Americans Have Already Skipped Payments On More Than 100 Million Loans, And Job Losses Continue To Escalate

Those that have been hoping for some sort of a “V-shaped recovery” have had their hopes completely dashed.  U.S. workers continue to lose jobs at a staggering rate, and economic activity continues to remain at deeply suppressed levels all over the nation.  Of course this wasn’t supposed to happen now that states have been “reopening” their economies.  We were told that things would soon be getting back to normal and that the economic numbers would rebound dramatically.  But that is not happening.  In fact, the number of Americans that filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week was much higher than expected

Weekly jobless claims stayed above 1 million for the 13th consecutive week as the coronavirus pandemic continued to hammer the U.S. economy.

First-time claims totaled 1.5 million last week, higher than the 1.3 million that economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting. The government report’s total was 58,000 lower than the previous week’s 1.566 million, which was revised up by 24,000.

To put this in perspective, let me once again remind my readers that prior to this year the all-time record for a single week was just 695,000.  So even though more than 44 million Americans had already filed initial claims for unemployment benefits before this latest report, there were still enough new people losing jobs to more than double that old record from 1982.

That is just astounding.  We were told that the economy would be regaining huge amounts of jobs by now, but instead job losses remain at a catastrophic level that is unlike anything that we have ever seen before in all of U.S. history.

With the addition of this latest number, a grand total of nearly 46 million Americans have now filed initial claims for unemployment benefits since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

If you can read that statement and still believe that the U.S. economy is not imploding, I would like to know what you are smoking, because it must be pretty powerful.

Some of the things that we are seeing happen around the country right now are absolutely nuts.  For example, earlier this week in Kentucky it was being reported that people were waiting in line for up to 8 hours to talk with a state official face to face about their unprocessed unemployment claims…

This wasn’t supposed to happen.

By now, the U.S. economy was supposed to be roaring back to life and we were supposed to be entering a new golden age of American prosperity.

Unfortunately, the truth is that more bad economic news is hitting us on a continual basis, and that isn’t going to change any time soon.

Over the past few days, we have learned that Hilton is laying off 22 percent of its corporate staff, and AT&T has announced that it will be eliminating 3,400 jobs and closing 250 stores…

The wireless carrier AT&T is cutting 3,400 jobs and shutting down 250 stores over the next few weeks, according to a statement from the Communications Workers of America, a union representing AT&T workers.

The AT&T Mobility and Cricket Wireless retail closures will affect 1,300 jobs, while the other layoffs are said to be affecting technical and clerical workers.

Needless to say, all of these job losses are having a tremendous ripple effect throughout the economy.

Without paychecks coming in, a lot of Americans are having a really tough time paying their bills, and the Wall Street Journal is reporting that payments have already been skipped on more than 100 million loans…

Americans have skipped payments on more than 100 million student loans, auto loans and other forms of debt since the coronavirus hit the U.S., the latest sign of the toll the pandemic is taking on people’s finances.

The number of accounts that enrolled in deferment, forbearance or some other type of relief since March 1 and remain in such a state rose to 106 million at the end of May, triple the number at the end of April, according to credit-reporting firm TransUnion.

Wow.

To me, that is an almost unimaginable number, and it has become clear that a tremendous amount of pain is ahead for the financial institutions that are holding these loans.

A lot of people out there are going to keep hoping that there will be some sort of an economic rebound, but the cold, hard reality of the matter is that fear of COVID-19 is going to keep a large segment of the population from resuming normal economic activities for the foreseeable future.  And it certainly doesn’t help that the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. has been steadily rising over the past couple of weeks and that the mainstream media has been endlessly warning that a “second wave” is coming.

If you doubt what I am saying, just look at what is happening to the restaurant industry.  We had started to see a small bit of improvement in the numbers, but now fear of a “second wave” has caused restaurant traffic to start cratering again

After three months of slow but consistent improvement in restaurant dining data in the US and across the globe, in its latest update on “the state of the restaurant industry”, OpenTable today reported the biggest drop in seated restaurant diners (from online, phone and walk-in reservations) since the depth of the global shutdown in March.

As shown in the OpenTable graphic below, on Sunday, June 14, restaurant traffic suddenly tumbled, sliding from a -66.5% y/y decline as of June 13 to -78.8% globally.

This was mostly due to a sharp drop in US restaurant diners, which plunged by 13% – from -65% to -78% – the biggest one day drop since the start of the shutdown in the US, and the second biggest one day drop on record.

Business travel is another area where we are seeing signs of big trouble ahead.  The following comes from Yves Smith

Business travel is not coming back any time soon. People are getting accustomed to Zoom. And word may also get out that domestic flying is much worse than it used to be, which will be a deterrent to those who might be so bold as to want to get on a plane. That is a fundamental blow to airlines, airport vendors, hotels, restaurants, and convention centers. Hotel occupancy in April was 24.5% which if anything seems high based on my personal datapoints. The pricings I see say that hotel operators are not expecting much if any improvement through the summer.

Like many of you, I wish that economic conditions would go back to the way they used to be, but that simply is not going to happen.

Yes, we will see economic numbers go up and down over the coming months, but a return to “the good times” is not in the cards.

And what hardly anyone realizes is that this is just the beginning of our problems, and I am working on a new project right now which will explain why this is true in great detail.

So stay tuned, because things are about to get really, really “interesting”.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of 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 have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. 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. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. 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.

2020 Has Been A Miserable Year, And Americans Are The Unhappiest They Have Been In Ages

What a year this has been so far.  First, the greatest public health crisis in 100 years hit us, then the U.S. economy imploded, and now the streets of many of our major cities resemble war zones after weeks of rioting, looting and violence.  It has been one thing after another, and this has taken a great toll on the mental health of the American people.  Of course we weren’t exactly in great shape coming into this year.  In 2019, it was being reported that the suicide rate in the U.S. was at an all-time record high, alcohol-related deaths were at an all-time record high, and drug overdose deaths were at an all-time record high.  So the truth is that we were already deeply miserable before 2020 came along, and now a brand new survey has discovered that as a result of everything that has happened so far this year we have become even more unhappy

Spoiler alert: 2020 has been rough on the American psyche. Folks in the U.S. are more unhappy today than they’ve been in nearly 50 years.

This bold – yet unsurprising – conclusion comes from the COVID Response Tracking Study, conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago. It finds that just 14% of American adults say they’re very happy, down from 31% who said the same in 2018.

Would you say that you are “very happy” with your life?

I hope so, and I would like to think that most of my readers are more content with their lives than the general population as a whole.

Personally, I would definitely label myself as “very happy”, but it looks like most of the population definitely does not feel the same way.

According to the survey, the coronavirus lockdowns are one of the big reasons why Americans are feeling less happy these days.  Being forced to stay away from others has caused many people to feel increasingly lonely

About twice as many Americans report being lonely today as in 2018, and not surprisingly given the lockdowns that tried to contain the spread of the coronavirus, there has also been a drop in satisfaction with social activities and relationships. Compared with 2018, Americans also are about twice as likely to say they sometimes or often have felt a lack of companionship (45% vs. 27%) and felt left out (37% vs. 18%) in the past four weeks.

Humans are inherently social creatures, and we were created to love and be loved.

I think that our politicians greatly underestimated the damage that social isolation would cause for many people.  In some cases, the consequences have been absolutely devastating.

Meanwhile, a lot of Americans are also feeling unhappy these days due to economic reasons.

Up to this point in 2020, more than 100,000 businesses have permanently shut down, economic activity all over the planet has dropped precipitously, and more than 44 million Americans have filed claims for unemployment benefits.

Initially, it was hoped that most of those jobs would eventually come back, but now it has become very clear that is not going to happen.  In fact, one new estimate is projecting that a whopping 42 percent of the job losses “will be permanent”

“50% of U.S. job losses come from the combination of lockdown and weak demand, 30% from the reallocation shock, and 20% from high unemployment benefits,” Bloomberg found.

A report by the Becker Friedman Institute at the University of Chicago estimated 42% of layoffs that occurred as a result of the pandemic will be permanent.

In other words, millions upon millions of Americans that have lost their jobs during this pandemic will never be getting their old jobs back.

When I first started telling my readers that a lot of these jobs would never return, I got some really nasty emails.

There were some people that were absolutely incensed that I would suggest such a thing, but now the truth of the matter has become obvious to everyone.

Unfortunately, a large portion of the population was not prepared for an economic shock of this magnitude.  In fact, another new survey has found that 33 percent of all Americans “do not feel prepared to deal with the financial impact of the pandemic”

Even before COVID-19 was a household name, many Americans struggled to build up an emergency fund. Now, for some, the need for such a foundation is painfully clear. A full third – 33% – of respondents said they do not feel prepared to deal with the financial impact of the pandemic.

“If our current financial situation gets worse before it gets better, Americans need to have money set aside that they can lean back on as a last resort,” Frerichs said. “If you don’t currently have an emergency fund, try to set aside as much as you can every month, and aim to build enough to cover between three and six months of living expenses.”

For years, I have been strongly urging my readers to build up their emergency funds, and hopefully most of them heeded that advice.

Because things are not going to be turning around any time soon.  The bad news is that much of the economic suffering that had been deferred by unprecedented government intervention is about to hit us in a major way, and the really bad news is that the economic problems that we are facing now are going to pale in comparison to what we will be facing in future years.

Needless to say, this is going to put even more stress on the mental health of Americans.

So if you think that people are going absolutely nuts right now, just wait until you see how bad things get when our society really starts to melt down.

But just because things will be falling apart all around you does not mean that you have to be personally miserable.

If you derive meaning and purpose in life from your career, your ambitions, your bank account, your social status and all of the things you have accumulated, then you will definitely have an exceedingly difficult time dealing with the things that are coming.

However, if instead you choose to derive meaning and purpose in life from the things that really matter, you will not be shaken even if all of your plans, programs and material possessions are taken from you.

All of human history has been building up to the moment that we are living in right now, and you were born for such a time as this.  So don’t crawl into a hole and complain about how bad things are as conditions deteriorate.  Instead, choose to stand up and become the person that you were created to be.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of 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 have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. 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. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. 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.

This Is Why We Are Facing A 6 Week Countdown To Immense Economic Despair…

Many of the emergency economic measures that were put into place to support the American people financially throughout this pandemic are about to disappear, and that means that big trouble is on the horizon.  Right now, we are in the midst of the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.  Economic activity has fallen dramatically, more than 100,000 businesses have permanently closed, and more than 44 million Americans have lost a job so far in 2020.  But up to this point most Americans are not feeling too much economic pain thanks to unprecedented intervention by the federal government.  Unfortunately, that short-term boost of artificial relief is about to wear off, and that is going to cause some major problems as we approach the end of this calendar year.

Earlier today, two sentences from a Buzzfeed article about the extreme economic despair that is ahead of us really got my attention…

The US economy right now is like a jumbo jet that’s in a steady glide after both its engines flamed out. In about six weeks, it will likely crash into the side of a mountain.

I think that is a perfect description of what we are facing, except that I would replace “U.S. economy” with “U.S. consumers”.

The truth is that the economy has already crashed, but consumers have been shielded from the effects of that crash by trillions of dollars in emergency government spending and other unprecedented measures

What’s kept us in the air so far is an extraordinary government relief effort. In most states, evictions have been temporarily banned, preventing a mass homelessness crisis. Most federal student loan payments have been put on hold, removing one of the largest recurring monthly expenses that millions of people face. Banks were ordered to give their customers a six-month break on mortgage payments if requested.

Most importantly, and counterintuitively, household income sharply increased in April as hundreds of billions of dollars in lost wages were replaced by trillions in government spending. The government sent out more than 159 million stimulus payments of up to $1,200 per adult (more if you have kids), and more than 20 million unemployed people became eligible for an extra $600 a week in federal unemployment benefits. The result, according to Bloomberg, was the largest monthly increase in household income ever recorded.

What we have witnessed has been a sudden transfer of wealth that is unlike anything we have ever seen in all of U.S. history, and this has allowed most Americans to get through the past few months without too much of a problem.  In fact, many unemployed workers have been bringing home more money than they did when they were actually working.

But on July 31st (about 6 weeks from now) that is all going to change.

The $600 unemployment bonuses are scheduled to end on that date, and President Trump and Republican leaders in Congress have made it clear that they have no intention of extending them.

In addition, it looks like there will be no more direct checks from the government for ordinary Americans even if another “stimulus bill” is passed.

So tens of millions of Americans will soon be facing a future in which they are bringing in very little income.

In addition, the various bans on evictions around the country will soon be coming to an end, as will the grace periods for mortgage payments.

Without enough income coming in, a lot of Americans will soon be losing their homes, and this will likely really start ramping up as we head into the holiday season.

On top of everything else, the grace period on federal student loans will come to an end at the beginning of October.

Ouch.

Basically, all of the economic pain that had been deferred will come rushing back with a vengeance over the next several months.

Of course Congress could delay things a bit more by borrowing and spending trillions of more dollars that we simply do not have, but all of the reckless spending that they have done already has put us in very perilous territory

Trillions are now whooshing by at a breath-taking pace. The US gross national debt – the total of all Treasury securities outstanding – jumped by $1 trillion over the past five weeks, from May 4 through June 8, and by $2.5 trillion for the 11 weeks since March 23.

The total US national debt outstanding has reached $26 trillion, according to the Treasury Department.

It took from the founding of the United States until 1981 for the U.S. national debt to reach one trillion dollars, and now we have added that same amount to the debt in just five weeks.

Wow.

Our elected officials are absolutely destroying our future, but most Americans don’t seem too alarmed by this.

Instead, many are clamoring for even more “free money”, because they say that what they have gotten so far is not nearly enough.

Of course the federal spending that has already taken place has not exactly had the desired effect.

Americans were supposed to take the money they were receiving and spend it.

But instead, one recent survey found that most Americans are actually cutting back on their spending right now…

  • Saving more money: 34% of survey respondents indicate they’ve upped their savings rate because of the novel coronavirus.
  • Reducing spending: During these turbulent times, 59% of Americans have cut their budgets so they aren’t spending as much money as they did pre-pandemic.
  • Re-evaluating their priorities: 48% of those surveyed indicate they are prioritizing living expenses, while 30% of respondents indicate their top priority is consumables, including food and drink.

No matter how much money Congress showers on the American people, they aren’t going to be able to eliminate the overwhelming fear that COVID-19 has created.

For the foreseeable future, a large portion of the population is simply not going to resume their normal economic patterns because they are scared of the virus.

And in many of our large cities, rioting, looting and violence has depressed economic activity even further.

A major economic downturn is here, and it looks like it is going to be very, very deep.

Congress was able to minimize the discomfort for a while, but those emergency measures were only intended to help for a short period of time, and in about six weeks the entire country is going to start feeling a tremendous amount of pain.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of 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 have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. 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. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. 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 all many people as we possibly can.

No, The U.S. Economy Will Definitely Not Be Returning To “Normal”. In Fact, Things Will Soon Get Even Worse.

2020 has been quite a year so far.  It has been one nightmare after another, and yet the economic optimists continue to insist that economic activity will soon snap back to normal levels somehow.  So the economic optimists aren’t really alarmed by the fact that the core areas of our major cities have been torched, gutted and looted by rioters, because they assume that all of this violence is just a temporary phenomenon and that any damage that has been done can be repaired.  And they aren’t really alarmed by the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic is starting to escalate again.  In fact, over the last seven days we have seen the number of newly confirmed cases around the globe hit levels that we have never seen before.  They just assume that “the worst is behind us” and that the vast majority of the businesses and jobs that have been lost during this pandemic will be quickly recovered.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they were actually correct?

Sadly, the truth is that economic conditions will not be returning to normal.  Yes, some of the jobs that were lost will be recovered as states start to “reopen” their economies.  But more than 100,000 businesses have already permanently closed during this new economic downturn, and all of those jobs are lost forever.

And yes, the level of economic activity will rise as states end their lockdowns, but it will still be much lower than it was before COVID-19 started spreading like wildfire in the United States.

At this point, even the perpetually optimistic OECD is admitting that global economic activity as a whole will be way down in 2020

If a second outbreak is seen, the OECD forecasts global growth will plunge by 7.6% in 2020, and “remain well short” of its growth activity levels from 2019, suggesting no V-shaped recovery. If a second wave can be avoided, the OECD forecasts the world economy will still contract by 6% this year and again fail to recover to pre-corona levels by the end of 2021.

“Both scenarios are sobering, as the economic activity does not and cannot return to normal under these circumstances,” OECD chief economist Laurence Boone wrote in the report.

A 6 or 7 percent decline in worldwide GDP is definitely not “normal”.

Actually, if this OECD projection turns out to be accurate, we will be talking about a “global depression” by the end of the year.

Here in the U.S., a key measure of consumer optimism just dropped by 5.4 percent even though state economies all over the country are “reopening”…

The IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index, a leading national poll on consumer confidence, declined by 5.4% in June. The index’s reading of 47.0 is at its lowest mark since September 2016. It also places the index in negative territory for the third consecutive month. For the IBD/TIPP indexes, a reading below 50.0 indicates pessimism.

But all of the optimists keep telling me that things are “getting better”.

In fact, they just keep on insisting that a new golden age for America is right around the corner.

Well, apparently the largest jewelry retailer in the U.S. doesn’t share that optimism, because they just announced that they will be closing at least 150 stores

The world’s largest retailer of diamond jewelry says it will not reopen at least 150 of its North America stores that were temporarily shuttered in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Signet Jewelers, which operates 3,172 stores globally primarily under the name brands of Kay Jewelers, Zales, Jared The Galleria Of Jewelry and Piercing Pagoda, also plans to close an additional 150 stores by the end of its fiscal year, which ends in February 2021.

Overall, the U.S. retail industry is facing a tsunami of store closings that is unlike anything we have ever seen before

As many as 25,000 U.S. stores could close permanently this year after the coronavirus pandemic devastated an industry where many mall-based retailers were already struggling.

The number would shatter the record set in 2019, when more than 9,800 stores closed their doors for good, according to a report from retail and tech data firm Coresight Research.

That sure doesn’t sound like an “economic recovery” to me.

