20 things that you must believe in order to convince yourself that everything is going to turn out okay somehow

Despite everything that we have already been through in 2020, the dominant narrative in our society right now is that everything is going to be just fine once we get past our temporary problems.  So many people that I hear from can’t understand why I am so “negative” about the future, because they are completely convinced that really great days are just around the corner.  As odd as this may sound, we are seeing this sort of wild optimism among both Democrats and Republicans, Christians and atheists, capitalists and communists.  Of course about half the country will have their optimistic hopes for the future brutally crushed by the results of the upcoming election, but we aren’t there yet.  For now, both sides are absolutely convinced that they are going to win, and both sides are envisioning a wonderful new era for our nation in which their values reign triumphant.

If only things were that easy.

The truth is that many of our largest problems have been steadily growing for decades, and they aren’t going to magically disappear just because a particular candidate wins an election.  Our debt levels are absolutely exploding, our economy has plunged into a depression, there is widespread civil unrest in our streets, our nation is more divided than it has ever been in my entire lifetime, and our society is literally coming apart at the seams as just about every form of evil that you can possibly imagine is growing rapidly all around us.

But there are a whole lot of people out there that want to stick their heads in the sand and pretend that everything is going to be just fine.

If you would like to be just like them, the following are 20 things that you must believe in order to convince yourself that everything is going to turn out okay somehow…

#1 “Being 27 trillion dollars in debt is not a problem.  We can go into as much debt as we want, and future generations of Americans won’t mind at all that we are dumping all of our bills on them.”

#2 “The fact that the Federal Reserve creates trillions of dollars out of thin air whenever a major crisis erupts doesn’t really matter.  We can debase the reserve currency of the world as much as we want and the rest of the globe will continue to use it and the inflation rate in this country will never get out of control.”

#3 “Antifa is just an idea, and all of the rioting, looting and violence will somehow magically come to an end after the upcoming election.”

#4 “When I see people smashing windows, setting buildings on fire and shooting at police officers, I just remember to remind myself that those are really just peaceful protesters.”

#5 “It is perfectly okay that a former intern for Joe Biden will moderate the next presidential debate.  He has promised that he will be perfectly neutral, and I believe him.”

#6 “Kamala Harris will never become president if Joe Biden wins the election, because Joe Biden is so strong and vigorous that he could easily make it through two terms.”

#7 “The Democrats would never pack the Supreme Court, because Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are way too decent to ever allow that to happen.”

#8 “Once the election is over, the big social media companies will give us our freedom of speech back because that is the right thing to do.”

#9 “It makes perfect sense that the stock market has soared to record highs while the real economy has plunged into a horrifying depression.  This isn’t a bubble, and stock prices will just keep going up indefinitely.”

#10 “It is perfectly okay that 40 percent of U.S. children are being born outside of marriage.  America can certainly prosper without strong marriages and strong families because so many other great civilizations have shown that it can be done.”

#11 “Even though study after study has shown that antibodies fade very rapidly and that any immunity is very short-lived, a vaccine will save us from this pandemic.”

#12 “Once this virus has been eradicated, they won’t make us wear masks anymore, and they certainly wouldn’t try to force people to take vaccines if they don’t want them.”

#13 “Now that everyone has seen how much chaos this pandemic has caused, evil people would never purposely release more deadly viruses because they wouldn’t want to kick us while we are down.”

#14 “There is no need to worry that our relationships with Russia and China have gone down the tubes, because our military is so strong that nobody would ever dare getting into a military conflict with us.”

#15 “Even though the head of the UN World Food Program is warning that there will be famines of ‘biblical proportions’, I am sure that any food shortages are just temporary and everyone in the world will have plenty of food to eat in 2021 and beyond.”

#16 “More than 60 million Americans have filed new claims for unemployment benefits this year, but most of those jobs will quickly come back, and we are on the verge of the greatest era of economic prosperity in U.S. history.”

#17 “The rapid rise in crime rates in cities all over the nation is just temporary.  I am sure that things will go back to normal in 2021.”

#18 “We can ignore the hundreds of earthquakes that are shaking the west coast, because ‘the Big One’ probably won’t happen for thousands of years.”

#19 “The fact that tens of millions of Americans will be mailing in their ballots won’t cause any issues at all.  All of the ballots will be counted quickly, efficiently and accurately, and the American people will remain perfectly calm while we wait for days or even weeks to find out the winner of the presidential election.”

#20 “Even though more than 60 million children have already been aborted, and even though every form of evil that you can possibly imagine is exploding all around us, there will never be any serious consequences for our actions and the greatest days for America are still ahead of us even though we completely refuse to change our ways.”

