The unemployment rate in the eurozone is higher than it has ever been before. This week we learned that eurozone unemployment came in at an all-time high of 12.2 percent for September. Back in January 2012, it was sitting at just 10.4 percent. So anyone that believes that “things are getting better” in Europe is just being delusional. In fact, the economic depression in Europe just keeps getting deeper. The funny thing is that the mainstream media will barely call what is going on in Europe a “recession” even though the unemployment rates in both Spain and Greece are now much higher than anything that the United States ever experienced during the “Great Depression” of the 1930s. There haven’t been as many headlines about the financial crisis in Europe lately because the ECB has been papering over the debt problems of the periphery (at least for the moment), but the economic conditions on the ground for average Europeans just continue to get even worse. Later on in this article, you will read about a 25-year-old Spanish man with three college degrees that moved to London in a desperate search for a job who is now cleaning up poop for a living. The economic collapse of Europe continues to march on, and there is no end in sight.
All you have to do is look at the latest unemployment numbers to realize that things are getting worse in Europe.
In Italy, the unemployment rate is up to 12.5 percent.
In January 2012, less than two years ago, it was sitting at just 8.9 percent.
In Greece, the unemployment rate is up to an astounding 27.6 percent.
In January 2012, it was sitting at just 21.4 percent.
In Spain, the unemployment rate is up to 26.6 percent.
In January 2012, it was sitting at just 22.8 percent, and all the way back in January 2008 it was just 8.6 percent.
The youth unemployment statistics in the eurozone are even more horrifying…
Unemployment among the under-25s rose by 22,000 in September to 3,548,000 – nudging up youth jobless rate to 24.1%. In France, the youth jobless rate jumped from 25.6% to 26.1%, while in Italy it increased from 40.2% to 40.4%.
But as bad as those numbers are, they are nothing compared to what is going on in Spain and Greece. In Spain, the youth unemployment rate is up to 56.5 percent, and in Greece the youth unemployment rate is up to 57.3 percent.
And of course unemployment is not the only problem that the European economy is dealing with right now. The following are some more facts about the European economy that show that the economic depression in Europe just keeps getting deeper…
-European car sales are on pace to hit a 23 year low in 2013.
-The percentage of “bad loans” in Spain has soared to a new all-time record high.
-The number of mortgage applications in Spain has fallen 90 percent since the peak of the market.
-Citigroup is projecting that the unemployment rate in Greece will reach 32 percent in 2015.
-Over the last several years, Italy has experienced the biggest collapse in GDP growth that it has ever seen. Overall, the GDP of Italy has contracted by about 8 percent since 2008.
-The number of unemployed workers in Cyprus is now five times higher than it was before the financial crisis of 2008.
-It is being projected that Spain’s debt to GDP ratio will rise to nearly 100 percent by the end of next year.
-The debt to GDP ratio of Portugal is already up to 123 percent.
-The debt to GDP ratio of Italy is already up to 127 percent.
-Even though Greece has implemented a whole host of “austerity measures”, the debt to GDP ratio of Greece is now up to 156 percent.
But what these numbers cannot really communicate is the tremendous amount of pain and despair that millions upon millions of Europeans are experiencing right now.
For example, consider the story of Benjamin Serra Bosch, a 25-year-old Spanish man that moved to London in a desperate search for a job. He has three college degrees, including a Master’s Degree from the IEBS Business School in Barcelona. The following is a rough translation of a message that he recently posted on Facebook…
My name is Benjamín Serra, I have two bachelor degrees and a master’s degree, and I clean toilets.
No, it is not a joke. I do it to pay the rent for my room in London.
I’ve been working in a famous chain of cafes in the United Kingdom since May, and for the first time today, after 5 months working there, I see it clearly. I have been cleaning toilets. My thought was: “I received distinction in my two degrees and I clean other peoples’ poop in a country that isn’t my own.” Well, I also make coffee, clean the tables and wash cups.
And I am not ashamed to do so. Cleaning is a very decent job. What embarrasses me is having to do so because no one has given me an opportunity in Spain. Like me, there are many Spaniards, especially in London. “You are a plague,” I was told once here. And let’s not kid ourselves. We are not young people on an adventure to learn the language and have new experiences. We are immigrants.
I’ve always been very proud, I am not going to deny. Those who know me, you know. And I have to bust out a smile at customers who look over my shoulder as I am simply a “barista” (as they call it here). Some are so outrageous that it makes me want to pull out my University and master degrees and put them in their face. But it would not really do anything. It appears that those titles now only serve to clean the poop that I clean from the toilets in the cafe. A pity.
I thought that it deserved something better after putting so much effort in my academic life. It seems that I was wrong.
As economic conditions continue to decline all over Europe, anger and frustration with the “European experiment” continue to grow. UKIP’s Nigel Farage expressed these sentiments very eloquently during a speech on the 23rd of October when he stated that “what we are saying, large numbers of us from every single EU member state is: we don’t want that flag, we don’t want the anthem that you all stood so ram-rod straight for yesterday, we don’t want EU passports, we don’t want political union.”
Unfortunately, the elite of Europe are so obsessed with their little experiment that the only “solutions” to these economic problems that they are even willing to consider involve even more European integration.
And Americans certainly should not be looking down their noses at what is happening in Europe.
What is going on in Italy, France, Spain and Greece will be coming here soon enough. In fact, even during the midst of this so-called “economic recovery”, poverty continues to absolutely explode in the United States.
Economic conditions in both the United States and Europe have never even gotten close to where they were prior to 2008, and now the next major wave of the economic collapse is rapidly approaching.
This is just the beginning. Things are going to get much worse in the years ahead.
What a year 2012 has been! The mainstream media continues to tell us what a “great job” the Obama administration and the Federal Reserve are doing of managing the economy, but meanwhile things just continue to get even worse for the poor and the middle class. It is imperative that we educate the American people about the true condition of our economy and about why all of this is happening. If nothing is done, our debt problems will continue to get worse, millions of jobs will continue to leave the country, small businesses will continue to be suffocated, the middle class will continue to collapse, and poverty in the United States will continue to explode. Just “tweaking” things slightly is not going to fix our economy. We need a fundamental change in direction. Right now we are living in a bubble of debt-fueled false prosperity that allows us to continue to consume far more wealth than we produce, but when that bubble bursts we are going to experience the most painful economic “adjustment” that America has ever gone through. We need to be able to explain to our fellow Americans what is coming, why it is coming and what needs to be done. Hopefully the crazy economic numbers that I have included in this article will be shocking enough to wake some people up.
The end of the year is a time when people tend to gather with family and friends more than they do during the rest of the year. Hopefully many of you will use the list below as a tool to help start some conversations about the coming economic collapse with your loved ones. Sadly, most Americans still tend to doubt that we are heading into economic oblivion. So if you have someone among your family and friends that believes that everything is going to be “just fine”, just show them these numbers. They are a good summary of the problems that the U.S. economy is currently facing.
The following are 50 economic numbers from 2012 that are almost too crazy to believe…
#1 In December 2008, 31.6 million Americans were on food stamps. Today, a new all-time record of 47.7 million Americans are on food stamps. That number has increased by more than 50 percent over the past four years, and yet the mainstream media still has the gall to insist that “things are getting better”.
#2 Back in the 1970s, about one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps. Today, about one out of every 6.5 Americans is on food stamps.
#3 According to one calculation, the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of “Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.”
#4 According to one recent survey, 55 percent of all Americans have received money from a safety net program run by the federal government at some point in their lives.
#5 For the first time ever, more than a million public school students in the United States are homeless. That number has risen by 57 percent since the 2006-2007 school year.
#6 Median household income in the U.S. has fallen for four consecutive years. Overall, it has declined by over $4000 during that time span.
#7 Families that have a head of household under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent.
#8 The percentage of working age Americans with a job has been under 59 percent for 39 months in a row.
#9 In September 2009, during the depths of the last economic crisis, 58.7 percent of all working age Americans were employed. In November 2012, 58.7 percent of all working age Americans were employed. It is more then 3 years later, and we are in the exact same place.
#10 When you total up all working age Americans that do not have a job in America today, it comes to more than 100 million.