Meanwhile, the reckless money creation that the Federal Reserve has been engaging in is starting to show up in our food prices.  According to Nielsen, we have seen some startling food inflation over the past three months…

Market-research firm Nielsen said food prices rose 5.8% in the 13 weeks from March 1 to May 30 compared with the year-ago period.

Unfortunately, this is just the beginning.  The cost of living is going to continue to rise aggressively, and this comes at a time when more than 42 million Americans have already lost their jobs.

Yes, some of those jobs are starting to come back.

But more Americans continue to lose jobs each week as well.

And economic activity will be higher than it was when virtually everything was closed down.

But more businesses are shutting their doors permanently and declaring bankruptcy on a daily basis.

This new chapter in our economic history is just getting started, and a tremendous amount of pain is ahead of us.

Of course Fed Chair Jerome Powell completely disagrees with that assessment, and he is trying really hard to convince all of us that a new economic depression has not begun

Sure, unemployment’s only comparison is the Great Depression. And businesses across the country are closed. And many people are struggling to buy food. But Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell doesn’t see any similarities.

“I don’t think that the Great Depression is a good example or likely outcome for a model of what’s happening here at all, I really don’t,” he said. “There are so many fundamental differences.”

And I would actually concur with Powell that what we are facing will not be very similar to the Great Depression of the 1930s.

In the long run, what we are facing will be far worse.

The “perfect storm” is here, and our economy is being shaken to the core.  Many people continue to be hopeful that the worst is now behind us, but what they don’t realize is that what we have experienced so far is just a warm up act for what is still to come.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of 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 have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. 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. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. 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 all many people as we possibly can.

Most U.S. States Have ‘Reopened’ Their Economies, So Why Does Unemployment Continue To Spiral Out Of Control?

This wasn’t supposed to happen.  Once states started to “reopen” their economies, the tsunami of unemployment was supposed to end.  But instead, we continue to see Americans lose jobs at a pace that is far beyond anything we have ever seen before in all of U.S. history.  All the way back in 1982, there was a week when 695,000 Americans filed initial claims for unemployment benefits, and that all-time record was never broken until this year.  Of course we have seen monster number after monster number here in 2020, and we just learned that last week another 1.877 million Americans filed new claims for unemployment benefits…

Filings for unemployment insurance claims totaled 1.877 million last week in a sign that the worst is over for the coronavirus-related jobs crisis but that the level of unemployment remains stubbornly high.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for 1.775 million new claims. The Labor Department’s total nevertheless represented a decline from the previous week’s upwardly revised total of 2.126 million.

So even though more than 40 million Americans had already lost their jobs in 2020, there were still enough people losing their jobs last week to surpass the old record from 1982 by more than a million.

Just think about that.

Overall, a grand total of 42.6 million Americans have now lost their jobs since the pandemic began, and that makes this the largest spike in unemployment in all of U.S. history by a very wide margin.

And when the monthly employment report comes out on Friday, the official U.S. unemployment rate is expected to surpass 20 percent

The numbers came the day before the Labor Department releases its nonfarm payrolls report for May. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones are expecting a decline of 8.3 million and a 20.5% unemployment rate, more than double the highest previous level since the Great Depression.

By now, everyone pretty much understands that the official unemployment rate greatly understates the true level of unemployment in this country.

But even if we take it at face value, the unemployment rate is now far higher than it has been at any point since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

With tens of millions of Americans now out of work, a lot of people are now finding it extremely difficult to pay the bills.  The following comes from an NPR article entitled “Millions Of Americans Skip Payments As Tidal Wave Of Defaults And Evictions Looms”

Americans are skipping payments on mortgages, auto loans and other bills. Normally, that could mean massive foreclosures, evictions, cars repossessions and people’s credit getting destroyed.

But much of that has been put on pause. Help from Congress and leniency from lenders have kept impending financial disaster at bay for millions of people. But that may not last for long.

An “economic recovery” was supposed to have started by now, but that isn’t happening.

And now the horrifying riots that have erupted all over the nation are going to make things even worse.

Our urban areas contain countless numbers of small businesses, and economists are warning that all of this civil unrest will be “a death blow” for many of them…

Some economists are predicting a death blow to small businesses that were already under unprecedented financial strain. If they weren’t ransacked, looted, and destroyed by hooligans, they will feel the macro effects of urban decline and flight, plummeting consumer confidence, falling property values, and worsening budgetary crises for state and local governments.

Sadly, a lot of the businesses that the rioters are destroying are actually minority-owned businesses.

What we are watching unfold is truly a great national tragedy, and it isn’t going to end any time soon.

Needless to say, there are some big companies that are going to be severely tempted to give up on our core urban areas completely.  If there is a constant threat that your stores are going to be smashed, looted or set on fire, that doesn’t make for a profitable business environment.

For example, it is being reported that Walmart may consider leaving the city of Chicago, and Mayor Lori Lightfoot is pleading with them to stay

Mayor Lightfoot said she was on a conference call with Walmart and other major retailers that had stores looted or heavily damaged during the unrest in Chicago. She said she pleaded with them to not abandon Chicago.

“I think in the case of Walmart, what they were focused on was assessing the damage. They are doing an effort to donate fresh produce, to the extent of what’s left so it doesn’t perish, and other perishables, and they are talking their time, as I would expect.”

More violence is expected around the nation this weekend, and without a doubt all of this rioting is going to have a massive impact on the U.S. economy.

Meanwhile, more than 129,000 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported around the globe during the 24 hour period that just ended, and that is the largest one day total that I have seen so far.

In other words, the coronavirus pandemic is a long, long way from over.

Despite what the talking heads in the mainstream media are telling you, the truth is that the U.S. economy is going to continue to crumble.  We have already plunged into a new economic depression, and bankers are now warning companies that the flow of credit is about to get a lot tighter

Bankers have a message for America’s debt-laden companies: raise money now, because things could get a lot worse.

The gradual reopening of businesses after months-long shutdowns and a pick up in manufacturing activity have given investors reason for optimism in recent weeks. But underwriters who cater to heavily indebted corporations are offering their clients a bleak preview of what may lie ahead.

There is so much fear in the air, and in such an environment financial institutions get very stingy with their money.

In the days ahead, it is going to become much more difficult for just about everyone to borrow money, and that is going to have very serious implications for our economic outlook.

Of course things are changing so rapidly that it has become virtually impossible to predict what U.S. economic numbers will look like in the months ahead.

So far in 2020, we have already been hit by a major global pandemic, an economic depression, and the worst civil unrest in decades.

It has been “one thing after another”, and the truth is that this “perfect storm” is just getting started…

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of 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 have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. 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. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. 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 all many people as we possibly can.

There Will Be A Lot More Rioting, Looting And Civil Unrest As The U.S. Economy Continues To Crumble

What we have been witnessing on the streets of Minneapolis is just the beginning.  Our nation is so deeply divided, and a large portion of the population is losing faith in the basic institutions that govern our society.  Personally, I don’t know how anyone can watch the video of what happened to George Floyd without having an emotional reaction.  Police brutality has been a massive problem in the United States for many years, and it has gotten to the point where most of the country no longer has faith in the police.  Of course the rioters are not helping their cause by burning down the communities that they are supposedly defending.  And after causing so much chaos on Wednesday night, protesters were back in the streets of Minneapolis on Thursday

Protests and, in some cases, violence, continued Thursday in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody after a white officer pinned him to the ground under his knee.

Hundreds of protesters flooded Minneapolis streets Thursday evening for a march through downtown. Traffic was halted as a crowd of people stretched for up to four blocks. Protesters shouted “I can’t breathe” and “no justice, no peace; prosecute the police” as volunteer marshals in highlighter-colored vests directed traffic.

Sadly, this is just a small preview of what is coming to major cities all over America.

If you think that these riots about police brutality are intense, just wait until the economic riots start.

We are moving into a time when millions upon millions of Americans will become increasingly desperate as we plunge even deeper into a new economic depression.  On Thursday, we learned that another 2.1 million Americans filed initial claims for unemployment benefits last week…

First-time claims for unemployment benefits totaled 2.1 million last week, the lowest total since the coronavirus crisis began though indicative that a historically high number of Americans remain separated from their jobs.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for 2.05 million. The total represented a decrease of 323,000 from the previous week’s upwardly revised 2.438 million.

This was the 10th week in a row when the number of new claims for unemployment benefits has been above 2 million.

As I keep reminding my readers, prior to this year the highest that number had ever been for a single week was 695,000 in 1982.

So even after so many catastrophic weeks in a row, we are still at a level that is approximately three times higher than that old record.

Overall, 40.8 million Americans have filed new claims for unemployment benefits over the past 10 weeks.  That is the greatest spike in unemployment in all of U.S. history by a very wide margin, and it means that more than one-fourth of all the jobs in the United States have already been wiped out.

But for now, the impact of those job losses has been cushioned by the extremely generous $600 a week unemployment bonuses that the federal government has been handing out, but those benefits are set to expire at the end of July

Right now, many are able to take advantage of an additional $600 a week in unemployment benefits provided by the federal government on top of each state’s standard jobless benefit. But that benefit is set to expire at the end of July if Congress does not pass another stimulus bill to extend benefits.

If those benefits are not extended we will see a massive national temper tantrum, and right now President Trump and Republican leaders in the Senate do not plan to extend them.

We shall see what happens, but we may soon have tens of millions of very angry unemployed Americans that are unable to pay their bills anymore.

And with each passing day, more bad economic news just keeps rolling in.  We just learned that orders for durable goods were down 19.4 percent on a year over year basis last month, and we also just learned that pending home sales were down 34.6 percent in April compared to the same month a year ago.

As I discussed yesterday, we are watching a full-blown economic collapse begin to unfold, and the fact that many U.S. states are starting to “reopen for business” is not going to stop the momentum that has now been created.

During the first few weeks of the pandemic, there was just a trickle of major bankruptcies, but now that trickle has become a flood

In the first few weeks of the pandemic, it was just a trickle: companies like Alaskan airline Ravn Air pushed into bankruptcy as travel came to a halt and markets collapsed. But the financial distress wrought by the shutdowns only deepened, producing what is now a wave of insolvencies washing through America’s corporations.

In May alone, some 27 companies reporting at least $50 million in liabilities sought court protection from creditors — the highest number since the Great Recession. They range from well-known U.S. mainstays such as J.C. Penney Co. and J. Crew Group Inc. to air carriers Latam Airlines Group SA and Avianca Holdings, their business decimated as travelers stayed put.

And we are watching store closings occur at a rate that we have never seen before in our entire history.

At this point, Coresight Research is projecting that about 25,000 stores will permanently close by the end of this calendar year

Coresight Research, which tracks retail openings and closings, has upped its projected store closures for 2020 from 8,000 at the beginning of the year to 15,000 at the beginning of March to about 25,000 now.

“That’s unlike anything the industry has ever seen,” Coresight CEO and founder Deborah Weinswig said. “It’s the speed with which it’s all happening which has been a little surprising.”

So much anger was building up all over America during the “good years”, and now this new economic depression is going to make things much, much worse.

When there are no jobs available and people can’t even provide the basics for their families, we are going to see frustration on a scale that is unlike anything we have ever witnessed before.

So please take careful note of what is happening in the streets of Minneapolis right now, because that is what the future is going to look like in all of our major cities.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of 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 have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. 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. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. 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 all many people as we possibly can.

Nobody Ever Imagined That The Job Losses Would Get This Bad So Quickly

If you tried to warn people in late 2019 that about 40 million Americans would lose their jobs by the middle of 2020, nobody would have believed you.  Personally, I operate a website called “The Economic Collapse Blog”, and I wouldn’t have believed you either.  Even though I have been loudly warning that this sort of an economic crisis was coming, I never imagined that we would lose so many jobs in such a short period of time.  As I discussed the other day, more than a quarter of all jobs in the United States have already been wiped out, and the job losses just keep on coming.  In fact, Boeing is currently in the process of laying off thousands of highly skilled workers

Nearly 13,000 Boeing workers, mostly in the US, are set to lose their jobs in the coming weeks, as cuts at the American aerospace giant take effect.

More layoffs are expected, some of which may affect the UK.

The reductions had been expected since Boeing revealed plans last month to slash its global workforce by 10% – or roughly 16,000 jobs.

A lot of those are very high paying jobs with good benefits, and they will not be easy to replace.

Meanwhile, major retailers all over America keep going down one after another.  On Wednesday, we learned that Tuesday Morning has decided to file for bankruptcy

Off-price retailer Tuesday Morning filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Wednesday with plans to close more than a third of its stores.

Tuesday Morning had been struggling when the coronavirus pandemic began and went into a free fall when it was forced to temporarily close its locations due to the crisis.

Just like the Boeing jobs, these are jobs that are never going to come back.

At this point, there is no way that I can write about all of the companies that are laying off workers, but one more example that I found to be quite notable is the fact that even CBS News is letting people go

“I’m really sorry,” network president Susan Zirinsky said Wednesday on an all-staff Zoom meeting about the cuts. “There is not a person who won’t be missed.”

CBS News was hit hard by a round of corporate cost-cutting that saw “a single-digit percentage” of the network’s news staffers laid off, according to an estimate given by network president Susan Zirinsky during a Wednesday afternoon all-hands conference.

The corporate elite that own CBS News have very deep pockets, and Americans are watching more news than ever right now, and so it is definitely not a good sign for the economy that even CBS News feels forced to lay off workers.

Of course many unemployed workers are not exactly “deeply suffering” yet because of the huge weekly bonuses that they are getting from the federal government right now.

Earlier today, I was directed to a post on a popular Internet forum where a newly unemployed worker was describing how great his life has become now that he is unemployed

Before COVID I was miserable.

I had a job working $14.75/hr and hated waking up most days. I’ve since been laid off (obviously) but am one of those who is making much more by NOT working.

I used to make $550-600 per week depending on my hours but since COVID began, I’m clearing just over $1000/week. My gf is in the same situation and she’s also clearing just over $1000.

Without any job to go to, he can now spend his days endlessly hanging out with his newly unemployed girlfriend, and he claims that he can’t even imagine ever going back to his old life

Today we plan to do some hiking since it’s going to be so nice out and I’ll be using my new grill to cook up some steak tonight. The gf is kind of a wine snob so she likes to splurge on really nice reds (which I’ll definitely be having later as well).

I really don’t understand people who say they’re more stressed or are fighting with their gf/wife more than before. It makes absolutely no sense to me. These have been the best 2 months I’ve had in a while. I can’t imagine going back to my old life and way of doing things. NOT HAPPENING!

The only thing that isn’t ideal right now is not being able to travel normally but I only vacationed once or twice a year before due to work/money issues. Now I’m able to save $800-1000/month with COVID stimulus and bonus so we’ll definitely be taking a nice vacation at some point this summer.

The bad news for this young couple and for tens of millions of other unemployed Americans is that President Trump and the Republicans in the U.S. Senate do not plan to extend the unemployment bonuses once they expire in July.

So from that point forward, there will be millions upon millions of Americans that are not able to pay their monthly bills.

In fact, the New York Times is already warning that we will soon be facing “a wave of evictions as government relief payments and legal protections run out for millions of out-of-work Americans”…

The United States, already wrestling with an economic collapse not seen in a generation, is facing a wave of evictions as government relief payments and legal protections run out for millions of out-of-work Americans who have little financial cushion and few choices when looking for new housing.

The hardest hit are tenants who had low incomes and little savings even before the pandemic, and whose housing costs ate up more of their paychecks. They were also more likely to work in industries where job losses have been particularly severe.

Initially, the generous unemployment bonuses that Congress passed were supposed to help tide unemployed workers over until this pandemic went away.

But what if it sticks around for multiple years like the Spanish Flu did?

And the Washington Post is now trying to convince us that there is “a good chance” that COVID-19 “will never go away”…

There’s a good chance the coronavirus will never go away.

Even after a vaccine is discovered and deployed, the coronavirus will likely remain for decades to come, circulating among the world’s population.

Yes, this virus could become a “permanent crisis”, and without a doubt the elite are already trying to use it to fundamentally reshape our society.

And as long as a certain percentage of the population is deeply afraid of this virus, economic activity will continue to be depressed at levels that are way below what we would consider to be “normal”.

As the New York Times has admitted, “an economic collapse” is already here, and it is going to be incredibly painful.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of 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 have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. 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. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. 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 all many people as we possibly can.

Will The Coronavirus Outbreak Cause A Massive Stock Market Crash?

Could it be possible that this coronavirus outbreak will be the trigger that finally bursts the biggest stock market bubble in U.S. history? As I have discussed previously, stock prices in the United States were the most overvalued that they have ever been during the month of January, and our stock market has never been more perfectly primed for a huge meltdown. But stock prices are all about what investors believe will happen in the future, and if they remain convinced that the future is bright then perhaps this stock market bubble could persist for a while longer. Unfortunately for Wall Street, this coronavirus outbreak is starting to create a wave of fear in the financial community. In fact, concern about the coronavirus pushed the Dow Jones Industrial Average down more than 600 points on Friday, and that represented the worst day for the Dow since last August

Stocks fell sharply on Friday, wiping out the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s gain for January, as investors grew increasingly worried about the potential economic impact of China’s fast-spreading coronavirus.

The Dow dropped 603.41 points, or 2.1%, to 28,256.03 in the 30-stock average’s worst day since August. The S&P 500 had its worst day since October, falling 1.8% to 3,225.52. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.6% to 9,150.94.

Up until now, investors were very confident that the Fed and the Trump administration could keep the party rolling, but now that is changing. Just consider what Ilya Feygin just told CNBC

“The theme coming into this year was the Fed and Trump are going to bail us out of any problems, but the virus is something neither one can do anything about. That’s a reason to become more fearful.”

A reason “to become more fearful”?

That certainly doesn’t sound good for stocks.

And this coronavirus outbreak has also been pushing down the price of oil

Oil prices have also suffered from the virus outbreak, because China is a big consumer of the commodity.

US oil prices are on track for their worst month since May last year, when the US-China trade war and high inventory levels weighed on prices.

Ultimately, the economic impact of this crisis will be determined by how bad this outbreak eventually becomes, and that is very uncertain at this point.

