Stagflation 2011: Why It Is Here And Why It Is Going To Be Very Painful

Are you ready for an economy that has high inflation and high unemployment at the same time? Well, welcome to “Stagflation 2011”.  Stagflation exists when inflation and unemployment are both at high levels at the same time.  Of course we all know about the high unemployment situation already.  Gallup’s daily tracking poll says that the U.S. unemployment rate has been hovering around 10 percent all year so far.  But now thanks to rapidly rising food prices and the exploding price of oil, rampant inflation is being added to the equation.  Normally inflation is a sign of increased economic activity, but when the basic commodities that we depend on to run our economy (such as oil) go up in price it actually causes a slowdown in economy activity.  When the price of oil goes up high enough, it fundamentally changes the behavior of individuals and businesses.  Suddenly certain types of economic activities that were feasible when oil was very cheap are not profitable any longer.  When the price of oil rises to a new level and it stays there, essentially what is happening is that more “blood” is being drained out of our economy.  Our economy will continue to function when there are higher oil prices, it will just be a lot more sluggish.

In some way, shape or form the price of oil factors into the production of most of our goods and services and it also factors into the transportation of most of our goods and services.  A significant rise in the price of oil changes the economic equation for almost every business in the United States.

Today, the price of WTI crude soared past 100 dollars a barrel before closing at $98.10.  The price of Brent crude increased 5.3 percent to $111.25.  The protests in Libya are certainly causing a lot of the price activity that we have seen over the past few days, but the truth is that oil has been going up for a number of months.  Right now we are only seeing an acceleration of the long-term trend.

Things are likely to get far worse if the “day of rage” planned for Saudi Arabia next month turns into a full-blown revolution.  Up to this point, the revolutions that have been sweeping the Middle East have been organized largely on Facebook, and now there are calls all over Facebook for the “Saudi revolution” to start on March 20th.

That date is less than 4 weeks away.  If Saudi Arabia plunges into chaos, the price of oil is going to go through the roof.

A rapidly rising price for oil is really bad news for the U.S. economy, because it is going to mean lots of inflation.  Unfortunately, this also comes at a time when the economy is also feeling the inflationary effects of more quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve.

So if rising oil prices are going to cause more inflation and if rising oil prices are also going to cause our economy to become even more sluggish, what does all of that add up to?

It adds up to stagflation.

Wikipedia defines stagflation in the following manner….

In economics, stagflation is the situation when both the inflation rate and the unemployment rate are persistently high.

This is going to rapidly become the “new normal” for America.  High oil prices are going to cause the cost of just about everything to go up, and high oil prices are also going to cause the economy to slow down thus making the unemployment numbers even worse.

It is going to be just like the 1970s all over again.

Only worse.

Economists differ as to how much rising oil prices affect U.S. GDP, but almost all of them agree that rising oil prices do cause a decline in U.S. GDP at least to some extent.

If American families have to spend $10 or $20 more each time they visit a gas station, that means that they are going to have less discretionary income.  They won’t be able to spend as much at the stores.

Not only that, but since the price of oil affects the price of almost everything else, Americans will find that their dollars have reduced purchasing power.

An oil crisis would force American families to stretch their already overburdened budgets even farther.

So where is the price of gasoline going from here?  Well, the average price of gasoline in the United States is rapidly sneaking up on the $3.20 a gallon mark.  Almost everyone believes that it is going to be going significantly higher.

Tom Kloza, the chief analyst for the Oil Price Information Service, was recently quoted in USA Today as saying that he believes that the average price for gasoline in the United States will reach somewhere between $3.50 and $3.75 a gallon by April.

As I wrote about yesterday, there are other analysts that believe that we are going to see $4.00 gasoline in the United States by the end of the year, and there are some that believe that we could see $5.00 gasoline if revolution sweeps Saudi Arabia.

If gasoline becomes that expensive and it stays there for a while, it is going to seriously start affecting the behavior of American businesses and American consumers.

Just remember what happened back in 2008.  Andrew Busch of BMO Capital Markets recently told CNBC the following….

“Remember when oil was last at $140 (a barrel), Americans reacted and cut the amount of miles they drove.”

Can you imagine what it would do to the economy if millions of Americans start sitting in their homes instead of doing their normal amounts of driving and flying?

In addition, one of the biggest problems with a higher price for oil is that it would cause our trade deficit to explode.  According to the U.S. government, more than half of the oil that we use is imported.  So every month we send the rest of the world billions and billions of our dollars and they send us massive amounts of oil.  We rapidly consume all of the oil they send us and we continually need more.  So we keep sending larger and larger amounts of money overseas and they keep sending us larger amounts of oil.  In the process, our national wealth is being drained at an astounding rate.  It is one of the greatest transfers of wealth the world has ever seen.

When the price of oil rises substantially, the transfer of wealth accelerates.  This is a very bad thing for the U.S. economy.  For example, when oil prices were above $100 a barrel back in 2008 our trade deficit for the year was almost 700 billion dollars.

It would be great if the Middle East would settle down and oil prices would start declining because that would really help out the U.S. economy.  Unfortunately, it does not look like that is going to happen.  Instead, it appears that we are steamrolling directly towards stagflation.  Anyone that lived through the stagflation of the 1970s knows that it is not a lot of fun.

The cold, hard reality of the matter is that without cheap oil our lifestyles are going to change.  Our economy was not set up to run on expensive oil.  If oil moves well above $100 a barrel and it stays there it is going to bring about significant societal changes.

For the rest of 2011, the price of oil will be the number one economic indicator to watch.  If it gets too high it is going to be an absolute disaster for the U.S. economy.

