Country Music Star Charlie Daniels Talks About His Faith in New Memoir

Country legend Charlie Daniels has had a long and storied career. He’s now about to turn 81 and set to release his memoir, “Never Look at the Empty Seats.”

“I’ve had a great life,” he said while chatting with Glenn on radio Monday. “I wouldn’t trade lives with anybody.”

Daniels is best known for his country hit, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” and he has been inducted into the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame. On today’s show, he talked about some of the highs and lows from his more than 60 years in music.

Listen to the full clip to hear Daniels talk about meeting “larger than life” Johnny Cash and share more stories.

This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.

GLENN: Charlie Daniels is in the studio. And I just was having a chat with him. And I said, I can't believe I'm sitting with Charlie Daniels and he knows my name.

How are you, Charlie?

CHARLIE: I'm good, buddy. Good to be with you. It's an honor.

GLENN: Yeah, you haven't changed a bit. I can't believe you're 80.

CHARLIE: I'll be 81. Twenty-eighth of this month, I'll be 81.

GLENN: Unbelievable. You don't look it at all.

CHARLIE: Well, thank you very much.

GLENN: You have had a remarkable life.

CHARLIE: Oh, I have. I've had a great life. I wouldn't trade lives with anybody. I've done what I've wanted to do for a living for almost 60 years now, exactly what I wanted to do for a living. That's a blessing.

GLENN: And I will tell you -- your book is, by the way, really good.

CHARLIE: Thank you.

GLENN: And it's full of God and blessings, and I want to talk to you about it. But the one thing I didn't know is, at any point, did you think, maybe God doesn't want me to -- to play the fiddle or play the guitar, because you lost a finger.

CHARLIE: I did.

GLENN: Your arms were almost pulled off, from an auger.

CHARLIE: Yeah. You know, I never thought -- I wanted to get up and go on, you know, just beat it and get on with the program.

I did lose a finger in high school. But I lost it on my right hand. If it had been my left hand, it'd have been the end of my career, because that's the one I pushed the strings down, the chord with. But since I just use my other hand, my right hand to hold a fiddle bow and a guitar pick, I was okay.

My arm that got tangled in a post hole digger, it's like an auger that digs post holes in the ground. And my arm literally got wrapped up on it. I had the bone out through the skin in a couple of places, and it was broken completely in two and three places.

And I never went -- you know, a tractor, a lot of times, even after you turn it off, it will -- if it had done that, it would pull my arm off, probably.

And I remember being down on my knees, and I said, help me, Lord. And the guy that had the tractor, when the tractor -- he cut it up and stopped. And then wound my arm and took me to the hospital and get it put back together.

GLENN: And that was 1980. That was the height of your career.

CHARLIE: 1980. The hottest time of my year. Went down to Georgia. Took about four months off. Most frustrating time of my life.

GLENN: Oh, I bet it was.

CHARLIE: But I learned something. I learned during that four months, I did nothing. And when I got back on my feet again and really started to, you know, where I could move around, I was in such terrible condition, I could only walk about 100 yards. And I said, this ain't going to do. And I started walking 110 yards and 120 yards. Anyway, I worked up to where I was doing a good level of exercise. And I had maintained that ever since then.

So I think I needed -- I needed that time in my life to reassess taking care of myself.

GLENN: Yeah.

CHARLIE: And I've done it a lot better since then.

GLENN: So in 1980, you were at your height. Devil went down to Georgia. I mean, it's crazy. The record industry is still the record industry.

CHARLIE: Yeah.

GLENN: And then -- then things start to soften and your ticket prices go down.

CHARLIE: Right.

GLENN: And you realize, not only are we not rolling in the cash, I owe $2 million.

CHARLIE: That's right. I -- that's another lesson I learned. I kind of let that happen over a period of time.

And I got involved in a lot of businesses I shouldn't have been involved in. There were peripheral things to the music business, but -- that I knew nothing about. The first thing I knew, we were $2 million in debt. And I said, we have got to do something about this.

And we had to take -- we took a lot of dates back then. And every old smoky-type place you can find, just for a payday. Just to keep the payment settled. And I said my prayers -- and put on my hat and my boots and picked up my guitar and my fiddle. And we hit the road.

