When 43% Of Americans Can't Pay For Food And Rent, We Can Say Economic Collapse Is Here

Authored by Daisy Luther via The Organic Prepper blog,

You know all those reports about how lots of Americans can’t afford a $1000 surprise expense like a medical bill or a car repair? Well, forget additional expenses. It turns out that nearly half of the families in America are struggling to pay for food and rent. And that means that the economic collapse isn’t just “coming.” It’s HERE.

United Way has done a study on a group of Americans they call ALICE: Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. The study found that this group does not make the money needed “to survive in the modern economy.”

ALICE is your child care worker, your parent on Social Security, the cashier at your supermarket, the gas attendant, the salesperson at your big box store, your waitress, a home health aide, an office clerk. ALICE cannot always pay the bills, has little or nothing in savings, and is forced to make tough choices such as deciding between quality child care or paying the rent. One unexpected car repair or medical bill can push these financially strapped families over the edge.

ALICE is a hardworking member of the community who is employed yet does not earn enough to afford the basic necessities of life.

ALICE earns above the federal poverty level but does not earn enough to afford a bare-bones household budget of housing, child care, food, transportation, and healthcare. (source)

Between families living below the poverty line due to unemployment or disability and ALICEs, the study discovered that 43% of Americans were struggling to cover basic necessities like rent and food.

Where are families struggling the most?

Some states have more families living in ALICE levels than others. The 3 states with the most families barely surviving paycheck to paycheck are California, New Mexico, and Hawaii. Each of these states saw 49% of families struggling. North Dakota had the lowest ALICE percentage with 32%. You can check how your state fares right here. Despite the lowest unemployment rate since 2000, families all over the country are barely getting by.

The media page of the ALICE website is jammed with headlines that are all too familiar for many Americans:

  • Report: Michigan makes little progress in lifting working poor to financial stability

  • After a decade of tax cuts — Ohioans in financial hardship

  • Louisiana families work hard, but still can’t cover necessities

  • 44 percent of Florida households, mostly working poor, struggling to meet basic needs

  • Third of New Jersey households can’t afford basic necessities

  • 42 percent of Wisconsin households struggle to pay bills

And on and on and on…

The economic collapse of America is here.

While many families are still doing okay, the specter of poverty looms over many of us. Many of us know that we’re one personal financial catastrophe away from disaster. I wrote recently about my own family’s struggle with a large medical bill.

Obviously, I’m not telling you about our financial saga to make myself look bad. I’m telling you because I want you to know that no matter how much you try to do everything right, financial problems can happen to anyone, at any time. Whether you have $100 in the bank or $100,000 in the bank, something can happen that wipes out your emergency fund just like it did mine.

This doesn’t mean that you failed financially – it means that circumstances can affect you, just like they do everyone else, no matter how careful you are.

Before my daughter’s illness, I was doing everything “right.”

  • I had enough money in my emergency fund to carry me through 3 lean months

  • I had numerous credit cards with zero balances

  • My only debt was my car

  • My kids are going to school without student loans

  • I opted out of health insurance because it was more financially practical to pay cash (and I still agree with that decision)

Everything was great.

Until it wasn’t. (source)

This is a story that probably rings true to more and more familiar to a growing number of families every week.

While my income hasn’t dropped – it’s grown – I am still struggling to pay off those bills and recover. I’ve taken on a significant amount of extra work to get things back under control, and still, I worry it won’t be enough.

Sound familiar?

If it does, it’s because – and of this, I am quite certain – the long-heralded economic collapse of America is upon us. When hard-working families who should be “middle class” can barely afford to eat and keep a roof over their heads, things are only going to devolve further.

Look at other examples of economic collapse

This is just the beginning of a looming collapse in America.

Remember back when Greece began to collapse? It was the same thing – no one could afford the basics and things went downhill pretty quickly from there. It really hit the papers when a strict austerity program was instituted and culminated when a “bank holiday” shut down the financial system for an entire week.

There are similar stories in the UK (where the taxpayers can still fund a 45 million dollar wedding but poor families can’t afford to eat every day), Argentina, and Cyprus.

Jose wrote for us about the warning signs that the collapse of Venezuela was approaching and they’re eerily familiar. Food rationing began, the cost of medical care became prohibitive, the health insurance system began to fail, and people began to make difficult choices about rent versus food.

I don’t know how it could be any more clear than the fact that nearly half of the American population is also making that decision each month.

What’s the answer?

While the United Way hopes to boost the minimum wage, I don’t feel that is the answer because it will drive businesses to let employees go when they can’t afford to pay them. We have seen this happen in fast food establishments in which humans are on their way to being replaced by self-service kiosks and burger-flipping robots.

