Top U.S. Officials Gather To Discuss “Military Options” In Venezuela As Russia Warns Of “Grave Consequences” If America Invades

On Wednesday afternoon, senior U.S. officials gathered at the White House to discuss possible military options for Venezuela.  Meanwhile, the Russians are warning of grave consequences if the U.S. invades, and so the stage is being set for a potential showdown between the world’s two foremost military powers.  Previously, administration officials had hoped that the Venezuelan people would rally around Juan Guaido to such a degree that it would not require military intervention to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, but that hasn’t happened.  In fact, Guaido’s big push to start a revolution in the streets over the past few days has ended up being a total flop.  The following comes from Yahoo News

Guaido had called for the “largest march” in Venezuela’s history and said on Twitter that “millions of Venezuelans” were in the streets in “this final phase” of his move to oust Maduro.

But by late afternoon, many of the protesters in the capital Caracas were drifting home.

Despite Guaido’s calls for the military to support him, the armed forces leadership has so far remained loyal to Maduro, who has been in power since 2013.

In the long-term, the situation in Venezuela isn’t going to change much if the U.S. is able to replace one socialist president (Maduro) with another socialist president (Guaido).  Socialism always ends badly, and the people of Venezuela are going to have to decide for themselves that they don’t want socialism any longer.

But that isn’t what this is about.  U.S. officials have decided that it is time to impose their will on the people of Venezuela, and they have determined that Maduro must go.  If Guaido cannot create a successful internal revolution, then other options will be explored.

And as I mentioned in the opening paragraph, there was a very, very important gathering of top U.S. officials at the White House on Wednesday afternoon

Senior U.S. administration officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, and National Security Advisor John Bolton, will meet at the White House Wednesday afternoon. With the situation on the ground still “extraordinarily fluid,” according to Shanahan, the U.S. says it is still weighing military options.

Don’t you wish that you could have been a fly on the wall for that meeting?

Of course we already know what Pompeo and Bolton are thinking.  This is what Pompeo just told Fox Business

“Military action is possible. If that’s what’s required, that’s what the United States will do.”

In other words, if Guaido can’t get the job done, our boys and girls are going in.

And John Bolton has repeatedly insisted that “all options are on the table” regarding Venezuela, and he just told reporters the following about potential Russian interference

“This is our hemisphere,” he told reporters outside the White House. “It’s not where the Russians ought to be interfering. This is a mistake on their part. It’s not going to lead to an improvement of relations.”

So precisely what would Bolton like us to do about it?

The Russians already have troops and military equipment in Venezuela, and they are there with the permission of the Venezuelan government.  Does Bolton really want us to attack and risk a war with Russia?

And for what?  Venezuela certainly has a lot of oil, but the truth is that there is no fundamental national security interest at stake in Venezuela.

Unfortunately, there is a growing consensus in Washington that something must be done about Venezuela, and the hysteria has already reached absolutely ridiculous levels.  For example, just consider the words of U.S. Senator Rick Scott

“Here is what is going to happen. We are in the process, if we don’t win today, we are going to have Syria in this hemisphere. So, we can make sure something happens now, or we can deal with this for decades to come. If we care about families, if we care about the human race, if we care about fellow worldwide citizens, then we’ve got to step up and stop this genocide.”

Did you catch that?

Apparently, if you are not in favor of a U.S. invasion of Venezuela, you don’t “care about families” and you don’t “care about the human race” either.

In response to those comments, this is what Tucker Carlson had to say

When was the last time we successfully meddled in the political life of another country? Has it ever worked? How are the democracies we set up in Iraq, in Libya, in Syria, and Afghanistan right now? How would Venezuela be different? Please explain — and take your time.

Are we prepared for the refugees a Venezuelan war would inevitably produce? A study by the Brookings Institution found that the collapse of the Venezuelan government could force eight million people to leave the country. Many of them would come here. Lawmakers in this country propose giving them temporary protected status that would let even illegal arrivals live and work here, in effect, permanently, as many have before, with no fear of deportation. Are we prepared for that?

If we are going to ask members of our military to shed their blood, it had better be for a really, really good reason.