And the day that we got our debts paid off -- we have an annual Christmas party with our company, with our employees. And we took the notes out in the yard and burned them, which was very symbolic to me. I was so glad to get rid of them. But, yeah, that was another lesson I learned.

STU: It's a different way of looking at the world. Because now I feel like when people struggle and they have these problems, they're blaming other people for having -- they want other people to step in and cover their losses. You thought, maybe if I just work my butt off --

CHARLIE: Well, it was my fault. You know, I take responsibility for my actions. I have to.

STU: What language are you speaking?

GLENN: Again, you can tell how old he is just by that statement.

CHARLIE: Well, you know, I think you're a miserable person if you can't -- if you're going to blame everything on somebody else, you have no control over your life. That's ridiculous.

If you want to see your enemy, go look in the mirror. Start there. And then you kind of work your way around and find out what the rest of the problems are.

But basically, I take responsibility for most all the bad things that have happened to me. The good things are blessings of God. The bad things are my fault.

GLENN: Yeah.

If there's one person I could go back in time and meet, they would be the -- the only man I ever saw my grandfather stand up and give a standing ovation to, when he walked out on stage. And it was Johnny Cash.

CHARLIE: Wow. Yeah. Johnny Cash was bigger than life. And when he walked in a room, I mean, he just -- you just could not ignore him.

I -- when I first went to Nashville in '67. I was just another young man with a guitar that showed up the music business and tried to make it in the business. Music City, tried to make it in the business.

And you don't run into many superstars at this stage of your career. But I did run into him, several times around town. And he didn't know who I was. It didn't make any difference who you were. It was like every time you would see him, it was a handshake. And how are you doing? How is it going?

Back and forth. I'm standing there with my mouth open, said, I'm talking to Johnny Cash. I worked for a guy that used to produce Johnny Cash. This guy named Bob Johnson. And I'd run an errand for him once in a while. I'd take a tape to Johnny or something, you know. And usually all he had to do was walk on up, but he didn't do that. He always took time to be a conversational. I never in my life forget what that meant to me and what an encouragement it was. And your granddad had good taste.

GLENN: He did.

CHARLIE: He honored a great man. No doubt about it.

GLENN: I remember being up to his knee. And I remember seeing -- it was at a state fair.

CHARLIE: Uh-huh.

GLENN: And I remember seeing the bus pull up to the back. And this guy in black get out. And he walked out. And my grandfather stood up.

CHARLIE: Yeah.

GLENN: Erect. And gave him a standing ovation. And I remember not looking up at the stage. I remember looking up at my grandfather of seeing his face of admiration of him.

CHARLIE: Oh, he was a great man, no doubt about it. Great artist. Great man. You know, they did a thing. It's called the Top 40 all time country music men or something like that. I can't remember the exact title of it. But I thought Hank Williams would come in at number one. Number one was Johnny Cash. Yeah.

GLENN: Yeah. Who out of all the people -- I mean, you've worked with everyone. And you've been around with everyone. You were in, what? 1973, you were with Ringo Starr, they're joking about, you want to be in the Beatles. I mean, what are the -- who made the lasting impression on you? Who is the one you learned the most from?

CHARLIE: You know, I -- go back to the Johnny Cashes and those -- of course, Johnny had -- I admired Johnny Cash. He had overcome so many adversities in his life, and he just kept going.

And the greatest thing that ever happened to Johnny Cash was June Carter, because she was such an influence on his life.

But as far as who impressed me was concerned, I came along -- when I came along as Bluegrass, it was Flat & Scrubs (phonetic) and Bill Monroe. And Reno and Smiley. And I didn't even want to hear nothing else. That's all I wanted to hear. And about the time Elvis came along, he made it possible for country boys to play rock music. Before then, it was bighorn sections. And, you know, the -- that kind of thing.

GLENN: Yeah.

CHARLIE: And Elvis would come up with two guitars and a bass and drums and started playing rock music.

And everybody said, I want to do that, you know. I remember, Glenn, when I was in -- I think I was a senior in high school, and we had taken a trip down to Silver Springs, Florida. We were touring around on a school trip.