***Michael’s new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.***

About the Author: My name is Michael Snyder and my brand new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available on Amazon.com.  In addition to my new book, I have written four others that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned)  By purchasing the books you help to support the work that my wife and I are doing, and by giving it to others you help to multiply the impact that we are having on people all over the globe.  I have published thousands of articles on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but I also ask that they include this “About the Author” section with each article.  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions.  I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

2020 Has Been A “Nightmare Year” For America, And The Economic Fallout Is Just Getting Started

Most of us have never experienced a year that has been as tough as 2020 has been for our nation.  It has just been one major crisis after another, and the month of September has brought us even more trouble.  The worst wildfire season in the history of the state of California has been making headlines day after day, and now the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg threatens to escalate the political turmoil in this nation to an entirely new level.  Many had such high hopes for 2020, but at this point this year has been such a disaster that USA Today is calling it “an American nightmare”, and it is difficult to argue with their reasoning…

First the pandemic, which divided us, economically devastated us, and has killed nearly 200,000 of us. Then the racial unrest, erupting at the deaths of more Black Americans at the hands of police: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, Daniel Prude.

Now the extreme weather. For only the second time in history, the National Hurricane Center has moved into the Greek alphabet for storm names. This season’s wildfires are bigger, deadlier and more frequent than in years past. In the West, people can’t breathe.

And now a member of the U.S. Supreme Court has died with about a month and a half to go until we get to election day.

The shocking death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg has stunned the entire country, and I will share my analysis on where things could go from here on The Most Important News later tonight.

In this article, I want to focus on the economic impact that all of this chaos is having.

Since the pandemic first started, more than 60 million Americans have filed new claims for unemployment benefits, and that is a threshold that has never been crossed before in all of our history.

And we have also seen businesses shut down at a pace that is hard to fully grasp.  If you can believe it, more than 160,000 businesses listed on Yelp say “that they have closed”

Yelp on Wednesday released its latest Economic Impact Report, revealing business closures across the U.S. are increasing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic’s economic toll.

As of Aug, 31, 163,735 businesses have indicated on Yelp that they have closed. That’s down from the 180,000 that closed at the very beginning of the pandemic. However, it actually shows a 23% increase in the number of closures since mid-July.

I was most alarmed by that last sentence.

Things were supposed to be getting a lot better by now, but instead we have seen “a 23% increase in the number of closures since mid-July”.

That is not good.

And the percentage of businesses on Yelp that are indicating that their closures are “permanent” just keeps rising

In addition to monitoring closed businesses, Yelp also takes into account the businesses whose closures have become permanent. That number has steadily increased throughout the past six months, now reaching 97,966, representing 60% of closed businesses that won’t be reopening.

So what this means is that none of us should be expecting a return to what we considered to be “normal” prior to 2020.

In fact, it is likely that we will see large numbers of businesses continue to fail in the months ahead.  According to Fox Business, a whopping 40 percent of all U.S. restaurants “could go under within the next six months”…

At least 40% of restaurant operators struggling to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic believe their businesses could go under within the next six months if there is no additional stimulus package from the federal government, according to a new survey by the National Restaurant Association.

With one in every six restaurants closed permanently or for the “long term,” the industry is on track to lose $240 billion in sales by the end of the year, according to the National Restaurant Association’s findings on the impact COVID-19 has on the restaurant business.

So what do you think?

Should we bail out the restaurant industry?

By the way, the airline industry really wants a bailout too.

And just about every other industry is looking for government help as well.

The reason why almost everyone has their hands out is because we have plunged into a crippling economic depression, and everyone is starting to realize that there is no end in sight to this downturn.

Of course most average citizens also want another round of “stimulus checks” from the federal government, and we are being told that there is a really good chance that “the economy backslides” if that does not happen…

Lawmakers remain deadlocked over a measure to provide another round of $1,200 checks to most households and more aid to struggling small businesses and unemployed Americans. Most saw the money they received from Congress’s $2.2 trillion CARES Act run dry over the summer.

“If they don’t” approve another stimulus, “they’re taking a huge risk, says Mark Zandi chief economist of Moody’s Analytics. “The odds are better than even the economy backslides.”

We have already stolen several trillion dollars from future generations of Americans so far this year to fund “stimulus packages”, and so a lot of people figure that it probably wouldn’t make that much of a difference if we stole several trillion more to fund another one.

And the Federal Reserve has been flooding the financial system with so much new money that it makes everything that they have ever done in the past look completely insignificant.

In the process, our authorities are systematically destroying the reserve currency that the entire globe depends upon, but at this point very few people seem to care.

So we continue to steamroll toward economic oblivion, and nobody is even thinking about hitting the brakes.

