10 Practical Steps That You Can Take To Insulate Yourself (At Least Somewhat) From The Coming Economic Collapse

Most Americans are still operating under the delusion that this “recession” will end and that the “good times” will return soon, but a growing minority of Americans are starting to realize that things are fundamentally changing and that they better start preparing for what is ahead. These “preppers” come from all over the political spectrum and from every age group.  More than at any other time in modern history, the American people lack faith in the U.S. economic system.  In dozens of previous columns, I have detailed the horrific economic problems that we are now facing in excruciating detail.  Many readers have started to complain that all I do is “scare” people and that I don’t provide any practical solutions.  Well, not everyone can move to Montana and start a llama farm, but hopefully this article will give people some practical steps that they can take to insulate themselves (at least to an extent) from the coming economic collapse.

But before I get into what people need to do, let’s take a minute to understand just how bad things are getting out there.  The economic numbers in the headlines go up and down and it can all be very confusing to most Americans.

However, there are two long-term trends that are very clear and that anyone can understand….

#1) The United States is getting poorer and is bleeding jobs every single month.

#2) The United States is getting into more debt every single month.

When you mention the trade deficit, most Americans roll their eyes and stop listening.  But that is a huge mistake, because the trade deficit is absolutely central to our problems.

Every single month, Americans buy far, far more from the rest of the world than they buy from us.  Every single month tens of billions of dollars more goes out of the country than comes into it.

That means that every single month the United States is getting poorer.

The excess goods and services that we buy from the rest of the world get “consumed” and the rest of the world ends up with more money than when they started.

Each year, hundreds of billions of dollars leave the United States and don’t return.  The transfer of wealth that this represents is astounding.

But not only are we bleeding wealth, we are also bleeding jobs every single month.

The millions of jobs that the U.S. economy is losing to China, India and dozens of third world nations are not going to come back.  Middle class Americans have been placed in direct competition for jobs with workers on the other side of the world who are more than happy to work for little more than slave labor wages.  Until this changes the U.S. economy is going to continue to hemorrhage jobs.

The U.S. government has helped to mask much of this economic bleeding by unprecedented amounts of government spending and debt, but now the U.S. national debt exceeds 13 trillion dollars and is getting worse every single month.  Not only that, but state and local governments all over America are getting into ridiculous amounts of debt.

So, what we have got is a country that gets poorer every single month and loses jobs to other countries every single month and that has accumulated the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world which also gets worse every single month.

Needless to say, this cannot last indefinitely.  Eventually the whole thing is just going to collapse like a house of cards.

So what can we each individually do to somewhat insulate ourselves from the economic problems that are coming?….

1 – Get Out Of Debt: The old saying, “the borrower is the servant of the lender”, is so incredibly true.  The key to insulating yourself from an economic meltdown is to become as independent as possible, and as long as you are in debt, you simply are not independent.  You don’t want a horde of creditors chasing after you when things really start to get bad out there.

2 – Find New Sources Of Income: In 2010, there simply is not such a thing as job security.  If you are dependent on a job (“just over broke”) for 100% of your income, you are in a very bad position.  There are thousands of different ways to make extra money.  What you don’t want to do is to have all of your eggs in one basket.  One day when the economy melts down and you are out of a job are you going to be destitute or are you going to be okay?

3 – Reduce Your Expenses: Many Americans have left the rat race and have found ways to live on half or even on a quarter of what they were making previously.  It is possible – if you are willing to reduce your expenses.  In the future times are going to be tougher, so learn to start living with less today.

4 – Learn To Grow Your Own Food: Today the vast majority of Americans are completely dependent on being able to run down to the supermarket or to the local Wal-Mart to buy food.  But what happens when the U.S. dollar declines dramatically in value and it costs ten bucks to buy a loaf of bread?  If you learn to grow your own food (even if is just a small garden) you will be insulating yourself against rising food prices.  Storing up freeze dried food can also be a great way to prepare for what is coming.

5 – Make Sure You Have A Reliable Water Supply: Water shortages are popping up all over the globe.  Water is quickly becoming one of the “hottest” commodities out there.  Even in the United States, water shortages have been making headline news recently.  As we move into the future, it will be imperative for you and your family to have a reliable source of water.  Some Americans have learned to collect rainwater and many others are using advanced technology such as atmospheric water generators to provide water for their families.  But whatever you do, make sure that you are not caught without a decent source of water in the years ahead.

6 – Buy Land: This is a tough one, because prices are still quite high.  However, as we have written previously, home prices are going to be declining over the coming months, and eventually there are going to be some really great deals out there.  The truth is that you don’t want to wait too long either, because once Helicopter Ben Bernanke’s inflationary policies totally tank the value of the U.S. dollar, the price of everything (including land) is going to go sky high.  If you are able to buy land when prices are low, that is going to insulate you a great deal from the rising housing costs that will occur when the U.S dollar does totally go into the tank.

7 – Get Off The Grid: An increasing number of Americans are going “off the grid”.  Essentially what that means is that they are attempting to operate independently of the utility companies.  In particular, going “off the grid” will enable you to insulate yourself from the rapidly rising energy prices that we are going to see in the future.  If you are able to produce energy for your own home, you won’t be freaking out like your neighbors are when electricity prices triple someday.

