Tag Archives: economy

The Average Age Of A Minimum Wage Worker In America Is 36

minimum-wage

Did you know that 89 percent of all minimum wage workers in the United States are not teens?  At this point, the average age of a minimum wage worker in this country is 36, and 56 percent of them are women.  Millions upon millions of Americans are working as hard as they can (often that means two or three jobs), and yet despite all of their hard work they still find themselves mired in poverty.  One of the big reasons for this is that we have created two classes of workers in the United States.  “Full-time workers” are entitled to an array of benefits and protections by law that “part-time workers” do not get.  And thanks to perverse incentives contained in Obamacare and other ridiculous laws, we have motivated employers to move as many workers from the “full-time” category to the “part-time” category as possible.  It may be hard to believe, but right now only 44 percent of all U.S. adults are employed for 30 or more hours each week.  But to get any kind of a job at all is a real challenge in many parts of the country today.  As you read this article, there are more than 100 million working age Americans that are not employed in any capacity.  And according to John Williams of shadowstats.com, if the federal government was actually using honest numbers the unemployment rate would be sitting at 23 percent.  That is not an “employment recovery” – that is a national crisis.

The following infographic comes from the Economic Policy Institute.  I certainly do not agree with a lot of the things that the Economic Policy Institute stands for, but I think that these numbers do accurately reflect what “part-time America” looks like today…

Minimum-Wage-Economic-Policy-Institute-425x414

So what is the solution to this problem?

Most Democrats believe that raising the minimum wage would fix this.  But as Zero Hedge has pointed out, it isn’t quite that simple…

Last week, we noted that Democratic lawmakers in the US are pushing for what they call “$12 by ’20” which, as the name implies, is an effort to raise the minimum wage to $12/hour over the course of the next five years. Republicans argue that if Democrats got their wish and the pay floor were increased by nearly 70%, it would do more harm than good for low-income Americans as the number of jobs that would be lost as a result of employers cutting back in the face of dramatically higher labor costs would offset the benefit that accrues to the workers who are lucky enough to keep their jobs.

Yes, raising the minimum wage would make life better for many minimum wage workers in America.  But a large number of them would also lose their jobs completely, and a lot of small businesses would deeply suffer financially.

Ideally, what we would love to see happen is for the U.S. economy to be producing so many good jobs that the only people that are looking for entry-level part-time jobs would be teens, people just starting out in the workforce, etc.  Back when I was a teen, I remember walking into a McDonald’s and getting hired on the spot because they were in dire need of workers.  Sadly, those days are long, long gone.

Over the past several decades, millions of good paying American jobs have been shipped overseas, and millions more have been lost to advancing technology.  And as I wrote about the other day, Barack Obama is deeply betraying American workers by working on a global economic treaty that would destroy millions more good paying jobs.

Thanks to the foolishness of our politicians, there is now intense competition even for minimum wage jobs at this point.

We keep hearing about an “employment recovery”, but it is a giant lie.  Posted below is a chart of the civilian employment to population ratio.  As you can see, the percentage of the working age population that is actually employed is much, much lower than it used to be…

Employment-Population-Ratio-2015-425x282

In recent months, we have seen the employment-population ratio move slightly higher.  But can this be called “an employment recovery”?  Of course not.  We are still way, way below the level that we were at just prior to the last recession, and now the next recession is just about upon us.

Meanwhile, the quality of our jobs continues to decline as more Americans are being pushed into “part-time work” with each passing year.

Since February of 2008, the size of the U.S. population has grown by 16.8 million people.  But during that same time frame, the number of full-time jobs in this country has actually decreased.

And at this point, the majority of American workers simply do not make enough money to support a middle class family.  The following income numbers come directly from the Social Security Administration

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

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

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

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

Are you starting to see why I am so fired up about all of this?

We have developed a business culture in this country which does not care about workers.  In business schools all over America, future executives are taught that a corporation only has one goal – to maximize wealth for the shareholders.  Taking care of those that are part of your team is treated as an afterthought at best.

As corporations have gotten bigger, they have shown less and less concern for those that work for them.  These days, employees are generally regarded as “expensive liabilities” that are to be discarded the moment that their usefulness has come to an end.  And news of layoffs is often rewarded by Wall Street by a surge in the stock prices of the companies making those layoffs.

In the old days, more businesses in America were family-owned, and employees were often regarded as almost “part of the family”.  Unfortunately, those days have disappeared forever.

Now, employees are treated like scum by many big companies, and if they don’t like how they are being treated they are told that they can leave.  For example, just consider what was going on at a security company down in Florida

Jose Molero worked as a site inspector for the company, which provides security for neighborhoods and companies across the country, for more than a year.

Molero says when he went to the Kensington Golf and Country Club guardhouse, he found wooden paddles on a desk, some with staff names on them and one reading “for staff discipline.”

He says there was also what is called a “Wall of Shame,” where the supervisor points out and posts reports that contain grammatical errors.

When Molero complained about these things to his district manager, he was told that if anyone was offended “maybe they shouldn’t work here”…

Molero contacted his operations manager, who told him to speak with the district manager. He says the district manager sent him an email response that said, “if that hurts their feelings then maybe they shouldn’t work here.”

Do you have a similar horror story to share?

Most of us do.

The U.S. economy is absolutely dominated by cold, heartless corporations that have no interest in listening to the little guy.  If they could find a way to do it, many of them would operate with no low-level employees at all.  And as technology continues to advance, they will replace as many of us as they can with robots, drones, machines and computers.

I’ll be honest with you – the future for workers in America looks really bleak.  The competition for any jobs that can’t be shipped overseas or replaced by technology is going to become even more heated.  This means that the middle class is going to get even smaller, the number of Americans dependent on the government is going to continue to explode, and the disparity between the wealthy and the poor is going to become even greater.

So what is the solution to this giant mess?  Please feel free to tell us what you think 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.

The 90,000 Square Foot, 100 Million Dollar Home That Is A Metaphor For America

Versailles-House-Public-Domain-700x440

Just like “America’s time-share king”, America just keeps on making the same mistakes over and over again.  Prior to the financial collapse of 2008, time-share mogul David Siegel and his wife Jackie began construction on their “dream home” near Disney World in Orlando, Florida.  This dream home would be approximately 90,000 square feet in size, would be worth $100 million when completed, and would be named “Versailles” after the French palace that inspired it.  In fact, you may remember David and Jackie from an excellent 2012 documentary entitled “The Queen of Versailles”.  That film documented how the Siegels almost lost everything after the financial collapse of 2008 devastated the U.S. economy because they were overleveraged and drowning in debt.  But since that time, David’s time-share company has bounced back, and the Siegels now plan to finally finish construction on their dream home and make it bigger and better than ever before.  But before you pass judgment on the Siegels, it is important to keep in mind that we are behaving exactly the same way as a nation.  Instead of addressing our fundamental problems after the last financial crisis, we have just continued to make the exact same mistakes that we made before.  And ultimately, things are going to end very, very badly for us.

As Americans, we like to think that we are somehow entitled to the biggest and best of everything.  We have been trained to believe that we are the wealthiest and most prosperous nation on the entire planet and that it will always be that way.  This generation was handed the keys to the greatest economic machine in world history, but instead of treating it with great care, we have wrecked it.  Our economic infrastructure is being systematically dismantled, Wall Street has been transformed into the biggest casino in the history of the planet, we have piled up a mountain of debt unlike anything the world has ever seen, and the reckless Federal Reserve is turning our currency into Monopoly money.  All of our decisions have been designed to make things better for ourselves in the short-term without any consideration about what we were doing to the future of this country.

That is why “Versailles” is such a perfect metaphor for America.  The Siegels always had to have the biggest and the best of everything, and they almost lost it all when the financial markets crashed

David Siegel (“They call me the time-share king”) and his wife, Jackie Siegel — titular star of the 2012 documentary “The Queen of Versailles” — began building their dream home near Disney World about a decade ago. Soon it became evident that the sheer size of the mansion was almost unprecedented in America; it’s thought that only Biltmore House and Oheka Castle are bigger and still standing, and both of those are now run as tourist attractions, not true single-family homes.

But when the bottom fell out of the financial markets in 2008, their fortunes were upended too. By the time the documentary ended, their dream home had gone into default and they’d put it on the market. The listing asked for $100 million finished — “based on the royal palace of Louix XIV of the 17th century or to the buyer’s specifications — or $75 million “as is with all exterior finishings in crates in the 20-car garage on site.”

But just like the U.S. economy, the Siegels have seemingly recovered, at least for the moment.

Thanks to a rebound in the time-share business, the Siegels plan to finally complete their dream home and make it bigger and better than ever

The unfinished home sits on 10 acres of lakefront property and when completed will feature 11 kitchens, 30 bathrooms, 20-car garage, two-lane bowling alley, indoor rollerskating rink, three indoor pools, two outdoor pools, video arcade, ballroom, two-story movie theater modeled off the Paris Opera House, fitness center with 10,000-square-foot spa, yoga studios, 20,000-bottle wine cellar and an exotic fish aquarium.

Two tennis courts, a baseball diamond and formal garden will be included on the grounds.

The couple admitted that some of their plans for the house – such as children’s playrooms – will have to be modified now that their kids are older.

However, they are determined to see the project through.

‘I’m not at the ending to my story yet, but so far, it’s a happy ending, and I’m really looking forward to starting the next chapter of my life and moving into my palace, finishing it and throwing lots of parties – anxious for the world to see it,’ Mrs Siegel said.

It is easy to point fingers at the Siegels, but the truth is that they are just behaving like we have been behaving as an entire nation.

When our financial bubbles burst the last time, our leaders did not really do anything to address our fundamental economic problems.  Instead, they were bound and determined to reinflate those bubbles and make them even larger than before.

Now we stand at the precipice of the greatest financial crisis in our history, and we only have ourselves to blame.

Just consider what has happened to our national debt.  Just prior to the last recession, it was sitting at about 9 trillion dollars.  Today, it has just crossed the 18 trillion dollar mark…

Total-Public-Debt-425x282

You may not think that you are to blame for this, but most of the people that will read this article voted for politicians that fully supported all of this borrowing and spending.  And yes, that includes most Democrats and most Republicans.

We have stolen trillions of dollars from future generations of Americans in a desperate attempt to prop up our failing standard of living in the present.  What we have done is a horrific crime, and if we lived in a just society a whole lot of people would be going to prison over this.

A similar pattern emerges when we look at the spending habits of ordinary Americans.  This next chart shows one measure of consumer credit in America.  During the last recession, we actually had a brief period of deleveraging (which was good), but now we are back on the exact same trajectory as before…

Consumer-Credit-2015-425x282

Even though we had a higher standard of living than all previous generations of Americans, that was never good enough for us.  We always had to have more, and we have borrowed and spent ourselves into oblivion.

We have also shown absolutely no respect for our currency.  Having the primary reserve currency of the world has been an incredible advantage for the U.S. economy, but we are squandering that privilege.  Like I said at the top of the article, the Federal Reserve has been treating the U.S. dollar like Monopoly money in recent years in an attempt to prop up the financial system.  Just look at what “quantitative easing” has done to the Fed balance sheet since the last recession…

Fed-Balance-Sheet-425x282

Most of the new money that the Fed has created has been funneled into the financial markets.  This has created some financial bubbles which are absolutely insane.  For example, just look at how the NASDAQ has performed since the last financial crisis…

 NASDAQ-425x282

These Fed-created bubbles are inevitably going to implode, because they have no relation to economic reality whatsoever.  And when they implode, millions of Americans are going to be financially wiped out.

Just like David and Jackie Siegel, we simply can’t help ourselves.  We just keep on making the same old mistakes.

And in the end, we will all pay a great, great price for our utter foolishness.


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.