In the USA Today article that I quoted at the start of this piece, the author stated that it is “impossible to know if the worst is behind us or still lies ahead”…

Many of us are vacillating between horror and disbelief at what can only be described as an American nightmare. Devastation doesn’t cover it. It’s impossible to know if the worst is behind us or still lies ahead.

Of course that is not true at all.  In fact, it is exceeding clear that what is ahead of us is going to be much, much worse than what we have already experienced.

But most Americans don’t want to hear that.

Most of us just want to cling to the belief that someday we will wake up and everything will have returned to normal.

That may happen in fairy tales, but this is real life, and real life simply does not work that way.

***Michael’s new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.***

About the Author: My name is Michael Snyder and my brand new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available on Amazon.com.  By purchasing the book you help to support the work that my wife and I are doing, and by giving it to others you help to multiply the impact that we are having on people all over the globe.  I have published thousands of articles on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but I also ask that they include this “About the Author” section with each article.  In addition to my new book, I have written four others that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned)  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions.  I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

When It Comes To Economic Suffering, Some Parts Of The U.S. Are Feeling It Far More Than Others

2020 has been a very tough year for the U.S. as a whole, but some portions of the country have been hit much harder than others.  For example, if you live in a rural area that hasn’t seen any civil unrest and that hasn’t been hit very hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, the way that you are living your life now may seem nearly unchanged from the way you were living your life in 2019.  But if you live in an urban area that has experienced endless protests and rioting and that has seen COVID-19 sweep through local neighborhoods like wildfire, your life in 2020 may look radically different from the way it looked in 2019.  Unfortunately, conditions in our largest cities are not likely to improve dramatically any time soon.

But many people that live in rural communities are feeling pretty good about things right now.  Even though more than 52 million Americans have filed new claims for unemployment benefits over the last 18 weeks, the official unemployment rate in many rural counties is still in the single digits.

I know that may be difficult to believe, but that is what the numbers tell us.

Sadly, in many of our largest cities it is a completely different story.  New York City was one of the early epicenters of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, and many of us will never forget watching video footage of the looting that took place in the heart of Manhattan earlier this year.  As a result of all of this chaos, the unemployment rate in the state as a whole is nearly twice the national average

New York’s unemployment rate rose to 20.4% last month, according to state-level data issued Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that detailed figures for some large metro areas. That’s up from 18.3% in May and 15% in April.

We see a very similar story when we look at the city of Los Angeles.

Thanks to COVID-19 and endless civil unrest, the official unemployment rate in the city is hovering near 20 percent

Los Angeles, the second-largest U.S. city, has seen a similar level of joblessness.

Its unemployment rate recovered slightly in June but remains startlingly high — at 19.5%, versus 20.6% in May, according to data published Friday by California’s Employment Development Department.

Unfortunately, it appears that the COVID-19 pandemic and the violence in our major cities are both going to be with us for the foreseeable future.

Some people think that the civil unrest will disappear if Joe Biden wins in November, but I do not believe that is the case.  Nearly all of the major cities where the violence is happening are controlled by radical Democrats, and those radical Democrats have been completely unable to control the riots.  To the protesters, Republicans and Democrats are both two sides of the same coin and are both responsible for the injustices in our society, and they are not going to give up on their goals just because a moderate Democrat like Joe Biden wins the election.

At this point, millions upon millions of Americans are sticking closer to home these days because of COVID-19 and all the unrest, and this has been particularly devastating for the leisure and hospitality industries

The unemployment rate in the leisure and hospitality industries, including restaurants, soared from 5.7% in February to 39.3% in April, and in June was still at an unprecedented 28.9%. By comparison, the overall unemployment rate is 11.1%, and no other industry comes close to restaurants’ level.

The restaurant industry employed nearly 9.2 million people in June, almost 3 million more than in April but still 25% below where it was in February. Anecdotally, though, restaurant workers—even those who’ve spent decades in the industry—say they’re looking to get out. The line of work that had been stable, geographically flexible, reliable and largely safe for generations is no more, they say.

As I discussed the other day, we have already lost thousands upon thousands of small and independent restaurants, and this “restaurant apocalypse” is only going to get worse with each passing month.

Moving forward, some cities may never be the same again.  In Las Vegas, the official unemployment rate recently hit 29 percent, and everyone agrees that tourism will never recover until the pandemic ends.

If this pandemic stretches on for several years, many of those unemployed workers will be forced to abandon the city entirely in order to find work elsewhere.

Sadly, competition for the few good jobs that are available will become increasingly fierce, and this will result in millions of Americans falling out of the middle class.

And we are starting to see some numbers that indicate that this process is already moving along very quickly.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, “24 million Americans say they have little to no chance of being able to pay next month’s rent”.