#11 According to one recent survey, 55 percent of all small business owners in America “say they would not start a business today given what they know now and in the current environment.”
#12 The number of jobs at new small businesses continues to decline. According to economist Tim Kane, the following is how the decline in the number of startup jobs per 1000 Americans breaks down by presidential administration…
Bush Sr.: 11.3
Bush Jr.: 10.8
#13 The U.S. share of global GDP has fallen from 31.8 percent in 2001 to 21.6 percent in 2011.
#14 The United States has fallen in the global economic competitiveness rankings compiled by the World Economic Forum for four years in a row.
#15 There are four major U.S. banks that each have more than 40 trillion dollars of exposure to derivatives.
#16 In 2000, there were more than 17 million Americans working in manufacturing, but now there are less than 12 million.
#17 According to the Pew Research Center, 61 percent of all Americans were “middle income” back in 1971. Today, only 51 percent of all Americans are.
#18 The Pew Research Center has also found that 85 percent of all middle class Americans say that it is harder to maintain a middle class standard of living today than it was 10 years ago.
#19 62 percent of all middle class Americans say that they have had to reduce household spending over the past year.
#20 Right now, approximately 48 percent of all Americans are either considered to be “low income” or are living in poverty.
#21 Approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are living in homes that are either considered to be either “low income” or impoverished.
#22 According to one survey, 77 percent of all Americans are now living paycheck to paycheck at least part of the time.
#23 Back in 1950, more than 80 percent of all men in the United States had jobs. Today, less than 65 percent of all men in the United States have jobs.
#24 The average amount of time that an unemployed worker stays out of work in the United States is 40 weeks.
#25 If you can believe it, approximately one out of every four American workers makes 10 dollars an hour or less.
#26 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, an all-time record 49 percent of all Americans live in a home where at least one person receives financial assistance from the federal government. Back in 1983, that number was less than 30 percent.
#27 Right now, more than 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government. And that does not even count Social Security or Medicare. Overall, there are almost 80 different “means-tested welfare programs” that the federal government is currently running.
#28 When you account for all government transfer payments and all forms of government employment, more than half of all Americans are now at least partially financially dependent on the government.
#29 Barack Obama has been president for less than four years, and during that time the number of Americans “not in the labor force” has increased by nearly 8.5 million. Something seems really “off” about that number, because during the entire decade of the 1980s the number of Americans “not in the labor force” only rose by about 2.5 million.
#30 Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.
#31 According to USA Today, many Americans have actually seen their water bills triple over the past 12 years.
#32 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.
#33 Right now, approximately 25 million American adults are living with their parents.
#34 As the economy has slowed down, so has the number of marriages. According to a Pew Research Center analysis, only 51 percent of all Americans that are at least 18 years old are currently married. Back in 1960, 72 percent of all U.S. adults were married.
#35 At this point, only 24.6 percent of all jobs in the United States are good jobs.
#36 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.
#37 Recently it was announced that total student loan debt in the United States has passed the one trillion dollar mark.
#38 If you can believe it, one out of every seven Americans has at least 10 credit cards.
#39 One survey of business executives has ranked California as the worst state in America to do business for 8 years in a row.
#40 In the city of Detroit today, more than 50 percent of all children are living in poverty, and close to 50 percent of all adults are functionally illiterate.
#41 It is being projected that half of all American children will be on food stamps at least once before they turn 18 years of age.
#42 More than three times as many new homes were sold in the United States in 2005 as will be sold in 2012.
#43 If you can believe it, 53 percent of all Americans with a bachelor’s degree under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed last year.
#44 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.
#45 Our trade deficit with China in 2011 was $295.5 billion. That was the largest trade deficit that one country has had with another country in the history of the planet.
#46 The United States has lost an average of approximately 50,000 manufacturing jobs a month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.
#47 According to the Economic Policy Institute, America is losing half a million jobs to China every single year.
#48 The U.S. tax code is now more than 3.8 million words long. If you took all of William Shakespeare’s works and collected them together, the entire collection would only be about 900,000 words long.
#49 According to the IMF, the global elite are holding a total of 18 trillion dollars in offshore banking havens such as the Cayman Islands.
#50 The value of the U.S. dollar has declined by more than 96 percent since the Federal Reserve was first created.
#51 2012 was the third year in a row that the yield for corn has declined in the United States.
#52 Experts are telling us that global food reserves have reached their lowest level in almost 40 years.
#53 One recent survey discovered that 40 percent of all Americans have $500 or less in savings.
#54 If you can believe it, one recent survey found that 28 percent of all Americans do not have a single penny saved for emergencies.
#55 Medical costs related to obesity in the United States are estimated to be approximately $147 billion a year.
#56 Corporate profits as a percentage of GDP are at an all-time high. Meanwhile, wages as a percentage of GDP are near an all-time low.
#57 Today, the wealthiest 1 percent of all Americans own more wealth than the bottom 95 percent combined.
#58 The wealthiest 400 families in the United States have about as much wealth as the bottom 50 percent of all Americans combined.
#59 The six heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton have a net worth that is roughly equal to the bottom 30 percent of all Americans combined.
#60 At this point, the poorest 50 percent of all Americans collectively own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.
#61 Nearly 500,000 federal employees now make at least $100,000 a year.
#62 In 2006, only 12 percent of all federal workers made $100,000 or more per year. Now, approximately 22 percent of all federal workers do.
#63 If you can believe it, there are 77,000 federal workers that make more than the governors of their own states do.
#64 Nearly 15,000 retired federal workers are collecting federal pensions for life worth at least $100,000 annually. The list includes such names as Newt Gingrich, Bob Dole, Trent Lott, Dick Gephardt and Dick Cheney.
#65 U.S. taxpayers spend more than 20 times as much on the Obamas as British taxpayers spend on the royal family.
#66 Family homelessness in the Washington D.C. region (one of the wealthiest regions in the entire country) has risen 23 percent since the last recession began.
#67 If Bill Gates gave every single penny of his fortune to the U.S. government, it would only cover the U.S. budget deficit for about 15 days.
#68 During fiscal year 2012, 62 percent of the federal budget was spent on entitlements.
#69 Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid. Today, approximately one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid.
#70 It is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.
#71 Medicare is also growing by leaps and bounds. As I wrote about 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.
#72 Thanks to our foolish politicians (including Obama), Medicare is facing unfunded liabilities of more than 38 trillion dollars over the next 75 years. That comes to approximately $328,404 for each and every household in the United States.
#73 Amazingly, the U.S. national debt is now up to 16.3 trillion dollars. When Barack Obama first took office the national debt was just 10.6 trillion dollars.
#74 During the first four years of the Obama administration, the U.S. government accumulated about as much debt as it did from the time that George Washington took office to the time that George W. Bush took office.
#75 Today, the U.S. national debt is more than 5000 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was originally created back in 1913.
Please share this article with as many people as you can. Time is running out, and we need to wake up as many people as possible.
This is the time of the year when Americans run out to their favorite retail stores and fill up their shopping carts with lots of cheap plastic crap made by workers in foreign countries where it is legal to pay slave labor wages. By doing this, the American people are actively participating in the destruction of the U.S. economy. You see, buying products that are made in America is not just a matter of national pride. It is a matter of national survival. If we do not support American workers, they are going to continue to see their jobs shipped out of the country. If we do not support American businesses, they are going to continue to die off at a staggering rate. Last year, the United States had a trade deficit with the rest of the world of 558 billion dollars. More than half a trillion dollars that could have gone into the pockets of U.S. workers and U.S. businesses went overseas instead. If that money had stayed in the country, taxes would have been paid on that mountain of cash and our local, state and federal government debt problems would not be as severe. As a result of our massive trade imbalance, we have lost tens of thousands of businesses, millions of jobs and trillions of dollars of national wealth. Both major political parties have sold us out on these issues, and we are getting poorer as a nation with each passing day. We desperately need a resurgence of economic patriotism in the United States before it is too late.
Yes, I know that it is very tempting to buy foreign-made products. After all, they are almost always cheaper.
But most people don’t often think about why they are cheaper.
Unfortunately, in the name of “free trade” American workers have been merged into a global labor pool where they have to compete directly for jobs with workers on the other side of the globe that live in countries where it is legal to pay slave labor wages. This makes employing American workers a tremendous liability.
