Panic And Desperation Sweep Across America As Fears Of A “Dark Winter” Continue To Rise

Do you remember earlier this year when consumers were feverishly hoarding toilet paper and we were seeing colossal lines at food banks all over the nation during the initial stages of the COVID pandemic?  Well, it is happening again.  Now that the vote on November 3rd is behind us, the pandemic has once again become the primary focus of the mainstream media, and a lot of people are completely freaking out.  Just like earlier this year, store shelves across the country are being emptied because Americans don’t want to be stuck at home without enough toilet paper and hand sanitizer.  Each new restriction that gets announced adds to the frenzy, and it has gotten to the point where new restrictions are literally being announced around the nation on a daily basis now.  And if the case numbers that we are being given continue to rise, it is inevitable that this new wave of lockdowns will get even tighter.

Over the last several months, Joe Biden has repeatedly told us that we have a “dark winter” ahead.  Here is just one example

“There is a need for bold action to fight this pandemic,” Biden said in Delaware. “We’re still facing a very dark winter.”

Biden, whose campaign against President Donald Trump made the coronavirus a main focus, pledged to “spare no effort to turn this pandemic around once we’re sworn in on Jan. 20.”

Technically, winter doesn’t start until a little over a month from now, but the panic shopping has already begun.

In California, supplies of toilet paper are being voraciously gobbled up by fearful consumers…

Shoppers in Temecula had already emptied the paper and cleaning aisle in a local Walmart by Wednesday morning. Other storefronts, such as Trader Joes in the Silverlake neighborhood of Los Angeles and Ralphs on West 9th Street, were simply running low on such supplies.

A worker at a Costco in Los Angeles, who wished to remain anonymous, said the store was selling out of toilet paper every day, among other supplies, but also said that this could be attributed to the Thanksgiving holiday coming up next week.

Similar panic buying appears to be happening over in Spokane, Washington

In a tweet on Sunday afternoon, KREM photojournalist Roger Hatcher said Target in Spokane Valley was “pretty quiet” but its toilet paper shelves were bare.

In fact, shortages are being reported all over the nation at this point.

I don’t know why there is such a focus on toilet paper.  To me, having enough food to eat for an extended period of time is much more of a priority, but when people get fearful they don’t necessarily think rationally.

And certainly there is a bit of psychology to all of this.  When people are told that there is a “shortage” of something, many of them inevitably feel motivated to run out and buy some too while they still can.  The panic buying has reached such a frenzy that many large chains are once again starting to put purchase limits on certain items.  The following comes from CNN

At Kroger (KR), customers can purchase a maximum of two items when it comes to products like bath tissue, paper towels, disinfecting wipes and hand soap. Giant, a grocery chain in the Northeast, recently put a limit of one on purchases of larger toilet paper and paper towel sizes and four on smaller toilet paper and paper towel sizes.

H-E-B in Texas has implemented similar policies in recent weeks. Some H-E-B stores have instituted limits of two on purchases of disinfecting and antibacterial sprays, while other stores have limited toilet paper and paper towels to two.

This is just one of the reasons why I have always encouraged my readers to get prepared in advance.

If you have a large family, how long is two packages of toilet paper going to last you?

You could try to stretch out your supplies by limiting family members to a certain number of squares per defecation, but you will still run out very quickly.

When you try to prepare for any emergency at the last minute, you are almost certainly going to fall short.  One or two trips to the grocery store is not going to cut it, and anyone that thinks otherwise is simply being delusional.

Meanwhile, the decline in economic activity around the nation that is being caused by this new round of lockdowns is creating a renewed surge in economic desperation.

Just the other day I wrote about how some people were waiting in line for up to 12 hours to get handouts from a food bank in Texas, and on Wednesday it was being reported that “hundreds of cars” were lined up to get food in Miami…

Huge lines have been forming at a Florida food bank ahead of Thanksgiving and as the coronavirus pandemic worsened across the United States.

Hundreds of cars were spotted queuing for food boxes at Miami’s Gwen Cherry Park on Wednesday.

The boxes were being distributed by the Miami Marlins Foundation amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that has forced thousands of Floridians out of work.

Sadly, the truth is that this is happening all over the nation, and this new round of lockdowns will continue to make things even worse as we head into 2021.

In so many instances, the people waiting in line at these food banks are wearing very nice clothes and are driving very nice vehicles.  This severe economic downturn has come upon them very “suddenly”, but those that have been reading my books were warned in advance that this exact scenario was coming.

