their course as women’s participation in the labor force has peaked and the bursting of the house-price bubble has left many Americans underwater on their mortgages.

And even though the Obama administration and the mainstream media have tried to convince us over and over that the economy is "getting better", most Americans are not buying it.  In fact, according to a new CNN poll, 70 percent of all Americans believe that "the economy is generally in poor shape".

As the economy continues to decline, not all Americans will respond to their desperate situations by getting violent.  Many suffer quietly, hoping that things will eventually turn around for them.  Unfortunately, the ranks of the suffering grow with each passing year.  For example, a recent CNN article discussed the continued growth of "tent cities" all over America...

The total number of homeless people residing in tents and makeshift homes is unknown. Many of these communities are small and hidden from public view, while others claim hundreds of residents and are sprinkled through major urban areas.


Some, like those tucked under roadways, are temporary and relocate frequently. Their conditions are vile, unsanitary and fail to provide refuge from storms and winds. Then there are communities, such as Dignity Village in Portland, Oregon, that have a more sustained presence. The 13-year-old "ecovillage" set up by homeless people is hygienic and self-sufficient.


Preliminary findings by The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty show that tent cities have been documented in almost every state, and they're growing.

So how do we solve these problems?

Are there any solutions that could get us out of this mess?

Of course there are.  But don't hold your breath waiting for any of them to be adopted.  In fact, the American people continue to express great support for the very people that got us into this mess in the first place.  For example, according to a Gallup survey that was just released, Barack Obama is the most admired man in America by a very wide margin and Hillary Clinton is the most admired woman in America by a very wide margin.

And the mainstream media will continue to tell all of us that "leaders" like Obama, Clinton, Reid, Boehner, McConnell and Pelosi can be trusted to get us out of this mess.

If you believe that, there is a bridge that I would like to sell you.

The American people need to stop having blind faith in the relentless propaganda that is being spewed at them through their televisions screens.  The pretty faces that you see "reporting the news" do not care about you and they are not watching out for your best interests.  The corporate-controlled news is highly scripted and it is pretty much the same whatever channel you turn to.  If you have any doubt that "the news" is scripted, just check out this video...


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SimMaker's picture

Go with throttle-up.

CrazyCooter's picture

Break is the wrong word. This is a slow, down hill process punctuated by periods of sheer terror.



SimMaker's picture

Can't help thinking of Challanger.


An event, that was predicited, exploded the machine on huge explosion then smoking wreckage going to the left...and the right....with nothing but helpless dead and soon to be dead people caught in the middle.


It was'nt a disaster, it was prophecy.

SWRichmond's picture
Is America About To Reach A Breaking Point?

We cannot move forward until we address the systemic failures, and they are everywhere.  Anyone who has studied history knows the answer to this question.

GetZeeGold's picture




Since spending hasn't gotten us out of this.....maybe we should do the opposite.

JohnnyBriefcase's picture

The opposite of spending? You mean moar spending?

Maybe we could cut benefits and social programs for the proles while giving our corporate buddies billions?

Maybe once the subjects see Dimon with a second and third hooker yacht, they'll be so happy for him that they'll want to sacrifice more so that he can get a fourth.

Fish Gone Bad's picture

Is America about to reach a breaking point?

Not even close.  Americans have been pacified with TV and shitty food.  If you think I am wrong, then what exactly are YOU going to do?  Exactly.  You and everyone else is just going to complain and then watch TV.

CH1's picture


I see people who are waking up.

Keep informing people! Plant those seeds!

TeamDepends's picture

Amen!  If you give up on your fellow man you have given up.

CheapBastard's picture
At 61 she lives in basement while her dad, 87, travels


Father and daughter are an example of how retirement will be a bleaker experience for baby boomers than what their parents experienced.

401K of Dooom's picture

Read this article several times, carefully. This is how New Englanders treat their own children and everyone from the rest of the country. This Lew guy is getting all the benefits from the Gubbermint and he will demand more when he can get them. This is how they treat everyone else. Gimmie, gimmie, gimmie and get, get, get. That part of the country deserves to be nuked! I know because of my relatives and people that I have dealt with. Also, I have heard people in that part of the country make comments about white people that are absolutely horrible and if said about people of color, would not be tolerated by polite society.

The Kennedys were symptomatic of this. The people of Massachusetts are not part of the USA but their own nation. Be careful in dealing with them.

starfcker's picture

401K, this one gives me the creeps, too. way too much information left out. i can't quite grasp what i'm supposed to get out of that article. dude lives in assisted living and travels the world while his daughter struggles? are there ways to waste money faster? these people are schmucks. she should be taking care of him in her house.

