Never before has the world faced such a serious debt crisis. Yes, in the past there have certainly been nations that have gotten into trouble with debt, but we have never had a situation where virtually all of the major powers around the globe were all drowning in debt at the same time. And what makes this crisis even more unprecedented is that everyone on the planet is using fiat currency that is backed up by nothing. It is all just a bunch of paper and data points that people have faith in. Right now, confidence in this system is being shaken as debt levels skyrocket to extremely dangerous levels. Many are openly wondering how much longer this can possibly go on.
Just consider what is going on over in Europe right now. Even the countries that have supposedly “tried austerity” continue to rack up debt at a mind blowing pace. New numbers that have just been released show that government debt to GDP ratios for some of the most financially troubled nations in Europe are absolutely soaring…
- Euroarea: 92.2%, up from 88.2% a year ago
- Greece: 160.5%, up from 136.5% a year ago
- Italy: 130.3%; up from 123.8% a year ago
- Portugal: 127.2%, up from 112.3% a year ago
- Ireland: 125.1%, up from 106.8% a year ago
- Spain: 88.2%, up from 73.0% a year ago
- Netherlands: 72.0%, up from 66.7% a year ago
Meanwhile, the debt to GDP ratio in Japan is now well past the 200% mark and continues to march upward with no apparent end in sight. The following is from a recent MSN article…
In Japan, the good news is that the nation’s budget for the fiscal year, which started on April 1, will see the government raise a higher percentage of spending from tax revenue than at any other time in the past four years. The bad news is that the government will still cover 46.3% of its spending from borrowing. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates that Japan’s budget deficit for 2013 amounted to 10.3% of gross domestic product.
In China, the big problem is the absolutely stunning growth of private domestic debt. According to a recent World Bank report, the total amount of credit in China has risen from 9 trillion dollars in 2008 to 23 trillion dollars today.
That increase is roughly equivalent to the entire U.S. commercial banking system.
According to financial journalist Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, the ratio of private domestic debt to GDP in China is now wildly out of control…
The 160pc debt ratio for China is based on a conservative measure of credit. Fitch says it is 200pc if you count all offshore vehicles, trusts, letters of credit etc.
This morning China Securities Journal – an arm of the regulators – said it may really be 221pc.
Well, what about the United States?
As I noted the other day, our ratio of federal government debt to GDP has shot up like a rocket since 2008…
At this point, the U.S. already has more government debt per capita than Greece, Portugal, Italy, Ireland or Spain. It is a giant mess, and yet our politicians continue to recklessly spend more money.
And of course state and local governments all over the nation are drowning in debt too. The bankruptcy of Detroit is forcing people to come to grips with how bad things really are. Sadly, as Meredith Whitney explained the other day, there are going to be a lot more municipal bankruptcies coming down the pipeline…
As jarring as the reality may be to accept, Detroit’s decision last week to declare bankruptcy should not be regarded as a one-off in the US municipal market – which is what the bond-peddlers are now telling their clients. The aftershocks of the largest municipal bankruptcy in US history will be staggering, and Detroit will set important precedents.
Municipal bankruptcies have historically been rare for a number of reasons – including the states’ determination to preserve their credit ratings, their access to cheap funding and the stigma of bankruptcy. But, these days, things are very different in the world of municipal finance.
At the root of the problem is the incentive system that elected officials used to face. For decades, across the US, local leaders ran up tabs for future taxpayers; they promised pensions and other benefits for public employees that have strong legal protection. That has been a great source of patronage for elected officials: they can promise all sorts of future perks to loyal supporters (state and local workers) with very little accountability on the delivery of those promises.
And of course the overall debt level in the United States continues to grow much, much faster than our overall economy is growing.
The greatest debt bubble in the history of the planet is still expanding.
How long will it be before it bursts?
That is a very good question. For now, our “leaders” appear to just be trying to keep the party going for as long as possible. They know that if they suddenly change course hard times will hit almost immediately. For example, just check out what Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress last week…
With the economy still facing risks, especially from government spending cuts, Bernanke told a congressional panel on Wednesday the Fed is still planning to trim its quantitative easing stimulus, if growth continues at a steady pace.
But expectations that the Fed was poised to start tightening monetary policy, which have sent interest rates jumping and sparked turmoil in global markets, were unwarranted, he stressed.
“I don’t think the Fed can get interest rates up very much, because the economy is weak, inflation rates are low,” Bernanke told the House Financial Services Committee.
“If we were to tighten policy, the economy would tank.”
Nobody wants the economy to “tank”, but the truth is that the more debt that we run up, the larger our long-term economic problems become.
And a growing percentage of Americans realize that something has seriously gone wrong. According to a recent Pew Research survey, 44% of all Americans believe that an economic recovery is still “a long way off“.
Unfortunately, the reality of the matter is that we are already living in the “economic recovery”.
This is about as good as it is going to get.
The truth is that the real storm has not even hit yet. When the debt bubble finally bursts, we are going to see economic chaos in this country unlike anything that we have ever experienced before.
I hope that you are getting ready.
Eventually the money runs out. Much of America was shocked when the city of Detroit defaulted on a $39.7 million debt payment and announced that it was suspending payments on $2.5 billion of unsecured debt, but those who visit my site on a regular basis were probably not too surprised. Anyone with half a brain and a calculator could see this coming from a mile away. But people kept foolishly lending money to the city of Detroit, and now many of them are going to get hit really hard. Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr has submitted a proposal that would pay unsecured creditors about 10 cents on the dollar. Similar haircuts would be made to underfunded pension and health benefits for retirees. Orr is hoping that the creditors and the unions that he will be negotiating with will accept this package, but he concedes that there is still a “50-50 chance” that the city of Detroit will be forced to formally file for bankruptcy. But what Detroit is facing is not really that unique. In fact, Detroit is a perfect example of what the future of America is going to look like. We live in a nation that is rotting, decaying, drowning in debt and racing toward insolvency. Already there are dozens of other cities across the nation that are poverty-ridden, crime-infested hellholes just like Detroit is, and hundreds of other communities are rapidly heading in that direction. So don’t look down on Detroit. They just got there before the rest of us.