Even if this pandemic disappeared tomorrow, I would still believe that we have a “very dark winter” in front of us.  If you have not prepared for the extremely challenging times that lie ahead, I would very strongly urge you to do so.

So far this year we have been hit by one major crisis after another, and the “perfect storm” that started in 2020 is only going to intensify during the coming months.

***Michael’s new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.***

About the Author: My name is Michael Snyder and my brand new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available on Amazon.com.  In addition to my new book, I have written four others that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned)  By purchasing the books you help to support the work that my wife and I are doing, and by giving it to others you help to multiply the impact that we are having on people all over the globe.  I have published thousands of articles on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but I also ask that they include this “About the Author” section with each article.  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions.  I encourage you to follow me on social media on FacebookTwitter and Parler, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

Our COVID Police State Wants To Take Thanksgiving And Christmas Away From You Too

Haven’t they taken enough away from us already?  The deeply oppressive lockdowns that were instituted earlier this year plunged us into the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s, caused the cancellation of thousands upon thousands of important events, and sent the suicide rate absolutely skyrocketing.  Once those lockdowns were lifted the American people were greatly relieved, but now our COVID police state is back for more.  As I have been documenting over the last several days, new lockdowns are being instituted all over the country right now, and even our most cherished holidays are being targeted.

Let me start by discussing an interview that CNN’s Jake Tapper just conducted with Anthony Fauci.  Most Americans had assumed that once a vaccine was widely distributed that we wouldn’t need masks or social distancing anymore.

Well, according to Fauci that is not the case at all

Jake Tapper said, “Once somebody has been immunized … Once the process is complete, does that mean they can take off their mask, don’t have to social distance, and go about their lives as before?”

Fauci said, “I would recommend that is not the case. I would recommend you have an added area of protection. Obviously, with 90 plus percent effective vaccine, you could feel much more confident, but I would recommend to people to not abandon all public health measures just because you’ve been vaccinated.”

As I have repeatedly warned my readers, they intend to change the way that we live permanently.

During that same interview, they were discussing a timeline for vaccine distribution, and Tapper blurted this out: “Christmas is probably not gonna be possible.”

In other words, Americans should not plan to have a normal Christmas this year because we are going to be expected to stay home, wear masks and keep members of our extended family away.

Of course Thanksgiving is a lot closer than Christmas, and our COVID overlords are telling us that we can’t have a normal Thanksgiving either.  For example, this is what the head of the CDC is saying

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield held a call with the nation’s governors on Tuesday. CNN obtained audio of the chat, in which Redfield said: “What we’re seeing as the increasing threat right now is actually acquisition of infection through small household gatherings… Particularly with Thanksgiving coming up, we think it’s really important to stress the vigilance of these continued mitigation steps in the household setting.”

Needless to say, many of our top politicians are going to fall right in line with the directives that our “health authorities” have issued.  For example, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has issued new restrictions for the city of Chicago which begin on Monday

The order, which begins Monday, extends through Thanksgiving festivities. Residents are “strongly advised” to not have guests in their homes outside of essential workers — even family and close friends.

“Chicago has reached a critical point in the second surge of COVID-19, demanding that we undertake this multi-faceted and comprehensive effort to stop the virus in its tracks,” said Mayor Lori Lightfoot in the release.

At least Lightfoot’s order is not as draconian as the mandate that California Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered all Californians to follow this Thanksgiving.

If you can believe it, Newsom has decided to limit Thanksgiving to a two hour “outdoor event”

Celebrities have taken to social media to slam California Governor Gavin Newsom’s ‘ridiculously unenforceable’ Thanksgiving crackdown that bans singing and shouting and limits the holiday to a two-hour outdoor event.

‘If my Aunt comes over, can I throw her a slice of turkey from the window?’ mocked actor Rob Schneider as he blasted the ‘Emperor Newsom’.

The good news is that the American people are sick and tired of having their rights taken away and are starting to push back against absurd restrictions such as these.

The bad news is that the new lockdowns that are being instituted all over the U.S. will inevitably crash our economy again.

If they last long enough, some industries may be almost entirely destroyed.  For example, even before these new lockdowns we were being told that it would be a miracle if half of the hotels in New York City survive this pandemic

According to Vijay Dandapani, chief executive of the Hotel Association of New York City, if half the city’s 640 hotels survive it will be a “great” outcome. While occupancy rates have recovered from their worst point in April where occupancy was down more than 60% year on year, they remain 20% lower than for the same month in 2019, a level which means much of the debt backing the properties will be impaired (i.e., default). Should New York impose a new round of draconian lockdowns, it will only get worse.

