The Beginning Of The End
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83 Numbers From 2013 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe

83 SignsDuring 2013, America continued to steadily march down a self-destructive path toward oblivion.  As a society, our debt levels are completely and totally out of control.  Our financial system has been transformed into the largest casino on the entire planet and our big banks are behaving even more recklessly than they did just before the last financial crisis.  We continue to see thousands of businesses and millions of jobs get shipped out of the United States, and the middle class is being absolutely eviscerated.  Due to the lack of decent jobs, poverty is absolutely exploding.  Government dependence is at an all-time high and crime is rising.  Evidence of social and moral decay is seemingly everywhere, and our government appears to be going insane.  If we are going to have any hope of solving these problems, the American people need to take a long, hard look in the mirror and finally admit how bad things have actually become.  If we all just blindly have faith that “everything is going to be okay”, the consequences of decades of incredibly foolish decisions are going to absolutely blindside us and we will be absolutely devastated by the great crisis that is rapidly approaching.  The United States is in a massive amount of trouble, and it is time that we all started facing the truth.  The following are 83 numbers from 2013 that are almost too crazy to believe…

#1 Most people that hear this statistic do not believe that it is actually true, but right now an all-time record 102 million working age Americans do not have a job.  That number has risen by about 27 million since the year 2000.

#2 Because of the lack of jobs, poverty is spreading like wildfire in the United States.  According to the most recent numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau, an all-time record 49.2 percent of all Americans are receiving benefits from at least one government program each month.

#3 As society breaks down, the government feels a greater need than ever before to watch, monitor and track the population.  For example, every single day the NSA intercepts and permanently stores close to 2 billion emails and phone calls in addition to a whole host of other data.

#4 The Bank for International Settlements says that total public and private debt levels around the globe are now 30 percent higher than they were back during the financial crisis of 2008.

#5 According to a recent World Bank report, private domestic debt in China has grown from 9 trillion dollars in 2008 to 23 trillion dollars today.

#6 In 1985, there were more than 18,000 banks in the United States.  Today, there are only 6,891 left.

#7 The six largest banks in the United States (JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley) have collectively gotten 37 percent larger over the past five years.

#8 The U.S. banking system has 14.4 trillion dollars in total assets.  The six largest banks now account for 67 percent of those assets and all of the other banks account for only 33 percent of those assets.

#9 JPMorgan Chase is roughly the size of the entire British economy.

#10 The five largest banks now account for 42 percent of all loans in the United States.

#11 Right now, four of the “too big to fail” banks each have total exposure to derivatives that is well in excess of 40 trillion dollars.

#12 The total exposure that Goldman Sachs has to derivatives contracts is more than 381 times greater than their total assets.

#13 According to the Bank for International Settlements, the global financial system has a total of 441 trillion dollars worth of exposure to interest rate derivatives.

#14 Through the end of November, approximately 365,000 Americans had signed up for Obamacare but approximately 4 million Americans had already lost their current health insurance policies because of Obamacare.

#15 It is being projected that up to 100 million more Americans could have their health insurance policies canceled by the time Obamacare is fully rolled out.

#16 At this point, 82.4 million Americans live in a home where at least one person is enrolled in the Medicaid program.

#17 It is has been estimated that Obamacare will add 21 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.

#18 It is being projected that health insurance premiums for healthy 30-year-old men will rise by an average of 260 percent under Obamacare.

#19 One couple down in Texas received a letter from their health insurance company that informed them that they were being hit with a 539 percent rate increase because of Obamacare.

#20 Back in 1999, 64.1 percent of all Americans were covered by employment-based health insurance.  Today, only 54.9 percent of all Americans are covered by employment-based health insurance.

#21 The U.S. government has spent an astounding 3.7 trillion dollars on welfare programs over the past five years.

#22 Incredibly, 74 percent of all the wealth in the United States is owned by the wealthiest 10 percent of all Americans.

#23 According to Consumer Reports, the number of children in the United States taking antipsychotic drugs has nearly tripled over the past 15 years.

#24 The marriage rate in the United States has fallen to an all-time low.  Right now it is sitting at a yearly rate of just 6.8 marriages per 1000 people.

#25 According to a shocking new study, the average American that turned 65 this year will receive $327,500 more in federal benefits than they paid in taxes over the course of their lifetimes.

#26 In just one week in December, a combined total of more than 2000 new cold temperature and snowfall records were set in the United States.

#27 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, median household income in the United States has fallen for five years in a row.

#28 The rate of homeownership in the United States has fallen for eight years in a row.

#29 Only 47 percent of all adults in America have a full-time job at this point.

#30 The unemployment rate in the eurozone recently hit a new all-time high of 12.2 percent.

#31 If you assume that the labor force participation rate in the U.S. is at the long-term average, the unemployment rate in the United States would actually be 11.5 percent instead of 7 percent.

#32 In November 2000, 64.3 percent of all working age Americans had a job.  When Barack Obama first entered the White House, 60.6 percent of all working age Americans had a job.  Today, only 58.6 percent of all working age Americans have a job.

#33 There are 1,148,000 fewer Americans working today than there was in November 2006.  Meanwhile, our population has grown by more than 16 million people during that time frame.

#34 Only 19 percent of all Americans believe that the job market is better than it was a year ago.

#35 Just 14 percent of all Americans believe that the stock market will rise next year.

#36 According to CNBC, Pinterest is currently valued at more than 3 billion dollars even though it has never earned a profit.

#37 Twitter is a seven-year-old company that has never made a profit.  It actually lost 64.6 million dollars last quarter.  But according to the financial markets it is currently worth about 22 billion dollars.

#38 Right now, Facebook is trading at a valuation that is equivalent to approximately 100 years of earnings, and it is currently supposedly worth about 115 billion dollars.

#39 Total consumer credit has risen by a whopping 22 percent over the past three years.

#40 Student loans are up by an astounding 61 percent over the past three years.

#41 At this moment, there are 6 million Americans in the 16 to 24-year-old age group that are neither in school or working.

#42 The “inactivity rate” for men in their prime working years (25 to 54) has just hit a brand new all-time record high.

#43 It is hard to believe, but in America today one out of every ten jobs is now filled by a temp agency.

#44 Middle-wage jobs accounted for 60 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession, but they have accounted for only 22 percent of the jobs created since then.

#45 According to the Social Security Administration, 40 percent of all U.S. workers make less than $20,000 a year.

#46 Approximately one out of every four part-time workers in America is living below the poverty line.

#47 After accounting for inflation, 40 percent of all U.S. workers are making less than what a full-time minimum wage worker made back in 1968.

#48 When Barack Obama took office, the average duration of unemployment in this country was 19.8 weeks.  Today, it is 37.2 weeks.

#49 Investors pulled an astounding 72 billion dollars out of bond mutual funds in 2013.  It was the worst year for bond funds ever.

#50 Small business is rapidly dying in America.  At this point, only about 7 percent of all non-farm workers in the United States are self-employed.  That is an all-time record low.

#51 The six heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton have as much wealth as the bottom one-third of all Americans combined.

#52 Once January 1st hits, it will officially be illegal to manufacture or import traditional incandescent light bulbs in the United States.  It is being projected that millions of Americans will attempt to stock up on the old light bulbs before they are totally gone from store shelves.

#53 The Japanese government has estimated that approximately 300 tons of highly radioactive water is being released into the Pacific Ocean from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear facility every single day.

#54 Back in 1967, the U.S. military had more than 31,000 strategic nuclear warheads.  That number is already being cut down to 1,550, and now Barack Obama wants to reduce it to only about 1,000.

#55 As you read this, 60 percent of all children in Detroit are living in poverty and there are approximately 78,000 abandoned homes in the city.

#56 Wal-Mart recently opened up two new stores in Washington D.C., and more than 23,000 people applied for just 600 positions.  That means that only about 2.6 percent of the applicants were ultimately hired.  In comparison, Harvard offers admission to 6.1 percent of their applicants.

#57 At this point, almost half of all public school students in America come from low income homes.

#58 Tragically, there are 1.2 million students that attend public schools in the United States that are homeless.  That number has risen by 72 percent since the start of the last recession.

#59 According to a Gallup poll that was recently released, 20.0 percent of all Americans did not have enough money to buy food that they or their families needed at some point over the past year.  That is just under the all-time record of 20.4 percent that was set back in November 2008.

#60 The number of Americans on food stamps has grown from 17 million in the year 2000 to more than 47 million today.

#61 Right now, one out of every five households in the United States is on food stamps.

#62 The U.S. economy loses approximately 9,000 jobs for every 1 billion dollars of goods that are imported from overseas.

#63 Back in 1950, more than 80 percent of all men in the United States had jobs.  Today, less than 65 percent of all men in the United States have jobs.

#64 According to one survey, approximately 75 percent of all American women do not have any interest in dating unemployed men.

#65 China exports 4 billion pounds of food to the United States every year.

