Tag Archives: economy

10 Reasons To Prepare For An Economic Collapse

Global-Money

It was not that long ago that the country of Greece suffered a devastating collapse of their economy.  At the time, there was a lot of blame game going on but, at the end of the day, it was years of irresponsible and unrestrained spending that took them down.  That, coupled with questionable accounting practices and misstated economic indicators left the Greek citizens befuddled and angry when the reality of a depression hit.

Could the same thing happen here?  Not to be depressing but in going through my own thoughts as I answer the question “What am I least prepared for?”, I realized that it was time for a wake-up call and time to re-evaluate my own preps within the context of an economic collapse.

Looking back at what happened during or our own Great Depression, I have come to realize that an economic collapse, if it were to happen, would have the compound effect of combining all woes we so diligently prepare for into one huge mess – a mess that may take decades to resolve.

I worry about this, because, as prepared as I may be, I find it difficult to wrap my head around a mega collapse that will result in food and water shortages, power outages, civil disobedience, medical anarchy, and worse.

A global economic collapse, unlike a natural disaster which, as tragic as it may be, is a short term event, will change our lives forever.

Time for a Wake-Up Call

Back in 2012, Michael Snyder wrote about the lessons we can learn from the financial melt-down in Greece.

At the time, being a prepper in the United States typically branded you as an nut job.  Now that preparedness has become more mainstream, I feel that we should review those lessons and take another look at the ramifications of an economic collapse.

Here are the 10 lessons along with my own thoughts as they might apply to an economic collapse in 2015 and beyond.

10 Reasons Why We Need to Prepare for an Economic Collapse

1.  Food Shortages Can Actually Happen

Most people assume that they will always be able to run out to their local supermarket or warehouse club.  Those of us that prepare, know better. It is those folks that do not prepare that we need to worry about.

2. Medicine Is One Of The First Things That Becomes Scarce During An Economic Collapse

When credit systems and distribution channels are compromised, medical supplies will not make their way to the local pharmacy.  Any medicines and supplies that are available will likely be diverted for use by the power elite.  Sorry to be such a cynic but we all know that there are privileged classes that have the power and the means to get whatever they want, even if it means denying the rest of the population with their fair share.

3.  When An Economy Collapses, So Might The Power Grid

No money to pay workers and no fuel to fire the grid translates into no grid at all.  Going without power for a week or two is one thing but going off grid for months or even years?  We are a soft society accustomed to our comforts.  Without the grid, our lives will be quite different than the life we live today.

4.  During An Economic Collapse You Cannot Even Take Water For Granted

When the grid goes down, so goes the water treatment facilities that ensure that clean water flows from our faucets.  I survived 12 days without running water.  Do-able yes.  Fun? Hardly, but I knew the water would come back on eventually. What if the water never came back on?

5. During An Economic Crisis Your Credit Cards And Debit Cards May Stop Working

Same thing.  If the grid is down, our banking system will basically be down too.  This means that credit cards and debit cards will be useless to transact business and make purchases.

6.  Crime, Rioting And Looting Become Commonplace During An Economic Collapse

This is not a maybe.  The haves will need to defend their property from the have-not’s.  I also suspect that the “haves” (aka preppers) may have to defend themselves from government looters.  It will be every man or woman on their own; defending what is theirs.

The young and healthy might be able to handle this but what about the elderly, the sick, and the disabled?  Even if they prep, how will they defend themselves?

7. During A Financial Meltdown Many Average Citizens Will Start Bartering

Without credit cards, debit cards, and quite possibly currency, a barter economy will emerge.  By the way, the best description I have read relative to how such an economy will work was is James Wesley Rawles book, Patriots.

Things will definitely fall apart during an economic collapse. Having supplies and especially skills to barter with not be an option.

8. Suicides Spike During An Economic Collapse

This happened in the 30s and it will happen again. When people no longer have hope, they feel that life is not worth living.  My guess is people will start jumping out of buildings and may take family members with them in a suicide pact.

9.  Your Currency May Rapidly Lose Value During An Economic Crisis

Let me take this one step further.  Your currency WILL lose value during an economic collapse.  It happened in Germany during the Weimar Republic and it has happened more recently elsewhere around the globe.  We are not immune to runaway inflation coupled with devaluation of our currency.

10. When Things Hit The Fan The Government Will Not Save You

If you think that the government will come to the rescue of those that are suffering think again.  Remember the aftermath of Katrina?  Remember Super Storm Sandy?

It is foolhardy to believe that government assistance of any type will become available following a collapse. History has demonstrated over and over again that governments cannot be counted on when things hit the fan. You will be on your own so you better be ready mentally to accept that reality and the tough times that will ensue.

The Final Word

If you have made it this far you might be thinking “Gaye, we know all of that.  That is why we prep.”.

Agreed; I am preaching the choir.  But, that being said, the overwhelming ramification of having all of these things happen at once will be a blow to the psyche that is of greater magnitude than anything you can imagine.

Think about it.  To prevail following a collapse you will still need to get up in the morning, go about your chores, and go about the business of living.  This is going to take a level of fortitude that I can not fathom.  Heck, there are some days, during these modern, comfortable times, that I can barely face the day and all of its challenges.

So where do we go from here?  What solutions are there to get you through to that mental place you know you will need to go to?

Three things you need to remember are:

1.  Only you can be counted on to take care of yourself and your family.
2.  Leaning coping skills during times of calm will give you a heads up on coping during times of crisis.
3.  Give yourself permission to worry, to be concerned, and to be a bit afraid.  This will keep you alert and on your toes at all time.

At the end of the day, those that prepare will be in it for the ride.  The real question is whether we have the mental fortitude to get there without losing are path along the way.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at BackdoorSurvival.com. At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.

19 Signs That American Families Are Being Economically Destroyed

piggy bank

The systematic destruction of the American way of life is happening all around us, and yet most people have no idea what is happening.  Once upon a time in America, if you were responsible and hard working you could get a good paying job that could support a middle class lifestyle for an entire family even if you only had a high school education.  Things weren’t perfect, but generally almost everyone in the entire country was able to take care of themselves without government assistance.  We worked hard, we played hard, and our seemingly boundless prosperity was the envy of the entire planet.  But over the past several decades things have completely changed.  We consumed far more wealth than we produced, we shipped millions of good paying jobs overseas, we piled up the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world, and we kept electing politicians that had absolutely no concern for the long-term future of this nation whatsoever.  So now good jobs are in very short supply, we are drowning in an ocean of red ink, the middle class is rapidly shrinking and dependence on the government is at an all-time high.  Even as we stand at the precipice of the next great economic crisis, we continue to make the same mistakes.  In the end, all of us are going to pay a very great price for decades of incredibly foolish decisions.  Of course a tremendous amount of damage has already been done.  The numbers that I am about to share with you are staggering.  The following are 19 signs that American families are being economically destroyed…

#1 The poorest 40 percent of all Americans now spend more than 50 percent of their incomes just on food and housing.

#2 For those Americans that don’t own a home, 50 percent of them spend more than a third of their incomes just on rent.

#3 The price of school lunches has risen to the 3 dollar mark at many public schools across the nation.

#4 McDonald’s “Dollar Menu & More” now includes items that cost as much as 5 dollars.

#5 The price of ground beef has doubled since 2009.

#6 In 1986, child care expenses for families with employed mothers used up 6.3 percent of all income.  Today, that figure is up to 7.2 percent.

#7 Incomes fell for the bottom 80 percent of all income earners in the United States during the 12 months leading up to June 2014.

#8 At this point, more than 50 percent of all American workers bring home less than $30,000 a year in wages.

#9 After adjusting for inflation, median household income has fallen by nearly $5,000 since 2007.

#10 According to the New York Times, the “typical American household” is now worth 36 percent less than it was worth a decade ago.

#11 47 percent of all Americans do not put a single penny out of their paychecks into savings.

#12 One survey found that 62 percent of all Americans are currently living paycheck to paycheck.

#13 According to the U.S. Department of Education, 33 percent of all Americans with student loans are currently behind on their student loan debt repayments.

#14 According to one recent report, 43 million Americans currently have unpaid medical debt on their credit reports.

#15 The rate of homeownership in the U.S. has been declining for seven years in a row, and it is now the lowest that it has been in 20 years.

#16 For each of the past six years, more businesses have closed in the United States than have opened.  Prior to 2008, this had never happened before in all of U.S. history.

#17 According to the Census Bureau, 65 percent of all children in the United States are living in a home that receives some form of aid from the federal government.

#18 If you have no debt at all, and you also have 10 dollars in your wallet, that you are wealthier than 25 percent of all Americans.

#19 On top of everything else, the average American must work from January 1st to April 24th just to pay all federal, state and local taxes.

All of us know people that once were doing quite well but that are now just struggling to get by from month to month.

Perhaps this has happened to you.

If you have ever been in that position, you probably remember what it feels like to have people look down on you.  Unfortunately, in our society the value that we place on individuals has a tremendous amount to do with how much money they have.

So if you don’t have much money, there are a lot of people out there that will treat you like dirt.  The following excerpt comes from a Washington Post article entitled “The poor are treated like criminals everywhere, even at the grocery store“…

Want to see a look of pure hatred? Pull out an EBT card at the grocery store.

Now that my kids are grown and gone, my Social Security check is enough to keep me from qualifying for government food benefits. But I remember well when we did qualify for a monthly EBT deposit, a whopping $22 — and that was before Congress cut SNAP benefits in November 2013. Like 70 percent of people receiving SNAP benefits, I couldn’t feed my family on that amount. But I remember the comments from middle-class people, the assumptions about me and my disability and what the poor should and shouldn’t be spending money on.

Have you ever seen this?

Have you ever experienced this yourself?

These days, most people on food stamps are not in that situation because they want to be.  Rather, they are victims of our long-term economic collapse.

And this is just the beginning.  When the next major economic crisis strikes, the suffering in this country is going to go to unprecedented levels.

As we enter that time, we are going to need a whole lot more love and compassion than we are exhibiting right now.

As a nation, we have made decades of incredibly bad decisions.  As a result, we are experiencing bad consequences which are going to become increasingly more severe.

The numbers that I just shared with you are not good.  But over the next several years they are going to get a whole lot worse.

Everything that can be shaken will be shaken, and life in America is about to change in a major way.


Michael T. Snyder is a graduate of the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia and has a law degree and an LLM from the University of Florida Law School. He is an attorney that has worked for some of the largest and most prominent law firms in Washington D.C. and who now spends his time researching and writing and trying to wake the American people up. You can follow his work on The Economic Collapse blog, End of the American Dream and The Truth Wins. His new novel entitled “The Beginning Of The End” is now available on Amazon.com.

One Last Look At The Real Economy Before It Implodes – Part 4

truman stairs

In the first three installments of this series, we examined the realities behind supply and demand, unemployment and personal debt, and national debt. As has been proven in each consecutive article with ample evidence, mainstream establishment numbers are, for the most part, utter garbage. They are not legitimate. They are meaningless.

The figures and stats that do have some truth to them are so obscured from the public view and unreported by the media that they may as well be state secrets. The average person has no clue of their existence because his primary sources of information are establishment-dominated. Even MSM talking heads and economic “analysts” are so mesmerized by the false version of the economic world that they have no point of reference when suddenly confronted with singular facts. Some people call this catastrophic behavior a “positive feedback loop.” It is a mainstream echo chamber that has become a financial tomb.

Now that I have covered the lies within our economy that I can prove absolutely, it is time to move on to the lies that are more difficult to pin down. These lies often slip past our investigations because the hard data that could be used to expose them is simply not available to the general public. In fact, much of the data is not even available to government officials. I am, of course, talking about the hard data behind the activities of central banks across the globe — the International Monetary Fund, the Bank for International Settlements and the Federal Reserve in particular. In this installment, we will explore the purpose of these lies; to hide the imminent destruction of our currency — by hook, by crook and by fiat.

In Part 3 of this series, real U.S. liabilities were revealed to far exceed official stats given by the Treasury Department (upward of $200 trillion currently owed, not owed in some distant future where none of us will be alive to worry about it). The debt singularity most responsible for this problem has been created through entitlement programs, as well as a Social Security program that the government uses as its own ever-cycling taxpayer supported personal slush fund, triggering a debt accumulation of more than $8 trillion per year.

How does our government (or any government with a central bank) continue to function monetarily if it is generating far more debt than it will ever be able to pay off in tax revenues? Well, our system does not really “function.” It just refuses to fully die. And, it does this through fiat money creation.

The quantitative easing programs, which allowed the Federal Reserve to conjure massive stores of fiat money out of thin air and purchase U.S. Treasury bonds (among other things), were a blatantly open admission by bureaucrats and central bankers alike that the government has not been capable of sustaining its own operations without fiat aid.

I’ll say it again: QE programs are in and of themselves hard evidence of government insolvency.  Solvent governments do not need to monetize their own debt obligations with a printing press.

After the limited TARP audit, which reveled a money creation scheme in excess of $16 trillion (overnight swaps are still a devaluing action though some MSM pundits argue they are not “debt creation”), there has been little information available to the public in regards to the true level of paper and digital money conjured from the ether.  We have no idea to what extent the dollar has ultimately been devalued, and we won’t know until foreign investors and banks finalize their decoupling from the U.S. (a process that will likely accelerate this year).