But without a doubt the coronavirus is already having a substantial impact on the Chinese economy. The following comes from CNN

The economic impact of the virus is still impossible to determine, but one state media outlet and some economists have said that China’s growth rate could drop two percentage points this quarter because of the outbreak, which has brought large parts of the country to a standstill. A decline on that scale could mean $62 billion in lost growth.

Goldman Sachs is warning that this outbreak will also cause the U.S. economy to slow down this quarter, but the bank is still convinced that next quarter will be better

The fast-spreading coronavirus could slow first quarter growth of the United States economy, according to a new report from Goldman Sachs.

Analysts at the firm forecast a 0.4 percentage point decline on US annualized growth through March. But it’s not all doom and gloom: Goldman Sachs (GS) also predicts that growth will rebound in the second quarter by roughly the same amount.

Of course the analysts over at Goldman Sachs are assuming that this coronavirus outbreak is not going to turn into a horrifying global pandemic.

But what if they are wrong?

During the last two weeks of January the number of confirmed cases got 236 times larger, and if this outbreak continues to grow at an exponential rate it is going to be absolutely catastrophic for the entire global economy.

Quite a few experts are now recognizing this reality, and that includes Tuomas Malinen

Global recession, a European banking crisis and a crash in the U.S. capital markets will produce a global economic collapse which will almost certainly overwhelm any attempts—massive and coordinated as they may be—to turn the tide by over-stretched central banks and over-indebted governments.

This is, why the coronavirus outbreak should be treated for what it is: a potential harbinger of human and economic calamity.

Whether such a scenario materializes in the weeks ahead all depends on how widely this virus spreads.

Personally, I am hoping that this outbreak fizzles out as rapidly as possible. This virus has an incubation period of up to 14 days, and wondering who might have the virus is going to drive a lot of people completely nuts.

Unfortunately, it looks like things are only going to get worse. According to a study that was just released, we could soon have “independent self-sustaining outbreaks in major cities globally”. The following comes from Natural News

A new, urgent study just published in The Lancet warns that “independent self-sustaining outbreaks in major cities globally” may be “inevitable” due to the “substantial exportation” of symptomless carriers of coronavirus. That same study also calculates that 75,815 individuals are infected right now in mainland China, where the official government numbers are currently under 10,000.

Titled, “Nowcasting and forecasting the potential domestic and international spread of the 2019-nCoV outbreak originating in Wuhan, China: a modelling study,” the study is authored by Professor Gabriel M. Leung, MD and Kathy Leung, PhD.

Coming into this year, so many of us felt such a sense of urgency, but I don’t know anyone that thought we would potentially be facing a horrific global pandemic by the end of January.

The worse this outbreak becomes, the more pain the global economy is going to feel.

And there is no way that this stock market bubble is going to survive a severe global economic downturn.

The only way anyone ever makes money in the stock market is if they get out in time. And unfortunately the ridiculously elevated prices that we have been witnessing may not last too much longer if this outbreak continues to spiral out of control.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End 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 have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. 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. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. 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.

The Mainstream Media Admits We Are In “An Auto Recession” – And It Just Continues To Get Worse

Quite a few of the most important sectors of the global economy are already “in a recession”, and yet somehow we are still supposed to believe that the economic outlook for the rest of 2020 is a positive one. I am not buying it, and I know that a lot of other people aren’t buying it either. The global economic slowdown that began last year is really picking up pace here in early 2020, and global financial markets are perfectly primed for a meltdown of epic proportions. Unfortunately, most people simply do not understand how badly the global economy has been deteriorating. For example, global auto sales have now fallen for two years in a row, and even CNN is admitting that the global auto industry has been in a “recession” for some time…

The global auto industry plunged deeper into recession in 2019, with sales dropping more than 4% as carmakers struggled to find buyers in China and India. The pain is likely to continue this year.

The number of vehicles sold across major global markets dipped to 90.3 million last year, according to analysts at LMC Automotive. That’s down from 94.4 million in 2018, and well below the record 95.2 million cars sold in 2017.

Here in the United States, people keep trying to tell us that the economy is in good shape, but last year auto sales fell here too

Nonseasonally adjusted passenger car sales in the U.S. for 2019 declined 10.9% to 4.7 million units, versus 5.3 million units in 2018, according to an S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis.

Sales of trucks, minivans and SUVs for the year totaled 12.2 million units, up 2.8% from the 2018 figure of 11.9 million units.

The overall nonseasonally adjusted U.S. vehicle sales for the period fell 1.4% to 17.0 million units, versus 17.2 million units a year ago.

Very few analysts are expecting these trends to turn around in 2020.

And considering how important the auto industry is to the global economy as a whole, that has very serious implications for all of us

Recession comes with big ramifications for the global economy. According to the International Monetary Fund, the car industry accounts for 5.7% of economic output and 8% of goods exports. It is the second largest consumer of steel and aluminum.

Meanwhile, we are experiencing a very deep transportation recession in the United States as well. The following comes from Wolf Richter

Shipment volume in the US by truck, rail, air, and barge plunged 7.9% in December 2019 compared to a year earlier, according to the Cass Freight Index for Shipments. It was the 13th month in a row of year-over-year declines, and the steepest year-over-year decline since November 2009, during the Financial Crisis

How in the world can the U.S. economy possibly be in “good shape” with absolutely horrific numbers like that?

When the amount of goods being shipped around the country by truck, rail and air is steadily falling, that is a crystal clear indication that economic conditions are slowing down.

And one of the biggest reasons why a transportation recession is upon us is because it looks like we are in a “manufacturing recession” too.

In fact, the manufacturing numbers for December were simply abysmal

US manufacturing took a turn from lousy to worse in December, according to the Manufacturing ISM Report On Business, released today, with employment, new orders and new export orders, production, backlog of orders, and inventories all contracting.

The overall Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) dropped 0.9 percentage points from November to 47.2% in December 2019, the fifth month in a row of contraction, and the fastest contraction since June 2009.

Overall, 2019 was the worst year for U.S. industrial production since 2015.

Across the Atlantic, things are even worse in Europe. The following comes from Zero Hedge

The manufacturing downturn across Europe deepened in the last month of 2019 according to the latest survey data released on Thursday.

IHS Markit Eurozone Manufacturing PMI lost momentum last month, printing at 46.3, down from 46.9 in November, if modestly above the 45.9 expected. The PMI averaged 46.4 in 4Q, a seven-year low.

When will global authorities finally admit that we have a real problem on our hands?

How much worse do the numbers have to get?

This month, the Baltic Dry Index has been plunging dramatically. For those that don’t know, the Baltic Dry Index is a key indicator of where global trade is heading, and on Monday it plummeted to a nine-month low

The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index hit a nine-month low on Monday, dragged down by falling rates of capesize and panamax segments as world trade continues to slump.

The Baltic Dry Index, which tracks rates for capesize, panamax and supramax vessels that ferry dry bulk commodities across the world, dropped 25 points, or 3.3%, to 729 (according to Refinitiv data), the lowest level since April 2019

This is not what a healthy global economy looks like.

Of course many of those in positions of authority will continue to insist that everything is just fine for as long as possible.

In fact, back in 2008 Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke kept telling us that a recession wasn’t going to happen even after the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression had already started.

Just like back then, all of the hard economic numbers that we have are all saying the same thing.

Both the U.S. economy and the global economy as a whole have been slowing down for quite a while, and it looks like big trouble is ahead of us.

That means that now is not the time to be spending lots of money, making big financial commitments or going into debt.

Those that are wise will be positioning themselves to survive the coming economic storm, but unfortunately most people are paying no heed to the warning signs.

Just like last time around, most people have tremendous faith in the system, and so they will be absolutely blindsided by the crisis that is coming.

In the end, multitudes will be expecting the government to bail them out somehow, but considering the fact that we are already 23 trillion dollars in debt that simply is not going to be possible.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End 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 have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. 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. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. 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.

Goodbye Middle Class: 50 Percent Of American Workers Make Less Than 33,000 Dollars A Year

The truth is that most American families are deeply struggling, but you hardly ever hear this from the mainstream media. Yes, about 10 percent of all American workers are making $100,000 or more a year, but most of those high paying jobs are concentrated in the major cities along the east and west coasts. For much of the rest of the country, these are very challenging times as the cost of living soars but their paychecks do not. According to the Social Security Administration, the median income in the United States last year was just $32,838.05. In other words, 50 percent of American workers made more than $32,838.05 and 50 percent of American workers made less than $32,838.05 in 2018. Let’s be generous and round that number up to $33,000, and when you break it down on a monthly basis it comes to just $2,750 a month. Of course nobody can support a middle class lifestyle for a family of four on $2,750 a month before taxes, and so in most families more than one person is working these days. In fact, in many families today more than one person is working multiple jobs in a desperate attempt to make ends meet, and it still is often not quite enough.

If you want to look at the Social Security wage statistics for yourself, you can find them right here. As you will see, I am not making these numbers up.

These days many would have us feel bad if we are not making at least $100,000 a year, but according to the report only about 10 percent of all American workers make that much money.

Instead, most Americans are in what I would call “the barely getting by” category. Here are some key facts that I pulled out of the report…

-33 percent of all American workers made less than $20,000 last year.

-46 percent of all American workers made less than $30,000 last year.

-58 percent of all American workers made less than $40,000 last year.

-67 percent of all American workers made less than $50,000 last year.

That means that approximately two-thirds of all American workers are making $4,000 or less a month before taxes.

Ouch.

But these numbers help us to understand why survey after survey has shown that most Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. After paying the bills, there just isn’t much money left for most of us.

And for an increasing number of Americans, even paying the bills has become exceedingly difficult. In fact, a brand new report from UBS says that 44 percent of all U.S. consumers “don’t make enough money to cover their expenses”…

Low-income consumers are struggling to make ends meet despite the “greatest economy ever,” and if a recession strikes or the employment cycle continues to decelerate — this could mean the average American with insurmountable debts will likely fall behind on their debt servicing payments, according to a UBS report, first reported by Bloomberg.

UBS analyst Matthew Mish wrote in a recent report that 44% of consumers don’t make enough money to cover their expenses.

That means that about half the country is flat broke and struggling just to survive financially.

Of course those at the top of the economic food chain often don’t have a lot of sympathy for those that are hurting. Many of them have the attitude that those that are struggling should just go out and get one of the “good jobs” that the mainstream media is endlessly touting.

But most jobs in the United States are not “good jobs”.

Today, the poverty level for a household of four in the United States is $25,750. More than 40 percent of the workers in this country make less than that each year.

Starting a business is always an option, but that takes money, and thanks to government regulations it is harder than ever to run a small business successfully.

Just look at what is happening to our dairy farmers. There are few occupations that are more quintessentially “American” than being a dairy farmer, and since most people drink milk and eat cheese, you would think that it would be a pretty safe profession.

But instead, dairy farms are shutting down at a pace that is absolutely chilling all over the nation. For example, just check out what has been going on in Wisconsin

Wisconsin lost another 42 dairy farms in July, and since January 1, has lost 491 farms, reports the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

At this rate, the Dairy State could lose 735 dairy farms this year, which would be a decline of 9%. In 2018, the state lost 691 farms, a rate of decline of 7.9%.

Over the last decade the state has lost more than 5,000 farms, or 40% of its licensed dairy farms. To state the obvious, the current rate of exits is more than double that of the last decade.

So why is this happening?

Government.

In profession after profession, government control freaks have made it nearly impossible to make a living, and this has pushed the percentage of Americans that are self-employed to historic lows.

If you are struggling right now, I want you to know that you are not alone. There are tens of millions of other Americans that are really hurting in this economy, and the bad news is that economic conditions will soon get a lot worse.

But you can make it through whatever is ahead. You just have to keep believing.

A lot of people accuse me of spreading “doom and gloom”, but that is not true at all. There is hope in understand what is happening, and there is hope in getting prepared for the hard times that are ahead. When you take steps to prepare, you are telling yourself and everyone around you that you believe that you can make it through the storm that is coming.

Or you could just have blind faith in the system, even though it is exceedingly obvious that the system is crumbling all around us. Those that are blindly trusting the system to take care of them are building their dreams on a foundation of sand, and when the waves come crashing in those dreams are going to get washed away very quickly.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End 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 have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I can only allow this to happen if this “About the Author” section is included with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. 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. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. 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.

A Shocking New Survey Finds That Most Americans Are Completely Unprepared For The Next Recession

Just like in 2008, most Americans are living right on the edge financially, and so any sort of an economic downturn is going to be extremely painful for tens of millions of American families. When you have not built up a financial cushion, any sort of a setback can be absolutely disastrous. During the last recession, millions of Americans suddenly lost their jobs, and because most of them were living paycheck to paycheck a lot of them suddenly couldn’t pay their mortgages. In the end, millions of Americans lost their homes during the “subprime mortgage meltdown”, and today the housing bubble is even larger than it was back then. Sadly, the reality of the matter is that many of us are just barely scraping by from month to month, and that is a very dangerous position to be in.

A new survey that was just released shows just how vulnerable American consumers have become at this point in time. According to the survey, the top financial priority for 38 percent of all Americans is just trying to pay the bills, and for 19 percent of all Americans it is dealing with credit card debt. The following comes from Fox Business

Among survey respondents in the nationally representative poll, 38 percent said their top financial priority is “just staying current on living expenses or getting caught up on all the bills.” Almost 3 in 10 respondents (29 percent) said their chief priority was “saving more money,” and 19 percent indicated they were mainly working on paying down debt from products like credit cards and student loans.

So that means that for nearly 60 percent of all Americans, the top financial priority each month is either finding a way to pay the bills or dealing with credit card debt.

And if you are struggling to pay the bills each month or you are drowning in credit card debt, the truth is that you are definitely not ready for the next recession.

The same survey also discovered that a very large percentage of Americans are not following any sort of a financial budget

More than a decade into the longest economic expansion on record, almost two-fifths of people said in a new Bankrate poll that their main financial priority was just keeping their heads above water on living expenses rather than saving money.

Nearly as many of those surveyed said that they’re not following financial budgets, according to Bankrate’s September Financial Security Poll.

So many people out there spend money whenever they feel like it and they don’t have any sort of a plan for their finances.

And then when they get deep into debt they wonder how that could have possibly happened.

It is so important to take charge of your money and to have a plan for where you want to go financially. Because if you don’t have a plan for your money, I promise you that somebody else does. As many of us have learned the hard way, it is all too easy to fall victim to all of the financial predators that are constantly circling these days. The big financial institutions want to get Americans into as much debt as possible, because the deeper we are in debt the more money they make.

In our society, everything has become all about extracting as much money out of you as possible. Even when we are at the checkout counter at the supermarket we are asked if we want to get some “cash back” so that they can charge us a “convenience fee” and make even more money. And of course most of the money that is extracted out of us ultimately ends up at the very top of the financial pyramid, and as a result the gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” continues to grow.

In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau is telling us that the gap between the rich and the poor is now “greater than it has ever been”

In the midst of the longest economic expansion the United States has ever seen, with poverty and unemployment rates at historic lows, the separation between rich and poor from 2017 and 2018 was greater than it has ever been, federal data show.

To be fair, the U.S. Census Bureau has only been measuring this since 1967, and so it is entirely possible that things could have been even worse earlier in our history.

But the numbers do clearly show that the gap has been steadily widening for years, and at this point wealth inequality in the U.S. is far greater than it is in any country in Europe

The Gini index measures wealth distribution across a population, with zero representing total equality and 1 representing total inequality, where all wealth is concentrated in a single household. The indicator has been rising steadily during the past several decades. When the Census Bureau began studying income inequality more than 50 years ago, the Gini index was 0.397. In 2018, the Gini index rose to 0.485.

By comparison, no European country had a Gini index greater than 0.38 between 2017 and 2018.

So what this means is that we have a small group of people at the top of the pyramid doing really, really well, but meanwhile most of the rest of us are deeply struggling.

In fact, survey after survey has shown that the vast majority of Americans are currently living paycheck to paycheck.

The way that our entire system is structured greatly favors Wall Street, the big banks, the largest corporations and those with enormous amounts of money. And they are able to maintain control of the system by literally buying elections and controlling public opinion through their control of the mainstream media. Our founders were deeply suspicious of large concentrations of power, and we need to return to the values that our nation was founded upon if we ever hope to turn things around.

Unfortunately, more Americans that ever are convinced that socialism is the answer to the problems that I just discussed, and this is fueling the rise of politicians such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

But socialist experiments have failed all throughout human history, and socialism would fail here too.

Big government is never the answer. Sadly, we already have the biggest government in the history of the world, and many Americans seem absolutely determined to make it even bigger.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time. Of course the most important thing that we can share with people is the gospel of Jesus Christ, and if you would like to learn more about how you can become a Christian I would encourage you to read this article.

North America’s Bird Population Is Collapsing – Nearly 3 Billion Birds Have Been Wiped Out Since 1970

All around us, our world is literally in a state of collapse, but most people don’t seem to care. I spend much of my time writing about the inevitable collapse of our economic and financial systems, but they are only one part of the story. These days, millions upon millions of us are spending countless hours in this “virtual world” that we have created, and that is preventing many of us from understanding what is really going on in “the real world”. Where I live, I can literally keep the doors wide open for hours without worrying about bugs coming in, because insect populations are disappearing at a pace that is frightening. They are calling it “the insect apocalypse”, and some scientists are warning that they could all be gone in 100 years. And this dramatic decline in the insect population is one of the main reasons why North America’s bird population is collapsing. In the old days, I remember the singing of birds often greeting me in the morning, but these days I am never awakened by birds. That might make sense if I lived right in the middle of a major city, but I don’t. I live in a very rural location, and I do see birds out here, but not nearly as many as I would expect.

Sadly, the scientific evidence is confirming what many of us had feared. According to a scientific study that was just released, North America’s bird population has fallen by “nearly 3 billion birds since 1970″…

If you’ve noticed fewer birds in your backyard than you used to, you’re not mistaken.

North America has lost nearly 3 billion birds since 1970, a study said Thursday, which also found significant population declines among hundreds of bird species, including those once considered plentiful.

On second thought, I don’t know if the term “collapse” is strong enough to describe what we are facing.

