28 Signs Of Economic Doom As The Pivotal Month Of September Begins

Since the end of the last recession, the outlook for the U.S. economy has never been as dire as it is right now.  Everywhere you look, economic red flags are popping up, and the mainstream media is suddenly full of stories about “the coming recession”.  After several years of relative economic stability, things appear to be changing dramatically for the U.S. economy and the global economy as a whole.  Over and over again, we are seeing things happen that we have not witnessed since the last recession, and many analysts expect our troubles to accelerate as we head into the final months of 2019.

We should certainly hope that things will soon turn around, but at this point that does not appear likely.  The following are 28 signs of economic doom as the pivotal month of September begins…

#1 The U.S. and China just slapped painful new tariffs on one another, thus escalating the trade war to an entirely new level.

#2 JPMorgan Chase is projecting that the trade war will cost “the average U.S. household” $1,000 per year.

#3 Yield curve inversions have preceded every single U.S. recession since the 1950s, and the fact that it has happened again is one of the big reasons why Wall Street is freaking out so much lately.

#4 We just witnessed the largest decline in U.S. consumer sentiment in 7 years.

#5 Mortgage defaults are rising at the fastest pace that we have seen since the last financial crisis.

#6 Sales of luxury homes valued at $1.5 million or higher were down five percent during the second quarter of 2019.

#7 The U.S. manufacturing sector has contracted for the very first time since September 2009.

#8 The Cass Freight Index has been falling for a number of months.  According to CNBC, it fell “5.9% in July, following a 5.3% decline in June and a 6% drop in May.”

#9 Gross private domestic investment in the United States was down 5.5 percent during the second quarter of 2019.

#10 Crude oil processing at U.S. refiners has fallen by the most that we have seen since the last recession.

#11 The price of copper often gives us a clear indication of where the economy is heading, and it is now down 13 percent over the last six months.

#12 When it looks like an economic crisis is coming, investors often flock to precious metals.  So it is very interesting to note that the price of gold is up more than 20 percent since May.

#13 Women’s clothing retailer Forever 21 “is reportedly close to filing for bankruptcy protection”.

#14 We just learned that Sears and Kmart will close “nearly 100 additional stores” by the end of this year.

#15 Domestic shipments of RVs have fallen an astounding 20 percent so far in 2019.

#16 The Labor Department has admitted that the U.S. economy actually has 501,000 less jobs than they previously thought.

#17 S&P 500 earnings per share estimates have been steadily falling all year long.

#18 Morgan Stanley says that the possibility that we will see a global recession “is high and rising”.

#19 Global trade fell 1.4 percent in June from a year earlier, and that was the biggest drop that we have seen since the last recession.

#20 The German economy contracted during the second quarter, and the German central bank “is predicting the third quarter will also post a decline”.

#21 According to CNBC, the S&P 500 “just sent a screaming sell signal” to U.S. investors.

#22 Masanari Takada is warning that we could soon see a “Lehman-like” plunge in the stock market.

#23 Corporate insiders are dumping stocks at a pace that we haven’t seen in more than a decade.

#24 Apple CEO Tim Cook has been dumping millions of dollars worth of Apple stock.

#25 Instead of pumping his company’s funds into the stock market, Warren Buffett has decided to hoard 122 billion dollars in cash.  This appears to be a clear indication that he believes that a crisis is coming.

#26 Investors are selling their shares in emerging markets funds at a pace that we have never seen before.

#27 The Economic Policy Uncertainty Index hit the highest level that we have ever seen in the month of June.

#28 Americans are searching Google for the term “recession” more frequently than we have seen at any time since 2009.

The signs are very clear, but unfortunately we live at a time when “normalcy bias” is rampant in our society.

If you are not familiar with “normalcy bias”, the following is how Wikipedia defines it…

The normalcy bias, or normality bias, is a belief people hold when considering the possibility of a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the likelihood of a disaster and its possible effects, because people believe that things will always function the way things normally have functioned. This may result in situations where people fail to adequately prepare themselves for disasters, and on a larger scale, the failure of governments to include the populace in its disaster preparations. About 70% of people reportedly display normalcy bias in disasters.[1]

For most Americans, the crisis of 2008 and 2009 is now a distant memory, and the vast majority of the population seems confident that brighter days are ahead even if we must weather a short-term economic recession first.  As a result, most people are not preparing for a major economic crisis, and that makes us extremely vulnerable.

