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.

Give This Stock Market Bubble A Round Of Applause – The S&P 500 And The Nasdaq Just Hit Brand New Record Highs

Stocks just closed at a brand new all-time record high, ‘Avengers: Endgame’ is coming to theaters, and a 24-year-old man from Wisconsin just won the 768 million dollar Powerball jackpot. If those are the top headlines today, then everything must be good in ‘Murica at the moment, right? Of course that is not true at all, but as far as the stock market is concerned we must give credit where credit is due. Our financial engineers have created the largest stock market bubble in all of U.S. history, and we should all be hoping that it lasts for as long as possible. Because once this financial bubble is destroyed, the aftermath is going to be truly horrible for the entire country.

Up to this point in the year, the stock market is off to the best start that we have seen since 1987.

Of course we all remember what happened toward the end of 1987.

But for now everything is rainbows and unicorns on Wall Street. The following comes from Fox Business

The benchmark S&P 500 index is up 17%, its best start to a year since 1987, while the Nasdaq has gained 22%, its best start since 1991. The Dow Jones Industrial Average remains about half a percentage point from its record last October.

Tuesday’s move to a record high for the benchmark S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq index comes less than six months after a sharp decline in late December, which led the S&P 500 to its worst annual performance since 2008.

Last December, stocks were plunging dramatically, and it looked like a brand new financial crisis was potentially beginning.

But stocks pulled out of their nosedive, and most investors are feeling really happy for the moment.

If we could just freeze this moment in time somehow, we would be in pretty good shape. Unfortunately, time inevitably rolls on, and many believe that there is a lot of pain ahead for investors.

Of course there are other “experts” that believe the best is yet to come. For instance, Kevin Barry just told CNBC that the stock market turmoil that we witnessed late last year “actually prevented a recession”…

“These market levels are justified,” said Kevin Barry, chief investment officer at Captrust Advisors. “The fourth-quarter sell-off actually prevented a recession because policymakers responded extremely quickly. Both President Xi and President Trump cooled off the rhetoric and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell came out and reversed course.”

I have read that paragraph over and over, and I still can’t believe that someone actually had the gall to say such a thing.

According to Barry, the coming recession has been postponed indefinitely and everybody can start partying like its 1999 all over again!

If only life were so simple.

Look, the reality is that even Fox Business is admitting that stock buybacks are one of the major factors driving this latest rally…

However, the rally this year has been despite outflows from equity funds, according to Bank of America data, suggesting some of the gains have been driven by corporate buybacks of stocks.

Our largest corporations are going hundreds of billions of dollars in debt to pump up their own stock prices. It is a Ponzi scheme of epic proportions, and when things start to go bad there is going to be a race to bankruptcy court.

But for the moment the Ponzi scheme continues, and a lot of people are becoming exceedingly wealthy as a result.

For average Americans, it is absolutely imperative to remember that the stock market is not the economy. Yes, the stock market has been soaring, but the U.S. economy has not had a full year of 3 percent growth since the middle of the Bush administration. This has been the longest stretch of sub-three percent economic growth in our history by a very wide margin, and now all of the numbers are telling us that economic activity is slowing down once again.

Instead of partying, most people should be using this time to prepare for what is ahead, but we know that is simply not going to happen.

And when the end of this bubble finally comes, it is likely to come very quickly. As I always stress to my regular readers, markets tend to go down a whole lot faster than they go up, and that is especially true during times of crisis.

In 2008, enormous amounts of money were lost in the blink of an eye. The following comes from an outstanding article by Bob Henderson entitled “What I Learned From Losing $200 Million”

The day after Lehman fell I lost $20 million, and the day after that $30 million—enough in two days to wipe out all the profits I’d made the previous year. (And that had been a pretty good year.)

But worse was that I felt trapped. My models showed I was destined to lose far more money in the coming weeks, no matter what I did. All roads seemed to lead to an unavoidable abyss. I could practically feel that hot hole breathing under my desk. I actually got dizzy, and lost my ability to think. When my boss stopped by to warn me that Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley looked likely to fall next, he seemed almost amused when he told me that I looked green.

I stumbled home early that day, mentally incapacitated for the first time in my career.

Someday we will see similar things happen again, but we should all want that day to be put off for as long as possible.

For the moment, happy times are here again on Wall Street, and we should enjoy them while we still can.

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.

The True Size Of The U.S. National Debt, Including Unfunded Liabilities, Is 222 Trillion Dollars

The United States is on a path to financial ruin, and everyone can see what is happening, but nobody can seem to come up with a way to stop it. According to the U.S. Treasury, the federal government is currently 22 trillion dollars in debt, and that represents the single largest debt in the history of the planet. Over the past decade, we have been adding to that debt at a rate of about 1.1 trillion dollars a year, and we will add more than a trillion dollars to that total once again this year. But when you add in our unfunded liabilities, our long-term financial outlook as a nation looks downright apocalyptic. According to Boston University economics professor Laurence Kotlikoff, the U.S. is currently facing 200 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities, and when you add that number to our 22 trillion dollar debt, you get a grand total of 222 trillion dollars.

Of course we are never going to pay back all of this debt.

The truth is that we are just going to keep accumulating more debt until the system completely and utterly collapses.

And even though the federal government is the biggest offender, there are also others to blame for the mess that we find ourselves in. State and local governments are more than 3 trillion dollars in debt, corporate debt has more than doubled since the last financial crisis, and U.S. consumers are more than 13 trillion dollars in debt.

When you add it all together, the total amount of debt in our society is well above 300 percent of GDP, and it keeps rising with each passing year.

But for the moment, let’s just focus on the giant mountain of debt that the federal government has piled up. The U.S. budget deficit for last month was 234 billion dollars, and that was an all-time record for a single month. Our exploding debt is an existential threat to our nation, and we are literally destroying the bright future that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have.

And it isn’t just a 22 trillion dollar debt that we are leaving them with. We have also made tens of trillions of dollars worth of future promises that we expect future generations to keep. These are called “unfunded liabilities” because we do not currently have the money to fulfill those obligations.

According to official government projections, the Social Security Administration is facing a 13 trillion dollar unfunded liability over the next 75 years, and Medicare is facing a 37 trillion dollar unfunded liability over the same time frame.

Adding those two numbers together, we get a grand total of 50 trillion dollars.

Where in the world would we ever be able to get so much money when we are already drowning in debt?

Unfortunately, as is so often the case with government projections, those unfunded liability numbers are actually wildly optimistic.

Boston University economics professor Laurence Kotlikoff has been studying our unfunded liability crisis for many years, and according to him the real number is 200 trillion dollars

Consumers will largely bear the brunt of the country’s financial ruin, according to Kotlikoff, which is why it is crucial to give them the power to make better financial decisions.

While the United States’ official debt is $20 trillion, the fiscal gap is really 10 times larger — $200 trillion. That comes from adding in off-the-book liabilities, including debt that’s in the Federal Reserve’s hands, Kotlikoff said.

If Kotlikoff is correct, that means that the true size of the financial obligation that we are imposing upon future generations is 222 trillion dollars, and that number just keeps rising month after month.

Many pundits speak of a day when America will be bankrupt in the future, but according to Kotlikoff we are bankrupt “right now”

But Kotlikoff’s dire prognosis for the United States is enough to wake anyone out of even the deepest summer slumber.

“The evidence is in front of our eyes that we’re bankrupt,” Kotlikoff said. “It’s not bankrupt in the future. It’s bankrupt right now.”

Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be an easy way out. Any politician that would be foolish enough to even threaten to reduce Social Security and Medicare benefits would be immediately voted out of office. America’s population is rapidly aging, and about half of America’s seniors don’t have anything saved for retirement

The bad news is that almost half of Americans approaching retirement have nothing saved in a 401(k) or other individual account. The good news is that the new estimate, from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, is slightly better than a few years earlier.

Of those 55 and older, 48 percent had nothing put away in a 401(k)-style defined contribution plan or an individual retirement account, according to a GAO estimate for 2016 that was released Tuesday.

America’s seniors are counting on us to keep the promises that we have made to them.

Sadly, it doesn’t appear that we are going to be able to do that for too much longer.

In the end, we are going to have to make some very tough choices. One Democrat actually started a petition to sell the state of Montana to Canada for a trillion dollars, and so far it has over 18,000 signatures. Of course we aren’t ever going to sell off pieces of our country, but we are going to have to find some way to come up with an enormous mountain of money.

When I ran for Congress last year, I made doing something about the national debt one of my top issues. Unfortunately, concern about the national debt is not a priority for either political party right now, and that is a huge mistake.

You can spend more money than you are bringing in for quite a while, but eventually a day of reckoning arrives. Anyone that has ever gone into too much credit card debt knows exactly what I am talking about. We have been on the biggest debt binge in the history of the world, and it has allowed us to enjoy a standard of living that is far beyond what we actually deserve, but the price that we will pay for such utter foolishness will be extremely painful 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.

If “Slow Wifi” Causes “Major Stress”, How Are Young People Going To Make It When Times Get Really Tough?

You won’t believe some of the things that are causing “major stress” for young people in America today. According to a brand new survey that was just released, 58 percent of all American Millennials believe that “life is more stressful right now than ever before”. And so what is precisely making life so stressful for our young adults? Well, apparently their phones are a big part of the problem. In the survey, “losing phone”, “phone battery dying”, “forgetting phone charger” and “phone screen breaking” were all among the top 20 sources of stress cited by Millennials. Also making the top 20 were “choosing what to wear” and “washing dishes”. Here is the complete list

1. Losing wallet/credit card
2. Arguing with partner
3. Commute/traffic delays
4. Losing phone
5. Arriving late to work
6. Slow WiFi
7. Phone battery dying
8. Forgetting passwords
9. Credit card fraud
10. Forgetting phone charger
11. Losing/misplacing keys
12. Paying bills
13. Job interviews
14. Phone screen breaking
15. Credit card bills
16. Check engine light coming on
17. School loan payments
18. Job security
19. Choosing what to wear
20. Washing dishes

I am sorry, but if “slow WiFi” if one of your biggest problems in life, then you actually have it pretty good.

It is no wonder why so many are referring to them as “Generation Snowflake”. What in the world are these young adults going to do when times get really tough and they start to face some real challenges?

Sadly, I think that we are going to see meltdowns of absolutely epic proportions.

And I want you to notice how many items in the list above have to do with technology. I am old enough to still remember the days before cell phones and before the Internet. Somehow we managed to function, and life was actually quite good.

But now technology completely dominates most of our lives. In the early nineties, I worked for a major retailer, and part of my job was to help people get online with Compuserve and America Online.

Do you remember those days?

Most people only had dial-up Internet access, and it seemed like some pages took half an hour to load. But things eventually got a lot faster, and a speedy Internet radically changed our society. For the first time, we were able to directly communicate with one another on a massive scale without having to go through corporate gatekeepers, and that was a very positive thing.

But over the past couple of years, the tech giants have decided to engage in a campaign of censorship like we have never seen before. On Monday, Donald Trump Jr. released a scathing editorial about all of this censorship. The following comes from the Hill

Our right to freely engage in public discourse through speech is under sustained attack, necessitating a vigorous defense against the major social media and internet platforms.

From “shadowbans” on Facebook and Twitter, to demonetization of YouTube videos, to pulled ads for Republican candidates at the critical junctures of election campaigns, the list of violations against the online practices and speech of conservatives is long.

Millennials dominate the leadership at many of these social media platforms, and their snowflake sensibilities are deeply offended by political viewpoints that are different from their own. And instead of opening up their minds and learning to be tolerant of different ideas, they have chosen to try to brutally suppress them. In fact, we now know that Facebook even went so far as to develop algorithms to “deboost” content with certain keywords

Thanks to a brave Facebook whistleblower who approached James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas, we now know that Mark Zuckerberg’s social media giant developed algorithms to “deboost” certain content, limiting its distribution and appearance in news feeds. As you probably guessed, this stealth censorship was specifically aimed at conservatives.

Facebook appears to have deliberately tailored its algorithm to recognize the syntax and style popular among conservatives in order to “deboost” that content. “Mainstream media,” “SJW” (Social Justice Warrior) and “red pill” — all terms that conservatives often use to express themselves — were listed as red flags, according to the former Facebook insider.

Action must be taken, because all of this censorship is one of the greatest threats to free speech in modern American history.

The social media giants built billion dollar companies by allowing everyone to express themselves, but now that they own large portions of “the digital public square”, they want to lock out those with certain political viewpoints.

And the backlash against this tremendous abuse is building. For example, U.S. Representative Devin Nunes filed a 25o million dollar lawsuit against the tech companies on Monday…

California GOP Rep. Devin Nunes filed a major lawsuit seeking $250 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages against Twitter and a handful of its users on Monday, accusing the social media site of “shadow-banning conservatives” including himself to influence the 2018 elections, systematically censoring opposing viewpoints and totally “ignoring” lawful complaints of repeated abusive behavior.

In a complaint filed in Virginia state court on Monday, obtained by Fox News, Nunes claimed Twitter wanted to derail his work on the House Intelligence Committee, which he chaired until 2019, as he looked into alleged and apparent surveillance abuses by the government. Nunes said Twitter was guilty of “knowingly hosting and monetizing content that is clearly abusive, hateful and defamatory – providing both a voice and financial incentive to the defamers – thereby facilitating defamation on its platform.”

If we do not fight for a free and open “marketplace of ideas”, we will get an Orwellian Internet where everything is very tightly controlled and very tightly censored.

And if we lose the ability to speak freely on the Internet, how else are we supposed to fight for the future of our society?

The stakes are incredibly high, and this is one battle that we simply cannot allow the snowflakes to win.

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.

The Trade Deficit Continues To Explode, Factories Continue To Be Closed, And U.S. Jobs Continue To Be Sent Overseas

The long-term trends that are gutting the U.S. economy continue to get even worse. As you will see below, our goods trade deficit with the rest of the world hit a brand new record high in 2018, and most Americans simply do not understand why this is such a massive problem. Every year, we buy far more from the rest of the world than they buy from us, and that means that the amount of money going out of the country far surpasses the amount that is coming in. This constant outflow of cash is one of the reasons why we are unable to pay our bills, and so we have to keep begging the rest of the world to lend us our money back. Needless to say, this is one of the big factors that has fueled our 22 trillion dollar national debt. In addition, when we run absolutely massive trade deficits we lose factories and workers to other countries. Since China joined the WTO in 2001, the United States has lost more than 60,000 factories. As factories keep closing down, community after community is being gutted all across America, and without a doubt this is truly a major national crisis.

Many had been hoping that we could start to turn things around, but instead last year was an absolute disaster.

According to the Commerce Department, our goods trade deficit with the rest of the world was 891.3 billion dollars in 2018. That was a 12.4 percent increase from the year before, and it represented a brand new all-time record high.

If we stay on this path, it is a recipe for national economic suicide. We will continue to be unable to pay our bills, we will continue to have to beg the rest of the world for increasing amounts of money, and our national debt will continue to explode.

And of course countless numbers of factories will continue to shut down and countless numbers of workers will continue to lose their jobs.

We can see this happening all around us, but most Americans are not mentally connecting the factory closings and the layoffs to our horrific trade deficit. On Wednesday, the very last vehicle rolled off the assembly line at the GM plant in Lordstown, Ohio

General Motors is ending production at its Lordstown, Ohio plant Wednesday — two days earlier than previously expected.

A GM (GM) spokesperson said that’s when the plant will churn out its last Chevy Cruze sedan. At that point, the factory will be unallocated, which means no vehicles will be assigned to that facility.

That factory is just the first of four U.S. factories that GM is shutting down this year.

Needless to say, a lot of those workers don’t know what they are going to do next. One worker that had worked at the plant for 17 years said that seeing that last car roll off the assembly line “was a kick in the gut”

Signs with sayings such as ‘Save this Plant’ were scattered outside the plant where about 100 workers gathered to say goodbye in the cold.