Just think about that.

We never saw anything like this during the last recession, and the Census Bureau says that things are particular dire for Black and Hispanic renters

This month, nearly 28% of Black renters say they haven’t paid last month’s rent, and about 46% say they have slight or no confidence they’ll be able to pay next month’s rent, according to figures from the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey. Hispanic renters face similar economic strain: 22% say they missed last month’s rent and 46% fear they won’t make rent next month.

Those numbers are simply eye-popping.  As people increasingly get behind on their bills, the cries for more direct government assistance will become deafening, and it appears that Republicans and Democrats in Congress both want to pass yet another stimulus bill.

Of course that will mean borrowing and spending more gigantic piles of money that we do not currently have, but at this point most Americans do not seem to care that we are literally completely destroying our financial future.

For such a long time, I warned that the next economic downturn would be worse than the last recession, and that has turned out to be precisely correct.

And what we are experiencing right now will pale in comparison to what is eventually coming.

But for most people, the only thing that seems to matter is what is happening here and now.

And at this moment we are seeing tremendous economic suffering in major cities all over the nation, and in an election year very few of our politicians want to be the “bad guy” that says that we can’t hand out “free money” to everyone.

So our currency will continue to be rapidly devalued, our debt levels will continue to explode, and we shall get to see where this relentless march toward socialism takes us.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

“Free Money”: Most Americans Want The Government To Issue More Stimulus Checks

“When the people find that they can vote themselves money that will herald the end of the republic.”  That is a direct quote from Benjamin Franklin, and it has turned out to be quite prophetic.  Today, most of our politicians are socialists whether they accept that label or not, and the American people have come to expect the government “to do something for them” whenever any sort of a crisis comes along.  In response to this COVID-19 pandemic, Congress has borrowed and spent trillions more dollars that we do not have, and most Americans have been quite thrilled to receive their “stimulus checks”.  But of course now a lot of people are insisting that those checks were not enough and they want more.  In fact, one new survey just found that most Americans want the checks to keep coming.  The idea of “free money” is so seductive, but unfortunately most of the population simply does not understand that eventually there is a great price to be paid for throwing “free money” around.

So far, more than 300,000 people across the globe have died during this pandemic.  But during the Spanish Flu pandemic that stretched from 1918 to 1920, somewhere between 50 million and 100 million people died.  During that horrific pandemic, our society did not shut down and the federal government did not borrow and spend giant mountains of money in a desperate attempt to keep the economy afloat.  Instead, our leaders responded with common sense and quiet resolve, and it set the stage for a tremendous economic boom during “the Roaring Twenties”.

Unfortunately, this time around our leaders responded to COVID-19 by locking down nearly the entire country, and that is going to result in the largest GDP collapse in American history

In its latest projections, the CBO sees GDP capsizing 38% on an annualized basis in the second quarter with the 26 million more unemployed Americans than there were at the end of 2019.

The forecasts are roughly in line with Wall Street economists and slightly less dour than the most recent tracking number from the Atlanta Federal Reserve, which sees GDP falling about 42% in the April-to-June period.

Without a doubt, we are now in a very deep economic depression, and the months ahead look very bleak.

But instead of focusing on solutions, many Americans are desperate for the federal government to take care of them.  According to one recent survey, 82 percent of Americans want the government to issue more “stimulus checks”…

A whopping 82% of people feel that the one-time stimulus check of $1,200 is not enough to cover their expenses. They feel that these checks should continue until the lockdown ends.

I have a hard time believing that number is actually that high, but even if you cut that number in half it would still be astounding.

Have we now reached a point where much of the nation is eager to embrace full-blown socialism?

Apparently so, and that is quite discouraging.

But the “free money” that socialists promise is never actually free.

When the Federal Reserve creates trillions of dollars out of thin air and pumps it into the financial system, that is not “free money”.

And when the federal government borrows and spends trillions of dollars that we do not currently have, that is not “free money”.  In essence, we are stealing that money from future generations of Americans, and what we are doing is beyond criminal.  For much more on that, please see my recent article entitled “Fear Of The Coronavirus Has Absolutely Destroyed America’s Future”.

Whenever a new dollar is introduced into the system, it erodes the value of all dollars that currently exist.  Usually this is a relatively slow process, but now our leaders have gone absolutely nuts and very painful inflation is on the way.

In fact, in some sectors of the economy it is already here

Harold’s Chicken on Broadway in Chicago unleashed a wave of public backlash on social media last weekend after it slapped customers with a COVID-19 surcharge of 26%.

Restaurant manager Jacquelyn Santana told CBS Chicago that food suppliers raised wholesale chicken prices by 26% on Saturday “due to the COVID pandemic.” She said a case of chicken wings that generally cost $60, jumped overnight to $90, forcing the wing shop to pass on the costs.

