Earth Changes Accelerate: What Is Causing These Record Heatwaves, Massive “Firenadoes”, Giant Dust Storms And Large Earthquakes?

Major changes are happening to our planet, and the experts are groping for answers.  In recent days some have suggested that what we are witnessing is the natural progression of “man-made climate change”, but that explanation has generally been received with a lot of skepticism.  Something truly dramatic appears to be happening to the globe, and it isn’t just because the amount of carbon dioxide in the air suddenly reached some sort of magical “tipping point”.  But without a doubt, temperatures are getting warmer.  In July, Death Valley experienced “the hottest month ever recorded on the planet”.  Over in Europe, Saturday was being billed as Europe’s “hottest day ever”, and temperatures in Lisbon, Portugal were expected to top 107 degrees both Saturday and Sunday.  On the other side of the planet, the crippling drought in Australia is devastating farms “like a cancer”, and things are so hot in North Korea that the government has declared “an unprecedented natural disaster”

This week, the North Korean government called record-high temperatures in the country “an unprecedented natural disaster” and said that country was working together to fight the problem.

An editorial published Thursday in Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of the ruling party, highlighted the difficulties that the long stretch of high temperatures would cause for North Korea’s agricultural sector, specifically crops such as rice and maize. The newspaper called for North Koreans to act as one and “display their patriotic zeal in the ongoing campaign for preventing damage by high temperature.”

In California, extreme heat and bone dry conditions continue to fuel some of the worst wildfires in the history of the state

Crews battling deadly Northern California wildfires prepare for another day of hot and dry conditions that could drive the flames into new areas and threaten more homes.

According to Cal Fire, more than 15,000 personnel are on the lines of 18 large blazes across California on Saturday. So far, the fires since June have killed 8, burned more than 559,000 acres and damaged or destroyed over 1,800 structures. Roughly 17,000 homes continue to be threatened by these fires, and about 45,000 residents are under evacuation.

Ultimately, this may turn out to be the worst year for wildfires that California has ever seen.

Of course there have been bad years for wildfires before.  But what we haven’t seen before are “firenadoes” that pack 143 mph winds

On Thursday, NWS researcher combed through the wreckage left behind and determined a fire whirl — commonly known as a fire tornado — roared through the area between 7:30 p.m and 8 p.m. on July 26th.

It was packing 143 mph winds, turning heavy-duty high tension power line towers into twisted pieces of metal, uprooting trees and ripping the bark off other trees.

When I first heard about this fire tornado, I was absolutely stunned.

I had never heard of a fire tornado anywhere near that size in the United States, and apparently the experts hadn’t either

“This is historic in the U.S.,” Craig Clements, director of San Jose State University’s Fire Weather Research Laboratory, told BuzzFeed News. “This might be the strongest fire-induced tornado-like circulation ever recorded.”

Known as a pyrocumulus cloud, the ominous red weather formations usually occur over volcanic eruptions or forest fires when intensely heated air triggers an upward motion that pushes smoke and water vapor to rapidly rise. They can develop their own weather patters, including thunderstorms with severe winds which then further fan the flames.

Elsewhere in the Southwest, drought continues to intensify, and this is starting to produce absolutely enormous dust storms.

For example, check out what just happened to the city of Phoenix

A huge wall of dust enveloped the Phoenix metro area on Thursday in the second monsoon storm in a four-day span.

Officials at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport said flights were delayed or held until visibility improved.

National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologists said blowing dust in the Phoenix area brought near-zero visibility for drivers Thursday evening.

Certainly a dust storm is less destructive than a “fire tornado” in the short-term, but as we saw in the 1930s, a consistent pattern of giant dust storms can absolutely cripple a nation.

And let us not forget all of the shaking that has been happening to the crust of our planet.

On Sunday, Indonesia was shaken by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake

The death toll rose to 82 after a magnitude 7.0 earthquake rocked the Indonesian island of Lombok and on nearby Bali on Sunday, damaging buildings, sending terrified residents and tourists running into the streets and triggering a brief tsunami warning.

Social media posts from the scene showed debris piled on streets and sidewalks. Hospital patients, many still in their beds, were rolled out onto streets as a safeguard against structural damage to the hospital buildings.

So why is all of this happening?

Yes, the amount of carbon dioxide in the air is increasing, and it has been increasing for a very long time.  Ultimately, the amount that humans contribute to the overall level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is marginal, and even if we took the most extreme measures possible there is very little that we could do to significantly affect the balance.

And scientists assure us that our planet once had much, much higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in the air then we do today, and our planet appeared to have thrived under those conditions.

But the narrative won’t change.  The mainstream media will continue to tell us that the Earth changes that we are witnessing are due to global warming and that if we reverse course that we can go back to how things were before.

No, we can’t go back, because the changes that are happening are way outside of our control.

Fundamental changes are happening to our planet, and this is just the beginning.  For now these Earth changes are a minor nuisance to a lot of people, but pretty soon nobody will be able to ignore them.

Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

We Are About To See A Great, Big Debt-Fueled GDP Number For The 2nd Quarter, But There Is A Catch…

What kind of number for GDP growth in the 2nd quarter will we get on Friday? The market consensus is somewhere around 4 percent, but there are many out there that are expecting a number above 5 percent. The last time we witnessed such a number was during the third quarter of 2014 when the U.S. economy grew by 5.2 percent. If Friday’s GDP figure is better than that, it will be the best report that we have had since 2003. But let’s keep things in perspective. In seven of the last 10 years, GDP growth was much lower than anticipated in the first quarter and much higher than anticipated in the second quarter. It looks like that pattern may play out again in 2018, and analysts are already warning us to expect a much lower number for the third quarter.

And even though we have seen good quarters before, we still have not had a full year of 3 percent growth since the middle of the Bush administration.

Last year the U.S. economy grew by only 2.3 percent, which would be a horrible figure even if the government was using honest numbers. According to John Williams of shadowstats.com, GDP growth for 2017 would have actually been negative if honest numbers were being used.

