Black Friday Is Coming, And 48 Million Americans Still Have Holiday Debt From Last Year

The biggest shopping day of the year is almost here, and marketers are working hard trying to extract as much money from U.S. consumers as possible.  Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get consumers to open up their wallets, because many of them are already drowning in debt.  As a society, we have been trained to think of this as “the happiest time of the year”, and for many Americans the most important part of the holiday season is opening presents on Christmas morning.  So there is a tremendous amount of pressure to spend a lot of money on presents, but this often leads to high levels of credit card debt.  In fact, a survey that was just released discovered that 48 million Americans “are still paying off credit card debt from last holiday season”

The holidays can be hard: cooking elaborate meals, facing frigid temperatures, making travel plans that please everyone.

Overspending, however, is too easy. In fact, about 48 million Americans are still paying off credit card debt from last holiday season, according to a NerdWallet survey conducted by The Harris Poll.

Sadly, some of those consumers will end up paying the credit card companies more than twice what those Christmas presents originally cost, and it can be exceedingly difficult to ever get ahead when you are trapped in a seemingly endless cycle of debt.

So why do people do it?

Well, according to one financial therapist many Americans are chasing an “emotional experience” this time of the year…

Gift-buying requires money, time and energy when you may already feel overwhelmed, says Los Angeles-based financial therapist Amanda Clayman. During the holidays, “we’re chasing a sort of emotional experience,” she says. Think: the love and happiness of a Hallmark movie.

But feelings of grief or longing may be more realistic. “This is a sad and lonely time for many people,” says Sarah Newcomb, behavioral economist for Morningstar. Shopping (for anything or everything) can be a convenient coping mechanism.

We want what we see on television, but what we see on television is not real.

In the end, many Americans leave the holiday season feeling deeply disappointed, because what they were chasing was just an illusion.

Yes, some wealthy families will literally have hundreds of presents under their Christmas trees this holiday season, but most American families are deeply struggling these days.

In fact, over two million of us are actually living without basic necessities such as “running water or indoor plumbing”.  The following comes from Daisy Luther

A new report says that more than 2 million Americans in West Virginia, Alabama, Texas and the Navajo Nation Reservation in the Southwest are living without clean running water or indoor plumbing. They’re drinking from polluted streams. They’re carrying buckets of the same water home for washing. They’re urinating and defecating outside with no wastewater treatment.

The gap between the rich and the poor continues to grow, and at this point the wealthiest 0.1 percent of all Americans now have as much wealth as the poorest 90 percent of all Americans combined.

Let that sink in for a moment.

That is a recipe for societal disaster, and it is getting worse with each passing year.

A big reason for this is because the Federal Reserve has been artificially pumping up the financial markets, and on Monday stocks hit yet another all-time high

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite hit all-time closing highs as they rose 0.8% to 3,133.64 and 1.3% to 8,632.49, respectively. Both indexes also notched intraday records. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also had a record close, gaining 190.85 points, or 0.5% to 28,066.47.

President Donald Trump tweeted about the record, saying: “Enjoy!”

But what most Americans don’t understand is that 84 percent of all stock market wealth is owned by the wealthiest 10 percent of all Americans.

Of course the stock market bubble won’t last indefinitely.  We are already in an earnings recession, and that earnings recession is expected to continue in the fourth quarter

Earnings in the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.75%  are now projected to decline 1.51% in the fourth quarter from the year before, according to a FactSet computation of analysts’ average forecasts for individual companies. An earnings recession is defined as two quarters or more of consecutive year-over-year declines, and earnings for S&P 500 components dipped in the first two quarters of 2019 and are all but certain to do so again in the third quarter — with nearly 95% of calendar third-quarter reports posted, earnings have dropped 2.34%, the biggest decline so far this year.

And about 75 percent of the time, an earnings recession leads into a full-blown recession for the economy as a whole

Three-fourths (75%) of earnings recessions since World War II have morphed into economic recessions, said CFRA Chief Investment Strategist Sam Stovall, who told Market Watch that he has been “scratching his head” trying to reconcile analyst pessimism around earnings with continued stock-market rallies.

