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50 Numbers From 2014 That Sound Fake But That Are Actually Real

2014

2014 was quite a bizarre year, wasn’t it?  The past 12 months brought us MH370, Ebola, civil war in Ukraine, civil unrest in Ferguson, the rise of ISIS and the fall of the Democrats in the midterm elections.  Our world is becoming crazier and more unstable with each passing day, and I have a feeling that things are going to accelerate greatly in 2015.  But for the moment things are relatively quiet as much of the world stops to celebrate the holiday season, so now is a good time to look back and see where we have been over the past year.  The facts that I am about to share with you sound false, but they are all quite true.  If you doubt any of these facts, just click the link on the number to find the source.  It has been said that truth is stranger than fiction, and that was definitely the case during the past 12 months.  In no particular order, the following are 50 numbers from 2014 that sound fake but that are actually real…

2.5 – Researchers have discovered that characters in cartoons for children are 2.5 times more likely to die than characters in adult dramas.  But as long as those characters look cute and make funny noises it must be okay.

$4.20 – The price of ground beef just hit a brand new record high of $4.20 a pound.  Exactly 10 years ago, it was just $2.21 a pound.  What do you think Clara Peller would say about this?

19.8 percent – This holiday season, nearly 20 percent of all American families are on food stamps.  But since the stock market is soaring, most of the rest of the country doesn’t seem to care.

$20 – If you want to “lock down that new man for Christmas”, you can buy a positive pregnancy test on Craigslist for just 20 dollars.

29.0 years – The average age when a man in America first gets married has reached an all-time high of 29.0 years.  Thus the need for the fake pregnancy tests.

31.1 percent – An astounding 31.1 percent of all U.S. young adults in the 18 to 34-year-old age bracket are currently living with their parents.  But the good news is that demand for tacky basement decor is at an all-time high.

33 percent – According to the Wall Street Journal, close to one-third of all Americans have a file in the FBI’s master criminal database.

34.6 percent – According to the CDC, 34.6 percent of all men in America officially meet the criteria for being obese.

36 – At this point only 36 percent of the U.S. population can name all three branches of government.

43 – The new EPA regulations issued while Barack Obama has been president are 43 times as long as the entire Bible.

45 percent – One survey discovered that 45 percent of all Americans “dread” the Christmas season.

48 percent – Only 48 percent of Americans can immediately come up with $400 in emergency cash without borrowing it or selling something.

50 – An MIT research scientist is warning that if current trends continue 50 percent of all children in America will be autistic by the year 2025.

50 percent – Half of all college graduates in America are still financially dependent on their parents when they are two years out of college.

52 percent – According to a survey that was conducted earlier this year, 52 percent of all Americans cannot even afford the house that they are currently living in right now.

54 percent – For the first time ever, more than half of all U.S. doctors support the legalization of assisted suicide.

57 percent – A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that 57 percent of all Americans consider race relations in America to be “bad”.  That is the worst number in 20 years.

59 percent – One very disturbing recent poll discovered that 59 percent of Americans are in favor of torturing our prisoners.

60 percent – In the United States today, 60 percent of all bachelor’s degrees are earned by women.

64 percent – It would be a great understatement to say that pornography is popular with men in America.  This is true even among men that are supposed to be religious.  For example, one survey discovered that 64 percent of all Christian men ages 31 to 49 look at porn at least monthly.

65 percent – One shocking new poll found that 65 percent of Americans believe that the government is “broken”.  The shocking part of the survey was that it was only 65 percent.

65 percent – According to a Census Bureau report that was released in December, 65 percent of all children in America are living in a home that receives some form of aid from the federal government.

70 percent – Right now, about 70 percent of all government spending goes toward dependence-creating programs.

78 percent – According to a Pew Research Center study that was released earlier this year, 78 percent of U.S. women “want a spouse with a steady job”.  Apparently the other 22 percent want an unemployed bum that stays home all day playing video games.

85 percent – 85 percent of all artificial Christmas trees are now made in China, and there is a rumor that Santa and his elves are considering a permanent move to the Chinese city of Shenzhen.

1979 – The United States has become the nation of the “permanent emergency”.  In fact, there has been at least one “state of emergency” in effect in this country since 1979.

7,500 – The worldwide Ebola death toll has surpassed 7,500 for the first time, but most Americans seem to believe that the crisis is over.  The truth is that it may just be beginning.

20,000 – Right now McDonald’s has 14,267 locations in the United States, but payday lenders have more than 20,000.

$30,000 – According to the Social Security Administration, 52 percent of all American workers made less than $30,000 last year.

80,000 – Back in 1980, there were only about 3,000 SWAT raids conducted in the United States.  But today, there are more than 80,000 SWAT raids per year in this country.

100,000 – It is estimated that there are at least 100,000 underage sex workers in the United States.  In case you were wondering, yes that means that we are a very sick nation.

$1,000,000 – We are supposed to be a government “of the people, by the people and for the people”, but at this point more than half the members of Congress are millionaires.

1,400,000 – Thanks in large part to unchecked illegal immigration, there are now 1.4 million members of criminal gangs living in our cities.

2,400,000 – There are currently more than 2.4 million people behind bars in America, and since 1980 the number of people incarcerated in our prisons has quadrupled.

2,500,000 – According to the National Center on Family Homelessness, there are now 2.5 million homeless children in the United States.

4,000,000 – Right now there are more than 4 million adult websites on the Internet, and they get more traffic than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined.

9,700,000 – Almost 10 million more Americans have enrolled in Medicaid since Obamacare first launched.

15,000,000 – More than 15 million Americans have cosmetic procedures done each year, and Christmas is the busiest season of the year for plastic surgeons.

30,000,000 – In America today, more than 30 million Americans are taking antidepressants.  And keep in mind that antidepressants are only one class of pharmaceutical drug.  Overall, nearly 70 percent of all Americans are currently on at least one prescription drug according to the Mayo Clinic.

$40,000,000 – More than 40 million dollars has been spent just on vacations for Barack Obama and his family since he has been in the White House.

49,000,000 – An astounding 49 million Americans are considered to be facing food insecurity at this point.

110,000,000 – Approximately one-third of the entire population of the United States (110 million people) currently has a sexually transmitted disease according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

156,600,000 – The population of Bangladesh (156,600,000) is actually larger than the population of Russia (143,500,00).  But nobody is scared of Bangladesh.

3,000,000,000 – For the first time ever, there are now more than 3 billion people on the Internet around the globe.  I don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing.

$600,000,000,000 – Americans will spend more than 600 billion dollars this Christmas season.  That is an amount of money greater than the entire GDP of Sweden.

$1,200,000,000,000 – Student loan debt has hit a grand total of 1.2 trillion dollars in the United States.  That number has grown by about 84 percent just since 2008.

$2,000,000,000,000 – The war in Iraq cost U.S. taxpayers more than 2 trillion dollars, but now a radical jihadist terror organization known as ISIS controls nearly a third of the entire country.

5,000,000,000,000 – There are now 5 trillion little pieces of plastic floating around in the oceans of the world, and lots more plastic is being dumped into our oceans every single day.

$18,031,021,541,347.52 – The current size of the U.S. national debt.  It increased by more than a trillion dollars during the fiscal year that ended a few months ago, and it is on pace to approximately double during Obama’s eight years in the White House.

$40,000,000,000,000 – There are five “too big to fail” banks in the United States that each have more than 40 TRILLION dollars worth of exposure to derivatives.  This is a “sword of Damocles” that could destroy our financial system and our entire economy at any time.  Let’s just hope that it does not happen in 2015.

So what numbers would you add to this list?

Please feel free to join 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.

Obama’s Secret Treaty Which Will Merge America More Deeply Into The Emerging One World Economic System

obama secret

Did you know that the Obama administration is negotiating a super secret “trade agreement” that is so sensitive that he isn’t even allowing members of Congress to see it?  The Trans-Pacific Partnership is being called the “NAFTA of the Pacific” and “NAFTA on steroids”, but the truth is that it is so much more than just a trade agreement.  This treaty has 29 chapters, but only 5 of them have to do with trade.  Most Americans don’t realize this, but this treaty will fundamentally change our laws regarding Internet freedom, health care, the trading of derivatives, copyright issues, food safety, environmental standards, civil liberties and so much more.  It will also merge the United States far more deeply into the emerging one world economic system.  Initially, twelve nations will be a party to this treaty including the United States, Mexico, Canada, Japan, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.  Together, those nations represent approximately 40 percent of global GDP.  It is hoped that additional nations such as the Philippines, Thailand and Colombia will join the treaty later on.

There are some very good reasons why Obama does not want the American people to know anything about what is in this treaty.  This agreement will impose very strict Internet copyright rules on the American people, it will ban all “Buy American” laws, it will give Wall Street banks much more freedom to trade risky derivatives and it will force even more domestic manufacturing offshore.

It contains a whole host of things that Obama would be unable to get through Congress on his own.  But he is hoping to spring this on Congress at the last minute and get them to agree to this “free trade agreement” before they realize all of the things that are contained in it.

The secrecy surrounding these treaty negotiations have really been unprecedented.  The following is an excerpt from a recent article by Kurt Nimmo

“Since the beginning of the TPP negotiations, the process of drafting and negotiating the treaty’s chapters has been shrouded in an unprecedented level of secrecy,” Wikileaks notes in a statement on the release of the TPP draft. “Access to drafts of the TPP chapters is shielded from the general public. Members of the US Congress are only able to view selected portions of treaty-related documents in highly restrictive conditions and under strict supervision. It has been previously revealed that only three individuals in each TPP nation have access to the full text of the agreement, while 600 ’trade advisers’ – lobbyists guarding the interests of large US corporations such as Chevron, Halliburton, Monsanto and Walmart – are granted privileged access to crucial sections of the treaty text.”

And Obama reportedly is seeking “trade promotion authority” which would give him the ability to sign this treaty before Congress even votes on it…

Normally free -trade agreements must be authorized by a majority of the House and Senate, usually in lengthy proceedings.

However, the White House is seeking what is known as “trade promotion authority” which would fast track approval of the TPP by requiring Congress to vote on the likely lengthy trade agreement within 90 days and without any amendments.

The authority also allows Obama to sign the agreement before Congress even has a chance to vote on it, with lawmakers getting only a quick post-facto vote.

This is so insidious that it is hard to find the words to describe it.

In essence, Obama is trying to make a giant end run around Congress on dozens of different issues that are addressed by this treaty.

Fortunately, there are at least some members of Congress that are waking up to this.  Earlier this week, a small group of Republicans and a small group of Democrats both sent Obama a letter condemning this “free trade” agreement…

Separate groups of House Republicans and Democrats on Tuesday condemned the Obama administration’s proposed sweeping free trade agreement with 11 Pacific nations, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Strongly worded letters to President Barack Obama Tuesday were signed by hardline tea partiers, true-blue progressives, and moderate, corporate-friendly lawmakers in both parties, indicating political trouble for a trade deal the administration had hoped to seal by year end.

This is one of the most important political issues facing our nation here at the end of 2013, and yet you hear next to nothing about this treaty on the mainstream news.  If this treaty is approved, the United States will be permanently bound by the provisions of this treaty and will never be able to change them unless all of the other countries agree

Countries would be obliged to conform all their domestic laws and regulations to the TPP’s rules—in effect, a corporate coup d’état. The proposed pact would limit even how governments can spend their tax dollars. Buy America and other Buy Local procurement preferences that invest in the US economy would be banned, and “sweat-free,” human rights or environmental conditions on government contracts could be challenged. If the TPP comes to fruition, its retrograde rules could be altered only if all countries agreed, regardless of domestic election outcomes or changes in public opinion. And unlike much domestic legislation, the TPP would have no expiration date.

Are you starting to understand just how dangerous this treaty is?

Let me give you just one example of how this treaty could directly affect you.

Do you remember SOPA?

There was a huge public backlash when the very strict Internet copyright provisions of SOPA were revealed to the public, and the American people loudly expressed their displeasure to members of Congress.

But now the provisions of SOPA are back.  Most of them have reportedly been very quietly inserted into this treaty.  If this treaty is enacted, those provisions will become law and the American people will not be able to do a thing about it.

And according to an article in the New York Times, there are all sorts of other disturbing things that have been slipped into this treaty…

And yet another leak revealed that the deal would include even more expansive incentives to relocate domestic manufacturing offshore than were included in Nafta — a deal that drained millions of manufacturing jobs from the American economy.

The agreement would also be a boon for Wall Street and its campaign to water down regulations put in place after the 2008 financial crisis. Among other things, it would practically forbid bans on risky financial products, including the toxic derivatives that helped cause the crisis in the first place.

Are you starting to grasp why the Obama administration is so determined to keep this treaty such a secret?

In addition, this “free trade” agreement will push the ongoing deindustrialization of America into overdrive.  Every year, we buy hundreds of billions of dollars more stuff from the rest of the world than they buy from us.  Tens of thousands of American businesses have been lost as a result, and millions of good jobs have been shipped overseas.

If you are not familiar with our “trade deficit”, you really should be.  It is one of the issues at the very heart of our economic problems.  Posted below is a short 3 minute video that briefly discusses the trade deficit and why it is so important…

Slowly merging our economy with the rest of the planet has been absolutely disastrous for America.  Just consider the following statistics…

-Overall, the United States has run a trade deficit of more than 8 trillion dollars with the rest of the world since 1975.

-The United States has lost more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities since 2001.

-Back in the year 2000, there were more than 17 million Americans working in manufacturing.  Now there are less than 12 million.

-There are less Americans working in manufacturing today than there was in 1950 even though the population of the country has more than doubled since then.

-Back in 1950, more than 80 percent of all men in the United States had jobs.  Today, less than 65 percent of all men in the United States have jobs.

-When NAFTA was pushed through Congress in 1993, the United States had a trade surplus with Mexico of 1.6 billion dollars.  By 2010, we had a trade deficit with Mexico of 61.6 billion dollars.

-Back in 1985, our trade deficit with China was approximately 6 million dollars (million with a little “m”) for the entire year.  In 2012, our trade deficit with China was 315 billion dollars.  That was the largest trade deficit that one nation has had with another nation in the history of the world.

-According to the Economic Policy Institute, America is losing half a million jobs to China every single year.

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

Once upon a time, our great manufacturing cities were the envy of the entire planet.  In fact, at one time Detroit actually had the highest per capita income in the United States.

But now Detroit is a rotting, decaying, festering hellhole that is completely bankrupt.  And there are dozens of other formerly great manufacturing cities that are heading down the exact same path.

These “free trade” agreements are neither “free” nor “fair” when you really examine them, and they are absolutely eviscerating the middle class.

Please urge your representatives in Congress to block the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  If this treaty does get approved, it is going to make a lot of our problems a whole lot worse.

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.

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20 Signs That The Next Great Economic Depression Has Already Started In Europe

 europe

The next Great Depression is already happening – it just hasn’t reached the United States yet.  Things in Europe just continue to get worse and worse, and yet most people in the United States still don’t get it.  All the time I have people ask me when the “economic collapse” is going to happen.  Well, for ages I have been warning that the next major wave of the ongoing economic collapse would begin in Europe, and that is exactly what is happening.  In fact, both Greece and Spain already have levels of unemployment that are greater than anything the U.S. experienced during the Great Depression of the 1930s.  Pay close attention to what is happening over there, because it is coming here too. 

You see, the truth is that Europe is a lot like the United States.  We are both drowning in unprecedented levels of debt, and we both have overleveraged banking systems that resemble a house of cards.  The reason why the U.S. does not look like Europe yet is because we have thrown all caution to the wind.  The Federal Reserve is printing money as if there is no tomorrow and the U.S. government is savagely destroying the future that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have by stealing more than 100 million dollars from them every single hour of every single day.  We have gone “all in” on kicking the can down the road even though it means destroying the future of America.  But the alternative scares the living daylights out of our politicians.  When nations such as Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy tried to slow down the rate at which their debts were rising, the results were absolutely devastating.  A full-blown economic depression is raging across southern Europe and it is rapidly spreading into northern Europe.  Eventually it will spread to the rest of the globe as well.

The following are 20 signs that the next Great Depression has already started in Europe…

#1 The unemployment rate in France has surged to 10.6 percent, and the number of jobless claims in that country recently set a new all-time record.

#2 Unemployment in the eurozone as a whole is sitting at an all-time record of 12 percent.

#3 Two years ago, Portugal’s unemployment rate was about 12 percent.  Today, it is about 17 percent.

#4 The unemployment rate in Spain has set a new all-time record of 27 percent.  Even during the Great Depression of the 1930s the United States never had unemployment that high.

#5 The unemployment rate among those under the age of 25 in Spain is an astounding 57.2 percent.

#6 The unemployment rate in Greece has set a new all-time record of 27.2 percent.  Even during the Great Depression of the 1930s the United States never had unemployment that high.

#7 The unemployment rate among those under the age of 25 in Greece is a whopping 59.3 percent.

#8 French car sales in March were 16 percent lower than they were one year earlier.

#9 German car sales in March were 17 percent lower than they were one year earlier.