And switching out one socialist leader for another socialist leader in Venezuela definitely does not qualify.

Of course that is the best case scenario.

In a worst case scenario, a U.S. military invasion of Venezuela would spark a war with Russia, and the Russians are making it very clear that there will be “grave consequences” if we attack…

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Pompeo by phone on Wednesday that further “aggressive steps” in Venezuela would have grave consequences, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is getting dangerously close to war with Iran as well.  The Iranians are threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz in retaliation for Washington cutting off all their oil exports, and if the Strait of Hormuz gets shut down all hell could break loose.

U.S. officials want to “get tough” with all of our enemies around the world, and that is fine as long as you know what are you doing.

Because even one miscalculation can result in missiles flying back and forth, and once peace is taken from the Earth things could get wildly out of control very rapidly.

So let us hope that cooler heads prevail, because right now we are quickly approaching a tipping point.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

2 Aircraft Carriers Have Left Port – Are The USS Eisenhower And The USS Roosevelt Headed South Toward Venezuela?

Juan Guaido has initiated a violent uprising in an attempt to overthrow Nicolas Maduro, and it appears that the U.S. may be preparing to intervene in the conflict militarily.  The USNI News Fleet and Marine Tracker accurately tracks the current positions of U.S. naval assets, and according to them the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower has left port on the east coast and the USS Theodore Roosevelt has left port on the west coast.  In both cases, each aircraft carrier was originally slated for “training” exercises, but now there is lots of speculation that they are both steaming south toward Venezuela.  Since there has been no official confirmation from Washington, let me stress that once again that any talk about the potential destination of these carriers is just speculation.  But considering what is taking place in Venezuela at this moment, it certainly would not surprise anyone if the waters off Venezuela is precisely where they are heading.

Earlier today, the Intel_Radar Twitter account created quite a stir with a series of seven tweets

BREAKING: US Navy deploys two aircraft carriers, both southbound, one from each coast, amid Venezuela crisis.

Update 1 : Eisenhower left Virginia headed South, on the same day Roosevelt deployed out of San Diego headed for the Panama Canal.

Update 2 : US Navy Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (MMSI:368962000|CS:NIKE) departed Norfolk ~2019-04-26, was off AIS for 4 days, and seems to be headed South, off the US East Coast.

Update 3 : American Roll-on Roll-off Carrier (ARC) RoRo Integrity (IMO:8919934|MMSI:367063310) departed Mexico with a fake destination, “hiding their destination”.

Update 4 : USS Dwight D. Eisenhower has earned a number of awards, including the Battle “E” in 1979, 1980, 1981, 1985, 1990, 1998, 1999, 2006 and 2012 as the most battle efficient carrier in the Atlantic Fleet.

Update 5 : 6248 kHz LSB Venezuela naval freq still active. Also morse code in background.

Update 6 : A US Navy fast combat support ship departed Norfolk just a little bit ago.

If all of this information is true, it would certainly seem to indicate that something is up.

Could it be possible that the U.S. is about to go to war with Venezuela?

If you are not familiar with what happened in Venezuela on Tuesday, here is a pretty good summary

It was a ploy that from its outset felt like a long shot. Before dawn Tuesday, Juan Guaido, flanked by his political mentor Leopoldo Lopez and a handful of soldiers who had broken ranks, issued a message to Venezuela and the world: The time to topple Nicolas Maduro’s authoritarian regime was right now.

By dusk, with Maduro still firmly in control of the military command, Lopez had sought refuge in the Chilean ambassador’s residence in Caracas and the streets were beginning to empty of the protesters who had heeded Guaido’s call to join what he called Operation Liberty.

Either Guaido is completely suicidal, or he is coordinating with the U.S. and he believes that U.S. military help in on the way.

The second option seems more likely, and on Tuesday John Bolton even admitted that “a deal had been struck” with key members of Maduro’s regime…

The whole episode was so bizarre — with Guaido seemingly lacking the military might to have any chance at all — that it was hard to understand the day’s events. One explanation, as related by National Security Adviser John Bolton, was that a deal had been struck behind the scenes and that key members of Maduro’s regime had agreed to flip, paving the way for Guaido to easily assume power.