Experts Are Warning That The 76 Trillion Dollar Global Bond Bubble Is About To Explode

stock market bubble

Warren Buffett believes “that bonds are very overvalued“, and a recent survey of fund managers found that 80 percent of them are convinced that bonds have become “badly overvalued“.  The most famous bond expert on the planet, Bill Gross, recently confessed that he has a sense that the 35 year bull market in bonds is “ending” and he admitted that he is feeling “great unrest”.  Nobel Prize–winning economist Robert Shiller has added a new chapter to his bestselling book in which he argues that bond prices are “irrationally high”.  The global bond bubble has ballooned to more than 76 trillion dollars, and interest rates have never been lower in modern history.  In fact, 25 percent of all government bonds in Europe actually have a negative rate of return at this point.  There is literally nowhere for the bond market to go except for the other direction, and when this bull market turns into a bear it will create chaos and financial devastation all over the planet.

In a recent piece entitled “A Sense Of Ending“, bond guru Bill Gross admitted that the 35 year bull market in bonds that has made him and those that have invested with him so wealthy is now coming to an end…

Stanley Druckenmiller, George Soros, Ray Dalio, Jeremy Grantham, among others warn investors that our 35 year investment supercycle may be exhausted. They don’t necessarily counsel heading for the hills, or liquidating assets for cash, but they do speak to low future returns and the increasingly fat tail possibilities of a “bang” at some future date. To them, (and myself) the current bull market is not 35 years old, but twice that in human terms. Surely they and other gurus are looking through their research papers to help predict future financial “obits”, although uncertain of the announcement date. Savor this Bull market moment, they seem to be saying in unison. It will not come again for any of us; unrest lies ahead and low asset returns. Perhaps great unrest, if there is a bubble popping.

And the way that he ended his piece sounds rather ominous

I wish to still be active in say 2020 to see how this ends. As it is, in 2015, I merely have a sense of an ending, a secular bull market ending with a whimper, not a bang. But if so, like death, only the timing is in doubt. Because of this sense, however, I have unrest, increasingly a great unrest. You should as well.

Bill Gross is someone that knows what he is talking about.  I would consider his words very carefully.

Another renowned financial expert, Yale professor Robert Shiller, warned us about the stock bubble in 2000 and about the real estate bubble in 2005.  Now, he is warning about the danger posed by this bond bubble

In the first edition of his landmark book “Irrational Exuberance,” published in 2000, the Yale professor of economics and 2013 Nobel Laureate presciently warned that stocks looked especially expensive. In the second edition, published in 2005 shortly before the real estate bubble crashed, he added a chapter about real estate valuations. And in the new edition, due out later this month, Shiller adds a fresh chapter called “The Bond Market in Historical Perspective,” in which he worries that bond prices might be irrationally high.

For years, ultra-low interest rates have enabled governments around the world to go on a debt binge unlike anything the world has ever seen.  Showing very little restraint since the last financial crisis, they have piled up debts that are exceedingly dangerous.  If interest rates were to return to historical norms, it would instantly create the greatest government debt crisis in history.

A recent letter from IceCap Asset Management summarized where we basically stand today…

Considering:

1) governments are unable to eliminate deficits

2) global government debt is increasing exponentially

3) 0% interest rates are allowing governments to borrow more to pay off old loans and fund deficits

4) Global growth is declining despite money printing and bailouts And, we’ve saved the latest and greatest fact for last: as stunning as 0% interest rates sound, the mathematically-challenged-fantasyland called Europe has just one upped everyone by introducing NEGATIVE INTEREST RATES.

As of writing, over 25% of all bonds issued by European governments has a guaranteed negative return for investors.

Germany can borrow money for 5 years at an interest rate of NEGATIVE 0.10%. Yes, instead of Germany paying you interest when you lend them money, you have to pay them interest.

These same negative interest rate conditions exist across many of the Eurozone countries, as well as Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland.

Negative interest rates are by nature irrational.

Why in the world would you pay someone to borrow money from you?

It doesn’t make any sense at all, and this irrational state of affairs will not last for too much longer.

At some point, investors are going to come to the realization that the 35 year bull market for bonds is finished, and then there will be a massive rush for the exits.  This rush for the exits will be unlike anything the bond market has ever seen before.  Robert Wenzel of the Economic Policy Journal says that this coming rush for the exits will set off a “death spiral”…

Anyone who holds the view that the Fed will not soon raise interest rates,and soon, fails to understand the nature of the developing crisis. It will be led by a collapse of the bond market.

Market forces, somewhat misleadingly called bond-vigilantes, will lead the charge.

I am not as bearish in the short-term on the stock market. The equity markets will be volatile because of the climb in rates and look scary at times but the death spiral will be in the bond market.

As this death spiral accelerates, we are going to see global interest rates rise dramatically.  And considering the fact that more than 400 trillion dollars in derivatives are directly tied to interest rates, that is a very scary thing.

And in case you are wondering, the stock market will be deeply affected by all of this as well.  I believe that we are going to witness a stock market crash even greater than what we experienced in 2008, and other experts are projecting similar things.  For example, just consider what Marc Faber recently told CNBC

“For the last two years, I’ve been thinking that U.S. stocks are due for a correction,” Faber said Wednesday on CNBC’s “Trading Nation.” “But I always say a bubble is a bubble, and if there’s no correction, the market will go up, and one day it will go down, big time.”

“The market is in a position where it’s not just going to be a 10 percent correction. Maybe it first goes up a bit further, but when it comes, it will be 30 percent or 40 percent minimum!” Faber asserted.

Where we are right now is at the end of the party.  There are some that want to keep on dancing to the music for as long as possible, but most can see that things are winding down and people are starting to head for the exits.

The irrational global financial bubble that investors have been enjoying for the past few years has stretched on far longer than it should have.  But that is the way irrational bubbles work – they just keep going even when everyone can see that they have become absolutely absurd.  However, eventually something always comes along and bursts them, and once that happens markets can crash very, very rapidly.


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.

16 Signs That The Economy Has Stalled Out And The Next Economic Downturn Is Here

economic-crisis-istock

If U.S. economic growth falls any lower, we are officially going to be in recession territory.  On Wednesday, we learned that U.S. GDP grew at a 0.2 percent annual rate in the first quarter of 2015.  That was much lower than all of the “experts” were projecting.  And of course there are all sorts of questions whether the GDP numbers the government feeds us are legitimate anyway.  According to John Williams of shadowstats.com, if honest numbers were used they would show that U.S. GDP growth has been continuously negative since 2005.  But even if we consider the number that the government has given us to be the “real” number, it still shows that the U.S. economy has stalled out.  It is almost as if we have hit a “turning point”, and there are many out there (including myself) that believe that the next major economic downturn is dead ahead.  As you will see in this article, a whole bunch of things are happening right now that we would expect to see if a recession was beginning.  The following are 16 signs that the economy has stalled out and the next economic downturn is here…

#1 We just learned that U.S. GDP grew at an anemic 0.2 percent annual rate during the first quarter of 2015…

The gross domestic product grew between January and March at an annualized rate of 0.2 percent, the U.S. Commerce Department said, adding to the picture of an economy braking sharply after accelerating for much of last year. The pace fell well shy of the 1 percent mark anticipated by analysts and marked the weakest quarter in a year.

#2 If you strip a very unusual inventory buildup out of the GDP number, U.S. GDP would have actually fallen at a -2.5 percent annual rate during the first quarter…

The only good news: the massive inventory build, the largest since 2010, boosted GDP by nearly 3.0%. Without this epic stockpiling of non-farm inventory which will have to be liquidated at some point (and at a very low price) Q1 GDP would have been -2.5%.

#3 Our trade deficit with the rest of the planet is absolutely killing our economic growth.  According to the Reality Chek Blog, U.S. economic growth would have been a total of 8 percent higher since the end of the last recession if we actually had balanced trade with other nations…

As of the new first quarter figures, the worsening of the trade deficit has reduced the cumulative real growth of the U.S. economy by 7.99 percent since the current recovery began in the second quarter of 2009.

#4 According to numbers that were just released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in one out of every five American families nobody has a job.  So how in the world can the “unemployment rate” be sitting at “5.5 percent” when everyone is unemployed in 20 percent of all families in the United States?  It doesn’t make any sense.

#5 The rate of homeownership in the United States has just hit a brand new 25 year low.  How can anyone claim that the middle class is “healthy” when the percentage of Americans that own a home is the lowest that it has been in more than two decades?

#6 Back in 2013, 31 percent of all Americans said that they did not anticipate buying a home “for the foreseeable future”.  Just two years later, that number has risen to 41 percent.

#7 The student loan bubble is clearly bursting.  According to Bloomberg, only 37 percent of all student loan borrowers are actually up to date on their payments and reducing their balances…

With borrowers increasingly struggling to repay their student loans, Moody’s Investors Service is warning it may take investors longer than promised to get their money back. The credit grader said this month it may lower rankings on $3 billion of top-rated debt as investors face the threat of slowing principal payments or even receiving no interest.

The concern underscores the fallout from a record $1.2 trillion in U.S. student loans that’s spreading to everything from the housing market and consumer spending to taxpayers. As a sluggish economic recovery forces borrowers to miss payments or tap relief programs, only 37 percent are current and reducing their balances, according to a Federal Reserve Bank of New York presentation this month.

#8 Procter & Gamble has announced that it will be cutting up to 6,000 more jobs from their payroll.  Why would they be doing this if the economy is “getting better”?

#9 McDonald’s plans to permanently shut down 700 “poorly performing” restaurants over the course of 2015.  Why would they be doing this if the economy is “getting better”?

#10 It is being projected that half of all fracking companies in the United States will be either “dead or sold” by the end of 2015.

#11 Retail sales in the U.S. have not dropped this rapidly since the last recession.

#12 Wholesale sales in the U.S. have not dropped this rapidly since the last recession.

#13 Factory orders in the U.S. have not dropped this rapidly since the last recession.

#14 Credit requests are being declined at a rate that we haven’t seen since the last recession.

#15 U.S. export growth has gone negative for the first time since the last recession.

#16 As the U.S. economy begins to head into another downturn, most Americans are completely unprepared for it.  In fact, one recent survey discovered that 62 percent of all Americans are currently living paycheck to paycheck.

Don’t let this next recession take you by surprise.

Back in 2008 and 2009, millions of Americans suddenly lost their jobs or businesses because of the sharp economic downturn.  Because most of them were living paycheck to paycheck, all of a sudden a whole lot of Americans could not make their mortgage payments and foreclosures surged to unprecedented heights.  Millions of families that thought they were operating on a solid foundation saw their middle class lifestyles evaporate in just a matter of a few months.

That is why it is so vital to prepare yourself financially, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually for the great storm that is coming ahead of time.  Over the past couple of years, I have been working on a new book entitled “Get Prepared Now” which talks about how to make these preparations.  On Wednesday, it was finally released to the public.  I hope that you will check it out.

The past few years have been a period of relative stability for the U.S. economy.  A lot of people have been lulled into a false sense of security during that time.  These people have become convinced that our problems have been fixed.  But they haven’t been fixed at all.  In fact, our problems are far, far worse than they were just prior to the last financial crisis.

When the next great financial crisis strikes, we are going to see a spike in the suicide rate just like we did during the last one.  Millions will be blindsided by what is coming and will give in to depression and despair.  But that doesn’t have to happen to you.  It is empowering to know what is coming and to understand why it is coming.  It is empowering to get prepared in advance for turbulent times.  It is empowering to have a plan for the years ahead.

Even though I write about all of the horrible things that are coming to this country every day, I live my life with no fear, and that is what I want for all of you as well.

Do you want to know who will be giving in to fear and panic when things start to go really crazy?

It will be the people that had no idea what was coming and made no preparations whatsoever.

Yes, the times ahead are going to be extremely challenging, but they can also be the best times of your life.