#10 In the Netherlands, consumer debt is now up to about 250 percent of available income.

#11 Industrial production in Italy has fallen by an astounding 25 percent over the past five years.

#12 The number of Spanish firms filing for bankruptcy is 45 percent higher than it was a year ago.

#13 Since 2007, the value of non-performing loans in Europe has increased by 150 percent.

#14 Bank withdrawals in Cyprus during the month of March were double what they were in February even though the banks were closed for half the month.

#15 Due to an absolutely crippling housing crash, there are approximately 3 million vacant homes in Spain today.

#16 Things have gotten so bad in Spain that entire apartment buildings are being overwhelmed by squatters

A 285-unit apartment complex in Parla, less than half an hour’s drive from Madrid, should be an ideal target for investors seeking cheap property in Spain. Unfortunately, two thirds of the building generates zero revenue because it’s overrun by squatters.

“This is happening all over the country,” said Jose Maria Fraile, the town’s mayor, who estimates only 100 apartments in the block built for the council have rental contracts, and not all of those tenants are paying either. “People lost their jobs, they can’t pay mortgages or rent so they lost their homes and this has produced a tide of squatters.”

#17 As I wrote about the other day, child hunger has become so rampant in Greece that teachers are reporting that hungry children are begging their classmates for food.

#18 The debt to GDP ratio in Italy is now up to 136 percent.

#19 25 percent of all banking assets in the UK are in banks that are leveraged at least 40 to 1.

#20 German banking giant Deutsche Bank has more than 55 trillion euros (which is more than 72 trillion dollars) of exposure to derivatives.  But the GDP of Germany for an entire year is only about 2.7 trillion euros.

Yes, U.S. stocks have been doing great so far this year, but the truth is that the stock market has become completely and totally divorced from economic reality.  When it does catch up with the economic fundamentals, it will probably happen very rapidly like we saw back in 2008.

Our politicians can try to kick the can down the road for as long as they can, but at some point the consequences of our foolish decisions will hunt us down and overtake us.  The following is what Peter Schiff had to say about this coming crisis the other day…

“The crisis is imminent,” Schiff said.  “I don’t think Obama is going to finish his second term without the bottom dropping out. And stock market investors are oblivious to the problems.”

“We’re broke, Schiff added.  “We owe trillions. Look at our budget deficit; look at the debt to GDP ratio, the unfunded liabilities. If we were in the Eurozone, they would kick us out.”

Schiff points out that the market gains experienced recently, with the Dow first topping 14,000 on its way to setting record highs, are giving investors a false sense of security.

“It’s not that the stock market is gaining value… it’s that our money is losing value. And so if you have a debased currency… a devalued currency, the price of everything goes up. Stocks are no exception,” he said.

“The Fed knows that the U.S. economy is not recovering,” he noted. “It simply is being kept from collapse by artificially low interest rates and quantitative easing. As that support goes, the economy will implode.”

So please don’t think that we are any different from Europe.

If the United States government started only spending the money that it brings in, we would descend into an economic depression tomorrow.

The only way that we can continue to live out the economic fantasy that we see all around us is by financially abusing our children and our grandchildren.

The U.S. economy has become a miserable junkie that is completely and totally addicted to reckless money printing and gigantic mountains of debt.

If we stop printing money and going into unprecedented amounts of debt we are finished.

If we continue printing money and going into unprecedented amounts of debt we are finished.

Either way, this is all going to end very, very badly.

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.

UNPRECEDENTED Shortages Of Ammo, Physical Gold And Physical Silver

ammo shortage 

All over the United States we are witnessing unprecedented shortages of ammunition, physical gold and physical silver.  Recent events have helped fuel a “buying frenzy” that threatens to spiral out of control.  Gun shops all over the nation are reporting that they have never seen it this bad, and in many cases any ammo that they are able to get is being sold even before it hits the shelves.  The ammo shortage has already become so severe that police departments all over America are saying that they are being told that it is going to take six months to a year to get their orders.  In fact, many police departments have begun to trade and barter with one another to get the ammo that they need. 

Meanwhile, the takedown of paper gold and paper silver has unleashed an avalanche of “panic buying” of physical gold and physical silver all over the planet.  In the United States, some dealers are charging premiums of more than 25 percent over the spot price for gold and silver and they are getting it.  People are paying these prices even though they are being told that delivery will not happen for a month or two in many cases.  Some dealers are feverishly taking as many orders as they can, and they are just hoping that they will be able to get the physical gold and silver to eventually fill those orders.  Personally, I have never seen anything like this.  If things are this tight now, what is going to happen when the next major financial crisis strikes and people really begin to panic?

The shortages and rationing of ammunition at gun shops all over America just seem to keep getting worse.  The following is from an article by a gun owner down in Texas named Brad Meyer

If you’d like to see a normally sullen sales clerk chortle with derisive pleasure, just walk into just about any gun range, sporting goods store or mass merchandiser and try and buy a couple boxes of .22 ammunition.

Gun enthusiasts are up in arms about a nationwide shortage of ammunition. Handgun ammo in general is particularly difficult to find – and when you do find it, there are restrictions on the amount you can buy and how much you’re going to be paying for it.

While the list of hard to find ammo is long, .22 long rifle and 9mm handgun ammunition are particularly difficult to find in quantity. And the few places that have it are charging a premium rate and usually limiting purchases to one box, per person, per day.

Many gun owners try to find ammunition by going on the Internet, but things have gotten so tight that now any ammo that becomes available online is often gone within seconds

There are websites where people across the country post links to where ammunition is available – and it sells out within seconds. Not minutes or hours – seconds.

Unfortunately, all of this demand is also driving up prices.  Just check out what Meyer says is happening to the price of standard .22 ammo…

The demand is driving up the cost of ammunition. Six months ago, standard .22 ammo – the most common type of bullet produced in the world – could be had in bulk for around five cents apiece. It is now going for 50 cents or more on some websites – and people are paying it.

But this shortage is not just affecting private citizens.  According to Newmax, police departments all over the nation are dealing with ammo shortages unlike anything that they have ever seen before…

Sheriff Anthony DeMeo of Nye County, Nev., was told his department’s regular order of 50,000 rounds could take up to a year to arrive.

“This is the first time ever I’ve heard that there’s a problem with a law-enforcement agency getting ammo for their agency,” DeMeo told The Las Vegas Sun.

These departments are not alone. Law enforcement agencies in Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Georgia are among many that are having to limit how much they give their officers due to the shortage.

Could you imagine waiting for “up to a year” to get more ammunition?

A recent article posted on CNSNews.com had some more examples of police departments that are reporting that there is a massive wait to get more ammo…

Chief Pryor of Rollingwood, Texas says of the shortage:

“We started making phone calls and realized there is a waiting list up to a year.  We have to limit the amount of times we go and train because we want to keep an adequate stock.”

“Nobody can get us ammunition at this point,” says Sgt. Jason LaCross of the Bozeman, Montana police department.

LaCross says that manufacturers are so far behind that they won’t even give him a quote for an order.

“We have no estimated time on when it will even be available,” LaCross says.

This is insane.

What in the world could be causing such an ammo crunch?

Well, certainly the demand for guns and ammo has been trending up in recent years – especially since Barack Obama was elected.

But that doesn’t fully account for the shortages that we are witnessing at the moment.

So what is going on?

Well, some people believe that the federal government is responsible.  It has been reported that they have signed contracts to purchase “up to” 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition.  According to Forbes, this amount of ammunition would be enough to fight a “hot war” in America for 20 years

The Denver Post, on February 15th, ran an Associated Press article entitled Homeland Security aims to buy 1.6b rounds of ammo, so far to little notice.  It confirmed that the Department of Homeland Security has issued an open purchase order for 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition.  As reported elsewhere, some of this purchase order is for hollow-point rounds, forbidden by international law for use in war, along with a frightening amount specialized for snipers. Also reported elsewhere, at the height of the Iraq War the Army was expending less than 6 million rounds a month.  Therefore 1.6 billion rounds would be enough to sustain a hot war for 20+ years.  In America.

Could this be a way that the Obama administration is trying to restrict the amount of ammo that gets into the hands of private citizens?

That is what some people are suggesting.

According to talk radio show host Michael Savage, the ammo contracts that the federal government has signed give them priority over all other purchasers…

What Homeland Security is doing here is they’re issuing a contract to buy up to that amount of ammo if they want it…

It’s a way to control the amount of market that’s available on the commercial market at any time.

If they go to the ammo manufacturers and say give me 50 million rounds, give me another 30 million rounds… if they periodically do this in increments, they’re going to control how much ammo is available on the commercial market.

As part of their contract it stipulates in there that when the government calls and says give us another quantity, that everything they make has to go to the government priority one before any of it goes to the commercial market.

So, if  they get nervous, all they have to do is use that contract that they have in place… and they just say ‘give us some more.’

So whenever the government wants to tighten the supply of ammunition, all they have to do is invoke their contracts and order more for themselves.

Meanwhile, Obama appears to be doing other things to restrict the amount of ammo that gets into the hands of private gun owners.

For example, there are reports that the Obama administration plans to use executive orders to greatly restrict the importation of ammo from overseas.

So if anything, the shortage of ammunition is only going to get worse, not better.

Meanwhile, the “panic buying” of physical gold and physical silver that we have seen lately has really run down inventories.

According to Reuters, demand has become so intense that the U.S. Mint has suspended sales of gold coins for the first time since 2009…

The U.S. Mint said it has suspended sales of its one-tenth ounce American Eagle gold bullion coins as surging demand after bullion’s plunge to two-year lows depleted the government’s inventory. This marks the first time it has stopped selling gold product since November 2009, dealers said.

At the same time, precious metals dealers all over the country are scrambling to meet the voracious demand that they have been seeing this month.  The following is an excerpt from a letter that the CEO of Texas Precious Metals recently sent out to his customers…

The physical silver market is, in a word, ugly. There is no telling at this point when mint inventories will return to normal, but you can be sure it will not happen within the next 8 weeks. Most dealers, at this point, are selling their current customer demand forward, meaning they are selling product they do not presently have, expecting to pull from future mint allocations. Consequently, future allocations will face pressure from today’s demand. It is not my intent here to comment on the business practices of other companies, but I will say that no one can possibly predict future allocations at the time. The US mint, for example, releases its allocations weekly, and until then, dealers have no insight into allocation levels. Last week, we turned away business in excess of 100,000 ozs of silver because of stock depletion. However, we stand by the notion that it is better to lose a sale than lose a customer by delaying delivery two months (or more).

A similar thing is happening over in Asia.  According to the Financial Times, soaring demand has caused a shortage of gold at the Hong Kong Gold & Silver Exchange Society…

Haywood Cheung, president of the Hong Kong Gold & Silver Exchange Society, said the exchange had effectively run out of most of its holdings as members looked to meet a shortfall in supply amid rampant retail demand for gold products.

“In terms of volume, I haven’t seen this gold rush for over 20 years,” he told the Financial Times on Monday, adding that the exchange only had around twenty 1kg bars, and 100 five-tael bars left in its inventory. “Older members who have been in the business for 50 years haven’t seen such a thing.”

But most disturbing of all is what Jim Sinclair told King World News recently.  Apparently his friend went to get his gold out of a Swiss bank the other day and they refused to give it to him…

A person that I know with significant deposits in one of the primary Swiss banks, in allocated gold, wanted to take out his gold and was just refused on the basis of directives from the central bank….

They told him the amount was in excess of 200,000 Swiss francs and the central bank had instructed them not to do it because it has to do with anti-terrorism and anti-money laundering precautions.

I really wonder whether those are precautions or whether the gold simply isn’t there. Now you tell me that a London delivery has basically failed. It has to raise our suspicions that the lack of physical gold behind the paper gold is literally so severe that we are coming to understand that it is in fact not there.

The gold that people think is stored is not stored, and the inventory of the warehouses for exchanges may not be holding deliverable gold. There has always been speculation about whether or not the physical gold the US claims to store is in fact in those vaults.

The greatest train robbery in history might be all of the gold, and it would only be something like we have described above that would happen right before gold makes historic highs.

There simply is no gold behind the paper. One example is AMRO, a second is your example with Maguire, and a third is my dear friend who was refused his gold on the basis that its value was too high. Remember this friend of mine had his gold in an allocated account in storage at a major Swiss bank. I repeat, there is no gold.

So are we going to see more of this?

Will it soon become evident that there is simply not enough physical gold to cover all of the promises that the banks have made?

Jim Sinclair sure seems to think so.

In another interview, John Embry expressed similar sentiments to King World News…

This gets back to the tip of the iceberg when the Dutch Bank ABN AMRO came out and literally said that if you have allocated gold with us, you can’t have it.

That, to me, is a default, and it gets back to what Jim Sinclair related when one of his friends went to a Swiss bank and couldn’t get his allocated gold.  I mean that’s preposterous.  If it’s allocated it should be there, but it’s clearly not there.  I think this is the beginning of the end of the massive Ponzi scheme in paper gold.  I have been talking about this for some time, and it will have an enormous impact on future gold and silver prices.

When it becomes widely known that all of the people who think they own gold in fact don’t own gold, that it’s been hypothecated and re-hypothecated so many times that there are 100 claims for every single ounce of physical gold, that is when the prices of gold and silver will really go berserk to the upside, and at that point the shorts will have serious problems.”

If those that helped engineer the recent takedown of paper gold and silver were hoping to scare people away from physical gold and silver, then they failed miserably.  For even more on this, please see my recent article entitled “10 Signs The Takedown Of Paper Gold Has Unleashed An Unprecedented Global Run On Physical Gold And Silver“.

All of this is just another example why I encourage people to get prepared while times are still relatively good.

Once disaster strikes, it may be too late to get the things that you need.

Right now there are a whole lot of people out there wishing that they had stocked up on ammo when it was much cheaper and much more readily available.

We are moving into a time when everything that can be shaken will be shaken.  Use the stability provided by the false bubble of economic hope that we are experiencing right now as an opportunity to get prepared.  The next major wave of the economic collapse is rapidly approaching and time is running out.

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.

Child Hunger Is Exploding In Greece – And 14 Signs That It Is Starting To Happen In America Too

 child crying

The world is heading into a horrific economic nightmare, and an inordinate amount of the suffering is going to fall on innocent children.  If you want to get an idea of what America is going to look like in the not too distant future, just check out what is happening in Greece.  At this point, Greece is experiencing a full-blown economic depression.  As I have written about previously, the unemployment rate in Greece has now risen to 27 percent, which is much higher than the peak unemployment rate that the U.S. economy experienced during the Great Depression of the 1930s.  And as you will read about below, child hunger is absolutely exploding in Greece right now.  Some families are literally trying to survive on pasta and ketchup.  But don’t think for a moment that it can’t happen here.  Sadly, the truth is that child hunger is already rising very rapidly in our poverty-stricken cities

Never before have we had so many Americans unable to take care of themselves.  Food stamp enrollment and child homelessness have soared to brand new all-time records, and there are actually thousands of Americans that are so poor that they live in tunnels underneath our cities.  But for millions of other Americans, the suffering is not quite so dramatic.  Instead, they just watch their hopes and their dreams slowly slip away as they struggle to find a way to make it from month to month.  There are millions of parents that lead lives that are filled with constant stress and anxiety as they try to figure out how to provide the basics for their children.  How do you tell a child that you can’t give them any dinner even though you have been trying as hard as you can?  What many families go through on a regular basis is absolutely heartbreaking.  Unfortunately, more poor families slip through the cracks with each passing day, and these are supposedly times in which we are experiencing an “economic recovery”.  So what are things going to look like when the next major economic downturn strikes?

A recent New York Times article detailed the horrifying child hunger that we are witnessing in Greece right now.  At some schools there are reports of children actually begging for food from their classmates…

As an elementary school principal, Leonidas Nikas is used to seeing children play, laugh and dream about the future. But recently he has seen something altogether different, something he thought was impossible in Greece: children picking through school trash cans for food; needy youngsters asking playmates for leftovers; and an 11-year-old boy, Pantelis Petrakis, bent over with hunger pains.

“He had eaten almost nothing at home,” Mr. Nikas said, sitting in his cramped school office near the port of Piraeus, a working-class suburb of Athens, as the sound of a jump rope skittered across the playground. He confronted Pantelis’s parents, who were ashamed and embarrassed but admitted that they had not been able to find work for months. Their savings were gone, and they were living on rations of pasta and ketchup.

Could you imagine that happening to your children or your grandchildren?

Don’t think that it can’t happen.  Just a few years ago the Greek middle class was vibrant and thriving.

And we are starting to see hunger explode in other European countries as well.  For example, in the UK the number of people receiving emergency food rations has increased by 170 percent over the past year.

This is one of the reasons why I get upset when people say that “things are getting better”.  Yes, the stock market has been setting record highs lately, but things are most definitely not getting better.

Even during this false bubble of debt-fueled economic stability that we are enjoying right now, we continue to see hunger and poverty rise dramatically in America.

Since Barack Obama has been president, the number of Americans on food stamps has grown from 32 million to more than 47 million.

Will we all be on food stamps eventually?

Will we all become dependent on the government for our survival at some point?

