Free Trade Or Fair Trade?

Free Trade Or Fair Trade?

20 Reasons Why All Americans

Should Be Against

The Insane Trade Policies

Of The Globalists

theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/free-trade-or-fair-trade-20-reasons-why-all-americans-should-be-against-the-insane-trade-policies-of-the-globalists

It is absolutely amazing how many Americans are still convinced that more “free trade” is the answer to our economic problems.  The truth is that there is a vast difference between “free trade” and “fair trade”, and in this article I will prove that all true conservatives and all true liberals should be completely against the insane trade policies of the federal government.  Yes, we will always need to trade with other nations.  Other nations make or have things that we need to trade for.  Balanced trade relationships with other nations that have similar economies and that share similar values can be very beneficial.  For example, our trading relationship with Canada, though not perfect, is generally beneficial to both sides.  However, the United States also has dozens of trading relationships that are highly destructive to the U.S. economy.  There are some predatory nations that are blatantly and openly cheating and everyone can see it.  They are getting away with bloody murder and they are robbing us blind.  The United States of America is being taken advantage of, and as a result thousands of good businesses are being destroyed and millions of good jobs are being lost.  If you are an American and you are in favor of all of the unfair trade that is currently going on, then either you don’t know much about economics or you actually want to see the U.S. economy be destroyed.

Congress has just passed new free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.  The Obama administration has also made “the NAFTA of the Pacific” a very high priority.

Obama says that all of these new trade pacts will create more U.S. jobs.

Well, either Barack Obama is completely ignorant when it comes to economics or else he is lying.

When we merge our economy with the economies of nations where wages are much lower, it is inevitable that large numbers of jobs are going to leave the high wage areas (where we live) and go to areas where wages are much lower.

It also certainly does not help that we have the highest corporate tax rate in the world, that we burden our businesses with mountains of ridiculous regulations,  and that we allow our “trade partners” to give their businesses a huge advantage by openly subsidizing them.

The way that the system is set up now, nearly all U.S. businesses are at a massive, massive disadvantage.  In general, the only businesses that can compete effectively in this environment are the giant corporations that can offshore huge portions of their operations.

If you are a conservative, then there is no way that you should support our current trade policies.  If you are a liberal, then there is no way that you should support our current trade policies.

However, if you are a “George W. Bush Republican” or a “Clinton/Obama Democrat” that believes in globalism and the establishment of a one world economy as part of a “New World Order”, then it would make sense why you would want to see America deindustrialized and brought down to the level of the rest of the world.

But if you are a true conservative or a true liberal, then the following are reasons why you should be horrified by our current trade policies….

#1 Other Nations Openly Manipulate Their Currencies In Order To Gain A Significant Competitive Advantage

For example, China keeps its currency set at a super low level relative to the U.S. dollar.  By doing this, their products are far cheaper than U.S. products, and U.S. businesses cannot compete with them.  This has resulted in the death of large numbers of U.S. businesses and the loss of millions of U.S. jobs.

So just how bad is this problem?  Well, a recent CNN article stated the following….

Critics of China’s policy estimate that the yuan is still undervalued by 25% to 40%, even with the recent rises in value.

The other day the U.S. Senate passed a bill that would impose tariffs on currency manipulators, and China has already retaliated, even though the bill has not become law yet and even though it almost certainly won’t.

China plays hardball.  They love the advantage that they are getting right now and they do not plan on losing it.

#2 Millions Of Good Paying Jobs Have Been Shipped Overseas And They Are Never Coming Back

Our politicians all try to tell us how good they are at creating jobs.

But what is the truth?

The truth is that a total of zero jobs were created last decade.  The following is a quote from a recent article in Washington Monthly….

“If any single number captures the state of the American economy over the last decade, it is zero. That was the net gain in jobs between 1999 and 2009—nada, nil, zip. By painful contrast, from the 1940s through the 1990s, recessions came and went, but no decade ended without at least a 20 percent increase in the number of jobs.”

Last decade we opened up our trade with the rest of the world more than ever before.  But instead of creating jobs it destroyed them.  Our trade deficits exploded and unemployment skyrocketed.

The Economic Policy Institute says that since 2001 America has lost approximately 2.8 million jobs due to our trade deficit with China alone.

So if you are unemployed, that is probably what happened to the job you are supposed to have.

It went overseas and it is not coming back.

#3 America Is Being Deindustrialized At A Blistering Pace Thanks To Globalism

The advocates of “free trade” cannot dispute the cold, hard facts….

*The United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs per month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

*The United States has lost a staggering 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000.

*If you can believe it, more than 42,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States have been closed down since 2001.

*Between December 2000 and December 2010, 38 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Ohio were lost, 42 percent of the manufacturing jobs in North Carolina were lost and 48 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Michigan were lost.

*Back in 1970, 25 percent of all jobs in the United States were manufacturing jobs. Today, only 9 percent of the jobs in the United States are manufacturing jobs.

#4 (For Conservatives) True Conservatives Should Be Horrified That We Are Being Taken Advantage Of By A Hardcore Communist Nation That Hates Us

Ronald Reagan would have never engaged in “free trade” with the Soviet Union.  The Communist Party is in complete control of China and while we may regard China as a “frenemy”, they really do believe that they will totally defeat us someday.  If you doubt this, just read what the top generals and politicians in China are writing.

It is so incredibly stupid what we are doing.  Our trade relationship with China has enabled the largest communist economy in the world to go from third world status to superpower status.  China is now the second largest economy in the world, and that would have never happened without our help.

A lot of people like to talk about how “capitalist” China is becoming, but the truth is that they have never wavered from their pure belief in communism.  7 of the 10 largest corporations in China are owned by the government.

A host of other corporations in China are very deeply subsidized by the government.

U.S. businesses have a very hard time competing with foreign businesses that are deeply subsidized by their own national governments.

It is called cheating, and we let other countries get away with it.

So our businesses die and their products fill up our store shelves.

#5 We Are Endangering Our National Security By Greatly Enriching Our Biggest Potential Enemies

The biggest threats to the United States are not some goat herders hiding out in the caves of Afghanistan.

The biggest threats to the United States are actually China and Russia.

Conservatives are supposed to be the ones that are so concerned about national security.  But instead of expressing concerns about China, they just keep pushing for more free trade.

As a result, China has been able to become a true global military superpower.

Someday we will deeply, deeply regret that.

#6 China Brazenly Steals Technology From Anyone And Everyone That They Can

China gets away with bloody murder when it comes to stealing technology.  They will do it “legally” if they can, and they will do it in “other ways” if they have to.

At this point, China has invented a whole host of ways to extract technology from any firms that wants to do business in China.

The following is a short excerpt from a recent article on CNN….

Foreign companies are often required to set-up joint ventures with Chinese firms before the can start doing business there. And China is instituting new “indigenous innovation” rules that U.S. companies say force them to transfer their own technology to their Chinese partners.

#7 We Should Never Trade With Any Nation That Has A “One Child” Policy

China has a very strict “one child policy” which should be absolutely abhorrent to all Americans.

Most Americans have no idea what is really going on over in China.  The following is from a recent article in the Epoch Times….

Pregnant women lacking birth permits are hunted down like criminals by population planning police in China and forcibly aborted.

All over China, mobile abortion vans are used to help enforce the one child policy.  What women in China must endure is absolutely sickening, and this kind of behavior should never be accepted in the global community.

But instead of penalizing China, we reward them for this behavior.  They even get awards at the United Nations for it.

Look, conservatives are supposed to be pro-life.  If you are a social conservative, then it goes against everything that you believe to support trade with China.

You can support trade with China if you want, but then don’t even try to call yourself “pro-life” again.

We should never trade with any nation that has a “one child policy”.  Such a policy is against everything that America is supposed to stand for.

#8 Our Horrendous Trade Imbalance Has Allowed Other Nations To Accumulate Gigantic Amounts Of Our Debt

Every month, we send much more money to the rest of the world than they send to us.  One thing that those other nations are doing with all of that money is that they are buying up our debt.

Our trade deficit with China has enabled them to accumulate nearly a trillion dollars of our debt.  This gives them tremendous leverage over us and is a very serious threat to our economy and to our national security.

So now China can threaten the stability of our financial system with just a phone call.

#9 Globalist Trade Institutions Are A Serious Threat To Our National Sovereignty

Today, the “global economy” is governed by globalist institutions such as the G20, the WTO, the IMF and the World Bank.  The United States has given up huge amounts of national sovereignty to these organizations.

If you are a true conservative, this should greatly disturb you.

We don’t want faceless international bureaucrats telling us what our trade policies will be.  But to a large degree that is the situation that we have gotten ourselves into.

#10 Liberals (And All Americans) Are Supposed To Care About What Is Best For American Workers

Millions of working class jobs have been shipped overseas, and yet Barack Obama just keeps pushing for more “free trade” agreements which will make the problem even worse.

But instead of screaming bloody murder, liberals keep on supporting Obama.

It’s disgusting.

The truth is that the Obama administration actually says that there are certain kinds of jobs that we “don’t want” in the United States.

For example, the following is what U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk recently told Tim Robertson of the Huffington Post about the Obama administration’s attitude toward keeping manufacturing jobs in America….

Let’s increase our competitiveness… the reality is about half of our imports, our trade deficit is because of how much oil [we import], so you take that out of the equation, you look at what percentage of it are things that frankly, we don’t want to make in America, you know, cheaper products, low-skill jobs that frankly college kids that are graduating from, you know, UC Cal and Hastings [don’t want], but what we do want is to capture those next generation jobs and build on our investments in our young people, our education infrastructure.

So where is the outrage?

Is anyone even awake out there?

Even the construction of many of our roads and bridges is being outsourced to China.  Just check out the following quote from a recent ABC News article….

In New York there is a $400 million renovation project on the Alexander Hamilton Bridge.

In California, there is a $7.2 billion project to rebuild the Bay Bridge connecting San Francisco and Oakland.

In Alaska, there is a proposal for a $190 million bridge project.

These projects sound like steps in the right direction, but much of the work is going to Chinese government-owned firms.

“When we subsidize jobs in China, we’re not creating any wealth in the United States,” said Scott Paul, executive director for the Alliance for American Manufacturing.

Liberals are supposed to be working to defend the working class.

So why won’t they openly go after Obama on these issues?

Our unfair trade agreements have put American workers in direct competition for jobs with the cheapest labor on the globe.

Until this is fixed, you will continue to hear a “great sucking sound” as millions of jobs continue to leave the United States and go to places where labor is ten to twenty times cheaper.

It is insanity what we are doing.  We allow big corporations to send their manufacturing offshore and also to ship their products back into the United States for free.

Where in that equation is good news for the American worker?

#11 Liberals (And All Americans) Should Be Horrified By The Exploitation Of Slave Labor Around The Globe

All over the globe, workers toil in nightmarish conditions for slave labor pay just so that Americans can feed their addiction for cheap foreign products.

Big corporations and collectivist governments such as China are getting unbelievably rich by exploiting this slave labor pool.

Get educated about this and find out the truth.  It just might totally change the way that you view “free trade”.

#12 Liberals (And All Americans) Should Be Horrified By The Damage To The Environment Our Trade Relationships Cause

Liberals are supposed to deeply care about the environment.  But our trade relationship with nations on the other side of the globe result in thousands of factories and businesses leaving our shores and ending up in countries where the environmental regulations are not nearly as strict.  In fact, nations such as China are a complete and total environmental nightmare at this point.  If liberals truly cared about the environment they would want to keep factories and businesses here.

#13 Very Dangerous Products Continue To Flood Into This Country From Overseas

Isn’t product safety supposed to be a big thing for liberals?  Today, a huge percentage of the products we buy are made outside the United States far from the watchful eyes of our regulatory agencies.  Over the past couple of years, there has been headline after headline about dangerous products made in China.  The following is just one example of this: 10 Babies Die Mysteriously At Fort Bragg: Toxic Drywall From China Used In Base Homes The Culprit?

#14 The Globalization Of The Economy Causes Income Inequality To Grow

By paying slave labor wages to workers overseas, the big corporations are becoming very wealthy.  At the same time, that means that there are much fewer jobs for average working class Americans, and wages for the jobs that remain are pushed down because of increased competition for jobs.

So the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

If you don’t believe that income inequality in the United States has become a huge problem, just check out this chart.

#15 Because Of All Of The Cheating And All Of The Predatory Behavior That Is Going On, Our Trade Relationships Have Become Incredibly Imbalanced

Today, the United States spends about 4 dollars on goods and services from China for every one dollar that China spends on goods and services from the United States.

So how is that even close to “fair”?

Our store shelves are absolutely packed with stuff from China.

In 2010, the number one U.S. export to China was “scrap and trash”.

Even in high technology products we are being destroyed.  In 2002, the United States had a trade deficit in “advanced technology products” of $16 billion with the rest of the world.  In 2010, that number skyrocketed to $82 billion.

#16 Our Gigantic Trade Deficit Is Destroying Our National Wealth

The United States has had a negative trade balance every single year since 1976, and since that time the United States has run a total trade deficit of more than 7.5 trillion dollars with the rest of the world.