8 – Store Non-Perishable Supplies: Non-perishable supplies are one investment that is sure to go up in value.  Not that you would resell them.  You store up non-perishable supplies because you are going to need them someday.  So why not stock up on the things that you are going to need now before they double or triple in price in the future?  Your money is not ever going to stretch any farther than it does right now.

9 – Develop Stronger Relationships: Americans have become very insular creatures.  We act like we don’t need anyone or anything.  But the truth is that as the economy melts down we are going to need each other.  It is those that are developing strong relationships with family and friends right now that will be able to depend on them when times get hard.

10 – Get Educated And Stay Flexible: When times are stable, it is not that important to be informed because things pretty much stay the same.  However, when things are rapidly changing it is imperative to get educated and to stay informed so that you will know what to do.  The times ahead are going to require us all to be very flexible, and it is those who are willing to adapt that will do the best when things get tough.

Do you have any additional tips that you would like to share with us?  If so, please feel free to share them in the comments below….


Home Sales Drop 27 Percent In July And Things Are Only Going To Get Worse For The U.S. Housing Industry

On Tuesday the National Association of Realtors announced that existing home sales in the United States dropped a whopping 27.2% in the month of July.  The consensus among analysts was that we would see a drop of around 13 percent, so when the 27 percent figure was announced it sent a shock through world financial markets.  To say that the real estate industry is alarmed by these numbers would be a tremendous understatement. What we are seeing unfold is essentially “Armageddon” for those involved in the housing and real estate industries.  The real estate market is grinding to a standstill and a shockingly low number of people are actually in the market to buy a home right now.  In the months ahead home sales may pick up a little bit, but only if housing prices start to fall.  Why?  Because right now there are tons of houses on the market and there are very few qualified buyers available to purchase them and potential buyers are starting to realize this.  Buyers are beginning to understand that they have all the leverage now and they are waiting for prices to fall.

Anyone who has taken Economics 101 in college knows that when supply is high and demand is low prices will fall, and that is exactly the situation we have in the U.S. housing market right now.

At the moment, most home sellers in the United States are very hesitant to lower the prices on their homes too much.  Many have no intention of selling their homes below what they originally paid for them, and many others truly believe that the housing market will eventually rebound.

But the truth is that housing prices are simply not going to rebound to 2006 levels.  If anything, they are going to continue to fall.

The following are the three basic points that every American needs to understand about the U.S. housing market right now….    

1) There Is A Gigantic Mountain Of Unsold Homes On The Market

There are a staggering number of unsold homes on the market right now.  As you can see from the chart from the Calculated Risk blog below, there is now over a year’s worth of unsold homes flooding the marketplace….

So who is going to buy all of those unsold homes with so few qualified purchasers in the marketplace?

That is a very good question.

Unfortunately, all the signs indicate that the glut of unsold homes is going to get even worse.

As of this March, U.S. banks had an inventory of 1.1 million foreclosed homes, which was a new all-time record and which was up 20 percent from one year ago.

And the tsunami of foreclosures and repossessions just keeps growing….

*One out of every seven mortgages were either delinquent or in foreclosure during the first quarter of 2010.

*According to RealtyTrac, a total of 1.65 million U.S. properties received foreclosure filings during the first half of 2010.

*U.S. Banks repossessed 269,962 U.S. homes during the second quarter of 2010, which was a new all-time record.

The supply of unsold homes is already incredibly massive and it is growing at a staggering rate. 

With such a flood of homes on the market, why in the world would anyone in their right mind pay a premium price for a home in 2010?

2) There Are Not Nearly Enough Qualified Buyers Seeking To Buy Homes

The banks and lending institutions that survived the subprime mortgage crisis of 2007 and 2008 learned some very valuable lessons.  The days when even the family dog could get approved for a home loan are long gone.  Now the pendulum has swung to the other end of the spectrum.  Fearful of making more bad loans, banks and lending institutions have really, really tightened up lending standards.  So a lot fewer people are getting approved for home loans these days.

That makes a lot of business sense for banks and lending institutions, but it also means that there are a lot fewer qualified buyers out there looking for homes.

Not only that, but millions of Americans who could potentially buy homes are waiting for the market to go down even further.

When you add that all together, you get the kind of home sales numbers discussed at the beginning of the article.

The Mortgage Bankers Association recently announced that demand for loans to purchase U.S. homes has sunk to a 13-year low.  Unless the number of Americans getting approved for home loans starts increasing, you simply are not going to see housing numbers recover much.

And the truth is that Americans are not even doing much browsing for homes right now.  Even Internet searches for homes are way down.  Internet searches on real estate websites are down about 20 percent compared to this same time period in 2009.

So with a massive flood of houses on the market and with very few qualified buyers to purchase them, how in the world are housing prices supposed to go up?

3) The Housing Industry Will Never Fully Recover Without A Jobs Recovery First

In order to get qualified for home loans, Americans have to have good jobs first.  But in this economy that is a huge problem.

Robert Dye, a senior economist with PNC Financial Services Group, recently told USA Today what he believes the bottom line problem of this housing crisis is…. 

“Jobs, jobs, jobs”

Today, 14 million Americans are unemployed and millions more are underemployed.  Unfortunately, there are not nearly enough good jobs for all of them.

Today it takes the average unemployed American over 8 months to find a job.  The number of Americans receiving long-term unemployment benefits has risen a staggering 60 percent in the past year alone.

