2020 Has Been A “Nightmare Year” For America, And The Economic Fallout Is Just Getting Started

Most of us have never experienced a year that has been as tough as 2020 has been for our nation.  It has just been one major crisis after another, and the month of September has brought us even more trouble.  The worst wildfire season in the history of the state of California has been making headlines day after day, and now the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg threatens to escalate the political turmoil in this nation to an entirely new level.  Many had such high hopes for 2020, but at this point this year has been such a disaster that USA Today is calling it “an American nightmare”, and it is difficult to argue with their reasoning…

First the pandemic, which divided us, economically devastated us, and has killed nearly 200,000 of us. Then the racial unrest, erupting at the deaths of more Black Americans at the hands of police: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, Daniel Prude.

Now the extreme weather. For only the second time in history, the National Hurricane Center has moved into the Greek alphabet for storm names. This season’s wildfires are bigger, deadlier and more frequent than in years past. In the West, people can’t breathe.

And now a member of the U.S. Supreme Court has died with about a month and a half to go until we get to election day.

The shocking death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg has stunned the entire country, and I will share my analysis on where things could go from here on The Most Important News later tonight.

In this article, I want to focus on the economic impact that all of this chaos is having.

Since the pandemic first started, more than 60 million Americans have filed new claims for unemployment benefits, and that is a threshold that has never been crossed before in all of our history.

And we have also seen businesses shut down at a pace that is hard to fully grasp.  If you can believe it, more than 160,000 businesses listed on Yelp say “that they have closed”

Yelp on Wednesday released its latest Economic Impact Report, revealing business closures across the U.S. are increasing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic’s economic toll.

As of Aug, 31, 163,735 businesses have indicated on Yelp that they have closed. That’s down from the 180,000 that closed at the very beginning of the pandemic. However, it actually shows a 23% increase in the number of closures since mid-July.

I was most alarmed by that last sentence.

Things were supposed to be getting a lot better by now, but instead we have seen “a 23% increase in the number of closures since mid-July”.

That is not good.

And the percentage of businesses on Yelp that are indicating that their closures are “permanent” just keeps rising

In addition to monitoring closed businesses, Yelp also takes into account the businesses whose closures have become permanent. That number has steadily increased throughout the past six months, now reaching 97,966, representing 60% of closed businesses that won’t be reopening.

So what this means is that none of us should be expecting a return to what we considered to be “normal” prior to 2020.

In fact, it is likely that we will see large numbers of businesses continue to fail in the months ahead.  According to Fox Business, a whopping 40 percent of all U.S. restaurants “could go under within the next six months”…

At least 40% of restaurant operators struggling to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic believe their businesses could go under within the next six months if there is no additional stimulus package from the federal government, according to a new survey by the National Restaurant Association.

With one in every six restaurants closed permanently or for the “long term,” the industry is on track to lose $240 billion in sales by the end of the year, according to the National Restaurant Association’s findings on the impact COVID-19 has on the restaurant business.

So what do you think?

Should we bail out the restaurant industry?

By the way, the airline industry really wants a bailout too.

And just about every other industry is looking for government help as well.

The reason why almost everyone has their hands out is because we have plunged into a crippling economic depression, and everyone is starting to realize that there is no end in sight to this downturn.

Of course most average citizens also want another round of “stimulus checks” from the federal government, and we are being told that there is a really good chance that “the economy backslides” if that does not happen…

Lawmakers remain deadlocked over a measure to provide another round of $1,200 checks to most households and more aid to struggling small businesses and unemployed Americans. Most saw the money they received from Congress’s $2.2 trillion CARES Act run dry over the summer.

“If they don’t” approve another stimulus, “they’re taking a huge risk, says Mark Zandi chief economist of Moody’s Analytics. “The odds are better than even the economy backslides.”

We have already stolen several trillion dollars from future generations of Americans so far this year to fund “stimulus packages”, and so a lot of people figure that it probably wouldn’t make that much of a difference if we stole several trillion more to fund another one.

And the Federal Reserve has been flooding the financial system with so much new money that it makes everything that they have ever done in the past look completely insignificant.

In the process, our authorities are systematically destroying the reserve currency that the entire globe depends upon, but at this point very few people seem to care.

So we continue to steamroll toward economic oblivion, and nobody is even thinking about hitting the brakes.

In the USA Today article that I quoted at the start of this piece, the author stated that it is “impossible to know if the worst is behind us or still lies ahead”…

Many of us are vacillating between horror and disbelief at what can only be described as an American nightmare. Devastation doesn’t cover it. It’s impossible to know if the worst is behind us or still lies ahead.

Of course that is not true at all.  In fact, it is exceeding clear that what is ahead of us is going to be much, much worse than what we have already experienced.

But most Americans don’t want to hear that.

Most of us just want to cling to the belief that someday we will wake up and everything will have returned to normal.

That may happen in fairy tales, but this is real life, and real life simply does not work that way.

***Michael’s new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.***

About the Author: My name is Michael Snyder and my brand new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available on Amazon.com.  By purchasing the book you help to support the work that my wife and I are doing, and by giving it to others you help to multiply the impact that we are having on people all over the globe.  I have published thousands of articles on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but I also ask that they include this “About the Author” section with each article.  In addition to my new book, I have written four others that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned)  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions.  I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

You Can Kick The Can Down The Road, But Reality Will Catch Up With You Eventually

Nobody can defy the laws of economics forever. Whether it is an individual, a company or the nation as a whole, reality always catches up with everyone eventually. For years, I have been warning that Sears was eventually going to zero, but of course it didn’t happen immediately. Sears CEO Eddie Lampert kept convincing investors to pour more money into his beleaguered money pit, and so the can kept getting kicked down the road. It takes a great con man to be able to pull off what Eddie Lampert was able to pull off, and we should all be in awe at the level of skill that he has displayed. But all good cons eventually come to an end, and now the retailer that was once the largest in world history is coming to an end. According to multiple media reports, a Sears bankruptcy filing is imminent. For a while there it looked like it would be a Chapter 7 filing which would mean immediate liquidation for Sears. But it appears that Lampert will be able secure enough funding to give Sears a little bit of breathing space. A Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing will allow most of the stores to stay open through the holidays and will give Sears more time to sell off more assets.

I can’t even imagine who would be dumb enough to hand Lampert more money at this point, and this is yet another example that shows that the old saying “a sucker is born every minute” is definitely true.

And we are not talking about a small amount of money. According to USA Today, Sears is going to need between 300 and 500 million dollars just to keep operating through the holidays…

It is trying to secure $300 million to $500 million to continue functioning through the holidays, keeping a winnowed number of locations open, says the person familiar with what is being considered. As of an Aug. 4 public filing, Sears Holdings, the parent company of Sears and Kmart, still had 506 Sears stores and 360 Kmart locations.

If the bankruptcy filing occurs, it is likely the beginning of what has been the long, drawn-out ending to one of the most renowned sagas in retail.

Lampert is going to be burning up the phones all weekend, because Sears needs cash immediately for a 134 million dollar debt payment that is due on Monday

Now, Sears is facing a critical Monday deadline to make a $134 million debt payment. Reports this week by the Wall Street Journal and CNBC said Sears had begun consulting with advisers to prepare a possible bankruptcy filing.

Just like our current stock market bubble, it is absolutely amazing that Sears has survived for as long as it has.

The truth is that Sears should have been put out of its misery long ago, but the can just kept getting kicked down the road. But now the cash is gone and the debts have become overwhelming.

At this point, Sears has been missing payments to important vendors and has been making preparations for the upcoming bankruptcy filing for weeks

Three companies that sell items at Sears told Reuters this week that Sears had missed payments to them over the past few weeks. One of Sears’ major shareholders recently dumped a chunk of his stock for pennies on his original investment. The company added a new director this week who is familiar with bankruptcies and restructuring.

And reports are swirling that the company is talking to advisers and banks in preparation for a bankruptcy filing. According to the Wall Street Journal, Sears has hired M-III Partners, a boutique advisory firm specializing in seeing companies through bankruptcies and restructuring, The company is also talking to lenders about providing it with debtor-in-possession financing, CNBC reported. That kind of loan is used by companies that file for bankruptcy to fund operations during the process. Usually, funding is secured well before the final days.

Many of the company’s lenders had been pushing for an immediate Chapter 7 liquidation. They wanted the bleeding to stop so that they could recover what they could while there was still something to grab.

But Eddie Lampert seems determined to stretch this thing out for as long as possible, and so it appears that a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing will happen instead.

It is easy to mock Sears, but the truth that America as a whole is on the exact same trajectory.

In my article that lists 101 reasons why the Federal Reserve should be shut down, I explain the absolute insanity of our current debt-based financial system. Our system is literally designed to create as much debt as possible, and that is precisely what has been happening since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913.

If you add up all forms of debt in the United States (government, business, consumer, etc.), it comes to a grand total of more than 68 trillion dollars. Other than hyper-inflating our currency into oblivion, there is no possible way that all of that debt will ever be repaid. Under our current system, the only viable choice is to “extend and pretend”, and that is what we have been doing for decades.

But just like with Sears, economic reality is catching up with us, and time is rapidly running out for America.

From time to time, I get accused of being “too negative”, but the truth is that myself and others like me have been pleading with the American people to consider alternative solutions for many years. In my latest book, I strongly advocate for the elimination of the Federal Reserve system and the establishment of a new financial system and a new currency that are not based on exponential debt growth. In addition to writing thousands of articles, I have traveled and spoken to groups about these issues extensively, and I have done countless radio and television interviews.

But voices like mine have not been embraced on a widespread basis, and instead the American people seem to want the status quo.

So the can will keep getting kicked down the road until everything collapses.

Ultimately, what we are facing is the greatest economic depression that the United States has ever seen. I really like how Charles Hugh Smith made this point as he wrapped up his most recent article

Everywhere we look in the U.S. economy, we see sky-high fixed costs. Investors who overpaid for commercial real estate will default once their business tenants close down, homeowners who overpaid will default once one of the household’s primary jobholders loses his/her job, state and local governments that have feasted on a decade of rising tax revenues will suddenly face staggering deficits as tax revenues crater–the list of those with high fixed costs and no wiggle room other than bankruptcy is essentially endless in America.

Here’s the difference between a recession and a depression: you can’t get blood from a stone, or make an insolvent entity solvent with more debt. Losses will have to taken, and nose-bleed fixed-costs will have to be slashed; reality will eventually have to be dealt with.

But everyone will resist this process because high fixed costs are the gravy train everyone depends on. Slashing fixed costs destroys the income needed to support asset valuations which are the collateral for the stupendous mountains of debt that define the U.S. economy. Once that debt is written down, the entire financial system collapses.

It didn’t have to be this way.

America could have chosen another path, but it didn’t.

So now we are steamrolling toward a date with destiny, and the people of this country will soon receive a very harsh lesson about economic reality.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

The Last Days Warrior Summit is the premier online event of 2018 for Christians, Conservatives and Patriots. It is a premium-members only international event that will empower and equip you with the knowledge and tools that you need as global events begin to escalate dramatically. The speaker list includes Michael Snyder, Mike Adams, Dave Daubenmire, Ray Gano, Dr. Daniel Daves, Gary Kah, Justus Knight, Doug Krieger, Lyn Leahz, Laura Maxwell and many more. Full summit access will begin on October 25th, and if you would like to register for this unprecedented event you can do so right here.