If a company hires you and pays you 10 to 15 dollars an hour with benefits, how is it going to compete with another company that pays workers a dollar an hour with no benefits on the other side of the planet?
Both major political parties are pushing this emerging “one world economic system“, but it is absolutely killing American jobs. We have already seen a mass exodus of jobs and businesses out of this country, and wages for the jobs that remain in the United States are being forced down because there are hordes of unemployed workers that are willing to take just about any decent job they can find.
It has become painfully obvious that our politicians are not going to do anything to help us on these issues, so what we need is a mass awakening among the American people.
We need to educate people that buying things that are made in America is good for the economy and that buying things that are made elsewhere is bad for the economy.
But for now, most Americans are clueless. They will line up on Black Friday morning and trample one another in a desperate attempt to save a few bucks on cheap plastic devices that were made on the other side of the planet.
And they will pay for much of this “shopping” with credit cards.
Credit card debt is on the rise once again. In fact, average credit card debt per borrower was 4.9 percent higher in the third quarter of 2012 than it was in the third quarter of 2011. It looks like most of us didn’t learn our lessons from the last financial crisis.
But not all Americans enjoy the shopping that is typically involved with this time of the year. One recent survey found that approximately 45 percent of all Americans think that there is so much financial pressure associated with the holidays that they wouldn’t mind skipping them completely.
That same poll found that approximately 41 percent of all Americans would only be able to survive for two weeks without a paycheck. Many Americans are up to their eyeballs in debt, their incomes are not keeping up with rising prices, and they find themselves scratching and clawing just to make it from month to month.
Meanwhile, we continue to destroy our own jobs and businesses by spending our money on products that have been made outside the country.
The following are 55 reasons why you should buy products that are made in America this holiday season…
1. When you buy products that are made in America you support American workers.
2. When you buy products that are made in America you support companies that are doing business in America.
3. In 2000, there were more than 17 million Americans working in manufacturing, but now there are less than 12 million.
4. The United States has a trade imbalance that is more than 7 times larger than any other nation on earth has.
5. Our trade deficit with China in 2011 was $295.5 billion. That was the largest trade deficit that one country has had with another country in the history of the planet.
6. In 2011, our trade deficit with China was 28 times larger than it was back in 1990 and more than 49,000 times larger than it was back in 1985.
7. When NAFTA was passed in 1993, the United States had a trade surplus with Mexico of 1.6 billion dollars. In 2010, we had a trade deficit with Mexico of 61.6 billion dollars.
8. One professor has estimated that cutting the U.S. trade deficit in half would create 5 million more jobs in the United States.
9. Overall, the United States has run a trade deficit of more than 8 trillion dollars with the rest of the globe since 1975. That 8 trillion dollars could have gone to support U.S. businesses and pay the wages of U.S. workers. Federal, state and local taxes would also have been paid on that 8 trillion dollars if it had stayed in the United States.
10. According to the Economic Policy Institute, America is losing half a million jobs to China every single year.
11. The United States has lost an average of approximately 50,000 manufacturing jobs a month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.
12. According to U.S. Representative Betty Sutton, the United States has lost an average of 15 manufacturing facilities a day over the last 10 years.
13. During 2010 alone, an average of 23 manufacturing facilities permanently shut down in the United States every single day.
14. Overall, the United States has lost more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities since 2001.
15. The United States has lost a staggering 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000.
16. 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.
17. As I have written about previously, 95 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession were middle class jobs.
18. Due in part to the globalization of the labor pool, only about 24 percent of all jobs in the United States are “good jobs” at this point.
19. Right now, more than 41 percent of all working age Americans do not have a job, and the vast majority of the new jobs that are being created are low paying jobs.
20. The United States now has 10 percent fewer “middle class jobs” than it did just ten years ago.
21. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the U.S. economy loses approximately 9,000 jobs for every $1 billion of goods that are imported from overseas.
22. As our economic infrastructure is gutted, formerly great manufacturing cities all over America are being transformed into festering hellholes.
23. Between 2001 and 2007, the value of products that Wal-Mart imported from China grew from $9 billion to $27 billion.
24. In 2001, American consumers spent 102 billion dollars on products made in China. In 2011, American consumers spent 399 billion dollars on products made in China.
25. The United States spends about 4 dollars on goods and services from China for every one dollar that China spends on goods and services from the United States.
26. 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.
27. 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.
28. The United States has lost more than a quarter of all of its high-tech manufacturing jobs over the past ten years.
29. Manufacturing employment in the U.S. computer industry was actually lower in 2010 than it was in 1975.
30. The Chinese undervalue their currency by about 40 percent in order to gain a critical advantage over foreign competitors. This means that many Chinese companies are able to absolutely thrive while their competition in the United States goes out of business.
31. According to the New York Times, a Jeep Grand Cherokee that costs $27,490 in the United States costs about $85,000 in China thanks to all the tariffs.
32. In 2010, China produced more than twice as many automobiles as the United States did.
33. Since the auto industry bailout, approximately 70 percent of all GM vehicles have been built outside the United States.
34. Do you remember when the United States was the dominant manufacturer of automobiles and trucks on the globe? Well, in 2010 the U.S. ran a trade deficit in automobiles, trucks and parts of $110 billion.
35. In 2010, South Korea exported 12 times as many automobiles, trucks and parts to us as we exported to them.
36. In 2010, China produced 627 million metric tons of steel. The United States only produced 80 million metric tons of steel.
37. In 2010, China produced 7.3 million metric tons of cotton. The United States only produced 3.4 million metric tons of cotton.
38. Today, China produces nearly twice as much beer as the United States does.
39. 85 percent of all artificial Christmas trees are made in China.
40. Right now, China is producing more than three times as much coal as the United States does.
41. China is now the number one supplier of components that are critical to the operation of U.S. defense systems. How stupid can we possibly be?
42. According to author Clyde Prestowitz, China’s number one export to the U.S. is computer equipment. According to an article in U.S. News & World Report, during 2010 the number one U.S. export to China was “scrap and trash”.
43. All over the United States, road and bridge projects are being outsourced to Chinese firms. Just check out the following excerpt from a recent ABC News article….
In New York there is a $400 million renovation project on the Alexander Hamilton Bridge.
In California, there is a $7.2 billion project to rebuild the Bay Bridge connecting San Francisco and Oakland.
In Alaska, there is a proposal for a $190 million bridge project.
These projects sound like steps in the right direction, but much of the work is going to Chinese government-owned firms.
“When we subsidize jobs in China, we’re not creating any wealth in the United States,” said Scott Paul, executive director for the Alliance for American Manufacturing.
44. The new World Trade Center tower is going to include glass that has been imported from China.
45. The new Martin Luther King memorial on the National Mall was made in China.
46. The Chinese economy has grown 7 times faster than the U.S. economy has over the past decade.
47. The Chinese economy is projected to be larger than the U.S. economy by 2016.
48. One economist is projecting that the Chinese economy will be three times larger than the U.S. economy by the year 2040.
49. In recent years the U.S. economy has embraced “free trade” and the emerging one world economy like never before. Instead of increasing the number of jobs in our economy, it has resulted in the worst stretch of job creation in the United States in modern history….
If any single number captures the state of the American economy over the last decade, it is zero. That was the net gain in jobs between 1999 and 2009—nada, nil, zip. By painful contrast, from the 1940s through the 1990s, recessions came and went, but no decade ended without at least a 20 percent increase in the number of jobs.
50. If you gathered together all of the workers that are “officially” unemployed in the United States today, they would constitute the 68th largest country in the world.
51. China now holds approximately more than a trillion dollars of U.S. government debt. If you were alive back when Jesus was born and you had spent a million dollars every single day since then, you still would not have spent that much money by now.
52. Jeffrey Immelt, the head of Barack Obama’s highly touted “Jobs Council”, has shipped tens of thousands of good jobs out of the United States.
53. Without enough good jobs, more Americans than ever before are falling into poverty. Today, more than 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government.
54. According to Professor Alan Blinder of Princeton University, 40 million more U.S. jobs could be sent offshore over the next two decades if current trends continue.