Our gigantic trade deficits are making us poorer as a nation each and every month.  Each year, somewhere around half a trillion dollars of our national wealth gets transferred out of the United States.  That half a trillion dollars could be going to support U.S. businesses and U.S. jobs.  Taxes could be paid on that half a trillion dollars.  But instead it leaves the country and makes other nations wealthier.

#17 The Globalization Of The Economy Has Caused Unemployment In The United States To Explode

If you gathered together all of the workers that are “officially” unemployed in the United States today, they would constitute the 68th largest country in the world.

#18 As Our Cities Are Deindustrialized, Many Of Them Are Being Transformed Into Absolute Hellholes

The other day, I wrote the following about what is happening in cities and towns across the United States….

All across America there are cities and towns that were once prosperous and beautiful that are being transformed into absolute hellholes.  The scars left by the long-term economic decline of the United States are getting deeper and more gruesome.

#19 Without Good Jobs, An Increasing Number Of Americans Are Having To Turn To Government Assistance

We are going to support U.S. workers one way or another.  Either we are going to provide them with good jobs, or we are going to let their jobs be shipped out of the country and we are going to pay for the government to feed and house them.

Today, there are more than 45 million Americans on food stamps.  That number has gone up by more than 70 percent since 2007.  Almost every single month we set a new all-time record for the number of people being fed by the federal government.

#20 If Nothing Is Done, All Of This Is Going To Get A Lot Worse

According to Professor Alan Blinder of Princeton University, 40 million more U.S. jobs could be sent offshore over the next two decades.

Can you imagine what America is going to look like if that happens?

**********

Okay, so in light of all of that information, can anyone out there defend the current “free trade” policies of the federal government?

The Top 100 Statistics About The Collapse Of The Economy That Every American Voter Should Know

The U.S. economy is dying and most American voters have no idea why it is happening.  Unfortunately, the mainstream media and most of our politicians are not telling the truth about the collapse of the economy.  This generation was handed the keys to the greatest economic machine that the world has ever seen, and we have completely wrecked it.  Decades of incredibly foolish decisions have left us drowning in an ocean of corruption, greed and bad debt.  Thousands of businesses and millions of jobs have left the country and poverty is exploding from coast to coast.  We are literally becoming a joke to the rest of the world.  It is absolutely imperative that we educate America about what is happening.  Until the American people truly understand the problems that we are facing, they will not be willing to implement the solutions that are necessary.

The following are the top 100 statistics about the collapse of the economy that every American voter should know….

#100 A staggering 48.5% of all Americans live in a household that receives some form of government benefits.  Back in 1983, that number was below 30 percent.

#99 During the Obama administration, the U.S. government has accumulated more debt than it did from the time that George Washington took office to the time that Bill Clinton took office.

#98 Since Barack Obama was sworn in, the share of the national debt per household has increased by $35,835.

#97 The U.S. national debt has been increasing by an average of more than 4 billion dollars per day since the beginning of the Obama administration.

#96 It is being projected that the U.S. national debt will hit 344% of GDP by the year 2050 if we continue on our current course.

#95 The Congressional Budget Office is projecting that U.S. government debt held by the public will reach a staggering 716 percent of GDP by the year 2080.

#94 In 2010, the U.S. government paid $413 billion in interest on the national debt.  That is projected to at least double over the next decade.

#93 According to one new survey, one out of every three Americans would not be able to make a mortgage or rent payment next month if they suddenly lost their current job.

#92 State and local government debt has reached an all-time high of 22 percent of U.S. GDP.

#91 In 1980, government transfer payments accounted for just 11.7% of all income.  Today, government transfer payments account for 18.4% of all income.

#90 U.S. households are now receiving more income from the U.S. government than they are paying to the government in taxes.

#89 According to a new study conducted by the BlackRock Investment Institute, the ratio of household debt to personal income in the United States is now 154 percent.

#88 If you can believe it, one out of every seven Americans has at least 10 credit cards.

#87 According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, health care costs accounted for just 9.5% of all personal consumption back in 1980.  Today they account for approximately 16.3%.

#86 The cost of a health insurance policy for the average American family rose by a whopping 9 percent last year, and according to a report put out by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust, the average family health insurance policy now costs over $15,000 a year.

#85 One study found that approximately 41 percent of working age Americans either have medical bill problems or are currently paying off medical debt.

#84 An all-time record 49.9 million Americans do not have any health insurance at all at this point, and the percentage of Americans covered by employer-based health plans has fallen for 11 years in a row.

#83 According to a report published in The American Journal of Medicine, medical bills are a major factor in more than 60 percent of the personal bankruptcies in the United States.  Of those bankruptcies that were caused by medical bills, approximately 75 percent of them involved individuals that actually did have health insurance.

#82 Average yearly tuition at U.S. private universities is now up to $27,293.

#81 The cost of college tuition in the United States has gone up by over 900 percent since 1978.

#80 In America today, approximately two-thirds of all college students graduate with student loans.

#79 In 2010, the average college graduate had accumulated approximately $25,000 in student loan debt by graduation day.

#78 The total amount of student loan debt in the United States now exceeds the total amount of credit card debt in the United States.

#77 One-third of all college graduates end up taking jobs that don’t even require college degrees.

#76 In the United States today, there are more than 100,000 janitors that have college degrees.

#75 In the United States today, 317,000 waiters and waitresses have college degrees.

#74 In the United States today, approximately 365,000 cashiers have college degrees.

#73 It is being projected that for the first time ever, the OPEC nations are going to bring in over a trillion dollars from exporting oil this year.  Their biggest customer is the United States.

#72 U.S. oil companies will bring in about $200 billion in pre-tax profits this year.  They will also receive about $4.4 billion in specialized tax breaks from the U.S. government.

#71 The United States has had a negative trade balance every single year since 1976, and since that time the United States has run a total trade deficit of more than 7.5 trillion dollars with the rest of the world.

#70 The United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs per month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

#69 The U.S. trade deficit with China is now 27 times larger than it was back in 1990.

#68 Today, the United States spends more than 4 dollars on goods and services from China for every one dollar that China spends on goods and services from the United States.

#67 China has surpassed the United States and is now the largest PC market in the entire world.

#66 In 2002, the United States had a trade deficit in “advanced technology products” of $16 billion with the rest of the world.  In 2010, that number skyrocketed to $82 billion.

#65 In 2010, the number one U.S. export to China was “scrap and trash”.

#64 Do you remember when the United States was the dominant manufacturer of automobiles and trucks on the globe?  Well, in 2010 the U.S. ran a trade deficit in automobiles, trucks and parts of $110 billion.

#63 The United States has lost a staggering 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000.

#62 If you can believe it, more than 42,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States have been closed down since 2001.

#61 Between December 2000 and December 2010, 38 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Ohio were lost, 42 percent of the manufacturing jobs in North Carolina were lost and 48 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Michigan were lost.

#60 Back in 1970, 25 percent of all jobs in the United States were manufacturing jobs. Today, only 9 percent of the jobs in the United States are manufacturing jobs.

#59 According to Professor Alan Blinder of Princeton University, 40 million more U.S. jobs could be sent offshore over the next two decades.

#58 If you gathered together all of the workers that are “officially” unemployed in the United States today, they would constitute the 68th largest country in the world.

#57 There are fewer payroll jobs in the United States right now than there were back in 2000 even though we have added 30 million extra people to the population since then.

#56 Back in 1969, 95 percent of all men between the ages of 25 and 54 had a job.  In July, only 81.2 percent of men in that age group had a job.

#55 Only 55.3% of all Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 were employed last year.  That was the lowest level that we have seen since World War II.

#54 Today, there are 5.9 million Americans between the ages of 25 and 34 that are living with their parents.

#53 The economic downturn has been particularly tough on men.  According to Census data, men are twice as likely to live with their parents as women are.

#52 According to one recent survey, only 14 percent of all Americans that are 28 or 29 years old are optimistic about their financial futures.

#51 Incredibly, less than 30 percent of all U.S. teens had a job this summer.

#50 According to one study, between 1969 and 2009 the median wages earned by American men between the ages of 30 and 50 dropped by 27 percent after you account for inflation.

#49 Since the year 2000, we have lost approximately 10% of our middle class jobs.  In the year 2000 there were about 72 million middle class jobs in the United States but today there are only about 65 million middle class jobs.

#48 In 1980, 52 percent of all jobs in the United States were middle income jobs.  Today, only 42 percent of all jobs are middle income jobs.

#47 Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs.  Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.

#46 According to Paul Osterman, a professor of economics at MIT, approximately 20 percent of all employed Americans are making $10.65 an hour or less.

#45 Half of all American workers now earn $505 or less per week.

#44 Since December 2007, median household income in the United States has declined by a total of 6.8% once you account for inflation.

#43 New home sales in the United States are now down 80% from the peak in July 2005.

#42 The all-time record for fewest number of new homes sold in the United States was broken in 2009.  Then it was broken again in 2010.  It is on pace to be broken once again in 2011.

#41 At one point this year, U.S. home prices had fallen a whopping 33% from where they were at during the peak of the housing bubble.

#40 U.S. home values have fallen approximately 6 trillion dollars since the housing crisis first began.

#39 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 18 percent of all homes in the state of Florida are sitting vacant.  That figure is 63 percent larger than it was just ten years ago.

#38 Historically, the percentage of residential mortgages in foreclosure in the United States has tended to hover between 1 and 1.5 percent.  Today, it is up around 4.5 percent.

#37 According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, at least 8 million Americans are currently at least one month behind on their mortgage payments.

#36 According to a Harris Interactive survey taken near the end of last year, 77 percent of all Americans are now living paycheck to paycheck.  In 2007, the same survey found that only 43 percent of Americans were living paycheck to paycheck.

#35 Starting on January 1st, 2011 the Baby Boomers began to hit retirement age.  From now on, every single day more than 10,000 Baby Boomers will reach the age of 65.  That is going to keep happening every single day for the next 19 years.

#34 According to a new poll by Americans for Secure Retirement, 88 percent of all Americans are worried about “maintaining a comfortable standard of living in retirement”.  Last year, that figure was at 73 percent.

#33 One out of every six elderly Americans now lives below the federal poverty line.

#32 In 1950, each retiree’s Social Security benefit was paid for by 16 U.S. workers.  According to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are now only 1.75 full-time private sector workers for each person that is receiving Social Security benefits in the United States.

#31 According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Social Security system paid out more in benefits than it received in payroll taxes in 2010.  That was not supposed to happen until at least 2016.

#30 The U.S. government now says that the Medicare trust fund will run out five years faster than they were projecting just last year.

#29 According to one study, the 50 U.S. state governments are collectively 3.2 trillion dollars short of what they need to meet their pension obligations.

#28 A different study has shown that individual Americans are $6.6 trillion short of what they need to retire comfortably.

#27 Between 1991 and 2007 the number of Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 that filed for bankruptcy rose by a staggering 178 percent.

#26 According to a shocking AARP survey of Baby Boomers that are still in the workforce, 40 percent of them plan to work “until they drop”.

#25 Last year, 2.6 million more Americans dropped into poverty.  That was the largest increase that we have seen since the U.S. government began keeping statistics on this back in 1959.

#24 Back in the year 2000, 11.3% of all Americans were living in poverty.  Today, 15.1% of all Americans are living in poverty.

#23 More than 50 million Americans are now on Medicaid.  Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid.  Today, approximately one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid.

#22 More than 45 million Americans are now on food stamps.

#21 The number of Americans on food stamps has increased 74% since 2007.

#20 Approximately one-third of the entire population of the state of Alabama is now on food stamps.

#19 Right now, one out of every four American children is on food stamps.

#18 It is being projected that approximately 50 percent of all U.S. children will be on food stamps at some point in their lives before they reach the age of 18.

#17 The poverty rate for children living in the United States increased to 22% in 2010.

#16 There are 314 counties in the United States where at least 30% of the children are facing food insecurity.

#15 In Washington D.C., the “child food insecurity rate” is 32.3%.

#14 More than 20 million U.S. children rely on school meal programs to keep from going hungry.

#13 It is estimated that up to half a million children may currently be homeless in the United States.

#12 The number of Americans that are going to food pantries and soup kitchens has increased by 46% since 2006.

#11 According to a recent report from the AFL-CIO, the average CEO made 343 times more money than the average American did last year.

#10 The wealthiest 1% of all Americans now own more than a third of all the wealth in the United States.

#9 The poorest 50% of all Americans collectively own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.

#8 The percentage of millionaires in Congress is more than 50 times higher than the percentage of millionaires in the general population.

#7 According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 16.6 million Americans were self-employed back in December 2006.  Today, that number has shrunk to 14.5 million.

#6 According to one recent poll, 90 percent of the American people believe that economic conditions in the United States are “poor”.  To put this in perspective, only 11 percent of Americans rated economic conditions in the U.S. as “poor” back in January of 1999.

#5 According to another recent poll, 80 percent of the American people believe that we are actually in a recession right now.

#4 Our dollar is being systematically destroyed by the Federal Reserve.  An item that cost $20.00 in 1970 will cost you $116.78 today.  An item that cost $20.00 in 1913 will cost you $457.67 today.

#3 The Federal Reserve made $16.1 trillion in secret loans to their friends during the last financial crisis.

#2 The Federal Reserve is a perpetual debt machine.  Today, the U.S. national debt is more than 4700 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was created back in 1913.