‘It’s frustrating,’ said Jeff Nance, who has worked at Lordstown for 17 years. ‘I’m angry and bitter. Watching that last car go by was a kick in the gut.’

In the end, Lordstown is probably destined to become another rotting, decaying shell of a town just like we have seen happen to so many other formerly great communities in the Rust Belt.

Of course it isn’t just big corporations like GM that are cutting jobs.

Right now, small businesses are getting rid of workers at the fastest pace that we have seen in more than five years. A major economic slowdown is here, but most Americans still don’t seem to realize what is happening.

In recent days, there had been some optimism that a new trade deal with China would soon bring some positive momentum to the economy, but the status of that deal is very much up in the air.

And the U.S. military seriously angered China this week when they flew two B-52 bombers over disputed airspace in the South and East China Seas…

Two US Air Force B-52H Stratofortress long-range bombers, based in Guam, participated in “routine training missions” on Monday by flying through the disputed airspaces over the South and East China Seas. As one bomber “conducted training in the vicinity of the South China Sea,” the other practiced off the coast of Japan in “coordination with the US Navy and alongside our Japanese air force,” US Pacific Air Forces said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the trade war between Canada and China continues to escalate as well

Canada’s largest grain processor said Tuesday that Beijing has canceled its registration to ship canola seed to China, fueled by the arrest of a top executive for the Chinese tech giant Huawei, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The move suggests that rising diplomatic tensions between China and Canada are damaging commerce between the two countries. Tensions have already crushed hopes that senior officials in Ottawa and Beijing would develop further trade ties.

As long as the U.S. and Canada are holding Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, relations with China are going to continue to deteriorate.

And the truth is that the U.S. and Canada are not going to let her go.

Meanwhile, the U.S. economy continues to slide toward a new recession, and even the president of the New York Fed is now warning that economic conditions are likely to slow down “considerably” this year…

The US economy should slow “considerably” in 2019 as the boost from last year’s economic stimulus fades, the president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank said Wednesday.

Amid economic uncertainty, the Federal Reserve could “wait” before raising interest rates again, John Williams said in remarks to the Economic Club of New York.

There is a reason why everyone seems so pessimistic about the economy right now. All of the numbers say that another recession is coming, and it may arrive a lot sooner than most people had anticipated.

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.

Investors Brace For Impact As The Cancer That Is Ravaging “The Real Economy” Starts To Spread

2019 sure has been a weird year so far. On Wall Street, everything has been coming up roses for investors up to this point. Stock prices have risen more than 10 percent year-to-date, and the horrible crashes of late last year are quickly fading from memory. Meanwhile, the real economy is literally falling to pieces right in front of our eyes. Debt delinquencies are at unprecedented levels, bankruptcies are soaring, retail stores are closing at a record pace, this is the worst economy for farmers since the early 1980s, exports are plummeting and a brand new real estate crisis has now begun. Economic cancer is rapidly spreading throughout our country, and the U.S. economy is deteriorating at the fastest pace that we have seen since the last recession. So how long will it be before Wall Street catches up with economic reality?

The retail industry is being hit particularly hard. At the end of last week, major retailers announced 465 store closings in a single 48 hour period…

The ‘retail apocalypse’ is alive and well this week with major chains such as Gap, JCPenney, Victoria’s Secret and Foot Locker all announcing massive closures, totalling the death of more than 465 stores over the last 48 hours.

And those closings already bring the grand total for 2019 to “a whopping 4,309 store closures”

That builds on recent store closure announcements by Gymboree, Payless ShoeSource, Charlotte Russe and Ann Taylor parent company Ascena Retail, to name a few. A whopping 4,309 store closures were announced by retailers just in the first two months of this year, Coresight Research said in a research note on Friday. That’s well ahead of the number of announcements the market research firm was tracking this same time a year ago, it said.

The term “retail apocalypse” is being thrown around so frequently these days that it has almost lost its meaning, but the worst is yet to come.

Meanwhile, layoffs are starting to come fast and furious now. For example, I was recently made aware of major job cuts that just happened in North Carolina

Duke Energy Corp. eliminated 1,900 positions in its latest round of job reductions, largely through voluntary buyouts but with some involuntary layoffs included.

For the first time since the last recession, I think that it is time to start visiting sites like Daily Job Cuts on a regular basis once again. Millions of Americans lost their jobs in 2008 and 2009, and a lot of you can still remember how painful that was.

In the middle of the country, the big news is “the farm apocalypse”. Last week, we learned that farm debt has now jumped 30 percent since 2013…

“Farm debt has been rising more rapidly over the last five years, increasing by 30% since 2013 – up from $315 billion to $409 billion, according to USDA data, and up from $385 billion in just the last year – to levels seen in the 1980s,” Perdue said in his testimony to the House Agriculture Committee.

As a result of this giant mountain of debt, a ton of small and mid-size farms are going under. As I noted the other day, farm debt delinquencies have now reached the highest level that we have witnessed in 9 years.

I really, really don’t understand the people that are telling us that everything is going to be okay.

Everything is not okay, and things are getting worse with each passing day. ISM’s manufacturing survey just hit the lowest level in 26 months, and for a whole bunch more extremely ominous economic numbers please see my previous article entitled “18 Really Big Numbers That Show That The U.S. Economy Is Starting To Fall Apart Very Rapidly”.

Of course it isn’t just the U.S. that is hurting. Up north, Canada is literally teetering on the brink of recession

The Canadian government shocked the professional financial and economic media with their latest fourth quarter GDP release showing the economy has essentially come to a grinding halt at 0.1% growth.

And over in Europe, things are arguably even worse. Germany is supposed to have the strongest economy in the entire region, but they are also right on the brink of recession

The country’s economy just escaped entering recession territory last month, with GDP growing at just zero percent following a 0.4 percent contraction in the previous three-month period. But Germany could be just weeks away from a recession-threatening double whammy as a potential no-deal Brexit and Donald Trump’s warning to hike car tariffs by up to 25 percent could send the economy tumbling. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ministers have entered into a frantic plan to avert an economic catastrophe which could end Europe’s biggest economy’s golden growth for a decade.

This is a global economic slowdown, and many believe that it will be even worse than what we experienced in 2008.

But as I have previously warned, we aren’t just heading toward an economic storm. Everything that can be shaken will be shaken, and that includes our governmental institutions.

On Sunday, we learned that the House Judiciary Committee is opening an investigation into obstruction of justice by President Trump. The following comes from Reuters

The House Judiciary Committee will seek documents from more than 60 people and organizations as it begins investigations into possible obstruction of justice and abuse of power by President Donald Trump, the panel’s chairman said on Sunday.

Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler told ABC’s “This Week” the panel wanted documents from the Department of Justice, the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. and Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, among others.

This is going to be a year of great governmental shaking. And no matter which side emerges victorious from the legal struggles and from the election of 2020, the truth is that our governmental institutions will never be the same again.

From 2016 through 2018, America experienced a time of relative peace and prosperity, and a lot of people out there were convinced that this bubble of unsustainable false prosperity could continue indefinitely.

Now it is becoming very clear what is ahead of us, and a lot of people are starting to freak out.

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.

18 Really Big Numbers That Show That The U.S. Economy Is Starting To Fall Apart Very Rapidly

Virtually every piece of hard economic data is telling us that the U.S. economy is slowing down dramatically. Many of the pundits have been warning that we could officially enter recession territory later this year or next year, but these numbers seem to indicate that it could happen a whole lot sooner than that. But the stock market has been surging over the last two months, and at this point stocks are off to their best start to a year since 1987, and as long as stock prices are rising a lot of people are simply not going to pay much attention to the economic alarm bells that are ringing. But everyone should be paying attention, because things are really starting to get bad out there. The following are 18 really big numbers that show that the U.S. economy is starting to fall apart very rapidly…

#1 Farm loan delinquencies just hit the highest level that we have seen in 9 years.

#2 We just learned that U.S. exports declined by 4 billion dollars during the month of December.

#3 J.C. Penney just announced that they will be closing another 24 stores.

#4 Victoria’s Secret has just announced plans to close 53 stores.

#5 On Thursday, Gap announced that it will be closing 230 stores over the next two years.

#6 Payless ShoeSource has declared bankruptcy and is closing all 2,100 stores.

#7 Tesla is also closing all of their physical sales locations and will now only sell vehicles online.

#8 PepsiCo has started laying off workers and has committed to “millions of dollars in severance pay”.

#9 The Baltic Dry Index has dropped to the lowest level in more than two years.

#10 This is the worst slump for core U.S. factory orders in three years.

#11 We just witnessed the largest decline in the Philly Fed Business Index in more than 7 years.

#12 In January, sales of existing homes fell 8.9 percent from a year earlier. That was the third month in a row that we have seen a decline of at least 8 percent. This is an absolutely catastrophic trend for the real estate industry.

#13 U.S. housing starts were down 11.2 percent in December compared to the previous month.

#14 Compared to a year earlier, home sales in southern California were down 17 percent in January.

#15 In December, home sales in Sacramento County fell a whopping 22.5 percent compared to a year earlier.

#16 Pending home sales in the United States have now fallen on a year over year basis for 13 months in a row.

#17 More than 166 billion dollars in student loan debt is now “seriously delinquent”. That is an all-time record.

#18 More than 7 million Americans are behind on their auto loan payments. That is also a new all-time record, and it is far higher than anything that we witnessed during the last recession.

It appears that “the recovery” has finally come to an end. After seeing all of those numbers, there is no way that anyone can possibly claim that economic conditions are “getting better”.

And even though the official government numbers are highly manipulated, we never even had one “boom year” throughout the entire “recovery”.

The final numbers for 2018 are now in, and last year was the 13th year in a row when U.S. GDP growth was below 3 percent.

The last time we had a “boom year” when economic growth was above 3 percent was all the way back in 2005. That was in the middle of the Bush administration.

We have never seen a bad streak like this before in modern American history. The following comes from CNS News

But prior to the current 13-year period when real GDP has failed to grow by 3.0 percent in any year, there has been no stretch (in the years since 1930) when the United States went as long as five straight years with real GDP failing to grow by at least 3 percent.

Even though the Federal Reserve pumped trillions of dollars into the financial system over the last decade, and even though we added nearly 12 trillion dollars to the national debt, the best that the authorities have been able to do is to stabilize the system for a while. Now it is starting to sputter once again, and many believe that the next crisis will be far worse than the last one.

By contrast, the Great Depression of the 1930s featured some really bad years, but following those bad years the U.S. experienced a tremendous economic boom

By contrast, after the stock market crash in 1929, the United States saw four years of negative annual GDP—1930 (-8.5), 1931 (-6.4), 1932 (-12.9) and 1933 (-1.2). But then in the nine full years from 1934 through 1942, real GDP grew by an average of 9.75 percent.

We should have had some boom years too, but we didn’t, and now things are going to get bad again.

The Democrats are going to blame the Republicans and the Republicans are going to blame the Democrats, but all of that arguing isn’t going to solve anything.

What is coming next has been a central focus of my work for a very long time. The last recession was very painful, but it did not fundamentally alter life in America.

This next crisis will.

The “Everything Bubble” is bursting, the “Perfect Storm” is coming, and all of our lives will never be the same again.

But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t hope. In fact, once things really start getting crazy hope is going to be one of the major themes in my work because people are really going to need it.

There will be great challenges, and life will be very different, but that doesn’t mean that life is over.

America is about to experience the consequences of decades of exceedingly foolish decisions, and the pain will be extreme. But difficult times also offer an opportunity for dramatic change, and that is something that we will need to embrace.

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.

The “Stock Market Crash Of 2018” Is Rapidly Transforming Into “The Financial Crisis Of 2019”

Stock markets are crashing all over the world, we are seeing extremely violent “flash crashes” in the forex marketplace, economic conditions are slowing down all over the globe, and fear is causing many investors to become extremely trigger happy. The stock market crash of 2018 wiped out approximately 12 trillion dollars in global stock market wealth, but things were supposed to calm down once we got into 2019. But clearly that is not happening. After Apple announced that their sales during the first quarter are going to be much, much lower than previously anticipated, Apple’s stock price started shooting down like a rocket and by the end of the session on Wednesday the company had lost 75 billion dollars in market capitalization. Meanwhile, “flash crashes” caused some of the most violent swings that we have ever seen in the foreign exchange markets…

It took seven minutes for the yen to surge through levels that have held through almost a decade.

In those wild minutes from about 9:30 a.m. Sydney, the yen jumped almost 8 percent against the Australian dollar to its strongest since 2009, and surged 10 percent versus the Turkish lira. The Japanese currency rose at least 1 percent versus all its Group-of-10 peers, bursting through the 72 per Aussie level that has held through a trade war, a stock rout, Italy’s budget dispute and Federal Reserve rate hikes.

This is the kind of chaos that we only see during a financial crisis.

Investors are also being rattled by the fact that China just experienced its first factory activity contraction in over two years

The People’s Bank of China said on Wednesday evening it had relaxed its conditions on targeted reserve requirement cuts to benefit more small firms.

The move came after China reported its first factory activity contraction in over two years in December. A long-term Chinese slowdown would cause global havoc.

But of course the biggest news of the day was what happened to Apple. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 660 points on Wednesday, and the huge hit that Apple took was the biggest reason for that decline.

Including the 75 billion dollars that was just wiped out, the value of Apple has now fallen by 452 billion dollars since October 3rd…

In only three months, Apple has lost $452 billion in market capitalization, including tens of billions on Thursday as the tech giant’s stock sank further.

Apple shares have fallen by 39.1 percent since Oct. 3, when the stock hit a 52-week high of $233.47 a share. With its market cap down to about $674 billion, those losses are larger than individual value of 496 members of the S&P 500 — including Facebook and J.P. Morgan.

Ironically, the truth is that Apple is actually one of the strongest companies on Wall Street financially. It is just that the company was priced well beyond perfection, and so any hint of bad news was likely to cause a decline of this magnitude.

The amount of paper wealth that stock market investors have just lost is absolutely staggering. To put this in the proper perspective, here are some more facts about the money that Apple investors have lost that come from CNBC

At this point U.S. financial markets are hypersensitive to any piece of bad news, and the fact that Apple sales are way down in China is definitely bad news.

One analyst said that this was “Apple’s darkest day in the iPhone era” and he expressed his opinion that “the magnitude of the miss with China demand …was jaw-dropping.”

Of course Apple is far from alone. Economic activity is slowing down substantially all over the planet, and on Wednesday we learned that U.S. factory activity just declined by the most since the last recession

Beyond Apple, investors were also rattled by the biggest one-month decline in US factory activity since the Great Recession. The closely-watched ISM manufacturing index tumbled to a two-year low, providing further evidence of slowing growth and pain from the US-China trade war.

In addition, both of Bloomberg’s economic surprise indexes have “turned negative for the first time since Trump was elected”.

The hits just keep on coming, and it is becoming quite clear that this is going to be a very tough year.

As this crisis continues to escalate, keep an eye on our big financial institutions. Italy’s tenth largest bank just imploded, and it is likely that we will see more financial dominoes start to topple as the losses mount.

Over the past decade, there have been other times when Wall Street has been rattled, but those episodes only lasted for a few weeks at the most.

It has now been three months, and this new crisis shows no signs of abating any time soon.

What that means is that we are in a heap of trouble. Because once this giant financial avalanche fully gets going, it is going to be impossible to stop.

For the moment, I think that this current wave of panic selling is subsiding and that Friday will be better for investors. Of course the markets are so jittery at this point that a single piece of bad news could instantly send them tumbling once again. But barring any bad news, hopefully things will be calmer on Friday.

There will be good days and there will be bad days in 2019.

There will be ups and there will be downs.

But it has become exceedingly clear that the downturn that so many have been anticipating has finally arrived, and the financial crisis of 2019 looks like it is going to be a doozy.

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.

