Economic Black Hole: 20 Reasons Why The U.S. Economy Is Dying And Is Simply Not Going To Recover

Even though the U.S. financial system nearly experienced a total meltdown in late 2008, the truth is that most Americans simply have no idea what is happening to the U.S. economy.  Most people seem to think that the nasty little recession that we have just been through is almost over and that we will be experiencing another time of economic growth and prosperity very shortly.  But this time around that is not the case.  The reality is that we are being sucked into an economic black hole from which the U.S. economy will never fully recover.

The problem is debt.  Collectively, the U.S. government, the state governments, corporate America and American consumers have accumulated the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world.  Our massive debt binge has financed our tremendous growth and prosperity over the last couple of decades, but now the day of reckoning is here.

And it is going to be painful.

The following are 20 reasons why the U.S. economy is dying and is simply not going to recover….

#1) Do you remember that massive wave of subprime mortgages that defaulted in 2007 and 2008 and caused the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression?  Well, the “second wave” of mortgage defaults in on the way and there is simply no way that we are going to be able to avoid it.  A huge mountain of mortgages is going to reset starting in 2010, and once those mortgage payments go up there are once again going to be millons of people who simply cannot pay their mortgages.  The chart below reveals just how bad the second wave of adjustable rate mortgages is likely to be over the next several years….

#2) The Federal Housing Administration has announced plans to increase the amount of up-front cash paid by new borrowers and to require higher down payments from those with the poorest credit.  The Federal Housing Administration currently backs about 30 percent of all new home loans and about 20 percent of all new home refinancing loans.  Tighter standards are going to mean that less people will qualify for loans.  Less qualifiers means that there will be less buyers for homes.  Less buyers means that home prices are going to drop even more.

#3) It is getting really hard to find a job in the United States.  A total of 6,130,000 U.S. workers had been unemployed for 27 weeks or more in December 2009.  That was the most ever since the U.S. government started keeping track of this statistic in 1948.  In fact, it is more than double the 2,612,000 U.S. workers who were unemployed for a similar length of time in December 2008.  The reality is that once Americans lose their jobs they are increasingly finding it difficult to find new ones. 

#4) In December, there were also 929,000 “discouraged” workers who are not counted as part of the labor force because they have “given up” looking for work.  That is the most since the U.S. government first started keeping track of discouraged workers in 1949.  Many Americans have simply given up and are now chronically unemployed.

#5) Some areas of the U.S. are already virtually in a state of depression.  The mayor of Detroit estimates that the real unemployment rate in his city is now somewhere around 50 percent.

#6) For decades, our leaders in Washington pushed us towards “a global economy” and told us it would be so good for us.  But there is a flip side.  Now workers in the U.S. must compete with workers all over the world, and our greedy corporations are free to pursue the cheapest labor available anywhere on the globe.  Millions of jobs have already been shipped out of the United States, and Princeton University economist Alan S. Blinder estimates that 22% to 29% of all current U.S. jobs will be offshorable within two decades.  The days when blue collar workers could live the American Dream are gone and they are not going to come back.   

#7) During the 2001 recession, the U.S. economy lost 2% of its jobs and it took four years to get them back. This time around the U.S. economy has lost more than 5% of its jobs and there is no sign that the bleeding of jobs is going to stop any time soon.

#8) All of this unemployment is putting severe stress on state unemployment funds.  At this point, 25 state unemployment insurance funds have gone broke and the Department of Labor estimates that 15 more state unemployment funds will likely go broke within two years and will need massive loans from the federal government just to keep going.

#9) 37 million Americans now receive food stamps, and the program is expanding at a pace of about 20,000 people a day.  The United States of America is very quickly becoming a socialist welfare state.

#10) The number of Americans who are going broke is staggering.  1.41 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009 – a 32 percent increase over 2008.

#11) For decades, the fact that the U.S. dollar was the reserve currency of the world gave the U.S. financial system an unusual degree of stability.  But all of that is changing.  Foreign countries are increasingly turning away from the dollar to other currencies.  For example, Russia’s central bank announced on Wednesday that it had started buying Canadian dollars in a bid to diversify its foreign exchange reserves.