We Witnessed The 3rd Largest Point Crash In Stock Market History On The Same Day That The 3rd Most Powerful Hurricane To Ever Hit The U.S. Made Landfall

If you don’t believe in “coincidences”, what are we supposed to make of this? On Wednesday, the 3rd most powerful hurricane to ever hit the United States made landfall in the Florida panhandle. Entire communities were absolutely shredded as Hurricane Michael came ashore with sustained winds of 155 miles per hour. You can find the entire article that I just posted about this massive storm right here. In this article, I am going to focus on what just happened on Wall Street. At the exact same time that Hurricane Michael was causing chaos in the Southeast, an October stock market crash was causing havoc in the Northeast. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 831 points, which was the 3rd largest single day point crash in stock market history. Of course it isn’t as if we hadn’t been repeatedly warned that this was coming, and the truth is that it looks like this is only the start of the financial shaking.

In fact, international financial markets are in a state of chaos as I write this article. Asian markets are a sea of red, and at this moment Dow futures are way down.

So it appears likely that Wednesday’s nightmare may extend into Thursday as well.

But before we look ahead too much, let’s talk about the utter carnage that we just witnessed.

According to Bloomberg, the 500 wealthiest people in the world lost 99 billion dollars on Wednesday…

Plunging global markets lopped $99 billion from the fortunes of the world’s 500 wealthiest people on Wednesday, the year’s second-steepest one-day drop for the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos lost $9.1 billion, the most of anyone on the index, as shares of the online retailer fell the most in more than two years. The plunge lowered Bezos’s net worth to $145.2 billion, its lowest since July.

Can you imagine losing that much money on a single day?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has now fallen for four out of the last five trading sessions, and for the month as a whole all three of the major indexes are way down

Stocks have fallen sharply this month. For October, the S&P 500 and the Dow are down more than 4.4 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively. The Nasdaq, meanwhile, has lost more than 7.5 percent.

Tech stocks are being hit particularly hard. In fact, tech stocks just had their worst day in more than seven years

Technology stocks got clobbered on Wednesday, suffering their worst day in more than seven years, as concerns over rising interest rates punished the overall market, particularly shares of companies that have been the best performers.

The S&P 500 Information Technology Index closed at $1,220.62, down 4.8 percent, marking the biggest decline since August 18, 2011, when the index dropped 5.3 percent. All 65 members of the index fell.

At this point, 330 out of the 505 stocks that make up the S&P 500 are already more than 10 percent below their 52-week highs.

That means that about two-thirds of all S&P 500 stocks are officially in correction territory.

And 140 of those stocks are already down more than 20 percent from their 52-week highs, and that means that they are officially in bear market territory.

So why is this happening?

Many of the “experts” are pointing to the dramatic rise in interest rates

Nervousness had been building for days on Wall Street. The catalyst was the recent spike in the yield on a closely watched government bond to a seven-year high.

The 10-year Treasury note — whose key rate impacts the pricing on things ranging from fixed-rate mortgages to stocks to virtually every financial asset on the planet — recently climbed above 3.25 percent for the first time since May 2011. And when you add the threat of higher borrowing costs on things like houses and cars and corporate debt to the economic obstacles caused by the U.S. trade war with China, all it takes is a whiff of weakness to set a major sell-off in motion.

A week ago, I warned my readers that rapidly rising rates could spark a market sell-off, and now it is happening with a ferocity that is absolutely breathtaking.

Needless to say, President Trump was not thrilled by the market crash on Wednesday, and he is pointing the blame at the Federal Reserve

President Donald Trump slammed the Federal Reserve as “going loco” for its interest-rate increases this year in comments hours after the worst U.S. stock market sell-off since February.

Trump said in a telephone interview on Fox News late Wednesday night the market plunge wasn’t because of his trade conflict with China: “That wasn’t it. The problem I have is with the Fed,” he said. “The Fed is going wild. They’re raising interest rates and it’s ridiculous.”

“That’s not the problem,” he said of the trade standoff. “The problem in my opinion is the fed,” he added. “The fed is going loco.”

I love it.

I absolutely love it.

Could it be possible that we will soon see supporters chant “end the Fed” at Trump rallies?

No president has ever openly criticized the Federal Reserve like this, and I greatly applaud Trump for doing so.

And he is precisely correct – the Federal Reserve is the problem.

Nobody has more power over the performance of the U.S. economy than the Federal Reserve does, and the only way that our long-term economic and financial problems will ever be fixed is if the Federal Reserve is shut down.

So I hope that President Trump’s feud with the Federal Reserve gets as heated as possible. I hope that the Federal Reserve becomes a central issue during the 2020 presidential election, and I hope that every Trump supporter in the entire country will urge Trump to make a promise to shut down the Federal Reserve.

The Federal Reserve is a deeply insidious system that has turned America into a nation of debt slaves, and it is definitely time to end that sick and twisted debt-based system and return this nation to a solid financial foundation.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

The Last Days Warrior Summit is the premier online event of 2018 for Christians, Conservatives and Patriots. It is a premium-members only international event that will empower and equip you with the knowledge and tools that you need as global events begin to escalate dramatically. The speaker list includes Michael Snyder, Mike Adams, Dave Daubenmire, Ray Gano, Dr. Daniel Daves, Gary Kah, Justus Knight, Doug Krieger, Lyn Leahz, Laura Maxwell and many more. Full summit access will begin on October 25th, and if you would like to register for this unprecedented event you can do so right here.

Ron Paul Is Warning That A 50% Stock Market Decline Is Coming – And That There Is No Way To Stop It

Is Ron Paul about to be proven right once again? For a very long time, Ron Paul has been one of my political heroes. His willingness to stand up for true constitutional values and to keep saying “no” to the Washington establishment over and over again won the hearts of millions of American voters, and I wish that there had been enough of us to send him to the White House either in 2008 or in 2012. To this day, I still wish that we could make his classic work entitled “End The Fed” required reading in every high school classroom in America. He was one of the few members of Congress that actually understood economics, and it is very sad that he has now retired from politics. With the enormous mess that Washington D.C. has become, we sure could use a lot more statesmen like him right now.

But even though he has retired from politics, Ron Paul is still speaking out about the most important issues of the day. And what he recently told CNBC is extremely ominous.

The following comes from a CNBC article entitled “Ron Paul: US is barreling towards a stock market drop of 50% or more, and there’s no way to prevent it”

According to the former Republican Congressman from Texas, the recent jump in Treasury bond yields suggest the U.S. is barreling towards a potential recession and market meltdown at a faster and faster pace.

And, he sees no way to prevent it.

Of course lots of such predictions are flying around these days.

In fact, at this point even the IMF is warning of a “second Great Depression”.

So when it actually takes place it won’t be much of a surprise. However, I do believe that many will be surprised by the ferocity of the coming crash. According to Ron Paul, stock prices could end up falling by up to 50 percent

Paul is a vocal Libertarian known for an ardent grassroots fanbase that propelled him to multiple presidential runs, as well as his grim warnings about the economy. Yet he has been warning investors for years that an epic drop of 50 percent or more will eventually hit the stock market. He predicted the February correction, but not in size and scope.

Actually, stock prices need to fall by at least 50 percent in order for stock valuations to get close to their long-term averages.

In the end, if stocks only fall by 50 percent we will be extremely fortunate. Stock valuations always, always, always return to their long-term averages eventually, and usually they fall below those averages during a period of adjustment.

And the mood on Wall Street has definitely changed. The euphoria that we once witnessed is now gone, and instead it has been replaced by a gnawing sense that a really big downturn is coming. In his most recent piece, John Hussman compared it to the fading out of a pop song

In recent days, the combination of extreme valuations and unfavorable market internals has been joined by acute dispersion in daily trading data that often occurs within a few days of pre-collapse peaks in the market. My opinion is that the music has already quietly faded out like the end of a pop song, in a wholly uneventful way, and that even a surprise push to further highs would be marginal.

And he concluded his most recent piece with this very chilling statement

For now, and until market conditions shift, there’s an open trap door under the equity market, and it’s a very long way down.

The end of last week was very bad for the markets, and so Monday and Tuesday will be key.

If stock prices continue to fall, this could be the beginning of a race for the exits.

But if stock prices rebound a bit, it means that we could have some more time.

And keep an eye on junk bonds. They crashed really hard just before the financial crisis of 2008, and they are starting to slip here in October 2018.

A full-blown junk bond panic would definitely be a very clear sign that a major market crash is imminent.

As I write this, all of the markets in Asia are down. Chinese stocks have fallen almost 3 percent, and that is very troubling news.

But whether a massive crisis erupts right now or not, the truth is that there is no way that we are going to avoid the consequences of our actions.

At this moment we are in the terminal phase of the biggest debt bubble in human history. In fact, total indebtedness in the United States has increased by more than 2 trillion dollars over the past 12 months…

In total, indebtedness of consumers, corporations, and all governments has grown by $2.04 trillion over the past four quarters. And they’re going to be paying higher interest rates on this ballooning debt. In other words, debt service costs are going to rise substantially.

All of this debt has fueled a short-term bubble of relative “prosperity”, but meanwhile all of our long-term problems just continue to get worse.

There is no possible way that our debt bubble can continue to grow much faster than the overall economy indefinitely. In fact, we have already been defying the laws of economics for way too long.

Eventually all debt bubbles burst, and when this one bursts we are going to experience economic pain on a scale that America has never seen before.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

The Last Days Warrior Summit is the premier online event of 2018 for Christians, Conservatives and Patriots. It is a premium-members only international event that will empower and equip you with the knowledge and tools that you need as global events begin to escalate dramatically. The speaker list includes Michael Snyder, Mike Adams, Dave Daubenmire, Ray Gano, Dr. Daniel Daves, Gary Kah, Justus Knight, Doug Krieger, Lyn Leahz, Laura Maxwell and many more. Full summit access will begin on October 25th, and if you would like to register for this unprecedented event you can do so right here.

These Days Young Men In America Are Working A Lot Less And Playing Video Games A Lot More

If you could stay home and play video games all day, would you do it? According to a brand new report that was released by the National Bureau of Economic Research on Monday, American men from the ages of 21 to 30 are working a lot less these days. In fact, on average men in this age group worked 203 fewer hours per year in 2015 than they did in 2000. So what did they do with all of that extra time? According to the study, a large portion of the time that young men used to spend working is now being spent playing video games.

It is certainly no secret that young men like video games. But the study found that in recent years the amount of time young men dedicate to gaming has shot up dramatically

Comparing data from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) for recent years (2012-2015) to eight years prior (2004-2007), we see that: (a) the drop in market hours for young men was mirrored by a roughly equivalent increase in leisure hours, and (b) increased time spent in gaming and computer leisure for younger men, 99 hours per year, comprises three quarters of that increase in leisure. Younger men increased their recreational computer use and video gaming by nearly 50 percent over this short period. Non-employed young men now average 520 hours a year in recreational computer time, sixty percent of that spent playing video games. This exceeds their time spent on home production or non-computer related socializing with friends.

Those are some absolutely staggering numbers.

But how can these young men get away with spending so much time playing video games? After all, don’t they have bills to pay?

Well, some of them do, but a lot of them are still living at home with Mom and Dad. According to this new report, a whopping 35 percent of young men “are living at home with their parents or a close relative”

Men ages 21 to 30 years old worked 12 percent fewer hours in 2015 than they did in 2000, the economists found. Around 15 percent of young men worked zero weeks in 2015, a rate nearly double that of 2000.

Since 2004, young men have increasingly allocated more of their free time to playing video games and other computer-related activities, according to the study. Thirty-five percent of young men are living at home with their parents or a close relative, up 12 percent since 2000.

This phenomenon is known as “extended adolescence”, and it is becoming a major societal problem.

In the old days, most young men in their twenties would be working hard, starting families and becoming solid members of their communities.

But these days, way too many young men are living in the basement with Mom and Dad and spending endless hours playing video games.

So what is going to happen when older generations of Americans start dying off and these guys are forced to become “the leaders of tomorrow”?

I love baseball, and one of the things that you learn when you follow baseball is that hitters tend to peak around the age of 27. Of course there are plenty of exceptions to this rule, but on average there is something very special about the age of 27.