A Surprise Announcement Has Just Unleashed Another Wave Of Panic On Wall Street

Well, that sure didn’t take long. Many had been hoping that 2019 would be a calmer year for Wall Street, but so far that has not materialized. In fact, a surprise announcement by Apple has just sparked another wave of panic selling on Wall Street. In a letter to shareholders, Apple CEO Tim Cook admitted that first quarter revenue is going to be way, way below expectations. That immediately set off “flash crashes” all over the globe as investors reacted to this unexpected news. According to Cook, the primary reason for the coming “revenue shortfall” is a slowing economy in China

Apple said it sees first-quarter revenue of $84 billion vs. a previous guidance of a range of $89 billion and $93 billion. Analysts expected revenue of $91.3 billion for the period, according to the consensus estimate from FactSet. Apple blamed most of the revenue shortfall for struggling business in China. But the company also said that upgrades by customers in other countries were “not as strong as we thought they would be.”

Once this letter was released, many investors rushed to dump as much Apple stock as they could, and trading in the stock was temporarily halted

After being halted temporarily, Apple shares resumed trading at 4:50 p.m. ET, quickly falling over 8 percent to $145.12. The plunging shares wiped out more than $50 billion in the company’s market value, according to Bloomberg data. Apple, which was trading around $146 in after-hours trading is now down more than 37 percent from its Oct. 3 high and has fallen mightily since becoming the first U.S. company to reach a $1 trillion market cap in August.

And many investors generally assume that pretty much any bad news for Apple is bad news for the tech sector as a whole, and so just about every big tech stock was being pummeled in the aftermath of this surprise announcement. The following numbers come from Business Insider

As I warned just yesterday, it looks like 2019 is going to be a very, very challenging year.

At this point the mood of the nation has turned downright gloomy. Economic activity is slowing down all around the globe, the current government shutdown looks like it could last for a very long time, the endless investigations in Washington threaten to derail the Trump presidency, our trade war with China is becoming more painful with each passing week, and even many former optimists are openly admitting that the outlook for Wall Street looks very grim. For example, just check out what venture capitalist Fred Wilson is saying

Like many of his peers in the Valley, legendary New York VC Fred Wilson – the founder of Union Square Ventures – is typically a dewy eyed optimist (just take a look at Union Ventures’ many flailing crypto investments). But in a surprising twist, a list of Wilson’s market calls for 2019 is so gloomy, it reads as if it were ghostwritten by SocGen’s Albert Edwards.

According to Wilson, the S&P 500 will visit 2,000 (a roughly 500 point – 25% – drop from current levels) some time during 2019 as the bottom falls out of the global economy. President Trump will agree to resign after being impeached by the House following the publication of the Mueller report. And the slate of highly anticipated tech IPOs (Uber, Lyft, Airbnb etc.) will fall flat. In other words, 2019 will be a “doozy”, as Wilson describes it.

The new session of Congress begins at noon on Thursday, and Nancy Pelosi will once again be the Speaker of the House. If something suddenly happened to President Trump and Vice-President Pence, she would become the president of the United States.

I don’t know about you, but just the thought of that chills me to the bone.

Now that the Democrats control the House, they are going to investigate the living daylights out of Trump, and it is likely to be a very, very tough year for him.

Many on the left are entirely convinced that Trump will be out of the White House by the end of 2019. Perhaps they will be successful in that mission, but instead of fixing things that would just unleash a whole lot more chaos.

As this year rolls along, the bickering and fighting in Washington is going to continue to intensify, but meanwhile very little is going to get done. With the Democrats in control of the House, the Republicans in control of the Senate, and Trump in control of the White House we have a recipe for gridlock that is pretty much unprecedented in modern American history.

What that means is that if things go really, really bad, we shouldn’t really expect any solutions to come out of Washington. We desperately need real change, but the voters just keep on sending the same old faces back to D.C. and they just keep on pushing the same old tired policies.

It is funny how I often drift into talking about politics, but the truth is that economics and politics are inseparable. And it is undeniable that what is going on in D.C. is going to have a dramatic impact on the U.S. economy throughout 2019.

As I write this, the numbers coming from Wall Street just keep getting worse and worse. It looks like it is going to be a really tough day, and without a doubt it looks like it is going to be a really tough year.

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.

2019: It Is Going To Be Much Worse Than You Think…

The beginning of a new year is supposed to be all about hope, right? And I would certainly like to tell you that 2019 is going to be America’s best year ever and that everybody is going to receive a double portion of blessing, prosperity and happiness, but that simply would not be true. Unfortunately, the truth is that the elements for a “perfect storm” are rapidly coming together and 2019 is going to be an exceedingly challenging year. Of course 2018 wasn’t exactly a wonderful year either. I really like how Dave Barry made this point in his most recent article

We can summarize 2018 in two words:

It boofed.

We’re not 100 percent sure what “boofing” is, despite the fact that this very issue was discussed in a hearing of the United States Senate Judiciary Committee. All we know for certain about boofing is that it is distasteful and stupid.

As was 2018.

But as bad as 2018 was, the year that has just started threatens to greatly surpass it.

Let’s start by talking about politics. According to Axios, Donald Trump is currently the subject of 17 different investigations.

Yes, you read that correctly.

We have never seen anything like this in American history. Even during the Nixon era there was some measure of restraint, but at this point they are trying to come up with any angle that they possibly can to get rid of Donald Trump.

And the left truly believes that this is the year that they are going to get rid of him. In fact, the Hill just published an article containing 30 predictions for 2019, and these were the top three

  • Donald J. Trump’s presidency will not survive 2019;
  • The downward trajectory of every aspect of his tenure indicates we are headed for a spectacular political crash-and-burn — and fairly soon;
  • His increasingly erratic and angry behavior, his self-imposed isolation, his inability and refusal to listen to smart advisers that he hired, all are leading him to a precipice;

For a moment, let’s assume that the left is successful and they get rid of Trump. Will everything go back to normal?

No, Mike Pence will become president and they will immediately start investigating him. And then if a Democrat wins in 2020, revenge-seeking Republicans will investigate the living daylights out of whoever enters the White House.

Personally, I can’t understand why so many Democrats are lining up to run for president. Are they absolutely insane? After what has been done to Trump, his family, Brett Kavanaugh and countless others, why would anyone want to subject themselves to such endless public torture?

We are rapidly getting to the point where America will be ungovernable. No matter who is in power, there is going to be anger, strife, discord and resentment. Tens of millions of Americans hated Barack Obama and did not consider him to be their president, and now tens of millions of Americans hate Donald Trump and do not consider him to be their president. Our political institutions are breaking down, and faith in the system is at an all-time low.

But at least economic conditions have been relatively stable, and this has done much to pacify most Americans in recent years.

Unfortunately, economic conditions are really starting to slow down, and big corporations are beginning to announce large scale layoffs. Just like we saw during the last recession, eventually there will be millions of Americans that lose their jobs, and mortgage defaults will spike dramatically once again.

And just like in 2008, the stock market is starting to plunge in a major way.

2018 was the worst year for the stock market in a decade, we just witnessed the worst month of December for Wall Street since the Great Depression, and at this point approximately 12 trillion dollars of global stock market wealth has been wiped out.

And the really bad news is that things are likely to get even worse in 2019.

History has shown that tough economic conditions make military conflict more likely, and the world continues to teeter on the brink of war.

In the Middle East, Turkish tanks have been lining up along the Syrian border in anticipation of a possible invasion, and Syrian forces have been massing to defend against a potential attack. Elsewhere, Hezbollah and Hamas seem to be in a race to see who can start a war with Israel first. If war does break out, Israel may find themselves fighting both of them simultaneously.

As for the United States, our relationships with both Russia and China are rapidly deteriorating. The Russians continue to prepare for a coming military conflict with the United States, and the Pentagon is officially freaked out by the new hypersonic missiles that the Russians have just developed. Meanwhile, the trade war with China continues to escalate and one Chinese general just suggested that the Chinese military should not be afraid to “sink two U.S. aircraft carriers”.

And let us not forget Iran, North Korea and the potential for a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Sadly, I have a feeling that there is going to be a whole lot less “peace on Earth” by this time next year.

On top of everything else, the crust of our planet appears to be getting increasingly unstable and climate conditions are changing at a very rapid pace. Dozens of volcanoes are currently erupting, and one expert is warning that about 100 others could be on the brink of erupting. Massive earthquakes have been striking along the Ring of Fire with increasing regularity, and major storms just keep getting larger and more intense.

We could keep going if you like. I haven’t even mentioned the potential for a global pandemic, the impending collapse of the European Union, civil unrest, terrorism, the death of our oceans or the horrible drought in the western half of the country.

Yes, people desperately need hope, but giving them false hope by telling them that everything is going to be just wonderful in 2019 is not a good thing.

Our world is in turmoil, and it is going to get even worse in 2019. So put on your seatbelts and get ready, because it is going to be a bumpy ride.

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.

2018 Was The Worst Year For The Stock Market Since The Financial Crisis Of 2008

Now that the year is finally over, we can officially say that 2018 was the worst year for stocks in an entire decade. Not since the last financial crisis have we had a year like this, and many believe that 2019 will be even worse. And of course the truth is that stocks are still tremendously overvalued. Stock valuation ratios always return to their long-term averages eventually, and if the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged another 8,000 points from the current level that would begin to get us into that neighborhood. Unfortunately, the system is so highly leveraged that it will not be able to handle a price decline of that magnitude. The relatively modest drops that we have seen already have caused a tremendous amount of chaos on Wall Street, and a full-blown meltdown would quickly result in a nightmare scenario potentially even worse than what we experienced in 2008.

For investors that had become accustomed to large gains year after year, 2018 was a brutal wake up call. The following comes from Fox Business

2018 may be remembered as the year the Grinch stole your retirement or stock investment account.

December was the worst month for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 since 1931, as tracked by our partners at Dow Jones Market Data Group. The S&P 500, the broadest measure of stocks, lost 9 percent and the Dow over 8.5 percent.

For the year, stocks turned in the worst performance since 2008.

According to the bulls, this wasn’t supposed to happen. In the middle of the year, they were projecting that a “booming” U.S. economy would continue to drive stock prices higher, but instead we just witnessed the worst three month stretch for stocks since the 4th quarter of 2008, and the month of December was the most painful of all

December was a particularly dreadful month: The S&P 500 was down 9% and the Dow was down 8.7% — the worst December since 1931. In one seven-day stretch, the Dow fell by 350 points or more six times. This year’s Christmas Eve was the worst ever for the index.

The S&P 500 was up or down more than 1% nine times in December alone, compared to eight times in all of 2017. It moved that much 64 times during the year.

Not even in 2008 did we have a December like this. This was the second worst December for the Dow Jones Industrial Average ever, and you know that things are getting bad when you have to go all the way back to the Great Depression of the 1930s to find a time when stock prices were deteriorating more rapidly.

The amount of stock market wealth that has already been wiped out is absolutely staggering. For example, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth plummeted by 20 billion dollars in 2018…

American billionaires saw the biggest loss this year, collectively dropping $76 billion, largely because of December’s market rout. Mark Zuckerberg saw the sharpest drop in 2018 as Facebook Inc. veered from crisis to crisis. His net worth fell nearly $20 billion, leaving the 34-year-old with a $53 billion fortune.

And this was not just a U.S. phenomenon. Virtually every major stock market around the world was hit extremely hard, and a total of nearly 12 trillion dollars in global stock market wealth was wiped out over the course of the year.

The only time when more stock market wealth was wiped out in a single year was in 2008.

Are you starting to understand the magnitude of the crisis that has now erupted?

Of course the mainstream media continues to insist that this is just a temporary thing, and that markets will begin surging again soon as investors start scooping up stocks at “bargain prices”. For example, just check out this excerpt from a CNBC article that was posted on Monday

John Stoltzfus, chief investment strategist at Oppenheimer Asset Management, said these declines are “setting the stage for upward surprises in 2019.”

“With what we believe to be almost all but the kitchen sink priced into current valuations, we see opportunity for multiples to return to levels seen at the end of the third quarter … with multiple expansions resulting in a global equity rebound in the coming year,” Stoltzfus wrote in a note.

It sure would be nice if the optimists are correct. Even for those that are relatively poor, the truth is that we live very comfortably in the United States today. The vast majority of us really have nothing to complain about, because we are enjoying a standard of living that is substantially higher than almost everyone else in the world.

Of course we don’t actually deserve this standard of living, but most Americans don’t want to hear that. We consume far more than we produce, and only by going into increasingly absurd amounts of debt are we able to keep the game going.

It is easy to say that this bubble will inevitably burst, but it will be a very sad day when it does.

Those that gleefully look forward to the coming collapse of our financial system do not really understand what we will be facing. It won’t be like 2008 when the authorities were able to patch things together and fairly rapidly restore our standard of living. When this thing finally shatters, nobody is going to be able to put the pieces back together like they were before ever again.

This is a very dark time. As I have stressed repeatedly, the elements for a “perfect storm” have been rapidly coming together, and 2019 is going to look a whole lot different than 2018 did.

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 Exactly The Kind Of Behavior That You Would Expect During A Stock Market Implosion…

If a doctor tells you that his patient’s condition is swinging up and down wildly, is that a good sign or a bad sign? Of course the answer to that question is quite obvious. And if a doctor tells you that his patient’s condition is “stable”, is that a good sign or a bad sign? Just like in the medical world, instability is not something that is a desirable thing on Wall Street, and right now we are witnessing extreme volatility on an almost daily basis. On Thursday, the Dow was already down several hundred points when I went out to do some grocery shopping with my wife, and at the low point of the day it had fallen 611 points. But then a “miracle happened” and the Dow ended the day with an increase of 260 points. As I detailed yesterday, this is precisely the sort of behavior that you would expect during a chaotic bear market.

As Fox Business has noted, bear market rallies are typically “sharp, quick and usually short”. I figured that the momentum from Wednesday would carry over into the early portion of Thursday, so I was surprised when the Dow was down by so much as we neared the middle of the day. But then around 2 PM we witnessed an extraordinary market surge

The Dow Jones Industrial Average posted a 865-point swing in less than two hours. The blue-chip index had been down in mid-afternoon more than 500 points to cut the previous session’s gains in half, before bargain hunters and short covering turned a big decline into a modest gain.

An 865 point swing in less than two hours is not “normal”.

In fact, it is about as far from “normal” as you can get.

Let’s talk about short covering for a moment. During huge market downturns, speculators often try to make a lot of money very rapidly by shorting stocks. But if momentum suddenly shifts, those short sellers can be caught with their pants down and the consequences can be quite dramatic. The following comes from Marketwatch

Indeed, market veterans warn that massive, one-day rallies are often more characteristic of downturns, occurring as selloffs lead to significantly oversold technical conditions that leave markets ripe for short covering only to give way to renewed selling once the frenzy of forced buying is exhausted. Investors who short a stock are essentially betting that its price will fall by first borrowing the shares, but those traders can be forced to buy shares back if prices suddenly swing higher, which, in turn, can amplify price swings.

In addition, it appears that on Thursday there was more of the “forced pension rebalancing” that Zero Hedge has been talking about

It certainly has the smell of a massive pension reallocation as the moment stocks started to surge, bonds were dumped

No stock market crash in U.S. history has ever gone in a straight line. There are always huge ups and downs during every market crash, and this market crash is no exception.

Ultimately, there is no way that you can possibly interpret the behavior of the market in recent days as “healthy”

Here’s the problem: as we discussed last night, since 1990, every comparable reversal – with a few exceptions – came during the 2008-2009 bear market. According to Bloomberg data, in eight previous bear markets the S&P 500 experienced rallies of greater than 2.5% more than 120 times as the benchmark plunged from peak to trough. From the collapse of Lehman to the financial crisis bottom in March 2009, the S&P 500 rallied more than 4 percent on 13 different occasions.

