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State of the Union Then and Now

“The more things change, the more things stay the same.  The Great Depression actually started in 1929, but as you will see below, as late as 1933 the Associated Press was still pumping out lots of news stories with optimistic economic headlines and many Americans still did not believe that we were actually in a depression.  And of course we are experiencing a very similar thing today.  The United States is in the worst financial shape that it has ever been in, our economic infrastructure is being systematically gutted, and poverty is absolutely exploding.  Since the stock market crash of 2008, the Federal Reserve has been wildly printing money and the federal government has been running trillion dollar deficits in a desperate attempt to stabilize things, but in the process they have made our long-term economic problems far worse.  It would be hard to overstate how dire our situation is, and yet the mainstream media continues to assure us that everything is just fine and that happy days are here again.

As I have already noted, the mainstream media was doing the exact same thing back during the days of the Great Depression.  The following are actual Associated Press headlines from 1933…

Decisive Break from Panic Shown in Business Figures

Markets Spurt To New Highs

New Farm Bill to End Depression

And the following is a headline discovery from 1933 that was made by Linda Goin

I was browsing through old newspapers the other day and discovered a page filled with news about the stock market and banks in the Daily Capital News from Jefferson City, Missouri. The date was March 15, 1933, well into the Great Depression, and the news was cautiously celebratory as a headline read, “Era of Fear is Declared at End Now.

The Depression-era classic song entitled “Happy Days Are Here Again” was played at the Democratic National Convention in 1932 and it went on to be featured by the Democrats for many years after that.  The following is an excerpt from a Wikipedia article about that song…

Today, the song is probably best remembered as the campaign song for Franklin Delano Roosevelt’ssuccessful 1932 presidential campaign. According to TIME magazine, it gained prominence after a spontaneous decision by Roosevelt’s advisers to play it at the 1932 Democratic National Convention, and went on to become the Democratic Party‘s “unofficial theme song for years to come”.

There is only one huge problem.

The election of Roosevelt didn’t end the depression.  Years of bitter economic suffering and dust bowl conditions were still ahead.  The Great Depression continued all the way up to the start of World War II, and the war years were certainly no picnic for average folks either.

But at least cheery headlines can make people feel better, right?

That is what some believe.

Others believe that giving people false hope is very cruel and that it sets up people for failure.

The following are some actual headlines that were found on mainstream news sites today…

CNBC: “Recession risk gone in all US states but 1: Moody’s Analytics

CNN: “Foreclosure crisis is drawing to a close

NBC News: “Stocks close near highs; S&P logs 7-day rally

Wow, those headlines sound great!

So are happy days here again?

Not quite.

In fact, things continue to get even worse in a whole host of ways.  Just consider the following statistics…

-According to a brand new Gallup poll that was just released, 20.0% of all Americans did not have enough money to buy food that they or their families needed at some point over the past year.  That is just under the record of 20.4% that was set back in November 2008.

-Gallup also found that the ability of American families to meet some of their other most basic needs is near an all-time low…

The Basic Access Index, which includes 13 questions about topics including Americans’ ability to afford food, housing, and healthcare, was 81.4 in August, on par with the all-time low of 81.2 recorded in October 2011.

More than 90 million working age Americans are considered to be “not in the labor force”.

-The labor force participation rate is the lowest that it has been in 35 years.

516,000 Americans “left the labor force” last month.  That was a brand new all-time record high.

-The number of private sector jobs dropped by 278,000 last month.

77 percent of the jobs that have been “created” so far this year have been part-time jobs.

-Approximately one out of every four part-time workers in America is living below the poverty line.

-Right now, 40 percent of all U.S. workers are making less than what a full-time minimum wage worker made back in 1968.

-The U.S. trade deficit with China has hit a brand new record high.

-The U.S. trade deficit with the EU has hit a brand new record high.

-The number of U.S. households on food stamps is at a brand new record high.

-One of the largest furniture manufacturers in America was just forced into bankruptcy

The maker of furniture brands such as Thomasville, Broyhill, Lane and Drexel Heritage said Monday that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

-Total mortgage activity has dropped to the lowest level that we have seen since October 2008.

Yes, those in the top 1 percent are doing very well for the moment thanks to the reckless money printing that the Federal Reserve has been doing.

But for most Americans, the last several years have been a continual struggle.  The following is a list that comes from one of my previous articles entitled “44 Facts About The Death Of The Middle Class That Every American Should Know“…”

Full article

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8 comments

  1. helicopter ben

    This era is obviously similar to the 1930’s in more ways than 1. I think the best thing to look at is how the US rebounded after the depression. If the past is an indicator, once everything is over, then there will be real growth for a long period of time.