It is all going to come down to how you respond to a world that is going completely insane.

The choice is up to you.


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

U.S. Economy Collapsing Faster Than In 2008 (VIDEO)

economic collapse

By: The Daily Coin |

U.S. Macro “Suprise” index has never collapsed this fast (Zerohedge):  click to enlarge

usmacro-300x151I wanted to show those graphs from Zerohedge with my edits (right graph) because they show the extreme dislocation between the true economic fundamentals and the financial markets in the U.S. “US Macro” data is the differential between Wall Street’s “brain trust” estimates for various economic data and the actual reported result. The negative differential between the expectations of supposedly educated, bright economic professionals and reality has never been greater.

USmacro1-300x157The economic data – almost all of it – has been collapsing at a rate as great or greater than it was collapsing in 2008.   The media propaganda megaphone loudly broadcasting that “all is well” has never been set at a higher volume.

Today, for instance, the S&P 500 spiked higher on the jobless claims report, which came in well below Wall Street’s “Einstein” forecast.  The jobless claims report is probably the most useless barometer of the employment market other than the Government’s non-farm payroll report.  IN FACT, with the labor force participation rate at 30-year lows, we would expect that the jobless claims report would drop.   With less people as a percent of the population working, it means there’s less people to be fired.

MOREOVER, many people losing jobs do not even qualify to file for jobless benefits.  A long-time white collar/blue collar worker for a big corporation is covered by unemployment insurance.  An independent contractor working for an energy company or construction company (construction spending plunged in Q1) does not.  Nor do the retail employees of chain stores closing down mall space.   In other words, the jobless claims number is basically useless.

My colleague Dave Kranzler and I recorded a brief video which we discuss some quite shocking data which further reinforce that BOTH the global and U.S. economy are falling off a cliff:

I hope you take some time to watch the video – I think you’ll be quite shocked by the data we present…When the stock market begins to “regress toward the mean” by re-correlating with the US Macro data, the massive influx of retail investors into the stock market will get decimated – just like in early 2000 and in 2008.


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Optimism Grows About The Global Economy

global economy
By: The Real Agenda

Only a liar or a banker could say he sees positive signs in the world economy.

With Europe immersed in a dire economic depression, the United States ever more engaged in wars all over the world and a group of emerging markets with stagnated economies, only a member of the banking or financial industry could see the present as a good omen for the future.

In contrast to reality and according to finance ministers of the euro zone, the IMF and the World Bank, the European crisis has ended.

In the United States, politicians and bureaucrats are speaking of recovery, growth and of success against the difficult economic situation that still hits the poor and the thining middle class.

In Latin America, even countries that traditionally kept a stable economic scenario are now succumbing to the cancers of corruption and economic depression.

So where is the optimism of the finance ministers, the IMF and the World Bank coming from?

It comes from the fact that the have successfully beta-tested their plan to literally transfer power from nation-states to unelected officials. It comes from the completion of their plan to subdue national governments into accepting financial ‘rescues’ on behalf of the people to effectively bail out banking institutions.

Optimism also comes from the successful imposition -as they did in Portugal and Greece- of unnecessary austerity programs on countries whose debt was already a heavy burden and who did not have a way to pay back such debt.

They are enthusiastic because they proved that it is possible for banks to lend to anyone they want no matter the risk because governments can rescue them by socializing their losses and privatizing their profits.

According to economists attending the annual IMF-sponsored meeting of finance ministers and bankers in Washington D.C, the crisis is over. According to them, the global economic situation is good. They have given themselves billions of euros in bailouts so there appears to be no more risk of a European collapse.

The bankers believe the crisis has ended, despite the fact that there is no European recovery and that Greece, the scapegoat of the euro zone will continue to go through a traumatic collapse that will affect all of the Europe.

Apparently, interest has grown among investors to put their money back in Europe. But the type of investment that is being paraded is that of the sort seen in Greece, where the government has given away the country’s assets for pennies on the euro in order to obtain liquidity to pay for its expenses.

After nationalizing some banks, for example, the Greek government was obligated by the Troika to put them for sale so that American hedge funds could buy them at bargain prices. The same happened to Greece’s islands and other publicly-owned lands.

Despite the invisibility and intangibility of the so-called economic recovery in Europe, bankers see 1%, 2% and 3% growth rates as signs of progress. At the same time, they ignore humanitarian crises, armed conflict and political instability in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and in neighboring Ukraine. They also forgot about the Chinese economy, whose economic growth has slowed down considerably -the lowest growth rate in 24 years.

The other big emerging country that has gone from being a hope to be seen as a bad example is Brazil.

The efimerous legacy of President Lula da Silva combined with the disastrous economic policies of Dilma Rousseff have come to the inevitable outcome: a painful economic adjustment that will be paid disproportionately more by the poor the any other social group.

In general, Latin America will be affected by the falling prices of raw materials, although some countries are already weakened by bad policies. This countries including Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil will suffer more than the rest.

In Latin America more than in any other part of the world, corruption has reached dimensions of macroeconomic importance. Although it is nothing new in the region, the magnitude of the activities run by corrupt elites has seen regional consequences.

In China, the fight against corruption is slowing along with the economy as a central theme. President Xi Jinping led a purge of officials, politicians and businessmen accused of corruption.

More than 80,000 people were prosecuted and another 100,000 are being investigated. In Brazil, on the other hand, a huge diversion of public money is also shaking the government, but no one has seen the face of justice due to arrangements between the justice system and those accused of financial crimes.

Meanwhile, lavish oligarchies that have accumulated fortunes through constant and suspicious support in all of Latin America, Europe and even Asia. This wealth accumulation has come at the expense of the masses.

For all this is that the bankers are extremely optimistic. It has been them -the bankers- and the political oligharchies in nation-states the most favored groups during the ongoing global financial crisis. They are optimistic because, once again, they have gotten away with financial murder.

For an in-depth look at the global financial crisis, with specific focus on Europe, watch the documentary The Trail of the Troika, whose interviews can be seen here.


Luis R. Miranda is an award-winning journalist and the founder and editor-in-chief at The Real Agenda. His career spans over 18 years and almost every form of news media. His articles include subjects such as environmentalism, Agenda 21, climate change, geopolitics, globalisation, health, vaccines, food safety, corporate control of governments, immigration and banking cartels, among others. Luis has worked as a news reporter, on-air personality for Live and Live-to-tape news programs. He has also worked as a script writer, producer and co-producer on broadcast news. Read more about Luis.

11 Signs That We Are Entering The Next Phase Of The Global Economic Crisis

Earth-Puzzle-Public-Domain

Well, the Nasdaq finally did it.  It has climbed all the way back to where it was at the peak of the dotcom bubble.  Back in March 2000, the Nasdaq set an all-time record high of 5,048.62.  On Thursday, after all these years, that all-time record was finally eclipsed.  The Nasdaq closed at 5056.06, and Wall Street greatly rejoiced.  So if you invested in the Nasdaq at the peak of the dotcom bubble, you are just finally breaking even 15 years later.  Unfortunately, the truth is that stocks have not been soaring because the U.S. economy is fundamentally strong.  Just like the last two times, what we are witnessing is an irrational financial bubble.  Sometimes these irrational bubbles can last for a surprisingly long time, but in the end they always burst.  And even now there are signs of economic trouble bubbling to the surface all around us.  The following are 11 signs that we are entering the next phase of the global economic crisis…

#1 It is being projected that half of all fracking companies in the United States will be “dead or sold” by the end of this year.

#2 The rig count just continues to fall as the U.S. oil industry implodes.  Incredibly, the number of rigs in operation in the United States has fallen for 19 weeks in a row.

#3 McDonald’s has announced that it will be closing 700 “poor performing” restaurants in 2015.  Why would McDonald’s be doing this if the economy was actually getting better?

#4 As I wrote about the other day, we could be right on the verge of a Greek debt default.  In fact, we learned on Thursday that the Greek government has been “running on empty” for months…

Greece warned it will go bankrupt next week after failing to stump up enough cash to pay millions of public sector workers and its international debts.

Deputy finance minister Dimitras Mardas set alarm bells ringing yesterday when he declared the country had been ‘running on empty’ since February.

With a debt repayment deadline looming on May 1, Greece faces the deeply damaging prospect of having to snub its own employees to make a €200m payment to the International Monetary Fund.

#5 Coal accounts for approximately 40 percent of all electrical generation on the entire planet.  When the price of coal starts to drop, that is a sign that economic activity is slowing down.  Just prior to the last financial crisis in 2008, the price of coal shot up dramatically and then crashed really hard.  Well, guess what?  The price of coal has been crashing again, and it is already lower than it was at any point during the last recession.

#6 The price of iron ore has been crashing as well.  It is down 35 percent in the last nine months, and David Stockman believes that this is because of a major deflationary crisis that is brewing in China…

There is no better measure of the true contraction underway in China than the price of iron ore. The Wall Street stock peddlers will tell you not to be troubled by the 70% plunge from the 2012 highs and the 35% drop just in the last nine months. According to them, its all the fault of the big global miners who went overboard opening up massive new iron ore pits and mining infrastructure.

#7 At this point, China accounts for more total global trade than anyone else in the world.  That is why it is so alarming that Chinese imports and exports are both absolutely collapsing

China’s monthly trade data shows exports fell in March from a year ago by 14.6% in yuan terms, compared to expectations for a rise of more than 8%.

Imports meanwhile fell 12.3% in yuan terms compared to forecasts for a fall of more than 11%.

#8 The number of publicly traded companies in the United States that filed for bankruptcy during the first quarter of 2015 was more than double the number that filed for bankruptcy during the first quarter of 2014.

#9 New home sales in the United States just declined at their fastest pace in almost two years.

#10 U.S. manufacturing data has been shockingly weak lately…

On the heels of weak PMIs from Europe and Asia, Markit’s US Manufacturing PMI plunged to 54.2 in April (from 55.7). Against expectations of a rise to 55.6, this is the biggest miss on record. Of course, this is ‘post-weather’ so talking-heads will need to find another excuse as New Orders declined for the first time since Nov 2014.

#11 When priced according to “the average blue-collar hourly wage“, U.S. stocks are the most expensive that they have ever been in history right now.  To say that this financial bubble is overdue to burst is a massive understatement.

For a long time, I have been pointing to 2015 as a major “turning point” for the global financial system, and I still feel that way.

But for the first four months of this year, things have been surprisingly quiet – at least on the surface.

So what is going on?

Well, I believe that what we are experiencing right now is the proverbial “calm before the storm”.  There is all sorts of turmoil brewing just beneath the surface, but for the moment things seem like they are running along just fine to most people.  Unfortunately, this period of quiet is not going to last much longer.

And those that are “in the know” are already moving their money in anticipation of what is coming.  For example, consider the words of  Snapchat founder and CEO Evan Spiegel

Fed has created abnormal market conditions by printing money and keeping interest rates low. Investors are looking for growth anywhere they can find it and tech companies are good targets – at these values, however, all tech stocks are expensive – even looking at 5+ years of revenue growth down the road. This means that most value-driven investors have left the market and the remaining 5-10%+ increase in market value will be driven by momentum investors. At some point there won’t be any momentum investors left buying at higher prices, and the market begins to tumble. May be 10-20% correction or something more significant, especially in tech stocks.

It may not happen next week, or even next month, but big financial trouble is coming.

And when it finally arrives, it is going to shock the world, even though anyone with any sense can see the coming crisis approaching from a mile away.


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.