In 2008 and 2009, the horrible financial crisis and the bitter recession that followed took most Americans completely by surprise.

It will be the same this time around, even though the warning signs are there for all to see.

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.

Study Discovers That If The Debt Machine Was Turned Off, The U.S. Would Immediately Plunge Into A Horrifying Depression

A new study has discovered that we are far more dependent on America’s great debt creation machine than most of us would have ever dared to imagine.  Today, debt is involved in most of our major transactions.  In order to purchase a home, most of us go into debt.  The same thing is true when most of us buy a vehicle.  Total credit card debt is well over a trillion dollars, and total student loan debt is now over a trillion and a half dollars.  Corporate debt has more than doubled since the last financial crisis, state and local governments are absolutely drowning in debt and unfunded pension liabilities, and the federal government is more than 22 trillion dollars in debt.  The Federal Reserve and the “too big to fail” banks are at the core of this insidious debt-based system, and it has been systematically destroying the bright future that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have.  But if we suddenly turned off America’s great debt creation machine at this point, our entire economic system would totally collapse because we have become so dependent on it.  In fact, a study that was just conducted by Bloomberg discovered that “gross domestic product per capita would plunge into negative territory” if the ability to borrow was suddenly removed…

The nation’s health as measured by gross domestic product per capita would plunge into negative territory without its dependence on borrowed money, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

In fact, the U.S. would fall almost to the bottom of a ranking of 114 economies by GDP per capita. Only Italy, Greece and Japan would fare worse. That’s a seismic shift from America’s comfortable No. 5 spot on a list based on conventional measures.

Our massively inflated debt-fueled standard of living is completely and utterly dependent on the continual creation of more debt.

In essence, this study found that without debt we wouldn’t have much of an economy at all.  In fact, Bloomberg says that U.S. per capita income would collapse from $66,900 a year to “negative $4,857”

To get this somewhat dystopian measure, Bloomberg took each economy’s 2020 GDP as projected by the International Monetary Fund as a starting point. We then adjusted the number by removing the ability to borrow, while adding reserves to create an alternative wealth measure.

U.S. per capita income of $66,900 would be slashed to a negative $4,857 using this measure. That’s a total loss of almost $72,000 for every man, woman and child.

So the only thing keeping us from complete and total economic collapse is the fact that debt is flowing like wine.

But what would happen if some sort of major national crisis erupted someday and all of a sudden everyone was afraid to lend money?

That is something to think about, because such a scenario may be a whole lot closer than many people might think.

As it stands, we appear to be on the precipice of the worst economic downturn since the last financial crisis, and our trade war with China just went to an entirely new level as the month of September began

The biggest reason for last week’s torrid stock market rally was rekindled “optimism” that the escalating trade war between the US and China may be on the verge of another ceasefire following phone conversations, fake as they may have been, between the US and Chinese side. This translated into speculation that a new round of tariffs increases slated for this weekend may not take place or be delayed.

However, that did not happen, and with no trade deal in sight, at 12:00am on Sunday, the Trump administration slapped tariffs on $112 billion in Chinese imports, the latest escalation in a trade war that’s ground the global economy to a halt, sent Germany into a recession, and given the market an alibi to keep rising because, wait for it, “a trade deal is imminent.”

Only, it isn’t, and 1 minute later, at 12:01am EDT, China retaliated with higher tariffs being rolled out in stages on a total of about $75 billion of U.S. goods. The target list strikes at the heart of Trump’s political support – factories and farms across the Midwest and South at a time when the U.S. economy is showing signs of slowing down.

The Chinese knew that these tariffs were about to go into effect, and so they were ready and waiting to retaliate just one minute later.

Of course many U.S. companies will be hit extremely hard by these tariffs that the Trump administration just implemented.  The following comes from CNBC

That means that when an electronics company imports a TV, or a smart speaker, or a drone from China starting September 1, it will have to pay a 15% tax to the U.S. government.

Eventually, this will end up raising prices on gadgets and other products for people in the United States, said Bronwyn Flores, a spokeswoman for the Consumer Tech Association (CTA), a trade group that represents 2,000 different companies in the electronics industry, including brands like Apple and LG and retailers like Walmart and Best Buy.