The following are some facts about Detroit that are absolutely mind-blowing…
1 – Detroit was once the fourth-largest city in the United States, and in 1960 Detroit had the highest per-capita income in the entire nation.
2 – Over the past 60 years, the population of Detroit has fallen by 63 percent.
3 – At this point, approximately 40 percent of all the streetlights in the city don’t work.
4 – Some ambulances in the city of Detroit have been used for so long that they have more than 250,000 miles on them.
5 – 210 of the 317 public parks in the city of Detroit have been permanently closed down.
6 – According to the New York Times, there are now approximately 70,000 abandoned buildings in Detroit.
7 – Approximately one-third of Detroit’s 140 square miles is either vacant or derelict.
8 – Less than half of the residents of Detroit over the age of 16 are working at this point.
9 – If you can believe it, 60 percent of all children in the city of Detroit are living in poverty.
10 – According to one very shocking report, 47 percent of the residents of Detroit are functionally illiterate.
11 – Today, police solve less than 10 percent of the crimes that are committed in Detroit.
12 – Ten years ago, there were approximately 5,000 police officers in the city of Detroit. Today, there are only about 2,500 and another 100 are scheduled to be eliminated from the force soon.
13 – Due to budget cutbacks, most police stations in Detroit are now closed to the public for 16 hours a day.
14 – The murder rate in Detroit is 11 times higher than it is in New York City.
15 – Crime has gotten so bad in Detroit that even the police are telling people to “enter Detroit at your own risk“.
16 – Right now, the city of Detroit is facing $20 billion in debt and unfunded liabilities. That breaks down to more than $25,000 per resident.
As Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr noted last week, it took a very long time for Detroit to get into this condition…
“What the average Detroiter needs to understand is that where we are right now is a culmination of years and years and years of kicking the can down the road,” said Orr, adding that his proposal should not be seen as a “hostile act” but as a step in the right direction.
Does that sound familiar?
U.S. politicians have also been kicking the can down the road for “years and years and years”.
But eventually you can’t kick the can down the road anymore.
Sometimes it is helpful to step back and look at what we have done to ourselves over the past several decades.
For example, back in 1980 the U.S. national debt was less than one trillion dollars. Today, it is rapidly approaching 17 trillion dollars.
And our debt binge has greatly accelerated under Barack Obama.
During Barack Obama’s first term, the federal government accumulated more debt than it did under the first 42 U.S presidents combined.
Isn’t that insane?
In fact, if you started paying off just the new debt that the U.S. has accumulated during the Obama administration at the rate of one dollar per second, it would take more than 184,000 years to pay it off.
The following are a lot more facts about our exploding national debt from one of my previous articles entitled “55 Facts About The Debt And U.S. Government Finances That Every American Voter Should Know“…
#1 While Barack Obama has been president, the U.S. government has spent about 11 dollars for every 7 dollars of revenue that it has actually brought in.
#2 During the fiscal year that just ended, the U.S. government took in 2.449 trillion dollars but it spent 3.538 trillion dollars.
#3 During fiscal year 2011, over a trillion dollars of government money was spent on 83 different welfare programs, and those numbers do not even include Social Security or Medicare.
#4 Over the past four years, welfare spending has increased by 32 percent. In inflation-adjusted dollars, spending on those programs has risen by 378 percent over the past 30 years. At this point, more than 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government. Once again, these figures do not even include Social Security or Medicare.
#5 Over the past year, the number of Americans getting a free cell phone from the federal government has grown by 43 percent. Now more than 16 million Americans are enjoying what has come to be known as an “Obamaphone”.
#6 When Barack Obama first entered the White House, about 32 million Americans were on food stamps. Now, 47 million Americans are on food stamps. And this has happened during what Obama refers to as “an economic recovery”.
#7 The U.S. government recently spent 27 million dollars on pottery classes in Morocco.
#8 The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently spent $300,000 to encourage Americans to eat caviar at a time when more families than ever are having a really hard time just trying to put any food on the table at all.
#9 During 2012, the National Science Foundation spent $516,000 to support the creation of a video game called “Prom Week”, which apparently simulates “all the social interactions of the event.”
#10 The U.S. Department of Agriculture gave the largest snack food maker in the world (PepsiCo Inc.) a total of 1.3 million dollars in corporate welfare that was used to help build “a Greek yogurt factory in New York.”
#11 The National Science Foundation recently gave researchers at Purdue University $350,000. They used part of that money to help fund a study that discovered that if golfers imagine that a hole is bigger it will help them with their putting.
#12 If you can believe it, $10,000 from the federal government was actually used to purchase talking urinal cakes up in Michigan.
#13 The National Science Foundation recently gave a whopping $697,177 to a New York City-based theater company to produce a musical about climate change.
#14 The National Institutes of Health recently gave $666,905 to a group of researchers that is studying the benefits of watching reruns on television.
#15 The National Science Foundation has given 1.2 million dollars to a team of “scientists” that is spending part of that money on a study that is seeking to determine whether elderly Americans would benefit from playing World of Warcraft or not.
#16 The National Institutes of Health recently gave $548,731 to a team of researchers that concluded that those that drink heavily in their thirties also tend to feel more immature.
