The ninth largest economy in the entire world is currently experiencing “its longest and deepest recession in recorded history”, and in a country right next door people are being encouraged to label their trash so that the thousands upon thousands of desperately hungry people that are digging through trash bins on the streets can find discarded food more easily. Of course the two nations that I am talking about are Brazil and Venezuela. The Brazilian economy was once the seventh largest on the globe, but after shrinking for eight consecutive quarters it has now fallen to ninth place. And in Venezuela the economic collapse has gotten so bad that more than 70 percent of the population lost weight last year due to a severe lack of food. Most of us living in the northern hemisphere don’t think that anything like this could happen to us any time soon, but the truth is that trouble signs are already starting to erupt all around us. It is just a matter of time before the things currently happening in Brazil and Venezuela start happening here, but unfortunately most people are not heeding the warnings.
Just a few years ago, the Brazilian economy was absolutely roaring and it was being hailed as a model for the rest of the world to follow. But now Brazil’s GDP has been imploding for two years in a row, and this downturn is being described as “the worst recession in recorded history” for that South American nation…
Latin America’s largest economy Brazil has contracted by 3.6 percent in 2016, shrinking for the second year in a row; statistics agency IBGE said on Tuesday. It confirmed the country is facing its longest and deepest recession in recorded history.
Data shows gross domestic product (GDP) fell for the eighth straight quarter in the three months to December, down 0.9 percent from the previous quarter. The figure was worse than the 0.5 percent decline economists had forecast and left the country’s overall GDP down 3.6 percent for the full year following a 3.8 percent drop in 2015.
“In real terms, GDP is now nine percent below its pre-recession peak,” Neil Shearing, chief emerging markets economist at Capital Economics, told the Financial Times.
“This is comfortably the worst recession in recorded history,” he added.
It had been hoped that things in Brazil would be getting better by now, but instead they just keep getting worse.
The number of bankruptcy filings has soared to an all-time record high, and the official unemployment rate has more than doubled since the end of 2013. The following comes from Wolf Richter…
In a stunning deterioration, the unemployment rate in Brazil spiked to 12.6% in the rolling three-month period through January, a record in the new data series going back to 2012, according to Brazil’s statistical agency IBGE. Up from 11.8% in the three-month period through October. Up from an already terribly high 9.5% a year ago. And more than double the 6.2% in December 2013.
Meanwhile, hordes of hungry people are rummaging through garbage cans in Venezuela in order to find something to fill their aching stomachs.
Things have gotten so bad that one of President Maduro’s chief opponents has urged citizens to label which trash bags have food in them so that people that are searching through the garbage can find food scraps more easily…
Controversial Priest and opponent to President Nicolás Maduro’s administration Father Jose Palmar posted on social media this week about labeling discarded waste so those looking through it for food can do so more easily and “with dignity.”
Palmar called on Venezuelans to celebrate Lent by identifying bags where food has been discarded for those with no where else to turn. That way, they don’t have to dig through non-edible items to find it.
And previously I have written about how people are so hungry in Venezuela that some of them are actually slaughtering and eating cats, dogs, pigeons and zoo animals.
I keep telling people that this is coming to America, but a lot of people out there don’t want to believe me.
But it is most certainly coming.
Thanks to chronically empty store shelves and severe food shortages, people in Venezuela are losing weight at an astounding pace. In the United States it would be a good thing if much of the population lost this much weight, but in Venezuela it definitely is not…
Three quarters of the country’s population lost an average of over 18 pounds over food shortages in 2016, according to a survey by Venezuelan universities and nonprofit groups. Last year, over 80 percent of foodstuffs disappeared from shelves and many had to get by with one meal a day, Foreign Policy reported.
Venezuela was once South America’s most powerful petrostate. But decades of government mismanagement sent the country into decline. Maduro’s predecessor Hugo Chavez choked the economy with heavy-handed regulations, price controls, and a campaign to nationalize major industries that chased out foreign investments.
Further north, very alarming signs are starting to pop up in Mexico.
It probably won’t happen next week or next month, but there are indications of emerging “liquidity problems” which could precipitate a major debt crisis at some point…
In Mexico foreign investors hold around $100 billion of the country’s local-currency government debt, the most for any emerging market economy. That’s almost 20 times what it was 20 years ago. They also hold billions of euros worth of corporate bonds, which are also showing signs of strain, prompting some Mexican business leaders to call for “new programs” to be implemented before the situation causes “a large-scale crisis” among Mexican companies.
The most ominous sign yet came last week when Bloomberg reported sources saying that the Bank of Mexico (or Banxico, as it is referred to) had sought a swap line from the Federal Reserve in case of “liquidity problems,” which immediately triggered furious denials from Banxico. “I can say clearly and unequivocally that we are not in the process of asking for any credit line from any authority,” said the central bank’s governor, Agustin Carstens, who has postponed by six months his departure from the bank, initially scheduled for May.
One of the biggest problems for nations such as Brazil, Venezuela and Mexico is the strength of the U.S. dollar. During the good times they went into tremendous amounts of debt, and much of that debt was denominated in U.S. dollars. So when the U.S. dollar becomes stronger, it takes more of their own local currencies to pay that debt back.
And if the Federal Reserve raises interest rates at their next meeting, that will strengthen the U.S. dollar even more and put even more pressure on emerging market economies.
Unfortunately, it appears that this is precisely what the Fed is going to do…
Even one small interest rate increase by the Fedcould have a sweeping impact on U.S. and world economies, Komal Sri-Kumar told CNBC on Monday.