#1 According to a new CNN/ORC International Poll, 27 percent of all Americans have never even heard of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

We need to educate America.

Please share this with as many people as you can.  Time is running out for America, and 2012 is going to be an absolutely pivotal year in the history of this nation.

We are in the midst of a long-term economic decline that is rapidly accelerating.  If dramatic changes are not made very quickly, we will soon witness a full-blown collapse of the economy.

Wake up as many people as you can.

We are running out of time.

Europe Tries To Kick The Can Down The Road But It Will Only Lead To Financial Disaster

Europe Tries To Kick The Can Down The Road But It Will Only Lead To Financial Disaster

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/europe-tries-to-kick-the-can-down-the-road-but-it-will-only-lead-to-financial-disaster

Have you heard the good news?  Financial armageddon has been averted.  The economic collapse in Europe has been cancelled.  Everything is going to be okay.  Well, actually none of those statements is true, but news of the “debt deal” in Europe has set off a frenzy of irrational exuberance throughout the financial world anyway.  Newspapers all over the globe are declaring that the financial crisis in Europe is over.  Stock markets all over the world are soaring.  The Dow was up nearly 3 percent today, and this recent surge is helping the S&P 500 to have its best month since 1974.  Global financial markets are experiencing an explosion of optimism right now.  Yes, European leaders have been able to kick the can down the road for a few months and a total Greek default is not going to happen right now.  However, as you will see below, the core elements of this “debt deal” actually make a financial disaster in Europe even more likely in the future.

The two most important parts of the plan are a 50% “haircut” on Greek debt held by private investors and highly leveraging the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) to give it much more “firepower”.

Both of these elements are likely to cause significant problems down the road.  But most investors do not seem to have figured this out yet.  In fact, most investors seem to be buying into the hype that Europe’s problems have been solved.

There is a tremendous lack of critical thinking in the financial community today.  Just because politicians in Europe say that the crisis has been solved does not mean that the crisis has been solved.  But all over the world there are bold declarations that a great “breakthrough” has been achieved.  An article posted on USA Today is an example of this irrational exuberance….

Investors — at least for now — don’t have to worry about a financial collapse like the one in 2008, after Wall Street investment bank Lehman Bros. filed for bankruptcy, sparking a global financial crisis.

“Financial Armageddon seems to have been taken off the table,” says Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott.

Wow, doesn’t that sound great?

But now let’s look at the facts.

You can’t solve a debt problem with even more debt.  But that is what this debt deal is trying to do.

The politicians in Europe did not want to raise more money for the EFSF the “hard way”.  Voters in Germany (and other European nations) are overwhelmingly against contributing even more cash to a fund that many see as a financial black hole.

So what do you do when more money is needed but nobody wants to contribute?

You borrow it.

Essentially, this debt deal calls for the EFSF to become four or five times larger by “leveraging” the existing funds in the EFSF.

But isn’t that risky?

Of course it is.

There are some leaders in Europe that recognize this.  For example, an article in The Telegraph notes the reservations that the president of the Bundesbank has about this plan….

Jens Weidmann, the president of the Bundesbank and a member of the European Central Bank, sounded the alarm over the plan to “leverage” the fund by a factor of four to five times without putting any new money into the pot.

He warned that the scheme could be hit by market turbulence with taxpayers left holding the bill for risky investments in Italian and Spanish bonds.

So who is going to fund all of this new debt?

Well, it turns out that the Europeans are counting on the same folks that the U.S. government is constantly borrowing money from.

The Chinese.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has already spoken directly with Chinese President Hu Jintao about funding this new bailout effort.

So is borrowing money from the Chinese to fund bailouts for Greece and other weak sisters in Europe sound policy?

Of course not.

And the sad thing is that this expanded EFSF is still not going to be enough to solve the financial problems in Europe.

According to an article in The Telegraph, a recent survey of economists found that most of them do not believe that this new plan is going to raise enough money….

The plan to increase the European Financial and Stability Facility to €1  trillion on paper was attacked by economists as not enough to “stave off” worsening debt problems in Italy and Spain.

In a survey of economists, 26 of 48 thought the firepower was not enough.

But the worst part of this new plan is the 50 percent “haircut” that private investors are being forced to take.

This is essentially a partial default by the Greek government.  A lot of folks are going to get hit really hard by losses from this.  Instead of making financial institutions in Europe stronger, these losses are going to make a lot of them even weaker.

Normally, in the event of a default, credit default swap contracts would be triggered.  But apparently because this was considered to be a “voluntary” haircut, that is not going to happen in this instance.

A Bloomberg article explained this in greater detail.  The following is a brief excerpt….

The EU agreement with investors for a voluntary 50 percent writedown on their Greek bond holdings means $3.7 billion of debt-insurance contracts won’t be triggered, according to the International Swaps & Derivatives Association’s rules.

That means that investors and financial institutions all over the world are just going to have to eat these losses.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou is already acknowledging that a number of Greek banks will have to be nationalized because of the severity of this “haircut”.  A recent CNBC article detailed this….

The haircut is expected to impose big losses on the country’s banks and state-run pension funds, which are up their necks in toxic Greek government bonds of about 100 billion euros.

The government will replenish pension funds’ capital, but banks may face temporary nationalisation, Papandreou said.

“It is very likely that a large part of the banks’ shares will pass into state ownership,” Papandreou said. He pledged, however, that these stakes will be sold back to private investors after the banks’ restructuring.

So where will the Greek government get the funds to “replenish” the capital of those banks?

That is a very good question.

But we haven’t even discussed the worst part of this “debt deal” yet.

If you don’t remember any other part of this article, please remember this.

The debt deal in Europe sends a very frightening message to the market.

The truth is that Europe could have totally bailed out Greece without any sort of a “haircut” taking place.

But they didn’t.

So now investors all over the globe have got to be thinking that if they are holding Portuguese bonds, Italian bonds or Spanish bonds there is a really good chance that they will be forced to take a massive “haircut” at some point as well.

At this time last year, the yield on two year Italian bonds was about 2.5 percent.  Now it is about 4.5 percent.  As investors begin to price in the probability of having to take a future “haircut” on Italian debt, those bond yields are going to go much, much higher.

That means that it is going to become much more expensive for the Italian government to borrow money and that also means that it is going to become much more difficult for the Italians to get their financial house in order.

In essence, the haircut on Greek debt is a signal to investors that they should require a much higher rate of return on the debt of all of the PIIGS.  This is going to make the financial collapse of all of the PIIGS much more likely.

Remember, about this time last year the yield on two year Greek bonds was about 10 percent.  Today, it is over 70 percent.

As I wrote about in a previous article, the western world is in debt up to its eyeballs right now and trying to kick the can down the road is not going to solve anything.

Our leaders may succeed in delaying the pain for a while, but it most definitely is coming.

Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Italy all have debt to GDP ratios that are well over 100% right now.  Spain is in a huge amount of trouble as well.

When you add up all the debt, Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Spain owe the rest of the world about 3 trillion euros combined.

If Italy or Spain goes down, the rest of Europe is going to be helpless to stop it.  There simply is not going to be enough money to bail either one of them out.

That is why this “debt deal” is so alarming.  All investors in Italian or Spanish debt will now have to factor in the probability that they will be required to accept a 50 percent haircut at some point in the future.

If the markets behave rationally (and if the ECB does not manipulate them too much), it appears inevitable that bond yields over in Europe are going to rise substantially, and that will put tremendous additional financial strain on governments all over Europe.

Basically, we have got a huge mess on our hands, and this debt deal just made it a lot worse.

Yes, a financial collapse has been averted in Greece for the moment, but the truth is that there is no real reason to be celebrating this deal.

A massive financial storm is coming to Europe, and this “debt deal” has made that all the more certain.

Once again, politicians in Europe have tried to kick the can down the road, but in the end their efforts are only going to lead to complete and total financial disaster.

Global Collapse: The Next Phase

Global Collapse: The Next Phase


Jim Sinclair links to this GEAB excerpt, which reads in part:

***
…In fact, it will be a triple decimation (5) culminating in the disappearance of 10% to 20% of Western banks over the next year:
. a decimation of their staff
. a decimation of their profits
. and lastly, a decimation of the number of banks…
***

Read the rest, and consider its impact on your retirement and savings accounts.

From http://westernrifleshooters.wordpress.com/

 

US Economy “on the Brink of Collapse”

US Economy “on the Brink of Collapse”

by Jeff Davis

Europeans seem to have a far greater awareness of the degree of trouble, that the USA is in, than anyone here does. The liberal media wants us to think everything is all “rainbows and unicorns” with Obama in office. An article on Breitbart reports: “Economists peddling dire warnings that the world’s number one economy is on the brink of collapse, amid high rates of unemployment and a spiraling public deficit, are flourishing here.

The guru of this doomsday line of thinking may be economist Nouriel Roubini, thrust into the forefront after predicting the chaos wrought by the subprime mortgage crisis and the collapse of the housing bubble. ‘The US has run out of bullets,’ Roubini told an economic forum in Italy earlier this month. ‘Any shock at this point can tip you back into recession.’”

“Back” into recession? Did we ever leave? Seems more like we bottomed out at about a 20 percent real unemployment rate while foreclosures and bankruptcies continued at an alarming pace.

Breitbart goes on: “But other economists, who have so far stayed out of the media limelight, are also proselytizing nightmarish visions of the future.

Boston University professor Laurence Kotlikoff, who warned as far back as the 1980s of the dangers of a public deficit, lent credence to such dark predictions in an International Monetary Fund publication last week. He unveiled a doomsday scenario —which many dismiss as pure fantasy —of an economic clash between superpowers the United States and China, which holds more than 843 billion dollars of US Treasury bonds. ‘A minor trade dispute between the United States and China could make some people think that other people are going to sell US treasury bonds.

That belief, coupled with major concern about inflation, could lead to a sell-off of government bonds that causes the public to withdraw their bank deposits and buy durable goods.’ Kotlikoff warned such a move would spark a run on banks and money market funds as well as insurance companies as policy holders cash in their surrender values. ‘In a short period of time, the Federal Reserve would have to print trillions of dollars to cover its explicit and implicit guarantees.

All that new money could produce strong inflation, perhaps hyperinflation,’ he said.” Imagine that: An economically illiterate African president resorting to printing money regardless of inflation. Does anyone remember Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe?

The federal government is either going to commit to wild inflation or it’s going to run out of money. What happens if the United States government just plain runs out of money? When no one will lend us any more? When the tax revenues from a collapsed economy with massive unemployment won’t cover even the interest on previous loans and bonds? Eventually welfare and food stamps will have to be cut if not eliminated completely.

Obama recently transferred money from food stamps so he could bail out a number of states, which are having trouble paying their teachers. Obama is struggling just to keep an illusion of “normalcy” up through the November election. After that, many states WILL start running out of money for teachers (and everything else) and the Feds will have to find billions of dollars somewhere to pay back the food stamps program.

The Democrats will choose to print more money, and then the final slide into collapse and anarchy will begin. The Europeans know it. The Chinese know it, which is why they’re trying to unload US Treasury bonds. Despite all the propaganda from the liberals, most Americans know that the economy is in terrible shape. They believe their eyes, not the propaganda from the liberal evening news.

21 Signs That Something Big Is About To Happen In The Financial World

Nervous Breakdown? 21 Signs That Something Big Is About To Happen In The Financial World

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/nervous-breakdown-21-signs-that-something-big-is-about-to-happen-in-the-financial-world

Will global financial markets reach a breaking point during the month of October?  Right now there are all kinds of signs that the financial world is about to experience a nervous breakdown.  Massive amounts of investor money is being pulled out of the stock market and mammoth bets are being made against the S&P 500 in October.  The European debt crisis continues to grow even worse and weird financial moves are being made all over the globe.  Does all of this unusual activity indicate that something big is about to happen?  Let’s hope not.  But historically, the biggest stock market crashes have tended to happen in the fall.  So are we on the verge of a “Black October”?

The following are 21 signs that something big is about to happen in the financial world and that global financial markets are on the verge of a nervous breakdown….

#1 We are seeing an amazing number of bets against the S&P 500 right now.  According to CNN, the number of bets against the S&P 500 rose to the highest level in a year last month.  But that was nothing compared to what we are seeing for October.  The number of bets against the S&P 500 for the month of October is absolutely astounding.  Somebody is going to make a monstrous amount of money if there is a stock market crash next month.

#2 Investors are pulling a huge amount of money out of stocks right now.  Do they know something that we don’t?  The following is from a report in the Financial Post….

Investors have pulled more money from U.S. equity funds since the end of April than in the five months after the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., adding to the $2.1 trillion rout in American stocks.

About $75 billion was withdrawn from funds that focus on shares during the past four months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from the Investment Company Institute, a Washington-based trade group, and EPFR Global, a research firm in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Outflows totaled $72.8 billion from October 2008 through February 2009, following Lehman’s bankruptcy, the data show.

#3 Siemens has pulled more than half a billion euros out of two major French banks and has moved that money to the European Central Bank.  Do they know something or are they just getting nervous?

#4 On Monday, Standard & Poor’s cut Italy’s credit rating from A+ to A.