Basically, people are not going to be able to buy as much stuff during the holiday shopping season, and overall economic activity will be slower than it otherwise would have been.

Meanwhile, President Trump continues to sound hopeful that trade talks with China will bear fruit

President Donald Trump said trade talks with Beijing are still planned for September after a new round of tariffs went into effect on Sunday.

“We are talking to China, the meetings in September, that hasn’t changed,” Trump told reporters Sunday on the White House South Lawn after returning from Camp David.

These sorts of comments helped stabilize the financial markets last week, but if there was any hope that a trade agreement was imminent we would not have seen both sides impose new tariffs on Sunday.

And now we are moving into the month that is traditionally the worst for Wall Street.  The following comes from Fox Business

Investors may breathe a sigh of relief that August, typically a volatile month for stocks, is over, but history shows that September could be even worse for Wall Street.

Since 1950, September has been the worst month for the S&P 500 Index, which has dropped, on average, 0.5% during the month, a phenomenon referred to as the September effect. According to Dow Jones market data, the average decline of the Dow Jones Industrial Average in September is 1%, while the Nasdaq Composite generally sees an average fall of 0.5%.

We shall see what this September brings.  Certainly things are really shaky on Wall Street right now, and any piece of really bad news is likely to set off another wave of panic.

Without a doubt, the market is more primed for a crash than it has been at any point since 2008, and it definitely will not take much to make this a “September to remember”…

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.

An Indicator With A 100% Perfect Track Record Of Predicting Recessions Says That Another One Is Coming

You can believe that we will somehow beat the odds this time if you want, but history is completely against you.  One of the biggest reasons why there is so much anxiety on Wall Street right now is because of how the yield curve is behaving.  We have seen yield curve inversions before each of the last seven U.S. recessions, and now it has happened again.  Perhaps this helps to explain why insiders are dumping stocks right now as if there will be no tomorrow.  If you were looking for a giant waving red flag to tell you that it is time to run for the exits, it doesn’t get much better than this.  This week, we watched the yield curve do something that it hasn’t done in 12 years

The spread between the 10-year Treasury yield and the 2-year rate fell to negative 5 basis points, its lowest level since 2007. This is called a yield curve inversion. Experts fear it because in the past it has preceded recessionary periods. The 3-month Treasury bill rate also traded higher than the 30-year bond yield.

“The primary thing is yields are going down and going down with some acceleration,” said Art Cashin, the director of floor operations at UBS.

In addition, the spread between 3 month Treasury bonds and 10 year Treasury bonds just hit negative 50 basis points.  We haven’t seen that happen since March 2007.

And as David Rosenberg has noted, when the spread between 3 month Treasury bonds and 10 year Treasury bonds goes negative for at least three months, we have a recession 100% of the time…

We now have had three months of a 3-mo/10-yr yield curve inversion. The track record this has had in predicting recessions: 100%.

Yes, it is theoretically possible that this indicator could be proven wrong this time.

But do you really want to bet against an indicator with a track record of 100% accuracy?

Plus, we have a trade war with China to deal with this time around.  Hopeful comments from President Trump briefly bolstered the markets on Monday, but over in China prominent voices continue to pour cold water on the notion that a deal will happen any time soon.  Here is an example from Tuesday

Sentiment was also dampened after Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Global Times in China, tweeted that China is “putting so much emphasis on trade talks,” adding that “it’s more and more difficult for the US to press China to make concessions” as China’s economy becomes increasingly driven by its domestic growth. China announced measures aimed at boosting consumption, including potentially removing car-buying restrictions.

Unless one side chooses to fold like a 20 dollar suit, there isn’t going to be a resolution to this trade war any time in the near future, and that is going to mean a tremendous amount of pain for the U.S., China and the entire global economy.

Another indication that things are about to get bad is the fact that investors are starting to flock to precious metals.

Gold and silver are considered to be “safe haven assets” during a financial crisis, and right now gold and silver are both surging

Gold prices are moderately higher in early U.S. trading, while the silver market is again sharply higher and hit another two-year high overnight. Bullish technical postures in both metals continue to invite the chart-based buyers to climb on board the long side. A weaker U.S. dollar index is also supportive to the precious metals markets today. December gold futures were last up $4.60 an ounce at 1,541.90. December Comex silver prices were last up $0.295 at $18.075 an ounce.