“I think they are going to hike” on March 15, Sri-Kumar said on “Squawk Box,” echoing a theory shared by many analysts. “But that is going to prompt capital outflows from the euro zone, especially with the political risk. It is going to increase the capital outflow from China, and the U.S. economy will feel the impact.”
The global economy is more interconnected than ever before, and pain that starts in one region can rapidly spread to others.
The biggest debt bubble that the world has ever seen is starting to burst, and over the coming years we are going to see financial pain on a scale that would be unimaginable to most of us at this moment.
But even now there are those that would suggest that this colossal debt bubble can continue growing much faster than global GDP indefinitely, and this sort of exceedingly reckless optimism is leading many astray.
J.C. Penney and Family Christian Stores are the latest retail giants to announce widespread store closings. As you will see below, J.C. Penney plans to close between 130 and 140 stores, and Family Christian is closing all of their 240 stores. In recent months the stock market has been absolutely soaring, and so most people have simply assumed that the “real economy” must be doing well. But that is not the case at all. In fact, the retail apocalypse that I have been documenting for quite some time appears to be gaining momentum.
J.C. Penney is not in as rough shape as Sears is just yet, but it is definitely on a similar trajectory. In the end, they are both headed for bankruptcy. That is why it wasn’t too much of a surprise when J.C. Penney announced that they are getting rid of about 6,000 workers and closing at least 130 stores…
J.C. Penney (JCP) plans to close 130 to 140 stores and offer buyouts to 6,000 workers as the department-store industry sags in competition with online sellers and nimble niche retailers.
The company said Friday that it would shutter 13% to 14% of its locations and introduce new goods and services aimed at the shifting preferences of its customer base.
Meanwhile, many observers were quite surprised when Family Christian Stores decided to fold up shop for good. They were known as the largest Christian retailer on the entire planet, but now after 85 years they are going out of business forever…
Family Christian, which bills itself as the “world’s largest retailer of Christian-themed merchandise,” announced Thursday it is closing after 85 years.
The non-profit company, employing more than 3,000 people in 240 stores in 36 states, said in a brief statement that the retailer had been facing declining sales since filing for bankruptcy protection in 2015 and had no choice but to shut down.
These two announcements are part of larger trend that we have been witnessing all over the country. As I have documented previously, Macy’s announced that it would be closing 100 stores earlier this year, and about the same time Sears said that it would be closing another 150 stores.
Back in 2010, Sears had a staggering 3,555 stores.
Before their recent announcement, Sears was down to 1,503 stores, and now this latest round of cuts will leave them with somewhere around 1,350.
Of course it won’t be too long before Sears has zero stores, and my regular readers know that I have been talking about the demise of Sears for a very long time.
The cold, hard truth of the matter is that the “real economy” is a total mess, and that is one of the primary reasons why these ridiculous stock market valuations that we are seeing right now are not sustainable.
One expert that agrees with my assessment is former Reagan Administration White House Budget Director David Stockman. In a recent interview, he explained why he believes that “everything will grind to a halt” after March 15th…
Stockman, who wrote a book titled “Trumped” predicting a Trump victory in 2016, says, “I don’t think there is a snowball’s chance in the hot place that’s going to happen. This is delusional. This is the greatest suckers’ rally of all time. It is based on pure hopium and not any analysis at all as what it will take to push through a big tax cut. Donald Trump is in a trap. Today the debt is $20 trillion. It’s 106% of GDP. . . .Trump is inheriting a built-in deficit of $10 trillion over the next decade under current policies that are built in. Yet, he wants more defense spending, not less. He wants drastic sweeping tax cuts for corporations and individuals. He wants to spend more money on border security and law enforcement. He’s going to do more for the veterans. He wants this big trillion dollar infrastructure program. You put all that together and it’s madness. It doesn’t even begin to add up, and it won’t happen when you are struggling with the $10 trillion of debt that’s coming down the pike and the $20 trillion that’s already on the books.”
Then, Stockman drops this bomb and says:
“I think what people are missing is this date, March 15th 2017. That’s the day that this debt ceiling holiday that Obama and Boehner put together right before the last election in October of 2015. That holiday expires. The debt ceiling will freeze in at $20 trillion. It will then be law. It will be a hard stop. The Treasury will have roughly $200 billion in cash. We are burning cash at a $75 billion a month rate. By summer, they will be out of cash. Then we will be in the mother of all debt ceiling crises. Everything will grind to a halt. I think we will have a government shutdown. There will not be Obama Care repeal and replace. There will be no tax cut. There will be no infrastructure stimulus. There will be just one giant fiscal bloodbath over a debt ceiling that has to be increased and no one wants to vote for.”
In that same interview, Stockman also predicted that “markets will easily correct by 20% and probably a lot more“, and he noted the glaring disconnect between current stock prices and how the U.S. economy is actually performing…
“The S&P 500 has been trading at 26 times earnings while earnings have been dropping for the past six or seven quarters. There is no booming recovery coming. There is going to be a recession and there will be no stimulus baton to bail it out. That is the new fact that neither Trump nor the Wall Street gamblers remotely understand.”
It is very difficult to argue with Stockman on this.
There are some people out there that seem to think that Donald Trump can miraculously turn the U.S. economy around just because he is Donald Trump.
It doesn’t work that way.
We are 20 trillion dollars in debt, and we are currently adding about a trillion dollars a year to that total. There is no possible way that Trump can cut taxes, increase military spending, build a border wall, spend much more on veterans and spend an extra trillion dollars on rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure.