#66 Overall, the United States has run a trade deficit of more than 8 trillion dollars with the rest of the world since 1975.

#67 The number of Americans on Social Security Disability now exceeds the entire population of Greece, and the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the entire population of Spain.

#68 It is being projected that the number of Americans on Social Security will rise from 57 million today to more than 100 million in 25 years.

#69 Back in 1970, the total amount of debt in the United States (government debt + business debt + consumer debt, etc.) was less than 2 trillion dollars.  Today it is over 56 trillion dollars.

#70 Back on September 30th, 2012 our national debt was sitting at a total of 16.1 trillion dollars.  Today, it is up to 17.2 trillion dollars.

#71 The U.S. government “rolled over” more than 7.5 trillion dollars of existing debt in fiscal 2013.

#72 If the U.S. national debt was reduced to a stack of one dollar bills it would circle the earth at the equator 45 times.

#73 When Barack Obama was first elected, the U.S. debt to GDP ratio was under 70 percent.  Today, it is up to 101 percent.

#74 The U.S. national debt is on pace to more than double during the eight years of the Obama administration.  In other words, under Barack Obama the U.S. government will accumulate more debt than it did under all of the other presidents in U.S. history combined.

#75 The federal government is borrowing (stealing) roughly 100 million dollars from our children and our grandchildren every single hour of every single day.

#76 At this point, the U.S. already has more government debt per capita than Greece, Portugal, Italy, Ireland or Spain.

#77 Japan now has a debt to GDP ratio of more than 211 percent.

#78 As of December 5th, 83 volcanic eruptions had been recorded around the planet so far this year.  That is a new all-time record high.

#79 53 percent of all Americans do not have a 3 day supply of nonperishable food and water in their homes.

#80 Violent crime in the United States was up 15 percent last year.

#81 According to a very surprising survey that was recently conducted, 68 percent of all Americans believe that the country is currently on the wrong track.

#82 Back in 1972, 46 percent of all Americans believed that “most people can be trusted”.  Today, only 32 percent of all Americans believe that “most people can be trusted”.

#83 According to a recent Pew Research survey, only 19 percent of all Americans trust the government.   Back in 1958, 73 percent of all Americans trusted the government.

So do you have any numbers from 2013 that you would add to this list?  If so, please feel free to share them by posting a comment below…

They Denied That We Were In A Depression In 1933 And They Are Doing It Again In 2013

Great Depression HeadlinesThe more things change, the more things stay the same.  The Great Depression actually started in 1929, but as you will see below, as late as 1933 the Associated Press was still pumping out lots of news stories with optimistic economic headlines and many Americans still did not believe that we were actually in a depression.  And of course we are experiencing a very similar thing today.  The United States is in the worst financial shape that it has ever been in, our economic infrastructure is being systematically gutted, and poverty is absolutely exploding.  Since the stock market crash of 2008, the Federal Reserve has been wildly printing money and the federal government has been running trillion dollar deficits in a desperate attempt to stabilize things, but in the process they have made our long-term economic problems far worse.  It would be hard to overstate how dire our situation is, and yet the mainstream media continues to assure us that everything is just fine and that happy days are here again.

As I have already noted, the mainstream media was doing the exact same thing back during the days of the Great Depression.  The following are actual Associated Press headlines from 1933…

Decisive Break from Panic Shown in Business Figures

Markets Spurt To New Highs

New Farm Bill to End Depression

And the following is a headline discovery from 1933 that was made by Linda Goin

I was browsing through old newspapers the other day and discovered a page filled with news about the stock market and banks in the Daily Capital News from Jefferson City, Missouri. The date was March 15, 1933, well into the Great Depression, and the news was cautiously celebratory as a headline read, “Era of Fear is Declared at End Now.

The Depression-era classic song entitled “Happy Days Are Here Again” was played at the Democratic National Convention in 1932 and it went on to be featured by the Democrats for many years after that.  The following is an excerpt from a Wikipedia article about that song…

Today, the song is probably best remembered as the campaign song for Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s successful 1932 presidential campaign. According to TIME magazine, it gained prominence after a spontaneous decision by Roosevelt’s advisers to play it at the 1932 Democratic National Convention, and went on to become the Democratic Party‘s “unofficial theme song for years to come”.

There is only one huge problem.

The election of Roosevelt didn’t end the depression.  Years of bitter economic suffering and dust bowl conditions were still ahead.  The Great Depression continued all the way up to the start of World War II, and the war years were certainly no picnic for average folks either.

But at least cheery headlines can make people feel better, right?

That is what some believe.

Others believe that giving people false hope is very cruel and that it sets up people for failure.

The following are some actual headlines that were found on mainstream news sites today…

CNBC: “Recession risk gone in all US states but 1: Moody’s Analytics

CNN: “Foreclosure crisis is drawing to a close

NBC News: “Stocks close near highs; S&P logs 7-day rally

Wow, those headlines sound great!

So are happy days here again?

Not quite.

In fact, things continue to get even worse in a whole host of ways.  Just consider the following statistics…

-According to a brand new Gallup poll that was just released, 20.0% of all Americans did not have enough money to buy food that they or their families needed at some point over the past year.  That is just under the record of 20.4% that was set back in November 2008.

-Gallup also found that the ability of American families to meet some of their other most basic needs is near an all-time low…

The Basic Access Index, which includes 13 questions about topics including Americans’ ability to afford food, housing, and healthcare, was 81.4 in August, on par with the all-time low of 81.2 recorded in October 2011.

-More than 90 million working age Americans are considered to be “not in the labor force”.

-The labor force participation rate is the lowest that it has been in 35 years.

-516,000 Americans “left the labor force” last month.  That was a brand new all-time record high.

-The number of private sector jobs dropped by 278,000 last month.

-77 percent of the jobs that have been “created” so far this year have been part-time jobs.

-Approximately one out of every four part-time workers in America is living below the poverty line.

-Right now, 40 percent of all U.S. workers are making less than what a full-time minimum wage worker made back in 1968.

-The U.S. trade deficit with China has hit a brand new record high.

-The U.S. trade deficit with the EU has hit a brand new record high.

-The number of U.S. households on food stamps is at a brand new record high.

-One of the largest furniture manufacturers in America was just forced into bankruptcy

The maker of furniture brands such as Thomasville, Broyhill, Lane and Drexel Heritage said Monday that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

-Total mortgage activity has dropped to the lowest level that we have seen since October 2008.

Yes, those in the top 1 percent are doing very well for the moment thanks to the reckless money printing that the Federal Reserve has been doing.

But for most Americans, the last several years have been a continual struggle.  The following is a list that comes from one of my previous articles entitled “44 Facts About The Death Of The Middle Class That Every American Should Know“…

1. According to one recent survey, “four out of five U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives”.

2. The growth rate of real disposable personal income is the lowest that it has been in decades.

3. Median household income (adjusted for inflation) has fallen by 7.8 percent since the year 2000.

4. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the middle class is taking home a smaller share of the overall income pie than has ever been recorded before.

5. The home ownership rate in the United States is the lowest that it has been in 18 years.

6. It is more expensive to rent a home in America than ever before.  In fact, median asking rent for vacant rental units just hit a brand new all-time record high.

7. According to one recent survey, 76 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.

8. The U.S. economy actually lost 240,000 full-time jobs last month, and the number of full-time workers in the United States is now about 6 million below the old record that was set back in 2007.

9. The largest employer in the United States right now is Wal-Mart.  The second largest employer in the United States right now is a temp agency (Kelly Services).

10. One out of every ten jobs in the United States is now filled through a temp agency.

11. According to the Social Security Administration, 40 percent of all workers in the United States make less than $20,000 a year.

12. The ratio of wages and salaries to GDP is near an all-time record low.

13. The U.S. economy continues to trade good paying jobs for low paying jobs.  60 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession were mid-wage jobs, but 58 percent of the jobs created since then have been low wage jobs.

14. Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs.  Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.

15. At this point, one out of every four American workers has a job that pays $10 an hour or less.

16. According to one study, between 1969 and 2009 the median wages earned by American men between the ages of 30 and 50 declined by 27 percent after you account for inflation.

17. In the year 2000, about 17 million Americans were employed in manufacturing.  Today, only about 12 million Americans are employed in manufacturing.

18. The United States has lost more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities since 2001.

19. The average number of hours worked per employed person per year has fallen by about 100 since the year 2000.

20. Back in the year 2000, more than 64 percent of all working age Americans had a job.  Today, only 58.7 percent of all working age Americans have a job.

21. When you total up all working age Americans that do not have a job, it comes to more than 100 million.

22. The average duration of unemployment in the United States is nearly three times as long as it was back in the year 2000.

23. The percentage of Americans that are self-employed has steadily declined over the past decade and is now at an all-time low.

24. Right now there are 20.2 million Americans that spend more than half of their incomes on housing.  That represents a 46 percent increase from 2001.