6 Charts Which Prove That Central Banks All Over The Globe Are Recklessly Printing Money

If the U.S. dollar is being devalued so rapidly, then why does it sometimes increase in value against other global currencies?  Well, it is because everybody is recklessly printing money now.  The 6 charts which you are about to see below prove this.  The truth is that it is not just the U.S. Federal Reserve which has been printing money like there is no tomorrow.  Out of control money printing has also been happening in the UK, in the EU, in Japan, in China and in India.  There are times when one particular global currency will fall faster than the others, but the reality is that they are all being rapidly devalued.  Unfortunately, this is a recipe for a global economic nightmare.

Right now you can almost smell the panic as it rises in global financial markets.  Investors all over the world are racing to get out of paper and to get into hard assets.  Just about anything that is “real” and “tangible” is hot right now.  Gold hit a record high last year and it is on the rise again.  In fact, it just hit a new five-week high.  Demand for silver is becoming absolutely ridiculous right now.  Oil is marching up towards $100 a barrel again.  Agricultural commodities have exploded in price over the past year.  Many investors are even gobbling up art and other collectibles.

Paper money is no longer considered to be safe.  All over the globe investors are watching all of the reckless money printing that has been going on and they are becoming alarmed.  An increasing number of investors and financial institutions are putting their wealth into hard assets that are real and tangible in an effort to preserve their wealth.

The other day, a reader of this column named James sent me some charts that he had put together.  I thought they were so good that I asked him if I could include them in an article.  These charts show how central banks all over the globe have been recklessly printing money.  Over the last 30 years virtually the entire world has developed a great love affair with fiat currency….

So is everyone printing money?

The U.S. is printing lots of money…..

Source, The St. Louis Fed

The Bank of England is printing lots of money…..

Source: The BoE

The EU is printing lots of money….

Source: The ECB

Japan is printing lots of money…..

Source: The BoJ

China is printing lots of money…..

Source: The People’s Bank of China

India is printing lots of money…..

Source: Reserve Bank of India

Of course anyone with half a brain can see where all of this is ultimately headed.  In the end, inflation is going to spiral out of control and we are going to witness financial implosion on a global scale.

So why don’t these nations just adopt sound money?

Well, it turns out that if you are a member of the IMF, you are specifically prohibited from having gold-backed currency.

Yes, you read that correctly.

In fact, U.S. Representative Ron Paul once sent an open letter to the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve asking about this and he received no response.  The following is the content of that letter….

Dear Sirs:

I am writing regarding Article 4, Section 2b of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s Articles of Agreement. As you may be aware, this language prohibits countries who are members of the IMF from linking their currency to gold. Thus, the IMF is forbidding countries suffering from an erratic monetary policy from adopting the most effective means of stabilizing their currency. This policy could delay a country’s recovery from an economic crisis and retard economic growth, thus furthering economic and political instability.

I would greatly appreciate an explanation from both the Treasury and the Federal Reserve of the reasons the United States has continued to acquiesce in this misguided policy. Please contact Mr. Norman Singleton, my legislative director, if you require any further information regarding this request. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.

Ron Paul
U.S. House of Representatives

Sadly, the truth is that the global elite don’t want nations to start adopting gold-backed currencies.  They want countries to use fiat currencies that they can openly manipulate for their own benefit.

At this point, every nation on earth (to the best of my knowledge) uses a fiat currency.  All of the major global currencies are being continually devalued.  In fact, there are times when counties will purposely devalue their currencies even more rapidly in order to gain a competitive advantage in world trade.

This is why so many investors now have such an aversion to paper currency.  It starts losing value the moment you take possession of it.

In some areas of the world, “gold fever” is absolutely exploding.  For example, China imported five times as much gold in 2010 as it did in 2009.  On the Shanghai Gold Exchange, trading volume soared 43 percent during the first 10 months of 2010.

Gold, silver and other precious metals are now seen as a great hedge against inflation worldwide.  Investors all over the globe are demonstrating a strong preference for “real money” over “paper money”.

So what does all of this mean?

It means that some tremendous imbalances are being built up in the global financial system.  The central banks of the world must continue to inflate these bubbles with constantly increasing amounts of paper money and debt in order to keep the game going.  If at some point the reckless money printing comes to a screeching halt it is going to unleash hell on global financial markets.

But if all of this reckless money printing continues we are eventually going to see horrific inflation all over the planet.  In fact, we are already seeing significant inflation happening in many areas of the globe.  Almost every single day a new headline about inflation in China seems to pop up in the financial news.  Rising food prices are sparking unrest in the Middle East and elsewhere.  Even U.S. consumers are starting to see some uncomfortable price increases at the gas pump and in the supermarket.

So it is not just Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that is off his rocker.  The whole world is going crazy with money printing.

Hopefully this whole thing is not going to end as badly as many of us fear that it will.  But right now the central banks of the world are pumping unprecedented amounts of cash into the global financial system, and those in the global financial system are funneling a very large percentage of that cash into hard assets.  Unless something changes, that is going to mean that prices for basic necessities such as food and gas are going to continue to rise.

This is quite a fine mess that we are in.

Does anyone see a way out?

What Is Wrong With The U.S. Economy? Here Are 10 Economic Charts That Will Blow Your Mind

The 10 economic charts that you are about to see are completely and totally shocking.  If you know anyone that still does not believe that the United States is in the midst of a long-term economic decline, just show them these charts.  Sometimes you can quote economic statistics to people until you are blue in the face and it won’t do any good, but when those same people see charts and pictures suddenly it all sinks in.  What is great about charts is that you can very easily demonstrate what has been happening to the economy over an extended period of time.  As you examine the economic charts below, pay special attention to what has been happening to the U.S. economy over the last 30 or 40 years.  The truth is that what is wrong with the U.S. economy is not a great mystery.  All of the economic problems that we are experiencing now have taken decades to develop.  Hopefully the charts in this article will help people realize just how nightmarish our economic problems have become, because until people start realizing how incredibly bad things have gotten they will never be willing to accept the dramatic solutions that are necessary to fix our financial system.

