Hard Working Americans Sure Do See The Economy A Lot Differently Than The “Experts” Do

Right now the entire nation is buzzing about the very first debates for Democratic presidential contenders in 2019, and much of the focus of those debates will be on the economy.  A total of 20 candidates will participate in those debates, and the vast majority of them don’t have a prayer of actually winning the nomination.  Of course all of them will have “plans” for “fixing” the economy, but the truth is that most of those plans really aren’t that radically different from what has been tried in the past.  No matter who has been in the White House, our insatiable appetite for debt has allowed us to enjoy a tremendously bloated standard of living that was far beyond what we actually deserved.  We have been consuming far more wealth than we have been producing for so long that most Americans have come to accept this state of affairs as “normal”.  And under no circumstance will Americans elect any presidential candidate that would suggest that we should be willing to accept a lower standard of living and quit going into so much debt.  Everyone wants to hear that we will be able to have an even higher standard of living in the future, and of course that is what a lot of our politicians eagerly tell them.

But it isn’t true.

Sadly, the reality of the matter is that we are at the very end of the greatest debt bubble in the history of the world, and the way we live is about to dramatically change no matter who we send to Washington.

As I discussed yesterday, the evidence that the U.S. economy has already entered a significant downturn continues to grow.  All of the economic numbers that we have been getting lately have been bad, and yet so many of the “experts” continue to claim that the U.S. economy is in great shape.

In fact, a survey that was just released had some rather starting results.  100 percent of the “experts” that were surveyed rated the performance of the U.S. economy as either “excellent” or “good”, but average hard working Americans were a lot more evenly split

A new survey from financial information website Bankrate.com found that everyday Americans have a less favorable view of the economy than experts do. All the experts rated the economy as being “excellent” or “good,” compared to just 59 percent of others. And 39 percent of everyday Americans said the economy was “not so good” or “poor.”

Bankrate surveyed around 1,000 people and nine economic experts for the study.

The survey also included a question about when the next recession would begin.  Approximately 40 percent of average hard working Americans felt that a recession had either already begun or would begin very soon, but none of the “experts” felt that way

Everyday Americans also said they expect a recession to hit sooner than the experts predict. A fifth of Americans polled said they believe the recession has already begun, and 21 percent said they expected it to begin within six months or a year. However, all the experts said they don’t expect a recession to begin for either one to two years or more than two years.

Perhaps we should stop calling them “experts”, because they appear to be completely and utterly clueless.

And we had better hope that the economy can hold up, because a different survey has found that 71 percent of all Americans say that they “are unprepared for another financial crisis”…

Meanwhile, 43% of Americans say they feel financially insecure and 71% are unprepared for another financial crisis, such as going bankrupt or losing their home, a survey of 24,070 adults released this week by market researcher YouGov found. Some 55% of those who feel unprepared say they’re not confident that they will be able to afford retirement; they’re more likely than those who feel financially secure to say the government should make sure everyone has health insurance.

Today, 59 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, and U.S. consumer debt just soared to another brand new record high.  People are partying when they should be preparing, and this new economic downturn is going to catch most of us completely off guard.

And day after day we continue to get more numbers that are telling us that the economic outlook is very bleak.  For example, it is now being projected that U.S. auto sales will drop substantially over the next two years

The U.S. auto market hit a record for new cars, with 17.5 million in sales, in 2015. Sales the following year were flat then dipped to 17.2 million in 2017 and rebounded in 2018, rising to 17.3 million. But the first half of this year has plunged into negative territory. Edmunds anticipates sales for all of 2019 will drop to 16.9 million. That’s the same estimate from AlixPartners, which is forecasting a further dip to 16.3 million in 2020 and just 15.1 million in 2021.

Now we are in election season, and all sorts of different candidates will be touted as the one “that can turn the economy around” and restore “the promise of America’s future”.

Every election cycle they spout the same nonsense, and it is amazing that anyone still falls for it anymore.

Right now, America is on a highly self-destructive path that only leads to economic oblivion.  We are 22 trillion dollars in debt, we have been adding more than a trillion dollars a year to the national debt for more than a decade, state and local governments are drowning in record levels of debt, corporate debt has more than doubled since the last financial crisis, U.S. consumers are almost 14 trillion dollars in debt, and the world as a whole is now 244 trillion dollars in debt.

If we keep doing the same things over and over again, we are going to keep getting the same results.