But of course there are some businesses that are booming during this time.

For instance, psychologists and therapists are extremely busy treating those that are “feeling lonely and depressed”

Business is booming for Maria Mir. Under normal circumstances, she takes little time off in November and December; the holidays are her busy season. But this is 2020. Nothing is normal. And everyone seems to need her at once.

Mir is a licensed marriage and family therapist. She’s used to patients feeling lonely and depressed as Thanksgiving and Christmas near. But “this particular time is different,” she says. “Even people who haven’t felt lonely in the past are now feeling that isolation.”

This is yet another example that shows that elections really matter.

For years, the American people have been voting for psychotic control freaks all over the nation, and so now we shouldn’t be surprised that they are actually acting like psychotic control freaks during a major crisis.

We are being told that this is going to be a very “dark winter”, and just like we witnessed earlier this year many Americans are feverishly stocking up on food and other basic goods…

Concerns that rising cases will encourage people to buy in bulk and stock up on basic goods has prompted major grocery chains to take pre-emptive action and limit purchases.

Kroger, the largest grocery chain in the U.S., has imposed purchase limits on essential goods like bath tissue, paper towels, disinfecting wipes and hand soap, according to Fox Business.

If you have not done so already, I would very much encourage you to get stocked up as well.

These are such uncertain times, and I have a feeling that things are going to get even crazier in the weeks ahead.

If the case numbers keep rising, the restrictions placed upon us are just going to become even more cumbersome, and it definitely appears that we are in for a very rough start in 2021.

***Michael’s new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.***

About the Author: My name is Michael Snyder and my brand new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available on Amazon.com.  In addition to my new book, I have written four others that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned)  By purchasing the books you help to support the work that my wife and I are doing, and by giving it to others you help to multiply the impact that we are having on people all over the globe.  I have published thousands of articles on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but I also ask that they include this “About the Author” section with each article.  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions.  I encourage you to follow me on social media on FacebookTwitter and Parler, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

Economic Nightmare: Nearly 50 Percent Of All The Jobs Lost During The COVID-19 Pandemic “May Be Gone Permanently”

When millions of Americans were losing their jobs at the beginning of this pandemic, we were told not to worry because the lockdowns were just temporary and virtually all of those workers would be going back to their old jobs once the lockdowns ended.  Well, now we are finding out that was not even close to true.  Over the last 18 weeks, more than 52 million Americans have filed new claims for unemployment benefits, and a very large percentage of them are dealing with a permanent job loss.  In fact, one brand new survey discovered that 47 percent of all unemployed workers now believe that their “job loss is likely to be permanent”.  The following comes from a USA Today article entitled “Almost half of all jobs lost during pandemic may be gone permanently”

In April, 78% of those in households experiencing job loss felt that that situation would be temporarily. But now, 47% think that job loss is likely to be permanent, according to The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

What that number tells us is that we are facing the worst employment crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

All of those permanently unemployed workers are eventually going to need new jobs, but meanwhile the U.S. economy as a whole is in a free fall that is absolutely stunning.  On Thursday, we are scheduled to get the GDP number for the second quarter, and everyone is expecting that it will be really bad

Data due Thursday are forecast to show U.S. gross domestic product plummeted an annualized 34.8% in the second quarter, the most in records dating back to the 1940s, after the spread of Covid-19 prompted Americans to stay home and states to order widespread lockdowns.

This downturn has been particularly hard on small businesses.  Just check out these numbers

• Yelp reported 71,500 businesses that were listed on their site have closed for good since March 1.

• 80% of independent restaurants aren’t sure they’ll survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

• Nearly half of all small-business members of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce lost 100% of their sales or closed down completely.

What a nightmare.

But the third quarter was when the U.S. economy was supposed to come roaring back to life.

We were told that it would be the greatest economic comeback in our history, but instead the numbers are telling us that the economy is actually starting to slow down once again.

In fact, U.S. consumer confidence in July is much lower than it was in June…

U.S. CONSUMER confidence fell in July to a reading of 92.6 as coronavirus cases surged around the country, shuttering some bars and other businesses and raising concerns about the future of the economy.

The Conference Board reported Tuesday that the index fell in July from a reading of 98.3 in June. The drop is more significant than economists predicted, and is due mainly to a decrease in consumers’ economic expectations for the short-term future.

In addition, we just witnessed the largest decline in wholesale inventories since the peak of the last financial crisis

June was supposed to be the month of second-derivative beats in economic data, reaffirming the manic bid in stocks. For Wholesale Inventories it was not.

