The Beginning Of The End
The Beginning Of The End By Michael T. Snyder - Kindle Version

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Show This To Anyone That Believes That “Things Are Getting Better” In America

Show This To Anyone That Believes That Things Are Getting Better In AmericaHow can anyone not see that the U.S. economy is collapsing all around us?  It just astounds me when people try to tell me that “everything is just fine” and that “things are getting better” in America.  Are there people out there that are really that blind?  If you want to see the economic collapse, just open up your eyes and look around you.  By almost every economic and financial measure, the U.S. economy has been steadily declining for many years.  But most Americans are so tied into “the matrix” that they can only understand the cheerful propaganda that is endlessly being spoon-fed to them by the mainstream media.  As I have said so many times, the economic collapse is not a single event.  The economic collapse has been happening, it is is happening right now, and it will continue to happen.  Yes, there will be times when our decline will be punctuated by moments of great crisis, but that will be the exception rather than the rule.  A lot of people that write about “the economic collapse” hype it up as if it will be some huge “event” that will happen very rapidly and then once it is all over we will rebuild.  Unfortunately, that is not how the real world works.  We are living in the greatest debt bubble in the history of the world, and once it completely bursts there will be no going back to how things were before.  Right now, we are living in a “credit card economy”.  As long as we can keep borrowing more money, most people think that things are just fine.  But anyone that has lived on credit cards knows that eventually there comes a point when the game is over, and we are rapidly approaching that point as a nation.

Have you ever been there?  Have you ever desperately hoped that you could just get one more credit card or one more loan so that you could keep things going?

At first, living on credit can be a lot of fun.  You can live a much higher standard of living than you otherwise would be able to.

But inevitably a day of reckoning comes.

If the federal government and the American people were forced at this moment to live within their means, the U.S. economy would immediately plunge into a depression.

That is a 100% rock solid guarantee.

But our politicians and the mainstream media continue to perpetuate the fiction that we can live in this credit card economic fantasy land indefinitely.

And most Americans could not care less about the future.  As long as “things are good” today, they don’t really think much about what the future will hold.

As a result of our very foolish short-term thinking, we have now run up a national debt of 16.4 trillion dollars.  It is the largest debt in the history of the world, and it has gotten more than 23 times larger since Jimmy Carter first entered the White House.

The chart that you see below is a recipe for national financial suicide…

U.S. National Debt

Of course things have accelerated over the past four years.  Since Barack Obama entered the White House, the U.S. government has run a budget deficit of well over a trillion dollars every single year, and we have stolen more than 100 million dollars from our children and our grandchildren every single hour of every single day.

It is the biggest theft of all time.  What we are doing to our children and our grandchildren is beyond criminal.

And now our debt is at a level that most economists would consider terminal.  When Barack Obama first entered the White House, the U.S. debt to GDP ratio was under 70 percent.  Today, it is up to 103 percent.

We are officially in “the danger zone”.

If things really were “getting better” in America, we would not need to borrow so much money.

Our politicians are stealing from the future in order to make the present look better.  During Obama’s first term, the federal government accumulated more debt than it did under the first 42 U.S presidents combined.

That is utter insanity!

If you started paying off just the new debt that the U.S. has accumulated during the Obama administration at the rate of one dollar per second, it would take more than 184,000 years to pay it off.

So what is the solution?

Get ready to laugh.

The most prominent economic journalist in the entire country, Paul Krugman of the New York Times, recently suggested the following in an article that he wrote entitled “Kick That Can“…

Realistically, we’re not going to resolve our long-run fiscal issues any time soon, which is O.K. — not ideal, but nothing terrible will happen if we don’t fix everything this year. Meanwhile, we face the imminent threat of severe economic damage from short-term spending cuts.

So we should avoid that damage by kicking the can down the road. It’s the responsible thing to do.

You mean that we might actually do damage to the debt-fueled economic fantasy world that we are living in if we stopped stealing so much money from future generations?

Oh the humanity!

It is horrifying to think that all that one of the “top economic minds” in America can come up with is to “kick the can” down the road some more.

Unfortunately, neither Paul Krugman nor most of the American people understand that our financial system is actually designed to create government debt.