Under our current system, there is no way that this game is going to end well for any of us.  The only thing left to do is to extend the party for as long as possible, and that is precisely what our politicians have been doing for a long time.

But at some point “extend and pretend” simply won’t work anymore, and a day of reckoning for America will finally arrive.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

The Pain Of This New Economic Downturn Is Starting To Show Up All Over The Country

It is going to take a miracle for the U.S. economy to pull out of this tailspin, because the economic numbers are really starting to deteriorate very rapidly now.  On Tuesday we got some more new numbers, and they were just as bad as we thought they might be.  But even before today’s numbers all of the data were telling us the exact same thing.  The New York Fed’s Empire State manufacturing index just suffered the worst one month decline in U.S. history, Morgan Stanley’s Business Conditions Index just suffered the largest one month decline that we have ever seen, global trade numbers are the worst they have been since the last recession, and just last week I detailed the complete and utter “bloodbath” that we are witnessing in the U.S. trucking industry right now.  So considering what we already knew, it shouldn’t have been a surprise that new home sales in the U.S. were down a whopping 7.8 percent during the month of May…

Sales of new U.S. homes slumped 7.8% in May, as sales plunged in the pricier Northeastern and Western markets.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that new homes sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 626,000 in May, down from 679,000 in April. During the first five months of the year, purchases of new homes have fallen 3.7% compared to the same period in 2018.

Those are absolutely horrible numbers, and this is precisely what a recession looks like.

On Tuesday we also learned that U.S. consumer confidence is rapidly declining

Consumer confidence is on the decline.

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index tumbled to 121.5 in June, dropping from a downwardly revised reading of 131.3 in May and snapping three consecutive months of improvements.

June’s results missed consensus expectations for a reading of 131.0, according to Bloomberg-compiled data, and marked the lowest level in nearly two years.

Once again, this is precisely what we would expect to see during a recession.

And yet I continue to see some clueless mainstream media reports that insist that the U.S. economy is doing well.  Apparently FedEx didn’t get that memo, because they lost nearly 2 billion dollars in the quarter ending May 31st…

In the fiscal fourth quarter, which ended May 31, FedEx reported a loss of $1.97 billion, compared with profit of $1.13 billion a year earlier.

FedEx blamed this horrible number on the ongoing global economic slowdown, and unfortunately things are not likely to get any better for them any time soon.

Many in the mainstream media continue to speak of “the next recession” as some future event, but when we get the final economic numbers many months from now we may discover that it had already started by now.  In fact, one prominent economist recently stated that he believes that “we’re probably already in a recession”

Gary Shilling, an economist and financial analyst who is credited with predicting several recessions over the past 40 years, thinks the U.S. is in a relatively mild slump.

“I think we’re probably already in a recession but I think it will probably be a run-of-the-mill affair, which means real GDP would decline 1.5% to 2%, not the 3.5% to 4% you had in the very serious recessions,” Shilling, president of economic and financial research firm A. Shilling & Co., said in a recent interview broadcast this week by Real Vision.

And even Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is now admitting that our economic outlook has become “cloudier”.  The following comes from ABC News

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Tuesday the economic outlook has become cloudier since early May, with rising uncertainties over trade and global growth causing the central bank to reassess its next move on interest rates.

Speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Powell said the Fed is now grappling with the question of whether those uncertainties will continue to weigh on the outlook and require action.

I find it very interesting that Powell chose the Council on Foreign Relations as the venue for this address.  I think that tells us a lot about where Powell’s true loyalties are.  The Council on Foreign Relations has dominated the political landscape in Washington for a long time, and this has been true no matter which political party has been in power.

Meanwhile, the global trade war continues to intensify, and over 300 companies are literally begging the Trump administration to find a way to end it

More than 300 companies are talking to government officials in Washington this month about how detrimental the trade war between the U.S. and China has been and will be to their business.

Testifying in front of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, major U.S. companies including Best Buy, HP and Hallmark Cards are voicing concerns about how the additional tariffs that President Donald Trump threatened to slap on China would impact their businesses and cause them to lose business to foreign competitors.

Sadly, it isn’t likely that the trade war will end any time soon.

In fact, it is probably much more likely that a shooting war will start in the Middle East instead.  And if that happens, our current economic problems will dramatically escalate.

