The United States has long been heralded as the leader of the free world. America’s economic prosperity has ushered in advances in technology, medicine and defense. However, we are currently struggling to hold onto that position as we battle with high deficits, growing unemployment and a rising police state coupled with increasing political corruption. There are ten important signs that we are becoming a third world country.
- Rising unemployment and poverty. American unemployment levels are approaching 10% as food stamp distribution and home foreclosures are reaching new highs. (The real unemployment rate, counting all those who would like to work but can’t find employment, is actually much higher). People are so hungry for shelter that 30,000 people showed up, for 455 vouchers, to apply for public housing in East point, Ga. Riots broke out prompting riot police to show up to quell the angry crowd.
- Declining civil liberties. People who oppose this government are monitored, the freedom to assemble for protest is continually attacked and opponents are trashed as racists and insurgents. In fact, America is approaching the mindset of China, which has one of the lowest freedom scores in the world, according to Freedom House.
- Economic dependence: China has cut America’s credit rating by pulling back on purchases of our debt. Our debt-to-GDP ratio of 90% is the IMF’s make-or-break point for countries hoping to grow their way out of debt. In 2009, the U.S. had an 85% debt-to-GDP and is projected to reach 94% in 2010 and 98% in 2011, creating a scenario where it will be virtually impossible to get out of debt. The economy is on the brink of collapse.
- Increasing political corruption. Congress has a record-low 11% confidence rating and there are almost-daily revelations of ethics complaints and scandals among members of the ruling elite. When political corruption becomes the norm, it’s a good sign we’re living in a third world country.
- Military patrolling the streets. Increased domestic presence of the military is a hallmark of most Third World countries, particularly in time of economic collapse. A report by the U.S. Army War College talks about the possibility of Pentagon resources and troops being used should the economic crisis lead to civil unrest, such as protests against businesses and government or runs on beleaguered banks.
- Failing Infrastructure: As 46 out of 50 states appear to be on the verge of bankruptcy and many of our roads, highways, bridges and tunnels are deteriorating, it’s not hard to see a time in the near future where our first-world infrastructure will be a thing of the past.
- Disappearing middle class. The income gap between the rich and poor has increased at an alarming rate and the middle class, once a hallmark of the American Way, is slowly vanishing. If the economy takes another serious downturn and savings and home values plummet further, those who count themselves as ‘middle class’ will shrink even more.
- Devalued currency. The value of the U.S. dollar has declined 96% since the inception of the Federal Reserve in 1913. The U.N. and the IMF are both pushing for a global currency based on the worldwide commodities market as an alternative to the US Dollar. One of the few supports for the dollar’s value to date has been its status as ‘reserve currency’ for much of the world, so a shift away form the dollar to a new currency could be devastating.
- Controlling the media. The government is monitoring our behavior more frequently and moving more aggressively to control it. With the advent of smaller and more portable video cameras the number of citizens videotaping police has increased dramatically. Up until now, our First Amendment rights and the role of photojournalists who can document public police behavior has separated us from a Third World mentality. However, Senator Joe Lieberman has introduced a bill which would give the federal government the power to monitor and control the Internet and expanding the ability of the President to completely shut downt the grid merely on his signature.
- More regulations are being thrust upon us with regard to the movements of Americans’ money. The SEC has adopted policies to allow money market funds withdrawals to be suspended during a financial crisis, essentially forcing individual consumers to finance a hyperinflation move by the Fed, and preventing investors from moving to more secure assets in a time of crisis. HR Bill 2487 places restrictions and high taxes on American moving capital to or from foreign countries, a further indication that the ‘powers that be’ envision a time when astute citizens might want to get their money to safer places.
The land of opportunity is quickly becoming the land of the indigent. Key economic indicators point to a situation potentially worse than the Great Depression. Even skilled immigrants have returned to their home countries to seek a better quality of life. Americans need to wake up and see what’s on the horizon, because while we might not be able to avoid it, we can begin to take preparations to safeguard our lives and those of our loved ones.