But for most hard working Americans, it is going to be far more important to build up an emergency fund as we head deeper into this new crisis, and this is something that I have written about repeatedly.  The reason why so many Americans lost their homes during the last recession was because they were living right on the edge financially.  It is imperative that you have a financial cushion so that you can pay your basic expenses when things start getting really hard.

Unfortunately, it is often young people that get the hardest during an economic downturn, and this is something that Annie Lowrey discussed in her most recent article

Recessions are never good for anyone. A sputtering economy means miserable financial, emotional, and physical-health consequences for everyone from infants to retirees. But the next one—if it happens, when it starts happening — stands to hit this much-maligned generation particularly hard. For adults between the ages of 22 and 38, after all, the last recession never really ended.

Millennials got bodied in the downturn, have struggled in the recovery, and are now left more vulnerable than other, older age cohorts. As they pitch toward middle age, they are failing to make it to the middle class, and are likely to be the first generation in modern economic history to end up worse off than their parents. The next downturn might make sure of it, stalling their careers and sucking away their wages right as the millennials enter their prime earning years.

I understand that a lot of people may not want to hear this, but every economic indicator is telling us that a U.S. recession is coming, and many experts believe that it will be far worse than the last one.

If you prepare in advance for what is coming, that is going to help to take fear out of the equation.  Because when things get really crazy, it is those that don’t understand what is happening that are going to give in to fear, depression and despair.

We have not seen an economic environment like this in a decade, and there is no reason to believe that a miracle is going to come along and rescue us from the storm that is now looming above us.

The months ahead promise to be quite “interesting”, and not in a good way.

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.

11 Reasons Why So Many Experts Believe That A U.S. Economic Crisis Is Imminent

The numbers are telling us that we have never been closer to the next recession than we are right now.  The storm clouds that were gathering on the horizon are now directly above us, and suddenly the mainstream media is filled with stories about when the next recession will begin and the effect that this may have on President Trump’s chances of winning in 2020.  In fact, there has been so much chatter about this that even President Trump is talking about it.  All over television, experts are breathlessly speculating about when the coming recession will begin, and they are dispensing lots of advice about how people should be preparing for it.

So what evidence has led so many of these talking heads to come to such a conclusion?

Well, the following are 11 reasons why so many experts now believe that a U.S. economic crisis is imminent…

#1 Last week, the “spread between the U.S. 2-year and 10-year yields” turned negative for the very first time in 12 years.  An inversion of the yield curve has occurred prior to every single U.S. recession since the 1950s, and this is one of the most important economic signals that we have seen yet.

#2 U.S. consumer sentiment just fell to the lowest level that we have seen in all of 2019.

#3 74 percent of the economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics believe that a recession will begin in the United States by the end of 2021.

#4 U.S. industrial production just slipped back into contraction territory.

#5 The IHS Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index just fell to the lowest level that we have seen since September 2009.

#6 Just like we witnessed in 2008, fear and volatility have returned to Wall Street in a major way.  In fact, so far this month we have already seen the 4th and 7th largest single day point declines in U.S. stock market history.

#7 The total number of bankruptcy filings in the United States has been steadily shooting up, and it rose another 5 percent during the month of July.

#8 Major U.S. retailers continue to shut down more stores, and we have continued to stay on a pace that would break the all-time record for store closings in a single year.

#9 As I discussed yesterday, on a year over year basis U.S. freight shipment volume has now fallen for 8 months in a row.

#10 According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the probability that a recession will happen within the next 12 months is now the highest that it has been since the last financial crisis.

#11 President Trump is suggesting that the Federal Reserve should cut interest rates by 100 basis points and that the Fed should restart quantitative easing as soon as possible.  Both of those moves would be considered to be “emergency measures” that should only happen if a major economic downturn was imminent.

In that list, I didn’t even mention our rapidly escalating trade war with China.  The two largest economies on the entire planet are engaged in an extremely bitter trade dispute, and that alone has the potential to plunge the entire global economy into a very deep downturn.