The wheels are starting to come off, and the U.S. economy is beginning to spin out of control.  Perhaps the Federal Reserve will be able to pull another rabbit out of the hat and pull off a miracle once again, but I doubt it.  We haven’t seen conditions like this since the great financial crisis of 2008, and the remainder of 2019 threatens to be extremely “interesting” indeed.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Conditions On The Streets Of San Francisco Are Comparable To “The Slums Of Mumbai, Delhi, Mexico City, Jarkarta, And Manila”

Once upon a time, some of the most beautiful cities in the entire world were on the west coast, but now those same cities are degenerating into drug-infested cesspools of filth and garbage right in front of our eyes.  San Francisco is known as the epicenter for our tech industry, and Los Angeles produces more entertainment than anyone else in the world, and yet both cities are making headlines all over the world for other reasons these days.  Right now, nearly a quarter of the nation’s homeless population lives in the state of California, and more are arriving with each passing day.  When you walk the streets of San Francisco or Los Angeles, you can’t help but notice the open air drug markets, the giant mountains of trash, and the discarded needles and piles of human feces that are seemingly everywhere.  If this is what things look like when the U.S. economy is still relatively stable, how bad are things going to get when the economy tanks?

In San Francisco, the homeless population has grown by 17 percent since 2017, and when a UN official recently walked the streets she was absolutely horrified by what she witnessed

When Leilani Farha paid a visit to San Francisco in January, she knew the grim reputation of the city’s homeless encampments. In her four years as the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Adequate Housing, Farha has visited the slums of Mumbai, Delhi, Mexico City, Jarkarta, and Manila. The crisis in San Francisco, she said, is comparable to these conditions.

I have never been to Mumbai, Delhi, Mexico City, Jarkarta or Manila, and so I will just have to take her word for what the conditions are like there.

But how can this be happening in one of the wealthiest cities in the entire country?

Sadly, to a large degree San Francisco has done this to itself.  Every single day drugs are openly bought and sold at “an outdoor market of sorts” right in the heart of the city, and authorities know exactly where it is happening

To drill down on the epicenter of the crisis, a recent New York Times inquiry set out to find the dirtiest block in San Francisco. After asking statisticians to compile a list of streets with the most neighborhood complaints regarding sidewalk cleanliness, the Times landed on a winner: Hyde Street’s 300 block, which received more than 2,200 complaints over the last decade.

A visit to the block yields a harrowing sight of drug addicts and mentally ill residents, many of whom are part of the city’s overwhelmingly large homeless population. During the day, drug users host an outdoor market of sorts, selling heroin, crack cocaine, and amphetamines along the sidewalks.

They could shut down the drug dealing if they really wanted to do so.

And anywhere the illegal drug trade is thriving, you are also going to have a lot of property crime.  At this point, no city in America has a higher rate of property crime than San Francisco does

San Francisco is the nation’s leader in property crime. Burglary, larceny, shoplifting, and vandalism are included under this ugly umbrella. The rate of car break-ins is particularly striking: in 2017 over 30,000 reports were filed, and the current average is 51 per day. Other low-level offenses, including drug dealing, street harassment, encampments, indecent exposure, public intoxication, simple assault, and disorderly conduct are also rampant.

Meanwhile, things are not much better in Los Angeles.  In fact, many would argue that L.A. is in even worse condition.

The homeless population in the city has risen 16 percent since last year, and it is taking over neighborhood after neighborhood.  Los Angeles was once one of the most beautiful cities in the entire world, but now it is rapidly being transformed into a hellhole

If someone predicted half a century ago that a Los Angeles police station or indeed L.A. City Hall would be in danger of periodic, flea-borne infectious typhus outbreaks, he would have been considered unhinged. After all, the city that gave us the modern freeway system is not supposed to resemble Justinian’s sixth-century Constantinople. Yet typhus, along with outbreaks of infectious hepatitis A, are in the news on California streets. The sidewalks of the state’s major cities are homes to piles of used needles, feces, and refuse. Hygienists warn that permissive municipal governments are setting the stage — through spiking populations of history’s banes of fleas, lice, and rats — for possible dark-age outbreaks of plague or worse.

Skid Row is the epicenter of the homeless problem in L.A., and I highly recommend that you do not go down there to check it out for yourself.

It is hard to believe that people are actually living this way in America in 2019.  This is what one reporter witnessed during his visit to the neighborhood

If you want to know how bad the homelessness crisis has gotten in California, just turn to 4 squares miles east of Main Street in downtown Los Angeles. The area, known as Skid Row, has long been inhabited by the city’s poorest residents. These days it resembles something akin to a nightmare.

