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Are We Headed for a Repeat of the French Revolution?

September 23rd, 2012

When you look at the in-fighting, the protesting, and the economic climate of America today, you can’t help but be reminded of what was going on in France just prior to the French Revolution.

Let’s rewind to the late 1700’s…

France’s national debt was out of control.  Unemployment was very high.  People in lower classes hated the upper-class citizens — not just the royal ones, but even professional people, because they felt like the professional citizens were taking advantage of them.  And, despite all of the taxes people were paying, France’s economy was wreck.

Sound familiar?

Eventually, people were so angry that they stormed the Bastille prison.  Just like that, the French Revolution had officially begun.

While Bastille Day is celebrated today, the overturn of the prison led to some long-term negative effects.  Once the French Revolution began, the country was full of civil disobedience.  In order to combat it, French leaders decided to create a stricter government.  Soon, they decided that man’s rights were not God-given.  Instead, any rights people had came directly from the government.

As a result, the government started erasing religious freedom.  Churches were seized, and priests were required to take a special oath to the government.  The ones who didn’t were jailed.

A few years later, Napoleon seized on the chaos and took over.  Unfortunately, he was a dictator who caused even more serious problems for the French people.

What do you think?  Is it possible for America to go through a similar revolution?

Happy Labor Day! Or Is It?

August 27th, 2012

As America gets ready to spend a three-day weekend bidding bon voyage to summer — and celebrating what has traditionally been a holiday devoted to working men and women — is it really a happy Labor Day?

After all, how many of America’s men and women are actually working?  How many of them want to be, but aren’t?

The mainstream media keeps telling us that the job market is on the rise because the unemployment rate is going down.

But there’s a big difference between a lower unemployment rate and fewer people out of work!

As of July 2012, the nation’s unemployment rate was 8.1%.  However, that 8.1% only accounts for people who are filing for unemployment benefits.  All of the people who have reached the end of their benefits are not factored into that calculation.

How many people are we talking about?

By the end of 2011, more than 5.5 million Americans had exhausted their unemployment benefits.  And, remember, that’s after Congress extended the federal benefit period to 99 weeks (almost 2 years).  Some states are in such poor shape that they qualify for additional benefits, so some Americans are getting 125 weeks of unemployment (almost 2.5 years) — and they’re STILL maxing out!

Plus, our employment rate also ignores one other very important thing — the “nonemployed”.

People who have stopped looking for work are considered “nonemployed” instead of “unemployed”.  As a result, they’re not a part of the 8.1%, either.

How many people fall into that category?

It’s hard to say exactly, but many experts are trying to calculate a number.  In fact, Antony Davies, an Associate Professor of Economics at Duquesne University and an Affiliated Senior Scholar at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, evaluated the numbers back in May.  Back then, America’s unemployment rate sat at 8.1%.  According to Davies calculations, though, if the “nonemployed” were factored in, the unemployment rate could be as high as 11.5%!

So, is it really a happy Labor Day after all?

 

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