So let’s not get too excited over one quarter. According to the official government numbers, the U.S. economy has not grown by at least 3 percent on an annual basis in 14 years. That is the longest stretch in all of U.S. history by a wide margin, and it is going to take a really good second half to break that string this year.

But that isn’t stopping people from hyping tomorrow’s number. According to White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, we should see a number “in the 4 to 5 percent zone”

“You’re going to get a GDP number on Friday that’s going to be a very impressive number. Some people are in the 4 to 5 percent zone,” Larry Kudlow, the White House economic adviser, told CBS This Morning.

And he is probably right.

In fact, we might see a number that is even better than that.

As CBS News has noted, the second quarter came after the new tax cuts were implemented but before the trade war started…

The second-quarter figure will be widely seen as a referendum on the GOP tax cuts of late 2017. This quarter benefits from a timing sweet spot, coming after the deficit-busting cuts trickled through the economy, but before the effects of the White House’s protectionist trade policies are fully felt.

If we get a really good number, it may actually be bad news for investors.

As Marketwatch has deftly observed, a high GDP growth number may affirm the Federal Reserve’s narrative that they need to keep raising rates in order to keep the economy from “overheating”…

Ultimately, a reading that comes in too hot could fuel expectations that the Federal Reserve may need to ramp up its pace of rate increases, with the possibility of a further two rate increases in September and December likely to tamp down too-hot growth. That could knock bond prices lower, conversely pushing rates up and pressuring equity markets lower as investors worry about rising borrowing costs.

Ultimately, most of the analysis that you are going to hear about this GDP number is a load of nonsense.

The only reason why the U.S. economy is showing a little bit of growth is because we are on the greatest debt binge in our history.

When Donald Trump entered the White House the U.S. government was 19.9 trillion dollars in debt, and now that figure has ballooned to 21.2 trillion dollars in debt.

If we had not added 1.3 trillion dollars to the national debt over the past year and a half, there is no way that the economy would be growing right now.

And to be honest, it wouldn’t be too difficult to ramp up GDP growth to 10 percent. All we would have to do would be to borrow and spend enough money.

So why don’t we do that?

Well, it is because we are already on a path to national suicide. It is being projected that our national debt will hit 30 trillion dollars by 2028, and neither the Republicans nor the Democrats seem concerned about doing anything to alter this trajectory.

If we do get to 30 trillion dollars in debt and interest rates return to their long-term averages, we will be paying more than 1.5 trillion dollars a year just in interest on the national debt and our nation will be financially destroyed.

Many of our largest states are absolutely drowning in debt as well. The following comes from Fox Business

In Illinois, for instance, vendors wait months to be paid by a government that’s $30 billion in debt, and one whose bonds are just one notch above junk bond status, according to Daniels. New York’s more than $356 billion in debt; New Jersey more than $104 billion; and California more than $428 billion.

As I have explained so many times, we are living a debt-fueled standard of living that is way above what we deserve.

If we only spent what we had, the economy would immediately plunge into a depression and our standard of living would collapse. The only way to keep the party going is to borrow and spend increasingly larger amounts of money, but everyone knows that this is simply not sustainable.

And it isn’t just government debt that is the problem.

Since the last financial crisis, corporate debt has doubled.

A massive consumer debt binge has pushed credit card debt to an all-time record high, and at this point the average American household is nearly $140,000 in debt.

When you add all forms of debt together, Americans are nearly 70 trillion dollars in the hole right now. For much more on all of this, please see my previous article entitled “Why America Is Heading Straight Toward The Worst Debt Crisis In History”.

So enjoy the debt-fueled GDP numbers for now, because the truth is that they aren’t going to last for long.

Our endless appetite for debt is literally destroying the bright future that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have, and someday they will look back and curse us for what we have done to their country.

Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

$28,166: What It Costs To Provide Health Care For An American Family Of Four For One Year

One of the primary reasons why the middle class in America is disappearing so rapidly is because of skyrocketing health care costs.  Families all over the country are being absolutely crushed by extremely high health insurance premiums, ridiculously high deductibles and very large out-of-pocket expenses that were not anticipated.  In fact, medical bills are the number one reason why individuals go bankrupt in the United States today.  Once upon a time, the medical profession was all about helping people, but today it has become a heartless money-making operation that is dominated by health insurance corporations and pharmaceutical companies.  If we do not make major changes quickly, our out of control health care system will destroy the middle class in our country all by itself.

I knew that health care costs were astronomical, but I had no idea that health care costs for an average family of four for one year had hit $28,166

The total costs for a typical family of four insured by the most common health plan offered by employers will average $28,166 this year, according to the annual Milliman Medical Index.

The estimate includes the average cost of health insurance paid by employers and employees, as well as deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses.

That is a crazy amount of money.  Once upon a time, you could buy an entire house in America for $28,000.  But now that will only cover health care costs for a single year.

The largest portion of that amount goes to pay for health insurance.  For those that receive health benefits at work, usually the employer pays most of that bill

Last year, the premium for the most popular health plan offered by employers — what is known as a preferred provider organization  — for family coverage was $19,481, according to the annual survey done by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust.

Employers paid $13,430 and employees paid $6,050 of the premium on average.

When you break down that total, it comes to more than $1,500 a month just for health insurance.

That is insane.

And of course those of us that are self-employed or that work for businesses that don’t provide health insurance have to pay for it all on our own.

Needless to say, that can be financially crippling.  And thanks to Obamacare, it is harder than ever before.  Not too long ago, I wrote about one family in Virginia that is now faced with the prospect of paying $3,000 a month for an Obamacare plan…

Could you afford to pay $3000 a month for health insurance? Previously, Ian Dixon had been paying $900 a month for health insurance for his family of four, but thanks to changes in the Charlottesville insurance market, a similar plan will now cost him more than $3,000 a month.

This is one of the biggest reasons why the percentage of Americans that are self-employed is hovering near record lows.  People simply cannot afford the health insurance.

And every year it gets worse.  For 2018, it was being projected that the average rate increase for Obamacare plans would be 37 percent.

