Are you better off today than you were four years ago? This is a question that comes up nearly every election. This year the Romney campaign has even created a Twitter hashtag for it: #AreYouBetterOff. The Democrats are making lots of speeches claiming that we are better off, and the Republicans are making lots of speeches claiming that we are not. So are most Americans actually better off than they were four years ago? Of course not. One recent poll found that only 20 percent of Americans believe that they are better off financially than they were four years ago.
But the same thing was true four years ago as well. Our economy has been in decline and the middle class has been shrinking for a very long time. The Democrats want to put all of the blame on the Republicans for this, and the Republicans want to put all of the blame on the Democrats for this.
A recent CNN headline defiantly declared the following: "Decline of middle class not Obama's fault", and this is the kind of thing we are going to hear day after day until the election in November. But obviously something has gone fundamentally wrong with our economy. So who should we blame?
Sadly, you hear very little on the mainstream news networks or the talk radio shows about the institution that has the most power over our economy. The Federal Reserve has far more power over our financial system than anyone else does, but the media and both political parties tell us that the Federal Reserve is "above politics" and that their "independence" must never be questioned.
Unfortunately, most Americans have gone along with that.
But the truth is that the debt-based financial system that the Federal Reserve is at the core of is absolutely central to our economic problems. If you do not understand this, please see this article: "10 Things That Every American Should Know About The Federal Reserve".
The Federal Reserve has done more to mess up our economy than anyone else has.
So shouldn't they be held accountable?
That is a very good question.
Have you ever wondered why financial markets move so dramatically whenever Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke gives a speech?
The same thing does not happen when Barack Obama gives a speech.
That is because the financial markets know who holds the real power in our financial system.
But during this election season the American people are told to put all of their attention on the "red team" and the "blue team". We are told that the two major political parties are philosophical opposites and that they want to take the United States is two completely different directions.
The "true believers" on the blue team are completely and totally convinced that Barack Obama will be able to rescue the economy and save America.
The "true believers" on the red team are completely and totally convinced that Mitt Romney will be able to rescue the economy and save America.
Once upon a time I was one of those political activists. I was fully convinced that America could be turned around if we could just get enough Republicans into office.
But then I noticed that nothing really seemed to change no matter who was in power. I became disillusioned as I realized that Republicans were doing things pretty much the exact same way that Democrats were doing them when they got into power.
Yes, there are some minor differences between the two parties on taxes and regulations.
If we elect one guy over the other our economy might decline at a slightly different pace.
But in the end both political parties are taking us to the exact same place.
Down the toilet.
I wish that wasn't true.
But we need to be honest with ourselves....
Both parties fully support the Federal Reserve.
-Both parties supported the nomination of Ben Bernanke to a second term as the head of the Federal Reserve.
-Both parties endlessly push the job-killing "free trade" agenda of the global elite.
-Both parties see nothing wrong with running absolutely enormous trade deficits with the rest of the world.
-Both parties supported TARP.
-Both parties supported the "economic stimulus" packages.
-Both parties supported the auto industry bailouts.
-Both parties have run up massive amounts of federal debt when in power.
-Both parties have greatly expanded the size of the federal government when in power.
-Both parties are full of control freaks and both parties have added more layers of ridiculous regulations to our already overburdened society when in power.
-Neither party supports getting rid of the income tax or the IRS.
-Neither party has any intention of doing anything to prevent the coming derivatives crisis that could bring down the entire global financial system.
-Both parties are absolutely showered with cash from the big Wall Street banks.
-Both parties think that the TSA is doing a great job.
-Both parties supported the NDAA and the renewal of the Patriot Act.
-Both parties have greatly expanded the unconstitutional surveillance of American citizens by government agencies.
-Both parties are extremely soft on illegal immigration.
-Both parties have treated military veterans horribly.
-Both parties are absolutely packed with corrupt politicians that are living the high life at your expense.
-Neither party plans to balance the federal budget in 2013 if their candidate wins the election.
-Neither party has a plan that will fix our deeply broken health care system.
-Neither party has any plans to shut down the Federal Reserve. In fact, both parties see absolutely nothing wrong with our current system.
Of course this list could go on indefinitely, but hopefully you get the point.
But I can understand those that are deeply frustrated with Barack Obama and that desperately want to avoid another four years of his policies.
I also believe that Barack Obama has been the worst president in U.S. history and that he and his entire cabinet should immediately resign in disgrace.
However, the Republican party foolishly chose to nominate the Republican candidate that was most like Barack Obama to run against him.
That was an enormous mistake.
No matter what the talk radio shows are telling you, the truth is that this country will continue on pretty much the same path no matter who wins the election.
I know that statement is going to make a lot of people angry. But it is the sad reality of what we are facing.
Even if you focus on just the economy, the truth is that Mitt Romney's "five point plan" is almost exactly the same thing that Barack Obama has been saying.