55. If U.S. consumers do not start supporting U.S. workers and U.S. businesses, eventually we will all be so poor that very few of us will be able to afford to buy any gifts during the holiday season.
It turns out that the poster child for the European debt crisis is not actually poor at all. In fact, the truth is that the nation of Greece is sitting on absolutely massive untapped reserves of gold, oil and natural gas. If the Greeks were to fully exploit the natural resources that are literally right under their feet, they would no longer have any debt problems. Fortunately, this recent economic crisis has spurred them to action and it is now being projected that Greece will be the number one gold producer in Europe by 2016. In addition, Greece is now opening up exploration of their massive oil and natural gas deposits. Reportedly, Greece is sitting on hundreds of millions of barrels of oil and gigantic natural gas deposits that are worth trillions of dollars. It is truly sad that Greece should be one of the wealthiest nations in all of Europe but instead the country is going through the worst economic depression that it has experienced in modern history. It is kind of like a homeless man that sleeps on the streets every night without realizing that a relative has left him an inheritance worth millions of dollars. Greece is not poor at all, and hopefully the people of Greece can learn the truth about all of this wealth and chart a course out of this current mess.
I have written extensively about the nightmarish economic conditions that Greece is experiencing right now. Just check out this article, this article and this article. Since the depression began in Greece, the Greek economy has contracted by more than 20 percent. In April 2010, the unemployment rate in Greece was only 11.8 percent. Since then it has skyrocketed to 25.1 percent.
The government debt to GDP ratio in Greece is projected to hit 198 percent this year, and there are persistent rumors that Greece will be forced to leave the euro.
But all of this is completely and totally unnecessary. Greece is not actually poor at all. In fact, after you account for untapped natural resources, Greece is actually one of the wealthiest nations in all of Europe.
According to Bloomberg, there is a massive amount of gold in Greece. This recent economic crisis has accelerated the approval of mining activity, and it is now being projected that Greece will soon be the number one gold producing country in all of Europe…
Gold mining is gathering momentum after Greece began what it called a “fast-track” approvals program. The Canadian and Australian companies said their projects will add about 425,000 ounces by 2016, worth $757 million at the Oct. 5 spot price, to the 16,000 ounces the country produced in 2011.
“There’s clearly evidence that Greece has woken up to the potential of their mining industry,” said Jeremy Wrathall, chairman of Perth-based Glory Resources. “Politicians increasingly realize that a pro-mining stance is appropriate due to job creation potential.”
Greece, which is also fast-tracking state property sales, is set to overtake Finland as the continent’s largest gold producer within four years, as regulators in Athens sign off on mines kept on hold for more than a decade by red tape and environmental rules.
But Greece doesn’t just have gold. Greece is also swimming in oil and natural gas. It turns out that Greece is sitting on the western edge of an absolutely mammoth sub-Mediterranean oil and gas field, and there are also huge deposits of oil and natural gas in the western parts of the country.
A Reuters article back in July discussed how foreign firms are now rushing to exploit these tremendous resources…
Greece has received eight bids by companies to search for oil and natural gas in three blocks in the western part of the country, the energy ministry said on Monday, as debt-laden Athens seeks to save money on energy imports.
Greece, which produces almost no oil or natural gas, aims to develop potential hydrocarbon reserves as part of an effort to overhaul its economy and lessen dependence on energy imports.
So exactly how much oil and natural gas does Greece have?
The numbers that are being reported so far are staggering. The following comes from a Greek news source…
Until now the offers for hydrocarbon exploration have concerned three blocks: The first is in the Gulf of Patra, the second off the coast of Katakolo — both in Western Greece — and the third at Ioannina, northwestern Greece.
Early estimates suggest that the Gulf of Patra may have 200 million barrels of crude oil, and that there are another 80 million at Ioannina and nearly 3 million off the coast of Katokolo.
Furthermore, according to the United States Geological Survey, in the sea between Crete, Cyprus, Israel and Egypt, there are about 15 trillion cubic meters of natural gas and oil just waiting to be extracted.
The truth is that Greece has enough oil and natural gas to be able to pay off all of their debts. The value of the natural gas that they are sitting on alone has been estimated to be worth trillions of dollars. The following is from an article earlier this year by F. William Engdahl…
In December 2010, as it seemed the Greek crisis might still be resolved without the by-now huge bailouts or privatizations, Greece’s Energy Ministry formed a special group of experts to research the prospects for oil and gas in Greek waters. Greece’s Energean Oil & Gas began increased investment into drilling in the offshore waters after a successful smaller oil discovery in 2009. Major geological surveys were made. Preliminary estimates now are that total offshore oil in Greek waters exceeds 22 billion barrels in the Ionian Sea off western Greece and some 4 billion barrels in the northern Aegean Sea. 
The southern Aegean Sea and Cretan Sea are yet to be explored, so the numbers could be significantly higher. An earlier Greek National Council for Energy Policy report stated that “Greece is one of the least explored countries in Europe regarding hydrocarbon (oil and gas-w.e.) potentials.”  According to one Greek analyst, Aristotle Vassilakis, “surveys already done that have measured the amount of natural gas estimate it to reach some nine trillion dollars.”  Even if only a fraction of that is available, it would transform the finances of Greece and the entire region.
Tulane University oil expert David Hynes told an audience in Athens recently that Greece could potentially solve its entire public debt crisis through development of its new-found gas and oil. He conservatively estimates that exploitation of the reserves already discovered could bring the country more than €302 billion over 25 years.
So unlike several other nations in Europe, things actually look quite promising for Greece in the years ahead if they manage their resources correctly and don’t let foreigners come in and steal all of their wealth.
And perhaps this is why there is such hesitation to boot Greece out of the EU. It seems probable that many of the top politicians in Europe know about all of this gold, oil and natural gas that Greece is sitting on.
Hopefully the people of Greece will learn about this massive amount of wealth that is just under their feet. If they can figure out a way to get this wealth to start to flow into the hands of the people of Greece, a lot of their problems could be solved rather quickly and they could start to experience a massive economic turnaround.
How is money created? If you ask average people on the street this question, most of them have absolutely no idea. This is rather odd, because we all use money constantly. You would think that it would only be natural for all of us to know where it comes from. So where does money come from? A lot of people assume that the federal government creates our money, but that is not the case. If the federal government could just print and spend more money whenever it wanted to, our national debt would be zero. But instead, our national debt is now nearly 16 trillion dollars. So why does our government (or any sovereign government for that matter) have to borrow money from anybody? That is a very good question. The truth is that in theory the U.S. government does not have to borrow a single penny from anyone. But under the Federal Reserve system, the U.S. government has purposely allowed itself to be subjugated to a financial system in which it will be constantly borrowing larger and larger amounts of money. In fact, this is how it works in the vast majority of the countries on the planet at this point. As you will see, this kind of system is not sustainable and the structural problems caused by such a system are at the very heart of our debt problems today.
So where does money come from? In the United States, it comes from the Federal Reserve.
When the U.S. government decides that it wants to spend another billion dollars that it does not have, it does not print up a billion dollars.
Rather, the U.S. government creates a bunch of U.S. Treasury bonds (debt) and takes them over to the Federal Reserve.
The Federal Reserve creates a billion dollars out of thin air and exchanges them for the U.S. Treasury bonds.
So why does the U.S. government go to all this trouble? Why doesn’t the U.S. government create the money itself?
Those are very good questions.
One of the primary reasons why our system is structured this way is so that wealthy people can get even wealthier by lending money to the U.S. government and other national governments.
For example, last year the U.S. government spent more than 454 billion dollars just on interest on the national debt.
Over the centuries, the ultra-wealthy have found lending to national governments to be a very, very profitable enterprise.
The U.S. Treasury bonds that the Federal Reserve receives in exchange for the money it has created out of nothing are auctioned off through the Federal Reserve system.
There is a problem.
Because the U.S. government must pay interest on the Treasury bonds, the amount of debt that has been created by this transaction is greater than the amount of money that has been created.
So where will the U.S. government get the money to pay that debt?
Well, the theory is that we can get money to circulate through the economy really, really fast and tax it at a high enough rate that the government will be able to collect enough taxes to pay the debt.
But that never actually happens, does it?