If our paychecks were going up 37 percent each year, that would be fine.

But of course that just isn’t happening.

This is one of our great long-term challenges as a society.  We have got to get health care costs under control if our system is going to be sustainable.

There is absolutely no reason why an appendectomy in the United States needs to be 10 times more expensive than an appendectomy in Mexico.  The quality of care in Mexico is not 10 times worse than in the United States.  In fact, it is actually pretty comparable to what we have here, and many Americans are now taking “medical vacations” to have procedures performed down there because our system is so badly broken.

Sadly, this figure of $28,166 for a family of four will be out of date by next month.

According to one expert quoted by USA Today, every single month the number goes up by another one hundred dollars…

“But every month, a family of four’s health care costs are going up $100 a month,” Weltz said.

The costs have been going up by that amount — on average — for more than a decade.

I have to admit that our health care system makes me angry.  Today, the U.S. health care system accounts for nearly one-fifth of the U.S. economy, but back in 1960 it only accounted for about 5 percent of the overall economy.

There is no reason why we can’t start moving back toward that level.  We just need to reintroduce true competition and free market principles into our health care system.  Those that have been abusing their power need to be held accountable, and something desperately needs to be done about the health insurance companies and the big pharmaceutical giants.  In one recent year, more than 100 billion dollars was spent on cancer drugs, and that is absolutely outrageous.

If you go all the way back to 1960, an average of $146 was spent on health care per person for the entire year.

So for a family of four, the total would have been about $600, but now it is over $28,000.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

On a per capita basis, we spend far, far more than anyone else in the world on health care.

If you can believe it, we actually spend nearly twice as much as most of the other industrialized nations in the world on a per capita basis.

The only way that we are going to have a thriving middle class is if we get health care costs under control, but unfortunately Congress is such a mess right now that nothing is likely to get done for the foreseeable future.

So our health care system is going to continue to deteriorate, and many Americans will continue to travel overseas when they need important procedures to be done.

Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

Why America Is Heading Straight Toward The Worst Debt Crisis In History

Today, America is nearly 70 trillion dollars in debt, and that debt is shooting higher at an exponential rate.  Usually most of the focus in on the national debt, which is now 21 trillion dollars and rising, but when you total all forms of debt in our society together it comes to a grand total just short of 70 trillion dollars.  Many people seem to believe that the debt imbalances that existed prior to the great financial crisis of 2008 have been solved, but that is not the case at all.  We are living in the terminal phase of the greatest debt bubble in history, and with each passing day that mountain of debt just keeps on getting bigger and bigger.  It simply is not mathematically possible for debt to keep on growing at a pace that is many times greater than GDP growth, and at some point this absurd bubble will come to an abrupt end.  So those that are forecasting many years of prosperity to come are simply being delusional.  Our current standard of living is very heavily fueled by debt, and at some point we are going to hit a wall.

Let’s talk about consumer debt first.  Excluding mortgage debt, consumer debt is projected to hit the 4 trillion dollar mark by the end of the year

Americans are in a borrowing mood, and their total tab for consumer debt could reach a record $4 trillion by the end of 2018.

That’s according to LendingTree, a loan comparison website, which analyzed data from the Federal Reserve on nonmortgage debts including credit cards, and auto, personal and student loans.

Americans owe more than 26 percent of their annual income to this debt. That’s up from 22 percent in 2010. It’s also higher than debt levels during the mid-2000s when credit availability soared.

We have never seen this level of consumer debt before in all of U.S. history.  Just a few days ago I wrote about how tens of millions of Americans are living on the edge financially, and this is yet more evidence to back up that claim.

Right now, Americans owe more than a trillion dollars on auto loans, and we are clearly in the greatest auto loan debt bubble that we have ever seen.

Americans also owe more than a trillion dollars on their credit cards, and credit card delinquency rates are rising.  In fact, in some ways what we witnessed during the first quarter of 2018 was quite reminiscent of the peak of the last financial crisis

In the first quarter, the delinquency rate on credit-card loan balances at commercial banks other than the largest 100 – so at the 4,788 smaller banks in the US – spiked in to 5.9%. This exceeds the peak during the Financial Crisis. The credit-card charge-off rate at these banks spiked to 8%. This is approaching the peak during the Financial Crisis.

The student loan debt bubble has also surpassed a trillion dollars, and the average young adult with student loan debt has a negative net worth

Despite economic and stock market gains over the past nine years, many young adults are still struggling to get ahead in their financial lives and, in some ways, things may have actually gotten worse.

Americans age 25 to 34 with college degrees and student debt have a median net wealth of negative $1,900, according to a report analyzing 2016 Federal Reserve data released Thursday by Young Invincibles, a young adult advocacy group. That’s a drop of $9,000 from 2013, YI’s analysis found.

Meanwhile, corporate debt has doubled since the last financial crisis.  Thousands of companies are so highly leveraged that even a slight economic downturn could completely wipe them out.

State and local government debt levels are also at record highs, but nobody seems to care.  And if we never have another recession everything might work out okay.

The biggest offender of all, of course, is the United States federal government.  We have been adding about a trillion dollars a year to the national debt since Barack Obama first entered the White House, and Goldman Sachs is projecting that number will surpass 2 trillion dollars by 2028

The fiscal outlook for the United States “is not good,” according to Goldman Sachs, and could pose a threat to the country’s economic security during the next recession.

According to forecasts from the bank’s chief economist, the federal deficit will increase from $825 billion (or 4.1 percent of gross domestic product) to $1.25 trillion (5.5 percent of GDP) by 2021. And by 2028, the bank expects the number to balloon to $2.05 trillion (7 percent of GDP).

Our national debt has been growing at an exponential rate for decades, and because total disaster has not struck yet many people seem to believe that we can keep on doing this.

But the truth is that it simply is not possible.  There is only so much debt that a society can take on before the entire system implodes.

So how close are we to that point?