The reason I bring this up is to show that in many ways men from the ages of 21 to 30 are in their prime years. If they are wasting those years playing video games, that is not a good thing for our society.

And of course this isn’t the first survey to find that so many young men are still living with their parents. Not too long ago, a Census Bureau report discovered that one out of every three 18 to 34-year-old Americans is still living at home

According to the Changing Economics and Demographics of Young Adulthood report for 2016, one in three Americans ages 18 to 34 are living at home with their parents.

Coming in second place is living with a spouse (27 percent), followed by other (i.e. living with a roommate or other relatives, 21 percent), living with a boyfriend or girlfriend (12 percent) and living alone (8 percent).

The fact that only 27 percent of them are “living with a spouse” is particularly noteworthy. As I noted in a previous article, that number has fallen by more than half since 1975…

Did you know that the percentage of 18 to 34-year-old Americans that are married and living with a spouse has dropped by more than half since 1975? Back then, 57 percent of everyone in that age group “lived with a spouse”, but today that number has dropped to just 27 percent.

I have a new book coming out later this month, and in that book I am going to talk about some of the reasons why so few of our young people are getting married these days. Our culture tends to glamorize the “single lifestyle”, and it also tends to portray marriage as a “ball and chain” that needs to be put off for as long as possible. But studies have shown that married men tend to be happier, they tend to make more money, and they tend to live longer.

However, it is undeniably true that it can be very tough to start a family in today’s economic environment. The middle class is steadily shrinking, and millions of young people are working jobs that pay close to the minimum wage. So when you are barely scraping by, it can be quite intimidating to think about taking on all of the expenses that come with raising a child.

But as so many of us have learned, there never is a “perfect time” to have a child. Many of our parents really had to struggle to survive when we were young, and there is nothing wrong with that.

There is nothing that can replace the joy that family can bring, and we need to encourage our young people to embrace marriage and parenthood. The family is one of the fundamental building blocks of society, and without strong families there is no way that our country is going to have any sort of a positive future.

(Originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog)

Why Are So Many Millennials Living With Their Parents Instead Of Getting Married And Starting Their Own Families?

Did you know that the percentage of 18 to 34-year-old Americans that are married and living with a spouse has dropped by more than half since 1975? Back then, 57 percent of everyone in that age group “lived with a spouse”, but today that number has dropped to just 27 percent. These numbers come from “the Changing Economics and Demographics of Young Adulthood” report that was just released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Some are postulating that the reason for this dramatic cultural shift is a phenomenon known as “extended adolescence”, while others fear that large numbers of young men and/or young women are giving up on the concept of marriage altogether.

Instead of getting married and starting their own households, many young adults are deciding that living with Mom and Dad is the best approach. In fact, this new Census Bureau report found that one out of every three 18 to 34-year-old Americans is currently living with their parents

According to the Changing Economics and Demographics of Young Adulthood report for 2016, one in three Americans ages 18 to 34 are living at home with their parents.

Coming in second place is living with a spouse (27 per cent), followed by other (i.e. living with a roommate or other relatives, 21 per cent), living with a boyfriend or girlfriend (12 per cent) and living alone (8 per cent).

Once the last recession ended, this trend was supposed to start reversing, but instead the number of young adults still living at home has just continued to increase. This is going to have very serious implications for our looming retirement crisis, and that is something that I am going to write about later today on End Of The American Dream.

And a lot of these young adults are not being productive members of society at all. In fact, this new report from the Census Bureau found that one out of every four 25 to 34-year-old Americans that are currently living at home do not have a job and they are not going to school either.

In other words, they need to get a life. I really like how a recent CNBC editorial made this point…

One of the most memorable Saturday Night Live sketches ever was broadcast in 1986 when guest host William Shatner played himself appearing at fictional Star Trek convention. After fielding one childish question after another from costumed fans in their late 20s and 30s, Shatner loses his cool and shouts: “GET A LIFE, will you people? I mean, for crying out loud, it’s just a TV show! … Move out of your parents’ basements! Get your own apartments and GROW THE HELL UP!”

Thirty-one years later, it sure seems like all of America needs to heed that message. Here’s why: The Census Bureau now says that more 18-34 year-olds are living with their parents than with a spouse.

But a lot of young men these days do not even want to go down the traditional route of marriage, family, career, etc.

In fact, a lot of them are forsaking the concept of marriage together. Author Suzanne Venker says that a lot of these men are blaming their lack of desire to get married on modern women

“When I ask them why, the answer is always the same: women aren’t women anymore.” Feminism, which teaches women to think of men as the enemy, has made women “angry” and “defensive, though often unknowingly.”

“Now the men have nowhere to go. It is precisely this dynamic – women good/men bad – that has destroyed the relationship between the sexes. Yet somehow, men are still to blame when love goes awry.”

“Men are tired,” Venker wrote. “Tired of being told there’s something fundamentally wrong with them. Tired of being told that if women aren’t happy, it’s men’s fault.”

On the flip side, a lot of women are extremely distressed that so few men seem to have the willingness to commit these days. So many men just want to run around having sex with an endless series of women without ever putting a wedding ring on any of their fingers.

Of course many men figure that if they can get some of the best benefits of marriage (sex, companionship, etc.) without having to make a commitment then that is a pretty good deal for them.

Personally, I am a huge advocate of marriage, but the rest of society is moving in the exact opposite direction. According to the Pew Research Center, 44 percent of 18 to 29-year-old Americans now believe that “marriage is becoming obsolete”. And for a lot more numbers like this, please see my previous article entitled “43 Facts About Love, Sex, Dating And Marriage That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe”.

But of course not all young adults that are living at home are doing it for the wrong reasons. Thanks to our long-term economic decline, it is much more difficult for young people to find good paying jobs today than it was several decades ago. The following comes from CNS News

“More young men are falling to the bottom of the income ladder,” says the Census Bureau study. “In 1975, only 25 percent of men, aged 25 to 34, had incomes of less than $30,000 per year. By 2016, that share rose to 41 percent of young men (incomes for both years are in 2015 dollars).”

I have absolutely no problem at all with young adults that are living at home temporarily for economic reasons. These Millennials are simply victims of our failing economy, and thus we should not be so quick to judge them.

And many of these young people graduate from college already saddled with tremendous amounts of debt.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cost of going to college has increased by an astounding 63 percent since 2006. We assure our youngsters that they will get good paying jobs when they graduate that will enable them to pay off those student loans, but once they do finally graduate many of them are discovering that the good paying jobs that we promised them do not exist.

Today, Americans owe more than a trillion dollars on their student loans. It has become a major national crisis, and it is financially crippling an entire generation.

So the next time you hear of a young adult that is still living at home, don’t be so quick to judge until you know the facts.

Yes, there are many that need a good kick in the pants to get them going in life, but there are also millions that are simply victims of our ongoing long-term economic collapse.

(Originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog)

The Shocking Truth About How Barack Obama Was Able To Prop Up The U.S. Economy

barack-obama-looking-into-a-mirror-public-domain

Barack Obama is one of the biggest “Keynesians” of all time, but unfortunately most Americans don’t even understand what that means. In this article, I am going to share with you the primary reason why Barack Obama has been able to prop up the U.S. economy over the past eight years. If Barack Obama had not taken the extreme measures that he did, we would be in the midst of a historic economic depression right now. But by propping things up in the short-term, he has absolutely demolished our long-term economic future. But like most politicians, Obama has been willing to sacrifice the future for short-term political gain.

If you take any basic college course in economics, you are going to learn about John Maynard Keynes. Without a doubt, Keynes was one of the most famous economists of the 20th century, and one of the things that he believed was that governments should go into debt and spend more money when an economic downturn strikes. By injecting additional funds into the economy during a time of crisis, he believed that the severity of recessions and depressions could be reduced. This approach ultimately become known as “Keynesian economics”, and in the post-World War II era virtually the entire world embraced it at least to some degree. Here is more on Keynes from Investopedia

An economic theory of total spending in the economy and its effects on output and inflation. Keynesian economics was developed by the British economist John Maynard Keynes during the 1930s in an attempt to understand the Great Depression. Keynes advocated increased government expenditures and lower taxes to stimulate demand and pull the global economy out of the Depression. Subsequently, the term “Keynesian economics” was used to refer to the concept that optimal economic performance could be achieved – and economic slumps prevented – by influencing aggregate demand through activist stabilization and economic intervention policies by the government. Keynesian economics is considered to be a “demand-side” theory that focuses on changes in the economy over the short run.

Keynesian economists correctly point out that there is a “multiplier effect” to government spending. In other words, when the government spends money it ends up in the hands of ordinary people. In turn, those people spend that money on various goods and services that they need, thus boosting overall economic activity. And the more the money circulates, the more the economy is stimulated. So one dollar of additional government spending does not just add one dollar to GDP. Rather, the impact on GDP is often significantly greater than that.

Of course the bad news is that whenever the government borrows money it is stealing consumption from the future. So we are literally destroying the future that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have in order to make the present look a little bit brighter.

When Barack Obama entered the White House, the U.S. was in the midst of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. The Bush administration had already begun to ramp up spending, but Barack Obama took “government stimulus” to ridiculous new levels. The national debt has risen by an average of more than 1.1 trillion dollars a year while Obama has been in charge, and this fiscal year we are on pace to add more than 2 trillion dollars to the debt.

At this moment, the U.S. national debt is a whopping $19,901,545,151,126.51, and it will cross the 20 trillion dollar mark by the time Donald Trump is inaugurated on January 20th.

But when Barack Obama was inaugurated, the national debt was only 10.6 trillion dollars. That means that we have added about 9.3 trillion dollars to the debt since that time.

So we have borrowed and spent 9.3 trillion dollars under Obama that we did not have. But because of the “multiplier effect”, that 9.3 trillion dollars actually had a far greater impact on the U.S. economy.

Let’s be conservative and just double that number. So that would give us an 18.6 trillion dollar overall impact on U.S. economic activity. Spread over eight years, that comes to an average GDP impact of 2.325 trillion dollars a year.

But over the last eight years U.S. GDP has only been averaging about 16 trillion dollars a year. So if you took away 2.3 trillion dollars a year, that would be about one-eighth of our entire economy.

In other words, without all of this debt that Barack Obama and Congress have been getting us into, we would be in the worst economic depression in U.S. history right now.

And I haven’t even factored in state and local government debt, corporate debt or household debt. The truth is that I am not exaggerating one bit when I say that we are enjoying a debt-fueled standard of living that we simply do not deserve.

But even with all of this debt, the U.S. economy has still not been performing really well. In fact, Barack Obama is going to be the only president in U.S. history to not have a single year when U.S. GDP grew by at least three percent.

Despite what many in the mainstream media are telling you, the reality of the matter is that Donald Trump is going to inherit an economy that is deeply troubled. If you doubt this, please see my previous article entitled “11 Very Depressing Economic Realities That Donald Trump Will Inherit From Barack Obama“.

Donald Trump is talking about cutting taxes and reducing regulations, and all of those things are good, but ultimately those measures are not going to matter that much.

What is going to matter is what Donald Trump decides to do about our exploding debt.

If Donald Trump wants the U.S. economy to continue to remain at least somewhat stable in the short-term, he is going to have to keep piling up debt like Obama has. Because if Trump and the Republicans decide that they want to get our debt under control, that will plunge us into a horrifying economic depression almost immediately.

But if Donald Trump continues to steal money from future generations of Americans at the same pace that Barack Obama has been doing, he will literally be destroying the future of America. It will be a crime on a scale that is almost beyond words, and if they get a chance to do it, future generations of Americans will look back and curse him for what he has done to us.

So Donald Trump is really in a no-win situation when it comes to the economy.