And the creators of the Federal Reserve understood this as well. They understood that the U.S. government would not have enough money to both run the government and service the national debt. They knew that the U.S. government would have to keep borrowing even more money in an attempt to keep up with the game.
That is why I call the Federal Reserve a perpetual debt machine. The Federal Reserve was created to trap the U.S. government in an endlessly expanding debt spiral from which there is no escape.
And the Federal Reserve is doing a great job at what it was designed to do. Today, the U.S. national debt is more than 5000 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was first created.
Another way that money comes into existence in our economy is through the process of fractional reserve banking.
I originally pulled the following simplified explanation of fractional reserve banking off of the website of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, but it has been pulled down since then. But I still think it is helpful in understanding the basics of how fractional reserve banking works….
“If the reserve requirement is 10%, for example, a bank that receives a $100 deposit may lend out $90 of that deposit. If the borrower then writes a check to someone who deposits the $90, the bank receiving that deposit can lend out $81. As the process continues, the banking system can expand the initial deposit of $100 into a maximum of $1,000 of money ($100+$90+81+$72.90+…=$1,000).”
When you put your money into the bank, it does not say there. The bank only keeps a relatively small amount of money sitting around to satisfy the withdrawal demands of account holders. If all of us went down to the banks right now and demanded our money, that would create a major problem.
If I put 100 dollars into the bank and the bank lends out 90 of those dollars to you, now it looks like there are 190 dollars floating around. I have “100 dollars” in my bank account and you have “90 dollars” that you just borrowed.
The new debt that you have taken on (90 dollars) has “created” more money. But of course you are going to end up paying back more than 90 dollars to the bank, so more debt has been created than the amount of money that has been created.
And that is one of the big problems with our financial system. It is designed so that the amount of debt and the amount of money are supposed to be perpetually expanding, and the amount of debt created is always greater than the amount of money that is created.
So is it any wonder that our society is swamped with nearly 55 trillion dollars of total debt at this point?
A debt-based financial system is unsustainable by nature because it will always create debt bubbles that will inevitably burst.
Are you starting to see why so many Americans are saying that we need to abolish the Federal Reserve system?
Our founding fathers never intended for our financial system to work this way.
According to Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Congress is supposed to have the authority to “coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures”.
So why has this authority been given to a private institution that is dominated by the big Wall Street banks and that has actually argued in court that it is “not an agency” of the federal government?
Thomas Jefferson once said that if he could add just one more amendment to the U.S. Constitution it would be a ban on all government borrowing….
I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution. I would be willing to depend on that alone for the reduction of the administration of our government to the genuine principles of its Constitution; I mean an additional article, taking from the federal government the power of borrowing.
But instead, we have become enslaved to a system where government borrowing actually creates our money.
The borrower is the servant of the lender, and we have allowed our government to enslave us to the tune of nearly 16 trillion dollars.
There are alternatives to this system. Things do not have to work this way.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of our politicians consider the Federal Reserve to be good for America and steadfastly refuse to do anything to change the status quo.
So if you are waiting for “solutions” to these problems on the national level you are going to be waiting for a very long time.
The debt problems that the United States and Europe are experiencing did not come into existence by accident. They are the result of fundamental structural problems with the financial system.
A debt-based financial system is always going to fail in the long run. Unfortunately, most Americans still do not understand this and so we will all get to suffer the consequences.
I have learned that watching what people do is much more important than listening to what they say. Back in 2008, financial authorities in the United States insisted that everything was gone to be okay. But we all know now that was a lie. Well, right now financial authorities in the U.S. and Europe are once again trying to assure us that everything is under control and that we are not headed for a global recession. Unfortunately, their actions are telling a very different story. All over the world, bailouts are flying around as if the end of the world is coming. Governments and central banks are stepping in with gigantic mountains of money to prop up bond yields, major banks and even stock markets. What we have seen over the past few months has been absolutely unprecedented. So why are such desperate measures being taken if everything is going to be just fine? Unfortunately, debt problems are never solved with more debt, so these bailouts really aren’t solving anything. We are still headed for a massive amount of financial pain. It would just be nice if the authorities would quit lying to us and would actually admit how bad things really are.
Today it was announced that the European Central Bank has agreed to make $638 billion in 3 year loans to 523 different banks. Never before (not even during the last financial crisis) has the ECB loaned so much cheap money to European banks at one time.
This move by the ECB made headlines all over the globe. CNBC is calling them “ultra-long and ultra-cheap loans“.
European authorities are hoping that European banks will use this money to make loans to businesses and to buy up the debt of troubled European governments.
But as we have seen in the United States, bailout money does not always get spent the way that the authorities intend for it to be spent.
The truth is that the banks could end up just sitting on the money. That is what happened with a lot of bailout money in the United States during the last financial crisis.
European authorities hope, however, that European banks will take this super cheap money and lend it to European governments at much higher interest rates.
Unfortunately, global financial markets were not terribly impressed with this move by the ECB. European bond yields actually rose and the euro just kept on falling.
Every few days another major “solution” to the European debt crisis is put out there, but so far nothing has worked.
For example, the European Central Bank has already spent over 274 billion dollars directly buying up European government bonds, and yet bond yields continue to hover in very dangerous territory.
But without ECB intervention, we probably would have already seen a major financial collapse in Europe.
The financial system of Europe is a total mess right now, and everyone is becoming incredibly dependent on the ECB. The following comes from a recent Reuters article….
One of the key factors certain to have boosted demand is that banks are now more reliant than ever on central bank funds. The ECB said on Monday, in its semi-annual Financial Stability Review, that this dependency could be difficult to cure.
French banks have almost quadrupled their intake of ECB money since June to 150 billion euros, while banks in Italy and Spain are each taking more than 100 billion euros.
At this point, the ECB has the weight of the entire world on its shoulders. One false move and we could see a huge wave of bank failures and we could be plunged into a major global recession.
But even with all of this unprecedented assistance, we have already seen some big time European banks fail.
Back in Obtober, Dexia was the first major European bank to be bailed out, and the cost of that bailout is going to exceed 100 billion dollars.
The funny thing is that Dexia actually passed the banking stress test that was conducted earlier this year with flying colors.
So what does that say about all of the other major European banks that did not do so well on the stress test?
In addition, it was recently announced that Germany’s second largest bank is going to need a bailout.
The following comes from a Sky News report….
Germany’s second largest bank, Commerzbank, is reportedly in discussions with the German government about a bailout after regulators said it needed to raise more money to cope with a potential default on its loans to governments.
“Intense talks” have been going on for several days, according to sources who spoke to the news agency Reuters.
Even with unprecedented intervention by the ECB, the truth is that the European banking system is rapidly failing.
In Greece, a full-blown run on the banks is happening. According to a recent Der Spiegel article, funds are being pulled out of Greek banks at a pace that is astounding….
He means that the outflow of funds from Greek bank accounts has been accelerating rapidly. At the start of 2010, savings and time deposits held by private households in Greece totalled €237.7 billion — by the end of 2011, they had fallen by €49 billion. Since then, the decline has been gaining momentum. Savings fell by a further €5.4 billion in September and by an estimated €8.5 billion in October — the biggest monthly outflow of funds since the start of the debt crisis in late 2009.
In all, approximately 20 percent of all deposits in Greek banks have been withdrawn since the start of 2011.
Other European nations are implementing draconian measures in an attempt to protect their banks. For example, in Italy all cash transactions over 1000 euros have been permanently banned. People will either have to use checks, debit cards or credit cards for large transactions. This will “encourage” people to keep more money in the banks, and this will also make it much easier for the Italian government to track transactions and to collect taxes.
But it is not just in the EU where we find unusual steps being taken.
In the UK, the Bank of England is acting like the end of the world is about to happen. The following comes from a recent article on the This Is Money website….
The deputy governor of the Bank of England today warned the situation surrounding the single currency was ‘worrying’ and that the Bank was making preparations to support British banks, should the eurozone collapse.
A temporary loan facility has been introduced as a precaution, for use in the event of contagion from the eurozone crisis endangering UK institutions, Charlie Bean said in an interview on BBC Radio 4’s World at One.
An article posted on Business Insider a while back says that Switzerland is also preparing for “a euro collapse”….
The Swiss government is preparing for a collapse of the euro, according to Swiss Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf.
