CBO: Social Security Will Be Broke by 2031. According to latest projections from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Social Security Trust Fund will be depleted by 2031. For years, the projected date of Social Security’s demise has been steadily pushed forward. For example, just five years ago, the CBO estimated that the Social Security Trust Fund would run dry by 2041. Then, about three years ago, it revised this projected date to 2036. Several months later, it was 2034. Then 2033. And now, the CBO’s latest projections released last month show that the money will be gone by 2031.
The latest CBO report also projects that America’s public debt will reach 100% of GDP by 2038. The CBO has been steadily moving this date forward as well for years.
– Put simply, America is careening towards fiscal insolvency “as Rome burns.” Washington’s political gridlock between the Democrats and Republicans more closely resembles gang warfare than it does civil debate. Both parties are beholden to special interests, and they are addicted to corporate cash. Meanwhile, America’s middle class bears the burden of Washington’s unsustainable spending and complete lack of leadership.
How the Rich Get Richer. We’ve all heard that despite the current economic turmoil, the rich just keep getting richer. This is because many of America’s rich understand the ultimate secret to creating wealth, namely, pouring their money into income-producing assets instead of into cash-draining liabilities.
One of the most popular income-producing assets leveraged by the wealthy is real estate. According to the 2013 Land Report, 100 families now control more than 30 million acres of land. And that number grew by 700,000 acres last year alone. Recently, the wealthy have been buying up timberland, ranches, farmland, and other types of income-producing acreage.
You can see the full list of names on the 2013 Land Report 100, but here’s the top five names on the list:
1. John Malone, 2.2 million acres 2. Ted Turner, 2 million acres 3. The Emmerson family, 1.86 million acres 4. Brad Kelley , 1.5 million acres 5. The Irving Family 1.25 million acres
U.S. Treasury Taking Extraordinary Measures. According to U.S. Treasury Secretary, Jack Lew, the Federal government only has enough money on hand to meet its gargantuan obligations until Oct. 17. This week, in an effort to keep paying the government’s bills, the Treasury Department has begun using “all the extraordinary measures at his [Lew’s] disposal to avoid hitting the debt ceiling,” including the use of its final three bookkeeping tools. (Link)
Student loan defaults have risen to their highest level since 1995, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Education. Nearly one in seven borrowers have defaulted on their student loans, meaning that they have not made required payments for at least 270 consecutive days. All told, U.S. student borrowers owe a staggering $1.2 trillion. (Link)
Apple owns 10% of all corporate cash. According to Moody’s, U.S. nonfinancial corporations held $1.48 trillion in cash as of June 30, 2013. It’s no surprise that the majority of this capital is heavily concentrated in the hands of the nation’s top 50 companies, which hold 62% of the cash. However, there was one notable standout: Apple Corp. Apple’s share of the corporate cash pie: $147 billion. In other words, approximately 10% of all of the corporate cash is held by Apple! The runner-up? Microsoft, with $77 billion. (Link)
VIDEO OF THE DAY
Jesse Ventura calls for new American revolution on CNN
OTHER STUFF YOU SHOULD KNOW
America’s Police State Unaffected by Government Shutdown Don’t worry America. You can rest safely tonight knowing that, despite the government shutdown, America’s domestic surveillance programs, the NSA global spying units, roving TSA searches, SWAT team raids, domestic drone flights, and the militarized police state will remain funded and operative. Sleep tight America. Big brother is watching protecting you. (Link)
Saudi Men Buying Syrian Refugee Children as Brides and Prostitutes. It’s big business in the Middle East: selling Syrian refugee girls as brides to older men across the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia. Saudi men, as old as 70, are lining up to buy Syrian children as young as 12 years old. According to one person involved in the Syrian refugee trade, the buyers “want beautiful girls, the younger the better.” (Link)
UN officials have arrived in Syria ready to begin dismantling Assad’s chemical weapons arsenal. The mission, which was approved by Washington and Moscow, will require the verification and the elimination of all of Syria’s chemical weapons stash. What is not clear is exactly how it will be possible to destroy, let alone safely transport, these deadly chemicals in the midst of a war zone? That’s why I think the expected completion date of mid-2014 is virtually impossible, especially when you consider the fact that the U.S. still has hundreds of tons of militarized Sarin and VX nerve agents sitting in a storage at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Richmond, Kentucky. So why does the U.S. still have chemical weapons in 2013 despite signing the CW Treaty in 1997? Because it is expensive and difficult. If it’s too “expensive and difficult” to dismantle and destroy chemical weapons in peaceful Kentucky, how much more so in the war-torn region of Syria?
Nearly 900 Civilians Killed in Iraq Last Month Alone. More than ten years after President George W. Bush stood before the world and declared the Iraq War as “Mission Accomplished,” there are reports that the country is being ripped apart by some of the worst violence in recent memory. And now, according to a new UN report, almost 1,000 people were killed and 2,000 were injured in random acts of terror across the country in September. It is obvious to most observers that the country is descending into a sectarian civil war. Since Bush Jr’s victory speech, over 4,300 American military men lost their lives in Iraq and American taxpayers have been saddled with $1.7 trillion in war debts. Of course, this is not counting the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians that were killed during the U.S. invasion. But at least we were able to switch Iraq’s oil sales back to the U.S. dollar from the Euro.
Greenwald: Most Shocking NSA Revelations Still to Come. This week, Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald stated in a live Reddit AMA interview that most of the shocking revelations about the NSA spy programs are still to come.
“There are definitely huge new stories to come: many more. …I think the public – not just in the US but worldwide – now has a basic idea of the objective of the NSA: to eliminate privacy worldwide, literally, by ensuring that every human electronic communication is subject to being collected, stored, analyzed and monitored by the NSA and its allies (UK, Canada, New Zealand, Australia). Still, even with the general understanding, there are still many specific revelations that I think will surprise most people, coming imminently. There are thousands of documents, and the majority of ones that should (and will) be published still remain.”
Mystery parachuters land in downtown New York and then disappear. Around 3am on Monday morning, NYC security cameras captured footage of two individuals wearing dark suits and helmets as they parachuted into lower Manhattan landing near the Goldman Sachs building. The security footage reportedly shows the two individuals walking away upon landing. The NYPD is investigating but say they have no leads. Was it just a couple of thrill-seekers or something more sinister? (Link)