Residents sleep in tents surrounded by discarded needles and feces, their belongings tucked into trash bags and shopping carts. Some shade themselves with tarps or use nearby light poles to connect to power. Others have contracted typhus from rats scurrying across the sidewalk. One resident was even found bathing in the water from a broken fire hydrant.

This is where the rest of the country is headed if we are not very careful.  Bad policies have bad consequences, and our leaders have been taking us in the wrong direction for a very long time.

And instead of getting to the root of our problems, most of our politicians seem to think that engaging in bizarre social experiments will somehow solve our problems.

For example, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is convinced that we can solve the homeless problem by building tiny housing units in the backyards of private homeowners

As part of this mission, the city is pursuing a pilot program, made possible by a $1 million Bloomberg Philanthropies grant, that would help homeowners install backyard units on their properties. In exchange for a $10,000 to $30,000 stipend, homeowners would be able to charge a small rent to homeless tenants, who would pay their share through vouchers or their own income. The city also plans to institute a matchmaking process that pairs owners and tenants.

“Our homeless crisis demands that we get creative,” the mayor said. If the backyard pilot works, he added, the idea could be adopted anywhere.

So if you live in Los Angeles, soon you will be able to bring the needles and piles of human feces from Skid Row into your own backyard.

Meanwhile, homeless people keep dropping dead night after night in Los Angeles.  Just check out these staggering numbers

A record number of homeless people — 918 last year alone — are dying across Los Angeles County, on bus benches, hillsides, railroad tracks and sidewalks.

Deaths have jumped 76% in the past five years, outpacing the growth of the homeless population, according to a Kaiser Health News analysis of the coroner’s data.

Year after year, this homelessness crisis is only getting worse.

The fabric of our society is literally coming apart right in front of our eyes, and we can all see what is happening, and yet our leaders seem absolutely powerless to fix it.

If we continue on this trajectory, what is our nation going to look like in a few years?

Just something to think about…

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Shocking Before And After Photos Reveal The Truth About The Widespread Crop Failures The U.S. Is Facing In 2019

Torrential rains have been hammering the heartland of America for months, and at this point vast stretches of farmland in the middle of the country are nothing but mud.  As a result of the endless rain and unprecedented flooding that we have witnessed, millions of acres of farmland will have nothing planted on them at all in 2019, and that is a major national crisis.  But most farmers were able to get seeds planted in the deplorable conditions, and now they are desperately hoping that something will actually grow.  Unfortunately, on farm after farm what is coming out of the ground looks absolutely terrible.  Even if we get ideal weather conditions for the rest of the summer, there is no way that many of these fields will be ready before the first hard frost arrives.  As you will see below, the truth is that we are potentially facing the most widespread crop failures in all of U.S. history.

This is the biggest news story in America so far this year, and the mainstream media is finally starting to understand the gravity of what we are facing.  Just consider the following quote from a recent Quartz article

The stories across the Midwest are wrenching. Scrolling through the #NoPlant19  hashtag turns up dozens of posts about farmers staring out at soggy fields or farm equipment foundering in deep mud. It’s likely many will see their harvests devastated this year, and global grain prices could spike.

But of course a picture is worth a thousand words, and so let me share a before and after photo that a farming couple in Indiana named Kyle and Tori Kline recently shared on Facebook…

According to Tori, the corn was almost above Kyle’s head at this time last year, but today it is barely out of the ground…

“These two pictures speaks volumes to the crisis American Farmers are facing this spring. Kyle is about 6’3” and the corn was nearly above his head. Most corn around our area is lucky to be out of the ground, let alone knee high. It’s just some food for thought for those who think farmers are “rich” or “greedy” or what have you. It’s the reason food and gas prices will be getting higher as the summer goes on. I pray for those who didn’t or still haven’t gotten their crops in – for their safety and mental health. This year will be one to remember.”

Do you think that corn is going to be ready when harvest time rolls around?

And of course the Klines are far from alone.  All over the nation, farmers are facing either dramatically reduced yields or no harvest at all.

Let me share four more extremely disturbing before and after photos that were recently posted to Facebook by TD Hale

We have never seen anything like this before.

Now that you have seen these pictures, are you starting to understand why so many of us have been warning that U.S. agricultural production is going to be way, way down this year?