Many Americans believe that since Mitt Romney made lots of money on Wall Street conducting leveraged buyouts of vulnerable corporations that he understands how to fix our economy.
Sadly, that is not the truth.
I have listened to many Romney speeches about the economy and I keep waiting for some pearls of wisdom, but I have found that he is just as clueless about the economy as our other recent presidents have been.
Look, I know that there are a lot of people out there that have good hearts that want to have someone that they can believe in.
They want to believe that things can get better.
They want to have hope.
And I don't blame them for that.
I just think that it is time to pull our heads out of the sand and realize that things are not going to be getting any better.
A political savior on a white horse is not going to come riding in to save the day.
So by this point in the article a whole lot of Democrats and a whole lot of Republicans are very upset with me.
But I am not against you. There is way too much hate in our society today. Even if we disagree with someone else we can still love them.
I just think that it is very important that we understand that there is not going to be a solution to our problems on the national level and that our economy is headed for collapse no matter who gets elected.
The total amount of debt in the United States has risen from less than 2 trillion dollars to nearly 55 trillion dollars over the past 40 years, and there is nothing that Barack Obama or Mitt Romney can do to prevent the "correction" that is coming.
So are Americans better off than they were four years ago?
Of course not.
But things will soon get a whole lot worse no matter how the election turns out.
The following are 40 statistics that will absolutely shock you....
#1 During the time Barack Obama has been in the White House, median household income has fallen by 7.3 percent.
#3 According to the Federal Reserve, the median net worth of American families dropped "from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010".
#4 According to the Pew Research Center, 61 percent of all Americans were "middle income" back in 1971. Today, only 51 percent of all Americans are "middle income".
#5 Back in 1970, middle income Americans brought home 62 percent of all income in the United States. In 2010, middle income Americans only brought home 45 percent of all income.
#6 The unemployment rate in the United States has been above 8 percent for 42 straight months.
#7 The percentage of working age Americans with a job has been below 59 percent for 35 months in a row.
#8 In June, the number of Americans added to the food stamp rolls was nearly three times larger than the number of jobs added to the U.S. economy.
#10 Since Barack Obama entered the White House, the number of long-term unemployed Americans has risen from 2.7 million to 5.2 million.
#11 Today, the average duration of unemployment in the United States is about three times as long as it was back in the year 2000.
#12 According to a report that has just been released by the National Employment Law Project, 58 percent of the jobs that have been created since the end of the recession have been low paying jobs.
#13 According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, only 24.6 percent of all of the jobs in the United States are "good jobs".
#14 In 2010, the number of jobs created at new businesses in the United States was less than half of what it was back in the year 2000.
#15 The average pay for self-employed Americans fell by $3,721 between 2006 and 2010.
#16 According to U.S. Representative Betty Sutton, America has lost an average of 15 manufacturing facilities a day over the last 10 years. During 2010 it got even worse. That year, an average of 23 manufacturing facilities a day shut down in the United States.
#17 At this point, one out of every four American workers has a job that pays $10 an hour or less.
#18 While Barack Obama has been president the velocity of money has plunged to a post-World War II low.
#19 According to one recent survey, 85 percent of middle class Americans say that it is harder to maintain a middle class standard of living today compared with 10 years ago.
#20 Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.
#21 There are now 20.2 million Americans that spend more than half of their incomes on housing. That represents a 46 percent increase from 2001.
#22 Over the past decade, health insurance premiums have risen three times faster than wages have in the United States.
#23 Health insurance costs have risen by 23 percent since Barack Obama became president.
#26 Family budgets in America are being stretched to the breaking point. Today, 77 percent of all Americans live paycheck to paycheck at least part of the time.
#27 While Barack Obama has been president, U.S. home values have fallen by another 11 percent.
#28 More than three times as many new homes were sold in the United States in 2005 as will be sold in 2012.
#29 The United States was once ranked #1 in the world in GDP per capita. Today we have slipped to #11.
#30 Since Barack Obama became president, the number of Americans living in poverty has risen by 6.4 million.
#31 The number of Americans on food stamps has grown from about 17 million in the year 2000 to 31.9 million when Barack Obama entered the White House to 46.7 million today.
#32 Approximately one-fourth of all U.S. children are enrolled in the food stamp program at this point.
#33 It is being projected that half of all American children will be on food stamps at least once before they turn 18 years of age.
#34 It is estimated that child homelessness in the United States has risen by 33 percent since 2007.
#35 Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid. Today, approximately one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid.
#37 It is being projected that the number of Americans on Medicare will grow from 50.7 million in 2012 to 73.2 million in 2025.
#38 The number of Americans receiving federal housing assistance increased by a whopping 42 percent between 2006 and 2010.
#39 At this point, well over 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government.
#40 Amazingly, more than half of all Americans are now at least partially financially dependent on the government.
So are you better off than you used to be or worse off?