One might argue, though, that since the finalization of the taper and the end of QE3 and the bailout programs overall, our system must be amply flush with cash yet again and the printing bonanza must have been worth the risk. Why else would the taper have been instituted at all? I would argue and have argued in the past that the taper was instituted not in preparation for economic recovery, but in preparation for economic collapse. The QE bailouts have stopped because they no longer serve any purpose in propping up the false economy.

For instance, the inspector general for the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is now suggesting yet another bailout for socialist New Deal failures Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, after the Obama administration reserved the right to take all profits from the conservatorship beginning in 2012. That’s right, all that money that Fannie and Freddie supposedly made and paid back didn’t make an ounce of difference, as the federal government now steals profits in order to pay off other debts. In the meantime, companies like Blackstone reap the benefits as they purchase and bid on hundreds of thousands of homes for pennies on the dollar, turn them into rentals and artificially support the illusion of a housing recovery in the United States. (I would also note that Blackstone has conveniently served as an “adviser” to the U.S. Treasury throughout the Fannie/Freddie bailouts.)

As referenced in Part 1 of this series, stimulus measures have absolutely failed to inspire any semblance of recovery in consumer demand, and global demand for goods is imploding.

As referenced in Part 2, real employment has not improved throughout the duration of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, quantitative easing and zero interest-rate policy. In fact, it only seems to have stalled unemployment at about 23 percent.

As referenced in Part 3, stimulus actions have only served to create even more unmitigated debt while producing no tangible results other than a massive bubble in stock markets.

Poverty is at record levels. Welfare demand is at record levels. Average wages are falling, and prices on essential goods (except oil at this time) are rising. Global demand is visibly sliding into the same territory as in 2008/2009. Housing markets have become a corporately boosted feudalistic farce. And unemployment continues at a depressing level; meanwhile, people aren’t even counted as unemployed anymore because they’ve been jobless for so long.

At this point, at the onset of spring 2015, I think it is safe to say that alternative economic analysts have been right all along in our assertions that central bank stimulus measures are completely useless. Though some of the slimier day traders like to argue that they “tripled their profits” during the stimulus period and our “doom and gloom” means nothing to them, in their naivety they would be missing the bigger picture. You don’t play the collapse. In the end, the collapse will play you.

Now, it would seem as though the Federal Reserve has failed in every aspect of its bailout quest. But what are the consequences of this debacle?  The result is the displacement of U.S. economic standing. The U.S. is being made economically irrelevant.

China has surpassed the U.S. as the world’s largest exporter/importer and has long been far superior to the U.S. in manufacturing capability, making China the most valuable economic partner in the world. According to the IMF, China is now superior to the U.S. in trade standing and is soon to be the largest economy on the planet.

China has recently launched its regional Asian Development Bank, a kind of Asian World Bank. And nearly 50 countries, including European allies to the U.S., have rushed to sign on.

The talk is even growing within mainstream circles that China is about to decouple from the U.S. economy and, along with the BRICS nations, structure a new Asian-centric financial system that will “stick it” to the Western financial elites. This, however, is too simplistic a notion.

We are talking about the REAL economy in this series; and in the real economy, no nation with a central bank actually “breaks” from the New World Order. In fact, all conflicts between the East and West are only serving to further the cause of globalists and Fabian socialists.

China alone does not have the capacity to replace the U.S. as a primary driver for the global economy, nor does the Yuan have the capacity to replace the dollar as a world reserve currency. However, this is not China’s goal. It never has been China’s goal. China’s only purpose in its historic fiscal expansion has been to achieve inclusion in what the IMF calls the “global economic reset.” Part of this reset is the introduction of the IMF global currency basket system, or Special Drawing Rights (SDR), as a kind of centralized control mechanism for all currencies around the world. The IMF and China have continuously called for the SDR basket system to replace the U.S. dollar as the world reserve currency.

I covered this developing scheme in great detail in my article ‘The Economic End Game Explained’.

Despite the hopes of some alternative writers that China will somehow break the chains of the central banking monopoly, every Chinese action since at least 2008 has been in preparation to become a full slave nation under the control of IMF policy. China has now officially submitted its currency (the Yuan) for inclusion as a reserve currency in the SDR basket.  China’s central bank has openly called for the IMF to take a dominant role in the management of the world’s currencies through the SDR basket system:

The world economic crisis shows the “inherent vulnerabilities and systemic risks in the existing international monetary system,” Gov. Zhou Xiaochuan said in an essay released Monday by the bank. He recommended creating a currency made up of a basket of global currencies and controlled by the International Monetary Fund and said it would help “to achieve the objective of safeguarding global economic and financial stability.”

The IMF conference on the SDR, which takes place every five years, is set to begin preliminaries in May and finish in October or November. It is widely expected that China’s currency will indeed be included in the SDR this year, that this will adversely affect the dollar’s standing as the world reserve currency, and that the U.S. will have little capacity to stop such a development. That’s because American veto power within the IMF is likely to be removed, due to a lack of approval on funding measures and policy changes put to Congress in 2010.

In numerous articles over the past couple of years I have warned that the destruction of U.S. position within the IMF would be blamed on “political gridlock” over the refusal by Congress to confirm policy changes from 2010, and the brunt of the blame would be placed on “conservatives”.  This past week my suspicions were supported by the statements of Larry Summers, a former Treasury Secretary and elitist who was partially responsible for the end of Glass-Steagall and the creation of the derivatives bubble, and the man who claimed “history will overwhelmingly approve QE”.  Summers decried the end of the U.S. as the “underwriter of the global economic system”,  also stating:

“Largely because of resistance from the right, the US stands alone in the world in failing to approve the International Monetary Fund governance reforms that Washington itself pushed for in 2009. By supplementing IMF resources, this change would have bolstered confidence in the global economy. More important, it would come closer to giving countries such as China and India a share of IMF votes commensurate with their new economic heft…”

“With China’s economic size rivalling America’s and emerging markets accounting for at least half of world output, the global economic architecture needs substantial adjustment. Political pressures from all sides in the US have rendered it increasingly dysfunctional…”

Avid enthusiasm for China’s new regional bank has put the U.S. on the defensive, as supposed allies are joining the chorus calling for China to join the SDR.

This would make the Yuan the first currency not fully convertible to join the SDR basket. Meaning, it is difficult to directly invest in Yuan compared to investing in dollars. But this is exactly what the IMF wants.

The Asian Times put it rather bluntly but honestly:

“Currently, central banks can’t include yuan holdings in their foreign exchange reserves. However, via inclusion in the SDR basket, the currency will effectively enjoy a “back door” where convertibility is concerned. The upshot, according to Citibank, means increased yuan demand from central banks and further integration of the currency into global capital market flows.

Importantly, China has espoused an “internationalisation” of reserve currencies away from U.S. dollar hegemony and dependencies on local economic fluctuations on exchange rates and stability. The yuan inclusion in the basket would be a step towards a more multi-lateral currency world. While full convertibility may still be far away, China’s ability to have a global reserve currency may soon be upon us.”

Yes, that’s right, China’s inclusion in the SDR will HELP the process of marginalization of the dollar and aid in the ascendance of the SDR as a world reserve mechanism. And as China becomes a currency powerhouse in its role as the No. 1 economy in the world, the only way central banks around the planet can benefit or “invest” in the Yuan will be by stockpiling SDRs! Demand for SDRs will be cleverly boosted by natural demand for the Yuan. This is how a global currency structure begins.

The only true beneficiaries of this cycle will be the IMF and those elites who desperately want a totally centralized global economic system.

In the meantime, as the dollar loses its world reserve status, it loses the ONLY pillar of support keeping its value somewhat stable. As the dollar falls, U.S. citizens will be reduced to Second World or Third World economic expectations. Employment and wages will continue to dissolve, while the margins between the “haves” and “have nots” will continue to grow. In the worst-case scenario, total chaos would result followed by an international intervention to “save us” from ourselves. Our currency would likely be permanently pegged to the SDR basket, just as Argentina’s was pegged to our dollar after its collapse. And the IMF would own the U.S. rather than the U.S. owning the IMF, as is the common delusion.

As stated earlier, Federal Reserve stimulus actions “seem” to have failed miserably. Now our nation is facing a firestorm. But I would submit that the Federal Reserve has not failed in its mission. The Fed’s purpose is not to defend the stability of the U.S. economy and the dollar; the Fed’s purpose is to destroy the stability of the U.S. economy and the dollar. Thus, the Fed has succeeded in its mission. And I believe a full audit of Fed policies and actions would prove this fact beyond a doubt.

I will continue to outline the endgame for globalization that is under way in the next installment of this series, including how central banks in foreign nations collude with each other and are managed by supranational entities like the IMF and the BIS. The implosion of America serves a very particular purpose. It is not a product of blind coincidence, fate, political stupidity or corporate greed. It is an engineered event meant to clear the way for an even more sinister economic environment designed to establish a final economic empire with the purpose of permanently enslaving us all.


Brandon Smith is the founder of the Alternative Market Project, an organization designed to help you find like-minded activists and preppers in your local area so that you can network and construct communities for barter and mutual aid. Join www.Alt-Market.com today and learn what it means to step away from the unstable mainstream system and build something better. You can contact Brandon Smith at: [email protected].

 

If Anyone Doubts That We Are In A Stock Market Bubble, Show Them This Article

stock market bubble

The higher financial markets rise, the harder they fall.  By any objective measurement, the stock market is currently well into bubble territory.  Anyone should be able to see this – all you have to do is look at the charts.  Sadly, most of us never seem to learn from history.  Most of us want to believe that somehow “things are different this time”.  Well, about the only thing that is different this time is that our economy is in far worse shape than it was just prior to the last major financial crisis.  That means that we are more vulnerable and will almost certainly endure even more damage this time around.  It would be one thing if stocks were soaring because the U.S. economy as a whole was doing extremely well.  But we all know that isn’t true.  Instead, what we have been experiencing is clearly artificial market behavior that has nothing to do with economic reality.  In other words, we are dealing with an irrational financial bubble, and all irrational financial bubbles eventually burst.  And as I wrote about yesterday, the way that stocks have moved so far this year is eerily reminiscent of the way that stocks moved in early 2008.  The warning signs are there – if you are willing to look at them.

The first chart that I want to share with you today comes from Doug Short.  It is a chart that shows that the ratio of corporate equities (stocks) to GDP is the second highest that it has been since 1950.  The only other time it has been higher was just before the dotcom bubble burst…

The-Buffett-Indicator-from-Doug-Short-425x309

Does that look like a bubble to you?

It sure looks like a bubble to me.

In order for the corporate equities to GDP ratio to get back to the mean (average) level, stock prices would have to fall nearly 50 percent.

If that happens, people will be calling it a crash, but in truth it would just be a return to normalcy.

This next chart comes from Phoenix Capital Research.  The CAPE ratio (cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings ratio) is considered to be an extremely accurate measure of the true value of stocks…

As I’ve noted before, the single best predictor of stock market performance is the cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings ratio or CAPE ratio.

Corporate earnings are heavily influenced by the business cycle. Typically the US experiences a boom and bust once every ten years or so. As such, companies will naturally have higher P/E’s at some points and lower P/E’s at other. This is based solely on the business cycle and nothing else.

CAPE adjusts for this by measuring the price of stocks against the average of ten years’ worth of earnings, adjusted for inflation. By doing this, it presents you with a clearer, more objective picture of a company’s ability to produce cash in any economic environment.

Based on a study completed Vanguard, CAPE was the single best metric for measuring future stock returns.

When the CAPE ratio is too high, that means that stocks are overpriced and are not a good value.  And right now the CAPE ratio is the 3rd highest that it has been since 1890.  That only times it has been higher than this were in 1929 (we all remember what happened then) and just before the dotcom bubble burst…

CAPE-Phoenix-Capital-Research-425x215

The funny thing is that stocks have continued to rise even as corporate revenues have begun to fall.

According to Wolf Richter, in the first quarter of 2015 corporate revenues are projected to decline at the fastest pace that we have seen since the depths of the last recession…

Week after week, corporations and analysts have been whittling down their estimates. By now, revenues of the S&P 500 companies are expected to decline 2.8% in Q1 from a year ago – the worst year-over-year decline since Q3 of crisis year 2009.

This next chart I want to share with you shows how the Nasdaq has performed over the past decade.  Looking at this chart alone, you would think that the U.S. economy must have been absolutely roaring since the end of the last recession.  But what is really going on is rampant speculation.  Some of the tech companies that make up the Nasdaq are not making any profits at all and yet they are supposedly worth billions of dollars.  If you cannot see a bubble in this chart, you need to get your vision checked…

NASDAQ-Chart-425x282

And this kind of irrational euphoria is not just happening in the United States.

For example, Chinese stocks are up nearly 80 percent over the past nine months.

Meanwhile, the overall Chinese economy is growing at the slowest pace that we have seen in about 20 years.

Right now, we are in the calm before the storm.  We are right at the door of the next great financial crisis, and most of the people that work in the industry know this.

And once in a while they let the cat out of the bag.

For example, consider what Hans-Jörg Vetter, the CEO of Landesbank Baden-Württemberg in Germany, had to say during one recent press conference

“Risk is no longer priced in,” he said. And these investors aren’t paid for the risks they’re taking. This applies to all asset classes, he said. The stock and the bond markets, he said, are now both seeing “the mother of all bubbles.”

This can’t go on forever. Or for very long. But he couldn’t see the future either and pin down a date, which is what everyone wants to know so that they can all get out in time. “I cannot tell you when it will rumble,” he said, “but eventually it will rumble again.”