We are flat broke as a nation and there simply is not money available to do everything that Donald Trump wants to do.
So we shall see what happens after March 15th. Unfortunately, I happen to agree with Stockman that economic reality is about to come knocking and Trump and his supporters are about to get a very rude wake up call.
Current stock market valuations are not sustainable. If there is one thing that I want you to remember from this article, it is that cold, hard fact. In 1929, 2000 and 2008, stock prices soared to absolutely absurd levels just before horrible stock market crashes. What goes up must eventually come down, and the stock market bubble of today will be no exception. In fact, virtually everyone in the financial community acknowledges that stock prices are irrationally high right now. Some are suggesting that there is still time to jump in and make money before the crash comes, while others are recommending a much more cautious approach. But what almost everyone agrees on is the fact that stocks cannot go up like this forever.
On Tuesday, the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq all set brand new record highs once again. Overall, U.S. stocks are now up more than 10 percent since the election, and this is probably the greatest post-election stock market rally in our entire history.
But stocks were already tremendously overvalued before the election, and at this point stock prices have reached a level of ridiculousness only matched a couple of times before in the past 100 years.
Only the most extreme optimists will try to tell you that stock prices can stay this disconnected from economic reality indefinitely. We are in the midst of one of the most outrageous stock market bubbles of all time, and as MarketWatch has noted, all stock market bubbles eventually burst…
The U.S. stock market at this level reflects a combination of great demand, great complacency, and great greed. Stocks are clearly in a bubble, and like all bubbles, this one is about to burst.
If corporations were making tremendous amounts of money, rapidly rising stock prices would make logical sense.
But that is not the case at all. Corporate earnings for the fourth quarter of 2016 were actually quite dismal, and this disconnect between Wall Street and economic reality is starting to really bug financial analysts such as Brian Sozzi…
The S&P 500 has gone 89 straight sessions without a 1% decline. Considering that Corporate America didn’t exactly light up on the top and bottom lines during the fourth quarter, such a streak is rather troublesome. Granted, the stock market is a forward-looking mechanism that appears to be trading on hopes that Trump’s unannounced stimulus and tax plans will be lifting economic growth in 2018. Even so, the inability of investors to at least acknowledge persistent struggles among companies and ongoing chaos in Washington is starting to become disturbing.
It is a basic fact of economics that stock prices should accurately reflect current and future earnings.
So if corporate earnings are at the same level they were at in 2011, why has the S&P 500 risen by 87 percent since then? The following comes from Wolf Richter…
The S&P 500 stock index edged up to an all-time high of 2,351 on Friday. Total market capitalization of the companies in the index exceeds $20 trillion. That’s 106% of US GDP, for just 500 companies! At the end of 2011, the S&P 500 index was at 1,257. Over the five-plus years since then, it has ballooned by 87%!
These are superlative numbers, and you’d expect superlative earnings performance from these companies. Turns out, reality is not that cooperative. Instead, net income of the S&P 500 companies is now back where it first had been at the end of 2011.
The cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings ratio was originally created by author Robert Shiller, and it is widely regarded as one of the best measures of the true value of stocks in existence. According to the Guardian, there have only been two times in our entire history when this ratio has been higher. One was just before the stock market crash of 1929, and the other was just before the bursting of the dotcom bubble…
Traditionally, one of the best yardsticks for whether shares are over-valued or under-valued has been the cyclically adjusted price earnings ratio constructed by the economist Robert Shiller. This ratio is currently at about 29 and has only twice been higher: in 1929 ahead of the Wall Street Crash, and in the last frantic months of the dotcom bubble of the late 1990s.
We can definitely wish for the current euphoria on Wall Street to last for as long as possible, but let there be absolutely no doubt that it is going to end at some point.
It would take a market decline of 40 or 50 percent to get the cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings ratio back to a level that makes economic sense. Let us hope that the market does not make such a violent move very rapidly, because that would likely be absolutely crippling for our financial system.
Markets tend to go down a lot faster than they go up, and every other major stock market bubble in U.S. history has ended very badly.
And this bubble is definitely overdue to burst. The bull market that led up to the great crash of 1929 lasted for 2002 days, and this week the current bull market will finally exceed that record.
Trying to pick a specific date for a market crash is typically a fruitless exercise, but market watchers are becoming very concerned about some of the signs that we are now seeing. For example, the “CCT indicator” is currently showing “the lowest bullish energy ever”…
The first factor is the CCT indicator. This indicator is a proprietary internal measurement of the general volume of the New York Stock Exchange. The measurements take into account the institutional participation as a ratio of the overall volume. Also measured is the duration of heavy block buying in rallies.
The sum total of all the measurements now shows the lowest bullish energy ever — even lower than in 2008, just before the market crash.
In other words, this current bull market appears to be completely and utterly exhausted.
The laws of economics cannot be defied forever. Traditionally, commodity prices and stock prices have tended to move in unison. And this makes perfect sense, because commodity prices tend to rise when economic conditions are good, and in such an environment stock prices are typically going to move up.
But now we are in a time when commodity prices and stock prices have become completely disconnected. In order to bring this ratio back into line, the S&P 500 would need to fall by about 1000 points, and such a decline would cause a level of financial chaos that would be absolutely unprecedented.
This current stock market bubble has lasted much longer than many of the experts originally anticipated, but that just means that the eventual crash will likely be that much more devastating.
In the end, you don’t need to know all of the technical details in this article.
But what you do need to know is that current stock market valuations are not sustainable and that a great crash is coming.
