...that highlight a decidedly different perspective about where things stand in today's America than the ones Wall Street is so fixated on:
Those who are seen as our nation's future are having the hardest time finding jobs
"Starting Off on the Wrong Foot: Early Careers and High Unemployment" (Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland)
Younger workers typically face a higher rate of unemployment than their more mature counterparts. For example, in 2007, prior to the last recession, the unemployment rate for workers aged 30 to 54 was about 3.7 percent, while for workers aged 20 to 29 it was 6.5 percent. Since the recession, the situation has gotten worse. The unemployment rate for these younger workers has increased substantially, averaging about 13 percent. This 6.5 point increase was more than one-third larger than the increase for workers aged 30 to 54, whose unemployment rate has averaged about 8.5 percent over the same period.The current challenges to finding employment raise serious questions about the prospects for young workers’ life-time earnings and career outcomes. Traditionally, the early part of one’s career is characterized by a period of rapid wage growth. On average, two-thirds of the wage growth experienced over people’s lifetimes occurs within the first 10 years of their careers. This large increase in wages is often attributed to new workers acquiring new skills as they gain labor market experience.
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A growing number of families don't make enough money to buy the food they need
"iFoodstamps" (Zero Hedge)
Think Apple is the only thing allowed to hit new records every month? Think again: presenting iFoodstamps - the number of Americans living in poverty (or at least doing a damn good job of fooling the government in pretending they do). As of December, per SNAP this number just hit another record high of 46.5 million, an increase of 384,000 in one month (and ending the trend of declines from October and November), 2.4 million in 2011 (about as many as have dropped out of the Labor force, hmmmm), and 14.3 million since Obama took office.
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Prospective home buyers are finding it harder and harder to get a mortgage
"CHART OF THE DAY: This Is The Trend That Could Asphyxiate The Housing Recovery" (Business Insider)
There have been hints and starts of a housing recovery, but each time it looks like things are getting cranking again, it seems the football gets removed.
This week, Goldman Sachs pushed back its estimate of when housing would hit its bottom to 2013.
One problem? It's still really hard to get a mortgage.
This chart from Nomura shows the percentage of real estate pros who are experiencing sales cancellations. As 2011 went on, the number of people having an issue with cancellations due to mortgage obtainment started rising!

From Nomura:
In his testimony before Congress this week, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke continued to show his concern that clogged housing finance remains a sizable drag on the economy. Indeed, despite lower mortgage rates, the share of real estate practitioners who experienced cancellation due to inability to obtain mortgage loans in January rose to 8.0% from the recent low of 1.0%. In Figure 1, the category “cancellation due to other problems” comprises many issues, probably also including cancellation because of mortgage problems. Many potential home buyers can’t take advantage of favorable borrowing conditions due to difficulty in getting mortgage loans.
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More than one-half of elder households in the U.S., have incomes that do not cover basic expenses

"Doing Without: Economic Insecurity and Older Americans" (Wider Opportunities for Women)
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Findings released today reveal that older Americans in all 50 states and the District of Columbia are struggling to cover their most basic expenses. Based on the Elder Economic Security Standard™ Index (Elder Index), a comprehensive analysis of data that defines the costs associated with the most basic expenses facing adults over 65, Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW) has taken a new look at where seniors may be most economically insecure. To avoid deepening the financial crisis facing a growing numbers of seniors, these findings reinforce the need to maintain a national commitment to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other gap-filling policies and programs, such as nutrition and energy assistance. This is the first in a series of reports, "Doing Without: Economic Insecurity and Older Americans," that WOW will be releasing this spring.
"Growing old in America is getting more and more expensive. Even though we may not be able to avoid getting older, we can’t afford it either,” said Donna Addkison, President and CEO of WOW. “Working hard is no guarantee you’ll be able to cover your most basic expenses when you retire."