America is entering a new economic normal, a reality where almost everything that should be going up is going down, and everything that should be going down is going up.
The United States begins 2013 in uncharted economic waters; America has never been here before.
Consider, for example, these seven “firsts” for the U.S. economy:
1. All-time record annual average gas price: In 2012, the average cost of a gallon of gas eclipsed the previous record by nine cents, bringing the annual average to $3.60.
2. All-time record food stamp participation: As of last month, for the first time in American history, 47,710,324 individuals — roughly one out of every seven people living in the United States — now receive food stamps.
3. All-time high youth unemployment: In the last four years, average youth unemployment eclipsed the previous record rising to 17.5% — the highest ever in recorded U.S. history.
4. All-time high number of Americans no longer in the labor force: Never before in U.S. history have so many been sidelined from the workforce. Today, a record 88,921,000 Americans are no longer a part of the U.S. labor force.
5. All-time record number of Americans collecting disability: Medical advancements and technological innovations have increased life expectancy and made workplaces safer. Still, the number of Americans collecting Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) has skyrocketed in the last four years. Today, a record 8,827,795 individuals collect a disability check averaging $1,130.34 a month.
6. All-time record number of Americans living in poverty: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a record 46.2 million people in America are living in poverty, the highest number in the 53 years that the Census Bureau has collected the figure.
7. All-time record U.S. debt: The last four years have exploded the U.S. debt to levels never seen before in American history. Presently, the United States is $16,400,000,000,000 in debt.
Will America continue on its present economic trajectory in 2013? Here’s hoping not.