#5 The European Central Bank is purchasing even more Italian and Spanish bonds in an attempt to cool down the burgeoning financial crisis in Europe.

#6 The Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan and the Swiss National Bank have announced that they are going to make available an “unlimited” amount of money to European commercial banks in October, November and December.

#7 So far this year, the largest bank in Italy has lost over half of its value and the second largest bank in Italy is down 44 percent.

#8 Angela Merkel’s coalition is getting embarrassed in local elections in Germany.  A recent poll found that an astounding 82 percent of all Germans believe that her government is doing a bad job of handling the crisis in Greece.  Right now, public opinion in Germany is very negative toward the bailouts, and that is really bad news for Greece.

#9 Greece is experiencing a full-blown economic collapse at this point.  Just consider the following statistics from a recent editorial in the Guardian….

Consider first the scale of the crisis. After contracting in 2009 and 2010, GDP fell by a further 7.3% in the second quarter of 2011. Unemployment is approaching 900,000 and is projected to exceed 1.2 million, in a population of 11 million. These are figures reminiscent of the Great Depression of the 1930s.

#10 In 2009, Greece had a debt to GDP ratio of about 115%.  Today, Greece has a debt to GDP ratio of about 160%.  All of the austerity that has been imposed upon them has done nothing to solve their long-term problems.

#11 The yield on 1 year Greek bonds is now over 129 percent.  A year ago the yield on those bonds was under 10 percent.

#12 Greek Deputy Finance Minister Filippos Sachinidis says that Greece only has enough cash to continue operating until next month.

#13 Italy now has a debt to GDP ratio of about 120% and their economy is far, far larger than the economy of Greece.

#14 The yield on 2 year Portuguese bonds is now over 17 percent.  A year ago the yield on those bonds was about 4 percent.

#15 China seems to be concerned about the stability of European banks.  The following is from a recent Reuters report….

A big market-making state bank in China’s onshore foreign exchange market has stopped foreign exchange forwards and swaps trading with several European banks due to the unfolding debt crisis in Europe, two sources told Reuters on Tuesday.

#16 European central banks are now buying more gold than they are selling.  This is the first time that has happened in more than 20 years.

#17 The chief economist at the IMF says that the global economy has entered a “dangerous new phase“.

#18 Israel has dumped 46 percent of its U.S. Treasuries and Russia has dumped 95 percent of its U.S. Treasuries.  Do they know something that we don’t?

#19 World financial markets are expecting that the Federal Reserve will announce a new bond-buying plan this week that will be designed to push long-term interest rates lower.

#20 If some wealthy investors believe that the Obama tax plan has a chance of getting through Congress, they may start dumping stocks before the end of this year in order to avoid getting taxed at a much higher rate in 2012.

#21 According to a study that was recently released by Merrill Lynch, the U.S. economy has an 80% chance of going into another recession.

When financial markets get really jumpy like this, all it takes is one really big spark to set the dominoes in motion.

Hopefully nothing really big will happen in October.

Hopefully global financial markets will not experience a nervous breakdown.

But right now things look a little bit more like 2008 every single day.

None of the problems that caused the financial crisis of 2008 have been fixed, and the world financial system is more vulnerable today than it ever has been since the end of World War II.

As I wrote about yesterday, the U.S. economy has never really recovered from the last financial crisis.

If we see another major financial crash in the coming months, the consequences would be absolutely devastating.

We have been softened up and we are ready for the knockout blow.

Let’s just hope that the financial world can keep it together.

We don’t need more economic pain right about now.

30 Signs That The U.S. Economy Is About To Go Into The Toilet

If you think the U.S. economy is bad now, just wait for a few months.  Things are about to become absolutely nightmarish.  None of the long-term economic trends that are hollowing out our economy have been addressed and more bad economic news seems to come out virtually every single day.  Now there is constant talk of the “next recession” in the mainstream media.  But did the last recession ever truly end?  The number of good jobs continues to decline, more stores are closing, incomes continue to go down, credit card debt and student loan debt are soaring, the housing market resembles a corpse, the number of Americans living in poverty continues to rise and government debt is at unprecedented levels.  We are losing blood fast, and almost all of our leaders are either too corrupt or too incompetent to be able to do anything about it.  The U.S. economy really and truly is about to go into the toilet, and if something is not done very quickly we are going to experience a complete and total economic disaster in this nation.

Americans have been promised over and over that this economic downturn is just “temporary” and that things will return to normal soon.  During this upcoming election cycle, the Democrats will swear that they have all the answers and that if we just elect them everything will be okay.  The Republicans will also swear that they have all the answers and that if we just elect them everything will be okay.

Well, both sides are lying.  The economic plans of both major political parties are a joke.  Neither of them can restore economic prosperity to this nation.

Our politicians could delay the coming economic collapse by borrowing gigantic piles of money and pumping all of that cash into the economy.  But stealing from our children and our grandchildren is not exactly sound economic policy.

Yes, the U.S. economy is in bad shape right now, but things are about to get even worse.  The long-term problems that are destroying our economy have not been fixed, and the leaks in our ship are going to continue to grow.

The following are 30 signs that the U.S. economy is about to go into the toilet….

#1 An increasing number of unemployed Americans have become so desperate that they have started to look for work overseas.  For example, the number of Americans that are submitting applications for temporary work visas in Canada has approximately doubled since 2008.  Other Americans are willing to learn foreign languages and travel to the other side of the world if that is what it takes to land a decent job.  Just consider the following quote from a recent USA Today report….

Job placement firms are reporting a surge in American worker interest in booming economies such as Hong Kong, Singapore, China and, increasingly, India. Hunt Partners, an executive search firm, estimates that it’s getting 50% to 100% more unsolicited résumés from Americans looking for Asia-based positions today than before the recession.

#2 When Barack Obama first took office, the official U.S. unemployment rate was 7.6 percent.  Today it is 9.1 percent.

#3 The number of Americans that are concerned that they will lose their jobs continues to hover near record highs.  According to Gallup, 30 percent of all employed Americans are worried that they will soon be laid off.

#4 After three straight years of very high unemployment, you can feel frustration and desperation in the air almost everywhere that you go.  Many unemployed Americans are now at the end of their ropes.  The following is from a testimonial that was recently posted on The Atlantic….

The most difficult part of the job search is:

1. that I don’t live near a factory or outsource outlet in China, India, or Malaysia.

2. trying not to appear desperate for a job when I am, in fact, quite desperate for a job.

3. that I am subject to everyone’s advice on how to get a job, but no real job leads.

4. that I am reminded that having a good job is not an entitlement.

5. that when I become depressed from my job search, I’m told told to cheer up or else give a bad vibe to prospective employers … yet when I become happy through non-search related activities, I am reminded that I should be looking for work

7. that when I confide to friends and family that I have “given up” to pursue more fruitful interests,  it elicits a crushing look of disbelief, disappointment, and disgust

8. waiting for permission to give up.

#5 The percentage of American men that are employed continues to plummet.  In July, only 63.5 percent of all men in the United States had a job.  Since 1948, that number has only been lower one time (63.3 percent in December 2009).

#6 Back in the 1950s, manufacturing accounted for about 28 percent of U.S. GDP.  Last year, it accounted for just 11.7 percent.  Meanwhile, manufacturing now accounts for about 25 percent of GDP in China and they now actually have more factory production each year than we do.  Sadly, Barack Obama is pushing for even more trade agreements that will send millions more of our jobs overseas.

#7 The percentage of Americans that are working low paying jobs continues to relentlessly march upwards.  Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs.  Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.

#8 According to John Williams of shadowstats.com, after you add in all short-term discouraged workers, all long-term discouraged workers and all Americans that are working part-time because they cannot find full-time employment, the real unemployment rate should be approximately 23 percent.

#9 We are starting to see another huge wave of store closings and layoffs.  For example, the parent company of Payless stores has announced that it will be permanently closing 475 stores.  Borders is in the process of closing every single one of its 399 stores.  Also, Bank of America has just announced that it will be closing about 600 branches, and that could result in the loss of about 30,000 good jobs.

#10 Median household income has fallen for three years in a row.

#11 Americans are really starting to rack up consumer debt once again.  According to Time Magazine, U.S. consumers are on pace to collectively add 54 billion dollars in credit card debt in 2011.

#12 Student loan defaults are rising very sharply. Just consider the following excerpt from a recent New York Times article….

The share of federal student loan defaults rose sharply last year, especially at for-profit colleges and universities, where 15 percent of borrowers defaulted in the first two years of repayment, up from 11.6 percent the previous year.

#13 According to a chart in The Economist, whenever the number of newspaper articles in the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal that mention the word “recession” goes over 1,500 in a particular quarter, the U.S. economy almost always goes into a recession.

#14 The U.S. housing crash just continues to get worse.  The index of home builder sentiment put out by the National Association of Home Builders fell once again during the month of September.  With such a glut of unsold foreclosed homes on the market, it is making things really hard of home builders.  Things have gotten so bad that even the U.S. government now owns nearly a quarter of a million foreclosed homes.  The impact of this housing nightmare on families has been absolutely devastating.  Just check out what a recent Time Magazine article had to say about what has been going on in California….

The impact on children has been brutal: since 2007, 7% of the state’s children have had a foreclosure process started on their homes, the fourth-highest level in the nation, according to a study released this month by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

#15 Many believe that due to much tighter lending standards, it is now harder to be approved for a mortgage than at any other time since World War II.  This is absolutely crushing the housing market.

#16 Most Americans don’t seem to expect housing prices to recover for an extended period of time.  One recent survey found that 54 percent of Americans believe that there will not be a housing recovery until “2014 or later“.

#17 The combined debt of the largest GSEs (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Sallie Mae) has increased from 3.2 trillion in 2008 to a whopping 6.4 trillion in 2011.  If that debt goes bad, U.S. taxpayers will be left holding the bill.

#18 There are now nearly 50 million Americans that do not have health insurance, and the percentage of Americans covered by employer-based health plans has fallen for 11 years in a row.  Meanwhile, Americans now spend about 3 times as much on health care as they did back in 1990.

#19 The Postal Service has publicly announced that it is “on the verge” of financial collapse.

#20 The number of small businesses continues to fall.  I recently noted this fact on The American Dream Blog….

The number of “self-employed” Americans continues to rapidly shrink.  According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 16.6 million Americans were self-employed back in December 2006.  Today, that number has shrunk to 14.5 million.  Even though we have 14 million unemployed people in this country and jobs are incredibly difficult to come by, the number of people trying to work for themselves continues to decrease because the environment for small businesses in this country has become so incredibly toxic.

#21 American consumers have become tremendously pessimistic.  According to one recent survey, 61 percent of all Americans believe that they will not return to their “pre-recession” lifestyles until at least 2014.  According to a different recent survey, 39 percent of Americans actually believe that the U.S. economy has now entered a “permanent decline”.

#22 Many U.S. investors certainly seem to believe that trouble is coming.  According to CNN, last month the number of bets against the S&P 500 was the highest that we have seen in about a year.

#23 The number of U.S. households that are “doubling up” continues to grow.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of combined households has increased by 10.7 percent since 2007.

#24 When Barack Obama moved into the White House, the average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States was $1.83.  Today it is $3.58.

#25 The number of Americans living in poverty grew by 2.6 million last year.  That was the largest increase since the U.S. government began calculating poverty figures back in 1959.

#26 Back in the year 2000, 11.3% of all Americans were living in poverty.  Today, 15.1% of all Americans are living in poverty.

#27 On Barack Obama’s first day on the job, there were about 32 million Americans on food stamps.  Today, there are more than 45 million Americans on food stamps.

#28 If there is a financial collapse in Europe, that will definitely plunge us into another recession.  Right now, things do not look promising.  At this point, headlines all over the world are proclaiming that Greece is dangerously close to defaulting.

#29 At some point soon, investors all over the globe may decide that it is time to start dumping U.S. government debt.  For example, Chinese officials are now openly talking about the need to “liquidate” their holdings of U.S. Treasuries.

#30 The U.S. national debt continues to explode in size and spiral out of control.  According to Professor Laurence J. Kotlikoff, the U.S. “fiscal gap” increased by about 6 trillion dollars last year.  In fact, Kotlikoff makes a compelling argument that Greece is actually in better shape financially than the United States is.

Do you now understand how much trouble we are in?

The long-term trends that are destroying us continue to get worse.

The United States is steamrolling directly toward an economic collapse.

When this economy hits bottom and splatters all over the place, it is not going to be easy to fix.

The America that we know today is going to be wiped out by a gigantic mountain of debt and by the consequences of decades of really bad decisions.

We were handed the keys to the greatest economic machine in the history of the world and we have wrecked it.

So prepare for really, really hard times ahead.

The era of endless prosperity is ending.

Next comes the pain.

Global Debt Meltdown

Wake Up America! 10 Very Obvious Reasons Why The Devastating U.S. Jobs Famine Is Going To Suck The Hope Right Out Of America

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/

Do you have friends, neighbors and relatives that can’t find work?  Well, unfortunately the current U.S. jobs famine is about to get a whole lot worse.  Right now there are approximately 13.9 million unemployed Americans.  That does not count those that “are not looking for work”.  That does not count those that are working part-time jobs but that are desperate for full-time work.  The truth is that we need tens of millions more full-time jobs in order to give one to everyone that wants one.  Sadly, the long-term trends that have caused this mess continue to get worse.  Unless truly dramatic changes are made, the U.S. economy is going to continue to bleed jobs and that is going to suck the hope right out of this country.  It is time to wake up America!  It is not a big mystery why we don’t have enough jobs.  But sadly, very few of our leaders are talking about the real issues.