In 1970, there were about 10 billion birds in North America.

Now, there are about 7 billion.

When are we finally going to admit that we have a major crisis on our hands?

Hopefully it will be before the count gets to zero.

Overall, we are talking about a total decline of approximately 30 percent

“We saw this tremendous net loss across the entire bird community,” says Ken Rosenberg, an applied conservation scientist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, N.Y. “By our estimates, it’s a 30% loss in the total number of breeding birds.”

Could humanity survive without birds?

Probably, but this is yet another sign that the planetary food chain is in the process of totally breaking down. Despite all of our advanced technology, we are not going to survive without an environment that supports life, and at this moment that environment is being destroyed at a staggering pace.

According to the lead author of the study, the evidence they compiled “showed pervasive losses among common birds across all habitats, including backyard birds”…

“Multiple, independent lines of evidence show a massive reduction in the abundance of birds,” said study lead author Ken Rosenberg, a senior scientist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and American Bird Conservancy, in a statement. “We expected to see continuing declines of threatened species. But for the first time, the results also showed pervasive losses among common birds across all habitats, including backyard birds.”

I like having birds in my backyard. In fact, I wish that I had a whole lot more.

Two of the largest factors being blamed for this stunning decline are “toxic pesticides” and “insect decline”. We have already talked about the “insect apocalypse” which is raging all around us, but I should say a few words about pesticides. Yes, they may help to protect our crops and our lawns, but in the process we are literally poisoning everything.

And that includes ourselves. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “there are traces of 29 different pesticides in the average American’s body”, and many believe that this is one of the reasons why cancer rates have skyrocketed in recent decades.

These days it seems like just about everyone knows at least one person with cancer. If you are one of those rare people that doesn’t know a single person with cancer, please leave a comment below, because I would love to hear your story. It has been estimated that one out of every three women and one out of every two men will get cancer in their lifetimes, but considering the rate that we are currently polluting our environment those estimates may be too conservative.

Without a doubt, several of the big pesticide companies are some of the most evil corporations on the entire planet, and yet most Americans don’t really seem to care about the death and destruction that they have unleashed all around us.

As with so many other things, this is yet another example that shows that we have no future on the path that we are currently on, and the clock is ticking.

Don’t you want a world in which the birds sing to you in the morning? Pete Marra, one of the scientists involved in the study, told the press that a number of bird species “that were very common when I was a kid” are among those being hit the hardest…

“We can all talk through the stories about there being fewer and fewer birds, but it’s not until you really put the numbers on it that you can really grasp the magnitude of these results,” Marra said. “We’re now seeing common species that have declined, things like red-winged blackbirds and grackles and meadowlarks — species that I grew up with, that were very common when I was a kid. That is the most surprising and most disturbing part.”

Everywhere around us, we can see decay, decline or collapse. This stunning drop in the bird population is just one more example.

But just like with so many other issues, most people don’t really care, and most people certainly don’t want to change.

So in the end we will reap what we have sown, and it will not be pleasant.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Is There A Hidden Political Agenda? The Mainstream Media Is Suddenly Full Of Stories About The Coming Recession

All of a sudden, it seems like the mainstream media just can’t stop talking about “the coming recession”. If you go to Google News and type in the word “recession”, you will literally get dozens of articles from the last couple of days with “recession” in the headline. And of course it is true that there are signs of global economic trouble all around us, and I have been documenting them on my website all throughout 2019. So we don’t want to criticize the mainstream media when they actually decide to tell the truth, because a recession is definitely coming, but could it be possible that there is also a hidden political agenda at work? The economy is generally regarded to be one of the bright spots for President Trump, and political operatives on the left clearly understand that a major economic downturn now would spell almost certain doom for Trump’s chances of winning the 2020 election. And when mainstream reporters talk about the possibility of a recession as we approach the next election, many of them almost seem gleeful as they describe how it could hurt Trump politically. Ultimately, when things start to really get bad it is inevitable that the mainstream media will place the blame directly at the feet of Trump. It is easy to imagine a narrative along the lines of “Trump’s handling of the economy has plunged the nation into a recession” being relentlessly pounded into the heads of American voters over the next year. And if the end result is Trump being voted out of office, more than 90 percent of those that work for the big news companies will be just fine with that.

This week, we have seen an absolute explosion in the number of stories about the possibility of an imminent recession. The following are just a few of the stories I came across while doing research earlier today…

A global recession may be coming a lot sooner than anyone thought

Recession watch: 6 financial moves to make when the economy slows down

Trump 2020 can’t afford a recession

The recession question we should be asking isn’t ‘when’ but ‘how bad?’

Recession fears explained in one simple sentence

Recession ahead? Dow, stocks tank on fears that bond market signals a downturn

Recession indicator with perfect track record flashing red

Recession signs are flashing, but Americans are still shopping at Walmart

Worried about a recession? Don’t panic, but be prepared

Of course many of these stories were sparked by a major event that we just witnessed on Wall Street. The following comes from Fox Business

The yield curve is blaring a recession warning.

The spread between the U.S. 2-year and 10-year yields on Wednesday turned negative for the first time since 2007. Such a development has occurred ahead of each and every U.S. recession of the last 50 years, sometimes leading by as much as 24 months.

Yes, it is possible that the yield curve could be wrong this time, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

And the economic news that is coming in from all over the world just continues to confirm that conditions are deteriorating. On Thursday, we learned that U.S. manufacturing has slumped back into contraction territory, and earlier this week we got some really troubling news from Germany and China

Germany – Europe’s largest economy – reported that its gross domestic product, a measure of an economy’s health, went negative in the second quarter.

In China, the country’s industrial output in July hit a 17-year low, Detrick said. Retail sales and investment in real estate and other fixed assets weakened, an indication the world’s second-biggest economy is feeling pressure.

So it isn’t as if the mainstream media is being dishonest with us in this case. Global economic activity is most definitely slowing down, and many believe that things will get much worse during the second half of this year.

And a global economic slowdown would be terrible news for the Trump campaign, because their entire narrative depends on President Trump making the economy great again. A substantial percentage of American voters are convinced that since he is a billionaire, Trump must really understand the economy very well. And according to a CNN poll from earlier this year, the performance of the economy is one of the main reasons for his current level of support…

Right now, the main reason voters approve of Trump’s job performance is the economy. A CNN poll from late May found that 26% of those who approve of Trump’s job performance said it was mainly because of the economy. That was more than double the next most commonly given answer. Additionally, 8% said jobs/unemployment was the main reason for why they approved of Trump. Among those who disapproved, few said anything related to the economy was the main reason why they disapproved of Trump. For example, only 1% said the Trump tax cuts.

But if the U.S. economy plunges into a painful recession, the game completely changes.

For those on the left that would like to see Trump voted out in 2020, the timing of the next recession will be key. If the next recession doesn’t begin until the second half of 2020, there may not be enough economic pain before November to swing the election in the favor of the Democratic candidate. So what the left really needs is for a recession to begin during the second half of 2019 or the first half of 2020 so that Americans are really suffering by the time election day rolls around.

I know that is a very sick way to think, but these are the sorts of conversations that these people actually have. For example, on his own television show Bill Maher publicly stated that a recession would be “worth it” if Trump is voted out in 2020. As we approach the next election, many on the left will be so desperate to see Trump gone that they will be willing to pay just about any price to see that happen.

And to be honest, the U.S. economy is definitely way overdue for a major downturn, and so it is only prudent to get prepared for rough times ahead. At this point, even USA Today is providing us with “recession survival tips”…

Do you really need that bundle package from your cable provider, or to pay a gardener to mow your lawn every week? Now might be a good time to figure out what’s an essential expense, and what you can let go.

“Review the family budget to see what could be reduced or cut if there was a sudden drop in monthly income,” says Richard Fleming, a certified financial planner based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. “Be prepared to make those reductions (or) cuts as soon as it becomes necessary.”

That is actually really good advice.

Now is a time to cut costs, get out of debt and build up your emergency fund.

The coming year promises to be quite chaotic, and those that hate President Trump are likely to pull out all the stops in an all-out attempt to get him voted out in 2020.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

This Wasn’t Supposed To Happen: U.S. Employment Growth Just Plunged To The Lowest Level In 9 Years

If the U.S. economy was heading into a recession, we would expect to see a slowdown in the employment numbers, and that is precisely what is happening. According to payroll processing firm ADP, the U.S. economy only added 27,000 new jobs in May, and that is way below the number that is needed just to keep up with population growth. Of course some in the mainstream media are attempting to put a positive spin on this, but there really is no denying that this is a truly awful number. In fact, we have not seen a number this bad in more than 9 years

Job creation skidded to a near-halt in May in another sign that the U.S. economic momentum is slowing.

Companies added just 27,000 new positions during the month, according to a report Wednesday from payroll processing firm ADP and Moody’s Analytics that was well below Dow Jones estimates of 173,000.

The reading was the worst since around the time the economic expansion began and the jobs market bottomed in March 2010 with a loss of 113,000.

9 years is a very long time, but this terrible employment number is perfectly consistent with all of the other horrible economic numbers that have been rolling in lately.

Time after time in recent weeks I have been using phrases such as “since the last recession” to describe what we are witnessing. The U.S. economy has not been in such rough shape in nearly a decade, and things just keep getting worse.

So how did Wall Street respond to the latest employment news?

Actually, stock prices surged, because investors are super excited about the prospect that the Federal Reserve could soon lower interest rates

Stocks added to strong week-to-date performance on Wednesday as investors grew even more confident that the Federal Reserve will lower interest rates this year to reignite an economy wounded by trade battles.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 207.39 points to 25,539.57, while the S&P 500 advanced 0.8% to 2,826.15. The Nasdaq Composite closed 0.6% higher at 7,575.48.

Pushing interest rates all the way to the floor certainly helped the stock market recover after the last recession, but this time around there is a major twist.

The U.S. is currently engaged in a major trade war with China, and the normal tools that the Fed utilizes may not be powerful enough to overcome the negative effects of such a conflict.

And to make things worse, now the U.S. is also starting a trade war with Mexico. On Wednesday, President Trump made it clear that “not nearly enough” progress had been achieved during negotiations with Mexican officials…

President Donald Trump said “not nearly enough” progress was made in talks with Mexico to mitigate the flow of undocumented migrants and illegal drugs, raising the likelihood that the U.S. will follow through with tariffs next week.

So tariffs will be slapped on Mexican goods starting on Monday, and President Trump seems quite excited about this

“If no agreement is reached, Tariffs at the 5% level will begin on Monday, with monthly increases as per schedule,” Trump tweeted Wednesday. “The higher the Tariffs go, the higher the number of companies that will move back to the USA!”

Of course the Mexicans will almost certainly retaliate, and both countries will start seeing higher prices and significant job losses.

In fact, one study has concluded that the U.S. economy could lose more than 400,000 jobs as a result of these tariffs on Mexico. The following comes from CNN

If the 5% US tariff on all goods from Mexico takes effect and is maintained, more than 400,000 jobs in the United States could be lost, an analysis released this week found.

The tariffs on Mexico, set to go in effect on Monday, would cost Texas alone more than 117,000 jobs, according to the analysis by The Perryman Group, an economic consulting firm. Texas is Mexico’s largest export market, making the two economies closely intertwined.

And the truth is that those numbers could actually be on the low side.

According to Marc Thiessen, a trade war with Mexico would literally put millions of U.S. jobs at risk…

Indeed, Mexican tariffs could be even more devastating for Americans than those imposed on China. Deutsche Bank estimates the tariffs could raise the average price of automobiles sold in the United States by $1,300. Indeed, U.S. and Mexican auto-supply chains are so deeply integrated that many parts cross the border multiple times before they end up in a finished vehicle — which means they would be hit by tariffs multiple times, compounding costs. Ten million U.S. workers’ jobs depend on this supply chain; tariffs would put those jobs at risk, including those of the “forgotten Americans” in the industrial Midwest whose jobs Trump vowed to protect.

We shall see what happens, but the outlook for the U.S. economy for the rest of this year is not good at all, and beyond that things look exceedingly grim.

Hopefully I am wrong, but it certainly appears that a major economic downturn is developing just in time for the 2020 presidential election.

There is one more thing that I would like to mention before I wrap up this article. This week, a Russian news source reported that Russia and China “will sign an agreement” regarding the use of their own national currencies in bilateral trade with one another…

Russia and China will sign an agreement on possible payments in national currencies. A decree of the Russian government on signing of a relevant agreement with the Chinese side was released on the official portal of legal information on Wednesday.

According to the draft decree approved through that government document, “settlements and payments for goods, service and direct investments between economic entities of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China are made in accordance with the international practice and the legislation of the sides’ states with the use of foreign currency, the Russian currency (rubles) and the Chinese currency (yuan).”

In other words, they are dumping the dollar in favor of their own national currencies when trading with each other. This is a direct threat to the international dominance of the U.S. dollar, and other countries have been discussing similar moves.

For decades, the U.S. dollar has essentially been a global currency. More dollars are actually used outside of the United States than within this country, and most Americans don’t realize that.

This has given us some enormous advantages in the global marketplace, and it could be just a matter of time before those advantages begin to disappear.

Things that used to take months or years to happen are now happening in a matter of days. The pace of change is really picking up, and right now the momentum of events is heading in a direction that is definitely not favorable to the United States.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Goodbye Middle Class: The Percentage Of Wealth Owned By The Top 10% Just Got Even BIGGER

The middle class in America is being systematically eviscerated, and it is getting worse with each passing year. As you will see below, one new study has found that 10 percent of Americans now own 70 percent of all the wealth. Once upon a time, the United States had the largest and most vibrant middle class in the history of the world, but pretty soon we are just going to have the ultra-wealthy and everyone else. Our system has been designed to funnel as much wealth as possible to the very top of the financial pyramid, and that means that most of the rest of us are deeply struggling. And when you are just barely getting by from month to month, all it takes is one bad break to knock you completely out of the middle class and into poverty.

I have been chronicling the demise of the middle class for many years, but I didn’t know that the numbers had gotten this bad. According to a study that was recently conducted by the Federal Reserve, the percentage of wealth controlled by the top 10 percent of U.S. households has shot up from 60 percent in 1989 to 70 percent today

Deutsche Bank’s Torsten Sløk says that the distribution of household wealth in America has become even more disproportionate over the past decade, with the richest 10% of U.S. households representing 70% of all U.S. wealth in 2018, compared with 60% in 1989, according to a recent study by researchers at the Federal Reserve.

The study finds that the share of wealth among the richest 1% increased to 32% from 23% over the same period.

The ironic thing is that the Federal Reserve has actually done much to cause this high concentration of wealth among the elite. In response to the last financial crisis, the Federal Reserve pumped unprecedented amounts of money into the financial system, and this has created the greatest stock market bubble in our history

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +2.06% has climbed nearly 300% since its closing low in March 2009, the S&P 500 index SPX, +2.14% has climbed 325%, while the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +2.65% has soared 535% over the same period.

Meanwhile, wages have stagnated for ordinary Americans. According to the Social Security Administration, the median yearly wage in the United States is currently just $30,533. In other words, 50 percent of all American workers make at least that much per year, and 50 percent of all American workers make that much or less per year.

$30,533 a year breaks down to approximately $2,500 per month, and you simply can’t support a middle class lifestyle for a typical American family on $2,500 a month.

Meanwhile, the cost of living for middle class families has exploded higher over the past few decades…

Everyday expenses continue to rise, and as the shadow inflation increases, it also threatens to wipe out the middle class – what’s left of it anyway. In fact, middle-class life is now 30% more expensive than it was 20 years ago, according to a separate report by CNBC. The cost of things such as college, housing, and child care has risen precipitously: Tuition at public universities doubled between 1996 and 2016 and housing prices in popular cities have quadrupled, Alissa Quart, author and executive director of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, tells CNBC Make It.

As the cost of living has risen faster than our incomes have, more Americans have been squeezed out of the middle class with each passing month.

As a result, an increasing number of Americans have become financially dependent on the government, and our rapidly expanding welfare state is a big reason why the federal government is now 22 trillion dollars in debt.

Of course many Americans are no longer able to make it at all, and the ranks of the homeless are swelling all over the nation. In fact, we just got some brand new numbers about the growth of homelessness in the Los Angeles area that are absolutely eye-popping

The number of homeless people counted across Los Angeles County jumped 12% over the past year to nearly 59,000, with more young and old residents and families on the streets, officials said Tuesday.

The majority of the homeless were found within the city of Los Angeles, which saw a 16% increase to 36,300, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority said in presenting January’s annual count to the county Board of Supervisors.

Yes, it is true that we have a record number of millionaires on the west coast in 2019, but meanwhile our major west coast cities are being transformed into rotting, decaying nightmares right in front of our eyes.

During a recent interview with Laura Ingraham, Dr. Drew Pinsky admitted that there is “a complete breakdown of the basic needs of civilization in Los Angeles right now”

“We have a complete breakdown of the basic needs of civilization in Los Angeles right now,” Pinsky told host Laura Ingraham. “We have the three prongs of airborne disease, tuberculosis is exploding, (and) rodent-borne. We are one of the only cities in the country that doesn’t have a rodent control program, and sanitation has broken down.”

Pinsky’s comments followed news that Los Angeles police officer had contracted typhoid fever, a rare and life-threatening illness that fewer than 350 Americans contract each year.

Los Angeles had a typhus outbreak last summer and will likely have another this summer, Pinsky said. Meanwhile, bubonic plague – a pandemic that killed tens of millions of people during the 14th century – is “likely” already present in Los Angeles, Pinsky added.

Despite all of our great wealth and despite all of our advanced technology, this is what life is like in our second largest city right now.

And if things are degenerating this badly during stable times, what are things going to look like once our society plunges into chaos?

Ultimately, the American Dream is about being self-sufficient. Most people want to be able to work hard and provide a nice life for their families, but that is becoming harder and harder to do.

No matter which political party has been in power in Washington, the middle class has continued to shrink and more wealth and power has become concentrated in the hands of the elite.

