10 Numbers That Prove That We Are Rapidly Becoming A Nation Of Government Dependents

As the middle class disintegrates and poverty grows, more Americans than ever are becoming dependent on the government just to survive.  Today, we live in a country where most workers do not earn enough to support a middle class family, and we are seeing the homelessness crisis spiral out of control in major cities on both coasts.  During this election cycle, many conservatives have been freaking out that an increasing number of Democrats are openly embracing socialism, but the truth is that we are already most of the way to becoming a socialist country.  In fact, as you will see below, more than half of all Americans currently receive more money from the government than they pay in taxes.  We have become absolutely addicted to government money, and this is one of the major trends that is eating away at our nation like cancer.

The government is not supposed to take care of us from the cradle to the grave.

Rather, our founders understood that the proper role of government is to create and protect an environment of liberty and freedom where we would be empowered to take care of ourselves.

Today, most Americans cannot independently take care of themselves, and that makes them dependents.  And when you are a dependent, you aren’t really free.

One of the reasons why I write so much about the decline of the middle class is because it is an existential threat to our way of life.  If you look around the world, or if you go back through history, you will see that tyrannical regimes tend to thrive when populations are poor and cannot stand up for themselves.  If we want our Republic to survive, we need a strong, independent population that is not economically dependent on the government.  That is what we had throughout most of our history, and that is now what we are rapidly losing.

Just because you are working does not mean that you are independent.  At this point, most jobs do not pay enough to support a middle class family, and the ranks of the “working poor” continue to explode.  In reality, Americans are working harder than ever in 2018, and yet things continue to deteriorate.

The following are a few numbers that prove that we are rapidly becoming a nation of government dependents…

Over half the country now receives more in government transfer payments than they pay in taxes.

-According to one recent survey, the cost of living is higher than the median income in 42 U.S. states.

-Today, 50 percent of all American workers make less than $30,533 a year.

62 percent of Americans say that their financial situations have not improved since the last presidential election.

And here are six more from my friend Alan Yerushalmi

If things are this bad now, how dreadful will the outlook be once we are deep into the next recession?

History has shown that once national governments begin to expand in size, they usually keep expanding until they ultimately collapse.

Sadly, a large portion of the population has become convinced that the government should be in the business of handing out as much “free stuff” as possible.  Housing, healthcare and college education are now being called “human rights”, and tens of millions of our fellow citizens feel that they are entitled to be given these things by the government.  Needless to say, this has chilling implications for the future of our country, and I really like how Ryan McMaken made this point in his most recent article

The political implications of this are considerable. As Ludwig von Mises once noted, once we get to the point that a majority of the voting population receives more in benefits than it pays in taxes, then voters will demand more and more wealth be transferred to them through government programs. It will then become politically necessary to extract larger and larger amounts of wealth from a minority in order to subsidize the majority.

Market economics will become less and less popular because the voters will have realized they can — in the words of James Bovard — “vote for a living” instead of work for a living.

Every additional dollar that the federal government spends is an additional dollar that is being stolen from our children and our grandchildren, and we are already more than 21 trillion dollars in debt.

We have been on the greatest debt binge in human history, and that debt binge delayed our day of reckoning, but it did not cancel it.

In fact, one of my contacts just emailed me with some deeply troubling information.  He has a customer that is a Bank of America board member, and that board member told him that they expect things to really start falling apart by late March “at the latest”.  This is word for word what my contact told me…

“I had a customer this past Saturday who was a very high ranking Bank of America board member, and she said in the meetings, they expect late March, at the latest, that things will really start to disintegrate fairly quickly or very quickly. That was AT THE LATEST she said.”

When I say that “dark days are ahead”, I am not using hyperbole.  We really have reached a turning point, and things will never be the same again.

The relentless march of time is inexorable, and eventually the clock runs out for everyone.  America has been living on borrowed time for quite a while, and a perfect storm is looming on the horizon.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

The Last Days Warrior Summit is the premier online event of 2018 for Christians, Conservatives and Patriots.  It is a premium members-only international event that will empower and equip you with the knowledge and tools that you need as global events begin to escalate dramatically.  The speaker list includes Michael Snyder, Mike Adams, Dave Daubenmire, Ray Gano, Dr. Daniel Daves, Gary Kah, Justus Knight, Doug Krieger, Lyn Leahz, Laura Maxwell and many more. Full summit access will begin on October 25th, and if you would like to register for this unprecedented event you can do so right here.