By “again” he meant the sort of thing that had taken the bank down last time, the Financial Crisis. It had been triggered by horrendous risk-taking, where risks hadn’t been priced into all kinds of securities. When those securities – mortgage-backed securities, for example, that were hiding the inherent risks under a triple-A rating – blew up, banks toppled.

What Vetter is telling us is what I have been warning about for a long time.

Another great stock market crash is coming.

It is just a matter of time.


Michael T. Snyder is a graduate of the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia and has a law degree and an LLM from the University of Florida Law School. He is an attorney that has worked for some of the largest and most prominent law firms in Washington D.C. and who now spends his time researching and writing and trying to wake the American people up. You can follow his work on The Economic Collapse blog, End of the American Dream and The Truth Wins. His new novel entitled “The Beginning Of The End” is now available on Amazon.com.

The Stock Market In 2015 Is Starting To Look Remarkably Similar To The Stock Market In 2008

stock-crash

Are we watching a replay of the last financial crisis?  Over the past six months, the price of oil has collapsed, the U.S. dollar has soared, and a whole bunch of other patterns that we witnessed just before the stock market crash of 2008 are repeating once again.  But what we have not seen yet is the actual stock market crash.  So will there be one this year?  In this article, I am going to compare the performance of the Dow Jones Industrial Average during the first three months of 2008 to the performance of the Dow Jones Industrial Average during the first three months of 2015.  As you will see, there are some striking similarities.  And without a doubt, we are overdue for a major market downturn.  The S&P 500 has risen for six years in a row, but it has never had seven up years consecutively.  In addition, there has not even been a 10 percent stock market “correction” is almost three and a half years.  So will stocks be able to continue to defy both gravity and the forces of economic reality?  Only time will tell.

Below is a chart that shows how the Dow Jones Industrial Average performed during the first three months of 2008.  It was a time of increased volatility, but the market pretty much went nowhere.  This is typical of what we see in the months leading up to a market crash.  The markets start getting really choppy with large ups and large downs…

Dow-First-3-Months-Of-2008-425x282

This next chart shows how the Dow Jones Industrial Average has performed during the first three months of 2015.  Once again, we are witnessing a time of increased volatility, but the market is not really going anywhere.  In fact, after falling about 200 points on Tuesday (not shown on this chart) it is just barely below where it started the year…

Dow-First-3-Months-Of-2015-425x282

When the market becomes quite restless but it doesn’t really move anywhere, that is a sign that we have reached a turning point.  The following is what a recent CNN article had to say about the rising volatility that we have been witnessing…

The Dow fell nearly 3.7% in January, surged 5.6% in February and is down about 2% this month. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq have gone through similar sentiment swings. The Dow ended the quarter slightly in the red while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq were up a little bit.

Charles Schwab chief investment officer Liz Ann Sonders summed up this volatility the best — with a nod to U2. “Running to Stand Still: Wild Swings Taking Market Nowhere” is the title of her most recent market commentary.

What can investors expect for the rest of 2015? Probably a lot more of the same.

Now let’s look at a chart for the entire year of 2008.  After peaking for the year in early May, the Dow started to slide.  Things started to get really crazy in September, and by the end of the year the U.S. economy was plunged into the greatest crisis since the Great Depression…

Dow-Full-Year-Of-2008-425x282

Will the rest of 2015 follow a similar pattern?

A lot of investors are actually betting that this will be the case.

Right now, hundreds of millions of dollars are flowing into VXX – an ETF that makes money when the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index goes up.  In other words, these investors are betting that we are going to see a lot more stock market volatility in the weeks and months to come.

And as I have said so many times before, stocks tend to rise in calm markets and they tend to fall when the markets become volatile.

So essentially these investors are betting that we are headed for a stock market crash.

The following is more on the massive inflow of money into VXX that we have been seeing from the Crux

Ways to speculate on how noisy the stock market will be have exploded in the last decade with the advent of products tied to the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index. Strategies include relatively simple hedges against equity losses, such as owning a security that aims to mimic the VIX.

VXX, one of the most popular ways to bet on bigger market swings, has absorbed $715 million in seven consecutive weeks of inflows, its longest streak of inflows since one ending in July 2012. The infusion of fresh cash has continued this week, swelling its market value to $1.5 billion, the highest since September 2013.

At the same time, short-sellers in VXX — people effectively betting the bull market will persist — have dropped out. Short interest has slid 35 percent since October, falling to the lowest in more than seven months last week, data compiled by Markit Ltd. show.

And many of the exact same people that warned us about the financial crisis of 2008 in advance are warning that another crisis is rapidly approaching.  For example, check out the following quote from Ann Pettifor that recently appeared in an article in the Guardian

As Janet Yellen’s Federal Reserve prepares to raise interest rates, boosting the value of the dollar, while the plunging price of crude puts intense pressure on the finances of oil-exporting countries, there are growing fears of a new debt crisis in the making.

Ann Pettifor of Prime Economics, who foreshadowed the credit crunch in her 2003 book The Coming First World Debt Crisis, says: “We’re going to have another financial crisis. Brazil’s already in great trouble with the strength of the dollar; I dread to think what’s happening in South Africa; then there’s Malaysia. We’re back to where we were, and that for me is really frightening.”

Pettifor is right on two counts – another major financial crisis is approaching, and it is going to be global in scope.

Before I end this article, there are two more items that I would like to share with you.

Firstly, it is being reported that the IPO market has really cooled off in 2015.  When the number of companies going public starts to decline, that is a clear sign that a stock market bubble is on borrowed time.  The following comes from Business Insider

The number of US companies going public has really dropped off lately.

“After a record year in 2014, the IPO market slowed dramatically in the first quarter of 2015,” Renaissance Capital analysts said.

The first quarter of 2015, which ended Tuesday, was the slowest quarter for IPOs since the first quarter of 2013. While stock prices have been near all-time highs, market volatility has been escalating, turning companies off from trying to unload shares onto the public markets.

Secondly, the San Francisco housing market has been a pretty reliable indicator of previous economic booms and busts.  The San Francisco housing market started to cool off before the dotcom bubble burst, it started to cool off before the stock market crash of 2008, and now it is cooling off once again.  The following chart comes from Zero Hedge

San-Francisco-Zero-Hedge-425x330

The warning signs are there.

But as with so many other things in life, most people are going to end up believing precisely what they want to believe.

So what do you believe about what the rest of the year will bring?  Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…


Michael T. Snyder is a graduate of the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia and has a law degree and an LLM from the University of Florida Law School. He is an attorney that has worked for some of the largest and most prominent law firms in Washington D.C. and who now spends his time researching and writing and trying to wake the American people up. You can follow his work on The Economic Collapse blog, End of the American Dream and The Truth Wins. His new novel entitled “The Beginning Of The End” is now available on Amazon.com.

5 Charts Which Show That The Next Economic Crash Is Dead Ahead

collapse-of-the-dollar

When an economic crisis is coming, there are usually certain indicators that appear in advance.  For example, commodity prices usually start to plunge before a recession begins.  And as you can see from the Bloomberg Commodity Index which you can find right here, this has already been happening.  In addition, I have previously written about how the U.S. dollar went on a great run just before the financial collapse of 2008.  This is something that has also been happening over the past few months.  Some people would have you believe that nobody can anticipate the next great economic downturn and that to try to do so is just an exercise in “guesswork”.  But that is not the case at all.  We can look back over history and see patterns that keep repeating.  And a lot of the exact same patterns that happened just before previous stock market crashes are happening again right now.

For example, let’s talk about the price of oil.  There are only two times in history when the price of oil has fallen by more than 50 dollars in a six month time period.  One was just before the financial crisis in 2008, and the other has just happened…

Price-Of-Oil-2015-425x282

As a result of crashing oil prices, we are witnessing oil rigs shut down in the United States at a blistering pace.  In fact, almost half of all oil rigs in the U.S. have already shut down.  The following commentary and chart come from Wolf Richter

In the latest week, drillers idled another 41 oil rigs, according to Baker Hughes. Only 825 rigs were still active, down 48.7% from October. In the 23 weeks since, drillers have idled 784 oil rigs, the steepest, deepest cliff-dive in the history of the data:

Fracking-Bust-2015-425x303

We are looking at a full-blown fracking bust, and this bust is already having a dramatic impact on the economies of states that are heavily dependent on the energy industry.

For example, just check out the disturbing number that just came out of Texas

The crash in oil prices is hammering the Texas economy.

The latest manufacturing outlook index from the Dallas Fed plunged again in March, to -17.4 from -11.2 in February, indicating deteriorating business conditions in the state.

Ouch.

But this pain is going to be felt far beyond Texas.  In recent years, Wall Street banks have made a massive amount of money packaging up energy industry loans, bonds, etc. and selling them off to investors.

If that sounds similar to the kind of behavior that preceded the subprime mortgage meltdown, that is because it is.

Now those loans, bonds, etc. are going bad as the fracking bust intensifies, and whoever is left holding all of this worthless paper at the end of the day is going to lose an extraordinary amount of money.  Here is more from Wolf Richter

It suited Wall Street just fine: according to Dealogic, banks extracted $31 billion in fees from the US oil and gas industry and its investors over the past five years by handling IPOs, spin-offs, “leveraged-loan” transactions, the sale of bonds and junk bonds, and M&A.

That’s $6 billion in fees per year! Over the last four years, these banks made over $4 billion in fees on just “leveraged loans.” These loans to over-indebted, junk-rated companies soared from about $40 billion in 2009 to $210 billion in 2014 before it came to a screeching halt.

For Wall Street it doesn’t matter what happens to these junk bonds and leveraged loans after they’ve been moved on to mutual funds where they can decompose sight-unseen. And it doesn’t matter to Wall Street what happens to leverage loans after they’ve been repackaged into highly rated Collateralized Loan Obligations that are then sold to others.

At the same time, we are also witnessing a slowdown in global trade.  This usually happens when economic conditions are about to turn sour, and that is why it is so alarming that the total volume of global trade in January was down 1.4 percent from December.  According to Tyler Durden of Zero Hedge, that was the largest drop since 2011…

Presenting the latest data from the CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, according to which in January world trade by volume dropped by a whopping 1.4% from December: the biggest drop since 2011!

Global-Trade-Volume-425x273

We are seeing some troubling signs in the U.S. as well.

I shared the following chart in a previous article, but it bears repeating.  It comes from Charles Hugh Smith, and it shows that new orders for consumer goods are falling at a rate not seen since the last recession…

Charles-Hugh-Smith-New-Orders-425x282

Well, what about the stock market?  It was up more than 200 points on Monday.  Isn’t that good news?

Yes, but the euphoria on Wall Street will not last for long.

When corporate earnings per share either start flattening out or start to decline, that is a huge red flag.  We saw this just prior to the stock market crash of 2008, and it is happening again right now.  The following commentary and chart come from Phoenix Capital Research

Take a look at the below chart showing current stock levels and changes in forward Earnings Per Share (EPS). Note, in particular how divergences between EPS and stocks tend to play out (hint look at 2007-2008).

Change-In-12-Month-EPS-425x273

We all know what came next.

And guess what?

According to CNBC, a lot of the “smart money” is pulling their money out of the stock market right now while the getting is good…

Recent market volatility has sent stock market investors rushing for the exits and into cash.

Outflows from equity-based funds in 2015 have reached their highest level since 2009, thanks to a seesaw market that has come under pressure from weak economic data, a stronger dollar and the the prospect of monetary tightening.

Funds that invest in stocks have seen $44 billion in outflows, or redemptions, year to date, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Equity funds have seen outflows in five of the last six weeks, including $6.1 billion in just the last week.

It doesn’t matter if you are a millionaire “on paper” today.

What matters is if the money is going to be there when you really need it.

At the moment, a whole lot of people have been lulled into a false sense of complacency by the soaring stock market and by the bubble of false economic stability that we have been enjoying.

But under the surface, there is a whole lot of turmoil going on.

Those that are looking for the signs are going to see the next crisis approaching well in advance.

Those that are not are going to get absolutely blindsided by what is coming.

Don’t let that happen to you.


Michael T. Snyder is a graduate of the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia and has a law degree and an LLM from the University of Florida Law School. He is an attorney that has worked for some of the largest and most prominent law firms in Washington D.C. and who now spends his time researching and writing and trying to wake the American people up. You can follow his work on The Economic Collapse blog, End of the American Dream and The Truth Wins. His new novel entitled “The Beginning Of The End” is now available on Amazon.com.

The Price Of Ground Beef Has DOUBLED Since The Last Financial Crisis

cost-of-food

Since the depths of the last recession, the price of ground beef in the United States has doubled.  Has your paycheck doubled since then?  Even though the Federal Reserve insists that we are in a “low inflation” environment, the government’s own numbers show that the price of ground beef has been on an unprecedented run over the past six years.  In early 2009, the average price of a pound of ground beef was hovering near 2 dollars.  In February, it hit a brand new all-time record high of $4.238 per pound.  Even just 12 months ago, the price of ground beef was sitting at $3.555 per pound.  So we are talking about a huge increase.  And this hits American families where they really live.  Each year, the average American consumes approximately 270 pounds of meat.  The only nation in the world that eats more meat than we do is Luxembourg.  If the paychecks of American workers were going up fast enough to deal with this increase, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal.  But of course that is not happening.  In an article just last week, I showed that real median household income is a couple thousand dollars lower now than it was during the depths of the last recession.  The middle class is being squeezed, and we are rapidly getting to the point where burgers are going to be considered a “luxury” item.