The only way that he can match Obama’s performance is to do what Obama did, but by doing so he would literally be killing the future.

As a nation we have been consuming far more wealth than we produce for a very, very long time, and the only way that we have been able to do this is because we have been able to go into so much debt.

But now a day of reckoning is fast approaching, and I am not sure if Donald Trump even realizes that he will soon be faced with some incredibly heartbreaking choices.

About the author: Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog and The Most Important News. Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled “The Rapture Verdict” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

Living In A Van Down By The River – Time To Face The True State Of The Middle Class In America

van-public-domain

Do you remember the old Saturday Night Live sketches in which comedian Chris Farley portrayed a motivational speaker that lived in a van down by the river? Unfortunately, this is becoming a reality for way too many Americans. As the middle class has shrunk and the cost of living has increased, a lot of people have decided to quite literally “live on the road”. Whether it is a car, a truck, a van, a bus or an RV, an increasing number of Americans are using their vehicles as their homes. Just recently, someone that I know took a trip down the west coast of the United States and stayed at a number of campgrounds along the way. What she discovered was that a lot of people were actually living at these campgrounds. Of course there are some that actually prefer that lifestyle, but many others are doing it out of necessity.

Earlier this week, Circa.com posted a story about “the van life”. One of the individuals that they featured was a recent graduate of the University of Southern California named Stephen Hutchins. Without much of an income at the moment, he decided that the best way to cut expenses was to live in his van

“The main expenses are insurance for the van, which is like $60 a month,” said Hutchins. “Then, I have a storage unit for like $60.”

That puts his monthly rent at $120. The van cost him just $125 at an auction.

Living in a van is certainly not the most comfortable way to go, and many of you are probably wondering how he performs basic tasks such as cooking and bathing. Well, it turns out that he makes extensive use of public facilities

He showers at the gym, cooks on a portable stove on a sidewalk (he stores his butane at his friends’ place nearby) and uses wifi at nearby coffeeshops.

For a while such a lifestyle may seem like “an adventure”, but after a while it will start to get really old. And not a lot of women are going to be excited about dating a man that lives in a van, and you certainly wouldn’t want to raise a family in a vehicle.

Sadly, just like during the last economic crisis many Americans are getting to the point where staying in their homes may not be an option. Just check out the following excerpt from a recent New York Post article entitled “The terrifying signs of a looming housing crisis“…

The number of New Yorkers applying for emergency grants to stay in their homes is skyrocketing — as the number of people staying in homeless shelters reached an all-time high last weekend, records show.

There were 82,306 applications for one-time emergency grants to prevent evictions in fiscal 2016, up 26 percent from 65,138 requests the previous year, according to the Mayor’s Management Report.

I put a couple of phrases in that quote in bold because I really wanted you to notice a couple of things.

First of all, it is very alarming to hear that the number of New Yorkers staying in homeless shelters “reached an all-time high” last weekend. I thought that we were supposed to be in an “economic recovery”, but apparently things in New York are rapidly getting worse.

Secondly, the fact that applications for emergency grants are up 26 percent compared to last year is another indication of how rough things are right now for average families in New York. We all remember what happened when millions of families lost their homes to foreclosure across the nation during the last financial crisis, and nobody should want to see a repeat of that any time soon.

During this election season, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton would like all of us to believe that the economy is doing just fine, but that is not true at all. Even using the doctored numbers that the government gives us, Barack Obama is solidly on track to be the only president in all of U.S. history to never have a single year of 3 percent GDP growth, and he has had two terms to try to do that.

Gallup CEO Jim Clifton is also quite skeptical of this “economic recovery”, and he recently authored an article on this subject that is receiving a tremendous amount of attention. The following is how that article begins

I’ve been reading a lot about a “recovering” economy. It was even trumpeted on Page 1 of The New York Times and Financial Times last week.

I don’t think it’s true.

The percentage of Americans who say they are in the middle or upper-middle class has fallen 10 percentage points, from a 61% average between 2000 and 2008 to 51% today.

Other surveys have found that it is even worse than that.

For example, a Pew Research Center study from the end of last year discovered that the middle class in America has now actually become a minority in this country.

Here are some other numbers that Clifton included in his article

  1. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of the total U.S. adult population that has a full-time job has been hovering around 48% since 2010this is the lowest full-time employment level since 1983.
  2. The number of publicly listed companies trading on U.S. exchanges has been cut almost in half in the past 20 years — from about 7,300 to 3,700. Because firms can’t grow organically — that is, build more business from new and existing customers — they give up and pay high prices to acquire their competitors, thus drastically shrinking the number of U.S. public companies. This seriously contributes to the massive loss of U.S. middle-class jobs.
  3. New business startups are at historical lows. Americans have stopped starting businesses. And the businesses that do start are growing at historically slow rates.

Once upon a time, America was the land of opportunity.

We were the place where anything was possible and where entrepreneurship was greatly encouraged.

But today we strangle small businesses to death with rules, regulations, red tape and taxes.

If we want a stronger middle class, we need to create a much better environment for the creation of small businesses. Small business ownership often lifts individuals into the middle class, and small businesses have traditionally been the primary engine for the growth of good jobs in this country.

If the middle class continues to shrink, poverty will continue to rise. Previously I have written about how the number of homeless children in the United States has shot up by 60 percent since the last economic crisis, and Poverty USA claims that a staggering 1.6 million children slept either in a homeless shelter or in some other form of emergency housing during 2015.

If you will be sleeping in a warm bed in a comfortable home tonight, you should be thankful. An increasing number of Americans are sleeping in tent cities, in their vehicles or on the streets. These hurting people deserve our love, our compassion and our prayers.

*About the author: Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog and End Of The American Dream. Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled “The Rapture Verdict” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.*

The Percentage Of Working Age Men That Do Not Have A Job Is Similar To The Great Depression

Great Depression

Why are so many men in their prime working years unemployed? The Obama administration would have us believe that unemployment is low in this country, but that is not true at all. In fact, one author quoted by NPR says that “it’s kind of worse than it was in the depression in 1940”. Most Americans don’t realize this, but more men from ages 25 to 54 are “inactive” right now than was the case during the last recession. We have millions upon millions of strong young men just sitting around doing nothing. They aren’t employed and they aren’t considered to be looking for employment either, and so they don’t show up in the official unemployment numbers. But they don’t have jobs, and nothing the Obama administration does can eliminate that fact.

According to NPR, “nearly 100 percent of men between the ages of 25 and 54 worked” in the 1960s.

In those days, just about any dependable, hard working American man could get hired almost immediately. The economy was growing and the demand for labor was seemingly insatiable.

But today, one out of every six men in their prime working years does not have a job

In a recent report, President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers said 83 percent of men in the prime working ages of 25-54 who were not in the labor force had not worked in the previous year. So, essentially, 10 million men are missing from the workforce.

One in six prime-age guys has no job; it’s kind of worse than it was in the depression in 1940,” says Nicholas Eberstadt, an economic and demographic researcher at American Enterprise Institute who wrote the book Men Without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis. He says these men aren’t even counted among the jobless, because they aren’t seeking work.

So why is this happening?

If you look at the inactivity rate for men in the 25 to 54 age bracket, it was sitting at just 8.1 percent in January 2000.

In January 2008, right at the beginning of the last recession, it was sitting at 9.2 percent, and by the end of the recession it had risen to 10.3 percent.

Today, it is sitting at 11.5 percent.

Remember, these are men that don’t even count toward the official unemployment rate. They are not working, but they are not considered to be “looking for work” either.

So what are these men doing?

You may be tempted to think that many of them have decided to stay home and raise the kids as their wives go off to work. But according to NPR, that is not what is happening

What the missing men aren’t doing in large numbers is staying home to take care of family. Forty percent of nonworking women are primary caregivers; that’s true of only 5 percent of men out of the workforce.

We do have the largest prison population in the entire world by far, and without a doubt that does play a role in these numbers. However, a far bigger factor is the millions of men that have become content being dependents of the federal government. More than 100 million Americans receive money from the government each month, and a lot of people (both men and women) have found that it is just easier to sit back and collect government checks than it is to go out and try to work hard for a living.

But of course the number one factor is the lack of jobs available. I personally know people that have been looking for work in their fields for years and have not been able to get hired. We have a major employment crisis in this nation, and it is only going to get worse in the years ahead as we continue to lose jobs to technology and millions more good jobs get shipped overseas.

And a lot of the “jobs” that have been created during the Obama administration have been very low quality jobs. Since December 2014, we have gained about half a million jobs for waiters and bartenders, but meanwhile we have actually lost good paying manufacturing jobs. If we continue down this road, the middle class will continue to shrink.

In addition to everything that I have just shared, here are some other facts that are pertinent to this discussion…

-Right at this moment, there are approximately 102 million working age Americans that do not have a job.

-Nearly one out of every five young adults are currently living with their parents.

-The Wall Street Journal recently declared that this is the weakest “economic recovery” since 1949.

-Barack Obama is on track to be the only president in U.S. history to never have a single year when the U.S. economy grew by at least 3 percent.

The economy is far weaker than you are being told, the employment crisis is far worse than you are being told, and as I mentioned yesterday, the stage is clearly set for a new financial crisis of epic proportions.

And if we are going to see markets crash, this time of the year is a good time for it. In fact, CNBC says that history tells us that this is the “worst period of the year for stocks”…

The worst period of the year for stocks has just begun — at least based on market history.

Over the entire 120-year history of the Dow Jones industrial average, Sept. 6 to Oct. 29 tends to be the worst period for the market. And more specifically, the last few weeks of September have been an especially bad time.

Someday when people look back at this time in history, they will not be surprised by how horrific the coming collapse will be. The truth is that anyone with a lick of common sense can see that the greatest debt bubble in the history of the world is going to end badly.

No, what is going to amaze them is that the system was able to hold together as long as it did. It truly is incredible that the debt-based, fiat currency Ponzi scheme that the central banks of the world have been desperately trying to prop up has been able to keep chugging along all the way to the middle of 2016.

How much longer can they keep the magic going?

I don’t know, but history tells us that time is not on their side…

*About the author: Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog and End Of The American Dream. Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled “The Rapture Verdict” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.*

Euro Group Bankers Call For The Creation Of An ‘Economic Government’

Euros - Infowars

EU politicians and apparatchiks are exploiting the Greek economic collapse to call for a centralized “economic government” that has the authority to tax citizens across Europe.

France’s socialist president, François Hollande, is calling for a separate economic government to lord over the monetary union, Der Spiegel reports.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said in 2012 he would “do whatever it takes” to save the euro.

The idea is not new. In 2011 the billionaire globalist George Soros said it is crucial the European Union have a centralized authority.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

U.S. companies expected to report their worst sales declines in nearly six years

Economic Trouble - Public Domain


U.S. companies are expected to report their worst sales decline in nearly six years when they post second-quarter results, giving investors reason to worry about future profits.

Companies have managed to drive 2015 earnings by cutting costs, a practice they turned to during the financial crisis. They have also used share buybacks to lift earnings per share.

But it is hard to make a case for sustained earnings growth given forecasts for a second-straight quarter of revenue decline at S&P 500 companies, which begin reporting financial results in earnest this week.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

Ultra-Secrecy Surrounds Barack Obama’s New Global Economic Treaty

Obama Selfie

Barack Obama is secretly negotiating a global economic treaty which would destroy thousands of American businesses and millions of good paying American jobs. In other words, it would be the final nail in the coffin for America’s economic infrastructure. Obama knows that if the American people actually knew what was in this treaty that they would be screaming mad, so the negotiations are being done in secret. The only people that are allowed to look at the treaty are members of Congress, and even they are being banned from saying anything to the public. American workers are about to be brutally stabbed in the back, and thanks to all of this secrecy and paranoia they won’t even see it coming.