This is not the kind of price action you see in normal bull markets,” said Robert Baird equity sales trader Michael Antonelli. “This is just a face ripping short cover rally. I am 100 percent not saying we are in a situation like 2008 now, but look at October 10, 2008 to October 13, 2008: the market rose nearly 12 percent in one day. October 27 to October 28, 2008, it rose 11 percent.”

Meanwhile, it appears that one of America’s most iconic retailers is about to go down in flames.

For years I have been warning that Sears was eventually “going to zero”, and if a last ditch rescue attempt does not materialize by the end of the day on Friday, Sears will be liquidated

The employer of more than 68,000 filed for bankruptcy in October. Its last shot at survival is a $4.6 billion proposal put forward by its chairman, Eddie Lampert, to buy the company out of bankruptcy through his hedge fund, ESL Investments. ESL is the only party offering to buy Sears as a whole, people familiar with the situation tell CNBC. Without that bid or another like it, liquidators will break the company up into pieces.

But as Lampert stares down a deadline of Dec. 28 to submit his offer, he is quickly running out of time. As of Thursday afternoon, Lampert had neither submitted his bid, nor rounded up financing, the people familiar said.

The inevitable demise of Sears could be seen from a mile away, and the same thing can be said about the country as a whole.

Our debt-fueled standard of living has been propped up by the biggest debt binge in the history of the world, and Wall Street has been transformed into the largest casino on the entire planet.

The entire U.S. economic system has become one huge Ponzi scheme, and all Ponzi schemes ultimately collapse.

Right now, we are in the early stages of a game that is going to take some time to fully play out. The pessimism that has gripped Wall Street is starting to spread throughout the general population, and many experts were stunned to learn that consumer confidence just declined for a second month in a row

The confidence Americans feel in the economy fell for the second month in a row and touched the lowest level since last summer, perhaps a sign that worries about the 9 1/2-year U.S. expansion have spread from Wall Street to Main Street.

The consumer confidence index dropped to 128.1 this month from a revised 136.4 in November, the Conference Board said Thursday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a 133.3 reading.

If you have been a regular visitor to my websites, then nothing that will happen over the next few months should be a surprise to you.

The inevitable consequences for decades of exceedingly foolish decisions are starting to roll in, and the bursting of “The Bubble To End All Bubbles” is going to be beyond excruciating.

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.

U.S. Stocks Just Had Their Best Day Ever – And Here Is Why That Is A REALLY Bad Sign…

The Dow Jones Industrial Average just posted its biggest single day point gain ever. On Wednesday, the Dow shot up 1,086 points, which shattered the old record by a staggering 150 points. It truly was a remarkable day, and this is the sort of “Santa Claus rally” that investors had been hoping for. Many are convinced that this rally is an indication that the crisis of the last three months is over, but as you will see below, this sort of extreme volatility is actually a really bad sign. But for the moment, the mainstream media is pushing the narrative that everything is once again peachy keen in the financial world. Just consider the following quote from CNN

“Investors went bargain shopping the day after Christmas, where stocks just got too cheap relative to earnings, future earnings, any reasonable assessment of earnings,” said Chris Rupkey, managing director of MUFG. “The coast is clear, back up the truck, investors are saying enough already, the world is not ending.”

The coast is clear?

Really?

Do you think that they were saying the same thing on October 13th, 2008? On that day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 936 points, and at the time it was the biggest daily point increase that Wall Street had ever seen by a very wide margin.

Of course that was right in the middle of the last financial crisis, and stocks just kept on tumbling after that massive rally.

But then on October 28th, 2008 the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 889 points. Up until Wednesday, that was the second biggest daily point increase in U.S. history.

Was the crisis over then?

No way. Subsequently, the Dow kept on falling until it eventually bottomed out in early 2009.

As I have explained many times before, there is going to be extreme volatility that goes both ways during any crisis on Wall Street.

When markets are calm, stock prices generally tend to go up. And when markets get really choppy, the overall trend tends to be in a downward direction.

14 out of the 20 biggest daily point gains in the history of the Dow Jones Industrial Average happened either this year or during the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009.

During the great bull market that we witnessed during the intervening time period, stocks rarely shot up dramatically on any particular day. Instead, it was more of a slow and steady rise, and that is what investors should really be wishing for.

On the flip side, 15 out of the 20 biggest point declines in the history of the Dow Jones Industrial Average happened either this year or during the last financial crisis.

So it goes both ways. Extreme volatility is a clear indication that a crisis has arrived, and that means that what we witnessed on Wednesday should be very troubling for all of us.

And even with Wednesday’s dramatic gains, it is important to note that the stock market is still on pace for its worst December since 1931.

So don’t get too excited yet.

And you won’t hear this from the mainstream media, but the primary reason why stocks shot up so much on Wednesday was because of forced pension rebalancing. The following comes from Zero Hedge

For those who missed our Friday post on the topic, Wells explained where this massive rebalancing comes from: the huge, end-of-quarter buy order was precipitated by the jarring divergence between equity and bond performances both in Q4 and the month of December. The stocks in the bank’s pro forma pension asset blend had suffered a 14% loss this quarter, including about an 8.5% drop in December. Contrast this with a roughly +1.6% quarterly total return for the domestic aggregate bond index. The gap between equity and bond performance in pension portfolios would have been even larger had IG credit OAS not widened nearly 40 bps in Q4.

As a result of this need for massive quarter-end rebalancing, corporate pensions would need to boost their equity portfolios by as much as $64 billion into year-end. Getting a bit more granular, Wells analyst Boris Rjavinski wrote that domestic stocks – both large cap and small cap – may need disproportionately large boosts of $35 billion and $21 billion, respectively, compared to “only” $9 billion for global developed equities (see table below). This is driven by large performance gaps within equity markets: U.S. stocks have trailed global and EM equities in Q4 and December after outperforming the ROW for quarters on end.

So the truth is that we may see more big stock rallies in the waning days of 2018 as tens of billions of dollars of corporate pension money shifts from bonds to stocks.

But if you think that this crisis is “over”, you are going to be in for quite a shock in 2019.

Meanwhile, global economic activity continues to deteriorate

A global economy that until recently was humming has broken down, a sharp contrast to the picture just a year ago when the world was experiencing its best growth since 2010 and seemed poised to do even better.

Already, builders in the United States are erecting fewer single-family homes. German factories are sputtering, and in China, retail sales are growing at their slowest pace in 15 years.

In the final analysis, nothing that happened on Wednesday changed the long-term outlook one bit.

What we witnessed was simply a great deal of forced pension rebalancing, and that is only going to be a very short-term phenomenon.

Hopefully things will calm down as we approach the new year, but I wouldn’t count on it. Extreme volatility appears to be here to stay, and that is definitely not good news for the markets.

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.

“The Worst Is Yet To Come Next Year”

When talking heads on mainstream news networks are using phrases such as “the worst is yet to come next year”, that is a clear indication that a new financial crisis has arrived. And that is an extremely bold statement to make considering that this is already the worst quarter for the stock market in 10 years, this is the worst December for stock prices since 1931, and we just experienced the worst Christmas Eve that Wall Street has ever seen. So when Mark Jolley made the following statement during a recent guest appearance on CNBC, it definitely raised some eyebrows…

“I would love to be more optimistic but i just don’t see too many positives out there. I think the worst is yet to come next year, we’re still in the first half of a global equity bear market with more to come next year,” Mark Jolley, global strategist at CCB International Securities, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

At this point last year, nobody on Wall Street was talking like this.

In fact, nobody was talking like this even four or five months ago.

But after three extremely painful months the outlook has completely changed, and a lot of market participants are really starting to freak out.

And this is not just happening in the United States. The truth is that most most markets around the world started to fall well before U.S. markets did, and at this point almost all of the big global indexes are in a bear market

Bear markets — typically defined as 20 percent or more off a recent peak — are threatening investors worldwide. In the U.S., the Nasdaq Composite closed in a bear market on Friday and the S&P 500 entered one on Monday. Globally, Germany’s DAX, China’s Shanghai Composite and Japan’s Nikkei have also entered bear market levels.

This is the first global bear market that we have seen in a decade, and if central banks are going to try to stop the bleeding they will need to move very quickly.

But the Federal Reserve has already indicated that they do not plan to intervene. In fact, they just told everyone that they plan to keep raising interest rates.

That is completely insane, but since they aren’t accountable to us they can literally do whatever they want.

So if the central banks don’t step in, who is going to come riding to the rescue?

Individual national governments could try to stimulate economic activity by spending more money, but most of them are already drowning in debt.

Just look at the mess that the U.S. government has created. Since the beginning of the last financial crisis, we have been adding more than a trillion dollars a year to the national debt. And over the last 12 months our debt problems have actually accelerated. Between December 25th, 2017 and December 25th, 2018 we added almost 1.4 trillion dollars to the national debt. The following comes from CNS News

The federal government has added another $1,370,760,684,441.54 to the debt since last December 25, according to numbers published by the U.S. Treasury.

On Dec. 25, 2017, the federal debt was 20,492,874,492,282.58, according to the Treasury.

According to the latest numbers published by the Treasury, which show where the debt stood on Dec. 20, 2018, the federal debt was $21,863,635,176,724.12.

So the reality of the matter is that there is simply no room for more “stimulus spending”, because we have already been spending money like drunken sailors that think that they are likely to die tomorrow.

Right now the government is shut down as President Trump and Chuck Schumer square off over 5 billion dollars in border wall funding. But nobody on Capitol Hill is even talking much about the 1.37 trillion dollars that we just added to the national debt, and that is really what everybody should be focusing on.

We are literally committing national suicide. No matter what happens with border wall funding, the U.S. will continue to steamroll toward financial oblivion unless something is done about this horrific debt that we are accumulating.

As I wrap up this article, I would like to share something that Austin Murphy wrote that really struck a chord with me. Over the course of a 33 year career in journalism, Murphy interviewed five presidents and wrote thousands of articles for Sports Illustrated. But now he is delivering packages for Amazon

Let’s face it, when you’re a college-educated 57-year-old slinging parcels for a living, something in your life has not gone according to plan. That said, my moments of chagrin are far outnumbered by the upsides of the job, which include windfall connections with grateful strangers. There’s a certain novelty, after decades at a legacy media company—Time Inc.—in playing for the team that’s winning big, that’s not considered a dinosaur, even if that team is paying me $17 an hour (plus OT!). It’s been healthy for me, a fair-haired Anglo-Saxon with a Roman numeral in my name (John Austin Murphy III), to be a minority in my workplace, and in some of the neighborhoods where I deliver. As Amazon reaches maximum ubiquity in our lives (“Alexa, play Led Zeppelin”), as online shopping turns malls into mausoleums, it’s been illuminating to see exactly how a package makes the final leg of its journey.

Like Murphy, America’s future is going to be far less bright than its past if we don’t get things turned around, and right now there is absolutely no indication that this is going to happen.

Our national problems are multiplying, the conditions for a perfect storm are rapidly coming together, and pessimism is quickly growing all across America.

Mark Jolley believes that “the worst is yet to come next year”, and in the end he may turn out to be exactly correct.

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.

The Worst Christmas Eve For The Stock Market EVER – The Dow Has Now Fallen More Than 5000 Points From The Peak

This is definitely not the gift that investors wanted for Christmas. On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 653 points as panic swept through Wall Street like wildfire. That represented a 2.9 percent daily decline, and that made it the worst Christmas Eve for the Dow ever recorded. Incredibly, the previous record had lasted for exactly 100 years. Normally the day before Christmas is a very, very quiet day on Wall Street, but right now there are no “normal” days for the financial markets. If you go back to early October, the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit an all-time record high of 26,951.81, and on Monday the Dow closed at just 21,792.20. That means that the Dow has now plummeted more than 5,000 points in less than three months, and that is a major milestone.

The S&P 500 also crossed a major milestone on Monday when it entered bear market territory

The term on Wall Street is synonymous with serious, long-lasting declines in stock markets. In numeric terms, a bear market is a 20 percent or more drop from a recent peak.

The S&P 500 hit that milestone on Monday, dropping 20 percent from its 52-week high. Markets have stumbled through what is usually one of their best months of the year, with indexes on track for their worst December performances since the Great Depression in 1931.

What this means is that the longest bull market in all of U.S. history is officially dead.

And there is still about a week left in the month. If things continue to unravel, this could ultimately turn out to be the worst December that the stock market has ever experienced.

Now that a bear market has begun, it is likely to stick around for a while. Just consider these numbers

Since World War II, bear markets on average have fallen 30.4 percent and have lasted 13 months, according to analysis at Goldman Sachs and CNBC. When that milestone has been hit, it took stocks an average of 21.9 months to recover.

Of course all of the “experts” consulted by the mainstream media are going to assume that there will eventually be a recovery.

But could it be possible that this is the beginning of the “big crash” from which we will never recover?

Without a doubt, the elements for a perfect storm have been coming together for a long time. We are witnessing great political shaking, our relationships with both Russia and China are rapidly deteriorating, a trade war has begun, social decay is spreading through our society like cancer, and the crust of our planet is becoming increasingly unstable. Now we can add economic and financial instability to the mix, and a scenario is emerging that is eerily similar to what I have been warning about for a very long time.

Even before the markets crashed on Monday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had scheduled an emergency call with the “Plunge Protection Team”. The following comes from Reuters

The Treasury said Mnuchin will convene a call on Monday with the president’s Working Group on Financial Markets, which includes Washington’s main stewards of the U.S. financial system and is sometimes referred to as the “Plunge Protection Team.”

The group, which was also convened in 2009 during the latter stage of the financial crisis, includes officials from the Federal Reserve as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission.

But instead of calming the markets, many were concerned that this would actually accelerate the panic on Wall Street

“Panic feeds panic, and this looks like panic in the administration,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton. “Suggesting you might know something that no one else is worried about creates more unease.”

And without a doubt, what we witnessed on Monday was sheer panic.

Consumer lending has already been tightening up over the past couple of months, and the chaos on Wall Street is almost certainly going to cause financial institutions to become even tighter with their money.

As credit conditions tighten, economic activity will slow down, and that will make the coming recession even more inevitable.

There is one more key data point that I would like to share with you all today. Since 1960, there have only been 13 years when the stock market has declined for the year. As Joe Zidle has noted, most of the time those declines occur “before or during a recession”…

“I think there’s a massive gap between sentiment and fundamentals” for the market, Blackstone investment strategist Joe Zidle said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

“If the market closes down for the year, which looks likely … it will only be the 13th time that we’ve seen a full year decline since 1960,” Zidle said. Of those 13 full year declines in the past 58 years, seven occurred before or during a recession.

Now that the Dow Jones Industrial Average has fallen more than 5000 points, I think that we can safely say that this is a stock market crash.

But how bad will this stock market crash ultimately turn out to be?

If the Federal Reserve had rushed in with emergency measures at the first signs of trouble, they probably could have stabilized things. But the longer they wait, the harder it is going to be to stop the process that has been set in motion.

The Bubble of All Bubbles is starting to burst, and unless we see dramatic central bank intervention soon it is likely that an unprecedented financial nightmare is ahead.

I hope that you are able to rest and relax with family and friends this time of the year, because it looks like what is ahead in 2019 is going to be extremely 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.

This Was The Worst Week For The Stock Market Since The Financial Crisis Of 2008

Just when you thought that things couldn’t get any worse, they did. During normal times, a Friday before Christmas is an extremely boring trading session, but these are not normal times. On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down another 414 points, and that brought the total drop for the week to 1,655 points. The marketplace has been completely gripped by panic, and CNN’s Fear & Greed index has just registered the highest “fear rating” that we have ever seen. I keep saying that we have not witnessed anything like this since the last financial crisis, and the numbers clearly back that assessment up. In fact, this was the largest weekly percentage drop for the Dow since October 2008

The Dow just suffered its deepest weekly plunge since 2008 and the Nasdaq is officially in a bear market.

The miserable performance reflects deepening fears on Wall Street of an economic slowdown and overly-aggressive Federal Reserve.

Apprehension about a looming government shutdown and anxiety over higher interest rates were two of the major factors that pushed stocks down on Friday.

