by Greg Allen
The hardships many Americans are enduring today are excessive, unwarranted and unjustifiable, but many politicians don't see it that way.
Hardship dictated by government is oppression no matter how you slice it.
As the White House proclaims a recovery is occurring, and the stock market has a head of steam, millions of Americans are being left out, according to economic indicators.
Perhaps the most troubling, yet least reported, aspect of the so-called US recovery involves the national labor picture. Although the official US unemployment rate is 6.3%, that figure obscures reality, according to an influential Wall Street adviser.
In a leaked memo to clients, David John Marotta calculated the actual unemployment rate to be an astronomic 37%, as opposed to the 6.3% claimed by the Federal Reserve.
History tells us a quarter of Americans were unemployed during the 30s and it was called a Great Depression. However, by today's standard, a 37% unemployment rate isn't even considered a recession by ambiguous thinking bureaucrats who try to obscure it all.
It isn't glamorous to be on government assistance as some politicians have claimed. It's a miserable hardship, poverty, no matter how you spin it.
Marotta wrote: "The unemployment rate only describes people who are currently working or looking for work. Unemployment in its truest definition, meaning the portion of people who do not have any job, is 37.2 percent."
The author also took aim at the so-called Misery Index, which provides somewhat of a pulse rate of American prosperity, based on unemployment and inflation. The Wall Street adviser said the Index, which he maintains is actually over 14, as opposed to the 8 advertised by Washington, fails to address how the US economy is being hugely subsidized by various schemes, including monthly bond purchases by the Federal Reserve.
"Today, the Misery Index would be 7.54 using official numbers," the analyst wrote. "However, taking into consideration the full unemployment picture, including workers who have given up the job search, which is 10.2%, together with the historical method of calculating inflation, which is now 4.5%, the current misery index is closer to 14.7."
Marotta's findings, which put the actual US unemployment rate at over 37%, seem more credible when viewed alongside other indicators, including the number of Americans who now rely on government assistance to make ends meet.
"In food stamps we trust" could no doubt be the motto for many anymore.
Food stamps are now known as Electronic Benefits Transfer tokens. It's a fancy term used to diminish the reality of a miniscule existence, a life of poverty, dependence on the government, and the hardships that come with it.
A record 20% of American households received food stamps in 2013, over 47 million people, according to the USDA.
It should come as no surprise that spending on the US government's food stamp program, officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, has reached an all-time high.
Last year, SNAP cost American taxpayers over 79 million dollars - a 164% increase over the past decade.
An entitlement mentality has infected the land and many politicians are eager to promote that beleaguered scheme of spreading the wealth around. It's that Robin Hood theory which is contrary to what America was built on. The bottom line is America's a capitalistic country and has been the most prosperous on the planet according to most, but those who want to rule by force want to change the norm and turn America into something unrecognizable. It's a safe bet to say most Americans don't want to live in a state of socialism ruled by the privileged few and served by the cluttered poor.
Ask yourself: Is it necessary for the price of gas to be so high when we have an abundance of natural resources? Is it justifiable to pay high costs for food and daily necessities when inflation is being triggered by the actions of the government? Is it reasonable to think closing down coal fired electricity producing plants, because a few think they should be abolished, at the cost of higher utility bills for consumers, is really worth it? Isn't there something the Administration can do to alleviate the afflictions 93 million Americans out of work are having?
Simply put, are all these hardships being inflicted upon Americans really necessary?
Greg Allen's column, Thinkin' Out Loud, is published bi-monthly. He's an author, nationally syndicated columnist and the founder of Builder of the Spirit in Jamestown, Indiana, a non-profit organization aiding the poor. He can be reached at 765-676-5014 or www.builderofthespirit.org.