The bankers that helped create the Federal Reserve intended to permanently enslave the U.S. government to a perpetually expanding spiral of debt, and their plans worked.

At this point, the U.S. national debt is more than 5000 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was first created.

So why don’t the American people understand what the Federal Reserve system is doing to us?

It is because most of them are still plugged into the matrix.  A Zero Hedge article that I came across today put it beautifully…

US society in a nutshell: Chris Dorner has been around for a week and has 222 million results on Google; the Federal Reserve has been around for one hundred years and has 187 million results.

If nothing is done about our exploding debt, it is only a matter of time before we reach financial oblivion.

According to Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff, the U.S. government is facing a “present value difference between projected future spending and revenue” of 222 trillion dollars in the years ahead.

So how in the world are we going to come up with an extra 222 trillion dollars?

But it is not just the U.S. government that is drowning in debt.

Just check out this chart which shows the astounding growth of state and local government debt in recent years…

State And Local Government Debt

All over the United States there are state and local governments that are on the verge of bankruptcy.  Just check out what is going on in Detroit.  The only way that most of our state and local governments can keep going at this point is to also “kick the can” down the road some more.

And of course most of the rest of us are drowning in debt as well.

40 years ago, the total amount of debt in the U.S. economic system (government + business + consumer) was less than 2 trillion dollars.

Today, the total amount of debt in the U.S. economic system has grown to more than 55 trillion dollars.

Can anyone say bubble?

The good news is that U.S. GDP is now more than 12 times larger than it was 40 years ago.

The bad news is that the total amount of debt in our financial system is now more than 30 times larger than it was 40 years ago…

Total Credit Market Debt Owed

At the same time that we are going into so much debt, our ability to produce wealth continues to decline.

According to the World Bank, U.S. GDP accounted for 31.8 percent of all global economic activity in 2001.  That number dropped to 21.6 percent in 2011.  That is not just a decline – that is a nightmarish freefall.  Just check out the chart in this article.

We are becoming less competitive as a nation with each passing year.  In fact, the U.S. has fallen in the global economic competitiveness rankings compiled by the World Economic Forum for four years in a row.

Most Americans don’t understand this, but the United States buys far more from the rest of the world than they buy from us each year.  In 2012, we had a trade deficit of more than 500 billion dollars with the rest of the world.

That means that more than 500 billion dollars that could have gone to U.S. workers and U.S. businesses went out of the country instead.

So how does our country survive if hundreds of billions of dollars more is flowing out of the country than is flowing into it?

Well, to make up the shortfall we go to the countries that we sent our money to and we beg them to lend it back to us.  If that doesn’t work, we just print and borrow even more money.

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

That is 8 trillion dollars that could have saved U.S. businesses, paid the salaries of U.S. workers and that would have helped fund government.

But instead, our foolish policies have greatly enriched China and the oil barons of the Middle East.

Sadly, politicians from both political parties continue to boldly support the one world economic agenda of the global elite.

Just consider how destructive many of these “free trade” deals have been to our economy…

When NAFTA was pushed through Congress in 1993, the United States had a trade surplus with Mexico of 1.6 billion dollars.

By 2010, we had a trade deficit with Mexico of 61.6 billion dollars.

Back in 1985, our trade deficit with China was approximately 6 million dollars (million with a little “m”) for the entire year.

In 2012, our trade deficit with China was 315 billion dollars.  That was the largest trade deficit that one nation has had with another nation in the history of the world.

In particular, our trade with China is extremely unbalanced.  Today, U.S. consumers spend approximately 4 dollars on goods and services from China for every one dollar that Chinese consumers spend on goods and services from the United States.

But isn’t getting cheap stuff from China good?

No, because it costs us good paying jobs.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, the United States is losing half a million jobs to China every single year.

Overall, more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States have been shut down since 2001.  During 2010, manufacturing facilities in the United States were shutting down at a rate of 23 per day.  How can anyone say that “things are getting better” when our economic infrastructure is being absolutely gutted?

The truth is that there are never going to be enough jobs in America ever again, because millions of our jobs are being sent overseas and millions of our jobs are being lost to technology.

You won’t hear this on the news, but the percentage of the civilian labor force in the United States that is employed has been steadily declining every single year since 2006.

