There is one vitally important number that everyone needs to be watching right now, and it doesn’t have anything to do with unemployment, inflation or housing. If this number gets too high, it will collapse the entire U.S. financial system. The number that I am talking about is the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries. When that number goes up, long-term interest rates all across the financial system start increasing. When long-term interest rates rise, it becomes more expensive for the federal government to borrow money, it becomes more expensive for state and local governments to borrow money, existing bonds lose value and bond investors lose a lot of money, mortgage rates go up and monthly payments on new mortgages rise, and interest rates throughout the entire economy go up and this causes economic activity to slow down. On top of everything else, there are more than 440 trillion dollars worth of interest rate derivatives sitting out there, and rapidly rising interest rates could cause that gigantic time bomb to go off and implode our entire financial system. We are living in the midst of the greatest debt bubble in the history of the world, and the only way that the game can continue is for interest rates to stay super low. Unfortunately, the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries has started to rise, and many experts are projecting that it is going to continue to rise.
On August 2nd of last year, the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries was just 1.48%, and our entire debt-based economy was basking in the glow of ultra-low interest rates. But now things are rapidly changing. On Wednesday, the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries hit 2.70% before falling back to 2.58% on “good news” from the Federal Reserve.
Historically speaking, rates are still super low, but what is alarming is that it looks like we hit a “bottom” last year and that interest rates are only going to go up from here. In fact, according to CNBC many experts believe that we will soon be pushing up toward the 3 percent mark…
Round numbers like 1,700 on the S&P 500 are well and good, but savvy traders have their minds on another integer: 2.75 percent
That was the high for the 10-year yield this year, and traders say yields are bound to go back to that level. The one overhanging question is how stocks will react when they see that number.
“If we start to push up to new highs on the 10-year yield so that’s the 2.75 level—I think you’d probably see a bit of anxiety creep back into the marketplace,” Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s head of global technical strategy, MacNeil Curry, told “Futures Now” on Tuesday.
And Curry sees yields getting back to that level in the short term, and then some. “In the next couple of weeks to two months or so I think we’ve got a push coming up to the 2.85, 2.95 zone,” he said.
This rise in interest rates has been expected for a very long time – it is just that nobody knew exactly when it would happen. Now that it has begun, nobody is quite sure how high interest rates will eventually go. For some very interesting technical analysis, I encourage everyone to check out an article by Peter Brandt that you can find right here.
And all of this is very bad news for stocks. The chart below was created by Chartist Friend from Pittsburgh, and it shows that stock prices have generally risen as the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries has steadily declined over the past 30 years…
When interest rates go down, that spurs economic activity, and that is good for stock prices.
So when interest rates start going up rapidly, that is not a good thing for the stock market at all.
The Federal Reserve has tried to keep long-term interest rates down by wildly printing money and buying bonds, and even the suggestion that the Fed may eventually “taper” quantitative easing caused the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries to absolutely soar a few weeks ago.
So the Fed has backed off on the “taper” talk for now, but what happens if the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries continues to rise even with the wild money printing that the Fed has been doing?
At that point, the Fed would begin to totally lose control over the situation. And if that happens, Bill Fleckenstein told King World News the other day that he believes that we could see the stock market suddenly plunge by 25 percent…
Let’s say Ben (Bernanke) comes out tomorrow and says, ‘We are not going to taper.’ But let’s just say the bond market trades down anyway, and the next thing you know we go through the recent highs and a month from now the 10-Year is at 3%. And people start to realize they are not even tapering and the bond market is backed up….
They will say, ‘Why is this happening?’ Then they may realize the bond market is discounting the inflation we already have.
At some point the bond markets are going to say, ‘We are not comfortable with these policies.’ Obviously you can’t print money forever or no emerging country would ever have gone broke. So the bond market starts to back up and the economy gets worse than it is now because rates are rising. So the Fed says, ‘We can’t have this,’ and they decide to print more (money) and the bond market backs up (even more).
All of the sudden it becomes clear that money printing not only isn’t the solution, but it’s the problem. Well, with rates going from where they are to 3%+ on the 10-Year, one of these days the S&P futures are going to get destroyed. And if the computers ever get loose on the downside the market could break 25% in three days.
And as I have written about previously, we have seen a huge spike in margin debt in recent months, and this could make it even easier for a stock market collapse to happen. A recent note from Deutsche Bank explained precisely why margin debt is so dangerous…
Margin debt can be described as a tool used by stock speculators to borrow money from brokerages to buy more stock than they could otherwise afford on their own. These loans are collateralized by stock holdings, so when the market goes south, investors are either required to inject more cash/assets or become forced to sell immediately to pay off their loans – sometimes leading to mass pullouts or crashes.
But of much greater concern than a stock market crash is the 441 trillion dollar interest rate derivatives bubble that could implode if interest rates continue to rise rapidly.
Deutsche Bank is the largest bank in Europe, and at this point they have 55.6 trillion euros of total exposure to derivatives.
But the GDP of the entire nation of Germany is only about 2.7 trillion euros for a whole year.
We are facing a similar situation in the United States. Our GDP for 2013 will be somewhere between 15 and 16 trillion dollars, but many of our big banks have exposure to derivatives that absolutely dwarfs our GDP. The following numbers come from one of my previous articles entitled “The Coming Derivatives Panic That Will Destroy Global Financial Markets“…
Total Assets: $1,812,837,000,000 (just over 1.8 trillion dollars)
Total Exposure To Derivatives: $69,238,349,000,000 (more than 69 trillion dollars)
Total Assets: $1,347,841,000,000 (a bit more than 1.3 trillion dollars)
Total Exposure To Derivatives: $52,150,970,000,000 (more than 52 trillion dollars)
Bank Of America
Total Assets: $1,445,093,000,000 (a bit more than 1.4 trillion dollars)
Total Exposure To Derivatives: $44,405,372,000,000 (more than 44 trillion dollars)
Total Assets: $114,693,000,000 (a bit more than 114 billion dollars – yes, you read that correctly)
Total Exposure To Derivatives: $41,580,395,000,000 (more than 41 trillion dollars)
That means that the total exposure that Goldman Sachs has to derivatives contracts is more than 362 times greater than their total assets.
And remember, the biggest chunk of those derivatives contracts is made up of interest rate derivatives.
Just imagine what would happen if a life insurance company wrote millions upon millions of life insurance contracts and then everyone suddenly died.
What would happen to that life insurance company?
It would go completely broke of course.
Well, that is what our major banks are facing today.
They have written trillions upon trillions of dollars worth of interest rate derivatives contracts, and they are betting that interest rates will not go up rapidly.
But what if they do?
And the truth is that interest rates have a whole lot of room to go up. The chart below shows how the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries has moved over the past couple of decades…
As you can see, the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries was hovering around the 6 percent mark back in the year 2000.
Back in 1990, the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries hovered between 8 and 9 percent.
If we return to “normal” levels, our financial system will implode. There is no way that our debt-addicted system would be able to handle it.
So watch the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries very carefully. It is the most important number in the entire U.S. economy.
If that number gets too high, the game is over.
The “coming economic collapse” has already been happening. You see, the truth is that the economic collapse is not a single event. It has already started, it is happening right now, and it will accelerate during the years ahead. The statistics in this article show very clearly that the U.S. economy has fallen dramatically over the past ten years or so. Unfortunately, there are lots of mockers out there that love to mock the idea of an economic collapse even though one is happening right in front of our eyes. They love to say stuff like this (and I am paraphrasing): “An economic collapse is never going to happen. We can consume far more wealth than we produce forever. We can pile up gigantic mountains of debt forever. There is no way that the party is over. In fact, the party is just getting started. Woo-hoo!” That sounds absolutely ridiculous, but “economists” and “journalists” actually write things that reflect these kinds of sentiments every single day. They do not seem alarmed about the fact that our national debt is nearly 17 times larger than it was 30 years ago. They do not seem alarmed about the fact that the total amount of debt in our country is more than 28 times larger than it was 40 years ago. They do not seem alarmed about the fact that our economic infrastructure is being absolutely gutted and we are steadily becoming poorer as a nation. They just think that the magic formula of print, borrow, spend and consume can go on indefinitely. Unfortunately, the truth is that a massive economic disaster has already started to unfold. We inherited the greatest economic machine in the history of the world, but we totally wrecked it. We have been able to live far, far beyond our means for the last couple of decades thanks to the greatest debt bubble in the history of the planet, but now that debt bubble is getting ready to burst. Anyone with half a brain should be able to see what is coming. Just open your eyes and look at the facts. The following are 40 stats that prove the U.S. economy has already been collapsing over the past decade…
#1 According to the World Bank, U.S. GDP accounted for 31.8 percent of all global economic activity in 2001. That number dropped to 21.6 percent in 2011.