So the truth is that those that are celebrating what the stock market is doing are not likely to be celebrating for too much longer.

And every day we continue to get more bad news from the real economy.  For example, we just learned that the largest maker of truck engines in the United States will be laying off about 2,000 workers

Those market trends are now impacting Cummins, a Columbus, Ind., manufacturer of heavy equipment. It’s the largest manufacturer of Class 8 truck engines, claiming a 38.3% market share in 2018 over competitors like Daimler and Volvo/Mack.

Cummins spokesperson Jon Mills confirmed to Business Insider that the company, which employs some 62,610 globally, will reduce its global workforce by about 2,000. Those layoffs will be complete by the first quarter of 2020, he said.

As a “perfect storm” overtakes America, many believe that this will be the last “normal” holiday season that Americans will be able to enjoy.

It has become exceedingly clear that very hard times are coming, and quite a few experts believe that the crisis that is ahead will be even worse than what we experienced in 2008.

So enjoy the time that you are able to spend with your family and friends over the coming weeks, because major changes are already starting to happen, and our nation will soon be dealing with one major headache after another.

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 Blog, End 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 End, Get 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. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. 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.

What In The World Is The Federal Reserve Thinking???

You don’t use up all of your ammunition before the battle even begins.  The U.S. economy has not even officially entered recession territory yet, although many experts are definitely anticipating one in 2020.  When that recession arrives, the Federal Reserve is going to want as much ammunition to fight it as possible.  So I was horrified to learn that the Federal Reserve announced on Wednesday that interest rates are being slashed once again.  We have now had three interest rate cuts in 2019 as the Federal Reserve desperately attempts to revive the stalling U.S. economy.  But what are they going to do during the next recession when they have already pushed interest rates all the way to the floor and they can’t push them any lower?  In addition, in recent days the Federal Reserve has decided to absolutely flood the financial system with new money in a desperate attempt to stabilize the repo market.  In essence, the Federal Reserve has launched a massive new round of quantitative easing even before a major crisis has erupted on Wall Street.  I can understand trying to be proactive, but in reality quantitative easing is an extreme emergency measure that should only be used in the most desperate of situations.  If the Fed is creating this much new money now, what are they going to do once things really get bad?  Are we destined to become the next Venezuela?

For a long time, the Federal Reserve has insisted that the U.S. economy is in good shape.  If that is true, there is no way in the world that the Fed should be cutting interest rates.  But that is exactly what happened on Wednesday

In a vote widely anticipated by financial markets, the central bank’s Federal Open Market Committee lowered its benchmark funds rate by 25 basis points to a range of 1.5% to 1.75%. The rate sets what banks charge each other for overnight lending but is also tied to most forms of revolving consumer debt.

It was the third cut this year as part of what Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has characterized as a “midcycle adjustment” in a maturing economic expansion.

With rates now so close to zero, there isn’t going to be much that the Fed can do in that regard once the next recession strikes.

According to Fed Chair Jerome Powell, this latest rate cut was done for “insurance” purposes

Powell said lowering the rate again was ‘insurance’, or protection needed because ‘weakness in global growth and trade developments have weighed on the economy and posed ongoing risks’.

If the U.S. economy doesn’t plunge into a deep recession next year, Powell and the other bureaucrats at the Fed will probably be applauded for these moves.

But if we do experience a significant economic downturn, they will be caught with their pants down.

Yes, the U.S. economy is definitely slowing down, but this week we learned that it still grew at an annual rate of 1.9 percent last quarter.

1.9 percent is not good at all, and if honest numbers were being used it would show that our economy is actually contracting.  But at least things are relatively stable for the moment, and as long as things are relatively stable the Federal Reserve should not be resorting to emergency measures.

Of course Wall Street was absolutely thrilled that the Fed cut rates again, and news of the rate cut pushed the S&P 500 to yet another all-time record high

Stocks advanced Wednesday after the Federal Reserve cut interest rates for the third time this year, propelling the Standard & Poor’s 500 to a fresh record.