Against expectations of a rebound from a 1.2% drop in May to a 0.5% drop in June, wholesale inventories actually tumbled 2.0% MoM, the worst since the peak of the great financial crisis…

So it doesn’t look like any sort of a “recovery” is happening.

Instead, it appears that we are sliding into the next chapter of this new economic depression.

In June, 19 percent of all U.S. small businesses were closed, but now that number is up to 24.5 percent.

That certainly isn’t progress.

With each passing day, more companies are announcing layoffs.  And every worker that gets laid off is another American that doesn’t have a paycheck to spend.  During the last recession, millions of Americans slid out of the middle class, and we are watching it happen again.

Our elected leaders in Washington are desperate to do something about this, and almost all of them seem to agree that more socialist programs are the answer.  A fifth “stimulus bill” is being put together, and the Urban Institute is warning that if Congress does not hurry we could see the poverty rate in this country rise substantially

Millions more Americans will be thrown into poverty if Congress fails to enact three policies meant to help families get through economic hardships related to the pandemic, according to a new study by the Urban Institute.

The report finds that the poverty rate for the last five months of 2020 will rise to 11.9% if expanded unemployment-insurance benefits, a second round of stimulus checks, and increased SNAP allotments are not approved, a significant increase over the projected annual rate of 8.9%.

If the Urban Institute thinks that an 11.9 percent poverty rate is bad, just wait until they see what things will be like in this country a few years from now.

Our entire system is in the process of melting down, but it will take some time for the drama that we are watching to fully play out.  Our leaders in Washington and the bureaucrats over at the Federal Reserve will keep flooding the system with money in a misguided attempt to fix things, and this will result in exceedingly painful inflation.

The cost of everything (including essentials such as food) will be going way up, and that means that your money will increasingly become less and less valuable.

If you could print your way to prosperity, Venezuela and Zimbabwe would be the wealthiest nations on the entire planet today.

At this point, almost everyone in Venezuela is a “millionaire”, but almost everyone is also living in extreme poverty.

History has shown that wildly printing money doesn’t work, but the U.S. is going down the exact same path, and it isn’t going to be pretty.

Even though things are quite crazy out there right now, this is our window of opportunity to get prepared for the troubled times that are ahead, because things are not going to be getting any easier from here on out.

*It is finally here! Michael’s new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.*

About the Author: My name is Michael Snyder and my brand new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available on Amazon.com.  By purchasing the book you help to support the work that my wife and I are doing, and by giving it to others you help to multiply the impact that we are having on people all over the globe.  I have published thousands of articles on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but I also ask that they include this “About the Author” section with each article.  In addition to my new book, I have written four others that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned)  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions.  I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

Americans Have Already Skipped Payments On More Than 100 Million Loans, And Job Losses Continue To Escalate

Those that have been hoping for some sort of a “V-shaped recovery” have had their hopes completely dashed.  U.S. workers continue to lose jobs at a staggering rate, and economic activity continues to remain at deeply suppressed levels all over the nation.  Of course this wasn’t supposed to happen now that states have been “reopening” their economies.  We were told that things would soon be getting back to normal and that the economic numbers would rebound dramatically.  But that is not happening.  In fact, the number of Americans that filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week was much higher than expected

Weekly jobless claims stayed above 1 million for the 13th consecutive week as the coronavirus pandemic continued to hammer the U.S. economy.

First-time claims totaled 1.5 million last week, higher than the 1.3 million that economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting. The government report’s total was 58,000 lower than the previous week’s 1.566 million, which was revised up by 24,000.

To put this in perspective, let me once again remind my readers that prior to this year the all-time record for a single week was just 695,000.  So even though more than 44 million Americans had already filed initial claims for unemployment benefits before this latest report, there were still enough new people losing jobs to more than double that old record from 1982.

That is just astounding.  We were told that the economy would be regaining huge amounts of jobs by now, but instead job losses remain at a catastrophic level that is unlike anything that we have ever seen before in all of U.S. history.

With the addition of this latest number, a grand total of nearly 46 million Americans have now filed initial claims for unemployment benefits since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

If you can read that statement and still believe that the U.S. economy is not imploding, I would like to know what you are smoking, because it must be pretty powerful.

Some of the things that we are seeing happen around the country right now are absolutely nuts.  For example, earlier this week in Kentucky it was being reported that people were waiting in line for up to 8 hours to talk with a state official face to face about their unprocessed unemployment claims…

This wasn’t supposed to happen.

By now, the U.S. economy was supposed to be roaring back to life and we were supposed to be entering a new golden age of American prosperity.