#2 The United States was once ranked #1 in the world in GDP per capita. Today we have slipped to #14.
#3 The United States has fallen in the global economic competitiveness rankings compiled by the World Economic Forum for four years in a row.
#4 Since the year 2000, the size of the U.S. national debt has grown by more than 11 trillion dollars.
#5 Back in the year 2000, our trade deficit with China was 83 billion dollars. Last year, it was 315 billion dollars.
#6 In the year 2000, about 17 million Americans were employed in manufacturing. Today, only about 12 million Americans are employed in manufacturing.
#7 The United States has lost more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities since 2001.
#8 The United States has lost a staggering 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000.
#9 Between December 2000 and December 2010, 38 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Ohio were lost, 42 percent of the manufacturing jobs in North Carolina were lost and 48 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Michigan were lost.
#10 Back in 1998, the United States had 25 percent of the world’s high-tech export market and China had just 10 percent. Today, China’s high-tech exports are more than twice the size of U.S. high-tech exports.
#11 In 2002, the United States had a trade deficit in “advanced technology products” of $16 billion with the rest of the world. In 2010, that number skyrocketed to $82 billion.
#12 The United States has lost more than a quarter of all of its high-tech manufacturing jobs since the year 2000.
#13 The number of full-time workers in the United States is nearly 6 million below the old record that was set back in 2007.
#14 The average duration of unemployment in the United States is nearly three times as long as it was back in the year 2000.
#15 Throughout the year 2000, more than 64 percent of all working age Americans had a job. Today, only 58.7 percent of all working age Americans have a job.
#16 The official unemployment rate has been at 7.5 percent or higher for 54 months in a row. That is the longest stretch in U.S. history.
#17 The U.S. government says that the number of Americans “not in the labor force” rose by 17.9 million between 2000 and 2011. During the entire decade of the 1980s, the number of Americans “not in the labor force” rose by only 1.7 million.
#18 The average number of hours worked per employed person per year has fallen by about 100 since the year 2000.
#19 The U.S. economy continues to trade good paying jobs for low paying jobs. 60 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession were mid-wage jobs, but 58 percent of the jobs created since then have been low wage jobs.
#20 The U.S. economy lost more than 220,000 small businesses during the recent recession.
#21 The percentage of Americans that are self-employed has steadily declined over the past decade and is now at an all-time low.
#22 According to economist Tim Kane, the following is how the number of startup jobs per 1000 Americans breaks down by presidential administration…
Bush Sr.: 11.3
Bush Jr.: 10.8
#23 In the year 2000, there were only 17 million Americans on food stamps. Today, there are more than 47 million Americans on food stamps.
#24 In the year 2000, the ratio of social welfare benefits to salaries and wages was approximately 21 percent. Today, the ratio of social welfare benefits to salaries and wages is approximately 35 percent.
#25 Since Barack Obama entered the White House, the average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States has risen from $1.85 to $3.64.
#26 More than twice as many new homes were sold in the United States in 2005 as will be sold in 2013.
#27 Right now there are 20.2 million Americans that spend more than half of their incomes on housing. That represents a 46 percent increase from 2001.
#28 The price of ground beef increased by 61 percent between 2002 and 2012.
#29 According to USA Today, water bills have actually tripled over the past 12 years in some areas of the country.
#30 In 1999, 64.1 percent of all Americans were covered by employment-based health insurance. Today, only 55.1 percent are covered by employment-based health insurance.
#31 Median household income in the United States has fallen for four years in a row.
#32 As I mentioned recently, the homeownership rate in America is now at its lowest level in nearly 18 years.
#33 Back in the year 2000, the mortgage delinquency rate was about 2 percent. Today, it is nearly 10 percent.
#34 Median household income for families with children dropped by a whopping $6,300 between 2001 and 2011.
#35 Back in 2007, about 28 percent of all working families were considered to be among “the working poor”. Today, that number is up to 32 percent even though our politicians tell us that the economy is supposedly recovering.
#36 According to the Federal Reserve, the median net worth of families in the United States declined “from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010“.
#37 According to the New York Times, the average debt burden for U.S. households that earn $20,000 a year or less “more than doubled to $26,000 between 2001 and 2010“.
#38 Medicare spending increased by 138 percent between 1999 and 2010.
#39 During Obama’s first term, the federal government accumulated more debt than it did under the first 42 U.S presidents combined.
#40 Today, more than a million public school students in the United States are homeless. This is the first time that has ever happened in our history. That number has risen by 57 percent since the 2006-2007 school year.
Are there any other items that you would add to this list? Please feel free to join the discussion by posting a comment below…
Is the global economic downturn going to accelerate as we roll into the second half of this year? There is turmoil in the Middle East, we are seeing things happen in the bond markets that we have not seen happen in more than 30 years, and much of Europe has already plunged into a full-blown economic depression. Sadly, most Americans will never understand what is happening until financial disaster strikes them personally. As long as they can go to work during the day and eat frozen pizza and watch reality television at night, most of them will consider everything to be just fine. Unfortunately, the truth is that everything is not fine. The world is becoming increasingly unstable, we are living in the terminal phase of the greatest debt bubble in the history of the planet and the global financial system is even more vulnerable than it was back in 2008. Unfortunately, most people seem to only have a 48 hour attention span at best these days. They don’t have the patience to watch long-term trends develop. And the coming economic collapse is not going to happen all at once. Rather, it is like watching a very, very slow-motion train wreck happen. The coming economic nightmare is going to unfold over a number of years. Yes, there will be moments of great panic, but mostly it will be a steady decline into economic oblivion. And there are a lot of indications that the second half of this year is not going to be as good as the first half was. The following are 19 reasons to be deeply concerned about the global economy as we head into the second half of 2013…
#1 The velocity of money in the United States has plunged to an all-time low. It is extremely difficult to have an “economic recovery” if banks are not lending money and people are not spending it…
#2 The fall of the Egyptian government threatens to bring even more instability to the Middle East. In response to the events in Egypt, the price of oil rose to more than 101 dollars a barrel on Wednesday.
#3 Every time the average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States has risen over $3.80 in the past three years, a stock market decline has always followed.
#4 As the world becomes increasingly unstable, massive citizen protest movements have been rising all over the globe…
The protests have many different origins. In Brazil people rose up against bus fares, in Turkey against a building project. Indonesians have rejected higher fuel prices, Bulgarians the government’s cronyism.
In the euro zone they march against austerity, and the Arab spring has become a perma-protest against pretty much everything. Each angry demonstration is angry in its own way.
#5 The European sovereign debt crisis is flaring up once again. This time it is Portugal’s turn to take center stage…
From Greece to Cyprus, Slovenia to Spain and Italy, and now most pressingly Portugal, where the finance and foreign ministers resigned in the space of two days, a host of problems is stirring after 10 months of relative calm imposed by the European Central Bank.
Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho told the nation in an address late on Tuesday that he did not accept the foreign minister’s resignation and would try to go on governing.
If his government does end up collapsing, as is now more likely, it will raise immediate questions about Lisbon’s ability to meet the terms of the 78-billion-euro bailout it agreed with the EU and International Monetary Fund in 2011.
#6 It is being projected that Italy will need a major EU bailout within six months.
#7 Bond investors are starting to panic. In fact, even prominent firms such as Pimco are seeing investors pull massive amounts of money out right now…
In June, investors pulled $9.6bn from Bill Gross’s flagship fund at Pimco, the largest single month of outflows at the fund since Morningstar records began in 1993, the investment research firm said.
The outflows came after investors pulled $1.3bn from the fund in May, which marked the first outflows since December 2011.
Overall, a whopping 80 billion dollars was pulled out of bond funds during June.
#8 Central banks are selling off staggering amounts of U.S. Treasury bonds right now.
#9 U.S. mortgage bonds just suffered their largest quarterly decline in nearly 20 years.
#10 We continue to buy far more from the rest of the world than they buy from us. The U.S. trade deficit for the month of May was 45.0 billion dollars.
#11 The severe drought that the western half of the United States is suffering never seems to end. What will it do to food prices if ranchers and farmers out west have to go through another summer like they did last year?