The cost of living is going to be soaring, and most Americans will not be seeing matching increases in their paychecks.

In fact, more than 36 million American workers no longer have a job at all.

Things are about to get really tough for average American families.  Some are going into more debt in order to get through this crisis, while others are dipping into their retirement savings

MagnifyMoney commissioned a survey of 1,239 Americans who have retirement accounts. Many of the analyses conducted look at responses by the “generation” of the responders. Gen Z is defined as ages 18-23, Millennials are 24-39, Gen X is 40-54, Baby Boomers are 55-74, and the “silent generation” is aged 75+.

The survey shows that 30% of Americans have withdrawn an average of $6,757.20 from their retirement savings from about March 1 through May 1. Another 19% responded that they have not taken money out yet but they plan to do so.

As time goes by, an increasing number of Americans will eventually come to a financial breaking point, and there will be a tremendous amount of pressure on the government “to do something” once again.

And just like we have seen with so many other socialist experiments, the answer will always be more “free money”.

But to see where this ends, just look at Venezuela.  Nearly everyone in the entire country is a “millionaire”, but nearly everyone in the entire country is also living in deep poverty.

Once faith in a currency is destroyed, it is nearly impossible to restore it.

And we are in the process of destroying faith in the reserve currency that the entire world uses.

Unfortunately, our leaders are not listening to people like me.  Instead, they are willing to try just about anything to turn the collapsing U.S. economy around.

At this point, even Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is admitting that this is the worst economic downturn that we have seen “since World War II”

The pair offered a cautious view of the economy, with Mnuchin displaying a more optimistic outlook than Powell, who told the Senate Banking Committee that “the scope and speed of this downturn are without modern precedent and are significantly worse than any recession since World War II.”

Mnuchin noted that he anticipated the economy would recover but said “there is risk of permanent damage” should states wait too long in reopening their economies.

Sadly, things didn’t have to get so bad so soon.

If our leaders had responded rationally to this pandemic, the U.S. economy would still be in relatively decent shape.

But now our economic bubble has burst, and very challenging days are ahead of us.

As our problems mount, a lot of people are going to insist that “free money” is the solution.

Of course it isn’t any sort of a solution at all.  “Free money” is actually economic poison, and the U.S. economy is never going to recover from this.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all many people as we possibly can.

States Are Now Wrestling With The Biggest Budget Crisis They Have Faced In All Of U.S. History

Most U.S. states are seeing tax revenues completely and utterly collapse during this COVID-19 pandemic, and some are already begging the federal government for bailout money.  Because if dramatic intervention does not happen, many states are going to have to start savagely slashing their expenditures, and that could mean unprecedented job losses on the state government level.  Typically, state government bureaucrats make above average salaries and those jobs often come with very nice benefit packages.  Once those jobs have been eliminated, they will not be easy to replace.

The tax revenue numbers that are starting to come in are nothing short of shocking.  Just consider these examples

Georgia is showing a decline of more than $100 million in sales tax, fuel tax and other tax revenue compared with the same period a year ago. Tennessee’s tax revenue is down more than $120 million. Pennsylvania’s is off by more $760 million, and Texas, which also has been hammered by the downturn in oil prices, has seen tax collections plummet by nearly $1 billion.

And New Jersey officials just reported that tax revenue in their state fell a whopping 60 percent during the month of April compared to a year ago.

These are unprecedented figures, and they have created gaping holes in state budgets all over the nation

Colorado faces a gap of nearly a quarter of the state’s general budget. The projected gap in California is more than a fifth of its spending plan and in Oklahoma, a sixth. The governor of Oregon is preparing to cut 17% of her budget. Michigan may have to slash up to a quarter of the money it sends to schools.

And what is truly frightening is that this new economic depression in only a couple of months old.

What will things look like once we get several more months down the road?

Already, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says that things are so bad in his state that a 61 billion dollar federal bailout is needed

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said his state needs $61 billion in federal support “or we will wind up aggravating the situation” by forcing cuts to local governments.

“You know who local governments are? That’s police, firefighters. You want me to cut hospitals? Hospitals are the nurses and the doctors who just got us through this and everyone celebrates as heroes. If you don’t fund the state, that’s who you’re cutting in terms of finances.”

Of course we have entered a time when literally everyone is going to be begging the federal government for money.

And as I discussed yesterday, all of the reckless borrowing and spending the federal government has been doing is going to absolutely wreck the value of our currency.

But most of our politicians are not really concerned about the value of the U.S. dollar at this point.  They just want to to rev up the cash machine and try to patch up our sinking ship.