The name of this new treaty is “the Trans-Pacific Partnership”, and it is being touted as perhaps the most important trade agreement in history. But very few people in this country are talking about it, because none of us are allowed to see it. An article that was just released by Politico detailed the extreme secrecy that is surrounding this trade agreement…

If you want to hear the details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal the Obama administration is hoping to pass, you’ve got to be a member of Congress, and you’ve got to go to classified briefings and leave your staff and cellphone at the door.

If you’re a member who wants to read the text, you’ve got to go to a room in the basement of the Capitol Visitor Center and be handed it one section at a time, watched over as you read, and forced to hand over any notes you make before leaving.

And no matter what, you can’t discuss the details of what you’ve read.

This treaty is going to affect the lives of every man, woman and child living in this nation, and yet it is deemed so “important” that none of us can know what is in it?

Are you sure that we still live in a Republic?

This treaty will cover 40 percent of the global economy, and U.S. officials hope that the EU, China and India will become members eventually as well

Right now, there are 12 countries that are part of the negotiations: the United States, Canada, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. These nations have a combined population of 792 million people and account for an astounding 40 percent of the global economy. And it is hoped that the EU, China and India will eventually join as well. This is potentially the most dangerous economic treaty of our lifetimes, and yet there is very little political debate about it in this country.

If the EU, China and India did eventually join the treaty, that would essentially make it a trade agreement for the entire planet.

This is a really big deal, and it should be openly debated by the American people. But instead, Barack Obama has chosen to shroud the entire process with as much secrecy as possible. Not only that, he also wants Congress to give him fast track negotiating authority. If Congress does that, they would essentially be saying that they blindly trust Obama to negotiate a good treaty for us. At the end of the process, Congress would be able to vote the treaty up or down, but would not be able to amend it.

That sounds insane, right? Well, if you can believe it, Republicans in the Senate are quite eager to give Barack Obama this authority.

And this is not just an economic treaty. The following is an excerpt from one of my previous articles

It is basically a gigantic end run around Congress. Thanks to leaks, we have learned that so many of the things that Obama has deeply wanted for years are in this treaty. If adopted, this treaty will fundamentally change our laws regarding Internet freedom, healthcare, copyright and patent protection, food safety, environmental standards, civil liberties and so much more. This treaty includes many of the rules that alarmed Internet activists so much when SOPA was being debated, it would essentially ban all “Buy American” laws, it would give Wall Street banks much more freedom to trade risky derivatives and it would force even more domestic manufacturing offshore.

We can’t consume our way to prosperity, and we can’t borrow and spend our way to prosperity. In order to be prosperous as a nation, we have got to create at least as much wealth as we consume. But instead, we are doing just the opposite. We are consuming wealth like mad even while our economic infrastructure is being absolutely gutted. We have lost thousands of businesses and millions of jobs already, and this new treaty will make things much worse.

And of course eventually even the ultra-cheap labor on the other side of the planet will be replaced. This is something that is already happening in China. Just today there was a news story about a new manufacturing facility in China that will use only robots

Construction work has begun on the first factory in China’s manufacturing hub of Dongguan to use only robots for production, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

A total of 1,000 robots would be introduced at the factory initially, run by Shenzhen Evenwin Precision Technology Co, with the aim of reducing the current workforce of 1,800 by 90 percent to only about 200, Chen Xingqi, the chairman of the company’s board, was quoted as saying in the report.

The company did not give a figure for the investment in the factory, but said its production capacity could reach a value of 2 billion yuan (US$322 million) annually.

All of this is very bad news for American workers. Whether it is ultra-cheap labor on the other side of the globe or new technology, big corporations are constantly looking for ways to produce things less expensively.

But in order to have a middle class, we have got to have middle class jobs. The middle class in the United States is steadily disappearing, and neither political party seems very concerned about this at all.

Even without this new trade treaty, our trade deficit with the rest of the planet continues to grow even larger. We just learned that the monthly U.S. trade deficit for March rose to $51.4 billion. That was the largest monthly trade deficit since October 2008. If you will remember, in October 2008 we were experiencing the worst financial crisis since the days of the Great Depression.

And if you take oil out of the number, our trade deficit for the month of March would be the worst ever recorded.

Thank you Barack Obama. Your trade policies are really “working”.

Because the trade deficit was much worse than expected, that is going to push the GDP number for the first quarter into negative territory

Greg Daco of Oxford Economics says he expects the wider than expected trade deficit to prompt the government to revise its estimate of 0.2% growth in U.S. gross domestic product for the first quarter to a 0.5% contraction.

That means that if we have another contraction in the second quarter, we will officially be in a recession.

In fact, we could be in a recession right now (according to the official government definition) and not even know it yet.

One of the biggest reasons why the U.S. economy has been struggling so much in recent years is due to our trade policies. If we had balanced trade with other nations, our cumulative economic growth since mid-2009 would have been nearly 20 percent higher

Since rising trade balances subtract from economic growth, the increase in this real non-oil goods deficit has now cut cumulative U.S. economic growth after inflation by a stunning 19.49 percent since the recovery technically began in mid-2009.

Are you starting to see why I get so fired up about trade?

But instead of encouraging big corporations to do what is right for the American people, our system greatly rewards companies like Apple that proudly send jobs offshore. The following is an excerpt from an outstanding article by Andrew Zatlin

Nine years, a trillion dollars in sales, and almost no taxes paid. That’s just the starting point for wondering about Apple’s actual contribution to the US economy.

Apple’s success drags down the US GDP. The behemoth that is Apple sold almost 200M phones last year, none of which were made in the US or used components made here. Instead of exporting $100B in iPhones, the US imported $50B. That $150B swing matters in terms of balance of trade, GDP and jobs. If you wanted to improve the US economy, there’s no better place to start than with Apple and smartphones.

Apple undermines the US manufacturing base. Assembly matters and manufacturing matters more. There was a time when Apple could have assembled phones and tablets in the US, but that would mean spending an extra $5 per phone since that’s approximately the extra labor cost to build that $700 phone here instead of in Vietnam or China. Assembly may not be a competitive, value-add step but it does employ a lot of people.

Unfortunately, it would also cut Apple’s profits by $1B, shrinking the company’s annual net income from $45B to $44B. Apple wouldn’t notice a drop in profits of $1B because it’s not putting its cash to use: Apple has $200B in cash conveniently parked outside of the US, not doing anything. On the other hand, assembling in the US would employ tens of thousands of people.

You can read the rest of that great article right here.

Our trade policies matter. Decades of incredibly foolish decisions have ripped our economic infrastructure to shreds, and we are slowly but steadily committing national economic suicide.

Now, Barack Obama is absolutely determined to deliver the finishing blow, and it is all being done in secret.

When are you going to wake up and start getting angry America?

(Originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog)

14 Signs That Most Americans Are Flat Broke And Totally Unprepared For The Coming Economic Crisis

14 Signs Americans Are Flat Broke

When the coming economic crisis strikes, more than half the country is going to be financially wiped out within weeks. At this point, more than 60 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, and a whopping 24 percent of the country has more credit card debt than emergency savings. One of the primary principles that any of these “financial experts” that you see on television will teach you is to have a cushion to fall back on. At the very least, you never know when unexpected expenses like major car repairs or medical bills will come along. And in the event of a major economic collapse, if you do not have any financial cushion at all you will be a sitting duck. Yes, I know that there are millions upon millions of families out there that are just trying to scrape by from month to month at this point. I hear from people that are deeply struggling in this economy all the time. So I don’t blame them for not being able to save lots of money. But if you are in a position to build up an emergency fund, you need to do so. We have been experiencing an extended period of relative economic stability, but it will not last. In fact, the time for getting prepared for the next great economic downturn is rapidly running out, and most Americans are not ready for it at all. The following are 14 signs that most Americans are flat broke and totally unprepared for the coming economic crisis…

#1 According to a survey that was just released, 24 percent of all Americans have more credit card debt than emergency savings.

#2 That same survey discovered that an additional 13 percent of all Americans do not have any credit card debt, but they do not have a single penny of emergency savings either.

#3 At this point, approximately 62 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.

#4 Adults under the age of 35 in the United States currently have a savings rate of negative 2 percent.

#5 More than half of all students in U.S. public schools come from families that are poor enough to qualify for school lunch subsidies.

#6 A study that was conducted last year found that more than one out of every three adults in the United States has an unpaid debt that is “in collections“.

#7 One survey discovered that 52 percent of all Americans really cannot even financially afford the homes that they are living in right now.

#8 According to research conducted by Atif Mian of Princeton University and Amir Sufi of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, 40 percent of Americans could not come up with $2000 right now without borrowing it.

#9 That same study found that 60 percent of Americans could not say yes to the following question…

“Do you have 3 months emergency funds to cover expenses in case of sickness, job loss, economic downturn?”

#10 A different study discovered that less than one out of every four Americans has enough money stored away to cover six months of expenses.

#11 Today, the average American household is carrying a grand total of 203,163 dollars of debt.

#12 It is estimated that less than 10 percent of the entire U.S. population owns any gold or silver for investment purposes.

#13 48 percent of all Americans do not have any emergency supplies in their homes whatsoever.

#14 53 percent of all Americans do not even have a minimum three day supply of nonperishable food and water in their homes.

Perhaps none of this concerns you.

Perhaps you think that this bubble economy can persist indefinitely.

Well, if you won’t listen to the more than 1200 articles that set out the case for the coming economic collapse on my website, perhaps you will listen to former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. The following is what he recently told one interviewer

We asked him where he thought the gold price will be in five years and he said “measurably higher.”

In private conversation I asked him about the outstanding debts… and that the debt load in the U.S. had gotten so great that there has to be some monetary depreciation. Specially he said that the era of quantitative easing and zero-interest rate policies by the Fed… we really cannot exit this without some significant market event… By that I interpret it being either a stock market crash or a prolonged recession, which would then engender another round of monetary reflation by the Fed.

He thinks something big is going to happen that we can’t get out of this era of money printing without some repercussions – and pretty severe ones – that gold will benefit from.

And as I have stressed so frequently, the signs that the next crisis is almost here are all around us.

For example, the Baltic Dry Index has just plunged to a fresh record low, and things have already gotten so bad that some global shippers are now filing for bankruptcy

The unintended consequences of a money-printed, credit-fueled, mal-investment-boom in commodities (prices – as opposed to physical demand per se) and the downstream signals that sent to any and all industries are starting to bite. The Baltic Dry Index has plunged once again to new record lows and the collapse of the non-financialized ‘clean’ indicator of the imbalances between global trade demand and freight transport supply has the real-world effects are starting to be felt, as Reuters reports the third dry-bulk shipper this month has filed for bankruptcy… in what shippers call “the worst market conditions since the ’80s.”

Perhaps you do see things coming.

Perhaps you do want to get prepared.

If you are new to all of this, and you don’t quite know how to get started preparing, please see my previous article entitled “89 Tips That Will Help You Prepare For The Coming Economic Depression“. It will give you some basic tips that you can start implementing right away.

And of course one of the most important things is something that I talked about at the top of this article.

If at all possible, you have got to have an emergency fund. When the coming economic storm strikes, your family is going to need something to fall back on.

If you are trusting in the government to save you when things fall apart, you will be severely disappointed.

(Originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog)

These 4 Charts Signal Impending Economic Collapse

Chart - Public Domain
The Baltic Dry Index, “which tracks dry-bulk shipping rates for four types of vessels on 23 ocean routes, has tumbled more than 60% in the past three months,” states Barron’s.

The index continued to crumble this week to lows never seen, with the Baltic Dry Index (BDI) at 530, its  lowest level ever. Well below the all-time low of 554 points on August 6, 1986.