On the surface, the Trump administration is trying to assure us that everything is going to be just fine, but behind the scenes they appear to be preparing for the worst.  For example, we have just learned that the Trump administration is actually considering pushing for an emergency payroll tax cut

Several senior White House officials have begun discussing whether to push for a temporary payroll tax cut as a way to arrest an economic slowdown, three people familiar with the discussions said, revealing the growing concerns by President Donald Trump’s top economic aides.

The talks are still in their early stages, and the officials have not decided whether to formally push Congress to approve the cut, these people said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to disclose internal discussions. But the White House in recent days has begun searching for proposals that could halt a slowing economy.

If the U.S. economy really was “booming”, an emergency payroll tax cut wouldn’t make any sense at all.

But if we are on the verge of a very serious economic crisis, then such a move would make perfect sense.

Of course the U.S. is definitely not the only major economy that is facing serious troubles.  In fact, signs of economic trouble have been emerging all over the globe lately

The economies in Germany, Brazil, Italy, Mexico and a number of other countries are also showing vulnerabilities, experts say. The uncertainty is exacerbated by fears of the potential financial fallout that could happen if the United Kingdom leaves the European Union in October without first reaching a deal on the terms of its departure.

In particular, developments in Germany are quite troubling.  Their economy actually contracted last quarter, and the German government is “preparing to embrace new fiscal stimulus measures should its economy stumble into a deep recession”

Nearly two weeks after Der Spiegel sent its first trial balloon about the prospects that the German government might crank up its fiscal stimulus if Europe’s largest economy slides into recession (which, as we explained last week, is already on the cusp of doing), the trial balloons have crossed the Atlantic.

Bloomberg reported on Monday that the German government is preparing to embrace new fiscal stimulus measures should its economy stumble into a deep recession, “citing two people with direct knowledge of the matter.”

We haven’t seen talk like this in a very, very long time.  For many people, the extreme pain caused by the economic crisis of 2008 and 2009 has almost faded from memory, but the truth is that many experts believe that what is ahead is going to be even worse.

If everything was going to be just fine, President Trump would not be trying to get the Federal Reserve to make extremely deep interest rate cuts.  In life, what people do is far more important than what they say, and the moves that global leaders are making right now are telling us that huge trouble is coming.

So enjoy the relative stability that we are currently experiencing while you still can, because it looks like it won’t be lasting for too much longer.

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.

In The U.S., A Transportation Recession Has Already Officially Arrived

A transportation recession often precedes a recession for the entire economy, and while the debate about when the U.S. economy as a whole will plunge into a recession is quite vigorous right now, the truth is that the debate is over regarding when a transportation recession will begin.  Throughout 2017 and most of 2018, U.S. freight shipment volume was booming, and that was a very strong sign that overall economic activity was rising.  But when economic activity begins to decline, freight shipment volume often goes negative, and that is precisely what is happening right now.  In fact, U.S. freight shipment volume has now declined on a year over year basis for eight months in a row

Freight shipments within the US by all modes of transportation – truck, rail, air, and barge – fell 5.9% in July 2019, compared to July 2018, the eighth month in a row of year-over-year declines, according to the Cass Freight Index for Shipments, which tracks shipments of consumer and industrial goods but not of bulk commodities such as grains. This decline along with the 6.0% drop in May were the steepest year-over-year declines in freight shipments since the Financial Crisis

When something happens for eight months in a row, that is definitely a trend, and we haven’t seen declines of this magnitude since the last recession.

And other numbers confirm what the Cass Freight Index is telling us.  For example, ACT Research says that the trucking industry is officially in a recession after “two consecutive quarters of negative growth”

The trucking industry is officially in a recession, according to data tracked by ACT Research.

After months of suggesting a pullback was possible, ACT President Kenny Vieth told FreightWaves on Thursday, July 11 that all metrics his firm tracks meet the technical definition of a recession – two consecutive quarters of negative growth.

Every freight metric we look at has been negative for at least six months,” he said.

Of course it is possible that the transportation industry could pull out of this recession without the U.S. economy as a whole dipping into one, but I wouldn’t count on it this time.

As I have been documenting for months, just about every economic indicator is telling us that big trouble is ahead.

And more bad news just keeps rolling in on a daily basis.  In fact, we just learned that yet another major retailer is shutting down all of their stores

Plus-size women’s clothing retailer Avenue Stores, LLC is shutting down all locations.