Things have gotten so bad that according to one recent survey 28% of all U.S. households have at least one person that is searching for a full-time job.

To get an understanding of how horrific the unemployment situation has become in the United States, take 38 seconds to watch the incredible video posted below….

The truth is that without jobs, Americans simply cannot buy homes.

So is there any hope that we will see a robust jobs recovery any time soon?

Well, as I have written about previously, unfortunately there is every indication that the employment market is going to get even worse.

So the bottom line is that the housing market is going to continue to suffer.

There is going to continue to be a massive glut of unsold homes on the market.

There are going to continue to be very few qualified buyers in the marketplace.

Large numbers of Americans are going to continue to be unemployed.

Yes, that is a lot of bad news, but you aren’t reading this column to get the same kind of mindless optimism that you get from the mainstream media news.

Bancor: The Name Of The Global Currency That A Shocking IMF Report Is Proposing

Sometimes there are things that are so shocking that you just do not want to report them unless they can be completely and totally documented.  Over the past few years, there have been many rumors about a coming global currency, but at times it has been difficult to pin down evidence that plans for such a currency are actually in the works.  Not anymore.  A paper entitled “Reserve Accumulation and International Monetary Stability” by the Strategy, Policy and Review Department of the IMF recommends that the world adopt a global currency called the “Bancor” and that a global central bank be established to administer that currency.  The report is dated April 13, 2010 and a full copy can be read here.  Unfortunately this is not hype and it is not a rumor.  This is a very serious proposal in an official document from one of the mega-powerful institutions that is actually running the world economy.  Anyone who follows the IMF knows that what the IMF wants, the IMF usually gets.  So could a global currency known as the “Bancor” be on the horizon?  That is now a legitimate question.

So where in the world did the name “Bancor” come from?  Well, it turns out that “Bancor” is the name of a hypothetical world currency unit once suggested by John Maynard Keynes.  Keynes was a world famous British economist who headed the World Banking Commission that created the IMF during the Breton Woods negotiations.

The Wikipedia entry for “Bancor” puts it this way….

The bancor was a World Currency Unit of clearing that was proposed by John Maynard Keynes, as leader of the British delegation and chairman of the World Bank commission, in the negotiations that established the Bretton Woods system, but has not been implemented.

The IMF report referenced above proposed naming the coming world currency unit the “Bancor” in honor of Keynes.

So what about Special Drawing Rights (SDRs)?  Over the past couple of years, SDRs have been touted as the coming global currency.  Well, the report does envision making SDRs “the principal reserve asset” as we move towards a global currency unit….

“As a complement to a multi-polar system, or even—more ambitiously—its logical end point, a greater role could be considered for the SDR.”

However, the report also acknowledges that SDRs do have some serious limitations.  Since the value of SDRs are closely tied to national currencies, anything affecting those currencies will affect SDRs as well.

Right now, SDRs are made up of a basket of currencies.  The following is a breakdown of the components of an SDR….

*U.S. Dollar (44 percent)

*Euro (34 percent)

*Yen (11 percent)

*Pound (11 percent)

The IMF report recognizes that moving to SDRs is only a partial move away from the U.S. dollar as the world reserve currency and urges the adoption of a currency unit that would be truly international.  The truth is that SDRs are clumsy and cumbersome.  For now, SDRs must still be reconverted back into a national currency before they can be used, and that really limits their usefulness according to the report….

“A limitation of the SDR as discussed previously is that it is not a currency. Both the SDR and SDR-denominated instruments need to be converted eventually to a national currency for most payments or interventions in foreign exchange markets, which adds to cumbersome use in transactions. And though an SDR-based system would move away from a dominant national currency, the SDR’s value remains heavily linked to the conditions and performance of the major component countries.”

So what is the answer?

Well, the IMF report believes that the adoption of a true global currency administered by a global central bank is the answer.

The authors of the report believe that it would be ideal if the “Bancor” would immediately be used as currency by many nations throughout the world, but they also acknowledge that a more “realistic” approach would be for the “Bancor” to circulate alongside national currencies at first….

“One option is for bancor to be adopted by fiat as a common currency (like the euro was), an approach that would result immediately in widespread use and eliminate exchange rate volatility among adopters (comparable, for instance, to Cooper 1984, 2006 and the Economist, 1988). A somewhat less ambitious (and more realistic) option would be for bancor to circulate alongside national currencies, though it would need to be adopted by fiat by at least some (not necessarily systemic) countries in order for an exchange market to develop.”

So who would print and administer the “Bancor”?

Well, a global central bank of course.  It would be something like the Federal Reserve, only completely outside the control of any particular national government….

“A global currency, bancor, issued by a global central bank (see Supplement 1, section V) would be designed as a stable store of value that is not tied exclusively to the conditions of any particular economy. As trade and finance continue to grow rapidly and global integration increases, the importance of this broader perspective is expected to continue growing.”

In fact, at one point the IMF report specifically compares the proposed global central bank to the Federal Reserve….

“The global central bank could serve as a lender of last resort, providing needed systemic liquidity in the event of adverse shocks and more automatically than at present. Such liquidity was provided in the most recent crisis mainly by the U.S. Federal Reserve, which however may not always provide such liquidity.”

So is that what we really need? 