The sad fact of the matter is that we have been living in the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world over the last 40 years.  All of this debt has purchased a wonderful standard of living for the vast majority of us, but all of this debt has also destroyed the economic future of our children and our grandchildren.  Someday future generations will look back on what we have done in absolute horror.

The 10 economic charts posted below are meant to shock you.  Most Americans today need to be shocked before they will be motivated to take action.  Please share these charts with as many people as you can.  Hopefully we can wake enough people up that something will be done about all of these problems while there is still time.

1 – Government spending is expanding at an exponential rate.  As you can see from the chart below, federal spending is almost 18 times higher than it was back in 1970.  Now Barack Obama has proposed a budget that would increase U.S. government spending to 5.6 trillion dollars in 2021.  Just imagine what the following chart would look like if that happens….

2 – U.S. government debt is absolutely exploding.  The U.S. national debt is currently $14,081,561,324,681.83.  It is more than 14 times larger than it was back in 1980.  Unfortunately, the national debt continues to grow at breathtaking speed.  In fact, the Obama administration is projecting that the federal budget deficit for this year will be an all-time record 1.6 trillion dollars.  Can we afford to continue to accumulate debt at this rate?….

3 – Unless something changes right now, the outlook for U.S. government finances in future years is downright apocalyptic.  The chart posted below is from an official U.S. government report to Congress.  As you can see, it is projected that interest on our exploding national debt is absolutely going to spiral out of control if we continue on the path that we are currently on….

4 – Household debt has soared to almost unbelievable levels over the last 30 years.  The sad truth is that it is not just the U.S. government that has a massive debt problem.  U.S. households have also been accumulating debt at a staggering rate.  Total U.S. household debt did not pass the 2 trillion dollar mark until the mid-1980s, but now total U.S. household debt is well over 13 trillion dollars….

5 – The total of all debt (government, business and consumer) in the United States is now well over 50 trillion dollars.  For the past couple of years this figure has been hovering around a level that is equivalent to approximately 360 percent of GDP.  This is a debt bubble that is absolutely unprecedented in U.S. history….

6 – As tens of thousands of U.S. factories get shut down and as millions of our jobs get shipped overseas, the number of unemployed Americans continues to go up and up and up.  As you can see from the chart below, there has been a long-term trend of increasing unemployment in the United States.  In fact, there are about 3 and a half times as many unemployed workers in the United States today as there were when 1970 began.  These jobs losses are going to continue as long as we allow our corporations to pay slave labor wages to workers on the other side of the globe.  All of the major trends in global trade are very bad for the U.S. middle class.  For example, the U.S. trade deficit with China for 2010 was 27 times larger than it was back in 1990.  How long will our politicians stand by as our nation bleeds jobs?….

7 – The median duration of unemployment in the United States is in unprecedented territory.  For most of the post-World War 2 era, when the median duration of unemployment in America reached 10 weeks that was considered a national crisis.  Well, today competition for jobs is so intense that the median duration of unemployment is now well over 20 weeks….

8 – Since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913, the value of the U.S. dollar has declined by over 95 percent.  One of the reasons given for the existence of the Federal Reserve is that the Fed helps control inflation.  But that is a huge lie.  The truth is that the United States never had consistently rampant inflation until the Federal Reserve took control.  In particular, once the U.S. totally went off the gold standard in the 1970s inflation really started escalating out of control….

9 – Now the Federal Reserve says that the solution to our current economic problems is to print even more money out of thin air.  The games that the Federal Reserve is playing with our money supply are simply inexcusable.  Just look at what the Federal Reserve has done to the monetary base since the beginning of the recession….

10 – All of this new money is creating tremendous inflation.  In particular, the price of oil is now ridiculously high.  A high price for oil is very, very bad for the U.S. economy.  Our entire economic system is based on being able to use massive quantities of very cheap oil.  Unfortunately, that paradigm is starting to break down and the consequences will be very bitter.  Back in mid-2008, the price of oil hit an all-time record of $147 a barrel and subsequently the world financial system imploded a few months later.  Well, the price of oil is on the march again and that is very bad news for the U.S. economy….

Needless to say, if the economic trends documented by the charts above continue the U.S. economy will be totally wiped out.  The U.S. economy as it currently exists is unsustainable by definition.  It is only a matter of time before we slam into an economic brick wall.

We have developed an economy that cannot function without debt, and at this point it seems like almost everyone is drowning in red ink.  The federal government is massively overextended, most of our state and local governments are massively overextended, most of our major corporations are massively overextended and the majority of U.S. consumers are massively overextended.

The only way that the game can continue is for the Federal Reserve to print increasingly larger amounts of paper money out of thin air and for everyone in the economic food chain to go into increasingly larger amounts of debt.

But no debt spiral can go on forever.  At some point this entire house of cards is going to collapse.

When that happens, there is going to be economic pain that is greater than anything that this country has ever seen before.

Someday we will all desperately wish that we could go back to the “good times” of 2011.  A great economic collapse is coming, and all of us had better get ready.

Even Donald Trump Is Warning That An Economic Collapse Is Coming

In a shocking new interview, Donald Trump has gone farther than he ever has before in discussing a potential economic collapse in America.  Using phrases such as “you’re going to pay $25 for a loaf of bread pretty soon” and “we could end up being another Egypt”, Trump explained to Newsmax that he is incredibly concerned about the direction our economy is headed.  Whatever you may think of Donald Trump on a personal level, it is undeniable that he has been extremely successful in business.  As one of the most prominent businessmen in America, he is absolutely horrified about what is happening to this nation.  In fact, he is so disturbed about the direction that this country is heading that he is seriously considering running for president in 2012.  But whether he decides to run in 2012 or not, what Trump is now saying about the U.S. economy should be a huge wake up call for all of us.