Another thing to keep a close eye on is the fact that public pension plans all over the country are headed for major problems.  In fact, U.S. public pension plans just had the worst quarter ever recorded

Public pension plans lost a median 13.2% in the three months ended March 31, according to Wilshire Trust Universe Comparison Service data released Tuesday, slightly more than in the fourth quarter of 2008. March’s stock market plummet led to the biggest one-quarter drop in the 40 years the firm has been tracking.

“It was a horrible quarter for all public funds,” said Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund Investment Chief Angela Miller-May.

This was already an emerging crisis even before COVID-19 came along, and now a lot of these plans are going to be in very, very serious trouble.

This is one of the reasons why authorities are so desperate to prop up the stock market.  Pension plans have poured so much money into stocks in recent years, and that worked out just fine during the boom years.

But now that a new economic depression has arrived, it is going to turn out to be a catastrophic strategy.

Meanwhile, we continue to get more bad economic news with each passing day.  On Wednesday, we learned that Steak ‘n Shake will be permanently shutting down more than 50 locations

The restaurant Steak ‘n Shake has announced the decision to permanently close at least 51 of its restaurant locations nationwide. The move comes amid growing worry about the COVID-19 outbreak and its damage on the company’s financial future.

Biglari Holdings Inc. announced in its first quarter report that Steak ‘n Shake’s revenue has drop $59 million compared to the same time last year because of a decrease in demand.

For those keeping score at home, these are more jobs that are never, ever coming back.

But I certainly can’t blame Steak ‘n Shake for shutting down restaurants.  Social distancing restrictions will remain in effect in some areas of the country for many months to come, and fear of the coronavirus will keep many customers away long after all of the restrictions have finally been lifted.

Certain industries are just going to have to accept the fact that we have entered a new economic reality, and business models are going to have to fundamentally change.  For example, the International Air Transport Association is already projecting lower levels of air travel for at least the next five years

Demand for air travel will lag behind pre-coronavirus forecasts for at least five more years, according to the latest projections from the International Air Transport Association.

Global traffic, or the number of passengers carried times the distance flown, will still be about 10% below original estimates in 2025, Brian Pearce, the trade group’s chief economist, said in a media briefing Wednesday.

I was stunned when I first read that.

But this is how fast an economic death spiral can happen.  Fear of the coronavirus has paralyzed economic demand, and this is causing businesses all over America to fail.

As more businesses fail, that creates even more economic fear, and lenders get even tighter with their money.

Hopefully we can break out of this cycle of fear eventually, but of course this “perfect storm” that we are now facing is still only in the very early chapters.

At some point this coronavirus pandemic will fade, but there will be no running away from the consequences of decades of exceedingly foolish decisions.

Those decisions set the stage for the greatest economic crisis in our history, and now we are starting to watch that crisis play out right in front of our eyes on a daily basis.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all many people as we possibly can.

The Cold, Hard Facts Which Prove That The Past Decade Was Actually Quite Awful For The U.S. Economy

If this is what “the good times” look like, how nightmarish are “the bad times” going to be?  In America today, more than 500,000 of us are homeless, about 40 million of us are living in poverty, 50 percent of all workers make less than $33,000 a year, and 70 percent of us have cried about money.  But at least the economy has been “growing”, right?  Well, in this article I would like to address that.  Even if you believe that the highly manipulated economic growth numbers that the government puts out are legitimate, they still show that we are in one of the worst economic stretches in all of U.S. history.

From 1930 to 1933, the U.S. economy experienced four years in a row during which GDP growth each year was under 3 percent.

Up until this current stretch, that was the longest streak in our entire history.

Of course we have absolutely shattered that old record, and now that 2019 is over we can add one more year to our growing total.  At this point, you have to go back to 2005 to find the last year in which the U.S. economy grew by at least 3 percent.

That means that the U.S. economy has not actually had a “good year” since the middle of the Bush administration.

14 years in a row of economic growth below 3 percent is not anything to cheer about.  In fact, it is downright abysmal.

But the good news is that stock prices have been steadily rising over the past decade.  Just check out the numbers that David Wessel recently shared with PBS

So, look, the stock market had a terrific decade. The S&P 500 rose nine out of 10 years. The S&P 500 is up nearly 30 percent this year, just this year alone. And half the stock market wealth in America is held by the top 1 percent of people.

The Federal Reserve created trillions of dollars out of thin air and pumped that money into the financial markets, and of course that was going to be good for stock prices.  And pushing interest rates to the floor also helped inflate the massive bubble that we now see on Wall Street.  The following bit of analysis comes from CNBC

The Fed has kept borrowing rates low throughout the decade, gradually raising them from the end of 2015 through 2018, only to cut quickly again in 2019 to try to fend off any uncertainty in the economy. The central bank’s balance sheet sits at roughly $4 trillion, quadruple its size in 2008.