Unfortunately, the truth is that more bad economic news is hitting us on a continual basis, and that isn’t going to change any time soon.

Over the past few days, we have learned that Hilton is laying off 22 percent of its corporate staff, and AT&T has announced that it will be eliminating 3,400 jobs and closing 250 stores…

The wireless carrier AT&T is cutting 3,400 jobs and shutting down 250 stores over the next few weeks, according to a statement from the Communications Workers of America, a union representing AT&T workers.

The AT&T Mobility and Cricket Wireless retail closures will affect 1,300 jobs, while the other layoffs are said to be affecting technical and clerical workers.

Needless to say, all of these job losses are having a tremendous ripple effect throughout the economy.

Without paychecks coming in, a lot of Americans are having a really tough time paying their bills, and the Wall Street Journal is reporting that payments have already been skipped on more than 100 million loans…

Americans have skipped payments on more than 100 million student loans, auto loans and other forms of debt since the coronavirus hit the U.S., the latest sign of the toll the pandemic is taking on people’s finances.

The number of accounts that enrolled in deferment, forbearance or some other type of relief since March 1 and remain in such a state rose to 106 million at the end of May, triple the number at the end of April, according to credit-reporting firm TransUnion.

Wow.

To me, that is an almost unimaginable number, and it has become clear that a tremendous amount of pain is ahead for the financial institutions that are holding these loans.

A lot of people out there are going to keep hoping that there will be some sort of an economic rebound, but the cold, hard reality of the matter is that fear of COVID-19 is going to keep a large segment of the population from resuming normal economic activities for the foreseeable future.  And it certainly doesn’t help that the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. has been steadily rising over the past couple of weeks and that the mainstream media has been endlessly warning that a “second wave” is coming.

If you doubt what I am saying, just look at what is happening to the restaurant industry.  We had started to see a small bit of improvement in the numbers, but now fear of a “second wave” has caused restaurant traffic to start cratering again

After three months of slow but consistent improvement in restaurant dining data in the US and across the globe, in its latest update on “the state of the restaurant industry”, OpenTable today reported the biggest drop in seated restaurant diners (from online, phone and walk-in reservations) since the depth of the global shutdown in March.

As shown in the OpenTable graphic below, on Sunday, June 14, restaurant traffic suddenly tumbled, sliding from a -66.5% y/y decline as of June 13 to -78.8% globally.

This was mostly due to a sharp drop in US restaurant diners, which plunged by 13% – from -65% to -78% – the biggest one day drop since the start of the shutdown in the US, and the second biggest one day drop on record.

Business travel is another area where we are seeing signs of big trouble ahead.  The following comes from Yves Smith

Business travel is not coming back any time soon. People are getting accustomed to Zoom. And word may also get out that domestic flying is much worse than it used to be, which will be a deterrent to those who might be so bold as to want to get on a plane. That is a fundamental blow to airlines, airport vendors, hotels, restaurants, and convention centers. Hotel occupancy in April was 24.5% which if anything seems high based on my personal datapoints. The pricings I see say that hotel operators are not expecting much if any improvement through the summer.

Like many of you, I wish that economic conditions would go back to the way they used to be, but that simply is not going to happen.

Yes, we will see economic numbers go up and down over the coming months, but a return to “the good times” is not in the cards.

And what hardly anyone realizes is that this is just the beginning of our problems, and I am working on a new project right now which will explain why this is true in great detail.

So stay tuned, because things are about to get really, really “interesting”.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

2020 Has Been A Miserable Year, And Americans Are The Unhappiest They Have Been In Ages

What a year this has been so far.  First, the greatest public health crisis in 100 years hit us, then the U.S. economy imploded, and now the streets of many of our major cities resemble war zones after weeks of rioting, looting and violence.  It has been one thing after another, and this has taken a great toll on the mental health of the American people.  Of course we weren’t exactly in great shape coming into this year.  In 2019, it was being reported that the suicide rate in the U.S. was at an all-time record high, alcohol-related deaths were at an all-time record high, and drug overdose deaths were at an all-time record high.  So the truth is that we were already deeply miserable before 2020 came along, and now a brand new survey has discovered that as a result of everything that has happened so far this year we have become even more unhappy

Spoiler alert: 2020 has been rough on the American psyche. Folks in the U.S. are more unhappy today than they’ve been in nearly 50 years.

This bold – yet unsurprising – conclusion comes from the COVID Response Tracking Study, conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago. It finds that just 14% of American adults say they’re very happy, down from 31% who said the same in 2018.