A world currency administered by an international central bank modeled after the Federal Reserve?

Not at all.

As I have written about previously, the Federal Reserve has devalued the U.S. dollar by over 95 percent since it was created and the U.S. government has accumulated the largest debt in the history of the world under this system.

So now we want to impose such a system on the entire globe?

The truth is that a global currency (whether it be called the “Bancor” or given a different name entirely) would be a major blow to national sovereignty and would represent a major move towards global government. 

Considering how disastrous the Federal Reserve system and other central banking systems around the world have been, why would anyone suggest that we go to a global central banking system modeled after the Federal Reserve?

Let us hope that the “Bancor” never sees the light of day.

However, the truth is that there are some very powerful interests that are absolutely determined to create a global currency and a global central bank for the global economy that we now live in. 

It would be a major mistake to think that it can’t happen.

This Economy Is Ripping The Dignity Of Millions Of Unemployed Americans To Shreds

If you can still put a roof over your head and food on the table for your family, you should consider yourself to be very fortunate.  There are millions of Americans out there right now that are really, really suffering.  The cold, hard reality of it is that there aren’t even close to enough jobs out there for everyone right now.  It is almost as if we are all caught in a really bizarre game of musical chairs where the losers get stripped of their tickets to the middle class.  What this horrible economy is doing to the dignity of millions of middle class Americans is incredibly saddening.  There are a lot of very highly educated and very hard working Americans who cannot seem to get jobs no matter what they do and now find themselves doing whatever they can just to survive.  It can be really hard to keep your dignity when you played by all the rules and you worked as hard as you could all your life and now you find yourself a half step away from being homeless.  Those of us who are still doing okay should never look down on those who are struggling in this economy, because the truth is that any of us could be next.   

If you really want to read some horror stories about what long-term unemployment is doing to some people in America, you should go spend an hour or two over at Unemployed-Friends some time.  It is a great forum with a lot of great resources for the unemployed, but it also contains dozens and dozens and dozens of heartbreaking stories from middle class Americans who have had their lives shattered by this economic downturn.      

The following is a typical story on Unemployed-Friends.  It is from a 48 year old Air Force veteran who has lost everything and is now sleeping in his vehicle.  It turns out that Scott48’s job was shipped off to India and now he has been out of work for over two years….

“I am a 48 year old USAF Vet. I got my house in 1996 with the help of the VA. In 2009 the company I worked for went out of buisness(gone to India) I then became a 99er. I notified Wells Fargo that I lost my job and they said they would work with me, the next mortgage statement I got they conveniently increased my mortgage! With what I got from UE was enough for the house but I had to cut out the luxury of food, gas, utillities, insurance, entertainment and alcohol. That was it for me, so the forecloser ball was in motion. I had to give my dog to my cousin so he would get fed, I took everything I owened to the auction( execpt tools, clothes, pictures, tech manuals and my Saxophone) and sold it. I went to a half-way house the VA recomended for a week and it was joke, so my cousin said I could stay with her. After 4 months she diecided that I wasnt looking hard enough and kicked me out, and Ive applied for everything except selling myself. This summer I was staying in an abandoned house due to forecloser and the real estate company has now put it on the market, and I am now on the street sleeping in my vehicle or a friend here and there. Keeping clean is going to be a challenge cuz the Flying J truck stops charge $10 for a shower, rip-off. What a country!”

The truth is that this economy is driving many Americans to the brink of desperation.  Even recent college graduates are becoming desperate enough to actually consider suicide.  The following story is from an Unemployed-Friends user known as 08pacollegegrad….

“I could just take any job like working at fast food places, but I hear people who try can’t even get hired there. I went to Wendy’s for lunch the other day and I thought of picking up an application…but the slot where they keep the applications was completely empty. That should say it all. Plus, I feel like if I take just any job…I will be set back further and never be able to gain experience in my chosen fields.

I follow up on job applications, but employers ignore me for the most part when I try to contact them. I sent five follow up e-mails last week and got no responses. I contacted an employer expressing my interest in working for them, but all they gave me is the link to their online application system that I have never gotten a job from.

I am thinking of applying for more internships (I have already done two), but I don’t want employers to think why I am applying for an internship when I should have had a full fledged job by now.

I have almost killed myself over my situaion and am taking anti-depressants right now. I see a psychiatrist every 4-6 weeks, but I still have days where I feel so empty. I am sick of sitting at home searching for jobs and praying for a response that never comes.”

Many Americans spend day after day after day looking for a job that never comes.  The sense of hopelessness that can build after doing this for a few years is almost indescribable.  The following is another incredibly sad story from an Unemployed-Friends user known as feuxdejoie….

“I lost my job in June 2008, my husband was working but sentenced to prison for 4 years, for DUI, no accidents or injuries. I had been using my unemployment to pay bills but my last check came June 12, 2010. I’m alone and scared. The city that I live in has the highest unemployment in the State, Illinois. Our children are grown and I sit alone all day searching for jobs. My husband can only call once a month because of the outrageous rates for telephone calls. I’m at the end of my rope and don’t know where to turn if they don’t pass a tier V for unemployment or open up some jobs.
I turned 50 in April and had worked all of my life, starting at age 14 with a work permit! My employer stated to me that they needed someone bilingual and terminated me even after I told them that I would take classes to learn.  I signed up for college and began classes in January then unemployment told me that I wasn’t elgible for unemployment while attending school.”