Teetering On The Brink Of Disaster: 14 Of 19 Bear Market Signals Have Now Been Triggered

October 2018 is turning out to be a lot like October 2008.  The S&P 500 has now fallen for 12 of the last 14 trading days, and it is on pace for its worst October since the last financial crisis.  But the U.S. is actually in much better shape than the rest of the world at this point.  Even though they have fallen precipitously in recent days, U.S. stocks are still up 3 percent for the year overall.  On the other hand, global stocks (excluding the U.S.) are now down more than 10 percent for the year, and they are down more than 15 percent from the peak of the market in January.  All it is going to take is a couple more really bad trading sessions to push global stocks into bear market territory.

And even though U.S. stocks are still outperforming the rest of the world, many are anticipating that the U.S. is definitely heading for a bear market as well.

According to Bank of America, 14 out of their 19 “bear market indicators” have now been triggered

“Expect a long bout of volatility,” Bank of America strategists led by Savita Subramanian wrote in a report published on Sunday.

Bank of America keeps a running tally of “signposts” that signal looming bear market. The bad news is that 14 of these 19 indicators, or 74%, have been triggered. Two more were toppled earlier this month: the VIX volatility index (VIX) climbed above 20 and a growing number of Americans expect stocks to go up.

Of course not all 19 indicators need to be triggered in order for a bear market to happen.  These indicators are simply signposts, and what they are telling us is that big trouble could be brewing for the financial markets.

And Tuesday was certainly another chaotic day for Wall Street.  The Russell 2000 experienced another extremely disappointing day, and it is now officially red for the year

Small-cap stocks erased all of their gains for the year on Tuesday, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average at one point was not be too far behind.

The Russell 2000, composed of publicly traded companies with a market capitalization between $300 million and about $2 billion, shed 0.8 percent on Tuesday, putting it into the red for 2018, down 0.6 percent.

The number of stocks that are at 52-week lows far outnumbers those that are at 52-week highs, but a handful of big name stocks has been keeping the market from plummeting too dramatically.

In the short-term, we should expect some more wild swings up and down, but meanwhile we continue to receive more troubling news about the real economy.

For example, we recently learned that existing home sales were down once again last month

The metric of interest today is existing home sales. The reading came in at 5.15m units, which was well below the estimated 5.3m units and 4.1% below year ago levels. As the chart below shows, existing home sales have been falling all year long, and year-over-year growth rates have been mostly negative since September, 2017.

And auto sales are way down all over the country

A growing number of auto dealers around the country is seeing a noticeable drop in retail sales and customer traffic in showrooms, raising the possibility that a long-anticipated slowdown in auto sales has arrived.

“We are definitely seeing business pull back,” said Scott Adams, the owner of a Toyota dealership in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, just outside Kansas City. “September was off some, but this month our car sales are down 12 percent and our truck sales are down 23 percent.”

These things would not be happening if the economy was in good shape.

Every time the Federal Reserve goes through an interest rate hiking cycle it causes big problems for the economy, and this is something that President Trump alluded to during an interview with the Wall Street Journal

In an interview Tuesday with The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Trump acknowledged the independence the Fed has long enjoyed in setting economic policy, while also making clear he was intentionally sending a direct message to Mr. Powell that he wanted lower interest rates.

“Every time we do something great, he raises the interest rates,” Mr. Trump said, adding that Mr. Powell “almost looks like he’s happy raising interest rates.” The president declined to elaborate, and a spokeswoman for the Fed declined to comment.

No matter what President Trump does, disaster is inevitable if the Federal Reserve continues to raise rates.  The Federal Reserve has far more control over the economy than Trump does, and that is why many of his supporters are hoping that Trump adopts Ron Paul’s “End the Fed” message for the 2020 presidential campaign.

Speaking of the Federal Reserve, former Fed chair Paul Volcker is saying that the U.S. is facing “a hell of a mess”

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, who has reached legend status in the world of central banking, isn’t optimistic about current conditions.

When Volcker looks around now, he sees “a hell of a mess in every direction,” including a lack of basic respect for government institutions, a current Fed that seems to be following a completely arbitrary benchmark and a “swamp” in Washington run by plutocrats.

Without a doubt, it is most definitely true that we are facing “a hell of a mess”, but most Americans are entirely clueless about what is coming.

In the aftermath of the 2008 crisis, the economy stabilized and global central banks were able to inflate the biggest financial bubble in human history.

Once this bubble bursts, there won’t be a similar “recovery” this time around.

Along with the rest of the world, the U.S. is headed for an unprecedented period of chaos and pain.  We should be thankful for each day of relative stability that we are still able to enjoy, because time is rapidly running out.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

The Last Days Warrior Summit is the premier online event of 2018 for Christians, Conservatives and Patriots.  It is a premium members-only international event that will empower and equip you with the knowledge and tools that you need as global events begin to escalate dramatically.  The speaker list includes Michael Snyder, Mike Adams, Dave Daubenmire, Ray Gano, Dr. Daniel Daves, Gary Kah, Justus Knight, Doug Krieger, Lyn Leahz, Laura Maxwell and many more. Full summit access will begin on October 25th, and if you would like to register for this unprecedented event you can do so right here.