Corn is not supposed to grow in mud, but due to the horrific weather conditions many farmers in the middle of the country had absolutely no choice in the matter.  For example, corn farmer Scott Labig confessed that he was “ashamed” of what the nightmarish weather conditions forced him to do…

Labig was doing something he had never done in his career. Something his father and his grandfather never did either in their time working this same land for the last century.

“I am ashamed of how I am planting corn today,” Labig told Campbell on the phone. “This is terrible.”

He was putting seeds into mud. How could things actually grow in this mess?

If you do not live in the middle of the country, you may have a difficult time grasping the true scope of what we are potentially facing.

If farmers do not grow our food, we do not eat.  This is not a drill, and widespread crop failures are going to have dramatic implications for all of us in the months ahead.  Food prices are going much higher, and I urge you to get prepared while you still can.

According to John Newton, the chief economist at the American Farm Bureau Federation, we have never faced “anything like this since I’ve been working in agriculture”.  We are truly in unprecedented territory already, and it won’t take very much at all to turn 2019 into a complete and utter national catastrophe.

If the weather is absolutely perfect for the next few months, 2019 will still be a horrible, horrible year for farmers in the middle of the country.

But if the rain doesn’t stop, or if there is too much heat, or if a very early hard frost happens, we could be facing a national nightmare that is beyond what most of us would even dare to imagine.

And guess what?  Over the weekend the middle of the country was pounded by even more severe storms

Hundreds of people were without power in Missouri and Kansas on Sunday as storms ripped through the area, prompting officials to warn drivers to remain off the roads as flash flood warnings were in effect.

Until 8:45 a.m. central time, a flash flood warning was in effect in Missouri’s Trenton, Bethany and Gallatin cities, according to the National Weather Service, while such warnings were in effect until 8:30 a.m. central time in Saint Joseph, Atchison and Savannah.

Just when you think that this crisis cannot possibly get any worse, it does.

Please share this article with your family, friends and those that you care about.  People need to understand what is going on out there.

We are literally watching a massive national crisis unfold right in front of our eyes, and I will do my best to continue to keep you updated.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

President Trump: Please Find A Way To Stop World War 3 From Erupting In The Middle East

The moment that I heard that a U.S. Navy high altitude drone had been blown out of the sky by Iran, I realized that a very important threshold had just been crossed.  We now find ourselves on the brink of World War 3, and one wrong move could unleash death and destruction on a scale that most of us don’t even want to think about.  We have reached one of the most critical junctures in modern American history, and the key decisions will be made by just one man.  When Donald Trump initially ran for president, he promised to stop the endless wars in the Middle East, but now we are potentially facing the biggest one of them all.  More than 80 million people live in Iran, they have a highly sophisticated military, and they have been preparing for a military confrontation with the west for a very long time.

When the media asked President Trump about a possible military response to the drone being shot down, Trump responded by telling the assembled reporters “you’ll soon find out”.  The following comes from a USA Today article entitled “A US attack could be imminent after Iranians shoot down drone over international waters”

Hours after Iran announced that it shot down a U.S. drone, President Trump told journalists at the White House, “You’ll soon find out” if the U.S. is planning a strike on Iran in retaliation.

“They’re going to find out they made a very big mistake,” Trump added, in comments that came as he met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Needless to say, those words have led many to speculate that military action against Iran could come very quickly.

In addition, it is being reported that military officials gathered at the White House on Thursday to discuss various military options…

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan huddled Thursday with national security officials at the White House to discuss military options, including an attack on the site that launched the missile that destroyed the unmanned surveillance aircraft, according to a Defense official familiar with the discussions but not authorized to speak about them publicly.

And another sign that things have taken a very serious turn is the fact that top congressional leaders were summoned to the White House Situation Room for a briefing on Thursday afternoon

The White House is inviting congressional leaders to a Situation Room briefing on Iran on Thursday afternoon, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) are expected to attend that meeting, as are the Armed Service Committee and Intelligence Committee chairmen and ranking members, though Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, will be unable to appear. Rank-and-file members received their own briefing earlier on Thursday.

These sorts of briefings for top congressional leaders don’t happen very often, and I would love to know what they were told.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton have been pushing for a military confrontation with Iran for a very long time, and now they may get their wish.

So let’s talk about what that could look like.