There are millions of Americans who believe that their lives are over because they can’t get decent jobs.  When you lose your job, your home, your car, your health insurance and then finally your unemployment insurance runs out, it is easy to lose all hope as an Unemployed-Friends user named Ember has done….

“so i feel pretty much hopeless. been unemployed since July 2008. in over two years i haven’t even been called for an interview. tired of looking and applying for jobs outside of my field that require experience i don’t have. it’s all for naught. i have two bachelor of science degrees. my BS degrees, cuz that’s what they’re worth. since losing my job i’ve gotten divorced. lost my house. lost my health insurance. totalled my car and sustained chronic back pain. and moved in with my mom. and did i mention, when all this started i was a new mom, just back from maternity leave? so (now) i’m raising a toddler on my own, with no income. my unemployment insurance ran out a few weeks ago. i don’t even know what to do now. i just want to disappear. i’m tired of trying. i’m tired of being a burden on everyone. if i didn’t have the responsibility to take care of my child i wouldn’t be around anymore.”

This final example is from an Unemployed-Friends user identified as Faith1028.  Be warned that this one will shake you to your core if you have any sensitivity at all.  As you read this, keep in mind that this kind of thing is literally happening to millions of Americans these days…. 

“HI, y’all! This is my story. I’m from Chicago.

I lost my job 11.06.09 – I did my best to remain positive & confident that I would get a job by the end of November.

December 2009 – Still no job. I’m getting food stamps (LINK card) & Unemployment Benefits. Not much money at all, but I’m surviving. Thanks to all this stress, my stomach has been burning and/or been painful daily for all December. I puked my guts out on the 26th.

January 2010 – My stomach is still hurting every day. I had to close out my savings account. I haven’t told my slumlord or my fellow tenants that I lost my job; I go on pretending I’m still going to work everyday. Unfortunately on the 26th, I got my eviction notice. I called the office to ask why. The response was “I don’t know.” I became hysterical. I’ve no job, no money, no family/friends to help. (I have many *relatives*, but no *family*.) I truly believed my only alternative was suicide. I wanted to say good-bye to my brother (my only sibling), but we haven’t spoken to each other for over 4 years; I no longer have his address/phone number. I found him on Facebook. I didn’t bring up my situation because I felt he wouldn’t care. We exchanged a few messages and that was it. I haven’t heard from him since. Good riddance.

February 2010 – Someone found a family that I can stay with for only $250/month! My own room! They turned out to be aquaintances of mine. Vegetarian, too! At least I have a place to stay. I’d rather live alone, but, hey, I’m desperate! — And I’m not too crazy about the bedbugs. OW!

June/July 2010 – Thanks to daily/nightly use of citrine crystals since 30 May, I have no more stomach problems!
Thanks to weekly use of a natural (green!) pesticide from PlusNaturalEnzymes.com, I no longer have a problem with bedbugs! However…
Mid-June, my Unemployment Benefits ran out. Of course, I’m still looking for a job! What am I supposed to do – put a gun to someone’s head and force them to hire me? As of this date, I have $12 left to my name; $0 in my chequeing account. I recently reapplied for and am now receiving food stamps. Before I got my food stamps back, I’ve eaten whatever (Vegetarian!) food I can get, even stuff I’m allergic to. As a result, I’ve become sick: cold-like symptoms, pain in lower intestines…and a rash over my arms, legs, & neck. Oh, does it itch! At least my food allergies are not life-threatening.
Needless to say, my depression has gotten worse.

I am really trying hard to remain positive — and alive.
But why? Is it really all worth it?

I haven’t paid July’s rent, and the people I’m staying with are getting very *impatient*; I fear I’ll be evicted again! The money is coming! It’s not my bloody fault!

Someone on Twitter sent me a link to this site. I know I’m not the only one suffering; some folks have already committed suicide. I don’t want to die, but I don’t want to be homeless, either. I am so bloody scared.
Just give me money that my tax dollars paid for!
–Or better yet: GIVE ME A BLASTED JOB!!”

The really sad thing is that there are countless other stories just like these being posted all over the Internet all the time.

People are hurting.

People are losing hope.

So how did we get here?

Well, it turns out that the “haves” have figured out that they really don’t need the “have nots” after all.  Incredible advances in technology have increasingly enabled employers to replace humans with machines and computers.  In addition, as we have detailed previously, millions upon millions of middle class American jobs are being shipped off to China and to dozens of third world nations where workers are more than happy to work for less than a tenth of what an American worker would make.

All of those jobs that have been lost to technology and that have been sent overseas are not going to come back.  The hordes of long-term unemployed that we are seeing now is just the beginning.  It is going to get a lot worse.

So the next time you hear a hard luck story from an unemployed American, don’t look down on that person.

You might be next.

