By Michael Snyder - BLN Contributing Writer
So just how bad is the U.S. economy? Well, the truth is that sometimes it is hard to put into words. We have squandered the great wealth left to us by our forefathers, we have almost totally dismantled the world’s greatest manufacturing base, we have shipped millions of good jobs overseas and we have piled up the biggest mountain of debt in the history of mankind. We have taken the greatest free enterprise economy that was ever created and have turned it into a gigantic house of cards delicately balanced on a never-ending spiral of paper money and debt. For decades, all of this paper money and debt has enabled us to enjoy the greatest party in the history of the world, but now the bills are coming due and the party is nearly over.
In fact, things are already so bad that you can pick almost every number and find a corresponding statistic that shows just how bad the economy is getting.
You doubt it?
Well, check this out….
20 – Gallup’s measure of underemployment hit 20.0% on March 15th. That was up from 19.7% two weeks earlier and 19.5% at the start of the year.
19 - According to RealtyTrac, foreclosure filings were reported on 367,056 properties in the month of March. This was an increase of almost 19 percent from February, and it was the highest monthly total since RealtyTrac began issuing its report back in January 2005.
18 – According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in March the national rate of unemployment in the United States was 9.7%, but for Americans younger than 25 it was well above 18 percent.
17 – The FDIC’s list of problem banks recently hit a 17-year high.
16 – During the first quarter of 2010, the total number of loans that are at least three months past due in the United States increased for the 16th consecutive quarter.
15 – The Spanish government has just approved a 15 billion euro austerity plan.
14 – The U.S. Congress recently approved an increase in the debt cap of the U.S. government to over 14 trillion dollars.
13 – The FDIC is backing 8,000 banks that have a total of $13 trillion in assets with a deposit insurance fund that is basically flat broke. In fact, the FDIC’s deposit insurance fund now has negative 20.7 billion dollars in it, which actually represents a slight improvement from the end of 2009.
12 – The U.S. national debt soared from the $12 trillion mark to the $13 trillion mark in a frighteningly short period of time.
11- It is being reported that a massive network of big banks and financial institutions have been involved in blatant bid-rigging fraud that cost taxpayers across the U.S. billions of dollars. The U.S. Justice Department is charging that financial advisers to municipalities colluded with Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Lehman Brothers, Wachovia and 11 other banks in a conspiracy to rig bids on municipal financial instruments.
10 – The Mortgage Bankers Association recently announced that more than 10 percent of all U.S. homeowners with a mortgage had missed at least one payment during the January-March time period. That was a record high and up from 9.1 percent a year ago.
9 – The official U.S. unemployment number is 9.9%, although the truth is that many economists consider the true unemployment rate to be much, much higher than that.
8 - The French government says that its deficit will increase to 8 percent of GDP in 2010, but by implementing substantial budget cuts they hope that they can get it to within the European Union’s 3 percent limit by the year 2013.
7 – The biggest banks in the U.S. cut their collective small business lending balance by another $1 billion in November. That drop was the seventh monthly decline in a row.
6 – The six biggest banks in the United States now possess assets equivalent to 60 percent of America’s gross national product.
5 – That is the number of U.S. banks that federal regulators closed on Friday. That brings that total number of banks that have been shut down this year in the United States to a total of 78.
4 – According to a study published by Texas A&M University Press, the four biggest industries in the Gulf of Mexico region are oil, tourism, fishing and shipping. Together, those four industries account for approximately $234 billion in economic activity each year. Now those four industries have been absolutely decimated by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and will probably not fully recover for years, if not decades.
3 – Decent three bedroom homes in the city of Detroit can be bought for $10,000, but no one wants to buy them.
2 - A massive “second wave” of adjustable rate mortgages is scheduled to reset over the next two to three years. If this second wave is anything like the first wave, the U.S. housing market is about to be absolutely crushed.
1 - The bottom 40 percent of all income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth. But of course many on Wall Street and in the government would argue that there is nothing wrong with an economy where nearly half the people are dividing up 1 percent of the benefits.
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