Normally trading volume is very, very light in the days leading up to Christmas, so what we just witnessed was extremely unusual. Trading volume on Friday was “really heavy” with “more than 12 billion shares” changing hands…

In a bad sign on Friday, volume was really heavy. More than 12 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges on Friday, the biggest volume in at least two years.

When I have warned about a “rush for the exits” in the past, this is the kind of thing that I am talking about.

Many investors were panic-selling on Friday because they wanted to be out of the market before things closed down for the holidays, and stock prices just kept getting hammered lower and lower.

For the week, the carnage was absolutely colossal. The following is how CNBC summarized what happened…

  • The Dow lost 6.8 percent and 1,655 points on the week. It was its worst percentage drop since October 2008.
  • The Nasdaq lost 8.3 percent on the week and is now 22 percent below its record reached in August, a bear market.
  • The S&P 500 lost 7 percent for the week and is now down 17.8 percent from its record.
  • The Dow and S&P 500, which are both in corrections, are on track for their worst December performance since the Great Depression in 1931, down more than 12 percent each this month.
  • Both the Dow and the S&P 500 are now in the red for 2018 by at least 9 percent.

It should also be noted that the number of stocks hitting 52-week lows right now is at historically high levels. The following comes from Zero Hedge

Since 1984, there were only eight days when a bigger proportion of shares did so, according to Sundial Capital Research. Two of them were in 1987 — during the famous Black Monday crash, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 23 percent in one day, and then again during the following session. The rest were in the aftermath of the collapse of Lehman Brothers in October and November 2008.

And it isn’t just stocks that are getting hammered. In fact, at this point 93 percent of all asset classes are down for the year.

As so many have already said, 2018 is a year when literally nothing is working.

A similar thing is happening over in Europe, where stocks are on pace for their worst year since 2008. We are watching a truly global meltdown take place, and trillions upon trillions of dollars of paper wealth is being washed away.

Of course not everybody has lost money. Those that sold before this stock market crash started made out like bandits, and it is very interesting to note that over the past couple of months “the smart money” has been getting out of stocks at a pace that we have never seen before.

So what happens next?

For now, there will be a pause. The stock market will be closed for the weekend, then it will open for half a day on Monday, and then it will be closed for Christmas on Tuesday.

Hopefully this “cooling off period” will help things to be much calmer by the time the markets open on Wednesday.

But even if things do calm down during the holidays, the truth is that this crisis is far from over.

The largest financial bubble in U.S. history is starting to burst, and a great deal of pain is ahead.

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.

Worst Market Crash In A Decade: The Dow Has Fallen More Than 4000 Points As Stocks Rapidly Approach “The Capitulation Phase”

We have not seen anything like this since the financial crisis of 2008. On Thursday the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost another 464 points, and over the last five trading sessions it has lost a total of more than 1,700 points. CNN’s Fear & Greed index has swung all the way over to “extreme fear”, and there has only been one December in all of U.S. history that was worse for the stock market than this one. But back at the very beginning of October, most of the experts never would have imagined that the year would end this way. According to CNBC, the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit an all-time record high of 26,951.81 in early October, and investors were feeling really good about things at that point. But on Thursday the index closed at just 22,859.60, and that means that the Dow has lost more than 4,000 points in less than three months.

All of the major trend lines have been shattered and all of the key support levels have been breached. When analysts look at stock charts these days, all they are seeing is sell signal after sell signal. One investment strategist told CNN that stocks are “quickly approaching the capitulation phase”

“Equity markets are quickly approaching the capitulation phase after having broken below critical support,” Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research, told CNN Business.

According to Google, “capitulation” means “the action of surrendering or ceasing to resist an opponent or demand.” In this case, the bulls are on the verge of surrendering to the bears, and if that happens we could see a tremendous amount of chaos break loose on Wall Street.

And the damage that has already been done has been extraordinary. At this point firms listed on the S&P 500 have seen 2.39 trillion dollars in market cap wiped out, and a grand total of 16.7 trillion dollars in stock market wealth has been wiped out globally.

Many are pointing the blame for what is happening at the Federal Reserve. Here is just one example

“We, too, were very vocal in recommending heavily that the Fed not hike yesterday,” said Julian Emanuel, chief equity strategist at BTIG.

“This is all about the speed of things,” Emanuel added. “The problem with ignoring the consequences of the balance sheet reduction really tells you that the Fed is not paying attention to that fact that financial markets correct much more rapidly on the downside than they do in bull markets to the upside.”

Even though the U.S. economy is slowing down substantially, and even though financial markets have already been crumbling, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates anyway.

And they knew that the financial markets would respond very negatively, so nothing that has happened the last couple of days is any sort of a surprise.

Of course it isn’t just stocks that are plunging. Junk bonds just had their worst day since the Brexit vote, and that is an extremely ominous sign. The following comes from Zero Hedge

High yield bond prices are collapsing, but it is clear that liquidity has evaporated as traders have sent high yield bond ETFs (more liquid) dramatically below its fair-value as they seek hedges ahead of their liquidation needs.

Today is HYG’s worst day since Brexit, with price crashing to lowest since April 2016…

As I have discussed before, the collapse of junk bonds was an early sign that stocks were going to totally crash in 2008, and now we see a very similar pattern playing out in 2018.

One of the signature moments from the crisis of 2008 was Jim Cramer’s famous rant about the Federal Reserve on CNBC, and he referenced that rant during remarks that he made on Thursday

For CNBC’s Jim Cramer , the worst part about the Federal Reserve’s latest interest rate hike is that the central bank’s chief, Jerome Powell, seemed to ignore what Cramer regards as “serious” weakness in the U.S. economy.

“I have a better read on the economy than the Fed and I know they’re not going to listen to me,” the “Mad Money” host said Thursday as the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell to a 14-month low . “I feel powerless, just like 2007 , when I ranted that the Fed needed to start easing aggressively in order to stave off a financial catastrophe.”

Does Jim Cramer really believe that he has a better grasp on how the U.S. economy is performing than the Federal Reserve does?

That is quite a bold statement, but based on what the Fed has been doing lately it is tempting to think that they are utterly clueless at this point.

But of course they aren’t clueless. They know exactly what they are doing, and it isn’t about helping the American people.

Meanwhile, just like we saw in 2008, the mainstream media is trying to assure everybody that they should keep their money in the stock market. In fact, CNN posted an article earlier today that encouraged people to put more money in because this latest downturn is a “buying opportunity”

“The market’s behaving like a two-year-old,” said David Kelly, chief global strategist at JPMorgan Funds. “The Federal Reserve is doing its job — and it’s doing it patiently and cautiously.”

Kelly said the recent market slide could present an entry point, especially for investors who previously felt stocks were too expensive.

You can believe that if you want, but there is a reason why corporate insiders were selling stocks at the fastest pace in 10 years just before the market started to crash.

This ridiculously absurd stock market bubble was not going to last forever, and now it is imploding at a speed that is absolutely breathtaking.

Hopefully things will stabilize a bit as we roll through the holidays, but there is no guarantee that will happen.

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.

Stocks Are On Pace For Their Worst December Since The Great Depression – The Dow Is Now Down Over 3,300 Points From The Peak

U.S. stocks have not fallen this dramatically during the month of December since the Great Depression of the 1930s. On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost another 507 points, and it is now down more than 1,000 points from Thursday’s close. This fresh downturn has pushed the Dow and the S&P 500 very firmly into correction territory, and the Russell 2000 is now officially in bear market territory. The ferocity of this stock market crash is stunning many of the experts, and many investors are beginning to panic. Back in early October, the Dow hit an all-time high of 26,951.81, but on Monday it closed at just 23,592.98. That means that the Dow has now plunged more than 3,300 points from the peak of the market, and many believe that this stock crash is just getting started.

When it was first being reported that the stock market was on pace for the worst December since the Great Depression, I have to admit that I was skeptical.

But CNBC has the numbers to back up that claim…

Two benchmark U.S. stock indexes are careening toward a historically bad December.

Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 are on pace for their worst December performance since 1931, when stocks were battered during the Great Depression. The Dow and S&P 500 are down 7.8 percent and 7.6 percent this month, respectively.

And we still have two weeks remaining in December. If things continue to unravel, we could potentially be talking about a truly historic month for Wall Street.

But we certainly don’t need things to get any worse, because the damage that has already been done has been immense. The following numbers come from Zero Hedge

  • Dow -12.7% from highs (correction)
  • S&P -13.7% from highs (correction)
  • Nasdaq Composite -17.3% from highs (correction)
  • Dow Transports -19.4% from highs (correction)
  • Russell 2000 -20.6% from highs (bear market)

The Russell 2000 is often an early indicator of where the rest of the market is going, and if that turns out to be the case this time around then we should expect the Dow and the S&P 500 to fall a lot farther.

When asked about this market downturn by CNBC, one equity strategist actually used the “R” word

“The sell-off comes from the risk-off sentiment. Small caps are riskier than large caps, and there are some concerns about the end of a cycle in the U.S. and that we are entering a recession,” said Tobias Levkovich, chief U.S. equity strategist at Citi.

We haven’t even had any sort of a major “trigger event”, and yet stock prices have been steadily falling for weeks.

How bad could things ultimately get if there is some sort of “Lehman Brothers moment” that sets off a full-blown state of panic?

Already, many are using the term “bear market” to describe what is happening. For instance, Jeffrey Gundlach attracted a huge amount of attention when he made the following statement on Monday…

DoubleLine Capital CEO Jeffrey Gundlach said Monday that he “absolutely” believes the S&P 500 will go below the lows that the index hit early in 2018.

“I’m pretty sure this is a bear market,” Gundlach told Scott Wapner on CNBC’s Halftime Report. The major averages fell to session lows following his comments.

And some high profile stocks are already well beyond bear market territory. Goldman Sachs is now down 40 percent from the 52-week high, and the banking sector as a whole is just getting crushed.

Trillions upon trillions of dollars of paper wealth has disappeared, and needless to say, hedge funds are starting to go down like dominoes. Earlier today, a New York Post article used phrases such as “losing their shirts” and “financial wipeout”…

The stars of the biggest hedge funds are losing their shirts as analysts fear a major financial wipeout is imminent.

From Ken Griffin’s Citadel, to Israel Englander’s Millennium Management, one big name after another is racking up negative returns lately, amid bad bets in a saturated market.

On Monday, we witnessed more forced hedge fund liquidations, and that was one of the major factors that pushed prices down

As we noted previously, you are witnessing a massive culling of the hedge fund industry as hundreds of funds are liquidated and thousands more get sizable redemptions. Many of these funds own the same companies—the outcasts from the indexed world, the cheap, the unloved; the same stocks that many other hedge fund managers own. With the hedge fund industry going in reverse, there is suddenly no natural buyer for what must be sold. As a result, you are seeing waves of forced sell orders and few buyers (which for those so inclined, is creating good bargains all around).

Those of you that have been waiting for the stock market to implode can finally stop waiting.

It is here, and it is really, really bad.

Meanwhile, a new survey contains more evidence that average Americans are becoming increasingly pessimistic about the U.S. economy. In fact, the numbers in the survey were “essentially reversed” from earlier this year…

Overall, 28 percent of Americans said the economy will get better in the next year, while 33 percent predict it will get worse, according to the survey, which was released Sunday. Those numbers were essentially reversed from January, when 35 percent said the economy would get better and 20 percent said it would get worse.

The psychological shift that I wrote about a few weeks ago appears to be accelerating. It is starting to become exceedingly clear that a major crisis has begun, and now the big question is this – how bad will things get in 2019?

Well, Ron Paul told CNBC that “it could be worse than 1929″…

Paul said Thursday on CNBC‘sFutures Now that “Once this volatility shows that we’re not going to resume the bull market, then people are going to rush for the exits.” Paul added that “it could be worse than 1929.” He was referencing the fateful day in October of 1929 when the stock market crashed, and the United States was flung into the Great Depression that lasted ten years. During that year, a worldwide depression was ignited because of the U.S.’s market crash. The stock market began hemorrhaging and after falling almost 90 percent, sent the U.S. economy crashing a burning.

Will it ultimately be that bad?

Only time will tell, but right now things certainly do not look good, and I have a feeling that they are about to get a whole lot worse.

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.

“Something Is Wrong Here”: U.S. Stocks Plunge Again And Are Having Their Worst Quarter In 7 Years

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted another 496 points on Friday as panicked investors continue to pull billions of dollars out of the stock market. With less than two weeks to go until Christmas, the markets are not supposed to be experiencing this kind of turmoil, but it is happening and there is no end in sight. During the fourth quarter of 2018, we have already seen the S&P 500 fall 11 percent. Even if it doesn’t go down any further, that will be the worst quarter in 7 years. And of course the S&P 500 is not alone – at this point all of the major indexes are officially in correction territory. Things are certainly getting quite frightening on Wall Street, and many believe that the worst is yet to come.

Despite widespread assurances from the mainstream media that the wise thing to do is to keep your money in the market, investors are pulling money out of equities at a near record pace

Jittery investors yanked a record $39 billion from global equities in the latest week, according to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch report released Friday. That included $28 billion that exited US stocks, the second-highest on record. And a record $8.4 billion was pulled from investment grade bonds.

The “race for the exits” that we have been witnessing really is turning into a bit of a stampede, and once panic starts to spread it can be very difficult to stop it.

So why is all of this happening?

Well, one market strategist told CNN that “something is wrong here” and that his firm cannot deny that we are in a “global slowdown”…

Markets were dinged by a batch of negative corporate and economic developments, especially weak growth numbers out of China and Europe.

“Something is wrong here. There is this global slowdown. We can’t deny it,” said Michael Block, market strategist at Third Seven Advisors, a private wealth management firm.

We most certainly are in a global economic slowdown, and this is something that I have been telling my readers for months.

On Friday, we got more troubling numbers out of China. The following comes from CNBC

China reported industrial output and retail sales growth numbers for November that missed expectations. This is the latest sign shown by China that its economy may be slowing down. The data also underscored the rising risks to China’s economy as Beijing works to resolve an ongoing trade war with the U.S.

“The economic data continues to bear out growth is slowing,” said Tom Martin, senior portfolio manager at Globalt. “There is still a lot of positive positioning out there. As the data continues to slow, people are feeling less comfortable with that and start to sell.”

Markets tend to go down a whole lot faster than they go up, and the losses are really starting to pile up.

Here is how Zero Hedge summarized the carnage that we have witnessed over the last several months…

  • Dow -10.5% from highs
  • S&P -11.3% from highs – lowest weekly close since March 2018
  • Nasdaq Comp -14.6% from highs
  • Trannies -17.8% from highs – Nov 2017 lows, worst 2-week drop since Aug 2011
  • Russell 2000 -18.5% from highs – lowest since Sept 2017

Financial stocks have been getting hit particularly hard.

S&P financials have now declined 20.3 percent from the 52-week high, and that officially puts them in bear market territory.

The S&P bank index has fallen even farther. It is now down 24 percent from the 52-week high, and global banking stocks overall have been absolutely crashing.

Banking stocks led the way down in 2008, and now it is happening again.

This is very quickly becoming an extremely serious situation. Trillions upon trillions of dollars worth of “paper wealth” is evaporating all over the globe, and we are witnessing disappointing economic numbers just about everywhere.

We will see what happens on Wall Street next week. The second half of December is normally a very sleepy time for the markets, but that may not happen this year. Volatility has returned with a vengeance, and we have already set an all-time record in 2018 for big moves of the VIX

The S&P 500 has averaged a daily range of 2 percent for the month, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has closed with triple-digit moves in all but three sessions.

Big moves have pushed the VIX to a record 13 one-day moves of more than 20 percent this year.

Over the past few years, a lot of Americans have become deeply complacent, and that is a huge mistake. Just because our long-term financial problems were delayed does not mean that they were canceled.