Middle Class Destroyed: 50 Percent Of All American Workers Make Less Than $30,533 A Year

The middle class in America has been declining for decades, and we continue to get even more evidence of the catastrophic damage that has already been done.  According to the Social Security Administration, the median yearly wage in the United States is just $30,533 at this point.  That means 50 percent of all American workers make at least that much per year, but that also means that 50 percent of all American workers make that much or less per year.  When you divide $30,533 by 12, you get a median monthly wage of just over $2,500.  But of course nobody can provide a middle class standard of living for a family of four for just $2,500 a month, and we will discuss this further below.  So in most households at least two people are working, and in many cases multiple jobs are being taken on by a single individual in a desperate attempt to make ends meet.  The American people are working harder than ever, and yet the middle class just continues to erode.

The deeper we dig into the numbers provided by the Social Security Administration, the more depressing they become.  Here are just a few examples from their official website

-34 percent of all American workers made less than $20,000 last year.

-48 percent of all American workers made less than $30,000 last year.

-59 percent of all American workers made less than $40,000 last year.

-68 percent of all American workers made less than $50,000 last year.

At this moment, the federal poverty level for a family of five is $29,420, and yet about half the workers in the entire country don’t even make that much on a yearly basis.

So can someone please explain to me again why people are saying that the economy is “doing well”?

Many will point to how well the stock market has been doing, but the stock market has not been an accurate barometer for the overall economy in a very, very long time.

And the stock market has already fallen nearly 1,500 points since the beginning of the month.  The bull market appears to be over and the bears are licking their chops.

No matter who has been in the White House, and no matter which political party has controlled Congress, the U.S. middle class has been systematically eviscerated year after year.  Many that used to be thriving may still even call themselves “middle class”, but that doesn’t make it true.

You would think that someone making “the median income” in a country as wealthy as the United States would be doing quite well.  But the truth is that $2,500 a month won’t get you very far these days.

First of all, your family is going to need somewhere to live.  Especially on the east and west coasts, it is really hard to find something habitable for under $1,000 a month in 2018.  If you live in the middle of the country or in a rural area, housing prices are significantly cheaper.  But for the vast majority of us, let’s assume a minimum of $1,000 a month for housing costs.

Secondly, you will also need to pay your utility bills and other home-related expenses.  These costs include power, water, phone, television, Internet, etc.  I will be extremely conservative and estimate that this total will be about $300 a month.

Thirdly, each income earner will need a vehicle in order to get to work.  In this example we will assume one income earner and a car payment of just $200 a month.

So now we are already up to $1,500 a month.  The money is running out fast.

Next, insurance bills will have to be paid.  Health insurance premiums have gotten ridiculously expensive in recent years, and many family plans are now well over $1,000 a month.  But for this example let’s assume a health insurance payment of just $450 a month and a car insurance payment of just $50 a month.

Of course your family will have to eat, and I don’t know anyone that can feed a family of four for just $500 a month, but let’s go with that number.

So now we have already spent the entire $2,500, and we don’t have a single penny left over for anything else.

But wait, we didn’t even account for taxes yet.  When you deduct taxes, our fictional family of four is well into the red every month and will need plenty of government assistance.

This is life in America today, and it isn’t pretty.

In his most recent article, Charles Hugh Smith estimated that an income of at least $106,000 is required to maintain a middle class lifestyle in America today.  That estimate may be a bit high, but not by too much.

Yes, there is a very limited sliver of the population that has been doing well in recent years, but most of the country continues to barely scrape by from month to month.  Out in California, Silicon Valley has generated quite a few millionaires, but the state also has the highest poverty in the entire nation.  For every Silicon Valley millionaire, there are thousands upon thousands of poor people living in towns such as Huron, California

Nearly 40 percent of Huron residents — and almost half of all children — live below the poverty line, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s more than double the statewide rate of 19 percent reported last month, which is the highest in the U.S. The national average is 12.3 percent.

“We’re in the Appalachians of the West,” Mayor Rey Leon said. “I don’t think enough urgency is being taken to resolve a problem that has existed for way too long.”

Multiple families and boarders pack rundown homes, only about a quarter of residents have high school diplomas and most lack adequate health care in an area plagued with diabetes and high asthma rates in one the nation’s most polluted air basins.

One recent study found that the gap between the wealthy and the poor is the largest that it has been since the 1920s, and America’s once thriving middle class is evaporating right in front of our eyes.