Well, either Bolton was bluffing or those officials double-crossed him, because it just hasn’t happened.

And perhaps that would help to explain this very angry tweet from Bolton

.@vladimirpadrino, @Ivanr_HD, @MaikelMorenoTSJ: Your time is up. This is your last chance. Accept Interim President Guaido’s amnesty, protect the Constitution, and remove Maduro, and we will take you off our sanctions list. Stay with Maduro, and go down with the ship.

In response to Bolton’s tweet, one top Venezuelan official posted the following

Dream on … Not today!

Subsequently, Bolton once again told the press that “all options are on the table” when it comes to Venezuela…

Bolton later told reporters that the U.S. would consider intervening in Venezuela.

“We want, as our principal objective, the peaceful transition of power, but I will say again as the president has said from the outset and as Nicolas Maduro and those supporting him — particularly those who are not Venezuelan — should know, is all options are on the table,” Bolton said.

But if the U.S. goes into Venezuela, it will be a full-blown war against a seasoned military with more than 300,000 troops in a country twice the size of Iraq.

In addition, the Russians and the Cubans already have troops there, and they have no intention of pulling their forces out.

In other words, an invasion of Venezuela could potentially spark World War 3.

But John Bolton doesn’t seem fazed by any of that.  He is a hardcore war hawk, and he has been calling for military conflict for years.  If you will remember, he actually called for a pre-emptive war against North Korea just two months before joining the Trump administration

For John Bolton, the national-security adviser, the summit represented a conundrum. Two months before he entered the White House, in April, 2018, he had called for preëmptive war with North Korea. During the past two decades, Bolton has established himself as the Republican Party’s most militant foreign-policy thinker—an advocate of aggressive force who ridicules anyone who disagrees. In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, he argued that Kim’s regime would soon be able to strike the United States with nuclear weapons, and that we should attack before it was too late. “The threat is imminent,” he wrote. “It is perfectly legitimate for the United States to respond to the current ‘necessity’ posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons by striking first.”

We truly live in ominous times, and many are deeply concerned that Bolton seems to have so much influence over U.S. foreign policy right now.

Ultimately, we don’t know what is going to happen next, but it is interesting to note that White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney also used the phrase “all options are on the table” during an interview with Maria Bartiromo…

“The only messages I think we are trying to get out there is that we want to make sure the Russians and the Cubans know they are not supposed to get involved and that we do and have said a bunch of times that all options are on the table” said Mulvaney during a conversation with FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo from the Milken Institute Global Conference Opens a New Window.

They are making it very clear that a full-blown invasion of Venezuela is a real possibility, and most Americans have absolutely no idea what that would mean.

We are talking about a conflict that would be several magnitudes greater than the Iraq war, and it could be right around the corner.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Give This Stock Market Bubble A Round Of Applause – The S&P 500 And The Nasdaq Just Hit Brand New Record Highs

Stocks just closed at a brand new all-time record high, ‘Avengers: Endgame’ is coming to theaters, and a 24-year-old man from Wisconsin just won the 768 million dollar Powerball jackpot.  If those are the top headlines today, then everything must be good in ‘Murica at the moment, right?  Of course that is not true at all, but as far as the stock market is concerned we must give credit where credit is due.  Our financial engineers have created the largest stock market bubble in all of U.S. history, and we should all be hoping that it lasts for as long as possible.  Because once this financial bubble is destroyed, the aftermath is going to be truly horrible for the entire country.

Up to this point in the year, the stock market is off to the best start that we have seen since 1987.

Of course we all remember what happened toward the end of 1987.

But for now everything is rainbows and unicorns on Wall Street.  The following comes from Fox Business

The benchmark S&P 500 index is up 17%, its best start to a year since 1987, while the Nasdaq has gained 22%, its best start since 1991. The Dow Jones Industrial Average remains about half a percentage point from its record last October.

Tuesday’s move to a record high for the benchmark S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq index comes less than six months after a sharp decline in late December, which led the S&P 500 to its worst annual performance since 2008.

Last December, stocks were plunging dramatically, and it looked like a brand new financial crisis was potentially beginning.

But stocks pulled out of their nosedive, and most investors are feeling really happy for the moment.