#17 The National Science Foundation recently spent $30,000 on a study to determine if “gaydar” actually exists. This is the conclusion that the researchers reached at the end of the study…
“Gaydar is indeed real and… its accuracy is driven by sensitivity to individual facial features”
#18 Back in 2011, the National Institutes of Health spent $592,527 on a study that sought to figure out once and for all why chimpanzees throw poop.
#19 The U.S. government spends more on the military than China, Russia, Japan, India, and the rest of NATO combined. In fact, the United States accounts for 41.0% of all military spending on the planet. China is next with only 8.2%.
#20 In a previous article, I noted that close to 500,000 federal employees now make at least $100,000 a year.
#21 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.
#22 If you can believe it, there are 77,000 federal workers that make more than the governors of their own states do.
#23 During 2010, the average federal employee in the Washington D.C. area received total compensation worth more than $126,000.
#24 The U.S. Department of Defense had just nine civilians earning $170,000 or more back in 2005. When Barack Obama became president, the U.S. Department of Defense had 214 civilians earning $170,000 or more. By June 2010, the U.S. Department of Defense had 994 civilians earning $170,000 or more.
#25 During 2010, compensation for federal employees came to a grand total of approximately 447 billion dollars.
#26 If you can believe it, close to 15,000 retired federal employees are currently collecting federal pensions for life worth at least $100,000 annually. That list includes such names as Newt Gingrich, Bob Dole, Trent Lott, Dick Gephardt and Dick Cheney.
#27 During 2010, the federal government spent $33,387 on the hair care needs of U.S. Senators.
#28 During 2010, U.S. Senators pulled $72,370 out of the “Senate Restaurant Fund”.
#29 During 2010, an average of $4,005,900 of U.S. taxpayer money was spent on “personal” and “office” expenses per Senator.
#30 In 2013, 3.7 million dollars will be spent to support the lavish lifestyles of former presidents such as George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
#31 During 2011, the federal government spent a total of 1.4 BILLION dollars just on the Obamas.
#32 When you combine all federal government spending, all state government spending and all local government spending, it comes to approximately 41 percent of U.S. GDP. But don’t worry, all of our politicians insist that this is not socialism.
#33 As I have written about previously, less than 30 percent of all Americans lived in a home where at least one person received financial assistance from the federal government back in 1983. Today, that number is sitting at an all-time high of 49 percent.
#34 Back in 1990, the federal government accounted for just 32 percent of all health care spending in America. This year, it is being projected that the federal government will account for more than 50 percent of all health care spending in the United States.
#35 The number of Americans on Medicaid soared from 34 million in 2000 to 54 million in 2011, and it is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.
#36 In one of my previous articles, I discussed how 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.
#37 If you can believe it, 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.
#38 In the United States today, more than 61 million Americans receive some form of Social Security benefits. By 2035, that number is projected to soar to a whopping 91 million.
#39 Overall, the Social Security system is facing a 134 trillion dollar shortfall over the next 75 years.
#40 When Barack Obama first took office, the U.S. national debt was about 10.6 trillion dollars. Now it is about 16.7 trillion dollars. That is an increase of 6.1 trillion dollars in a little more than 4 years.
#41 The federal government has now run a budget deficit of more than a trillion dollars for four years in a row.
#42 If right this moment you went out and started spending one dollar every single second, it would take you more than 31,000 years to spend one trillion dollars.
#43 If you were alive when Jesus Christ was born and you spent one million dollars every single day since that point, you still would not have spent one trillion dollars by now.
#44 Some suggest that “taxing the rich” is the answer. Well, if Bill Gates gave every single penny of his entire fortune to the U.S. government, it would only cover the U.S. budget deficit for 15 days.
#45 If the federal government used GAAP accounting standards like publicly traded corporations do, the real federal budget deficit for 2011 would have been 5 trillion dollars instead of 1.3 trillion dollars.
#46 The United States already has more government debt per capita than Greece, Portugal, Italy, Ireland or Spain does.
#47 At this point, the United States government is responsible for more than a third of all the government debt in the entire world.
#48 The amount of U.S. government debt held by foreigners is about 5 times larger than it was just a decade ago.
#49 Between 2007 and 2010, U.S. GDP grew by only 4.26%, but the U.S. national debt soared by 61% during that same time period.
#50 The U.S. national debt is now more than 37 times larger than it was when Richard Nixon took us off the gold standard.
#51 The U.S. national debt is now more than 5000 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was first created.
#52 The U.S. national debt jumped more on the very first day of fiscal year 2013 than it did from 1776 to 1941 combined.
#53 Historically, the interest rate on 10 year U.S. Treasuries has averaged 6.68 percent. If the average interest rate on U.S. government debt rose to that level today, the U.S. government would find itself spending more than a trillion dollars per year just on interest on the national debt.
#54 A recently revised IMF policy paper entitled “An Analysis of U.S. Fiscal and Generational Imbalances: Who Will Pay and How?” projects that U.S. government debt will rise to about 400 percent of GDP by the year 2050.
#55 Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff is warning that the U.S. government is facing a gigantic tsunami of unfunded liabilities in the coming years that we are counting on our children and our grandchildren to pay. Kotlikoff speaks of a “fiscal gap” which he defines as “the present value difference between projected future spending and revenue”. His calculations have led him to the conclusion that the federal government is facing a fiscal gap of 222 trillion dollars in the years ahead.
Please share this article with as many people as you can. We are in the process of committing national financial suicide and time is rapidly running out to do anything about it.
Just like Detroit, a day is rapidly approaching when America will not be able to kick the can down the road anymore.
Sadly, our politicians don’t seem inclined to do anything about it and most of the population seems to think that our exploding national debt is not a significant problem.
By the time it becomes clear how wrong they were, it will be far too late to do anything about it.