Now we stand on the precipice of the next major economic downturn, and many are deeply concerned about what that is going to mean for the future of our society.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

This Is Not “Normal”: There Have Been More Than 500 Tornadoes In The U.S. During The Last 30 Days

The mainstream media has been using the term “uncharted territory” to describe the unusual tornado outbreaks that have been happening in the middle of the country, but I don’t think that truly captures the historic nature of what we are witnessing. Over the last 30 days, there have been more than 500 tornadoes in the United States. That is not normal. In fact, Tuesday was the 12th day in a row when at least eight tornadoes were spawned, and that is a new all-time record. Community after community in the Midwest now looks like a “war zone”, and billions upon billions of dollars of damage has already been done. But this crisis is far from over, because forecasters are telling us that more powerful storms will roar through the middle of the country on Wednesday.

Since 1998, there has been an average of 279 tornadoes during the month of May. So the fact that we have had more than 500 over the last 30 days means that we are running way, way above normal

In the last week alone, the authorities have linked tornadoes to at least seven deaths and scores of injuries. Federal government weather forecasters logged preliminary reports of more than 500 tornadoes in a 30-day period — a rare figure, if the reports are ultimately verified — after the start of the year proved mercifully quiet.

The barrage continued Tuesday night, as towns and cities across the Midwest took shelter from powerful storms. Tornadoes carved a line of devastation from eastern Kansas through Missouri, ripping trees and power lines in Lawrence, Kan., southwest of Kansas City, and pulverizing houses in nearby Linwood.

According to the National Weather Service, there were more than 50 tornadoes over Memorial Day weekend alone, and at this point there have been at least 8 tornadoes in the U.S. for 12 consecutive days

Tuesday was the 12th consecutive day with at least eight tornado reports, breaking the record, according to Dr. Marsh. The storms have drawn their fuel from two sources: a high-pressure area that pulled the Gulf of Mexico’s warm, moist air into the central United States, where it combined with the effects of a trough trapped over the Rockies, which included strong winds.

The devastation that has been left behind by these storms has been immense. When Dayton assistant fire chief Nicholas Hosford appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America”, he told viewers that in his city there are “homes flattened, entire apartment complexes destroyed, businesses throughout our community where walls have collapsed”.

Countless numbers of Americans have had their lives completely turned upside down, and of course the Midwest has already been reeling from unprecedented flooding in recent months.

So far this year, much of the focus has been on the historic flooding along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, but now severe flooding along the Arkansas River is threatening to break all-time records

Heavy rainfall over the past few weeks is threatening all-time May records and swelling rivers to record levels in parts of Arkansas and Oklahoma.

The National Weather Service in Little Rock, Arkansas, didn’t mince words Sunday, expecting historic, record flooding along the Arkansas River from Toad Suck Reservoir northwest of Little Rock to the Oklahoma border that could have impacts lasting well into the summer.

In fact, USA Today is plainly stating that both states are “bracing for their worst-ever flooding”…

Oklahoma and Arkansas were bracing for their worst-ever flooding as a new wave of storms forecast to roll through the region threatened to further bloat the Arkansas River that already has reached record crests in some areas.

Forecasters reported tornadoes, high winds, hail and heavy rain across the region on Monday, triggering evacuations and high-water rescues. The storms are the latest to rip through the Midwest over the past two weeks, leaving at least nine dead and a trail of damage from high winds and flooding.

Of course let us not forget what is happening along the Mississippi River either. The flooding has been called “the worst in over 90 years”, and in some parts of the river new records are already being set

For example, In Vicksburg, Mississippi, the river went above flood stage on Feb. 17, and has remained in flood ever since. The weather service said this is the longest continuous stretch above flood stage since 1927.

In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the Mississippi first rose above flood stage in early January, and has been above that level ever since, the National Weather Service said. If this record-long stretch extends well into June, it would break the record from 1927, according to the Weather Channel.

And farther north, the Mississippi River at the Quad Cities of Iowa and Illinois saw its longest stretch above major flood stage ever recorded, even surpassing that of 1927.

None of this is “normal”, and prior to the month of May we had already witnessed the wettest 12 months in all of U.S. history.

All of this wet weather has been absolutely disastrous for Midwest farmers, and so far in 2019 agricultural production is way, way below expectations. In the months ahead, we should all be prepared for much higher prices at the grocery store.

Unfortunately, more wet weather is on the way. According to the Weather Channel, another series of very powerful storms will rip through the middle of the country on Wednesday…

Strong to severe thunderstorms are expected through Tuesday night from Iowa to Oklahoma, which may produce areas of locally heavy rain and flash flooding. Some clusters of storms may persist into Wednesday morning in the Ozarks.

Then, another rash of thunderstorms with heavy rain is expected Wednesday and Wednesday night from North Texas into Oklahoma, Arkansas and southern Missouri that could only trigger more flash flooding and aggravate ongoing river flooding.

Weather patterns are going absolutely crazy, and we have never seen a year quite like this in modern American history.

So what is going to happen if weather patterns get even crazier and natural disasters just continue to become even more frequent and even more powerful?

You may want to start thinking about that, because that is exactly what many people believe is going to happen.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

There Is An Increasing Amount Of Buzz That China Could Invoke The Rare Earth “Nuclear Option” In The Trade War

If China wants to cause a massive amount of pain for the U.S. economy in this trade war, they certainly have the firepower to do so. Today, China accounts for more than 80 percent of the world’s rare earth element production, and approximately 80 percent of the rare earth elements that are used by U.S. companies are imported from China. The U.S. does have one facility that mines rare earth elements in California, but everything that is mined there has to be shipped to China for processing. So at this point we do not have the ability to supply our own rare earth element needs, and that gives the Chinese a tremendous amount of leverage.

Without rare earth elements, modern society as we have come to know it would not be able to function.

Today, rare earth elements are used in the production of cell phones, televisions, computers, DVD players, speakers, cameras, electric car motors, jet engines, satellites, lasers, wind turbines and superconductors.

In other words, without rare earth elements we would not be able to produce any of those things. And since the Chinese have such a dominant position in the global marketplace, that gives them an incredible amount of power.

Of course the Chinese understand this very well, and shortly after trade talks with the U.S. completely collapsed Chinese President Xi Jinping made it a point to visit one of the most important rare earth production facilities in China. Needless to say, the purpose of that visit was to send a very clear message to the United States. And once the Trump administration moved to cripple Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, there was a lot of speculation in the mainstream media that China may consider cutting off rare earth exports to the U.S. in response

The United States last week threatened to cut supplies of US technology needed by Chinese telecom champion Huawei, which Washington suspects is in bed with China’s military.

The US move has fanned speculation that Xi could impose retaliatory measures and in an indication of the importance of rare earths to the US, Washington did not include them in a tariffs increase on Chinese goods this month.

If China made such a move, it would take the trade war to an entirely different level. Some are referring to this as China’s “nuclear option”, and they will not use it lightly.

But if they do decide to go there, it will be absolutely devastating

“China could shut down nearly every automobile, computer, smartphone and aircraft assembly line outside of China if they chose to embargo these materials,” James Kennedy, president of ThREE Consulting, wrote Tuesday in National Defense, a US industry publication.

Just consider the implications of that statement for a moment.

If China wants to do so, they could essentially shut down all auto, phone, computer and aircraft manufacturers in the United States once their existing supplies of rare earth elements run out.

If I was an executive at one of those companies, I would be hoarding rare earth elements like crazy right now.

Unfortunately, the rhetoric on both sides of this trade war just continues to intensify. This week, Chinese President Xi Jinping referred to this trade war as “the new Long March”

“Today, on the new Long March, we must overcome various major risks and challenges from home and abroad,” state news agency Xinhua paraphrased Xi as saying, referring to the 1934-36 trek of Communist Party members fleeing a civil war to a remote rural base, from where they re-grouped and eventually took power in 1949.

“Our country is still in a period of important strategic opportunities for development, but the international situation is increasingly complicated,” he said.

And the Trump administration decided to make China even more upset by sailing two warships through the Taiwan Strait

Just in case the “world tech and trade war I” was not enough to send US-China relations back decades, on Wednesday the US military sent two Navy destroyers through the Taiwan Strait in its latest transit through the sensitive waterway, “angering China” at a time of tense relations between the world’s two biggest economies.

While trade war between the two superpowers is raging, so far at least there have been no shooting incidents, and yet the US seems eager to provide just the right “excuse” for a trade war to become a “kinetic” one, as Taiwan is one of a growing number of flashpoints in the U.S.-China relationship, where in addition to the increasingly bitter trade war, China’s increasingly muscular military posture in the South China Sea has prompted the United States to conducts frequent freedom-of-navigation patrols.

The longer this trade war lasts, the angrier that the Chinese are going to become.

Sadly, most Americans don’t even seem to realize that a trade war is happening, but over in China this is what everyone is talking about right now. In fact, a new song entitled “Trade War” has just gone viral on one of their biggest social media platforms

A song titled “Trade War,” (video below) has gone viral on one the largest Chinese social media platforms, WeChat, generating more than 100,000 views amid a deepening trade war between the US and China. The song begins with a chorus singing “Trade war! Trade war! Not afraid of the outrageous challenge! Not afraid of the outrageous challenge! A trade war is happening over the Pacific Ocean!” reports Bloomberg.

You can listen to the song for yourself on YouTube right here.

If we stay on this path, relations with China are going to continue to deteriorate, and that has ominous implications for our future.

The two largest economies on the entire planet are now locked in a great struggle, and both sides are absolutely determined to emerge victorious.

It may not happen immediately, but at some point the Chinese will be very tempted to cut off all exports of rare earth elements to the United States, and if that happens we will immediately start hearing squeals of panic from many of the largest U.S. corporations.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Even Before The Recession Has Officially Begun, Some Large U.S. Firms Are Laying Off Thousands Of Workers

If the U.S. economy is “booming” and very bright days are ahead, then why are many large U.S. corporations laying off thousands of workers? Layoffs are starting to come fast and furious now, and this is happening even though the coming recession has not even officially started yet. Of course many are convinced that we are actually in a recession at this moment. In fact, according to John Williams of shadowstats.com if the government was actually using honest numbers they would show that we have been in a recession for quite some time. But the narrative that the mainstream media keeps feeding us is that the U.S. economy is “doing well” and that the outlook for the future is positive. Well, if that is true then why are big companies laying off so many workers right now?

Let’s start by talking about Ford Motor Company. On Monday, they announced that they will be laying off approximately 7,000 workers

Ford Motor said Monday that it is laying off about 7,000 managers and other salaried employees, about 10% of its white-collar workforce across the globe, as part of a restructuring plan designed to save the No. 2 automaker $600 million annually.

The cuts, some of which were previously announced by the company, will be completed by August, Ford CEO Jim Hackett said in an email to employees Monday.

If the U.S. economy was about to take off like a rocket, this move doesn’t make any sense at all.

But if we are headed into a recession, this move makes perfect sense.

Another large firm that is laying off thousands of workers is Nestle

Nestle SA’s U.S. unit will dismiss about 4,000 workers as it stops delivering frozen pizza and ice cream directly to stores and transitions to a warehouse model that’s becoming an industry standard for Big Food companies looking to trim costs.

And we also recently learned that 3M is planning to get rid of about 2,000 workers

3M plans to cut 2,000 globally as part of a restructuring due to a slower-than-expected 2019.

The maker of Post-it notes, industrial coatings and ceramics said Thursday that the move is expected to save about $225 million to $250 million a year. The St. Paul Minnesota-based company anticipates a pretax charge of about $150 million, or 20 cents per share, this year.

Did you catch that part about these layoffs being due to “a slower-than-expected 2019”?

Unfortunately, things are slow for a lot of companies out there these days.

Another company that is dumping a large number of workers is MGM Resorts

MGM Resorts International MGM, -2.09% plans to cut about 1,000 positions by the end of the current quarter amid a cost-cutting and operational overhaul that calls for fewer managers across its properties.

That figure includes some 254 positions that the company moved to eliminate last week.

In addition, Dressbarn just announced that all of their stores will be closing

Dressbarn is closing all of its stores.

The women’s retailer announced Monday “plans to commence a wind-down of its retail operations, including the eventual closure of its approximately 650 stores.”

I am not sure how many employees they have per store, but even if it is just a handful we are talking about the loss of thousands of jobs.

The U.S. economy has been slowing down for months, and now the complete breakdown of trade talks with China threatens to plunge us into a prolonged trade war. As I noted in another article, a couple of different studies have concluded that an extended trade war could literally cost our economy millions of lost jobs.

And once the job losses start rolling, they can really get out of hand very quickly. We saw this in 2008, and it is just a matter of time until we see it happen again.

On Sunday, a reader sent me an article about a factory closing that was happening in her neck of the woods in Pennsylvania. One worker that was laid off said that the closure of the facility “was the final kick in the gut”

Robert and Brooks Gronlund, owners of Wood-Mode Inc., wrote a text to workers Friday, saying they “are extremely appreciative” of the employees’ contributions and commitments. The company owners then confirmed all of them were terminated, as were their benefits.

“It was the final kick in the gut,” Michele Sanders, a 22-year employee of the company, said Saturday.

The privately-owned company in Kreamer, which produced custom wood cabinets, shut its doors Monday, leaving nearly 1,000 people without jobs. The abrupt closure of the plant stunned workers and community leaders.

So now almost 1,000 people do not have a way to support themselves and their families.

We are talking about hard working people with real hopes and real dreams.

Kreamer is a very small town. According to Wikipedia, only 773 people live within the city limits, and so obviously there are not a lot of employment opportunities in the town.

And if those workers are anything like the rest of the U.S. population, most of them were probably living paycheck to paycheck.

I keep encouraging my readers to build an emergency fund, because you never know when you will be next on the employment chopping block. I personally know a number of people that have just lost their jobs, and it can be an absolutely devastating experience.

Unfortunately, it looks like what we have witnessed so far is just the beginning. All of the numbers tell us that economic activity is slowing down, and so we should all get ready to potentially face a rapidly deteriorating economic environment during the second half of 2019.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Trade Talks Are Dead, And So U.S. Consumers Should Brace For A Long, Bitter, Painful Trade War With China

There is not going to be a trade deal between the United States and China any time soon, and that is going to mean a tremendous amount of pain for the U.S. economy. For months, hope that the U.S. and China would soon reach a trade deal helped to elevate global financial markets, but now that hope has disappeared. In order for a trade deal to happen, the two sides have to talk, and at this point no negotiations are scheduled. And unless one side or the other decides that they are willing to move dramatically from their current positions, there really isn’t any reason to talk. In fact, the Chinese government is openly saying that it is in “no rush” to negotiate with the United States…

Beijing is in “no rush” to resume trade talks between the U.S. and China, the according to the South China Morning Post.

After CNBC’s Kayla Tausche reported on Friday that trade talks between the U.S. and China have stalled, Chinese analysts said China is prepared to suspend meeting if President Donald Trump wasn’t “prepared to be realistic,” the Chinese newspaper said Saturday.

If Trump was willing to back way down and give the Chinese everything that they want, of course China would be more than happy to resume negotiations.

But that isn’t going to happen. Instead, the Trump administration demonstrated their resolve by sailing a U.S. Navy vessel into disputed waters in the South China Sea on Sunday. The following comes from Zero Hedge

Once again risking a confrontation with the Chinese Navy (at a particularly sensitive time, given where we are with the trade war) the Navy carried out another “freeop” in the South China Sea over the weekend.

A US Navy Arleigh Burke-class destroyer sailed within 12 miles of a disputed shoal, ignoring Beijing’s repeated warnings to stay away.

On Sunday, the USS Preble, a destroyer armed with Tomahawk missiles, sailed along the Scarborough Shoal, directly challenging China’s disputed claim to the area.

Every time we send a warship into the South China Sea, it drives China up a wall, and the Trump administration understands this very well.

Such a move definitely “sends a message” to China, but it also makes a trade deal much less likely.

Subsequently, Chinese President Xi Jinping just happened to decide to tour a rare earth production facility on Monday. Here is why that was so important

As Bloomberg reported overnight, shares in JL MAG Rare-Earth surged by the daily limit on Monday after Xinhua said the Chinese president had stopped by the company in Jiangxi, a scripted move designed to telegraph what China could do next.

The reason for the dramatic market response is that the presidential visit flags policy priorities, and “rare earths have featured in the escalating trade spat between the U.S. and China.” Specifically, as Bloomberg notes, China raised tariffs to 25% from 10% on American imports, while the U.S. excluded rare earths from its own list of prospective tariffs on roughly $300 billion worth of Chinese goods to be targeted in the next wave of measures. And just in case the White House missed the message, Xi was accompanied on the trip to JL MAG by Liu He, the vice premier who has led the Chinese side in the trade negotiations.

Why does China have a clear advantage in this area? Simple: the U.S. relies on China, the dominant global supplier, for about 80% of its rare earths imports.

If the Chinese cut off our rare earth imports, we would be in a world of hurt, and the Chinese know it.

But even if things don’t escalate any further, this trade war is quickly going to become exceedingly painful. According to a couple of recent studies, millions of U.S. jobs could soon be lost if this trade war is not resolved for an extended period of time…

About 2.1 million workers in aircraft manufacturing, beer brewing, tobacco and dozens of other industries stand to be affected by the trade war, according to an April study by the Brookings Institution. The impact would be evenly distributed between red and blue counties, Brookings found.

But a similar study by Axios last week found that Trump’s recent escalations could wind up affecting more than five times as many workers. The hardest hits will affect industries based in “rural, deeply red, already-struggling parts of the country,” including miners in Texas, furniture makers in North Carolina and sawmills in Alabama.

In addition, U.S. consumers are about to experience a significant case of sticker shock. Major retailers all over the country are going to have to raise prices due to these new tariffs on China, and that is going to mean a lower standard of living for many Americans…

By now, it is likely no surprise to American families that tariffs raise the cost of living. Walmart said last week that new import duties would lead to higher prices on a wide variety of consumer goods newly targeted by the latest promised round of tariffs. Retail trade groups warn that higher prices will be the norm, as China provided about 41% of all apparel, 72% of all footwear and 84% of all travel goods imported into the United States in 2017. Given the likely timeline for this latest escalation, these price hikes should hit American parents just in time for back-to-school shopping.