Younger workers have been hit particularly hard.  In 2007, the unemployment rate for the 20 to 29 age bracket was about 6.5 percent.  Today, the unemployment rate for that same age group is about 13 percent.

If you are under the age of 30 and you aren’t living with your parents, there is a really good chance that you are living in poverty.  If you can believe it, U.S. families that have a head of household that is under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent.

Our economy has been steadily bleeding huge numbers of middle class jobs, and many of those jobs have been replaced by low paying jobs in recent years.

According to one study, 60 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession were mid-wage jobs, but 58 percent of the jobs created since then have been low wage jobs.

And at this point, an astounding 53 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year.

Oh, but “things are getting better”, right?

Maybe if you live on Wall Street or if you are an employee of the federal government.

But for most families this economic decline has been a total nightmare.  Median household income in America has fallen for four consecutive years.  Overall, it has declined by over $4000 during that time span.

Sometimes people forget how good things were about a decade ago.  About three times as many new homes were sold in the United States in 2005 as were sold in 2012.

But we like to live in denial.

In fact, a lot of families are trying to keep up their standards of living by going into tremendous amounts of debt.

Back in 1983, the bottom 95 percent of all income earners in the United States had 62 cents of debt for every dollar that they earned.  By 2007, that figure had soared to $1.48.

Fake it until you make it, right?

But how much debt can our system possibly handle?

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

Total credit card debt in the United States is now more than 8 times larger than it was just 30 years ago.

We are a nation that is completely addicted to debt, but as the financial crisis of 2008 demonstrated, all of that debt can have horrific consequences.

As the economy has slowed in recent years, the Federal Reserve has decided that “the solution” is to recklessly print money in an attempt to get the debt spiral cranked up again.

Have they gone overboard?  You be the judge…

Monetary Base 2013

And of course this won’t have any affect on the value of the money that you have been saving up all these years right?

Wrong.

Every single dollar that you own is continually losing value…

Purchasing Power Of The Dollar

Overall, the value of the U.S. dollar has declined by more than 96 percent since the Federal Reserve was first created.

As the cost of living continues to go up and wages continue to go down, millions of American families have fallen out of the middle class and into poverty.

If you can believe it, the number of Americans on food stamps has grown from about 17 million in the year 2000 to more than 47 million today.

But “things are getting better”, right?

Incredibly, more than a million public school students in the United States are homeless.  This is the first time that has ever happened in our history.

But “things are getting better”, right?

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

But “things are getting better”, right?

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

But “things are getting better”, right?

Today, more Americans than ever have found themselves forced to turn to the federal government for help.

Overall, the federal government runs nearly 80 different “means-tested welfare programs”, and at this point more than 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one of them.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 49 percent of all Americans live in a home that receives direct monetary benefits from the federal government.  Back in 1983, less than a third of all Americans lived in a home that received direct monetary benefits from the federal government.

So is it a good sign or a bad sign that the percentage of Americans that are financially dependent on the federal government is at an all-time high?

And in future years the number of Americans that are receiving benefits from the federal government is projected to absolutely skyrocket.

Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid.  Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid, and things are about to get a whole lot worse.  It is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.

If you take a look at Medicare, things are very more sobering.

As I wrote recently, it is being projected that the number of Americans on Medicare will grow from 50.7 million in 2012 to 73.2 million in 2025.

At this point, Medicare is facing unfunded liabilities of more than 38 trillion dollars over the next 75 years.  That comes to approximately $328,404 for every single household in the United States.

Are you ready to contribute your share?

Social Security is a complete and total nightmare as well.

Right now, there are approximately 56 million Americans collecting Social Security benefits.

By 2035, that number is projected to soar to an astounding 91 million.

Overall, the Social Security system is facing a 134 trillion dollar shortfall over the next 75 years.

Oh, but don’t worry because “things are getting better”, right?

I honestly do not know how anyone can look at the numbers above and come to the conclusion that the economy is in good shape.

We have accumulated the largest mountain of debt in the history of the world, our economic infrastructure is being gutted, we are bleeding good jobs, government dependence is at an all-time high and we are getting poorer as a nation with each passing day.

But other than that, everything is rainbows and lollipops, right?

If you want to see the economic collapse, just open up your eyes.

And if dramatic changes are not made quickly, things are going to get much, much worse from here.