According to the Boston Herald, even Tamerlan Tsarnaev was receiving government welfare benefits…

Marathon bombings mastermind Tamerlan Tsarnaev was living on taxpayer-funded state welfare benefits even as he was delving deep into the world of radical anti-American Islamism, the Herald has learned.

State officials confirmed last night that Tsarnaev, slain in a raging gun battle with police last Friday, was receiving benefits along with his wife, Katherine Russell Tsarnaev, and their 3-year-old daughter. The state’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services said those benefits ended in 2012 when the couple stopped meeting income eligibility limits.

Isn’t that crazy?

And yes, there are some people out there that are abusing the system.  In fact, the cost of food stamp fraud has risen sharply to approximately $750 million in recent years.

But most of the people on these programs really need the help.  Thanks to our incredibly foolish economic policies, there are not enough good jobs for everyone and there never will be again.  The percentage of Americans that are unable to take care of themselves is going to continue to rise, and the suffering that we are witnessing right now is going to get much, much worse.

Not that things aren’t really, really bad already.  Here are some signs that child hunger in America has already started to explode…

#1 Today, approximately 17 million children in the United States are facing food insecurity.  In other words, that means that “one in four children in the country is living without consistent access to enough nutritious food to live a healthy life.”

#2 We are told that we live in the “wealthiest nation” on the planet, and yet more than one out of every four children in the United States is enrolled in the food stamp program.

#3 The average food stamp benefit breaks down to approximately $4 per person per day.

#4 It is being projected that approximately 50 percent of all U.S. children will be on food stamps before they reach the age of 18.

#5 It may be hard to believe, but approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are currently living in homes that are either considered to be either “low income” or impoverished.

#6 The number of children living on $2.00 a day or less in the United States has grown to 2.8 million.  That number has increased by 130 percent since 1996.

#7 According to Feeding America, “households with children reported food insecurity at a significantly higher rate than those without children, 20.6 percent compared to 12.2 percent”.

#8 According to a Feeding America hunger study, more than 37 million Americans are now being served by food pantries and soup kitchens.

#9 For the first time ever, more than a million public school students in the United States are homeless.  That number has risen by 57 percent since the 2006-2007 school year.

#10 Approximately 20 million U.S. children rely on school meal programs to keep from going hungry.

#11 One university study estimates that child poverty costs the U.S. economy 500 billion dollars each year.

#12 In Miami, 45 percent of all children are living in poverty.

#13 In Cleveland, more than 50 percent of all children are living in poverty.

#14 According to a recently released report, 60 percent of all children in the city of Detroit are living in poverty.

For many more facts about the dramatic explosion of poverty in this country, please see my previous article entitled “21 Statistics About The Explosive Growth Of Poverty In America That Everyone Should Know“.

Unfortunately, most of the time statistics don’t really tell the whole story.  Numbers alone cannot really communicate the soul-crushing despair that millions of American families are enduring on a daily basis at this point.

How can numbers communicate the pain that a child feels when her grandmother does not eat because there is not enough food for everyone in the family?  But this is what some families in America actually go through because there is not enough money…

Vanyshia tells about the sacrifices her Grandmother makes so that she and her siblings can eat. “Sometimes my Grandma can’t even eat because she has to feed me and my brother and sister. Sometimes I don’t eat as much as I want to because I leave some for my Grandma because I don’t want her to sit there and starve. Sometimes she doesn’t have enough money to buy food, so she has to go to the bank and borrow money. It makes me feel sad. I don’t want her to be hungry. I just feel sad sometimes,” says Vanyshia.

Things can be particularly tough when you are a single parent.  The BBC recently profiled a single mother that is struggling to raise two young children in Iowa…

“We don’t get three meals a day like breakfast, lunch and then dinner,” says Kaylie. “When I feel hungry I feel sad and droopy.”

Kaylie and Tyler live with their mother Barbara, who used to work in a factory. After losing her job, she was entitled to unemployment benefit and food stamps – this comes to $1,480 (£974) a month.

But they were no longer able to afford to live in their house, which along with bills cost $1,326 (£873) a month, leaving little for food or petrol.

Kaylie supplemented their income by collecting cans along the railway track near their old home – earning between two and five cents per can.

For more examples like this one, I encourage everyone to go watch a recent BBC documentary entitled “America’s Poor Kids” that you can see right here.

I wonder why we don’t see more stuff like this on the mainstream news in this country?

Could it be that the mainstream media does not want to admit how bad things have really gotten?

All of this is also a reminder that we need to be generous to those in need.  Times are going to get much, much harder than this, and we are all going to need one another.

So do you have any stories of poverty or child hunger from your area of the country to share?  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.

America The Fallen: 24 Signs That Our Once Proud Cities Are Turning Into Poverty-Stricken Hellholes

 railroad

What is happening to you America?  Once upon a time, the United States was a place where free enterprise thrived and the greatest cities that the world had ever seen sprouted up from coast to coast.  Good jobs were plentiful and a manufacturing boom helped fuel the rise of the largest and most vibrant middle class in the history of the planet.  Cities such as Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Baltimore were all teeming with economic activity and the rest of the globe looked on our economic miracle with a mixture of wonder and envy.  But now look at us.  Our once proud cities are being transformed into poverty-stricken hellholes. 

Did you know that the city of Detroit once actually had the highest per-capita income in the United States?  Looking at Detroit today, it is hard to imagine that it was once one of the most prosperous cities in the world.  In fact, as you will read about later in this article, tourists now travel to Detroit from all over the globe just to see the ruins of Detroit.  Sadly, the exact same thing that is happening to Detroit is happening to cities all over America.  Detroit is just ahead of the curve.  We are in the midst of a long-term economic collapse that is eating away at us like cancer, and things are going to get a lot worse than this.  So if you still live in a prosperous area of the country, don’t laugh at what is happening to others.  What is happening to them will be coming to your area soon enough.

The following are 24 signs that our once proud cities are turning into poverty-stricken hellholes…

#1 According to the New York Times, there are now approximately 70,000 abandoned buildings in Detroit.

#2 At this point, approximately one-third of Detroit’s 140 square miles is either vacant or derelict.

#3 Back during the housing bubble, an acre of land in downtown Phoenix, Arizona sold for about $90 a square foot.  Today, an acre in downtown Phoenix sells for about $9 a square foot.

#4 The city of Chicago is so strapped for cash that it is planning to close 54 public schools.  It is being estimated that Chicago schools will run a budget deficit of about a billion dollars in 2013.

#5 The city of Baltimore is already facing unfunded liabilities of more than 3.2 billion dollars, but the city government continues to pile up more debt as if it was going out of style.

#6 Today, the murder rate in East St. Louis is 17 times higher than the national average.

#7 According to USA Today, the “share of jobs located in or near a downtown declined in 91 of the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas” between 2000 and 2010.

#8 Between December 2000 and December 2010, 48 percent of the manufacturing jobs in the state of Michigan were lost.

#9 There are more than 85,000 streetlights in Detroit, but thieves have stripped so much copper wiring out of the lights that more than half of them are not working.

#10 The unemployment rate in El Centro, California is 24.2 percent, and the unemployment rate in Yuma, Arizona is an astounding 25.6 percent.

#11 It has been estimated that there are more than 1,000 homeless people living in the massive network of flood tunnels under the city of Las Vegas.

#12 Violent crime in the city of Oakland increased by 23 percent during 2012.

#13 If you can believe it, more than 11,000 homes, cars and businesses were burglarized in Oakland during 2012.  That breaks down to approximately 33 burglaries a day.

#14 As I have written about previously, there are only about 200 police officers assigned to Chicago’s Gang Enforcement Unit to handle the estimated 100,000 gang members living in the city.

#15 The number of murders in Chicago last year was roughly equivalent to the number of murders in the entire country of Japan during 2012.

#16 The murder rate in Flint, Michigan is higher than the murder rate in Baghdad.

#17 If New Orleans was considered to be a separate nation, it would have the 2nd highest murder rate on the entire planet.

#18 According to the Justice Department’s National Drug Intelligence Center,  Mexican drug cartels were actively operating in 50 different U.S. cities in 2006.  By 2010, that number had skyrocketed to 1,286.

#19 Back in 2007, the number of New York City residents on food stamps was about 1 million.  It is now being projected that the number of New York City residents on food stamps will pass the 2 million mark this summer.

#20 The number of homeless people sleeping in the homeless shelters of New York City has increased by a whopping 19 percent over the past year.

#21 As I noted yesterday, approximately one out of every three children in the United States currently lives in a home without a father.

#22 In Miami, 45 percent of the children are living in poverty.

#23 In Cleveland, more than 50 percent of the children are living in poverty.

#24 According to a recently released report, 60 percent of all children in the city of Detroit are living in poverty.

As I mentioned at the top of this article, the decline of the city of Detroit has become so famous that it has actually become a tourist attraction.  The following is a short excerpt from an article in the New York Times

But in Detroit, the tours go on, in an unofficial capacity. One afternoon at the ruins of the 3.5-million-square-foot Packard Plant, I ran into a family from Paris. The daughter said she read about the building in Lonely Planet; her father had a camcorder hanging around his neck. Another time, while conducting my own tour for a guest, a group of German college students drove up. When queried as to the appeal of Detroit, one of them gleefully exclaimed, “I came to see the end of the world!”

For much more on the shocking decline of one of America’s greatest cities, please see my previous article entitled “Bankrupt, Decaying And Nearly Dead: 24 Facts About The City Of Detroit That Will Shock You“.

So are there any areas of the country that are still thriving?

Well, yes, there are a few.  In particular, those areas that are sitting on top of energy resources tend to be doing quite well for now.

One example is Texas.  In recent years people have been absolutely flocking to the state.  There are lots of energy jobs, the cost of living is low and there is no state income tax.

But overall, things are really tough out there.  Over the past decade America has lost millions of good jobs to offshoring, advancements in technology and a declining economy.

Last year, the United States had a trade deficit with the rest of the world of more than half a trillion dollars.  Overall, the U.S. has run a trade deficit with the rest of the world of more than 8 trillion dollars since 1975.

All of that money could have gone to U.S. businesses and U.S. workers.  In turn, taxes would have been paid on all of that income which could have helped keep our cities great.

But instead, our politicians have stood idly by as we have lost tens of thousands of businesses and millions of jobs.  If you can believe it, more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities have closed down permanently in the United States since 2001.

We have allowed our economic infrastructure to be absolutely gutted, and so we should not be surprised that our once proud cities are turning into poverty-stricken hellholes.

And this is just the beginning.  The next wave of the economic collapse is rapidly approaching, and when it strikes unemployment in this country will eventually rise to a level that is more than double what it is now.

When that happens, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near our rotting, decaying cities.

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.

America: #1 In Fear, Stress, Anger, Divorce, Obesity, Anti-Depressants, Etc.

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The United States is a deeply unhappy place.  We are a nation that is absolutely consumed by fear, stress, anger and depression.  It isn’t just our economy that is falling apart – the very fabric of society is starting to come apart at the seams and it is because of what is happening to us on the inside.  The facts and statistics that I am going to share with you in this article are quite startling.  They are clear evidence that America is a nation that is an advanced state of decline.  We are overwhelmed by fear, stress and anxiety, and much of the time the ways that we choose to deal with those emotions lead to some very self-destructive behaviors. 

Americans have experienced a standard of living far beyond the wildest dreams of most societies throughout human history, and yet we are an absolutely miserable people.  Why is this?  Why is America #1 in so many negative categories?  Why are we constantly looking for ways to escape the pain of our own lives?  Why are our families falling apart?  There is vast material wealth all around us.  So why can’t we be happy?

Just look around you.  Are most of the people around you teeming with happiness and joy?  Sadly, the truth is that most Americans are terribly stressed out.  Yeah, many of them may be able to manage to come up with a smile when they greet you, but most of the time they are consumed by internal struggles that are eating away at them like cancer.

So why is this happening?  Is modern life structured in a way that is fundamentally unhealthy?

Below I have posted a short excerpt from a message that one of Charles Hugh Smith’s readers named Kenneth Daigle recently sent to him.  I think that it does a good job of describing the incredible stress that many people contend with on a daily basis…

Think about how our culture is now structured for the average adult: STRESS, everywhere you look–commuting in horrible traffic, as you want to scream in frustration–money stress, to pay rent/house note, tuition, utilities, gas, insurances, vacations, cable bill, rising food costs, and on and on and on–stress from family problems, divorce, delinquency, drugs, crime, infidelity, keeping up with the Jones, etc.

People have too high an expectation of what they should have out of life, and get overly stressed over it all. How does all of this manifest itself? A prescription drug culture (Zoloft, Xanax, etc.) that tricks people into thinking a pill will knock back the stress, when these drugs, in my opinion, only make things worse.

I am hearing more and more that people just want to drop out from it all, as they are reaching a breaking point, and have decided less income and dependency on entitlements will reduce their stress, and is not so humiliating, so giving up working becomes more acceptable, to KEEP ONE’S SANITY.

I know I am correct, from the feedback I hear every day, and the financial media does not see this like I hear it every day. People don’t want to admit that they are too weak to deal with stress, so the financial pundits are not aware of this critical factor because they don’t talk to Joe Sixpack.

Most Americans live lives of “quiet desperation” that are punctuated by moments of great crisis.  We spend our prime years working for others (making them rich) in order to pay off debts that we have foolishly accumulated (thus making the banks even wealthier).  When most Americans reach the end of their lives, they look back and wonder what they actually accomplished.

James Altucher published an incredible article the other day entitled “Why Do People Hate Their Jobs?”  It did a great job of describing what life is like for the modern worker in America.  The following are a few of the reasons that he says people tend to hate their jobs…

-Jobs are modern-day slavery. We are paid just enough to live and not more. You are punished if you ask for more.

*****

-We are often verbally abused on the job and we take it because we think it’s normal that people would yell at us.

*****

-The government gets up to 50% of your paycheck and then 10-20% of that goes to kill people on other parts of the planet, including our own children.

*****

-From 7am to 7pm you are either A) going to work, B) at work, or C) coming back from work. Hence, the times when you can be most creative are garbage-compacted into your cubicle.

*****

-When you are paranoid at a job, you are probably correct. THEY are, in fact, talking about you and backstabbing you right now.

*****

-You realize that all the dollars you spent on degrees to get you a job that will make you happy were completely wasted. You were scammed but you can’t let the next generation know how stupid you were so now you become part of perpetuating the scam.

*****

-Your spouse is tired of hearing about your job after six months. And you couldn’t care less about hers. Ten years later you wake up next to a total stranger. 40 years later you die next to one.

*****

-When you were a kid you liked to draw, and read, and run, and laugh, and play, and imagine a magical world. You’re never going to do any of that again.

*****

-Over time everyone is getting fired and being replaced by younger, cheaper, more temporary, more robotic, versions of you. You see this but are afraid to do anything about it.

And of course when we get home from work there is even more stress.  In America today, we are witnessing a breakdown of the family unlike anything we have ever seen before.  The United States leads the world in divorce and in single person households.  We are having an increasingly difficult time relating to one another, and many of us drown our sorrows in our addictions.  We are addicted to pills, to alcohol, to food, to entertainment, to sex, to gambling, to shopping and to anything else that will make us feel good and forget about our problems for a while.

The following is a collection of facts and statistics that prove that America is being absolutely consumed by fear, stress, anger and depression…

-Suicide has now actually surpassed car accidents as the number one cause of “injury death” in the United States.

-More U.S. soldiers killed themselves than were killed in combat last year.

-As I mentioned in another article, Americans will spend more than 280 billion dollars on prescription drugs during 2013.

Nearly one out of every four women in the United States are taking antidepressants.

-The percentage of women taking antidepressants in the U.S. is higher than in any other country in the world.

-In 2010, the average teen in the U.S. was taking 1.2 central nervous system drugs.  Those are the kinds of drugs which treat conditions such as ADHD and depression.

-Children in the United States are three times more likely to be prescribed antidepressants as children in Europe are.

-According to a recent article by David Kupelian, “one-third of the nation’s employees suffer chronic debilitating stress, and more than half of all ‘millennials’ (18 to 33 year olds) experience a level of stress that keeps them awake at night, including large numbers diagnosed with depression or anxiety disorder.”

-Tens of millions of Americans use alcohol and drugs to numb the pain that they are experiencing.  In the United States today, there are about 28 million Americans with a drinking problem and about 22 million Americans use illegal drugs.

-More people have been diagnosed with mental disorders in America than anywhere else on earth.

-There are also tens of millions of Americans that try to deal with anxiety and stress by eating.  Of all the major industrialized nations, America is the most obese.  Mexico is #2.

-Back in 1962, only 13 percent of all Americans were obese.  Today, approximately 36 percent of all Americans are obese.

-Many people try to escape from the pain of reality by getting lost in entertainment.  Incredibly, the United States is tied with the UK for the highest average number of hours spent watching television each week.

-The United States has the highest divorce rate in the world by a good margin.

-The United States has the highest percentage of one person households on the entire planet.

-According to the Pew Research Center, only 51 percent of all American adults are currently married.  Back in 1960, 72 percent of all adults in the United States were married.