Would you say that you are “very happy” with your life?

I hope so, and I would like to think that most of my readers are more content with their lives than the general population as a whole.

Personally, I would definitely label myself as “very happy”, but it looks like most of the population definitely does not feel the same way.

According to the survey, the coronavirus lockdowns are one of the big reasons why Americans are feeling less happy these days.  Being forced to stay away from others has caused many people to feel increasingly lonely

About twice as many Americans report being lonely today as in 2018, and not surprisingly given the lockdowns that tried to contain the spread of the coronavirus, there has also been a drop in satisfaction with social activities and relationships. Compared with 2018, Americans also are about twice as likely to say they sometimes or often have felt a lack of companionship (45% vs. 27%) and felt left out (37% vs. 18%) in the past four weeks.

Humans are inherently social creatures, and we were created to love and be loved.

I think that our politicians greatly underestimated the damage that social isolation would cause for many people.  In some cases, the consequences have been absolutely devastating.

Meanwhile, a lot of Americans are also feeling unhappy these days due to economic reasons.

Up to this point in 2020, more than 100,000 businesses have permanently shut down, economic activity all over the planet has dropped precipitously, and more than 44 million Americans have filed claims for unemployment benefits.

Initially, it was hoped that most of those jobs would eventually come back, but now it has become very clear that is not going to happen.  In fact, one new estimate is projecting that a whopping 42 percent of the job losses “will be permanent”

“50% of U.S. job losses come from the combination of lockdown and weak demand, 30% from the reallocation shock, and 20% from high unemployment benefits,” Bloomberg found.

A report by the Becker Friedman Institute at the University of Chicago estimated 42% of layoffs that occurred as a result of the pandemic will be permanent.

In other words, millions upon millions of Americans that have lost their jobs during this pandemic will never be getting their old jobs back.

When I first started telling my readers that a lot of these jobs would never return, I got some really nasty emails.

There were some people that were absolutely incensed that I would suggest such a thing, but now the truth of the matter has become obvious to everyone.

Unfortunately, a large portion of the population was not prepared for an economic shock of this magnitude.  In fact, another new survey has found that 33 percent of all Americans “do not feel prepared to deal with the financial impact of the pandemic”

Even before COVID-19 was a household name, many Americans struggled to build up an emergency fund. Now, for some, the need for such a foundation is painfully clear. A full third – 33% – of respondents said they do not feel prepared to deal with the financial impact of the pandemic.

“If our current financial situation gets worse before it gets better, Americans need to have money set aside that they can lean back on as a last resort,” Frerichs said. “If you don’t currently have an emergency fund, try to set aside as much as you can every month, and aim to build enough to cover between three and six months of living expenses.”

For years, I have been strongly urging my readers to build up their emergency funds, and hopefully most of them heeded that advice.

Because things are not going to be turning around any time soon.  The bad news is that much of the economic suffering that had been deferred by unprecedented government intervention is about to hit us in a major way, and the really bad news is that the economic problems that we are facing now are going to pale in comparison to what we will be facing in future years.

Needless to say, this is going to put even more stress on the mental health of Americans.

So if you think that people are going absolutely nuts right now, just wait until you see how bad things get when our society really starts to melt down.

But just because things will be falling apart all around you does not mean that you have to be personally miserable.

If you derive meaning and purpose in life from your career, your ambitions, your bank account, your social status and all of the things you have accumulated, then you will definitely have an exceedingly difficult time dealing with the things that are coming.

However, if instead you choose to derive meaning and purpose in life from the things that really matter, you will not be shaken even if all of your plans, programs and material possessions are taken from you.

All of human history has been building up to the moment that we are living in right now, and you were born for such a time as this.  So don’t crawl into a hole and complain about how bad things are as conditions deteriorate.  Instead, choose to stand up and become the person that you were created to be.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

This Is Why We Are Facing A 6 Week Countdown To Immense Economic Despair…

Many of the emergency economic measures that were put into place to support the American people financially throughout this pandemic are about to disappear, and that means that big trouble is on the horizon.  Right now, we are in the midst of the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.  Economic activity has fallen dramatically, more than 100,000 businesses have permanently closed, and more than 44 million Americans have lost a job so far in 2020.  But up to this point most Americans are not feeling too much economic pain thanks to unprecedented intervention by the federal government.  Unfortunately, that short-term boost of artificial relief is about to wear off, and that is going to cause some major problems as we approach the end of this calendar year.

Earlier today, two sentences from a Buzzfeed article about the extreme economic despair that is ahead of us really got my attention…

The US economy right now is like a jumbo jet that’s in a steady glide after both its engines flamed out. In about six weeks, it will likely crash into the side of a mountain.