#12 European car sales have fallen to a 20 year low.
#13 Unemployment in the eurozone is at an all-time high.
#14 Could the paper gold Ponzi scheme be on the verge of crumbling? There are reports that there is now a 100 day delay for gold owners to take physical delivery of their gold from some warehouses owned by the London Metal Exchange…
We’re told that bullion-buyers in London must now wait more than 100 days to take delivery of the bullion for which they have already paid.
The comedic drones at Bloomberg, and officials of the London Metal Exchange itself would have us believe this is due to “warehouse queues.” While precious metals bulls undoubtedly appreciate the imagery implied of a 100-day line-up of armored cars waiting to load their bullion – in the middle of this “bear market” – the implication is fallacious.
In an era of just-in-time inventories; the notion that there can be a 100-day backlog to load bullion into armored cars with the metal already sitting in the warehouse is ludicrous. Clearly what the LME is really reporting here is a greater-than-three-month delay to refine the gold (or silver) being purchased here – and then ship it to their warehouse.
In other words, the “bullion” which traders believe they are purchasing today is in fact merely ore which hasn’t even been dug out of the ground yet.
#15 The number of mortgage applications in the United States is falling at the fastest rate in more than 3 years.
#16 Real disposable income in the United States is falling at the fastest rate in more than 4 years.
#17 The percentage of companies issuing negative earnings guidance for this quarter is at a level that we have never seen before.
#18 Is the dark side of derivatives trading about to be exposed? EU officials claim that 13 major international banks have been colluding to control the trading of derivatives…
The European Commission says many of the world’s largest investment banks appear to have colluded to block attempts by exchanges to trade and offer more transparent prices for financial products known as credit derivatives.
The commission, the executive arm of the European Union, said Monday it has informed 13 banks — including Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley — as well as the industry association for derivatives itself, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, ISDA, of the preliminary conclusions of an investigation that began in March.
#19 There are 441 trillion dollars of interest rate derivatives sitting out there and interest rates have risen rapidly over the past few weeks. What is going to happen to those derivatives if interest rates keep going higher?
So what do you think?
Are there any items that are missing that you would add to this list?
Please feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…
A new set of regulations that most people have never even heard of that was developed by an immensely powerful central banking organization that most people do not even know exists is going to have a dramatic effect on the global financial system over the next several years. The new set of regulations is known as “Basel III”, and it was developed by the Bank for International Settlements. The Bank for International Settlements has been called “the central bank for central banks”, and it is headquartered in Basel, Switzerland. 58 major central banks (including the Federal Reserve) belong to the Bank for International Settlements, and the decisions made in Basel often have more of an impact on the direction of the global economy than anything the president of the United States or the U.S. Congress are doing. All you have to do is to look back at the last financial crisis to see an example of this. Basel II and Basel 2.5 played a major role in precipitating the subprime mortgage meltdown. Now a new set of regulations known as “Basel III” are being rolled out. The implementation of these new regulations is beginning this year, and they will be completely phased in by 2019. These new regulations dramatically increase capital requirements and significantly restrict the use of leverage. Those certainly sound like good goals, the problem is that the entire global financial system is based on credit at this point, and these new regulations are going to substantially reduce the flow of credit. The only way that the giant debt bubble that we are all living in can continue to persist is if it continues to expand. By restricting the flow of credit, these new regulations threaten to burst the debt bubble and bring down the entire global economy.
Not that the current global financial system is sustainable by any means. Anyone with half a brain can see that the global financial system is a pyramid scheme that is destined to collapse. But Basel III may cause it to collapse faster than it might otherwise have.
So precisely what is Basel III? The following is a definition from the official website of the Bank for International Settlements…
“Basel III” is a comprehensive set of reform measures, developed by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, to strengthen the regulation, supervision and risk management of the banking sector. These measures aim to:
- improve the banking sector’s ability to absorb shocks arising from financial and economic stress, whatever the source
- improve risk management and governance
- strengthen banks’ transparency and disclosures.
All of that looks good at first glance. But when you start looking into the details you start realizing what it is going to mean for the global financial system. Banks are going to be required to have higher reserve ratios and use less leverage. Banks are going to have to be more careful with their money, which is a good thing, but it is also going to mean that credit will not flow as freely. Unfortunately, the only way for a debt bubble to survive is if it keeps expanding. Anything that restricts the flow of easy money threatens to bring a debt bubble to an end.
These new regulations are going to be phased in between 2013 and 2019. You can see a chart which shows the implementation schedule for the Basel III regulations right here.
So why is bringing the debt bubble to an end a bad thing?
Well, because it will cause the false prosperity that we have been enjoying to disappear, and that will be an exceedingly painful adjustment.
Sadly, most people have no idea what is happening. Most people have never even heard of “Basel III” or “the Bank for International Settlements”. Most people just assume that the people they voted into office know what they are doing and have everything under control.
Unfortunately, that is not the case at all. The truth is that an unelected, unaccountable body of central bankers is making decisions which deeply affect us all, and there is not much that we can do about it.
This unelected, unaccountable body of central bankers played a major role in bringing about the last financial crisis. The following is a brief excerpt from a recent article posted on Before It’s News…
If you have any questions about the power of these Basel Banking Regulations you can also see the effects that Basel II and 2.5, mark to market accounting, had on the Housing Markets in the United States of America in 2008. There were many causes for that housing bubble, then housing crisis, but Basel II and 2.5 was most assuredly the pin that popped the housing bubble that led to the financial crisis of 2008-09.
But do most people know about this?
Of course not. Most people want to blame the Republicans or the Democrats or Bush or Obama, and they have no idea about the financial strings that are being pulled at the highest levels.
It is so important that we get people educated about how the global financial system actually works. The following is a summary of how the Bank for International Settlements works from one of my previous articles entitled “Who Controls The Money? An Unelected, Unaccountable Central Bank Of The World Secretly Does“…
An immensely powerful international organization that most people have never even heard of secretly controls the money supply of the entire globe. It is called the Bank for International Settlements, and it is the central bank of central banks. It is located in Basel, Switzerland, but it also has branches in Hong Kong and Mexico City. It is essentially an unelected, unaccountable central bank of the world that has complete immunity from taxation and from national laws. Even Wikipedia admits that “it is not accountable to any single national government.” The Bank for International Settlements was used to launder money for the Nazis during World War II, but these days the main purpose of the BIS is to guide and direct the centrally-planned global financial system. Today, 58 global central banks belong to the BIS, and it has far more power over how the U.S. economy (or any other economy for that matter) will perform over the course of the next year than any politician does. Every two months, the central bankers of the world gather in Basel for another “Global Economy Meeting”. During those meetings, decisions are made which affect every man, woman and child on the planet, and yet none of us have any say in what goes on. The Bank for International Settlements is an organization that was founded by the global elite and it operates for the benefit of the global elite, and it is intended to be one of the key cornerstones of the emerging one world economic system.
Even though most people have never even heard of the BIS, the truth is that the global elite have had big plans for it for a very long time. In another article I included a quote from a book that Georgetown University history professor Carroll Quigley wrote many years ago entitled “Tragedy & Hope”…
[T]he powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations.
Today we have such a system, and most of the public does not even know that it exists.
And when the next great financial crisis strikes, there will probably be very little ever said about the Bank for International Settlements in the mainstream media.
But right now the BIS is helping set the stage for the great credit crunch that is coming.
Get prepared while you still can, because time is running out.
Do you think that you know how to prepare for the collapse of the economy? If so, are you putting that knowledge into action? In America today, people are more concerned about the possibility of an economic collapse than ever before. It has been estimated that there are now three million preppers in the United States. But the truth that nobody really knows the actual number, because a lot of preppers keep their “prepping” to themselves. So what are all of those people preparing for exactly? Well, survey after survey has shown that “economic collapse” is the number one potential disaster that preppers are most concerned about. Of course that shouldn’t be surprising because we truly are facing economic problems that are absolutely unprecedented. We are living in the greatest debt bubble in the history of the world, the global banking system has been transformed into a high-risk pyramid scheme of debt, risk and leverage that could collapse at any time, and wealthy countries such as the United States have been living way above their means for decades. Meanwhile, the United States is being deindustrialized at a blinding pace and poverty in this country is absolutely exploding. Anyone that is not concerned about the economy should have their head examined. Fortunately, I have found that an increasing number of Americans are becoming convinced that we are heading for a horrific economic crisis. Once they come to that realization, they want to know what they should do.
