How Do YOU See the Economy?

Are you struggling with meeting your credit card payments each month? Are you fearing foreclosure? Is your job secure and none of these concerns are causing you to lose sleep?

The fact is, there’s so much going on in the United States and as of Tuesday, the fears went global. Suddenly, everything is magnified and Americans are growing more concerned. There are even words like “a new Great Depression” being whispered. The economy is moving in slow motion and debt and deficit is overwhelming. One editorial says politics are at the heart of it,

…this time we are in such deep trouble, the only solution is a radical restructuring of the politicians, the economy, and the way we view personal responsibility versus government handouts. If those changes don’t come then we are facing a long decline…


Usually, the one standout in tough economic times are the banks. We saw, though, in 2008 how wrong that thinking was. Now, JPMorgan Chase is announcing layoffs. Remember, this is the one bank that, with Jamie Dimon at the helm, was able to breeze through the bank bailouts, controversy and the recession in general.

In Jacksonville, JP Morgan Chase laid off 74 employees. It cited problems with “distressed mortgages to originations and refinances” as the primary reason. A spokeswoman for Chase, Maribel Ferrer, confirmed this week that the layoffs affected 3% of the close to 3,000 employees in the Jacksonville bank. This particular branch focuses on mortgages as part of the Home Lending Group. It takes on processing loan modifications, refinances and new loan portfolios. The interesting aspect is JPMorgan Chase is currently moving fast to take advantage of credits it will receive by re-modifying mortgages for consumers who are upside don in their homes or are near foreclosure.

This home ownership center has only been opened since May 2011. The primary focus was to “help families struggling to pay their mortgage”. The Jacksonville Economic Development Commission gave the go ahead for the banking giant last year that included an incentive package worth $1.25 million and would mean 250 jobs in the area. Chase has done little with those incentives.

But it gets worse for folks in Jacksonville.

Many may recall that Bank of America recently had a round of layoffs in the same city. Now, they’re saying another round could be coming, though likely not this year.

Is this a trend that could spread to other regions of the country? It’s possible and some analysts say it’s likely.

The question then becomes: why? Why, despite assurances that the recession is over and everything is fine and good in America, do there continue to be so many overwhelming financial problems?

Big Problems

There is a $16 trillion debt bill in the United States. In the past four years alone, $6 trillion was added. People are taking President Obama up on his advertised invitations to put themselves on food stamps. There are cities across the country that are bankrupt – at least three in California and one in Alabama. Cook County, where Chicago is located, has a $108 BILLION debt bill. Most of that is unfunded government employee pensions. And it’s expected more cities and states will soon find themselves bankrupt as well.

Despite efforts of re-modifying home mortgages, there continue to be employment problems. Those new mortgage terms mean little if there are still no jobs that will help cover the payments. New reports that came out just hours ago show yet another spike in unemployment claims, yet there are 21 million government employees. In June, there 172,000 people hired to private payrolls. There were 84,000 jobs add in the public sector (government). The government continues to grow, which many say is a massive part of the problem. Not only that, but 20% of government employees earn more than $100,000. Meanwhile, those not in the public sector continue to struggle. A growing number of these employees are retiring young – complete with $100,000 pensions for the rest of their lives.

The problems continue.

Health Care

A new report, again, released just hours ago, report costs for health insurance continue to climb. This, along with the unemployment and the rapidly increasing list of employers who must now raise their employees share of the payments, has resulted in a massive upsurge of un- and under-insured Americans. Consumer Reports annual prescription drug poll reveals a scary trend: more of us are going without needed medical attention and medication.

Here are a few of the stats:

  • 62% declined a medical test because of cost (an increase of 29% from 2011)
  • 45% skipped filling a prescription because of cost (an increase of 19%)
  • 63% put off a doctor’s visit to save money (an increase of 16%)
  • 51% skipped a medical procedure due to cost (an increase of 12%)
  • 81% of these people said they had done at least one of the above during the last year.

Source: Consumer Reports

So the financial problems continue, complete with all the stress that comes with fear and worry and few of us are taking care of ourselves from a physical health aspect.

Americans are in serious financial distress and now, more than ever, they need to be thinking about their health. With everything we know about the relationship between stress and health, it is very worrisome to think that people aren’t getting the care they need,

said John Santa, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center.

If you’re one of the ones who believe it can’t get much worse, you’re with a growing segment of the American population. The good news with that thought is that it can only get better. The problem is ensuring we have the right leaders in office who can direct the country back to the incredible nation it’s always been. It’s time for families to be able to make their mortgage payments, credit card payments and put food on the table. They must be able to rest easy knowing they’re working hard at their jobs and there are few worries about there even being a job when they show up each day. Banks like JPMorgan Chase must be able to move forward with providing the much needed mortgage relief without concerns over closing regional offices less than a year after opening them.

The answers aren’t easy but not finding them will be far worse.

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