And if this trade war lasts long enough, many retailers are going to have to close their doors completely. The following comes from USA Today

The trade war with China could cause prices to rise on everything from toys to clothing, but it also could lead to “widespread store closures,” according to a report by UBS.

The investment bank’s analysis said tariffs on Chinese imports could put $40 billion of sales and 12,000 stores at risk.

“The market is not realizing how much brick & mortar retail is incrementally struggling and how new 25% tariffs could force widespread store closures,” UBS analyst Jay Sole wrote in the report. “We think potential 25% tariffs on Chinese imports could accelerate pressure on these company’s profit margins to the point where major store closures become a real possibility.”

We are already on pace to absolutely shatter the all-time record for store closings in a single year, and this trade war could make our ongoing “retail apocalypse” much, much worse.

On top of everything else, analysts at Morgan Stanley are warning that a complete collapse of trade talks “would push the world economy toward recession”. Of course the reality of the matter is that they have already collapsed and both sides are not pushing to schedule any more negotiations because there really isn’t anything to talk about.

So what this means is that things are about to get really hard, and it is time to prepare for an extended economic downturn.

The Chinese are desperately hoping that a Democrat can beat Trump in 2020 so that they will have someone more “reasonable” to deal with in the future.

But the 2020 election is a year and a half away.

Trump is going to continue to stand strong because he can’t afford to look weak on China with an election coming up, and the Chinese are not going to throw in the towel when they may only have to wait 18 months for Trump to be out of the picture.

So for now we have a trade war to deal with, and with each passing day it is going to become increasingly painful.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

On The Edge Of Disaster: 59 Percent Of Americans Are Living Paycheck To Paycheck

Living on the edge, being dragged down by debt, and having little hope for the future is no way to live. But that is precisely where most Americans find themselves in 2019. Despite a supposedly “booming economy”, the middle class continues to shrink and most of the country is barely scraping by from month to month. In fact, a brand new survey that was just released by Charles Schwab discovered that 59 percent of all Americans are currently living paycheck to paycheck

Overall, 59 percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, according to the survey of 1,000 U.S. adults by Charles Schwab.

However, the Millennial generation (people ages 23-38) was the most likely to struggle in between payday, at 62 percent, followed by Generation X (60 percent), Generation Z (55 percent) and Baby Boomers (53 percent).

I realize that those numbers look really high, but this is really where we are at as a society.

In fact, a study that was just conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago found that 51 percent of all “working adults” would not be able to cover basic necessities “if they missed more than one paycheck”

Missing more than one paycheck is a one-way ticket to financial hardship for nearly half of the country’s workforce.

A new study from NORC at the University of Chicago, an independent social research institution, found that 51% of working adults in the United States would need to access savings to cover necessities if they missed more than one paycheck.

So when the next recession strikes, millions of Americans that suddenly lose their jobs could find themselves facing financial disaster almost immediately.

The survey that was just released by Charles Schwab found that there are a lot of reasons why Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, and “rising college debt” is one of them

‘Spending is certainly one factor,’ said Terri Kallsen, executive vice president for Schwab Investor Services.

‘But especially for younger Americans, we know there are factors beyond their control that make it difficult to save, including rising college debt, stagnant wages and the high cost of living, particularly in urban centers,’ she told DailyMail.com.

Today, Americans owe more than 1.5 trillion dollars on their student loans, and it is a bubble that keeps getting worse with each passing year. The following numbers about our growing student loan debt crisis come from CBS News

Currently, 43 million Americans have student debt. The average household with student debt owes almost $48,000 and 5.2 million borrowers are in default.

Meanwhile, college costs keep rising. At Ohio State, a public university, in-state students pay $27,000 a year. Stanford University costs $74,000.

Personally, I don’t know why anyone would ever pay $74,000 a year to go to Stanford.

And as far as Ohio State and other public universities are concerned, the truth is that you can get a better education from the Internet without too much effort. I spent eight years studying at public universities, and the quality of education is a joke.

But we fill the heads of our high school students with all of this nonsense about how college “is the key to a bright future”, and we encourage them to not even worry about how much it will cost.

So they pile up enormous loans, and many of them don’t even realize that they are destroying their financial futures until it is too late.

When 25-year-old Taylor Smith first discovered how high her student loan balance had gotten, she immediately had a panic attack

To pay for her education at Texas A&M University, Smith worked full-time throughout college. She also cobbled together 11 student loans.

“I probably graduated with about $53,000 in student debt,” Smith said. “That number hit me for the first time my last semester of college. And it was the first time I saw the full balance. And I had a panic attack immediately.”

Our system of higher education is deeply broken, and radical change is desperately needed.

Another reason why Americans are living paycheck to paycheck is because of social media envy. The following comes from USA Today

Call it keeping up with Instagram.

Thirty-five percent of Americans admit they feel pressured to spend more than they can afford after seeing images of their friends’ lives on sites like Facebook and Instagram, according to Schwab’s 2019 modern wealth survey. The FOMO effect is most dramatic for young adults. About half of millennials and 44% of Generation Z (those born approximately between 1995 to 2015) acknowledge their spending habits are at least partly shaped by social media.

Once upon a time, Americans were concerned about keeping up with the neighbors, but these days social media is where everybody shows off.

And this is particularly true when it comes to Instagram. As far as I can tell, Instagram is the perfect social media platform for narcissists. Everyone is constantly posting photos that show how attractive, wealthy and adventurous they are, and those with the most followers tend to be ultra-attractive, ultra-wealthy and/or ultra-adventurous.

But for most of us, life is not a constant stream of Instagramable moments. Instead, life is about doing the laundry, trying to save some money on the groceries and scooping poop out of the cat litter.

If you try to keep up with the fantasies that you see on Instagram, the truth is that you will go broke really quick.

And study after study has found that is precisely where about half the country currently is

A study from home repair service HomeServe USA found that roughly 50% of consumers either have nothing set aside to cover an emergency or less than $500 put away. And research from the Federal Reserve has indicated that roughly 4 in 10 Americans couldn’t afford a $400 emergency.

One of the things that I always stress with my readers is that if you ever want to make financial progress in life, you have got to start building wealth.

If your paycheck goes up, that doesn’t mean that you should start spending more money. Instead, you should look at it as an opportunity to start saving more money.

But for most Americans, the future is now, and that means that most of them will ultimately end up facing financial disaster down the road.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

It Is Being Projected That U.S. Consumers Will “Pay 40% To 85% More For Vine-Ripe And Other Fresh Tomatoes” By The End Of 2019

It has been quite a year. In March, catastrophic flooding in the Midwest absolutely crippled thousands of farms and “as many as a million calves” were lost in Nebraska alone. Then in April we learned that African Swine Fever has wiped out “150-200 million pigs” in China. To put that in perspective, that is more pigs than the entire U.S. pork industry produces in an entire year. And now on top of everything else, the price of fresh tomatoes is about to go skyrocketing. But this time a natural disaster is not to blame. Instead, it is an action by the federal government that is going to cause us to pay much more for tomatoes at the supermarket. The following comes from USA Today

Whether you consider it a fruit or a vegetable, prices for fresh tomatoes are likely to skyrocket.

On Tuesday, the Commerce Department announced the termination of the 2013 Suspension Agreement on Fresh Tomatoes from Mexico.

The termination of that agreement will result in high tariffs being imposed on all tomatoes from Mexico, and researchers at Arizona State University say that we will soon be paying “40% to 85% more for vine-ripe and other fresh tomatoes”

According to estimates from Arizona State University, consumers could pay 40% to 85% more for vine-ripe and other fresh tomatoes.

Prices could rise 40% from May to December, according to the university analysis by economists led by Timothy Richards, the Morrison chair of agribusiness. During the cooler months, when there are fewer domestic supplies of tomatoes, prices could escalate up to 85%, according to the estimate.

If you love tomatoes, this is obviously really bad news.

Meanwhile, the heartland of America is being hammered by even more huge storms, and this is causing even more catastrophic flooding.

According to NPR, some areas that are only supposed to be reached by “100-year floods” have been hit “by multiple floods in a matter of weeks”…

The Mississippi River is rising again as torrential rain falls across much of the Midwest. It’s the latest in a series of storms that have flooded major cities and small communities along the length of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers on and off for more than a month.

In some places, homes and businesses in what’s known as the 100-year flood plain have been hit by multiple floods in a matter of weeks.

Obviously our definition of a “100-year flood” needs to change.

I keep warning that global weather patterns are going haywire as our planet become increasingly unstable, and I think that a lot of people are finally starting to get it.

We are seeing things happen that we have never seen before. For example, check out what just happened in Minnesota

Through Thursday morning, Duluth was blanketed with 10.9 inches of snow, leading to a number of broken snowfall records, according to data from the National Weather Service. One spot just southwest of Duluth reported 12 inches of snow as of Thursday afternoon.

The 8.3 inches set the all-time record for most snow on a single day in the month of May. The previous record was 5.5 inches, set on May 10, 1902. The burst of May snow also shattered the record for the snowiest month of May ever in Duluth, eclipsing the previous record of 8.1 total inches of snow set in May of 1954.

Further south, severe storms are causing massive problems along a vast stretch of the southern part of the country. The following comes from Yahoo News

The wild weather has forced people from their homes in Kansas, soaked waterlogged Houston once again and strained levees along the surging Mississippi River.

The National Weather Service predicted the Missouri River would crest Thursday in St. Joseph, Missouri, at a level that would cause parkland and a residential area to flood.

Things are particularly bad in Mississippi right now. In fact, a state of emergency was just declared in Jackson

After a slow-moving storm moved through the area, Jackson, Mississippi, declared a state of emergency due to flash flooding Thursday afternoon.

Torrential rain in the Greenville, Mississippi, area Thursday morning caused significant flooding of businesses and prompted water rescues. As of 2:40 p.m. CDT, the city had reported 7.25 inches of rain. This is well above the 4.42 inches of rain that the town typically receives in the entire month of May.

Obviously this latest round of severe weather is going to make things even worse for the thousands upon thousands of farmers that have been absolutely devastated by flooding here in 2019.

During the catastrophic flooding in March, “at least 1 million acres of U.S. farmland” were covered by water for at least seven days. And as of just a few days ago, the Mississippi River had been at major flood stage “for 41 days in a row”.

What this means is that many farms in America’s heartland won’t be able to produce crops at all this year, and many farmers have been so financially devastated by these disasters that they will never return to farming again.

In the short-term, food production in the U.S. will be significantly below expectations this year, and prices are going to be steadily rising at your local supermarket.

But it wasn’t necessary for tomato prices to rise. You can place the blame for that squarely on the Commerce Department.

Looking beyond the short-term, we are moving into a time when food prices are going to become so painful that they will become a major political issue.

Unfortunately, there will not be any easy solutions. Global weather patterns are going haywire, and what worked in the past is not going to work in the future.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Environmental Apocalypse: Up To 1 Million Species Are At Risk Of Extinction According To A Shocking New UN Report

Our planet is dying. According to an absolutely stunning 1,500-page UN report that was just released, we are about to see plant and animal species go extinct on a scale that is hard to imagine. This report was spearheaded by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, and it was based on literally thousands of different scientific studies. Every species that is lost brings humanity one step closer to extinction, because if there were no other plants or animals on this planet humanity would not be able to survive. We are utterly dependent on our natural environment, and that natural environment is being destroyed at a pace that is absolutely staggering. In fact, this new UN report says that up to a million species “are at risk of extinction”

Up to 1 million of the estimated 8 million plant and animal species on Earth are at risk of extinction — many of them within decades — according to scientists and researchers who produced a sweeping U.N. report on how humanity’s burgeoning growth is putting the world’s biodiversity at perilous risk.

Once a species is gone, it is never coming back, and the damage that has already been done is hard to fathom.

Just consider these facts from the report

  • 75% of land environment and some 66% of the marine environment “have been significantly altered by human actions.”
  • “More than a third of the world’s land surface and nearly 75% of freshwater resources” are used for crops or livestock.
  • “Up to $577 billion in annual global crops are at risk from pollinator loss.”
  • Between 100 million and 300 million people now face “increased risk of floods and hurricanes because of loss of coastal habitats and protection.”
  • Since 1992, the world’s urban areas have more than doubled.
  • “Plastic pollution has increased tenfold since 1980,” and from “300-400 million tons of heavy metals, solvents, toxic sludge” and other industrial waste are dumped into the world’s water systems.

If these trends continue to accelerate, the entire planet is eventually going to be transformed into a giant post-apocalyptic wasteland.

If we want to survive, we have got to change our ways. Particularly disturbing is what is happening to our forests and wetlands. The following comes from the BBC

Between 1980 and 2000, 100 million hectares of tropical forest were lost, mainly from cattle ranching in South America and palm oil plantations in South East Asia.

Faring worse than forests are wetlands, with only 13% of those present in 1700 still in existence in the year 2000.

In the name of endless “economic growth”, we are literally transforming the face of the planet, but in the process we are greatly threatening our long-term survival.

A British scientist that was involved with this new UN study put it this way

Leading British scientist and chairman of the IPBES Robert Watson said: “The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever.

“We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.”

If we continue on the path that we are on, humanity is headed for a future filled with famine, death, destruction and immense suffering.

And this is certainly not the only study that has come to this sort of conclusion. The following is an excerpt from one of my previous articles entitled “Insect Apocalypse: The Global Food Chain Is Experiencing A Major Extinction Event And Scientists Don’t Know Why”

Scientists are telling us that we have entered “the sixth major extinction” in the history of our planet. A brand new survey of 73 scientific reports that was just released has come to the conclusion that the total number of insects on the globe is falling by 2.5 percent per year. If we stay on this current pace, the survey warns that there might not be “any insects at all” by the year 2119. And since insects are absolutely critical to the worldwide food chain, that has extremely ominous implications for all of us.

If we do not have any insects, we will not have anyone to pollinate our food.

And if nobody pollinates our food, mass famine is inevitable.

We see a similar scenario developing when we look at what is happening to our oceans. According to a team of researches in Canada, global levels of phytoplankton have dropped by about 40 percent since 1950

The tiny organisms, known as phytoplankton, also gobble up carbon dioxide to produce half the world’s oxygen output—equaling that of trees and plants on land.

But their numbers have dwindled since the dawn of the 20th century, with unknown consequences for ocean ecosystems and the planet’s carbon cycle.

Researchers at Canada’s Dalhousie University say the global population of phytoplankton has fallen about 40 percent since 1950.

Phytoplankton is the foundation of the marine food chain, and without phytoplankton our oceans would rapidly become giant “dead zones”.

Are you starting to understand the seriousness of what we are facing?

None of us are going to have any sort of a future if we keep destroying the environment like this.

Unfortunately, this new UN report is not optimistic that humanity will be able to change…

Yet even in the new report’s most optimistic scenario, through 2050 the world’s nations would only slow the decline of biodiversity — not stop it.

“At this point,” said Jake Rice, a fisheries scientist who led an earlier report on biodiversity in the Americas, “our options are all about damage control.”

Even if you want to disregard all of the other massive threats that humanity is facing, this alone virtually ensures that humanity is headed for an apocalyptic future.

Perhaps the nations of the world will prove everyone wrong and will set aside their differences and do what is right for humanity as a whole.

But I wouldn’t count on it.

Our environment is literally collapsing right in front of our eyes, and nobody seems to have any way to stop it from happening. It is an endless nightmare that is going to get worse with each passing year, and the immediate future of this planet looks exceedingly bleak indeed.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Record Setting Flooding In The Heartland: “The Mississippi River Has Been At Major Flood Stage For 41 Days And Counting”

Thousands of farmers in the Midwest have been waiting for a very long time for floodwaters to recede so that they can finally plant some crops, but instead more rain just keeps on coming. As you will see below, it is being reported that the Mississippi River has now been at major flood stage for 41 days in a row, and a lot more rain is coming this week. Meteorologists are warning us that major flooding may extend into June, and that means that many farmers will not be able to plant crops at all this year. Unfortunately, as global weather patterns continue to shift many believe that what we are witnessing this year may become the “new normal” along the Mississippi River.

In response to my previous articles about the devastating flooding in the heartland, a few skeptics have tried to downplay the seriousness of the situation by claiming that at least the flooding along the Mississippi is not as bad as it was in 1993.

Well, that is no longer true in many areas. The following comes from USA Today

The Mississippi River crested at higher levels than it ever had in the past. That was at 22.7 feet in Davenport, Iowa, on Thursday, a record that hadn’t been matched since records began to be kept in 1862, said Loveland. That is almost eight feet above flood stage.

In Rock Island, Illinois, the Mississippi set a record level of 22.7 feet, breaking the record set on July 9, 1993, during the Great Flood of 1993.

And according to NPR, the Mississippi has now been at major flood stage for 41 days in a row

The Mississippi River has been at major flood stage for 41 days and counting, and this week a temporary wall failed, sending water rushing into several blocks of downtown Davenport, Iowa.

I know that many Americans that live on the east and west coasts don’t really care about what goes on in the middle of the country, but this is a truly historic disaster.

At this point the flooding is so bad that authorities have actually decided to close the Mississippi River to all vessel traffic at St. Louis

As of Friday afternoon, the Mississippi River was closed to all vessel traffic at St. Louis. The U.S. Coast Guard shut down the river for a five-mile stretch, citing not only the extremely high water but also the swift current.

The river is already more than 8 feet above flood stage at St. Louis and expected to rise another 4 feet by Monday.

Closure of river traffic at one of the largest cities on the Mississippi is a huge blow for commerce since many goods are shipped on barges up and down the river.

This is yet another huge blow to a U.S. economy that is rapidly going in the wrong direction.

And guess what?

Meteorologists are telling us that a lot more rain is in the forecast for the region this week

The already-drenched residents of the middle part of the country are advised to keep their rain gear handy. Showers, thunderstorms and flooding will be a fact of life again for much of this week.

A cold front moving in from the north through the Plains and Midwest will clash with moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, leading to persistent precipitation over large swaths that are already saturated by runoff from the unusually heavy snow in the winter, forecasters said Sunday.