25. In 1989, the debt to income ratio of the average American family was about 58 percent.  Today it is up to 154 percent.

26. Total U.S. household debt grew from just 1.4 trillion dollars in 1980 to a whopping 13.7 trillion dollars in 2007.  This played a huge role in the financial crisis of 2008, and the problem still has not been solved.

27. The total amount of student loan debt in the United States recently surpassed the one trillion dollar mark.

28. Total home mortgage debt in the United States is now about 5 times larger than it was just 20 years ago.

29. Back in the year 2000, the mortgage delinquency rate was about 2 percent.  Today, it is nearly 10 percent.

30. Consumer debt in the United States has risen by a whopping 1700% since 1971, and 46% of all Americans carry a credit card balance from month to month.

31. In 1999, 64.1 percent of all Americans were covered by employment-based health insurance.  Today, only 55.1 percent are covered by employment-based health insurance.

32. One study discovered that approximately 41 percent of all working age Americans either have medical bill problems or are currently paying off medical debt, and according to a report published in The American Journal of Medicine medical bills are a major factor in more than 60 percent of all personal bankruptcies in the United States.

33. Each year, the average American must work 107 days just to make enough money to pay local, state and federal taxes.

34. Today, approximately 46.2 million Americans are living in poverty.

35. The number of Americans living in poverty has increased by more than 15 million since the year 2000.

36. Families that have a head of household under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent.

37. At this point, approximately 25 million American adults are living with their parents.

38. In the year 2000, there were only 17 million Americans on food stamps.  Today, there are more than 47 million Americans on food stamps.

39. Back in the 1970s, about one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps.  Today, about one out of every 6.5 Americans is on food stamps.

40. Right now, the number of Americans on food stamps exceeds the entire population of the nation of Spain.

41. According to one calculation, the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of “Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.”

42. At this point, more than a million public school students in the United States are homeless.  This is the first time that has ever happened in our history.  That number has risen by 57 percent since the 2006-2007 school year.

43. According to U.S. Census data, 57 percent of all American children live in a home that is either considered to be “poor” or “low income”.

44. In the year 2000, the ratio of social welfare benefits to salaries and wages was approximately 21 percent.  Today, the ratio of social welfare benefits to salaries and wages is approximately 35 percent.

But there is no way that we are actually in another economic depression, right?

If that was the case, the mainstream media certainly would have told us, right?

According to John Williams of Shadow Government Statistics, if the U.S. government actually used honest numbers, they would show that the U.S. economy has actually been contracting continually since 2005.

In other words, if the numbers were not being manipulated they would show that we have had negative GDP growth every single year since 2005.

I don’t know about you, but that sure sounds like a depression to me.

What do you think?

Great Depression Headlines

19 Reasons To Be Deeply Concerned About The Global Economy As We Enter The 2nd Half Of 2013

EarthIs the global economic downturn going to accelerate as we roll into the second half of this year?  There is turmoil in the Middle East, we are seeing things happen in the bond markets that we have not seen happen in more than 30 years, and much of Europe has already plunged into a full-blown economic depression.  Sadly, most Americans will never understand what is happening until financial disaster strikes them personally.  As long as they can go to work during the day and eat frozen pizza and watch reality television at night, most of them will consider everything to be just fine.  Unfortunately, the truth is that everything is not fine.  The world is becoming increasingly unstable, we are living in the terminal phase of the greatest debt bubble in the history of the planet and the global financial system is even more vulnerable than it was back in 2008.  Unfortunately, most people seem to only have a 48 hour attention span at best these days.  They don’t have the patience to watch long-term trends develop.  And the coming economic collapse is not going to happen all at once.  Rather, it is like watching a very, very slow-motion train wreck happen.  The coming economic nightmare is going to unfold over a number of years.  Yes, there will be moments of great panic, but mostly it will be a steady decline into economic oblivion.  And there are a lot of indications that the second half of this year is not going to be as good as the first half was.  The following are 19 reasons to be deeply concerned about the global economy as we head into the second half of 2013…

#1 The velocity of money in the United States has plunged to an all-time low.  It is extremely difficult to have an “economic recovery” if banks are not lending money and people are not spending it…

Velocity Of Money

#2 The fall of the Egyptian government threatens to bring even more instability to the Middle East.  In response to the events in Egypt, the price of oil rose to more than 101 dollars a barrel on Wednesday.

#3 Every time the average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States has risen over $3.80 in the past three years, a stock market decline has always followed.

#4 As the world becomes increasingly unstable, massive citizen protest movements have been rising all over the globe

The protests have many different origins. In Brazil people rose up against bus fares, in Turkey against a building project. Indonesians have rejected higher fuel prices, Bulgarians the government’s cronyism.

In the euro zone they march against austerity, and the Arab spring has become a perma-protest against pretty much everything. Each angry demonstration is angry in its own way.

#5 The European sovereign debt crisis is flaring up once again.  This time it is Portugal’s turn to take center stage…

From Greece to Cyprus, Slovenia to Spain and Italy, and now most pressingly Portugal, where the finance and foreign ministers resigned in the space of two days, a host of problems is stirring after 10 months of relative calm imposed by the European Central Bank.

Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho told the nation in an address late on Tuesday that he did not accept the foreign minister’s resignation and would try to go on governing.

If his government does end up collapsing, as is now more likely, it will raise immediate questions about Lisbon’s ability to meet the terms of the 78-billion-euro bailout it agreed with the EU and International Monetary Fund in 2011.

#6 It is being projected that Italy will need a major EU bailout within six months.

#7 Bond investors are starting to panic.  In fact, even prominent firms such as Pimco are seeing investors pull massive amounts of money out right now…

In June, investors pulled $9.6bn from Bill Gross’s flagship fund at Pimco, the largest single month of outflows at the fund since Morningstar records began in 1993, the investment research firm said.

The outflows came after investors pulled $1.3bn from the fund in May, which marked the first outflows since December 2011.

Overall, a whopping 80 billion dollars was pulled out of bond funds during June.

#8 Central banks are selling off staggering amounts of U.S. Treasury bonds right now.

#9 U.S. mortgage bonds just suffered their largest quarterly decline in nearly 20 years.

#10 We continue to buy far more from the rest of the world than they buy from us.  The U.S. trade deficit for the month of May was 45.0 billion dollars.

#11 The severe drought that the western half of the United States is suffering never seems to end.  What will it do to food prices if ranchers and farmers out west have to go through another summer like they did last year?

#12 European car sales have fallen to a 20 year low.

#13 Unemployment in the eurozone is at an all-time high.

#14 Could the paper gold Ponzi scheme be on the verge of crumbling?  There are reports that there is now a 100 day delay for gold owners to take physical delivery of their gold from some warehouses owned by the London Metal Exchange…

We’re told that bullion-buyers in London must now wait more than 100 days to take delivery of the bullion for which they have already paid.

The comedic drones at Bloomberg, and officials of the London Metal Exchange itself would have us believe this is due to “warehouse queues.” While precious metals bulls undoubtedly appreciate the imagery implied of a 100-day line-up of armored cars waiting to load their bullion – in the middle of this “bear market” – the implication is fallacious.

In an era of just-in-time inventories; the notion that there can be a 100-day backlog to load bullion into armored cars with the metal already sitting in the warehouse is ludicrous. Clearly what the LME is really reporting here is a greater-than-three-month delay to refine the gold (or silver) being purchased here – and then ship it to their warehouse.

In other words, the “bullion” which traders believe they are purchasing today is in fact merely ore which hasn’t even been dug out of the ground yet.

#15 The number of mortgage applications in the United States is falling at the fastest rate in more than 3 years.

#16 Real disposable income in the United States is falling at the fastest rate in more than 4 years.

#17 The percentage of companies issuing negative earnings guidance for this quarter is at a level that we have never seen before.

#18 Is the dark side of derivatives trading about to be exposed?  EU officials claim that 13 major international banks have been colluding to control the trading of derivatives…

The European Commission says many of the world’s largest investment banks appear to have colluded to block attempts by exchanges to trade and offer more transparent prices for financial products known as credit derivatives.

The commission, the executive arm of the European Union, said Monday it has informed 13 banks — including Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley — as well as the industry association for derivatives itself, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, ISDA, of the preliminary conclusions of an investigation that began in March.

#19 There are 441 trillion dollars of interest rate derivatives sitting out there and interest rates have risen rapidly over the past few weeks.  What is going to happen to those derivatives if interest rates keep going higher?

So what do you think?

Are there any items that are missing that you would add to this list?