We could have made much different choices as a society, but we didn’t, and now we are going to have a great price to pay for our foolishness…

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

The Last Days Warrior Summit is the premier online event of 2018 for Christians, Conservatives and Patriots.  It is a premium-members only international event that will empower and equip you with the knowledge and tools that you need as global events begin to escalate dramatically.  The speaker list includes Michael Snyder, Mike Adams, Dave Daubenmire, Ray Gano, Dr. Daniel Daves, Gary Kah, Justus Knight, Doug Krieger, Lyn Leahz, Laura Maxwell and many more. Full summit access will begin on October 25th, and if you would like to register for this unprecedented event you can do so right here.

You Can Kick The Can Down The Road, But Reality Will Catch Up With You Eventually

Nobody can defy the laws of economics forever.  Whether it is an individual, a company or the nation as a whole, reality always catches up with everyone eventually.  For years, I have been warning that Sears was eventually going to zero, but of course it didn’t happen immediately.  Sears CEO Eddie Lampert kept convincing investors to pour more money into his beleaguered money pit, and so the can kept getting kicked down the road.  It takes a great con man to be able to pull off what Eddie Lampert was able to pull off, and we should all be in awe at the level of skill that he has displayed.  But all good cons eventually come to an end, and now the retailer that was once the largest in world history is coming to an end.  According to multiple media reports, a Sears bankruptcy filing is imminent.  For a while there it looked like it would be a Chapter 7 filing which would mean immediate liquidation for Sears.  But it appears that Lampert will be able secure enough funding to give Sears a little bit of breathing space.  A Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing will allow most of the stores to stay open through the holidays and will give Sears more time to sell off more assets.

I can’t even imagine who would be dumb enough to hand Lampert more money at this point, and this is yet another example that shows that the old saying “a sucker is born every minute” is definitely true.

And we are not talking about a small amount of money.  According to USA Today, Sears is going to need between 300 and 500 million dollars just to keep operating through the holidays…

It is trying to secure $300 million to $500 million to continue functioning through the holidays, keeping a winnowed number of locations open, says the person familiar with what is being considered. As of an Aug. 4 public filing, Sears Holdings, the parent company of Sears and Kmart, still had 506 Sears stores and 360 Kmart locations.

If the bankruptcy filing occurs, it is likely the beginning of what has been the long, drawn-out ending to one of the most renowned sagas in retail.

Lampert is going to be burning up the phones all weekend, because Sears needs cash immediately for a 134 million dollar debt payment that is due on Monday

Now, Sears is facing a critical Monday deadline to make a $134 million debt payment. Reports this week by the Wall Street Journal and CNBC said Sears had begun consulting with advisers to prepare a possible bankruptcy filing.

Just like our current stock market bubble, it is absolutely amazing that Sears has survived for as long as it has.

The truth is that Sears should have been put out of its misery long ago, but the can just kept getting kicked down the road.  But now the cash is gone and the debts have become overwhelming.

At this point, Sears has been missing payments to important vendors and has been making preparations for the upcoming bankruptcy filing for weeks

Three companies that sell items at Sears told Reuters this week that Sears had missed payments to them over the past few weeks. One of Sears’ major shareholders recently dumped a chunk of his stock for pennies on his original investment. The company added a new director this week who is familiar with bankruptcies and restructuring.

And reports are swirling that the company is talking to advisers and banks in preparation for a bankruptcy filing. According to the Wall Street Journal, Sears has hired M-III Partners, a boutique advisory firm specializing in seeing companies through bankruptcies and restructuring, The company is also talking to lenders about providing it with debtor-in-possession financing, CNBC reported. That kind of loan is used by companies that file for bankruptcy to fund operations during the process. Usually, funding is secured well before the final days.

Many of the company’s lenders had been pushing for an immediate Chapter 7 liquidation.  They wanted the bleeding to stop so that they could recover what they could while there was still something to grab.

But Eddie Lampert seems determined to stretch this thing out for as long as possible, and so it appears that a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing will happen instead.

It is easy to mock Sears, but the truth that America as a whole is on the exact same trajectory.

In my article that lists 101 reasons why the Federal Reserve should be shut down, I explain the absolute insanity of our current debt-based financial system.  Our system is literally designed to create as much debt as possible, and that is precisely what has been happening since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913.

If you add up all forms of debt in the United States (government, business, consumer, etc.), it comes to a grand total of more than 68 trillion dollars.  Other than hyper-inflating our currency into oblivion, there is no possible way that all of that debt will ever be repaid.  Under our current system, the only viable choice is to “extend and pretend”, and that is what we have been doing for decades.

But just like with Sears, economic reality is catching up with us, and time is rapidly running out for America.

From time to time, I get accused of being “too negative”, but the truth is that myself and others like me have been pleading with the American people to consider alternative solutions for many years.  In my latest book, I strongly advocate for the elimination of the Federal Reserve system and the establishment of a new financial system and a new currency that are not based on exponential debt growth.  In addition to writing thousands of articles, I have traveled and spoken to groups about these issues extensively, and I have done countless radio and television interviews.

