We just learned that the homeownership rate in the United States has fallen to the lowest level in 19 years. But of course this is not a new trend. As you will see in this article, the homeownership rate in the United States has been in a continual decline for more than 7 years. Obviously this is not a sign of a healthy economy. Traditionally, homeownership has been one of the key indicators that you belong to the middle class. When people define “the American Dream”, it is usually one of the first things mentioned. So if the percentage of Americans that own a home has been steadily going down for 7 years in a row, what does that tell us about the health of the middle class in this country?
The chart that you are about to view is clear evidence that we are in the midst of a long-term economic decline. It shows what has happened to the homeownership rate in the U.S. since the year 2000, and as you can see it has been collapsing since the peak of the housing market back in 2007. Does this look like a housing recovery to you?…
So many people get caught up in what is happening on Wall Street, but this is the “real economy” that affects people on a day to day basis.
Most Americans just want to be able to buy a home and provide a solid middle class living for their families.
The fact that the percentage of people that are able to achieve this “American Dream” is falling rapidly is very troubling.
There are some that blame this stunning decline in the homeownership rate on the Millennials.
And without a doubt, they are a significant part of the story. They are moving back home with their parents at record rates, and many that are striking out on their own are renting apartments in the big cities.
This is one area where the decline of marriage in America is really hitting the economy. Back in 1968, well over 50 percent of Americans in the 18 to 31-year-old age bracket were already married and living on their own. Today, that number is below 25 percent.
But that is not all there is to this story.
In fact, the homeownership rate for Americans in the 35 to 44-year-old age bracket has been falling even faster than it has for Millennials…
In the first quarter of 2008, nearly 67% of people aged 35-44 owned homes. Now the number is barely above 59%. The percentage of people under 35 owning homes only fell five percentage points, to 36% from 41%.
So why is this happening?
Well, it is fairly simple actually.
In order to buy homes, people need to have good jobs. And at this point, the percentage of Americans that are employed is still about where it was during the depths of the last recession.
In addition, wages in the United States have stagnated and the quality of our jobs continues to go down. As I wrote about the other day, half of all American workers make less than $28,031 a year. Needless to say, if you make less than $28,031 a year, you are going to have a really hard time getting approved for a home loan or making mortgage payments.
Things have been changing for a long time in this country, and not for the better. Our economic problems have taken decades to develop, and the underlying causes of these problems is still not being addressed.
Meanwhile, middle class families continue to suffer. One very surprising new survey discovered that more than half of all Americans now consider themselves to be “lower-middle class or working class with low economic security”. While Wall Street has been celebrating in recent years, economic pessimism has become deeply ingrained on Main Street…
Optimism may be harder to come by these days. More than half of Americans surveyed in a Harris poll released Tuesday identified themselves as being lower-middle class or working class with low economic security. And 75 percent said they’re being held back financially by roadblocks like the cost of housing (24 percent), health care (21 percent) and credit-card debt (20 percent).
And that’s not the kicker.
“The most disappointing aspect is that 45 percent think they’ll never get their finances back to where they were before the financial crisis,” said Ken Rees, CEO of the Elevate credit service company, which commissioned the survey. “And a third are losing sleep over it.”
The only “recovery” that we have experienced since the last recession has been a temporary recovery on Wall Street.
For the rest of the country, our long-term economic decline has continued.
When I was growing up, my father was serving in the U.S. Navy and we lived in a fairly typical middle class neighborhood. Everyone that I went to school with lived in a nice home and I never heard of any parent struggling to find work. Of course life was not perfect, but it seemed to me like living a middle class lifestyle was “normal” for most people.
How times have changed since then.
Today, it seems like we are all part of a giant reality show where people are constantly being removed from the middle class and everyone is wondering who will be next.
Enough is enough, and it’s “time for government to stop going after religious colleges and ministries and start respecting religious liberty,” according to a spokesman for a legal team that on Tuesday won yet another case against the Obama administration over its Obamacare contraception mandate.
The comment came from Eric Baxter, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which has been a key part of the battle against the Obamacare requirement that employers pay for birth control, including abortion-causing drugs.
This time a federal judge in Florida has ruled that the government’s latest revisions to the mandate still “don’t do enough to protect people of faith.”
The ruling came from Judge James Moody Jr. in a suit by Ave Maria University, which charged the Obamacare requirement violates the faith on which it operates.
The university was facing millions of dollars in fines, but won an injunction “protecting its right to stay true to its beliefs,” Becket said.
It was the first order preventing the government from enforcing its demands against religious organizations since it tried to solve the dispute in August with an”augmented rule.”
The judge explained the university wanted a preliminary injunction until the case is resolved.