Please share this article with as many people as possible.  Time is quickly running out and there are a whole lot of people out there that we need to wake up while we still can.

The Economic Collapse Is Happening

 

 

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly From The Fiscal Cliff Deal

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly From The Fiscal Cliff DealThe fiscal cliff deal contains more bad news than it does good news.  Yes, the tax increases on the middle class could have been much worse, and we should be thankful that Congress at least did something for the middle class.  Unfortunately, they didn’t do enough.  Every American worker is going to pay higher taxes next year as a result of this deal.  The fiscal cliff deal represents the biggest tax increase in 20 years, and it is also projected to increase the U.S. national debt by an additional 4 trillion dollars over the next decade.  In the final analysis, U.S. government finances are still wildly out of control and we are all going to be paying higher taxes.  Not a whole lot to be excited about, and nothing has really been fixed for the long-term.  Our politicians have kicked the can down the road once again, but someday they will run out of road and all of this debt will absolutely crush us.  And of course a lot of our politicians didn’t even really know what they were voting for.  The fiscal cliff bill was more than 150 pages long, and our Senators got the bill into their hands just 3 minutes before they voted on it.  So none of them actually read the bill.  But that is the way things work in America today.  The blind are leading the blind and everyone is mindlessly hoping that everything will turn out okay somehow.

For a few moments, let’s take a closer look at the fiscal cliff deal.  There are some good things in there, there are some bad things in there, and there are some things about the deal that are downright ugly.

The Good

-One of the best things about the fiscal cliff deal is that income tax rates did not rise on the poor and the middle class.  This is great news for millions of families that are struggling to make ends meet each month.  A significant rise in income tax rates would have been crippling.

-The Alternative Minimum Tax will now be permanently adjusted for inflation.  This is something that I had screamed about in previous articles.  If an AMT fix had not been passed, approximately 28 million households would have been hammered with the Alternative Minimum Tax on their 2012 earnings.

-Millions of unemployed workers will continue to receive extended federal unemployment benefits.  We probably cannot really afford to keep doing this, but at least now there won’t be millions of unemployed workers that suddenly have their only source of income shut off.  The next trick will be to find jobs for all of those workers.  Unfortunately, millions of our jobs continue to be shipped to the other side of the world.

The Bad

-Payroll taxes are going up for every American worker.  The fiscal cliff deal allows the 2 percent payroll tax cut to expire, and so now the average U.S. household bringing in about $50,000 a year will pay approximately $1,000 more per year in payroll taxes.  As a result, it is being projected that U.S. consumers will have $115 billion less in disposable income to spend in 2013.  Happy New Year American workers!

-The fiscal cliff deal did nothing about the new Obamacare taxes that went into effect on January 1st.  Many of these taxes will hurt the middle class.  To see an example of a receipt where a consumer was charged the new “medical excise tax” in Obamacare, just check out this article.

-The carried-interest deduction loophole remains intact, so incredibly wealthy hedge fund managers will continue to get away with paying very little in taxes.  If the rest of us are being taxed into oblivion, then they should share in the pain with the rest of us.  Of course I personally believe that the income tax should be abolished entirely, but none of our politicians seem interested in that idea at all.

-Income tax rates will increase for high earners.  This will hurt a lot of small businesses.  Many small businesses that earn more than $400,000 a year will now be faced with making some really tough choices.  Some may have to lay off workers.  The top rate will now be 39.6 percent, but when other federal and state taxes are factored in, many small businesses will now be paying a top marginal rate of well over 50 percent.  That is absolutely obscene.

-A compromise was reached on the estate tax.  The exemption was scheduled to fall to just $1 million and the rate was scheduled to go up to 55 percent, and fortunately Congress decided to do something about that.  As I have written about previously, that would have been a disaster for many small businesses and family farms.  As a result of the fiscal cliff deal, the estate tax will only rise from 35 percent to 40 percent.  The exemption for individuals will be about 5 million dollars and for couples it will be about 10 million dollars, and those figures will now be indexed for inflation.  A tax increase is never a good thing, but if Congress had done nothing things would have been far worse.