If we could just freeze this moment in time somehow, we would be in pretty good shape.  Unfortunately, time inevitably rolls on, and many believe that there is a lot of pain ahead for investors.

Of course there are other “experts” that believe the best is yet to come.  For instance, Kevin Barry just told CNBC that the stock market turmoil that we witnessed late last year “actually prevented a recession”…

“These market levels are justified,” said Kevin Barry, chief investment officer at Captrust Advisors. “The fourth-quarter sell-off actually prevented a recession because policymakers responded extremely quickly. Both President Xi and President Trump cooled off the rhetoric and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell came out and reversed course.”

I have read that paragraph over and over, and I still can’t believe that someone actually had the gall to say such a thing.

According to Barry, the coming recession has been postponed indefinitely and everybody can start partying like its 1999 all over again!

If only life were so simple.

Look, the reality is that even Fox Business is admitting that stock buybacks are one of the major factors driving this latest rally…

However, the rally this year has been despite outflows from equity funds, according to Bank of America data, suggesting some of the gains have been driven by corporate buybacks of stocks.

Our largest corporations are going hundreds of billions of dollars in debt to pump up their own stock prices.  It is a Ponzi scheme of epic proportions, and when things start to go bad there is going to be a race to bankruptcy court.

But for the moment the Ponzi scheme continues, and a lot of people are becoming exceedingly wealthy as a result.

For average Americans, it is absolutely imperative to remember that the stock market is not the economy.  Yes, the stock market has been soaring, but the U.S. economy has not had a full year of 3 percent growth since the middle of the Bush administration.  This has been the longest stretch of sub-three percent economic growth in our history by a very wide margin, and now all of the numbers are telling us that economic activity is slowing down once again.

Instead of partying, most people should be using this time to prepare for what is ahead, but we know that is simply not going to happen.

And when the end of this bubble finally comes, it is likely to come very quickly.  As I always stress to my regular readers, markets tend to go down a whole lot faster than they go up, and that is especially true during times of crisis.

In 2008, enormous amounts of money were lost in the blink of an eye.  The following comes from an outstanding article by Bob Henderson entitled “What I Learned From Losing $200 Million”

The day after Lehman fell I lost $20 million, and the day after that $30 million—enough in two days to wipe out all the profits I’d made the previous year. (And that had been a pretty good year.)

But worse was that I felt trapped. My models showed I was destined to lose far more money in the coming weeks, no matter what I did. All roads seemed to lead to an unavoidable abyss. I could practically feel that hot hole breathing under my desk. I actually got dizzy, and lost my ability to think. When my boss stopped by to warn me that Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley looked likely to fall next, he seemed almost amused when he told me that I looked green.

I stumbled home early that day, mentally incapacitated for the first time in my career.

Someday we will see similar things happen again, but we should all want that day to be put off for as long as possible.

For the moment, happy times are here again on Wall Street, and we should enjoy them while we still can.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Uh Oh: The Number Of Job Openings In The U.S. Dropped By More Than Half A Million In Just One Month

According to the Labor Department, the number of job openings in the United States just plunged by the largest amount we have seen in nearly four years.  The latest JOLTS report shows that the number of job openings has declined by 538,000, and that is a really big number for just a single month.  But we shouldn’t be surprised by this at all, because it is perfectly consistent with all of the other dismal economic numbers that have been coming in recently.  An economic slowdown is here, and many believe that it is just getting started.

Very briefly, let’s review some of the reasons why we should expect to see the employment numbers get worse.  As the economy slows down, goods begin to pile up in our warehouses, and that is precisely what the numbers show.  In fact, the inventory to sales ratio in the U.S. has now increased for five months in a row.

Fewer sales should result in less stuff being shipped around the nation by freight, rail and air, and this is yet another thing that we see happening right now.  Overall, U.S. freight shipment volume has dropped for three months in a row.

Once businesses realize that economic conditions have changed, then they start reducing the number of job openings and laying off workers.  That is why employment statistics are often referred to as “trailing indicators”.  The employment numbers don’t usually start to go down until other indicators start dropping first.