I believe the only answer is to begin to produce more than we consume. Currently, Americans are like a horde of locusts, working at jobs that produce nothing, but consuming rabidly the imports that feed us, clothe us, and entertain us. We’re looking at economic tariffs on imports that may increase their price up to 40% and our own exports will be subject to tariffs in return.

If you find yourself in a tough spot, these tips from The Cheapskate’s Guide to the Galaxy may help.

  1. Audit your situation. See where all your money is going, see how much debt you’re in, and see what the most immediate ramifications will be.

  2. Take care of the most important things first. In most situations, keeping your home paid for (rent or mortgage), paying utilities, and making your auto and insurance payments should come first. Take care of the things that will have the most immediate ramifications first.

  3. You may have to make some late payments on less vital things. If so, communicate with those to whom you owe money and try to make arrangements. This may affect your credit, but by communicating with them, you can keep damage to a minimum.

  4. Cut your expenses. When you audit your situation, you may find some places that you can slash your regular expenses. Don’t hesitate to reduce services that are unnecessary or to whittle down your monthly obligations. (More ideas here)

  5. Put a little money back into your emergency fund as soon as possible. This may sound counterintuitive but having a bit of money for minor emergencies means that you won’t need to rely on credit cards for these things, putting you even further in the hole.

  6. Pay off your debts. Use the snowball method to attack your debts. Start paying these off AFTER you pay for the things I recommended in step 2.

  7. Use the things you have on hand. Delay a trip to the store for as long as possible by planning a menu using the food in your pantry and freezer. (Think about the stockpile challenge we did and use those strategies. Get some ideas for meals from your stockpile in this article) Use the shampoo, soap, and personal hygiene products that you have already instead of buying new products.

  8. Raise extra money. This may come from selling things you don’t need, taking on some extra work, or by creating a product or service to sell. However you do this, use the extra revenue wisely to get out of debt and to rebuild your emergency fund. There are more ideas for making money quickly in this issue.

And to harden yourself against the collapse that will only get worse, make these changes to help your family survive.

What can you store?” is not the right question to ask.

“What can you make?” – that’s the right question.

Your focus has to be on long-term sustainability, frugality, and self-reliance.  Don’t get me wrong – a stockpile is sensible and an essential course of action. It should definitely be part of your preparedness plan.

However, you need to also be ready for the time when the supplies in your well-stocked pantry are no longer available.  You need to be able to meet as many of your own needs as possible or you’ll end up being one of those people wearing dirty clothes because you can’t find laundry soap or going hungry because you can’t find any food at the stores – or can’t afford it if you can find it. You need to be ready for the end of a consumer-driven lifestyle, because quite frankly, there may soon come a day when there are no consumer goods to be had. Here are some ways to work on your

Here are some ways to work on your self-reliance:

It’s only by reducing your need for the things sold in stores that you can exempt yourself from the chaos and desperation that will erupt when everyone realizes that an economic collapse has occurred.


Labworks Mon, 05/21/2018 - 17:48 Permalink

Degenerated third world status, Americans relying on the government to get food.


Didn't use to be that way, before the Americans took care of themselves, they didn't need no government. 


But just look at the drumpfers, they're all on welfare and sit on reddit/4chan all day and play blizzard casual games. These motherfuckers won't start any revolution! LOL

overbet Cesare de Borgia Mon, 05/21/2018 - 17:54 Permalink

No dude youve been programmed. Ive seen both first hand. Have you? Can you produce a recent article or something backing your erroneous beliefs? Just one instance in the past year or two would be satisfactory. Also so you know they have Thai and Farang hospitals. Farang (non-asian) hospitals are more expensive, but still 1/5 of US health care. They are impeccable. 

In reply to by Cesare de Borgia

Helena Bonham-Carter overbet Mon, 05/21/2018 - 18:00 Permalink

I feel so bad for these people who can't afford basic necessities. I can't figure out whether they need Obama's mandatory for-profit healthcare, or Trump's tax cut for the most fortunate, or a return Clinton-era job offshoring, or a return to Reagan-era trickle-down, or something else entirely. It's a mystery!

In reply to by overbet

Croesus Yellow_Snow Mon, 05/21/2018 - 18:30 Permalink

Absolutely right!

I know a lot of people who have good incomes, and are perpetually broke.

Some common themes I've noticed in these people:

- They NEED to go out, at least once a week.

- They NEED to stay fashionable.

- They NEED the latest gadget(s).

Myself, I take the opposite approach. I've learned to live just fine, going without certain things. My thought is that I could care less about impressing strangers, and much prefer the reality of wealth, as opposed to the illusion.