It may not happen next week or next month, but it is going to happen. And when it does happen, it is likely to make what happened in 2008 look like a Sunday picnic.
A new recession is coming, and Donald Trump needs it to begin sooner rather than later. As I explained last week, most American voters tend to care about their pocketbooks more than anything else. If the next recession were to officially start during the first quarter of 2017, it would be very easy for Trump to blame it on Obama, and then he could portray himself as the one that pulled the U.S. economy out of recession in time for the 2020 election. But if the next recession does not begin until 2018 or 2019, everybody is going to blame it on Trump even if it is not his fault. In politics, who gets the blame for whatever goes wrong is often the most important thing, and if Trump wants to avoid blame for the next recession he needs for it to start as quickly as possible.
For most of 2016, the mainstream media was warning that a new recession was probably coming no matter who won the election. For one example, just check out this Bloomberg article.
And for once, the mainstream media was precisely correct. Barack Obama left us with an enormous economic mess, and it would take an economic miracle of unprecedented proportions to keep the U.S. economy from going into a recession at this point.
During the Obama years, the U.S. went on a debt binge unlike anything we have ever seen before.
The U.S. national debt almost doubled. During Obama’s time in the White House, it increased from 10.6 trillion dollars to nearly 20 trillion dollars, and that means that over 9 trillion dollars of future consumption was brought into the present. That incredible boost to spending would have shot U.S. economic growth into the stratosphere during normal times, but because we were struggling so much all we got out of it was eight years of economic stagnation.
In fact, Barack Obama was the only president in modern American history never to have a single year when the U.S. economy grew by at least 3 percent, and he had two terms to try to accomplish that goal.
And remember, Obama also had the benefit of doctored economic numbers. John Williams of shadowstats.com tracks what the figures would look like if honest numbers were being used, and according to his calculations the U.S. economy has actually continually been in a recession since 2005.
In addition to government debt, other forms of debt are way out of control as well. The total amount of consumer debt in the United States has now hit 12 trillion dollars, and corporate debt has approximately doubled since the last recession.
When levels of debt grow much, much faster than the overall economy, it is inevitable that a crash will come.
If you look back throughout history, I don’t know if you can find a single example where debt has grown this quickly and a crash has not happened afterwards.
By some miracle if we are able to avoid a major economic downturn this time, we will literally be defying the laws of economics.
The employment crisis also threatens to get a lot worse in the months ahead. The mainstream media keeps trying to tell us that we are almost at “full employment”, but the truth is that more than 100 million Americans do not have a job right now.
Yes, there are a few areas of the country where jobs appear to be plentiful, but there are many more areas where they are not.
For example, you will never, ever be able to convince 23-year-old Tyler Moore that the job market is good…
Tyler Moore’s late-December drive to Louisville, Ky., was one of desperation. He was headed four hours west on Interstate 64 to interview for a job. Even if he landed the position, filling his gas tank had left him with $8 to his name. He would have to sleep at a friend’s place until he could earn enough to pay rent.
The 23-year-old had run out of options. He’d applied for dozens of jobs within an hour and a half of his hometown of Lovely, once a coal-mining stronghold. Instead of opportunities, he had found waiting lists.
“Minimum-wage jobs, fast-food restaurants, Wal-Mart, anything like that, a lot of them has already been took,” he says in an Appalachian drawl, explaining that the backlog just to interview was as long as a year. “There are no jobs.”
If the U.S. economy is in “good shape”, then why can’t people like Moore find a job?
Yes, there is a tremendous amount of optimism in the financial markets right now and the stock market has been soaring.
But the exact same things were true in 2007, and we remember how that turned out.
There is no possible way that the S&P 500 can continue to generate an 18% annual return without corresponding economic growth. The following comes from David Stockman…
Altogether the S&P 500 now stands at 3.4X its post-crisis low, having generated an 18% annual return (including dividends) for nearly eight years running.
To be sure, in an honest free market that very fact would be a flashing red light, warning that exceptionally high gains over an extended period necessitate a regression to the mean in the period ahead.
A lot of people get caught up in trying to predict exactly when the stock market will crash, but what everybody should be able to agree on is that it will crash.
There is no possible way that stocks can stay at such ridiculously overpriced levels indefinitely.
Throughout history, stocks have always moved back in the direction of the long-term averages, and this time will be no exception.
And just like last time, the beginning of a new recession will likely be accompanied by a major financial correction.
In recent articles, I have been highlighting some of the reasons why it appears that a new recession is imminent…
-Federal tax receipts have gone negative for the first time since the last recession.
-Job growth at S&P 500 companies has gone negative for the very first time since the last recession.
-The U.S. trade deficit in 2016 was the largest in four years.
-Lending standards have tightened up for medium and large sized firms for six quarters in a row.
-Lending standard are also tightening up for consumers.
-We just saw the largest percentage decline in average weekly hours since the recession of 2008.
-Gross private domestic investment is down.
-Consumer bankruptcies are rising.
-Commercial bankruptcies are rising.
All of this is not necessarily bad news for Trump.
A horrible recession started during the early years of Ronald Reagan’s presidency, but the U.S. economy turned around later in his first term and that momentum helped propel him to an easy victory in 1984.
Similarly, Trump could actually take advantage of the coming economic downturn as long as he is able to pin all of the blame for it on the previous administration.
If there is one thing that is true about U.S. voters, it is the fact that they tend to care about their own economic well-being more than anything else.