I remember seeing a great big placard. And it was a big country music package show, and it was The Louvin Brothers, Hank Snow. And down at the bottom, in type about the size of almost like typewriter print, it said Jimmie Rodgers Snow and Elvis Presley. And nobody knew who he was. First time I ever heard him, I hated him. He was on the Midnight Jamboree. The Jamboree that comes on after the Grand Ole Opry. And he sang Blue Moon of Kentucky. And it was -- I was a Bill Monroe fanatic, and this guy sang one of Bill Monroe's signature songs. And he sang -- you know how he sang it.

And I thought, who the hell -- I'll never hear from him again. That's the last thing he'll ever do.

It took him on that tour -- it took him all about two weeks to become the most popular thing on the tour. Everybody -- nobody could follow him. It got to where everybody would go in, everyone would start hollering, Elvis, Elvis.

And, you know, Hank Snow, he was a great big artist at the time. The Louvin Brothers were big artists at the time, and everybody wanted to hear him. This new guy that nobody had ever heard of, named Elvis.

GLENN: We're with Charlie.

CHARLIE: He was a big influence on me. I just wanted to say.

GLENN: We're talking to Charlie Daniels. The name of the book is Never Look at the Empty Seats. A couple of other things I want to talk him about. We'll continue our conversation here in a second.

GLENN: The legendary Charlie Daniels is with us. The name of his book, Never Look at the Empty Seats.

If we have time, I got to get him to tell that story in the book, on why he named it that. It's a great, great lesson.

Charlie, I was -- I was impressed by what you talked about with your dad.

CHARLIE: Uh-huh.

GLENN: And describing your dad.

CHARLIE: Yeah.

GLENN: In some ways, I'm an alcoholic. And you described me in many ways.

Your dad was not a wino. When you think of alcoholic, you think of a washed-up --

CHARLIE: Yeah. My dad was probably one of the top five people in pine timber in the southeast. He could look at a pine tree and he could you what kind of pole or piling it would make. How many feet of lumber it would make. And his millions of dollars changed hands on nothing more than his word. He would go cruise attractive timber. He would come back and say, this is worth so many thousands of dollars. They just paid it for him, because they knew his word was good. He had this problem with alcohol, and it truly is a sickness.

And he would go for as long as five years, never touch a drop of liquor. But he always said, I'm one drink away from a drunk. If I take the first one, I'm finished. And somehow, some way, he would take that first one. It was like several weeks to get straightened out. He would lose jobs. But he would always -- he always had a job waiting for him, because he's just that good. Even people that he had worked for before, that fired him, would hire him back again.

So my point was -- I was trying to get the point across, and that was the hard thing for me to talk about. Because usually when you say alcoholic, somebody thinks about something, stumble upon -- you know, walking around, looking for money to -- somebody get him a drink. But dad wasn't that way at all.

He was always loving. He always took care of his family. He was very responsible.

You know, something, Glenn, I used to go to AAA meetings with him. And I met a lot of alcoholics. I have never seen one sorry alcoholic. I saw a lot of sorry old drunks. But literally, the people that I met in his meetings, I mean, they were businessmen. They were responsible people that had that problem.

GLENN: Yeah. Oh, yeah.

CHARLIE: You know, that had that alcoholic problem.

GLENN: If you can beat it, you -- it gives you quite perspective on life. I mean, some of the best people I've ever met are alcoholics.

CHARLIE: Yeah. Yeah. I've been surprised at some people that told me they're alcoholics.

GLENN: So, Charlie, the thing that I'm searching for right now in my own life is what matters most. You know, with all of the stuff that is going on in the world and all of the things we're arguing on and bickering on and everything else, as you look back, out of all the things that you have done and seen and learned, what matters most to you?

CHARLIE: There's four things that rule my life. God, first of all. Family, secondly. My nation, my country, the way I feel about it, the way I want it to be, and my work.

That's the four things -- I try to concentrate on those four things. And as long as I do that, I keep a good perspective. I start getting sidelined by something that somebody else is doing, or something that really agitates me. It takes time away -- I found out it takes just as much time to think a negative as it is to think a positive thought.

GLENN: Yeah. And I tried to live in a positive world.

I got a lot of things that I really enjoy doing. This writing is something I didn't even know I could do.

GLENN: Yeah, it's really good.

CHARLIE: You know, I didn't know I could do it. It's just another talent God gave me, that it took me a long time to discover.