Something has got to be done.  Unemployment is already at epidemic levels, and this country can’t afford for things to get much worse.  Just check out how a recent article in The Wall Street Journal summarized our current predicament….

There are more unemployed than the combined populations of Wyoming, Vermont, North Dakota, Alaska, South Dakota, Delaware, Montana, Rhode Island, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, Idaho and the District of Columbia.

If they were a country, the 13.9 million unemployed Americans would be the 68th largest country in the world, bigger than the population of Greece or Portugal (each of which has 10.8 million people) and more than twice the population of Norway (4.7 million.)

Isn’t that incredible?

The number of unemployed Americans is larger than the entire population of Greece.

There are millions of Americans that will be sitting at home in front of their televisions tonight wondering why they can’t find jobs.  Last month, only 58.1% of Americans over the age of 16 were employed.  Our economy should be able to do far better than that.

All over the Internet there are stories of people that have sent out hundreds (or even thousands) of resumes and nobody even wants to interview them.  One recent survey found that approximately 80 percent of all Americans believe that it is “difficult” to find a job right now.

Unfortunately, things are going to get much, much worse before all this is over.

The following are 10 very obvious reasons why the devastating U.S. jobs famine is going to suck the hope right out of America….

#1 Our politicians simply do not care that America is bleeding jobs.  Amazingly, even with rampant unemployment plaguing this nation, Obama administration officials continue to declare that it is okay that we are losing manufacturing jobs because a lot of cheaper products are things that “we don’t want to make in America” anyway.  The following is what U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk told Tim Robertson of the Huffington Post the other day….

Let’s increase our competitiveness… the reality is about half of our imports, our trade deficit is because of how much oil [we import], so you take that out of the equation, you look at what percentage of it are things that frankly, we don’t want to make in America, you know, cheaper products, low-skill jobs that frankly college kids that are graduating from, you know, UC Cal and Hastings [don’t want], but what we do want is to capture those next generation jobs and build on our investments in our young people, our education infrastructure.

The economic negligence that recent administrations have demonstrated has been absolutely mind boggling.  Blue collar male workers in particular are being absolutely devastated by the loss of manufacturing jobs.  Back in 1967, 97 percent of men with a high school degree between the ages of 30 and 50 had jobs.  Today, that figure is down to 76 percent.

#2 The Obama administration has now instituted a policy of “backdoor amnesty” for illegal immigrants by executive fiat.  Janet Napolitano has announced that from now on there will be a case-by-case review of all deportation cases.  Cases involving criminals will be prioritized and most others will be thrown out.  A list of 19 factors that will allow government officials to use “prosecutorial discretion” in immigration cases has been distributed.  Recently, I listed a few of those “factors” on The American Dream website….

-arrival in the U.S. as a young child

-actively “pursuing an education”

-serving or served in the U.S. military

-spouse of someone in the U.S. military

-18 years old or younger

-“elderly”

-pregnant or nursing

-victim of a “serious crime”

-serious disability or health problem

-caring for a family member with a serious disability or health problem

Obviously, it is not going to be too difficult for most illegal immigrants to fit into at least one of those categories.

On top of everything else the Obama administration has announced that it will now allow illegal immigrants to apply for work permits….

Illegal aliens living in the United States typically don’t apply for work permits for fear of deportation, but under the new policy, they could apply for work permits if granted deferred action or parole and compete with 22 million Americans who can’t find a full-time job.

So now blue collar Americans workers will have even more competition for the dwindling number of jobs.

#3 State and local governments all over the country are dead broke, and an atmosphere of austerity is sweeping the nation.  Right now state and local governments are slashing jobs at an unprecedented rate.

In the past, government jobs were considered to be very secure and they definitely paid a lot higher than average.  But now that era is coming to an end, at least on the state and local government levels.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, state and local governments have eliminated more than half a million jobs since August 2008.  UBS Investment Research is projecting that state and local governments in the U.S. will cut 450,000 more jobs by the end of 2012.

#4 U.S. businesses are being absolutely crushed by mountains of nightmarish regulations, and yet the federal government, the state governments and local governments just continue to pile them on.  For example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is projecting that the food service industry will have to spend an additional 14 million hours every single year just to comply with new federal regulations that mandate that all vending machine operators and chain restaurants must label all products that they sell with a calorie count in a location visible to the consumer.  Due to these kinds of ridiculous regulations, many business owners have simply given up and many other potential business owners figure that owning a business is just not worth the hassle.

#5 As I have written about so many times before, the “global economy” is really bad for American workers.  When we merged our economy with the economies of nations where it is legal to pay slave labor wages, we made it inevitable that we would start losing massive amounts of jobs.

Why would a giant corporation pay a U.S. worker 10 to 20 times as much as a worker on the other side of the globe?  Investors actually expect big companies to have an “outsourcing” strategy today.  When more jobs get shipped out of the country, profits go up, stock prices go up and executive bonuses go up.

Big corporations don’t exist to provide you with jobs.  They exist to maximize shareholder wealth.  If taking your job away and giving it to someone in Asia will make more money for them, then that it exactly what they are going to do.

#6 Unfair trade is absolutely killing our economy.  It would be one thing if the U.S. was running a massive trade deficit solely because we were incompetent.  But the truth is that a big factor is that a number of our “trade partners” are economic predators that are purposely trying to prey on us.

The other day, I wrote about some of the things that China does to steal our jobs, our factories and our wealth….

China massively subsidizes their biggest corporations, they brazenly steal technology from anyone that they can, they openly manipulate exchange rates and they allow their workers to be paid slave labor wages.

Today, we spend about 4 dollars on imports from China for every 1 dollar that China spends on imports from us.  China now even makes more beer than we do.  Even the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on the National Mall was made in China.

Until our politicians start insisting on a level playing field, all of this is going to continue.

#7 Small businesses are traditionally one of the primary engines of job growth in this country.  But right now, small businesses all over America are having a really hard time getting anyone to loan them money.  A big reason for this is that the Federal Reserve is actually paying banks not to make loans.  Unfortunately, if small businesses can’t get the money that they need, then they can’t hire people.

#8 A lot of people may not want to hear this, but businesses in the United States are being absolutely taxed into oblivion.  The U.S. now has the highest corporate tax rate in the world, but that is only a very small part of the story.

Michael Fleischer, the President of Bogen Communications, wrote an op-ed last year for the Wall Street Journal entitled “Why I’m Not Hiring”.  The following is how Paul Hollrah of Family Security Matters summarized the nightmarish taxes that are imposed when Fleischer hires a new worker….

According to Fleischer, Sally grosses $59,000 a year, which shrinks to less than $44,000 after taxes and other payroll deductions. The $15,311 deducted from Sally’s gross pay is comprised of New Jersey state income tax: $1,893; Social Security taxes: $3,661; state unemployment insurance: $126; disability insurance: $149; Medicare insurance: $856; federal withholding tax: $6,250; and her share of medical and dental insurance: $2,376. Roughly 25.9 percent of Sally’s income is siphoned off by Washington and Trenton before she receives her paychecks.

But then there are the additional costs of employing Sally. In addition to her gross salary, her employer must pay the lion’s share of her healthcare insurance premiums: $9,561; life and other insurance premiums: $153; federal unemployment insurance: $56; disability insurance: $149; worker’s comp insurance: $300; New Jersey state unemployment insurance: $505; Medicare insurance: $856; and the employer’s share of Social Security taxes: $3,661.

Over and above her gross salary, Bogen Communications must pay an additional $15,241 in benefits and state and federal taxes, bringing the total cost of employing Sally to approximately $74,241 per year. Sally gets to keep $43,689, or just 58.8% of that total.

After reading all that, can you really blame business owners for not wanting to hire additional workers?

#9 The national debt is like a giant albatross around the neck of the economy. The U.S. national debt has increased by more than 4 trillion dollars since Barack Obama took office.  The rampant government spending that has been going on has not done much to create new jobs, but it will be a massive burden that will weigh down economic growth for many years to come.

When a nation is drowning in debt, a tremendous amount of economic resources must go to servicing that debt.  Right now, hundreds of billions of dollars a year that could be used to build up our economy are instead being used to pay interest on the national debt.  If interest rates go up significantly, we could soon be paying over a trillion dollars a year just in interest on the national debt.

#10 Right now America is very deeply divided and a tremendous sense of pessimism has set in.  One recent survey found that 48 percent of Americans believe that it is likely that another great Depression will begin within the next 12 months.  With such a negative feeling in the air, it is going to make it even less likely that business owners will be in the mood to hire people.

I know that I pick on Detroit a lot, but it really is a microcosm of what is happening to America.  The following video contains some absolutely amazing footage of the ruins of Detroit….

Sadly, what is happening to Detroit is happening in hundreds of other communities across the United States.

All over America, neighborhoods that were once teeming with hope and prosperity are now falling apart.  Hopelessness is rampant and it is spreading.  The number of Americans on food stamps has increased 74% since 2007.  If not for our increasingly overwhelmed “safety net”, we would already have mass rioting in the streets.

Sadly, we are already seeing all sorts of signs that society is collapsing.  As the economy continues to fall apart, the violence in our neighborhoods is going to get even worse.

The following is one very shocking recent example from the Chicago Tribune….

Moments before she was slain last week on Chicago’s Southwest Side, 17-year-old Charinez Jefferson begged the gunman not to shoot because she was pregnant, prosecutors said today.

Despite her plea, Timothy Jones, 18, opened fire on Jefferson anyway, yelling an expletive at her as he shot her in the head, prosecutors said. He then stood over her as she lay on the ground and fired several more times, striking her in the chest and back.

America is changing.  The country that so many of us have loved all of our lives is becoming unrecognizable.  Large numbers of communities have had all of the hope sucked right out of them.  Tens of millions of Americans that want to do things the “right way” are rapidly losing faith in the system.

When you can’t get a decent job after months and months of trying it can be absolutely soul-crushing.

What do you tell someone that has spent a year sending out resumes and has used up all of their savings?

The era of endless prosperity for America is at an end.  The cold, hard consequences of decades of bad decisions are starting to set in.

Unless a dramatic change of course happens, the long-term trends noted above are going to get progressively worse.  It won’t matter who is running Congress and it won’t matter who is in the White House.

Right now our economy is rapidly hurtling downhill on a bus without brakes and we are headed directly for a cliff.

Please wake up America.

3, 2, 1: Global Debt Meltdown

We are steamrolling toward a massive global debt meltdown, and at this point world leaders seem to be all out of solutions.  Over the last 30 years or so, the greatest debt bubble in the history of the planet has produced unprecedented prosperity in the western world.  But now that debt bubble is starting to burst and the bills are coming due.  Many believe that “ground zero” for the coming global debt meltdown will be in Europe.  Unlike the U.S. and Japan, the nations of the EU can’t just print more money to cover their debts.  Nations such as Greece, Portugal and Italy must repay their debts in euros, and those nations are rapidly getting to the point where their debts are going to overwhelm them.  Unfortunately, major banks all over Europe are very highly leveraged and are also very heavily invested in the sovereign debt of nations such as Greece, Portugal and Italy.  If even one EU nation defaults it will start tipping over financial dominoes.  If more than one EU nation defaults it could cause a cataclysmic wave of bank failures all over Europe.

But Germany and the other more financially stable countries of the EU cannot bail out nations like Greece, Portugal and Italy indefinitely.  Pouring money into Greece is like pouring money into a black hole.  When you take money from financially stable countries and pour it into hopeless messes, you may stabilize things for a little while, but you also cause the financial condition of the financially stable nations to start deteriorating.

Right now, the yield on 2 year Greek bonds is up to 44%.  Basically, the market is screaming that these are horrible investments and that they will almost certainly default.

Greece cannot fire up the printing presses and print more money, so they are now totally dependent on others to bail them out.

Just how desperate have things become in Greece?  Just consider the following excerpt from a recent article by Puru Saxena….

In Greece, government debt now represents almost 160% of GDP and the average yield on Greek debt is around 15%. Thus, if Greece’s debt is rolled over without restructuring, its interest costs alone will amount to approximately 24% of GDP. In other words, if debt pardoning does not occur, nearly a quarter of Greece’s economic output will be gobbled up by interest repayments!

Can you imagine?

No nation on earth can afford to pay out nearly a quarter of GDP just on interest on government debt.

So just how did Greece get into this position?  Well, it turns out that big U.S. banks such as Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase played a big role.  The following is an excerpt from a recent article by Andrew Gavin Marshall….

In the same way that homeowners take out a second mortgage to pay off their credit card debt, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase and other U.S. banks helped push government debt far into the future through the derivatives market. This was done in Greece, Italy, and likely several other euro-zone countries as well. In several dozen deals in Europe, “banks provided cash upfront in return for government payments in the future, with those liabilities then left off the books.” Because the deals are not listed as loans, they are not listed as debt (liabilities), and so the true debt of Greece and other euro-zone countries was and likely to a large degree remains hidden. Greece effectively mortgaged its airports and highways to the major banks in order to get cash up-front and keep the loans off the books, classifying them as transactions.