-At this point, approximately one out of every three children in America lives in a home without a father.

-For women under the age of 30 living in the United States today, more than half of all babies are being born out of wedlock.

-The United States has the highest child abuse death rate in the developed world.

-In the United States today, it is estimated that one out of every four girls is sexually abused before they become adults.

-The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the world by a very wide margin.

-The United States produces more pornography than any other nation in the world.

-If you can believe it, there are 20 million new STD infections in the United States every single year.

-The U.S. has the highest STD infection rate in the entire industrialized world.

-It is estimated that about one out of every six Americans between the ages of 14 and 49 have genital herpes.

-Sadly, one out of every four teen girls in the U.S. has at least one sexually transmitted disease.

-The United States leads the world in eating disorder deaths.

-Nobody in the world gets more plastic surgery done than Americans do.

-Americans spend more time sitting in traffic than anyone else in the world.

-America has the highest incarceration rate and the largest total prison population in the entire world by a very wide margin.

Fear is one of the primary things that motivates the American people, and that is a very powerful weapon that can be used against us.

As I wrote about yesterday, those that commit acts of terror want to get attention and they want to create fear.

And that is exactly what the Boston Marathon bombing accomplished.  It captured the attention of the nation for days on end, and it absolutely paralyzed the entire Boston area with fear.

When we allow ourselves to be terrorized, we actually encourage more terror attacks.  When we give terrorists what they want, it just encourages more psychos to commit acts of terror.  If you don’t believe me, just check out the following links that I found posted on The Drudge Report on Monday…

*”3 Alabama hospitals evacuated after bomb threats“*

*”Connecticut Courthouse Evacuated After Bomb Threat“*

*”South Hills Village Evacuated After Bomb Threat“*

*”Rock Island neighborhood evacuated after bomb threat“*

*”Bomb threat forces evacuation of Seabreeze office building“*

The appropriate response to a terror attack is to refuse to be terrorized.  Yes, we should also work to expose and punish the individuals, organizations and governments that are behind terror.  But we should also not let terror change how we live our lives, and we should definitely not allow terror to be used as an excuse to rip our liberties and freedoms away.

Sadly, as Ron Paul has detailed, some of our politicians are already calling for “tighter security” in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing…

Sadly, I expect this week’s tragic attacks in Boston to be used to justify new restrictions on liberty. Within 48 hours of the attack in Boston, at least one Congressman was calling for increased use of surveillance cameras to expand the government’s ability to monitor our actions, while another Senator called for a federal law mandating background checks before Americans can buy “explosive powder.”

I would not be surprised if the Transportation Security Administration uses this tragedy to claim new authority to “screen” Americans before they can attend sporting or other public events. The Boston attack may also be used as another justification for creating a National ID Card tied to a federal database with “biometric” information. The only thing that will stop them is if the American people rediscover the wisdom of Benjamin Franklin that you cannot achieve security by allowing government to take their liberties.

But no matter how much liberty and freedom we give up, we will never be 100% safe.  Bad people are always going to do bad things, and unfortunately we are probably going to see some pretty nightmarish things in the years ahead as the world becomes even more unstable.

If we allow the bad guys to get us so frightened that we throw out the U.S. Constitution and abandon our liberties and our freedoms, then we are the ones who lose.

Yes, the years ahead are going to be tough.  The economic collapse is going to accelerate greatly, there will be tremendous natural disasters, there will be war in the Middle East and there will be other problems that we cannot even conceive of right now.  At the same time, the American people will continue to become even angrier and even more frustrated.  According to a recent Pew Research survey, the percentage of Americans with a favorable view of the federal government is now at an all-time low.  As the economy crumbles, there will likely be great civil unrest as people demand solutions.  Unfortunately, our problems took decades to develop and they will not be solved overnight even if we did have good people in office.

So why am I saying all of this?

And why am I constantly warning about the coming economic collapse?

Is it because I want to create fear?

No, just the opposite of that.

I am a watchman on the wall.

In ancient times, a watchman would warn the people when the enemy was approaching.

When you receive the warning, there are a few different ways that you can respond to it…

#1 You can become consumed with fear and run away from the enemy.  Unfortunately, cowards never get the victory in the end.

#2 You can dismiss the warning and pretend that the enemy is not approaching.  But then when the enemy comes you will be completely unprepared.

#3 You can do everything possible to get prepared to face the enemy that is coming with strength and courage.

And that is how I would encourage all of you to approach the coming economic collapse and the other great problems that we will soon be experiencing as a nation.

Do not be afraid.

Instead, be strong and courageous and prepare well for the storms that are coming.

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.

17 Unanswered Questions About The Boston Marathon Bombing The Media Is Afraid To Ask

 boston bombing

Will we ever learn the full truth about the Boston Marathon bombing?  Personally, I have been looking into this attack for days, and I just keep coming up with more questions than answers.  At this point, I honestly have no idea what really happened. 

Why was a bomb drill being held on the day of the attack?  Why have authorities denied that a bomb drill was taking place?  Were Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev acting alone?  What was the nature of their previous contacts with the FBI and other federal agencies?  Why did the FBI at first deny that they had been in contact with the Tsarnaev brothers previously?  Why was the investigation of a mysterious Saudi national with familial links to al-Qaeda suddenly dropped shortly after the Saudi ambassador held an unscheduled meeting with Barack Obama?  Why did Michelle Obama subsequently visit that mysterious Saudi national in the hospital? 

If you are looking for answers to these questions, I am afraid that I don’t have them at this point.  But what alarms me is that the mainstream media seems to be afraid to ask any of the hard questions that they should be asking.  They just seem to swallow whatever the authorities tell them hook, line and sinker without following up on any of the things in this case that simply do not seem to make sense.

So what kinds of questions should they be asking?  The following are 17 unanswered questions about the Boston Marathon bombing that the media appears to be afraid to ask…

#1 Why were runners being told that a bomb squad drill was taking place during the Boston Marathon?  The following is from an article by Natural News

Alastair Stevenson is a veteran marathon runner who has competed in dozens of marathons around the world, including the London Marathon. He’s very familiar with the security typically found at marathons, and he immediately noticed something odd about the Boston marathon security.

“They kept making announcements on the loud speaker that it was just a drill and there was nothing to worry about. It seemed like there was some sort of threat, but they kept telling us it was just a drill,” he was quoted as saying by Local15TV.com.

In the interview, you’ll hear Stevenson say:

“At the start at the event, at the Athlete’s Village, there were people on the roof looking down onto the Village at the start. There were dogs with their handlers going around sniffing for explosives, and we were told on a loud announcement that we shouldn’t be concerned and that it was just a drill. And maybe it was just a drill, but I’ve never seen anything like that — not at any marathon that I’ve ever been to. You know, that just concerned me that that’s the only race that I’ve seen in my life where they had dogs sniffing for explosions, and that’s the only place where there had been explosions.”

#2 Why did authorities deny that a bomb squad drill was being held?

#3 According to The Mirror, the FBI is reportedly “hunting” a 12-strong terrorist “sleeper cell” that Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were allegedly a part of…

A source close to the investigation said: “We have no doubt the brothers were not acting alone. The devices used to detonate the two bombs were highly sophisticated and not the kind of thing people learn from Google.

“They were too advanced. Someone gave the brothers the skills and it is now our job to find out just who they were. Agents think the sleeper cell has up to a dozen members and has been waiting several years for their day to come.”

If that is the case, why are authorities in Boston adamantly insisting that the two brothers were acting alone?

#4 CBS News is reporting that the FBI interviewed Tamerlan Tsarnaev back in 2011.  The mother of the two Tsarnaev brothers insists that the FBI had been in contact with them for up to five years.  At first, the FBI denied any previous contact with the two suspects.  Will we ever learn the true scope of the previous relationship between the FBI and the Tsarnaev brothers?

#5 Debka is reporting that the Tsarnaev brothers were “double agents” which had been “hired by US and Saudi intelligence to penetrate the Wahhabi jihadist networks which, helped by Saudi financial institutions, had spread across the restive Russian Caucasian.”  Could this possibly be true?  If so, will the American people be told the truth about these links?

#6 According to their uncle, there were “mentors” that “radicalized” the Tsarnaev brothers.  So precisely who were those “mentors”?

#7 What happened during Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s trip to Dagestan and Chechnya last year?

#8 Were the Tsarnaev brothers in contact with a rebel leader named Doku Umarov who is known as “Russia’s Bin Laden”?

#9 Did Tamerlan Tsarnaev post a video on YouTube last summer that expresses a belief that the 12th Imam, Mahdi, will soon come and that an Islamic army with black flags with arise out of a province in Iran known as Khorasan?

#10 Why aren’t we being told that the “pressure cooker bombs” used in the Boston Marathon attacks are very similar to the kind of pressure cooker bombs that are commonly used in the Middle East?

The Daily Beast has confirmed with U.S. counter-terrorism officials that the bombs placed Monday at the marathon were made from pressure cookers, a crude kind of explosive favored by insurgents in Pakistan and Afghanistan. A recipe for a bomb that uses the pressure cooker was part of the debut issue of Inspire, the English-language online magazine of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

#11 Initially we were told that Saudi national Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi was a “person of interest” in the case.  But now he is scheduled to leave the country with the full blessing of the U.S. government.  Why is there such a rush to get him out of the United States?

#12 Why aren’t we being told that Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi was photographed with two other Saudis in the vicinity of the Boston marathon bombings?

#13 Why aren’t we being told of the shocking familial links that Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi has to known members of al-Qaeda?  The following is from research complied by Walid Shoebat

Many from Al-Harbi’s clan are steeped in terrorism and are members of Al-Qaeda. Out of a list of 85 terrorists listed by the Saudi government shows several of Al-Harbi clan to have been active fighters in Al-Qaeda:

#15 Badr Saud Uwaid Al-Awufi Al-Harbi
#73 Muhammad Atiq Uwaid Al-Awufi Al-Harbi
#26 Khalid Salim Uwaid Al-Lahibi Al-Harbi
#29 Raed Abdullah Salem Al-Thahiri Al-Harbi
#43 Abdullah Abdul Rahman Muhammad Al-Harbi (leader)
#60 Fayez Ghuneim Humeid Al-Hijri Al-Harbi

Source: http://aalhameed1.net/vb/showthread.php?t=1565

Then you have Al-Harbi clan members in Gitmo:

Salim Salman Awadallah Al-Sai’di Al-Harbi
Majid Abdullah Hussein Al-Harbi
Muhammad Abdullah Saqr Al-Alawi Al-Harbi
Ghanem Abdul Rahman Ghanem Al-Harbi
Muhammad Atiq Uwaid Al-Awfi Al-Harbi

Source: http://www.muslm.net/vb/showthread.php?169019-أسماء-(90)-سعودياً-لا-زالوا-محتجزين-في-جوانتانامو

There are specific Saudi clans that are rife with members of Al-Qaeda, which makes it quite alarming as to why nearly a hundred thousand student visas are issued to these. Americans are clueless as to clan ties when it comes to terrorism.

#14 Why did U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry have a private meeting with a Saudi foreign minister shortly after Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi was identified as a potential suspect?

#15 Why did Barack Obama hold an unscheduled meeting with the ambassador from Saudi Arabia shortly after Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi was identified as a potential suspect?

#16 Why did Michelle Obama visit Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi in the hospital?

#17 Why did numerous mainstream media outlets openly suggest that “right-wing extremists” were behind the bombings in the immediate aftermath of the attack?

Are there any other unanswered questions that you would add to this list?  Please feel free to share your thoughts by leaving 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.

History Tells Us That A Gold Crash + An Oil Crash = Guaranteed Recession

gold

Is the United States about to experience another major economic downturn?  Unfortunately, the pattern that is emerging right now is exactly the kind of pattern that you would expect to see just before a major stock market crash and a deep recession.  History tells us that when the price of gold crashes, a recession almost always follows.  History also tells us that when the price of oil crashes, a recession almost always follows.  When both of those things happen, a significant economic downturn is virtually guaranteed.

 Just remember what happened back in 2008.  Gold and oil both started falling rapidly in July, and in the fall we experienced the worst financial crisis that the U.S. had seen since the days of the Great Depression.  Well, a similar pattern seems to be happening again.  The price of gold has already crashed, and the price of a barrel of WTI crude oil has dropped to $86.37 as I write this.  If the price of oil dips below $80 a barrel and stays there, that will be a major red flag.  Meanwhile, we have just seen volatility return to the financial markets in a big way.  When volatility starts to spike, that is usually a clear sign that stocks are about to go down substantially.  So buckle your seatbelts – it looks like things are about to get very, very interesting.

Posted below is a chart that shows what has happened to the price of gold since the late 1960s.  As you will notice, whenever the price of gold rises dramatically and then crashes, a recession usually follows.  It happened in 1980, it happened in 2008, and it is happening again…
 graph 1

A similar pattern emerges when we look at the price of oil.  During each of the last three recessions we have seen a rapid rise in the price of oil followed by a rapid decline in the price of oil…
 graph

That is why what is starting to happen to the price of oil is so alarming.  On Wednesday, Reuters ran a story with the following headline: “Crude Routed Anew on Relentless Demand Worries“.  The price of oil has not “crashed” yet, but it is definitely starting to slip.

As you can see from the chart above, the price of oil has tested the $80 level a couple of times in the past few years.  If we get below that resistance and stay there, that will be a clear sign that trouble is ahead.

However, there is always the possibility that the recent “crash” in the price of gold might be a false signal because there is a tremendous amount of evidence emerging that it was an orchestrated event.  An absolutely outstanding article by Chris Martenson explained how the big banks had been setting up this “crash” for months…

In February, Credit Suisse ‘predicted’ that the gold market had peaked, SocGen said the end of the gold era was upon us, and recently Goldman Sachs told everyone to short the metal.

While that’s somewhat interesting, you should first know that the largest bullion banks had amassed huge short positions in precious metals by January.

The CFTC rather coyly refers to the bullion banks simply as ‘large traders,’ but everyone knows that these are the bullion banks.  What we are seeing in that chart is that out of a range of commodities, the precious metals were the most heavily shorted, by far.

So the timeline here is easy to follow.  The bullion banks:

  1. Amass a huge short position early in the game
  2. Begin telling everyone to go short (wink, wink) to get things moving along in the right direction by sowing doubt in the minds of the longs
  3. Begin testing the late night markets for depth by initiating mini raids (that also serve to let experienced traders know that there’s an elephant or two in the room)
  4. Wait for the right moment and then open the floodgates to dump such an overwhelming amount of paper gold and silver into the market that lower prices are the only possible result
  5. Close their positions for massive gains and then act as if they had made a really prescient market call
  6. Await their big bonus checks and wash, rinse, repeat at a later date

While I am almost 100% certain that any decent investigation by the CFTC would reveal that market manipulating ‘dumping’ was happening, I am equally certain that no such investigation will occur.  That’s because the point of such a maneuver by the bullion banks is designed to transfer as much wealth from ‘out there’ and towards the center, and the CFTC is there to protect the center’s ‘right’ to do exactly that.

You can read the rest of that article right here.

There are also rumors that George Soros was involved in driving down the price of gold.  The following is an excerpt from a recent article by “The Reformed Broker” Joshua Brown

And over the last week or so, the one rumor I keep hearing from different hedge fund people is that George Soros is currently massively short gold and that he’s making an absolute killing.

Once again, I have no way of knowing if this is true or false.

But enough people are saying it that I thought it worthwhile to at least mention.

And to me, it would make perfect sense:

1. Soros is a macro investor, this is THE macro trade of the year so far (okay, maybe Japan 1, short gold 2)

2. Soros is well-known for numerous market aphorisms and neologisms, one of my faves being “When I see a bubble, I invest.”  He was heavily long gold for a time and had done well while simultaneously referring to it publicly as a speculative bubble.

3. He recently reported that he had pretty much exited the trade in gold back in February. In his Q4 filing a few weeks ago, we found out that he had sold down his GLD position by about 55% as of the end of 2012 and had just 600,000 shares remaining. That was the “smartest guy in the room” locking in a profit after a 12 year bull market.

4. Soros also hired away one of the most talented technical analysts out there, John Roque, upon the collapse of Roque’s previous employer, broker-dealer WJB Capital. No one has heard from the formerly media-available Roque since but we can only assume that – as a technician – the very obvious breakdown of gold’s long-term trend was at least discussed. And how else does one trade gold if not by using technicals (supply/demand) – what else is there? Cash flow? Book value?

5. Lastly, the last public interview given by George Soros was to the South China Morning Post on April 4th. He does not mention any trading he’s doing in gold but he does reveal his thoughts on it having been “destroyed as a safe haven”

It is also important to keep in mind that this “crash” in the price of “paper gold” had absolutely nothing to do with the demand for physical gold and silver in the real world.  In fact, precious metals retailers have been reporting that they have been selling an “astounding volume” of gold and silver this week.

But that isn’t keeping many in the mainstream media from “dancing on the grave” of gold and silver.

For example, New York Times journalist Paul Krugman seems absolutely ecstatic that gold has crashed.  He seems to think that this “crash” is vindication for everything that he has been saying the past couple of years.