Please feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…

All Of This Whining And Crying About The Sequester Shows Why America Is Doomed

CryingIf we can’t even cut federal spending by 2.4 percent without much of the country throwing an absolute hissy fit, then what hope does America have?  All of this whining and crying about the sequester is absolutely disgraceful.  The truth is that even if the sequester goes into effect, the U.S. government will still take in more money than ever before in 2013 and it will still spend more money than ever before in 2013.  So it is a bit disingenuous to call what is about to happen “a spending cut”, but for the sake of argument let’s concede that point.  Even if the budget really was being “cut” by 85 billion dollars, that only would only amount to a “cut” of 2.4 percent to federal spending.  It would barely make a dent in the federal budget deficit for 2013.  The U.S. government would still accumulate about as much new debt in fiscal year 2013 as it did in all the years from the inauguration of George Washington to the inauguration of Ronald Reagan combined.  Our debt to GDP ratio would continue to soar.  The sequester cuts would essentially only be a minor bump on the road to financial oblivion.  But if you listen to Barack Obama and his allies, they would have you believe that we are facing a great national crisis because of these impending cuts.  They would have you believe that hundreds of thousands of people will lose their jobs and that many government agencies will no longer be able to operate effectively.  They would have you believe that “granny won’t get her lunch” and “roofs blown off by Hurricane Sandy won’t get repaired”.  Well, if all of that is true, then what in the world would our country look like if we actually cut a trillion dollars from the federal budget this year and started living within our means?

Have you ever known people that are already hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and yet go out and regularly blow thousands more dollars on wild shopping sprees?

Such debt addicts may be very proud of their new homes, their new cars, their new clothes and all of their fancy electronic gadgets, but it was all purchased with debt.  When a “day of reckoning” finally arrives, many debt addicts lose absolutely everything and end up in the street.

That is what America is like today.

Our politicians like to show off all of the stuff that our government is spending money on, but the truth is that we are spending gigantic mountains of money that we simply do not have.  We are literally stealing from our kids and our grandkids so that we can continue to enjoy a massively inflated standard of living that we have not earned.

But we can’t stop ourselves.  Americans are absolutely addicted to big government.  They want a gigantic government that sends out free money to more than 100 million Americans every month, but they absolutely do not want to pay for it.  They would rather steal money from their children and their grandchildren to pay for it.

This has got to stop, because we are literally destroying the future of this country.

If Americans really want a massively bloated government that takes care of everyone from the cradle to the grave then they should pay for it.

If Americans don’t want to pay for it, then they should reduce the size of the government to a level where they are willing to pay for it.

But stealing money from future generations of Americans to pay our bills is absolutely disgraceful.

As I talked about in a previous article, we are stealing more than 100 million dollars from our children and our grandchildren every single hour of every single day.

Is there anyone out there that is willing to stand up and defend that kind of theft?

But the vast majority of Americans don’t want to do anything to stop it, because they don’t want to harm “the economy” (i.e. our ridiculously bloated standard of living).

Will the sequester cuts hurt the economy a bit?

Of course.

Government spending cuts always hurt the economy.

If we raised taxes to help pay the bills that the federal government has been racking up, would that hurt the economy?

Of course.

Tax increases always hurt the economy.

But if we continue on the path that we are today, America is doomed.

The U.S. national debt is the biggest single debt in the history of the world.  It is now more than 16.6 trillion dollars, and it has gotten more than 23 times larger since Jimmy Carter first entered the White House.

If our politicians suddenly decided to go to a balanced budget today, our debt-fueled “bubble economy” would disappear and we would immediately plunge into a deep economic depression.

Do the American people have the character to be able to handle that kind of an “adjustment” to our standard of living?

Of course not.

That is why so many of our politicians are scared to death of doing anything about the debt.

And even these small sequester “cuts” are freaking everyone out.  Many of our politicians and many in the mainstream media are openly declaring that “the sky is falling”.  Just check out the following short excerpt from a recent New York Times article

The owner of a Missouri smokehouse that makes beef jerky is worried about a slowdown in food safety inspections. A Montana school district is drawing up a list of teachers who could face layoffs. Officials at an Arizona border station fear that lines to cross the border could lengthen. And if Olympic National Park in Washington cannot hire enough workers to plow backcountry trails, they may stay closed until the snow melts in July.

But that is nothing compared to what others are saying.  CNN is declaring that if the sequester cuts happen, “granny won’t get her lunch” and “roofs blown off by Hurricane Sandy won’t get repaired”.

And check out these ominous warnings from Barack Obama about what will happen if the sequester cuts go into effect…

“Emergency responders like the ones who are here today — their ability to help communities respond to and recover from disasters will be degraded.  Border Patrol agents will see their hours reduced.  FBI agents will be furloughed.  Federal prosecutors will have to close cases and let criminals go.  Air traffic controllers and airport security will see cutbacks, which means more delays at airports across the country.  Thousands of teachers and educators will be laid off.  Tens of thousands of parents will have to scramble to find childcare for their kids.  Hundreds of thousands of Americans will lose access to primary care and preventive care like flu vaccinations and cancer screenings.”

The Obama administration has even decided to release hundreds of illegal immigrants in anticipation of the cuts…

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have released “several hundred” immigrants from deportation centers across the country, saying the move is an effort to cut costs ahead of budget cuts due to hit later this week.

Announcing the news Tuesday, ICE officials said that the immigrants were released under supervision and continue to face deportation. After reviewing hundreds of cases, those released were considered low-risk and “noncriminal,” officials said.

The claims about the sequester cuts just seem to get more ridiculous with each passing day.  Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is warning that the cuts will make the U.S. more vulnerable to terrorist attacks,  and Obama recently decided not to send an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf because of “budget concerns“.

Apparently he sees no problem with using the U.S. military to score political points.

And Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says that the budget cuts will result in “less actual deficit reduction in the short run”.

Really?

How stupid do they think we all are?

Yes, the sequester cuts will have an impact on the economy, but they won’t cause the sky to fall.

The following is what the CBO says the economic impact of the cuts is likely to be

The Congressional Budget Office estimates the cuts will cost 750,000 jobs and hit growth by 0.6 percentage points, assuming the cuts remain in effect for the remainder of the fiscal year. Some economists expect a slightly bigger impact.

Remember, these are actually very small cuts.

In fact, according to U.S. Representative Lynn Jenkins, the U.S. government will actually be spending more money in 2013 than it did in 2012 even if the sequester cuts go into effect…

“There’s a fact that says we are going to take in more money this fiscal year than we have ever taken in before,” Jenkins said.  “The budget this year, we will spend more money this year than we spent last year even if the sequester goes into effect.  We will spend more money even if the sequester goes into effect.”

So why is everyone whining and crying over such a very small amount of money?

If you want to get upset about something, why not get upset about things that are increasing our debt by trillions of dollars?

For example, according to a Government Accountability Office report that was just released, Obamacare is going to cause the federal debt to rise by $6.2 trillion.

Why aren’t more people getting upset over that?

Sadly, it is because America is a debt addict.  Most Americans don’t really care much when federal spending skyrockets out of control, but if anyone tries to slow down the spending a little bit they throw hissy fits.

And please don’t tell me that “the big government Republicans” are much better than “the big government Democrats” on budget issues.  The Republicans have caved in and have gone along with all of this wild spending every single time.

On March 27th, they will have another opportunity to do something.  That is when the current continuing resolution expires.

At that time, the Republicans could refuse to pass anything but a balanced budget.

Or they could at least refuse to pass anything except a budget that would cut the federal budget deficit in half.

But they won’t do anything once again.  They will cave in and go along with the status quo because they are cowards.

So we will continue to rip off future generations to fuel our current bloated standard of living.

Thomas Jefferson understood that government borrowing is theft from future generations.  He once made the following statement….

And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.

Shame on you Democrats.

Shame on you Republicans.

Shame on you America.

You are destroying the future of America for your own selfish reasons.

If future generations get the chance, they will look back on what you did to them and they will curse you for it.

For much more on our exploding national debt, please see the following article: “55 Facts About The Debt And U.S. Government Finances That Every American Voter Should Know“.

Not that living within our means would be easy.

Like I said, it would mean a deep economic depression, and it would also likely mean a tremendous amount of societal chaos.

Even now, while we are still living in the boom times, things are really starting to get crazy out there.  Just check out what is going on in Oakland

Oakland’s crime problems have gotten so bad that some people aren’t even bothering to call the cops anymore; instead, they’re trying to solve and prevent crimes themselves.

KPIX 5 cameras caught up with a half dozen neighbors in East Oakland’s Arcadia Park neighborhood Monday as they walked the streets on the lookout for crime. The vigilance has never seemed more necessary than now; 25 homes in the neighborhood have been burglarized over the last two months alone.

In a neighborhood that has started to feel like the wild west, people have even started posting “wanted” signs.

“You have to walk around in your house with a gun to feel safe here,” said Alaska Tarvins of the Arcadia Park Board of Directors.

If this is how bad things are now, how bad will they be when a day of reckoning for our economy arrives?

And a day of reckoning is coming.

Our politicians can try to keep kicking the can down the road for as long as they can, but eventually time will run out.  Just take a look at what is happening in Greece and Spain.  Meanwhile, all of this can kicking is just making the eventual crisis even worse.