I wrote on this book for 20 years. And I was just making notes and stuff.

And all of a sudden, I said, well, I'm going to make a book out of this. And I could never find a place to end it, because my life wasn't -- I didn't get invited to join the Grand Ole Opry until I was in my 70s. So interesting things kept happening, and I kept writing.

And I could never find a place to end it, until I was told, I was going to be inducted into the country music Hall of Fame. And I thought, what a great place to end it. So the night I was inducted, the next morning, I sat down. I wrote the ending. And I kind of backfilled where I was. And I had the book. And you asked me about the title.

The title -- if you're a young musician, if you're serious about it, and I was. You will play anywhere you can for anybody that's there for anything they'll give you. And you're going to see a lot of empty seats, because nobody knows who you are.

But if you please those people, you forget the empty seats. You concentrate on the ones -- you accentuate the positive, as the old song says. If you concentrate on them, the next time you go back to town, those people are going to say, hey, that guy is pretty good. Hey, let's go see him.

And they'll bring somebody with them. That's how you build a following. And I keep trying to tell these young guys this, you know. All the time.

When you walk on that stage, you give it the best you've got. If your dog died, if your girlfriend left you, whatever the heck happened, that's not the ticket price. They deserve a show. Go give them a show. So that's what the title is about.

GLENN: You -- my father was about your age. He's -- he would be probably 85 or 86 now if he were alive. And he said to me, you know, I've seen a lot of things in my life. Didn't expect that we would ever go to the moon, when I was growing up.

CHARLIE: Uh-huh.

GLENN: And he said, I'm glad my time is past because I -- I worry about how you're going to navigate the future.

Do you worry that?

CHARLIE: Well, I have a son. I only got one boy. He's 53 years old. And he's got a pretty good handle on it. Now, the grandkids, I don't know how they -- I would literally hate to grow up in a world nowadays. Because it's a world -- Glenn, I don't understand the world anymore. I don't understand how it works. I don't understand what motivates people.

I feel that a lot of people in this country either don't know or don't care where we came from and how we got here.

GLENN: Yeah.

CHARLIE: And the blood that was shed and the sacrifices that were made to get us where we are. And I'm an old World War II guy. I remember the day Pearl Harbor was bombed. My city that I came from, Wilmington, North Carolina, is a seaboard town. We had oil tankers and cargo boats that went across the ocean. You know, to service our troops. And there were some -- several of them, just off our beaches by German U-boats that were out there. So we took the war very seriously. And I learned -- and I say this on stage every night, two things protecting America is the grace of the Almighty God and the United States military. And --

GLENN: Charlie, I love you. Thank you so much.

CHARLIE: Love you too, my friend.

GLENN: The name of the book is Never Look at the Empty Seats. Well worth the price of admission. Charlie Daniels.

CHARLIE: Thank you.

Top 5 MOST EVIL taxes the government extorts from you

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"In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes." -Ben Franklin

The injustice of taxation has been a core issue for Americans since the very beginning of our country, and it's a problem we have yet to resolve. This belief was recently reignited in many Americans earlier this month on tax day when the numbers were crunched and it was discovered that the government was somehow owed even more hard-earned money. As Glenn recently discussed on his show, it's getting to be impossible for most Americans to afford to live comfortably, inflation is rising, and our politicians keep getting richer.

The taxpayer's burden is heavier than ever.

The government is not above some real low blows either. While taxes are a necessary evil, some taxes stretch the definition of "necessary" and emphasize the "evil." Here are the top five most despicable taxes that are designed to line the IRS coffers at your expense:

Income Tax

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"It would be a hard government that should tax its people one-tenth part of their income." -Ben Franklin

On February 24th, 2024 we hit a very unfortunate milestone, the 101st anniversary of the 16th Amendment, which authorized federal income tax. Where does the government get the right to steal directly out of your paycheck?

Death Taxes

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"Now my advice for those who die, Declare the pennies on your eyes" -George Harrison

Not even in death can you escape the cold pursuit of the tax collector. It's not good enough that you have to pay taxes on everything you buy and every penny you make your entire life. Now the feds want a nice slice, based on the entire value of your estate, that can be as much as 40 percent. Then the state government gets to stick their slimy fingers all over whatever remains before your family is left with the crumbs. It's practically grave-robbery.