Even Tony Robbins Is Warning That An Economic Collapse Is Coming

It seems like almost everyone is warning of a coming economic collapse these days.  Do you remember Tony Robbins?  He is probably the world’s best known “motivational speaker” and his infomercials dominated late night television during the 80s and 90s.  He was always urging all of us to “unleash the power within” and to take charge of our lives.  Well guess what?  Now Tony Robbins is warning that an economic collapse is coming. In fact, he has issued a special video warning about what he believes is about to happen. Considering the incredible connections that he has at the highest levels of the financial world, it makes a lot of sense to consider what he is trying to warn us about. Robbins says that a “major retracement” is coming to financial markets and that the coming collapse is going to be a “painful process” as we go through it.  Those familiar with Tony Robbins know that he always goes out of his way to stress the positive, so if even he is openly warning the public about a coming economic nightmare than you know that things are starting to get really, really bad out there.

The video that Tony Robbins published where he gives his economic warning is posted in two parts below.  This is unlike any Tony Robbins video that you have ever seen before and it is absolutely jaw dropping….  

Part 1:

Part 2:

So is Tony Robbins right about what is coming?

Yup.

An economic collapse is coming.

You need to get prepared.

For those not familiar with my previous articles, let’s review just some of the reasons why America is headed towards an economic nightmare of unprecedented proportions….

The National Debt – The U.S. government has accumulated a national debt that is rapidly approaching the 14 trillion dollar mark.  According to Democrat Erskine Bowles, one of the heads of Barack Obama’s national debt commission, if we continue on the path we are on the U.S. government will be spending $2 trillion just for interest on the national debt by 2020.

State And Local Debt – Many of America’s state and local governments may be in even worse financial shape than the federal government is.  In fact, some state and local governments are in such a financial mess that they have starting cutting off even the most essential services.

Consumer Debt – The total amount of consumer debt that Americans have accumulated now stands at approximately 11.7 trillion dollars

The Trade Deficit – The U.S. trade deficit has exploded to nightmarish proportions over the past two decades.  Every single month tens of billions more dollars flows out of the country than flows into it.  The rest of the world is literally bleeding us dry in slow motion.

No Jobs – Today it takes the average unemployed American over 8 months to find a job.  The number of Americans receiving long-term unemployment benefits has risen over 60 percent in just the past year.

The Credit Crunch – The U.S. is experiencing a credit crunch unlike anything it has seen since the Great Depression.  Lending has really, really dried up, but without loans our economic system cannot function properly.

The Housing Crisis – Even with mortgage rates at historic lows, a shockingly low number of Americans are buying houses.  There has been a total collapse in home sales since the home buyer tax credit expired.  At the same time, mortgage defaults, foreclosures and home repossessions by banks continue to set new all-time records. 

Rising Bankruptcies – Nationwide, bankruptcy filings rose 20 percent in the 12-month period ending June 30th.

Rising Poverty – One out of every eight Americans and one out of every four American children are now on food stamps.  Approximately 50 million Americans couldn’t even afford to buy enough food to stay healthy at some point last year.

The Coming Pension Crisis – America is facing a pension crisis that is so nightmarish that it is almost impossible to adequately describe it.  State and local government pension plans are woefully underfunded, dozens of large corporate pension plans either have collapsed or are on the verge of collapsing, Social Security is a complete and total financial disaster and about half of all Americans essentially have nothing saved up for retirement.

The Derivatives Bubble – Our financial system has become a gigantic gambling parlor and we have allowed a horrific derivatives bubble to develop that could destroy the entire world economy if it ever bursts.  Nobody knows exactly how big the derivatives bubble is, but low estimates place it at around 600 trillion dollars and high estimates put it at around 1.5 quadrillion dollars.  Once that bubble pops there simply will not be enough money in the entire world to fix it.

The Federal ReserveThe Federal Reserve has devalued the U.S. dollar by over 95 percent since 1913 and it has been used to create the biggest mountain of government debt in the history of the world.  There are many economists who would argue that the Federal Reserve is at the very core of our economic problems.

As we get even closer to the economic abyss that we are racing towards, even more big names such as Tony Robbins will come forward with warnings.

The truth is that these problems did not develop overnight, and they are not going to be solved overnight either. 

Perhaps our economic future is best summed up by this one statement that economist Paul Krugman recently made….

“America is now on the unlit, unpaved road to nowhere.”

It would be great if I could write about America’s bright economic future and the unlimited prosperity that is ahead for all of us, but that would be a lie.

We are headed for an economic collapse.

It is going to be painful.

It is time to get prepared.

We Killed The Goose That Laid The Golden Egg And Now The Number Of Americans Receiving Long-Term Unemployment Benefits Has Risen A Whopping 60 Percent In Just One Year

For middle class Americans, the new global economy has provided mountains of cheap products made in China, India and dozens of other nations, but it has also killed the goose that laid the golden egg.  Millions of American workers have been discovering that the price for all of those inexpensive foreign-made goodies is their jobs.  Now we have so many long-term unemployed workers in the United States that we are inventing new terms (such as “the 99ers”) to describe them.  Unemployment is on the rise again (we’ll get to the figures in a minute) and everyone seems perplexed at the continuing inability of the “greatest economy in the world” to provide jobs for everyone.  But the truth is that this has been coming for a long time.  The debt-fueled prosperity of the past couple of decades allowed us to live far beyond our means and provide very high levels of employment for a while, but now economic reality is setting in.  The millions of middle class jobs that have been shipped overseas are never coming back.  Unfortunately, the existence of a large class of chronically unemployed Americans that are struggling just to survive is going to quickly become “the new normal”.