Trump says that the U.S. government is broke, that all of our jobs are being shipped overseas, that other nations are heavily taking advantage of us and that the value of the U.S. dollar is being destroyed.  The following interview with Trump was originally posted on Newsmax and it is really worth watching….

Now, you may or may not think much of Donald Trump as a politician, but when a businessman of his caliber starts using apocalyptic language to describe where the U.S. economy is headed perhaps we should all pay attention.

The following are 12 key quotes that were pulled out of Trump’s new interview along with some facts and statistics that show that what Trump is saying is really happening.

#1 “If oil prices are allowed to inflate and keep inflating, if the dollar keeps going down in value, I think there’s a very distinct possibility that things could get worse.”

Donald Trump is exactly right – we are headed for big trouble if we continue to allow the Federal Reserve to pump hundreds of billions of new dollars into the system.  As I have written about previously, all of this new money will give us the illusion of short-term economic growth and it will pump up the stock market, but in the end all of the inflation the new money is gong to cause is going to be very painful.  Just look at how rapidly M1 has been skyrocketing over the last couple of years.  Is there any way that we are going to be able to avoid paying a very serious price for all of this reckless money printing?….

Already all of this money printing has had a very serious affect on world financial markets.  The price of agricultural commodities is skyrocketing and the price of oil has almost reached $100 a barrel once again.  The last time that the price of oil soared above $100 a barrel was in the early part of 2008, and we all remember the horrific financial collapse that followed in the fall of 2008.

#2 “….you’re going to pay $25 for a loaf of bread pretty soon. Look at what’s happening with our food prices. They’re going through the roof. We could end up being another Egypt. You could have riots in our streets also.”

The price of corn has risen 88 percent over the past year and the price of wheat has soared a whopping 114 percent over the past year.  Let’s hope that we don’t have to pay $25 for a loaf of bread in the United States any time soon, but in some areas of the world that is what it now feels like.

Approximately 3 billion people in the world today live on the equivalent of $2 a day or less, and most of that money ends up getting spent on food.  When food prices go up 10 or 20 percent in deeply impoverished areas of the globe, suddenly the lives of millions are threatened.  The riots that we have seen in Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia and other nations recently were not entirely caused by rising food prices, but they were certainly a big factor.

#3 “I think gold will go up as long as people don’t have confidence in our president and our country. And they don’t have confidence in our president.”

Investors run to gold and other precious metals when they don’t feel secure.  We saw that happen a lot in 2010.  As confidence in the paper currencies and the financial systems of the world has rapidly diminished, precious metals have become increasingly attractive.

In fact, the price of gold has doubled since the beginning of the economic downturn in 2007.  As the global financial situation continues to become more unstable, the demand for precious metals is likely only going to become more intense.

#4 “The banks have really let us down. Number one, they did some bad things and caused some bad problems. Number two, if you have something that you want to buy, like a house, they’re generally not there for you.”

Banks were given massive bailouts with the understanding that they would open up the vaults and start lending money to average Americans again.

Well, that has not happened.

In particular, it has become much, much harder to get a mortgage in the United States today.  Not that the big banks didn’t need to make changes to their lending practices, but things have gotten so tight now that it is choking the real estate market to death.

#5 “I see $3.50 for a gallon of gas for cars, and cars are lined up trying to get it and it’s $3.50. It’s a shame, a ridiculous shame.”

Our lack of a cohesive energy policy is a national disgrace.  There is no way in the world that a gallon of gas should be $3.50 a gallon.

The U.S. has massive reserves of oil and natural gas that it should be using.  In addition, the lack of progress on developing alternative energy sources in light of our sickening dependence on foreign oil is very puzzling.  We should be very far along towards solving our energy problems by this point.

Meanwhile, we keep pouring billions into the pockets of foreign oil barons every single month.  Unfortunately, Trump was exactly correct in the interview – if something is not done the price of gas is going to keep going higher.

#6 “I think the biggest threat is that our jobs are being stolen by other countries. We’re not going to have any jobs here pretty soon.”

Donal Trump is one of the few prominent leaders that is openly speaking the truth about the predatory economic practices of some of our “trading partners”.  Most of our politicians have just kept endlessly promising us that free trade is “good for us” even as tens of thousands of factories and millions upon millions of jobs have been shipped overseas.

Back in 1970, 25 percent of all jobs in the United States were manufacturing jobs. Today, only 9 percent of the jobs in the United States are manufacturing jobs.

Yes, computers and robots have replaced a lot of manual labor today, but technology does not account for most of the decline we have seen in manufacturing.

n 1959, manufacturing represented 28 percent of all U.S. economic output.  In 2008, it represented only 11.5 percent.  Meanwhile, manufacturing in the “developing world” has absolutely exploded.

#7 “We’re like a whipping post for other countries. We are standing there and just being beaten by South Korea, by Mexico, by China, by India.”

Most Americans have absolutely no idea how lopsided many of our “trade agreements” actually are.  Other nations openly manipulate their currencies in order to keep their exports dirt cheap and we allow it.  Other nations openly subsidize their domestic industries that are directly competing with businesses in the United States and we don’t complain.  Other nations make it incredibly difficult for American companies to do business in their countries while we allow foreign corporations to come on in and do pretty much whatever they want here.

Then there are certain nations (such as China) that brazenly rip off trade secrets from foreign corporations time after time after time and never get penalized for it.

Meanwhile, our economy continues to bleed jobs at a staggering pace.  The number of net jobs gained by the U.S. economy during this past decade was smaller than during any other decade since World War 2.

Fortunately, more Americans than ever seem to be waking up and are realizing that globalism is causing many of these problems.  A NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll conducted last year discovered that 69 percent of Americans now believe that free trade agreements have cost America jobs.

#8 “All of our jobs are going to China. We’re rebuilding China and other places.”