And without a doubt, the employment numbers are starting to move.  Continuing jobless claims have been rising at the most rapid pace in 10 years, and U.S. businesses have been adding jobs at the slowest pace in 18 months.

With all of that in mind, we should not be surprised at all by this latest number

Job openings, a measure of labor demand, tumbled by 538,000 to a seasonally adjusted 7.1 million, the Labor Department said in its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, report on Tuesday. The drop was the biggest since August 2015.

That is a really dreadful number, and there is no way to spin it to make it look good.

One factor that is shifting the employment environment is all of the minimum wage laws that are being passed around the country.

A number of liberal enclaves have raised the minimum wage to 15 dollars an hour, and as a result a lot of small businesses have been forced to let workers go

In what has become just one more example of government intervention going the exact opposite of what socialists intend, minimum wage laws are driving a “payroll tsunami.”  Small businesses are being forced to lay off workers in order to comply with a law demanding an increase in wages.

This isn’t all that surprising. Economists, small business owners, and other analysts have said that the net result of higher wages is a loss of jobs. And small businesses, who don’t have the capital or return that large corporations do, are feeling the proverbial pinch. According to Fox News, several mom-and-pop coffee shops and restaurants, are responding by cutting hours, eliminating jobs or closing down entirely because they can’t keep up with rising wages under the law.

My very first job was flipping burgers for McDonald’s, and I made $3.35 an hour doing it.  As a teenager, I was grateful to have such a job, but now such minimum wage jobs are in danger.  Wal-Mart and other major corporations are already making extensive use of robots to perform basic tasks, and making human workers more expensive is going to hurt those at the bottom of the economic food chain the most.

But for the moment, things are still relatively stable.  Most Americans still seem to believe that the bubble of debt-fueled economic “prosperity” that we are currently enjoying is going to continue for the foreseeable future, and they are spending money as if tomorrow will never come.

According to Zero Hedge, U.S. consumer credit has now surged past the 4 trillion dollar mark…

After a few months of wild swings in mid 2018, in February US consumer credit continued to normalize, rising by $15.2 billion, slightly below the $17 billion expected, following January’s $17.7 billion increase. The continued increase in borrowings saw total credit storm above $4 trillion, and hit a new all time high of $4.045 trillion on the back of a America’s ongoing love affair with auto and student loans, and of course credit cards.

We better hope that the U.S. economy is able to pull out of this new slowdown, because most of us are living right on the edge financially.

Sadly, we never seem to learn.  The same mistakes that we made last time around are all happening again, and Americans are completely and totally unprepared for what is coming.

And the warnings are all around us.  On Tuesday, the IMF downgraded their forecast for global economic growth for the third time in six months.  Commenting on this downgrade, IMF executive director Christine Lagarde noted that this is a “delicate moment” for the global economy…

Christine Lagarde, the IMF’s executive director, said the global economy is in a “delicate moment.”

“Only two years ago, 75% of the global economy experienced an upswing,” Lagarde said, according to the text of a speech she’s due to give at the US Chamber of Commerce. “For this year, we expect 70% of the global economy to experience a slowdown in growth.”

It is not often that I agree with a globalist like Christine Lagarde, but she is quite right in saying that this is a “delicate moment”.

Global economic numbers have not been this bad since the last financial crisis, and many believe that we have now reached a major turning point.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Economic Slowdown Confirmed: Here Are 14 Very Alarming Numbers That Reveal The Current State Of The Economy

The economic numbers just continue to get worse and worse, and at this point it has become exceedingly clear that an economic slowdown is happening.  In fact, even the chair of the Federal Reserve is using the term “slowdown” to describe what is taking place.  But of course many are still hoping that the U.S. economy can pull out of this slump and avoid the sort of crippling recession that we experienced in 2008.  Unfortunately, that may be really tough because the entire global economy is slowing down right now.  Our world is more interconnected than ever before, and what happens on one side of the planet is invariably going to affect the other side of the planet.  Some parts of the globe are already mired in deep economic problems, and the U.S. appears to be following down the same path.

If you still think that the economy is in “good shape”, please read over the following list very carefully.

The following are 14 very alarming numbers that reveal the true state of the economy…

#1 Continuing jobless claims are rising at the fastest pace in 10 years.