What do speed traps, parking tickets, toll roads, speed cameras and red light cameras all have in common? They are all major revenue sources for state and local governments. All over America today there are state and local governments that are drowning in debt. Many have chosen to use “traffic enforcement” as a way to raise desperately needed revenue. According to the National Motorist Association, issuing speeding tickets raises somewhere between 4.5 billion and 6 billion dollars in the United States each year. And the average price of a speeding ticket just keeps going up. Today, the national average is about $150, but in many jurisdictions it is far higher. For example, more than 16 million traffic tickets are issued in the state of California each year, and the average fine is approximately $250. If you are wealthy that may not be much of a problem, but if you are a family that is barely scraping by every month that can be a major financial setback. Meanwhile, America’s roads are also being systematically transformed into a surveillance grid. The number of cameras watching our roads is absolutely exploding, and automated license plate readers are capturing hundreds of millions of data points on all of us. As you drive down the highway, a police vehicle coming up behind you can instantly read your license plate and pull up a whole host of information about you. This happened to me a few years ago. I had pulled on to a very crowded highway in Virginia and within less than a minute a cop car had scanned me and was pulling me over because one of my stickers had expired. But these automated license plate readers are being used for far more than just traffic enforcement now. For example, officials in Washington D.C. are now using automated license plate readers to track the movements of every single vehicle that enters the city. They know when you enter Washington, and they know when you leave. So where is all of this headed? Do we really want to live in a “Big Brother” society where the government constantly tracks all of our movements?
Back in the old days, the highways of America were great examples to the rest of the world of the tremendous liberties and freedoms that we enjoyed. Americans loved to hop into their vehicles and take a drive. But now government is sucking all of the fun out of driving. The control freak bureaucrats that dominate our political system have figured out that giant piles of money can be raised by turning our roads into revenue raising tools.
At this point things have gotten so bad that even some police officers are admitting what is going on. Just check out what a few of them told Car and Driver…
The president of a state police union isn’t pretending it doesn’t happen. James Tignanelli, president of the Police Officers Association of Michigan union, says, “When elected officials say, ‘We need more money,’ they can’t look to the department of public works to raise revenues, so where do they find it? Police departments.
“A lot of police chiefs will tell you the goal is to have nobody speeding through their community, but heaven forbid if it should actually happen—they’d be out of money,” Tignanelli says.
Police Chief Michael Reaves of Utica, Michigan, says the role of law enforcement has changed over the years. “When I first started in this job 30 years ago, police work was never about revenue enhancement, but if you’re a chief now, you have to look at whether your department produces revenues,” he says. “That’s just the reality nowadays.”
And as the economy has gone downhill, many jurisdictions have massively jacked up traffic fines. According to the Los Angeles Times, various traffic fines in the Los Angeles area are far higher than they once were…
If you’re caught running a red light in Los Angeles, be prepared to shell out $446, up from $271 eight years ago. Make a rolling right turn at a stoplight and the ticket comes to $381 — more than double what it cost in 2008.
And of course the cost to the driver does not end with the ticket. Your car insurance will likely go up as well. In fact, one study found that a driver that just gets one speeding ticket will pay an additional 20 percent for car insurance for the next three to six years.
That can add up to a lot of money.
But politicians just keep wanting to find a way to issue even more tickets. One of the hottest trends all over the country is to automate the issuing of traffic tickets by installing cameras. According to USA Today, this has become a huge growth industry…
Sales of the cameras have nearly quadrupled since companies moved to digital and wireless technology in the mid-2000s. The number of local contracts for cameras was up to 689 last year, from 155 in 2005, according to industry data complied by market leader American Traffic Solutions (ATS).
And these automated traffic cameras can raise an enormous amount of cash. Just check out what has been happening in Washington D.C.…
The speeding and traffic light cameras have become more lucrative as their number in the District has increased. Combined, they issued tickets valued at $24.4 million in 2007. That figure more than doubled by 2010, to $50.9 million, and it reached $84.9 million in the last fiscal year.
But as annoying as those traffic cameras are, automated license plate readers are perhaps even more insidious.
The amount of data that these automated license plate readers are capturing is astounding. The following is from a recent article by the Electronic Frontier Foundation…
Photographing a single license plate one time on a public city street may not seem problematic, but when that data is put into a database, combined with other scans of that same plate on other city streets, and stored forever, it can become very revealing. Information about your location over time can show not only where you live and work, but your political and religious beliefs, your social and sexual habits, your visits to the doctor, and your associations with others. And, according to recent research reported in Nature, it’s possible to identify 95% of individuals with as few as four randomly selected geospatial datapoints (location + time), making location data the ultimate biometric identifier.
Our license plates have essentially become “our papers” which the government can read whenever it would like without even asking for our permission.
According to L.A. Weekly, local police agencies in the L.A. area have captured more than 160 million data points on private citizens using these automated license plate readers…
L.A. Weekly has learned that more than two dozen law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles County are using hundreds of these “automatic license plate recognition” devices (LPRs) — units about the size of a paperback book, usually mounted atop police cruisers — to devour data on every car that catches their electronic eye.
The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles Police Department are two of the biggest gatherers of automatic license plate recognition information. Local police agencies have logged more than 160 million data points — a massive database of the movements of millions of drivers in Southern California.
Each data point represents a car and its exact whereabouts at a given time. Police have already conducted, on average, some 22 scans for every one of the 7,014,131 vehicles registered in L.A. County.
As the use of these devices becomes more widespread and they become even more sophisticated, eventually the government will know where almost all of us are and what almost all of us are doing at all times.