In reply to by Yellow_Snow

J S Bach 847328_3527 Mon, 05/21/2018 - 18:57 Permalink

C'mon, Tyler.  Why do you use words like "collapse" and "soar" when in truth, these trends are gradual.  Not to diminish the ultimate end, but Americans, just like every other goy victim in the world, are undergoing a very slow and insidious loss in both their standard of living and their material wealth.  This is all part of (((their))) Protocols plan.  We must focus on their "power of the purse", which is the control of currency and its issuance.  THIS is the fount from which all of their nefarious influence flows.  Until it is destroyed, mankind will continue to suffer the anguishing decline of their existence... period.

In reply to by 847328_3527

techpriest Croesus Mon, 05/21/2018 - 19:03 Permalink


You are taking me back to ~2010, when my wife was still my girlfriend and I was a grad student earning $22k per year. In that scenario, low expectations + no kids meant that we could figure out a way to live within our means.

What the article is telling me is that some of the 43% are unable to live within their means (which means voluntarily lowering your standard of living), but the other side of this is family breakdown. I think there are going to be more than a few single mothers with multiple children who earn just enough to go over the welfare thresholds and qualify for less welfare. This is family breakdown on multiple levels, and I doubt it will enter the discussion.

In reply to by Croesus

Pool Shark Croesus Mon, 05/21/2018 - 19:37 Permalink

"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen, nineteen and six, result: happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six: result misery." - Mr. Micawber from Charles Dickens' David Copperfield.

In reply to by Croesus

cornflakesdisease Yellow_Snow Mon, 05/21/2018 - 19:54 Permalink

Sad but true.  I do taxes and the #1 thing I see that kills people is that they buy to expensive cars, don't put enough down on them, and don't hold onto them long enough or take care of them.  A close second are older people who enter retirement still pulling a mortgage; a huge no-no.  But one bought of cancer, heart issues, or any medical emergency with out the best of insurance and your screwed.  And insurance purposely doesn't cover everything. 

In reply to by Yellow_Snow

RedBaron616 Yellow_Snow Mon, 05/21/2018 - 20:21 Permalink

Not to mention that this "study" was commissioned by the United Way, so the group doing the polling knew United Way wanted some really depressing numbers, so I suspect they laid them on thick in hopes of getting hired on again for the next survey. Don't tell me that who the survey is done for doesn't influence the writing of questions and tweaking of data.

In reply to by Yellow_Snow

NidStyles overbet Mon, 05/21/2018 - 18:03 Permalink

Just a matter of time, just look at the money leaving the country. Eventually when the US collapses, it will take the rest of the world with it. There will be war, and not this pretend fake bullshit the cartels and leftists are screwing around with. 


Its like we can just ignore that the cartels are basically taking over and attacking anyone that doesn’t serve them. 



In reply to by overbet

Cesare de Borgia overbet Mon, 05/21/2018 - 18:11 Permalink

Absolutely that's why I commented. If you go to hospitals like Bumrungrad, BNH or the likes you should be safe but stay clear from the others.  A few years ago in Saraburi there was an annual check up for health amongst 3000 something students and they reused all the needles which caused a spike of HIV in the region. 

Anyways make sure to stay safe man! 

In reply to by overbet

Miffed Microbi… techpriest Mon, 05/21/2018 - 20:44 Permalink

True. My father in the 1970s insured companies for catastrophic care. The model worked well because people were responsible for their health and if an unforeseen high cost medical event occurred, they were covered. Today you must factor in the advanced technologies available but I think the model could still work considering most medical care today is chronic conditions such as diabetes type II which are lifestyle issues. However getting Americans off their asses and asking them to forgo Big Gulps probably won't happen. People rather have their feet amputated then change their lifestyle. I guess having a TV and a remote is considered a preferable choice. 





In reply to by techpriest

overbet Miffed Microbi… Mon, 05/21/2018 - 19:07 Permalink

Ya an emergency is an emergency not much you can do, but many health issues arent emergencies and dont require immediate care. The point is why pay so much more for what is essentially the same thing here? You can fly first class, stay in a 4-5 star place and still come out way ahead.

I feel like in Thailand the dollar goes as far as it would have in the US had they not devalued it. The day after my kid turns 18 Im moving there. Happy Brithday, good bye, come visit. 

In reply to by Miffed Microbi…

everything1 overbet Mon, 05/21/2018 - 19:06 Permalink

Thailand is ranked 47th, the U.S. is ranked 37th by the world health organization.  So yeah, they are close, real close.  #1 cause of bankruptcy in the U.S. is health care system.  #3 cause of death in the U.S. is iatrogenic disease or death by doctor, and it is hugely under reported.

Your onto the right thing friend.

In reply to by overbet

legalize ZD1 Mon, 05/21/2018 - 18:06 Permalink

The study doesn't include data for all 50 states, it only includes data for 18 states: Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

It's a scam designed to increase the need for their "solution".

In reply to by ZD1