Parrotile's picture

I read the article, then read the ten pages of pretty disparaging comments.

No matter what the outcome, at least she made the effort - own Company - employing others (and no doubt dealing with the significant (very significant) burdens of local (State) and National bureaucracy). Never forget that the "Small Companies" are the foundation for a stable economy - since all "Big" Companies originally started from far more humble beginnings, or rather that was the accepted situation before the "new normal" of "selective enrichment" for those with the right connections.

The comments paint a picture of an extremely judgmental, polarised "society" with many commentators clearly having no idea of the problems facing smaller "Start Up" Companies,  with the conflicting demands of necessary capital investment vs. cashflow. There are a few empathic souls, but very few indeed (and those that show even a little understanding seem to be attracting more than their "fair share" of downvotes) which again paints a very divisive picture indeed.

Cohesive Society, "willing to work together to solve the current problems"?? Not according to the responses to this article. If these paint a true picture of the American mindset (one has the feeling that most if not all commentators are American), then America certainly does have problems, and as the "financial squeeze" tightens, those problems are going to become a great deal worse.


Anusocracy's picture

I gave up on man long time ago.

I still hold out hope for my fellow humans, though.

dick cheneys ghost's picture

CH1--people are waking up to this credit-debt based monetary system given to us by the rothschilds of Isreal.......

debt slavery is celebrated in Tel Aviv..............the rothschilds have a BLVD named after them

SMG's picture

Rothschilds of Lucifer would be more accurate.  There are other families as well.

shermacman's picture

Israel = squirrel
Israel has nothing to do with the vast corruption and State controlled economic Facsism that is our Federal government. 
It is the Miley Cyrus of economics, a twerking distraction. 


NotApplicable's picture

Sounds like every other state out there.

CH1's picture

Sounds like every other state out there.


TheLoveArtist's picture

In the past people awakened every once in a while and burned the Jews responsible for the mess.  Now these Joooos can be off on a private plane and safe in Israel in a few hours.

Race Car Driver's picture

TV is for morons ... no doubt about that.

But food is a bit different. It's an extreme necessity and it seemingly gets more expensive every day and comes in ever shrinking portions. So, the poor folks are limited to buying poor food. Those huge, hulking zombies in the electric shopping carts really can't help themselves.

No, I'm not excusing their gluttony - just saying that there's more to it than that.

However, folks are waking up and coming to the realization that the best one can do to change this bullshit system is to do ... nothing. Personal general strike. If everyone does nothing, something will happen. This system will come screaming down when everyone decides to do nothing. It's the productive who keep this shell game fueled. Once they decide it ain't worth 4 hours of sleep a night, they'll quit and things will start to change.

Do nothing but for you and yours and fuck these elite pricks. Do nothing and fuck 'em hard. They can't do squat without the grease that the productive supply.

In the hive, the queen would starve without her drones feeding her fat ass. It's no different in the world of people.

Strike the root and go on a personal general strike (excuses are like assholes ....).

PontifexMaximus's picture

That's why all will get food, whether there are 50 mio are a hundred mio. In the end it will cost less than having tha nationsl gard in the cities snd it is a great pleasure for all of us to pay taxes for them.

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

Start by boycotting Walmart and Target if you want to see real results.

CaptainSpaulding's picture

And God said, Let there be Netflix and tis was done. And God saw that it twas good

creeko's picture

I haven't logged in quite a while but I did so just to give you a +1.  Thanks for a most lucid comment.

Hippocratic Oaf's picture

"So why is all of this happening?"

N_ _ _ _ _s, that's why.

Keyser's picture

We would have been better off picking our own cotton all those centuries ago. 


MrTown3's picture

The vast majority of you are too fucking lazy...always have been. Slaves to comfort and predictability. Never really had to be creative and rather than solve a problem you go the lazy route and blame. THIS is the your undoing. You reap what your lazy ass sows. 

drendebe10's picture

"Nobamas, that's why."    The arrogant lying narcisistic illegal kenyan muslim and its wookie HO living the imperial grand lifestyle while all the peasants and serfs eat dirt.  All those idiots that think so highly of the looney and its lying klinton deserve what they get but unfortunately effects all the hard working tax paying Americans.....  some day they will wake up..... nah, probably not...

Rafferty's picture

Yes, Lenin was right when he said 'worse is better'.  The sooner the crash comes the better -  and it has to be bad enough to make enough people unass themselves from  their TV sets and take out the pitchforks.  Only then will there can be a reset.

TMLutas's picture

You cannot address the systemic failures until you describe them and craft practical solutions for them. We don't even have the prerequisites to do so. 

ElvisDog's picture

Who predicted the Challenger accident? I have first-hand knowledge of the Space Shuttle program and that is news to me.