And the reality is that “getting prepared” is going to look different for each family based on their own unique circumstances. Some people have a lot of resources, while others have very little. Some people are very independent of the system and can move wherever they want, while others are totally dependent on their jobs and must stay near the cities at least for now.
In addition, it is important to distinguish between the “short-term” and the “long-term” when talking about economic collapse. As I have written about previously, our economic collapse is not going to happen all at once. It is going to unfold over time. In the “short-term”, many are moving money around and are building up “emergency funds” to prepare for the next recession. For the “long-term”, many are storing up food and huge stockpiles of survival supplies in order to be prepared for the total collapse of society. Both approaches are wise, but it is important to keep in mind that different approaches will be needed at different times.
The strategies posted below are a mix of both short-term and long-term strategies. Some will be important for our immediate future, while others may not be needed for a number of years. But in the end, you will be very thankful for the time and the effort that you spent getting prepared while you still could.
The following are 25 things that you should do to get prepared for the coming economic collapse…
#1 An Emergency Fund
Do you remember what happened when the financial system almost collapsed back in 2008? Millions of Americans suddenly lost their jobs, and because many of them were living paycheck to paycheck, many of them also got behind on their mortgages and lost their homes. You don’t want to lose everything that you have worked for during this next major economic downturn. It is imperative that you have an emergency fund. It should be enough to cover all of your expenses for at least six months, but I would encourage you to have an emergency fund that is even larger than that.
#2 Don’t Put All Of Your Eggs Into One Basket
If the wealth confiscation in Cyprus has taught us anything, it is that we should not put all of our eggs in one basket. If all of your money is in one single bank account, it would be easy to wipe out. But if you have your money scattered around a number of different places it will give you a little bit more security.
#3 Keep Some Cash At Home
This goes along with the previous point. While it is not wise to keep all of your money at home, you do want to keep some cash on hand. If there is an extended bank holiday or if a giant burst from the sun causes the ATM machines to go down, you want to be able to have enough cash to buy the things that your family needs. Just ask the people of Cyprus how crippling a bank holiday can be. One way to keep your cash secure at home is by storing it in a concealed safe.
#4 Get Out Of Debt
A lot of people seem to assume that an economic collapse would wipe out all debts, but that will probably not be the case. In fact, if you are in a tremendous amount of debt you will be very vulnerable if the economy collapses and you are not able to find a job. Just ask the people who were overextended and lost their jobs during the last recession. So please get out of debt. Many debt collectors are becoming increasingly ruthless. In many areas of the country they are now routinely putting debtors into prison. You do not want to be a slave to debt when the next wave of the economic collapse strikes.
#5 Gold And Silver
In the long-term, the U.S. dollar is going to lose a tremendous amount of value and inflation is going to absolutely skyrocket. That is one reason why so many people are investing very heavily in gold, silver and other precious metals. All over the globe, the central banks of the world are recklessly printing money. Everyone knows that this is going to end very badly. In fact, there is already a push in more than a dozen U.S. states to allow gold and silver coins to be used as legal tender. Someday you will be glad that you invested in gold and silver now while their prices were still low.
#6 Reduce Your Expenses
A lot of people claim that they can’t put any money toward prepping, but the truth is that we all have room to reduce our expenses. We all spend money on things that we do not really need. Those that are “lean and mean” will tend to do much better during the times that are coming.
#7 Start A Side Business
If you do not have much money, a great way to increase your income is by starting a side business. And it does not take a lot of money – there are many side businesses that you can start for next to nothing. And starting a side business will allow you to become less dependent on your job. In this economic environment, a job could disappear at literally any time.
#8 Move Away From The Big Cities If Possible
For many people, this is simply not possible. Many Americans are still completely and totally dependent on their jobs. But if you are able, now is a good time to move away from the big cities. When the next major economic downturn strikes, there will be rioting and a dramatic rise in crime in the major cities. If you are able to move to a more rural area you will probably be in much better shape.
#9 Store Food
Global food reserves have reached their lowest level in nearly 40 years. As the economy gets even worse and global weather patterns become even more unstable, the price of food will go much higher and global food supplies will become much tighter. In the long run, you will be glad for the money that you put into long-term food storage now.
#10 Learn To Grow Your Own Food
This is a skill that most Americans possessed in the past, but that most Americans today have forgotten. Growing your own food is a way to become more independent of the system, and it is a way to get prepared for what is ahead.
#11 Nobody Can Survive Without Water
Without water, you would not even make it a few days in an emergency situation. It is imperative that you have a plan to provide clean drinking water for your family when disaster strikes.
#12 Have A Plan For When The Grid Goes Down
What would you do if the grid went down and you suddenly did not have power for an extended period of time? Anyone that has spent more than a few hours without power knows how frustrating this can be. You need to have a plan for how you are going to provide power to your home that is independent of the power company.
#13 Have Blankets And Warm Clothing On Hand
This is more for emergency situations or for a complete meltdown of society. During any major crisis, blankets and warm clothing are in great demand. They also could potentially make great barter items.
#14 Store Personal Hygiene Supplies
A lot of preppers store up huge amounts of food, but they forget all about personal hygiene supplies. During a long crisis, these are items that you would greatly miss if you do not have them stored up. These types of supplies would also be great for barter.
#15 Store Medicine And Medical Supplies
You will also want to store up medical supplies and any medicine that you may need. In an emergency situation, you definitely would not want to be without bandages and a first-aid kit. Over the course of a long crisis, you do not want to run out of any medicines that are critical for your health.
#16 Stock Up On Vitamins
A lot of preppers do not think about this either, but it is very important. These days, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get adequate nutrition from the foods that we eat. That is why it is very important to have an adequate store of vitamins and other supplements.
#17 Make A List Of Other Supplies That You Will Need
During any crisis, there will be a lot of other things that you will need in addition to food and water. The following are just a few basic things that it would be wise to have on hand…
– an axe
– a can opener
– battery-powered radio
– extra batteries
– lighters or matches
– fire extinguisher
– sewing kit
This list could be much, much longer, but hopefully this will get you started.
#18 Don’t Forget The Special Needs Of Your Babies And Your Pets
Young children and pets have special needs. As you store supplies, don’t forget about the things that they will need as well.
This may sound trivial, but the truth is that our entertainment-addicted society would become very bored and very frustrated if the grid suddenly went down for an extended period of time. Card games and other basic forms of entertainment can make enduring a crisis much easier.
In the years ahead, being able to defend your home and your family is going to become increasingly important. When the economy crashes, people are going to start to become very desperate. And desperate people do desperate things.
#21 Get Your Ammunition While You Still Can
Your firearms will not do you much good if you do not have ammunition for them. Already there are widespread reports of huge ammunition shortages. The following is from a recent CNS News article…
“The run on ammunition has manufacturers scrambling to accommodate demand and reassure customers, as many new and seasoned gun owners stock up over fears of new firearms regulations at both the state and federal levels.”
Don’t just assume that you will always be able to purchase large amounts of ammunition whenever you want. Get it now while you still can.
#22 If You Have To Go…
Have a plan for what you and your family will do if you are forced to leave your home. If you do have to go, the following are some items that you will want to have on hand…
– a map of the area
– a compass
– backpacks for every member of the family
– sleeping bags
– warm clothing
– comfortable shoes or hiking boots
One of the most important assets in any crisis situation is community. If you have friends or neighbors that you can depend upon, that is invaluable. The time spent building those bonds now will pay off greatly during a major crisis.
#24 Have A Back-Up Plan And Be Flexible
Mike Tyson once said the following…
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
No plan ever unfolds perfectly. When your plan is disrupted, what will you do?
It will be imperative for all of us to have a back-up plan and to be flexible during the years ahead.
#25 Keep Your Prepping To Yourself
Do not go around and tell everyone in the area where you live about your prepping. If you do, then you may find yourself overwhelmed with “visitors” when everything falls apart.
And please do not go on television and brag about your prepping to a national audience.
Prepping is something that you want to keep to yourself, unless you want hordes of desperate people banging on your door in the future.
For much more on prepping, please check out some of my previous articles…
– “Should You Move To Another Country To Escape The Collapse Of America? 10 Questions To Ask Yourself First”
– “14 Questions People Ask About How To Prepare For The Collapse Of The Economy”
– “Rise Of The Preppers: 50 Of The Best Prepper Websites And Blogs On The Internet”
– “120 Powerful Pieces Of Advice For Preppers”
Sadly, most Americans still have blind faith that our “leaders” actually know what they are doing and will be able to fix things.