But voices like mine have not been embraced on a widespread basis, and instead the American people seem to want the status quo.

So the can will keep getting kicked down the road until everything collapses.

Ultimately, what we are facing is the greatest economic depression that the United States has ever seen.  I really like how Charles Hugh Smith made this point as he wrapped up his most recent article

Everywhere we look in the U.S. economy, we see sky-high fixed costs. Investors who overpaid for commercial real estate will default once their business tenants close down, homeowners who overpaid will default once one of the household’s primary jobholders loses his/her job, state and local governments that have feasted on a decade of rising tax revenues will suddenly face staggering deficits as tax revenues crater–the list of those with high fixed costs and no wiggle room other than bankruptcy is essentially endless in America.

Here’s the difference between a recession and a depression: you can’t get blood from a stone, or make an insolvent entity solvent with more debt. Losses will have to taken, and nose-bleed fixed-costs will have to be slashed; reality will eventually have to be dealt with.

But everyone will resist this process because high fixed costs are the gravy train everyone depends on. Slashing fixed costs destroys the income needed to support asset valuations which are the collateral for the stupendous mountains of debt that define the U.S. economy. Once that debt is written down, the entire financial system collapses.

It didn’t have to be this way.

America could have chosen another path, but it didn’t.

So now we are steamrolling toward a date with destiny, and the people of this country will soon receive a very harsh lesson about economic reality.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

The Last Days Warrior Summit is the premier online event of 2018 for Christians, Conservatives and Patriots.  It is a premium-members only international event that will empower and equip you with the knowledge and tools that you need as global events begin to escalate dramatically.  The speaker list includes Michael Snyder, Mike Adams, Dave Daubenmire, Ray Gano, Dr. Daniel Daves, Gary Kah, Justus Knight, Doug Krieger, Lyn Leahz, Laura Maxwell and many more. Full summit access will begin on October 25th, and if you would like to register for this unprecedented event you can do so right here.

Why Is The Media Warning A Recession Is Expected “By The End Of 2020” That Will Be “Worse Than The Great Depression”?

The mood of the mainstream media is really starting to shift dramatically.  At one time they seemed determined to convince all of us that happy days were here again for the U.S. economy, but now some mainstream news outlets are openly warning that the next recession will be “worse than the Great Depression”.  Do they really believe that this is true, or is there some other purpose behind their bold headlines?  Of course it isn’t exactly difficult to predict that another recession is coming, because the U.S. economy has experienced recession after recession ever since the Federal Reserve was first established in 1913.  But the phrase “worse than the Great Depression” implies that what we will soon be facing will be the worst economic downturn in all of U.S. history.  That is a very bold statement to make, and it should not be done lightly.

That is why I have been absolutely astounded by some of the mainstream headlines that I have been seeing lately.  For example, the following comes from a New York Post article entitled “Next crash will be ‘worse than the Great Depression’: experts”

“We think the major economies are on the cusp of this turning into the worst recession we have seen in 10 years,” said Murray Gunn, head of global research at Elliott Wave International.

And in a note, he added: “Should the [US] economy start to shrink, and our analysis suggests that it will, the high nominal levels of debt will instantly become a very big issue.”

And here is an excerpt from an article posted on MSN entitled “Experts warn the next recession will be ‘worse than the Great Depression’ and predict it will hit US within two years as $247 trillion global debt outdoes 2008”

The next recession could put the 2008 financial crash to shame if two experts’ predictions about the worldwide debt of $247 trillion are correct.

Expected to hit the United States within the next two years, the impact has been compared to the severe worldwide economic crisis which started 1929 and last until 1939.

It is particularly interesting that the author of the last article chose to use the phrase “within the next two years”.

That strongly implies that the U.S. economy will have plunged into the next recession before the next presidential election takes place.

Other mainstream outlets are using similar language.  For example, the following comes from a Bloomberg article entitled “Two-thirds of U.S. business economists see recession by end of 2020”

Two-thirds of business economists in the U.S. expect a recession to begin by the end of 2020, while a plurality of respondents say trade policy is the greatest risk to the expansion, according to a new survey.

About 10 percent see the next contraction starting in 2019, 56 percent say 2020 and 33 percent said 2021 or later, according to the Aug. 28-Sept. 17 poll of 51 forecasters issued by the National Association for Business Economics on Monday.

Those are stunning numbers.

If they are correct, and I have no reason to doubt them, that means that 66 percent of mainstream economists believe that the next recession will strike in either 2019 or 2020.

Of course those that follow my work on a regular basis already know that there are a multitude of signs that indicate that the U.S. economy is already slowing down.