If you doubt this, just check out the results of a recent Fox News poll…
The latest Fox News Poll also asks, what defines the American Dream today? At the top, according to the national survey released Wednesday, is “retiring comfortably.” Some 88 percent feel that is extremely or very important to realizing the dream.
Next, 76 percent say “having a successful career” is important. That’s followed by “raising a family” (74 percent) and “making a valuable contribution” to their community (74 percent).
“Owning a home” is seen as a big part of achieving the dream for nearly 7 in 10 (69 percent). About 6 in 10 say “graduating college” (61 percent) and “being better off” than their parents (57 percent).
To most Americans, being “successful in life” comes down to how much money they have.
That should not be true, but it is.
And this is ultimately what Trump will be judged on.
If the economy is improving by 2020, voters will tend to evaluate him favorably. But if the economy is faltering during the next election season, it will be more difficult for him to get a second term.
So what Trump and all those that support Trump should want is for the coming recession to begin and end as quickly as possible.
However, there is also the possibility that the next recession may be a particularly bad one. Because we are in the midst of the biggest debt bubble in human history, any major downturn could ultimately spiral completely out of control. In other words, we may be facing the kind of crisis from which we never quite recover.
One expert that is warning about such a scenario is legendary investor Jim Rogers…
…get prepared because we’re going to have the worst economic problems we’ve had in your lifetime or my lifetime and when that happens a lot of people are going to disappear.
In 2008 Bear Stearns disappeared, Bear Stearns had been around over 90 years. Lehman Brothers disappeared. Lehman Brothers had been around over 150 years. A long, long time, a long glorious history they’ve been through wars, depression, civil war they’ve been through everything and yet they disappear.
So the next time around it’s going to be worse than anything we’ve seen and a lot of institutions, people, companies even countries, certainly governments and maybe even countries are going to disappear. I hope you get very worried.
when you start having bear markets as you I’m sure well know one bad thing happens and another bad thing happens and these things snowball just like in bull markets good news comes out then more good news comes out the next thing you know you’re five or six or seven years into a bull market.
Well bear markets do the same thing and so we have a lot of bad news on the horizon. I haven’t even gotten to war. I haven’t even gotten to trade war or anything like that but you know things do go wrong.
If it is as bad as Rogers is suggesting, it wouldn’t be too long before conditions in America would begin to resemble those portrayed in my novel.
Let’s hope that does not turn out to be the case.
Let’s hope that the next recession begins and ends as quickly as possible and that the U.S. economy is on a solid upswing by 2020.
And if you are a Trump supporter, don’t be too dismayed if the U.S. economy takes a major downturn in 2017. As I discussed above, it could actually be just the thing that Trump needs to set the stage for another election victory in 2020.
Is the U.S. economy about to get slammed by a major recession? According to Gallup, U.S. economic confidence has soared to the highest level ever recorded, but meanwhile a whole host of key economic indicators are absolutely screaming that a new recession is beginning. And if the U.S. economy does officially enter recession territory in 2017, it certainly won’t be a shock, because the truth is that we are well overdue for one. Donald Trump has inherited quite an economic mess from Barack Obama, and it was probably inevitable that we were headed for a significant economic downturn no matter who won the election.
One of the key indicators to watch is average weekly hours. When the economy shifts into recession mode, employers tend to start cutting back hours, and that is happening right now. In fact, as Graham Summers has pointed out, we just witnessed the largest percentage decline in average weekly hours since the recession of 2008…
In addition to the decline in hours, Summers has suggested that there are a number of other reasons to believe that a new recession is here…
The fact is that the GDP growth of 4%-5% is not just around the corner. The US most likely slid into recession in the last three months. GDP growth collapsed in 4Q16, with a large portion of the “growth” coming from accounting gimmicks.
Consider the following:
- Tax receipts indicate the US is in recession.
- Gross private domestic investment indicates were are in a recession.
- Retailers are showing that the US consumer is tapped out (see AMZN’s recent miss).
- UPS, another economic bellweather, dramatically lowered 2017 forecasts.
To me, even more alarming is the tightening of lending standards. In our debt-based economy, the flow of credit is absolutely critical to economic growth, and when credit starts to get tight that almost always leads to a recession.
So the fact that lending standards have now tightened for medium and large sized firms for six quarters in a row is very bad news. The following comes from Business Insider…
“Although modest over the past couple of quarters, it is still worth noting that this is now the sixth quarter in succession that standards have tightened for large and medium sized firms,” Deutsche Bank economist Jim Reid wrote in a research note to clients.
“This usually only happens in recessions.”
Reid is 100 percent correct on this point. This is precisely the kind of thing that we would expect to see if a new recession was beginning, and if this trend continues it is hard to imagine that the U.S. economy will be able to continue to grow.
And it is interesting to note that job growth at S&P 500 companies has gone negative for the first time since the last recession, and so large firms are definitely starting to feel the pressure.
Simultaneously, lending standards are also tightening up for consumers…
“The most notable tightening in standards though was in consumer loans,” the Fed said. “During the quarter, banks reported an 8.3% net tightening in credit standards for credit cards and 11.6% net tightening for auto loans.”
US consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of economic activity and is thus a key driver of growth in the world’s largest economy.
Those numbers for credit cards and auto loans are major red flags.
It is very simple. Tighter credit means less economic activity which means slower economic growth. The U.S. economy grew at a dismal 1.9 percent annual rate during the 4th quarter of 2016, and it would be absolutely no surprise if we end up with a negative number for the first quarter of 2017.
One of the big reasons why lending standards are tightening is because bankruptcies are rising.