In an article entitled “EVERYONE Should Be Thrilled By The Gold Crash“, Business Insider declared that all of us should be really glad that gold has crashed because according to them it is a sign that the economy is getting better and that faith in the financial system has been restored.

Dan Fitzpatrick, the president of StockMarketMentor.com, recently told CNBC that people are “flying out of gold” and “getting into equities”…

“There have been so many reasons, and there remain so many reasons to be in gold,” Fitzpatrick said, noting currency debasement and the fear of inflation. “But the chart is telling you that none of that is happening. Because of that, you’re going to see people just flying out of gold. There’s just no reason to be in it.Traders are scaling out of gold and getting into equities.”

Personally, I feel so sorry for those that are putting their money in the stock market right now.  They are getting in just in time for the crash.

As CNBC recently noted, a very ominous “head and shoulders pattern” for the S&P 500 is emerging right now…

A scary head-and-shoulders pattern could be building in the S&P 500, and this negative chart formation would be created if the market stalls just above current levels.

“It’s developing and it’s developing fast,” said Scott Redler of T3Live.com on Wednesday morning.

Even worse, volatility has returned to Wall Street in a huge way.  This is usually a sign that a significant downturn is on the way…

Call options buying recently hit a three-year high for the CBOE’s Volatility Index, a popular measure of market fear that usually moves in the opposite direction of the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index.

A call buy, which gives the owner the option to purchase the security at a certain price, implies a belief that the VIX is likely to go higher, which usually is an ominous sign for stocks.

“We saw a huge spike in call buying on the VIX, the most in a while,” said Ryan Detrick, senior analyst at Schaeffer’s Investment Research. “That’s not what you want to hear (because it usually happens) right before a big pullback.”

The last time call options activity hit this level, on Jan. 13, 2010, it preceded a 9 percent stock market drop that happened over just four weeks, triggered in large part by worries over the ongoing European debt crisis.

And according to Richard Russell, the “smart money” has already been very busy dumping consumer stocks…

What do billionaires Warren Buffet, John Paulson, and George Soros know that you and I don’t know? I don’t have the answer, but I do know what these billionaires are doing. They, all three, are selling consumer-oriented stocks. Buffett has been a cheerleader for US stocks all along.

But in the latest filing, Buffett has been drastically cutting back on his exposure to consumer stocks. Berkshire sold roughly 19 million shares of Johnson and Johnson. Berkshire has reduced his overall stake in consumer product stocks by 21%, including Kraft and Procter and Gamble. He has also cleared out his entire position in Intel. He has sold 10,000 shares of GM and 597,000 shares of IBM.

Fellow billionaire John Paulson dumped 14 million shares of JP Morgan and dumped his entire position in Family Dollar and consumer goods maker Sara Lee. To wrap up the trio of billionaires, George Soros sold nearly all his bank stocks including JP Morgan, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. So I don’t know exactly what the billionaires are thinking, but I do see what they’re doing — they are avoiding consumer stocks and building up cash.

… the billionaires are thinking that consumption is heading down and that America’s consumers are close to going on strike.

So what are all of those billionaires preparing for?

What do they know that we don’t know?

I don’t know about you, but when I start putting all of the pieces that I have just discussed together, it paints a rather ominous picture for the months ahead.

At some point, there will be another major stock market crash.  When it happens, we will likely see even worse chaos than we saw back in 2008.  Major financial institutions will fail, the credit markets will freeze up, economic activity will grind to a standstill and millions of Americans will lose their jobs.

I sincerely hope that we still have at least a few more months before that happens.  But right now things are moving very rapidly and it is becoming increasingly clear that time is running out.

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.

Is The Takedown Of Gold A Sign That The Entire Global Financial System Is About To Crash?

gold

Somebody out there is sure getting prepared for something really big.  We have just witnessed a takedown of gold and silver unlike anything that we have witnessed in decades.  On Monday, the price of gold had fallen by more than 10 percent at one point.  It shocked investors all over the globe, and overall what we have just seen was the largest two day decline in the price of gold in 30 years.  The price of silver dropped even more rapidly on Monday.  It was down more than 14 percent at one point.  There was an atmosphere of “panic selling” as investors and financial institutions raced to liquidate their holdings of silver and gold.  But was this exactly what someone out there wanted?  As I wrote about the other day, big banks and news outlets all over the world have been boldly proclaiming for weeks that gold is entering a “bear market” and that now is the time for all of us to sell our gold.  In particular, Goldman Sachs reportedly told their clients earlier this month that they “recommend initiating a short COMEX gold position“.  Was that just a “good guess” on their part, or was something else going on?  Were they actually trying to help create a “selling frenzy” that would drive the price of gold much lower?

What we witnessed on Monday was absolutely jaw-dropping.  Just check out this chart of the price of gold over the past 10 years.  The takedown of gold on Monday sticks out like a sore thumb…

price of gold

And that chart does not even show the full extent of the collapse.  As I write this, the price of gold is sitting at $1355.20.

But this is just the beginning for gold and silver.  As I have warned repeatedly, the price of gold and the price of silver will experience wild swings in the years ahead.

For example, the following is what I wrote about gold and silver on August 7th, 2012

I like precious metals myself, but if you are going to invest you need to get educated so that you know what you are doing.  If you go in blindly you are likely to get burned at some point.

In addition, you need to be prepared for wild fluctuations in price over the coming years.  There will be times when gold and silver absolutely soar and there will be times when they drop like a rock.

So if you are going to play the game you need to be able to handle the ride.

Monday was an example of what I meant when I said that “you need to be able to handle the ride”.  There are going to be a lot more days like Monday (both up and down) for gold and silver in the years ahead.

The foolish people are those that are scared out of their wits and that are selling off all of their gold and silver right now.

Sadly, there was reportedly a tremendous amount of panic selling of gold and silver during this collapse.  The following is what Dennis Gartman told CNBC on Monday

“There are a lot of people throwing up their hands. Throwing positions overboard. Panic is everywhere,” Gartman said in a “Squawk Box” interview on Monday. “I’ve never seen anything like this. I mean it.”

It just shows that there are a lot of stupid people out there.  The following is an excerpt from another CNBC report about the panic selling that was happening on Monday…

“I think the last $20 has been margin selling. The market is falling like a knife. People are saying, ‘Get me out now,’ ” Phoenix Futures President Kevin Grady said. “You’re also seeing people selling energy profits to pay for metals losses. You’re seeing a tremendous amount of gold liquidation today.”

According to Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under President Ronald Reagan, all of this panic selling is the result of an orchestrated takedown of gold and silver…

This is an orchestration (the smash in gold). It’s been going on now from the beginning of April. Brokerage houses told their individual clients the word was out that hedge funds and institutional investors were going to be dumping gold and that they should get out in advance.

Then, a couple of days ago, Goldman Sachs announced there would be further departures from gold. So what they are trying to do is scare the individual investor out of bullion. Clearly there is something desperate going on…

So who is behind all of this orchestration?  Well, according to Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, it is actually the Federal Reserve

The Federal Reserve began its April Fool’s assault on gold by sending the word to brokerage houses, which quickly went out to clients, that hedge funds and other large investors were going to unload their gold positions and that clients should get out of the precious metal market prior to these sales. As this inside information was the government’s own strategy, individuals cannot be prosecuted for acting on it. By this operation, the Federal Reserve, a totally corrupt entity, was able to combine individual flight with institutional flight. Bullion prices took a big hit, and bullishness departed from the gold and silver markets. The flow of dollars into bullion, which threatened to become a torrent, was stopped.

In fact, Dr. Roberts says that former Goldman Sachs trader Andrew Maguire is reporting that the Fed orchestrated the dumping of 500 tons of naked gold shorts into the market on Friday…

According to Andrew Maguire, on Friday, April 12, the Fed’s agents hit the market with 500 tons of naked shorts. Normally, a short is when an investor thinks the price of a stock or commodity is going to fall. He wants to sell the item in advance of the fall, pocket the money, and then buy the item back after it falls in price, thus making money on the short sale. If he doesn’t have the item, he borrows it from someone who does, putting up cash collateral equal to the current market price. Then he sells the item, waits for it to fall in price, buys it back at the lower price and returns it to the owner who returns his collateral. If enough shorts are sold, the result can be to drive down the market price.

As Dr. Roberts noted, this represents an absolutely massive amount of gold…

Consider the 500 tons of paper gold sold on Friday. Begin with the question, how many ounces is 500 tons? There are 2,000 pounds to one ton. 500 tons equal 1,000,000 pounds. There are 16 ounces to one pound, which comes to 16 million ounces of short sales on Friday.

Who has 16 million ounces of gold? At the beginning gold price that day of about $1,550, that comes to $24,800,000,000. Who has that kind of money?

If any of the allegations above are even remotely true, then a whole lot of people need to be criminally investigated.

Meanwhile, many are considering this takedown of gold to be an ominous sign that another major financial crisis may be heading our way.

Just remember what happened back in 2008.  As Zero Hedge noted on Monday, the price of gold suddenly plunged 21 percent in July 2008.  That was just a couple of months before the U.S. stock market crashed in the fall…

The rapidity of gold’s drop is impressive, concerning, and disorderly. We have seen two other such instances of disorderly ‘hurried’ selling in the last five years. In July 2008, gold quickly dropped 21% – seemingly pre-empting the Lehman debacle and the collapse of the western banking system.

Is this collapse in the price of gold a harbinger of another major stock market crash?

Time will tell.

Meanwhile, many average Americans are wondering if they should dump their gold and silver while they still can.

As I mentioned above, gold and silver are going to experience wild fluctuations over the next few years.  When the next stock market crash comes, gold and silver are probably going to go even lower than they are today for a short time.  But in the long run gold and silver are going to soar to unprecedented heights.

Investing in gold and silver is not for the faint of heart.  If you cannot handle the ride, you should sit on the sidelines.  We are entering a period of tremendous financial instability, and holding gold and silver is going to be like riding a roller coaster.  The ups and downs are going to shake a lot of people up, but the rewards are going to be great for those that stick with it the entire 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

Is Pope Francis Laying The Groundwork For A One World Religion?

pope francis

Does Pope Francis intend to help the global elite achieve their goal of uniting all of the religions of the world under a single banner?  Will he be instrumental in establishing a single global religion for the glorious “new age” that the global elite believe is coming?  After he was elected, the cover of Time Magazine declared Pope Francis to be the “New World Pope“, and since his election Pope Francis has made it abundantly clear that he is going to make ecumenical outreach a top priority.  He has spoken of his “determination to continue on the path of ecumenical dialogue“, and he has already held a number of very high profile ecumenical meetings.

Not only has he worked hard to reach out to leaders from various Christian traditions, he has also made it a point to try to acknowledge the mutual bonds that he feels with all other religions.  For example, in one recent address he made it a point to say that he believes that Muslims worship and pray to the “one God” that he also worships.  This “all roads lead to the same God” philosophy is a hallmark of the one world religion that the global elite have been slowly building toward for decades.  The global elite know that even with a one world economy and a one world government, humanity will never be truly united until there is a single global religion.

Unfortunately, this one world religion that they are seeking to establish is diametrically opposed to the Christianity that we find in the Bible.  By throwing out Biblical truth for the sake of “friendship between men and women of different religious traditions“, is Pope Francis fundamentally betraying the faith that he claims to represent?

If there is going to be a one world religion, there will have to be a bond formed between Roman Catholicism and Islam.  They are the two largest religious traditions on the planet, and so any truly “global religion” would definitely require the participation of both of them.

That is one reason why what Pope Francis has already had to say about Islam is so noteworthy.  The following comes from remarks that he made during his very first ecumenical meeting

I then greet and cordially thank you all, dear friends belonging to other religious traditions; first of all the Muslims, who worship the one God, living and merciful, and call upon Him in prayer, and all of you. I really appreciate your presence: in it I see a tangible sign of the will to grow in mutual esteem and cooperation for the common good of humanity.

The Catholic Church is aware of the importance of promoting friendship and respect between men and women of different religious traditions – I wish to repeat this: promoting friendship and respect between men and women of different religious traditions – it also attests the valuable work that the Pontifical Council for interreligious dialogue performs.

But are “Allah” and the God of the Bible the same thing?

Of course not.  For example, Christians believe that Jesus Christ is God.  Muslims deny this vehemently.  For much more on why “Allah” and the God of the Bible are not the same, please see this article.

So either Pope Francis is denying the divinity of Jesus Christ, or he is exhibiting a frightening ignorance of basic Christian theology, or there is some other agenda at work here.

During that same ecumenical meeting, Pope Francis also made it a point to state that he feels “close” to those that belong “to any religious tradition”…

In this, we feel close even to all those men and women who, whilst not recognizing themselves belonging to any religious tradition, feel themselves nevertheless to be in search of truth, goodness and beauty, this truth, goodness and beauty of God, and who are our precious allies in efforts to defend the dignity of man, in building a peaceful coexistence among peoples and in guarding Creation carefully.

It is one thing to love people and to seek to build friendships with them, but it is another thing entirely to throw out the most basic beliefs of the faith that you supposedly represent in order to promote a specific agenda.

And Pope Francis definitely appears to have an agenda.  On another occasion, Pope Francis declared that it was time “to intensify dialogue” with other religions, and that he was “thinking particularly of dialogue with Islam.”

But this affinity for Islam did not just begin recently.  The truth is that Pope Francis was working hard to build bridges with Islam even when he was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires

“His humility drew my attention,” Sheik Mohsen Ali, an important Islamic leader in Argentina, told the Buenos Aires Herald. He “always showed himself a friend of the Islamic community.”

And Pope Francis has a reputation for being a cleric that really “knows Islam“…

Sumer Noufouri, secretary-general of the Islamic Center of the Republic of Argentina, told the Buenos Aires Herald that the new pope is a “respectful, pro-dialogue person who knows Islam.”

But of course Pope Francis is not just reaching out to the Islamic world.

He has also been working hard to “intensify dialogue” with other Christian traditions.

In particular, he seems quite interested in improving relations with the Orthodox churches of the east…

Before his address, the pope had a private meeting with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew from Istanbul, who attended Francis’s inaugural Mass on Tuesday.

It was the first time the spiritual head of Orthodox Christians had attended a Roman pope’s inaugural Mass since the Great Schism between western and eastern Christianity in 1054.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Francis called Bartholomew “my brother Andrew,” a reference to the apostle who was the brother of St. Peter and was the first bishop of the Church of Byzantium.

Francis also held a private session with Metropolitan Hilarion, the foreign minister of the Russian Orthodox Church, the largest in the Orthodox world.

It won’t happen tomorrow, of course, but could Pope Francis be the Pope that brings the Roman Catholics and the Orthodox back together?

And of course a one world religion will not appear overnight either.  There are far too many differences to overcome right now.

But as the world becomes increasingly unstable, people are going to be looking for answers.  After the world is ravaged by economic collapse, food shortages, nightmarish pandemics, unprecedented natural disasters and horrifying wars, will it finally be ready for a one world religion that promises “peace and friendship” among all of the religions of the globe?

This is something to watch for in the years ahead.  The global elite desperately want a single global religion, and they will keep moving things in that direction.

For now, Pope Francis just seems to be laying the groundwork for the one world religion that is coming.  There is a 900-year-old prophecy that indicates that Pope Francis could be the last Pope.  If that prophecy is true, then it will be very important to watch the actions of this Pope very carefully.

So what do you think about all of this?

Please feel free to post a comment with your opinion 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.

100 Years Old And Still Killing Us: America Was Much Better Off Before The Income Tax

taxesDid you know that the greatest period of economic growth in American history was during a time when there was absolutely no federal income tax?  Between the end of the Civil War and 1913, there was an explosion of economic activity in the United States unlike anything ever seen before or since.  Unfortunately, a federal income tax was instituted in 1913, and this year it turned 100 years old.  But there was no fanfare, was there?  There was no celebration because the federal income tax is universally hated.

Sadly, most Americans just assume that there is no other option to an income tax.  Most Americans just assume that it has always been with us and that it will always be with us.  This year, the American people will shell out approximately $4.22 trillion in state and federal income taxes.  That amount is equivalent to approximately 29.4 percent of all income that Americans will bring in this year, and that does not even take into account the dozens of other taxes that Americans pay each year.

At this point, the U.S. tax code is about 13 miles long, and those that are honest and pay their taxes every year are being absolutely shredded by this system.  But wouldn’t the federal government go broke if we didn’t have a federal income tax?  No, actually the truth is that the federal government did just fine before there was an income tax.  In fact, the U.S. national debt has gotten more than 5000 times larger since the federal income tax and the Federal Reserve were created by Congress back in 1913.

As I have written about previously, the Federal Reserve system was actually designed to trap the United States in a debt spiral from which it could never possibly escape, and the federal income tax was needed to greatly expand the size of the federal government and to soak the American people of the funds necessary to service that debt.  But it doesn’t have to be this way.  America was once much better off before the income tax and the Federal Reserve were created, and we could easily go to such a system again.