The following chart was posted by the Economic Policy Journal on Wednesday, and it incorporates the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  When I first saw it, I was rather stunned.  I knew that the price of ground beef had become rather outrageous in my local grocery stores, but I had no idea just how much damage had been done over the past six years…

Beef-Price-Economic-Policy-Journal

The biggest reason why the price of ground beef has been going up is the fact that the U.S. cattle herd has been shrinking.  It shrunk seven years in a row, and on January 1st, 2014 it was the smallest that it had been since 1951.

The good news is that the decline appears to have stopped, at least for the moment.  According to the Wall Street Journal, the size of the U.S. cattle herd actually increased by 1 percent last year…

The U.S. cattle herd expanded in 2014 for the first time in eight years, offering hope to consumers that beef prices could start to subside after soaring to a series of records.

The nation’s cattle supply increased 1% in the year through Jan. 1 to 89.8 million head, according to data released Friday by the U.S. Agriculture Department, reversing a steady decline fueled by prolonged drought in the southern U.S. Great Plains and industry consolidation that encouraged many ranchers to thin herds.

But an increase of 1 percent is just barely going to keep up with the official population growth rate.  If you factor in illegal immigration, we are still losing ground.

And if we have another major drought in cattle country this summer, the cattle herd is going to start shrinking again.

In addition, the price of food overall has been steadily rising for years.  Here is a chart that I shared the other day

Presentation-Food-Inflation1-425x282

It boggles the mind that the Federal Reserve can claim that we are in a “low inflation” environment.  Anyone that goes grocery shopping feels the pain of these rising prices every time that they go to the store.

In the list that I put together yesterday, I included the following statistic…

Almost half of all Americans (47 percent) do not put a single penny out of their paychecks into savings.

One of the primary reasons why so many Americans are not saving any money is because many families simply cannot save any money.  Their paychecks are stagnant while the cost of living just keeps going up and up.

There simply are not enough “good jobs” out there anymore.  Our economy continues to bleed middle class jobs and the competition for the jobs that remain is quite intense.

Do you know what the two most common occupations in America today are?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they are “retail sales clerk” and “cashier”.

And of course neither of those “occupations” pays even close to what is required to support a middle class family.

On average, a retail sales clerk makes $24,020 a year, and a cashier makes $20,670 a year.

Because the quality of our jobs has declined so much, there are millions of American families today in which both the mother and the father are working multiple jobs in a desperate attempt to make ends meet each month.

But don’t worry, the Federal Reserve says that we are nearly at “full employment“, and Barack Obama says that everything is going to be just fine.

Actually, the truth is that things are about to get a lot worse.  At this point, we are even getting pessimistic numbers out of the Federal Reserve.  Just this week we learned that the Fed is now projecting that economic growth for the first quarter of 2015 will be barely above zero

From almost 2.5% GDP growth expectations in February, The Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow model has now collapsed its estimates of Q1 GDP growth to just 0.2%plunging from +1.4% just 2 weeks ago. The reality of plunging capex and no decoupling is starting to rear its ugly head in the hard data and as the sun warms things up, weather will start to lose its ability to sway sentiment.

We are at a turning point.  The bubble of false stability that we have been living in is rapidly coming to an end, and when people start to realize that another great economic crisis is coming there is going to be a lot of panic.

And as far as food prices go, they are just going to keep taking a bigger chunk out of all of our wallets.

As high as prices are already, the truth is that your food dollars are never going to go farther than they do right now.

So let us hope for the best, but let us also get prepared for the worst.


Michael T. Snyder is a graduate of the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia and has a law degree and an LLM from the University of Florida Law School. He is an attorney that has worked for some of the largest and most prominent law firms in Washington D.C. and who now spends his time researching and writing and trying to wake the American people up. You can follow his work on The Economic Collapse blog, End of the American Dream and The Truth Wins. His new novel entitled “The Beginning Of The End” is now available on Amazon.com.

33 Strange Facts About America That Most Americans Would Be Shocked To Learn

America-Flag-Map

Did you know that about one-fourth of the entire global prison population is in the United States?  Did you know that Apple has more money than the U.S. Treasury?  Did you know that if you have no debt and also have 10 dollars in your wallet that you are wealthier than 25 percent of all Americans?  Did you know that by the time an American child reaches the age of 18, that child will have seen approximately 40,000 murders on television?  There are some things that are great about the United States, and there are definitely some things that are not so great.  Once upon a time we were the most loved and most respected nation on the entire planet, but those days are long gone.  We have wrecked our economy, we have lost our values and we have fumbled away our future.  But if you look close enough, you can still see many of the things that once made this country a shining beacon to the rest of the world.  This article includes some weird facts, some fun facts, but also some very troubling facts.  It has been said that a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, and hopefully as people enjoy reading the fun facts in this article they will also take note of the more serious facts.  If we are ever going to change course as a nation, we need to come to grips with just how far we have fallen.  The following are 33 strange facts about America that most Americans would be shocked to learn…

#1 The amount of cement that China used from 2011 to 2013 was greater than the total amount of cement that the United States used during the entire 20th century.

#2 In more than half of all U.S. states, the highest paid public employee in the state is a football coach.

#3 It costs the U.S. government 1.8 cents to mint a penny and 9.4 cents to mint a nickel.

#4 Almost half of all Americans (47 percent) do not put a single penny out of their paychecks into savings.

#5 In 2014, police in the United States killed 1,100 people.  During that same year, police in Canada killed 14 people, police in China killed 12 people and police in Germany didn’t kill anyone at all.

#6 The state of Alaska is 429 times larger than the state of Rhode Island is.  But Rhode Island has a significantly larger population than Alaska does.

#7 Alaska has a longer coastline than all of the other 49 U.S. states put together.

#8 The city of Juneau, Alaska is about 3,000 square miles in size.  It is actually larger than the entire state of Delaware.

#9 When LBJ’s “War on Poverty” began, less than 10 percent of all U.S. children were growing up in single parent households.  Today, that number has skyrocketed to 33 percent.

#10 In 1950, less than 5 percent of all babies in America were born to unmarried parents.  Today, that number is over 40 percent.

#11 The poverty rate for households that are led by a married couple is 6.8 percent.  For households that are led by a female single parent, the poverty rate is 37.1 percent.

#12 In 2013, women earned 60 percent of all bachelor’s degrees that were awarded that year in the United States.

#13 According to the CDC, 34.6 percent of all men in the U.S. are obese at this point.

#14 The average supermarket in the United States wastes about 3,000 pounds of food each year.

#15 Right now, more than 200 million people around the planet are officially considered to be unemployed.  Meanwhile, approximately 20 percent of the garbage that goes into our landfills is food.

#16 There is a city in Bangladesh called Dhaka where workers are paid just one dollar for every 1,000 bricks that they carry.  Meanwhile, the “inactivity rate” for men in their prime working years in the United States is hovering near record high levels.

#17 According to one recent survey, 81 percent of Russians now have a negative view of the United States.  That is much higher than at the end of the Cold War era.

#18 Montana has three times as many cows as it does people.

#19 The grizzly bear is the official state animal of California.  But no grizzly bears have been seen there since 1922.

#20 One recent survey discovered that “a steady job” is the number one thing that American women are looking for in a husband, and another survey discovered that 75 percent of women would have a serious problem dating an unemployed man.

#21 According to a study conducted by economist Carl Benedikt Frey and engineer Michael Osborne, 47 percent of the jobs in the United States could soon be lost to computers, robots and other forms of technology.

#22 The only place in the United States where coffee is grown commercially is in Hawaii.

#23 The original name of the city of Atlanta was “Terminus“.

#24 The state with the most millionaires per capita is Maryland.

#25 There are more than 4 million adult websites on the Internet, and they get more traffic than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined.

#26 86 percent of men include “having children” in their definition of success.  For women, that number is only 73 percent.

#27 One survey of 50-year-old men in the U.S. found that only 12 percent of them said that they were “very happy”.

#28 The United States has 845 motor vehicles for every 1,000 people.  Japan only has 593 for every 1,000 people, and Germany only has 540 for every 1,000 people.

#29 The average American spends more than 10 hours a day using an electronic device.

#30 48 percent of all Americans do not have any emergency supplies in their homes whatsoever.

#31 There are three towns in the United States that have the name “Santa Claus“.

#32 There is actually a town in Michigan called “Hell“.

#33 There are 60,000 miles of blood vessels in your body.  If they were stretched out in a single line, they could go around the planet more than twice.


Michael T. Snyder is a graduate of the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia and has a law degree and an LLM from the University of Florida Law School. He is an attorney that has worked for some of the largest and most prominent law firms in Washington D.C. and who now spends his time researching and writing and trying to wake the American people up. You can follow his work on The Economic Collapse blog, End of the American Dream and The Truth Wins. His new novel entitled “The Beginning Of The End” is now available on Amazon.com.

One Last Look At The Real Economy Before It Implodes – Part 3

ouroboros tomb

In the previous installments of this series, we discussed the hidden and often unspoken crisis brewing within the employment market, as well as in personal debt. The primary consequence being a collapse in overall consumer demand, something which we are at this very moment witnessing in the macro-picture of the fiscal situation around the world. Lack of real production and lack of sustainable employment options result in a lack of savings, an over-dependency on debt and welfare, the destruction of grass-roots entrepreneurship, a conflated and disingenuous representation of gross domestic product, and ultimately an economic system devoid of structural integrity — a hollow shell of a system, vulnerable to even the slightest shocks.

This lack of structural integrity and stability is hidden from the general public quite deliberately by way of central bank money creation that enables government debt spending, which is counted toward GDP despite the fact that it is NOT true production (debt creation is a negation of true production and historically results in a degradation of the overall economy as well as monetary buying power, rather than progress). Government debt spending also disguises the real state of poverty within a system through welfare and entitlements. The U.S. poverty level is at record highs, hitting previous records set 50 years ago during Lyndon Johnson’s administration. The record-breaking rise in poverty has also occurred despite 50 years of the so called “war on poverty,” a shift toward American socialism that was a continuation of the policies launched by Franklin D. Roosevelt’s ‘New Deal’.

The shift toward a welfare state is the exact reason why, despite record poverty and a 23 percent true unemployment rate (as discussed here), we do not yet see the kind of soup lines and rampant indigence witnessed during the Great Depression. Today, EBT cards and other welfare programs hide modern soup lines in plain sight. It should be noted that the record 20 percent of U.S. households now on food stamps are still technically contributing to GDP. That’s because government statistics make no distinction between normal grocery consumption and consumption created artificially through debt-generated welfare.

This third installment of our economic series will be the most difficult.  We will examine the issue of government debt, including how true debt is disguised from the public and how this debt is a warning of a coming implosion in our overall structure.  National debt is perhaps one of the most manipulated fields of economics, and the layers surrounding what our country truly owes to foreign creditors and central banks are many.  I believe this confusing array of disinformation is designed to discourage average Americans from pursuing the facts.  Here are the facts all the same, for those who have the patience…

First, it is important to debunk the mainstream lies surrounding what constitutes national debt.

“Official” national debt as of 2015 is currently reported at more than $18 trillion. That means that under Barack Obama and with the aid of the private Federal Reserve, U.S. debt has nearly doubled since 2008 — quite an accomplishment in only seven years’ time. But this is not the whole picture.

Official GDP numbers published for mainstream consumption do NOT include annual liabilities generated by programs such as Social Security and Medicare. These liabilities are veiled through the efforts of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which reports on what it calls “debts” rather than on the true fiscal gap. Through the efforts of economists like Laurence Kotlikoff of Boston University, Alan J. Auerbach and Jagadeesh Gokhale, understanding of the fiscal gap (the difference between our government’s projected financial obligations and the present value of all projected future tax and other receipts) is slowly growing within more mainstream circles.

The debt created through the fiscal gap increases, for example, because of the Social Security program – since government taxes the population for Social Security but uses that tax money to fund other programs or to pay off other outstanding debts. In other words, the government collects “taxes” with the promise of paying them back in the future through Social Security, but it spends that money instead of saving it for the use it was supposedly intended.

The costs of such unfunded liabilities within programs like Social Security and Medicare accumulate as the government continues to kick the can down the road instead of changing policy to cover costs. This accumulation is reflected in the Alternative Financial Scenario analysis, which the CBO used to publish every year but for some reason stopped publishing in 2013. Here is a presentation on the AFS by the St. Louis branch of the Federal Reserve. Take note that the crowd laughs at the prospect of the government continuing to “can kick” economic policy changes in order to avoid handling current debt obligations, yet that is exactly what has happened over the past several years.

Using the AFS report, Kotlikoff and other more honest economists estimate real U.S. national debt to stand at about $205 trillion.

When the exposure of these numbers began to take hold in the mainstream, media pundits and establishment propagandists set in motion a campaign to spin public perception, claiming that the vast majority of this debt was actually “projected debt” to be paid over the course of 70 years or more and, thus, not important in terms of today’s debt concerns. While some estimates of national debt include future projections of unfunded liabilities in certain sectors this far ahead, the spin masters’ fundamental argument is in fact a disingenuous redirection of the facts.

According to the calculations of economists like Chris Cox and Bill Archer, unfunded liabilities are adding about $8 trillion in total debt annually. That is $8 trillion dollars per year not accounted for in official national debt stats.  For the year ending Dec. 31, 2011, the annual accrued expense of Medicare and Social Security was $7 trillion of this amount.

