Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,
If the economy is really "getting better", then why have millions upon millions of formerly middle class Americans been pushed to the point of utter despair?
The stories that you are about to read are absolutely heartbreaking. I don't know how anyone can read them without getting chills. In America today, if you lose a good job, there is a good chance that you will get back on your feet before too long. But there is also a good chance that you won't be able to find a decent job and will plunge into the abyss of depression and desperation that so many millions of other Americans have fallen into.
As I wrote about earlier this month
, the U.S. economy is definitely not getting any better. For example, if you assume that the percentage of Americans that want to work is about at the long term average, then the official unemployment rate in the United States would be above 11 percent
. And compared to six years ago, 1,154,000 fewer Americans are working today even though our population has gotten significantly larger since then
. Behind all of these numbers are real flesh and blood people, and you are about to hear from some of them.
The following are 10 stories from the cold, hard streets of America that will break your heart...
A 34-year-old man named Rocco
"While my wife goes to work, I’ve been staying at home to conserve fuel. I’ve been losing weight from eating less, so my family has more on their plates. It feels like the government and big business expect more and more while trying to give back as little as possible. Soon my internet connection will be shut off and since most companies don’t offer paper applications, how will I find work then? Walking around for miles a day, asking for an application that may or may not be available?"
Homeless people wasting away in "Obamavilles"
on the outskirts of Baltimore, Maryland...
A sheet of plastic laid over a clothesline. A mini-fortress of milk crates stacked under a tree. A thin mattress on a flimsy crate lying in a dark tunnel.
On the edge of Baltimore's woodlands, dozens of the city's transients live in makeshift homes which they consider safer than homeless shelters.
You can see some incredible photos of how these homeless people are living right here
A 50-year-old woman in Pennsylvania named Karen
"My husband only makes 10 dollars an hour and drives 30 miles round trip, so it’s taking all we have just to keep the Jeep filled with gas. We stopped going to church and all to save gas. We are homebodies now, afraid to use what gas we have. We save two kids from getting put in foster care just to be hit like this. It’s just a constant trap they try to keep you from receiving any help! I’m so disgusted when my 12-year-old asks me why we don’t have snacks anymore, or why are we eating so much rice, etc."
The following is an excerpt from a comment that was recently left by one of my readers
"I live right at ground zero. South West Virginia and let me tell you things are bad and getting worse by the day. We don't do drugs but have family members hooked on meth and or pills or both. Many of these pills are prescribed by local doctors either Suboxone to get you off the opiates, a total joke by the way and tons of Xanax why would anyone need 120 Xanax a month how can you even be expected to function. These pills get traded for cash sex and other items, same goes for the SNAP cards. We have family members going to jail repeatedly for the same crimes making meth, selling pills and stealing anything that's not nailed down. People who are 30 years old look like they are 55 years old. The jobs here are awful walmat, gas stations, fast food etc. Most of our whole county is on the government dole."
A 55-year-old man from California named Randy Carpadus
"I was working as a firefighter for the state of California and was laid off in April 2012, right at the beginning of fire season. At my age, I'm not going to be picked up by another fire department. They want younger guys.
I've applied for everything from truck driver, to sales, to nonprofit work. I've sent out almost 400 resumes, and I've gotten nothing. I've done whatever I could to make ends meet.
Through some connections, I got a temp job as a truck driver in Napa Valley -- a 3-hour commute from where I live. I lived in my car and worked during grape harvest."
In this tough economic environment, debt collectors are becoming even more aggressive. Just check out the kind of harassment that one woman named Jennifer Posey
has been put through...
"This is Jimmy Lee calling from CheckCare. Just letting you know we're in full force," he said. The man had a thick Southern accent that stretched the word "you" into a two-syllable accusation. "We're going to have warrants out for your arrest in Columbus, Ga.," the man threatened. "We know you have an apartment on the canal in Clearwater."
It was when he mentioned her home in Florida that Posey began to feel anxious. "We're hurting you," he continued. "We're hurting your family, your son's family, your cousin's family. Whatever we can do to get you to pay."
Forty minutes later, her phone rang again. "What about that 12-, 13-year-old child you're trying to raise?" the voice sneered.