What we desperately need to do is to teach the American people a little history lesson.  The truth is that the greatest period of economic growth in U.S. history was between the Civil War and 1913 when there was no federal income tax at all.  The following is from Wikipedia

The Gilded Age saw the greatest period of economic growth in American history. After the short-lived panic of 1873, the economy recovered with the advent of hard money policies and industrialization. From 1869 to 1879, the US economy grew at a rate of 6.8% for real GDP and 4.5% for real GDP per capita, despite the panic of 1873.  The economy repeated this period of growth in the 1880s, in which the wealth of the nation grew at an annual rate of 3.8%, while the GDP was also doubled.

Sadly, most Americans cannot even conceive of an economy like that.  Most Americans cannot even imagine having a nation without a massively bloated federal government and without an unelected central bank centrally planning our financial system.

But you know what?

It worked.  In fact, it worked fantastically well.

The period between the Civil War and 1913 propelled the United States to greatness.  Just check out all of the good things that Wikipedia says happened for the U.S. economy during those years…

The rapid economic development following the Civil War laid the groundwork for the modern U.S. industrial economy. By 1890, the USA leaped ahead of Britain for first place in manufacturing output.

An explosion of new discoveries and inventions took place, a process called the “Second Industrial Revolution.” Railroads greatly expanded the mileage and built stronger tracks and bridges that handled heavier cars and locomotives, carrying far more goods and people at lower rates. Refrigeration railroad cars came into use. The telephone, phonograph, typewriter and electric light were invented. By the dawn of the 20th century, cars had begun to replace horse-drawn carriages.

Parallel to these achievements was the development of the nation’s industrial infrastructure. Coal was found in abundance in the Appalachian Mountains from Pennsylvania south to Kentucky. Oil was discovered in western Pennsylvania; it was mainly used for lubricants and for kerosene for lamps. Large iron ore mines opened in the Lake Superior region of the upper Midwest. Steel mills thrived in places where these coal and iron ore could be brought together to produce steel. Large copper and silver mines opened, followed by lead mines and cement factories.

In 1913 Henry Ford introduced the assembly line, a step in the process that became known as mass-production.

But if we didn’t have an income tax, how did we fund the government?  Well, we mostly did it with tariffs and excise taxes.  The following is from a recent article by Thomas R. Eddlem

Prior to ratification of the 16th (income tax) Amendment in February 1913, the federal government managed its few constitutional responsibilities without an income tax, except during the Civil War period. During peacetime, it did so largely — or even entirely — on import taxes called “tariffs.” Congress could afford to run the federal government on tariffs alone because federal responsibilities did not include welfare programs, agricultural subsidies, or social insurance programs like Social Security or Medicare. After the Civil War, tariff revenues sometimes suffered under a protectionist policy ushered in by the Republican Party that supplemented federal income via excises on alcohol, tobacco, and inheritances. But before the war, the need for tariff revenue to finance the federal government generally kept the tariff at reasonable levels. During wartime throughout early American history, the Founding Fathers were able to raise additional revenue employing a different method of direct taxation authorized by the U.S. Constitution prior to the 16th Amendment. These alternative taxing methods gave the young American nation embarrassing peacetime budget surpluses that several times came close to paying off the national debt.

So why didn’t we stick with that system?

Well, early in the 20th century the “progressives” and the social planners started to take control in Washington.

And one of the things that “progressives” and social planners love is an income tax.  In fact, the second plank of the Communist Manifesto is a “heavy progressive or graduated income tax”.

Of course they promised us that income tax rates would always remain low.  And at first they were quite low.  The following is from an article by Adam Young

The presidential election of 1912 was contested between three advocates of an income tax. The winner, Woodrow Wilson, after the ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment, called a special session of Congress in April 1913, which proceeded to pass an income tax of 1% on incomes above $3,000 and applied surcharges between 2% and 7% on income from $20,000 to $500,000.

But once the “progressives” and the social planners get their feet in the door, they always want more.

And we have seen how things have worked out.  Today, the American people are being taxed into oblivion.

In a previous article entitled “Show This To Anyone That Believes That Taxes Are Too Low“, I listed dozens of other taxes that the American people pay each year in addition to federal and state income taxes…

#1 Building Permit Taxes

#2 Capital Gains Taxes

#3 Cigarette Taxes

#4 Court Fines (indirect taxes)

#5 Dog License Taxes

#6 Drivers License Fees (another form of taxation)

#7 Federal Unemployment Taxes

#8 Fishing License Taxes

#9 Food License Taxes

#10 Gasoline Taxes

#11 Gift Taxes

#12 Hunting License Taxes

#13 Inheritance Taxes

#14 Inventory Taxes

#15 IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax)

#16 IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)

#17 Liquor Taxes

#18 Luxury Taxes

#19 Marriage License Taxes

#20 Medicare Taxes

#21 Medicare Tax Surcharge On High Earning Americans Under Obamacare

#22 Obamacare Individual Mandate Excise Tax (if you don’t buy “qualifying” health insurance under Obamacare you will have to pay an additional tax)

#23 Obamacare Surtax On Investment Income (a new 3.8% surtax on investment income that goes into effect next year)

#24 Property Taxes

#25 Recreational Vehicle Taxes

#26 Toll Booth Taxes

#27 Sales Taxes

#28 Self-Employment Taxes

#29 School Taxes

#30 Septic Permit Taxes

#31 Service Charge Taxes

#32 Social Security Taxes

#33 State Unemployment Taxes (SUTA)

#34 Tanning Tax (a new Obamacare tax on tanning services)

#35 Telephone Federal Excise Taxes

#36 Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Taxes

#37 Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Taxes

#38 Telephone State And Local Taxes

#39 Tire Taxes

#40 Tolls (another form of taxation)

#41 Traffic Fines (indirect taxation)

#42 Utility Taxes

#43 Vehicle Registration Taxes

#44 Workers Compensation Taxes

Yet even with all of these taxes, our local governments, our state governments and our federal government are all absolutely drowning in debt.

In another previous article entitled “24 Outrageous Facts About Taxes In The United States That Will Blow Your Mind“, I listed a number of reasons why our federal income tax system has become a complete and utter abomination that can never be fixed…

1 – The U.S. tax code is now 3.8 million words long.  If you took all of William Shakespeare’s works and collected them together, the entire collection would only be about 900,000 words long.

2 – According to the National Taxpayers Union, U.S. taxpayers spend more than 7.6 billion hours complying with federal tax requirements.  Imagine what our society would look like if all that time was spent on more economically profitable activities.

3 – 75 years ago, the instructions for Form 1040 were two pages long.  Today, they are 189 pages long.

4 – There have been 4,428 changes to the tax code over the last decade.  It is incredibly costly to change tax software, tax manuals and tax instruction booklets for all of those changes.

5 – According to the National Taxpayers Union, the IRS currently has 1,999 different publications, forms, and instruction sheets that you can download from the IRS website.

6 – Our tax system has become so complicated that it is almost impossible to file your taxes correctly.  For example, back in 1998 Money Magazine had 46 different tax professionals complete a tax return for a hypothetical household.  All 46 of them came up with a different result.

7 – In 2009, PC World had five of the most popular tax preparation software websites prepare a tax return for a hypothetical household.  All five of them came up with a different result.

8 – The IRS spends $2.45 for every $100 that it collects in taxes.

9 – According to The Tax Foundation, the average American has to work until April 17th just to pay federal, state, and local taxes.  Back in 1900, “Tax Freedom Day” came on January 22nd.

10 – When the U.S. government first implemented a personal income tax back in 1913, the vast majority of the population paid a rate of just 1 percent, and the highest marginal tax rate was just 7 percent.

11 – Residents of New Jersey pay $1.64 in taxes for every $1.00 of federal spending that they get back.

12 – The United States is the only nation on the planet that tries to tax citizens on what they earn in foreign countries.

13 – According to Forbes, the 400 highest earning Americans pay an average federal income tax rate of just 18 percent.

14 – Warren Buffett had an effective tax rate of just 17.4 percent for 2010.

15 – The top 20 percent of all income earners in the United States pay approximately 86 percent of all federal income taxes.

16 – Sadly, as Bill Whittle has shown, you could take every single penny that every American earns above $250,000 and it would only fund about 38 percent of the federal budget.

17 – The United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the world (35 percent).  In Ireland, the corporate tax rate is only 12.5 percent.  This is causing thousands of corporations to move operations out of the United States and into other countries.

18 – Some tax havens are doing a booming business in setting up sham headquarters for U.S. corporations.  For example, the city of Zug, Switzerland only has a population of 26,000 people but it is the headquarters for 30,000 companies.

19 – In 1950, corporate taxes accounted for about 30 percent of all federal revenue.  In 2012, corporate taxes will account for less than 7 percent of all federal revenue.

The wealthy have become absolute masters at avoiding taxes, and the poor are not able to pay much.

So who always gets squeezed?

The middle class does.

No matter what our politicians promise us, the hammer is always brought down on the middle class.

And now, according to The Huffington Post, the IRS says that it can even read our old emails without a warrant to make sure that we are paying all of the taxes that we should be…

The IRS apparently interprets that authority very broadly, the documents show: as long as you’ve stored your email in a cloud service like Google Mail, and as long as those emails haven’t been deleted after a few months, the agency thinks it doesn’t need a warrant to read them.

The idea of IRS agents poking through your email account might sound at the very least creepy, and maybe unconstitutional. But the IRS does have a legal leg to stand on: the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 allows government agencies to in many cases obtain emails older than 180 days without a warrant.

That’s why an internal 2009 IRS document claimed that “the government may obtain the contents of electronic communication that has been in storage for more than 180 days” without a warrant.

It should be noted that the IRS is claiming that it does not use emails “to target” specific taxpayers, but notice that they are not promising not to use old emails against taxpayers once they are officially being audited or investigated…

“Contrary to some suggestions, the IRS does not use emails to target taxpayers. Any suggestion to the contrary is wrong.”

In any event, the truth is that we have one of the most complicated and one of the most intrusive tax systems in the history of the world.

Don’t the American people deserve better?

What do you think?

Should America go back to a system where there is no income tax and no Federal Reserve?

Please feel free to share what you think by leaving 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.

11 Economic Crashes That Are Happening RIGHT NOW

global economy

The stock market is not crashing yet, but there are lots of other market crashes happening in the financial world right now.  Just like we saw back in 2008, it is taking stocks a little bit of extra time to catch up with economic reality.  But almost everywhere else you look, there are signs that a financial avalanche has begun.  Bitcoins are crashing, gold and silver are plunging, the price of oil and the overall demand for energy continue to decline, markets all over Europe are collapsing and consumer confidence in the United States just had the biggest miss relative to expectations that has ever been recorded.  In many ways, all of this is extremely reminiscent of 2008.  Other than the Bitcoin collapse, almost everything else that is happening now also happened back then.   So does that mean that a horrible stock market crash is coming as well?  Without a doubt, one is coming at some point.  The only question is whether it will be sooner or later.  Meanwhile, there are a whole lot of other economic crashes that deserve out attention at the moment.

The following are 11 economic crashes that are happening RIGHT NOW…

#1 Bitcoins

As I write this, the price of Bitcoins has fallen more than 70 percent from where it was on Wednesday.  This is one of the reasons why I have never recommended Bitcoins to anyone.  Yes, alternative currencies are a good thing, but there are a lot of big problems with Bitcoins.  Why would anyone want to invest in a currency that could lose 70 percent of its purchasing power in just two days?  Why would anyone want to invest in a currency where a single person can arbitrarily decide to suspend trading in that currency at any time?

An article by Mike Adams of Natural News described some of the things that we have learned about Bitcoins this week…

#1) The bitcoin infrastructure cannot handle a selloff. Once the rush for the exits gains momentum, you will not be able to get out. Only those who sell early will be able to exit the market.

#2) The bitcoin infrastructure is subject to the whims of just one person running MTGox who can arbitrarily decide to shut it down whenever he thinks the market needs a “cooling period.” This is nearly equivalent to a financial dictatorship where one person calls the shots.

#3) Every piece of bad news will be “spun” by exchanges like MTGox into good-sounding news. As bitcoin was crashing yesterday by 60% in value in mere hours, MTGox announced it was a “victim of our own success!” So while bitcoin holders watched $1 billion in market valuation evaporate, MTGox called it a success. Gee, then what would you call it when bitcoin loses 99%? A “raging” success?

#2 Gold

The price of gold was down by about 4 percent on Friday.  Gold has now fallen below $1500 an ounce for the first time since July 2011.  Overall, the price of gold has fallen by about 10 percent since the beginning of the year, and it is about 22 percent below the record high set back in September 2011.

Yes, the price of gold is likely being pushed down by the banksters.  And yes, gold is a fantastic investment for the long-term.  But there will be times when the price of gold does fall dramatically just like we saw back in 2008.

#3 Silver

The price of silver fell by about 5 percent on Friday.  If it falls much more it is going to be at a level that presents a historically good buying opportunity.

Just like gold, there will be times when the price of silver swings dramatically.  But the truth is that silver is probably an even better long-term investment than gold is.

#4 Oil

The price of oil declined by about 3 percent on Friday.  Many will consider this a positive thing, but just remember what happened back in 2008.  Back then, the price of oil dropped like a rock.  If the price of oil gets below $80, that could very well be a clear signal that a major economic crisis is about to happen.

#5 Consumer Confidence

As I mentioned above, consumer confidence in the U.S. just had its biggest miss relative to expectations that has ever been recorded.  The following is from an article posted on Zero Hedge on Friday

Well if this doesn’t send the market into all-time record high territory, nothing ever will: seconds ago the UMich Consumer Confidence plummeted from 78.6 to 72.3, on expectations of an unchanged 78.6 print. This was not only a 9 month low in the index, but more importantly the biggest miss to expectations in recorded history!

#6 Retirement Accounts

According to Wells Fargo, the number of Americans taking loans from their 401(k) accounts has risen by 28 percent over the past year…

Through an analysis of participants enrolled in Wells Fargo-administered defined contribution plans, the bank announced today that in the fourth quarter of 2012, there was a 28 percent increase in the number of people taking loans out from their 401(k) and that the average new loan balances increased to $7,126 from those taken out in the fourth quarter of 2011 – a 7% increase from $6,662.

Of the participants who took out loans, the greatest percentage were to people in their 50s (34.2%), followed by those in their 60s (28.9%) and then by those in their 40s (27.3%). The increase among participants in their 50s was nearly double the increase among those under 30. This is based on an analysis of a subset of 1.9 million eligible participants in retirement plans that Wells Fargo administers.

“The increased loan activity particularly among older participants is concerning because those are the years when workers can start to make ‘catch-up’ contributions and really need to focus on preparing for retirement,” said Laurie Nordquist, director of Wells Fargo Retirement.

#7 Casino Spending

Casino spending is declining again.  Many people (including myself) would consider this to be a good thing, but casino spending is also one of the most reliable indicators about the overall health of the economy.  Remember, casino spending crashed during the last financial crisis as well.  That is why it is so alarming that casino spending is now back to levels that we have not seen since the last recession.

#8 Employment In Greece

Over in Europe, things just continue to get worse.  According to numbers that were just released, the unemployment rate in Greece has soared to 27.2 percent, which was up from 25.7 percent the previous month.  That means that the unemployment rate in Greece rose by 1.5 percent in just a single month.  That is not just a crash – that is an avalanche of unemployment.

#9 European Financial Stocks

European financial stocks have been hit particularly hard lately.  And for good reason actually – most of the major banks in Europe are essentially insolvent at this point.  This week, European financial stocks fell to seven month lows, and this is probably only just the beginning.

#10 Spanish Bankruptcies

According to Reuters, the number of Spanish companies going bankrupt has risen by 45 percent over the past year…

A record number of Spanish companies went bust in the first quarter of 2013 as companies remained under intense pressure from tight credit conditions and meager demand, a study showed on Monday.

The 2,564 firms filing for insolvency proceedings in first three months of the year was a 10 percent rise from the previous quarter and a 45 percent increase on the same period in 2012, the survey by credit rating agency Axesor said.

#11 Demand For Energy

Just like we saw back in 2008, the overall demand for energy in the United States is falling rapidly.  There are some shocking charts that prove this that were recently posted on Zero Hedge that you can find right here.

Yes, it is good for people to use a bit less energy, but it is also a clear indication that economic activity is really starting to slow down.

But despite everything that you have just read, the Dow and the S&P 500 have been setting new record highs.

And if you listen to the mainstream media, you would think that this stock market bubble can continue indefinitely.

Fortunately, there are a few voices of reason out there.  For example, just check out what Marc Faber recently told CNBC

In the near-term, the U.S. stock market is overbought and adding that any more near-term gains portend big trouble for the market, “The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report” publisher Marc Faber told CNBC on Monday.

“If we continue to move up, the probability of a crash becomes higher,” Faber predicted in a “Squawk Box” interview, saying it could happen “sometime in the second half of this year.”

As I have written about previously, a bubble is always the biggest right before it bursts.  I hope that we still have at least a little bit more time before it happens, but I wouldn’t count on it.