Kotlikoff’s analysis shows that this annual hidden debt accumulation has resulted in a current total of $205 trillion. This amount is not the unfunded liabilities added up in all future years. This is the present value of the unfunded liabilities, discounted to today.

How is the U.S. currently covering such massive obligations on top of the already counted existing budget costs? It’s not.

Taxes collected yearly in the range of $3.7 trillion are nowhere near enough to cover the amount, and no amount of future taxes would make a dent either. This is why the Grace Commission, established during the Ronald Reagan presidency, found that not a single penny of your taxes collected by the Internal Revenue Service is going toward the funding of actual government programs. In fact, all new taxes are being used to pay off the ever increasing interest on current debts.

For those who argue that an increase in taxation is the cure, more than 102 million people are unemployed within the U.S. today. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Current Population Survey (CPS), 148 million are employed; about 20% of these are considered part-time workers (about 30 million people). Around 16 million full time workers are employed by state and local government (meaning they are a drain on the system whether they know it or not).  Only 43 percent of all U.S. households are considered “middle class,” the section of the public where most taxes are derived. In the best-case scenario, we have about 120 million people paying a majority of taxes toward U.S. debt obligations, while nearly as many are adding to those debt obligations through welfare programs or have the potential to add to those obligations in the near future if they do not find work due to the high unemployment rate that no one at the BLS wants to acknowledge.

Looking at reality, one finds a swiftly shrinking middle class paying for an ever larger welfare class.  Do the math, and an honest person will admit that no matter how much taxes increase, they will still never make up for the lack of adequate taxpayers.

Another dishonest argument given to dismiss concerns of national debt is the lie that Domestic Net Worth in the U.S. far outweighs our debts owed, and this somehow negates the issue. Domestic Net Worth is calculated using Gross Domestic Assets, public and private. It’s interesting, however, that Domestic Net Worth counts ‘Debt Capital’ as an asset, just as GDP counts debt creation as production.  Debt Capital is the “capital” businesses and governments raise by taking out loans. This capital (debt) is then counted as an asset toward Domestic Net Worth.

Yes, that’s right, private and national debts are “assets.” And mainstream economists argue that these debts (errr… assets) offset our existing debts. This is the unicorn, Neverland, Care Bear magic of establishment economics, folks. It’s truly a magnificent thing to behold.

Ironically, debt capital, like the official national debt, does not include unfunded liabilities. If it did, mainstream talking heads could claim an even vaster supply of “assets” (debts) that offset our liabilities.

This situation is clearly unsustainable. The only people who seem to argue that it is sustainable are disinformation agents with something to gain (government favors and pay) and government cronies with something to lose (public trust and their positions of petty authority).

With overall Treasury investments static for some foreign central banks and dwindling in others, the only other options are to print indefinitely and at ever greater levels, or to default. For decades, the Federal Reserve has been printing in order to keep the game afloat, and the American public has little to no idea how much fiat and debt the private institution has conjured in the process. Certainly, the amount of debt we see just in annual unfunded liabilities helps to explain why the dollar has lost 97 percent of its purchasing power since the Fed was established. Covering that much debt in the short term requires a constant flow of fiat, digital and paper.  Not only does REAL debt threaten our credit standing as a nation, it also threatens the value and full faith in the dollar.

The small glimpse into Fed operations we received during the limited TARP audit was enough to warrant serious concern, as a full audit would likely result in the exposure of total debt fraud, the immediate abandonment of U.S. Treasury investment, and the destruction of the dollar. Of course, all of that will eventually happen anyway…

I will discuss why this will take place sooner rather than later through the issues of Treasury bonds and the dollar in the fourth installment of this series. In the fifth installment, I will examine the many reasons why a deliberate program of destructive debt bubbles and currency devaluations actually benefits certain international financiers and elites with aspirations of complete globalization. And in the sixth and final installment, I will delve into practical solutions – and practical solutions only. In the meantime, I would like everyone to consider this:

No society or culture has ever successfully survived by disengaging itself from its own financial responsibilities and dumping them on future generations without falling from historical grace. Not one. Does anyone with any sense really believe that the U.S. is somehow immune to this reality?


Brandon Smith is the founder of the Alternative Market Project, an organization designed to help you find like-minded activists and preppers in your local area so that you can network and construct communities for barter and mutual aid. Join www.Alt-Market.com today and learn what it means to step away from the unstable mainstream system and build something better. You can contact Brandon Smith at: [email protected].

 

10 Charts Which Show We Are Much Worse Off Than Just Before The Last Economic Crisis

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If you believe that ignorance is bliss, you might not want to read this article.  I am going to dispel the notion that there has been any sort of “economic recovery”, and I am going to show that we are much worse off than we were just prior to the last economic crisis.  If you go back to 2007, people were feeling really good about things.  Houses were being flipped like crazy, the stock market was booming and unemployment was relatively low.  But then the financial crisis of 2008 struck, and for a while it felt like the world was coming to an end.  Of course it didn’t come to an end – it was just the first wave of our problems.  The waves that come next are going to be the ones that really wipe us out.  Unfortunately, because we have experienced a few years of relative stability, many Americans have become convinced that Barack Obama, Janet Yellen and the rest of the folks in Washington D.C. have fixed whatever problems caused the last crisis.  Even though all of the numbers are screaming otherwise, there are millions upon millions of people out there that truly believe that everything is going to be okay somehow.  We never seem to learn from the past, and when this next economic downturn strikes it is going to do an astonishing amount of damage because we are already in a significantly weakened state from the last one.

For each of the charts that I am about to share with you, I want you to focus on the last shaded gray bar on each chart which represents the last recession.  As you will see, our economic problems are significantly worse than they were just before the financial crisis of 2008.  That means that we are far less equipped to handle a major economic crisis than we were the last time.

#1 The National Debt

Just prior to the last recession, the U.S. national debt was a bit above 9 trillion dollars.  Since that time, it has nearly doubled.  So does that make us better off or worse off?  The answer, of course, is obvious.  And even though Barack Obama promises that “deficits are under control”, more than a trillion dollars was added to the national debt in fiscal year 2014.  What we are doing to future generations by burdening them with so much debt is beyond criminal.  And so what does Barack Obama want to do now?  He wants to ramp up government spending and increase the debt even faster.  This is something that I covered in my previous article entitled “Barack Obama Says That What America Really Needs Is Lots More Debt“.

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#2 Total Debt

Over the past 40 years, the total amount of debt in the United States has skyrocketed to astronomical heights.  We have become a “buy now, pay later” society with devastating consequences.  Back in 1975, our total debt level was sitting at about 2.5 trillion dollars.  Just prior to the last recession, it was sitting at about 50 trillion dollars, and today we are rapidly closing in on 60 trillion dollars.

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#3 The Velocity Of Money

When an economy is healthy, money tends to change hands and circulate through the system quite rapidly.  So it makes sense that the velocity of money fell dramatically during the last recession.  But why has it kept going down since then?

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#4 The Homeownership Rate

Were you aware that the rate of homeownership in the United States has fallen to a 20 year low?  Traditionally, owning a home has been a sign that you belong to the middle class.  And the last recession was really rough on the middle class, so it makes sense that the rate of homeownership declined during that time frame.  But why has it continued to steadily decline ever since?

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#5 The Employment Rate

Barack Obama loves to tell us how the unemployment rate is “going down”.  But as I will explain later in this article, this decline is primarily based on accounting tricks.  Posted below is a chart of the civilian employment-population ratio.  Just prior to the last recession, approximately 63 percent of the working age population of the United States was employed.  During the recession, this ratio fell to below 59 percent and it stayed there for several years.  Just recently it has peeked back above 59 percent, but we are still very, very far from where we used to be, and now the next economic downturn is rapidly approaching.

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#6 The Labor Force Participation Rate

So how can Obama get away with saying that the unemployment rate has gone down dramatically?  Well, each month the government takes thousands upon thousands of long-term unemployed workers and decides that they have been unemployed for so long that they no longer qualify as “part of the labor force”.  As a result, the “labor force participation rate” has fallen substantially since the end of the last recession…

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#7 The Inactivity Rate For Men In Their Prime Working Years

If things are “getting better”, then why are so many men in their prime working years doing nothing at all?  Just prior to the last recession, the inactivity rate for men in their prime working years was about 9 percent.  Today it is just about 12 percent.

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#8 Real Median Household Income

Not only is a smaller percentage of Americans employed today than compared to just prior to the last recession, the quality of our jobs has gone down as well.  This is one of the factors which has resulted in a stunning decline of real median household income.

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I have shared these next numbers before, but they bear repeating.  In America today, most Americans do not make enough to support a middle class lifestyle on a single salary.  The following figures come directly from the Social Security Administration

-39 percent of American workers make less than $20,000 a year.

-52 percent of American workers make less than $30,000 a year.

-63 percent of American workers make less than $40,000 a year.

-72 percent of American workers make less than $50,000 a year.

We all know people that are working part-time jobs because that is all that they can find in this economy.  As the quality of our jobs continues to deteriorate, the numbers above are going to become even more dismal.

#9 Inflation

Even as our incomes have stagnated, the cost of living just continues to rise steadily.  For example, the cost of food and beverages has gone up nearly 50 percent just since the year 2000.

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#10 Government Dependence

As the middle class shrinks and the number of Americans that cannot independently take care of themselves soars, dependence on the government is reaching unprecedented heights.  For instance, the federal government is now spending about twice as much on food stamps as it was just prior to the last recession.  How in the world can anyone dare to call this an “economic recovery”?

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So you tell me – are things “getting better” or are they getting worse?

To me, it is crystal clear that we are in much worse condition than we were just prior to the last economic crisis.

And now things are setting up in textbook fashion for the next great economic crisis.  Unfortunately, most Americans are totally clueless about what is going on and the vast majority are completely and totally unprepared for what is coming.

Or could it be possible that I am wrong?  Whether you agree or disagree with me, please feel free to add to the discussion by posting a comment below…


Michael T. Snyder is a graduate of the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia and has a law degree and an LLM from the University of Florida Law School. He is an attorney that has worked for some of the largest and most prominent law firms in Washington D.C. and who now spends his time researching and writing and trying to wake the American people up. You can follow his work on The Economic Collapse blog, End of the American Dream and The Truth Wins. His new novel entitled “The Beginning Of The End” is now available on Amazon.com.

Economic Apocalypse And The Transnational Power Elite (VIDEO)

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Investigative journalist and bestselling author Daniel Estulin is this week’s guest on Real Politik. Based in Spain, Mr. Estulin is renowned for his reportage and research on the transnational power elite, whose agendas and deliberations greatly influence the trajectory of global economic and political events. His book, The True Story of the Bilderberg Group (2005), is an international bestseller that has been translated into over 40 languages. He has recently been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for this and related journalistic work.

Estulin’s research has led him to conclude that the true rulers are not elected. Rather, they effectively vet and choose those vying for public office who will carry out broader agendas beyond public view. “Many years ago,” he recalls, “when I began researching these people I came across them by chance. I asked myself a fairly simple question, ‘If presidents and prime ministers of countries don’t really have much to say in terms of real body politics, then who runs the world from behind the scenes?”

The Bilderberg Group itself dates to the immediate post-World War Two era.

It was a very important element of the oligarchical structures of the Cold War period. That in and of itself is a pretty significant factor because what it meant was that it was one of the vehicles through which private financier oligarchical interests were able to impose their policies over what were nominally sovereign governments. The biggest scandal part of this whole Bilderberg organization is that it was heavily populated by people who came out of the World War Two Nazi apparatus and who were basically cleaned up, dusted off, and deployed to become a hardcore of the Cold War anti-Soviet structures in the West.

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The Bilderberg Group and similar organizations are invoked under various terms, such as “‘one world government, new world order, an all-seeing eye, a Jewish-Masonic conspiracy. But not matter how you want to spin this thing,” Estulin points out, “it’s not a conspiracy theory. It’s a conspiracy reality. These organizations–the Bilderbergers, the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, Bohemian Grove–they’re not the power centers of anything really. They’ve had an important role to play in the past, especially Bilderberger, but much less so today as its role has been diminished. Today these organizations, they’re basically conveyor belts of opportunities. The real decision making process is done at a much higher level. That said, it’s an important medium-sized organization where a lot of important decision making processes are [conducted] and passed on to higher organizations, higher entities, to where these debates are put together into a concrete policy initiative.”

There has been an almost complete news blackout of the Bilderberg Group and its meetings, thus allowing for the association to exist under the radar for much of its sixty year existence. “The media has always participated, talking about the mainstream press. They’re invited. They’re part of the Bilderberg conspiracy, Estulin argues.

When you look at the individuals and groups that attend these meetings, we see presidents, prime ministers, secretaries of state, royalty, billionaire financiers, presidents of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and so on. And, of course, among them you have the ‘fifth estate’–the New York Times, Washington Post, Le Monde, Economist, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, etc., and they all attend these meetings with the understanding that whatever the information, the decisions and discussions that take place at these meetings, they’re never revealed in the mainstream press’ publications. The world’s media … are just a source to legitimize a lot of these policy decisions taken by the elitists at these meetings.

Estulin also discusses recent geopolitical and economic events–the foremost being the standoff between Western countries and Russia. He argues, for example, that Vladamir Putin’s de facto opening of the “gold window” for the first time since Richard Nixon closed it in 1971 is a game changer that will eventually have major repercussions for the US petrodollar and broader political economy. “Nothing happens by accident,” in terms of volatility and the financial sector, the author observes.