All over the world, politicians love to “kick the can down the road”, and big Wall Street banks love to find creative ways to help them do that.

But now Greece is about to collapse, and the people that helped them get into this mess will probably never be held accountable.

If Greece does default, it is going to have dramatic consequences all over Europe.  For a chilling look at what could potentially happen when Greece defaults, just check out this article by John Mauldin.

Sadly, Greece is far from the only problem in Europe.  Portugal, Ireland and Italy also have debt to GDP ratios that are above 100%.

The biggest potential problem, at least in the near-term, is Italy.

Italy is the fourth largest economy in the EU, and lately the financial problems of the Italian government and Italian banks have been making headlines all over the globe.

Italy is a far, far larger potential problem than Greece is.

The EU can handle bailing out Greece, at least for now.

If Italy gets to the point where it needs large bailouts, that is going to bring down the whole system.  The EU simply does not have enough money to perform an extensive financial rescue of Italy.

As you can see from this chart, the exposure that European banks have to Italian debt is absolutely massive.  If Italian debt goes bad, it is going to take down a whole bunch of banks.

Not only that, but many believe that the European Central Bank itself is now in some very dangerous territory.

It is estimated that the European Central Bank is now holding somewhere in the neighborhood of 444 billion euros worth of debt from the governments of Greece, Italy, Portugal, Ireland and Spain.

The financial consequences of a default by one or more of those nations could potentially be catastrophic.

According to London-based think tank Open Europe, the European Central Bank is massively overleveraged….

“Should the ECB see its assets fall by just 4.23pc in value . . . its entire capital base would be wiped out.”

That doesn’t sound good.

Surely the European Central Bank would be recapitalized somehow, but this is just another example that shows just how dangerous huge amounts of leverage can be.

As I wrote about in a recent article about the sovereign debt crisis, if the dominoes begin to tumble in Europe it is going to take everybody down.

The big banks in Europe are leveraged to the hilt, and they are massively exposed to government debt.

If you don’t think that this is a problem, just remember what happened back in 2008.

Back then, Lehman Brothers was leveraged 31 to 1.  When things turned bad, Lehman was wiped out very rapidly.

Today, major German banks are leveraged 32 to 1, and those banks are currently holding a massive amount of European sovereign debt.

Yes, things could become really nightmarish if the dominoes start to fall.

Already we are seeing huge signs of trouble at major banks all over Europe.

Major European banks UBS, Barclays, Credit Suisse, RBS, and HSBC have all announced layoffs recently.  In fact, when you add them all up, the total number of layoffs announced by these banks just this month is over 40,000.  Overall, the grand total of layoffs by European banks so far this year is now up to 67,000.

The mood in the financial sector over in Europe is very dark right now.  Just consider the following excerpt from a recent Bloomberg article….

“It’s a bloodbath, and I expect things to get worse before they get better,” said Jonathan Evans, chairman of executive- search firm Sammons Associates in London. “I cannot see a lot of those who have lost their jobs getting re-employed. Regardless of how good someone is, no one wants to talk about hiring. Life will be very difficult for two or three years.”

Just like back in 2008 with U.S. banks, we are seeing European banks getting absolutely pummeled right now.  A recent article in The Sydney Morning Herald documented some of the carnage….

The 46-member Bloomberg Europe Banks and Financial Services Index has fallen 31 per cent this year. RBS tumbled 49 per cent, Barclays 44 per cent and France’s Societe Generale 48 per cent.

Credit Suisse and UBS both reported a 71 per cent drop in investment-banking earnings in the second quarter. Revenue at Edinburgh-based RBS’s securities unit dropped 35 per cent in the period, while London-based Barclays Capital posted a 27 per cent decline in pretax profit.

Things in Europe continue to get worse and worse and worse.

Do not take your eyes off of Europe.  This crisis is just getting started.

Not that there aren’t huge debt problems around the rest of the globe as well.

Japan has a national debt that is now over 200 percent of GDP, and they are really struggling to recover from the recent disasters that devastated that nation.

Moody’s has just downgraded Japanese government debt one notch to Aa3, and more downgrades could be coming.  For now Japan is still able to borrow huge piles of money very, very cheaply but if that changes Japan could be wiped out very quickly.

Of course the nation with the biggest debt of all is the United States.

At the moment, the U.S. national debt is sitting at a grand total of $14,649,289,670,347.85.

Fortunately, the U.S. is also able to borrow massive amounts of money very, very cheaply right now.  But when that changes it is going to be absolutely cataclysmic for our economy.

Sadly, our politicians continue to act as if this debt binge can go on forever.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the budget deficit for the federal government will be about 1.28 trillion dollars this year.  This will be the third year in a row that we have had a budget deficit of over a trillion dollars.

To put that in perspective, from George Washington to Ronald Reagan the U.S. government racked up a grand total of about one trillion dollars of debt.  But this year alone we will go 1.28 trillion dollars more into debt.

At the moment, the U.S. national debt is expanding by about 2 and a half million dollars every single minute.  It is hard to put into words how absolutely foolish that is.

As I wrote about yesterday, someone needs to wake up America.  Our debt is exploding and our economy is dying.

We haven’t even solved the problems caused by the last financial crisis.  The real estate market is still a gigantic mess.  Purchases of both new and previously existing homes in the United States continue to fall.

But there will never be a housing recovery until there is a jobs recovery, and our politicians continue to stand by and watch as millions of our jobs are shipped overseas.

Unemployment is rampant, and even many of those that do have jobs are barely able to survive.

Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs.  Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.

That is not a good trend.

Sadly, it looks like things are not going to get much better any time soon.

Right now, the Congressional Budget Office is projecting that unemployment in the U.S. will remain above 8% until 2014.

That should really scare you, because government numbers are almost always way too optimistic.  The folks in the federal government hardly ever project that unemployment will actually go up.

So if they are saying that unemployment will remain above 8 percent until 2014, the truth is that things will probably be worse than that.

We have entered very frightening times.  We are on the verge of a massive global debt meltdown, and nobody is sure what is going to happen next.

Let us hope for the best, but let us also prepare for the worst.

 

Economic Apocalypse

Bad News

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com

The bad news about the economy just keeps rolling in.  If this is an economic recovery, what in the world is the next “recession” going to look like?  Today there was another huge truckload of bad economic news.  The stock market had another 400 point “correction”, applications for unemployment benefits are up again, inflation is higher than expected, home sales have dropped again and Europe is coming apart at the seams.  The financial markets have been in such a state of chaos recently that days like today don’t even seem “unusual” anymore.  But we should all be alarmed at what is happening.  We haven’t seen anything quite like this since the darkest days of 2008 and 2009.  If more bad news keeps pouring in, we may soon have a very real panic on our hands.

I would have thought that my article yesterday, “20 Signs That The World Could Be Headed For An Economic Apocalypse In 2012“, would have contained enough bad economic news to last for a while.  But today there was another huge bumper crop of depressing numbers.

Are you ready for the carnage?

*The Dow fell 419 points today.  That was a 3.7% drop.  The S&P 500 shot down 4.5% and the Nasdaq plummeted by a whopping 5.2%.

*European bank stocks got absolutely hammered.

*The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits jumped back above 400,000 last week.

*The recent inflation numbers have really taken analysts by surprise.  The consumer price index rose at a 6.0% annual rate during the month of July. As I mentioned yesterday, the producer price index in the U.S. has increased at an annual rate of at least 7.0% for the last three months in a row.

So now we have high unemployment and high inflation.  Oh goody!  All of this stagflation is almost enough to make one nostalgic for the 1970s.

*The housing market is getting even worse.  According to the National Association of Realtors, sales of previously owned homes dropped 3.5 percent during July.  That was the third decline in the last four months.  Sales of previously owned homes are even lagging behind last year’s pathetic pace. Mortgage rates are now the lowest they have been since the 1950s, but there are very few interested buyers in the marketplace.

*The Philadelphia Fed’s latest survey of regional manufacturing activity was absolutely nightmarish….

The survey’s broadest measure of manufacturing conditions, the diffusion index of current activity, decreased from a slightly positive reading of 3.2 in July to -30.7 in August. The index is now at its lowest level since March 2009

*Morgan Stanley now says that the U.S. and Europe are “hovering dangerously close to a recession” and that there is a good chance we could enter one at some point in the next 6 to 12 months.

All of this bad news is sending the price of gold through the roof.  The price of gold soared to a brand new all-time high of $1,829.70 an ounce on Thursday morning.  So far, the price of gold is up almost 30 percent in 2011.

Meanwhile, millions of average American families are deeply suffering and are desperately hoping that things won’t get even worse.  Everywhere you turn, there is a tremendous amount of stress in the air.

According to the New York Times, 25 million Americans “could not find full-time jobs last month”.

As the economy crumbles, good paying full-time jobs are becoming increasingly scarce.  People are hurting and they are looking for leadership.

Well, Barack Obama is running around the country promising that he will unveil some “solutions” very shortly.

So what are those solutions going to include?  Well, the plans are still in the development stage, but the Obama administration is reportedly considering the following….

-The creation of a new government agency that will be dedicated to job creation.  This will entail more government spending and more government paper pushers, but it will probably not do much to create good paying full-time jobs.

-Pushing even more free trade agreements through Congress.  That way even more of our good jobs can be shipped to countries on the other side of the globe where paying slave wages to workers is still legal.

-A “reverse boot camp” that will train military veterans for civilian jobs.  That sounds like a good idea, but we already have millions and millions of highly trained Americans that can’t get jobs.

-An extension of the payroll tax cut for at least another year.  That will put more money into the pockets of U.S. workers, but it will also mean less revenue for the federal government.  The existing payroll tax cut has not exactly resulted in a “jobs boom”, but removing that tax cut is certainly not going to help the economy either.

-An extension of long-term unemployment benefits.  Yes, that will help the unemployed survive and will give them some money to spend into the economy, but it will not create many jobs for them.  Plus it will put the government into even more debt.

-The creation of an infrastructure bank.  Like most of the proposals above, this will entail even more government spending.  I know that a “shovel-ready” joke is called for about now, but I can’t think of one at the moment.

The ironic thing is that Barack Obama is riding around on his multistate “jobs tour” in a $1.2 million bus that was made in Canada.

You just can’t make this stuff up.

Things have gotten so bad out there that even Wal-Mart is suffering now.  Sales at Wal-Mart stores that have been open for at least a year have fallen for nine quarters in a row.

Not that anyone should have much sympathy for Wal-Mart, but it is a sign of just how bad things are getting out there.

So is there much hope for the future?  Well, considering the fact that only 32 percent of 15-year-olds in the United States are proficient in math, things don’t look good.

Our education system is a joke, tens of thousands of factories have already closed, more are closing every day, millions of jobs have been shipped overseas and most of our politicians are either incompetent or corrupt (or both).

So you would think that with all of our problems, authorities would be focused on the big issues.

But no, time after time they just keep picking on average Americans.

For example, a woman that lives in the Salem, Oregon area that is fighting terminal bone cancer tried to raise some money for her medical bills by holding a few garage sales on the weekends.

Well, the authorities in Salem got wind of this and now they are shutting her down.

This is absolutely unbelievable.  A video news report about this incident is posted below….

Massive fraud and corruption at the big banks caused a worldwide financial crisis in 2008 and yet not a single Wall Street executive has gone to prison because of it.

Yet a cancer-stricken lady tries to hold a few yard sales to pay her bills and authorities come down on her like a ton of bricks.

Does that seem fair to you?

Our world is getting crazier every day.  The bad news is going to keep pouring in.  Global financial markets are being held together with chicken wire and duct tape.  At some point the pyramid of corruption and con games is going to come crashing down.

If you still have faith in the system, you are not very wise.  We are heading for an economic collapse that will be absolutely unprecedented, and you need to be getting prepared.

16 Statistics Which Prove That The American People Are Absolutely Seething With Anger

According to a whole host of polls and surveys, the American people are incredibly angry right now.  The American people are hopping mad at the government, the American people are hopping mad about the economy and the American people are hopping mad about the direction that this country is headed.  Never before in modern U.S. history have the American people been this angry.  There is vast disagreement about what the solutions to our problems actually are, but what everyone can agree on is that the American people are absolutely seething with anger right now.  The statistics that you are about to read are mind blowing.  We used to be such a happy country.  Once upon a time we were one of the happiest places on earth.  But as the economy has fallen to pieces anger has been steadily growing.  If something is not done to turn the economy around eventually this anger is going to erupt in frightening and unpredictable ways.

The American people are not equipped to handle hard times.  We are incredibly spoiled.  Most of us have only known good times, and most of us have been taught that we will have endless prosperity all of our lives because we live in the greatest nation on earth.

Well, “the greatest nation on earth” is about to get a massive wake up call.  We are up to our eyeballs in debt and we are bleeding jobs, businesses and wealth at an astounding pace.  Our economy is dying right in front of our eyes, and most Americans have been so “dumbed-down” that they don’t even realize what is happening.