The following chart comes from Charles Hugh Smith, and it shows the exponential rise in overall debt levels that has taken us to the brink of nearly 70 trillion dollars in debt…

And this next chart from the SRSrocco Report shows how our rate of overall debt growth has compared to our rate of GDP growth…

We are literally on a path to national suicide.

Whether it happens next month, next year or five years from now, it is inevitable that we are going to slam into a brick wall of financial reality.

For the moment, the only way that we can continue to enjoy our current debt-fueled standard of living is to continue increasing our debt bubble at an exponential rate.

But that can only go on for so long, and when the party ends we are going to experience the greatest debt crisis in history.

Today, the average American household is nearly $140,000 in debt, and that is more than double median household income.  And if we were to include each household’s share of corporate debt, local government debt, state government debt and federal government debt, that number would be many times higher.

All of this debt will never be repaid.  Ultimately there will come a day when the system will completely collapse under the weight of so much debt, and most Americans are completely unaware that such a day of reckoning is rapidly approaching.

Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist.  He is the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

Nearly 51 Million Households In The United States ‘Can’t Afford Basics Like Rent And Food’

If the U.S. economy is performing well, then why can’t 51 million households in the United States “afford basics like rent and food”.  A stunning new report that was just put out by the United Way ALICE Project shows that the gap between the wealthy and the poor in this country is perhaps the biggest that it has been in any of our lifetimes.  In some of the wealthiest areas of the nation, homes are now selling for up to 100 million dollars, but meanwhile tens of millions of families are barely scraping by from month to month.  Many believe that this growing “inequality gap” is setting the stage for major societal problems.

In general, the U.S. economy seems to be performing better than expected so far in 2018, but the ranks of the poor and the working poor just continue to grow.  The following comes from CNN

Nearly 51 million households don’t earn enough to afford a monthly budget that includes housing, food, child care, health care, transportation and a cell phone, according to a study released Thursday by the United Way ALICE Project. That’s 43% of households in the United States.

The figure includes the 16.1 million households living in poverty, as well as the 34.7 million families that the United Way has dubbed ALICE — Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. This group makes less than what’s needed “to survive in the modern economy.”

If 43 percent of all Americans cannot even afford “the basics”, what does that say about the true state of the U.S. economy?

Of course the biggest reason why so many American families are struggling is the lack of good jobs.

In America today, 66 percent of all jobs pay less than 20 dollars an hour.

66 percent.

Just let that sink in for a minute.

You cannot support a middle class family on 20 dollars an hour.  As a result, many Americans are working more than one job, and in many households both the mother and the father are working more than one job.

Housing costs account for the biggest item in most family budgets, and the fact that housing costs have just continued to soar is putting a huge amount of financial stress on hard working families.  Just today we learned that there is a tremendous rush to buy homes as mortgage rates rise rapidly

Today, according to the latest Freddie Mac mortgage rates report, after plateauing in recent weeks, mortgage rates reversed course and reached a new high last seen eight years ago as the 30-year fixed mortgage rate edged up to 4.61% matching the highest level since May 19, 2011.

But while the highest mortgage rates in 8 years are predictably crushing mortgage refinance activity, they appears to be having the opposite effect on home purchases, where there is a sheer scramble to buy, and sell, houses. As Bloomberg notes, citing brokerage Redfin, the average home across the US that sold last month went into contract after a median of 36 only days on the market – a record speed in data going back to 2010.

If you will remember, we witnessed a very similar pattern just before the subprime mortgage meltdown in 2008.

History is repeating itself, and we never seem to learn from our past mistakes.

Housing prices in some cities are absolutely obscene right now, and many working families find themselves completely priced out of the market.  That has some people asking one very simple question

Many San Francisco renters I met while reporting an article on affordable housing lotteries had responded to the region’s housing crisis by putting up with great discomfort: They crammed in with family; they split apartments with strangers. Some even lived out of their cars.

Why, lots of readers wanted to know, didn’t they simply move away instead?

Yes, some people are moving, and this is something that I plan to do an article about very soon.

But for most hard working families, moving across the country simply is not an option.  Moving out of state is very expensive, it can be very difficult to find a similar job in an entirely new area, and many families are very dependent on the social networks where they currently live…

People who struggle financially often have valuable social networks — family to help with child care, acquaintances who know of jobs. The prospect of dropping into, say, Oklahoma or Georgia would mean doing without the good income and the social support. Those intangible connections that keep people in places with bad economies also keep people in booming regions where the rent is too high.

In the end, moving is just not an option for a lot of people.

We need to structure our economic system so that it works for all Americans – not just a few.  Unfortunately, it is probably going to take another major crisis before people are ready for such a restructuring.

And such a crisis may not be that far away.  In fact, even Pope Francis is now warning about the dangers of derivatives

In a sweeping critique of global finance released by the Vatican on Thursday, the Holy See singled out derivatives including credit-default swaps for particular scorn. “A ticking time bomb,” the Vatican called them. The unusual rebuke — derivatives rarely reach the level of religious doctrine — is in keeping with Francis’s skeptical view of unbridled global capitalism.

“The market of CDS, in the wake of the economic crisis of 2007, was imposing enough to represent almost the equivalent of the GDP of the entire world. The spread of such a kind of contract without proper limits has encouraged the growth of a finance of chance, and of gambling on the failure of others, which is unacceptable from the ethical point of view,” the Vatican said in the document.

I have written about derivatives extensively in the past, and Pope Francis is 100 percent correct when he says that they are a ticking time bomb which could absolutely devastate the global financial system at any moment.

We don’t know exactly when it will happen, but we do know that such a crisis is coming at some point.

Sadly, most of the population is completely asleep, and they will be completely blindsided by the coming crisis when it does finally arrive.

Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist.  He is the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

Debt Cancer: More Than 80 Percent Of American Adults Owe Somebody Else Money

How long can our debt levels keep growing much, much faster than the overall economy?  We haven’t had a year of 3 percent growth for the U.S. economy since the middle of the Bush administration, but we keep borrowing money as if there is no tomorrow.  Much of the focus has been on the exploding debt of the federal government, and that is definitely something I plan to address once I get to Washington.  But on an individual level, U.S. consumers have been extremely irresponsible as well.  In fact, one new survey has found that more than 80 percent of all American adults are currently in debt

It’s no secret that America is a nation that runs on debt, but it may surprise you to learn that the overwhelming majority of U.S. adults owe money in some way, shape, or form. According to new data from Comet, here’s how many Americans have debt at present:

  • 80.9% of Baby Boomers
  • 79.9% of Gen Xers
  • 81.5% of Millennials

For most of us, it starts very early.  We were told that going into debt to get a college education would not be a problem because we would be able to pay those loans off with the good jobs we would get after graduation.

Unfortunately, those good jobs never really materialized for many of us, and now millions of former college students are absolutely drowning in debt

A study released Friday by the Brookings Institution finds that most borrowers who left school owing at least $50,000 in student loans in 2010 had failed to pay down any of their debt four years later. Instead, their balances had on average risen by 5% as interest accrued on their debt.

As of 2014 there were about 5 million borrowers with such large loan balances, out of 40 million Americans total with student debt. Large-balance borrowers represented 17% of student borrowers leaving college or grad school in 2014, up from 2% of all borrowers in 1990 after adjusting for inflation. Large-balance borrowers now owe 58% of the nation’s $1.4 trillion in outstanding student debt.

In addition to owing more than a trillion dollars on student loans, Americans are also now carrying more than a trillion dollars of auto loan debt and more than a trillion dollars of credit card debt.

Corporations have been incredibly irresponsible as well.  Corporate debt has doubled since the last financial crisis, and corporate bankruptcies have been rising steadily in recent years.  All it would take for the dominoes to really start falling is some sort of a major economic downturn.

Local, state and federal government debt levels are all at record highs as well.  It is now being projected that our national debt will hit 30 trillion dollars by 2028, and those projections are probably too optimistic.

My guess is that we will almost certainly hit the 30 trillion dollar mark far sooner than that.

We can’t keep doing this to ourselves.  Our incessant greed is literally destroying the future, but anyone that tries to warn about the collective insanity that has descended upon our society is mocked and ridiculed.

Let me ask you a question.

Would you willingly choose to give yourself cancer?

Of course not, but that is essentially what we are doing to ourselves as a society.

Debt is economic cancer, and as Lance Roberts has pointed out, if we continue to allow debt levels to grow like this eventually it will kill our entire economy…

Debt is, by its very nature, a cancer on economic growth. As debt levels rise it consumes more capital by diverting it from productive investments into debt service. As debt levels spread through the system it consumes greater amounts of capital until it eventually kills the host.

Debt is addictive, because it does boost our standard of living in the short-term.  It is so easy to keep going back for one more “hit”, but every time we do it just makes our long-term crisis even worse.

Most people out there seem to think that our economic problems have been “solved”, but that is not true at all.

The truth is that our long-term problems just continue to grow with each passing day, and that is one of the reasons why I am so determined to go to Washington.  We are at such a critical juncture right now, and if something is not done the prognosis is extremely negative.

If we stay on this current path, the very best that we can hope for is a “soft landing” and a greatly reduced standard of living for future generations of Americans.  Here is more from Lance Roberts

The processes that fueled the economic growth over the last 30 years are now beginning to run in reverse, and when combined with the demographic shifts in the U.S., the impact could be far more immediate and prolonged than the media, economists, and analysts are currently expecting. Sacrifices will have to be made, the economy will drag on at subpar rates of growth, individuals will be working far longer into their retirement years and the next generation of Americans will lead a far different life than what the currently retiring generation enjoyed.

It is simply a function of the math.

I am sorry for not writing more lately.  I have been working night and day to get ready for May 15th.  With Donald Trump in the White House, this is our opportunity to take our government back.  If we miss this window, we may never have this sort of opportunity ever again.

America is drowning in debt, but of course our problems go far beyond that.  Our economic, political, cultural and spiritual problems go very deep, and we desperately need to change course as a nation.

Unfortunately, most of the population is in a deep state of sleep, and my hope is that we can wake them up while there is still time to turn things around.

Michael Snyder is a pro-Trump candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

Are The ‘Toxic’ Democrats Destined To Become A Permanent Minority Party?

It has become exceedingly clear that the Democratic Party is in deep trouble.  Close to 55 million dollars was spent on the race in Georgia’s sixth congressional district, and that shattered all kinds of records.  Democrat Jon Ossoff was able to raise and spend six times as much money as Karen Handel and yet he still lost.  This was supposed to be the race that would show the American people that the Democrats could take back control of Congress in 2018, and so for the Democrats this was a bitter failure.  The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee actually injected almost 5 million dollars into the race themselves, and Planned Parenthood threw in another $700,000.  But after all of the time, effort and energy that was expended, Handel still won fairly comfortably.

The Democrats are trying to spin this result as some sort of “moral victory”, but as Dan Balz of the Washington Post has pointed out, there are “no moral victories in politics”…

There are no moral victories in politics. Republicans won on Tuesday in the most important special election this year. Democrats lost, as they have done in the other special elections in GOP-held seats this year.

For the national Democratic Party, the debate continues about developing a message that goes beyond attacking Trump, or assuming dissatisfaction with the president will be enough.

It has been a very long time since there has been so much national attention on a single House race.  A number of high profile Hollywood celebrities became personally involved in Ossoff’s campaign, and they were absolutely devastated when he lost

Celebrities who donated time and money to Ossoff’s campaign, including actresses Alyssa Milano and Rosie O’Donnell, used their social media accounts to react to the Democrat’s loss shortly after the election results were confirmed late Tuesday night.

Milano, who personally drove voters to the polls in April’s preliminary election and was actively campaigning for the Democrat for most of Election Day, tweeted simply: “Grouphug” and “Get in.”