A lot of the decision making takes place at these meetings. They’re discussed. They’re ironed out. Obviously not all of that stuff can be controlled. But without any doubt whatsoever, especially some of the conditions and situations that affect society in general, a lower strata of society, they’re very much discussed at these meetings.

I’ll give you one example. At this year’s Davos meeting they discussed an important issue for the rest of us, which is ‘fiscal austerity.’ Fiscal austerity is something that the media–the fifth estate–is trying to sell to us as people as something positive in a sense because in an age when the economy is spiraling out of control, fiscal responsibility, fiscal austerity is important, because allegedly the governments’ are going to be penny-pinching, watching the spending. It’s nonsense! It has nothing to do with reality. Fiscal austerity, as far as the elite is concerned, is kind of a vague term which actually refers to cutting social spending and increasing taxes. That’s what fiscal austerity means.

And the effect is that the public sector is devastated, obviously, as all assets are privatized, public workers are laid off en masse, unemployment becomes rampant, health and education disappear, taxes rise dramatically, and then currencies are devalued to make all assets cheaper for the international corporations and banks to buy up while internally causing inflation, which of course increases the costs of fuel and food. In short, this vaunted fiscal austerity which allegedly helps save money for the lower classes, implies in real body politic social destruction, as the social foundations of nations and peoples are pulled from under them. States become despotic and oppress the people who actually are revolting against austerity policies, and they have a term for that as well, which is called the “sterilization” of society.

The True Story of the Bilderberg Group is now being produced as a feature-length documentary film that will debut at film festivals with a subsequent theatrical run in late spring (preview below). A movie based on the book has been attempted twice over the past several years but ran into unforeseen difficulties whereupon the project was abandoned. The initial US producer “was scared into giving up on the project.” (See December interview with Kris Millegan, Estulin’s US book distributor.) “Then another producer came along and, basically, he was bankrupted.” Then “three-and-a-half years ago a producer in Spain, who had a big name in Spain, he was bankrupted. If you believe in conspiracies or coincidence theories, three banks called in his loans all in the same day. The loans had nothing to do with the Bilderberg documentary. Finally, we decided to put our money–over $200,000 over the past three years–for getting this out there. Right now we’re in the final stages of postproduction. We’ve traveled to 11 countries, interviewed some of the biggest experts in the world, and we’re about three three weeks away from finishing this.”

The project is still in need of about $25,000 in funding to complete postproduction. Mr. Estulin has established a site at rockethub to accept donations toward this goal.

Additional information on Estulin and his work is available at danielestulin.com.


Professor James F. Tracy is an Associate Professor of Media Studies at Florida Atlantic University. James Tracy’s work on media history, politics and culture has appeared in a wide variety of academic journals, edited volumes, and alternative news and opinion outlets. James is editor of Union for Democratic Communication’s Journal Democratic Communiqué and a contributor to Project Censored’s forthcoming publication Censored 2013: The Top Censored Stories and Media Analysis of 2011-2012. Additional writings and information are accessible at memoryholeblog.com.

Guess What Happened The Last Two Times The S&P 500 Was Up More Than 200% In Six Years?

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Just a few days ago, the bull market for the S&P 500 turned six years old.  This six year period of time has been great for investors, but what comes next?  On March 9th, 2009 the S&P 500 hit a low of 676.53.  Since that day, it has risen more than 200 percent.  As you will see below, there are only two other times within the last 100 years when the S&P 500 performed this well over a six year time frame.  In both instances, the end result was utter disaster. And as you take in this information, I want you to keep in mind what I said in my previous article entitled “7 Signs That A Stock Market Peak Is Happening Right Now“.  What we are witnessing at this moment is classic “peaking behavior”, and there is a long way to go down from here.  So if historical patterns hold up, those with lots of money in the stock market could soon be in for a whole lot of trouble.

According to Societe Generale analyst Andrew Lapthorne, there was an S&P 500 bull market run of more than 200 percent over a six year time period that ended in 1929.

We all know what happened that year.

And there was another S&P 500 bull market run of more than 200 percent over a six year time period that ended in 1999.  In the end, all of those gains were wiped out when the dotcom bubble burst.

And now we are near the end of another great bull market for the S&P 500.  The following is an excerpt from a recent Business Insider article

“Such a strong six year run up in US equities has only been seen twice since 1900, i.e., back in 1929 and 1999, neither of which ended well,” Lapthorne wrote.

It’s anyone’s guess what happens next. But Lapthorne and his colleagues have slanted bearish.

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So how will this current bull market end?

Needless to say, a lot of people are not very optimistic about that right now.

And there was another very interesting bull market that ended in 1987

On Aug. 12, the S&P 500 dipped to 102.42, setting the stage for the third-biggest bull market in stocks since 1929. Inflation and unemployment fell. In 1984, President Reagan would cruise to reelection with an ad telling voters “It’s morning again in America.” By 1987, the stock market had tripled. Shareholders who were able to see beyond the gloom of the early 1980s reaped a huge return.

Of course a lot of those huge stock market returns were eliminated in a single day.  On October 19th, 1987 the Dow declined by more than 22 percent during a single trading session.  That day is still known as “Black Monday” up to this present time.

Markets tend to go down a lot faster than they go up.  So if your stock portfolio has gone up substantially over the past few years, good for you.  But keep in mind that all of your gains can be wiped out very rapidly.  Millions of people experienced this during the last financial crisis, and millions more will experience this during the next one.

And as I keep reminding people, so many of the exact same patterns that we witnessed just prior to the last great stock market collapse are happening once again.

For example, just yesterday I explained that there has been only one other time over the past decade when we have seen the U.S. dollar surge in value in such a short period of time.

That was in 2008, just prior to the last financial crisis.

Another example is what has happened to the price of oil.  Since the middle of last year, the price of oil has fallen by more than 50 dollars a barrel.

In all of history, that has happened only one other time.

That was in 2008, just prior to the last financial crisis.

I could go on and on.  I could talk about margin debt, price/earnings ratios, industrial commodities, etc.

But you know what?  Despite all of the warning signs there are still people out there that are eagerly pouring money into the stock market.

Back in 2005 and 2006, I knew people that were hurrying to buy homes before they got “priced out of the market”.  So they did everything that they could to scrape together down payments and they took on mortgages that were larger than they could really afford.

And in the end they got burned.

Today, people are doing similar things.  For instance, my friend Bob recently sent me an article that I could hardly believe.  It turns out that an “expert” on CNBC is encouraging people “to take out a 7 year loan with a rapidly amortizing asset as collateral in order to buy stocks.”

Yikes!

Let me be clear.  The really, really, really dumb money is jumping into the stock market right now.  Those that are pouring money into stocks today are really going to get hit hard when the crash comes.

And it isn’t just me saying this.

Just consider the words of billionaire hedge fund manager Crispin Odey

Mr Odey is best known for his big macroeconomic calls, including foreseeing the 2008 global credit crisis; piling into insurers in the wake of September 2001 attacks; and picking the recent oil price rout. He famously paid himself £28 million in 2008 after shorting credit crisis casualties, including British lender Bradford & Bingley. Mr Odey’s fund returned 54.8 per cent that year.

“The market’s reaction to all of this is leave it to the professionals, leave it to those great guys, the central bankers, because they saved the day in 2009,” he said. “These guys are kind of relying on central banks pulling a rabbit out of a hat.”

The risk is that this time, monetary policy may be ineffective: “We need the crisis to reformulate policy. Central banks are not all singing and all dancing, they cannot basically avoid the natural consequences of what we are doing.”

An inadequate supply-side response to the plunge in commodity prices as the resources industry declines to reduce production was in effect stimulating supply into falling demand.

“The trouble is today the players, whether they are the miners or the oil companies or the Saudis or anybody else, they are not doing the right things. This is the first time in my career where economics 101 doesn’t work at all.”

But it was also true that the world has not had a major recession for 25 years and thanks to frequent interventions, “there is a sensation we don’t have a business cycle”. Stocks are enjoying a six-year bull market but he also hinted at liquidity issues bubbling under the surface.

I just think that you and I have got grandstand seats here [to an imminent market shock] and my point is having found myself in the second quarter of last year selling a lot of equities and starting to go short, I found out just how illiquid it all was. You never actually see it until people try and get out of these things.”

It was unclear to Mr Odey what central banks could do to prevent a crash.

The warning signs are clear.

Soon the time for warning will be over and the crisis will be here.

I hope that you are getting ready.


Michael T. Snyder is a graduate of the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia and has a law degree and an LLM from the University of Florida Law School. He is an attorney that has worked for some of the largest and most prominent law firms in Washington D.C. and who now spends his time researching and writing and trying to wake the American people up. You can follow his work on The Economic Collapse blog, End of the American Dream and The Truth Wins. His new novel entitled “The Beginning Of The End” is now available on Amazon.com.

One Last Look At The Real Economy Before It Implodes – Part 2

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Consumer spending in the U.S. accounts for approximately 70 percent of gross domestic product, though it is important to note that the manner in which “official” GDP is calculated is highly inaccurate. For example, all government money used within the Medicare coverage system to pay for “consumer health demands,” as well as the now flailing Obamacare socialized welfare program, are counted toward GDP, despite the fact that such capital is created from thin air by the Federal Reserve and also generates debt for the average taxpayer. Government debt creation does not beget successful domestic production. If that was a reality, then all socialist and communist countries (same thing) would be wildly enriched today. This is simply not the case.

That said, the swift decline in manufacturing jobs in the U.S. over the past two decades, including a considerable 33 percent overall decline in manufacturing jobs from 2001 to 2010, leaves only the consumer and service sectors as the primary areas of employment and “production.” The service sector provides about three out of every four jobs available in America, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The truth is that America actually produces very little that is tangible beyond Big Macs, pharmaceuticals and the occasional overpriced fighter jet that doesn’t function correctly and is filled with Chinese parts. All three will kill you at varying degrees of speed…

In the first part of this article series, I discussed the true state of global demand, along with the unstable situation within numerous indicators from exports to retail. Swiftly falling global demand for raw materials as well as consumer goods is an undeniable reality. This is a distinct problem in terms of the U.S., which has been, up until recently, the primary consumption driver for much of the world. As I plan to show, U.S. demand is about to fall even further into the abyss as real unemployment and personal debt take their toll.

Now, it is probably important to address the lies presented in the mainstream and by the BLS in terms of unemployment statistics because even after years of alternative analysts debunking establishment stats and how they are calculated, we STILL end up hearing the same arguments parroted by disinformation agents and unwitting useful idiots.

Such people continue to parade around boasting about the latest BLS reports on job creation claiming that “all is well” because the unemployment rate has dropped to 5.5% and all other talk to the contrary is “doom and gloom.” So, once again, I must relate the fact that the current BLS numbers are an utter sham.

Official unemployment stats are arrived at through disingenuous methods of calculation that were introduced in the 1990s, just before the bursting of the dot com bubble; the introduction of artificially low interest rates, which created the derivatives crisis; and the steady derailment of the U.S. financial system, which has occurred ever since.

So who is actually counted as employed and who is NOT counted as employed by the BLS?

Of the 102 million working-age Americans without work today, only 8.7 million are counted by the BLS as unemployed. Out of all working-age Americans, over 92 million are without jobs and are not counted by the BLS as unemployed. Why?

Well, if you ever read establishment-leaning propaganda websites like Factcheck or Poltifact, the argument is essentially that these 92 million Americans are not counted because they “refuse to participate,” not because they can’t find adequate employment and not because the government is misrepresenting the numbers. Yes, that’s right, 92 million Americans don’t count because they clearly must not want work.

So, first, I would ask how it is that the BLS comes to the conclusion that nearly one-third of the U.S. population does not want to work? Is it through its so called “household surveys?” Surveys, just like public polls, can be easily manipulated to affirm any particular bias merely by changing how questions are phrased. I would certainly love to see the raw data from such polls before the BLS adds its own spin.

Second, even if such claims were true and tens of millions of Americans did not want to work, why would this matter? Shouldn’t they still be counted as unemployed in order to draw the most accurate picture of our economic situation? Wouldn’t 92 million Americans apparently on a long-term labor and productivity strike have a severe negative effect on real GDP? And obviously, they must be surviving somehow. Wouldn’t 92 million people eventually require government assistance through food stamps and welfare? Does none of this matter to the BLS in terms of the overall economic picture?

Third, if the assertion is that 92 million people do not want jobs, then by extension the BLS would have to show that those millions of people could in fact get a job if they simply tried. Where are these tens of millions of jobs that Americans are refusing to apply for and what do they pay?

Fourth, a common misrepresentation attached to the claim of “refusal to participate” is that many of these Americans are teens in school (16 to 18) and possible “retirees” (55 or older). The BLS and the mainstream media simply assume these people do not want a job and should not be counted as unemployed. Of course, the BLS includes such people in its stats when they DO have jobs. So, according to the BLS, if you are 16 or 55 or 65 and you have a job, then you count. If you are 16 or 55 or 65 and don’t have a job, then you don’t count. See how that works?

Fifth, millions of Americans are losing long-term unemployment benefits every quarter and are being removed from BLS statistics. Many of them are not teens or retirees. These are average-working-age adults who now no longer have any real launch pad to progress in their career or life, and who should be fully motivated to obtain work if jobs are so readily available. Again, where are these jobs that said prime-working-age people refuse to accept?