Hopium: How Far Can Irrational Optimism Take The U.S. Economy?

hopium

If enough people truly believe that things will get better, will that actually cause them to get better?  There is certainly something to be said for being positive and thinking that anything is possible.  And as Americans, optimism seems to come naturally for us.  However, no amount of positive thinking is ever going to turn the sun into a block of wood or turn the moon into a block of cheese.  Any good counselor will tell you that one of the first steps toward recovery is to stop being delusional and to come to grips with how bad things really are.  When we deny reality and engage in irrational wishful thinking, we are engaging in something called “hopium”.  This is a difficult term to define, but the favorite definition of hopium that I have come across so far goes like this: “The irrational belief that, despite all evidence to the contrary, things will turn out for the best.”  In hundreds of articles, I have documented how the U.S. economy is mired in a long-term decline which is about to get a lot worse.  But most Americans see things very differently.  In fact, according to a brand new CNN/ORC poll, 52 percent of Americans describe the U.S. economy as “very” or “somewhat good”, and more than two-thirds of all Americans believe that the U.S. economy will be in “good shape” a year from right now.  But if you asked most of those people why they are so optimistic, they would probably mumble something about “Obama” or about how “we’re Americans and we always bounce back” or some other such gibberish.  Well, it’s wonderful that so many people are feeling good and looking forward to the future, but are those beliefs rational?

We witnessed a perfect example of this “hopium” on Wednesday.  Sales at McDonald’s restaurants have been in decline for quite a while, and the numbers for the first quarter of 2015 were just abysmal

The ubiquitous burger-and-fries chain said US sales, the largest share of global income, fell 2.6 percent from a year ago for comparable outlets.

Sales in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East region dropped 8.3 percent, helping bring overall global sales down 2.3 percent, “reflecting negative guest traffic in all segments,” the company said.

Total revenue sank 11 percent to $5.96 billion in the quarter to March 31, and net income plunged 32.6 percent to $812 million, or 84 cents a share (-31 percent).

So you would think that the stock price would have tanked on Wednesday, right?

Wrong.

Thanks to news that a “turnaround plan” would be announced on May 4th, McDonald’s stock actually skyrocketed

McDonald’s closed up 3.13 percent after spiking more than 4.5 percent in early trade as investors cheered a turnaround plan expected on May 4. However, the fast food chain’s earnings missed on both the top and bottom lines.

This is pure hopium.  Why don’t McDonald’s executives just tell us what the plan is now?  But instead, the mystery of a “secret turnaround plan” gives people just enough hope to keep the stock from tumbling – at least for the moment.

And of course there are all sorts of other stocks that are being massively inflated by hopium right now.

Many years ago, when I was an undergraduate, I was taught that a price to earnings ratio of more than 20 was really, really high.

But these days that is the norm on Wall Street, and at the moment there are quite a few stocks that actually have price to earnings ratios that are greater than 100

There are 10 stocks in the Standard & Poor’s 500, including industrial giant General Electric, video-streamer Netflix and oil and gas explorer Cabot Oil & Gas that are trading for 100 times their diluted earnings the past 12 months excluding extraordinary items, according to a USA TODAY analysis of data from S&P Capital IQ.

And if you can believe it, General Electric has a PE on its training earnings of more than 200

Take General Electric, the industrial giant that’s swiftly selling off banking assets so it can return to its manufacturing roots. GE sports a PE on its trailing earnings of 227, says S&P Capital IQ.

This is completely and totally irrational.  General Electric is a giant mess and is being very badly mismanaged.  But investors continue to pay a massive premium for GE stock because they hope that things will turn around eventually.

Look, hope will get you a lot of things in life, but it won’t put money in your pockets or dinner on the table.

Our politicians and the mainstream media continue to sell us hard on the idea that things are getting better in America, but meanwhile our economic infrastructure continues to decay.  Just check out what is happening in the steel industry

United States Steel Corporation issued layoff notices to 1,404 workers in the latest sign of struggle for the American steel industry. The missives went out in recent days to workers producing pipe and tube products that are used in the oil and gas sector. Job cuts could come as early as June for 17 to 579 employees at a plant in Lone Star, Texas, 166 at a factory in Houston, 255 at a mill in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and 404 managers across the company’s tubular operations nationwide.

Since last June, the company has informed 7,800 employees of potential job cuts, a tally from Pittsburgh Business Times indicated. U.S. Steel spokeswoman Sarah Cassella said the ongoing layoffs are the result of “challenging market conditions and global influences in the market including a high level of imports, reduced prices for oil and natural gas and reduced steel prices.”

A little over a month ago, I published an article entitled “10 Charts Which Show We Are Much Worse Off Than Just Before The Last Economic Crisis” in which I demonstrated that we are in far worse economic shape than we were just prior to the last recession, and now another great economic crisis is at our door.

Unfortunately, most Americans have no idea what is going on out there.  Most of them get their news from the giant propaganda matrix that very tightly controls the flow of ideas and information in this country.  This is something that I explain on my new DVD.  Six colossal corporations control over 90 percent of the news, information and entertainment that Americans consume, and that gives them an awesome amount of power.

And right now that propaganda matrix is assuring the American people that everything is going to be just fine.

Well, they better be right.  Because if not, they are going to have millions of people extremely angry with them when things really start falling to pieces.


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.

Guess What Happened The Last Time Bond Yields Crashed Like This?…

money-bomb economy

If a major financial crisis was approaching, we would expect to see the “smart money” getting out of stocks and pouring into government bonds that are traditionally considered to be “safe” during a crisis.  This is called a “flight to safety” or a “flight to quality“.  In the past, when there has been a “flight to quality” we have seen yields for German government bonds and U.S. government bonds go way down.  As you will see below, this is exactly what we witnessed during the financial crisis of 2008.  U.S. and German bond yields plummeted as money from the stock market was dumped into bonds at a staggering pace.  Well, it is starting to happen again.  In recent months we have seen U.S. and German bond yields begin to plummet as the “smart money” moves out of the stock market.  So is this another sign that we are on the precipice of a significant financial panic?

Back in 2008, German bonds actually began to plunge well before U.S. bonds did.  Does that mean that European money is “smarter” than U.S. money?  That would certainly be a very interesting theory to explore.  As you can see from the chart below, the yield on 10 year German bonds started to fall significantly during the summer of 2008 – several months before the stock market crash in the fall…

German-Bond-Yields-2007-And-2008-425x282

So what are German bonds doing today?

As you can see from this next chart, the yield on 10 year German bonds has been steadily falling since the beginning of last year.  At this point, the yield on 10 year German bonds is just barely above zero…

German-Bond-Yields-2013-To-Today-425x282

And amazingly, most German bonds that have a maturity of less than 10 years actually have a negative yield right now.  That means that investors are going to get back less money than they invest.  This is how bizarre the financial markets have become.  The “smart money” is so concerned about the “safety” of their investments that they are actually willing to accept negative yields.  I don’t know why anyone would ever put their money into investments that have a negative yield, but it is actually happening.  The following comes from Yahoo

The world’s scarcest resource right now is safe yield, and the shortage is getting more extreme. Most German government bonds that mature in less than 10 years now have negative yields – part of some $2 trillion worth of paper with yields below zero.

This is what happens when the European Central Bank begins a trillion-euro bond-buying binge with rates already miniscule.

Yesterday, ECB boss Mario Draghi – unfazed by the protest stunt at his press conference – reaffirmed his plan to keep bidding for paper that yields more than -0.2% – that’s minus 0.2%.

Yes, the ECB is driving a lot of this, but it is still truly bizarre.

So what about the United States?

Well, first let’s take a look at what happened back in 2008.  In the chart below, you can see the “flight to safety” that took place in late 2008 as investors started to panic…

US-Bond-Yield-2007-And-2008-425x282

And we have started to witness a similar thing happen in recent months.  The yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries has plummeted as investors have looked for safety.  This is exactly the kind of chart that we would expect to see if a financial crisis was brewing…

US-10-Year-Yield-2014-And-2015-425x282

What makes all of this far more compelling is the fact that so many other patterns that we have witnessed just prior to past financial crashes are happening once again.

Yes, there are other potential explanations for why bond yields have been going down.  But when you add this to all of the other pieces of evidence that a new financial crisis is rapidly approaching, quite a compelling case emerges.

For those that do not follow my website regularly, I encourage you to check out the following articles to get an idea of what I am talking about…

-“Guess What Happened The Last Time The Price Of Oil Crashed Like This?…

-“Not Just Oil: Guess What Happened The Last Time Commodity Prices Crashed Like This?…

-“10 Key Events That Preceded The Last Financial Crisis That Are Happening Again RIGHT NOW

-“Guess What Happened The Last Time The U.S. Dollar Skyrocketed In Value Like This?…

-“7 Signs That A Stock Market Peak Is Happening Right Now

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

Of course no two financial crashes ever look exactly the same.

The crisis that we are moving toward is not going to be precisely like the crisis of 2008.

But there are similarities and patterns that we can look for.  When things start to get bad, investors act in predictable ways.  And so many of the things that we are watching right now are just what we would expect to see in the lead up to a major financial crisis.

Sadly, most people are not willing to learn from history.  Even though it is glaringly apparent that we are in a historic financial bubble, most investors on Wall Street cannot see it because they do not want to see it.  They want to believe that somehow “things are different this time” and that stocks will just continue to go up indefinitely so that they can keep making lots and lots of money.

And despite what you may think, I actually want this bubble to continue for as long as possible.  Despite all of our problems, life is still relatively good in America today – at least compared to what is coming.

I like to refer to this next crisis as our “third strike”.

Back in 2000 and 2001, the dotcom bubble burst and we experienced a painful recession, but we didn’t learn any lessons.  That was strike number one.

Then came the financial crash of 2008 and the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.  But we didn’t learn any lessons from that either.  Instead, we just reinflated the same old financial bubbles and kept on making the exact same mistakes as before.  That was strike number two.

This next financial crisis will be strike number three.  After this next crisis, I don’t believe that there will ever be a return to “normal” for the United States.  I believe that this is going to be the crisis that unleashes hell in our nation.

So no, I am not eager for that to come.  Even though there is no way that this bubble of debt-fueled false prosperity can last indefinitely, I would like for it to last at least a little while longer.

Because what comes after it is going to be truly terrible.


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

One Last Look At The Real Economy Before It Implodes – Part 6 – Solutions

michael-beats-devil

All problems, all crises, have at least one solution, if not many solutions. There is no such thing as an unwinnable scenario. Some may not be smart enough or courageous enough to see it, but the solution is always there, waiting to be discovered. The only fight that cannot be won is the fight in which the enemy makes all the rules and we foolishly abide by those rules. Life is not a game of chess, and a man can choose to be more than a pawn anytime he has the guts to do so.

In the past, I have likened the liberty movement to a rebellion against not just tyrants but the game itself – a group of people willing to walk away from the chess board and make their own rules. I stand by that assertion. However, simply walking away is not enough; we must also be willing to take actions that will destroy the game entirely.

In order to accomplish this task, any rebellion against corruption of power must be self-critical – more self-critical of its own weaknesses than opposing propagandists could ever be. Most of our problems as a society are being caused by a relatively small number of elitists, but we will never be able to undo these problems without understanding our weaknesses as much as the enemy’s weaknesses. In this final installment of my six-part series, I will talk about REAL solutions to the inevitable economic implosion in front of us, but I will also discuss the shortcomings of the liberty movement as an obstacle to the success of those solutions.

Perhaps the most detrimental of weaknesses within the Liberty Movement is a propensity of some to demand action by others before they take action themselves.  Not all solutions require a synchronized mass movement led by top-down leadership.  Often the best solutions are implemented by individuals and small groups within the local sphere.  One man alone may not be able to change the entire world, but each individual can change the immediate world around him in smaller ways each day.  Activists need to stop concerning themselves with what everyone else is doing and worry more about what THEY are doing to derail tyranny.