Meanwhile, electronic music producer Moby and vocal Trump critic O’Donnell appeared to be frustrated by the results, with Moby questioning how Democratic “still can’t win” even with “buffoon” Donald Trump in the White House. O’Donnell tweeted: “DONALD TRUMP IS THE DARKNESS ITSELF.”

Where does the Democratic Party go from here?

Their anti-Trump message is not working, and their usual divide and conquer tactics are not working either.

At this point either the Democratic Party is going to have to reinvent itself, or they could be facing a long, painful string of election defeats for the foreseeable future.  To say that things have not been going well for the Democrats lately would be a major understatement.  I really like what Rush Limbaugh had to say about this on his radio show…

“You have no idea the degree to which the media and the Democratic Party are destroyed today. I’m talking about how they feel … which is complete and utter defeat, frustration and devastation,” he said on Wednesday, hours after Republican Karen Handel was a multiple percentage point winner over defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff.

“The dirty little secret is the media and the Democratic Party is turning off average Americans. They are not persuading, they are not convincing people Trump is a reprobate,” he continued. “They do not know how to beat Donald Trump. There are depressed and despondent.”

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why Jon Ossoff lost.

All of the anger and violence that we have seen lately has greatly tainted the Democratic Party.

The Democrats have become the party of Kathy Griffin.

The Democrats have become the party of Antifa and mock Trump assassinations.

And the Democrats have become the party of James Hodgkinson.

U.S. Representative Tim Ryan was right on the ball when he admitted that his party’s brand has now become “toxic” in much of the nation…

Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio, who tried to unseat Ms. Pelosi as House minority leader late last fall, said she remained a political millstone for Democrats. But Mr. Ryan said the Democratic brand had also become “toxic” in much of the country because voters saw Democrats as “not being able to connect with the issues they care about.”

“Our brand is worse than Trump,” he said.

As I have discussed repeatedly, the left doesn’t have any positive vision for the future to offer the American people.  They cannot win in the marketplace of ideas, and so they use anger, frustration, intimidation and violence as weapons.  For quite a while the Democrats successfully used “the blame game” and divide and conquer tactics to win elections, but now the American people are seeing through the charade.

The more angry and violent the left becomes, the more the American people are going to turn against them.  The following comes from Daniel Greenfield

But Trump Derangement Syndrome is a symptom of a problem with the left that existed before he was born. The left is an angry movement. It is animated by an outraged self-righteousness whose moral superiority doubles as dehumanization. And its machinery of culture glamorizes its anger. The media dresses up the seething rage so that the left never has to look at its inner Hodgkinson in the mirror.

The left is as angry as ever. Campus riots and assassinations of Republican politicians are nothing new. What is changing is that its opponents are beginning to match its anger.  The left still clings to the same anger it had when it was a theoretical movement with plans, but little impact on the country. The outrage at the left is no longer ideological. There are millions of people whose health care was destroyed by ObamaCare, whose First Amendment rights were taken away, whose land was seized, whose children were turned against them and whose livelihoods were destroyed.

Of course it is quite true that the Republican Party needs to be cleaned up as well.  Many establishment Republicans use labels such as “conservative” and “Pro-Life” to win elections, but then they end up government like Democrats.  And so many members of Congress in both parties spend far more time and energy raising money for their next elections than they do serving the American people.

There is a reason why Congress only has a 17.6 percent approval rating at the moment.  Both major parties should take that as a sign that they need to clean up their acts, because the American people are sick and tired of the status quo.

The Left Refuses To Tone Down Their Inflammatory Language, And As A Result We Now Have War In The Streets

What in the world did the left think would happen?  When Kathy Griffin posed for a photo with “Trump’s bloody head”, that sent a message.  And the twisted version of “Julius Caesar” that is currently being put on by a New York theater group in which a character meant to closely resemble Donald Trump is brutally assassinated sends a message.  At any time of the day, you can find leftist radicals openly discussing violence against Trump and Republicans on Facebook and Twitter, and groups like Antifa have been employing extremely violent tactics ever since the Inauguration.  So it is not much of a surprise that a huge Bernie Sanders supporter decided that it would be a good idea to try to mow down Republican members of Congress as they were practicing for an upcoming charity baseball game on Wednesday.  66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson was simply the product of a political movement that is absolutely seething with hate.

This is not a game.  House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot in the hip, and four others were injured.  You can see some footage of Scalise being taken to an ambulance here.  When Hodgkinson arrived at the practice field, he specifically asked which party was using the practice field at that moment…

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) recounted an “odd” encounter he had as he was leaving the field just minutes before the shooting: “There was a guy that walked up to us that was asking whether it was Republicans or Democrats out there, and it was just a little odd,” DeSantis told Fox News.

According to news reports, Hodgkinson fired dozens of shots.  This wasn’t a case of targeting a particular individual.  Rather, it was obvious that he intended to kill as many Republicans as he possibly could.

But instead of showing remorse, many on the radical left were actually celebrating the shootings on Twitter.  And there were even some that were disappointed that it wasn’t Trump that had been shot.

I hate to say this, but it is likely that this is just the beginning of the violence by the radical left.

So what would make a 66-year-old man suddenly snap like this?

His Facebook page has now been taken down, but when it was up Hodgkinson had an enormous photo of Bernie Sanders as his banner image.  And it turns out that he was a huge fan of Rachel Maddow

So, where did Hodgkinson draw inspiration for his “progressive” political beliefs?  Well, according to a letter to the editor published in the “Belleville News-Democrat” in July 2012, Hodgkinson’s favorite TV show was MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show.”

What you consistently feed your mind determines what you eventually become, and this case is a perfect example.  On Facebook, Hodgkinson regularly shared his hate-filled beliefs

In a March 22 Facebook post, Hodgkinson, who  turned his ire against Trump, who he described as a “traitor.”

“Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy,” he said. “It’s Time to Destroy Trump & Co.”

In a post earlier this week, the suspect highlighted a campaign calling for the president’s impeachment.

“Trump is Guilty & Should Go to Prison for Treason,” Hodgkinson wrote.