On Wednesday, the company announced plans to close all 222 stores across 33 states. Everything from clothing to store fixtures will be sold from locations across America, according to a press release.

Usually major retailers don’t do this sort of thing so late in the year.  If at all possible, there is usually an all-out effort to hang on through the highly lucrative Christmas season, and so things must have been really bad for Avenue Stores to pull the plug here in mid-August.

And all of this is happening even though interest rates are still much lower than the long-term average and the federal government is borrowing and spending money like there is no tomorrow.  According to Wolf Richter, our national debt is up by more than a trillion dollars over the last 12 months…

The US Gross National Debt has jumped by $363 billion in the two weeks since President Trump signed the law that suspended the debt ceiling. This surge pushed the total debt to $22.39 trillion. That’s up by $1.01 trillion from 12 months ago. And these are the good times.

This is emergency level spending, and it has been happening while the U.S. economy has still been relatively stable.

When the federal government borrows money that it does not have and spends it into the economy, that tends to boost overall economic activity and raise GDP numbers.  This was Barack Obama’s favorite economic trick, and Donald Trump has followed right in his footsteps.  But of course in the process we are literally destroying the bright future that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have.  What we are doing to future generations of Americans is beyond criminal, and all of us should be deeply disgusted by what is happening.

But of course the politicians in D.C. are deathly afraid to do anything about our exploding debt, because if we cut spending to sustainable levels that would immediately plunge the U.S. economy into a horrific recession.  And when bad economic times come, voters tend to vote out the people that are already holding office.

For President Trump, keeping the U.S. economy out of a recession is absolutely critical to his chances of winning in 2020, and he knows it.

His opponents know it too, and that is why many of them are openly rooting for a recession.  For instance, just check out what Bill Maher said on his show on Friday

HBO’s Real Time host Bill Maher made another desperate plea for a recession on Friday, saying that the economic downturn “would be very worth getting rid of Donald Trump.”

“So I’ve been saying for about two years that I hope we have a recession,” Bill Maher said. “And people get mad at me, as Sean Hannity thinks I’m actually causing a recession. I’m just saying we can survive a recession. We’ve had 47 of them. We’ve had one every time there’s a Republican president.”

“So, yes, a recession would be very worth getting rid of Donald Trump and these kind of policies,” Maher said after citing a dubious United Nations report that claims a million species are at risk of extinction.

On the other side, President Trump and his team are going to try to make things seem as rosy as possible between now and election day.

So they will keep telling us that everything is just wonderful, and they will keep insisting that a recession is not coming

Top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Sunday he does not forecast a recession “at all,” despite warning signs exhibited by the bond market last week.

“First of all, I don’t see a recession at all,” Kudlow told “Fox News Sunday.” “Second of all, the Trump pro-growth program, which I believe has been succeeding – lower tax rates, big rollback of regulations, energy opening, trade reform – we’re gonna stay with that. We believe that’s the heart of the free enterprise. We want an incentive-oriented supply-side economy, providing opportunities for everybody across the board.”

In the end, it really isn’t going to matter who is in the White House.  What is coming to America is going to be extremely painful, and we are about to reap the consequences for decades of incredibly foolish decisions.

How we view reality should never be distorted based on what political party we identify with.  When we willingly choose not to see things objectively, we become very susceptible to deception.

The truth is always going to be the truth, and in our case the truth is not pretty.

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.

Middle Class Death Spiral: Consumers Have Never Been In More Debt, And Bankruptcies Are Surging

This wasn’t supposed to happen.  During the relative economic stability of the past few years, the middle class was supposed to experience a resurgence, but instead it has just continued to be hollowed out.  The cost of living has risen much faster than wages have, and as a result hard working families all over America are being stretched financially like never before.  Even though most of us are working, 59 percent of all Americans are currently living paycheck to paycheck, and almost 50 million Americans are living in poverty.  In a desperate attempt to continue their middle class lifestyles, many Americans have been piling up mountains of debt, and it has gotten to the point where we have a major crisis on our hands.

According to the New York Post, the total amount of debt that U.S. households have accumulated is about to cross the 14 trillion dollar mark for the first time ever…

Meanwhile, record American household debt, near $14 trillion including mortgages and student loans, is some $1 trillion higher than during the Great Recession of 2008. Credit card debt of $1 trillion also exceeds the 2008 peak.