A 50-year-old woman from New York named Sharon Ritchie
"I am constantly told I am 'overqualified.' I've also been told to dumb down my resume, but I can't just erase 30 years of experience.
You can only stand the word 'no' so many times. There are times that I cry at night wondering what happened, and at times I have thought about suicide.
But, I keep on going, hoping the cycle will break."
In response to my recent article about Appalachia
, a reader named Rob shared the following...
"I am from rural south central KY (Brodhead, Rockcastle County) and I can tell you that most of the things described above are exactly how it is here. There are so many people on drugs it's crazy. First it was the meth, which was more of a problem back in 2002-2007, then the pain pills really started becoming a huge problem, OxyContin and perc 30's (roxicet) obtained from Florida and Georgia doctors. The pain pills are something that you can't just walk away from after doing them for a while; they cause people to steal from family, sell everything they own, and/or prostitute themselves in order to avoid opiate withdrawal."
A 30-year-old man from California named Alejandro
"I need to provide for my son who is diagnosed with autism and my baby girl. I’ve sold a bunch of my belongings to try and put food on the table, to buy clothes for my kids, to pay rent and utilities and to put gas in my vehicle to go job hunting. Not having money for necessities takes a toll on my mind. Depression has kicked in. It really takes a toll on one’s self-esteem and confidence to move forward.I’ve applied to countless amounts of jobs, only to not even get a call back. I’ve gone from construction site to construction site, only to be told they are not hiring. Finally, I got at least a positive call back from a company telling me they will call me to work in a couple of weeks. I am crossing my fingers and praying. There are millions of people in my situation or even worse."
An excerpt from a heartbreaking letter
that an unemployed woman named Paula Bray sent to Barack Obama...
Dear Mr. President,
I write to you today because I have nowhere else to turn. I lost my full time job in September 2012. I have only been able to find part-time employment -- 16 hours each week at $12 per hour -- but I don't work that every week. For the month of December, my net pay was $365. My husband and I now live in an RV at a campground because of my job loss. Our monthly rent is $455 and that doesn't include utilities. We were given this 27-ft. 1983 RV when I lost my job.
This is America today. We have no running water; we use a hose to fill jugs. We have no shower but the campground does. We have a toilet but it only works when the sewer line doesn't freeze -- if it freezes, we use the campground's restrooms. At night, in my bed, when it's cold out, my blanket can freeze to the wall of the RV. We don't have a stove or an oven, just a microwave, so regular-food cooking is out. Recently we found a small toaster oven on sale so we can bake a little now because eating only microwaved food just wasn't working for us. We don't have a refrigerator, just an icebox (a block of ice cost about $1.89). It keeps things relatively cold. If it's freezing outside, we just put things on the picnic table.
Sadly, this is just the beginning.
The economic despair that we are witnessing right now is just a taste of the horrible economic nightmare that is going to unfold in the United States during the coming years.
And already there are signs that things are starting to take another turn for the worse. In recent months, we have seen a whole host of retail chains announce store closings. In fact, one of my readers wrote to me the other day and told me about a home appliance chain known as "American TV
" that is going out of business in the Midwest. When these stores shut down, close to another 1000 Americans will soon be out of work
“While this is a sad moment it is also a proud moment. It’s a moment to be proud of our efforts and to be proud of what we have delivered to the community”, said Doug Reuhl, President and CEO of American since 1988. “Words cannot adequately express how grateful we are to our millions of loyal customers, and to the incredible, dedicated family of employees that we have been blessed with over our 60 years of business”.
Advanced notice of the business closing has been given to the 989 employees affected in eleven locations. Employees will be compensated, with benefits, through the notification period, and the majority will continue employment through the closing process.
But if you listen to the mainstream media, you would think that happy days are here again for America. Just check out some of the bizarre headlines that I have collected in recent weeks...
CNBC: "Stop whining! The US economy is in good shape
USA Today: "Economists: U.S. will see better growth in '14
Newsday: "Why the economy isn't doomed
Most Americans will buy into this propaganda and will never see the next major economic crisis coming until it is too late to do anything about it.
So what do you think about all of this?