“Defendants do not dispute that Ave Maria is a nonprofit Catholic university purposed with ‘educat[ing] students in the principles and truths of the Catholic faith.’ … One such element of the Catholic faith that Ave Maria holds and professes concerns the sanctity of life. Ave Maria ‘believes that each human being bears the image and likeness of God, and therefore any abortion – including through post-conception contraception – ends a human life and is a grave sin. Ave Maria also believes that sterilization and the use of contraception are morally wrong.’”
As it provides health coverage for workers, the problem arose with the adoption in 2010 of Obamacare, which demands “minimum essential coverage,” which it defines as including contraceptives.
The judge noted the 2013 “rule” allowing insurance companies to directly provide the benefits is not a satisfactory solution to objectors such as Ave Maria.
The Becket Fund has reported some 90 percent of all courts making related decisions have protected religious ministries from the heavy hand of a government.
“After dozens of court rulings, the government still doesn’t seem to get that it can’t force faith institutions to violate their beliefs,” Baxter said. “Fortunately, the courts continue to see through the government’s attempts to disguise the mandate’s religious coercion.”
The Alliance Defending Freedom, which has been active beside Becket in the dozens of cases against Obamacare, said there’s a close watch on the dispute.
Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman said: “Faith-based educational institutions should be free to live and operate according to the faith they teach and espouse. The court was right to uphold the religious freedom of institutions that value the sanctity of life. If the government can force Ave Maria School of Law to violate its faith in order to exist, then the government can do the same or worse to others.”
The Supreme Court has stepped in several times to suspend enforcement of the mandate provisions against a number of organizations.
WND reported on the summer’s 5-4 decision that a “closely held” for-profit business can opt out of Obamacare’s universal contraception requirement based on religious objections.
The case brought by Hobby Lobby, an Oklahoma-based arts and crafts chain with about 13,000 employees, and Conestoga Wood Specialties, a Pennsylvania cabinet maker, challenged the Affordable Health Care Act requirement that employees provide free contraception coverage, including abortion-inducing drugs.
Hobby Lobby’s argument was based on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA, which protects the individual beliefs of citizens.
The majority opinion by Justice Samuel Alito dismissed the Department of Health and Human Services argument that the companies cannot sue because they are for-profit corporations and that the owners cannot sue because the regulations apply only to the companies. Alito said that “would leave merchants with a difficult choice: give up the right to seek judicial protection of their religious liberty or forgo the benefits of operating as corporations.”
The opinion said the RFRA’s text “shows that Congress designed the statute to provide very broad protection for religious liberty and did not intend to put merchants to such a choice.”
Alito said “the purpose of extending rights to corporations is to protect the rights of people associated with the corporation, including shareholders, officers, and employees.”
“Protecting the free-exercise rights of closely held corporations thus protects the religious liberty of humans who own and control them.”
The question presented in the case was whether any law, such as a nationwide health-care management system imposed by the government, can be so important that Washington can order people to violate their religious faith, in contradiction to the freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment.
The religious objections to the contraception mandate raised by the Green family, owners of Hobby Lobby, and the Hahn family, owners of Conestoga Wood, have been raised in nearly 90 other cases.
Obamacare’s demands align with Obama’s longstanding support for abortion under any circumstances. He even argued, while a state senator in Illinois, against requiring doctors to provide live-saving help to babies who survive abortions.
A number of other cases challenge Obamacare on additional allegations of unconstitutionality.
In one, attorneys for Matt Sissel – a small-business owner who wants to pay medical expenses on his own and has financial, philosophical and constitutional objections to being ordered to purchase a health plan he does not need or want – charge the Obamacare bill was unconstitutionally launched in the U.S. Senate and is therefore invalid.
They noted that the Constitution requires all tax bills in Congress to begin in the House of Representatives. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., they said, manipulated the legislation by taking the bill number for an innocuous veterans housing program that had been approved by the House, pasting it on the front of thousands of Obamacare pages and voting on it.
That means, they argued, that the entire law was adopted unconstitutionally and should be canceled, including its $800 billion in taxes.
The argument essentially makes the Constitution a silver bullet to kill Obamacare.
The case, brought by the Pacific Legal Foundation, is based on the Constitution’s Origination Clause.
The Affordable Care Act was supposed to make health care more affordable, but a newly released study of insurance policies before and after Obamacare shows that average premiums have skyrocketed, for some groups by as much as 78 percent.
Average insurance premiums in the sought-after 23-year-old demographic rose most dramatically, with men in that age group seeing an average 78.2 percent price increase before factoring in government subsidies, and women having their premiums rise 44.9 percent, according to a report by HealthPocket scheduled for release Wednesday.
The study, which was shared Tuesday with The Washington Times, examined average health insurance premiums before the implementation of Obamacare in 2013 and then afterward in 2014. The research focused on people of three ages – 23, 30 and 63 – using data for nonsmoking men and women with no spouses or children.
The premium increases for 30-year-olds were almost as high as for 23-year-olds – 73.4 percent for men and 35.1 percent for women – said the study, titled “Without Subsidies Women & Men, Old & Young Average Higher Monthly Premiums with Obamacare.”