As I reported the other day, consumer bankruptcies just rose on a year-over-year basis in back to back months for the first time in almost seven years. Commercial bankruptcies had already been rising on a year-over-year basis throughout 2016, and so the fact that consumer bankruptcies have now joined the party is a very bad sign.
And we have also just learned that real median household income declined in 2016…
Its official! The spectacular Obama/Fed “recovery” produced no increase in real medin household income in 2016 (the last year of Obama’s reign of [economic] error). In fact, real median annual household income in December 2016 ($57,827) was 0.9 percent lower than in December 2015 ($58,356).
Yes, I understand that there is a tremendous amount of optimism out there right now because of Donald Trump.
But the truth is that it is literally going to take some sort of an economic miracle to avoid a recession.
And if a recession is going to happen anyway, the Trump administration should want it to occur as quickly as possible.
You see, if a recession starts a year from now, it will be much more difficult for Trump to blame it on Obama. But if a recession starts right now, he will definitely be able to argue that it happened because of the mess that he inherited from the last administration.
In addition, the sooner the next recession ends the sooner the next recovery can begin. If a recession is still going on during the 2020 campaign, that would be really bad for Trump, but if a recovery is well underway by then that would be really good for his chances.
If you doubt this, just go back and look at the 1984 campaign. After a very difficult recession, the U.S. economy bounced back strongly and Ronald Reagan was able to ride that momentum to an easy victory.
So this may sound very strange to many of you, but the truth is that if a new recession is coming Trump supporters should want it to happen as rapidly as possible.
Unfortunately, once a new recession begins it may not play out like recessions normally do. The U.S. government is 20 trillion dollars in debt, we are in the midst of one of the biggest stock market bubbles in history, and our planet is becoming more unstable with each passing day. So even though Trump is in the White House and Obama is gone, let there be no doubt that a catastrophic economic crisis could literally erupt at any moment. I continue to encourage my readers to do all that they can to get prepared, because those that are prepared in advance will have the best chance of successfully getting through what is coming.
Unfortunately, a lot of people out there seem to believe that all of our problems have somehow evaporated just because Donald Trump is now living in the White House.
That is simply not true, and we all need to be praying for guidance and wisdom for Trump and his team as they prepare to deal with the great challenges that are ahead for our nation.
Radical leftists are planning to make January 20th the most chaotic Inauguration Day in American history. Their stated goal is to “disrupt” the Inauguration festivities as much as possible, and they are planning a wide range of “actions” to achieve that stated goal. Some of the more moderate groups are using terms such as “civil resistance” and “civil disobedience”, but others are openly talking about “blockades”, jumping barricades, throwing projectiles and “citywide paralysis”. My hope is that all of their efforts will turn out to be a big flop, but it is important to understand that these groups are well funded, highly organized and extremely motivated. The election of Donald Trump has been perhaps the single most galvanizing moment for the radical left in modern American history, and they are working very hard to turn January 20th into a major political statement.
In fact, just recently one activist group took out a full page ad in the New York Times…
Thousands of activists, journalists, scientists, entertainers, and other prominent voices took out a full-page call to action in the New York Times on Wednesday making clear their rejection of President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence with the simple message: “No!”
“Stop the Trump/Pence regime before it starts! In the name of humanity we refuse to accept a fascist America!” the ad states, followed by a list of signatories that includes scholar Cornel West; author Alice Walker; Chase Iron Eyes of the Standing Rock Sioux; educator Bill Ayers; poet Saul Williams; CNN‘s Marc Lamont Hill; Carl Dix of the Communist Party USA; and numerous others.
The ad pointed people to refusefascism.org, and it asserted that Trump must be stopped whether he was legitimately elected or not…
Trump promises to inflict repression and suffering on people in this country, to deport millions, to increase violence up to the use of nuclear weapons on people across the globe, and to inflict catastrophes upon the planet itself. He has assembled a cabinet of Christian fundamentalist fanatics, war mongers, racists, science deniers. NO! His regime must not be allowed to consolidate. We REFUSE to accept a Fascist America!
If you go to refusefascism.org, you will discover that the protests that they are organizing in Washington D.C. will begin on January 14th. They say that they want to “stop the Trump-Pence regime before it starts”, and they hope to have protests going “every day and every night” without interruption through at least January 20th.
Another group that plans to kick things off on January 14th is DisruptJ20. Of course that is short for “Disrupt January 20th”. If you go to their official website, you will find a long slate of events that have already been scheduled.
According to Legba Carrefour, a spokesperson for DisruptJ20, one of the goals of the group is to block major transportation routes into and throughout our nation’s capital. And he is not shy about the fact that they literally want to “shut down the Inauguration”…
“We are planning to shut down the inauguration, that’s the short of it,” he says. “We’re pretty literal about that, we are trying to create citywide paralysis on a level that I don’t think has been seen in D.C. before. We’re trying to shut down pretty much every ingress into the city as well as every checkpoint around the actual inauguration parade route.”
If Carrefour and his fellow conspirators are able to actually accomplish that, it truly would be unprecedented.
And while DisruptJ20 is not publicly advocating violence, they are not exactly discouraging it either…
Carrefour says DisruptJ20 has no publicly announced plans to jump barricades along the inauguration parade route or throw projectiles at the new president, but that autonomous direct actions are encouraged.
“I can’t comment on specific stuff we’re doing like that, mostly because that would be illegal. But, yeah, it will get pretty crazy, I expect,” he says. “‘Have fun!’ I say.”