China is doing great.  China is now the number one producer in the world of wind and solar power.  They now possess the fastest supercomputer on the entire globe.  China also now has the world’s fastest train and the world’s biggest high-speed rail network.

Most Americans don’t realize that China is literally kicking the crap out of us.

Back in 1998, the United States had 25 percent of the world’s high-tech export market and China had just 10 percent. Ten years later, the United States had less than 15 percent and China’s share had soared to 20 percent.

Every single month we buy about 4 times as much stuff from them as they buy from us.  Our trade deficit with China has ballooned to enormous proportions.  In fact, the U.S. trade deficit with China during this past August was more than 4,600 times larger than the U.S. trade deficit with China was for the entire year of 1985.

So when Donald Trump says that we are rebuilding China he is not joking around.

Nobel economist Robert W. Fogel of the University of Chicago is projecting that the Chinese economy will be three times larger than the U.S. economy by the year 2040 if current trends continue.

Yes, that is how serious things have become.

#9 “We are a laughingstock throughout the world.”

Donald Trump has said on several occasions that his friends and business partners in China just laugh and laugh at us.  They can’t even believe what they are getting away with.

We have become an incompetent giant that is the butt of all the jokes.

According to Stanford University economics professor Ed Lazear, if the U.S. economy and the Chinese economy continue to grow at current rates, the average Chinese citizen will be wealthier than the average American citizen in just 30 years.

Our formerly great industrial cities are slowly becoming ghost towns.  The number of long-term unemployed Americans is at an all-time high.  Tens of millions of Americans can’t even survive without government assistance anymore.  The number of Americans on food stamps set a new all-time record every single month during 2010, and now well over 43 million Americans are enrolled in the program.

We really have become a joke.

#10 “The federal government has no money.”

Unfortunately, our federal government has continued to borrow and spend like there is no tomorrow.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the U.S. government will have the biggest budget deficit ever recorded (approximately 1.5 trillion dollars) this year.

So much for fiscal discipline, eh?

It is being projected that the U.S. national debt will increase by $150,000 per U.S. household between 2009 and 2021.

Do you have an extra $150,000 to contribute for your share?

By 2015 our national debt will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 trillion dollars.

It is the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world by far, and it is the gift that we are going to pass down to future generations of Americans.

If there are any future generations of Americans.

#11 “I hate what is happening to this country.”

We should all hate what is happening to this country.  Our economic guts are being ripped out, we are being abused by the rest of the world, America’s infrastructure is being sold off piece by piece, our federal government is drowning in debt, our state governments are drowning in debt and our local governments are drowning in debt.

The only way we can even keep going is to run around to the rest of the world and beg them to keep lending us more money.

The mainstream media keeps proclaiming that we are the greatest economy on earth, but the truth is that we are being transformed into a pathetic loser and our politicians are just standing there with their hands in their pockets letting it happen.

All red-blooded Americans should be horrified by what is happening to this nation.  We have been betrayed by corrupt and incompetent leaders.  As a nation, we have become fat, lazy and stupid.

Hopefully what Donald Trump and others are saying about a coming economic collapse will serve as a huge wake up call and the sleeping giant will arise once again.

If the sleeping giant does not arise, we are in a massive amount of trouble, because right now the road we are on is leading to the biggest economic collapse the world has ever seen.

Nothing Is Stable Anymore

The world is becoming a very unstable place, and the pace at which things are changing all around us has become absolutely mind-numbing.  In fact, change has become one of the only constants in today’s world.  Once upon a time, people in the United States could actually make 20 or 30 year plans and feel confident about achieving them.  But now, nothing is stable anymore.  The financial crisis showed us that some of the biggest corporations on the globe can collapse in a single day.  The events of the past few weeks have shown us that entire governments can be brought down in a single week.  We live in a world where there are now very few “guarantees” that you can count on.  One of the only things that is guaranteed is that technology and information will continue to grow at exponential speeds.  This year, the total amount of information produced on electronic devices around the globe is projected to be more than a zettabyte.  A zettabyte is equivalent to one sextillion bytes.  In other words, imagine a one with more than 21 zeroes following it.

Many of the things that we take for granted today didn’t even exist a few short years ago.  Facebook has only been with us since 2004.  YouTube has only been with us since 2005.  Can you imagine a world where those two websites did not exist?

We live in a world of information overload.  Once upon a time it would have been possible to go to sleep for a decade and wake up and everything would still be pretty much the same.  But today if you were to do that you would be in for a case of severe culture shock.

Do you remember when you could buy a set of encyclopedias and the information in them would still be good a decade or two later?

Well, things do not work that way anymore.

In fact, most of the articles on this website will be obsolete a month from now.

In today’s world, you really have to think twice before you say that something is “not possible”.

A few months ago, it was absolutely inconceivable that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak would declare to the world that he has “spent enough time serving Egypt“.

Yet here we are.

One week the government of Tunisia seemed perfectly stable and the next week it was toppled.

Do any of you out there still think that you can make realistic “plans for the future” in today’s world?

Once upon a time in America, many of us were taught that if we worked really hard in school we could get a great job with a great company.  We were promised that if we were faithful to that company for 30 or 40 years that we would be treated fairly and given a good pension.

Well, in today’s world you might as well crumple up that plan and throw it into the wastebasket.

There is no such thing as a stable job anymore.  Businesses are coming into existence and going out of existence faster than ever before.  Today, one out of every four Americans workers has been with their empl0yer for less than a year.

Most Americans still don’t really understand that they are now part of a global economy.  They keep thinking that things were the way they used to be.  They keep thinking that the U.S. economy is invincible.

Well, those days are long gone.  The United States is being deindustrialized at lightning speed.  Tens of thousands of manufacturing facilities and millions of jobs have been sent overseas.  China, once a complete economic backwater, is now kicking the crap out of us on the global economic stage.