Most Americans still are convinced that everything is going to be just fine.
And of course the mainstream media does all they can to reinforce faith in the system. Day after day, we see mindless news headlines such as this: “Californians Champing at the Bit Over Powerball Debut“.
But if you are reading this article that means that you are probably much more awake than the average American is.
Please get prepared while you still can.
A great storm is coming, and time is quickly running out.
So do you have any points that you would add to the list above? Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below…
How can anyone not see that the U.S. economy is collapsing all around us? It just astounds me when people try to tell me that “everything is just fine” and that “things are getting better” in America. Are there people out there that are really that blind? If you want to see the economic collapse, just open up your eyes and look around you. By almost every economic and financial measure, the U.S. economy has been steadily declining for many years. But most Americans are so tied into “the matrix” that they can only understand the cheerful propaganda that is endlessly being spoon-fed to them by the mainstream media. As I have said so many times, the economic collapse is not a single event. The economic collapse has been happening, it is is happening right now, and it will continue to happen. Yes, there will be times when our decline will be punctuated by moments of great crisis, but that will be the exception rather than the rule. A lot of people that write about “the economic collapse” hype it up as if it will be some huge “event” that will happen very rapidly and then once it is all over we will rebuild. Unfortunately, that is not how the real world works. We are living in the greatest debt bubble in the history of the world, and once it completely bursts there will be no going back to how things were before. Right now, we are living in a “credit card economy”. As long as we can keep borrowing more money, most people think that things are just fine. But anyone that has lived on credit cards knows that eventually there comes a point when the game is over, and we are rapidly approaching that point as a nation.
Have you ever been there? Have you ever desperately hoped that you could just get one more credit card or one more loan so that you could keep things going?
At first, living on credit can be a lot of fun. You can live a much higher standard of living than you otherwise would be able to.
But inevitably a day of reckoning comes.
If the federal government and the American people were forced at this moment to live within their means, the U.S. economy would immediately plunge into a depression.
That is a 100% rock solid guarantee.
But our politicians and the mainstream media continue to perpetuate the fiction that we can live in this credit card economic fantasy land indefinitely.
And most Americans could not care less about the future. As long as “things are good” today, they don’t really think much about what the future will hold.
As a result of our very foolish short-term thinking, we have now run up a national debt of 16.4 trillion dollars. It is the largest debt in the history of the world, and it has gotten more than 23 times larger since Jimmy Carter first entered the White House.
The chart that you see below is a recipe for national financial suicide…
Of course things have accelerated over the past four years. Since Barack Obama entered the White House, the U.S. government has run a budget deficit of well over a trillion dollars every single year, and we have stolen more than 100 million dollars from our children and our grandchildren every single hour of every single day.
It is the biggest theft of all time. What we are doing to our children and our grandchildren is beyond criminal.
And now our debt is at a level that most economists would consider terminal. When Barack Obama first entered the White House, the U.S. debt to GDP ratio was under 70 percent. Today, it is up to 103 percent.
We are officially in “the danger zone”.
If things really were “getting better” in America, we would not need to borrow so much money.
Our politicians are stealing from the future in order to make the present look better. During Obama’s first term, the federal government accumulated more debt than it did under the first 42 U.S presidents combined.
That is utter insanity!
If you started paying off just the new debt that the U.S. has accumulated during the Obama administration at the rate of one dollar per second, it would take more than 184,000 years to pay it off.
So what is the solution?
Get ready to laugh.
The most prominent economic journalist in the entire country, Paul Krugman of the New York Times, recently suggested the following in an article that he wrote entitled “Kick That Can“…
Realistically, we’re not going to resolve our long-run fiscal issues any time soon, which is O.K. — not ideal, but nothing terrible will happen if we don’t fix everything this year. Meanwhile, we face the imminent threat of severe economic damage from short-term spending cuts.
So we should avoid that damage by kicking the can down the road. It’s the responsible thing to do.
You mean that we might actually do damage to the debt-fueled economic fantasy world that we are living in if we stopped stealing so much money from future generations?
Oh the humanity!
It is horrifying to think that all that one of the “top economic minds” in America can come up with is to “kick the can” down the road some more.
Unfortunately, neither Paul Krugman nor most of the American people understand that our financial system is actually designed to create government debt.
The bankers that helped create the Federal Reserve intended to permanently enslave the U.S. government to a perpetually expanding spiral of debt, and their plans worked.
At this point, the U.S. national debt is more than 5000 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was first created.
So why don’t the American people understand what the Federal Reserve system is doing to us?
It is because most of them are still plugged into the matrix. A Zero Hedge article that I came across today put it beautifully…
US society in a nutshell: Chris Dorner has been around for a week and has 222 million results on Google; the Federal Reserve has been around for one hundred years and has 187 million results.
If nothing is done about our exploding debt, it is only a matter of time before we reach financial oblivion.
According to Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff, the U.S. government is facing a “present value difference between projected future spending and revenue” of 222 trillion dollars in the years ahead.
So how in the world are we going to come up with an extra 222 trillion dollars?
But it is not just the U.S. government that is drowning in debt.
Just check out this chart which shows the astounding growth of state and local government debt in recent years…
All over the United States there are state and local governments that are on the verge of bankruptcy. Just check out what is going on in Detroit. The only way that most of our state and local governments can keep going at this point is to also “kick the can” down the road some more.
And of course most of the rest of us are drowning in debt as well.
40 years ago, the total amount of debt in the U.S. economic system (government + business + consumer) was less than 2 trillion dollars.
Today, the total amount of debt in the U.S. economic system has grown to more than 55 trillion dollars.
Can anyone say bubble?
The good news is that U.S. GDP is now more than 12 times larger than it was 40 years ago.
The bad news is that the total amount of debt in our financial system is now more than 30 times larger than it was 40 years ago…
At the same time that we are going into so much debt, our ability to produce wealth continues to decline.
According to the World Bank, U.S. GDP accounted for 31.8 percent of all global economic activity in 2001. That number dropped to 21.6 percent in 2011. That is not just a decline – that is a nightmarish freefall. Just check out the chart in this article.
We are becoming less competitive as a nation with each passing year. In fact, the U.S. has fallen in the global economic competitiveness rankings compiled by the World Economic Forum for four years in a row.
Most Americans don’t understand this, but the United States buys far more from the rest of the world than they buy from us each year. In 2012, we had a trade deficit of more than 500 billion dollars with the rest of the world.
That means that more than 500 billion dollars that could have gone to U.S. workers and U.S. businesses went out of the country instead.
So how does our country survive if hundreds of billions of dollars more is flowing out of the country than is flowing into it?
Well, to make up the shortfall we go to the countries that we sent our money to and we beg them to lend it back to us. If that doesn’t work, we just print and borrow even more money.
Overall, the United States has run a trade deficit of more than 8 trillion dollars with the rest of the world since 1975.
That is 8 trillion dollars that could have saved U.S. businesses, paid the salaries of U.S. workers and that would have helped fund government.
But instead, our foolish policies have greatly enriched China and the oil barons of the Middle East.
Sadly, politicians from both political parties continue to boldly support the one world economic agenda of the global elite.
Just consider how destructive many of these “free trade” deals have been to our economy…
When NAFTA was pushed through Congress in 1993, the United States had a trade surplus with Mexico of 1.6 billion dollars.
By 2010, we had a trade deficit with Mexico of 61.6 billion dollars.
Back in 1985, our trade deficit with China was approximately 6 million dollars (million with a little “m”) for the entire year.
In 2012, our trade deficit with China was 315 billion dollars. That was the largest trade deficit that one nation has had with another nation in the history of the world.
In particular, our trade with China is extremely unbalanced. Today, U.S. consumers spend approximately 4 dollars on goods and services from China for every one dollar that Chinese consumers spend on goods and services from the United States.
But isn’t getting cheap stuff from China good?
No, because it costs us good paying jobs.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, the United States is losing half a million jobs to China every single year.
Overall, more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States have been shut down since 2001. During 2010, manufacturing facilities in the United States were shutting down at a rate of 23 per day. How can anyone say that “things are getting better” when our economic infrastructure is being absolutely gutted?
The truth is that there are never going to be enough jobs in America ever again, because millions of our jobs are being sent overseas and millions of our jobs are being lost to technology.
You won’t hear this on the news, but the percentage of the civilian labor force in the United States that is employed has been steadily declining every single year since 2006.