As noted in Part 5 of this series, segments of the liberty movement have fallen into a trap of biased assumption, namely a gullible embrace of the false East/West paradigm. I find it a little sad at times when I come across freedom activists who worship the footsteps of Henry Kissinger/International Monetary Fund puppet Vladimir Putin, or those who cheer for a globalist petri dish like China, all because they hate American imperialism so much they have decided out of reactionary fervor to cheerlead for the “lesser of two evils.” There is no difference between those who buy into the false East/West paradigm and those who buy into the false Left/Right political paradigm. There is no “good guy” in the world of geopolitical maneuvering. East or West, it is all irrelevant primarily because both sides serve the same international interests. Those who refuse to recognize this fact will find themselves utterly incompetent in terms of presenting practical solutions.  One cannot defeat the game if one plays by the unfair rules of the game.

Another issue within the liberty movement is an inability by some to consider where the globalist ideal will actually lead. I know very well that there are 1,001 theories out there as to what the globalists actually want to achieve, which is why I personally look at the evidence at hand. The best available evidence is the evidence the elites openly ADMIT to, as they are apt to do in random fits of arrogance. It is important to understand that the elites often cannot help themselves and are desperate to boast of their activities before said activities are a forgone conclusion. Some analysts in recent history have presented undeniable admission by the elites, yet some activists still bicker about the enemy’s intent.

Whether it be the surprising words of insiders like Carroll Quigley, or the in-depth investigations of Antony Sutton, or the quotable quotes of frothing Fabian socialists, there is indeed a distinct strategy in play and this strategy is hidden in plain sight; the strategy of order out of chaos. And in terms of economics, there is an openly admitted goal, namely the integration of national currencies into a single global basket system (the special drawing rights, or SDR) controlled by the IMF and the Bank for International Settlements. I do not “believe” this is the goal; I KNOW this is the goal because the elites have for decades openly admitted to it in articles like “Get Ready For The Phoenix” published by the Rothschild-owned The Economist in 1988, which stated that a global currency system will be established under the auspices of the SDR by 2018.

Further information on the plan for global economic reset can be found in my article ‘The Economic Endgame Explained.’

As I have shown with ample evidence throughout this series, the U.S. is on the verge of fiscal collapse, the dollar is already in the process of losing its world reserve status, the East is just as subservient to the reset plan as the West, and all of this is in preparation for an engineered disaster that will anesthetize the masses and prepare them for a shift toward total centralization.

Solutions require us to first grasp the fundamental nature of the greater threat. The cold, hard truth is that we as a movement for freedom are alone in the fight against globalization. There are no nation states to fall back on. There is no safe region on the planet to run away to. No white knight is coming to our rescue, and any embrace of the East will end only in co-option and defeat for liberty activists.

Believe it or not, though, I am still an optimist.

Knowing the scale of the threat gives clarity to our response. The movement stands alone, therefore, we must act without naively waiting for outside aid. We must take on an attitude of self-reliance.

The gravity of our situation also reveals to us what solutions actually have merit and which “solutions” present false hopes. I have seen numerous attempts at silver-bullet solutions in the movement over the past decade, from useless and intangible crypto-currencies to pyramid schemes designed to generate enough revenue to “sue” the Federal Reserve to blind armed marches on Washington planned by tactically retarded spokesmen to even more national election drives wasting even more money and more energy on candidates that may mean well but have no chance at defusing the economic time bomb already ticking away.

If the solution presented seems too easy, then it is probably nonsense. If someone is trying to sell you on the idea that no sacrifice, no struggle and no pain will be required to defeat globalism, then they are probably a con man trying to take something from you, whether it be your money or your common sense. Throughout history, the only real solutions to real problems — economic, social or political — require much pain and sacrifice. To change the world for the better, to fight for the truth, you must be willing to take risks up to an including risking your life, otherwise failure is guaranteed.

I do not believe in silver-bullet solutions. I do not believe there is a path of “least resistance.” The following methods are not academic. They are not philosophical. They will not appeal to the egghead libertarian portion of the movement, obsessed with theory rather than practice. And they will not appeal to self-proclaimed pacifists terrified of consequence and public perception. These are difficult actions requiring the will to endure.  Every response listed here is a response I am applying in my own community, and I would not suggest a solution that I would not undertake myself.

Localism

If you want to undermine a concerted campaign of globalization, you must generate an opposing system. The opposite of tyranny is voluntarism. The opposite of collectivism is individualism. The opposite of globalism is localism.

Localism is economic organization based upon the methodology of self-reliance. While globalism forces people, cities, states and countries to become interdependent and unable to survive or prosper without each other, localism brings internal economic stability and removes dependency. If all communities were based on localism and independent fiscal strength, such redundancy would make widespread financial collapse a thing of the past.

While globalism is a top down model in which all decisions and power bottleneck at the peak of the pyramid, localism is a bottom up grass-roots initiative completely voluntary in nature.  It is a methodology in which no one has power over the lives of others. That said, in order for localism to become a reality, these things must be accomplished first…

Real Preparedness

Self-reliance requires preparedness. There is no way around it. There is no such thing as crisis for those who are prepared. This means placing oneself in a position to provide the necessities of life so that one does not become a slave to need. Desperation often leads to moral relativism, and tyrants thrive on the moral weakness of a population. The more prepared an individual is, the more likely he is to fight back against despotism. The more prepared a community is, the less that community will feel inclined to request aid from those who might leverage such aid to oppress that community.

Preparedness can also in some cases include commodity investment by individuals and networks of individuals. While beans, bullets and Band-Aids are a priority, no one can deny the trend of foreign central banks stockpiling precious metals. And this stockpiling is clearly being done as a parallel measure to de-dollarization and the rise of the SDR basket. Metals are useful during windows of time just before collapse and after rebuilding has begun. They are a back-up. They are not a solution by themselves.

Real Production

Americans, in particular, will have to become producers again. And by production I mean useful items, useful skills and useful ideas, rather than frivolous attempts to sustain our avarice and empty materialism. Do you have the skills to produce food, clean water, shelter, warmth or energy? Are you able to invent or reimagine useful tools? Can you repair useful items? Do you have any experience with hard labor whatsoever? If you have answered in the negative to these questions, then you have a lot of work ahead of you to learn what you can in the time we have left. If you were to approach a group of people today and try to convince them of your value as a producer, what would you tell them? If you were thrust into an economic system in which barter was the primary means of wealth circulation, what would you trade that people would actually want?  It is not about being “communally useful”, but it is about supply and demand.  What can you provide that is commonly in demand during faltering fiscal conditions?

This is not necessarily a call for Americans to revert back to 18th century living; it is a call for Americans to reclaim their heritage of entrepreneurship and adaptability. Globalism is merely feudal mercantilism wearing a modernized mask. It is globalism that is taking us back to the Dark Ages. And only localism can bring us into a future where technical achievement works for the common man rather than against him.

Real Community

Humans are social beings, but there are healthy forms of social organization, and unhealthy forms.  At this stage in our society, collectivism has nearly decimated all vestiges of true community. Today, people have no clue who their neighbors are and most of them do not want to know. They have little to no interaction with their surroundings beyond superficial consumerism, and they see every other person around them as a competitor rather than an ally. Their idea of the “greater good” is a mentally deranged one. For them, the state is the root source of safety and communal coherency rather than the citizenry, and the people around them are not to be trusted.

Collectivism isolates people from each other to the point that their only means of feeling a connection with their fellow man is to do so through support of the establishment control grid. Participation in the totalitarian framework becomes a shallow replacement for participation in the world around us. By paying taxes, blindly supporting a war, giving to impotent international charities and voting once every two to four years in the farcical election process, we fool ourselves into believing we are a part of a “team” and that our civic duty has been fulfilled.

This terrible cycle can be broken, but it takes the effort of individuals going out and actively building relationships with others of like mind off the grid, so to speak. The liberty movement in particular should be forming groups and associations all over the country — not just to complain about the condition of the nation, but to take tangible actions. Mutual aid and barter groups, neighborhood watches and community preparedness teams, business ventures and engineering projects are all useful means of organization. These organizations will not form themselves. YOU must make them happen.

Real Self-Defense

As I discussed in my article ‘If You Are Not Thinking Tactically You Are Not A Survivalist,’ self-defense is an imperative that simply cannot be denied. This defense must include preparation for all enemies, foreign and domestic, and corrupt government is not excluded.

Economic collapse is very often followed by an increase in oppressive state power. And in the end, the establishment does not relinquish power over the citizenry unless it is forced to do so. Because of this reality, all honorable people should endeavor to become dangerous people, the more dangerous the better.

Voices expressing nihilism and futility in self defense are rarely constructive and should be ignored. Frankly, I find such cowardice stomach churning. There may very well come a day in which you will have to decide between freedom or absolute slavery. The size, strength and technological advancement of the enemy should have NO bearing whatsoever on the choice to fight for freedom; it should only have bearing on the applied strategy. Again, there is no problem without a solution if you have the courage to seek it. I hope that my joint project with Oath Keepers on how to build a working thermal evasion suit, due to be released in the next few weeks, will provide a good example as to why a technologically advanced tyranny is still vulnerable to a resourceful citizenry.

Real Grass-Roots Expansion

There has always been a lot of talk within the liberty movement of “nullification.” But ultimately, the philosophy of nullification is useless unless it comes from a position of strength. Federal overreach will not stop simply because a state happens to pass a bill denying the establishment full access. Here in Montana, medical marijuana legalization was crushed by the Feds despite state recognition. They simply marched in and arrested on drug charges anyone who dared open up shop, and the state did nothing to stop it. This is just one example of many in which nullification failed because people refused to accept that written law is meaningless unless it is backed by a vigilant public.  Words on paper alone have never stopped the ascendance of totalitarians.

I suspect that as the overall economic implosion becomes more obvious to average people, there will be some counties and states that develop a desire for nullification on a grand scale. Americans will want resource implementation to provide wealth protection. And some states have more than enough resources to offset a national financial disaster, or at least stop that disaster at their borders. This would require the complete dissolution of numerous federal laws prohibiting resource development.

Such dissolution will not be successful unless counties and states have enough strong grass-roots communities in place to defend against federal intrusion — or at least make the idea so costly and prohibitive that they have second thoughts. Each smaller liberty group linking with other liberty groups can eventually create this kind of expansion. This is, of course, a best-case scenario. County and state organization should take a backseat to neighborhood and town organization until wider expansion becomes realistic.  Strong counties and states begin with strong individuals, strong neighborhoods, and strong towns.

The collapse itself could easily be prolonged through a series of smaller catastrophes; or it could happen in a matter of days, depending on the trigger. For now, it appears that the U.S. is to be worn down to nothing as the IMF works closely with the BRICS to promote the SDR basket system. All nations will be negatively affected by this shift, but some will be hurt far more than others. War is certainly a possibility and would make for great cover as the IMF’s global reset is enacted. I can’t speak much to this kind of event other than to say that regardless of what happens, the IMF and the BIS will remain neutral, waiting until the conflict subsides so that they can step in as “heroes” ready to rebuild the world.

The liberty movement must also be ready to rebuild, and our ideal must be fully formed if we are to compete with the globalists. The most difficult reality of all is the reality that economic implosion is only the end of one struggle and the beginning of a new struggle. Our responsibility will not only be to fight against the machinations of elitists, but also to convince the world that the way of independence and freedom is more useful and preferable than the way of collectivist peasantry. Collapse is already upon us; now we must decide who will determine what happens next.


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

 

Where Is Global Economic Growth?

worlde economic growth

No growth is no accident.

Remember the stagflation years? Maybe the current world economic environment is just in an enduring lethargy awaiting the bottom to fall out. Seldom has flat performance lingered as long as it has. Meaningful expansion, under a zero interest rate strategy has failed. Even much lower oil prices have not jump- started the engine of growth. Prospects for an upturn and a return to producing constructive activity still seem to be years away. Or is this a permanent outlook that baffles business executives and frustrates creative entrepreneurs. For the rest of us, waiting and hoping for a viable economy has become wishful thinking at best.