The S&P 500 index added 9.88 points, or 0.3%, to close at 3046.77. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 115.27 points, or 0.4%, to end at 27,186.69. The Nasdaq added 27.12 points, or 0.3%, at 8,303.98.

And without a doubt, this rate cut is good for consumers.  Rates on mortgages, auto loans and credit cards will go down, and that will save average Americans a lot of money

These Fed interest rate cuts are starting to add up, lowering costs for many Americans who use credit cards or take out loans while squeezing savers.

The Federal Reserve lowered its benchmark interest rate Wednesday by a quarter percentage point for the third time in the past three months. The move is likely to further trim borrowing costs on credit cards, home equity lines, adjustable-rate mortgages and auto loans.

But this is yet another example of the short-term thinking that is plaguing our society.

When the next recession arrives, the Fed will be able to cut rates a handful of times, and then that will be the end of it.

The Fed should have also held off on buying more bonds until we really needed it as well.  Even though a new financial crisis has not even started yet, the Fed has been creating money like crazy and their balance sheet has ballooned “by about $100 billion over the past month”

The Fed has been buying bonds again, but officials insist it is an effort to stabilize the funds rate within the target range rather than a resurrection of QE. Still, the central bank balance sheet has expanded by about $100 billion over the past month and is back above the $4 trillion mark, $3.6 trillion of which is in Treasurys and mortage-backed securities.

So if the Fed is being this crazy now, what are they going to do when a real financial crisis erupts?

Perhaps they should just get it over with and create trillions of dollars right now and turn us into the Weimar Republic already.

Because that is where all of this craziness is eventually going to take us.  Our dollar is eventually going to be absolutely worthless and we will become the next Venezuela.

I have always been highly critical of the Federal Reserve, but at least in other eras those running the Fed were at least mildly competent.

But now it appears that incompetence is running wild over at the Federal Reserve, and we will all pay a great price for their mistakes in the not too distant future.

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 Blog, End 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 End, Get 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 can only allow this to happen if this “About the Author” section is included 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.  This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate.  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.

Here Are 15 Numbers That Show How The Global Economy Is Performing, And All Of Them Are Bad

Global economic activity has already been slowing down dramatically, and the U.S. trade war with China is just going to make things worse.  In so many ways, what we are witnessing in 2019 is quite reminiscent of what we witnessed as the last recession was beginning.  Global exports are absolutely plummeting, auto sales are way down all over the globe, debt delinquencies are way up, and retailers are closing stores at a record pace.  Even if the U.S. and China were getting along, things would be rough for the global economy in the months ahead, but a full-blown trade war between the two largest economies on the entire planet has the potential to be absolutely disastrous.  We are truly in uncharted waters, and many believe that events are going to start accelerating very rapidly now.

Even though I write about this stuff on a daily basis, I have been surprised by how poor the global economic numbers have been lately.

And remember, earlier this month the global media were convinced that the U.S. and China were about to finalize a trade deal.  Now that negotiations have completely broken down, we should expect that these numbers will soon get even worse.

The following are 15 numbers that show how the global economy is currently performing…

#1 Global exports are absolutely crashing and have now fallen to the lowest level since 2009.

#2 U.S. auto dealers are dealing with a backlog of 4.2 million unsold vehicles.

#3 Auto sales in Europe have fallen for seven months in a row.

#4 Chinese auto sales fell a whopping 16.6 percent in the month of April.

#5 Overall, Chinese auto sales have now fallen for 11 months in a row.  That is a new all-time record.

#6 U.S. auto loan delinquencies have reached the highest level since the last recession.

#7 U.S. credit card delinquencies have hit the highest level in eight years.

#8 In April, U.S. manufacturing activity unexpectedly declined 0.5 percent.

#9 Thanks to the trade war, the price of soybeans just dropped to the lowest level since 2008.