I wanted to share another one of those signs with you today.  For years, the real estate market in Manhattan was red hot, but now we just witnessed “the fourth straight quarter of double-digit declines”

Total real estate sales in Manhattan fell 11 percent in the third quarter compared with a year ago, marking the fourth straight quarter of double-digit declines, according to new data from Douglas Elliman Real Estate and Miller Samuel Real Estate Appraisers & Consultants. It was also the first time since the financial crisis that resales of existing apartments fell for four straight quarters.

Prices fell, inventory jumped and discounts were higher and more common. Real estate brokers say the Manhattan real estate market is suffering from an oversupply of luxury units, a decline in foreign buyers and changes in the tax law that make it more expensive to own property in high-tax states.

At this point, the housing market in New York City has become “a buyer’s market”, and there are no signs that things are going to turn around any time soon…

“Offers 20 percent and 25 percent below asking prices began to flow in, a phenomenon last seen in 2009,” wrote Warburg Realty founder and CEO Frederick W. Peters in the report, which surveys real estate conditions around the city.

Warburg’s report dovetails with separate data showing a definitive cooling in New York’s housing market. The number of homes for sale in the city recently hit a record, according to StreetEasy data, amid fewer sales transactions. Meanwhile, September’s report from real estate firm MNS showed Manhattan apartment rental prices — the most expensive in the city — on the decline.

Of course this is not just happening in New York City.  Home sellers all over the nation are slashing their prices at the fastest rate that we have seen in at least eight years.

In order for people to be able to afford to buy expensive homes, they need good jobs, and more good jobs just keep getting shipped out of the country.

For example, Verizon just announced that they will be shipping thousands of information technology jobs to India

Earlier this week, Verizon confirmed that it offered a voluntary severance package (VSP) to about 44,000 employees and that it will transfer over 2,500 IT staff – some rumors suggest the figure to be closer to 5,000 employees – to India-based Infosys as part of a $700 million outsourcing deal.

The layoffs and transfers will impact more than 30% of Verizon’s 153,100-employee workforce – as of the end of June – and are part of a 4-year plan to save the largest U.S. wireless carrier $10 billion by 2021.

If you get angry when you read such stories, that is good, because they should make you angry.

The middle class in America is being systematically eviscerated, and the U.S. economy is steadily being hollowed out.

And now the mainstream media is boldly pronouncing that the next recession will arrive within the next two years, and many are suggesting that it will be even more painful than the last one…

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

The Last Days Warrior Summit is the premier online event of 2018 for Christians, Conservatives and Patriots.  It is a premium-members only international event that will empower and equip you with the knowledge and tools that you need as global events begin to escalate dramatically.  The speaker list includes Michael Snyder, Mike Adams, Dave Daubenmire, Ray Gano, Dr. Daniel Daves, Gary Kah, Justus Knight, Doug Krieger, Lyn Leahz, Laura Maxwell and many more. Full summit access will begin on October 25th, and if you would like to register for this unprecedented event you can do so right here.

Worst Job Growth In A Year – Way Below Expectations

We just got more evidence that the U.S. economy is starting to slow down.  The U.S. economy must produce somewhere around 200,000 jobs a month just to keep up with population growth, and last month we were way below that number.  In fact, the employment numbers that the government released on Friday were the worst that we have seen in an entire year.  In late 2018, the IMF is openly warning of “a second Great Depression”, and indications that another economic crisis is coming are emerging all around us.  Many had been hoping that very strong employment numbers on Friday would change that trend, but instead it was “the worst performance since last September”

Nonfarm payrolls rose just 134,000, well below Refinitiv estimates of 185,000 and the worst performance since last September, when a labor strike weighed on the numbers.

But even though the number of jobs created did not even come close to keeping up with population growth, we are told that the unemployment rate actually declined, and some media outlets are proudly touting this as some sort of “success”.

Of course other numbers actually show that the unemployment rate is rising.  The following comes from CNBC

A separate measure of unemployment that includes discouraged workers and those holding jobs part-time for economic reasons — sometimes called the “real unemployment rate” — edged higher to 7.5 percent.

And according to shadowstats.com, the actual unemployment rate in the United States right now is 21.3 percent.  That is down slightly from the peak, but it is nowhere even close to where we were before the last recession.

There are many out there that desperately want to believe that the U.S. economy is “booming”, but that simply is not accurate.

If the U.S. economy really is “booming”, then why has “the largest ever homeless encampment” that Minneapolis has ever seen just gone up?…

The Associated Press (AP) has revealed a troubling story of the largest ever homeless encampment site mostly made up of Native Americans has quickly erected just south of downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota.

City officials are scrambling to contain the situation as two deaths in recent weeks, concerns about disease and infection, illicit drug use and the coming winter season, have sounded the alarm of a developing public health crisis.