The truth is that nothing has changed as far as the long-term outlook is concerned. Without a doubt we will pay a very great price for our mistakes, and a day of reckoning is inevitably coming.

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 to do so.

“Panic-like selling” grips Wall Street as the economic numbers point to “a lot of unpleasant things that nobody wants to admit”

Fear is spreading like wildfire on Wall Street, and on Friday we witnessed yet another wave of panic selling. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell another 559 points, closing at 24,389. Previously I had warned that once we solidly broke through 25,000 that it could trigger an avalanche of panic selling, and that is precisely what has happened. The Dow is now down more than 9 percent from the peak in early October, but the S&P 500 is doing even worse. The S&P 500 is now down 10.2 percent from the September peak, and that means that it is officially in correction territory. It has now been two solid months, and the sell-off on Wall Street shows no signs of abating.

And for certain sectors, the carnage that has been unfolding can definitely be called a “crash”.

FANG stocks are now down 24 percent from the peak, and global systemically important banks have now fallen a whopping 33 percent from the 52-week high.

Ladies and gentlemen, the big banks are officially in trouble once again, and it is going to be a wild ride moving forward.

And the way that things wrapped up for the markets on Friday has many wondering what Monday will bring. According to one key index, investors were dumping stocks so rapidly on the Nasdaq on Friday afternoon that it was officially considered to be “panic-like activity”

Selling on the Nasdaq reached panic-like proportions Friday afternoon with less than an hour left in regular trade, as the exchange’s Arms index rose. The Arms is a volume weighted breadth measure, that tends to rise when the broader market falls, as the intensity of the selling in declining stocks is usually greater than the intensity of buying in rising stocks. Levels above 2.000 are considered panic-like activity. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -3.05% was off 3% at 6,969. The number of advancing stocks compared against decliners was at 2,108 to 787, pushing the Arms index on the exchange to 2.068.

Thanks to Friday’s nightmare, this week ended up being the worst week for U.S. stocks since March.

This wasn’t supposed to happen in December. According to the experts, we were due for a nice “Santa Claus rally” and everybody was supposed to go home for the holidays really happy.

But that hasn’t happened. Instead, the markets are coming apart like a 20 dollar suit.

And guess who CNN is blaming for the stock market decline?

I’ll give you just one guess, and his name rhymes with “Gump”. The following comes from CNN

From “Tariff Man” tweets and inverting yield curves to conflicting messages from Trump advisers and the arrest of a Chinese executive, there is no shortage of headlines keeping investors awake at night.

They don’t want to admit that the same thing would be happening if Hillary Clinton was in the White House.

This isn’t about politics. This is about a financial system that has always been destined to collapse.

Meanwhile, the stunning implosion of the cryptocurrency bubble continues to accelerate. At this point, the price of Bitcoin has now fallen more than 80 percent from where it was a year ago…

In December 2017, bitcoin prices hit a record high of just under $20,000. Flash forward to December 2018 and bitcoin is now trading a little below $3,400. That’s a more than 80% plunge. Bitcoin is at a 15-month low.

But prices have really gotten whacked this week, falling nearly 20% in just the past five days alone.

Other major cryptos such as Ripple, Ethereum and Litcoin have experienced similar crashes.

Yes, this is really happening. Bubble after bubble is bursting, and a day of reckoning for the global financial system is here.

Things are unfolding just as myself and so many others have been warning. Over the past couple of years, there has been a bubble of false hope even though none of the problems that caused the last financial crisis were ever fixed. Instead, the Federal Reserve and other global central banks simply patched things together and inflated the bubbles to a much larger degree than we had ever seen before.

Now everything is unraveling, and many of the “experts” are still in denial. I really like how Peter Schiff made this point during a recent interview…

“What has happened in the last week is very, very bullish for the price of gold, and the price of gold is not catching much of a bid. I think again, the main reason for this is because nobody gets it. People still think this is a bull market. They’re not worried about the decline. They think it’s just a buying opportunity. It’s just a correction. They still think the economy is good. Even though the bond market doesn’t, even though the yield curve is inverting in the front end of the curve, people are dismissing that. They’re dismissing the housing data; they’re dismissing the build in the crude inventories. They’re not looking at any of the real data because nobody wants to believe it. Everybody still wants to believe all the hype — that this economy is great, that this economy is booming. Nobody wants to deal with the truth; because you know how grim the reality is? Because if you have to accept the fact that this economy is going into recession, then you have to accept a lot of unpleasant things that nobody wants to admit.

As always, Peter Schiff is making a lot of sense.

If you follow my work on a regular basis, than you already know that I have been highlighting the gloomy economic numbers as they have been steadily rolling out.

All of the numbers tell us that economic activity is slowing down.

All of the numbers tell us that we are heading into a recession (if we are not already in one).

And all of the numbers tell us that another great financial crisis is now upon us.

The time for false hope is over. Now is a time to come to grips with reality, because things are going to get very tough in the months ahead.

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

America Is Committing Suicide: Over The Past 12 Months, The U.S. National Debt Has Increased By 1.271 Trillion Dollars

If we do not change course, our once great nation will be destroyed by a debt that has grown wildly out of control. We are facing an unprecedented debt crisis that literally threatens to bring our country to an end, and yet our politicians are almost entirely silent on this issue in 2018. In fact, Republicans and Democrats just worked together to pass another big, fat spending bill through Congress that is actually going to increase the pace at which we are going into debt. What the Republicrats are doing is not just wrong. To be honest, the truth is that they are committing crimes against humanity, and they are completely wiping out the very bright future that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have. How in the world is America supposed to be “great again” when we are buried in so much debt that future generations can never have any possible hope of getting free from it?

The fiscal year of the federal government goes from October 1st to September 30th. During the fiscal year that just ended, the U.S. national debt increased by 1.271 trillion dollars

The federal debt increased by $1,271,158,167,126.72 in fiscal 2018, according to data released today by the Treasury.

The total federal debt started the fiscal year at $20,244,900,016,053.51 according to the Treasury, and finished the fiscal year at $21,516,058,183,180.23.

This is one of the reasons why I wanted to go to Washington. Our current “representatives” are completely and utterly failing us.

Once upon a time, at least members of the Tea Party would stand up and say something, but these days nobody seems to care that America’s future is being systematically destroyed. Republicans have been in control of both houses of Congress, but our debt problems just continue to get worse and worse. And the truth is that the budgets that have been passed since Donald Trump became president are simply slightly revised Obama budgets. The Republicans have allowed the Democrats to have their way time after time, and it has been absolutely disgusting to watch.

In 8 of the past 11 fiscal years, the U.S. national debt has risen by more than a trillion dollars, and the U.S. national debt is now sitting at an all-time record high of 21.52 trillion dollars.

What we are doing is literally insane, and if we want our nation to survive we must change course immediately.

These days, there is a lot of discussion about the political gains that “Democratic socialists” have been making all over America, and Republicans are trying to assure us that the American people don’t actually want socialism.

But you know what?

We have already gone most of the way down the road toward socialism. I think that Ron Paul made this point very well in his most recent article

We know socialism does not work. It is an economic system based on the use of force rather than economic freedom of choice. But while many Americans seem to be in a panic over the failures of socialism in Venezuela, they don’t seem all that concerned that right here at home President Trump just signed a massive $1.3 trillion dollar spending bill that delivers socialism on a scale that Venezuelans couldn’t even imagine. In fact this one spending bill is three times Venezuela’s entire gross domestic product!

Did I miss all the Americans protesting this warfare-welfare state socialism?

If you are really against socialism, you should be fighting for the federal government to be greatly reduced in size and scope.

But so few Americans seem to believe in true limited government these days.

It would be a great first step if we would actually try to start living within our means. But if 1.271 trillion dollars of government spending was pulled out of the economy over the past 12 months, the result would be a horrible economic depression. And politicians do not like economic downturns, because when things get bad voters tend not to vote for incumbents. So they just keep going into more debt and they keep kicking the can down the road.

But if we stay on the path that we are currently on, the CBO says that the United States will be 99 trillion dollars in debt by 2048.

Of course we will never actually ever get to 99 trillion dollars in debt. America will cease to exist long before we ever reach that mark.

If we want to save America, we must take action now, but very few people seem to even care about our exploding debt at this point.

And it isn’t just our national debt that is the problem. State and local government debt is at record levels all over the nation, corporate debt has doubled since the last financial crisis, and U.S. consumers are more than 13 trillion dollars in debt

If you added up the personal debt of every American — what they owe on their mortgages, credit cards, student loans, and more — the total is staggering. Collectively, we’re $13.2 trillion in the red. That’s the highest ever, according to the New York Fed.

Yet no one seems to be panicking. Maybe that’s because we can’t comprehend $13 trillion. Imagine buying every NFL team. And every NBA team. And every NHL team. And every Major League Baseball team. But that only adds up to $191 billion.

America is committing suicide in slow-motion, and it is an absolutely heartbreaking thing to witness.

It is almost as if we lack the will to survive as a nation. All we seem to care about is our comfort level at this moment, and we don’t want anyone to tell us that we have to cut back on anything. I think that Chris Martenson summed things up very well in his most recent piece

Nothing grows forever. Cancer tries, but always defeats itself in the process. Yeast parties until all the sugar in the vat is gone or it pollutes itself out of an active existence.

Can humans do better? The jury is still out on that.

But so far, the signs say that, as a group, we lack the ability to organize effectively against big, complex challenges. Especially if doing so requires us to willingly choose to live a life of less. We’re simply too addicted to more.

We cannot continue to go down this road.

Because at the end of this road is not just economic collapse. What we are talking about is literally the end of the United States of America.

All throughout history, great societies have been done in by greed, sloth, corruption and laziness, and we are headed down the exact same path. If we want to survive, emergency surgery is necessary, but at this point nobody is even tending to the dying patient.

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

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

America Has Millions Of Millennial Brats That Need To Move Away From Mommy And Daddy And Start Acting Like Adults

If young adults are America’s future, then they better get their act together.  Today, over 30 percent of 18 to 34-year-olds live with their parents or other family members.  Meanwhile, marriage rates and fertility rates in the United States have both hit record lows in recent years.  Instead of coddling these self-absorbed Millennial narcissists well into their adult years, we need to be kicking them out of the nest and encouraging them to learn to fend for themselves.  In many instances, if they do not learn how to act like adults by the time they are 35, they never will.  It is time for parents all over America to exercise some tough love, because we are facing a major national crisis.

If you go all the way back to the mid-1970s, well over half of all 18 to 34-year-olds were already married and lived with their new spouse in their new households.

But today the most common living arrangement for those in that age group is living with Mommy and Daddy

In 1975, when the oldest Boomers were 29, 57% of 18 to 34- year-olds lived with a spouse in their own household. Even as late as 1990, almost half lived with a partner. But in 2016, 31% were living in their parents’ home, making it the new, most common living arrangement for young adults, according to Census data.

Yes, I know that life is rough and housing is expensive and good jobs are hard to find.

But that is what being an adult is all about – overcoming the tough times and learning to stand on your own.

And because our young people are not getting out on their own, a lot fewer of them are getting married and having children.  Here are some more numbers from Axios

  • In 2017, 57% of millennials were never married. In 1985 — when boomers were around the same age — only a third had never been married, Pew Research’s Richard Fry told Axios. Even accounting for unmarried living partners does not make up the difference, he said.
  • Having fewer children: When Boomers were in their 20s, the fertility rate was 2.48, well beyond the replacement level of 2.1. Today, it is just 1.76.
  • When a recent survey asked why they were having fewer kids, most young adults said “child care is too expensive.”

Sadly, a lot of parents actively encourage their children to put off marriage and children.  I have actually listened to many of these conversations personally.  The young people are told that they cannot be “tied down” while they are getting an “education”, and that “pursuing a career” must come first.

So has this approach made us happier as a nation?

Well, this may or may not be related, but according to the CDC the suicide rate in the United States has gone up almost 30 percent since 1999

“Suicide rates in the United States have risen nearly 30 percent since 1999, and mental health conditions are one of several factors contributing to suicide,” the CDC researchers wrote in their report.

“From 1999 to 2015, suicide rates increased among both sexes, all racial/ethnic groups, and all urbanization levels.”

We are not a happy country, and it is time for a change.

Unfortunately, it is not going to be easy to turn things around because the process begins very early.  Our young people are not prepared for life as adults because the education system in this nation is a complete joke.

Let me say it again so that you understand me perfectly.

The education system in this nation is a complete joke.

I know, because I spent 20 years in the system.  I graduated from public high school and then I went on to spend an additional 8 years at public universities.

We are witnessing the systematic “dumbing down” of America, and our schools are producing an endless stream of brain-dead zombies.  One study that was conducted not too long ago found that one-third of all high schools in the city of Baltimore did not have a single student that was proficient in math

An alarming discovery coming out of City Schools. Project Baltimore analyzed 2017 state testing data and found one-third of High Schools in Baltimore, last year, had zero students proficient in math.

You would figure that every school would have at least a few nerdy kids that were good with numbers, but apparently that is not the case in Baltimore.

And of course Baltimore is far from alone.  Just consider the following numbers

After leading the world for decades in 25-34-year-olds with university degrees, the U.S. is now in 12th place. The World Economic Forum ranked the U.S. at 52nd among 139 nations in the quality of its university math and science instruction in 2010.

According to the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress, 68% of public school children in the U.S. do not read proficiently by the time they finish third grade. And the U.S. News & World reported that barely 50% of students are ready for college-level reading when they graduate…

And in case you are tempted to think that last number is exaggerated, PBS has reported that in one recent year more than 200 colleges had to place “more than half of incoming students in at least one remedial course”…

Data from 911 two- and four-year colleges revealed that 96 percent of schools enrolled students who required remediation in the 2014-15 academic year, the most comprehensive recent numbers. At least 209 schools placed more than half of incoming students in at least one remedial course.

It isn’t as though most college courses are very challenging either.  The truth is that the family dog could have passed most of the courses that I ever had to sit through.

And instead of teaching our kids useful skills that can be used in the marketplace, many of these courses are all about indoctrinating them to see the world in a particular way…

Colleges nationwide are teaching students about tacos, hooking up and country music’s “homophobic and racist” message — but those are just a few examples, as classes such as “Queer Religion” and “Racial Capitalism” become the new norm.

If we want America to have any sort of a positive future, we need to completely change our approach to education, and then we need to kick our kids out of the nest when they reach a certain age so that they can learn to be adults.

Because right now what we are doing is not working, and as a result we have a giant mess on our hands.

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

We Are About To See A Great, Big Debt-Fueled GDP Number For The 2nd Quarter, But There Is A Catch…

What kind of number for GDP growth in the 2nd quarter will we get on Friday?  The market consensus is somewhere around 4 percent, but there are many out there that are expecting a number above 5 percent.  The last time we witnessed such a number was during the third quarter of 2014 when the U.S. economy grew by 5.2 percent.  If Friday’s GDP figure is better than that, it will be the best report that we have had since 2003.  But let’s keep things in perspective.  In seven of the last 10 years, GDP growth was much lower than anticipated in the first quarter and much higher than anticipated in the second quarter.  It looks like that pattern may play out again in 2018, and analysts are already warning us to expect a much lower number for the third quarter.

And even though we have seen good quarters before, we still have not had a full year of 3 percent growth since the middle of the Bush administration.

Last year the U.S. economy grew by only 2.3 percent, which would be a horrible figure even if the government was using honest numbers.  According to John Williams of shadowstats.com, GDP growth for 2017 would have actually been negative if honest numbers were being used.

So let’s not get too excited over one quarter.  According to the official government numbers, the U.S. economy has not grown by at least 3 percent on an annual basis in 14 years.  That is the longest stretch in all of U.S. history by a wide margin, and it is going to take a really good second half to break that string this year.

But that isn’t stopping people from hyping tomorrow’s number.  According to White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, we should see a number “in the 4 to 5 percent zone”

“You’re going to get a GDP number on Friday that’s going to be a very impressive number. Some people are in the 4 to 5 percent zone,” Larry Kudlow, the White House economic adviser, told CBS This Morning.

