I’ve suggested for some time that the U.S. is in a depression. The primary reason we do not have visible evidence of widespread poverty and suffering is massive government intervention in the economy. Despite the multi-trillion dollar “extend and pretend” game being played today, I suspect that with a little historical perspective the past 12 years and the coming five (or more) will replace the 1930s Great Depression as the most significant downturn in modern U.S. history.
Following are a series of charts which highlight just how far the federal government has gone to hide the depression.
The above chart shows those receiving benefits. Those who are not in the labor force claiming a disability is much higher.
Not in Labor Force – With a Disability, 16 Years and Older
Those not in the labor force and receiving disability benefits are not considered unemployed and do not affect unemployment statistics. This is one means the federal government uses to understate unemployment.
The following charts are from Social Security Online.
Social Security Beneficiaries By Type
Number of Beneficiaries as of December 2011
A few more charts will put this in perspective.
Civilian Labor Force
- As of June 2012 – the civilian labor force was 155,163,000
- As of June 2012 – there were 111,145,000 in the private workforce
- As of June 2012 – there were 56,174,538 collecting some form of SS or disability benefit
- The ratio of SS beneficiaries to private employment just passed the 50 percent mark (50.54%)
Following is one final chart to consider.
Social Security Benefits in Dollars
As of May 2012, social security outlays are $756.9 billion annually. Fewer and fewer workers support more and more recipients. Social Security benefit payments are now growing exponentially. This is how you hide a depression.
Source: Global Economic Analysis