She told parliament that a work group was studying the imposition of capital controls and negative interest rates to protect Switzerland from the capital flight that a euro collapse would engender
On the other side of the world, the government of China is also taking action. In fact, China is actually injecting money into the stock market in order to prop up stock prices.
The following comes from an article in the China Post….
In a movement considered “long overdue” by some analysts, the injection of government money into the tanking stock market to prop up stock prices has been given the green light, government officials announced yesterday.
Vice Premier Chen, the topmost government official charged with the country’s financial stability, however, insisted the fundamentals of the economy and the stock market are sound, expressing his hope for continued optimism among the people.
Of course the Federal Reserve is not going to stand on the sideline while all of this is going on. In a recent article, I described how the Federal Reserve is helping to bail out European banks….
The Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, the Bank of England, the Bank of Canada, the Bank of Japan and the Swiss National Bank have announced a coordinated plan to provide liquidity support to the global financial system. According to the plan, the Federal Reserve is going to substantially reduce the interest rate that it charges the European Central Bank to borrow dollars. In turn, that will enable the ECB to lend dollars to European banks at a much cheaper rate. The hope is that this will alleviate the credit crunch which has gripped the European financial system by the throat. So where is the Federal Reserve going to get all of these dollars that it will be loaning out at very low interest rates? You guessed it – the Fed is just going to create them out of thin air. Our currency is being debased so that Europe can be helped out.
If the global financial system was in good shape, all of these bailouts would not be happening.
These desperate measures are a clear sign that something is up.
The financial authorities of the world are doing their best to keep the system together, but in the end they are not going to be able to prevent the collapse that is coming.
The world is heading for incredibly hard economic times.
So is the end of the world coming?
But to many in the financial world it may feel like it. The coming global recession is not going to be fun.
We have now reached a point where it has become “normal” for governments and central banks to throw money at one financial crisis after another.
At one time, bailouts were so unusual that they provoked a great deal of outrage.
Today, bailouts have become standard operating procedure.
The bailouts will continue to get larger and larger, and authorities all over the globe will do their very best to keep the house of cards from coming crashing down.
Unfortunately, they will not be successful.
Did you know that we buy about a half a trillion dollars more stuff from the rest of the world than they buy from us? The U.S. balance of trade is not only mind-blowingly bad – it is the worst in the world. It is being projected that the U.S. trade deficit for 2011 will be 558.2 billion dollars. That would be an increase of more than 11 percent from last year. As I have written about previously, the United States is the worst in the world at a lot of things, but as far as the economic well-being of our nation is concerned, our balance of trade is particularly important. Every single month, far more money goes out of this country than comes into it. Tax revenues are significantly reduced as all of this money gets sucked out of our communities. The federal government, state governments and local governments borrow gigantic piles of money to try to make up the difference, but all of this borrowing just makes our debt problems a whole lot worse. In the end, no amount of government debt is going to be able to cover over the fact that our national economic pie is shrinking. We are continually consuming far more wealth than we produce, and that is a recipe for economic disaster.
The “current account balance” is one key indicator of how a country is doing economically. The following is how the CIA World Factbook defines “current account balance”….
This entry records a country’s net trade in goods and services, plus net earnings from rents, interest, profits, and dividends, and net transfer payments (such as pension funds and worker remittances) to and from the rest of the world during the period specified.
If someone were to ask you what countries in the world have strong, thriving economies right now, what countries would you think of?
Would countries like China, Germany, Russia and Saudi Arabia come to mind?
Well, all of those nations have huge positive current account balances. In fact, China has the best current account balance in the world at +$305 billion.
So who is on the other end of the scale?
The following information comes directly from a CIA World Factbook chart….
190 Turkey $ -48,420,000,000
191 Canada $ -48,500,000,000
192 India $ -51,780,000,000
193 France $ -54,400,000,000
194 United Kingdom $ -56,190,000,000
195 Spain $ -63,650,000,000
196 Italy $ -67,940,000,000
197 United States $ -470,200,000,000
The United States is rated dead last at number 197.
Just take a close look at those numbers for a minute.
The U.S. had a current account balance of negative 470 billion dollars in 2010. That figure was almost 7 times worse than the next worst country (Italy).
Not only does the United States have the worst current account balance in the entire world, the truth is that no other country is even in the same ballpark as us.
We are bleeding wealth so fast that it is hard to even describe it.
But perhaps a real life example can help put this all into perspective.
One 22-year-old Saudi Arabian student has a collection of sports cars that is worth more than 12 million dollars. Reportedly, his collection includes at least three Lamborghinis, five Ferraris and five Porsches.
And guess who paid for it?
Every month, billions of dollars go out of the United States to help pay for the insane lifestyles of the ultra-wealthy oil barons of the Middle East.
Meanwhile, dozens of major U.S. cities are degenerating into hellholes.
Once upon a time, Detroit was one of the greatest industrial cities that the world has ever seen. It was the envy of the entire globe.
But now Detroit is an utter nightmare….
*An analysis of census figures found that 48.5% of all men living in Detroit from age 20 to age 64 did not have a job in 2008.
*If you can believe it, the median price of a home in Detroit is now just $6000.
*Only 25 percent of students in Detroit graduate from high school.
So what happened to Detroit?
Well, just as has been happening in so many other U.S. cities, industry has been leaving at an astounding pace.
As I have written about previously, an average of 23 manufacturing facilities a day were shut down in the United States during 2010.
Overall, the U.S. has lost a total of more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities since 2001.
This country is bleeding middle class jobs profusely, and neither major political party seems to care.
American family budgets are being stretched tighter and tighter these days. There are not nearly enough good jobs to go around and yet the cost of everything just seems to keep going up.
Many families are going into massive amounts of debt in an attempt to make ends meet. According to a recent CNN article, credit card use in the United States is experiencing a major upswing once again….
Purchases made with credit cards rose 8.2% in the first quarter of 2011, 9% in the second quarter and 10.6% in the third quarter, according to First Data.
Of course American consumers were out in force on Black Friday once again this year. They gleefully filled up their carts with cheap plastic crap made overseas, and many racked up huge credit card balances in the process.
But most of us never stop to think about those that make all of these cheap plastic products for us.
Thanks to the globalization of the economy, big corporations and corrupt governments can make stuff in countries where it is legal to pay slave labor wages and then ship their products into the United States for free.
It is important for all of us to learn what actually happens to these people that are working so hard for slave labor wages. The following comes from a recent article in the Guardian….
At the Hung Hing factory the researcher found that the 8,000 workers put in up to 100 hours of overtime a month, far in excess of the legal maximum. Workers say they have to sign a document agreeing to work additional overtime on top of the legal maximum. The basic wage was £132 a month (up to £250 with maximum overtime payments) but wages were paid up to three weeks late.
Workers complained of inadequate training with the factory machines and last year one worker died when he fell into a machine. They said there were frequent injuries and concerns over the chemicals used. There were also complaints about the standard of the dormitories, where water for washing and flushing toilets is turned off at 10pm.
How in the world are American workers supposed to “compete” for jobs at those wage levels?
As I have written about previously, Professor Alan Blinder of Princeton University is warning that 40 million more U.S. jobs could be sent offshore over the next two decades if nothing is done to stop this.
But instead, our “representatives” in Congress just keep pushing more “free trade” agreements as the answer to our problems. Congress has passed new free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, and the Obama administration has made “the NAFTA of the Pacific” a very high priority.
Well, if “free trade” is supposed to create so many jobs, then why was last decade the worst decade for the creation of jobs since the Great Depression?
If you can believe it, zero jobs were created between 1999 and 2009. The following comes from an article in Washington Monthly….
“If any single number captures the state of the American economy over the last decade, it is zero. That was the net gain in jobs between 1999 and 2009—nada, nil, zip. By painful contrast, from the 1940s through the 1990s, recessions came and went, but no decade ended without at least a 20 percent increase in the number of jobs.”
But our leaders don’t care about us. In fact, even the members of Obama’s “jobs panel” have been shipping jobs out of the United States at a very rapid pace.
The U.S. has run a negative balance of trade with the rest of the globe every single year since 1976. During that time, the U.S. has run up a total trade deficit of more than 7.5 trillion dollars with the rest of the planet.