And he is probably right.

In fact, we might see a number that is even better than that.

As CBS News has noted, the second quarter came after the new tax cuts were implemented but before the trade war started…

The second-quarter figure will be widely seen as a referendum on the GOP tax cuts of late 2017. This quarter benefits from a timing sweet spot, coming after the deficit-busting cuts trickled through the economy, but before the effects of the White House’s protectionist trade policies are fully felt.

If we get a really good number, it may actually be bad news for investors.

As Marketwatch has deftly observed, a high GDP growth number may affirm the Federal Reserve’s narrative that they need to keep raising rates in order to keep the economy from “overheating”…

Ultimately, a reading that comes in too hot could fuel expectations that the Federal Reserve may need to ramp up its pace of rate increases, with the possibility of a further two rate increases in September and December likely to tamp down too-hot growth. That could knock bond prices lower, conversely pushing rates up and pressuring equity markets lower as investors worry about rising borrowing costs.

Ultimately, most of the analysis that you are going to hear about this GDP number is a load of nonsense.

The only reason why the U.S. economy is showing a little bit of growth is because we are on the greatest debt binge in our history.

When Donald Trump entered the White House the U.S. government was 19.9 trillion dollars in debt, and now that figure has ballooned to 21.2 trillion dollars in debt.

If we had not added 1.3 trillion dollars to the national debt over the past year and a half, there is no way that the economy would be growing right now.

And to be honest, it wouldn’t be too difficult to ramp up GDP growth to 10 percent.  All we would have to do would be to borrow and spend enough money.

So why don’t we do that?

Well, it is because we are already on a path to national suicide.  It is being projected that our national debt will hit 30 trillion dollars by 2028, and neither the Republicans nor the Democrats seem concerned about doing anything to alter this trajectory.

If we do get to 30 trillion dollars in debt and interest rates return to their long-term averages, we will be paying more than 1.5 trillion dollars a year just in interest on the national debt and our nation will be financially destroyed.

Many of our largest states are absolutely drowning in debt as well.  The following comes from Fox Business

In Illinois, for instance, vendors wait months to be paid by a government that’s $30 billion in debt, and one whose bonds are just one notch above junk bond status, according to Daniels. New York’s more than $356 billion in debt; New Jersey more than $104 billion; and California more than $428 billion.

As I have explained so many times, we are living a debt-fueled standard of living that is way above what we deserve.

If we only spent what we had, the economy would immediately plunge into a depression and our standard of living would collapse.  The only way to keep the party going is to borrow and spend increasingly larger amounts of money, but everyone knows that this is simply not sustainable.

And it isn’t just government debt that is the problem.

Since the last financial crisis, corporate debt has doubled.

A massive consumer debt binge has pushed credit card debt to an all-time record high, and at this point the average American household is nearly $140,000 in debt.

When you add all forms of debt together, Americans are nearly 70 trillion dollars in the hole right now.  For much more on all of this, please see my previous article entitled “Why America Is Heading Straight Toward The Worst Debt Crisis In History”.

So enjoy the debt-fueled GDP numbers for now, because the truth is that they aren’t going to last for long.

Our endless appetite for debt is literally destroying the bright future that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have, and someday they will look back and curse us for what we have done to their country.

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

Goodbye American Dream: The Average U.S. Household Is $137,063 In Debt, And 38.4% Of Millennials Live With Their Parents

Once upon a time the United States had the largest and most vibrant middle class in the history of the world, but now the middle class is steadily being eroded. The middle class became a minority of the population for the first time ever in 2015, and just recently I wrote about a new survey that showed that 78 percent of all full-time workers in the United States live paycheck to paycheck at least part of the time. But most people still want to live the American Dream, and so they are going into tremendous amounts of debt in a desperate attempt to live that kind of a lifestyle.

According to the Federal Reserve, the average U.S. household is now $137,063 in debt, and that figure is more than double the median household income…

The average American household carries $137,063 in debt, according to the Federal Reserve’s latest numbers.

Yet the U.S. Census Bureau reports that the median household income was just $59,039 last year, suggesting that many Americans are living beyond their means.

As a nation, we are completely and utterly drowning in debt. U.S. consumers are now nearly 13 trillion dollars in debt overall, and many will literally spend the rest of their lives making debt payments.

Over the past couple of decades, the cost of living has grown much faster than paychecks have, and this has put a tremendous amount of financial stress on hard working families. We are told that we are in a “low inflation environment”, but that is simply not true at all

Medical expenses have grown 57% since 2003, while food and housing costs climbed 36% and 32%, respectively. Those surging basic expenses could widen the inequality gap in America, as a quarter of Americans make less than $10 per hour.

Getting our healthcare costs under control is one of the biggest things that we need to do. As I talked about the other day, some families have seen their health insurance premiums more than triple since Obamacare became law.

As the cost of living continues to rise, an increasing number of young people are discovering that the only way that they can make ends meet is to live with their parents. As a result, the percentage of adults age 26 to age 34 that live at home continued to rise even after the last recession ended…

The share of older Millennials living with relatives is still rising, underscoring the lingering obstacles faced by Americans who entered the workforce during and after the Great Recession.

About 20% of adults age 26 to 34 are living with parents or other family members, a figure that has climbed steadily the past decade and is up from 17% in 2012, according to an analysis of Census Bureau data by Trulia, a real estate research firm.

A staggering 59.8 percent of younger Millennials (18 to 25) are now living with relatives, and overall an all-time record 38.4 percent of all Millennials are currently living with family.

If so many of our young people are unable to live the American Dream, what is the future of this nation going to look like?

Consumers are not the only ones that have been struggling to make ends meet. Corporate debt has doubled since the last financial crisis, and it now stands at a record high of 8.7 trillion dollars

Fueled by low interest rates and strong investor appetite, debt of nonfinancial companies has increased at a rapid clip, to $8.7 trillion, and is equal to more than 45 percent of GDP, according to David Ader, chief macro strategist at Informa Financial Intelligence.

According to the Federal Reserve, nonfinancial corporate debt outstanding has grown by $1 trillion in two years.

“Everything is fine until it isn’t,” Ader said. “We don’t need to worry about that until we’re in a slowdown and profit declines.”

And let us not forget government debt. State and local governments all over the nation have piled up record amounts of debt, and the debt of the federal government has approximately doubled over the past decade.

But the fact that we are now 20 trillion dollars in debt as a nation does not tell the full story. According to Boston University professor Larry Kotlikoff, the federal government is facing a fiscal gap of 210 trillion dollars over the next 75 years…

We have all these unofficial debts that are massive compared to the official debt. We’re focused just on the official debt, so we’re trying to balance the wrong books…

If you add up all the promises that have been made for spending obligations, including defense expenditures, and you subtract all the taxes that we expect to collect, the difference is $210 trillion. That’s the fiscal gap. That’s our true indebtedness.

We were the wealthiest and most prosperous nation in the history of the planet, but that was never good for us.

We always had to have more, and so we have been on the greatest debt binge in human history.

Now a day of reckoning is fast approaching, and those that believe that we can escape the consequences of our actions are being extremely delusional.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

The Dow Falls By Triple Digits As Anxiety Over The Senate Tax Plan Grows

It is becoming quite clear that even if Congress passes a tax reform bill in 2017 that it won’t actually be that significant. On Thursday, anxiety about the Senate’s version of the bill pushed the Dow down more than a hundred points, and that was the biggest decline that we have seen in two months. Could it be possible that the massive stock market bubble that we are currently witnessing is about to burst? Anticipation of what this tax bill would mean for U.S. companies has been the foundation for so much of the euphoria that was have seen on Wall Street this year, and now reality is starting to set in

The Dow suffered its biggest drop since early September as investors reacted to reports that the Senate’s tax proposal would delay tax cuts for corporations for year, a development that pushes back a key part of the plan Wall Street was betting on to provide a boost to corporate profitability.

Reducing our corporate tax rate is very important, because right now we are not competitive with the rest of the western world. Almost every other major industrialized nation has a much lower corporate tax rate than us, and that encourages major corporations to locate operations elsewhere.

So if we are able to reduce the corporate tax rate to 20 percent, that is likely going to mean good things for the U.S. economy and more jobs for U.S. workers, but unfortunately the Senate version of the bill would delay that tax cut until 2019

The top corporate rate would drop from 35% to 20% in 2019, a year later than it would in a revised bill approved Thursday by the House Ways and Means Committee. That change, which reduces the overall cost of the tax cut package, delays one of President Trump’s main priorities for overhauling the tax code, but administration officials did not seem concerned during a brief appearance with Hatch on Thursday afternoon.

And then if the Democrats take back control of the White House in 2020, they would probably jack corporate tax rates back up to where they were before, and so in the end the change would not make much of an impact at all.

Other than reducing the corporate tax rate, the Senate version of the “tax reform bill” does not actually accomplish that much. The following comes from Zero Hege, and it is a good summary of what is contained in the bill…

  • 20% permanent corporate tax cut delayed by 1 year
  • Complies with the $1.5 trillion cost (will cost $1.44 trillion)
  • Preserves 7 tax brackets: top tax bracket is 38.5%, down from 39.6%
  • Doubles standard deduction from $12,700 to $24,000 (married couples)
  • Ends state and local tax (SALT) deduction; keeps business deduction
  • Keeps the mortgage Interest deduction cap at $1 million
  • Preserve the estate tax, doubling the current $5.49 million exemption for individuals
  • Raises the child tax credit to $1,650 from $1,000
  • Sets 10% tax rate for US companies with IP in foreign low-tax jurisdictions
  • Full expensing of capital investments for five years
  • Preserves 401(k)s IRAs,
  • Sets repatriation rate at 12% for liquid assets, 5% for illiquid assets
  • Carried interest loophole unchanged
  • Electric Vehicle tax credit is spared (good news for Elon Musk)

This bill also repeals the alternative minimum tax, and that is a change that has been needed for ages.

But overall, our members of Congress are simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

We have the most abominable system of taxation on the entire planet. I once spent an entire year studying our tax code, and at the end of that year I came to the conclusion that the best thing that we could do would be to throw the entire thing in a shredder and start over.

Today, the tax code is more than two million words long, and the regulations are more than seven million words long. I used to have to lug these books to class with me, and that was not pleasant. Our system greatly favors the wealthy, because they can hire lobbyists to influence members of Congress, and they can pay accountants and tax attorneys to find every single loophole possible. Meanwhile, ordinary people like you and me always end up with the short end of the stick.

The next time you are talking to a politician, ask them to defend our current system of taxation. None of them will be able to, because it is an abomination.

Ultimately, I would like to abolish the IRS and the income tax completely. We did not have an income tax between 1872 and 1913, and it was the greatest period of economic growth in U.S. history.

Of course we would need to greatly reduce the size of the federal government in order to do that, and that might take a while. So in the short-term we could go to a flat tax or a fair tax, both of which would be greatly superior systems to what we have right now.

Simply reducing rates a little bit and tinkering with the regulations is not going to fundamentally change anything. Real tax reform means getting rid of our current abominable system entirely, and if I am elected to Congress that is precisely what I am going to fight for.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

78 Percent Of U.S. Workers Are Living ‘Paycheck To Paycheck’ And 71 Percent Of Them Are In Debt

Are you living paycheck to paycheck? Is so, you are just like most other hard working Americans. As you will see below, 78 percent of full-time workers in the United States say that they are living paycheck to paycheck. That is the highest figure ever recorded, and it is yet more evidence that the middle class is under an increasing amount of stress. The cost of living is rising at a much faster pace than our paychecks are, and more families are falling out of the middle class with each passing month. Unfortunately, this is something that the mainstream media really doesn’t want to talk about these days. Instead, they just keep having us focus on the soaring financial markets which are being grossly artificially inflated by global central banks.

When I came across the numbers that I am about to share with you I was actually quite stunned. I knew that things were not great in “the real economy”, but I didn’t expect that the number of Americans living paycheck to paycheck would actually be rising. But that is precisely what a brand new survey that was just released by CareerBuilder is saying…

Seventy-eight percent of full-time workers said they live paycheck to paycheck, up from 75 percent last year, according to a recent report from CareerBuilder.

Overall, 71 percent of all U.S. workers said they’re now in debt, up from 68 percent a year ago, CareerBuilder said.

While 46 percent said their debt is manageable, 56 percent said they were in over their heads. About 56 percent also save $100 or less each month, according to CareerBuilder.

The first thing that we want to note about this survey is that it only includes full-time workers. So the unemployed, part-time workers, those that work for themselves and those that are independently wealthy were not included.

The second thing that we want to note is that these numbers have gotten worse since last year.

That certainly does not fit with the narrative that we are being fed by the mainstream media, but it does fit with the reality that most people are living on a daily basis.

Most Americans work extremely hard, but they can never seem to get ahead. Most of us are in debt, and a couple of weeks ago I wrote about how the elite use debt as a tool of enslavement. As we work endless hours to “pay the bills”, we are steadily enriching those that are holding our debts.

In addition, the cost of living is steadily going up, and most U.S. families are just barely scraping by from month to month as a result. Just a couple days ago I wrote about how Obamacare was causing health insurance premiums to skyrocket, and today I came across another example of someone that has seen their annual premiums more than double during the Obamacare era…

For some lower-income people in Obamacare, the rising premiums President Donald Trump has talked so much about will barely be felt at all. Others, particularly those with higher incomes, will feel the sharp increases when insurance sign-ups begin Wednesday.

Richard Taylor is one of the people on the wrong end. The 61-year-old, self-employed Oklahoman has meticulously tracked his medical costs since 1994. In 2013, he signed up for an Affordable Care Act plan for the law’s first year offering coverage to millions of Americans.

Four years ago, annual premiums for a mid-level “silver” plan to cover his family totaled $10,072.44. For 2017, they were $21,392.40—up 112 percent.

Who can afford $21,000 a year for health insurance?

I know that I can’t.

And rates are supposed to go up substantially again in 2018. We must repeal Obamacare, and we must do it now.

In addition to financial stress, most Americans are also deeply concerned about the future of this country. Just consider the following numbers from a poll that was released this week

Almost two-thirds of Americans, or 63 percent, report being stressed about the future of the nation, according to the American Psychological Association’s Eleventh Stress in America survey, conducted in August and released on Wednesday. This worry about the fate of the union tops longstanding stressors such as money (62 percent) and work (61 percent) and also cuts across political proclivities. However, a significantly larger proportion of Democrats (73 percent) reported feeling stress than independents (59 percent) and Republicans (56 percent).

I certainly can’t blame the Democrats for being stressed out. Donald Trump is in the White House and pro-Trump forces are taking over the Republican Party. And if a large wave of pro-Trump activists goes to Congress in 2018, we are going to take this nation in a completely different direction.

That same survey referenced above also discovered that 59 percent of Americans consider this “to be the lowest point in our nation’s history that they can remember”

A majority of the more than 3,400 Americans polled, 59 percent, said “they consider this to be the lowest point in our nation’s history that they can remember.” That sentiment spanned generations, including those that lived through World War II, the Vietnam War, and the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. (Some 30 percent of people polled cited terrorism as a source of concern, a number that’s likely to rise given the alleged terrorist attack in New York City on Tuesday.)

That number seems very strange.

Yes, I can understand that those on the left are very pessimistic now that Trump is in the White House, but this is definitely not the lowest point in recent history.

Have people totally forgotten the financial crisis of 2008?

What about 9/11?

The JFK assassination, the Vietnam War, the deep recession during the Carter years and the entire Obama era are also examples of very low points in recent history.

Yes, great challenges are coming, but for the moment the economy is relatively stable, much of the world is at peace, and at least Hillary Clinton is not in the White House.

There is so much to be thankful for, and if people out there think that this is the “lowest point” in recent American history, how are they going to feel when a real crisis comes along?