And just check out some of the Facebook groups that Hodgkinson belonged to

▪  “The Road to Hell is Paved with Republicans”

▪  “Donald Trump is not my President”

▪  “President Bernie Sanders”

▪  “Illinois Berners United to Resist Trump”

▪  “Boycott the Republican Party”

▪  “Expose Republican Fraud”

▪  “Terminate the Republican Party”

The hate-filled ideology of the left is intellectually and morally bankrupt, and the only thing all of this violence is going to do is to drive the American people away from their cause.

I must say that I agreed with U.S. Representative Steve King 100 percent when he told reporters that “violence is appearing in the streets”, and that it is “coming from the left”

“America has been divided,” said Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who, in suit and tie, stopped by the crime scene to pray and was viscerally angry about his colleagues being attacked. “And the center of America is disappearing, and the violence is appearing in the streets, and it’s coming from the left.”

And of course there has been a pattern of violence against Republican lawmakers in recent months.  The following compilation comes from Natural News

Last month, as noted by The Daily Caller,  GOP Rep. Tom Garrett’s town halls were replete with heavy security and police presence after he and his family were repeatedly threatened with death. “This is how we’re going to kill your wife,” some disgusting coward wrote, Garrett told Politico.

Also last month, Tennessee police arrested and charged a 35-year-old woman, Wendi Wright, with felonious reckless endangerment after she allegedly attempted to run GOP Rep. David Kustoff off the road following a raucous town hall event featuring the Republican health care legislation.

That same day, North Dakota police escorted a man out of a town hall meeting hosted by Rep. Kevin Cramer after a man became physical with him, shoving a fistful of dollars into Cramer’s shirt collar.

I almost didn’t want my wife to see what happened in Alexandria this morning, because I am very, very strongly considering running for Congress here in Idaho.

I couldn’t help but think that it could have been me out on that baseball field.

It would be naive to think that more Republican lawmakers won’t be targeted.  Just like radical Islam, the radical left in this country will never be satisfied until they completely eradicate our way of life.  The radical left uses tools such as threats, violence and intimidation because they simply do not have the ammunition to win in the marketplace of ideas.  And so anyone that tries to stand up to them will become a potential target.

But if we just sit back and do nothing, they will win by default.

In the end, Hodgkinson and others like him will fail.  Because every time they strike us, all they are doing is waking up a sleeping giant called “the American people”.  We will not bend, we will not bow, and we will not break, and no matter how violent they become our resolve will not waver.

Every since the very beginning of our nation Americans have had to stand up against tyranny, and we aren’t going to back down now.

Baltimore Has Become A Rotting, Decaying War Zone As A Raging Opioid Epidemic Eats Away At The City Like Cancer

It is hard to believe that Baltimore was once one of the greatest cities in the entire world.  Unlike nearby Washington D.C., Baltimore is a blue collar city that is home to some of the hardest working people in America.  When I was in high school, my brother and I were huge fans of the Baltimore Orioles, and once in a while our parents would drive us from our home in Virginia all the way up to Baltimore to see them play.  As an adult, I spent a number of years living near D.C., and I would take frequent trips up to Baltimore.  To say that the city is in a state of decline would be a major understatement.  Everywhere you look there are abandoned buildings and homes, and as you drive through some of the worst areas you can actually see drug addicts just lying in the streets.  Just like so many other communities all over this country, decades of liberal policies have taken a brutal toll, and now the city is just a rotting, decaying shell of the glorious metropolis that it once was.

There are some sections of Baltimore that you simply do not go into once the sun goes down.  And actually it isn’t a very good idea to go into those areas during the day either.  The crime in the city has gotten so bad that authorities have actually formally requested help from the federal government

According to The Baltimore Sun Newspaper, the city has logged in 118 homicides today with the projection of >400 murders for year’s end. It’s so bad here that Baltimore’s Mayor has asked the Federal Government for help in attempt to regain control. Even the police union sounds the alarm of an officer shortage leading to decrease in patrols. All of this is occurring as the Baltimore population declines, nearing a 100-year low, U.S. Census says.

Through the end of April, Baltimore was on pace for the highest murder rate in the history of the city.

Yes, you read that correctly.

The primary factor fueling all of this violence is an opioid epidemic that is completely and totally out of control

The opioid epidemic is the quiet killer that has been leaving a trail of bodies on the streets of Baltimore.

“The individuals that are putting these drugs on our street, they’re killing people on our street,” said deputy commissioner Dean Palmere of the Baltimore Police Department.

Drug overdoses is expected to have killed 2,000 people statewide in 2016 and more than 800 in Baltimore alone.

“There are more people dying from overdose here in Baltimore City, than there are dying of homicide,” said Baltimore City health commissioner Dr. Leana Wen in February.

That last paragraph amazed me when I first read it.

Even though Baltimore is on pace for the highest murder rate in the city’s history, more people are actually dying from drug overdoses.

And now police in the city are warning of a new opioid that is reportedly “100 times more potent than heroin”.  It is called Carfentanyl, and it can kill people almost instantly.

I would like to share with you a short YouTube film put out by Alastair Williamson just a few days ago entitled “The Baltimore Experience”.  No matter how much I write, I could never communicate the devastation in the city quite like this little video does…

Did you see the part near the end where Williamson stops to offer a bottle of water to a man that is just lying in the street?

Hopefully that particular man is not on anything, but it is quite common to see people lying around like zombies in cities where an opioid epidemic is raging.  These are very cruel drugs, and they will utterly consume you if you allow them to.

The more drugs that come in, the worse the violence gets, and within the past 24 hours we have seen four more senseless murders in Baltimore…

Two men were shot and killed Tuesday morning in west Baltimore, police said. Officers responded at 5:52 a.m. to the shooting on the 2800 block of Lanvale Street.

Police said officers found the victims in and around a vehicle. Both had been shot in the head and were declared dead at the scene, police said.

A 35-year-old man was fatally shot Monday evening in southeast Baltimore, police said.

The victim, identified as Charles Gatuthu, 35, was shot in the head and body at about 7:45 p.m. in the 6100 block of Boston Street. He was taken to Johns Hopkins Bayview Hospital, where he died.