Americans are spending heavily, again — and often recklessly, say analysts.

This is the exact opposite of what U.S. consumers should be doing.  We can see signs of a fresh economic slowdown all around us, and consumers should be feverishly trying to get out of debt as fast as they can.

But instead, debt levels just keep setting record after record.  In fact, total student loan debt just hit a brand new record high of 1.605 trillion dollars, and auto loan debt just hit a brand new record high of 1.174 trillion dollars.

It would be one thing if we could handle all of this debt, but that isn’t the case.  Bankruptcies have been steadily rising, and according to the latest figures the number of bankruptcy filings shot up another 5 percent in the month of July

Bankruptcy petitions for consumers and businesses are on the rise. There was a 5% increase in total bankruptcy filings in July 2019 from the previous month, the American Bankruptcy Institute said this week. There were 64,283 bankruptcy filings, up from 62,241 for the same period last year.

Unfortunately, this is probably just the beginning.

Right now, most of the country is living on the edge financially, and so a major economic slowdown would inevitably cause another enormous tsunami of consumer bankruptcies like we saw in 2008.

Even now, things are already so bad that many hard working “middle class” workers in high-cost cities such as New York are so financially stretched that they have to rely on free food from local food banks

“In high-cost cities like New York, personal incomes are not often enough to pay the household bills,” Zac Hall, vice president of anti-poverty programs at the Food Bank For New York City, told The Post. “We are seeing people using consumer debt as a way to make ends meet when they come here,” he added, citing the pressures his nonprofit faces to keep up the distribution of food and meals at no cost to some 1.5 million New Yorkers.

If 1.5 million people in New York are being fed by food banks now while things are still relatively stable, how bad will things be when the economy really starts to tank?

For decades, the “almighty U.S. consumer” was one of the fundamental pillars of our economy, but now that is no longer true.

U.S. consumers simply do not have a lot of discretionary income to spend these days, and this is killing major retailers all over the nation.  We are on pace to absolutely shatter the all-time record for store closings in a single year, and within the past 7 days more big retailers have announced that they will be permanently shutting down stores.

For example, Walgreens just announced that they will be closing “approximately 200 U.S. stores”

Walgreens plans to close approximately 200 U.S. stores, the company announced Tuesday in an SEC filing.

According to the document posted Tuesday on the Securities and Exchange Commission website, the move to close stores follows “a review of the real estate footprint in the United States.”

That wouldn’t be happening if the U.S. economy really was “booming”.

Here is another example that comes to us from Wolf Street

A’Gaci, a young women’s fashion retailer based in Texas, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Thursday, for the second time, after having filed for the first time in January 2018. This time, it will liquidate. All its remaining 54 stores in seven states and Puerto Rico will be closed – the “bulk” of them by the end of this month.

In addition, we just learned that Party City is going to be closing more stores than expected in 2019

Party City is increasing the number of stores expected to shutter this year.

The New Jersey-based party supplies company said it was looking to close 55 stores throughout the year, up 10 from the May estimate of 45 stores.

I honestly don’t know what malls and shopping centers all over the U.S. are going to do.  I once warned of a future in which America’s landscape would be littered with abandoned stores, and that future has now arrived.

For the moment, those at the very top of the economic pyramid are still doing okay, but the middle class is eroding a little bit more with each passing day.  For much more on this, I would encourage you to check out this Youtube video by Jeremiah Babe.

I have been writing about the evisceration of the U.S. middle class for a decade, and the condition of the middle class right now is as bad as I have ever seen it.

And as we plunge into this new economic downturn, things are only going to get worse.  The middle class is absolutely drowning in debt, and even a mild recession would be enough to financially wipe out millions of American families.

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.