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    • drummerboy

      i disagree ben.back in the day,the 30,america was an industrial power house,we made everything. now,we make nothing. there will not be any period of growth.you are dreaming.

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      • hattery

        We make nothing? Here’s over 1200 USA companies with a net profit margin over 10% in the US sorted by market cap
        http://finviz.com/screener.ashx?v=151&f=fa_netmargin_o10,geo_usa&ft=4&o=-marketcap

        I get it, we aren’t the “lowest cost factory producer” like China and India so we don’t make a lot of low margin toys that cost dirt cheap to make. But wouldn’t you rather be the country with companies like AAPL, that produce on the backs of countries like China, than be the country that has no child labor laws and an extremely low minimum wage to work for companies like AAPL, GOOG, etc?

        …By the way, we’re on pace to become the #1 oil producer in just a few years.

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        • drummerboy

          OH MY, a whopping whole 1200 companies.walk through any store for ALL your daily needs,and check the label for origin of manufacture. REALLY. apple and google is hardly an example of real industry. the socks you wear.the shoes you wear. the bicycle and toys your kids play with. go ahead.go to any dollar store,wally world,most auto showrooms. now go to the produce isle,take a look at where garlic is coming from now. in a little while,the chicken you buy will come from china.(i have all my chickens slaughtered in front of my eyes.come on Hattery, your talking to old school here. when i was a teamster,we saw the writing on the shit house wall about part time america over 30 years ago.this country doesn’t make anything worth buying anymore. the only reason why you can see that we are in a worse depression than the 30’s is because of electronic automation. otherwise people would LITERALLY be banging on your door for a morsel of bread. i was raised where my mom made everything,clothes,futons,crochet bed spreads, sweaters,even made candy from pumpkins and made armenian string cheese like ancient times.todays women can’t do shit,nor can most men. i have about five trades under my belt,besides being able to drive an 18 wheeler. i just got done building my own brick oven,mounted an a trailer,and up for sale on ebay for anyone that wants to be in the food truck business…….. this country is fucked nine ways to sunday.and no amount of fucking apple and google are come to it’s rescue…….roflmfao

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          • hattery

            Well… I agree with several points, I guess I just think overall the world is still going to find a way to produce it’s way out one way or another. Even though the power may at some point shift to Asia, I still think there are enough really smart people and CEOs and what not with enough influence to make a difference. I think that they will utilize every resource including low cost labor overseas as well as a domestic sales+marketing team to continue to show progress even though there certainly will be plenty of major down periods.

            I guess what I am saying is where as last time we produced our way out through manufacturing, as an EMERGING market back then, this time around I think we will produce our way out through HIGH margin businesses that LEVERAGE OTHER factories around the world. The lowest cost producers will always produce the most job until robots/machines automate the entire process. I think that is the direction it is moving. This time around we produce our way out with more unemployment. Robots/cybernetics and mass 3d printer manufacturing in the not too distant future, smartphones, internet, and tablet production in the more immediate future.

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    • CRONKITE

      you can not look to the 30’s for a similar rebound as we were still in the process of building out all the infrastructure needed to make this country a true powerhouse economy.
      while we still produce things its the kind of things that only employ highly technical and specialized persons where as in the past most anyone could learn on the job in general manufacturing”
      the masses are not being hired for factory work.

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      • hattery

        The US back then was an emerging agrarian market who was lagging most of Europe in the transition from an agrarian economy to an industrial one. The transition took many decades as even as late as 1900 after the railroad boom and civil war over 40% of the US workforce was still in Agriculture. There are many similarities now in that the US is transitioning. This time it is from an economy where the service industry and government makes up the bulk of the workforce to one that continues to grow jobs even as other areas contracted in areas of computing and internet. Just as the industrial boom started before the crash last time, and continued to pull us out, the internet boom started and really culminated in the top of the 1990s but still continues afterwards.

        The make-up of the economy will look drastically different in a few decades where I believe government and the service industries will contract.

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        • CRONKITE

          hattery,
          while the economy will look drastically different, back then the average agrarian could pick up a shovel, hammer, or what have you to help build out the infrastructure that helped to propel us to a powerhouse economy that reigned for nearly 100 years.
          Today the average service worker to lawyer, broker, accountant, etc who are out of work can not transition as easily into this new economy.
          Putting them aside we just received data from the OECD that we are still lagging behind many countries in math and science.
          The growing pains into this new transition will be harsh and long lasting.

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