#12) The recent economic downturn has left some localities totally bankrupt.  For instance, Jefferson County, Alabama is on the brink of what would be the largest government bankruptcy in the history of the United States – surpassing the 1994 filing by Southern California’s Orange County.

#13) The U.S. is facing a pension crisis of unprecedented magnitude.  Virtually all pension funds in the United States, both private and public, are massively underfunded.  With millions of Baby Boomers getting ready to retire, there is simply no way on earth that all of these obligations can be met.  Robert Novy-Marx of the University of Chicago and Joshua D. Rauh of Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management recently calculated the collective unfunded pension liability for all 50 U.S. states for Forbes magazine.  So what was the total?  3.2 trillion dollars.

#14) Social Security and Medicare expenses are wildly out of control.  Once again, with millions of Baby Boomers now at retirement age there is simply going to be no way to pay all of these retirees what they are owed.

#15) So will the U.S. government come to the rescue?  The U.S. has allowed the total federal debt to balloon by 50% since 2006 to $12.3 trillion.  The chart below is a bit outdated, but it does show the reckless expansion of U.S. government debt over the past several decades.  To get an idea of where we are now, just add at least 3 trillion dollars on to the top of the chart….

#16) So has the U.S. government learned anything from these mistakes?  No.  In fact, Senate Democrats on Wednesday proposed allowing the federal government to borrow an additional $2 trillion to pay its bills, a record increase that would allow the U.S. national debt to reach approximately $14.3 trillion

#17) It is going to become even harder for the U.S. government to pay the bills now that tax receipts are falling through the floor.  U.S. corporate income tax receipts were down 55% in the year that ended on September 30th, 2009.

#18) So where will the U.S. government get the money?  From the Federal Reserve of course.  The Federal Reserve bought approximately 80 percent of all U.S. Treasury securities issued in 2009.  In other words, the U.S. government is now being financed by a massive Ponzi scheme.

#19) The reckless expansion of the money supply by the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve is going to end up destroying the U.S. dollar and the value of the remaining collective net worth of all Americans.  The more dollars there are, the less each individual dollar is worth.  In essence, inflation is like a hidden tax on each dollar that you own.  When they flood the economy with money, the value of the money you have in your bank accounts goes down.  The chart below shows the growth of the U.S. money supply.  Pay particular attention to the very end of the chart which shows what has been happening lately.  What do you think this is going to do to the value of the U.S. dollar?….

#20) When a nation practices evil, there is no way that it is going to be blessed in the long run.  The truth is that we have become a nation that is dripping with corruption and wickedness from the top to the bottom.  Unless this fundamentally changes, not even the most perfect economic policies in the world are going to do us any good.  In the end, you always reap what you sow.  The day of reckoning for the U.S. economy is here and it is not going to be pleasant.

The Feds Were Quick To Bail Out Their Friends At The Big Banks But Are Letting All The Small Banks Die Like Dogs

The Feds Were Quick To Bail Out Their Friends At The Big Banks But Are Letting All The Small Banks Die Like DogsThe massive federal bailouts that Congress passed in 2008 and 2009 were supposed to stabilize the banking system and breathe new life into the U.S. economy.  We were told over and over that the major banks were “too big too fail” and that the U.S. government was helping “Main Street” by giving massive bailouts to Wall Street.  But unfortunately all that is not working out too well.  Instead, the major banks (which got the bailouts) have cut their collective small business lending for the seventh month in a row while the feds are letting all the small banks die like dogs.

The truth is that the major Wall Street banks that had friends positioned in the U.S. government were able to get massive bailouts during the economic collapse of 2008/2009, but all of the small banks that have been so good to so many communities across the United States for so many years are not getting any help.  In fact, there are rumors that they are purposely being allowed to fail.  In 2009, 140 banks and S&Ls failed.  In addition, 31 credit unions went under.  So that makes a total of 171 lending  institutions that were allowed to collapse in 2009.  It is estimated that the bank failures during this financial crisis have already cost the FDIC ten times more than the entire S&L crisis of the 1980s did.

But the crisis is far from over.  In fact, some analysts are now projecting that 200 banks will fail in the U.S. in 2010.

The FDIC is officially in the red and it is rapidly hemorrhaging cash and there is no sign that the bleeding is going to stop any time soon.  Small banks are failing at a rate that is beyond alarming.

