What are my thoughts about all of this? I believe that 2012 is going to look better than 2011. Maybe things will continue to look good for another few years after that if we are lucky. However, when we really look at what Americans and the U.S. Government are doing and have done, we should realize that we are in trouble. The way we have been acting economically is not sustainable. We as a country have a lot of bad habits, and these numbers and trends and habits are not going to change over night. They are not going to change in a year. Unfortunately, I don't think they are going to change without a major economic catastrophe.
I have no idea what that catastrophe is going to look like, but I fear it will resemble the Great Depression. Other than that, I really have no idea what will happen. I am not a futurist. I am also not a dooms-dayer. And I really hope it does not happen. I don't want that for me. I don't want that for my family.
What I do know is that my goal is to get as good as I can at sustainably raising food for my family. I don't plan on being a hermit and moving to Idaho and living on a compound, but I plan to be as self-sufficient as possible. This is one of many reasons I love Permaculture.
Permaculture provides a common sense approach to being sustainably self-sufficient. Any piece of land can provide the basic needs for a family if designed well.
Take a look at these 50 disturbing economic statistics from 2011, and tell me that Permaculture doesn't start to look like a smart path:
#1 A staggering 48 percent of all Americans are either considered to be "low income" or are living in poverty.
#2 Approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are living in homes that are either considered to be "low income" or impoverished.
#3 If the number of Americans that "wanted jobs" was the same today as it was back in 2007, the "official" unemployment rate put out by the U.S. government would be up to 11 percent.
#4 The average amount of time that a worker stays unemployed in the United States is now over 40 weeks.
#5 One recent survey found that 77 percent of all U.S. small businesses do not plan to hire any more workers.
#6 There are fewer payroll jobs in the United States today than there were back in 2000 even though we have added 30 million extra people to the population since then.
#7 Since December 2007, median household income in the United States has declined by a total of 6.8% once you account for inflation.
#8 According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 16.6 million Americans were self-employed back in December 2006. Today, that number has shrunk to 14.5 million.
#9 A Gallup poll from earlier this year found that approximately one out of every five Americans that do have a job consider themselves to be underemployed.
#10 According to author Paul Osterman, about 20 percent of all U.S. adults are currently working jobs that pay poverty-level wages.
#11 Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs. Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.
#12 Back in 1969, 95 percent of all men between the ages of 25 and 54 had a job. In July, only 81.2 percent of men in that age group had a job.
#13 One recent survey found that one out of every three Americans would not be able to make a mortgage or rent payment next month if they suddenly lost their current job.
#14 The Federal Reserve recently announced that the total net worth of U.S. households declined by 4.1 percent in the 3rd quarter of 2011 alone.
#15 According to a recent study conducted by the BlackRock Investment Institute, the ratio of household debt to personal income in the United States is now154 percent.
#16 As the economy has slowed down, so has the number of marriages. According to a Pew Research Center analysis, only 51 percent of all Americans that are at least 18 years old are currently married. Back in 1960, 72 percent of all U.S. adults were married.
#17 The U.S. Postal Service has lost more than 5 billion dollars over the past year.
#18 In Stockton, California home prices have declined 64 percent from where they were at when the housing market peaked.
#19 Nevada has had the highest foreclosure rate in the nation for 59 months in a row.
#20 If you can believe it, the median price of a home in Detroit is now just $6000.
#21 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 18 percent of all homes in the state of Florida are sitting vacant. That figure is 63 percent larger than it was just ten years ago.
#22 New home construction in the United States is on pace to set a brand new all-time record low in 2011.
#23 As I have written about previously, 19 percent of all American men between the ages of 25 and 34 are now living with their parents.
#24 Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.
#25 According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, health care costs accounted for just 9.5% of all personal consumption back in 1980. Today they account for approximately 16.3%.
#26 One study found that approximately 41 percent of all working age Americans either have medical bill problems or are currently paying off medical debt.
#27 If you can believe it, one out of every seven Americans has at least 10 credit cards.
#28 The United States spends about 4 dollars on goods and services from China for every one dollar that China spends on goods and services from the United States.
#29 It is being projected that the U.S. trade deficit for 2011 will be 558.2 billion dollars.
#30 The retirement crisis in the United States just continues to get worse. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 46 percent of all American workers have less than $10,000 saved for retirement, and 29 percent of all American workers have less than $1,000 saved for retirement.
#31 Today, one out of every six elderly Americans lives below the federal poverty line.
#32 According to a study that was just released, CEO pay at America's biggest companies rose by 36.5% in just one recent 12 month period.
#33 Today, the "too big to fail" banks are larger than ever. The total assets of the six largest U.S. banks increased by 39 percent between September 30, 2006 and September 30, 2011.
#34 The six heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton have a net worth that is roughly equal to the bottom 30 percent of all Americans combined.
#35 According to an analysis of Census Bureau data done by the Pew Research Center, the median net worth for households led by someone 65 years of age or older is 47 times greater than the median net worth for households led by someone under the age of 35.
#36 If you can believe it, 37 percent of all U.S. households that are led by someone under the age of 35 have a net worth of zero or less than zero.
#37 A higher percentage of Americans is living in extreme poverty (6.7%) than has ever been measured before.
#38 Child homelessness in the United States is now 33 percent higher than it was back in 2007.
#39 Since 2007, the number of children living in poverty in the state of California has increased by 30 percent.
#40 Sadly, child poverty is absolutely exploding all over America. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 36.4% of all children that live in Philadelphia are living in poverty, 40.1% of all children that live in Atlanta are living in poverty, 52.6% of all children that live in Cleveland are living in poverty and 53.6% of all children that live in Detroit are living in poverty.
#41 Today, one out of every seven Americans is on food stamps and one out of every four American children is on food stamps.
#42 In 1980, government transfer payments accounted for just 11.7% of all income. Today, government transfer payments account for more than 18 percent of all income.
#43 A staggering 48.5% of all Americans live in a household that receives some form of government benefits. Back in 1983, that number was below 30 percent.
#44 Right now, spending by the federal government accounts for about 24 percent of GDP. Back in 2001, it accounted for just 18 percent.
#45 For fiscal year 2011, the U.S. federal government had a budget deficit of nearly 1.3 trillion dollars. That was the third year in a row that our budget deficit has topped one trillion dollars.
#46 If Bill Gates gave every single penny of his fortune to the U.S. government, it would only cover the U.S. budget deficit for about 15 days.
#47 Amazingly, the U.S. government has now accumulated a total debt of 15 trillion dollars. When Barack Obama first took office the national debt was just 10.6 trillion dollars.
#48 If the federal government began right at this moment to repay the U.S. national debt at a rate of one dollar per second, it would take over 440,000 yearsto pay off the national debt.
#49 The U.S. national debt has been increasing by an average of more than 4 billion dollars per day since the beginning of the Obama administration.
#50 During the Obama administration, the U.S. government has accumulated more debt than it did from the time that George Washington took office to the time that Bill Clinton took office.