#2 U.S. businesses are adding jobs at the slowest pace in 18 months.

#3 General Motors, Ford, Nissan and Fiat Chrysler all reported sales declines of at least 5 percent on a year over year basis in March.

#4 Tesla vehicle deliveries were down a whopping 31 percent during the first quarter of 2019.

#5 U.S. consumer confidence fell more than 7 points in March.

#6 Manhattan real estate sales have now fallen for six straight quarters.  That is the longest losing streak in 30 years.

#7 London real estate sales just dropped by the most we have seen in 10 years.

#8 The owner of Kay, Zales and Jared jewelers just announced that they will be closing 150 stores.

#9 Retail layoffs are 92 percent higher than they were at this time last year.

#10 U.S. freight shipment volume has fallen for three months in a row.

#11 The inventory to sales ratio in the United States has risen sharply for five months in a row.

#12 At this point, almost half of all renters in America spend more than 30 percent of their incomes on rent.

#13 The real median net income for Minnesota farmers was only $26,055 in 2018, and that was before many of them were absolutely devastated by the recent flooding.

#14 Overall, U.S. economic numbers are off to their worst start for a year since 2008.

We didn’t see economic numbers like this last year.

But now things have clearly changed.  It is starting to feel more like 2008 with each passing day, and this is a point that Mac Slavo made in his most recent article

The signs of yet another economic recession are everywhere. In fact, it seems hard to find any positive economic news anymore, even though a mere few months ago, it was difficult to find a report signaling the United States might be headed for some turmoil.

These days, many people get offended at the thought that the U.S. economy is heading for trouble.  But the truth is that we have been heading for trouble for a very long time.

Our economy is built on a foundation of sand.  More specifically, we have borrowed our way into “prosperity”.

The other day, I wrote an article about our $22,000,000,000,000 national debt.  It is the biggest single debt in the history of the world, and we continue to add to it at a rate that is absolutely insane.  In fact, our 234 billion dollar deficit in February broke the all-time record for a single month.  If we continue to do this, there is no way that our story ends well.

But that 22 trillion dollar debt is only a fraction of our overall debt.

When you add up all forms of debt in the United States, it comes to a grand total of more than 72 trillion dollars.  And that doesn’t even include a single dollar of our unfunded liabilities on the federal, state and local level.

When Ronald Reagan took office, the total amount of debt in the U.S. was less than 5 trillion dollars.

When historians look back on this time in history, they will not be surprised that our society ultimately collapsed.  What will surprise them is that it took so long for it to do so.

Sometimes I get criticized for urging people to get prepared.  But those that really deserve the criticism are those that are assuring everyone that everything is going to be just fine.  If we got the smartest minds in the entire country together and treated this like a major national emergency, perhaps we could find a way to engineer some sort of a soft landing when this debt bubble bursts.

But as it stands, there is no plan and our long-term problems get worse with each passing day.  Our economy is headed for a crash of epic proportions, and it isn’t going to matter who is in power in Washington when it happens.

And at the rate that our economy is currently slowing down, America may become an economic horror show a lot sooner than many people had anticipated.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Just Before The Great Recession, Mountains Of Unsold Goods Piled Up In U.S. Warehouses – And Now It Is Happening Again

When economic conditions initially begin to slow down, businesses continue to order goods like they normally would but those goods don’t sell as quickly as they previously did.  As a result, inventory levels begin to rise, and that is precisely what is happening right now.  In fact, the U.S. inventory to sales ratio has risen sharply for five months in a row.  This is mirroring the pattern that we witnessed just prior to the financial crisis of 2008, and it is exactly what we would expect to see if a new recession was now beginning.  In recent weeks, I have been sharing number after number that indicates that a serious economic slowdown is upon us, and many believe that what is coming will eventually be even worse than what we experienced in 2008.

And even though I write about this stuff every day, I was stunned by how rapidly inventory levels have been rising recently.  The following numbers come from Peter Schiff’s website

This comes on the heels of the largest gain in wholesale inventories in more than five years in December.

Inventories rose 7.7% from a year ago in January. Meanwhile, sales only rose by 2.7%. Overall, total inventories were $669.9 billion at the end of January, up 1.2% from the revised December level.