The following is a brief except from a Washington Post article that detailed how automated license plate readers are now being used to create a “dragnet” that will track the movements of all vehicles from the time that they enter Washington D.C. to the time that they leave…
More than 250 cameras in the District and its suburbs scan license plates in real time, helping police pinpoint stolen cars and fleeing killers. But the program quietly has expanded beyond what anyone had imagined even a few years ago.
With virtually no public debate, police agencies have begun storing the information from the cameras, building databases that document the travels of millions of vehicles.
Nowhere is that more prevalent than in the District, which has more than one plate-reader per square mile, the highest concentration in the nation. Police in the Washington suburbs have dozens of them as well, and local agencies plan to add many more in coming months, creating a comprehensive dragnet that will include all the approaches into the District.
This is just the beginning.
For now, as long as you carefully obey all traffic laws and you don’t work in a major city like Washington D.C., the changes that are happening probably do not affect you too much.
But the key is to see where all of this is going. Our roads are slowly but surely being transformed into a revenue generating control grid. And this is just yet another example of how government feels the need to constantly watch, monitor, track and regulate everything that we do.
Does anyone else feel like the life is slowly being choked out of our society, or am I alone?
If the economy is improving, then why are many of the largest retail chains in America closing hundreds of stores? When I was growing up, Sears, J.C. Penney, Best Buy and RadioShack were all considered to be unstoppable retail powerhouses. But now it is being projected that all of them will close hundreds of stores before the end of 2013. Even Wal-Mart is running into problems. A recent internal Wal-Mart memo that was leaked to Bloomberg described February sales as a “total disaster”. So why is this happening? Why are major retail chains all over America collapsing? Is the “retail apocalypse” upon us? Well, the truth is that this is just another sign that the U.S. economy is falling apart right in front of our eyes. Incomes are declining, taxes are going up, government dependence is at an all-time high, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the percentage of the U.S. labor force that is employed has been steadily falling since 2006. The top 10% of all income earners in the U.S. are still doing very well, but most U.S. consumers are either flat broke or are drowning in debt. The large disposable incomes that the big retail chains have depended upon in the past simply are not there anymore. So retail chains all over the United States are now closing up unprofitable stores. This is especially true in low income areas.
When you step back and take a look at the bigger picture, the rapid decline of some of our largest retail chains really is stunning.
It is happening already in some areas, but soon half empty malls and boarded up storefronts will litter the landscapes of cities all over America.
Just check out some of these store closing numbers for 2013. These numbers are from a recent Yahoo Finance article…
Forecast store closings: 200 to 250
Sears Holding Corp.
Forecast store closings: Kmart 175 to 225, Sears 100 to 125
Forecast store closings: 300 to 350
Forecast store closings: 125 to 150
Barnes & Noble
Forecast store closings: 190 to 240, per company comments
Forecast store closings: 500 to 600
Forecast store closings: 150 to 175
Forecast store closings: 450 to 550
The RadioShack in a nearby town just closed up where I live. This is all happening so fast that it is hard to believe.
But the truth is that those store closings are not the entire story. When you dig deeper you find a lot more retailers that are in trouble.
For example, Blockbuster recently announced that this year they will be closing about 300 stores and eliminating about 3,000 jobs.
Toy manufacturer Hasbro recently announced that they will be reducing the size of their workforce by about 10 percent.
Even Wal-Mart is going through a tough stretch right now. According to documents that were leaked to Bloomberg, Wal-Mart is having an absolutely disastrous February…
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. had the worst sales start to a month in seven years as payroll-tax increases hit shoppers already battling a slow economy, according to internal e-mails obtained by Bloomberg News.
“In case you haven’t seen a sales report these days, February MTD sales are a total disaster,” Jerry Murray, Wal- Mart’s vice president of finance and logistics, said in a Feb. 12 e-mail to other executives, referring to month-to-date sales. “The worst start to a month I have seen in my ~7 years with the company.”
So what in the world is going on here?
The mainstream media continues to proclaim that we are experiencing a robust “economic recovery”, but at the same time there are a whole host of indications that things are continually getting worse.
Even global cell phone sales actually declined slightly in 2012. That was the first time that has happened since the last recession.
Perhaps it is time that we faced the truth. The middle class is shrinking, incomes are declining and there are not nearly as many jobs as there used to be.
Mort Zuckerman pointed this out in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal…
The U.S. labor market, which peaked in November 2007 when there were 139,143,000 jobs, now encompasses only 132,705,000 workers, a drop of 6.4 million jobs from the peak. The only work that has increased is part-time, and that is because it allows employers to reduce costs through a diminished benefit package or none at all.
So how can the mainstream media be talking about how “good” things are if we still have 6.4 million fewer jobs than we had back in November 2007?
And sadly, things may soon be getting a lot worse. If Congress does not do anything about the “sequester”, millions of federal workers may shortly be facing some very painful furloughs according to CNN…
Federal workers could start facing furloughs as early as April, according to federal agencies trying to prepare for the worst.
Unless Congress steps in, some $85 billion in massive spending reductions will hit the federal government, doling out furloughs to much of the nation’s 2.1 million federal workforce, experts say.
If you still live in an area of the country where the stores and the restaurants are booming, you should be very thankful because that is not the reality for most of the country.
I often write about the stunning economic decline of major cities such as Detroit, but there are huge sections of rural America that are in even worse shape than Detroit in many ways.
For example, many Indian reservations all over America have been shamefully neglected by the federal government and have become hotbeds for crime, drugs and poverty.
Business Insider recently profiled the Wind River Indian reservation in western Wyoming. The following is a brief excerpt from that outstanding article…
The Wind River Indian Reservation is not an easy place to get to, but I had to see it for myself.
Thirty-five-hundred square miles of prairie and mountains in western Wyoming, the reservation is home to bitter ancestral enemies: the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes.