The economic fundamentals tell us that the stock market should be plunging, not rising.  At some point the boys over on Wall Street will get the message and the market will catch up to reality very, very rapidly.

But for the moment, the American people are feeling really good.  According to CNN, Americans are now more optimistic than they have been in six years…

As the stock market continues to show record highs, the number of Americans who say things are going well in the country has reached 50% for the first time in more than six years, according to a new national survey.

So what do you think will happen for the rest of the year?

Do you think that the good times will continue to roll, or do you believe that the bubble is about to burst?

Please feel free to share your opinion 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.

More Than 101 Million Working Age Americans Do Not Have A Job

unemployment

The jobs recovery is a complete and total myth.  The percentage of the working age population in the United States that had a job in March 2013 was exactly the same as it was all the way back in March 2010.  In addition, as you will see below, there are now more than 101 million working age Americans that do not have a job.  But even though the employment level in the United States has consistently remained very low over the past three years, the Obama administration keeps telling us that unemployment is actually going down.

In fact, they tell us that the unemployment rate has declined from a peak of 10.0% all the way down to 7.6%.  And they tell us that in March the unemployment rate fell by 0.1% even though only 88,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy.  But it takes at least 125,000 new jobs a month just to keep up with population growth.  So how in the world are they coming up with these numbers?  Well, the reality is that the entire decline in the unemployment rate over the past three years can be accounted for by the reduction in size of the labor force.

In other words, the Obama administration is getting unemployment to go down by pretending that millions upon millions of unemployed Americans simply do not want jobs anymore.  We saw this once again in March.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 600,000 Americans dropped out of the labor market during that month alone.  That pushed the labor force participation rate down  to 63.3%, which is the lowest it has been in more than 30 years.  So please don’t believe the hype.  The sad truth is that there has been no jobs recovery whatsoever.

If things were getting better, there would not be more than 101 million working age Americans without a job.

So exactly where does that statistic come from?  Well, the following explains where I got that number…

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 11,742,000 working age Americans that are officially unemployed.

In addition, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that there are 89,967,000 working age Americans that are “not in the labor force”.  That is a new all-time record, and that number increased by a whopping 663,000 during the month of March alone.

When you add 11,742,000 working age Americans that are officially unemployed to the 89,967,000 working age Americans that are “not in the labor force”, you come up with a grand total of 101,709,000 working age Americans that do not have a job.

When you stop and think about it, that is an absolutely staggering statistic.

And anyone that tells you that “a higher percentage of Americans are working today” is telling you a complete and total lie.  During the last recession the percentage of working age Americans with a job fell dramatically, and since then we have not seen that number bounce back at all.  In fact, this is the very first time in the post-World War II era that we have not seen the employment-population ratio bounce back after a recession.  At this point, the employment-population ratio has been under 60 percent for 49 months in a row…

More Than 101 Million Working Age Americans Do Not Have A Job

Since the end of 2009, the employment-population ratio has been remarkably steady.  Just check out these numbers…

March 2008: 62.7 percent

March 2009: 59.9 percent

March 2010: 58.5 percent

March 2011: 58.4 percent

March 2012: 58.5 percent

March 2013: 58.5 percent

We should be thankful that the percentage of working age Americans with a job did not continue to decline, but we should also be quite alarmed that it has not bounced back at all.

If there was going to be a recovery, there would have been one by now.  The next major economic downturn is rapidly approaching, and that is going to push the employment-population ratio down even farther.

So why is the U.S. economy not producing as many jobs as it used to?  Well, certainly the overall decline of the economy has a lot to do with it.  We are a nation that is drowning in debt and that is getting poorer by the day.

But since the end of the last recession, corporate profits have bounced back in a big way and are now at an all-time high.  So you would figure that the big corporations should be able to hire a lot more workers by now.

Unfortunately, that is not the way things work anymore.  Big corporations are trying to minimize the number of expensive American workers that they have on their payrolls as much as possible these days.

One way that they are doing this is through the use of technology.  Thanks to robots, computers and other forms of technology, big corporations simply do not need as many human workers as they used to.  In future years, this trend is only going to accelerate.  I wrote about how this is changing the world of employment in one of my previous articles entitled “Rise Of The Droids: Will Robots Eventually Steal All Of Our Jobs?

Another way that big corporations are replacing expensive American workers is by shipping their jobs off to the other side of the globe.  Big corporations know that they can make bigger profits by making stuff in foreign countries where they can pay workers less than a dollar an hour with no benefits.  How in the world are American workers supposed to compete with that?

For much more on how U.S. jobs are being killed by offshoring, please see this article: “55 Reasons Why You Should Buy Products That Are Made In America“.

And of course immigration is having a dramatic impact on the labor market in some areas of the country as well.  Cheap labor has dramatically driven down wages in a lot of professions.  For example, once upon a time you could live a very nice middle class lifestyle as a roofer.  But now many roofers really struggle to make a living.

When you add everything up, it paints a very bleak picture for the future of the American worker.

The cost of living keeps rising much faster than wages do, and the competition for good jobs has become incredibly fierce.

Meanwhile, the government continues to make things even easier for those that are not working.  This has caused some Americans to give up completely and to be content with letting the government take care of them.  The following is from a recent article by Monty Pelerin

As we make it easier to get unemployment benefits for longer time periods, more people take advantage of the system. So too with food stamps and disability. All programs are at or near record levels in what is supposed to be four years into an economic recovery. For many, the benefits of becoming a government dependent exceed what they can earn. One study reported that a family of four, collecting all the benefits for which they were entitled, would have to earn $65,000 per annum to have the same after-tax purchasing power.

If you are a product of the government schools and are legal to work (i.e., have skills enough that you are affordable at the minimum wage or higher), at what point do you realize that there is no need to go through the hassle of actual work. You can live pretty well by staying home and taking advantage of the entitlements available to you. That is exactly what a larger and larger percentage of the population are realizing. In many cases, it is economically irrational to work.

This behavior creates a social pathology that only worsens over time. Kids learn from their parents that work is not necessary and the many ways to game the system. In this regard, look for this problem to become worse over time unless these programs are cut back.

In some areas of the country, it actually pays not to work very hard.  According to Gary Alexander, the Secretary of Public Welfare for the state of Pennsylvania, a “single mom is better off earnings gross income of $29,000 with $57,327 in net income & benefits than to earn gross income of $69,000 with net income and benefits of $57,045.”

But the truth is that most Americans still want to work hard and would gladly take a good job if they could just find one.  The following is one example that was featured in a recent Fox News article

After a full year of fruitless job hunting, Natasha Baebler just gave up.

She’d already abandoned hope of getting work in her field, working with the disabled. But she couldn’t land anything else, either — not even a job interview at a telephone call center.

Until she feels confident enough to send out resumes again, she’ll get by on food stamps and disability checks from Social Security and live with her parents in St. Louis.

“I’m not proud of it,” says Baebler, who is in her mid-30s and is blind. “The only way I’m able to sustain any semblance of self-preservation is to rely on government programs that I have no desire to be on.”

And that is how most Americans feel.

Most Americans do not want to be dependent on the government.

Most Americans want to work hard and take care of themselves.

Unfortunately, our economy is not producing nearly enough jobs for everyone and it never will again.

So there will continue to be millions upon millions of Americans that find that they cannot take care of themselves and their families without government assistance no matter how hard they try.

And this is just the beginning – things are going to get much worse during the next major wave of the economic collapse.

Yes, at the moment there are more than 101 million working age Americans that do not have a job, but that number is actually going to go much higher in the years ahead.  The anger and frustration caused by a lack of employment opportunities is going to shake this nation.

That is why it is important to try to become less dependent on your own job.  In this economic environment, a job can disappear at literally any moment.  Anything that you can do to become less dependent on the system would be a good thing.

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.

ALERT: All Of The Money In Your Bank Account Could Disappear In A Single Moment

chase bankWhat would you do if you logged in to your bank account someday and it showed that you had a zero balance and your bank had no record that you ever had any money in your account?  What would you do if all of the money in your bank account suddenly disappeared in a single moment?  If you had not kept any paper records, which most Americans do not, it would be exceedingly difficult to prove to the bank that you actually had any money in the bank.  If you don’t think that something like this could ever happen in the United States, you might want to think again.

Cyber attacks against major banks in the United States are becoming more powerful and more sophisticated with each passing month.  In fact, major U.S. bank websites have been offline for a total of 249 hours over the past six weeks.  And just last month, thousands upon thousands of Chase customers logged into their bank accounts only to discover that their balances had all been reset to zero.  Anyone that would want to cause complete and total economic chaos in the United States could accomplish it very easily by wiping out all of our bank account records.  So please do not keep all of your money in a single bank, and from now on please keep a paper copy of all of your bank account statements.  At some point it is likely that one of these cyber attacks will cause permanent damage to our banking system, and you want to be protected.

The mainstream media has generally been very quiet about the massive cyber attacks against our major banks, but behind the scenes authorities are truly alarmed.  They don’t know how to stop these attacks, and they just keep getting more intense and more sophisticated.

Could you imagine how you would feel if you logged in to your bank account and all of your money was gone?  That is exactly what happened to some Chase customers last month.  The following is from a recent CNET article

JP Morgan Chase denied this evening that it had suffered a hack that many customers claimed had suddenly reduced their checking account balances to zero.

After discovering the apparently empty accounts via the Internet or mobile devices, many Chase banking customers turned to Twitter to express their frustration and show screen shots of zero balances. Other users were greeted with messages that their bank account balances were unavailable.

But this was most definitely not an isolated incident.  That same article noted that Chase and many of our other large banks have had their websites taken down for extended periods of time lately…

Customers’ suspicions about a possible security breach are natural, with the zero balances appearing less than a week after a massive distributed-denial-of-service attack rendered Chase’s Web sites useless for many hours. Customers trying to use the site’s tools were instead greeted with a note that the site was “temporarily down.”

Hackers have ratcheted up their assaults on financial institutions in recent months, using DDoS attacks to take down Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Chase, Citigroup, HSBC, and others.

In fact, as I mentioned above, major U.S. bank websites have been offline for an astounding 249 hours over the last six weeks alone.  The attacks just keep getting larger and bank officials are becoming very alarmed about the power of these cyber attacks.  The following is from an article that was posted on CNBC this week…

Major U.S. bank websites have been offline a total of 249 hours in the past six weeks, perhaps the clearest indication yet that American companies are prime targets in an unrelenting, global cyber conflict.

The heavier-than-usual outages are the result of a remarkable, sustained attack that began seven months ago and repeatedly knocks banks offline for hours at a time, frustrating consumers and bank security professionals alike.

“Literally, these banks are just in war rooms, sitting at controls trying to stop (the attacks),” said Avivah Litan, a bank security analyst with Gartner Group, a consulting firm. “The frightening thing is (the attackers) are not using as much resources as they have on call. The attacks could be bigger.”

So who is behind these attacks?

Some are blaming Chinese hackers, others believe that Iran is behind the attacks, and yet others are convinced that it is the work of Islamic terrorists.

It is kind of frightening that they cannot positively identify who is behind these attacks.  Whoever it is, they sure do seem to have a tremendous amount of resources and they are very sophisticated.

And in the future, it may not be hackers on the other side of the globe that are attacking our banks.  In fact, if someone wanted to “recapitalize the banks”, all they would have to do is wipe out all of our bank account records (including all backup records).  Suddenly trillions of dollars of “unsecured liabilities” (that is what our bank accounts are) would be wiped out and the banks would suddenly be solvent again.  Anyone that could not produce evidence that they actually had money in the banks would be in a lot of trouble.  It would be the largest single wealth transfer in the history of the world, and it would throw the U.S. economy into utter chaos.  This is a scenario that I am exploring in my new novel which will be coming out later this month.

In addition, there is the constant threat that a massive EMP burst could fry all of our electronics (including the banking records), but that is a topic that I have covered in a previous article.

And of course another way that your bank account could be wiped out in a single moment is if the government decides to “legally” steal it.  We just witnessed this happen in Cyprus.  In February, the Central Bank of Cyprus swore that such a thing could never possibly happen, but then one month later it did happen.  The politicians will lie to your face until the very day comes when they steal your money.

Sadly, a very similar thing could easily happen in the United States someday.  As I wrote about yesterday, the big banks are making incredibly reckless bets with our money.  When those bets go bad, our money could very well be used to cover those bets.

One way this could be accomplished is by using a practice known as “rehypothecation”.  It sounds complicated, but it really isn’t.  Basically, the banks use money that clients have entrusted to them to cover their own gambling debts.  This is how rehypothecaton is defined by Investopedia

“The practice by banks and brokers of using, for their own purposes, assets that have been posted as collateral by their clients.”

An excellent article by Jeff Nielson detailed how this could result in the big banks grabbing our money when their trillions of dollars of reckless bets go bad…

1) Our banking regulators knowingly allow financial institutions to engage in recklessly misleading (if not outright fraudulent) contracts with their clients, through the use of complex “small print” in their account contracts with clients.

2) The three largest U.S. “banks” by deposit (JP Morgan, Bank of America, Citigroup) have made bets in their own rigged casino, which total well in excess of $100 trillion, an amount which completely dwarfs their total, combined deposits (and assets).

3) A large portion of those bets occur in the $60+ trillion credit default swap market. Pay-outs in these markets can (and do) exceed 300 times the amount of the original bet. It is bets in this market which “blew up” AIG, requiring more than $150 billion in immediate government aid.

4) Following the Crash of ’08; these same banks mooched a package of hand-outs, tax-breaks and “guarantees” (i.e. future hand-outs) from the Bush regime in excess of $15 trillion, the last time their gambling debts went bad on them – and all of these banks have been allowed to dramatically increase the total amount of their gambling since then.

5) It would take only a minor change in the gambling contracts in which these bankers engage to allow their creditors to seize funds out of ordinary bank accounts.

6) The existing language for the bank accounts of these U.S. banks is possibly already so vague (and prejudicial to clients) that it would allow these banks to reinterpret the terms of these bank accounts – and allow rehypothecation to be used to rob the holders of ordinary bank accounts, people who themselves make no “bets” in markets whatsoever. Alternately, customers could be blitzed with an offer for “new and improved” bank accounts, where terms allowing rehypothecation are slipped into the contract, with the  banks knowing that the “regulators” will do nothing to warn account-holders of the gigantic risk they are taking.

But we are all covered by deposit insurance, right?

That is what the people of Cyprus thought too.

As we just saw in Cyprus, when there is a “banking crisis” sometimes government steps in and suddenly changes all of the rules overnight even though the vast majority of the population is against it.

Hopefully you can see that no bank account will ever truly be “safe” ever again.

Your money may be safe today, and your money may be there next week, but someday it could disappear in a single moment.

And the general public is definitely starting to lose faith in the banking system.  Google searches for the term “bank run” have been absolutely spiking recently.  Just check out this chart which shows that searches for “bank run” are now the highest that they have ever been.

So what should we all do to protect ourselves?

As I mentioned earlier, it is important to not have all of your money in one bank, and from now on you will want to permanently keep paper copies of all of your bank account statements.

Someday you may need those statements in order to prove that you actually had money in the bank.

Our world is becoming increasingly unstable, and at some point financial disaster is going to strike.

By taking prudent precautions now, hopefully you will be able to minimize the damage to your family.

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.

Why Are The Banksters Telling Us To Sell Our Gold When They Are Hoarding Gold Like Crazy?

gold

The big banks are breathlessly proclaiming that now is the time to sell your gold.  They are warning that we have now entered a “bear market” for gold and that the price of gold will continue to decline for the rest of the year.  So should we believe them?  Well, their warnings might be more credible if the central banks of the world were not hoarding gold like crazy.

During 2012, central bank gold buying was at the highest level that we have seen in almost 50 years.  Meanwhile, insider buying of gold stocks has now reached multi-year highs and the U.S. Mint cannot even keep up with the insatiable demand for silver eagle coins.  So what in the world is actually going on here?  Right now, the central banks of the world are indulging in a money printing binge that reminds many of what happened during the early days of the Weimar Republic.  When you flood the financial system with paper money, that is eventually going to cause the prices for hard assets to go up dramatically.

Could it be possible that the banksters are trying to drive down the price of both gold and silver so that they can gobble it up cheaply?  Do they want to be the ones sitting on all of the “real money” once the paper money bubble that we are living in finally bursts?

Over the past few weeks, nearly every major newspaper in the world has run at least one story telling people that it is time to sell their gold.  For example, the following is from a recent Wall Street Journal article entitled “Goldman Sachs Turns Bearish on Gold“…

Another longtime gold bull is turning tail.

Investment bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said Wednesday that gold’s prospects for the year have eroded, recommending investors close out long positions and initiate bearish bets, or shorts. The shift in outlook was the latest among banks and investors who have soured on gold as its dozen-year runup has been followed by a 12% decline in the last six months.

Goldman began the year predicting gold would decline in the second half of 2013, but said Wednesday the drop began earlier than expected and doesn’t appear likely to reverse. Like others, the firm said the usual catalysts that have been bullish for gold during its run are no longer working.