Payroll

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"The power to tax is the power to destroy." -John Marshall

What's that? The nice chunk of your paycheck the government nabs before you can even get it to the bank wasn't enough? What if the government taxed your employer just for paying you? In essence, you make less than what your agreed pay rate is and it costs your employer more! Absolutely abominable.

Social Security

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"We don't have a trillion-dollar debt because we haven't taxed enough; we have a trillion-dollar debt because we spend too much." -Ronald Reagan

Everyone knows the collapse of Social Security is imminent. It has limped along for years, only sustained by a torrent of tax dollars and the desperate actions of politicians. For decades, people have unwillingly forked over money into the system they will never see again.

FICA

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"What at first was plunder assumed the softer name of revenue." -Thomas Paine

FICA is the payroll equivalent of Social Security. Your employer has to match however much you pay. It means it costs your employer even more to pay you—again, you'll NEVER see that money. At this point, are you even working for yourself, or are you just here to generate money for the government to frivolously throw away?

5 DISTURBING ways World War III will be different from previous wars

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Has World War III begun?

Over the weekend, Iran launched an unprecedented attack against Israel involving over 300 missiles and drones. This marked the first direct attack on Israel originating from Iranian territory. Fortunately, according to an Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, 99 percent of missiles and drones were successfully neutralized by Israeli defense systems. Iran claimed that the operation against Israel had concluded and that no further offensive was planned, although the possibility of another attack is still present.

This has left many people, including Glenn, wondering the same thing: did we just witness the start of World War III?

Glenn recently had a World War II Air Force Veteran as a guest on his TV special, who told stories of the horrors he and his brothers-in-arms faced in the skies over war-torn Europe. This was a timely reminder of the terrors of war and a warning that our future, if it leads to another world war, is a dark one.

But, if Glenn's coverage of the Iranian attack revealed one thing, it's that World War III will look nothing like the world wars of the twentieth century. Long gone are the days of John "Lucky" Luckadoo and his "Bloody Hundredth" bravely flying their B-17s into battle. Over the weekend, we saw hundreds of autonomous drones and missiles clashing with extreme speed and precision over several different fronts (including space) simultaneously. This ain't your grandfather's war.

From EMP strikes to cyber attacks, here are FIVE ways the face of war has changed:

EMP attacks

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The entire modern world, on every level, is completely dependent on electricity. From your home refrigerator to international trade, the world would come to a grinding halt without power. And as Glenn has pointed out, it wouldn't even be that hard to pull off. All it would take is 3 strategically placed, high-altitude nuclear detonations and the entire continental U.S. would be without power for months if not years. This would cause mass panic across the country, which would be devastating enough on its own, but the chaos could be a perfect opportunity for a U.S. land invasion.

Nuclear strikes

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Nuclear war is nothing new. Many of us grew up during the Cold War, built fallout shelters, and learned to duck and cover. But times have changed. The Berlin Wall fell and so did the preparedness of the average American to weather a nuclear attack. As technology has advanced, more of our adversaries than ever have U.S. cities within their crosshairs, and as Glenn has pointed out, these adversaries are not exactly shy about that fact. Unfortunately, the possibility of an atomic apocalypse is as real as ever.

Immigration warfare

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The strategy of strangling an opposing nation's economy to gain the upper hand is a wartime tactic as old as time. That's why the Border Crisis is so alarming. What better way to damage an opponent's economy than by overburdening it with millions of undocumented immigrants? As Glenn has covered, these immigrants are not making the trek unaided. There is a wide selection of organizations that facilitate this growing disaster. These organizations are receiving backing from around the globe, such as the WEF, the UN, and U.S. Democrats! Americans are already feeling the effects of the border crisis. Imagine how this tactic could be exploited in war.

Cyber shutdowns

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Cyber attacks will be a major tactic in future wars. We've already experienced relatively minor cyber strikes from Russia, China, and North Korea, and it is a very real possibility that one of our adversaries inflicts a larger attack with devastating consequences on the United States. In fact, the WEF has already predicted a "catastrophic" cyber attack is imminent, and Glenn suggests that it is time to start preparing ourselves. A cyber attack could be every bit as devastating as an EMP, and in a world run by computers, nothing is safe.