“It’s very eye-opening in terms of the transformation occurring within the individual health insurance market,” said Kev Coleman, head of research and data at HealthPocket, a nonpartisan, independently managed subsidiary of Health Insurance Innovations in Sunnyvale, California.
“I was surprised in general to see the differences in terms of the average premiums in the pre-reform and post-reform markets,” Mr. Coleman said. “It was a higher amount than I had anticipated.”
The eye-popping increases among younger insurance buyers could be a problem for Obamacare’s long-term solvency given that young people are needed to offset the higher costs associated with older policyholders.
“Obviously they’re very important, and as much as they’re healthier, they tend to use health care less, so you want to try and have as many of those people enrolled as possible. And the cost for them went up very [steeply],” Mr. Coleman said.
The price increases for 63-year-olds were less dramatic: a 37.5 percent increase on average for women and 22.7 percent for men.
The study doesn’t include the federal premium subsidies offered to those earning between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty limit, but Mr. Coleman points out that not everyone in that bracket qualifies because their premiums must exceed a certain percentage of their income.
“So you still have this issue of health insurance rising for that very young group and, depending on where they are with respect to income and premium, they may not qualify for a subsidy,” Mr. Coleman said. “That’s what we like to refer to as a subsidy gap.”
The report also notes that somebody pays for the subsidy, even if it’s not the policyholder.
“Another important consideration in the discussion of subsidized premiums is that the subsidized portion of the premium still must be paid by the government through the money it collects from the nation,” says the study. “In other words, the subsidized costs of health insurance do not disappear but instead change payers.”
A spokeswoman with the Department of Health and Human Services declined to comment because she had not yet seen the report.
The reasons for the premium increases start with the ACA’s prohibition on rejecting applicants with pre-existing conditions, which means that insurance companies must account for the additional costs of covering chronically ill or disabled people.
Another cost driver is the heightened benefit mandate. The ACA requires insurance policies to include 10 “essential health benefits,” including pediatric dental and vision care, maternity care and newborn care, even for policyholders with no children or whose children are adults.
“If you’re expanding the services you’re covering, and you’re increasing the number of less healthy people in your risk pools, that’s going to increase costs,” Mr. Coleman said. “Attendant to that would be an increase in premiums to be able to appropriately cover those costs.”
He also noted that the study doesn’t weigh policies based on enrollment, meaning that it includes the costs of insurance plans that may have few enrollees.
The report examines premium costs from the two largest metropolitan areas of each state, using data from public insurance records obtained from the Department of Health and Human Services.
7:30 PM – Florida State at Louisville
Saturday, November 01
12:00 PM – East Carolina at Temple
12:00 PM – Wisconsin at Rutgers
3:30 PM – TCU at West Virginia
4:00 PM – Kentucky at Missouri
7:00 PM – Auburn at Ole Miss
7:30 PM – Stanford at Oregon
8:00 PM – Oklahoma State at Kansas State
10:30 PM – Arizona at UCLA
11:00 PM – Utah at Arizona State
Week 1 Results: 7 Wins – 3 Losses
Week 2 Results: 8 Wins – 2 Losses
Week 3 Results: 8 Wins – 2 Losses
Week 4 Results: 8 Wins – 2 Losses
Week 5 Results: 7 Wins – 3 Losses
Week 6 Results: 6 Wins – 4 Losses
Week 7 Results: 8 Wins – 2 Losses
Week 8 Results: 7 Wins – 3 Losses
Week 9 Results: 7 Wins – 3 Losses
1.) Mississippi State Bulldogs
Points For/Against: 296-151
2.) Florida State Seminoles
Points For/Against: 265-151
3.) Alabama Crimson Tide
Points For/Against: 298-106
4.) Auburn Tigers
Points For/Against: 290-130
5.) Michigan State Spartans
Points For/Against: 383-143
6.) Ole Miss Rebels
Points For/Against: 255-84
7.) Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Points For/Against: 234-134
8.) Oregon Ducks
Points For/Against: 372-180
9.) Georgia Bulldogs
Points For/Against: 307-137
10.) Baylor Bears
Points For/Against: 343-161
11.) TCU Horned Frogs
Points For/Against: 356-148
12.) Ohio State Buckeyes
Points For/Against: 324-131
13.) Marshall Thundering Herd
Points For/Against: 367-132
14.) Kansas State Wildcats
Points For/Against: 264-129
15.) Arizona State Sun Devils
Points For/Against: 291-142
16.) Nebraska Cornhuskers
Points For/Against: 334-158
17.) Utah Utes
Points For/Against: 252-150
18.) Arizona Wildcats
Points For/Against: 286-196
19.) East Carolina Pirates
Points For/Against: 287-154
20.) Duke Blue Devils
Points For/Against: 247-91
21.) Colorado State Rams
Points For/Against: 275-168