Even among reservations, it’s renowned for brutal crime, widespread drug use, and legal dumping of toxic waste.
You can see some amazing photos of the Wind River Indian reservation right here.
It is hard to believe that there are places like that in America, but the truth is that conditions like that are spreading to more U.S. communities with each passing day.
We are a nation that is in an advanced state of decline. But as long as the financial markets are okay, our leaders don’t seem too concerned about the suffering that everyone else is going through.
In fact, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan essentially admitted as much during a recent interview with CNBC. The following is how a Zero Hedge article summarized that interview…
Starting at around 1:50, Greenspan states the odds of sequester occurring are very high – in fact, the playdough-faced ex-Chair-head notes, “I find it very difficult to find a scenario in which [the sequester] doesn’t happen” But when asked how this will affect the economy, Awkward Alan is unusually clearly spoken – “the issue is how does it affect the stock market.”
While not so many of our leaders have taken the path to direct truthiness, Greenspan somewhat shocks a Botox’d and babbling Bartiromo when he admits “the stock market is the key player in the game of economic growth.”
Bartiromo shifts uncomfortably in her seat, strokes her imaginary beard and stares blankly as Greenspan explains that while the sequester will have a real effect on the real economy, “if the stock market can hold up through this, then the effect will be rather minor.”
Do you see?
As long as the stock market is moving higher they think that everything is just fine and dandy.
And the Obama administration?
They continue to pursue the same policies that got us into this mess.
Their idea of “economic reform” is to threaten to sue businesses that do not hire ex-convicts.
And of course now that Obama has been re-elected he is putting a tremendous amount of effort into “stimulating the economy”.
For example, he spent this weekend golfing in Florida, and the Obamas recently spent about 20 million taxpayer dollars vacationing in Hawaii.
Meanwhile, the U.S. economy is getting worse with each passing day.
If you doubt that economic conditions are getting worse, please read this article: “Show This To Anyone That Believes That ‘Things Are Getting Better’ In America“.
When you look at the cold, hard numbers, it is undeniable what is happening to America.
And our leaders are not doing anything to fix our problems. In fact, most of the time they are just making things worse.
So buckle up and get prepared. We are in for very bumpy ride, and this is only just the beginning.
Does a shadowy group of obscenely wealthy elitists control the world? Do men and women with enormous amounts of money really run the world from behind the scenes? The answer might surprise you. Most of us tend to think of money as a convenient way to conduct transactions, but the truth is that it also represents power and control. And today we live in a neo-fuedalist system in which the super rich pull all the strings. When I am talking about the ultra-wealthy, I am not just talking about people that have a few million dollars. As you will see later in this article, the ultra-wealthy have enough money sitting in offshore banks to buy all of the goods and services produced in the United States during the course of an entire year and still be able to pay off the entire U.S. national debt. That is an amount of money so large that it is almost incomprehensible. Under this ne0-feudalist system, all the rest of us are debt slaves, including our own governments. Just look around – everyone is drowning in debt, and all of that debt is making the ultra-wealthy even wealthier. But the ultra-wealthy don’t just sit on all of that wealth. They use some of it to dominate the affairs of the nations. The ultra-wealthy own virtually every major bank and every major corporation on the planet. They use a vast network of secret societies, think tanks and charitable organizations to advance their agendas and to keep their members in line. They control how we view the world through their ownership of the media and their dominance over our education system. They fund the campaigns of most of our politicians and they exert a tremendous amount of influence over international organizations such as the United Nations, the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO. When you step back and take a look at the big picture, there is little doubt about who runs the world. It is just that most people don’t want to admit the truth.
The ultra-wealthy don’t run down and put their money in the local bank like you and I do. Instead, they tend to stash their assets in places where they won’t be taxed such as the Cayman Islands. According to a report that was released last summer, the global elite have up to 32 TRILLION dollars stashed in offshore banks around the globe.
U.S. GDP for 2011 was about 15 trillion dollars, and the U.S. national debt is sitting at about 16 trillion dollars, so you could add them both together and you still wouldn’t hit 32 trillion dollars.
And of course that does not even count the money that is stashed in other locations that the study did not account for, and it does not count all of the wealth that the global elite have in hard assets such as real estate, precious metals, art, yachts, etc.
The global elite have really hoarded an incredible amount of wealth in these troubled times. The following is from an article on the Huffington Post website…
Rich individuals and their families have as much as $32 trillion of hidden financial assets in offshore tax havens, representing up to $280 billion in lost income tax revenues, according to research published on Sunday.
The study estimating the extent of global private financial wealth held in offshore accounts – excluding non-financial assets such as real estate, gold, yachts and racehorses – puts the sum at between $21 and $32 trillion.
The research was carried out for pressure group Tax Justice Network, which campaigns against tax havens, by James Henry, former chief economist at consultants McKinsey & Co.
He used data from the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, United Nations and central banks.
But as I mentioned previously, the global elite just don’t have a lot of money. They also basically own just about every major bank and every major corporation on the entire planet.
According to an outstanding NewScientist article, a study of more than 40,000 transnational corporations conducted by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich discovered that a very small core group of huge banks and giant predator corporations dominate the entire global economic system…
An analysis of the relationships between 43,000 transnational corporations has identified a relatively small group of companies, mainly banks, with disproportionate power over the global economy.
The researchers found that this core group consists of just 147 very tightly knit companies…
When the team further untangled the web of ownership, it found much of it tracked back to a “super-entity” of 147 even more tightly knit companies – all of their ownership was held by other members of the super-entity – that controlled 40 per cent of the total wealth in the network. “In effect, less than 1 per cent of the companies were able to control 40 per cent of the entire network,” says Glattfelder. Most were financial institutions. The top 20 included Barclays Bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co, and The Goldman Sachs Group.