But do you know what they are being told when they turn to the U.S. government for help?

They are being told to go find a big bank that is willing to gobble them up.

In fact, there are persistent rumors that the banking system is being consolidated by design.  So if that is the case, expect to see a lot more small banks continue to fail and get gobbled up by the sharks for pennies on the dollar.

Meanwhile, the big boys on Wall Street are being criticized for the gigantic year end bonuses that their top executives will be receiving.  

Life is good if you are a bankster.

So are all of those big Wall Street banks helping out “Main Street” by lending to small businesses?

No way. 

In fact, the biggest banks in the U.S. cut their collective small business lending balance by another $1 billion in November.  That drop was the seventh monthly decline in a row.

The truth is that in modern America, small businesses are incredibly dependent on credit.  For many small businesses, no credit means that they simply will not have the capital to operate.

But the big fat cats who got all of those bailouts have reduced their lending to small businesses each of the past seven months.

So, no, “Main Street” is not reaping the benefits of all of those bailouts.

Apparently the big banks needed to save up cash to pay all of those outrageous bonuses.

So all of the big banks are hoarding cash, and hundreds of small banks are being allowed to die like dogs.

What a mess!

Anyone have any ideas for cleaning it up?

Will Americans Be Able To Handle The Next Great Depression? Not If They Are Anything Like This Guy

Will Americans be able to handle the next Great Depression?  The truth is that most Americans today simply do not possess the strength of character to handle losing their jobs, their homes and the inflated lifestyles that we have all enjoyed by spending beyond our means.  During the Great Depression of the 1930s, things were different.  Family units were much stronger, people knew how to rely on each other and most Americans possessed enough morality and inner strength so that they did not freak out when things went from bad to worse.

But that is not the case in the United States today.  Instead, Americans have become a bunch of spoiled brats who come apart at the seams at the first sign of trouble.  We pushed prayer and the Ten Commandments as far out of public life as we could and instead we filled our minds with literally thousands of hours of character-rotting entertainment.  Now our families are falling apart, we’ve raised entire generations who expect the world to be handed to them on a silver platter, and we’ve got tens of millions of crybabies who don’t have any concept of how to respond to hard times.

But hard economic times are coming.  In fact, for many Americans they are already here.  So how will most Americans respond when they start losing their jobs and their homes?  Well, the truth is that we are already seeing a lot of people “go postal” because they simply do not know how to handle these setbacks.  Just consider the video below.  It is footage of one of the greatest office freakouts of all time.  If you were to get fired tomorrow, would you react like this guy?….  

The reality is that an economic collapse does not have to be the end of the world.  The guy in the video above could have gone out and tried to get another job or start his own business.  But instead he treated it like it was the end of his life and he threw a massive temper tantrum.

Unfortunately, we are likely to see an increasing number of spoiled Americans throw temper tantrums as the economic collapse goes from bad to worse in the years ahead.  The U.S. financial system is literally coming apart at the seams, and at this point there is very little that can be done to prevent a total economic breakdown.

So we are going to see more Americans trash their homes when they are foreclosed upon, we are going to see more Americans commit insurance fraud, we are going to see more Americans “go postal”, we are going to see more Americans freak out in public and we are going to see more Americans turn to crime.

Why?

Because the collective morality of America has experienced a catastrophic collapse.  People care very little about what is right or wrong anymore.  What they care about is what is going to make themselves happy and comfortable.

The only thing that has been keeping the entire U.S. from turning into New Orleans right after Hurricane Katrina is the relative level of affluence that we are all still experiencing.  Yes, things are not as good as they were, but the United States still has one of the highest standards of living in the world.

For now.

If you want to get an idea of where the U.S. is headed, go spend a few days in Detroit.  Once one of the shining examples of the American Dream, today many areas of Detroit resemble a war zone.  The real unemployment rate in Detroit is somewhere up around 45 or 50 percent and the crime rate is shooting through the roof.  Vandalism is rampant and some houses in the worst areas are virtually unsellable because they aren’t even worth the taxes that must be paid of them.

When people get desperate, their true character comes out.  When the U.S. financial system completely fails one day, the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted will evaporate in a matter of days.

At that point we will all wish that we had paid a lot more attention to teaching our kids about “character” and “morality”.

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