-The fiscal cliff deal contains a lot of pork.  In particular, it contains provisions that extend specific tax breaks related to Puerto Rican rum, electric motorcycles, biodiesel and renewable diesel fuel, the film and television business, and motorsports entertainment complexes.

The Ugly

According to the Congressional Budget Office, as a result of this deal the U.S. national debt will be about $4 trillion higher a decade from now than it would have been if Congress had done nothing.

The deficit for fiscal year 2013 alone will be about $330 billion higher than it would have been if Congress had done nothing.

So this deal has made our debt problems even worse.

Right now, the U.S. has a debt to GDP ratio of about 103 percent.  We are already well into the “danger zone”, yet most Americans still don’t seem very concerned about all of this debt.

The fiscal cliff deal contained hardly any spending cuts at all.  In fact, there was a 41 to 1 ratio of tax increases to spending cuts in the deal.  The Democrats definitely won this round.  But of course they had most of the leverage.  If Congress had done nothing, the middle class would have been absolutely devastated by all of the tax increases, and the Republicans were desperate to prevent that.

But now that the battle over taxes is done, the leverage is going to shift over to the Republicans for the next big fight.

The battle over the debt ceiling is next.  If Congress does not act, the U.S. government will soon not be able to borrow any additional money.  This battle will be one of the stories that dominates the headlines over the next few months.

If the Republicans want to do something serious about spending, now is their chance.  The battle over tax rates is already over, and there is no election in November.  The Republicans could conceivably say “NO” to a debt ceiling increase if they want to.  If that happened, the federal government would only be able to spend the money that it already has.  It would not be able to borrow more.  That would mean that we would have to start living within our means.

What a novel concept.

Of course there is no reason to believe that the Republicans in the House will suddenly grow a spine.  They have folded every other time that the debt ceiling has come up.  It will probably be the same again in 2013.

And Barack Obama is already saying that there will be “no negotiations” over the debt ceiling this time.  He expects the Republicans to raise the debt ceiling for him without getting anything in return

“I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether they will pay the bills they’ve already racked up.”

But the U.S. government cannot spend a single penny or borrow a single penny without the approval of the U.S. House of Representatives.

If the Republicans in the House want to ever get serious about government spending, the upcoming battle over the debt ceiling is a golden opportunity.

They could stop the Obama administration from piling up crazy amounts of debt if they want to.  All they need is the courage to take a stand.

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

The Republicans have had control of the House for about half of that time.  That means that they have been willing accomplices.

So will they take a stand?

That is very doubtful.  Over the past few years they have exhibited the intestinal fortitude of a frightened chicken.  They will probably huff and puff a little bit, but in the end they will probably give in to Obama once again.

But what we are doing to our children and our grandchildren is so immoral that it is hard to describe.  We are stealing more than 100 million dollars from them every single hour of every single day, and we plan on leaving them with the biggest pile of debt the world has ever seen.  We should be absolutely ashamed of ourselves.

Why can’t we just spend the money that we have?

What would be so wrong with that?

Unfortunately, that would mean such a painful downward adjustment in our standard of living that most Americans would freak out.  We are addicted to debt-fueled prosperity, and so we can’t stop stealing from future generations.  We need their money to feed our addiction.

In the end, this gigantic mountain of debt is absolutely going to destroy everything that our forefathers built for us.  There have been some people that have been warning about this for decades, but the American people did not listen.

Soon enough, we will all pay the price for this foolishness.

Obama And Boehner - The Debt Ceiling Battle Comes Next

Some Of The Really Bad Things That Could Happen If You Do Not Prepare For The Coming Economic Collapse

Most people just assume that since things have always been a certain way that they will always be that way in the future.  Most people just have blind faith that the people running our government and our financial system know exactly what they are doing and that they are doing their best to take care of us.  In fact, once upon a time I was fully convinced of that.  When I was a kid I quickly realized that my elementary school teachers really didn’t have the answers, but I had total faith that those running society at the highest levels were “experts” that were looking out for our best interests.  As time went on I kept progressing in my education, and by the time I was finished with law school I came to understand that none of our “experts” really know what they are doing, and they are definitely not looking out for our best interests.  The blind are leading the blind and we all need to finally admit that the emperor is not wearing any clothes.  Unfortunately, most Americans will repeat the mantra of “if that was true I would have heard about it on the news” until it is way too late.  Most people are waiting for the “authorities” to tell them what to do instead of thinking for themselves.  Sadly, time is rapidly running out and a lot of people are going to end up getting totally blindsided by what is coming.