Biological assault

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Don't trust the "experts." That was the takeaway many of us had from the pandemic, but something less talked about is the revelation that China has manufactured viruses that are capable of spreading across the globe. We now know that the lab leak hypothesis is true and that the Wuhan lab manufactured the virus that infected the entire world. That was only ONE virus from ONE lab. Imagine what else the enemies of America might be cooking up.

The government is WAGING WAR against these 3 basic needs

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The government has launched a full-on assault against our basic needs, and people are starting to take notice.

As long-time followers of Glenn are probably aware, our right to food, water, and power is under siege. The government no longer cares about our general welfare. Instead, our money lines the pockets of our politicians, funds overseas wars, or goes towards some woke-ESG-climate-Great Reset bullcrap. And when they do care, it's not in a way that benefits the American people.

From cracking down on meat production to blocking affordable power, this is how the government is attacking your basic needs:

Food

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Glenn had Rep. Thomas Massie on his show where he sounded the alarm about the attack on our food. The government has been waging war against our food since the thirties when Congress passed the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938. They started by setting strict limits on how many crops a farmer could grow in a season and punishing anyone who grew more—even if it was intended for personal use, not for sale on the market. This sort of autocratic behavior has continued into the modern day and has only gotten more draconian. Today, not only are you forced to buy meat that a USDA-approved facility has processed, but the elites want meat in general off the menu. Cow farts are too dangerous to the environment, so the WEF wants you to eat climate-friendly alternatives—like bugs.

Water

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As Glenn discussed during a recent Glenn TV special, the government has been encroaching on our water for years. It all started when Congress passed the Clean Water Act in 1972, which gave the government the ability to regulate large bodies of water. As the name suggests, the act was primarily intended to keep large waterways clear of pollution, but over time it has allowed the feds to assume more and more control over the country's water supply. Most recently, the Biden administration attempted to expand the reach of the Clean Water Act to include even more water and was only stopped by the Supreme Court.

Electricity

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Dependable, affordable electricity has been a staple of American life for decades, but that might all be coming to an end. Glenn has discussed recent actions taken by Biden, like orders to halt new oil and gas production and efforts to switch to less efficient sources of power, like wind or solar, the price of electricity is only going to go up. This, alongside his efforts to limit air conditioning and ban gas stoves, it almost seems Biden is attempting to send us back to the Stone Age.

4 signs that PROVE Americans are hitting rock bottom

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As we approach the presidential election in November, many Americans are facing dire economic straits.

Glenn has shown time and time again that Bidenomics is a sham, and more Americans than ever are suffering as a result. Still, Biden and his cronies continue to insist that the economy is booming despite the mounting evidence to the contrary. But who is Biden fooling? Since the beginning of the year, gas has gone up an average of 40 cents a gallon nationwide, with some states seeing as much as a 60-cent per gallon increase. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Foreclosures and bankruptcies are on the rise, evictions are surging, and America is experiencing a record amount of homelessness. We can't survive another Biden term.

Americans across the country are hitting rock bottom, and here are four stats that PROVE it:

Evictions

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Across the country, people are being evicted from their homes and apartments. Between 2021 and 2023, evictions increased by 78.6 percent. With inflation driving up prices and employers struggling to raise wages to compensate, rent is taking up an increasingly larger percentage of people's paychecks. Many Americans are having to choose between buying groceries and paying rent.

Foreclosures

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Renters aren't the only ones struggling to make their monthly payments, foreclosures are on the rise. This February saw a 5 percent increase in foreclosures from last year and a 10 percent increase from January. More and more Americans are losing their homes and businesses.

Bankruptcies

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High interest rates and inflation have driven bankruptcies through the roof. Total filings have risen 13 percent and business bankruptcies rose 30 percent in 2023. It's getting harder and harder for businesses to stay afloat, and with California's new law requiring most restaurants to pay all employees a minimum of $20 an hour, you can expect that number to keep climbing.

Homelessness

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The result of all of these issues is that it is getting harder and harder for Americans to afford the basic necessities. January of 2023 saw a record-breaking 650,000+ homeless Americans, a 12 percent jump from the previous year. More Americans have hit rock bottom than ever before.