The following are the top 25 banks and corporations at the heart of this “super-entity”. You will recognize many of the names on the list…
1. Barclays plc
2. Capital Group Companies Inc
3. FMR Corporation
5. State Street Corporation
6. JP Morgan Chase & Co
7. Legal & General Group plc
8. Vanguard Group Inc
9. UBS AG
10. Merrill Lynch & Co Inc
11. Wellington Management Co LLP
12. Deutsche Bank AG
13. Franklin Resources Inc
14. Credit Suisse Group
15. Walton Enterprises LLC
16. Bank of New York Mellon Corp
18. Goldman Sachs Group Inc
19. T Rowe Price Group Inc
20. Legg Mason Inc
21. Morgan Stanley
22. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc
23. Northern Trust Corporation
24. Société Générale
25. Bank of America Corporation
The ultra-wealthy elite often hide behind layers and layers of ownership, but the truth is that thanks to interlocking corporate relationships, the elite basically control almost every Fortune 500 corporation.
The amount of power and control that this gives them is hard to describe.
Unfortunately, this same group of people have been running things for a very long time. For example, New York City Mayor John F. Hylan said the following during a speech all the way back in 1922…
The real menace of our Republic is the invisible government, which like a giant octopus sprawls its slimy legs over our cities, states and nation. To depart from mere generalizations, let me say that at the head of this octopus are the Rockefeller-Standard Oil interests and a small group of powerful banking houses generally referred to as the international bankers. The little coterie of powerful international bankers virtually run the United States government for their own selfish purposes.
They practically control both parties, write political platforms, make catspaws of party leaders, use the leading men of private organizations, and resort to every device to place in nomination for high public office only such candidates as will be amenable to the dictates of corrupt big business.
These international bankers and Rockefeller-Standard Oil interests control the majority of the newspapers and magazines in this country. They use the columns of these papers to club into submission or drive out of office public officials who refuse to do the bidding of the powerful corrupt cliques which compose the invisible government. It operates under cover of a self-created screen [and] seizes our executive officers, legislative bodies, schools, courts, newspapers and every agency created for the public protection.
These international bankers created the central banks of the world (including the Federal Reserve), and they use those central banks to get the governments of the world ensnared in endless cycles of debt from which there is no escape. Government debt is a way to “legitimately” take money from all of us, transfer it to the government, and then transfer it into the pockets of the ultra-wealthy.
Today, Barack Obama and almost all members of Congress absolutely refuse to criticize the Fed, but in the past there have been some brave members of Congress that have been willing to take a stand. For example, the following quote is from a speech that Congressman Louis T. McFadden delivered to the U.S. House of Representatives on June 10, 1932…
Mr. Chairman, we have in this country one of the most corrupt institutions the world has ever known. I refer to the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Reserve Banks. The Federal Reserve Board, a Government board, has cheated the Government of the United States and the people of the United States out of enough money to pay the national debt. The depredations and iniquities of the Federal Reserve Board has cost this country enough money to pay the national debt several times over. This evil institution has impoverished and ruined the people of the United States, has bankrupted itself, and has practically bankrupted our Government. It has done this through the defects of the law under which it operates, through the maladministration of that law by the Federal Reserve Board, and through the corrupt practices of the moneyed vultures who control it.
Sadly, most Americans still believe that the Federal Reserve is a “federal agency”, but that is simply not correct. The following comes from factcheck.org…
The stockholders in the 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks are the privately owned banks that fall under the Federal Reserve System. These include all national banks (chartered by the federal government) and those state-chartered banks that wish to join and meet certain requirements. About 38 percent of the nation’s more than 8,000 banks are members of the system, and thus own the Fed banks.
According to researchers that have looked into the ownership of the big Wall Street banks that dominate the Fed, the same names keep coming up over and over: the Rockefellers, the Rothschilds, the Warburgs, the Lazards, the Schiffs and the royal families of Europe.
But ultra-wealthy international bankers have not just done this kind of thing in the United States. Their goal was to create a global financial system that they would dominate and control. Just check out what Georgetown University history professor Carroll Quigley once wrote…
[T]he powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations.
Sadly, most Americans have never even heard of the Bank for International Settlements, but it is at the very heart of the global financial system. The following is from Wikipedia…
As an organization of central banks, the BIS seeks to make monetary policy more predictable and transparent among its 58 member central banks. While monetary policy is determined by each sovereign nation, it is subject to central and private banking scrutiny and potentially to speculation that affects foreign exchange rates and especially the fate of export economies. Failures to keep monetary policy in line with reality and make monetary reforms in time, preferably as a simultaneous policy among all 58 member banks and also involving the International Monetary Fund, have historically led to losses in the billions as banks try to maintain a policy using open market methods that have proven to be based on unrealistic assumptions.
The ultra-wealthy have also played a major role in establishing other important international institutions such as the United Nations, the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO. In fact, the land for the United Nations headquarters in New York City was purchased and donated by John D. Rockefeller.
The international bankers are “internationalists” and they are very proud of that fact.
The elite also dominate the education system in the United States. Over the years, the Rockefeller Foundation and other elitist organizations have poured massive amounts of money into Ivy League schools. Today, Ivy League schools are considered to be the standard against which all other colleges and universities in America are measured, and the last four U.S. presidents were educated at Ivy League schools.
The elite also exert a tremendous amount of influence through various secret societies (Skull and Bones, the Freemasons, etc.), through some very powerful think tanks and social clubs (the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderberg Group, the Bohemian Grove, Chatham House, etc.), and through a vast network of charities and non-governmental organizations (the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the World Wildlife Fund, etc.).