The increase in durable goods inventories at the wholesale level was even starker. These inventories were up 11.7% from January a year ago, and are up 17% from January two years ago, hitting $415 billion, the highest ever.

Businesses don’t like to have excess inventory, because carrying excess inventory is expensive and cuts into profits.  So they try very hard to manage their inventories efficiently, but if the economy slows down unexpectedly that can catch them off guard

There are few indications of economic slowing that are more convincing than an unwanted build in inventories — and that apparently is what’s underway in the wholesale sector.

When inventory levels get too high, businesses often start reducing the amount of stuff they are ordering from manufacturers.

So we would expect the numbers to indicate that manufacturing output is down, and that is precisely what we have witnessed over the last couple of months

U.S. manufacturing output fell for a second straight month in February and factory activity in New York state hit nearly a two-year low this month, offering further evidence of a sharp slowdown in economic growth early in the first quarter.

If manufacturers are making and sending less stuff to businesses, and if businesses are selling less stuff to their customers, then we would expect to see less stuff moved around the U.S. by truck, rail and air.

And wouldn’t you know it, the numbers also tell us that this has been happening too.  The following comes from Wolf Richter

Now it’s the third month in a row, and the red flag is getting more visible and a little harder to ignore about the goods-based economy: Freight shipment volume in the US across all modes of transportation – truck, rail, air, and barge – in February fell 2.1% from February a year ago, according to the Cass Freight Index, released today. The three months in a row of year-over-year declines are the first such declines since the transportation recession of 2015 and 2016.

So there you have it.  Anyone that tries to tell you that the U.S. economy is “booming” is simply not being accurate.

And when you throw in the fact that we just witnessed one of the worst disasters for U.S. agriculture in all of U.S. history, it is easy to understand why the economic outlook for the remainder of 2019 is rather bleak.  One agribusiness company just announced that it will have “a negative pretax operating profit impact of $50 million to $60 million for the first quarter” as a result of all the flooding…

Already suffering from low crop prices and the U.S.-China trade war, Mother Nature has delivered yet another blow to the beleaguered American farmer. Growers in the heartland this year have seen arctic cold blasts, been blanketed by snow and just in the last week were inundated by floods. Archer-Daniels-Midland Co., one of the world’s biggest agribusinesses, said Monday that it expects weather disruptions to have a negative pretax operating profit impact of $50 million to $60 million for the first quarter.

Korth said he fears the worst for local farmers, citing a friend who lost 85 cows to flooding and another who sells seeds and has already seen order cancellations.

“It’s going to put a lot of people out of business,” Korth said. “It’s just a terrible deal.”

Unfortunately, the flooding in the middle portion of the country is just getting started.  According to the National Weather Service, we are going to see more catastrophic flooding for the next two months.

As you can see, the elements for a “perfect storm” are definitely coming together, and I encourage everyone to get prepared for rough times ahead.

But many people are not that concerned about a new crisis, because they remember that global central banks were able to pull us out of the fire last time around.

Unfortunately, they may not be able to do it this time.  Just consider the words of the deputy director of the IMF

Major financial institutions may be powerless to prevent the next global economic downturn from tuning into a full-blow recession, the International Monetary Fund has warned.

In a speech on the future of the eurozone, the IMF’s deputy director David Lipton, warned of the depleted power of central banks and governments to combat another sharp economic shock.

“The bottom line is this: the tools used to confront the global financial crisis may not be available or may not be as potent next time” he said.

But I am sure that global central banks will try to patch the system back together again, and at certain moments it may even look like they are having some success.

In the end, however, they will not be able to stop the “Bubble To End All Bubbles” from completely bursting.