President Trump could ultimately opt for a very “limited” strike against the missile site that shot down the drone.  At that point, the Iranians would have a decision to make.  In response, the Iranians could decide to sink the ships that launched the attack on their missile site.  Most Americans don’t realize this, but the truth is that our ships that are sitting in the Persian Gulf right now are sitting ducks.  Sunburn missiles are perhaps the most lethal anti-ship missiles on the entire planet, and the Iranians have stockpiled a large quantity of them over the years.  If the order is given, we will see destroyed U.S. warships sinking in the Persian Gulf on national television.

So how loud will the cries for war become if that happens?

Needless to say, the U.S. would hit back extremely hard, and that would almost certainly include strikes against Iran’s nuclear program.  Even before our drone was shot down, U.S. officials were reportedly considering a plan to strike Iranian nuclear facilities.  The following comes from the Jerusalem Post

According to the officials, since Friday, the White House has been holding incessant discussions involving senior military commanders, Pentagon representatives and advisers to President Donald Trump.

The military action under consideration would be an aerial bombardment of an Iranian facility linked to its nuclear program, the officials further claimed.

“The bombing will be massive but will be limited to a specific target,” said a Western diplomat.

Of course that would absolutely infuriate the Iranians, and they could respond by launching thousands of missiles at Israel and other strategic targets in the region.

Israel would respond by launching thousands of missiles back, and U.S. news channels would be full of talk about the need to invade Iran.

Once Iranian leadership saw that an invasion was imminent, they would use everything at their disposal in a desperate attempt to ensure their survival.  I know that I discussed this in a previous article, but it bears repeating.  There are many that are absolutely convinced that Iran currently has nukes and would not be afraid to use them if necessary.  Back in 2016, former CIA Director R. James Woolsey co-authored an article along with 4 other former U.S. officials in which they unequivocally stated that they believe that “Iran probably already has nuclear weapons”

We assess, from U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency reports and other sources, that Iran probably already has nuclear weapons. Over 13 years ago, prior to 2003, Iran was manufacturing nuclear-weapon components, like bridge-wire detonators and neutron initiators, performing non-fissile explosive experiments of an implosion nuclear device, and working on the design of a nuclear warhead for the Shahab-III missile.

Thirteen years ago Iran was already a threshold nuclear-missile state. It is implausible that Iran suspended its program for over a decade for a nuclear deal with President Obama.

Iran probably has nuclear warheads for the Shahab-III medium-range missile, which they tested for making EMP attacks. Two recent tests violate UN agreements, demonstrating that Iran is brazenly developing its nuclear-capable missiles. Iran already has the largest medium-range ballistic-missile force in the Middle East.

So when we are talking about a war with Iran, we are talking about the possibility of a nuclear war.

The stakes are exceedingly high, and one wrong decision by President Trump could set off a sequence of events which would lead to a nuclear holocaust in the Middle East in which millions could die.

We do not want a war with Iran.  It would not go well for America at all.  We are already living in apocalyptic times, and a war with Iran would greatly accelerate things.

President Trump can be a hero by stopping this war from happening.

But if he takes the advice of the war hawks that he has surrounded himself with, we could be about to enter a nightmare from which we will never escape.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

U.S. Steel Plants Are Going Idle, But The Fed Continues To Perpetuate The Myth That Everything Is Just Fine

Even though there is a tremendous amount of evidence to the contrary, the Federal Reserve continues to insist that the U.S. economy is in good shape.  On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told the nation that “the economy has performed relatively well” in 2019 and he insisted that “the baseline outlook is a good one.”  Of course he didn’t say anything about our collapsing manufacturing numbers, the worst global trade numbers since the last recession or the “bloodbath” in the U.S. trucking industry.  Powell did concede that “the risk of less favorable outcomes has risen”, but other than vague statements like that he really didn’t acknowledge our growing economic problems at all.  Considering the fact that Powell has more power over the U.S. economy than anyone else in the entire country, this should deeply concern all of us.  To me, Powell’s performance on Wednesday was quite reminiscent of the moment in 2008 when Fed Chair Ben Bernanke told us that the Federal Reserve was not “currently forecasting a recession” after a recession had already begun.

As I have been documenting for weeks, evidence that another major economic downturn has already started can be clearly seen all around us.