I think that is a perfect description of what we are facing, except that I would replace “U.S. economy” with “U.S. consumers”.

The truth is that the economy has already crashed, but consumers have been shielded from the effects of that crash by trillions of dollars in emergency government spending and other unprecedented measures

What’s kept us in the air so far is an extraordinary government relief effort. In most states, evictions have been temporarily banned, preventing a mass homelessness crisis. Most federal student loan payments have been put on hold, removing one of the largest recurring monthly expenses that millions of people face. Banks were ordered to give their customers a six-month break on mortgage payments if requested.

Most importantly, and counterintuitively, household income sharply increased in April as hundreds of billions of dollars in lost wages were replaced by trillions in government spending. The government sent out more than 159 million stimulus payments of up to $1,200 per adult (more if you have kids), and more than 20 million unemployed people became eligible for an extra $600 a week in federal unemployment benefits. The result, according to Bloomberg, was the largest monthly increase in household income ever recorded.

What we have witnessed has been a sudden transfer of wealth that is unlike anything we have ever seen in all of U.S. history, and this has allowed most Americans to get through the past few months without too much of a problem.  In fact, many unemployed workers have been bringing home more money than they did when they were actually working.

But on July 31st (about 6 weeks from now) that is all going to change.

The $600 unemployment bonuses are scheduled to end on that date, and President Trump and Republican leaders in Congress have made it clear that they have no intention of extending them.

In addition, it looks like there will be no more direct checks from the government for ordinary Americans even if another “stimulus bill” is passed.

So tens of millions of Americans will soon be facing a future in which they are bringing in very little income.

In addition, the various bans on evictions around the country will soon be coming to an end, as will the grace periods for mortgage payments.

Without enough income coming in, a lot of Americans will soon be losing their homes, and this will likely really start ramping up as we head into the holiday season.

On top of everything else, the grace period on federal student loans will come to an end at the beginning of October.

Ouch.

Basically, all of the economic pain that had been deferred will come rushing back with a vengeance over the next several months.

Of course Congress could delay things a bit more by borrowing and spending trillions of more dollars that we simply do not have, but all of the reckless spending that they have done already has put us in very perilous territory

Trillions are now whooshing by at a breath-taking pace. The US gross national debt – the total of all Treasury securities outstanding – jumped by $1 trillion over the past five weeks, from May 4 through June 8, and by $2.5 trillion for the 11 weeks since March 23.

The total US national debt outstanding has reached $26 trillion, according to the Treasury Department.

It took from the founding of the United States until 1981 for the U.S. national debt to reach one trillion dollars, and now we have added that same amount to the debt in just five weeks.

Wow.

Our elected officials are absolutely destroying our future, but most Americans don’t seem too alarmed by this.

Instead, many are clamoring for even more “free money”, because they say that what they have gotten so far is not nearly enough.

Of course the federal spending that has already taken place has not exactly had the desired effect.

Americans were supposed to take the money they were receiving and spend it.

But instead, one recent survey found that most Americans are actually cutting back on their spending right now…

  • Saving more money: 34% of survey respondents indicate they’ve upped their savings rate because of the novel coronavirus.
  • Reducing spending: During these turbulent times, 59% of Americans have cut their budgets so they aren’t spending as much money as they did pre-pandemic.
  • Re-evaluating their priorities: 48% of those surveyed indicate they are prioritizing living expenses, while 30% of respondents indicate their top priority is consumables, including food and drink.

No matter how much money Congress showers on the American people, they aren’t going to be able to eliminate the overwhelming fear that COVID-19 has created.

For the foreseeable future, a large portion of the population is simply not going to resume their normal economic patterns because they are scared of the virus.

And in many of our large cities, rioting, looting and violence has depressed economic activity even further.

A major economic downturn is here, and it looks like it is going to be very, very deep.

Congress was able to minimize the discomfort for a while, but those emergency measures were only intended to help for a short period of time, and in about six weeks the entire country is going to start feeling a tremendous amount of pain.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

No, The U.S. Economy Will Definitely Not Be Returning To “Normal”. In Fact, Things Will Soon Get Even Worse.