We can borrow our way to prosperity for a while, but in the end there is always a very bitter price to pay for doing so.

I would love to tell you that there is a chance that all of this will be turned around, but the truth is that all of this whining and crying about the sequester shows that America is doomed.

I hope that you are getting ready.

Cry

Federal Reserve Money Printing Is The Real Reason Why The Stock Market Is Soaring

Federal Reserve Money Printing Is The Real Reason Why The Stock Market Is SoaringYou can thank the reckless money printing that the Federal Reserve has been doing for the incredible bull market that we have seen in recent months.  When the Federal Reserve does more “quantitative easing”, it is the financial markets that benefit the most.  The Dow and the S&P 500 have both hit levels not seen since 2007 this month, and many analysts are projecting that 2013 will be a banner year for stocks.  But is a rising stock market really a sign that the overall economy is rapidly improving as many are suggesting?  Of course not.  Just because the Federal Reserve has inflated another false stock market bubble with a bunch of funny money does not mean that the U.S. economy is in great shape.  In fact, the truth is that things just keep getting worse for average Americans.  The percentage of working age Americans with a job has fallen from 60.6% to 58.6% while Barack Obama has been president, 40 percent of all American workers are making $20,000 a year or less, median household income has declined for four years in a row, and poverty in the United States is absolutely exploding.  So quantitative easing has definitely not made things better for the middle class.  But all of the money printing that the Fed has been doing has worked out wonderfully for Wall Street.  Profits are soaring at Goldman Sachs and luxury estates in the Hamptons are selling briskly.  Unfortunately, this is how things work in America these days.  Our “leaders” seem far more concerned with the welfare of Wall Street than they do about the welfare of the American people.  When things get rocky, their first priority always seems to be to do whatever it takes to pump up the financial markets.

When QE3 was announced, it was heralded as the grand solution to all of our economic problems.  But the truth is that those running things knew exactly what it would do.  Quantitative easing always pumps up the financial markets, and that overwhelmingly benefits those that are wealthy.  In fact, a while back a CNBC article discussed a very interesting study from the Bank of England which showed a clear correlation between quantitative easing and rising stock prices…

It said that the Bank of England’s policies of quantitative easing – similar to the Fed’s – had benefited mainly the wealthy.

Specifically, it said that its QE program had boosted the value of stocks and bonds by 26 percent, or about $970 billion. It said that about 40 percent of those gains went to the richest 5 percent of British households.

Many said the BOE’s easing added to social anger and unrest. Dhaval Joshi, of BCA Research wrote that  “QE cash ends up overwhelmingly in profits, thereby exacerbating already extreme income inequality and the consequent social tensions that arise from it.”

So should we be surprised that stocks are now the highest that they have been in more than 5 years?

Of course not.

And who benefits from this?

The wealthy do.  In fact, 82 percent of all individually held stocks are owned by the wealthiest 5 percent of all Americans.

Unfortunately, all of this reckless money printing has a very negative impact on all the rest of us.  When the Fed floods the financial system with money, that causes inflation.  That means that the cost of living has gone up even though your paycheck may not have.

If you go to the supermarket frequently, you know exactly what I am talking about.  The new “sale prices” are what the old “regular prices” used to be.  They keep shrinking many of the package sizes in order to try to hide the inflation, but I don’t think many people are fooled.  Our food dollars are not stretching nearly as far as they used to, and we can blame the Federal Reserve for that.

For much more on rising prices in America, please see this article: “Somebody Should Start The ‘Stuff Costs Too Much’ Party“.

Sadly, this is what the Federal Reserve does.  The system was designed to create inflation.  Before the Federal Reserve came into existence, the United States never had an ongoing problem with inflation.  But since the Fed was created, the United States has endured constant inflation.  In fact, we have come to accept it as “normal”.  Just check out the amazing chart in the video posted below

The chart in that video kind of reminds me of a chart that I shared in a previous article

Hyperinflation Weimar Republic

Not that I expect the United States to enter a period of hyperinflation in the near future.

Actually, despite all of the reckless money printing that the Fed has been doing, I expect that at some point we are going to see another wave of panic hit the financial markets like we saw back in 2008.  The false stock market bubble will burst, major banks will fail and the financial system will implode.  It could unfold something like this…

1 – A derivatives panic hits the “too big to fail” banks.

2 – Financial markets all over the globe crash.

3 – The credit markets freeze up.

4 – Economic activity in the United States starts to grind to a halt.

5 – Unemployment rises above 20 percent and mortgage defaults soar to unprecedented levels.

6 – Tax revenues fall dramatically and austerity measures are implemented by the federal government, state governments and local governments.

7 – The rest of the globe rapidly loses confidence in the U.S. financial system and begins to dump U.S. debt and U.S. dollars.

I write about derivatives a lot, because they are one of the greatest threats that the global financial system is facing.  In fact, right now a derivatives scandal is threatening to take down the oldest bank in the world

Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the world’s oldest bank, was making loans when Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci were young men and before Columbus sailed to the New World. The bank survived the Italian War, which saw Siena’s surrender to Spain in 1555, the Napoleonic campaign, the Second World War and assorted bouts of plague and poverty.

But MPS may not survive the twin threats of a gruesomely expensive takeover gone bad and a derivatives scandal that may result in legal action against the bank’s former executives. After five centuries of independence, MPS may have to be nationalized as its losses soar and its value sinks.

So when you hear the word “derivatives” in the news, pay close attention.  The bankers have turned our financial system into a giant casino, and at some point the entire house of cards is going to come crashing down.

In response to the coming financial crisis, I believe that our “leaders” will eventually resort to money printing unlike anything we have ever seen before in a desperate attempt to resuscitate the system.  When that happens, I believe that we will see the kind of rampant inflation that so many people have been warning about.

So what do you think about all of this?

Do you believe that Federal Reserve money printing is the real reason why the stock market is soaring?

Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below…

How Much Money Will They Print?

65 Percent Of Americans Believe That 2013 Will Be A Year Of Economic Difficulty

65 Percent Of Americans Believe That 2013 Will Be A Year Of Economic Difficulty - Photo by Larali21Do you believe that economic trouble is coming in 2013?  If so, you have a lot of company.  According to a brand new Gallup poll that was just released, 65 percent of Americans believe that 2013 will be a year of “economic difficulty” while only 33 percent of Americans believe that 2013 will be a year of “economic prosperity”.  Gallup has been asking this question for a lot of years, and the percentage of Americans that are anticipating economic difficulty in the year ahead has not been this high since the early 1980s.  And without a doubt, there are a whole lot of reasons to be deeply concerned about the economy as we head into the new year.  But it isn’t just 2013 that Americans are pessimistic about.  According to the new Gallup poll, 50 percent of all Americans believe that the best days of America are behind us, and only 47 percent of all Americans believe that the best days of America are ahead of us.  Those are very sobering numbers.  Half the country believes that it is only downhill from here for the United States.  Unfortunately, they are exactly right.  Things are rapidly going to get worse for our economy and for our nation as a whole.  We are going to start reaping the consequences of decades of very foolish decisions, and the pain is going to be immense.

Gallup asked some other very interesting questions as well.  The following are some of the other results from the poll

-68 percent of Americans believe that 2013 will be a year of rising crime rates.

-57 percent of Americans believe that 2013 will be a year in which American power will decline in the world.

-82 percent of Americans believe that 2013 will be a year in which taxes in the United States will rise.

So why are so many people so pessimistic as we enter 2013?

That is a good question.  I think that a lot of people are starting to wake up and are realizing the gigantic problems that are staring the U.S. right in the face.

Even our friends over in Europe can see what is happening to us.  We are like a former athletic champion that is now clearly on the wrong side of “middle age” and is exhibiting obvious signs of decline.  We still like to think of ourselves as “the champ”, but the truth is that we are fat, lazy, broken down and bankrupt.  The following is a brief excerpt from an article that appeared in a major UK news source the other day…

The rest of the world — dangerously reliant on a buoyant U.S. — should note one thing above all: the fundamentals of America’s economy are, frankly, terrible, and its international dominance is not nearly as assured as it once was.

Its economic culture has started to change since President Obama entered the White House four years ago this month.

America more closely resembles Europe in living beyond its means and in the President’s determination to build a massive welfare state.

The mainstream media and most of our politicians endlessly proclaim that things are about to turn around and that a “recovery” is on the way, but that is not even close to the truth.

Fortunately, a few of our politicians realize what is really happening and are willing to talk about it.  Unfortunately, not enough people are listening to them.

For example, Ron Paul has a really good grasp on how destructive the U.S. national debt is and how we are literally destroying the bright future that our children and our grandchildren should have had.  The following is what he posted on his Facebook page the other day about the “fiscal cliff deal” that just got pushed through Congress…

We Are Already Over the Fiscal Cliff

2 January 2013

Despite claims that the Administration and Congress saved America from the fiscal cliff with an early morning vote today, the fact is that government spending has already pushed Americans over the cliff. Only serious reductions in federal spending will stop the cliff dive from ending in a crash landing, yet the events of this past month show that most elected officials remain committed to expanding the welfare-warfare state.

