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This Is A Tale Of Two Americas, And Those At The Bottom Of The Economic Food Chain Are Being Hit Extremely Hard

If you have plenty of money and you are able to shield yourself from what is happening to the tens of millions of people that are wallowing in poverty, life in America is still good in 2024.  Stock prices have been hovering near record highs, and companies that cater to the rich and famous have been raking in the cash.  But for most of the rest of the country, things are not going so well.  Homelessness has been rising at the fastest rate we have ever seen, crime is out of control all over the nation, and large companies are laying off workers at a very frightening pace.

If you live in the version of America that is still living the high life, good for you.

But if you live in the version of America that the rest of us live in, conditions are rapidly deteriorating.

Earlier today, I came across an article in the San Francisco Standard that detailed what life is like in Oakland, California these days…

A Prius hanging out of a dumpster. Stripped-down cars. Burning trash cans. These are some of the East Oakland sights set to a new catchphrase that’s blowing up on social media: “Oakland, California, … donde la vida no vale nada.”

Even cops, government officials, firefighters and kids are repeating the catchphrase on social media and on the streets of the Town.

That catchphrase was created by a man named Gregorio Ramon.

He has posted hundreds of videos on social media that document what is happening to the city where he has his home

It’s all because of Gregorio Ramon, who coined the saying in videos on his Instagram @oakland_california_2023 and TikTok @gregorio1976 accounts documenting crime and mayhem in the East Bay city. Since mid-2022, Ramon has been capturing footage of everything from police chases to cars on fire and the boarded-up Denny’s that closed last month due to public safety concerns.

In every video, he says, “Oakland, California, … donde la vida no vale nada, donde la cuidad nos tiene abandonados.” The phrase translates to English as, “Oakland, California, … where life is worthless, where the city has abandoned us.”

Of course the same thing could be said about our nation as a whole.

While the elite are swimming in money, homelessness in the U.S. has reached “the highest level on record” and it also has been rising at the fastest pace ever recorded.  The following comes from the Wall Street Journal

The U.S. count of homeless people surged to the highest level on record, reaching more than 653,000 people early this year as Covid-19 pandemic-aid spending faded, new federal data show.

The increase reflects a collision of factors: rising housing costs; limited affordable housing units; the opioid epidemic; and the expired pandemic-era aid that had helped keep people in their homes, federal officials said Friday. A surge of migrants into shelters in places such as New York City, Massachusetts and Chicago also contributed to the challenge.

The data released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development show a 12% gain since last year, marking both the biggest increase and highest tally since the U.S. first published comparable data for 2007.

Homelessness didn’t even increase this fast during the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009.

On top of those that are living in the streets, millions of other Americans are living in cars, trucks, vans and RVs.

In some of our wealthiest cities, you can see such vehicles lined up on the side of the road for miles.

Areas that are right along a river or a lake are particularly popular for those living in their vehicles because that gives them easy access to water.

Of course millions of Americans that actually have homes are also living in poverty.

Today, approximately one out of every eight Americans is on food stamps.

Just think about that for a moment.

One-eighth of the entire country relies on the government for food every month.

Sadly, things are only going to get worse as economic conditions continue to deteriorate.

The cost of living just continues to become even more oppressive, and at this stage buying a decent home is out of reach for most Americans.

As a result, “mini-homes” and “tiny homes” have become extremely popular.

One 23-year-old man that recently purchased a 600 square foot one-bedroom “mini-home” from Amazon was very excited that he was able to get it “for just under $27,000”

A man has taken people inside a house that he bought off Amazon after it was delivered to his doorstep.

Last month, Jeff Bryant, 23, of Los Angeles, decided to purchase a prefabricated, one-bedroom mini-home off the online marketplace for just under $27,000.

‘B**ch I didn’t even think twice about it, I just did it!’ he admitted in an initial TikTok video about the buy.

‘I don’t even know where I’m going to put the house!’

It certainly beats living in the streets.

But this is not what “the American Dream” is supposed to look like.

In some parts of the country, entire subdivisions of small homes are popping up

Robert Lanter lives in a 600-square-foot house that can be traversed in five seconds and vacuumed from a single outlet. He doesn’t have a coffee table in the living room because it would obstruct the front door. When relatives come to visit, Mr. Lanter says jokingly, but only partly, they have to tour one at time.

Each of these details amounts to something bigger, for Mr. Lanter’s life and the U.S. housing market: a house under $300,000, something increasingly hard to find. That price allowed Mr. Lanter, a 63-year-old retired nurse, to buy a new single-family home in a subdivision in Redmond, Ore., about 30 minutes outside Bend, where he is from and which is, along with its surrounding area, one of Oregon’s most expensive housing markets.

Mr. Lanter’s house could easily fit on a flatbed truck, and is dwarfed by the two-story suburban homes that prevail on the blocks around him. But, in fact, there are even smaller homes in his subdivision, Cinder Butte, which was developed by a local builder called Hayden Homes. Some of his neighbors live in houses that total just 400 square feet — a 20-by-20-foot house attached to a 20-by-20-foot garage.

Much earlier in my life, I actually lived in an apartment that was about 400 square feet.

It wasn’t pleasant.

But in this economy, people are just trying to survive.

And things are not going to get any easier in 2024.  In fact, CNBC is warning that large companies all over America are focusing on cutting costs this year…

Corporate America has a message for Wall Street: It’s serious about cutting costs this year.

From toy and cosmetics makers to office software sellers, executives across sectors have announced layoffs and other plans to slash expenses — even at some companies that are turning a profit. Barbie maker Mattel, PayPal, Cisco, Nike, Estée Lauder and Levi Strauss are just a few of the firms that have cut jobs in recent weeks.

Department store retailer Macy’s said it will close five of its namesake department stores and cut more than 2,300 jobs. JetBlue Airways and Spirit Airlines have offered staff buyouts, while United Airlines cut first-class meals on some of its shortest flights.

So many people are going to lose their jobs during the months ahead.

It is going to be such a difficult time, and even Citi’s chief economist is publicly admitting that it appears that the U.S. is heading into a recession this year…

The soft-landing dream is over; instead, the US economy is headed for a recession in the middle of 2024, Citi says.

“There’s this very powerful and seductive narrative around a soft landing, and we’re just not seeing it in the data,” Citi’s chief US economist, Andrew Hollenhorst, said in a CNBC interview.

He is quite right.

The numbers are telling us a very troubling story.

If you think that things are bad now, you will definitely not like what is coming.

With each passing day, more Americans are going to be falling out of the middle class.

And with each passing day, more Americans are going to be falling into poverty.

But if you are wealthy, there is still a little bit of time left to live the high life.

Unfortunately, the clock is ticking, and a day of reckoning is rapidly approaching for all of us.

Article posted with permission from Michael Snyder

Michael Snyder

Michael T. Snyder is a graduate of the University of Florida law school and he worked as an attorney in the heart of Washington D.C. for a number of years. Today, Michael is best known for his work as the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog. Michael and his wife, Meranda, believe that a great awakening is coming and are working hard to help bring renewal to America. Michael is also the author of the book The Beginning Of The End

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