A 25-year-old was shot and killed Monday afternoon in west Baltimore, police said.

Of course Baltimore is far from alone.  On Monday, I wrote about how Chicago is becoming a gang-infested wasteland, and on Tuesday we got news of Chicago’s 200th homicide so far in 2017.

And an official bulletin went out to all members of the Chicago police on Monday warning them about the “high-powered weapons” that gangs are now using to kill people…

Chicago police issued a bulletin Monday warning its officers about gangs armed with high-powered weapons, after three people were shot to death over the weekend – including two attending a memorial for the earlier victim.

Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the three people who were killed in the shootings Sunday were all members of the same street gang.

Sometimes it is hard to believe that this is still America.

The precious people that are getting hooked on these drugs and that are committing these murders were once innocent little boys and girls.  Somewhere along the way they were led down the wrong path, and this is happening on a massive scale all over the nation.

So what should we do?

What we need are some real solutions.  We need to restore the principles and the values that this nation was founded upon, and we need people that are willing to step forward and take this nation in a different direction.

In times of great darkness, light is needed the most, and at this moment in our history we are in desperate need of some lights.

The Best Thing That Trump Has Done So Far

On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives finally approved a bill that would repeal and replace significant portions of the law that created Obamacare.  But it was a very close vote.  On Donald Trump’s 105th day in the White House, 217 members of the House voted in favor of the bill, and 213 members of the House voted against the bill.  Of course “Trumpcare” is far from perfect, and it actually does very little to fix our rapidly failing healthcare system, but the reason why this is the best thing that Trump has done so far is because this bill would greatly reduce federal funding for Planned Parenthood.  But first this bill must get through the Senate before it can become law, and that is looking extremely doubtful at this point.  In fact, The Hill is reporting that one Republican Senator has said that this bill has less than a 20 percent chance of succeeding in the Senate…

A senior GOP senator said the chances of getting 51 votes for legislation based on the House healthcare bill are less than 1 in 5.

The senator also put the chances that the House bill will meet Senate budgetary rules preventing a filibuster at less than 1 in 5, meaning portions of the legislation would have to be removed.

Lawmakers are keeping quiet about their concerns because they want to help Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), whose job they fear may be in jeopardy if the House fails again to approve an ObamaCare repeal bill.

Yes, I know that Trump and the Republicans in the House were greatly celebrating on Thursday, but there really isn’t anything to celebrate yet.

The Senate is probably going to come up with an entirely different version of this legislation, and it is likely to look far different from the bill that just passed the House.

If a bill of some sort can actually get through the Senate, and that is a huge “if”, then an attempt would be made to reconcile the differences between the two bills, and then the final version would be submitted to both the House and the Senate for an up or down vote.

The problem is that the Senate is not going to pass anything like the version that the House just came up with, and conservatives in the House are likely to balk at anything that the Senate comes up with.

So please don’t think that an Obamacare repeal is a done deal.

The truth is that it probably is not going to happen any time soon.

But for the moment, I am going to applaud President Trump and House Republicans for doing something right.  I have been very tough on them in recent weeks, and rightly so, but when they do something good I am certainly going to give them the praise that they are due.

The bill that the House just passed would greatly reduce federal funding for Planned Parenthood, and that fact alone more than makes up for all of the other flaws in it.  The following comes from CNS News

The American Health Care Act—the Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill that the House of Representatives passed by a 217-to-213 vote this afternoon–will temporarily and significantly reduce, but not eliminate, federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

The bill will prevent Planned Parenthood from receiving funding through “mandatory” federal funding streams—primarily Medicaid—for exactly one calendar year after the president signs it.

But it does not prevent Planned Parenthood from getting “discretionary” funding through the Title X family planning program.

It is just for one year, which is far from ideal, but at least for 12 months Planned Parenthood would see their funding go down by hundreds of millions of dollars

The pro-life bill would eliminate more than $390 million (over 86%) of over $450 million in annual federal funding to Planned Parenthood, from all mandatory spending programs. The measure also redirects funding to community health centers which outnumber Planned Parenthood facilities 20 to 1 and offer a wider array of health care services, but not abortion.

Of course this is one of the provisions in the bill that some Republicans in the Senate want to eliminate.

It is extremely unlikely that any bill that even defunds Planned Parenthood in part will ever get through the Senate, but Trump should make an all-out effort to get this accomplished anyway.

And if Republican leadership can somehow get a bill through the Senate and signed into law that at least significantly reduces federal funding for Planned Parenthood, I will officially take back all of the negative things that I have said about the Republicans so far this year.

This week President Trump also signed a landmark executive order that does a great deal to protect religious liberty

The order, signed during a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden, directs the Internal Revenue Service to exercise “maximum enforcement discretion” over the so-called Johnson amendment, which prevents churches and other tax-exempt religious organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates. The order also provides “regulatory relief” for organizations that object on religious grounds to a provision in Obamacare that mandates employers provide certain health services, including coverage for contraception.

All Americans, including Christians, should be free to express their political beliefs without fearing repercussions from the federal government.  The Johnson Amendment was probably always unconstitutional, and that is one of the reasons why it has never really been enforced.  Congress should go even farther and completely repeal it, and hopefully that will happen someday.

So once again I want to take this opportunity to applaud Trump for doing something right.  This is a good executive order, although it doesn’t quite go far enough.  A major war against people of faith is being waged by very powerful forces in this country, and I am thankful for a president that is at least trying to keep some of the heat off of our backs.

I tend to get criticized by both the pro-Trump and anti-Trump camps because I try to be objective.

When our politicians do things that are wrong, I am going to say that they are wrong.

And when our politicians do things that are right, I am going to say that they are right.

We lose credibility when we act as cheerleaders for politicians that are “on our side” no matter what they say or do.

In our society today, there is a desperate need for people that are willing to think critically and that are willing to cling objectively to the truth.

Because once we let go of the truth we are all in trouble…