But what most Americans do know is that things are “bad” and they want someone to “fix” things.  They know that something is “not right” and they want things to go back to the way things used to be.  The longer it takes for things to return to “normal”, the angrier they are going to get.

The following are 16 statistics which prove that the American people are absolutely seething with anger right now….

#1 A new Washington Post poll has found that a whopping 78 percent of Americans are dissatisfied “with the way this country’s political system is working”.

#2 That same poll found that only 26 percent of Americans believe that the federal government can solve the economic problems that we are now facing.

#3 Gallup says that Barack Obama’s job approval rating has hit an all-time low of 39%.

#4 According to a recent CBS News/New York Times poll, Congress has a disapproval rating of 82%.

#5 A new Rasmussen survey has found that 85 percent of Americans believe that members of Congress “are more interested in helping their own careers than in helping other people.”

#6 That same survey found that 46 percent of the American people believe that most members of Congress are corrupt.  That figure was a new all-time high.

#7 According to a different Rasmussen survey, only 17 percent of Americans now believe that the U.S. government has the consent of the governed.

#8 A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll discovered that 73 percent of the American people believe that the nation is “on the wrong track”.

#9 A recent poll taken by Rasmussen found that 68 percent of Americans believe that we are actually in a recession right now.

#10 According to Gallup, the percentage of Americans that lack confidence in U.S. banks is now at an all-time high of 36%.

#11 U.S. consumer confidence is now at its lowest level in 30 years.

#12 According to a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, 90 percent of Americans believe that the economy is performing poorly.

#13 That same poll found that approximately 80 percent of Americans believe that it is “difficult” to find a job these days.

#14 According to one recent poll, 39 percent of Americans believe that the U.S. economy has now entered a “permanent decline”.

#15 Another recent survey found that 48 percent of Americans believe that it is likely that another great Depression will begin within the next 12 months.

#16 According to a brand new Rasmussen survey, 48% of Americans believe that reductions in government spending are “at least somewhat likely” to result in civil unrest inside the United States.

So why doesn’t the government step in and spend a whole bunch of money and make everything all better?

Well, the problem is that we have done this time after time before and now we are broke.

We have been living way, way beyond our means for decades and now the bills are coming due.

David Walker, the former Comptroller General of the United States, has been warning about our debt problem for years.  Walker says that the United States is heading for a “sudden and very painful” economic collapse….

“Here’s the bottom line. If you take the total liabilities of the United States – public debt, unfunded pensions, retiree health care, under funding with regard to social security, with regard to medicare, a range of commitments and contingencies – as of September 30 2010 we would have had to have had $61.6 trillion dollars in the bank in order to be able to defease those obligations.”

The cold, hard truth is that the U.S. national debt should have been addressed many years ago when it was still relatively small.

At this point, there is no solution to our national debt problem under our current financial system.

Most state governments are also facing huge financial problems.  The state government of Illinois is so broke at this point that it can’t even afford to bury the poor people that are dying.

But Illinois is not alone.  All over the country, state and local governments have been implementing austerity measures.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, state and local governments have slashed more than half a million jobs since August 2008.

That is a whole lot of good jobs that aren’t there anymore.

But government debt is not the only debt problem that we are facing.  Personal debt is also a raging crisis.

According to USDebtClock.org, the total amount of personal debt in the United States is now over 16 trillion dollars.  The exploding levels of personal debt have created a tremendous amount of stress in households from coast to coast.

When I was growing up, it seemed like almost everyone was in the middle class.  But today the middle class is shrinking at lightning speed.

According to author David DeGraw, 17.3% of all Americans were living in poverty during 2009.  Not only that, DeGraw also says that 9 major U.S. cities have a poverty rate of over 25 percent.

Can you imagine that?

In fact, there are some cities such as Detroit where the poverty rate is over 35 percent.

It is hard to believe what is happening to America.  Today, there are over 45 million Americans on food stamps.  That number has increased by approximately 12 percent in the last year alone.

There are currently 34 million Americans that need a full-time job.  Unemployment is rampant and there is intense competition even for part-time jobs that pay minimum wage.

So where did all of the jobs go?

Well, as I have written about previously, globalism is absolutely devastating our economy.  Millions of our jobs have been shipped to countries where labor is far, far cheaper and they aren’t coming back.

In addition, millions of Americans that do still have jobs are also deeply struggling right now.  There are millions and millions of Americans that are working part-time jobs because that is all that they can find right now.  Millions of other Americans are flat broke and are discovering that their paychecks are “shrinking” due to inflation.  Wages have barely risen while prices for food and other necessities are skyrocketing.

Most families are really struggling to get by right now.

According to the Washington Post, the average yearly income of the bottom 90 percent of U.S. income earners is $31,244.

It is really hard to pay a mortgage and feed a family on that income.

The only people that seem to be doing well are at the very top.

The average yearly income of the top 0.1% of U.S. income earners is 5.6 million dollars.

Not that making money is a bad thing, but when an economic system funnels all of the rewards to the very top you know something is deeply broken.

The poorest 50% of all Americans now own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.

A lot of poor Americans have literally fallen off the map.  The Daily Mail recently did a feature on one tent city that has been constructed deep in a forest in New Jersey….

In scenes reminiscent of the Great Depression these are the ramshackle homes of the desperate and destitute U.S. families who have set up their own ‘Tent City’ only an hour from Manhattan.

More than 50 homeless people have joined the community within New Jersey’s forests as the economic crisis has wrecked their American dream.

You can see shocking pictures of this tent city right here.

So it is no wonder why so many Americans are so angry.

If you lost your job or your home you would probably be angry too.

Most Americans just want to be able to go to work, make a decent living, pay the mortgage and provide for their families.

But in America today that is becoming increasingly difficult to do.

Our economy is a giant mess and the American people are becoming very angry.

If the economy gets even worse, they are going to become even angrier.

Storm clouds are gathering on the horizon.

Things are about to get very, very interesting.

Taxed Into Oblivion

In the United States today, we are being taxed into oblivion, yet it is being done so stealthily that most Americans don’t even realize what is happening.  Most people are fixated on federal income tax rates, but the federal income tax is only one of the dozens of different taxes that each of us pay each year.  The politicians have learned that people get really upset when income tax rates are raised, so they have found hundreds of other ways to raise taxes on us.  What most taxpayers in the United States today are facing is “death by a thousand cuts”.  When you add up all forms of taxation from all levels of government, approximately 40 percent of all the income in the country is taken in as taxes by government.  Large numbers of Americans end up paying well over 50 percent of their income in taxes, and many of them don’t even realize that it is happening.  We truly are being taxed into oblivion, and yet the politicians just keep coming back for more.

On all levels, government just keeps growing, and all of this government has got to be paid for somehow.  Politicians have become masters at finding ways to tax us so that we won’t even feel it.  They have an endless hunger to spend more money, and they depend on us to feed that addiction.  Today, the combination of federal government spending, state government spending and local government spending now accounts for a larger share of U.S. GDP than at any other time in our history.

Yes, federal income tax rates were significantly higher 30 or 40 years ago.  But virtually every other tax you can think of has gone way up since then or did not exist back then.

Federal income taxes definitely still hurt, but the reality is that where we really get hit is in all of the other taxes that we pay.  American families pay Social Security taxes, Medicare taxes, state income taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, death taxes, various excise taxes, gasoline taxes, tire taxes, utility taxes, liquor taxes, telephone taxes and cigarette taxes just to name a few.  The truth is that there are dozens and dozens of different taxes that most Americans pay each year, and there are a whole bunch of others that get passed on to us through businesses that we deal with.

Speaking of cigarette taxes, there is legislation in Congress right now that would send taxes on tobacco products absolutely skyrocketing yet again.

I don’t smoke and I never will smoke, but I find the attack on smokers by our politicians to be seriously offensive.  If smoking is legal, then leave them alone.  Don’t tax them into oblivion just because you don’t like what they are doing.

An excerpt from S. 1403 (The IDEA Full Funding Act) is posted below.  You will notice that a portion of this legislation even refers to itself as the “Saving Lives by Lowering Tobacco Use Act”.  They are openly admitting that they want to make tobacco so expensive that people cannot afford to use it….

SEC. 3. TOBACCO TAX INCREASE AND PARITY.

(a) Short Title- This section may be cited as the ‘Saving Lives by Lowering Tobacco Use Act’.

(b) Increase in Excise Tax on Small Cigars and Cigarettes-

(1) SMALL CIGARS- Section 5701(a)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by striking ‘$50.33’ and inserting ‘$100.50’.

(2) CIGARETTES- Section 5701(b) of such Code is amended–

(A) by striking ‘$50.33’ in paragraph (1) and inserting ‘$100.50’, and

(B) by striking ‘$105.69’ in paragraph (2) and inserting ‘$211.04’.

(c) Tax Parity for Pipe Tobacco and Roll-Your-Own Tobacco-

(1) PIPE TOBACCO- Section 5701(f) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by striking ‘$2.8311 cents’ and inserting ‘$49.55’.

(2) ROLL-YOUR-OWN TOBACCO- Section 5701(g) of such Code is amended by striking ‘$24.78’ and inserting ‘$49.55’.

(d) Clarification of Definition of Small Cigars- Paragraphs (1) and (2) of section 5701(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 are each amended by striking ‘three pounds per thousand’ and inserting ‘four and one-half pounds per thousand’.

(e) Clarification of Definition of Cigarette- Paragraph (2) of section 5702(b) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by inserting before the final period the following: ‘, which includes any roll for smoking containing tobacco that weighs no more than four and a half pounds per thousand, unless it is wrapped in whole tobacco leaf and does not have a cellulose acetate or other cigarette-style filter’.

(f) Tax Parity for Smokeless Tobacco-

(1) IN GENERAL- Section 5701(e) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended–

(A) in paragraph (1), by striking ‘$1.51’ and inserting ‘$26.79’;

(B) in paragraph (2), by striking ‘50.33 cents’ and inserting ‘$10.72’; and

(C) by adding at the end the following:

‘(3) SMOKELESS TOBACCO SOLD IN DISCRETE SINGLE-USE UNITS- On discrete single-use units, $100.50 per each 1,000 single-use units.’.

You can view the full text of this legislation right here.  Please notice that some of the tax increases are absolutely mind blowing.  For example, the tax rate on pipe tobacco is going from 2.8311 cents to $49.55.

Now that is a tax increase you can really sink your teeth into.

We are seeing “quiet” tax increases like this happen on every level of government all over the United States.

Of course I haven’t even mentioned all of the fines and fees and “registration” charges that state and local governments are hitting us with.

Have you gone to renew your car registration lately?  In some states (such as California) the fees have gotten absolutely ridiculous.

Speaking of California, it looks like they are getting ready to target cellphone users once again.

According to USA Today, California is getting ready to seriously jack up the fines for talking on a cellphone while driving….

The state Senate has sent a bill to Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. raising the basic fine for a first automotive offense from $20 to $50, the Sacramento Bee reports. For subsequent offenses, the fine would rise from $50 to $100. That’s not the worst of it: by the time state and local assessments are added on, the total for a first offense rises to between $208 to $328. For additional tickets, make that $328 to $528.

Yes, talking on a cellphone while driving is dangerous.  But hitting people with tickets of $300, $400 or even $500 is not about safety.  It is all about revenue generation.

Right now we are seeing an epidemic of speed traps all over the country.  State and local governments are desperate for money, and they see speeders as an easy source of revenue. You can read more about this phenomenon right here.

Speaking of “revenue”, that seems to have become Barack Obama’s new favorite word lately.  He seems absolutely obsessed with raising more money for the federal government.  The Obamacare law was absolutely packed to the gills with new taxes, but now he wants even more.

Yes, it is true that the wealthy are getting away with murder under our current tax system.  I find it highly offensive that many people that make millions of dollars each year are able to find ways to pay much, much smaller percentages of their incomes in taxes than I do.

But raising tax rates isn’t going to solve the problem.  Those that are masters at avoiding taxes are going to continue to do so.  Meanwhile, middle class Americans and small businesses will continue to get bled to death.

Our current tax system is fundamentally broken and needs to be completely thrown out and replaced.

However, no system is going to work until the federal government gets a handle on its spending addiction.

In the past couple of years, spending by the federal government as a share of GDP has been the highest that it has been since World War II.

You would think that there should be plenty of fat to trim, but as the recent debt ceiling deal clearly demonstrated, our politicians do not intend to significantly reduce government spending.

They are just going to keep borrowing, spending and finding more ways to tax us.

All of this nonsense in Washington D.C. is part of the reason why Americans are so displeased with Congress at this point.  According to Gallup, 84 percent of Americans now disapprove of the way Congress is doing its job, which is a brand new all-time high.

The truth is that sending more money to Washington D.C. is not going to “fix” things.

The federal government has multiplied in size over the past several decades, and yet the number of poor people just continues to increase.

Giving the poor more handouts may ease their suffering for a little while, but it is not the solution to their problems.  What they really need are good jobs, but our politicians have very busy setting up unfair trade agreements that allow millions of our jobs to be shipped overseas, and they continue to suffocate businesses in this country with mountains of ridiculous regulations.

No, the people that truly benefit when more money flows to the federal government are the fatcats that live and work around Washington D.C.

The past few decades have been a bonanza for government contractors, lobbyists and lawyers in the D.C. area.