Younger workers have been hit particularly hard. In 2007, the unemployment rate for the 20 to 29 age bracket was about 6.5 percent. Today, the unemployment rate for that same age group is about 13 percent.
If you are under the age of 30 and you aren’t living with your parents, there is a really good chance that you are living in poverty. If you can believe it, U.S. families that have a head of household that is under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent.
Our economy has been steadily bleeding huge numbers of middle class jobs, and many of those jobs have been replaced by low paying jobs in recent years.
According to one study, 60 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession were mid-wage jobs, but 58 percent of the jobs created since then have been low wage jobs.
And at this point, an astounding 53 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year.
Oh, but “things are getting better”, right?
Maybe if you live on Wall Street or if you are an employee of the federal government.
But for most families this economic decline has been a total nightmare. Median household income in America has fallen for four consecutive years. Overall, it has declined by over $4000 during that time span.
Sometimes people forget how good things were about a decade ago. About three times as many new homes were sold in the United States in 2005 as were sold in 2012.
But we like to live in denial.
In fact, a lot of families are trying to keep up their standards of living by going into tremendous amounts of debt.
Back in 1983, the bottom 95 percent of all income earners in the United States had 62 cents of debt for every dollar that they earned. By 2007, that figure had soared to $1.48.
Fake it until you make it, right?
But how much debt can our system possibly handle?
Total home mortgage debt in the United States is now about 5 times larger than it was just 20 years ago.
Total credit card debt in the United States is now more than 8 times larger than it was just 30 years ago.
We are a nation that is completely addicted to debt, but as the financial crisis of 2008 demonstrated, all of that debt can have horrific consequences.
As the economy has slowed in recent years, the Federal Reserve has decided that “the solution” is to recklessly print money in an attempt to get the debt spiral cranked up again.
Have they gone overboard? You be the judge…
And of course this won’t have any affect on the value of the money that you have been saving up all these years right?
Every single dollar that you own is continually losing value…
Overall, the value of the U.S. dollar has declined by more than 96 percent since the Federal Reserve was first created.
As the cost of living continues to go up and wages continue to go down, millions of American families have fallen out of the middle class and into poverty.
If you can believe it, the number of Americans on food stamps has grown from about 17 million in the year 2000 to more than 47 million today.
But “things are getting better”, right?
Incredibly, more than a million public school students in the United States are homeless. This is the first time that has ever happened in our history.
But “things are getting better”, right?
There are now 20.2 million Americans that spend more than half of their incomes on housing. That represents a 46 percent increase from 2001.
But “things are getting better”, right?
In 1999, 64.1 percent of all Americans were covered by employment-based health insurance. Today, only 55.1 percent are covered by employment-based health insurance.
But “things are getting better”, right?
Today, more Americans than ever have found themselves forced to turn to the federal government for help.
Overall, the federal government runs nearly 80 different “means-tested welfare programs”, and at this point more than 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one of them.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 49 percent of all Americans live in a home that receives direct monetary benefits from the federal government. Back in 1983, less than a third of all Americans lived in a home that received direct monetary benefits from the federal government.
So is it a good sign or a bad sign that the percentage of Americans that are financially dependent on the federal government is at an all-time high?
And in future years the number of Americans that are receiving benefits from the federal government is projected to absolutely skyrocket.
Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid. Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid, and things are about to get a whole lot worse. It is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.
If you take a look at Medicare, things are very more sobering.
As I wrote recently, it is being projected that the number of Americans on Medicare will grow from 50.7 million in 2012 to 73.2 million in 2025.
At this point, Medicare is facing unfunded liabilities of more than 38 trillion dollars over the next 75 years. That comes to approximately $328,404 for every single household in the United States.
Are you ready to contribute your share?
Social Security is a complete and total nightmare as well.
Right now, there are approximately 56 million Americans collecting Social Security benefits.
By 2035, that number is projected to soar to an astounding 91 million.
Overall, the Social Security system is facing a 134 trillion dollar shortfall over the next 75 years.
Oh, but don’t worry because “things are getting better”, right?
I honestly do not know how anyone can look at the numbers above and come to the conclusion that the economy is in good shape.
We have accumulated the largest mountain of debt in the history of the world, our economic infrastructure is being gutted, we are bleeding good jobs, government dependence is at an all-time high and we are getting poorer as a nation with each passing day.
But other than that, everything is rainbows and lollipops, right?
If you want to see the economic collapse, just open up your eyes.
And if dramatic changes are not made quickly, things are going to get much, much worse from here.
Please share this article with as many people as possible. Time is quickly running out and there are a whole lot of people out there that we need to wake up while we still can.
Why are so many politicians around the world declaring that the debt crisis is “over” when debt to GDP ratios all over the planet continue to skyrocket? The global economy has never seen anything like the sovereign debt bubble that we are experiencing today. The United States, Japan, and nearly every major nation in Europe are absolutely drowning in debt. We have heard a lot about “austerity” over in Europe in recent years, but debt to GDP ratios continue to rise in Greece, Spain, Italy, Ireland and Portugal. In general, most economists consider a debt to GDP ratio of 100% to be a “danger level”, and most of the economies of the western world have either already surpassed that level or are rapidly approaching it. Of course the biggest debt offender of all in many ways is the United States. The U.S. debt to GDP ratio has risen from 66.6 percent to 103 percent since 2007, and the U.S. government accumulated more new debt during Barack Obama’s first term than it did under the first 42 U.S. presidents combined. This insane sovereign debt bubble will continue to expand until a day of reckoning arrives and the system implodes. Nobody knows exactly when that moment will be reached, but without a doubt it is coming.
But if you listen to the mainstream media in the United States, you would be tempted to think that this giant bubble of debt is not much of a concern at all. For example, in a recent article in the Washington Post entitled “The case for deficit optimism“, Ezra Klein wrote the following…
“Here’s a secret: For all the sound and fury, Washington’s actually making real progress on debt.”
How many times have we heard that before?
About a decade ago, government officials were projecting that we would be swimming in gigantic government surpluses by now.
Instead, we are running trillion dollar deficits.
But right now there is a lot of optimism about the economy. The stock market recently hit a 5 year high and the business community is loving all of the false prosperity that all of this debt is buying us.
Even Warren Buffett does not really seem concerned about the exploding U.S. government debt. He recently made the following statement…
“It is not a good thing to have it going up in relation to GDP. That should be stabilized. But the debt itself is not a problem.”
A debt of 16 trillion dollars “is not a problem”?
Perhaps we should all run our finances that way.
Why don’t we all go out and open up 20 different credit cards, run them all up to the max, and then tell the credit card companies that we can’t pay them back but that it “is not a problem”.
Of course real life does not work that way.
The truth is that government debt is becoming a monstrous problem all over the globe. Just check out how debt to GDP ratios all over the planet have grown over the past five years…
Debt to GDP ratio in 2007: 66.6 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2012: 103 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2007: 43.4 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2012: 85.0 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2007: 63.7 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2012: 86 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2007: 67.6 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2012: 80.5 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2007: 39.6 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2012: 69.3 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2007: 24.8 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2012: 106.4 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2007: 63.9 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2012: 108.1 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2007: 106.6 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2012: 120.7 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2007: 106.1 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2012: 170.6 percent
The Eurozone As A Whole
Debt to GDP ratio in 2007: 68.4 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2012: 87.3 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2007: 172.1 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2012: 211.7 percent
So how does all of this end?
Well, it is going to be messy, but it is very difficult to say exactly when the system will collapse under the weight of too much debt. Some nations, such as Japan, are able to handle very high debt loads because they have a very high level of domestic saving. Up to this point, an astounding 95 percent of all Japanese government bonds have been purchased domestically. But other nations collapse under the weight of government debt even before they reach a debt to GDP ratio of 100%. The following is an excerpt from a recent Congressional Research Service report…
It is hard to predict at what point bond holders would deem it to be unsustainable. A few other advanced economies have debt-to-GDP ratios higher than that of the United States. Some of those countries in Europe have recently seen their financing costs rise to the point that they are unable to finance their deficits solely through private markets. But Japan has the highest debt-to-GDP ratio of any advanced economy, and it has continued to be able to finance its debt at extremely low costs.
When a government runs up massive amounts of debt, it is playing with fire. You can pile up mountains of government debt for a while, but eventually it catches up with you.
Over the past 10 years, the U.S. national debt has grown by an average of 9.3 percent per year, but the overall U.S. economy has only grown by an average of just 1.8 percent per year. That is unsustainable by definition.