The man in charge of our financial system, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, is not going to save our economy.  He didn’t see the last financial crisis coming, and even after things started falling apart he continued to insist that housing prices would not go down and that we would not have a recession.

Well, it turned out that we had the worst housing crash and the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

But still millions of Americans are trusting him to save us this time around.

It isn’t going to happen.

The truth is that the design of the Federal Reserve system itself is fundamentally flawed.

The biggest reason why the U.S. government is 16 trillion dollars in debt is because the system is designed to create gigantic amounts of government debt.

Yes, without a doubt the vast majority of our politicians are corrupt and/or incompetent, but even if we replaced every single one of them our economic problems would still persist until the underlying structural problems were addressed.

Most Americans are pinning their hopes for an economic turnaround on the upcoming election, but the truth is that neither Obama or Romney has a plan that will fix things.  That statement is going to upset a lot of people on both sides of the political spectrum, but it is true.

Over the past 40 years the total amount of all debt in the United States has gone from less than 2 trillion dollars to almost 55 trillion dollars.  This bubble is going to burst no matter which political party is in power.

Obama and the Democrats have tried to kick the can down the road and extend the party by spending 5.3 trillion borrowed dollars over the past 4 years, but by doing so they have made our long-term problems far worse.

The next wave of the economic crisis is fast approaching and people need to get prepared.

So what do I mean by that?

Well, “preparation” is going to look different for each family, but there are some general principles that apply to almost everyone.

For example, during an economic collapse hard assets are preferable to paper assets.

Also, during an economic collapse necessities become much more important and luxuries become much less important.

For many more tips, please see this article.

For the moment, I want to focus on some of the really bad things that could happen to you if you choose not to prepare for the coming economic collapse….

You Could Find Yourself On The Wrong End Of A Banking Crisis

During a major financial crisis the banking world can change very rapidly.

You could wake up one day and discover that the bank holding all of your money has failed.

You could wake up one day and discover that because Ben Bernanke has printed trillions upon trillions of new dollars to “fix” the financial system your life savings have been devalued by 50 percent.

You could wake up one day and discover that your bank account has been converted over to a new currency that is worth far less than the one you thought you were holding.

Such a scenario may sound unthinkable in the United States (at least for now), but this is the kind of thing that millions of Europeans are extremely worried about right now.

Just check out what is happening in Spain….

After working six years as a senior executive for a multinational payroll-processing company in Barcelona, Spain, Mr. Vildosola is cutting his professional and financial ties with his troubled homeland. He has moved his family to a village near Cambridge, England, where he will take the reins at a small software company, and he has transferred his savings from Spanish banks to British banks.

“The macro situation in Spain is getting worse and worse,” Mr. Vildosola, 38, said last week just hours before boarding a plane to London with his wife and two small children. “There is just too much risk. Spain is going to be next after Greece, and I just don’t want to end up holding devalued pesetas.”

During the month of July alone, 94 billion dollars was pulled out of the Spanish banking system.

So that means that the equivalent of 7 percent of Spain’s GDP was withdrawn from Spanish banks during July.

That is a full-blown bank run, and Spain’s problems are just getting started.

Eventually these kinds of problems will show up in the United States as well.

You Could End Up Losing All Of Your Investments

But at least U.S. bank accounts are federally insured (for whatever that is worth).

When it comes to investments, you better be very sure that the firms you have your money with are not going to collapse on you.

For example, many of you have already heard about how Gerald Celente had losses in the six figure range when MF Global went bankrupt.  He has been warning about the coming economic collapse for years and he still got victimized.  The following is what he told one interviewer about what he learned from this incident….

What’s the take away from this?  It’s to make sure you have every penny in your pocket.  Because just like MF (Global), screwed everybody else. Your also gonna get the shaft, I don’t care who it is.  What’s gonna happen when you get a message from your brokerage, from Fidelity or somebody… yeah infidelity.  Or how about Raymond James, I don’t care who they are!  You have ETFs?  Oh, there’s a little error over here, we don’t have your money.  We don’t have your positions.
I went to a meeting… and the speaker said ETFs of GLD are supposed to be held by HSBC in a vault in Hong Kong or England some place, and HSBC, this guy said, is the biggest shorter of gold.  Well you figure it out!  They are the ones that are holding it and they’re shorting it?  So the takeaway is to make sure you have every penny in your possession.