Our financial system is certainly on incredibly shaky ground.  Will any of us ever forget what happened in 2008?

Do any of us actually believe that it can’t happen again?

Our health care system is also incredibly unstable.  Today, 46 million Americans have absolutely no health insurance.  That means that 46 million Americans are just one major injury or illness away from financial ruin with no protection whatsoever.

Not that those that actually have health insurance are protected.  According to a report published in The American Journal of Medicine, medical bills are a major factor in more than 60 percent of the personal bankruptcies in the United States.  Of those bankruptcies that were caused by medical bills, approximately 75 percent of them involved individuals that did have health insurance.

So just because you have health insurance does not mean anything.  One bad accident or one really bad disease and you could be totally wiped out.

Isn’t that comforting?

But the truth is that our entire economy is on the verge of total collapse.

World famous investor Harry Schultz recently published the last issue of his legendary financial newsletter.  After 45 years, the following is how Schultz summed up the economic collapse that we are now facing….

“Roughly speaking, the mess we are in is the worst since 17th century financial collapse. Comparisons with the 1930’s are ludicrous. We’ve gone far beyond that. And, alas, the courage & political will to recognize the mess & act wisely to reverse gears, is absent in U.S. leadership, where the problems were hatched & where the rot is by far the deepest.”

David Stockman, the former director of the Office of Management and Budget under Ronald Reagan was quoted by Schultz as saying the following about how desperate things are about to become….

“Get some gold, beans, water, anything that Bernanke can’t destroy. Ron Paul is right. We’re entering a global monetary conflagration. If a sell-off of U.S. bonds starts, it will be an Armageddon.”

Millions of Americans have become “preppers” in recent years as they have come to realize that our economy is headed down a very dark road.

But sadly, the reality is that the vast majority of Americans are not prepared for any kind of economic or natural disaster.  As this week has shown us, just the threat of a major snow storm can wipe out store shelves in a single day.

So what would this country look like if a major disaster fundamentally changed life in America and suddenly people were desperate for food and supplies?

It is a frightening thing to think about.

As the pace of change has accelerated dramatically, the U.S. government and other governments around the world have responded by trying to get a tighter grip on everyone and everything.

To get on an airplane in the United States today, you either have to allow a security goon to use a scanner to look over your completely exposed body, or you have to allow a security goon to feel up all of your private areas with the fronts of his or her hands.

Not only that, but the U.S. government has now deployed VIPR (Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response) teams to set up security checkpoints at bus terminals, subway stations and on major highways.

The America that so many of us once loved is rapidly disappearing.

But it is not just our man-made systems that are rapidly changing.  Something seems to be happening to the entire planet.  Flooding of biblical proportions has hit Australia, Brazil, China and Pakistan over the past 12 months.  Scorching heat caused massive crop failures all over Russia last summer.  Record-setting cold temperatures and snowfalls all over the northern hemisphere have scientists scratching their heads.  On top of everything else, mass deaths of birds and fish are suddenly being reported all over the globe.

Even the crust of the earth is becoming increasingly unstable.  Did you see that volcano go off in Japan the other day?  Over the past two years it seems like volcanoes have been suddenly erupting all over the world.

Not only that, but sinkholes have become an absolute epidemic all over the planet.  Some of these sinkholes have been so large that they have swallowed entire apartment buildings.

In addition, it seems like there is a magnitude 6 or magnitude 7 earthquake somewhere in the world almost every day now.  They have become so common that the mainstream media barely even takes notice of them anymore unless one happens near a very populated area.

None of us really knows what the world is going to look like ten years from now.  What will the “new” Facebooks and YouTubes be?  Will Ben Bernanke’s reckless money printing destroy our economy by then?  Will our U.S. dollars still be of any value ten years from now?  Will there even still be a U.S. dollar?

Will we still be able to feed most of the people in the world by 2011?  Will shortages of food, water and oil start driving people crazy?  Could some amazing energy discovery completely transform society?

Who will be the president of the United States?  Will there even be a president of the United States?  Will war have erupted in the Middle East by that point?  Will the United States be in another war by then?

The truth is that things are changing so fast that it is hard to even come up with the right questions to ask.  The world is going to change faster this year than it did last year.  In 2012 the pace of change will be even faster.

So buckle up and hold on tight because this is going to be one wild ride.

For much more on how incredibly fast the pace of change is in our modern society, check out the video posted below.  It is entitled “Did You Know?” and it has been viewed more than 12 million times on YouTube….

12 Economic Collapse Scenarios That We Could Potentially See In 2011

What could cause an economic collapse in 2011? Well, unfortunately there are quite a few “nightmare scenarios” that could plunge the entire globe into another massive financial crisis.  The United States, Japan and most of the nations in Europe are absolutely drowning in debt.  The Federal Reserve continues to play reckless games with the U.S. dollar.  The price of oil is skyrocketing and the global price of food just hit a new record high.  Food riots are already breaking out all over the world.  Meanwhile, the rampant fraud and corruption going on in world financial markets is starting to be exposed and the whole house of cards could come crashing down at any time.  Most Americans have no idea that a horrific economic collapse could happen at literally any time.  There is no way that all of this debt and all of this financial corruption is sustainable.  At some point we are going to reach a moment of “total system failure”.

So will it be soon?  Let’s hope not.  Let’s certainly hope that it does not happen in 2011.  Many of us need more time to prepare.  Most of our families and friends need more time to prepare.  Once this thing implodes there isn’t going to be an opportunity to have a “do over”.  We simply will not be able to put the toothpaste back into the tube again.

So we had all better be getting prepared for hard times.  The following are 12 economic collapse scenarios that we could potentially see in 2011….

#1 U.S. debt could become a massive crisis at any moment.  China is saying all of the right things at the moment, but many analysts are openly worried about what could happen if China suddenly decides to start dumping all of the U.S. debt that they have accumulated.  Right now about the only thing keeping U.S. government finances going is the ability to borrow gigantic amounts of money at extremely low interest rates.  If anything upsets that paradigm, it could potentially have enormous consequences for the entire world financial system.