This week the U.S. Labor Deparment announced that for the week ending August 14th, new applications for unemployment insurance benefits reached the half-million mark.  That was the first time since last November that the psychologically important 500,000 threshold had been hit.  Most economists had predicted that unemployment claims would actually decline, but instead they experienced their fourth increase in the past five weeks.

But the increase in new applications for unemployment benefits is only part of the story.  It is not such a bad thing to be unemployed if you can find another job in a couple of weeks or a couple of months.  But in 2010, there are millions of Americans that cannot seem to find a job no matter what they do month after month after month.

In fact, the number of Americans that have exhausted their state unemployment benefits and that are collecting long-term federal unemployment benefits has increased 60 percent over the past year.  The following is how a recent article on CNBC recently described the situation….

“Claimants under the Emergency Unemployment Compensation provision—who have exhausted their state benefits—surged 260,105 to 4,753,456 for the week ended July 31 (the data lags the weekly claims by two weeks). While that represents a weekly increase of 0.5 percent, the total is 60.5 percent higher than the 2009 figure of 2,961,457.”

So what will the figure be at this time next year?

6 million?

7 million?

And what happens if the U.S. Congress finally decides to cut off the long-term unemployment benefits at some point?

The truth is that things are getting really frightening out there.

“There’s a red flag being waved right now that says ‘Danger,’” Bloomberg quoted Mark Vitner, a senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities LLC as saying recently. “Growth is going to slow in the second half and we might face something a little more ominous than that.”

The reality is that there are not nearly enough jobs out there for everyone.  According to one recent survey, 28% of U.S. households have at least one member that is looking for a full-time job.

Just think about that.

Almost 30 percent of all U.S. homes have someone who is looking for a full-time job.

That is not just a problem.

That is a national crisis.

But it is not just those who are unemployed who are suffering.  The reality is that this economic downturn has hurt most of us in one way or another.  A recent Pew Research survey found that 55 percent of the U.S. labor force has experienced either unemployment, a pay decrease, a reduction in hours or an involuntary move to part-time work since the recession began.

Millions of Americans are putting up with increased workloads, pay decreases and benefit cuts right now because the alternative is joining the hordes of jobless Americans that are fighting tooth and nail over the few jobs that are actually available. 

Once you lose your job in this economy there is no telling when you are going to be able to get another one.  In America today, the average time needed to find a job has risen to a record 35.2 weeks.

Could you imagine being unemployed for 35 weeks?

The truth is that in 2010, it is employers that have all the power and all the leverage.

In fact, when you really analyze it, it is a wonder that companies are hiring new workers at all.  It is a massive pain in the rear end to hire a new worker in America today.  The thousands upon thousands of regulations that must be complied with, the big pile of forms that need to be filled out and the elaborate bookkeeping that must be maintained make hiring someone a major headache.  One top of that, tax contributions, benefit packages and health insurance premiums make each worker a very expensive proposition.

There is a reason why so many companies are trying to squeeze more out of the employees that they already have or are only hiring temporary employees right now.

But the biggest reason why there is such a lack of jobs is because millions upon millions of good jobs have been shipped overseas.  Globalism and “free trade” have put middle class American workers into a situation where they are in direct competition for jobs against the cheapest labor in the world.

Why in the world should U.S. companies hire American workers when they can hire very willing workers on the other side of the world who will do the same job for less than one-tenth the cost?

Those who once warned us about “the great sucking sound” that globalism would create were right, and the truth is that the U.S. has already been bleeding good jobs for years.  According to one analysis, the United States has lost 10.5 million jobs since 2007, and the truth is that unless something is done things are going to get even worse.

But what can get lost in all of these statistics is the very real pain that so many millions of Americans are now experiencing.

Losing a job and watching everything that you have worked for crumble can be extremely soul crushing.  In fact, this economy is pushing some Americans completely over the edge.

The following is an excerpt from an actual letter to U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner….

“My dad, S, killed himself March 16, 2009 because he ran out of money and could not find work. My whole family had been devastated by the economy. He was 61 years old and could not take it anymore. He could not figure out how to keep the electric on, buy food, or keep a roof over his head. A day before his electric was to be shut off, and 2 weeks away from eviction, my dad took the hardest walk of his life. He left a note on the dining room table for my sister and I. His suicide letter said ‘I love you. I had to do this. I ran out of money. I wish you both luck in your lives’. He left the door unlocked with the door key left in the lock. He carefully laid out two suits for us to pick from to bury him in.”

Could you imagine if that was your father?

As the economy continues to deteriorate, many more Americans are going to be pushed to the edge of despair.

Life is not about paying our bills or about the things that we own, but there is no denying the pain that comes when you run completely out of money and you feel totally helpless.

But nobody should ever give up.  There is always hope.  Things can always be turned around.

Unfortunately, we have entered a time when there are always going to be a large number of unemployed Americans because there are just not nearly enough jobs to go around.

Anyone who thought that we could merge American workers into a massive global labor pool and still be able to maintain our middle class lifestyles was living in fantasy land. 

No, the truth is that globalism has killed the goose that laid the golden egg and now tens of millions of Americans are going to pay the price.