The WSJ reports, Lagging Growth Plagues Economic Policy Makers.

“Many of the largest emerging markets are slowing or contracting, even before the potential shock waves expected if the Federal Reserve starts raising interest rates. Other risks—a potential Greek default and eurozone exit, financial bubbles, the Ukraine-Russia standoff and China’s slowdown—are drawing increasing worry as policy makers hoped to build momentum for measures to finally boost global growth prospects.

“The world economy is not out of the woods,” said Agustín Carstens, Mexico’s central bank governor and chairman of the IMF’s policy-setting committee. He said easy-money policies that policy makers backed to help pull the global economy out of the 2009 recession have led to more risk-taking in financial markets than in the real economy, an imbalance that made him uncomfortable.”

More from the Journal in G-20 Warns of Threats to Global Economic Recovery.

“Renewed G-20 support for easy-money policies—essentially backing currency depreciation as a tool for promoting growth—underscores concern about the global economy getting stuck in a low-growth rut. It also marks an implicit acknowledgment of the failure across the globe to enact longer-lasting structural overhauls to major economies after years of relying on short-term spending and other temporary stimulus programs.”

Maintaining the same easy money policy for favorite friends, while starving small business or charging usury rates on personal loans is a formula designed to prevent productive business ventures and much needed consumer spending after years of tightening one’s belt to the point of continuous discomfort.

Revealing the intent to devalue currencies is a guarded way of saying that prices on essential goods and services will rise, while the purchasing power of one’s money will buy less. Anyone who shops knows this is the same pattern that has been with us for years.

Compare reality to the prognostication out of the World Bank in Global Economic Prospects to Improve in 2015, – “After growing by an estimated 2.6 percent in 2014, the global economy is projected to expand by 3 percent this year, 3.3 percent in 2016 and 3.2 percent in 2017.”

Even the belly of the beast acknowledges not all is rosy.

“Risks to the outlook remain tilted to the downside, due to four factors. First is persistently weak global trade. Second is the possibility of financial market volatility as interest rates in major economies rise on varying timelines. Third is the extent to which low oil prices strain balance sheets in oil-producing countries. Fourth is the risk of a prolonged period of stagnation or deflation in the Euro Area or Japan.”

So where is this projected growth over the next few years going to come from? Looking to Asian economies for salvation just does not square with sentiment that covers this region. Positive spin given to global economic outlook by WTO, IMF isn’t justified offers this viewpoint.

“It is often said that healthy trade flows help the global economy go round. The general pattern for decades has been trade expansion far outstripping global growth, but this has all unravelled in recent years as economic downturn, financial turmoil and geopolitical risks have all taken their toll. Global trade flows are barely keeping pace with world GDP growth.”

Prepare for the big push to sell the fruits of increasing international trade with the recent news and announcement on “fast track authority”. However, Parsing the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement reveals the facts that you are being told to ignore or dismiss.

“In truth, the American economy will suffer severely.  This is because the TPP will hammer two main drivers of economic growth – domestic investment and “net exports.

Domestic investment will fall because the TPP will push even more American factories offshore to Asia.”

Now analyze this outlook and factor in that domestic disposable income is still sinking. Where is the purchasing power going to come from to ramp up significant growth? The rest of the world may well trade more among their own trade alliances, but how can the United States benefit when “the Administration has publicly identified increasing offshore investments by U.S. companies as a top TPP goal”, as stated in the same Hill article?

It looks like the main benefit of a temporary strong dollar will generate even more offshore acquisitions by corporatists to finish off the de-industrialization of America. So where is the purported much valued growth supposed to come from?

Up to this point, the serving of untenable current debt obligations has not even been factored into the equation. Growing one’s way out of debt has always been a valid strategy, but the circumstances intended to diminish wealth producing economic activities impacts the ability to pay old indebtednesses, much less develop new healthy and mutually beneficial trade.

Commerce is a balancing act that needs to yield a reasonable gain and benefit for all parties. This standard no longer exists in the globalized transnational formula.

The United States has been on this internationalist path for decades and has been severely harmed over that period of time. Since the financial meltdown of 2008, the intensity of the loss in prosperity has expediently grown.

Looking to further monetary sophistry will never create the conditions for a thriving and growing world economy. Do not be deceived. Oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership Economic Enslavement and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Betrayal, before the only growth will be reflected in a negative balance of trade totals.


SARTRE is the pen name of James Hall, a reformed, former political operative. This pundit’s formal instruction in History, Philosophy and Political Science served as training for activism, on the staff of several politicians and in many campaigns. A believer in authentic Public Service, independent business interests were pursued in the private sector. As a small business owner and entrepreneur, several successful ventures expanded opportunities for customers and employees. Speculation in markets, and international business investments, allowed for extensive travel and a world view for commerce. He is retired and lives with his wife in a rural community. “Populism” best describes the approach to SARTRE’s perspective on Politics. Realities, suggest that American Values can be restored with an appreciation of “Pragmatic Anarchism.” Reforms will require an Existential approach. “Ideas Move the World,” and SARTRE’S intent is to stir the conscience of those who desire to bring back a common sense, moral and traditional value culture for America. Not seeking fame nor fortune, SARTRE’s only goal is to ask the questions that few will dare … Having refused the invites of an academic career because of the hypocrisy of elite’s, the search for TRUTH is the challenge that is made to all readers. It starts within yourself and is achieved only with your sincere desire to face Reality. So who is SARTRE? He is really an ordinary man just like you, who invites you to join in on this journey. Visit his website at http://batr.org.

 

One Last Look At The Real Economy Before It Implodes – Part 5

cloister_conspiracy

Since I began writing analysis for the liberty movement more than eight years ago, I have always said that we will know when the endgame of the globalists is upon us when the criminals come out into the light of day and admit to their crimes. At that moment, it will be because they no longer fear either the repercussions or their plans being obstructed.

As I plan to show in this installment of my series on the hidden fiscal collapse of America, the endgame has indeed arrived. At the very least, the international elites seem to think success is within their grasp, for they now openly expose their own criminality. But they do so in a way that attempts to divert blame or to rationalize their actions as being for the “greater good.”

In Part 4 of this series, I discussed the reality of the false East/West paradigm and the fact that the “conflict” between Eastern and Western interests is nothing more than Kabuki theater constructed by globalists and designed to mesmerize the masses. You see, the problem with most people is that they tend to let their innate sense of tribalism drive them to take sides in war without understanding the fundamental root of that war. In most cases, they believe one side must be “good” and one side must be “bad.” Globalists understand this weakness of human collectivism, and they exploit it as often as possible. They create conflicts from out of the void, conflicts in which BOTH sides are controlled. Then, they let the masses fumble like idiots trying to set the noose around the other guy’s neck.

The East/West paradigm is just another in a long line of false confrontations engineered by the elites, but it is one that is most dangerous to the liberty movement itself. In our rage over the destruction of freedom and prosperity within our own country, some of us have come to assume that the source of all that is unholy bubbles at the heart of U.S. corporate and government activity and that the East is in the midst of some kind of rebellion. This is simply nonsense.

Recently, a reader sent me a link that reminded me of comments made by Rep. Louis T. McFadden, chairman of the House Banking Committee, on May 4, 1933. In the wake of his battle against the Federal Reserve, he said:

“… the treacherous signing away of American rights at the 7-power conference at London in July 1931 … put the Federal Reserve System under the control of the Bank of International Settlements.”

Even in 1933, there were some people who could see that the Federal Reserve was just an errand boy, an economic hit man for a more powerful entity. Sadly, McFadden died in 1936 from coronary thrombosis before he could make any headway in his crusade. The truth he stamped into the public record, though, lives on; and it is a truth that many people just don’t want to hear. It is easier to quantify the threat of the Federal Reserve. It is easier to believe that the Fed either controls the entire game or (for the more sheep-minded citizenry) that the Fed is a harmless “quasi-governmental body.” Many of us in the movement want to believe it is the gateway to the seventh circle of hell because if the Fed dies, then we win. And the Fed appears to be killable, most notably in light of certain actions on the part of the East. Unfortunately, the problem is far more complex.

As McFadden exposed, the Fed is merely a tentacle, one of many slithering at the behest of a larger vampire squid. The Bank for International Settlements appears to be the eye of the leviathan. I have been happy to see that the BIS is gaining more and more attention from the alternative media as a primary threat to the stability of the world. Zero Hedge published a very interesting article on the BIS banking cabal recently, excerpted from a book by Adam LeBor and titled “Meet The Secretive Group That Runs The World.”

Of course, this is not the first exposé on the BIS. Even Harper’s published a surprisingly honest (though only half the story) piece on the bank, titled “Ruling The World Of Money,” back in 1983. In it, the magazine claims that “…the unabashed purpose of its (BIS) elite monthly meetings is to coordinate and, if possible, to control all monetary activities in the industrialized world.”

Any central bank that ends up on the membership roster of the BIS should be for all intents and purposes considered a pawn of the BIS. This includes the central banks of Eastern nations supposedly in opposition to Western power. The very beginning history of the BIS is stained with blood, since it financially played both sides of World War II and aided the funding of the Nazi apparatus. Keep in mind that Germany, Japan and the Allies were all members of the BIS from 1931 on and remained members through the war. Bankers have been pitting countries against each other for a very long time, and they have no loyalties to any particular nation.

The BIS had to fade into the background for a time after its partnership with fascists was made public after the war. So the elites formed yet another monstrosity, the International Monetary Fund, to take its place in the public eye. However, the BIS continues to this day to pull the strings of the world’s central banks and, by extension, the world’s governments.

The strategy of engineered conflict has not changed. I have written numerous articles on the undeniable collusion between Russia and the IMF, including the avid Russian support for the IMF’s new global reserve currency, the Special Drawing Rights. You can read those articles here, here and here.

Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin have continued their love affair with the IMF since 2009, when they called for the SDR to become the world reserve currency.

Last year, Putin reasserted the goal of the BRICS to become more involved (enveloped) in the IMF system:

“In the BRICS case we see a whole set of coinciding strategic interests. First of all, this is the common intention to reform the international monetary and financial system. In the present form it is unjust to the BRICS countries and to new economies in general. We should take a more active part in the IMF and the World Bank’s decision-making system. The international monetary system itself depends a lot on the US dollar, or, to be precise, on the monetary and financial policy of the US authorities. The BRICS countries want to change this.”

I also have been covering the Chinese shift away from the dollar and into the arms of the IMF’s currency basket for years.

The great lie today is that China and Russia are anti-New World Order. Yet as I discussed in my last article, China (and Russia) have consistently called for a global conversion into the SDR basket system, and they want this system to be run by the IMF. The IMF, in turn, has consistently called for the end of the dollar as the world reserve currency and has openly embraced institutions like the new Asian regional bank, the AIIB, which is dominated by China, despite the fact that many people wrongly believe that the AIIB is somehow “competition” to the IMF or World Bank.

This excerpt comes from the International Business Times:

World Bank managing director Mulyani Indrawati told Xinhua in an interview.

“We will definitely open for cooperation with AIIB [sic]. Even now, we are working very closely in the beginning and looking at the setting, principle and framework of this institution.”

She also dismissed worries that the AIIB will compete against the World Bank or existing regional development banks and noted the global need for infrastructure is huge to accommodate multiple organisations.

Speaking at the opening of the China Development Forum in Beijing, IMF chief Christine Lagarde said the IMF would be “delighted” to co-operate with AIIB, and the institutions have “massive” room for cooperation.

More on the history of China and its partnership with the New World Order can be found in James Corbett’s excellent video analysis here.

At the level of international banking and monetary policy, there is absolutely NO indication of any legitimate conflict between the East and the West. Again, such battles are only theater for the masses. But what purpose does this theater serve?