Because dry bulk primarily consists of materials that function as raw material inputs to the production of intermediate or finished goods, such as concrete, electricity, steel, and food; the index is also seen as an efficient economic indicator of future economic growth and production. 

The BDI is termed a leading economic indicator because it predicts future economic activity.


baltic dry index 2015



IMPORT PRICES
Import prices dropped 8.0% Year over Year – YoY (modestly beating expectations of an 8.9% plunge) and 2.8% MoM(month over month). The last time import prices started to fall at this pace was a month after Lehman Brothers went bankrupt.
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WHOLESALE INVENTORIES
In fact, as Wolf Richter recently wrote about, the wholesale inventories to sales ratio has now hit a level that we have not seen since the last recession…

In December, the wholesale inventory/sales ratio reached 1.22, after rising consistently since July last year, when it was 1.17. It is now at the highest – and worst – level since September 2009, as the financial crisis was winding down:

US wholesale inventories chart

TREASURY NOTE YIELD

As Jeff Clark recently explained, “We usually see a spike in the 10 year Treasury yield about the time the market is peaking before a crash…”, states Michael Snyder.

The 10-year Treasury note yield bottomed on January 30 at 1.65%. Today, it’s at 2%. That’s a 35-basis-point spike (a jump of 21%) – in less than two weeks.

And it’s the first sign of an impending stock market crash.

10 year treasury note chart

On Thursday we also learned that retail sales dropped again in January.  Overall, this has been the worst two month drop in retail sales since 2009

We are now experiencing economic indicators that are bad, with the Baltic Dry Index being the worst ever. And yet the lamestream media continues to tout we are in some sort of recovery. Who even believes that anymore? Not anyone with at least half a brain…

With these numbers, what could possibly go wrong?

Article authored by Carol Serpa. You can find the original story right here.

Wives Earn More Than Husbands In Almost 40 Percent Of U.S. Families

Wedding - Exchanging Rings - Public Domain

In one in three families in the U.S., or 38.1 percent, the wife is the primary breadwinner, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

In 2012, which is the latest data from the BLS, there were 36,181,000 married-couple families in which the wife, but not necessarily the husband, had earnings from work. Of those, there were 13,779,000 families in which the wife earned more than her husband. This means that 38.1 percent of families had wives earning more than their husbands.

The BLS has been tracking these data since 1987, and at that time in 23.7 percent of families, the wife was the primary earner. This means that since 1987 to the present, wives earning more than their husbands has increased by 60.8 percent.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

7 Things The Middle Class Can’t Afford Anymore

Broken Vehicle - Public Domain

In its discussion of historical middle class societies, The Economist reports, “Their members are neither rich nor poor but somewhere in-between…’Middle-class’ describes an income category but also a set of attitudes…An essential characteristic is the possession of a reasonable amount of discretionary income. Middle-class people do not live from hand to mouth, job to job, season to season, as the poor do.”

Some argue that the most sensible income amount to attach to the middle class would be the median household income, of around $54,000. Perhaps, anyone who earns between the 25th percentile and 75th percentile is a member of the middle class.

Diana Farrell, once Deputy Director of America’s National Economic Council, told The Economist she thinks a middle class income begins at the point where a person (or family) has one-third of their income left over for discretionary purposes after they’ve provided themselves with food and shelter. In other words, someone who earns $3,000 per month would have $1,000 left after they’ve paid their mortgage or rent, utilities, and grocery bills.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

Highly educated, unemployed and tumbling down

Depressed - Photo by Sander van der Wel

In the upside-down, topsy-turvy world of jobs these days, even an advanced degree can’t protect some Americans from tumbling down the economic ladder.

The conventional wisdom that more education bears fruit in the labor market gets turned on its head when it comes to unemployment. For people with masters and even doctoral degrees, long-term unemployment is especially insidious. At best, these formerly high-earning professionals face the prospect of a years-long climb back to their former level of income and stature, while they delay retirement to rebuild their decimated nest eggs.

Others won’t be that lucky. Debt, foreclosure and evaporated savings push them out of the middle class, and some just keep falling.

“Most of these people in this long-term unemployed category are experiencing downward financial mobility,” said Carl Van Horn, distinguished professor of Public Policy and director of the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

If The Oil Plunge Continues, ‘Now May Be A Time To Panic’ For US Shale Companies

Panic Button By John On Flickr

Over the past 5 years, the shale industry, fabricated or real reserves notwithstanding, has been a significant boon to the US economy for four main reasons: it has been the target of billions in fixed investment and CapEx spending, it has resulted in tens of thousands of high-paying jobs, its output has been a major tailwind for the US trade deficit, and has generally been a significant contributor to GDP (not to mention various Buffett-controlled or otherwise railway corporations). And perhaps, most importantly, it has become a huge buffer to the price of global oil, as the cost curve of US shale is horizontal, with a massive 10,000 kbls/day available within pennies of $85/bl.

Goldman’s explanation:

We believe that the vast reserves that have been opened for development through shale oil in the US have flattened the cost curve meaningfully, at around a US$85/bl Brent oil price. We estimate shale reserves from the top three fields in the US onshore (the Permian, Bakken and Eagle Ford) at around 91bn boe, which to put it in context, is equivalent to roughly one third of Saudi Arabia’s current stated reserves (ZH: this number may be vastly overstated). Most of this resource has become available in the past five years, with few barriers to exploiting the reserves. Production in the US as a result is growing strongly, by more than 1mbpd currently, and we expect this pace of growth to continue over the coming three years as capital continues to be drawn in to these developments. The consequence is that costs of production and E&P capex/bl should stabilise as the marginal cost of production remains stable. We believe that shale oil has become effectively the marginal source of supply, providing the bulk of non- OPEC production growth. This is also the key driver of our oil price view: we continue to expect Brent oil to stay at c.US$100/bl for the coming few years.

For once, Goldman is spot on (even if their Brent price target may be a bit off): with shale oil profitable only above its virtually horizontal cost curve, it means that a whopping 11,000 kbls/day are available as long as Brent is above $85, a clear “red line” for all OPEC producers.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

Who’s going to pay? The average cost to treat an Ebola patient could run as high as half a million dollars

Money - Public Domain

Caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, the Dallas Ebola patient, may cost as much as $500,000, a bill that his hospital is unlikely to ever collect. Duncan is in critical condition at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, where he has been isolated since Sept. 28. He’s on a ventilator, has been given an experimental medicine and is receiving kidney dialysis, a hospital spokeswoman said Tuesday. His treatment probably includes fluids replacement, blood transfusions and drugs to maintain blood pressure. There’s also the cost of security, disposing of Ebola-contaminated trash and equipment to protect caregivers. The bill may eventually total $500,000 including indirect costs such as the disruption to other areas of hospital care, said Dan Mendelson, chief executive officer of Avalere Health, a Washington consulting firm. Duncan’s care probably costs $18,000 to $24,000 a day, said Gerard Anderson, a health policy professor at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

A Visual History: How Much $1 Used To Get You (And How Much It Gets You Now)

Ever since the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913 Americans have seen the value of their currency dwindle.

We know the dollar has lost some 97% of its value since the Fed took over. But it’s hard to actually grasp this destruction of value without some examples.

The infographic below, originally posted at The Burning Platform, is self explanatory. We are being robbed bit by bit, on a daily basis, and there is no end in sight.

How Much One Dollar Gets You

(Read the rest of the story here…)

Inflation is Like Toothpaste~Once It’s Out, You Can’t Get it Back In

Toothpaste On A Toothbrush - Public Domain

The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation.” – Vladimir Lenin

inflation-chart

In an interview between Jim Goddard and David Smith, Senior Analyst for the Morgan Report, Jim Goddard asks:JG: I think what bothers me – and watching what’s going on with the metals being so quiet – is that we’ve got inflation starting to move up in a big time way, especially with food but also with a lot of other goods and services that do not reflect themselves in the annual monthlies that the Fed puts out.

DS: I remember an individual – I think it was Michael Ballanger who talked about inflation and he said inflation is like toothpaste. Once it’s out of the tube, it’s impossible to get it back in.

The Fed wants a certain amount of inflation but they want to be able to control it and they actually think that they can do that.

But once that toothpaste gets out of the tube, we can’t stick it back in. Not to mention that a lot of times you can’t have a decision about where it goes either.

JG: Well, anytime a government thinks they can control inflation – if you’re old enough, you will remember the late 70s where Canada brought in price and wage controls and they did nothing to control prices but they sure did keep your wages down.

DS: It caused all sorts of speculations. In the United States, we had the same thing, wage and price controls – they didn’t work very well. In fact it didn’t work at all and I will never forget – I think it was President Ford where his idea about controlling inflation was to come out with these little WIN buttons which stood for Whip Inflation Now. The moment they were produced, it was laughable and of course if that’s the best you can do, then it’s no good at all.

So I think we’re headed for higher inflation. It’s going to kind of stair step upwards as we go on. Some people feel that by this time next year we could be in a pretty severe bout of it. It’s hard to tell right now but the point is all this is going to be beneficial for precious metals holdings, but it’s not going to be good for the general stock market.


History Shows That Inflation Can Occur Suddenly and Grow Rapidly

Not only is higher inflation a near certainty, history tells us that once it grabs hold, it can quickly spiral out of control.

Amity Shlaes, a senior fellow of economic history at the Council on Foreign Relations and a best-selling author, provides some examples from the past century of US inflation that was at first subdued but then abruptly rocketed to alarming levels. Look how quickly inflation rose in just two years from “benign” levels.

Historical Examples of Inflation

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According to Shlaes,

  • US inflation was 1% in 1915 (based on an earlier version of the CPI-U). Within just two years, it soared to 17%. As she states, it happened because the Treasury “spent like crazy on the war, creating money to pay for it…”
  • In 1945, the official inflation rate was 2%; it accelerated to 14% in 24 months.
  • Inflation registered 3.2% in 1972 and hit 11% by 1974.

It’s clear that the arrival of inflation can be sudden, and that prices can quickly spiral out of control. Given the profligate amount of money being printed by many countries around the globe, we could easily become victim to rapidly rising inflation.

Regardless of the timing, though, this is a clear warning from history: expecting the CPI to remain low indefinitely is a dangerous assumption.


August 2014 Retail Sales Report

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Peter Schiff, owner of Euro Pacific Bank, was asked this week on CNBC for his reaction to the higher retail sales figures that just came out, shown in the chart above.

He replied, “As far as retail sales go, if you X out autos, this is the weakest number since January and the only reason autos are strong is because all of the sub-prime lending in the auto sector that is going to come  back to bite us.

And the only reason consumers are spending more is because of inflation. You know, these numbers for retail sales do not take into account price increases, and while I don’t believe that the official measures of inflation capture price increases, retail sales always capture price increases because it measures the amount of money actually being spent, not what the government claims people are paying.

I don’t think it’s people buying more stuff, I think it’s people paying more money to buy less stuff. And it’s not economic growth that we’re showing – it’s inflation.

This fantasy about a US recovery is not going to materialize. The first half of the year’s GDP was 1% and that’s if you believe the government’s inflation number, which I don’t. I don’t think the second half is going to be much better. I think we’re headed back to recession, even the way the government measures numbers. ”

What Schiff says about the retail numbers being higher as a result of higher prices that people have to pay makes sense. Gas prices have been down during August, and it is reflective in the retail prices as being one sector that was negative in sales. The other sector that had negative sales was department stores. For example, Macy’s had the worst sales it’s seen in 7 months. Buying fashionable clothes is not a necessity, like gas, so when people do not have discretionary money to spend, they eliminate the non-essentials.

These numbers indicate higher inflation, not a growing recovery where people have more money to spend.

Article authored by Carol Serpa. You can find the original story right here.

Why Is The Labor Force Participation Rate In The U.S. At A 36 Year Low?