There is going to be a tremendous price to pay for the debt binge that the U.S. government has indulged in over the past decade. During Barack Obama’s first term, the amount of new debt accumulated by the federal government breaks down to about $50,521 for every single household in the United States. That is utter insanity.
If you can believe it, we have accumulated more new government debt under Obama than we did from the inauguration of George Washington to the end of the Clinton administration.
And most Americans realize that something is seriously wrong. One recent poll found that only 34 percent of all Americans believe that the country is heading in the right direction, and 60 percent of all Americans believe that the country is heading in the wrong direction.
If we keep piling up so much debt, at some point a moment of great crisis will arrive. When that moment arrives, we could see havoc throughout the entire global financial system. For instance, most people don’t really understand the key role that U.S. Treasuries play in the derivatives market. The following is from a recent article posted on Zero Hedge…
This time around, things will be far worse if nothing is solved. If the US loses another AAA rating, then the financial markets could face systemic risk. The reason for this is that US Treasuries are one of the senior most forms of collateral used by the banks to backstop the $600+ trillion derivatives market.
As any trader who trades on margin can tell you, when the value of your collateral is called into question, those on the other side of the trade come looking for you to put up more capital on your trades. This can result in assets being sold en masse (similar to what happened after Lehman failed) and things can get very ugly very fast.
For much more on the danger that derivatives pose to our financial system, please see this article: “The Coming Derivatives Panic That Will Destroy Global Financial Markets“.
Once again, nobody knows exactly when the sovereign debt bubble will burst, but if we continue down the path that we are currently on, it will inevitably happen at some point.
And according to Professor Carmen Reinhart, when this bubble does burst things could unravel very rapidly…
“These processes are not linear,” warns Prof. Reinhart. “You can increase debt for a while and nothing happens. Then you hit the wall, and—bang!—what seem to be minor shocks that the markets would shrug off in other circumstances suddenly become big.”
At some point the global financial system will hit the wall that Professor Reinhart has warned about.
Are you ready?
In the financial world, the month of October is synonymous with stock market crashes. So will a massive stock market crash happen this year? You never know. The truth is that our financial system is even more vulnerable than it was back in 2008, and financial experts such as Doug Short, Peter Schiff, Robert Wiedemer and Harry Dent are all warning that the next crash is rapidly approaching. We are living in the greatest debt bubble in the history of the world and Wall Street has been transformed into a giant casino that is based on a massive web of debt, risk and leverage. When that web breaks we are going to see a stock market crash that is going to make 2008 look like a Sunday picnic. Yes, the Federal Reserve has tried to prevent any problems from erupting in the financial markets by initiating another round of quantitative easing, but 40 billion dollars a month will not be nearly enough to stop the massive collapse that is coming. This will be explained in detail toward the end of the article. Hopefully we will get through October (and the rest of this year) without seeing a stock market collapse, but without a doubt one is coming at some point. Those on the wrong end of the coming crash are going to be absolutely wiped out.
A lot of people focus on the month of October because of the history of stock market crashes in this month. This history was detailed in a recent USA Today article….
When it comes to wealth suddenly disappearing, October can be diabolically frightful. The stock market crash of 1929 that led to the Great Depression occurred in October. So did the 22.6% plunge suffered by the Dow Jones industrial average in 1987 on “Black Monday.”
The scariest 19-day span during the 2008 financial crisis also went down in October, when the Dow plunged 2,675 points after investors fearing a financial collapse went on a panic-driven stock-selling spree that resulted in five of the 10 biggest daily point drops in the iconic Dow’s 123-year history.
So what will we see this year?
Only time will tell.
If a stock market crash does not happen this month or by the end of this year, that does not mean that the experts that are predicting a stock market crash are wrong.
It just means that they were early.
As I have said so many times, there are thousands upon thousands of moving parts in the global financial system. So that makes it nearly impossible to predict the timing of events with perfect precision. Financial conditions are constantly shifting and changing.
But without a doubt another major financial collapse similar to what happened back in 2008 (or even worse) is on the way. Let’s take a look at some of the financial experts that are predicting really bad things for our financial markets in the months ahead….
According to Doug Short, the vice president of research at Advisor Perspectives, the stock market is somewhere between 33% and 51% overvalued at this point. In a recent article he offered the following evidence to support his position….
● The Crestmont Research P/E Ratio (more)
● The cyclical P/E ratio using the trailing 10-year earnings as the divisor (more)
● The Q Ratio, which is the total price of the market divided by its replacement cost (more)
● The relationship of the S&P Composite price to a regression trendline (more)
Peter Schiff, the CEO of Euro Pacific Capital, has been one of the leading voices in the financial community warning people about the crisis that is coming.
During a recent interview with Fox Business, Schiff stated that the massive financial collapse that we witnessed back in 2008 “wasn’t the real crash” and he boldly declared that the “real crash is coming”.
So is Schiff right?
We shall see.
Economist Robert Wiedemer warned people what was coming before the crash of 2008, and now he is warning that what is coming next is going to be even worse….
“The data is clear, 50% unemployment, a 90% stock market drop, and 100% annual inflation . . . starting in 2012.”
Financial author Harry Dent believes that the stock market could fall by as much as 60 percent in the coming months. He is convinced that stocks are hugely overvalued right now….
“We have the greatest debt bubble in history. We will see a worldwide downturn. And when you are in this type of recessionary environment stocks should be trading at five to seven times earnings.”
So are these guys right?
We shall see.
But I do find it interesting that some of the biggest names in the financial world are currently making moves as if they also believe that a massive financial crisis is coming.
For example, as I have written about previously, George Soros has dumped all of his holdings in banking giants JP Morgan, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs.
Infamous billionaire hedge fund manager John Paulson, the man who made somewhere around 20 billion dollars betting against the U.S. housing market during the last financial crisis, is making massive bets against the euro right now.
So where are these financial titans putting their money?
According to the Telegraph, both of these men are pouring enormous amounts of money into gold….
There was also news last week in an SEC filing that both George Soros and John Paulson had increased their investment in SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest publicly traded physical gold exchange traded fund (ETF).
Mr Soros upped his stake in the ETF to 884,400 shares from 319,550 and Mr Paulson bought 4.53m shares, bringing his stake to 21.3m.
At the current price of about $156 a share, these are new investments of about $88m of Mr Soros’ cash and more than $700m from Mr Paulson’s funds. These are significant positions.
So why would they do this?
Why would they pour millions upon millions of dollars into gold?
Well, it would make perfect sense to put so much money into gold if a massive financial crisis was coming.
So is the next financial crisis imminent?
We will see.
Most “financial analysts” that appear in the mainstream media would laugh at the notion that a stock market crash is imminent.
Most of them would insist that everything is going to be perfectly fine for the foreseeable future.
In fact, most of them are convinced that quantitative easing is going to cause stocks to go even higher.
After all, isn’t quantitative easing supposed to be good for stocks?
Didn’t I write an article just last month that detailed how quantitative easing drives up stock prices?
Yes I did.
So how can I be writing now about the possibility of a stock market crash?
Aren’t I contradicting myself?
Not at all.
Let me explain.
The first two rounds of quantitative easing did indeed drive up stock prices. The same thing will happen under QE3, unless the effects of QE3 are overwhelmed by a major crisis.
For example, if we were to see a total collapse of the derivatives market it would render QE3 totally meaningless.
Estimates of the notional value of the worldwide derivatives market range from 600 trillion dollars all the way up to 1.5 quadrillion dollars. Nobody knows for sure how large the market for derivatives is, but everyone agrees that it is absolutely massive.
When we are talking about amounts that large, the $40 billion being pumped into the financial system each month by the Federal Reserve during QE3 would essentially be the equivalent of spitting into Niagara Falls. It would make no difference at all.
Most Americans do not understand what “derivatives” are, so they kind of tune out when people start talking about them.
But they are very important to understand.
Essentially, derivatives are “side bets”. When you buy a derivative, you are not investing in anything. You are just gambling that something will or will not happen.
I explained this more completely in a previous article entitled “The Coming Derivatives Crisis That Could Destroy The Entire Global Financial System“….
A derivative has no underlying value of its own. A derivative is essentially a side bet. Usually these side bets are highly leveraged.
At this point, making side bets has totally gotten out of control in the financial world. Side bets are being made on just about anything you can possibly imagine, and the major Wall Street banks are making a ton of money from it. This system is almost entirely unregulated and it is totally dominated by the big international banks.