The BLS also invariably discounts the number of working-age Americans who enter the market as well when boasting of jobs created to the public. Job growth numbers do not weigh the number of new participants each month with the number of supposed jobs made available, thus creating a misconception about how many new jobs are actually needed to keep the economy functional.

Another important factor to observe in government labor statistics is the issue of part-time work. When the BLS releases its monthly stats on unemployment, it does not widely promote or discuss the fact that 18 percent to 20 percent of those labeled “employed” are considered “part-time employed.” The BLS defines “part-time employed” as anyone who works 1 to 34 hours per week. Yes, if you work one hour per week, you have helped to bring down the overall unemployment rate of the U.S. to a fantastic 5.5 percent, even though you likely have zero ability to support yourself financially, let alone a family.

What does the 5.5 percent unemployment number actually represent on a fundamental level where the real world actually matters rather than the world of hypothetical calculations? Not a damn thing. The number is absolutely and unequivocally meaningless.

If one were to calculate unemployment using pre-1990s methods, as websites like Shadowstats.com do, counting U-6 measurements as well as the underemployed, you would come up with a U.S. jobless rate closer to 23 percent.

Many of those workers in the service sector on the higher end of the part-time and full-time spectrum still cannot support themselves adequately due to falling wages, rising prices and growing debt obligations, which brings me to the next problem at hand.

Beyond unemployment as a destroyer of consumer demand, there is also personal debt. Much of the focus within the mainstream and even alternative economics revolves around national debt (I will cover the many lies surrounding national debt in my next article). However, effects on fundamental demand are far clearer when one examines household liabilities. According to averages supplied through government stats (meaning the real numbers are likely far worse), the average American household suffers from between $10,000 to $15,000 in credit card debt, $155,000 in mortgage debt and $32,000 in student loan debt.

Americans owed nearly $12 trillion overall in 2014, an increase of 3.3 percent over 2013. Declines in some debts, including a decline in credit card debts since 2011, are attributed to numerous defaults, not repayments.

What we have here is a deadly fiscal combination; namely the combination of real unemployment at permanently high levels and real personal debt at unsustainable levels. This is the core reason behind the collapse in global demand that was discussed in the first installment of this series. With U.S. consumers no longer able to support their historical consumption habits and with the inflexible skeleton of the U.S. economy in particular dependent on past consumer dynamics, the system has little financial plasma left circulating.

This is not necessarily a new trend; but 10 years ago, Americans were able to offset their dwindling buying power by taking on massive debts through easy Federal Reserve fiat fueling questionable bank loans. They no longer have this option; thus, consumption is going to degrade (and is degrading) to the point that the current financial structure, stuck in its rigid and fragile dynamic, will collapse. There is no way around it.

As stated in my last article, the numbers given here are in most cases establishment-generated statistics. A common argument among state apologists and propagandists is that we in the alternative economic field should be labeled “hypocritical” if we debunk some mainstream stats while using others as reference points. I would make clear yet again that it is the contradictions within the government’s own numbers and claims that alternative analysts are most concerned with. My view is that when mainstream numbers actually reflect negative economic trends, they should be multiplied according to other prominent factors. That is to say, when the government bureaucrats and fantasy masters finally admit things are bad, they are actually much worse than indicated.

Some mainstream statistics are outright fraudulent; some are half true; others are factual yet hidden in plain site from the general public. In between the lines of all of this information, good and bad, alternative economists attempt to discern as much foundational truth as possible. As this series continues, I believe readers new to the Liberty Movement, as well as longtime activists, will come to view a wider and fuller picture of our fiscal situation and come to the same conclusion I have – That the manner in which we live today is about to drastically change, and that this coming change is being hidden from us deliberately by those who wish to use a tactic of financial shock and awe to their ultimate advantage.


Brandon Smith is the founder of the Alternative Market Project, an organization designed to help you find like-minded activists and preppers in your local area so that you can network and construct communities for barter and mutual aid. Join www.Alt-Market.com today and learn what it means to step away from the unstable mainstream system and build something better. You can contact Brandon Smith at: [email protected].

 

Documenting The Collapse Of 2015: The World Is Falling Apart (VIDEO)

Parched earth

Miles Franklin’s Andy Hoffman reveals the collapse as it spreads from nation to nation. Everyone has their eye on Greece as it rebels against the wishes of the International banking cabal.

We are now looking at the crumbling global economy as quantified by the Baltic Dry Index which just hit a new all-time low. On paper, the ports may be open, but very litle is moving. How much longer until the system collapses?

 


Dave Hodges is the host of the popular weekly talk show, The Common Sense Show, which airs on Sunday nights from 9pm – Midnight (central) on the Republic Broadcasting Network and its 29 affiliate stations. Dave also hosts a website (www.thecommonsenseshow.com) in which he writes daily articles on the geopolitical state of affairs both nationally and internationally. The theme of Dave’s show and website centers around exposing the corruption and treason which has invaded the presidency and Congress as well as their corporate and banking benefactors. Dave is an award winning psychology, sociology, statistics and research professor. He is also a former college basketball coach who retired as the winningest coach in his college’s history. A mental health therapist by training, Dave brings a broad based perspective in his fight against the corrupt central banking cartels which have hijacked the US government. Dave and his wife, Nora have one son and they presently reside in rural Arizona approximately 25 miles north of the greater Phoenix area. Dave was drawn to the fight for freedom when the globalist central banking forces, led by Senator John McCain, attempted to seize his home and property and that of 300 of his neighbors, without one dime being offered in compensation. This attempted public theft of private property was conducted for the purpose of securing cheap land in which the globalists intended on putting in an international highway through their area known as the Canamex Corridor. Dave’s community appointed him the spokesperson and eventually his community won their fight against the bankers and their front man, Senator McCain. This event launched Dave’s career as a broadcaster and an investigative journalist. Dave’s website presently enjoys over a half a million visitors every month.

Nearly At ‘Full Employment’? 10 Reasons Why The Unemployment Numbers Are A Massive Lie

gall.unemployment

On Friday, we learned that the official “unemployment rate” has fallen to 5.5 percent. Since an unemployment rate of 5 percent is considered to be “full employment” by many economists, many in the mainstream media took this as a sign that the U.S. economy has almost fully “recovered” since the last recession.  In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, some Federal Reserve officials believe that “the U.S. economy is already at full employment“.  But how can this possibly be?  It certainly does not square with reality.  Personally, I know people that have been struggling with unemployment for years and that still cannot find a decent job.  And I get emails from readers all the time that are heartbroken because they are suffering through extended periods of unemployment.  So what in the world is going on?  How can the government be telling us that we are nearly at “full employment” when so many people can’t find work?  Could it be possible that the government numbers are misleading?

It is my contention that the official “unemployment rate” has become so politicized and so manipulated that it is essentially meaningless at this point.  The following are 10 reasons why…

#1 Since February 2008, the size of the U.S. population has grown by 16.8 million people, but the number of full-time jobs has actually decreased by 140,000.

#2 The percentage of working age Americans that have a job right now is still about the same as it was during the depths of the last recession.  Posted below is a chart that shows how the employment-population ratio has changed since the beginning of the decade.  Does this look like a full-blown “employment recovery” to you?…

Employment-Population-Ratio-2015-425x282

#3 The primary reason for the decline in the official “unemployment rate” is the fact that the government now considers millions upon millions of long-term unemployed workers to “no longer be in the labor force”.  Just check out the following numbers

The number of Americans participating in the labor force has been on a decline for the past few years. Nearly 33 percent of the Americans above age 16 are not part of the workforce, the highest number since 1978. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report issued recently has found 92,898,000 Americans above age 16 not a part of the labor force of the country as on February 2015.

When President Obama took over the office in January 2009, nearly 80,529,000 Americans were not a part of the labor force. The number has increase by nearly 12 million over the last few years.

#4 Over the past couple of years, the labor force participation rate in this country has been hovering near mutli-decade lows

The labor force participation rate hovered between 62.9 percent and 62.7 percent in the eleven months from April 2014 through February, and has been 62.9 percent or lower in 13 of the 17 months since October 2013.

Prior to that, the last time the rate was below 63 percent was 37 years ago, in March 1978 when it was 62.8 percent, the same rate it was in February.

#5 When you add the number of “officially unemployed” Americans (8.7 million) to the number of Americans “not in the labor force” (92.9 million), you get a grand total of 101.6 million working age Americans that do not have a job right now.  Does that sound like “full employment” to you?

#6 The quality of our jobs continues to decline.  Right now, only 44 percent of U.S. adults are employed for 30 or more hours each week.

#7 Millions upon millions of Americans have been forced to take part-time jobs because that is all they can find, and wages for American workers are at depressingly low levels.  The following numbers come directly from the Social Security Administration

-39 percent of American workers make less than $20,000 a year.

-52 percent of American workers make less than $30,000 a year.

-63 percent of American workers make less than $40,000 a year.

-72 percent of American workers make less than $50,000 a year.

#8 The average duration of unemployment for an unemployed worker is still about twice as long as it was just prior to the last recession.

#9 Most Americans feel as though the Obama administration has done little to nothing to help the middle class.  Just consider the following poll numbers

According to a new poll by the Pew Research Center, Americans see government policies under the Obama administration as having mostly benefited wealthy people, large corporations and financial institutions.

Seventy-two percent of respondents said government policies have done little or nothing to help the middle class, and 65 percent said they have done nothing to help the poor. Sixty-eight percent said the policies have done nothing to help small businesses.

Meanwhile, 45 percent said the policies have done a “great deal” to help large banks and financial institutions, 38 percent say they have helped large corporations, and 36 percent say they have helped the wealthy.

#10 If the unemployment rate was calculated honestly, we would all be talking about the horrific “unemployment crisis” that we were currently enduring.  According to John Williams of shadowstats.com, the real unemployment rate in the United States right now is above 23 percent.

Our politicians and the mainstream media are attempting to convince us that everything is just fine.

But what they are telling us simply does not match the cold, hard reality on the streets.

And since the talking heads on television are proclaiming that we are nearly at “full employment”, that just makes millions upon millions of Americans that can’t seem to find work no matter how hard they try feel even worse than they already do.

If jobs are “easy to get”, then those that are chronically unemployment must have “something wrong” with them.  That is the message that we are being given.  If the mainstream media says that unemployment has gone way down, then anyone that is still unemployed must be really “lazy”, right?

When you are unemployed for an extended period of time, it can really suck the life right out of you.  It can be really tempting to believe that you are viewed as a failure by your family and friends.  And for the government to lie to us like this just makes things even harder.

If you are unemployed and can’t find a job right now, I want you to understand that you are caught in the midst of a long-term downward economic spiral which is going to get a lot worse.

When the government tells you that we are in a “recovery”, they are lying to you.

And when the government tells you that things are about to get a lot better, they are lying to you.

Everyone has times in their lives when they get knocked down.

The key is to always get back up and to never, ever stop fighting.

Yes, we are facing some really hard economic times.  But that does not mean that your life is over.  Never give up, and never give in to fear.  Just do what you can with what you have today, and tomorrow get up and fight with everything that you have got.

The truth is that the best chapters of your life could be just around the corner.

Just don’t sit back and wait for the government to save you.  If you are waiting for the government to save you, then you are going to be deeply disappointed.


Michael T. Snyder is a graduate of the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia and has a law degree and an LLM from the University of Florida Law School. He is an attorney that has worked for some of the largest and most prominent law firms in Washington D.C. and who now spends his time researching and writing and trying to wake the American people up. You can follow his work on The Economic Collapse blog, End of the American Dream and The Truth Wins. His new novel entitled “The Beginning Of The End” is now available on Amazon.com.

Gold And Silver – Banker Insanity Grows, PMs Decline.

gold and silver

By: Edge Trader Plus -

Two weeks ago, we wrote on Banker’s Grip On PMs Not Over, leading off about the Syriza party likely to fold and sell its Greek citizens into more debt servitude, calling the efforts of Tsipras and Varoufakis Kabuki theater, while still a Greek Tragedy for Greek citizens. In one of what has to be German banker’s prouder moments, complaining about how Greece does not want to pay back money loaned, they led the charge demanding Greek compliance with more austerity in the cards.  Wake up Germany and other European nations partaking in the artificial patchwork called the European Union.  No money was ever loaned to Greece!

Money does not exist in Europe any more than money does not exist in the United States. What the Greeks received was a massive loan of debt issued by the International Monetary Fund.  Who authorized the IMF to issue that debt to Greece?  From where did the “funds” come?  [Hint: Out of thin air.] The IMF/EU/BIS, call the “lenders” whatever you choose, but no money was loaned, just a digitized I.O.U.  The notion of money is as phony as any $3 Euro bill.  The entire EU and its bloated, non-representative bureaucrats are a massive Ponzi scheme, led by Mario Draghi and a host of other sycophants who would not otherwise get elected even if they ran unopposed.

Last week, we wrote about Insanity Prevails; PMs Without Direction.  The above is proof of the insanity under which all Europeans live without any discernible objection.  Not only are Europeans willing to live in an artificial world, while heavily spied on by their respective governments, they are willing to commit financial suicide by kissing US butt over enforcing sanctions against Russia.    How are them sanctions working out for you, EU?

Under sanctions designed to punish Russia simply for its existence, as far as the US is concerned, the EU has proven stupidity has no national borders. Germany prides itself for its business acumen, yet the country is suffering backlash in lost business and a decline in GDP as a result of acting as the 51st State of the US. Those mostly southern European countries that imposed a food embargo on Russia are confronted with huge losses as their unsold food has no market.  Good thinking, EU.