If the funds that you are relying on for your financial future are being held by a brokerage or by an insurance company the truth is that you could potentially lose every single penny during the coming collapse.

The financial institution that you are depending on could suddenly go “poof” and your money could be gone just like that.

Recent legal rulings have made brokerage accounts much more vulnerable.  Jim Willie explained why this is true in a recent article….

The critical jump might occur in account thefts from futures brokerage to stock brokerage, which began in November 2011 with MFGlobal, then appeared in July with Peregrine Financial Group (PFG-Best). All private accounts from MFG and PFG have been pilfered, with a blessing of the theft by the courts, seen in the Sentinel Mgmt Group ruling. The federal Appellate court’s August ruling (CLICK HERE) sets precedent for future private segregated account thefts, which were once considered sacred and untouchable. No more in the United States, not in the unfolding of criminality that stretches from USGovt offices to top corporate offices, with blessings sprinkled by the courts. The jump would be a major extension of the Fascist Business Model that nobody talks about. The major financial firms can rely upon this appellate court ruling as precedent, so as to protect their legal right to re-hypothecate client funds in their high risk leveraged positions and loans. It sure would be nice to use my neighbor’s house and car to firm up my casino weekends. Stay tuned to the ongoing Morgan Stanley implosion, which could force the vanishing act of 50 to  100 thousand private stock accounts. The firm is the largest stock brokerage firm in the land. The dreadful impact will be nasty and might awaken the US masses. MFGlobal and PFG-Best surely did not.

Your financial advisers will swear up and down that your investments are safe.

But look at what happened to the clients of MF Global and PFG-Best.

Their investments disappeared like dust in the wind.

This isn’t meant to scare you.  It is just important that you understand that the landscape has totally changed.

You Could Lose Your House

During the last recession, millions of Americans lost their homes.

Some of them had poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into their homes and they lost it all.

Why did this happen?

Well, the number one reason is because so many American families are living on the edge.  They purchased homes that they could not afford and they just kept living paycheck to paycheck as if nothing bad would ever happen.

But when many of those people lost their jobs, suddenly they could not make their mortgage payments and they lost their homes as well.

Sadly, we appear not to have learned much.

Today, 77 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck at least some of the time.

You Could Lose Access To Electricity

Why don’t more Americans have a backup source of power?

Most Americans are totally dependent on the grid, and that works well until the grid goes down.

Just look at what is happening down in Louisiana.  The hurricane that just roared through was not even that strong, and yet more than 100,000 people are still without power.

The following is from a recent Huffington Post article….

Tens of thousands of customers remained in the dark Monday in Louisiana and Mississippi, nearly a week after Isaac inundated the Gulf Coast with a deluge that still has some low-lying areas under water.

Most of those were in Louisiana, where utilities reported more than 100,000 people without power. Thousands also were without power in Mississippi and Arkansas.

So what would you do if there was a major national crisis of some sort and the grid went down for an extended period of time during the winter?

When Thieves Get Desperate They Will Steal Just About Anything

Over and over it has been proven that when people cannot feed their families they will steal to get what they need.

When things hit the fan here in the United States, we will see widespread looting and robbing.  In fact, we are already seeing it happen in Europe.  Just check out what is happening in Spain right now….

Unemployed fieldworkers and other members of the union went to two supermarkets, one in Ecija (Sevilla) and one in Arcos de la Frontera (Cadiz) and loaded up trolleys with basic necessities. They said that the people were being expropriated and they planned to “expropriate the expropriators”.

The foodstuffs, including milk, sugar, chickpeas, pasta and rice, have been given to charities to distribute, who say they are unable to cope with all the requests for help they receive. Unemployment in the Sierra de Cadiz is now 40%.

And already crime is rising in many areas of the United States.  In some communities thieves are stealing just about anything that is not bolted down.

Just recently, 49 cows that were stolen from a farm in Massachusetts were discovered at an auction in Pennsylvania.