That 7.5 trillion dollars could have gone to support U.S. workers and U.S. businesses.
But it didn’t. Instead, it went out of the country and it made foreigners wealthier as our own cities slowly rotted.
Now we are actually passing laws that encourage wealthy foreigners to come in and buy up pieces of the United States.
For example, there is actually a bill in Congress that would automatically give residence visas to any foreigners that are willing to spend at least half a million dollars to buy houses inside the United States.
The idea behind the bill is that this will get the housing market moving again.
There aren’t enough Americans with good jobs to buy houses, so we have now decided to beg foreigners to buy them.
How bizarre is that?
Until our horrendous balance of trade is fixed, the employment situation in this country is going to continue to get worse.
Any politician that tries to sell you on a “jobs plan” that does not address our balance of trade is either totally incompetent or is straight out lying to you.
The economic infrastructure of America is crumbling a little bit more every single day. If something dramatic is not done, we will continue to bleed businesses, bleed jobs and bleed wealth.
Please share this information with as many people as you can. The American people need to understand what is happening to the economy. We need to work to wake up as many people as we can before it is too late.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. In just a matter of days, two of Europe’s most venerable leaders have been toppled. George Papandreou was the third member of the Papandreou dynasty to be prime minister of Greece. Silvio Berlusconi had dominated Italian politics for nearly two decades. But now they are both heading out the door and the international media have been reporting on their resignations with the kind of enthusiasm that is normally reserved for sporting events. “Down goes Papandreou! Down goes Berlusconi!” If you didn’t know better, you would almost be tempted to think that some of the recent news reports were describing a boxing match. But this is what happens when debt problems spiral out of control. It is the leaders who take the fall. So will the resignations of Papandreou and Berlusconi help anything? Of course not. Europe is still headed for a financial collapse of epic proportions.
As I wrote about recently, it has been the fumbling of the Greek debt crisis by European leaders which has set the stage for the burgeoning financial crisis in Italy to go to a whole new level.
Once the Greek debt deal was announced, I warned that it would shatter confidence in the sovereign debt of the rest of the PIIGS and it would cause their bond yields to soar.
That is exactly what has happened.
The yield on 10 year Italian bonds (probably the most important financial number in the world at the moment) is now up to 6.7 percent.
Never before in the euro era has the yield on Italian bonds been as high as we have seen this week.
So why is this important?
Well, the reality is that Italy simply cannot afford to service its massive national debt when yields are this high.
We are officially in the danger zone.
Carl Weinberg, the chief economist at High Frequency Economics, recently said the following about what would happen if Italian bond yields go up into the 8 to 10 percent range….
“If it has to pay those yields to finance itself, Italy is dead, and the sovereign crisis just blew up”
So watch that number very carefully over the next few months.
Italy is being called “too big to fail, too big to save”. There is no way that Europe can afford Italy to crash, but there is also no way that the rest of Europe can put together enough money for a full scale bailout of Italy.
So there is panic in the air.
The Italian government is in a state of near chaos and over the past couple of weeks we have seen Berlusconi’s coalition break down. Now Berlusconi has agreed to resign, and the future of Italian politics is murky at best.
The following is how a Reuters article described the agreement for Berlusconi step down….
Berlusconi confirmed a statement from President Giorgio Napolitano that he would step down as soon as parliament passed urgent budget reforms demanded by European leaders after Italy was sucked into epicenter of the euro zone debt crisis.
The votes in both houses of parliament are likely this month and they would spell the end of a 17-year dominance of Italy by the flamboyant billionaire media magnate.
Many believe that the departure of Berlusconi is going to pave the way for brutal austerity measures to be imposed on the Italian people.
Suddenly, it very much feels like we are watching a replay of what has happened in Greece over the past couple of years. Just check out the following excerpt from a recent article in the London Evening Standard….
The Italians feel they’ve been humiliated by having to accept that monitors from the IMF will be arriving in the country this week to oversee a rise in pension ages, a sell-off of state assets and new rules to make jobs less secure.
Does that not sound like exactly what happened in Greece back near the beginning of their crisis?
In Greece, brutal austerity measures demanded by the EU and the IMF plunged the country into a depression, tax revenues plummeted, Greek debt exploded to even higher levels, bond yields soared into the stratosphere and the EU and the IMF demanded even more austerity measures be implemented.
Is the same sad story going to play out in Italy?
The Italians are definitely going to agree to some pretty significant budget cuts. But if bond yields keep rising, they are going to wipe out all of the savings from the budget cuts and then some.
This is why I keep preaching about the horror of the U.S. national debt over and over and over. If you don’t deal with it when you can, eventually interest rates rise to unbearable levels and a horror show quickly unfolds.
Anyway, right now Italy has a debt to GDP ratio of 118 percent. If they keep expanding that debt it is going to result in a financial nightmare, but if they try to implement strict austerity measures it is also going to result in a financial nightmare.
They are damned if they do and they are damned if they don’t.
Of course we should not forget about Greece.
The EU has been freaking out for quite a while about what to do about tiny little Greece.
Now that George Papandreou has been kicked to the curb, it looks like Lucas Papademos is going to be the next prime minister of Greece.
Papademos previously served as the governor of the Greek central bank, as a vice president of the European Central Bank and as a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
In other words, he would be the ideal choice of the international banking community.
Not that anyone is going to be able to do much for Greece at this point. Greece is a financial basket case, and unless someone gives them gigantic piles of money for free that is going to continue to be the case.
A year ago, the yield on 2 year Greek bonds was a bit above 10 percent. Today, the yield on 2 year Greek bonds is over 100 percent.
If you want to see what a financial meltdown looks like, just check out what is happening in Greece.
The rest of Europe is in panic mode too. For example, France is desperate to keep their AAA credit rating. In an article for the Telegraph, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard described the austerity measures that France is implementing in an attempt to head off a debt crisis of their own….
The belt-tightening plan — the second package since August, taking total cuts to €112bn — include a 5pc super-tax on big firms, a rise in VAT on restaurants and construction, and cuts on pensions, schools, health, and welfare. It is the latest squeeze in a relentless campaign of fiscal tightening across the eurozone.
In the end, all of this is too little, too late.
Europe is heading for a date with destiny. They have spent themselves into oblivion and now they are going to pay the price.
Some members of the financial community fear that a full-blown crisis could erupt at any moment. For example, according to Business Insider, Colin Tan of Deutsche Bank recently said that he believes that it is possible that “we could be in full crisis mode” by the time the week ends….
Its not inconceivable that we could be in full crisis mode by the end of this week. The situation with Italy feels increasingly like one that has little chance of materially improving until some
extreme pressure is put on someone to act. It may not come to a head this week but the signs are not good that we can avoid an extreme situation emerging soon.
For those of you that are freaking out about now, don’t worry too much. A full-blown crisis is not going to happen this week.
But time is running out.
And when Europe comes apart, it is going to have a dramatic impact on the United States as well.
According to an article in the Financial Post, the Federal Reserve made the following statement in a report about a survey that it just released….
“About one-half of domestic bank respondents, mostly large banks, indicated that they make loans or extend credit lines to European banks or their affiliates or subsidiaries”
Big U.S. banks have a lot of exposure to European debt and to European banks. When the financial dominoes start to fall, a lot of those dominoes are going to be in the United States.
One of the biggest dangers to be concerned about are all of the credit default swap contracts that U.S. banks have written on European debt. Just check out what a recent article posted on the website of MSNBC had to say about that….
U.S. banks have written about $400 billion in CDS contracts on European sovereign debt, according to the Bank for International Settlements. Those payouts would be triggered if Greece or Italy defaults. Because financial institutions are not required to report their CDS holdings, little is known about which banks or investment firms are on the hook, and for how much.
As I have written about previously, there is a very good chance that the world could be facing a massive derivatives crisis at some point in the next five to ten years.
If you hear the news talk about a “problem with derivatives” or a “derivatives crisis” then you will want to pay very close attention.
Over the past 30 years, the global financial system has constructed a gigantic mountain of debt, risk and leverage unlike anything the world has ever seen before.
At some point the whole thing is going to come crashing down.
When it does, it is going to affect the entire globe.
A huge storm is coming.