The fake economic war between East and West provides cover and rationale for the true goal of the internationalists: the destruction of the dollar as the world reserve currency and the ascendency of the SDR global monetary system. The endgame of the bankers is, of course, global government. It has been the longtime dream of the Fabian socialists permeating the central banking universe. A global currency system and centralized economic management are first-step psychological weapons against the public. If the world operates on a singular currency mechanism and a singular economic authority, why not have a singular governmental system as well?

The mistake many liberty movement analysts make is the assumption that the internationalists are somehow dedicated to U.S. interests. The idea that globalists have any loyalties to any sovereign government is a ridiculous notion. Fabians hate sovereign separations between nations (as much as they hate individual liberties), and they seek to ultimately destroy all boundaries for the sake of a singular global fiscal-political edifice.

But the elites cannot simply kill the dollar and replace it outright. They need a magic trick, a smoke-and-mirrors hologram, a sexy assistant in a sequined bathing suit and fireworks galore while they pull their global basket reserve out of a top hat. The false East/West paradigm is the perfect distraction. What better way to destroy the dollar and conjure a new world reserve than to pit one block of nations you dominate against the other block of nations you dominate and blame the resulting economic catastrophe on the “barbarism of sovereign nationalism,” which you also plan to erase in due course?

The elites are preparing for this event, and they are not content only to trigger it then sit back and watch it happen. They also hope to construct a new image for themselves as the prophets who tried to warn the world — the financial “sages” who would be our rescuers.

The criminals are coming into the light, and they are wearing the masks of saviors.

Alan Greenspan is now suddenly a staunch promoter of economic caution, warning that “something big … a significant market event …” is about to happen, and that gold is now a good investment as opposed to the dollar.

Janet Yellen has openly conceded that cash is not a convenient store of value.

Jamie Dimon is getting in on the prognosticator action, asserting that another financial crisis is coming.

The IMF now consistently warns of “shadow banking risks” bringing disaster to the economic environment.

The World Bank has been polite enough to warn the public that “now is the time to prepare for the next crisis.”

The BIS now produces statements on a regular basis predicting a possible “violent reversal of global markets,” just as it conveniently alerted the public to the possibility of credit collapse in 2007 right before the derivatives crisis.

Literally every elitist and his drunken uncle now publicly discuss the danger of another market crash. That’s a rather stark reversal from a few years ago when recovery was a mainstream absolute, Bernanke was being called a hero, and fiat stimulus was the fountain of youth. How would they know that such an event is coming? They built the conditions by which a collapse is inevitable, and now they want to purify themselves in the waters of Lake Minnetonka and absolve their institutions of all future ugliness.

I would like to point out, though, that banker warnings of volatility and crisis are generally given far too late for average people to act accordingly. I would also like to point out that the rising chorus of mainstream voices giving predictions of destabilization are also marginalizing and isolating the U.S. and the Federal Reserve as the root cause. The U.S. is nothing more than a storefront for elitist activities. And the Federal Reserve is a tentacle that can be sacrificed if it means achieving total centralization. All signs and evidence point to what the IMF calls the “great global economic reset.” The plans for this reset do not include U.S. prosperity or a thriving dollar.


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

 

The Global Liquidity Squeeze Has Begun

global economy

Get ready for another major worldwide credit crunch.  Today, the entire global financial system resembles a colossal spiral of debt.  Just about all economic activity involves the flow of credit in some way, and so the only way to have “economic growth” is to introduce even more debt into the system.  When the system started to fail back in 2008, global authorities responded by pumping this debt spiral back up and getting it to spin even faster than ever.  If you can believe it, the total amount of global debt has risen by $35 trillion since the last crisis.  Unfortunately, any system based on debt is going to break down eventually, and there are signs that it is starting to happen once again.  For example, just a few days ago the IMF warned regulators to prepare for a global “liquidity shock“.  And on Friday, Chinese authorities announced a ban on certain types of financing for margin trades on over-the-counter stocks, and we learned that preparations are being made behind the scenes in Europe for a Greek debt default and a Greek exit from the eurozone.  On top of everything else, we just witnessed the biggest spike in credit application rejections ever recorded in the United States.  All of these are signs that credit conditions are tightening, and once a “liquidity squeeze” begins, it can create a lot of fear.

Over the past six months, the Chinese stock market has exploded upward even as the overall Chinese economy has started to slow down.  Investors have been using something called “umbrella trusts” to finance a lot of these stock purchases, and these umbrella trusts have given them the ability to have much more leverage than normal brokerage financing would allow.  This works great as long as stocks go up.  Once they start going down, the losses can be absolutely staggering.

That is why Chinese authorities are stepping in before this bubble gets even worse.  Here is more about what has been going on in China from Bloomberg

China’s trusts boosted their investments in equities by 28 percent to 552 billion yuan ($89.1 billion) in the fourth quarter. The higher leverage allowed by the products exposes individuals to larger losses in the event of stock-market drops, which can be exaggerated as investors scramble to repay debt during a selloff.

In umbrella trusts, private investors take up the junior tranche, while cash from trusts and banks’ wealth-management products form the senior tranches. The latter receive fixed returns while the former take the rest, so private investors are effectively borrowing from trusts and banks.

Margin debt on the Shanghai Stock Exchange climbed to a record 1.16 trillion yuan on Thursday. In a margin trade, investors use their own money for just a portion of their stock purchase, borrowing the rest. The loans are backed by the investors’ equity holdings, meaning that they may be compelled to sell when prices fall to repay their debt.

Overall, China has seen more debt growth than any other major industrialized nation since the last recession.  This debt growth has been so dramatic that it has gotten the attention of authorities all over the planet

Wolfgang Schaeuble, Germany’s finance minister says that “debt levels in the global economy continue to give cause for concern.”

Singling out China in particular, Schaeuble noted that “debt has nearly quadrupled since 2007″, adding that it’s “growth appears to be built on debt, driven by a real estate boom and shadow banks.”

According to McKinsey’s research, total outstanding debt in China increased from $US7.4 trillion in 2007 to $US28.2 trillion in 2014. That figure, expressed as a percentage of GDP, equates to 282% of total output, higher than the likes of other G20 nations such as the US, Canada, Germany, South Korea and Australia.

This credit boom in China has been one of the primary engines for “global growth” in recent years, but now conditions are changing.  Eventually, the impact of what is going on in China right now is going to be felt all over the planet.

Over in Europe, the Greek debt crisis is finally coming to a breaking point.  For years, authorities have continued to kick the can down the road and have continued to lend Greece even more money.

But now it appears that patience with Greece has run out.

For instance, the head of the IMF says that no delay will be allowed on the repayment of IMF loans that are due next month…

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde roiled currency and bond markets on Thursday as reports came out of her opening press conference saying that she had denied any payment delay to Greece on IMF loans falling due next month.

Unless Greece concludes its negotiations for a further round of bailout money from the European Union, however, it is not likely to have the money to repay the IMF.

And we are getting reports that things are happening behind the scenes in Europe to prepare for the inevitable moment when Greece will finally leave the euro and go back to their own currency.

For example, consider what Art Cashin told CNBC on Friday

First, “there were reports in the media [saying] that the ECB and/or banking authorities suggested to banks to get rid of any sovereign Greek debt they had, which suggests that maybe the next step will be Greece exiting,” Cashin told CNBC.

Also, one of Greece’s largest newspapers is reporting that neighboring countries are forcing subsidiaries of Greek banks that operate inside their borders to reduce their risk to a Greek debt default to zero

According to a report from Kathimerini, one of Greece’s largest newspapers, central banks in Albania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Romania, Serbia, Turkey and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia have all forced the subsidiaries of Greek banks operating in those countries to bring their exposure to Greek risk — including bonds, treasury bills, deposits to Greek banks, and loans — down to zero.

Once Greece leaves the euro, that is going to create a tremendous credit crunch in Europe as fear begins to spread like wildfire.  Everyone will be wondering which nation will be “the next Greece”, and investors will want to pull their money out of perceived danger zones before they get hammered.

In the past, other European nations have been willing to bend over backwards to accommodate Greece and avoid this kind of mess, but those days appear to be finished.  In fact, the finance minister of France openly admits that the French “are not sympathetic to Greece”

Greece isn’t winning much sympathy from its debt-wracked European counterparts as the country draws closer to default for failing to make bailout repayments.

“We are not sympathetic to Greece,” French Finance Minister Michael Sapin said in an interview at the International Monetary Fund-World Bank spring meetings here.

“We are demanding because Greece must comply with the European (rules) that apply to all countries,” Sapin said.

Yes, it is possible that another short-term deal could be reached which could kick the can down the road for a few more months.

But either way, things in Europe are going to continue to get worse.

Meanwhile, very disappointing earnings reports in the U.S. are starting to really rattle investors.

For example, we just learned that GE lost 13.6 billion dollars in the first quarter…

One week following the announcement that it would dismantle most of its GE Capital financing operations to instead focus on its industrial roots, General Electric reported a first quarter loss of $13.6 billion.

The results were impacted by charges relating to the conglomerate’s strategic shift. A year ago GE reported a first quarter profit of $3 billion.

That is a lot of money.

How in the world does a company lose 13.6 billion dollars in a single quarter during an “economic recovery”?

Other big firms are reporting disappointing earnings numbers too

In earnings news, American Express Co. late Thursday said its results were hurt by the strong U.S. dollar, which reduced revenue booked in other countries. Chief Executive Kenneth Chenault reiterated the company’s forecast that 2015 earnings will be flat to modestly down year over year. Shares fell 4.6%.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. said its first-quarter loss widened as revenue slumped. The company said it was exiting its dense server systems business, effective immediately. Revenue and the loss excluding items missed expectations, pushing shares down 13%.

And just like we saw just before the financial crisis of 2008, Americans are increasingly having difficulty meeting their financial obligations.

For instance, the delinquency rate on student loans has reached a very frightening level

More borrowers are failing to make payments on their student loans five years after leaving college, painting a grim picture for borrowers, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Student debt continues to increase, especially for people who took out loans years ago. Those who left school in the Great Recession, which ended in 2009, had particular difficulty with repayment, with many defaulting, becoming seriously delinquent or not being able to reduce their balances, the New York Fed said today.

Only 37 percent of borrowers are current on their loans and are actively paying them down, and 17 percent are in default or in delinquency.

At this point, the American consumer is pretty well tapped out.  If you can believe it, 56 percent of all Americans have subprime credit today, and as I mentioned above, we just witnessed the biggest spike in credit application rejections ever recorded.

We have reached a point of debt saturation, and the credit crunch that is going to follow is going to be extremely painful.

Of course the biggest provider of global liquidity in recent years has been the Federal Reserve.  But with the Fed pulling back on QE, this is creating some tremendous challenges all over the globe.  The following is an excerpt from a recent article in the Telegraph

The big worry is what will happen to Russia, Brazil and developing economies in Asia that borrowed most heavily in dollars when the Fed was still flooding the world with cheap liquidity. Emerging markets account to roughly half of the $9 trillion of offshore dollar debt outside US jurisdiction.

The IMF warned that a big chunk of the debt owed by companies is in the non-tradeable sector. These firms lack “natural revenue hedges” that can shield them against a double blow from rising borrowing costs and a further surge in the dollar.

So what is the bottom line to all of this?

The bottom line is that we are starting to see the early phases of a liquidity squeeze.

The flow of credit is going to begin to get tighter, and that means that global economic activity is going to slow down.

This happened during the last financial crisis, and during this next financial crisis the credit crunch is going to be even worse.

This is why it is so important to have an emergency fund.  During this type of crisis, you may have to be the source of your own liquidity.  At a time when it seems like nobody has any cash, those that do have some will be way ahead of the game.


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.