18 Signs That America Is Rotting Right In Front Of Our Eyes

Sometimes it isn’t necessary to quote facts and figures about government debt, unemployment and the trade deficit in order to convey how badly America is decaying.  The truth is that millions of Americans can watch America rotting right in front of their eyes by stepping out on their front porches.  Record numbers of homes have been foreclosed on and in some of the most run down cities as many as a third of all houses have been abandoned.  Unemployment remains at depressingly high levels and the number of Americans on food stamps continues to set new records month after month.  Due to severe budget cuts, class sizes are exploding and school programs are being eliminated.  In some areas of the U.S. schools are even going to four day weeks.  With little to no funding available, bridges are crumbling and street lights are being turned off in many communities.  In some areas, asphalt roads are actually being ground up and turned back into gravel roads because they are less expensive to maintain.  There aren’t even as many police available to patrol America’s decaying cities because budget problems have forced local communities across the U.S. to lay off tens of thousands of officers.

Once upon a time, the American people worked feverishly to construct beautiful, shining communities from coast to coast.  But now we get to watch those communities literally crumble and decay in slow motion.  Nothing lasts forever, but for those of us who truly love America it is an incredibly sad thing to witness what is now happening to the great nation that our forefathers built.

The following are 18 signs that America is rotting right in front of our eyes….

1 – Due to extreme budget cuts, school systems across the United States are requiring their students to bring more supplies with them than ever this year.  In Moody, Alabama elementary school students are being told to bring paper towels, garbage bags and liquid soap with them to school.  At Pauoa Elementary School in Honolulu, Hawaii all students are being required to show up with a four-pack of toilet paper.

2According to the American Association of School Administrators, 48 percent of all U.S. school districts are reporting budget cuts of 10 percent or less for the upcoming school year, and 30 percent of all U.S. school districts are reporting cuts of 11 to 25 percent.

3 – In Chicago, drastic budget cuts could result in an average class size of 37 students.

4 – The governor of Hawaii has completely shut down that state’s schools on Fridays – moving teachers and students to a four day week.

5 – According to the Federal Highway Administration, approximately a third of America’s major roadways are already in substandard condition.

6 – All over the United States, asphalt roads are being ground up and are being replaced with gravel because it is cheaper to maintain.  The state of South Dakota has transformed over 100 miles of asphalt road into gravel over the past year, and 38 out of the 83 counties in the state of Michigan have now turned some of their asphalt roads into gravel roads.

7 – According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, more than 25 percent of America’s nearly 600,000 bridges need significant repairs or are burdened with more traffic than they were designed to carry.

8 – In a desperate attempt to save money, the city of Colorado Springs turned off a third of its streetlights and put its police helicopters up for auction.

9 – The state of Arizona has eliminated funding for full-day kindergarten and has shut down a number of state parks.

10 – Over the past year, approximately 100 of New York’s state parks and historic sites have had to cut services and reduce hours.

11 – In Georgia, the county of Clayton recently eliminated its entire public bus system in order to save 8 million dollars.

12 – Elsewhere in Georgia, 30,000 people recently turned out to pick up only 13,000 applications for government-subsidized housing.   A near-riot ensued and 62 people were left injured.  The amazing thing is that all of this commotion was just to get on a waiting list.  There are no aid vouchers even available at this time.

13– In the city of Philadelphia, rolling fire station “brown outs” recently cost a 12 year old autistic boy named Frank Marasco his life.

14– Oakland, California Police Chief Anthony Batts says that due to severe budget cuts there are a number of crimes that his department will simply not be able to respond to any longer.  The crimes that the Oakland police will no longer be responding to include grand theft, burglary, car wrecks, identity theft and vandalism.

15– The sheriff’s department in Ashtabula County, Ohio has been slashed from 112 to 49 deputies, and there is now just one vehicle remaining to patrol all 720 square miles of the county.

16 – Of 315 municipalities the New Jersey State Policemen’s union recently canvassed, more than half indicated that they were planning to lay off police officers.

17 – Not that the criminals are doing that much better.  Things have gotten so bad in Camden, New Jersey that not even the drug dealers are spending their money anymore.

18 – Almost everyone knows someone who has been severely impacted by this economic downturn.  A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey has found that 81 percent of American adults know someone who is out of work and looking for a job.

So can’t the states just step up and start spending more money and fix these things?

Well, no.  The truth is that the states are absolutely broke.  Quite a few of the states are actually on the verge of default, and there is no getting around the fact that budget cuts that are much more severe are going to be required in the years ahead.

So can’t the U.S. government step in and bail out the states?

Well, yes, but as we have detailed previously, the U.S. government is literally drowning in a sea of red ink.  The U.S. government is already spending an amount of money equivalent to approximately 25.4 percent of GDP this year.

How much more money can the U.S. government possibly spend?

To get an idea of just how bad things are already, the IMF says that in order to fix the U.S. government budget deficit, taxes need to be doubled on every single U.S. citizen.

Are you ready to pay double the taxes?

No matter how you slice it, the U.S. is in a massive amount of financial trouble and the American people are starting to realize this fact.  In fact, one new poll found that nearly two-thirds of Americans believe that the U.S. economy will get worse before it gets better.

But unfortunately things are not going to get “better” – at least in the long-term.  The decay and the rot that have already set in are only going to get worse.

These problems did not appear overnight and they are not going to be solved overnight.  Our leaders have been making very bad decisions for decades, and all of those bad decisions are starting to catch up with us.

But perhaps you disagree.  Feel free to tell us what you think in the comments section below….

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