Who would be desperate enough to steal cows?

In other areas of the country thieves are stealing air conditioning units from churches and they are stripping copper wiring out of city street lights.

Are you prepared to defend your property when desperate thieves come knocking?

Shortages Can Happen

During an economic collapse shortages can happen very rapidly.  Thanks to the popularity of the “just in time inventory” philosophy, most stores do not have much stuff sitting around in their back rooms.  When things go bad, you may not be able to get the things that you need.

Just look at what is happening in Greece.  Right now, medicine shortages have become a major problem.  The following is from a recent Bloomberg article….

Mina Mavrou, who runs a pharmacy in a middle-class Athens suburb, spends hours each day pleading with drugmakers, wholesalers and colleagues to hunt down medicines for clients. Life-saving drugs such as Sanofi (SAN)’s blood-thinner Clexane and GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK)’s asthma inhaler Flixotide often appear as lines of crimson data on pharmacists’ computer screens, meaning the products aren’t in stock or that pharmacists can’t order as many units as they need.

“When we see red, we want to cry,” Mavrou said. “The situation is worsening day by day.”

The 12,000 pharmacies that dot almost every street corner in Greek cities are the damaged capillaries of a complex system for getting treatment to patients. The Panhellenic Association of Pharmacists reports shortages of almost half the country’s 500 most-used medicines. Even when drugs are available, pharmacists often must foot the bill up front, or patients simply do without.

You Could End Up Dependent On The Government

Don’t think that it can’t happen.

Today, 46.7 million Americans are on food stamps and more than half of all Americans are at least partially financially dependent on the U.S. government.

That may be hard to believe, but it is actually true.

During the month of June, the number of Americans added to the food stamp rolls was three times greater than the number of jobs added to the economy.

What a great “recovery”, eh?

If you do not work very hard to prepare for what is ahead right now, you could also end up dependent on the government.

You Could Lose Your Life

Whenever there is a major economic crisis there is a spike in suicides.

And these days Americans are more wrapped up in materialism than ever before.  When the coming crisis strikes there are going to be millions upon millions of extremely depressed people.

Suicide is about the most stupid thing that you can possibly do, but when people lose all hope of things turning around a lot of them are going to take their own lives.

It is foolish beyond belief, but a lot of people are going to make that choice.  We are already seeing a significant spike in suicides over in Europe due to the economy.  The following is from a recent CNBC article….

A growing number of global and European health bodies are warning that the introduction and intensification of austerity measures has led to a sharp rise in mental health problems with suicide rates, alcohol abuse and requests for anti-depressants increasing as people struggle with the psychological cost of living through a European-wide recession.

“No one should be surprised that factors such as unemployment, debt and relationship breakdowns can cause bouts of mental illness and may push people who are already vulnerable to take their own lives,” Richard Colwill, of the British mental health charity Sane, told CNBC.

“There does appear to be a connection between unemployment rates and suicide for example,” he said, referring to a recent study in the British Medical Journal that stated that more than 1,000 people in the U.K. may have killed themselves because of the impacts of the recession. “This research reflects other work showing similar rises in suicides across Europe.”

This is why I stress that preparation is not just about physical things like money and food.

We all need to get mentally, emotionally and spiritually prepared for what is ahead.

If we understand what is happening and we come up with a plan to go through it, we will be in far, far better position to endure the coming crisis than people that are totally blindsided by it.

A recent article on shtfplan.com entitled “How Horrific Will It Be For The Non-Prepper” explored some of these ideas more fully.  I encourage people to go check it out.

For the moment, most people will just go on with their lives as if nothing is wrong because times are still quite good.

But time is running out.  In fact, we might not have much time left at all before the next major downturn.

A recent CNBC article entitled “It’s Coming: One Pro Sees Big Stock Selloff in 10 Days” detailed how some analysts are warning of a major stock market decline later this month….

An equity strategist for Goldman Sachs is predicting a September selloff that happens so rapidly he is telling clients to protect themselves before Sept. 14.

The reason: Market disappointment over key meetings of the European Central Bank and Federal Reserve—all within the next 10 days.

September may turn out to be a bad month for stocks or it might end up being just fine.

But one thing is for sure.

Time is running out.

Are you ready?

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