Unemployment - Public Domain

Should we be concerned that the percentage of Americans that are either working or looking for work is the lowest that it has been in 36 years? In August, an all-time record high 92,269,000 Americans 16 years of age and older did not “participate in the labor force”. And when you throw in the people that are considered to be “in the labor force” but are not currently employed, that pushes the total of working age Americans that do not have jobs to well over 100 million. Yes, it may be hard to believe, but there are more than 100 million working age Americans that are not employed right now. Needless to say, this is not a sign of a healthy economy, and it is a huge reason why dependence on the government has soared to absolutely unprecedented levels. When people can’t take care of themselves, they need someone else to take care of them. If the percentage of people in the labor force continues to decline like it has been, what is that going to mean for the future of our society?

The chart below shows the changes in the civilian labor force participation rate since 1980. As you can see, the rate steadily rose between 1980 and 2000, but since then it has generally been declining. In particular, this decline has greatly accelerated since the beginning of the last recession…

Labor Force Participation Rate

We have never seen an extended precipitous decline of this nature before. But instead of admitting that we have a very serious problem on our hands, many mainstream economists are dismissing this decline as “structural in nature”. For example, check out the following excerpt from a recent Reuters article

A paper published on Thursday by the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based think tank, suggested the decline was primarily due to an aging population and other structural factors, and concluded the labor force would continue to shrink.

But there is a major flaw in this analysis. It turns out that older Americans are the only group for which employment numbers have actually been going up. I really like how Zero Hedge made this point the other day…

Well that’s very odd, because it was only two months ago that the Census wrote the following [5]: “Many older workers managed to stay employed during the recession; in fact, the population in age groups 65 and over were the only ones not to see a decline in the employment share from 2005 to 2010 (Figure 3-25)… Remaining employed and delaying retirement was one way of lessening the impact of the stock market decline and subsequent loss in retirement savings.”

Figure 3-25
Yes, Baby Boomers are hitting retirement age.

But that does not explain why the labor force participation rate numbers for younger groups have been going down.

Each month, the U.S. economy has to add somewhere between 100,000 and 150,000 jobs just to keep up with population growth. Since job creation has been tepid at best in recent years, the only way that the government has been able to get the official unemployment rate to steadily “go down” has been to remove millions upon millions of Americans from the labor force.

According to the official government numbers, since 2007 768,000 jobs have been added to the economy, but a whopping 13 million Americans have been added to the numbers of those “not in the labor force”.

As a result, the official unemployment rate has magically been “declining”.

But the truth is that our employment crisis has not been solved at all.

And it isn’t just the number of jobs that we need to be concerned about. We are also dealing with a multi-year decline in the quality of our jobs. In fact, the Wall Street Journal just reported that 34 percent of all U.S. workers are “freelancers” now…

More evidence that this isn’t your parents’ labor market: Roughly one in three U.S. workers is now a freelancer.

Fifty-three million Americans, or 34% of the nation’s workforce, qualify as freelancers, according to a new report from the Freelancers Union, a nonprofit organization, and Elance-oDesk Inc., a company that provides platforms for freelancers to find work. These individuals include independent contractors, temps, and moonlighters, among others.

In other words, about a third of all workers in the country are “temps” at this point.

I don’t know about you, but to me that is an extremely alarming statistic.

If the economy really was recovering, this would not be happening.

And as millions upon millions of Americans are being forced out of the official labor force, an increasing number of people are turning to the underground economy.

For example, in some of our major cities we are witnessing a rise in the number of street vendors. The following is an excerpt from a recent Los Angeles Times article entitled “More Angelenos are becoming street vendors amid weak economy“…

Sitting at her street vending booth with products arrayed neatly on a sequined purple tablecloth, Jackie Lloyd reflects nostalgically on the days when she had a steady salary and regular hours.

That was four years ago, before the 39-year-old was laid off from her job as an elementary school cafeteria worker and mounting bills forced her to venture into self-employment.

Now the Pico-Union resident hops from location to location, selling body oils, shea butter, soap and incense. She moves when nearby businesses complain or she feels unsafe.

Some days, her sales bring in $150. Others, they don’t break $20.

In order to have a strong middle class, we need middle class jobs.

If our labor force participation rate continues to fall and the quality of our jobs continues to decline, the middle class will continue to shrink. For much more on this, please see my previous article entitled “30 stats to show to anyone that does not believe the middle class is being destroyed“.

But our authorities never seem to want to admit what our real problems are.

Instead, they love to come up with alternative theories for our economic struggles.

One of the latest theories being put forward by the Federal Reserve is that the economy is not moving along like it should because ordinary Americans are “hoarding money”

One of the great mysteries of the post-financial crisis world is why the U.S. has lacked inflation despite all the money being pumped into the economy.

The St. Louis Federal Reserve thinks it has the answer: A paper the central bank branch published this week blames the low level of money movement in large part on consumers and their “willingness to hoard money.”

This seems completely absurd to me.

From what I can see, most families are just doing their best to survive from month to month these days.

I certainly don’t see a lot of people “hoarding money”.

What about you?

What do you think?

Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…

(Originally posted at The Economic Collapse Blog)

Record 92,269,000 Not in Labor Force; Participation Rate Matches 36-Year Low

Unemployment - Public Domain

A record 92,269,000 Americans 16 and older did not participate in the labor force in August, as the labor force participation rate matched a 36-year low of 62.8 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The labor force participation rate has been as low as 62.8 percent in six of the last twelve months, but prior to last October had not fallen that low since 1978.

BLS employment statistics are based on the civilian noninstitutional population, which consists of all people 16 or older who were not in the military or an institution such as a prison, mental hospital or nursing home.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

The Next Generation Will Have It Worse, Most Americans Say

Millennials - Public Domain

Employers have been creating jobs at a good clip this year, but Americans are too exhausted and discouraged by the pain of the recession and slow recovery to see much cause for optimism.

That’s the conclusion of a new report surveying the economic sentiment of workers, released Thursday by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University.

Perhaps most strikingly, 16% of respondents agree that job and career opportunities will be better for the next generation than for their own – a drop from the 56% who were optimistic about this measure in 1999 and down even from the 40% who agreed in November 2009, well into the recession.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

The Federal Reserve Systematically Transfers Wealth From The Taxpayers To The Ultra-Wealthy Elite

The Great Seal Of The United States - A Symbol Of Your Enslavement - Photo by Ipankonin

Last year, $415,688,781,248.40 that had been forcibly extracted from American taxpayers was transferred into other hands.  Most of it ended up in the pockets of the global elite.  So what did the American people get in return for more than 415 billion dollars?  Nothing at all.  No roads were built, no schools were constructed, no teachers were paid and none of it went to national defense.  It was simply interest that was owed on the national debt, and most of it just made the ultra-wealthy even wealthier.  But this is exactly what the Federal Reserve system was designed to do when it was created back in 1913.  It was designed to get the U.S. government trapped in an endless spiral of debt that would systematically drain the wealth of the American people and transfer it to the ultra-wealthy and the international bankers.  When most people think of a “wealth redistribution scheme”, they think of a government raising taxes in order to give money to poor people.  But the Federal Reserve system works in reverse.  Money is taken from all of us and it is redistributed to the global elite.  That is why a federal income tax was instituted the exact same year that the Federal Reserve was.  Money is extracted from all of us through taxation, and then it is transferred from the federal government to the ultra-wealthy through debt payments.

So what role does the Federal Reserve system play in all of this?

Many critics of the Fed focus on how much money the Fed makes each year, but that is a mistake.  The truth is that the Fed returns the vast majority of the money that it makes to the U.S. Treasury.  The Fed is not a money making machine itself.  Rather, it is a system that enables others to make hundreds of billions of dollars each year.

I think that it is easiest to think of the Fed as a “middle man” between the U.S. government and the global elite.  It was designed by the international bankers for the benefit of the international bankers.  The entire goal of the Federal Reserve system is to make the ultra-wealthy even wealthier.

The Fed is a privately-owned banking cartel that has a monopoly over money creation in the United States.  Nobody else, including the U.S. government, can print money.  So those that claim that “the U.S. government can print money” are just dead wrong.

When the U.S. government wants to spend more money than it has, it asks the Fed to make some more money.  The Fed then creates money out of thin air that did not previously exist.  Normally this money is not even printed up.  It is just entered into a computer.

In return for the new money, the U.S. government gives the Federal Reserve some U.S. Treasury bonds.  In essence, U.S. Treasury bonds are promises to pay back money.  But the U.S. government always agrees to pay back more money than it receives.  So a larger amount of debt is created than the amount of new money that is created.

When the Federal Reserve receives those U.S. Treasury bonds, most of the time they take them and auction them off to interested buyers.  This is how they get into the hands of the ultra-wealthy and the international bankers.

So how is the U.S. government ever supposed to pay back all that debt if the amount of new debt being created is always larger than the amount of new money that is being created?

Well, the theory is that the money will be able circulate through the U.S. economy really fast and that the federal government will be able to tax it enough times and at a high enough rate to be able to pay off the debt plus the interest.

But that never seems to work out, does it?

Instead, the federal government always finds that it can’t fund government activities and pay off the debt at the same time, so they always come back to borrow more.  That is why it is called a debt spiral.

So the debt just keeps getting larger and larger.  Today, the U.S. national debt is more than 5000 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was first created.

And as the debt keeps getting larger and larger, so does the money supply.  And that is why we have such a problem with inflation.  Since the Federal Reserve was first created, the U.S. dollar has lost more than 96 percent of its value.

But the global elite are not just doing this in the United States.  They have established similar systems in almost every nation on earth.

So every year, gigantic mountains of money are transferred from taxpayers all over the globe into their pockets.

And that is the primary reason why they have so much money.

It has been estimated that the global elite have up to 32 TRILLION dollars stashed in offshore banks around the planet.

And that is just the money that we know about.

Are you starting to understand why people are so upset about this stuff?

Fortunately, people all over the world are starting to wake up to this massive wealth redistribution scheme.

The creation of money should belong to the people – not to the global elite.

Just consider a statement that Italian politician Beppe Grillo once made

“Whom does the money belong to? Who does its ownership belong to? To the State fine…then to us, we are the State. You know that the State doesn’t exist, it is only a legal entity. WE are the state, then the money is ours…fine. Then let me know one thing. If the money belongs to us…Why…do they lend it to us??”

Doesn’t that make sense?

If the currency of a nation belongs to the people of a nation, then why do we let the elite create our money out of thin air and lend it back to us?

Why do we continue to use a debt-based currency system that is making the global elite far wealthier at the expense of all the rest of us?

For much more on how the Federal Reserve works, please see my previous article entitled “On The 100th Anniversary Of The Federal Reserve Here Are 100 Reasons To Shut It Down Forever“.

Please share this article with as many people as you can.  I have tried to simplify things as much as possible in this article so that even people that have been through the dumbed-down public education system in the United States should be able to understand it.

So what do you think about the Federal Reserve?

Are you angry that hundreds of billions of dollars are being transferred from U.S. taxpayers to the global elite every single year?

Are you disgusted that money that is created out of thin air by the Federal Reserve is being used to bankrupt our nation and enslave future generations of Americans to trillions of dollars of debt?

Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below…

This Is Your Recovery And This Is Your Recovery Without Drugs

Average Hourly Earnings

Does this chart portray an economic recovery in any way? Wages have been stagnant since the START of the supposed recovery in 2010. Real median household income, even using the highly understated CPI, is on a glide path to oblivion. You just need to observe with your own two eyes the number of Space Available signs in front of office buildings, strip centers and malls across America to realize we have further to fall. Low paying, part-time burger flipping jobs aren’t going to revive this debt saturated economic system. But at least the .1% are enjoying their Federal Reserve created high. Fiat is a powerful drug when administered in large doses to addicts on Wall Street.