It has taken decades of exceedingly foolish decisions to get us to this point, and there is simply no way that we can avoid the day of reckoning that is coming.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

The Chair Of The Federal Reserve Just Used The Term “Slowdown” To Describe What Is Happening To The U.S. Economy

Now even the Federal Reserve is publicly admitting that the U.S. economy is slowing down.  And that is quite remarkable, because usually the Federal Reserve is extremely hesitant to say that an economic slowdown is taking place.  As I pointed out the other day, in 2008 former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke kept insisting that a recession was not coming, but we found out later that a recession had already begun when he was making those statements.  Normally the Federal Reserve tries very hard to paint a rosy picture of our economic future, and one of the big reasons for that is because they want us to believe that they are doing a good job and that they have everything under control.  So it was quite stunning to hear Fed Chair Jerome Powell use the term “slowdown” to describe what is coming for the U.S. economy on Wednesday…

Citing a more modest outlook for the economy, the Federal Reserve on Wednesday held interest rates steady and signaled it did not plan to raise rates at all this year and would bump them up just once in 2020, providing a road map for a sustained period of easy-money policy.

“The U.S. economy is in a good place,” Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said at a news conference, adding policymakers foresee “a modest slowdown, with overall conditions remaining favorable. We see no need to rush to judgment (by lifting or cutting rates).”

Admittedly, he did only say that it would be a “modest slowdown”, and so to most people that won’t sound that bad.

But this is the very first time that Powell has talked like this, and the truth is that the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow model is currently forecasting that U.S. growth in the first quarter will be less than half a percent.  Fed officials are hoping that growth will be better in the second quarter, but there is also a very strong possibility that the economy will continue to decelerate.

Because the economy is entering a “slowdown”, the Federal Reserve announced on Wednesday that it does not anticipate any more interest rate hikes for the rest of the year.

Normally Wall Street would experience a huge surge of euphoria upon hearing such news, but stocks were actually down on Wednesday

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 closed lower on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve’s latest monetary-policy announcement dragged Treasury yields lower, pushing bank shares down.

Goldman Sachs led the 30-stock Dow to end the day down 141.71 points at 25,745.67. The S&P 500 closed 0.3 percent lower at 2,824.23. The Nasdaq Composite eked out a gain, closing 0.1 percent higher at 7,728.97.

This certainly could not have been the reaction that the Federal Reserve was hoping for.

Could it be possible that bad news for the U.S. economy is no longer good news for Wall Street?

Without a doubt, we are witnessing a huge wave of pessimism in the business community right now.  Yesterday, I noted that Federal Express is talking as if a global recession had already started, and other corporate leaders are making similar statements.

For example, just consider what the CEO of banking giant UBS just said

The head of UBS was among the latest to blame the world’s backdrop for weaker-than-expected results. CEO Ermotti told a conference in London on Wednesday that it “one of the worst first-quarter environments in recent history,” Reuters reported. The Swiss bank slashed another $300 million from 2019 costs after revenue at its investment bank plunged. Investment banking conditions are among the toughest seen in years, especially outside the U.S., he said.

And the CFO of BMW told investors on Wednesday that BMW’s earnings may be exposed to “additional risks” from the global economy in the months ahead…

“Depending on how conditions develop, our guidance may be subject to additional risks; in particular, the risk of a no-deal Brexit and ongoing developments in international trade policy,” CFO Nicolas Peter said in BMW’s quarterly earnings report Wednesday.

Last, but certainly not least, the co-CEO of Samsung just said that his company is anticipating “slowing growth in major economies” for the remainder of 2019…

“We are expecting many difficulties this year such as slowing growth in major economies and risks over global trade conflicts,” Samsung Co-Chief Executive Kinam Kim said.

Here in the United States, whoever is in the White House at the time usually gets most of the credit or most of the blame for how the economy is performing.

But the truth is that President Trump did not create the financial bubble that caused the boom on Wall Street.

The Federal Reserve did.

And President Trump is not going to be responsible when that bubble bursts either.

The Federal Reserve has far, far more control over the performance of the U.S. economy than either the president or Congress does.  And since the Federal Reserve was initially created in 1913, there have been 18 distinct recessions and/or depressions, and now we are heading into the 19th one.

If we want to finally get off this economic roller coaster ride permanently, we need to abolish the Federal Reserve.  But this isn’t even part of the national political discussion at this point.

However, that could soon change.  In the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008, we witnessed a huge backlash against the Federal Reserve system.  Eventually that backlash subsided, but now that we are entering a new crisis, perhaps it is time to start dusting off all of those old “End the Fed” signs.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

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