Russia is otherwise prospering quite well, buying food from South America, making more and larger deals with China, selling cheaper oil that is offset by higher in “value”US fiat resulting from sales.  The higher valued fiat “dollar” is then being used to buy Western central banker suppressed gold at bargain prices.  We guess the US/UK/EU brain trusts have the Russians right where they want them.  Keep putting the hurt on!

All of the Western [totally insolvent] central bankers, along with the psychopathic leaders of the US/UK/EU under the banker’s charge, will never take responsibility for all of the economic destruction and capital debasement for which they are responsible. In fact, the US is helping destroy the EU as a result of its failed policies of sanctions against a prospering Russia.  In order to save face, [like it has any], the US is bound and determined to start another war, even WWIII, if need be, and then blame all of the US economic collapse on its enemies for “creating” economic failure in the US, thereby deflecting all blame from the bankers and politicians responsible.

As psychopaths in charge, none will ever take responsibility for their irresponsible actions.  Thanks to their actions, every Western county, including and especially Japan, is suffering from an irreversible high debt to GDP, not just irreversible, but also unsustainable.  Ironically, guess which three countries did not make the list of the Western world’s worst debt/GDP offenders?  Russia, Syria, and Iran.  None is in the Western world subject to such fiat economic abuse.  Yet another reason why Obama wants to go to war with Russia, no doubt.

Last week, Austria, of all countries, found that its “bad loan” bank, Hypo Alpe Adria, aka Heta Asset Resolution, just got badder.  Somehow, no doubt confounding all the financial banker wizards, an audit showed an 8.7 billion Euro “capital hole.”   Incredibly enough, the bank was recently rated AAA/Aaa, by other bankers, of course.  A “bail-in”is imminent.  In fact, the Austrian finance ministry said that “creditors can be forced to contribute to the costs of winding down Heta – or ‘bailed in’ – under new European legislation that Austria adopted this year so that taxpayers do not have to shoulder the entire burden.”

In a sane world, banks that made bad loans would have to suffer the loss and write them off, even go bankrupt if necessary. In a banker-driven world, aka insanity, all bad loans must be recovered at the expense of depositors and the public.  Bail-ins, coming soon to a bank near you, Americans.  Take heed…your 401ks/IRAs are all at risk of bail-ins, exchanged for worthless government bonds no one wants.  [Not that we expect anyone to take heed.]

Why mention the past few articles and point out European financial folly and Austrian banking three-card Monte?  Because international Rothschild/elite-led bankers have no limits in the path of financial ruin in which they lead the world, all in their inexorable march to their New World Order, which may already be a fait accompli.

Look at what the international bankers are doing to the price of gold and silver.  The point to be taken is that anyone who is relying upon fundamental information and/or expectations that governments will make things right is engaging in mental masturbation.  The bankers want to destroy the gold/silver markets for the masses. They want to destroy all hope for higher prices, all justification for holding them as an alternative to their artificial, worthless fiat paper.

The central bankers are on a path of self-destruction, and they will take down the masses with them.  They could care less about China and Russia accumulating all available physical gold and silver.  The bankers know they are toast to China and Russia, but in their perverted effort to hold onto power for as long as possible, maybe even delusional enough to falsely believe they will always remain in power, they will destroy everything in the process, plain and simple.

We have been saying for the past few weeks, actually longer, the charts are telling anyone who wants to pay attention that prices are not going higher anytime soon.  That can change in a week or a month or a year, but until there are signs of change, prices will remain suppressed.

What we have been saying for an even longer period of time, a few years, is keep buying, and personally holding, physical gold and/or silver.  Price does not matter.  Sure, everyone wants to get the most for their money, but that is not the purpose of buying PMs any more.  At some point, it may not be available at these prices, literally overnight when reality finally kicks in and a price adjustment is made in line with true supply/demand. Also, governments being what they are, an outright ban on purchasing PMs can be put into place.  Already efforts to confiscate PMs from safety deposit boxes are in place. Expect things to get worse, not better.

If you do not own it now, you are playing a game of [irresponsible]risk.  For those who already own PMs, even for prices at the highs, accept it and be glad you own either or both.  The insane banker’s world in which we live will come to an end, and likely a disastrous one.  Keep on stacking, keep on staking.  On a relative scale, price should be your least concern.

The trend matters the most because the majority of price development will occur within the trend’s context.  RHS = Right Hand Side, LHS = Left Hand Side.  Comparing the location of price on the RHS of the chart, relative to the LHS clearly shows how price has been developing throughout, to the downside, with the trend.

(click to enlarge images)

SI-W-7-Mar-15-895x612

When you compare this chart to that of daily gold, silver has a better relative show in how it is holding within the down channel.  We get key information by observing how price reacts/responds to obvious support/resistance levels.  If it bounces off and rallies higher, support will hold.  If price stays at/near support, the likelihood is greater that potential support will not hold.

It is not our job to guess which but to watch and then respond to the confirmed market activity, if a tradable opportunity arises.

SI-D-7-Mar-15-895x612

While last week’s down bar in gold strongly suggests lower prices, it does not necessarily follow that lower prices will occur.  For that reason, we watch to
see how price reacts in order to have important information moving forward.

GC-W-7-Mar-15-895x612

The chart comments are apt.  You can see how the daily gold chart is relatively weaker than that of silver.  However, both remain in a down trend, and that is what matters.

GC-D-7-Mar-15-895x612

One Last Look At The Real Economy Before It Implodes – Part 1

broken clock

We are only two months into 2015, and it has already proven to be the most volatile year for the economic environment since 2008-2009. We have seen oil markets collapsing by about 50 percent in the span of a few months (just as the Federal Reserve announced the end of QE3, indicating fiat money was used to hide falling demand), the Baltic Dry Index losing 30 percent since the beginning of the year, the Swiss currency surprise, the Greeks threatening EU exit (and now Greek citizens threatening violent protests with the new four-month can-kicking deal), and the effects of the nine-month-long West Coast port strike not yet quantified. This is not just a fleeting expression of a negative first quarter; it is a sign of things to come.

Stock markets are, of course, once again at all-time highs after a shaky start, despite nearly every single fundamental indicator flashing red. But as Zero Hedge recently pointed out in its article on artificial juicing of equities by corporations using massive stock buybacks, this is not going to last much longer, simply because the debt companies are generating is outpacing their ability to prop up the markets.

This conundrum is also visible in central bank stimulus measures. As I have related in past articles, the ability of central banks to goose the global financial system is faltering, as bailouts and low-interest-rate capital infusions now have little to no effect on overall economic performance. The fiat fuel is no longer enough; and when this becomes apparent in the mainstream, all hell will indeed break loose.

The argument that banks can prop up the system forever is now being debunked. In this series of articles, I will cover the core reasons why this is happening, starting with the basis of all economics: supply and demand.

The Baltic Dry Index has been a steadfast indicator of the REAL economy for many years. While most other indexes and measures of fiscal health are subject to direct or indirect manipulation, the BDI has no money flowing through it and, thus, offers a more honest reflection of the world around us. In the past two months, the index measuring shipping rates and international demand for raw goods has hit all-time historical lows, plummeting 57 percent over the course of the past 12 months and 30 percent for the year to date.

The dwindling lack of demand for shipping presents obvious challenges to mainstream talking heads who contend that the overall economic picture indicates recovery. That’s because if demand for raw goods has fallen so far as to produce a 57 percent rate drop over the past year, then surely demand for the consumer goods that those raw goods are used to produce must be collapsing as well. The establishment machine has used the same broken-record argument against this conclusion, despite being proven wrong over and over again: the lie that fleet size is the cause of falling shipping rates, rather than a lack of demand for ships. This is the same argument used by pundits to distract from the problems inherent in the severe drop in oil prices: that oversupply is the issue, and that demand is as good as it ever was. Forbes has even attempted to outright dismiss the 29-year low of the BDI and alternative economic analysts in the same lazily written article.

First, let’s address the issue of global demand for goods. Does the BDI represent this accurately? Well, as most of you know, the real picture on manufacturing and export numbers is nearly impossible to come by considering most, if not all indexes fail to account for monetary devaluation and inflation in costs of production. For instance, mainstream propagandists love to argue that manufacturing (like retail) generally posts at least small to modest gains every year. What they fail to mention or take into account is the added costs to the bottom line of said manufacturers and retailers, as well as the added costs to the end consumer. Such costs are often not addressed in the slightest when final numbers are tallied for the public.

In manufacturing, some numbers are outright falsified, as in the case of China, where officials are forcing plant managers to lie about output.

In my view, any decline made visible in the false numbers of the mainstream should be multiplied by a wide margin in order to approximate what is going on in the real economy. China, the largest exporter and importer in the world, continues to suffer declines in manufacturing “expansion” as it’s PMI suggests orders remain steadily stagnant.

“Official” statistics show a 3.3 percent decline in Chinese exports in January from a year earlier, while imports slumped 19.9 percent. Exports slid 12 percent on a monthly basis while imports fell 21 percent according to the Customs Administration.

In Japan, despite the falling Yen which was expected to boost overseas demand, export growth declined for last year, certainly in terms of export volume. The recent “jump” in January does nothing to offset the steady erosion of Japanese exports over the past five years and the flat demand over the past two years.

Japan’s manufacturing expansion has slowed to the slowest pace in seven months.

In Germany, the EU’s strongest economic center, industrial output has declined to the lowest levels since 2009, and factory orders have also plunged to levels not seen since 2009.

Despite the assumptions in the mainstream media that lower oil prices would result in high retails sales, this fantasy refuses to materialize. Retail sales continue the dismal trend set during the Christmas season of 2014,with the largest decline in 11 months in December, and continued declines in January.

Oil is certainly the most in-our-face undeniable indicator of imploding demand. Volatility has skyrocketed while pump prices have dropped by half in many places. One may be tempted to only see the immediate benefits of this deflation. But they would be overlooking the bigger picture of global demand. Oil is the primary driver of economic productivity. Dwindling demand for oil means dwindling productivity which means dwindling consumption which means a dwindling economy. Period.

OPEC reports announce downgraded global demand for oil above and beyond expectations. Oil demand has fallen to levels not seen since 2002.

Beyond the issue of real global demand for raw goods, the argument that the BDI is being gutted only due to an oversupply of cargo vessels also does not take into account the fact that Shipping companies often SCRAP extra ships when demand falters.  I find it rather amusing that mainstream economists seem to think that dry bulk companies would continue a trend of fielding cargo ships they don’t use causing an artificial drop in freight rates.  As far as I know, such companies are not in the habit of undermining their own profits if they can help it.  When an oversupply of ships occurs, companies remove unused vessels either through scrap or dry dock in an attempt to drive freight rates back up to profitable levels.  This often works, unless, it is DEMAND for cargo shipping that is the issue, not the supply of ships.

Ship scrapping boomed in 2013 and has not stopped since.  In fact, dry bulk mover COSCO dismantled at least 17 ships in the month of January alone and has been dismantling ships consistently since at least 2013.  The trend of scrapping is often glossed over by shippers as a “modernization effort”, but the fact remains that cargo companies are always removing ships from supply in order to maximize rates and profits.

Finally, global shipping giant Maersk Line now openly admits that the primary detriment to shipping rates, the reason the BDI is falling to historic lows, is because of falling demand in nearly every market; ship supply is secondary.

Does falling demand result in a lack of fleet use and thus “oversupply”?  Of course.  However, this chicken/egg game that establishment economists play with the BDI needs to stop.  Falling demand for goods came first, the number of unused ships came second.  This is the reality.

A rather cynical person might point out that all of the stats above come from the propaganda engine that is the mainstream, so why should they count? I would suggest these people consider the fact that the propaganda engine is constantly contradicting itself, and in-between the lines, we can find a certain amount of truth.

If manufacturing is in “expansion”, even minor expansion, then why are exports around the world in decline? If the Baltic Dry Index is dropping off the map because of a “supply glut of ships”, then why are other demand indicators across the board also falling, and why are major shipping agencies talking about lack of demand? You see, this is what alternative analysts mean by the “real economy”; we are talking about the disconnect within the mainstream’s own data, and we are attempting to discern what parts actually present a logical picture. The media would prefer that you look at the economy through a keyhole rather than through a pair of binoculars.

Beyond this lay the true beneficiaries of public oblivion; international corporate moguls, banking financiers, and political despots. Corporations and governments only do two things relatively well — lying and stealing. One always enables the other.

The establishment has done everything in its power to hide the most foundational of economic realities, namely the reality of dying demand. Why? Because the longer they can hide true demand, the more time they have to steal what little independent wealth remains within the system while positioning the populace for the next great con (the con of total globalization and centralization). I will cover the many advantages of an economic collapse for elites at the end of this series.

For now I will only say that the program of manipulation we have seen since 2008 is clearly changing. The fact of catastrophic demand loss is becoming apparent. Such a loss only ever precedes a wider fiscal event. The BDI does not implode without a larger malfunction under the surface of the financial system. Oil and exports and manufacturing do not crumble without the weight of a greater disaster bearing down. These things do not take place in a vacuum. They are the irradiated flash preceding the deadly fallout of a financial atom bomb.


Brandon Smith is the founder of the Alternative Market Project, an organization designed to help you find like-minded activists and preppers in your local area so that you can network and construct communities for barter and mutual aid. Join www.Alt-Market.com today and learn what it means to step away from the unstable mainstream system and build something better. You can contact Brandon Smith at: [email protected] .