2020 has been quite a year so far.  It has been one nightmare after another, and yet the economic optimists continue to insist that economic activity will soon snap back to normal levels somehow.  So the economic optimists aren’t really alarmed by the fact that the core areas of our major cities have been torched, gutted and looted by rioters, because they assume that all of this violence is just a temporary phenomenon and that any damage that has been done can be repaired.  And they aren’t really alarmed by the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic is starting to escalate again.  In fact, over the last seven days we have seen the number of newly confirmed cases around the globe hit levels that we have never seen before.  They just assume that “the worst is behind us” and that the vast majority of the businesses and jobs that have been lost during this pandemic will be quickly recovered.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they were actually correct?

Sadly, the truth is that economic conditions will not be returning to normal.  Yes, some of the jobs that were lost will be recovered as states start to “reopen” their economies.  But more than 100,000 businesses have already permanently closed during this new economic downturn, and all of those jobs are lost forever.

And yes, the level of economic activity will rise as states end their lockdowns, but it will still be much lower than it was before COVID-19 started spreading like wildfire in the United States.

At this point, even the perpetually optimistic OECD is admitting that global economic activity as a whole will be way down in 2020

If a second outbreak is seen, the OECD forecasts global growth will plunge by 7.6% in 2020, and “remain well short” of its growth activity levels from 2019, suggesting no V-shaped recovery. If a second wave can be avoided, the OECD forecasts the world economy will still contract by 6% this year and again fail to recover to pre-corona levels by the end of 2021.

“Both scenarios are sobering, as the economic activity does not and cannot return to normal under these circumstances,” OECD chief economist Laurence Boone wrote in the report.

A 6 or 7 percent decline in worldwide GDP is definitely not “normal”.

Actually, if this OECD projection turns out to be accurate, we will be talking about a “global depression” by the end of the year.

Here in the U.S., a key measure of consumer optimism just dropped by 5.4 percent even though state economies all over the country are “reopening”…

The IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index, a leading national poll on consumer confidence, declined by 5.4% in June. The index’s reading of 47.0 is at its lowest mark since September 2016. It also places the index in negative territory for the third consecutive month. For the IBD/TIPP indexes, a reading below 50.0 indicates pessimism.

But all of the optimists keep telling me that things are “getting better”.

In fact, they just keep on insisting that a new golden age for America is right around the corner.

Well, apparently the largest jewelry retailer in the U.S. doesn’t share that optimism, because they just announced that they will be closing at least 150 stores

The world’s largest retailer of diamond jewelry says it will not reopen at least 150 of its North America stores that were temporarily shuttered in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Signet Jewelers, which operates 3,172 stores globally primarily under the name brands of Kay Jewelers, Zales, Jared The Galleria Of Jewelry and Piercing Pagoda, also plans to close an additional 150 stores by the end of its fiscal year, which ends in February 2021.

Overall, the U.S. retail industry is facing a tsunami of store closings that is unlike anything we have ever seen before

As many as 25,000 U.S. stores could close permanently this year after the coronavirus pandemic devastated an industry where many mall-based retailers were already struggling.

The number would shatter the record set in 2019, when more than 9,800 stores closed their doors for good, according to a report from retail and tech data firm Coresight Research.

That sure doesn’t sound like an “economic recovery” to me.

Meanwhile, the reckless money creation that the Federal Reserve has been engaging in is starting to show up in our food prices.  According to Nielsen, we have seen some startling food inflation over the past three months…

Market-research firm Nielsen said food prices rose 5.8% in the 13 weeks from March 1 to May 30 compared with the year-ago period.

Unfortunately, this is just the beginning.  The cost of living is going to continue to rise aggressively, and this comes at a time when more than 42 million Americans have already lost their jobs.

Yes, some of those jobs are starting to come back.

But more Americans continue to lose jobs each week as well.

And economic activity will be higher than it was when virtually everything was closed down.

But more businesses are shutting their doors permanently and declaring bankruptcy on a daily basis.

This new chapter in our economic history is just getting started, and a tremendous amount of pain is ahead of us.

Of course Fed Chair Jerome Powell completely disagrees with that assessment, and he is trying really hard to convince all of us that a new economic depression has not begun

Sure, unemployment’s only comparison is the Great Depression. And businesses across the country are closed. And many people are struggling to buy food. But Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell doesn’t see any similarities.

“I don’t think that the Great Depression is a good example or likely outcome for a model of what’s happening here at all, I really don’t,” he said. “There are so many fundamental differences.”

And I would actually concur with Powell that what we are facing will not be very similar to the Great Depression of the 1930s.

In the long run, what we are facing will be far worse.

The “perfect storm” is here, and our economy is being shaken to the core.  Many people continue to be hopeful that the worst is now behind us, but what they don’t realize is that what we have experienced so far is just a warm up act for what is still to come.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all many people as we possibly can.

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