While there was much hand-wringing over the “draconian” cuts that would be imposed by sequestration, in fact sequestration does not cut spending at all. Under the sequestration plan, government spending will increase by 1.6 trillion over the next eight years. Congress calls this a cut because without sequestration spending will increase by 1.7 trillion over the same time frame. Either way it is an increase in spending.

Yet even these minuscule cuts in the “projected rate of spending” were too much for Washington politicians to bear. The last minute “deal” was the worst of both worlds: higher taxes on nearly all Americans now and a promise to revisit these modest reductions in spending growth two months down the road. We were here before, when in 2011 Republicans demanded these automatic modest decreases in government growth down the road in exchange for a massive increase in the debt ceiling. As the time drew closer, both parties clamored to avoid even these modest moves.

Make no mistake: the spending addiction is a bipartisan problem. It is generally believed that one party refuses to accept any reductions in military spending while the other party refuses to accept any serious reductions in domestic welfare programs. In fact, both parties support increases in both military and domestic welfare spending. The two parties may disagree on some details of what kind of military or domestic welfare spending they favor, but they do agree that they both need to increase. This is what is called “bipartisanship” in Washington.

While the media played up the drama of the down-to-the-wire negotiations, there was never any real chance that a deal would not be worked out. It was just drama. That is how Washington operates. As it happened, a small handful of Congressional and Administration leaders gathered in the dark of the night behind closed doors to hammer out a deal that would be shoved down the throats of Members whose constituents had been told repeatedly that the world would end if this miniscule decrease in the rate of government spending was allowed to go through.

While many on both sides express satisfaction that this deal only increases taxes on the “rich,” most Americans will see more of their paycheck going to Washington because of the deal. The Tax Policy Center has estimated that 77 percent of Americans would see higher taxes because of the elimination of the payroll tax cut.

The arguments against the automatic “cuts” in military spending were particularly dishonest. Hawks on both sides warned of doom and gloom if, as the plan called for, the defense budget would have returned to 2007 levels of spending! Does anybody really believe that our defense spending was woefully inadequate just five years ago? And since 2007 we have been told that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are winding down. According to the Congressional Budget Office, over the next eight years military spending would increase 20 percent without the sequester and would increase 18 percent with the sequester. And this is what is called a dangerous reduction in defense spending?

Ironically, some of the members who are most vocal against tax increases and in favor of cuts to domestic spending are the biggest opponents of cutting a penny from the Pentagon budget. Over and over we were told of the hundreds of thousands of jobs that would be lost should military spending be returned to 2007 levels. Is it really healthy to think of our defense budget as a jobs program? Many of these allegedly free-market members sound more Keynesian than Paul Krugman when they praise the economic “stimulus” created by militarism.

As Chris Preble of the Cato Institute wrote recently, “It’s easy to focus exclusively on the companies and individuals hurt by the cuts and forget that the taxed wealth that funded them is being employed elsewhere.”

While Congress ultimately bears responsibility for deficit spending, we must never forget that the Federal Reserve is the chief enabler of deficit spending. Without a central bank eager to monetize the debt, Congress would be unable to fund the welfare-warfare state without imposing unacceptable levels of taxation on the American people. Of course, the Federal Reserve’s policies do impose an “inflation” tax on the American people; however, since this tax is hidden Congress does not fear the same public backlash it would experience if it directly raised income taxes.

I have little hope that a majority of Congress and the President will change their ways and support real spending reductions unless forced to by an economic crisis or by a change in people’s attitudes toward government. Fortunately, increasing numbers of Americans are awakening to the dangers posed by the growth of the welfare-warfare state. Hopefully this movement will continue to grow and force the politicians to reverse course before government spending, taxing, and inflation destroys our economy entirely.

It was good that Ron Paul placed blame on both political parties and on the Federal Reserve for our debt problems.

The Federal Reserve is not often talked about much when it comes to assigning blame for the debt, but it truly is one of the primary reasons why our debt is so enormous today.  The Federal Reserve system was designed to be a perpetual government debt machine, and it has accomplished that task very well.

When the Federal Reserve was first created, the total U.S. national debt was less than 3 billion dollars.

That is about as much as we add to the U.S. national debt every single day at this point.

And since Ben Bernanke took the reigns at the Fed, our debt problems have greatly accelerated.

The U.S. national debt has more than doubled from a little over $8 trillion to more than $16.4 trillion since Ben Bernanke became chairman of the Federal Reserve in 2006.

But disaster has not struck yet, so most Americans think that everything must be okay.

Well, if you want to ignore all of the evidence of our impending economic demise, go ahead and do that.  Go on lots of expensive vacations, run up your credit cards, buy a new boat and party like its 1999.  Enjoy every minute of our debt-fueled prosperity while you still can.  You only live once, right?

But if you are wise, you will try to understand what is coming and you will make preparations so that you and your family will be able to withstand the storm that is coming.  Here are some basic steps that I suggest…

-Use this time of relative prosperity to work hard and make money while you still can.  You want to store up your finances during the good times to help you get through the lean times.

-Get out of debt.  You don’t want massive amounts of debt weighing you down when things get really hard.

-Get more independent of the world system.  Start a side business in the evenings and the weekends.  Learn how to grow your own food.  Get your house off of the grid if possible.  Anything you can do to become more independent and more self-sufficient is good.

-Store food and other essential supplies.  Right now we take for granted that the supermarkets and the big box stores will always be packed with mountains of quality goods at affordable prices.  That may not always be the case.  You want to be prepared for whatever may happen.

For even more tips, please see my previous article entitled “How To Prepare For The Difficult Years Ahead“.

All bubbles eventually burst.

Our national debt bubble will eventually burst.

The derivatives bubble will eventually burst.

The consumer debt bubble will eventually burst.

When those bubbles burst, will you be ready?

I hope and pray that you will.

2013 - Time Is Running Out

50 Predictions For 2013

50 Predictions For 2013Are you ready for a wild 2013?  It should be a very interesting year.  When the calendar flips over each January, lots of people make lots of lists.  They make lists of “resolutions”, but most people never follow through on them.  They make lists of “predictions”, but most of those predictions always seem to end up failing.  Well, I have decided to put out my own list of predictions for 2013.  I openly admit that I won’t get all of these predictions right, and that is okay.  Hopefully I will at least be more accurate than most of the other armchair prognosticators out there.  It is important to look ahead and try to get a handle on what is coming, because I believe that the rest of this decade is going to be extraordinarily chaotic for the U.S. economy.  The false bubble of debt-fueled prosperity that we are enjoying right now is not going to last much longer.  When it comes to an end, the “adjustment” is going to be extremely painful.  Those that understand what is happening and have prepared for it will have the best chance of surviving what is about to hit us.  I honestly don’t know what everybody else is going to do.  Many of the people that don’t see the coming collapse approaching will be totally blindsided by it and will totally give in to despair when they realize what has happened.  But there is no excuse for not seeing what is coming – the signs are everywhere.

So with that being said, the following are 50 bold predictions for 2013…

#1 There will be a major fight between the Republicans and the Democrats over raising the debt ceiling.  This will be one of the stories that dominates news headlines in the months of February and March.

#2 Most of the new “revenue” that will be raised by tax increases in 2013 will come out of the pockets of the middle class.

#3 No matter what “fiscal deals” the Democrats and the Republicans make in 2013, the federal budget deficit will still end up being greater than a trillion dollars for the fifth consecutive year.

#4 The credit rating of the U.S. government will be downgraded again in 2013.

#5 The Federal Reserve, along with major central banks all over the globe, will continue to wildly print money.

#6 There will be more criticism of the Federal Reserve in 2013 than at any other time since it was created back in 1913.

#7 The term “currency war” will be used by the media more in 2013 than it was in 2012.

#8 The movement away from the U.S. dollar as the primary reserve currency of the world will pick up momentum.  This will especially be true in Asia.

#9 The economic depressions in Greece and Spain will get even worse and unemployment in the eurozone will go even higher in 2013.

#10 A financial crisis in Europe will cause officials to grasp for “radical solutions” that will surprise many analysts.

#11 The unemployment rate in the United States will be higher by the end of 2013 than it is now.

#12 The percentage of working age Americans with a job will fall below 58 percent by the end of the year.

#13 At least one “too big to fail” bank will fail in the United States by the end of 2013.

#14 By the end of the year, more people than ever will understand what “derivatives” are, and that will be because they have caused major problems in the financial world.

#15 We will see the beginnings of another major housing crisis before the end of 2013 and foreclosure activity will start rising once again.

#16 We will see another new wave of “tent cities” start to go up in communities around the nation before the end of the year.