We also got another really bad piece of economic news on Friday.

According to official government numbers, the U.S. trade deficit increased once again in August

The US Census Bureau reported Friday that the trade deficit increased to $53.2 billion in August for both goods and services, up from $50.0 billion in July. The goods trade deficit, which draws most of Trump’s attention, also increased to $86.3 billion, a $3.8 billion increase from the month before.

The primary reason for the increase in the deficit was a collapse in exports, especially soybeans, which fell off by $1 billion, a 28% drop from the month prior. China, the largest buyer of US soybeans, imposed tariffs on the American crop and it appears the restrictions are taking a toll.

One of the primary goals of the trade war is to decrease the size of our trade deficit, and so far it is not working.

Financial markets responded very negatively to all of the bad economic news.  Stocks plunged for a third straight day on Friday, and the Nasdaq was hit particularly hard

US equity markets were pressured for a third straight day Friday, with all of the major averages sporting losses of at least 1% at their lows. Heavy selling pushed the tech-heavy Nasdaq down by as much as 2.1%, before rebounding and finishing with a loss of just more than 1%.

Overall, it was a very tough week on Wall Street.  The following is how Zero Hedge summarized the carnage…

 

  • US Stocks – worst 2-day drop since May
  • Small Caps, Nasdaq – biggest weekly drop in 7 months
  • Small Caps – biggest 5-week drop since Nov 2016
  • China (closed) ETF – biggest weekly drop in 7 months
  • Semis – biggest weekly drop in 6 months
  • FANGs – biggest weekly drop in 7 months
  • Homebuilders – worst.losing.streak.ever…
  • USD Index – best week in 2 months
  • HY Bonds – biggest weekly price drop in 8 months
  • IG Bonds – biggest weekly drop since Nov 2016
  • Treasury Yields – biggest weekly yield spike in 8 months
  • Yield Curve – biggest weekly steepening in 8 months
  • Gold – best weekly gain in 6 weeks

 

In particular, it is absolutely stunning what is happening to homebuilder stocks.  They have now fallen for 13 days in a row, and that could be another very clear indication that a housing crash is coming.

None of the problems that caused the crash of 2008 have been fixed.  It absolutely amazes me that some people think that you can “fix” our economy by tinkering with the tax code a little bit and getting rid of a few regulations.  A handful of marginal changes is not going to alter our long-term outlook one bit.

The truth is that our economic system requires extensive emergency surgery.  We need to abolish the Federal Reserve, abolish the IRS, abolish the income tax and start using currency that is not created by debt.  And that would just be for starters.  Our current economic system is fundamentally flawed, and in the long-term it is inevitably going to fail.  The best that anyone can do in the short-term is to keep inflating the bubbles so that things will hold together long enough until they can become somebody else’s problem.

Right now, the only way that we can achieve economic growth is by growing debt at a far faster pace than the overall economy is expanding.  That is a recipe for a long-term disaster, and everyone knows that we are in the process of committing national suicide, but nobody is really doing anything to stop it.

Sadly, it is probably going to take another major crisis before people start calling for real change, and that is extremely unfortunate.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

The Last Days Warrior Summit is the premier online event of 2018 for Christians, Conservatives and Patriots.  It is a premium-members only international event that will empower and equip you with the knowledge and tools that you need as global events begin to escalate dramatically.  The speaker list includes Michael Snyder, Mike Adams, Dave Daubenmire, Ray Gano, Dr. Daniel Daves, Gary Kah, Justus Knight, Doug Krieger, Lyn Leahz, Laura Maxwell and many more. Full summit access will begin on October 25th, and if you would like to register for this unprecedented event you can do so right here.

 

The Retail Apocalypse Picks Up Speed As Sears, JCPenney, Brookstone And Mattress Firm Spiral Toward Bankruptcy

Over 20 major retailers have filed for bankruptcy since the beginning of last year, and in 2018 we may break the all-time record for annual store closings that was established just last year.  We are in the midst of the worst retail apocalypse in American history, and it appears to be picking up speed as retail giants such as Sears, JCPenney, Brookstone and Mattress Firm spiral toward bankruptcy.  We live at a time when the middle class is being systematically destroyed, and so the truth is that U.S. consumers simply do not have as much discretionary income as they once did.  Many large retailers believed that things would eventually turn around, and they have been fighting very hard to survive, but now time has run out for quite a few of them.

Mattress Firm

Everyone knew that Mattress Firm was in deep trouble, but it still surprised many of us when it was announced that they are officially planning to file for bankruptcy.  The following comes from Reuters

Mattress Firm Inc, the largest U.S. mattress retailer, is preparing to file for bankruptcy protection as soon as this week, as it seeks to exit costly store leases and shore up its business, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

At this moment Mattress Firm has approximately 3,000 brick-and-mortar locations, and as those stores close down those abandoned buildings are going to be giant eyesores on street corners all over America.

