Welcome back to the 1970’s folks! Remember those glorious days of Disco, polyester sport suits and Saturday Night Fever? Well, according to the jobs report that came out last Friday, 90 million people are out of the workforce, no longer looking for jobs, with the labor force participation rate at 63.3%. The last time there were this number of people out of work was in 1979! How’s that Obama economic policy workin’ out for ya?
Oh yes, I remember the late 70’s; The days of Jimmy Carter, even or odd gas days and endless gas lines, interest rates of 18% or more and massive inflation. Looks like we have returned to part of that nightmare with the jobless numbers, and the only reason the other parts haven’t kicked in yet is because the Fed is artificially keeping interest rates down and printing money like it’s going out of style.
At least back then, we saw light at the end of the tunnel. We knew that the Presidency of Jimmy Carter was sand in an hourglass that had almost run out and a new election would bring brighter days in 1980. We don’t see that light this time around. There are three and a half more years of Barak Obama and the arrows of growing prosperity are pointed in a downward direction. Back then when something wasn’t working, the American people at least voted in a new administration to put things back on track. Today we are living the definition of insanity…”doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”.
Why is this? I firmly believe it is because we have become an entitlement nation. With the REAL unemployment rate hovering around the 23% level (f you factor in those people who have become discouraged and stopped looking for work), you have a multitude of people claiming benefits for an extended period of time. On top of that, statistics from last week indicate that there are 8,853,614 people claiming disability benefits. March was the 194th straight month that the number of American workers collecting disability payments increased. In 1968 there were 51 Americans working full time for each disability recipient, in 1997 there were 24. In March of 2013 there are only 13 Americans working fulltime for each person on disability. Unsustainable.
In addition to these government entitlements 15% of Americans are now on food stamps. This program expanded with the downturn in the economy but has not shrunk back since the so-called recovery started. Instead of shrinking the program, the government is exploiting it. There are advertisements all over the place touting the ways to sign up for food stamps. They are taking away the “shame” of living off of the government and encouraging it. Even in other countries, pamphlets are sent out showing people how to take advantage of all of the benefits offered by the U.S. government!
There is a huge lack of checks and balances when it comes to these programs. The fraud is rampant and growing more massive by the day. With the ease of the EBT card, food stamps can be traded in for cigarettes, alcohol or cash and some people just flat out sell their cards on the internet.
So why with all of these hand-outs would someone want to work? I know I am being cynical and probably harsh, but the times have changed since the 1970’s. Back then people still knew that if they worked hard and worked their way up in a job they would be rewarded. There was always the dream of the nice car, the bigger house, the security of retiring with saved money. That dream has all but vanished now with the government taking more and more in taxes and forcing us into a healthcare system that will bankrupt most small businesses and cause our premiums to rise. We have become like hamsters on the never ending spinning wheel, running and running but getting nowhere. Unfortunately we have reached a point where almost half of the population has decided to jump off the wheel and let the government support them.
When an employee begs their employer not to give them a raise because it would kick them off their childcare benefits you know we are in trouble. When a person decides not to take a minimum wage job because they can make more money by drawing unemployment and sitting at home, you know we are almost at the point of collapse.
When will we start to believe that these jobs report numbers don’t lie? No matter how the White House spins it, the economy is not getting stronger. No matter how great the stock market looks, it is a false reading because of the money printing by the Fed. We can’t keep kidding ourselves. Someone has got to make some tough decisions soon or we’ll be singing; “Bye, Bye Miss American Pie”!