Get prepared while you can.
The future of the euro is hanging by a thread at the moment. The massive debt problems of nations such as Greece, Italy and Portugal are dragging down the rest of the Europe, and the political will in northern Europe to continue to bail out these debt-ridden countries is rapidly failing. Could the end of the euro actually be in sight? The euro was really a very interesting experiment. Never before had we seen a situation where monetary union was tried without political and fiscal union along with it on such a large scale. The euro worked fairly well for a while as long as everyone was paying their debts. But now Greece has collapsed financially, and several other countries in the eurozone (including Italy) are on the way. Right now the only thing holding back a complete financial disaster in Europe are the massive bailouts that the wealthier nations such as Germany have been financing. But now a wave of anti-bailout sentiment is sweeping Germany and the future of any European bailouts is in doubt. So what does that mean for the euro? It appears that there are two choices. Either we will see much deeper fiscal and political integration in Europe (which does not seem likely at this point), or we will see the end of the euro.
That status quo cannot last much longer. The citizens of wealthy nations such as Germany are becoming very resentful that gigantic piles of their money are being poured into financial black holes such as Greece. In fact, it is rapidly getting to the point where we could actually see rioting in the streets of German cities over all of this.
All of this instability is creating a tremendous amount of fear in world financial markets. Nobody is sure if Greece is going to default or not.
Without more bailout money, Greece will most certainly default. If anyone does not think that one domino cannot set off a massive chain reaction, just remember what happened back in 2008.
Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers set off a chain reaction that was felt in every corner of the globe. All of a sudden credit markets froze up because nobody was sure who had significant exposure to bad mortgages.
Today, the entire world financial system runs on debt, so when there is a credit crunch it can have absolutely devastating economic consequences. The financial crisis of 2008 helped plunge the world into the greatest recession that the globe had seen since the 1930s.
In the old days, nations such as Greece that got into too much debt would just fire up the printing presses and cover over their problems with devalued currency.
Well, those nations that are using the euro simply cannot do that. The government of Greece cannot simply zap a whole bunch of euros into existence in order to solve their problems.
Right now, major European banks are holding massive amounts of debt from various European governments on their balance sheets. Most of these European banks are also very highly leveraged. Even a moderate drop in the value of those debt holdings could wipe out a number of these banks.
The head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, recently told Der Spiegel the following….
“There has been a clear crisis of confidence that has seriously aggravated the situation. Measures need to be taken to ensure that this vicious circle is broken”
Unfortunately, what Lagarde said was right. You see, the financial system in Europe is a “confidence game” and a “crisis of confidence” is all that it would take to bring it down because it does not have a solid foundation.
Just like the U.S. financial system, the financial system in Europe is a mountain of debt, leverage and risk. If the winds start blowing the wrong direction, the entire thing could very easily come tumbling down.
Over the past couple of weeks, the outlook in Europe has become decidedly negative. For example, one senior IMF economist is now actually projecting that Greece will experience a “hard default” at some point in the coming months….
I expect a hard default definitely before March, maybe this year
If Greece defaults, that would mean that the bailouts have failed. That would also mean that several other nations in Europe would be in danger of defaulting soon as well.
The consequences of a wave of defaults in Europe would be absolutely staggering. As mentioned above, major banks in Europe are deeply exposed to sovereign debt.
Regarding this issue, Deutsche Bank Chief Executive Josef Ackermann recently made the following stunning admission….
“It’s stating the obvious that many European banks would not survive having to revalue sovereign debt held on the banking book at market levels.”
Yes, you read that correctly.
There are quite a few major European banks that are in imminent danger of collapse.
Even though there hasn’t been any sovereign defaults yet, we are already starting to see massive financial devastation in Europe. Just check out some of the financial carnage from Monday….
*The stock market in Germany was down more than 5%.
*The stock markets in France and Italy were down more than 4%.
*Royal Bank of Scotland was down more than 12%.
*Deutsche Bank was down more than 6%.
*Societe Generale was down more than 8%.
*Italy’s UniCredit was down more than 7%.
*Barclays was down more than 6%
*Credit Suisse was down more than 4%.
*The yield on 2 year Greek bonds was up to 50.38%.
*The yield on 1 year Greek bonds was up to 82.14%. A year ago it was under 10%.
Just like in 2008, banking stocks are leading the decline. We have another major financial crisis on our hands and there is no solution in sight.
As the financial world becomes increasingly unstable, investors are flocking to gold. In case you have not noticed, gold is up over $1900 an ounce again.
So what comes next?
Well, on Wednesday Germany’s constitutional court is scheduled to announce its verdict on the legality of the latest bailout package for Greece. The court is expected to rule that the bailout package is legal, but if they don’t that would be really bad news for the euro.
However, whatever the court rules, the reality is that the turbulent political atmosphere inside Germany is probably a much bigger issue as far as the future of the euro is concerned.
Right now, Germans are overwhelmingly opposed to more bailouts. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s political party just suffered a resounding defeat in local elections in Germany, and many within her own coalition are withdrawing support for any more bailouts.
This is going to make it very difficult to save the euro. At this point, Germans have very little faith in the currency.
Just check out what Bob Chapman of the International Forecaster recently wrote about the current atmosphere in Germany….
76% of Germans say they have little or no faith in the euro, up from 71% two months ago. This is what we have been stating for ten years. Long-term 69% to 71% have never wanted the euro. The poll is not at all surprising. The Germany people are saying we have put up with the euro and euro zone for long enough – we want out now.
Germans are also very much against even deeper European economic integration. For example, recent polling found that German voters are against the introduction of “Eurobonds” by about a 5 to 1 margin.
But Germans are not the only ones that are tired of the euro. The countries of southern Europe have come to view the euro as a “straightjacket” that keeps them from having the financial flexibility that they need to deal with their debts.
Many people living in southern Europe consider the euro to be a financial instrument that allows nations such as Germany to have way too much power over them. Just check out what Professor Giacomo Vaciago of Milan’s Catholic University recently had to say….
“It’s clear that the euro has virtually failed over the last ten years, even if you are not supposed to say that. We pretended to be Germans, but it was an illusion”
But if the bailouts fall apart and the euro collapses, we are going to see nations such as Greece fall into total financial collapse.
Just how desperate have things become in Greece? Just consider the following excerpt from a recent article by Puru Saxena….
In Greece, government debt now represents almost 160% of GDP and the average yield on Greek debt is around 15%. Thus, if Greece’s debt is rolled over without restructuring, its interest costs alone will amount to approximately 24% of GDP. In other words, if debt pardoning does not occur, nearly a quarter of Greece’s economic output will be gobbled up by interest repayments!
Without help, there is no way that Greece is going to be able to avoid a default.
Sadly, Greece is far from the only major financial problem in Europe. Portugal, Ireland and Italy also have debt to GDP ratios that are well above 100%.
As mentioned earlier, this is a massive problem for the financial system of Europe, because nearly all of the major European banks are leveraged to the hilt and they are massively exposed to government debt.
If you don’t think that this is a problem, just remember what happened back in 2008.
Back then, Lehman Brothers was leveraged 31 to 1. When things turned bad, Lehman was wiped out very rapidly.
Today, major German banks are leveraged 32 to 1, and those banks are currently holding a massive amount of European sovereign debt.
Overall, the entire global banking system has a total of 2 trillion dollars of exposure to Greek, Irish, Portuguese, Spanish and Italian debt.
If European countries start defaulting, the dominoes are going to start falling and things will get really messy really quickly.
There are two things that could keep defaults from happening.
Number one, Germany and the other wealthy nations in the eurozone could just suck it up and decide to pour endless bailouts into nations such as Greece and Italy.
Number two, the nations of the eurozone could opt for much deeper economic and political integration. That would mean a massive loss of sovereignty, but it would save the euro, at least for a little while.
Right now, the political will for either of those two choices is simply not there. That does not mean that the political elite of Europe will not try to ram through some sort of a plan, but the reality is that Germans are already so upset about what has been going on that they are about ready to riot in the streets.
Yes, the end of the euro is a real possibility.
If the euro does collapse, it would likely cause a financial panic that would make 2008 look like a Sunday picnic.
So what do all of you think about the future of the euro? Please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts below….