For example, we got some very alarming news from the steel industry on Wednesday.  When the Trump administration slapped a 25 percent tariff on steel imports last year, that was supposed to greatly help the U.S. steel industry.  But instead, a dramatic drop in demand due to this new economic downturn is forcing steel companies to take dramatic measures.  According to CNN, U.S. Steel just announced that it will be shutting down a blast furnace in Gary, Indiana and another one that is located just outside of Detroit…

Pain has returned to the US steel industry despite the tariffs put on imported steel last year that were designed to help.

Late Tuesday US Steel announced it will idle two of the blast furnaces where it makes steel, one in its flagship mill in Gary, Indiana, near Chicago, the other in Ecorse, Michigan, near Detroit. The idled furnaces will cut production by about 200,000 tons of steel or more a month, the company said.

“We will resume blast furnace production at one or both idled blast furnaces when market conditions improve,” said the company.

But when will market conditions improve?

In 2020?

After this new economic downturn is over?

Never?

Of course U.S. Steel is not the only steel producer that is hurting right now.  In fact, Nucor and Steel Dynamics have both cut profit forecasts

US Steel’s action follows similar warnings Monday from Nucor, the nation’s largest steelmaker, and Steel Dynamics. Both are now forecasting lower profits. Nucor pointed to weaker demand from the US auto industry.

Sadly, the truth is that major industry after major industry is deeply suffering at this moment…

-Our ongoing “retail apocalypse” is absolutely brutalizing the retail industry, and we are on pace to have the worst year for store closings in our entire history.

-Auto industry sales have been absolutely abysmal, and auto loan delinquencies have shot up to alarmingly high levels.

-The agriculture industry is going to have the worst year it has seen in at least several decades.

-Our 800 billion dollar trucking industry is already in the midst of a “bloodbath”.

-The real estate industry is poised for the worst downturn that we have seen since the subprime mortgage meltdown during the last financial crisis.

-The manufacturing industry has not seen numbers this bad since the last recession, and things are rapidly getting worse.

But yeah, let’s tell the American people that the economy is “booming” and see if they will buy it.

Really?

Let’s get real.  The U.S. economy is mired in the worst slump in a decade, and economic conditions continue to deteriorate rapidly.  The Federal Reserve could have given us a short-term boost by cutting interest rates on Wednesday, but they decided not to do that

A divided Federal Reserve held the line on interest rates Wednesday and indicated formally that no cuts are coming in 2019. The decision came amid divisions over what is ahead and still leaves open the possibility that policy loosening could happen before the end of the year depending on how conditions unfold.

The central bank predicts one or two rate cuts in its set of economic predictions, but not until 2020. Despite cautious wording in the post-meeting statement Wednesday, markets are still betting the Fed cuts, as soon as July.

Perhaps they want to save their very limited ammunition for when the recession officially starts, and I can understand that.

But this latest move by the Fed is definitely not going to please President Trump, and it will likely prompt more speculation that Trump would like to demote Powell

The action sets up a possible confrontation between Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and President Donald Trump, who has been pressuring the Fed to cut rates. Just Tuesday, Trump said “let’s see what he does” at the Fed meeting when asked if he still wants to demote Powell.

At the post-statement news conference, Powell was asked about his future as chairman. “I think the law is clear that I have a four year term, and I fully intend to serve it,” he said.

Trump needs the U.S. economy to be as strong as possible as he heads into an election year.

The stronger the U.S. economy is, the more likely it is that he will be re-elected.

And actually the Federal Reserve may be doing Trump a favor by trying to perpetuate the myth that everything is just fine.  Because if the Fed had cut rates on Wednesday, it would have essentially been an admission that a new recession is on our doorstep.  As John P. Hussman has aptly pointed out, almost every initial rate cut in history “has been associated with an oncoming or ongoing recession”…

With the exception of 1967 and 1996, every initial Fed rate cut has been associated with an oncoming or ongoing recession. Be careful what you wish for.

So for now, the Fed seems to have adopted a “fake it until you make it” approach, and sometimes that can work.

Unfortunately, I don’t think it is going to work this time.  And meanwhile millions upon millions of Americans have been lulled into a false sense of security, and they are not getting prepared for the exceedingly hard times that are coming.

One of my readers recently left a comment in which he stated that what we are facing “is not a drill”, and I believe that he is quite correct.