#17 There will be another major drought in the United States this upcoming summer and there will be widespread crop failures once again.

#18 The massive dust storms that we have seen roll through cities like Phoenix in recent years will become even larger and even more intense.

#19 Traffic along the Mississippi River will be significantly interrupted at some point during 2013.  This will be a very negative thing for the economy.

#20 Food prices will soar in 2013.  This will especially be true for meat products.

#21 In some of the poorer areas of the globe, major food riots will break out.  Governments will have trouble containing the civil unrest.

#22 There will be more genetically-modified foods in our supermarkets than ever before, and more Americans than ever will reject them and will seek out alternatives.

#23 The average price of a gallon of gasoline in 2012 was about $3.60.  The average price of a gallon of gasoline in 2013 will be lower than that.  Yes, you read that correctly.

#24 The number of vehicle miles driven in the United States will continue to decline in 2013.

#25 The Dow will end 2013 significantly lower than it is right now.

#26 When the final statistics for 2013 are compiled, U.S. share of global GDP will be less than 20 percent for the first time in modern history.  Back in the year 2001, our share of global GDP was 31.8 percent.

#27 The U.S. Postal Service will continue to experience massive financial difficulties and will lay off personnel.

#28 As violence in our public schools becomes increasingly worse, more Americans families than ever will decide to home school their children.

#29 The Obama administration and Democrats in Congress will make an all-out attempt to pass gun control measures in 2013.  When their efforts on the legislative front are stalled somewhat by Republicans in the House, Obama will use his executive powers to further his gun control agenda.

#30 One of the cities with the strongest gun laws in the nation, Chicago, had 532 murders in 2012 and it is now considered to be one of the most dangerous cities on the planet.  By the end of 2013, the murder total in Chicago will be above 600.

#31 There will be an increasing amount of tension between state governments and the federal government.  The issue of “states rights” will move front and center at various points in 2013.

#32 CNN will continue to sink to horrifying new lows.  Piers Morgan will end up leaving the network before the end of the year.

#33 The number of Americans on food stamps will surpass 50 million for the first time ever at some point during 2013.

#34 The U.S. trade deficit with China in 2013 will be well over 300 billion dollars.

#35 The phrase “made in China” will increasingly be viewed as a reason not to buy a product as Americans become more educated about the millions of good jobs that we have lost to China over the past decade.

#36 We will see increasing cooperation between the governments of the United States, Canada and Mexico and border restrictions will be loosened.

#37 There will continue to be a mass exodus of families and businesses out of the state of California.  The favorite destination will continue to be Texas, but Texas residents will become increasingly resentful of all of these new transplants.

#38 There will be some truly jaw-dropping examples of violence by parents against their own children in 2013.  Many of these stories will make headlines all over the nation.

#39 The percentage of Americans that are obese will continue to rise and will set another new all-time record in 2013.

#40 There will be more war in the Middle East in 2013.  But it will only set the stage for even more war in the Middle East in 2014 and 2015.

#41 U.S. troops will be deployed in more countries than ever before in 2013.

#42 Volcanic eruptions and major earthquakes along the Ring of Fire will make headlines all over the globe in 2013.

#43 Giant sinkholes will continue to appear all over the United States and all over the globe, and scientists will continue to struggle to find an explanation for why it is happening.

#44 The peak of the solar cycle in 2013 will cause significant problems for satellite communications.

#45 The U.S. government will put more resources into the surveillance of the American people than ever before, but most Americans won’t mind all of this surveillance because they have become convinced that it is important to give up some of our liberties for more “security”.

#46 Our infrastructure (roads, bridges, tunnels, airports, sewers, electrical grids, etc.) will be in worse shape by the end of 2013 than it is now.

#47 The percentage of “two parent households” in the United States will continue to decline.

#48Political correctness” will reach ridiculous new heights during 2013, and more Americans than ever will start to rebel against it.

#49 There will be more anger at the wealthy in 2013 than at any other time in modern history.

#50 There will be some shocking political scandals in Washington D.C. in 2013.  We will see some high profile resignations by the end of the year.

Once again, please keep in mind that I do not expect to be 100% correct about all of these things.  I am just trying to put all of the pieces of the puzzle together just like everyone else is.

But I do hope to have a better track record than most of the other people putting out lists of predictions at the beginning of this year.  So save this list and let’s revisit it at the end of the year.

Do you have any bold predictions of your own for 2013?  Please feel free to share them by posting a comment below…

Earth From Space

16 Things About 2013 That Are Really Going To Stink

16 Things About 2013 That Are Really Going To Stink - Photo by Linh_rOmThe beginning of the year has traditionally been a time of optimism when we all look forward to the exciting things that are going to happen over the next 12 months.  Unfortunately, there are a whole bunch of things about 2013 that we already know are going to stink.  Taxes are going to go up, good paying jobs will continue to leave the country, small businesses will continue to be destroyed, the number of Americans living in poverty will continue to soar, our infrastructure will continue to decay, global food supplies will likely continue to dwindle and the U.S. national debt will continue to explode.  Our politicians continue to pursue the same policies that got us into this mess, and yet they continue to expect things to magically turn around.  But that is not the way that things work in the real world.  Bad decisions lead to bad outcomes.  Instead of realizing that what we are doing is not working, our “leaders” continue to give us more of the same.  As a result, there are going to be a lot of things about 2013 that will not be great.  Sticking our heads in the sand and pretending that everything will be “okay” somehow is not going to help anyone.  We’ve got to make people understand exactly what is happening and why it is happening if we ever hope to see real changes.

The following are 16 things about 2013 that are really going to stink…

#1 Taxes Are Going To Go Up

Even if a fiscal cliff deal is reached, some taxes will still go up next year.  And if no deal is reached, there will be a whole bunch of different tax increases in 2013.

According to CBS News, these tax increases would be very painful for the middle class…

If lawmakers fail to work out any sort of deal, there will be severe long-term consequences for the economy: According to the Tax Policy Center, going off the “cliff” would affect 88 percent of U.S. taxpayers, with their taxes rising by an average of $3,500 a year; taxes would jump $2,400 on average for families with incomes of $50,000 to $75,000. Because consumers would get less of their paychecks to spend, businesses and jobs would suffer.

#2 The Middle Class Is About To Be Scorched By The Alternative Minimum Tax

Of more immediate concern for the middle class is the Alternative Minimum Tax.  Many Americans have never heard of the AMT, but it is truly one of the worst things about our tax code.

If Congress does not act, and right now it does not look promising, millions of middle class households will see a massive increase in their tax bills for 2012.

According to one analysis, households that are forced to pay the AMT will end up paying an extra $3,700 in taxes…

Unless Congress acts by the end of the year, more than 26 million households will for the first time face the AMT, which threatens to tack $3,700, on average, onto taxpayers’ bills for the current tax year. Because those people have never paid the AMT, they have no idea they are in its crosshairs — put there by a broader stalemate over tax policy that has kept Congress from limiting the AMT’s reach.

Do you have an extra $3,700 sitting around to send to Uncle Sam?

If not, you had better contact your representatives in Congress and scream like crazy about passing a fix for the AMT.  They have always gotten it done before, but this year there is so much animosity between the Republicans and the Democrats that nothing may end up getting done.

#3 The Economy Will Continue To Get Worse

Despite all of the talk in the mainstream media and from our politicians that our economy is getting better, the truth is that the U.S. economy continued to decline in 2012.  If you doubt this, just read the 75 statistics in this article.

And there are a whole host of signs that the economy is starting to slow down even more as we enter 2013.  For example, consumer confidence in the United States has experienced its largest two-month drop in over a year, and retail sales during the holiday season turned out to be quite disappointing.

#4 Good Paying Jobs Will Continue To Be Shipped Out Of The United States

Thanks to decades of “free trade agreements”, workers in the United States must directly compete for jobs with hundreds of millions of workers on the other side of the globe that live in countries where it is legal to pay slave labor wages.

We continue to see millions of jobs being shipped out of the country and our politicians stand by and do nothing.

Most Americans have no idea how this emerging one world economic system works.  The beautiful product that you buy at the big retail store may have been made by someone working in some of the most horrific conditions imaginable.

A 42-year-old woman named Julie Keith recently found this letter inside a box of Halloween decorations that had been made in China…

“If you occasionally buy this product, please kindly resend this letter to the World Human Right Organization. Thousands people here who are under the persecution of the Chinese Communist Party Government will thank and remember you forever.

People who work here have to work 15 hours a day without Saturday, Sunday break and any holidays. Otherwise, they will suffer torturement, beat and rude remark. Nearly no payment (10 yuan/1 month).

People who work here, suffer punishment 1-3 years averagely, but without Court Sentence (unlaw punishment). Many of them are Falun Gong practitioners, who are totally innocent people only because they have different believe to CCPG. They often suffer more punishment than others.”