#10 Party City just announced that it will be closing 45 stores.

#11 Fred’s just announced that they will be closing 104 more stores.

#12 In April, U.S. retail sales declined for the second time in three months.

#13 According to the Atlanta Fed’s latest forecast, U.S. GDP growth is expected to fall to just 1.2 percent in the second quarter of 2019.

#14 According to a new study just released by the Urban Institute, 40 percent of all Americans “sometimes struggle to afford housing, utilities, food or health care”.

#15 Overall, 59 percent of all Americans are currently living paycheck to paycheck according to a survey that was just conducted by Charles Schwab.

Leaders from both the U.S. and China are trying to act tough and say the right things, but everyone knows that this trade war is going to hurt both countries.

Economic numbers from both nations have been troubling lately, and one expert that was just interviewed by CNBC says that “it could get a lot worse”

Consumer and industrial activity in both the U.S. and China slowed in April, even before the world’s two biggest economies entered the latest phase of an escalating trade war that could take a bite out of global growth.

“The real message today is that both the economic data from the U.S. and China have disappointed. They’re like two boys in the sandbox that are spitting on each other, and it could get a lot worse,” said Marc Chandler, global market strategist at Bannockburn Global Forex.

In the short-term, it would greatly help if the U.S. and China could find a way to agree to a trade deal.

Unfortunately, the events of the past 48 hours have made that a lot less likely.

As I discussed yesterday, President Trump essentially took a sledgehammer to Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei.  When the Commerce Department put Huawei on the “Entity List”, it essentially banned the company from buying much needed parts and components from U.S. firms.  Some have described this as “the nuclear option”, and I think that description is quite accurate.  In the end, this move is going to be absolutely devastating for Huawei.

Of course the Chinese are absolutely furious about this.  Huawei is viewed with great national pride in China, and this move is considered to be a direct insult to Chinese national honor.  Most Americans are not paying too much attention to the details of the trade war, but in China this is a really big deal and people are extremely angry.  In fact, there has apparently been a run on “Donald Trump toilet brushes” in China in recent days because the Chinese are so angry.

Following my recent article about Huawei, a number of readers complained that I was being too soft on China.  Of course that is not true at all.  Long before Donald Trump ran for president, I was writing about how China was lying, cheating, stealing our technology and robbing us blind.  I was literally begging for our politicians to stand up and do something, and I was thrilled when Trump started talking tough about China because I knew that he really understood these issues.

But I also want everyone to understand that trying to decouple from the Chinese economy would be extremely painful even in the most optimistic scenario.  Our two economies have become extremely integrated, and we have become very dependent on China in many different ways.  They buy our soybeans, they provide us with rare earth elements, and they own more than a trillion dollars of our debt.  Looking at it from the Chinese perspective, they have countless ways that they can hurt us, and the angrier we make them the more likely it will be that they will lash out at us.

When negotiating with China, you need to be tough but you also need a lot of finesse.  Taking a baseball bat and slamming it into their kneecaps is not going to work.

If we destroy our relationship with China, that is going to result in us going down a very dark path.  Yes, China is an evil empire that has no respect for human rights at all.  There is no freedom of speech in China, over the past year they have been shutting down lots of churches and burning lots of Bibles, and they have been systematically throwing members of other religious minorities into concentration camps.

So I don’t have any sympathy for the communist Chinese government at all.  I just want all of you to understand that they are a very dangerous adversary, and a protracted trade war could be truly disastrous for the entire global economy.

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

I Dare You To Tell Me The Economy Is “Booming” After Reading This List Of 19 Facts About Our Current Economic Performance

After taking an honest look at the facts, I don’t know how anyone can possibly claim that the U.S. economy is “booming”.  I really don’t.  We hear this sort of rhetoric from the mainstream media all the time, but it doesn’t make any sense.  As I discussed yesterday, nobody should be using the term “booming” to describe the state of the U.S. economy until we have a full year when GDP growth is 3 percent or better, and at this point we haven’t had that since the middle of the Bush administration.  And as you will see below, the latest numbers are clearly telling us that the U.S. economy is not even moving in the right direction.  Economic conditions are getting worse, and they weren’t that great to begin with.  According to the calculations that John Williams has made over at shadowstats.com, the U.S. economy is already in a recession, but of course the Federal Reserve will continue to tell us that everything is just fine for as long as they possibly can.  Unfortunately for them, they can’t hide the depressingly bad numbers that are coming in from all over the economy, and those numbers are all telling us the same thing.