#2 Speaking of threats to the global financial system, it turns out that “quantitative easing 2” has had the exact opposite effect that Ben Bernanke planned for it to have.  Bernanke insisted that the main goal of QE2 was to lower interest rates, but instead all it has done is cause interest rates to go up substantially.  If Bernanke this incompetent or is he trying to mess everything up on purpose?

#3 The debt bubble that the entire global economy is based on could burst at any time and throw the whole planet into chaos.  According to a new report from the World Economic Forum, the total amount of credit in the world increased from $57 trillion in 2000 to $109 trillion in 2009.  The WEF says that now the world is going to need another $100 trillion in credit to support projected “economic growth” over the next decade.  So is this how the new “global economy” works?  We just keep doubling the total amount of debt every decade?

#4 As the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve continue to pump massive amounts of new dollars into the system, the floor could fall out from underneath the U.S. dollar at any time.  The truth is that we are already starting to see inflation really accelerate and everyone pretty much acknowledges that official U.S. governments figures for inflation are an absolute joke.  According to one new study, the cost of college tuition has risen 286% over the last 20 years, and the cost of “hospital, nursing-home and adult-day-care services” rose 269% during those same two decades.  All of this happened during a period of supposedly “low” inflation.  So what are price increases going to look like when we actually have “high” inflation?

#5 One of the primary drivers of global inflation during 2011 could be the price of oil.  A large number of economists are now projecting that the price of oil could surge well past $100 dollars a barrel in 2011.  If that happens, it is going to put significant pressure on the price of almost everything else in the entire global economy.  In fact, as I have explained previously, the higher the price of oil goes, the faster the U.S. economy will decline.

#6 Food inflation is already so bad in some areas of the globe that it is setting off massive food riots in nations such as Tunisia and Algeria.  In fact, there have been reports of people setting themselves on fire all over the Middle East as a way to draw attention to how desperate they are.  So what is going to happen if global food prices go up another 10 or 20 percent and food riots spread literally all over the globe during 2011?

#7 There are persistent rumors that simply will not go away of massive physical gold and silver shortages.  Demand for precious metals has never been higher.  So what is going to happen when many investors begin to absolutely insist on physical delivery of their precious metals?  What is going to happen when the fact that far, far, far more “paper gold” and “paper silver” has been sold than has ever actually physically existed in the history of the planet starts to come out?  What would that do to the price of gold and silver?

#8 The U.S. housing industry could plunge the U.S. economy into another recession at any time.  The real estate market is absolutely flooded with homes and virtually nobody is buying.  This massive oversupply of homes means that the construction of new homes has fallen off a cliff.  In 2010, only 703,000 single family, multi-family and manufactured homes were completed.  This was a new record low, and it was down 17% from the previous all-time record which had just been set in 2009.

#9 A combination of extreme weather and disease could make this an absolutely brutal year for U.S. farmers.  This winter we have already seen thousands of new cold weather and snowfall records set across the United States.  Now there is some very disturbing news emerging out of Florida of an “incurable bacteria” that is ravaging citrus crops all over Florida.  Is there a reason why so many bad things are happening all of a sudden?

#10 The municipal bond crisis could go “supernova” at any time.  Already, investors are bailing out of bonds at a frightening pace.  State and local government debt is now sitting at an all-time high of 22 percent of U.S. GDP.  According to Meredith Whitney, the municipal bond crisis that we are facing is a gigantic threat to our financial system….

“It has tentacles as wide as anything I’ve seen. I think next to housing this is the single most important issue in the United States and certainly the largest threat to the U.S. economy.”

Former Los Angeles mayor Richard Riordan is convinced that things are so bad that literally 90% of our states and cities could go bankrupt over the next five years….

#11 Of course on top of everything else, the quadrillion dollar derivatives bubble could burst at any time.  Right now we are watching the greatest financial casino in the history of the globe spin around and around and around and everyone is hoping that at some point it doesn’t stop.  Today, most money on Wall Street is not made by investing in good business ideas.  Rather, most money on Wall Street is now made by making the best bets.  Unfortunately, at some point the casino is going to come crashing down and the game will be over.

#12 The biggest wildcard of all is war.  The Korean peninsula came closer to war in 2010 than it had in decades.  The Middle East could literally explode at any time.  We live in a world where a single weapon can take out an entire city in an instant.  All it would take is a mid-size war or a couple of weapons of mass destruction to throw the entire global economy into absolute turmoil.

Once again, let us hope that none of these economic collapse scenarios happens in 2011.

However, we have got to realize that we can’t keep dodging these bullets forever.

As bad as 2010 was, the truth is that it went about as good as any of us could have hoped.  Things are still pretty stable and times are still pretty good right now.

But instead of using these times to “party”, we should be using them to prepare.

A really, really vicious economic storm is coming and it is going to be a complete and total nightmare.  Get ready, hold on tight, and say your prayers.

Austerity In America: 22 Signs That It Is Already Here And That It Is Going To Be Very Painful

Over the past couple of years, most Americans have shown little concern as austerity measures were imposed on financially troubled nations across Europe.  Even as austerity riots erupted in nations such as Greece and Spain, most Americans were still convinced that nothing like that could ever happen here.  Well, guess what?  Austerity has arrived in America.  At this point, it is not a formal, mandated austerity like we have seen in Europe, but the results are just the same.  Taxes are going up, services are being slashed dramatically, thousands of state and city employees are being laid off, and politicians seem to be endlessly talking about ways to make even deeper budget cuts.  Unfortunately, even with the incredibly severe budget cuts that we have seen already, many state and local governments across the United States are still facing a sea of red ink as far as the eye can see.