But both political parties continue to tell us how wonderful it is that we are trading with communist China.  They see no problem with the fact that good paying jobs that used to be performed in America are now being performed by slave laborers on the other side of the planet.  And most Americans continue to support this system by filling their shopping carts with lots of stuff that has “made in China” stamped on it.

#5 Small Businesses Will Continue To Be Destroyed

At the same time, small businesses all over America are being strangled to death by taxes and regulations.  Just consider the following numbers from a previous article

We are told that the economy is supposed to be “recovering”, but the number of “startup jobs” at new businesses has fallen for five years in a row.  According to an analysis of U.S. Department of Labor data performed by economist Tim Kane, there were almost 12 startup jobs per 1000 Americans back in the year 2006.  By 2011, that figure had fallen to less than 8 startup jobs per 1000 Americans.

How is our economy ever going to thrive if we keep killing off our small businesses?

#6 Hunger And Poverty Will Continue To Explode To Unprecedented Levels

As the U.S. economy bleeds jobs and loses small businesses, the number of Americans living in poverty continues to explode.

Here are some numbers to show to people who still don’t understand how desperate the situation is…

-Families that have a head of household under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent.

-According to U.S. Census data, 57 percent of all American children live in a home that is either considered to be “poor” or “low income”.

-For the first time ever, more than a million public school students in the United States are homeless.  That number has risen by 57 percent since the 2006-2007 school year.

#7 The Number Of Americans On Food Stamps Will Continue To Increase

If the economy is recovering, then why does the number of Americans on food stamps continue to soar?

As I wrote about yesterday, about 17 million Americans were on food stamps back in the year 2000.

Today, more than 47 million Americans are on food stamps.

Does anyone want to explain to me how that is a sign that things are getting better?

Back in the 1970s, about one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps.  Today, about one out of every 6.5 Americans is on food stamps.

How much worse do things have to get before people realize that what we are doing is not working?

#8 Millions Of Americans Are About To Lose Their Unemployment Benefits

During this economic crisis, an unprecedented number of American families have been relying on unemployment benefits in order to stay afloat.

Well, if no agreement is reached in Washington D.C., millions of Americans will shortly lose those benefits

Three million Americans may become unwitting casualties of the political war in Washington over the fiscal cliff.

Since 2008, the federal government has funded extensions of the unemployment insurance offered by states, more than tripling the amount of aid available to the unemployed in some areas. But the program is expensive, with the Congressional Budget Office estimating it would cost $30 billion to extend it through 2013. President Barack Obama wants to extend the benefits for another year, but Congress has already pared back the program, and Republicans insist it represents the kind of largesse Washington can no longer afford.

#9 Our Infrastructure Will Continue To Rot And Decay

The United States once had the most beautiful infrastructure in the entire world.  Our highways, bridges, airports, railroads, sewer systems and electrical grids were the envy of the entire planet.

Well, now we don’t even have enough money to repair what we already have, so our infrastructure will continue to rot and decay in 2013…

Highways and bridges will need $2.5 trillion in upgrades if they are to survive for another 50 years — a must-do to keep commerce thriving. And that figure doesn’t even take into account the airports, railroads, subways, sewage-treatment plants, waterworks, levees, electric grids, pipelines, and all of those other expensive systems that people ignore until they break down.

#10 Many Of Our Major Cities Will Continue To Be Transformed Into Festering Hellholes

A lot of our major cities are also rapidly degenerating.  Detroit is one of my favorite examples, but the same kinds of things could be said about dozens of other major cities all over the country.  The following is a brief excerpt from one of my recent articles

If you can believe it, more than 50 percent of all children in Detroit are living in poverty, and close to 50 percent of all adults living in the city are functionally illiterate.  The high school graduation rate in Detroit is down to about 25 percent, and the city has become a breeding ground for gangs and violence.  The number of murders in Detroit is already higher than last year, and recently groups of young men toting AK-47s have been running around robbing gas stations.  How much worse can things possibly get for Detroit?

#11 State And Local Governments Will Find Ways To Squeeze Even More Money Out Of Us

In case you haven’t noticed, state and local governments all over the country are bleeding cash and are desperate for money.  In 2013 you can expect them to continue to find more ways to squeeze even more money out of all of us.  Here is one example…

Over the course of 2013, the District government will add 134 traffic cameras to its network, more than doubling the size of a system that generated $85 million in revenues for the city in its last fiscal year.

Police spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump told The Washington Examiner that the city will intensify its camera-based efforts to cite motorists for speeding and stoplight violations while also adding cameras to detect other moving violations.

#12 Drug Cartels Will Continue To Easily Cross Our Borders And Terrorize Our Citizens

The federal government continues to refuse to protect our borders, and that means that drug runners and gang members will continue to pour into the United States.

Down in the Southwest, many ranchers are being absolutely terrorized by these criminals.  The following is from a recent NBC News article

Just before nightfall, 73-year-old rancher Jim Chilton hikes quickly up and down the hills on his rugged cattle-grazing land south of Tucson, escorting two U.S. Border Patrol agents.

He wants to show them the disturbing discovery he made earlier in the day: a drug-smugglers’ camp on his private property.  Stacked together under a stand of trees are blankets, jackets, food, water, binoculars and bales of marijuana from Mexico wrapped in burlap. The smugglers, themselves, are nowhere in sight and are believed to have fled the area, which is about 10 miles north of the Mexican border.

Chilton has had his house burglarized a couple of times and his family regularly encounters groups of armed drug smugglers coming across from Mexico…

Their cattle fences are frequently cut and paths heading north from Mexico cross their property.  Beckham says a smuggler even fired shots at him while he walked his land with a U.S. Border Patrol agent.  Several illegal border crossers have also approached his house at night–one even reaching his hand into their bathroom window.

“Several years ago, one of my children was taking a shower and had a gentleman reach into the shower while he was in there, and he came out screaming, absolutely refusing to take a shower for the next couple months.”

But even if you don’t live along the border, all of this still affects you.  According to government figures, Mexican drug cartels are actively operating in more than 1,200 U.S. cities right now.  They are probably hard at work in the community where you live.

So what is the Obama administration doing to fix the problem?

Not much.

In fact, the Obama administration is actually encouraging people to come to the U.S. and become dependent on the system.  If you can believe it, there is actually a website run by the Department of Homeland Security that teaches immigrants how to apply for welfare benefits once they get into the United States.

#13 Social Decay Will Continue To Accelerate

All over America we are seeing signs of social breakdown.  Here is yet another example

A woman sleeping on a street bench outside a drug store was doused with an accelerant and set on fire early Thursday morning in Van Nuys.

Witnesses told police that a man poured liquid — possibly a beverage containing alcohol — on the sleeping woman at about 1 a.m. outside a Walgreens store near Van Nuys Boulevard and Sherman Way. He lit a match and ran from the location, witnesses told police.

Who would just run up and set a woman on fire?

Sadly, this is not an isolated incident.  For many more examples like this, please see this article: “20 Shocking Examples Of How Sadistic And Cruel People Have Become“.

We need to admit that we have a major problem on our hands.  Violent crime in the United States increased by 18 percent in 2011, and another huge increase is expected when the numbers for 2012 come out.

America is changing, and not for the better.

#14 Global Food Supplies Will Continue To Dwindle

Did you know that for six of the last eleven years the world has consumed more food than it has produced?

As a result, global food reserves have reached their lowest level in almost 40 years.

So what is going to happen if the world continues to eat more food than it makes?

Let us hope that there is not another major drought in 2013.  If there is, we could be looking at a very serious food crunch.

#15 Wall Street Will Continue To Resemble A Giant Casino

Our financial system seems to have not learned any lessons from the financial crash of 2008.

Instead of admitting their mistakes, they just continue to engage in even more reckless behavior.

Today, there are four major U.S. banks that each have more than 40 trillion dollars of exposure to derivatives.

At some point that house of cards is going to collapse and we will be facing a derivatives crisis of unprecedented magnitude.

Will it be in 2013?

#16 The U.S. National Debt Will Cross The 17 Trillion Dollar Mark

In 2013, our national debt will blow past the 17 trillion dollar mark and start heading toward 18 trillion dollars.

How stupid can we possibly be?

During the first four years of the Obama administration, the U.S. national debt has grown by about as much as it did from the time that George Washington took office to the time that George W. Bush took office.

It really takes something to match more than 200 years of debt accumulation in less than four years.

But our politicians don’t seem to care about all of this debt.  They will continue to steal more than 100 million dollars from our children and our grandchildren every single hour of every single day.  That is beyond criminal, and yet the American people don’t seem to care.

What in the world has happened to this country?

Of course not everything about 2013 will be bad.  Personally, I am looking forward to an exciting year.  I have a new book that will be coming out, and my family is blessed and healthy.  I would like to wish all of you a very blessed 2013.  Things may be falling apart all around us, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t have a great year even in the midst of all the chaos.

Happy 2013

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