Brookstone

When I was a kid back in the 1980s, it seemed like Brookstone had an outlet in every mall I visited.  But now Brookstone has filed for bankruptcy, and all remaining mall stores will be shut down

Brookstone filed for bankruptcy and will close its remaining 101 mall stores.

The mall and airport seller, best known for massage chairs, quirky gadgets, and travel luggage, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in federal court on Thursday. It was Brookstone’s second bankruptcy round in four years.

Sears

Sears has been shutting down stores for years, but up until now they have never admitted that bankruptcy was on the horizon.

But now time has run out and emergency measures are required if Sears is to survive.  The following comes from CNN

Sears is running out of time to fix its problems, the CEO says.

Eddie Lampert, who controls most of the company’s shares through his hedge fund, told the board on Monday that it must address “significant near-term constraints” in its cash position.

Of course Sears is still not actually using the term “bankruptcy”, but even CNN is admitting that Eddie Lampert used “language that suggested the company could be forced out of business”

Lampert did not use the word “bankruptcy,” but he raised the possibility that creditors could be wiped out, a process that often takes place in bankruptcy court, without immediate action.

He also said it was in the best interest of stakeholders to “accomplish this as a going concern” — language that suggested the company could be forced out of business.

Those that have been following my work for a long time know that I have repeatedly stated that Sears is going to zero.

Now we appear to be on the precipice of that actually happening, and it is a very sad day for America indeed.

JCPenney

Speaking of retailers that are going to zero, JCPenney is absolutely drowning in debt and has a very dismal prognosis for the future

Leaderless, $4 billion in debt and with a stock price below $2, the besieged retailer faces an uncertain fate after posting its latest round of dismal earnings.

“They’re in a leaky boat that eventually will sink,” said Mark Cohen, the director of retail studies at the Columbia Business School and a former CEO of Sears Canada and other department stores. “The prognosis for the future is not happiness.”

In the end, JCPenney is not going to survive, and so America will have to shop elsewhere for substandard clothing at inflated prices.

Bed Bath & Beyond

Nobody is suggesting that bankruptcy is imminent for Bed Bath & Beyond, but if they continue to have disastrous sales results it won’t be too long before they are on the chopping block too…

The struggling retailer said Wednesday that it was bringing on two top management consulting firms to help it cut costs and improve its merchandise. CEO Steven Temares did not name the firms.

The housewares retailer needs help. Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond plunged nearly 25% Thursday to their lowest level since March 2000 because of awful sales during the previous quarter.

We are moving into the most critical time of the year for retailers.  Most troubled chains will hang on through the next three months, but once we get to January and February we will see many of them give up the fight for good.

Meanwhile, some of the retailers that are still doing okay are warning that our trade war with China will likely mean much higher prices for consumers

Walmart Inc. and Target Corp. are among the large retailers and food companies that have sent a letter to U.S. Trade Ambassador Robert Lighthizer warning that proposed tariffs on $200 billion on Chinese goods would hurt consumers and American businesses.

Walmart’s letter, dated Sept. 6, focuses on what it says will be the repercussions of the tariffs, which would apply to goods like food and beverages, personal care products like shampoo, detergents, motor vehicles and paper goods like napkins.

Of course U.S. consumers cannot exactly afford higher prices at this point.  U.S. consumers have been spending more than they are earning month after month, and they are making up the difference by going into ever-increasing amounts of debt.

This is not what a healthy economy looks like.

If we had a healthy economy, the middle class would be growing and retailers would be thriving.

But instead, the vacancy rate at U.S. shopping malls just hit the highest level in six years

The vacancy rate at metro and regional malls around the United States hit 8.6% last quarter, the highest since the end of 2012, according to data released Monday by real estate research firm Reis (REIS).

Back then, the economy was still working its way out of a recession and an excess of malls had been built in the preceding decades. Retail vacancies peaked at 9.4% during the middle of 2011.

Things are not getting better for the U.S. economy.  We continue to see numbers that we have not seen since the last recession, and it appears that things will continue to deteriorate as we head into 2019.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

The Last Days Warrior Summit is the premier online event of 2018 for Christians, Conservatives and Patriots.  It is a premium-members only international event that will empower and equip you with the knowledge and tools that you need as global events begin to escalate dramatically.  The speaker list includes Michael Snyder, Mike Adams, Dave Daubenmire, Ray Gano, Dr. Daniel Daves, Gary Kah, Justus Knight, Doug Krieger, Lyn Leahz, Laura Maxwell and many more. Full summit access will begin on October 25th, and if you would like to register for this unprecedented event you can do so right here.