Major banks over in Europe are issuing similar warnings about the price of gold.  The following is from a Marketwatch article entitled “Sell gold, buy oil, Societe Generale analysts say“…

Analysts at Societe Generale predict in a note Thursday that gold prices will fall below $1,400 by the year’s end and continue heading south next year.

They cite two main reasons:

1.  Inflation has so far stayed low and now investors are beginning to see economic conditions that would justify an end to the Fed’s quantitative easing program.
2.  The dollar has started trending higher, which should make gold prices move lower as the physical gold market is extremely oversupplied without continued large-scale investor buying.

And even Asian banks are telling people to sell their gold at this point.  According to CNBC, Japanese banking giant Nomura is another major international bank that has turned “bearish” on gold…

Nomura forecast gold prices will fall in 2013, on Thursday, becoming the latest bank to turn bearish on the precious metal which has been a favorite hedge for investors who fear aggressive monetary stimulus will lead to rising inflation.

“For the first time since 2008, in our view, the investment environment for gold is deteriorating as economic recovery, rising interest rates and still benign Western inflation (for now) will likely leave some investors rethinking their cumulative $240 billion investment in gold over the past four years,” wrote Nomura analysts in a sector note on Thursday.

A lot of financial analysts are urging people to dump gold and to jump into stocks where they “can get a much better return”.  They make it sound like it is only going to be downhill for gold from here.  The following is from a recent CNBC article entitled “Gold’s ‘Death Cross’ Isn’t All Investors Are Worried About“…

Gold is flashing the “death cross” but the bearish chart pattern is not the only thing scaring investors.

The magnetic appeal of a rising stock market has pulled some investment funds away from the yellow metal. Since the beginning of the year, stocks are up nearly 7 percent and gold is down nearly 6 percent.

But if gold is such a bad investment, then why are the central banks of the world hoarding gold like crazy?

According to the World Gold Council, gold buying by global central banks in 2012 was at the highest level that we have seen since 1964

Worldwide gold demand in 2012 was another record high of $236.4 billion in the World Gold Council’s latest report. This was up 6% in value terms in the fourth quarter to $66.2 billion, the highest fourth quarter on record. Global gold demand in the fourth quarter of 2012 was up 4% to 1,195.9 tonnes.

Central bank buying for 2012 rose by 17% over 2011 to some 534.6 tonnes. As far as central bank gold buying, this was the highest level since 1964. Central bank purchases stood at 145 tonnes in the fourth quarter. That is up 9% from the fourth quarter of 2011, and the eighth consecutive quarter in which central banks were net purchasers of gold.

This all comes on the heels of decades when global central banks were net sellers of gold.  Marcus Grubb, a Managing Director at the World Gold Council, says that we are witnessing a fundamental change in behavior by global central banks…

Central banks’ move from net sellers of gold, to net buyers that we have seen in recent years, has continued apace.  The official sector purchases across the world are now at their highest level for almost half a century.

Meanwhile, insiders seem to think that gold stocks are actually quite undervalued right now.  In fact, insider buying of gold stocks is now at a level that we have not seen in quite some time.  The following is an excerpt from a recent Globe and Mail article entitled “Insider buying of gold stocks surges to multi-year highs“…

The TSX global gold index has lost about a third of its value over the past two years. The S&P/TSX Venture Exchange, stock full of gold mining juniors, hit a multi-year low this month.

Yet, executives and officers who work within those businesses are showing remarkable confidence that the sector is poised for better times.

In addition, the demand for physical silver in the United States seems to be greater than ever before.  According to the U.S. Mint, demand for physical silver coins hit a new all-time record high during the month of February.

And demand for silver coins has not abated since then.  Just check out what has been happening in April so far

The US Mint has updated April sales statistics for the first time since last week, and to no surprise, the Mint again reported more massive sales, with another 833,000 silver eagles reported sold Monday!   The April total through 6 business days is now 1.645 million ounces, bringing the 2013 total to a massive 15.868 million ounces.  In response to the continued massive demand for silver eagles, the mint also has begun rationing sales of silver eagles to primary dealers resulting in supply delays!  Just as was seen in January, tight physical supplies have seen premiums on ASE’s skyrocketing over the weekend and throughout the day, as ASE’s are rapidly becoming as scarce as 90%!

Something does not appear to add up here.

I also found it very interesting that according to Reuters, Cyprus is being forced to sell most of their gold reserves in order to help fund the bailout of their banking system…

Cyprus has agreed to sell excess gold reserves to raise around 400 million euros (341 million pounds) and help finance its part of its bailout, an assessment of Cypriot financing needs prepared by the European Commission showed.

So exactly who will they be selling that gold to?

And I also found it very interesting to learn that Comex gold inventories have been falling dramatically over the last few months.  The following is from a recent article by Tekoa Da Silva

A stunning piece of information was brought to my attention yesterday. Amid all the mainstream talk of the end of the gold bull market (and the end of the gold mining industry), something has been discretely happening behind the scenes.

Over the last 90 days without any announcement, stocks of gold held at Comex warehouses plunged by the largest figure ever on record during a single quarter since eligible record keeping began in 2001 (roughly the beginning of the bull market).

In particular, something very unusual appears to be happening with JP Morgan Chase’s gold…

JP Morgan Chase’s reported gold stockpile dropped by over 1.2 million oz.’s, or rather, a staggering $1.8 billion dollars worth of physical gold was removed from it’s vaults during the last 120 days.

So what does all of this mean?

I don’t know.  But I would like to find out.  Someone is definitely up to something.

Meanwhile, the central banks of the globe seem determined to put their reckless money printing into overdrive.

For example, the Bank of Japan actually plans to double the monetary base of that country by the end of 2014 as a recent Time Magazine article described…

On Thursday, the new governor of the Bank of Japan (BOJ), Haruhiko Kuroda, announced that the central bank would double the monetary base of the country — adding an additional $1.4 trillion — by the end of 2014 in an attempt to end the deflation plaguing the economy. To achieve that, Kuroda will buy government bonds and other assets to inject cash into the economy — what has now become familiar as quantitative easing, or QE — to bump inflation up to a targeted 2%. The plan is part of a greater strategy ushered in by new Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to restart the economy through massive fiscal and monetary stimulus. It also expands on the efforts by the Federal Reserve, Bank of England and European Central Bank to stimulate growth and smooth over financial turmoil by infusing huge sums of new money into the global economy.

Many in the western world have been extremely critical of this move, but the truth is that we actually started this “currency war”.  The Federal Reserve has been recklessly printing money for years, and even though we are now supposedly in the midst of an “economic recovery”, the Fed is actually doing more quantitative easing than ever.

Anyone that thinks that gold and silver are bad investments for the long-term when the central banks of the world are being so reckless should have their heads examined.

However, I do believe that gold and silver will experience wild fluctuations in price over the next several years.  When the next stock market crash happens, gold and silver will go down.  It happened back in 2008 and it will happen again.

But in response to the next major financial crisis, I believe that the central banks of the globe will become more reckless than anyone ever dreamed possible.  At that point I believe that we will see gold and silver soar to unprecedented heights.

Yes, there will be huge ups and downs for gold and silver.  But in the long-term, both gold and silver are going to go far, far higher than they are today.

So what do you think will happen to gold and silver in the years ahead?  Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts 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

The Tunnel People That Live Under The Streets Of America

homeless living underground

Did you know that there are thousands upon thousands of homeless people that are living underground beneath the streets of major U.S. cities?  It is happening in Las Vegas, it is happening in New York City and it is even happening in Kansas City.  As the economy crumbles, poverty in the United States is absolutely exploding and so is homelessness.  In addition to the thousands of “tunnel people” living under the streets of America, there are also thousands that are living in tent cities, there are tens of thousands that are living in their vehicles and there are more than a million public school children that do not have a home to go back to at night.  The federal government tells us that the recession “is over” and that “things are getting better”, and yet poverty and homelessness in this country continue to rise with no end in sight.  So what in the world are things going to look like when the next economic crisis hits?

When I heard that there were homeless people living in a network of underground tunnels beneath the streets of Kansas City, I was absolutely stunned.  I have relatives that live in that area.  I never thought of Kansas City as one of the more troubled cities in the United States.

But according to the Daily Mail, police recently discovered a network of tunnels under the city that people had been living in…

Below the streets of Kansas City, there are deep underground tunnels where a group of vagrant homeless people lived in camps.

These so-called homeless camps have now been uncovered by the Kansas City Police, who then evicted the residents because of the unsafe environment.

Authorities said these people were living in squalor, with piles of garbage and dirty diapers left around wooded areas.

The saddest part is the fact that authorities found dirty diapers in the areas near these tunnels.  That must mean that babies were being raised in that kind of an environment.

Unfortunately, this kind of thing is happening all over the nation.  In recent years, the tunnel people of Las Vegas have received quite a bit of publicity all over the world.  It has been estimated that more than 1,000 people live in the massive network of flood tunnels under the city…

Deep beneath Vegas’s glittering lights lies a sinister labyrinth inhabited by poisonous spiders and a man nicknamed The Troll who wields an iron bar.

But astonishingly, the 200 miles of flood tunnels are also home to 1,000 people who eke out a living in the strip’s dark underbelly.

Some, like Steven and his girlfriend Kathryn, have furnished their home with considerable care – their 400sq ft ‘bungalow’ boasts a double bed, a wardrobe and even a bookshelf.

Could you imagine living like that?  Sadly, for an increasing number of Americans a “normal lifestyle” is no longer an option.  Either they have to go to the homeless shelters or they have to try to eke out an existence on their own any way that they can.

In New York City, authorities are constantly trying to root out the people that live in the tunnels under the city and yet they never seem to be able to find them all.  The following is from a New York Post article about the “Mole People” that live underneath New York City…

The homeless people who live down here are called Mole People. They do not, as many believe, exist in a separate, organized underground society. It’s more of a solitary existence and loose-knit community of secretive, hard-luck individuals.

The New York Post followed one homeless man known as “John Travolta” on a tour through the underground world.  What they discovered was a world that is very much different from what most New Yorkers experience…

In the tunnels, their world is one of malt liquor, tight spaces, schizophrenic neighbors, hunger and spells of heat and cold. Travolta and the others eat fairly well, living on a regimented schedule of restaurant leftovers, dumped each night at different times around the neighborhood above his foreboding home.

Even as the Dow hits record high after record high, poverty in New York City continues to rise at a very frightening pace.  Incredibly, the number of homeless people sleeping in the homeless shelters of New York City has increased by a whopping 19 percent over the past year.

In many of our major cities, the homeless shelters are already at maximum capacity and are absolutely packed night after night.  Large numbers of homeless people are often left to fend for themselves.

That is one reason why we have seen the rise of so many tent cities.

Yes, the tent cities are still there, they just aren’t getting as much attention these days because they do not fit in with the “economic recovery” narrative that the mainstream media is currently pushing.

In fact, many of the tent cities are larger than ever.  For example, you can check out a Reuters video about a growing tent city in New Jersey that was posted on YouTube at the end of March right here.  A lot of these tent cities have now become permanent fixtures, and unfortunately they will probably become much larger when the next major economic crisis strikes.

But perhaps the saddest part of all of this is the massive number of children that are suffering night after night.

For the first time ever, more than a million public school children in the United States are homeless.  That number has risen by 57 percent since the 2006-2007 school year.

So if things are really “getting better”, then why in the world do we have more than a million public school children without homes?

These days a lot of families that have lost their homes have ended up living in their vehicles.  The following is an excerpt from a 60 Minutes interview with one family that is living in their truck…

This is the home of the Metzger family. Arielle,15. Her brother Austin, 13. Their mother died when they were very young. Their dad, Tom, is a carpenter. And, he’s been looking for work ever since Florida’s construction industry collapsed. When foreclosure took their house, he bought the truck on Craigslist with his last thousand dollars. Tom’s a little camera shy – thought we ought to talk to the kids – and it didn’t take long to see why.

Pelley: How long have you been living in this truck?

Arielle Metzger: About five months.

Pelley: What’s that like?

Arielle Metzger: It’s an adventure.

Austin Metzger: That’s how we see it.

Pelley: When kids at school ask you where you live, what do you tell ’em?

Austin Metzger: When they see the truck they ask me if I live in it, and when I hesitate they kinda realize. And they say they won’t tell anybody.

Arielle Metzger: Yeah it’s not really that much an embarrassment. I mean, it’s only life. You do what you need to do, right?

But after watching a news report or reading something on the Internet about these people we rapidly forget about them because they are not a part of “our world”.

Another place where a lot of poor people end up is in prison.  In a previous article, I detailed how the prison population in the United States has been booming in recent years.  If you can believe it, the United States now has approximately 25 percent of the entire global prison population even though it only has about 5 percent of the total global population.

And these days it is not just violent criminals that get thrown into prison.  If you lose your job and get behind on your bills, you could be thrown into prison as well.  The following is from a recent CBS News article

Roughly a third of U.S. states today jail people for not paying off their debts, from court-related fines and fees to credit card and car loans, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. Such practices contravene a 1983 United States Supreme Court ruling that they violate the Constitutions’s Equal Protection Clause.

Some states apply “poverty penalties,” such as late fees, payment plan fees and interest, when people are unable to pay all their debts at once. Alabama charges a 30 percent collection fee, for instance, while Florida allows private debt collectors to add a 40 percent surcharge on the original debt. Some Florida counties also use so-called collection courts, where debtors can be jailed but have no right to a public defender. In North Carolina, people are charged for using a public defender, so poor defendants who can’t afford such costs may be forced to forgo legal counsel.

The high rates of unemployment and government fiscal shortfalls that followed the housing crash have increased the use of debtors’ prisons, as states look for ways to replenish their coffers. Said Chettiar, “It’s like drawing blood from a stone. States are trying to increase their revenue on the backs of the poor.”

If you are poor, the United States can be an incredibly cold and cruel place.  Mercy and compassion are in very short supply.

The middle class continues to shrink and poverty continues to grow with each passing year.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately one out of every six Americans is now living in poverty.  And if you throw in those that are considered to be “near poverty”, that number becomes much larger.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 146 million Americans are either “poor” or “low income”.

For many more facts about the rapid increase of poverty in this country, please see my previous article entitled “21 Statistics About The Explosive Growth Of Poverty In America That Everyone Should Know“.

But even as poverty grows, it seems like the hearts of those that still do have money are getting colder.  Just check out what happened recently at a grocery store that was in the process of closing down in Augusta, Georgia

Residents filled the parking lot with bags and baskets hoping to get some of the baby food, canned goods, noodles and other non-perishables. But a local church never came to pick up the food, as the storeowner prior to the eviction said they had arranged. By the time the people showed up for the food, what was left inside the premises—as with any eviction—came into the ownership of the property holder, SunTrust Bank.

The bank ordered the food to be loaded into dumpsters and hauled to a landfill instead of distributed. The people that gathered had to be restrained by police as they saw perfectly good food destroyed. Local Sheriff Richard Roundtree told the news “a potential for a riot was extremely high.”

Can you imagine watching that happen?

But of course handouts and charity are only temporary solutions.  What the poor in this country really need are jobs, and unfortunately there has not been a jobs recovery in the United States since the recession ended.

In fact, the employment crisis looks like it is starting to take another turn for the worse.  The number of layoffs in the month of March was 30 percent higher than the same time a year ago.

Meanwhile, small businesses are indicating that hiring is about to slow down significantly.  According to a recent survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, small businesses in the United States are extremely pessimistic right now.  The following is what Goldman Sachs had to say about this survey…

Components of the survey were consistent with the decline in headline optimism, as the net percent of respondents planning to hire fell to 0% (from +4%), those expecting higher sales fell to -4% (from +1%), and those reporting that it is a good time to expand ticked down to +4% (from +5%). The net percent of respondents expecting the economy to improve was unchanged at -28%, a very depressed level. However, on the positive side, +25% of respondents plan increased capital spending [ZH: With Alcoa CapEx spending at a 2 year low]. Small business owners continue to place poor sales, taxes, and red tape at the top of their list of business problems, as they have for the past several years.

So why aren’t our politicians doing anything to fix this?

For example, why in the world don’t they stop millions of our jobs from being sent out of the country?

Well, the truth is that they don’t think we have a problem.  In fact, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson recently said that U.S. trade deficits “don’t matter”.

He apparently does not seem alarmed that more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities have been shut down in the United States since 2001.

And since the last election, the White House has seemed to have gone into permanent party mode.

On Tuesday, another extravagant party will be held at the White House.  It is being called “In Performance at the White House: Memphis Soul”, and it is going to include some of the biggest names in the music industry…

As the White House has previously announced, Justin Timberlake (who will be making his White House debut), Al Green, Ben Harper, Queen Latifah, Cyndi Lauper, Joshua Ledet, Sam Moore, Charlie Musselwhite, Mavis Staples, and others will be performing at the exclusive event.

And so who will be paying for all of this?

You and I will be.  Even as the Obamas cry about all of the other “spending cuts” that are happening, they continue to blow millions of taxpayer dollars on wildly extravagant parties and vacations.

Overall, U.S. taxpayers will spend well over a billion dollars on the Obamas this year.

I wonder what the tunnel people that live under the streets of America think about that.

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.