Over the past couple of decades, the derivatives market has multiplied in size. Everything is going to be fine as long as the system stays in balance. But once it gets out of balance we could witness a string of financial crashes that no government on earth will be able to fix.
Five very large U.S. banks (including Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Bank of America) have combined exposure to derivatives in excess of 250 trillion dollars.
Keep in mind that U.S. GDP for 2011 was only about 15 trillion dollars.
So we are talking about an amount of money that is almost inconceivable.
That is why I cannot talk about derivatives enough. In fact, I apologize to my readers for not writing about them more.
If you want to understand the coming financial collapse, one of the keys is to understand derivatives. Our entire financial system has been transformed into a giant casino, and at some point all of this gambling is going to cause a horrible crash.
Do you remember the billions of dollars that JP Morgan announced that they lost a while back? Well, that was caused by derivatives trades gone bad. In fact, they are still not totally out of those trades and they are going to end up losing a whole lot more money than they originally anticipated.
Sadly, that was just the tip of the iceberg. Much, much worse is coming. When you hear of a major “derivatives crisis” in the news, you better run for cover because it is likely that the entire house of cards is about to start falling.
And don’t get too caught up in the exact timing of predictions.
If a stock market crash does not happen this month, don’t think that the storm has passed.
A major financial crisis is coming. It might not happen this week, this month or even this year, but without a doubt it is approaching.
And when it arrives it is going to be immensely painful and it is going to change all of our lives.
I hope you are ready for that.
The Federal Reserve continues to pump up this “bubble economy” by recklessly printing money and by setting interest rates artificially low, and the U.S. Congress continues to stand aside and allow them to systematically destroy our economy. The U.S. Congress could choose to end this madness at any time, but the truth is that Congress won’t even pass a law that would allow the American people to see what is going on over at the Federal Reserve. Congress has voted down every single bill that would authorize a comprehensive audit of the Federal Reserve. So the folks over at the Fed will continue to be able to destroy our future in secret. In fact, back in July Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke actually sent five thank you letters to members of Congress that gave speeches on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives encouraging their fellow lawmakers to vote against the bill to audit the Fed. Since the U.S. Congress continues to refuse to do anything to hold the Federal Reserve accountable, the Fed will continue to print unprecedented amounts of money, it will continue to set interest rates insanely low and it will continue to pump up the greatest debt bubble in the history of the world. Unfortunately, all debt bubbles eventually burst, and when this one does it is going to be a financial nightmare unlike anything we have ever seen before.
It was Politico that first broke the story about the thank you letters that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke sent to five members of Congress back in July. Bernanke acknowledged in the letters that there was never any worry that the “Audit the Fed” bill would actually get through Congress and be signed into law, but he was still extremely grateful that a number of members of Congress got up and publicly denounced the bill….
In July, the Fed chairman sent letters of gratitude to five Democratic members of Congress after they delivered speeches on the House floor urging fellow lawmakers to reject the “Audit the Fed” bill authored by retiring Texas Republican Ron Paul, the central bank’s chief antagonist.
Their efforts failed to defeat the bill, but they were not in vain, at least in Bernanke’s eyes.
“While the outcome of the vote was not in doubt, your willingness to stand up for the independence of the Federal Reserve is greatly appreciated,” Bernanke wrote in the letters, which were obtained by POLITICO through a Freedom of Information Act request.
So who did Bernanke send those letters to?
According to Politico, the thank you letters were delivered to U.S. Representatives Barney Frank, Elijah Cummings, Melvin Watt, Carolyn Maloney and Steny Hoyer.
By refusing to take action against the Federal Reserve, the U.S. Congress is silently endorsing their incredibly foolish policies.
Sadly, most Americans don’t even realize that the Federal Reserve has more control over our economy than anyone else does. Most Americans that are actually concerned about politics are busy arguing over whether Obama or Romney will be better for the economy when it is actually the Fed that controls the levers of economic power.
Just think about it.
The Federal Reserve played a major role in creating the housing bubble which severely damaged our financial system a few years ago.
As the chart below shows, after 9/11 the Federal Reserve dropped interest rates to historically low levels. This allowed potential home buyers to get into much larger mortgages, and the big banks (which the Fed supposedly “regulates”) started making home loans to almost anyone with a pulse.
When interest rates started to go back up to normal levels in 2005, many home owners discovered that their adjustable rate mortgages started to become much more painful. By 2007, we started to see a massive wave of mortgage defaults. In 2008, the financial system crashed.
In response to the financial crisis of 2008, the Federal Reserve dropped interest rates to record low levels. The effective federal funds rate is essentially at zero at this point, and the Fed has promised to keep interest rates at ultra-low levels all of the way into 2015.
But didn’t artificially low interest rates cause many of our problems in the first place? The central planners over at the Fed are convinced that this is the right course for our economy, but can we really live in a zero interest rate bubble indefinitely? Won’t this eventually cause even greater problems?….
The Fed is also destroying our economy by recklessly printing money.
Once upon a time, the U.S. monetary base rose at a very steady pace. But since the financial crisis of 2008, Ben Bernanke has been flooding the financial system with money and this has caused an unprecedented explosion in our money supply.
It isn’t too hard to see from this chart what the foolish “quantitative easing” policies of the Federal Reserve have done to our monetary base….
Fortunately a lot of the money from previous rounds of quantitative easing is being stashed by the big banks as “excess reserves” with the Federal Reserve, but when that money starts flowing into the “real economy” (and it will at some point), we are going to have a major problem on our hands.
But more than tripling our monetary base was not enough for Bernanke. He recently announced yet another round of quantitative easing which he says will last indefinitely.
Basically, Bernanke is taking a sledgehammer to the U.S. dollar. Our currency is being systematically destroyed, and the U.S. Congress is standing by and doing nothing.
For a lot more on why QE3 is going to be so incredibly destructive for our economy, please see the following five articles….
-“QE3: Helicopter Ben Bernanke Unleashes An All-Out Attack On The U.S. Dollar”
-“How QE3 Will Make The Wealthy Even Wealthier While Causing Living Standards To Fall For The Rest Of Us”
-“The Federal Reserve Is Systematically Destroying Social Security And The Retirement Plans Of Millions Of Americans”
-“QE4? The Big Wall Street Banks Are Already Complaining That QE3 Is Not Enough”
-“Quantitative Easing Did Not Work For The Weimar Republic Either”
The Federal Reserve seems to think that printing more money is always the solution to whatever economic problems we are having.
But of course the Fed has been debasing our currency from the very beginning. The entire Federal Reserve system is designed to create inflation.
From the time that the Federal Reserve was created back in 1913, the purchasing power of a U.S. dollar has declined from $1.00 to only about 4 pennies today.
And now Bernanke seems bound and determined to wipe out those last 4 pennies.
The Federal Reserve system was also designed to create a never ending spiral of government debt.
Sadly, most Americans simply have no idea where money comes from. Most Americans have no idea that money that the Federal Reserve zaps into existence out of thin air is loaned to the U.S. government at interest. Most Americans have no idea that the primary reason why we are 16 trillion dollars in debt is because this is what the system was designed to do to us.
Today, the U.S. national debt is more than 5000 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was originally created in 1913. This did not happen by accident….
Not that our politicians should be off the hook for this. They have been spending money as if there is no tomorrow. Most of them have shown no concern at all about the legacy of debt that they are passing on to future generations of Americans.
If our politicians had been more responsible, the national debt would still be there, but it would be at a much more manageable level.
If we ever want to totally get rid of our national debt, the Federal Reserve must be abolished.
There is no other way.
And government debt is not the only bubble that the Federal Reserve has pumped up.
The following is a chart that shows the growth of all forms of debt (government, business, consumer, etc.) in the United States. The total amount of debt in the United States has grown from less than $2 trillion to more than $55 trillion over the past 40 years….
How in the world could we have been so foolish?
How in the world did we allow the total amount of debt in our country to get more than 27 times larger over the past 40 years?
As you can see, there was a slight “hiccup” in the bubble as a result of the financial crisis of 2008, but now it has started growing again.
At this point our entire financial system is based on debt, and if the debt bubble does not continue to expand the entire thing will collapse.
But no financial bubble grows forever. History has proven that to us over and over.
At some point this bubble is going to burst.
When it does, we will either experience a deflationary collapse or a hyperinflationary collapse depending on how “the powers that be” respond to what is happening.
History has shown us that financial collapse is often accompanied by social upheaval. Many times it even leads to war.
So what will happen to America when our economic collapse happens?
That is a very good question.
How would you answer it?