Of course the Midwest definitely doesn’t need any more rain. At this point, Iowa has already received more precipitation during the last 12 months than any other “recorded period in 124 years of data”

The upper Mississippi was inundated with massive amounts of rain earlier this week, exacerbating the already high river level. “The state of Iowa has received more precipitation in the last 12 months than any recorded period in 124 years of data,” Bob Gallagher, the mayor of the upriver town of Bettendorf, told reporters Friday. “When you get as much rain as we have this year there’s just no way to avoid this situation.”

We are being told that major flooding along the Mississippi River will last into June, and it could potentially go even longer than that.

Billions upon billions of dollars worth of damage has already been done, and the total is going up with each passing day.

Millions of acres of farmland along the major rivers in the middle of the country will not be usable at all this year, and that means that crop production will be well below initial projections.

Food prices are already at painful levels, and family budgets are going to get squeezed tighter and tighter as food prices move up aggressively in the months ahead. And for those living right on the edge, some very tough choices are going to have to be made. The following comes from U.S. News & World Report

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, some 40 million people in the U.S. were food-insecure in 2017, meaning they lacked consistent access to enough food for an active and healthy life.

The truth is that the U.S. is far more vulnerable to a “food shock” than most people would dare to imagine. And as our planet continues to become more unstable, our vulnerability is only going to increase.

The food that we eat does not magically appear on our plates somehow. People have to work extremely hard to produce it for us, and right now the heartland of our nation is being absolutely devastated by record setting flooding.

For now, many Americans don’t seem to appreciate the seriousness of this crisis, but as food prices continue to escalate there will definitely be plenty of complaining in the months ahead.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Top U.S. Officials Gather To Discuss “Military Options” In Venezuela As Russia Warns Of “Grave Consequences” If America Invades

On Wednesday afternoon, senior U.S. officials gathered at the White House to discuss possible military options for Venezuela. Meanwhile, the Russians are warning of grave consequences if the U.S. invades, and so the stage is being set for a potential showdown between the world’s two foremost military powers. Previously, administration officials had hoped that the Venezuelan people would rally around Juan Guaido to such a degree that it would not require military intervention to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, but that hasn’t happened. In fact, Guaido’s big push to start a revolution in the streets over the past few days has ended up being a total flop. The following comes from Yahoo News

Guaido had called for the “largest march” in Venezuela’s history and said on Twitter that “millions of Venezuelans” were in the streets in “this final phase” of his move to oust Maduro.

But by late afternoon, many of the protesters in the capital Caracas were drifting home.

Despite Guaido’s calls for the military to support him, the armed forces leadership has so far remained loyal to Maduro, who has been in power since 2013.

In the long-term, the situation in Venezuela isn’t going to change much if the U.S. is able to replace one socialist president (Maduro) with another socialist president (Guaido). Socialism always ends badly, and the people of Venezuela are going to have to decide for themselves that they don’t want socialism any longer.

But that isn’t what this is about. U.S. officials have decided that it is time to impose their will on the people of Venezuela, and they have determined that Maduro must go. If Guaido cannot create a successful internal revolution, then other options will be explored.

And as I mentioned in the opening paragraph, there was a very, very important gathering of top U.S. officials at the White House on Wednesday afternoon

Senior U.S. administration officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, and National Security Advisor John Bolton, will meet at the White House Wednesday afternoon. With the situation on the ground still “extraordinarily fluid,” according to Shanahan, the U.S. says it is still weighing military options.

Don’t you wish that you could have been a fly on the wall for that meeting?

Of course we already know what Pompeo and Bolton are thinking. This is what Pompeo just told Fox Business

“Military action is possible. If that’s what’s required, that’s what the United States will do.”

In other words, if Guaido can’t get the job done, our boys and girls are going in.

And John Bolton has repeatedly insisted that “all options are on the table” regarding Venezuela, and he just told reporters the following about potential Russian interference

“This is our hemisphere,” he told reporters outside the White House. “It’s not where the Russians ought to be interfering. This is a mistake on their part. It’s not going to lead to an improvement of relations.”

So precisely what would Bolton like us to do about it?

The Russians already have troops and military equipment in Venezuela, and they are there with the permission of the Venezuelan government. Does Bolton really want us to attack and risk a war with Russia?

And for what? Venezuela certainly has a lot of oil, but the truth is that there is no fundamental national security interest at stake in Venezuela.

Unfortunately, there is a growing consensus in Washington that something must be done about Venezuela, and the hysteria has already reached absolutely ridiculous levels. For example, just consider the words of U.S. Senator Rick Scott

“Here is what is going to happen. We are in the process, if we don’t win today, we are going to have Syria in this hemisphere. So, we can make sure something happens now, or we can deal with this for decades to come. If we care about families, if we care about the human race, if we care about fellow worldwide citizens, then we’ve got to step up and stop this genocide.”

Did you catch that?

Apparently, if you are not in favor of a U.S. invasion of Venezuela, you don’t “care about families” and you don’t “care about the human race” either.

In response to those comments, this is what Tucker Carlson had to say

When was the last time we successfully meddled in the political life of another country? Has it ever worked? How are the democracies we set up in Iraq, in Libya, in Syria, and Afghanistan right now? How would Venezuela be different? Please explain — and take your time.

Are we prepared for the refugees a Venezuelan war would inevitably produce? A study by the Brookings Institution found that the collapse of the Venezuelan government could force eight million people to leave the country. Many of them would come here. Lawmakers in this country propose giving them temporary protected status that would let even illegal arrivals live and work here, in effect, permanently, as many have before, with no fear of deportation. Are we prepared for that?

If we are going to ask members of our military to shed their blood, it had better be for a really, really good reason.

And switching out one socialist leader for another socialist leader in Venezuela definitely does not qualify.

Of course that is the best case scenario.

In a worst case scenario, a U.S. military invasion of Venezuela would spark a war with Russia, and the Russians are making it very clear that there will be “grave consequences” if we attack…

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Pompeo by phone on Wednesday that further “aggressive steps” in Venezuela would have grave consequences, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is getting dangerously close to war with Iran as well. The Iranians are threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz in retaliation for Washington cutting off all their oil exports, and if the Strait of Hormuz gets shut down all hell could break loose.

U.S. officials want to “get tough” with all of our enemies around the world, and that is fine as long as you know what are you doing.

Because even one miscalculation can result in missiles flying back and forth, and once peace is taken from the Earth things could get wildly out of control very rapidly.

So let us hope that cooler heads prevail, because right now we are quickly approaching a tipping point.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

2 Aircraft Carriers Have Left Port – Are The USS Eisenhower And The USS Roosevelt Headed South Toward Venezuela?

Juan Guaido has initiated a violent uprising in an attempt to overthrow Nicolas Maduro, and it appears that the U.S. may be preparing to intervene in the conflict militarily. The USNI News Fleet and Marine Tracker accurately tracks the current positions of U.S. naval assets, and according to them the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower has left port on the east coast and the USS Theodore Roosevelt has left port on the west coast. In both cases, each aircraft carrier was originally slated for “training” exercises, but now there is lots of speculation that they are both steaming south toward Venezuela. Since there has been no official confirmation from Washington, let me stress that once again that any talk about the potential destination of these carriers is just speculation. But considering what is taking place in Venezuela at this moment, it certainly would not surprise anyone if the waters off Venezuela is precisely where they are heading.

Earlier today, the Intel_Radar Twitter account created quite a stir with a series of seven tweets

BREAKING: US Navy deploys two aircraft carriers, both southbound, one from each coast, amid Venezuela crisis.

Update 1 : Eisenhower left Virginia headed South, on the same day Roosevelt deployed out of San Diego headed for the Panama Canal.

Update 2 : US Navy Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (MMSI:368962000|CS:NIKE) departed Norfolk ~2019-04-26, was off AIS for 4 days, and seems to be headed South, off the US East Coast.

Update 3 : American Roll-on Roll-off Carrier (ARC) RoRo Integrity (IMO:8919934|MMSI:367063310) departed Mexico with a fake destination, “hiding their destination”.

Update 4 : USS Dwight D. Eisenhower has earned a number of awards, including the Battle “E” in 1979, 1980, 1981, 1985, 1990, 1998, 1999, 2006 and 2012 as the most battle efficient carrier in the Atlantic Fleet.

Update 5 : 6248 kHz LSB Venezuela naval freq still active. Also morse code in background.

Update 6 : A US Navy fast combat support ship departed Norfolk just a little bit ago.

If all of this information is true, it would certainly seem to indicate that something is up.

Could it be possible that the U.S. is about to go to war with Venezuela?

If you are not familiar with what happened in Venezuela on Tuesday, here is a pretty good summary

It was a ploy that from its outset felt like a long shot. Before dawn Tuesday, Juan Guaido, flanked by his political mentor Leopoldo Lopez and a handful of soldiers who had broken ranks, issued a message to Venezuela and the world: The time to topple Nicolas Maduro’s authoritarian regime was right now.

By dusk, with Maduro still firmly in control of the military command, Lopez had sought refuge in the Chilean ambassador’s residence in Caracas and the streets were beginning to empty of the protesters who had heeded Guaido’s call to join what he called Operation Liberty.

Either Guaido is completely suicidal, or he is coordinating with the U.S. and he believes that U.S. military help in on the way.

The second option seems more likely, and on Tuesday John Bolton even admitted that “a deal had been struck” with key members of Maduro’s regime…

The whole episode was so bizarre — with Guaido seemingly lacking the military might to have any chance at all — that it was hard to understand the day’s events. One explanation, as related by National Security Adviser John Bolton, was that a deal had been struck behind the scenes and that key members of Maduro’s regime had agreed to flip, paving the way for Guaido to easily assume power.

Well, either Bolton was bluffing or those officials double-crossed him, because it just hasn’t happened.

And perhaps that would help to explain this very angry tweet from Bolton

.@vladimirpadrino, @Ivanr_HD, @MaikelMorenoTSJ: Your time is up. This is your last chance. Accept Interim President Guaido’s amnesty, protect the Constitution, and remove Maduro, and we will take you off our sanctions list. Stay with Maduro, and go down with the ship.

In response to Bolton’s tweet, one top Venezuelan official posted the following

Dream on … Not today!

Subsequently, Bolton once again told the press that “all options are on the table” when it comes to Venezuela…

Bolton later told reporters that the U.S. would consider intervening in Venezuela.

“We want, as our principal objective, the peaceful transition of power, but I will say again as the president has said from the outset and as Nicolas Maduro and those supporting him — particularly those who are not Venezuelan — should know, is all options are on the table,” Bolton said.

But if the U.S. goes into Venezuela, it will be a full-blown war against a seasoned military with more than 300,000 troops in a country twice the size of Iraq.

In addition, the Russians and the Cubans already have troops there, and they have no intention of pulling their forces out.

In other words, an invasion of Venezuela could potentially spark World War 3.

But John Bolton doesn’t seem fazed by any of that. He is a hardcore war hawk, and he has been calling for military conflict for years. If you will remember, he actually called for a pre-emptive war against North Korea just two months before joining the Trump administration

For John Bolton, the national-security adviser, the summit represented a conundrum. Two months before he entered the White House, in April, 2018, he had called for preëmptive war with North Korea. During the past two decades, Bolton has established himself as the Republican Party’s most militant foreign-policy thinker—an advocate of aggressive force who ridicules anyone who disagrees. In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, he argued that Kim’s regime would soon be able to strike the United States with nuclear weapons, and that we should attack before it was too late. “The threat is imminent,” he wrote. “It is perfectly legitimate for the United States to respond to the current ‘necessity’ posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons by striking first.”

We truly live in ominous times, and many are deeply concerned that Bolton seems to have so much influence over U.S. foreign policy right now.

Ultimately, we don’t know what is going to happen next, but it is interesting to note that White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney also used the phrase “all options are on the table” during an interview with Maria Bartiromo…

“The only messages I think we are trying to get out there is that we want to make sure the Russians and the Cubans know they are not supposed to get involved and that we do and have said a bunch of times that all options are on the table” said Mulvaney during a conversation with FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo from the Milken Institute Global Conference Opens a New Window.

They are making it very clear that a full-blown invasion of Venezuela is a real possibility, and most Americans have absolutely no idea what that would mean.

We are talking about a conflict that would be several magnitudes greater than the Iraq war, and it could be right around the corner.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

30 Inches Of Snow! Another Bomb Cyclone “Detonates” Over The Midwest, And The NOAA Is Warning Flooding Could Extend Into July

We aren’t supposed to have a major blizzard in April. Less than a month after a “bomb cyclone” caused apocalyptic flooding in the central part of the country, another “bomb cyclone” is hitting the exact same area. One meteorologist has called it “a life-threatening storm”, and at this moment over four million people are under blizzard warnings. South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska and Kansas are going to get absolutely hammered before the storm finally moves east on Friday. The authorities are warning that this new “bomb cyclone” will cause additional flooding in the region, but at this point we do not know how bad that flooding will be.

The good news is that the ground has been softened up by warmer weather since the last “bomb cyclone”, and that should mean that more of the moisture is absorbed before it flows into the major rivers.

But the bad news is that we are being told that this storm “could break records”. The following comes from the Daily Mail

A historic blizzard that could break records for April has hit the Great Plains and Upper Midwest.

Parts of six states were under blizzard warnings on Wednesday, in an area that included Denver; Cheyenne, Wyoming; Scottsbluff, Nebraska; and Pierre, South Dakota.

Early on Wednesday morning, thundersnow was reported in Pierre and surrounding parts of South Dakota, as well as southern Minnesota.

When meteorologists call this a “blizzard”, they aren’t exaggerating one bit.

Some of the snowfall totals that are being forecast seem absolutely crazy. According to CNN, some parts of the Midwest could actually get more than 30 inches of snow…

The Plains could get more than 2 feet of snow by Friday morning, and South Dakota could be the hardest hit, with more than 30 inches possible. High winds are making travel even more treacherous.

“Travel will be very difficult to impossible” Wednesday evening into Friday morning, a National Weather Service office in Nebraska said, using language nearly mirrored by offices throughout the region.

Needless to say, 30 inches of snow has the potential to cause a tremendous amount of flooding, especially since it is expected to melt very rapidly.

By noon on Wednesday, some portions of South Dakota had already received 18 inches of snow, and authorities in Minnesota had already responded to 213 auto accidents by Wednesday evening.

If you live in the areas affected by this blizzard, please do not go out unless it is absolutely necessary.

In case you are wondering, yes, this is incredibly unusual.

As CNN has noted, it is quite rare for a “bomb cyclone” to form over the middle part of the United States…

This one comes about four weeks after a similarly powerful system dumped heavy snow and rain on some of the same territory, leaving hundreds of millions of dollars in livestock and crop damage in Nebraska alone, largely through flooding.

It’s rare enough to have one form inland, much less two in a month. More typically, bomb cyclones form off the US East Coast in the form of nor’easters.

So the fact that we have now had two in less than a month should tell you that something is up.

As I have repeatedly stressed, our planet is becoming increasingly unstable and global weather patterns are dramatically changing.

What we have seen so far is not the end of the story. Rather, the truth is that we are only in the early chapters of a cataclysmic shift, and there isn’t anything that anyone can do to stop it.

In recent weeks I have written multiple articles about the historic flooding that we have witnessed so far in the middle of the nation. The damage that we have seen up to this point has been absolutely unprecedented, and needless to say this new storm is going to make things even worse

The coming storm was expected to exacerbate flooding along the Missouri River in areas where dozens of levees were breached in March, exposing communities to future surges.

The river was not expected to crest in areas of Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri until between three to five days after the storm.

Since the major rivers are not going to crest for several days, it is probably going to be about a week before we really know how much damage this new storm has caused.

And even once we get past the immediate threat posed by this storm, the truth is that this crisis is very far from over.

The National Weather Service has warned us that there will be “above-average precipitation across much of the Lower 48” for the next few months, and the NOAA just told us that flooding “will continue to be an issue along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers into July”.

Into July?

Seriously?

We are watching a great tragedy unfold in our nation’s breadbasket, and we should all be praying for the thousands of farmers in the middle of the country that have been financially ruined by all of this flooding. Thousands upon thousands of them will not be able to plant crops at all this year, and many of them will end up leaving the profession for good.

This will affect the level of food production in the United States this year, and this comes at a time when other threats to global food production are becoming extremely serious. To get an idea of what I am talking about, please see my previous article entitled “Hundreds Of Millions Of Pigs Feared Dead From Swine Fever – Price Of Pork Has Risen 38 Percent In The Last 4 Weeks”.

Unfortunately, it appears that the general population does not understand the gravity of the situation that we are facing yet.

Global events are starting to greatly accelerate, and “the perfect storm” is just beginning…

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

ANOTHER “Bomb Cyclone” Will Bring More Flooding To Parts Of The Midwest That Were Hit By A “1,000 Year Flood” Last Month

Less than a month after a “bomb cyclone” caused a “1,000 year flood” in the middle portion of the country, another “bomb cyclone” of similar strength is going to bring even more flooding to the High Plains and Upper Midwest. According to meteorologists, it is being projected that this new “bomb cyclone” will be “similar in intensity and in snowfall” to the last one, and the latest forecast is calling for “more than 30 inches in some areas”. The floods that we witnessed last month absolutely devastated communities throughout the region, and now it is going to happen again. The middle part of our nation has literally never seen anything like this happen ever before, and this is easily the worst natural disaster to hit the United States since Hurricane Katrina.

Before I get into the details of the latest weather forecast, let’s review what we have witnessed so far. “At least 1 million acres of U.S. farmland” were under water for at least 7 days last month, according to Agriculture Secretary Sunny Purdue “as many as a million calves” were lost in the flooding in the state of Nebraska alone, and hundreds of millions of dollars worth of crops were destroyed. Thousands upon thousands of farmers were financially ruined, and thousands of farmers will not be able to plant any crops at all this year.

If you can point out a worse agricultural disaster in the last 50 years in the United States, please feel free to do so. To my knowledge, there isn’t one.

And now a second “bomb cyclone” is on the way this week. According to CBS News, it looks like this “bomb cyclone” will produce “a blizzard of epic proportions”…

Only three weeks after a “bomb cyclone” — one of the most intense storms on record — pummeled the Plains and Midwest, another bomb cyclone of similar strength has been forecast. This spring storm seems poised to dump even heavier snow; it could also be followed by another round of significant river flooding.