The following are 19 facts about our current economic performance that should deeply disturb all of us…

#1 In April, U.S. auto sales were down 6.1 percent.  That was the worst decline in 8 years.

#2 The number of mortgage applications has fallen for four weeks in a row.

#3 We just witnessed the largest crash in luxury home sales in about 9 years.

#4 Existing home sales have now fallen for 13 months in a row.

#5 In March, total residential construction spending was down 8.4 percent from a year ago.

#6 U.S. manufacturing output was down 1.1 percent during the first quarter of this year.

#7 Farm incomes are falling at the fastest pace since 2016.

#8 Wisconsin dairy farmers are going bankrupt “in record numbers”.

#9 Apple iPhone sales are falling at a “record pace”.

#10 Facebook’s profits have declined for the first time since 2015.

#11 We just learned that CVS will be closing 46 stores.

#12 Office Depot has announced that they will be closing 50 locations.

#13 Overall, U.S. retailers have announced more than 6,000 store closings so far in 2019, and that means we have already surpassed the total for all of last year.

#14 A shocking new study has discovered that 137 million Americans have experienced “medical financial hardship in the past year”.

#15 Credit card charge-offs at U.S. banks have risen to the highest level in nearly 7 years.

#16 Credit card delinquencies have risen to the highest level in almost 8 years.

#17 More than half a million Americans are homeless right now.

#18 Homelessness in New York City is the worst that it has ever been.

#19 Nearly 102 million Americans do not have a job right now.  That number is worse than it was at any point during the last recession.

But at least the stock market has been doing well, right?

Actually, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has been down for two days in a row, and investors are getting kind of antsy.

Hopes of a trade deal with China had been propping up stocks in recent weeks, but it looks like negotiations may have hit “an impasse”

The latest round of US-China trade talks may have hit an impasse, raising doubts about the chances of an early trade deal between the world’s two leading economies, Chinese official media reported on Thursday.

Unlike the previous negotiations, the 10th round of high-level economic and trade talks, which concluded here on Wednesday, had fewer details about specific discussions and results, state-run Global Times reported.

I warned my readers repeatedly that this would happen.  The Chinese are going to negotiate, but they are going to drag their feet for as long as possible in hopes that the U.S. will free Meng Wanzhou.

Of course that isn’t going to happen, and so at some point the Chinese will have to decide if they are willing to move forward with a trade deal anyway.

But if the Chinese drag their feet for too long, Trump administration officials may lose patience and take their ball and go home.

In any event, the truth is that the U.S. economy is really slowing down, and no trade deal is going to magically change that.

And a lot of other pundits are also pointing out that a substantial economic slowdown has now begun.  For example, the following comes from Brandon Smith’s latest article

The bottom line is, the next crash has already begun. It started at the end of 2018, and is only becoming more pervasive with each passing month. This is not “doom and gloom” or “doom porn”, this is simply the facts on the ground. While stock markets are still holding (for now), the rest of the system is breaking down right on schedule. The question now is, when will the mainstream media and the Fed finally acknowledge this is happening? I suspect, as in 2008, they will openly admit to the danger only when it is far too late for people to prepare for it.

Hopefully things will remain relatively stable for as long as possible, because nobody should want to see a repeat of 2008 (or worse).

Unfortunately, we can’t stop the clock.  We are already more than a third of the way through 2019, and we will be into 2020 before we know it.

It has been an unusual year so far, but I have a feeling that it is about to get much, much more interesting.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Federal Reserve did.

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

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

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

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

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

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