The S&P 500 has risen from 666 in March of 2009 to 1,972 today. That is a 196% increase in a little over five years. During this same time, real household income has fallen by 7%. There have been a few million jobs added, while 11 million people have left the labor market. According to Robert Shiller’s CAPE ratio, the stock market valuation has only been higher, three times in history – 1929, 1999, and 2007. He seems flabbergasted by why valuations are so high. Sometimes really smart people can act really dumb.

The Federal Reserve balance sheet was $900 billion before the 2008 financial crisis. Today it stands at $4.4 trillion. The Fed has increased their balance sheet by 220% since the March 2009 market lows. Do you think there is any correlation between the Fed puppets printing $2.4 trillion and handing it to their Wall Street puppeteers, who used their high frequency trading supercomputers and ability to rig the markets so they never lose, and the third stock bubble in the last 13 years? It’s so self evident that only an Ivy League economist or CNBC anchor wouldn’t be able to see it.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

 

Job = Just Over Broke

Jobs - Public Domain

If you are fortunate enough to have a job in America today, the phrase “just over broke” probably describes you. Yes, there are a handful of jobs that certainly pay very well, but most Americans that work for somebody else are just barely making it from month to month. More than half of all working Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, and more than half of all working Americans make less than $30,000 a year. That is an amazing statistic but it is actually true. Once upon a time, anyone that was responsible and that was willing to work hard could get a good job in America. But now those days are long gone. Instead, we live at a time when good jobs are disappearing and when the middle class is getting smaller with each passing year. In some homes, the husband and the wife are both working multiple jobs and they can still barely pay their bills. Something has gone horribly wrong, and yet our leaders just keep telling us how wonderful our economy is.

One of the biggest things that has killed jobs in this country is the fact that the U.S. economy has been steadily merged into the emerging one world economic system over the past several decades. They call it “free trade”, but they never told us that we would be merged into a single global labor pool where we would be competing directly for jobs with workers on the other side of the planet that live in nations where it is legal to pay slave labor wages.

According to Gallup, only about 1.3 billion people around the world work full-time for an employer at this point.

But overall there are more than 7 billion people.

That means that there are a whole lot of really poor, really desperate people that need to be employed.

This has been wonderful for the big corporations. They can just take jobs away from American workers and give them to people who are willing to work for less than a tenth of what an American worker would make. This has resulted in the systematic deindustrialization of the United States and horrific decline in dozens of formerly great manufacturing cities.

At the same time, we have also been losing millions of middle class jobs to technology. At this point, robots are even starting to replace warehouse workers and fast food employees. As robots become even more advanced and become even cheaper to produce, there will be less jobs available for the rest of us.

And what happens when robots can do everything better than us?

Because there are fewer middle class jobs available, the competition for the remaining jobs has become incredibly intense. In recent years, millions of Americans have been forced to take just about anything that they can get. For those Americans, “just over broke” has become “just trying to survive” as they scratch and claw their way through life.

A recent CNBC article profiled one such individual. His name is Ken Bowman, and his job at a guitar shop just barely enables him to pay his rent and feed himself…

Ken Bowman joins the line for a free lunch in the Youngstown Salvation Army canteen, just like he does every Friday.

Looking younger than his 21 years, his hair dyed jet black and wearing big, battered boots, Bowman plays heavy metal on his cell phone. He chooses a seat at the end of a table and sits hunched over his tray, his blues eyes furtively sweeping the room. The others sit in packs, regulars who’ve formed lunchtime friendships over their burnt coffee and peppered corn, discussing the jobs they once had and the government benefits they no longer get.

Bowman is sensitive to the stigma of accepting handouts like lunch. “[It] doesn’t mean you’re homeless or poor, people have standards but they struggle,” he said, his chin jutting out, his eyes glowering.

After paying his rent, Bowman says his job in a guitar shop leaves him with $50 a month to live on — if he can get shifts. He is one of America’s “underemployed,” a group of as many as 11 million Americans struggling to survive in society’s shadows on wages that put them below the federal poverty line.

There are millions of others out there just like Bowman. In fact, as I mentioned in a previous article, one out of every four part-time workers in America is living below the poverty line. The “working poor” is a phrase that describes a very large segment of the U.S. population today.

And the cold, hard truth of the matter is that most of the country is steadily getting poorer. According to a study recently discussed in the New York Times, the “typical American household” is now worth 36 percent less than it was worth a decade ago. That is a staggering decline in just ten years.

Meanwhile, the cost of living continues to rise. This is something that I have discussed repeatedly, but sometimes a picture can say things far better than any words can.

The photo posted below has been floating around on Twitter. It is of a McDonald’s menu from the 1960s. As you can see, prices have gone up a little bit since then…

Inflation - McDonald's

Most people think that I am crazy when I tell them that I can remember a cup of coffee being sold for a quarter when I was young. But it is true. Over the long-term, our purchasing power has been systematically destroyed by the insane polices of the Federal Reserve.

Sadly, most Americans don’t understand any of this. They just trust that our leaders actually know what they are doing. Meanwhile, they just keep on struggling to survive in an economic system that is stacked against them.

According to one recent study, 40 percent of all households in the United States are experiencing financial stress right now and the homeownership rate for Americans under the age of 35 is at an all-time low.

In the old days, if you got your education, worked hard and did all the right things, it was just about an automatic ticket to the middle class.

Today it doesn’t work like that.

Instead, more Americans than ever are being forced to become dependent on the government. If you can believe it, Americans received more than 2 trillion dollars in benefits from the federal government last year alone.

So it astounds me whenever I hear anyone say that the economy is in “good shape”.

How can it be in “good shape” when one out of every three adults in the United States has an unpaid debt that is “in collections” and there are 49 million Americans that are dealing with food insecurity?

The truth is that we are in the midst of a long-term economic decline that is the result of decades of incredibly foolish decisions.

Until the American people start understanding what has happened to us, they are never going to demand real change that actually accomplishes something.

(Originally posted at The Economic Collapse Blog)

McDonald’s Menu From The 1960s

Inflation - McDonald's

Sometimes it takes a bit of a history lesson in order to understand just how much inflation has destroyed the value of the U.S. dollar.  The photo above is of a McDonald’s menu from the 1960s.  Wouldn’t you like to be able to buy a cup of coffee for ten cents and a cheeseburger for 19 cents today?

 

Russia to ban all U.S. agricultural imports

Banned Food - Public Domain

Retaliating for U.S. sanctions over Ukraine, Russia will ban or limit all American agricultural products for up to a year, a Kremlin official said Wednesday.

All fruits and vegetables from the European Union will also be locked out, the country’s agricultural and veterinary watchdog told RIA Novosti. Produce from Canada and Japan will also be blocked.

The complete list of banned products, to be announced Thursday, will be “very substantial,” said Alexey Alekseenko, an assistant to the head of the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance.

Food prices in Russia would likely rise in the short term because of the import ban, the country’s agricultural watchdog said.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

Latest Jobs Report Shows Shocking Trends

People - Photo by Lazy B
The jobs numbers that came out last week were spun to be good news because there were 230,000 new jobs. But looking closer into the numbers reveals a more insidious trend.

According to Peter Schiff on the Nonfarm Payroll Job Numbers for July 2014, he says
:The projected estimate was that 230,000 new jobs would be created. It came in at 21,000 less, at 209,000 jobs created in June. Some of the job creation was left over demand from the bad weather, when employers were not hiring in the first quarter. So the trend is way down.

Unemployment rate ticked up from 6.1 to 6.2% , and the Labor Force Participation Rate went up from 62.8% to 62.9%, still at 35 year lows.

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The percentage of people working is at the lowest rate in 35 years

Demographics:

 

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Age 16-24: Gained 83,000 jobs  

 

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Age 25-54: Peak Earning Years – A net loss of 142,000 jobs.  

 

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Age 55-69: Gained 159,000 jobs, comprising 22% of the workforce

The group that needs the good jobs the most, in their peak earning years of 25-54 LOST 142,000 jobs.

The group that is supposed to be retiring and living off their savings, the over 55 group, gained the most jobs of all.  The Fed is saying the reason that the labor force is shrinking is because all the baby boomers are retiring.

No, the older people are having to go back to work. Their CDs make no interest and inflation is eating up their existing money.

And the young people, age 16-24 are either summer jobs or college kids getting jobs. These are low-paying, part-time jobs.

The shocking trends for jobs are:

  • There are  less jobs created than expected  and compared to last month.
  • The job gains are only for young and older workers.
  • For people in the peak earning years of 25-54, jobs are being lost by the hundreds of thousands per month.
The reason we keep hemorrhaging good jobs and creating low paying part-time jobs is simple:It’s the Economy, Stupid.

Article authored by Carol Serpa. You can find the original story right here.

‘Three Lost Decades’ – How the American Middle Class is 20% Poorer Now vs. 1984

Like so many other things in popular American culture, this quaint notion of a “middle class” in the U.S. is at this point nothing more than a myth; a rapidly fading fantasy from a bygone era. As myself and many others have noted for quite some time, the decimation of the middle class began long ago. It really got started in the early 1970′s after Nixon defaulted on the gold standard and financialization began to take over the American economy. Median real wages haven’t increased since that time and the rest is history.

Although the evolutionary process toward oligarchy began long ago, its finishing touches have been applied in recent years. This has been easily achieved by the Federal Reserve and U.S. government’s response to the financial crisis, which was and continues to be characterized by an intentional funneling of all the nation’s wealth into the hands of their patrons; the 0.01%. As the chart below demonstrates clearly (and as I highlighted in the post: Where Does the Real Problem Reside? Two Charts Showing the 0.01% vs. the 1%), it is the tiny oligarch class that is reaping all of the benefits.

Three Lost Decades

This was further demonstrated in full color recently in a report by Oxfam International, which showed that 85 people have as much wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion on earth. There is nothing moral, decent or “free market” about such an outcome. It can only happen in a world characterized by militarism, exploitation, cronyism and fraud. We are living in a global feudalism.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

America’s Poorest Shoppers Are Putting Discount Stores Out Of Business

Shopping Carts In A Circle - Public Domain

Discount stores are slowly dying.

Yesterday, Dollar Tree announced it would buy Family Dollar, a chain that is in the process of closing hundreds of stores and firing workers.

Other discount stores have been struggling as well, writes Heidi Moore at The Guardian. Fashion discounter Loehmann’s filed for bankruptcy, while Wal-Mart’s sales have declined for the past five quarters.

“There’s just not enough money deployed by American families to keep all the discount chains in business,” Moore writes.

Dollar stores saw their heyday during the recession, when middle-class shoppers came to buy smaller, cheaper packages of household necessities like toilet paper.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

America’s Lost Decade: Typical Household Wealth Has Plunged 36% Since 2003

The US Economy

Simply put, the NY Times notes, it’s not merely an issue of the rich getting richer. The typical American household has been getting poorer, too.

The reasons for these declines are complex and controversial, but one point seems clear: When only a few people are winning and more than half the population is losing, surely something is amiss.

As Russell Sage Foundation concludes, through at least 2013, there are very few signs of significant recovery from the loss of wealth experienced by American families during the Great Recession. Declines in net worth from 2007 to 2009 were large, and the declines continued through 2013. These wealth losses, however, were not distributed equally. While large absolute amounts of wealth were destroyed at the top of the wealth distribution, households at the bottom of the wealth distribution lost the largest share of their total wealth. As a result, wealth inequality increased significantly from 2003 through 2013; by some metrics inequality roughly doubled.

The American economy has experienced rising income and wealth inequality for several decades, and there is little evidence that these trends are likely to reverse in the near-term.

It is possible that the very slow recovery from the Great Recession will continue to generate increased wealth inequality in the coming years as those hardest hit may still be drawing down the assets they have left to cover current consumption.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

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