We haven’t seen economic conditions anything like this since the last recession, and the outlook is getting worse with each passing day.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

They Are Calling This A “Bloodbath” For The $800 Billion Trucking Industry As U.S. Economic Activity Dramatically Declines

The U.S. trucking industry has not experienced a downturn of this magnitude since the last financial crisis, and this is one of the clearest signs yet that the U.S. economy is steamrolling into a severe economic downturn.  When economic activity is increasing, the trucking industry sees rising demand for their services and freight rates tend to go up.  That is precisely what we witnessed in 2018, and truckers were hoping for more of the same in 2019.  But when economic activity is on the decline, the trucking industry sees decreasing demand for their services and freight rates tend to go down.  Unfortunately, the numbers that the U.S. trucking industry is reporting right now are absolutely abysmal.  Freight rates have now fallen for six months in a row on a year-over-year basis, and according to Business Insider during the month of May loads on the spot market fell “by a chilling 62.6%” compared to last year…

This year has been rocky for the $800 billion trucking industry.

After a raucous 2018, 2019 has seen retailers and manufacturers moving less, according to the Cass Freight Index. Freight rates have dipped year-over-year for six months straight. Loads on the spot market, in which retailers and manufacturers buy trucking capacity as they need it rather than through a contract, have fallen by a chilling 62.6% in May year-over-year.

The spot market is where we see the marginal changes in demand most clearly, and what this is telling us is that we are already in a transportation recession.

Of course that is almost certainly putting it too nicely.  According to one owner-operator, what we are witnessing right now is nothing short of a “bloodbath”

The earnings of big and small players alike are getting hit as factory activity continues to decline. The Lexington, Kentucky-based owner-operator Chad Boblett said some truck drivers are seeing a “bloodbath.”

There has been a spate of trucking companies declaring bankruptcy this year, too. The largest was New England Motor Freight, which was No. 19 in its trucking segment. Falcon Transport also shut down this year, abruptly laying off some 550 employees in April.

If demand does not start rebounding really soon, we are going to see many more trucking companies go bankrupt.

And of course it isn’t just trucking companies that are licking their wounds right now.  All modes of transportation are down compared to last year, and that is a clear indication that big trouble is ahead for the U.S. economy.  According to Wolf Richter, the Cass Freight Index just suffered it’s largest drop “since November 2009″…

Freight shipment volume in the US dropped 6.0% in May compared to May last year, the sixth month in a row of year-over-year declines, and the sharpest year-over-year drop since November 2009, according to the Cass Freight Index for Shipments.

The index tracks shipments of goods for consumer and industrial sectors across all modes of transportation – truck, rail, air, and barge.

What a difference one year can make.

Last year at this time we were in the midst of a trucking boom, and as a result orders for heavy trucks surged to record highs

In late 2017 and through summer of 2018, freight rates had been driven up by a capacity crunch in the trucking industry, and a panic amid shippers – such as big retailers or industrial companies that need to get their merchandise across the country – that trucking companies won’t be able to keep up with demand.

To meet that demand, truckers went on a buying binge, ordering a record number of Class-8 trucks that now have entered service.

But now that the trucking boom has turned into a trucking bust, we are watching orders for heavy trucks absolutely collapse.

In fact, according to Zero Hedge the number of new orders for heavy trucks in May was down a whopping 70 percent compared to a year ago…

Preliminary North America Class 8 net order data from ACT Research shows that the industry booked just 10,800 units in May, down 27% sequentially, but also lower by an astonishing 70% year-over-year. YTD orders are down 64% compared to the first five months of 2018.

This would not be happening if we had a “booming” economy.

Last year, the Cass Freight Index was showing robust increases month after month because economic activity was definitely rising.

But now the Cass Freight Index has fallen on a year-over-year basis for six months in a row because U.S. economy activity is dropping.

As I noted yesterday, nobody should be attempting to claim that the U.S. economy is in good shape at this point.  All of the numbers are definitely pointing in the other direction.

So what does all of this mean for average U.S. consumers?

What it means is that we should all be getting ready to go through another brutal economic downturn.  I personally know some people that have already lost their jobs, and a lot more job losses are coming.  It doesn’t matter if you have worked your tail off for years and have been the most loyal employee in America.  When it comes time for heads to roll, it won’t be the corporate executives with the fat paychecks that are let go.

Someday soon you may be called into the manager’s office without any warning whatsoever and be escorted out of the building 15 minutes later.

That is literally how fast it can happen.

When things started to go bad in 2008, the economic dominoes began to fall very quickly.

We should probably expect a similar scenario this time around.

The “next economic downturn” is already here, and the months ahead promise to be quite “interesting” indeed.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

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