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

This Is One Of The Big Reasons Why So Many Families Are Feeling Extreme Financial Stress

When the cost of living rises faster than paychecks do year after year, eventually that becomes a very big problem. For quite some time I have been writing about the shrinking middle class, and one of the biggest culprits is inflation. Every month, tens of millions of American families struggle to pay the bills, and most of them don’t even understand the economic forces that are putting so much pressure on them. The United States never had a persistent, ongoing problem with inflation until the debt-based Federal Reserve system was introduced in 1913. Since that time, we have had non-stop inflation and the U.S. dollar has lost more than 98 percent of its value. If our paychecks were increasing faster than inflation this wouldn’t be a problem, but in recent years this has definitely not been the case for most Americans.

And unfortunately inflation is starting to accelerate once again. In fact, it is being reported that inflation rose at the fastest pace in four years in January…

The prices Americans pay for goods and services surged in January by the largest amount in four years, mostly reflecting a rebound in the cost of gasoline that’s taking a bigger chunk out of household incomes.

The consumer price index, or cost of living, rose by a seasonally adjusted 0.6% in January, the government said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, our incomes have been incredibly stagnant. In fact, we just learned that median household income did not go up at all during 2016.

This is one of the reasons why we consistently see families fall out of the middle class month after month. Even if you keep the same job year after year, your standard of living is going to steadily go down unless your pay goes up.

The things that we all spend money on month after month just keep going up in price. I am talking about food, housing, medical care and other essentials. If there is one thing that we can always count on, it is the fact that things are going to cost more tomorrow than they do today.

Let’s talk about food for a moment. Whenever I go to the grocery store, I am almost always shocked. I still remember a time when I could get everything that I needed for an entire week for about 20 bucks, but these days you can’t even fill up one cart for 100 dollars.

That is because food prices have been rising aggressively for many years. The following is a list that was posted on The Economic Policy Journal that shows how much some food and grocery items have increased over the past decade…

1. Tobacco and smoking products

-Price increase: 90.4%

2. Margarine

-Price increase: 63.6%

3. Uncooked ground beef

-Price increase: 46.3%

4. Shelf stable fish and seafood
-Price increase: 45.0%

5. Prescription drugs
-Price increase: 43.5%

6. Rice, pasta, cornmeal
-Price increase: 40.3%

7. Bread
-Price increase: 38.9%

8. Snacks
-Price increase: 38.4%

9. Miscellaneous poultry including turkey
-Price increase: 37.0%

10. Apples
-Price increase: 36.6%

11. Frankfurters
-Price increase: 35.8%

12. Canned vegetables
-Price increase: 35.3%

13. Salt and other seasonings and spices
-Price increase: 34.0%

14. Miscellaneous fats and oils including peanut butter
-Price increase: 34.0%

15. Miscellaneous processed fruits and vegetables including dried
-Price increase: 33.7%

16. Bacon and related products
-Price increase: 33.2%

17. Fresh whole chicken
-Price increase: 32.5%

18. Cakes, cupcakes, and cookies
-Price increase: 32.1%

19. Flour and prepared flour mixes
-Price increase: 32.1%

20. Canned fruits
-Price increase: 32.0%

And thanks to out of control government spending and reckless manipulation by the Federal Reserve, we have come to a time when inflation is starting to accelerate once again.

According to John Williams of shadowstats.com, if honest numbers were being used the government would be telling us that inflation is rising at a 6 percent annual rate for the first time since 2011.

At the same time, evidence is mounting that U.S. consumers are simply tapped out. Previously, I have explained that interest rates are going up, consumer bankruptcies are rising, and lending standards for consumers are really tightening up.

All of those are things we would expect to see if a new recession was starting.

And today we learned that the number of Americans refinancing their homes has fallen to the lowest level that we have seen since 2009

A slowdown in refinancing pulled down the total mortgage application volume last week as changes to certain government-loan programs made refinances less lucrative. Refinance volume now stands at its lowest level since June 2009.

If you will remember, we also saw a slowdown in mortgage refinancing just before the great financial crisis of 2008.

For mortgage applications overall, they are now down almost 31 percent from where they were a year ago…

Total mortgage application volume fell 3.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis last week from the previous week, and are nearly 31 percent lower than the same week a year ago, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

A 31 percent decline in a single year is catastrophic.

If this continues, it won’t be too long before everyone is talking about a new housing crash.

And we also learned this week that FHA mortgage delinquencies increased during the fourth quarter “for the first time since 2006”

Federal Housing Administration mortgage delinquencies jumped in the fourth quarter for the first time since 2006, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday. The FHA insures low down-payment loans and is a favorite among first-time homebuyers.

The seasonally adjusted FHA delinquency rate increased to 9.02 percent in the fourth quarter from 8.3 percent in the third quarter, MBA data show.

So many things are happening right now that we have not seen happen in many years, but most people are choosing not to see the red flags that are popping up all around us.

None of our long-term economic problems have been fixed. And even though Donald Trump won the election, the truth is that our economy is in the worst shape it has been since the last financial crisis. I continue to encourage all of my readers to get prepared for very hard times, but just like back in 2007 we are experiencing a wave of tremendous optimism right now and most people think that the party can somehow continue indefinitely.

Whether Donald Trump won the election or not, the truth is that a major economic downturn was going to come anyway. You see, Donald Trump is not some magician that can just wave a wand and somehow make the consequences of decades of very foolish decisions instantly disappear.

We have been on the biggest debt binge in human history, and there is going to be a great price to pay when this immense debt bubble finally bursts.

Unfortunately, most people are not going to acknowledge the truth until it is too late.

(Originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog)

11 Numbers That Connect The Year 2017, Israel And Donald Trump

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Is 2017 going to be the most important year that we have seen in a very, very long time?  Because of the work that I do, I am constantly immersed in research, and lately I keep coming across very strange “coincidences” regarding the year 2017.  The numbers that I am about to share with you certainly appear to be quite remarkable, but there will be many out there that will question their significance.  To the naysayers, I would suggest that God has always put a lot of emphasis on numbers from the very beginning.  For example, He created the world in precisely seven days, and on the seventh day He rested.  All throughout Scripture, we see certain numbers showing up over and over again, and God has a purpose in that.  So please keep that in mind as you consider the following 11 numbers that connect the year 2017, Israel and Donald Trump…

#1 On November 29th, 1947 the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution that called for the creation of a Jewish state as part of an overall partition plan for the Middle Eastern territory that was occupied by Great Britain at that time.  2017 will mark the 70th anniversary of that agreement, and many believe that this will turn out to be quite significant.  If you are not familiar with this UN resolution, here is some info on it from Wikipedia

The United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine was a proposal by the United Nations, which recommended a partition of Mandatory Palestine at the end of the British Mandate. On 29 November 1947, the UN General Assembly adopted the Plan as Resolution 181(II).[2]

The resolution recommended the creation of independent Arab and Jewish States and a Special International Regime for the city of Jerusalem. The Partition Plan, a four-part document attached to the resolution, provided for the termination of the Mandate, the progressive withdrawal of British armed forces and the delineation of boundaries between the two States and Jerusalem. Part I of the Plan stipulated that the Mandate would be terminated as soon as possible and the United Kingdom would withdraw no later than 1 August 1948. The new states would come into existence two months after the withdrawal, but no later than 1 October 1948. The Plan sought to address the conflicting objectives and claims of two competing movements, Palestinian nationalism and Jewish nationalism, or Zionism.[3][4] The Plan also called for Economic Union between the proposed states, and for the protection of religious and minority rights.

So why would 70 years be important?

Well, the Babylonian captivity lasted for a period of 70 years, and as the Daily Crow explains, the number 70 just keeps popping up all throughout the Bible…

Moses appointed 70 elders and the gospels record 70 parables by Jesus. A total of 70 Israelites began their nation in Egypt before it would grow to over 2 million by the time of the Exodus. 70 elders made up Israel’s Great Tribunal which would later become the Sanhedrin. 70 disciples were sent out by Christ to preach the gospel in Luke 10. Therefore 70 means complete and perfect judgment or perfection made complete through judgment.

#2 The number 50 is also a very important Biblical number.  And even though 2017 will not be a Jubilee year, it is fascinating to note that 2017 will be exactly 50 years from the reclaiming of Jerusalem in 1967.

#3 If we go back another 50 years from 1967, that brings us to the 1917 Balfour Declaration which was also a very significant landmark in the history of the Jewish people.

#4 It turns out that there was also exactly 50 years from the Zionist Congress of 1897 to the UN resolution in 1947 that called for the creation of a Jewish state.

#5 As I stated in a previous article, Donald Trump was born precisely 700 days before Israel declared independence on May 14th, 1948.

#6 The nation of Israel was 77 days old precisely 777 days after the birth of Donald Trump.

#7 Israel’s 70th birthday will come precisely 700 days after Donald Trump’s 70th birthday.

#8 -Donald Trump’s shocking election victory just happened to fall on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s seventh year, seventh month and seventh day in office.

#9 Donald Trump will be 70 years, 7 months and 7 days old on his first full day in the White House.

#10 Donald Trump’s first full day in the White House will also come during year 5777 on the Hebrew calendar.

#11 Many are pointing to a very unusual celestial arrangement that will take place on September 23rd, 2017.  It is being called “the Revelation 12 sign”, and it is being claimed that this is the first time in 7000 years that we will see the scene described in Revelation chapter 12 actually being depicted in the heavens.  The following is what Revelation 12:1-2 says in the Modern English Version

A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.  She was with child and cried out in labor and in pain to give birth.

You can learn more about this very unusual event on YouTube right here.  And of course just because the stars are lining up a certain way does not mean that something specific will happen on that day.  Some have suggested that it could be the “birth” of something, and others have suggested that it could be the beginning or the end of a countdown.  The truth is that I don’t know if anyone knows what it might mean at this point, but Jesus did tell us to watch for signs in the sun, moon and stars in the last days, and so we should be alert.

Throughout history, God has always liked to use numbers to get our attention.  And as you just saw, there are a lot of very unusual numbers that seem to connect 2017, Israel and Donald Trump.

And even without any of those numbers, many have long had a feeling that 2017 is going to be an extremely significant year, and so we all need to be ready for whatever God has in store for us.

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

The ‘Experts’ Tell Us That Christmas Is The Most Depressing Time Of The Year – Do You Agree?

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For many people, the holiday season is the most dreaded time of the year.  But does it have to be that way?  The holidays can be a real pressure point because they tend to magnify our problems.  If you are a very busy person, it is likely that you are even busier and more stressed for time during December.  If your family relationships are strained, this time of the year can be really tough because there is pressure to interact with family.  Other people that feel a deep sense of loneliness often find that it becomes even deeper and more intense around Christmas.  And more than anything else, so many people feel like they are missing out on something because their holidays never seem to match up with the glittering ideal that is constantly portrayed in the movies and on television.  We are a deeply unhappy nation anyway, but this time of the year just seems to make it even worse.

The truth is that there are a lot of people out there that can’t wait for the Christmas season to be over.  If you can believe it, one survey found that 45 percent of us actually dread the holiday season.  The following is an excerpt from a Psychology Today article

We are told that Christmas, for Christians, should be the happiest time of year, an opportunity to be joyful and grateful with family, friends and colleagues. Yet, according to the National Institute of Health, Christmas is the time of year that people experience the highest incidence of depression. Hospitals and police forces report the highest incidences of suicide and attempted suicide. Psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health professionals report a significant increase in patients complaining about depression. One North American survey reported that 45% of respondents dreaded the festive season.

A different survey found a similar result.  According to that survey, 48 percent of all men say that they “feel depressed or sad” around Christmas…

Amid pressures to be “merry” and “happy”, nearly half of men admit that they actually feel depressed or sad over Christmas, a study by the Samaritans has revealed.

Out of 140 people polled by an online survey, 48 percent of men said they feel low in December with 45 percent saying their worries were the most troubling during the festive period compared to any other time of the year.

But of course it isn’t like we are a happy bunch the rest of the year either.  It has been reported that the number of Americans formally diagnosed with depression increases by approximately 20 percent every year, and at this point about one out of every six Americans is on an anti-depressant or some other kind of psychiatric drug…

The number used to be one in ten, but according to new data, one out of every six adult Americans is taking anti-depressants or some other type of psychiatric drugs now.

What that breaks down to is “Overall, 16.7 percent of 242 million U.S. adults reported filling one or more prescriptions for psychiatric drugs in 2013,” according to research published today in Journal of the American Medical Association’s JAMA Internal Medicine.

Those are absolutely staggering numbers, and the epidemic is the worst among middle age women.  It may be hard to believe, but at this point one out of every four women in their 40s and 50s is taking an antidepressant medication.

And once you get on these drugs you tend to stay on them for a very long time.  One study found that more than 84 percent of the people on these drugs get them refilled at least three times a year.

Getting off these drugs is not easy, but staying on them indefinitely can be absolutely debilitating.

When are we going to recognize that we have a serious national crisis on our hands?  Nobody disputes that we are the most drugged people on the entire planet by a very wide margin.  Incredibly, Americans account for only five percent of the global population, but we consume more than 50 percent of the pharmaceutical drugs.

What is wrong with us?

According to the New York Times, more than 30 million Americans take antidepressants right now, and it has been reported that health professionals in the United States write more than 250 million prescriptions for antidepressants every year.

If we are not depressed, then why are we taking so much antidepressant medication?

Of course the truth is that we are deeply depressed as a nation, and there are many out there that have decided to medicate themselves.  In the United States today, 60 million people abuse alcohol and another 22 million people abuse illegal drugs.

So why are we so unhappy?

Well, there are lots of reasons, but one of the big ones is the breakdown of the family.

The only two countries that have a higher divorce rate than the United States are Belarus and the Maldives.  When it comes to marriage we are a dramatic failure as a nation, but nobody seems to be making fixing our marriages a major national priority.

We also have the highest percentage of one person households on the entire planet, and this leads to a tremendous amount of loneliness.

Our wealth and technology have allowed us to become more isolated than ever before, but that is not a good thing.  A century ago, 4.52 people were living in the average U.S. household, but now the average U.S. household only consists of 2.59 people.

When you start seeing these numbers, it starts making sense why we are all so deeply depressed.

And fewer Americans than ever are choosing to get married and start families.  According to a Pew Research Center survey, only 51 percent of all adults in the United States are married.

But all the way back in 1960, 72 percent of all adults in this country were married.

So what is the answer?

Well, you don’t need to immediately run out and get married and start a family in order to be happy.  In fact, some of the unhappiest people in the entire world are married.

And you aren’t going to find happiness in Christmas traditions either.  You won’t find happiness by buying bigger and better Christmas presents, you won’t find happiness by watching more movies about Santa Claus, and you definitely won’t find happiness in a tree.

In the end, what we are all craving is love and connection.  If you have pleasant holiday memories, they invariably involve other people.  That is because we were created to love and to be loved, and when we get away from that we start to get into trouble.

The greatest need in our world today is love.  If you feel as though there is not a lot of love in your life right now, ask yourself how much love you have been giving to others.

Often it is the people that give the most love that end up receiving the most love.  So if you want more love in your life, start reaching out and loving others.

If you endeavor to become a person of great love, you will become happier not only during the holiday season, but during every other time of the year as well.

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

Fed survey: 40% of households show signs of financial stress

Dollars

Four out of 10 American households were straining financially five years after the Great Recession — many struggling with tight credit, education debt and retirement issues, according to a new Federal Reserve survey of consumers.

The Fed study shows that the economy has made progress to the point where a majority of U.S. households said they were “living comfortably” or doing OK financially.

But almost 40% reported that their families were “just getting by” or struggling to do so. And more people reported that their financial situation was worse rather than better off compared to five years earlier. The survey was taken in September 2013.

Overall, the Fed’s findings, reported Thursday, are consistent with many other studies and data depicting the deep and lingering effects of the 2007-09 recession. The recovery has been slow and uneven, skewed toward the wealthy.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

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