“Worst Year Ever”: The Chinese Ban On U.S. Agricultural Products Will Be A Death Blow For Countless U.S. Farms

U.S. farmers have never experienced a year quite like this.  During the first half of 2019, endless rain and unprecedented flooding were the major problems.  As a result of the incredibly wet conditions, millions of acres of prime farmland didn’t get planted at all, and tens of millions of other acres are going to yield a lot less than usual.  Even without anything else happening, we were going to see farm bankruptcies soar to absolutely crazy levels, but now the Chinese government is essentially cutting off U.S. agricultural imports.  This will greatly depress the prices that U.S. farmers get for their crops, and so many farmers that were still hoping to squeeze out a profit for this year will be hit with a loss instead.  Ultimately, the truth is that 2019 is going to be a death blow for countless U.S. farmers that were barely hanging on financially after a string of really tough years.  Many will leave the industry entirely and never go back to farming again, and our nation will be worse off because of it.

When the Chinese announced that they were going to completely stop buying U.S. agricultural products, it sent shockwaves across the middle portion of the country.  According to the executive vice president of the American Farm Bureau, our farmers and ranchers will now be facing “just a really tough, tough time”

“This is a body blow to farmers and ranchers all across the country,” Dale Moore, executive vice president of the American Farm Bureau, told FOX Business. “That’s one of the things that we are feeling the effects of, and this is on top of a year when mother nature has been a terrible business partner in many parts of the country. It’s just a really tough, tough time for farmers and ranchers in this country.”

Shares of industrial, farming, oil and transportation companies have plummeted, a direct result of the increased tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

Of course President Trump is trying to be upbeat and he is promising that the Chinese will not be able to hurt our farmers, but the truth is that they already have.

Chinese imports of U.S. agricultural products fell by more than half from 2017 to 2018, and now they are going to zero.  The following comes from Fox Business

Despite Trump’s tweet, American farmers now stand to lose all of what was a $9.1 billion market in 2018, which was down sharply from the $19.5 billion U.S. farmers exported to China in 2017.

Unfortunately for U.S. farmers, they are caught right in the middle of a tug of war between the Chinese government and President Trump, and China specifically went after U.S. farmers in order to hurt Trump politically

China’s new agricultural ban has an additional benefit to the Chinese of maximizing negative political impact to Trump.

Important presidential election swing states in the Midwest grain belt such as Iowa and Wisconsin were vital to his 2016 election victory. Cutting this particular area of bilateral trade at a time when American farmers are recovering from the after-effects of this year’s floods is a potent way for Beijing to punch back against President Trump’s new tariffs.

If the presidential election was held this November, it would be really difficult for Trump to win in Iowa in Wisconsin.  Of course much can change between now and November 2020, but right now Trump is definitely losing support in the middle of the country.

Speaking of Wisconsin, it just happens to be one of the states that currently has the highest number of farm bankruptcy filings

Since last June, there have been a staggering 535 Chapter 12 bankruptcy filings, a 13 percent increase. Kansas, Minnesota and Wisconsin had the highest number of filings.

As a result, Congress passed the Family Farmer Relief Act to update the eligibility requirements for Chapter 12 bankruptcy, raising the debt limit from $4.1 million to $10 million — giving more farmers the chance to declare bankruptcy, thereby offering their producers and creditors a better chance to recognize and avoid mass liquidation.

President Trump will try to keep as many farms going as possible with his massive aid packages, but the truth is that even with those aid packages it is inevitable that farm bankruptcies will continue to surge.

In fact, they are already at the highest level that we have seen since the last recession.

What U.S. farmers really need is an end to the trade war and for the Chinese to start buying from them again.

Sadly, that is just not going to happen.  At this point, even Goldman Sachs is admitting that there will not be a trade deal with China before the 2020 presidential election…

Analysts at Goldman Sachs no longer think the U.S. and China will manage to negotiate a trade deal ahead of the 2020 presidential election — which is more than 15 months away.

“We had expected a final round of tariffs targeting remaining Chinese imports at a 10 percent rate,” the analysts, led by chief U.S. economist Jan Hatzius, wrote in a note to clients. “But news since President Trump’s tariff announcement last Thursday indicates that U.S. and Chinese policymakers are taking a harder line, and we no longer expect a trade deal before the 2020 election.”

This means that things will continue to go from bad to worse for U.S. farmers, and this will take a major toll on the U.S. economy as a whole.

We have entered the time of “the perfect storm”, and things are definitely not going to get any easier in the months ahead.

I wish that I had better news for you, but I don’t.  Global events are starting to greatly accelerate, and so many of the things that we have been warned about are starting to happen right in front of our eyes.

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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