According to the Washington Post, those living in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area now have a higher median household income than anyone else in the country….

Washingtonians now enjoy the highest median household income of any metropolitan area in the country, and five of the top 10 jurisdictions in America — Loudoun, Howard and Fairfax counties, and Falls Church and Fairfax City — are here, census data shows.

The signs of that wealth are on display all over, from the string of luxury boutiques such as Gucci and Tory Burch opening at Tysons Galleria to the $15 cocktails served over artisanal ice at the W Hotel in the District to the ever-larger houses rising off River Road in Potomac.

There is a ton of money in the D.C. area.  I know.  I used to work there.  Approximately one third of the GDP of the region comes from spending by the federal government.  Even during this recent economic downturn, the Washington D.C. region continues to do really, really well.

So, no, raising taxes is not going to fix what ails us.  It would just feed the monster that we have created in Washington.

We are already being taxed into oblivion.  Middle class America can’t take much more of this.

We need to change our entire approach to taxation in this country, because right now our tax system is fundamentally unfair and it is not working.

So what do all of you think about our tax system?  Please feel free to post a comment with your opinion below….

20 Signs That The World Could Be Headed For An Economic Apocalypse In 2012

If you thought that 2011 was a bad year for the world economy, just wait until you see what happens in 2012.  The U.S. and Europe are both dealing with unprecedented debt problems, the financial markets are flailing about wildly, austerity programs are being implemented all over the globe, prices on basics such as food are soaring and a lot of consumers are flat out scared right now.  Many analysts now fear that a “perfect storm” could be brewing and that we could actually be headed for an economic apocalypse in 2012.  Hopefully that will not happen.  Hopefully our leaders can keep the global economy from completely falling apart.  But right now, things don’t look good.  After a period of relative stability, things are starting to become unglued once again.  The next major financial panic could literally happen at any time.  Sadly, if we do see an economic apocalypse in 2012, it won’t be the wealthy that suffer the most.  It will be the poor, the unemployed, the homeless and the hungry that feel the most pain.

The following are 20 signs that we could be headed for an economic apocalypse in 2012….

#1 Back in 2008 we saw major rioting around the world due to soaring food prices, and now global food prices are on the rise again.  Global food prices in July were 33 percent higher than they were one year ago.  Price increases for staples such as maize (up 84 percent), sugar (up 62 percent) and wheat (up 55 percent) are absolutely devastating poverty-stricken communities all over the planet.  For example, one expert is warning that 800,000 children living in the Horn of Africa could die during this current famine.

#2 The producer price index in the U.S. has increased at an annual rate of at least 7.0% for the last three months in a row.  We are starting to see huge price increases all over the place.  For example, Starbucks recently jacked up the price of a bag of coffee by 17 percent.  If inflation keeps accelerating like this we could be facing some very serious problems by the time 2012 rolls around.

#3 The U.S. “Misery Index” (unemployment plus inflation) recently hit a 28 year high and many believe that it is going to go much, much higher.

#4 Jared Bernstein, the former chief economist for Vice President Joe Biden, says that the unemployment rate in this country will not go below 8% before the 2012 election.  In fact, Bernstein says that “the most optimistic forecast would be for about eight-and-a-half percent.”

#5 Working class jobs in the United States continue to disappear at an alarming rate.  Back in 1967, 97 percent of men with a high school degree between the ages of 30 and 50 had jobs.  Today, that figure is 76 percent.

#6 There are all kinds of indications that U.S. economic growth is about to slow down even further.  For example, pre-orders for Christmas toys from China are way down this year.

#7 One recent survey found that 9 out of 10 U.S. workers do not expect their wages to keep up with the rising cost of basics such as food and gasoline over the next year.

#8 U.S. consumer confidence is now at its lowest level in 30 years.

#9 Today, an all-time record 45.8 million Americans are on food stamps.  It is almost inconceivable that the largest economy on earth could have so many people dependent on the government for food.

#10 As the economy crumbles, we are also witnessing the fabric of society beginning to come apart.  The recent flash mob crimes that we are starting to see all over America are just one example of this.

#11 Some desperate Americans are already stealing anything that they can get their hands on.  For example, according to the American Kennel Club, dog thefts are up 32 percent this year.

#12 Small businesses all over the United States are having a really difficult time getting loans right now.  Perhaps if the Federal Reserve was not paying banks not to make loans things would be different.

#13 The U.S. national debt is like a giant boulder that our economy must constantly carry around on its back, and it is growing by billions of dollars every single day.  Right now the debt of the federal government is $14,592,242,215,641.90.  It has gone up by nearly 4 trillion dollars since Barack Obama took office.  S&P has already stripped the U.S. of its AAA credit rating, and more downgrades are certain to come if the U.S. does not get its act together.

#14 Tensions between the United States and China are rising again.  A new opinion piece on chinadaily.com is calling for the Chinese government to use its holdings of U.S. debt as a “financial weapon” against the United States if the U.S. follows through with a plan to sell more arms to Taiwan.  The U.S. and China are the two biggest economies in the world, so any trouble between them would mean economic trouble for the rest of the globe as well.

#15 Most state and local governments in the U.S. are deep in debt and flat broke.  Many of them are slashing jobs at a feverish pace.  According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, state and local governments have eliminated more than half a million jobs since August 2008.  UBS Investment Research is projecting that state and local governments in the U.S. will cut 450,000 more jobs by the end of 2012.  How those jobs will be replaced is anyone’s guess.

#16 The U.S. dollar continues to get weaker and weaker.  This is renewing calls for a new global currency to be created to replace the U.S. dollar as the reserve currency of the world.

#17 The European sovereign debt crisis continues to get worse.  Countries like Portugal, Italy and Greece are on the verge of an economic apocalypse.  All of the financial problems in Europe are even beginning to affect the core European nations.  For example, German industrial production declined by 1.1% in June.  There are all kinds of signs that the economy of Europe is slowing down and is heading for a recession.  French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are proposing that a new “economic government” for Europe be set up to oversee this debt crisis, but nothing that the Europeans have tried so far has done much to solve things.

#18 The Federal Reserve is so desperate to bring some sort of stability to financial markets that it has stated that it will likely keep interest rates near zero all the way until mid-2013.  The Federal Reserve is operating in “panic mode” almost constantly now and they are almost out of ammunition.  So what is going to happen when the real trouble starts?

#19 Central banks around the world certainly seem to be preparing for something.  According to the World Gold Council, central banks around the globe purchased more gold during the first half of 2011 than they did all of last year.

#20 Often perception very much influences reality. One recent survey found that 48 percent of Americans believe that it is likely that another great Depression will begin within the next 12 months.  If people expect that a depression is coming and they quit spending money that actually increases the chance that an economic downturn will occur.

There is already a tremendous amount of economic pain on the streets of America, but unfortunately it looks like things may get even worse in 2012.

The once great economic machine that was handed down to us by our forefathers is falling to pieces all around us and we are in debt up to our eyeballs.  The consequences of our bad economic decisions are hurting some of the most vulnerable members of our society the most.

As the following video shows, large numbers of formerly middle class Americans are now living in their cars or sleeping in the streets….

20 Signs That The World Could Be Headed For An Economic Apocalypse In 2012

If you thought that 2011 was a bad year for the world economy, just wait until you see what happens in 2012.  The U.S. and Europe are both dealing with unprecedented debt problems, the financial markets are flailing about wildly, austerity programs are being implemented all over the globe, prices on basics such as food are soaring and a lot of consumers are flat out scared right now.  Many analysts now fear that a “perfect storm” could be brewing and that we could actually be headed for an economic apocalypse in 2012.  Hopefully that will not happen.  Hopefully our leaders can keep the global economy from completely falling apart.  But right now, things don’t look good.  After a period of relative stability, things are starting to become unglued once again.  The next major financial panic could literally happen at any time.  Sadly, if we do see an economic apocalypse in 2012, it won’t be the wealthy that suffer the most.  It will be the poor, the unemployed, the homeless and the hungry that feel the most pain.

The following are 20 signs that we could be headed for an economic apocalypse in 2012….

#1 Back in 2008 we saw major rioting around the world due to soaring food prices, and now global food prices are on the rise again.  Global food prices in July were 33 percent higher than they were one year ago.  Price increases for staples such as maize (up 84 percent), sugar (up 62 percent) and wheat (up 55 percent) are absolutely devastating poverty-stricken communities all over the planet.  For example, one expert is warning that 800,000 children living in the Horn of Africa could die during this current famine.

#2 The producer price index in the U.S. has increased at an annual rate of at least 7.0% for the last three months in a row.  We are starting to see huge price increases all over the place.  For example, Starbucks recently jacked up the price of a bag of coffee by 17 percent.  If inflation keeps accelerating like this we could be facing some very serious problems by the time 2012 rolls around.

#3 The U.S. “Misery Index” (unemployment plus inflation) recently hit a 28 year high and many believe that it is going to go much, much higher.

#4 Jared Bernstein, the former chief economist for Vice President Joe Biden, says that the unemployment rate in this country will not go below 8% before the 2012 election.  In fact, Bernstein says that “the most optimistic forecast would be for about eight-and-a-half percent.”

#5 Working class jobs in the United States continue to disappear at an alarming rate.  Back in 1967, 97 percent of men with a high school degree between the ages of 30 and 50 had jobs.  Today, that figure is 76 percent.

#6 There are all kinds of indications that U.S. economic growth is about to slow down even further.  For example, pre-orders for Christmas toys from China are way down this year.

#7 One recent survey found that 9 out of 10 U.S. workers do not expect their wages to keep up with the rising cost of basics such as food and gasoline over the next year.

#8 U.S. consumer confidence is now at its lowest level in 30 years.

#9 Today, an all-time record 45.8 million Americans are on food stamps.  It is almost inconceivable that the largest economy on earth could have so many people dependent on the government for food.

#10 As the economy crumbles, we are also witnessing the fabric of society beginning to come apart.  The recent flash mob crimes that we are starting to see all over America are just one example of this.

#11 Some desperate Americans are already stealing anything that they can get their hands on.  For example, according to the American Kennel Club, dog thefts are up 32 percent this year.

#12 Small businesses all over the United States are having a really difficult time getting loans right now.  Perhaps if the Federal Reserve was not paying banks not to make loans things would be different.

#13 The U.S. national debt is like a giant boulder that our economy must constantly carry around on its back, and it is growing by billions of dollars every single day.  Right now the debt of the federal government is $14,592,242,215,641.90.  It has gone up by nearly 4 trillion dollars since Barack Obama took office.  S&P has already stripped the U.S. of its AAA credit rating, and more downgrades are certain to come if the U.S. does not get its act together.

#14 Tensions between the United States and China are rising again.  A new opinion piece on chinadaily.com is calling for the Chinese government to use its holdings of U.S. debt as a “financial weapon” against the United States if the U.S. follows through with a plan to sell more arms to Taiwan.  The U.S. and China are the two biggest economies in the world, so any trouble between them would mean economic trouble for the rest of the globe as well.

#15 Most state and local governments in the U.S. are deep in debt and flat broke.  Many of them are slashing jobs at a feverish pace.  According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, state and local governments have eliminated more than half a million jobs since August 2008.  UBS Investment Research is projecting that state and local governments in the U.S. will cut 450,000 more jobs by the end of 2012.  How those jobs will be replaced is anyone’s guess.

#16 The U.S. dollar continues to get weaker and weaker.  This is renewing calls for a new global currency to be created to replace the U.S. dollar as the reserve currency of the world.

#17 The European sovereign debt crisis continues to get worse.  Countries like Portugal, Italy and Greece are on the verge of an economic apocalypse.  All of the financial problems in Europe are even beginning to affect the core European nations.  For example, German industrial production declined by 1.1% in June.  There are all kinds of signs that the economy of Europe is slowing down and is heading for a recession.  French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are proposing that a new “economic government” for Europe be set up to oversee this debt crisis, but nothing that the Europeans have tried so far has done much to solve things.

#18 The Federal Reserve is so desperate to bring some sort of stability to financial markets that it has stated that it will likely keep interest rates near zero all the way until mid-2013.  The Federal Reserve is operating in “panic mode” almost constantly now and they are almost out of ammunition.  So what is going to happen when the real trouble starts?

#19 Central banks around the world certainly seem to be preparing for something.  According to the World Gold Council, central banks around the globe purchased more gold during the first half of 2011 than they did all of last year.

#20 Often perception very much influences reality. One recent survey found that 48 percent of Americans believe that it is likely that another great Depression will begin within the next 12 months.  If people expect that a depression is coming and they quit spending money that actually increases the chance that an economic downturn will occur.

There is already a tremendous amount of economic pain on the streets of America, but unfortunately it looks like things may get even worse in 2012.

The once great economic machine that was handed down to us by our forefathers is falling to pieces all around us and we are in debt up to our eyeballs.  The consequences of our bad economic decisions are hurting some of the most vulnerable members of our society the most.

As the following video shows, large numbers of formerly middle class Americans are now living in their cars or sleeping in the streets….

It is a crying shame what is happening out there on the streets of America today.

Please say a prayer for all of those that are sleeping in cars or tents or under bridges tonight.

Soon even more Americans will be joining them.