The middle class has been steadily shrinking, but most Americans still believe that they are a part of it. Perhaps this is due at least in part to the egalitarian values which have been pounded into our heads for most of our lives. Very few Americans would have the gall to define themselves as “upper class”, and I have never met anyone that would describe themselves as “lower class”. In place of “lower class”, many politicians now like to use the much more politically correct term “working class”, but a more apt description might be “the working poor”. Today, half of all American workers make less than $30,533 a year, and you certainly cannot support a middle class lifestyle for a family with children on that kind of income.
The rapidly exploding U.S. national debt is about to cross another critical threshold. According to the U.S. Treasury, the debt of the federal government is currently sitting at $21,854,296,172,540.94, and at our current pace we will likely hit the $22 trillion mark next month. This is a horrifying national crisis, and yet nothing is being done about it. When Barack Obama entered the White House in January 2008, the U.S. was $10.6 trillion in debt, and so that means that we have added 11.2 trillion dollars of new debt to that total in less than 11 years. Needless to say, it doesn’t take a math genius to figure out that we have been adding an average of more than a trillion dollars a year to the national debt for more than a decade. But instead of getting our insatiable appetite for debt under control, Congress is actually accelerating our spending. At this point, there is no possible scenario in which this story ends well.
Somebody out there apparently does not want President Trump to make a trade deal with China. Just after U.S. and Chinese officials agreed to suspend the implementation of new tariffs for 90 days, one of China’s most important tech executives was literally kidnapped as she was changing planes in Canada. Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was simply on her way to Mexico, but at the urging of U.S. authorities the Canadians grabbed her and are refusing to let her go. Reportedly, the plan is to extradite her to the United States where she will apparently face charges relating to Huawei’s evasion of U.S. sanctions against Iran. When Trump was negotiating face to face with the Chinese, he was not aware that this was taking place. So now all of Trump’s hard work is out the window, and our relations with the Chinese are probably the worst that they have been since the Korean War.
Fear is spreading like wildfire on Wall Street, and on Friday we witnessed yet another wave of panic selling. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell another 559 points, closing at 24,389. Previously I had warned that once we solidly broke through 25,000 that it could trigger an avalanche of panic selling, and that is precisely what has happened. The Dow is now down more than 9 percent from the peak in early October, but the S&P 500 is doing even worse. The S&P 500 is now down 10.2 percent from the September peak, and that means that it is officially in correction territory. It has now been two solid months, and the sell-off on Wall Street shows no signs of abating.
Things are sure getting wild on Wall Street. On Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted almost 800 points before roaring back and recovering nearly all of those losses. The Dow closed just 79 points lower for the day, and if you only looked at the final number you would be tempted to believe that there is not much reason for concern. But these wild swings up and down are precisely what we witnessed back in 2008, and they are a sign that the stock market is literally teetering on the precipice of disaster. And it almost certainly would have been a historically bad day for stocks on Thursday if not for a very well-timed article in the Wall Street Journal. Once news broke that the Federal Reserve is considering “a wait-and-see approach to rate hikes”, stock prices immediately began to rebound…
Stocks aren’t supposed to crash in December. Most of the time we see a nice “Santa Claus rally” to close out the year, and so what happened on Tuesday is definitely extremely unusual. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 799 points, which was the fourth largest single day point decline in stock market history. In fact, there was not a single day during the entire financial crisis of 2008 when the Dow dropped by as many points as it did on Tuesday. Many believed that this “stock market correction” would be limited to October, but then it stretched into November, and now it has extended into the “safe month” of December. What in the world is going on out there?
The U.S. economy is definitely deviating from the script, and we just got more evidence that “Housing Bubble 2” is bursting. Experts were expecting that new home sales in the U.S. would rise in October, but instead they plunged 8.9 percent. That number is far worse than anyone was projecting, and many in the real estate industry are really starting to freak out. And to be honest, things look like they are going to get even worse in 2019. One survey found that the percentage of Americans that plan to buy a home over the next 12 months has fallen by about half during the past year. Mortgage rates have steadily risen as the Federal Reserve has been hiking interest rates, and at this point most average Americans have been completely priced out of the market. Home prices are going to have to come way down from where they are right now, and just as we witnessed in 2008, rapidly falling home prices can put an extraordinary amount of stress on the financial system.
There is a growing consensus that once the next economic crash finally arrives that it will be significantly worse than what we experienced in 2008. This is something that I have been saying for a very long time, but now even mainstream economists such as Paul Krugman of the New York Times are admitting the reality of what we are facing. And without a doubt, the stage is set for a historic collapse. We are living at a time when everything is in a bubble – the current housing bubble is much larger than the one that collapsed in 2008, student loan debt has now surpassed the 1.5 trillion dollar mark, corporate debt has doubled since the last financial crisis, U.S. consumers are 13 trillion dollars in debt and the federal government is nearly 22 trillion dollars in debt. And even though stock prices have fallen dramatically in recent weeks, the truth is that stocks are still wildly overpriced. What goes up must eventually come down, and Paul Krugman insists that we “are poorly prepared to deal with the next shock” and that “there’s good reason to think it will be worse”…
George Soros avoided a loss of more than 17 million dollars by dumping shares of Facebook, Netflix and Goldman Sachs just before the big crash started happening. In other words, he made out like a bandit by selling at the peak of the market. Is he smarter than all the rest of us, did he have some inside information, or was he simply lucky? In recent months, tech stocks have lost approximately a trillion dollars in value, and many investors have been absolutely devastated. But not George Soros. According to the most recent filing with the SEC, Soros Fund Management was able to dump shares in Facebook and Netflix just in time…
Things just continue to get even worse for the U.S. housing industry. New homes sales have been absolutely plummeting, homebuilder stocks have lost over a third of their value, and existing home sales just posted their biggest decline since 2014. For years, we had been witnessing a real estate boom in the United States, but now that has officially ended. It is starting to feel like 2008 all over again, and many of those that work in the industry are really starting to freak out. The Federal Reserve has been aggressively raising interest rates, and it is having the exact same effect on the housing industry that it did just before the last recession.