SimMaker's picture

How about the engineers screaming their lungs out saying "Don't launch" becasue they knew the rings would of them didnt even think it would clear the tower.


"Several engineers (most notably Roger Boisjoly) re-expressed their concerns about the effect of low temperatures on the resilience of the rubber O-rings that sealed the joints of the SRBs, and recommended a launch postponement.[11] They argued that they did not have enough data to determine whether the joints would properly seal if the O-rings were colder than 53 °F (12 °C). "

TBT or not TBT's picture

He said launching "would be away from goodness" based on his chart of empirical data that ended at temps well above those that morning.

Some engineering manager got asked by higher management to " put on your manager hat now" in a high pressure conf call about it. The voice from NASA had some pressure in it too, like "come on Thiokol" sort of tone. But there were hundreds of conversations like that with dozens of contractors asking for reasons not to launch related to the cold or the icing.

granolageek's picture

The two piece booster thingy was a known total kludge to provide pork to a Utah senator. (Republican for you red meaters). There were vendors besides Thiokol who could have provided a one piece rocket, but their employees couldn't vote for Jake Garn, Reslimican, Utah.

SimMaker's picture

Elvis Dog.

In the interests of peace on earth I will try not to be a dick. Sorry if I came across like that.

Assuming you don't know. There is an interview floating around YouTube with one of the engineers who was invovled with the discussions on whether to launch. And believe me, you could still see it in his face and eyes years later, that he was still bitterly angry about what happened, and it was he who felt relieved after it cleared the tower, as he didnt even think it would go that far......didnt go much further as it happened.

I can't find the clip, but its out there, maybe you have better luck than me if you are interested. But the Wiki article is the "approved version".....this guys interview, it was pretty obvious how heated the "discussions" were...........he was sure it would explode.

ElvisDog's picture

I suspect there was some "Monday Morning Quarterbacking" with the engineer in that interview. Here is what really happened back in those days. NASA was somewhat cavalier about the Space Shuttle, certainly before the Challenger accident. The O-rings had worked for 50 missions or so. The vehicle had shown itself to be very robust. However, there was a process where if anyone working on the mission had an issue that he/she felt imperiled the safety of the Orbiter, there was an anonymous number they could call to halt the mission. That engineer, for whatever reason, didn't do that. He can say that "people didn't listen to me" but I suspect it was more that he didn't try very hard.

After the Columbia accident, NASA got very serious about safety. A team of engineers known as the Damage Assessment Team (DAT) would analyze any damage that showed up on launch videos or high resolution pictures taken when the Orbiter was docked to the International Space Station. The DAT would assess the damage and determine whether repairs had to be performed in space. There was also an independent organization set up known as the NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC) that anyone could call to launch an independent damage assessment effort if they felt the DAT wasn't doing its job. In short, NASA learned from its mistakes and got very rigorous when it came to safety.

How do I know all this? Because I was a member of the DAT from 2004-2009.

nuclearsquid's picture

buzz buzz <whir> beep boop...

newTerroristIdent( "DAT", "2004-2009") {

nearestDrone = identNearbyDrone();






TBT or not TBT's picture

Any reality to the notion that EPA or OSHA regs forced NASA to change the adhesive for the heat tiles and liquid tank foam to less effective systems that were then a root cause of subsequent disasters?

ElvisDog's picture

The tiles were attached to the Orbiter surface using RTV silicon adhesive. As far as I know, the same substance was used throughout the Shuttle program. Don't know anything about the foam on the liquid tanks. The Columbia accident was most likely caused by damage to the wing leading edge during ascent. It could have been anything, a chunk of ice that broke off the liquid tank for instance. 

BandGap's picture

Talk to Morton Thiocol about the rings. They Warned NASA that they had only so much service life. The rings were not defective, their overuse on repeated missions and tests simply wore them out.

I knew this shit 10 years ago, after talking to their engineers. They had their warnings on paper to NASA.

ElvisDog's picture

The solid rockets would separate during the ascent and fall into the ocean. They would be recovered and then refurbished for future flights. So, strictly speaking, they weren't reused as-is over and over. Are you telling me that they wouldn't change the O-rings during the refurbishment? I don't know the answer to that question, but it seems strange that they wouldn't.

zerozulu's picture

writings were on the walls when they started firing experienced people and started hiring US$8 per hour part timers.

VD's picture

if this comments board devolved into a religious squabble over a fairy tale fictional character to help the masses learn how to be ethical vs focusing on the real nefarious issues at hand, then this nation deserves to break and should break. i'm sure during the coming crash many will get even more religious since they'll eventually inherit this bombed out raped out world...assuming they pray hard enough...