Flat Broke, Living In A Moldy Basement And Relying On Food Stamps And Medicaid

foodstamps

Could you imagine being a single parent and trying to survive in America today on $10.50 an hour?  For a moment, I want you to imagine that you are living in a moldy apartment that is so badly maintained that rain seeps in whenever it rains.  You are employed, but you are completely dependent on government programs such as food stamps and Medicaid in order to make ends meet.  Sometimes you would really like to take your small child somewhere fun, like a movie theater, but you can’t really afford the gas money.  You are working as hard as you can, but you never seem to get anywhere, and you feel trapped because nobody seems to want to hire you for a better job.  What I have just described for you is real life for a 22-year-old single mother from Chicago named Adriana Alvarez, but there are tens of millions of other Americans that have similar stories.  If every day seems like it is a soul-crushing struggle for you, I want you to know that you are not alone.  The long-term economic collapse that I chronicle on my website is not just about facts and figures.  It is about real people that are quietly leading lives of silent desperation, and by now it has becoming exceedingly apparent that our politicians, the mainstream media and the gigantic corporations that dominate our economy do not really care much about the rest of us at all.

Life fundamentally changes once you become a parent.  Instead of living just for yourself, all of a sudden you have a precious little child that is completely and totally dependent on you.  And it is absolutely heartbreaking for any parent to look into the eyes of a little child and try to explain why there is not enough food or why they can’t afford a better place to live.

With that in mind, I want you to read an excerpt from Adriana’s recent blog post entitled “What It’s Really Like To Support Yourself On McDonald’s Pay“…

I’m a single mom with a three-year-old son named Manny. To support him, I work full-time as a cashier at a McDonald’s in Chicago.

I’ve worked at McDonald’s for five years, but still make only $10.50 an hour. The only way my son and I can make it is with food stamps, Medicaid, and a child care subsidy. Most of my coworkers are in the same boat, no matter how long they’ve held their jobs.

With child care, transportation to work, food, rent, and our other basic expenses, there’s no money left over for living. Every time I think about taking Manny somewhere fun, like to a movie, I have to think about whether we can really afford the gas.

When you only make $10.50 an hour and you have a child to take care of, you are obviously very limited as far as where you can live, and where Adriana lives sounds extremely depressing

We live in a basement apartment, because it’s all I can afford. When it rains, water seeps into the apartment. This wetness brings mold, and I can’t get rid of the smell. We can’t even leave anything on the floor, which is tough with a three-year-old. Toys or anything else on the floor may get ruined when the water comes in.

So what is the solution for Adriana?

Well, she is taking part in nationwide strikes to try to force McDonald’s to pay workers like her a livable wage.

Unfortunately, that simply is not going to happen.  McDonald’s restaurants are already experiencing a sales downturn, and if they raise wages substantially they will get crushed by the competition.

And of course those jobs were never meant for people that are trying to raise families.  When I was growing up, it was teenagers and senior citizens that worked at McDonald’s.  I know, because I was one of those teenagers.

But now millions upon millions of Americans in their prime working years are doing these kinds of jobs.  As good jobs have disappeared from our economy, the competition for the jobs that remain has become extremely intense.  It is really easy to tell Adriana that she should “get a better job”, but that can be extremely difficult in this economy, especially if you don’t have much education.

I know a lot of sharp, talented, responsible people that have been unemployed for a very long time or that are working at places like McDonald’s because nobody else will hire them.  I am amazed that there is not a place for their talents and abilities in the “greatest economy on Earth”.  But you know what?  Things are about to get a whole lot worse out there.

A few months ago, I wrote that the crashing price of oil was going to cause massive job losses in the energy industry, and now it is happening.

According to Yahoo, more than 100,000 layoffs have already been announced, and this could be just the tip of the iceberg…

Since crude prices began tumbling last year, energy companies have announced plans to lay off more than 100,000 workers around the world. At least 91,000 layoffs have already materialized, with the majority coming in oil-field-services and drilling companies, according to research by Graves & Co., a Houston consulting firm.

And remember, these are not $10.50 an hour jobs.  Many of these jobs pay well into the six figures annually.  These are exactly the kinds of jobs that the U.S. economy simply cannot afford to lose.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama is colluding with Congress to push through the next great job killing trade agreement.  The following was in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday…

Lawmakers introduced fast-track trade legislation into the House and Senate Thursday that could pave the way for President Barack Obama to conclude a major agreement with 11 nations around the Pacific.

This agreement is called “The Trans-Pacific Partnership”, and it would result in millions more good jobs being sent overseas.  For much more about this shocking betrayal of the American people, please see my previous article entitled “Obama’s Secret Treaty Would Be The Most Important Step Toward A One World Economic System“.

What our economy desperately needs is more jobs, not less jobs.

And traditionally, small businesses have been the primary engine of job growth in this country.

Unfortunately, our politicians have been absolutely killing small businesses for decades.  Just look at the chart below.  It comes from the U.S. Census Bureau, and it is extremely alarming.  Back in 1980, nearly half of all firms in America were considered to be “young”, and those young firms accounted for almost half of all job creation.  Since that time, there has been a slow, steady, depressing decline…
Share-Of-Firms-That-Are-Young-425x276

And as I discussed the other day, more businesses have closed in the United States than have opened for each of the past six years.

Prior to 2008, that had never happened before in all of American history.

Thank you Barack Obama.

When I talk about our “long-term economic collapse”, I am not exaggerating.

Our economy is literally dying right in front of our eyes, and it is people like Adriana Alvarez that are paying the price.

We desperately need to go back and start doing the things that once made this country so great, but unfortunately we continue running in the other direction as fast as we can.

So in the end, things are going to get much, much worse.

Things did not have to turn out this way, but these are the choices that we have made, and now we get to live with them.


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.

Huge Trouble Is Percolating Just Under The Surface Of The Global Economy

World-On-Fire-Public-Domain

Did you know that the number of publicly traded companies declaring bankruptcy has reached a five year high?  And did you know that Chinese exports are absolutely collapsing and that Chinese economic growth in 2014 was the weakest in over 20 years?  Even though things may seem to be okay on the surface for the global economy at the moment, that does not mean that big trouble is not percolating just under the surface.  On Wednesday, investors cheered as stocks soared to new highs, but almost all of the economic news coming in from around the planet has been bad.  The credit rating on Greek debt has been slashed again, global economic trade is really slowing down, and many of the exact same financial patterns that we saw just before the crash of 2008 are repeating once again.  All of this reminds me of the months leading up to the implosion of Lehman Brothers.  Most people were feeling really good about things, but huge trouble was brewing just underneath the surface.  Finally, one day we learned that Lehman Brothers had “suddenly” collapsed, and then all hell broke loose.

If the economy is actually “getting better” like we are being told by the establishment media, then why are so many big companies declaring bankruptcy?  According to CNBC, the number of publicly traded companies declaring bankruptcy has hit a five year high…

The number of bankruptcies among publicly traded U.S. companies has climbed to the highest first-quarter level for five years, according to a Reuters analysis of data from research firm bankruptcompanynews.com.

Plunging prices of crude oil and other commodities is one of the major reasons for the increased filings, and bankruptcy experts said a more aggressive stance by lenders may also be hurting some companies.

It is interesting to note that the price of oil is being named as one of the primary reasons why this is happening.

In an article entitled “Anyone That Believes That Collapsing Oil Prices Are Good For The Economy Is Crazy“, I warned about this.  If the price of oil does not bounce back in a huge way, we are going to see a lot more companies go bankrupt, a lot more people are going to lose their jobs, and a lot more corporate debt is going to go bad.

And of course this oil crash has not just hurt the United States.  All over the world, economic activity is being curtailed because of what has happened to the price of oil…

In the heady days of the commodity boom, oil-rich nations accumulated billions of dollars in reserves they invested in U.S. debt and other securities. They also occasionally bought trophy assets, such as Manhattan skyscrapers, luxury homes in London or Paris Saint-Germain Football Club.

Now that oil prices have dropped by half to $50 a barrel, Saudi Arabia and other commodity-rich nations are fast drawing down those “petrodollar” reserves. Some nations, such as Angola, are burning through their savings at a record pace, removing a source of liquidity from global markets.

If oil and other commodity prices remain depressed, the trend will cut demand for everything from European government debt to U.S. real estate as producing nations seek to fill holes in their domestic budgets.

But it isn’t just oil.  We appear to be moving into a time when things are slowing down all over the place.

In a recent article, Zero Hedge summarized some of the bad economic news that has come in just this week…

Mortgage Apps tumble, Empire Fed slumps, and now Industrial Production plunges… Against expectations of a 0.3% drop MoM, US Factory Output was twice as bad at -0.6% – the worst since August 2012 (and lamost worst since June 2009). This is the 4th miss in a row.

If we are indeed heading into another economic downturn, that is really bad news, because at the moment we are in far worse shape than we were just prior to the last recession.

To help illustrate this, I want to share with you a couple of charts.

This first chart comes from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, and it shows that after you adjust for inflation, median income for the middle class is the lowest that it has been in decades

Median-Income-St_-Louis-Fed-425x260

This next chart shows that median net worth for the middle class is also the lowest that it has been in decades after you adjust for inflation…

Median-Net-Worth-St_-Louis-Fed-425x260

The middle class is being systematically destroyed.  For much more on this, please see this recent article that I published.  And now we are on the verge of another major economic slowdown.  That is not what the middle class needs at all.

We are also getting some very disturbing economic news out of China.

In 2014, economic growth in China was the weakest in more than 20 years, and Chinese export numbers are absolutely collapsing

China’s monthly trade data shows exports fell in March from a year ago by 14.6% in yuan terms, compared to expectations for a rise of more than 8%.

Imports meanwhile fell 12.3% in yuan terms compared to forecasts for a fall of more than 11%.

This is a clear sign that global economic activity is slowing down in a big way.

In addition, Chinese home prices are now falling at a faster pace then U.S. home prices fell during the subprime mortgage meltdown

It appeared as though things went from bad to worse nearly overnight; China’s National Bureau of Statistics said that contrary to hopes that there would be a modest rebound, the average new home price in China fell at the fastest pace on record in February, from the previous year.

Reuters reported that average new home prices in China’s 70 major cities fell 5.7 percent, year to year, in February – marking the sixth consecutive drop after January’s decline of 5.1 percent.

Things continue to get worse in Europe as well.

This week we learned that the credit rating for Greek government debt has been slashed once again

Standard & Poor’s has just cut Greece’s credit rating to “CCC+” from “B-” with a negative outlook.

S&P said it expected Greece’s debt to be “unsustainable.” It cited the potential for dissolving liquidity in the government, banks and economy.

And according to the Financial Times, we could actually be on the verge of witnessing a Greek debt default…

Greece is preparing to take the dramatic step of declaring a debt default unless it can reach a deal with its international creditors by the end of April, according to people briefed on the radical leftist government’s thinking.

The government, which is rapidly running out of funds to pay public sector salaries and state pensions, has decided to withhold €2.5bn of payments due to the International Monetary Fund in May and June if no agreement is struck, they said.

So I hope that those that are euphoric about the performance of their stock portfolios are taking their profits while they still can.

Huge trouble is percolating just under the surface of the global economy, and it won’t be too long before the financial markets start feeling the pain.


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.

10 Reasons To Prepare For An Economic Collapse

Global-Money

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

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

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

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

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

Time for a Wake-Up Call

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

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

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

10 Reasons Why We Need to Prepare for an Economic Collapse

1.  Food Shortages Can Actually Happen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. Suicides Spike During An Economic Collapse

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Final Word

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

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

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

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

Three things you need to remember are:

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

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

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


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

19 Signs That American Families Are Being Economically Destroyed

piggy bank

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Perhaps this has happened to you.

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

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

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

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

Have you ever seen this?

Have you ever experienced this yourself?

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

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

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

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

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

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


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