Over the past few days, various forecast computer models have shown a blizzard of epic proportions for the north-central Plain States and Upper Midwest. Every time a model is updated, the storm depicted seems to get even more intense. At this point, it seems likely that some of the same areas impacted by devastating flooding just weeks ago are about to get slammed by an historic blizzard Wednesday through Friday.

Some Midwest communities already look like they have literally been through a war.

What do you think they are going to look like after another epic blizzard and more severe flooding rips through them?

If you are not familiar with the term “bomb cyclone”, here is a pretty good explanation from MSN

A bomb cyclone is a rapid drop in air pressure — at least 24 millibars in 24 hours — and often is over or near oceans or seas because it requires warm moist air smacking into cold dry air, along with volatile weather from the jet stream. The central and mountain part of the country may get one of these every few winters, said Greg Carbin, forecast branch chief for the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center in Maryland.

But this would be the second such storm in less than a month. The March 13 storm caused massive flooding in the Midwest, a blizzard in Colorado and Wyoming, and produced winds of between 96 mph and 110 mph (155 and 177.02 kph).

According to the National Weather Service, this new storm will dump a lot of snow on the northern Rockies on Tuesday, and from there it “will pick up in intensity as it moves into the central USA by Wednesday and into Thursday”.

The forecast is calling for the heaviest snow to fall in parts of Nebraska, South Dakota and Minnesota.

If you will remember, Nebraska was hit by flooding unlike anything it had ever seen before last month. And now we are being told that this new storm “will further exacerbate flooding in Nebraska”

“This blizzard will further exacerbate flooding in Nebraska with the added insult of heavy snowfall to eventually melt,” said Ryan Maue, a meteorologist at the private weathermodels.com. “This is more bad news for suffering farmers who are unable to flip the calendar on winter.”

Even before this storm, the National Weather Service was warning that there would be “above-average precipitation across much of the Lower 48” over the next few months and that 200 million Americans were at risk of being affected by flooding.

But nobody was expecting another “bomb cyclone” to come so soon.

I have been repeatedly warning my readers that our planet is becoming increasingly unstable and that global weather patterns are really starting to go haywire. We are seeing things happen that we have never seen before, and what I have shared in this article is yet another example.

Since January 1st, the middle portion of the country has already received approximately twice the precipitation that it normally does, and that doesn’t even count the precipitation from the “bomb cyclone” that is about to strike.

The crop losses that we have already witnessed are absolutely staggering, and now we are about to get hit with another severe blow.

Earlier today I went to the grocery store, and I was stunned by the high prices.

But the truth is that this is as low as food prices are going to get. A series of catastrophic events threatens to significantly reduce global food production this year. If you doubt this, just check out what has been happening in China.

We like to think that we are immune to the forces of nature that have played havoc with other societies throughout human history, but we aren’t.

Right now we are watching a great human tragedy play out in the middle portion of the country, but since we depend on them to grow much of our food, the truth is that we are all going to be feeling the pain of this tragedy in the months ahead.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

100s Of Millions Of Dollars In Crops Destroyed By Flooding, And Farmers Are Being Told “There’s Nothing The U.S. Government Can Do To Help”

This is the worst economic disaster for U.S. farmers in modern American history. Our ongoing trade war with China had greatly depressed prices for wheat, corn and soybeans, and so farmers were storing more crops on their farms than ever before in early 2019. And then the floods came. The water moved so fast that the vast majority of the farmers in the affected areas could not have moved what they had stored even if they wanted to, and the scale of the losses that these farmers have suffered is starting to become clearer. According to UPI, “hundreds of millions of dollars in crops” that were destroyed by the flooding were not covered by insurance…

Hundreds of millions of dollars in crops destroyed in Midwestern floods this month were not insured, farmers say. And the losses could leave many without sufficient income to continue farming.

“This uninsured grain issue is really starting to affect people,” said Jeff Jorgenson, a western Iowa corn and soy grower whose farm flooded when the Missouri River spilled over its banks March 12.

Without an extraordinary amount of assistance, there are thousands of farmers that will never be able to come back from this.

One fifth-generation farmer that was interviewed by Fox News said that about 7 million dollars worth of grain was destroyed in his county alone…

Dustin Sheldon, a fifth-generation grain and soybean farmer, watched in horror as the floods that devastated the Midwest began to recede and he could assess the damage to his crops.

He said the record-breaking floods caused about $1 million in losses for his family farm.

“We figured that there is roughly $7 million worth of grain sitting in these grain bins here just in our county alone that is either destroyed or inaccessible right now that we won’t even be able to get to or sell,” he said. “Financially, there’s a lot of farmers that can’t come back from that and they may be out of business.”

According to government regulations, when stored crops get flooded they must be destroyed.

And unfortunately, the government also doesn’t have any sort of a program to cover those losses. In fact, USDA Under Secretary Bill Northey told Reuters that “there’s nothing the U.S. government can do to help”

Hundreds of farmers may be out of luck trying to recuperate losses after last month’s historic floods in the Midwest. Millions of bushels of grains were destroyed in more than 800 on-farm storage bins – mostly in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa – and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary Bill Northey recently told Reuters that, under current laws and disaster aid programs, there’s nothing the U.S. government can do to help.

Of course Congress could pass a law to change all that, but right now that is not happening and it does not appear likely to happen.

This is yet another example that shows who we send to Congress really matters. If I had won my race for Congress, I would be endlessly causing havoc until our farmers got the emergency assistance that they desperately need.

Because as it stands, thousands of farmers that have been financially ruined by this flooding are going to be forced out of the profession forever.

For 71-year-old farmer Bruce Biermann, it looks like the end has come after the floodwaters destroyed more than $100,000 worth of his stored crops…

The two grain bins on Bruce Biermann’s farm near Corning, Missouri, could not withstand the strong currents of the Missouri River.

With four feet of water pressing from the outside and grain swelling from moisture inside, the bins burst.

At 71, Biermann is looking at more than a $100,000 loss.

Because of the trade war, he had been storing 12,000 bushels of corn and 8,200 bushels of soybeans until prices went up again.

Now all of that hard work has been washed away, and no help is on the horizon.

33-year-old farmer Travis Green has a similar story

Travis Green, 33, who operates farms in both Kansas and Nebraska, stored 25,000 bushels of yellow corn in a pair of grain bins in White Cloud, Kansas, near the Missouri River.

One of the bins “literally just blasted open,” after it filled with floodwater and the other was uprooted— destroying an estimated $100,000 worth of corn. On top of that, he’s unsure whether he’ll be able to plant anything this year because of the water damage.

Even before the floods came, U.S. farm incomes had already sunk to a 12 year low. America’s farmers need our help more than ever, and yet Congress has chosen to abandon them.

Overall, AccuWeather is now estimating that the total amount of economic damage from all of this flooding will reach 12.5 billion dollars…

AccuWeather estimates the total damage and economic loss caused by record-breaking flooding in the Midwestern U.S. this spring will total $12.5 billion, based on an analysis of damages already inflicted and those expected by additional flooding, as well as the lingering health effects resulting from flooding and the disease caused by standing water.

Personally, I think that number is too low, but we will see.

And remember, a lot more flooding is still on the way. Just check out what one expert is saying

“We’re not done. There is what amounts to a wall of water that will cross the state of Missouri, by way of the Missouri River, and meet a rapidly rising Mississippi River,” Dr. Hurburgh says.

The snow in Wisconsin and Minnesota is melting this week, and flooding is expected in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. That’s all going to end up in the Mississippi River, at a point, he says.

In addition, a lot more rainfall is coming too. In fact, powerful storms are set to dump up to 6 inches of rain across the southern portion of the country through Monday night

In addition, the prolonged period of wet, stormy weather will only exacerbate and worsen the ongoing flooding issues on the Mississippi River and its tributaries.

Through Monday night, the highest rainfall totals of 3 to 6 inches are forecast to extend from eastern Texas and western Louisiana into southeastern Arkansas, northern Mississippi and western parts of the Tennessee Valley.

Overall, at least a million acres of U.S. farmland were covered by water by the recent floods. It is a disaster that we will be talking about for a very long time to come.

Unfortunately, time is not on the side of the thousands of farmers that have been financially ruined by this great tragedy.

Congress needs to act, and they need to do so quickly.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Midwest Apocalypse: According To Satellite Data, “At Least 1 Million Acres Of U.S. Farmland” Have Been Devastated By Floods

We have never seen anything like this before. According to satellite data that was just released by Reuters, “at least 1 million acres of U.S. farmland” were covered by water for at least seven days this month. That is an agricultural disaster without equal in modern American history, and yet the mainstream media is treating this like it is some sort of second class story. It isn’t. This is the biggest news story of 2019 so far, and people want to know what is going on. A few days ago, I posted a story entitled ‘“As Many As A Million Calves Lost In Nebraska” – Beef Prices In The U.S. To Escalate Dramatically In The Coming Months’, and it has already been shared on social media more than 145,000 times. Farming communities all over the central part of the nation now look like war zones as a result of all this flooding, but the media elites on the east and west coasts don’t want to write about it. And with more flooding on the way for the next two months, this crisis is only going to get worse.

This is the time of year when farmers are gearing up to plant wheat, corn and soybeans, and now a substantial portion of our farmland will not be able to be used at all this year. According to Reuters, at least a million acres of farmland were covered by floodwaters for at least seven days this month, and that “will likely reduce corn, wheat and soy production this year”…

At least 1 million acres (405,000 hectares) of U.S. farmland were flooded after the “bomb cyclone” storm left wide swaths of nine major grain producing states under water this month, satellite data analyzed by Gro Intelligence for Reuters showed.

Farms from the Dakotas to Missouri and beyond have been under water for a week or more, possibly impeding planting and damaging soil. The floods, which came just weeks before planting season starts in the Midwest, will likely reduce corn, wheat and soy production this year.

And with “as many as a million calves” lost to the flooding, a lot less food than anticipated is going to be produced in the United States for the foreseeable future.

Between March 8th and March 21st, almost 1.1 million acres of cropland and over 84,000 acres of pastureland were covered by water for at least a week. With more rain on the way, it is essentially going to be impossible for most of those acres to be usable this year.

In Iowa, 474,271 acres were covered by floodwaters for at least seven days in March, and Iowa farmers are facing some very tough deadlines. Corn must be planted by May 31st and soybeans must be planted by June 15th in order to qualify for flood insurance. For most Iowa farms that were covered by floodwaters, that is going to be impossible.

Overall, the recent flooding caused “at least $3 billion” in economic damage according to authorities, but many believe that the final number will be far higher.

Thousands upon thousands of farms have been completely destroyed, and thousands upon thousands of farmers will not plant any crops at all this year.

In addition to the vast agricultural devastation that we have witnessed, thousands upon thousands of homes have been destroyed as well, and now the National Ground Water Association is warning that “the safety of more than a million private water wells” could be compromised…

Record flooding in the Midwest is now threatening the safety of more than a million private water wells. The National Ground Water Association estimates that people living in more than 300 counties across 10 states have their groundwater threatened from bacterial and industrial contamination carried by flood waters.

If you live in the middle of the country and there is a chance that your well may have been compromised, please don’t take any unnecessary chances. Contaminated water can be really, really bad news.

Unfortunately, this is just the beginning. According to the NOAA, we are entering an “unprecedented flood season” that could potentially “impact an even bigger area of cropland”

Spring floods could yet impact an even bigger area of cropland. The U.S. government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has warned of what could be an “unprecedented flood season” as it forecasts heavy spring rains. Rivers may swell further as a deep snow pack in northern growing areas melts.

In my previous article entitled ‘”200 Million People At Risk: National Weather Service Warns Apocalyptic Midwest Floods Are “A Preview Of What We Expect Throughout The Rest Of The Spring”’, I included a map from the NOAA which shows which areas of the central part of the country are projected to receive unusually high levels of rainfall over the next few months.

Unfortunately, there is a tremendous amount of overlap with areas that have already been devastated by flooding.

On Friday and Saturday, there will be “more heavy rains” in the Midwest, and Nebraska is in “the direct path” of the center of the storm…

From the Central Plains to the Midwest, it has been a disastrous spring for river flooding. A weather system slated to bring more heavy rains Friday into Saturday could aggravate the situation along and near the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.

It’s a one-two punch that combines additional rainwater with fresh runoff from snowmelt. Perhaps worst off is Nebraska, in the direct path of Friday’s quick burst of moisture. Barely a week has passed since Gov. Pete Ricketts estimated the cost of ongoing flooding in that state at more than $1 billion.

This is it. America is being hammered by one storm after another, and I very much encourage you to get prepared for a very rough ride ahead.

There is going to be a lot more flooding. Prices for beef, dairy, wheat, corn and soy products are going to rise significantly, and just when you think they are way too high they are going to keep on rising.

This is already the worst agricultural disaster in modern American history, and federal authorities are telling us that we should expect things to continue to get worse for at least two more months.

Perhaps the mainstream media will eventually decide to take this story seriously, but until they do those of us in the alternative media will do our best to keep you updated.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

War With Russia? Trump Says Russian Troops Must “Get Out” Of Venezuela And “All Options Are Open” To Make That Happen

Instead of “collusion with Russia”, will the mainstream media soon be buzzing about a potential war with Russia? The Trump administration and the Russian government are currently engaged in a very heated war of words regarding the deteriorating situation in Venezuela, and at this point it is difficult to see how this crisis will end well unless one side is willing to back down. The Russians are backing current president Nicolas Maduro, and as you will see below, they now have troops on the ground in the country. That absolutely infuriated President Trump, because it greatly complicated his plans for regime change in Venezuela. He told the press that Russia must “get out” and that “all options are open” as far as accomplishing that goal. In other words, President Trump is actually threatening Russia with military force if they refuse to pull their troops out of the country.

Of course the Russians are not going to do that. They have been strongly speaking out against the possibility of U.S. military intervention, and they seized the upper hand strategically when they were able to get boots on the ground in Venezuela over the weekend

One flight tracking website shows two aircraft left a Russian military base for the Venezuelan capital Caracas on Friday, with a further jet leaving on Sunday.

The arrival of the military jets was confirmed by Javier Mayorca, an independent journalist, who said an Antonov-124 cargo plane and a smaller jet touched down late on Saturday.

He said approximately 100 soldiers – led by General Vasily Tonkoshkurov, who is head of the Mobilization Directorate of Russia’s armed forces – was also seen, as well as 35 tons of equipment.

Having the backing of the Russian military greatly, greatly strengthens Maduro’s position, and it is going to be much more difficult for the Trump administration to get rid of him now.

In recent public statements, Russian officials have made it exceedingly clear that they will not tolerate U.S. military intervention in Venezuela, and they underscored that point by sending in troops.

In response, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is warning that the U.S. “will not stand idly by as Russia exacerbates tensions in Venezuela”

The influx of Russian forces, reportedly with intelligence officers among them, prompted U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to call his Russian counterpart on Monday and warn him, “that the United States and regional countries will not stand idly by as Russia exacerbates tensions in Venezuela.”

Okay, so what does “not stand idly by” actually mean?

When asked by reporters for specifics on the situation in Venezuela, this is what President Trump had to say

“Russia has to get out,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office, where he met with Guaido’s wife, Fabiana Rosales.

Asked how he would make Russian forces leave, Trump said: “We’ll see. All options are open.”

But Russia is not going to get out of Venezuela.

So either Trump will have to back down, or he will have to risk a full-blown war with Russia by taking military action.

Yes, we have actually reached that point.

On a note that may or may not be related, the U.S. Army has just placed an order for 167,195 assault rifles

The Army Contracting Command-New Jersey (ACC-NJ) has issued a pre-solicitation to the defense industry, on behalf of Project Manager Soldier Weapons (PM-SW), for the request to procure 167,195 M4/M4A1 Carbines to be manufactured exclusively within the United States or its Territories.

The M4/M4A1 carbines provide a shorter and lighter variant of the M16A2 assault rifle to the United States Armed Forces. The lightweight assault rifle fires 5.56×45mm NATO ammunition from a 30-round magazine and has semi-automatic and three-round burst firing modes.

Is this just a routine order, or does someone anticipate that our troops will be doing some fighting soon?

Whether military action is coming in the short-term or not, it is clear that the U.S. intends to continue to increase the pressure on Maduro. President Trump met with Juan Guaido’s wife on Wednesday, and the day before another crippling power outage paralyzed much of Venezuela

Venezuelans reacted with despair and resourcefulness on Tuesday as nationwide power cuts closed schools and businesses, paralyzing a nation that was only starting to recover from its worst blackouts earlier this month.

The new outages, which began Monday, forced people to follow now-familiar routines: scour neighborhoods for food and water in the few shops that were open or seek out the few spots where they could find a signal on their mobile phones and get in touch with family and friends.

Now that the Mueller investigation is over, hopefully there will be a vigorous national debate about our policy regarding Venezuela, because the American people deserve to know what another war would cost us.

A war in Venezuela would be far more complicated and far more difficult than our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Just consider Ron Paul’s assessment of such a conflict

So is President Trump about to attack Venezuela? At a recent US House hearing, one of the expert witnesses testified that such an invasion would require between 100,000 and 150,000 US troops, going up against maybe three times that number of Venezuelan troops in a country twice the size of Iraq. With a lot of jungle. All for a “prize” that has nothing to do with US security. If the president makes such a foolish move he might find the current war cheerleaders in the Democrat Party changing their tune rather quickly. Let’s hope Trump changes his tune and returns to his promises of no more regime change wars.

On top of all that, an invasion of Venezuela would risk sparking a full-blown war with Russia.

It would be a foreign policy mistake of epic proportions, and we must not do it.

Without a doubt, the situation in Venezuela is heartbreaking, and we should all hope for their economy to be restored.

But this is something for the people of Venezuela to sort out. As I have repeatedly stressed, the U.S. cannot be the police of the world, and the U.S. military should not be used to overthrow governments just because we do not like who is currently running things.

If we are going to ask young American men and women to shed their blood and sacrifice their lives, it had better be for a really, really, really good reason, and regime change in Venezuela definitely does not qualify.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

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