After the rioting that we have seen in Baltimore, Ferguson, Charlotte and many other communities around the nation in recent years, I hope that authorities are taking these threats quite seriously.
Once Donald Trump won the election, many conservatives seemed to think that the war was won. But the truth of the matter is that many on the left were completely blindsided by Trump’s surprise victory, and now that they are fully awake they are gearing up for battle like never before.
And these protests are not going to end on January 20th. In fact, abortion advocates are hoping to get close to a million women into Washington D.C. on the day following the Inauguration to protest for abortion rights. Filmmaker Michael Moore is hoping that this march will be the beginning of “100 days of resistance” against Trump’s presidency…
Filmmaker and liberal icon Michael Moore has announced his plans to attend the Women’s March on Washington to protest Donald Trump’s inauguration later this month and has called for sore loser liberals to go further — by staging protests acts of resistance through the first 100 days of Trump’s presidency.
In an appearance, this weekend on MSNBC’s The Last Word, the 62-year-old Trumpland and Fahrenheit 9/11 director made a “call to arms” to those opposed to Trump’s presidency to join the Women’s March on Washington scheduled for January 21, the day after the presidential inauguration.
“It’s important that everybody go there,” Moore told MSNBC’s Ari Melber.
Of course it is easy to imagine how all of this could spiral wildly out of control. If Trump cracks down on these protests really hard in an attempt to restore law and order, that could end up sparking a dramatic backlash against his “police state tactics”. And if the protests become even bigger and more violent, Trump could respond by cracking down even more harshly.
Let us hope for some really cold weather in D.C. at the end of January so that as many troublemakers as possible get discouraged and stay home. Violent protests, blockades and riots aren’t going to solve anything, and they could easily open fresh wounds in a nation that is becoming more divided with each passing day.
About the author: Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog and The Most Important News. Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled “The Rapture Verdict” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.
When Barack Obama betrayed Israel at the United Nations, that put a curse on our nation. But that doesn’t mean that we have to stay cursed. In the coming days, the new Trump administration should immediately start taking steps to reverse the curse that we are under as a result of what Obama has done. Perhaps if Donald Trump takes strong enough steps to try to undo what Obama has done, instead of being cursed we can once again return to being blessed.
One thing that Trump will not be able to undo is UN Security Council Resolution 2334. It would take another UN Security Council resolution to undo it, and the votes simply wouldn’t be there. UN Security Council Resolution 2334 passed by a vote of 14 to zero with the U.S. abstaining. And even if Trump could miraculously pull together enough votes, one of the other permanent members of the Security Council (Russia, China, the UK or France) could just veto it.
So it looks like we are stuck with UN Security Council Resolution 2334, but that doesn’t mean that Trump can’t do anything to try to address this matter.
Recently, a Breitbart article suggested five steps that Trump should take regarding Israel once he becomes president, and I would like to add another five to the list.
The following are 10 things that should immediately be done once Trump becomes president to try to reverse the curse that Obama has put on America…
#1 Donald Trump should clearly disavow UN Security Council Resolution 2334 during his Inaugural address. This would send a clear signal to the rest of the world that this new administration does not stand behind Obama’s betrayal of Israel.
#2 Sanctions should be imposed on every nation that voted in favor of the resolution. I know that this would be politically tricky and would greatly upset the other permanent members of the Security Council, but it should still be done.
#3 There should be a congressional declaration clearly disavowing UN Security Council Resolution 2334, and Donald Trump should endorse this declaration.
#4 The Trump administration should immediately introduce another UN Security Council resolution that would include language that completely overturns the previous resolution. Of course that resolution would almost certainly fail, but the point would be to show that the Trump administration is horrified by what has been done, and it would force the rest of the Security Council into a very uncomfortable position.
#5 Trump should immediately move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. By law this was already supposed to have happened anyway, but past presidents have always put the move off. Of course this would cause the Palestinians to riot, but Trump needs to show the world that U.S. policy is not going to be dictated by threats of violence.
#6 Trump should cut off all funding to the Palestinian authority. Considering how much debt we are in, I don’t know why we are giving them money in the first place.
#7 Trump should publicly announce that his administration will never recognize a Palestinian state. The rest of the world would get very upset by this, but it is the right thing to do.
#8 Trump should publicly announce that it is the policy of the United States government that every inch of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Gaza strip and the Golan Heights belongs to Israel. I don’t think that Trump would ever do this, but it would be the single most important step that he could take.
#9 The United Nations could be defunded in whole or in part. But we don’t want to leave the United Nations entirely as some are suggesting. Now that Trump is going to be president, we want him to use the power that we have on the Security Council to protect Israel. Because without the U.S. standing in the way, the rest of the world would gang up on Israel in a major way.
#10 Trump should make an immediate presidential visit to Israel during the very first week of his presidency. This would largely be symbolic, but it would show the rest of the planet that we stand solidly with the Netanyahu government.
And if Barack Obama takes additional action against Israel during the remaining days of his presidency, steps such as I have just outlined above will become even more important.
There are still rumblings that we could see another UN Security Council resolution that would officially establish a Palestinian state before Obama leaves office. The following comes from an article by Bob Eschliman…
The official said the U.N. action could come in the form of declarations by U.N. bodies, including the General Assembly; U.N. sessions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; or even another United Nations Security Council resolution. He said any further UNSC resolution would depend on the support of the U.S. and European countries after the upcoming Paris Mideast summit slated for Jan. 15.