Most Americans tend to think of “government debt” as only a problem of the federal government.  But that is simply not accurate.  The truth is that there are thousands of “government debt problems” from coast to coast.  Today, state and local government debt has reached at an all-time high of 22 percent of U.S. GDP.  It is a crisis of catastrophic proportions that is not going away any time soon.

A recent article in the New York Times did a good job of summarizing the financial pain that many state governments are feeling right now.  Unfortunately, as bad as the budget shortfalls are for this year, they are projected to be even worse in 2012….

While state revenues — shrunken as a result of the recession — are finally starting to improve somewhat, federal stimulus money that had propped up state budgets is vanishing and costs are rising, all of which has left state leaders bracing for what is next. For now, states have budget gaps of $26 billion, by some estimates, and foresee shortfalls of at least $82 billion as they look to next year’s budgets.

So what is the solution? Well, for state and local politicians from coast to coast, the answer to these financial problems is to impose austerity measures.  Of course they never, ever use the term “austerity measures”, but that is exactly what they are.

The following are 22 signs that austerity has already arrived in America and that it is going to be very, very painful….

#1 The financial manager of the Detroit Public Schools, Robert Bobb, has submitted a proposal to close half of all the schools in the city.  His plan envisions class sizes of up to 62 students in the remaining schools.

#2 Detroit Mayor Dave Bing wants to cut off 20 percent of the entire city from police and trash services in order to save money.

#3 Things are so tight in California that Governor Jerry Brown is requiring approximately 48,000 state workers to turn in their government-paid cell phones by June 1st.

#4 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing to completely eliminate 20 percent of state agencies.

#5 New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has closed 20 fire departments at night and is proposing layoffs in every single city agency.

#6 In the state of Illinois, lawmakers recently pushed through a 66 percent increase in the personal income tax rate.

#7 The town of Prichard, Alabama came up with a unique way to battle their budget woes recently.  They simply stopped sending out pension checks to retired workers.  Of course this is a violation of state law, but town officials insist that they just do not have the money.

#8 New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently purposely skipped a scheduled 3.1 billion dollar payment to that state’s pension system.

#9 The state of New Jersey is in such bad shape that they still are facing a $10 billion budget deficit for this year even after cutting a billion dollars from the education budget and laying off thousands of teachers.

#10 Due to a very serious budget shortfall, the city of Newark, New Jersey recently made very significant cuts to the police force.  Subsequently, there has been a very substantial spike in the crime rate.

#11 The city of Camden, New Jersey is “the second most dangerous city in America”, but because of a huge budget shortfall they recently felt forced to lay off half of the city police force.

#12 Philadelphia, Baltimore and Sacramento have all instituted “rolling brownouts” during which various city fire stations are shut down on a rotating basis.

#13 In Georgia, the county of Clayton recently eliminated its entire public bus system in order to save 8 million dollars.

#14 Oakland, California Police Chief Anthony Batts has announced that due to severe budget cuts there are a number of crimes that his department will simply not be able to respond to any longer.  The crimes that the Oakland police will no longer be responding to include grand theft, burglary, car wrecks, identity theft and vandalism.

#15 In Connecticut, the governor is asking state legislators to approve the biggest tax increase that the state has seen in two decades.

#16 All across the United States, conditions at many state parks, recreation areas and historic sites are deplorable at best.  Some states have backlogs of repair projects that are now over a billion dollars long.  The following is a quote from a recent MSNBC article about these project backlogs….

More than a dozen states estimate that their backlogs are at least $100 million. Massachusetts and New York’s are at least $1 billion. Hawaii officials called park conditions “deplorable” in a December report asking for $50 million per year for five years to tackle a $240 million backlog that covers parks, trails and harbors.

#17 The state of Arizona recently announced that it has decided to stop paying for many types of organ transplants for people enrolled in its Medicaid program.

#18 Not only that, but Arizona is so desperate for money that they have even sold off the state capitol building, the state supreme court building and the legislative chambers.

#19 All over the nation, asphalt roads are actually being ground up and are being replaced with gravel because it is cheaper to maintain.  The state of South Dakota has transformed over 100 miles of asphalt road into gravel over the past year, and 38 out of the 83 counties in the state of Michigan have transformed at least some of their asphalt roads into gravel roads.

#20 The state of Illinois is such a financial disaster zone that it is hard to even describe.  According to 60 Minutes,  the state of Illinois is six months behind on their bill payments.  60 Minutes correspondent Steve Croft asked Illinois state Comptroller Dan Hynes how many people and organizations are waiting to be paid by the state, and this is how Hynes responded….

“It’s fair to say that there are tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people waiting to be paid by the state.”

#21 The city of Chicago is in such dire straits financially that officials there are actually toying with the idea of setting up a city-owned casino as a way to raise cash.

#22 Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is desperately looking for ways to cut the budget and he says that “hundreds of jurisdictions” in his state could go bankrupt over the next few years.

But everything that you have just read is only the beginning.  Budget shortfalls for our state and local governments are projected to be much worse in the years ahead.

So what is the answer?  Well, our state and local governments are going to have to spend less money.  That means that we are likely to see even more savage budget cutting.

In addition, our state and local politicians are going to feel intense pressure to find ways to “raise revenue”.  In fact, we are already starting to see this happen.

According to the National Association of State Budget Officers, over the past couple of years a total of 36 out of the 50 U.S. states have raised taxes or fees of some sort.

So hold on to your wallets, because the politicians are going to be coming after them.

We are entering a time of extreme financial stress in America.  The federal government is broke.  Most of our state and local governments are broke.  Record numbers of Americans are going bankrupt.  Record numbers of Americans are being kicked out of their homes.  Record numbers of Americans are now living in poverty.

The debt-fueled prosperity of the last several decades came at a cost.  We literally mortgaged the future.  Now nothing will ever be the same again.

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