Needless to say, there is going to be a great price to pay in the long-term for such manipulation, but as long as stock prices keep rising most people don’t seem to care.

Unfortunately, these high stock prices do not represent any sort of permanent wealth.  They are simply a snapshot of what people are willing to pay at this moment in time, and a major disaster could come along which could cut those prices in half by next month.

Economic optimists also like to point to the employment numbers as evidence that the economy is doing well, but those numbers are so manipulated that they are essentially meaningless at this point.

In fact, most of the people that are transitioning from not having a job to having a job each month did not even count as “unemployed” the month previously

This year, the portion of people who got jobs each month who wouldn’t even have been counted among the unemployed the month before reached 75 percent. That’s by far the highest it’s been in the last three decades. The percentage of working-age Americans who have jobs only returned to its pre-Great Recession peak in the last few months. (It still has a ways to go before it returns to its previous peak, just before the 2001 recession.)

Today, more than 100 million working age Americans do not have a job, and John Williams has calculated that if honest numbers were being used that the real unemployment rate would be above 20 percent.

The truth is that we still have an employment crisis in this country, and anyone that suggests otherwise is not being straight with you.

Meanwhile, productivity growth has been absolutely terrible over the past decade, an increasing share of the economy has become concentrated in corporate hands, and small business creation has continued to collapse.  The following comes from an excellent article by Annie Lowrey

In many ways, the American economy became more sclerotic. Corporate concentration increased, with more industry sectors dominated by a small handful of firms. All the stories about the furious innovation coming from Silicon Valley and other tech-dominated regions aside, the start-up economy continued its long, slow collapse. The number of IPOs has fallen, and there are now half as many publicly listed businesses as there were in the late 1990s. Our cultural obsession with start-ups peaked at a time when companies under a year old were half as common as they were 40 years ago.

At the same time, the cost of living for average American families has been skyrocketing but our paychecks have not.  As a result, more Americans are being squeezed out of the middle class with each passing month.  Here is more from Lowrey

Millions of young families who tried to save for a home were unable to purchase one, sapped by the toxic combination of high rents and a lack of stock. Throw in sky-high child-care prices, spiraling out-of-pocket health-care fees, and heavy educational-debt loads, and the 2010s crushed a whole generation as it entered its prime earning years. The Millennials are on track to be the first generation in contemporary history to end up poorer than their parents—unless Gen X beats them to it.

The only thing that has saved our economy from plunging into a horrific depression has been the greatest debt binge in all of human history.

Over the last ten years we have added more than 10 trillion dollars to the national debt, state and local government debt has soared to record highs all over the nation, corporate debt has risen more than 50 percent, student loan debt has more than doubled and the total amount of U.S. household debt is now nearing 14 trillion dollars.

By stealing from the future, we have been able to stabilize the present, but the long-term cost will be more than we can bear.

It is only a matter of time before our mistakes catch up with us, and the clock is ticking.

So please don’t try to tell me that the U.S. economy is in good shape.

The last decade was one of the worst stretches for economic growth in our history, and a day of reckoning awaits us during the decade that is directly ahead.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.

47 Percent Of GDP – This Is Definitely The Scariest Corporate Debt Bubble In U.S. History

We are facing a corporate debt bomb that is far, far greater than what we faced in 2008, and we are being warned that this “unexploded bomb” will “amplify everything” once the financial system starts melting down.  Thanks to exceedingly low interest rates, over the last decade U.S. corporations have been able to go on the greatest corporate debt binge in history.  It has been a tremendous “boom”, but it has also set the stage for a tremendous “bust”.  Large corporations all over the country are now really struggling to deal with their colossal debt burdens, and defaults on the riskiest class of corporate debt are on pace to hit their highest level since 2008.  Everyone can see that a major corporate debt disaster is looming, but nobody seems to know how to stop it.

At this point, companies listed on our stock exchanges have accumulated a total of almost 10 trillion dollars of debt.  That is equivalent to approximately 47 percent of U.S. GDP

A decade of historically low interest rates has allowed companies to sell record amounts of bonds to investors, sending total U.S. corporate debt to nearly $10 trillion, or a record 47% of the overall economy.

In recent weeks, the Federal Reserve, the International Monetary Fund and major institutional investors such as BlackRock and American Funds all have sounded the alarm about the mounting corporate obligations.

We have never witnessed a corporate debt crisis of this magnitude.

Corporate debt is up a whopping 52 percent since 2008, and this bubble is continually growing.