He said the U.N. action would seek to set the parameters of a future Palestinian state with a clear timeline for negotiations. If the action comes in the form of a resolution at a U.N. body, it could call for an infrastructure to establish mechanisms to enforce last week’s UNSC resolution, which demanded a complete halt to Israeli construction in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem and declared those territories occupied Palestinian lands.
If the UN Security Council does vote to formally recognize a Palestinian state, all hell will break loose in America.
Let us hope that does not happen, and let us hope that Donald Trump works very hard to repair the damage that has already been done once he gets into office.
Barack Obama stabbed Israel in the back on Friday, and now John Kerry has slapped Israel in the face just five days later. In a shameful speech that lasted for 71 dreadful minutes, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry laid out his plan for peace in the Middle East on Wednesday. His six-part plan is being welcomed warmly by the Palestinians, but it has further infuriated the Israelis. Kerry claims that his plan reflects the emerging global consensus as to what a “final solution” will look like, and now we will wait to see what the 70 nations that will be gathering in France to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on January 15th will do. There is a great deal of concern that the principles agreed upon at that conference will form the basis for a UN Security Council resolution that will be rushed to a vote before President-elect Donald Trump is inaugurated on January 20th.
The core of Kerry’s plan is the division of the land of Israel into two states. The borders between Israel and “Palestine” would be based upon the 1967 ceasefire lines with mutually agreed upon land swaps. The following comes from ynetnews.com…
Outgoing US Secretary of State John Kerry laid out the Obama administration’s parameters for peace between Israel and the Palestinians during a speech at the State Department on Wednesday that lasted 71 minutes, one of the longest in US State Department history.
Breaking sharply from longstanding US policy that foreign powers shouldn’t impose a solution, Kerry unveiled a six-part outline of what a future peace deal could look like. The outline tracked closely with principles long assumed to be part of an eventual deal, and Kerry insisted he was merely describing what’s emerged as points of general agreement.
Primarily, Kerry called to create a secure and recognized border between Israel and a contiguous Palestine along the 1967 lines, with “mutually agreed, equivalent (land) swaps.”
As part of the land swaps, Kerry insists that the Palestinians must be given land that connects the West Bank and the Gaza strip. In his speech he stated that “Palestine must be viable and contiguous”, and he made it exceedingly clear that East Jerusalem will be the capital of the new Palestinian state.
Of course UN Security Council Resolution 2334 has already given the entire West Bank and every inch of East Jerusalem to the Palestinians. So the only thing that another UN Security Council resolution would be needed for would be to formally establish a Palestinian state.
Kerry went on to say that if Israel does not accept a two-state solution “it will not have peace with the rest of the Arab world, I can guarantee that.”
Of course Kerry is half-correct in making that statement, because Israel will not have peace with the rest of the Arab world even if a Palestinian state is established. In fact, the establishment of a Palestinian state would actually make war much more likely.
Kerry also shockingly claimed that “Israel can either be Jewish or democratic”…
Kerry said a two-state solution, which calls for an independent Palestinian state existing peacefully alongside Israel, is the only way to guarantee the Jewish state’s long-term security in the region.
“If the choice is one state, Israel can either be Jewish or democratic, it cannot be both,” Kerry said.
Needless to say, Kerry’s speech sparked a tremendous amount of outrage among pro-Israel leaders here in the United States.
One of the leaders that is condemning Kerry’s remarks is U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. In a strongly worded statement, he accused Barack Obama and John Kerry of being “relentless enemies of Israel”…
Ted Cruz, a Republican senator and 2016 presidential candidate, lit into Kerry and Obama in a statement that accused of them being ‘bitter clingers.’
They’re ‘spending every last minute of this administration wreaking havoc domestically and abroad,’ he said.
‘These acts are shameful. They are designed to secure a legacy, and indeed they have: history will record and the world will fully understand Obama and Kerry as relentless enemies of Israel.’
And Donald Trump is speaking out as well. On Twitter, he let the world know what he thinks about how the Obama administration has been treating Israel…
“We cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect,” Trump tweeted. “The beginning of the end was the horrible Iran deal, and now this (U.N.!) Stay strong, Israel, January 20th is fast approaching!”
In response, Barack Obama actually got on the phone and called Donald Trump in an attempt to smooth things over.
After eight years of failure, Barack Obama has saved the very worst for last. With less than 30 days to go in his presidency, he has chosen this moment to betray Israel, and by doing so he has greatly cursed America.
I don’t get upset about a lot these days, but this is something that is worth getting upset about. If Obama would have just left things alone, everything would have been fine. But instead of deferring to the next president on important matters, Obama has chosen to implement a “scorched earth policy” during his final month in the White House.
As we move into 2017, our relationship with Israel is going to be one of the biggest political issues that we are facing.
If you are anti-Israel, you are with Barack Obama, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, the United Nations and all the rest of the globalists that are obsessed with dividing the land of Israel.
If you are pro-Israel, you are with Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Ted Cruz and all of the other brave leaders that are fighting the forces of globalism.
All over the world, the forces of anti-Semitism are rising. Even here in the United States, there are large numbers of people that are virulently anti-Israel.
Ultimately, it is a spiritual thing. Those that hate Israel and that hate the Jewish people are being inspired by the powers of darkness, and this cancer is spreading even among those that call themselves Bible-believing Christians.
God loves all people – and this includes the Israelis and the Palestinians. And the ultimate solution to the problems in the Middle East would be to follow God’s blueprint, but unfortunately global leaders have their own ideas, and their anti-Semitic agenda is going to end up getting an enormous amount of people killed.