And actually the 10 trillion dollar figure is the most conservative number out there.  Because if you add in all other forms of corporate debt, the grand total comes to 15.5 trillion dollars.  The following comes from Forbes

Total corporate debt is actually much higher. Adding the debt of small medium sized enterprises, family businesses, and other business which are not listed in stock exchanges ads another $5.5 trillion. In other words, total US corporate debt is $15.5 trillion, 74% of US GDP.

Needless to say, this mountain of corporate debt is definitely not sustainable, and I have already noted that defaults are rising.  One expert recently explained that all of this debt is “an exploded bomb” and that at some point something will come along to “trigger the explosion”…

“We are sitting on the top of an unexploded bomb, and we really don’t know what will trigger the explosion,” said Emre Tiftik, a debt specialist at the Institute of International Finance, an industry association.

Right now a lot of large corporations are so maxed out that they can barely service their debts.  So when things start getting really bad for the economy, we could be facing a wave of defaults unlike anything we have ever seen before.

When asked about what this will mean during the next recession, a finance professor at the University of Pennsylvania warned that it will “make everything happen faster, larger, worse”

“It’s going to amplify everything,” said Krista Schwarz, a finance professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. “It’s going to make everything happen faster, larger, worse. The recession would just be that much deeper.”

It sounds like she could be a writer for The Economic Collapse Blog.

Of course I am being a bit silly, but the truth is that there is nothing silly about the giant mountain of debt that our society is facing.

In addition to our looming corporate debt crisis, U.S. consumers are 14 trillion dollars in debt, state and local government debt levels are at record highs, and the U.S. national debt just hit the 23 trillion dollar mark.

If you can believe it, we have actually added another 1.3 trillion dollars to the national debt just since last Thanksgiving

The federal debt has increased by $1,303,466.578.471.45 since last Thanksgiving, according to data released by the U.S. Treasury.

That is the largest Thanksgiving-to-Thanksgiving increase in the debt in nine years. The last time the debt increased more from Thanksgiving to Thanksgiving was in 2010, when it increased by $1,785,995,360,978.10.

It also equals approximately $10,137.48 per household in the United States.

Adding 1.3 trillion dollars to the national debt in 12 months while things are still relatively stable is utter insanity, and what we are doing to future generations of Americans is beyond criminal.

And we aren’t even spending the money well.  In fact, Senator Rand Paul continues to document how we are wasting money in some of the most ridiculous ways imaginable

Sen. Rand Paul is continuing to expose the rampant waste of tax dollars by our government agencies. In a special Fall edition of his Waste Report, the Kentucky senator highlights some of the most wasteful expenditures of our federal government, including a half-a-million-dollar toilet nobody could use and a $22 million project to bring Serbian cheeses up to international standards.

“Once again, The Waste Report takes a closer look at just some of what the federal government is doing with the American people’s hard-earned money, this time including stories of it continuing to turn over so many taxpayer dollars to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, funding research that involves hooking Zebrafish on nicotine, buying textbooks for Afghan students that are subpar or sitting in warehouses, and more in a list that totals over $230 million,” states a press release from Sen. Paul’s office.

Of course it isn’t just the United States that is drowning under an ocean of red ink.  As Bloomberg has detailed, when you total up all forms of debt in the world it comes to a grand total of 250 trillion dollars…

Zombie companies in China. Crippling student bills in America. Sky-high mortgages in Australia. Another default scare in Argentina.

A decade of easy money has left the world with a record $250 trillion of government, corporate and household debt. That’s almost three times global economic output and equates to about $32,500 for every man, woman and child on earth.

So if you have a household of four, your share comes to $130,000.

Are you ready to pay up?

In the end, all of this debt will never be paid off.  Instead, the bubble will just keep ballooning until it inevitably bursts.

And when it finally bursts, many are warning of a complete and total meltdown.  In fact, Rick Ackerman believes that “a Mad Max scenario” is likely…

Ackerman contends, “I am a little more bearish than that. I see a Mad Max scenario as inevitable. . . . I try not to think about it because we’ve all got lives to live and kids to raise. . . . When you go back to the calculous of deflation and that every penny of every debt must be paid, if not by the borrower then by the lender, we have already put ourselves into a condition where Social Security is going to fail. Medicare is going to fail. All the ‘just-in-time’ deliveries are going to be in jeopardy. Food from the grocery stores, one day shipping from Amazon, I don’t see how all these things can continue to operate in a condition other than in the false prosperity that we have now. We are at the pinnacle of affluence.”

I haven’t been able to find anyone that can logically argue that the road that we are currently on has a positive ending.

The truth is that we are headed for complete and total disaster, and the only real debate is about how long it will take for us to get there.

So enjoy these moments of relative stability while you still can, because it is only a matter of time before we go over the precipice.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.

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