But for a moment, I want to focus on the power the elite have over the media. In a previous article, I detailed how just six monolithic corporate giants control most of what we watch, hear and read every single day. These giant corporations own television networks, cable channels, movie studios, newspapers, magazines, publishing houses, music labels and even many of our favorite websites.
Considering the fact that the average American watches 153 hours of television a month, the influence of these six giant corporations should not be underestimated. The following are just some of the media companies that these corporate giants own…
Home Box Office (HBO)
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
CW Network (partial ownership)
New Line Cinema
Time Warner Cable
ABC Television Network
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Buena Vista Theatrical Productions
Buena Vista Records
Walt Disney Pictures
Pixar Animation Studios
Buena Vista Games
Paramount Home Entertainment
Black Entertainment Television (BET)
Country Music Television (CMT)
Nick at Nite
The Movie Channel
Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Fox Television Stations
The New York Post
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Fox Business Network
Fox Kids Europe
Fox News Channel
Fox Sports Net
Fox Television Network
My Network TV
News Limited News
Phoenix InfoNews Channel
Phoenix Movies Channel
STAR TV India
STAR TV Taiwan
Times Higher Education Supplement Magazine
Times Literary Supplement Magazine
Times of London
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
20th Century Fox International
20th Century Fox Studios
20th Century Fox Television
The Wall Street Journal
Fox Broadcasting Company
Fox Interactive Media
The National Geographic Channel
National Rugby League
Sky Radio Denmark
Sky Radio Germany
Sky Radio Netherlands
CBS Television Network
CBS Radio Inc. (130 stations)
CBS Consumer Products
CW Network (50% ownership)
Simon & Schuster (Pocket Books, Scribner)
Westwood One Radio Network
NBC Television Network
Syfy (Sci Fi Channel)
NBC Universal Television Distribution
NBC Universal Television Studio
Paxson Communications (partial ownership)
Universal Parks & Resorts
Universal Studio Home Video
And of course the elite own most of our politicians as well. The following is a quote from journalist Lewis Lapham…
“The shaping of the will of Congress and the choosing of the American president has become a privilege reserved to the country’s equestrian classes, a.k.a. the 20% of the population that holds 93% of the wealth, the happy few who run the corporations and the banks, own and operate the news and entertainment media, compose the laws and govern the universities, control the philanthropic foundations, the policy institutes, the casinos, and the sports arenas.”
Have you ever wondered why things never seem to change in Washington D.C. no matter who we vote for?
Well, it is because both parties are owned by the establishment.
It would be nice to think that the American people are in control of who runs things in the U.S., but that is not how it works in the real world.
In the real world, the politician that raises more money wins more than 80 percent of the time in national races.
Our politicians are not stupid – they are going to be very good to the people that can give them the giant piles of money that they need for their campaigns. And the people that can do that are the ultra-wealthy and the giant corporations that the ultra-wealthy control.
Are you starting to get the picture?
There is a reason why the ultra-wealthy are referred to as “the establishment”. They have set up a system that greatly benefits them and that allows them to pull the strings.
So who runs the world?
They do. In fact, they even admit as much.
David Rockefeller wrote the following in his 2003 book entitled “Memoirs”…
“For more than a century, ideological extremists at either end of the political spectrum have seized upon well-publicized incidents such as my encounter with Castro to attack the Rockefeller family for the inordinate influence they claim we wield over American political and economic institutions. Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure — one world, if you will. If that is the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.”
There is so much more that could be said about all of this. In fact, an entire library of books could be written about the power and the influence of the ultra-wealthy international bankers that run the world.
But hopefully this is enough to at least get some conversations started.
So what do you think about all of this? Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below…
Why are so many politicians around the world declaring that the debt crisis is “over” when debt to GDP ratios all over the planet continue to skyrocket? The global economy has never seen anything like the sovereign debt bubble that we are experiencing today. The United States, Japan, and nearly every major nation in Europe are absolutely drowning in debt. We have heard a lot about “austerity” over in Europe in recent years, but debt to GDP ratios continue to rise in Greece, Spain, Italy, Ireland and Portugal. In general, most economists consider a debt to GDP ratio of 100% to be a “danger level”, and most of the economies of the western world have either already surpassed that level or are rapidly approaching it. Of course the biggest debt offender of all in many ways is the United States. The U.S. debt to GDP ratio has risen from 66.6 percent to 103 percent since 2007, and the U.S. government accumulated more new debt during Barack Obama’s first term than it did under the first 42 U.S. presidents combined. This insane sovereign debt bubble will continue to expand until a day of reckoning arrives and the system implodes. Nobody knows exactly when that moment will be reached, but without a doubt it is coming.
But if you listen to the mainstream media in the United States, you would be tempted to think that this giant bubble of debt is not much of a concern at all. For example, in a recent article in the Washington Post entitled “The case for deficit optimism“, Ezra Klein wrote the following…
“Here’s a secret: For all the sound and fury, Washington’s actually making real progress on debt.”
How many times have we heard that before?
About a decade ago, government officials were projecting that we would be swimming in gigantic government surpluses by now.
Instead, we are running trillion dollar deficits.
But right now there is a lot of optimism about the economy. The stock market recently hit a 5 year high and the business community is loving all of the false prosperity that all of this debt is buying us.
Even Warren Buffett does not really seem concerned about the exploding U.S. government debt. He recently made the following statement…
“It is not a good thing to have it going up in relation to GDP. That should be stabilized. But the debt itself is not a problem.”
A debt of 16 trillion dollars “is not a problem”?
Perhaps we should all run our finances that way.
Why don’t we all go out and open up 20 different credit cards, run them all up to the max, and then tell the credit card companies that we can’t pay them back but that it “is not a problem”.
Of course real life does not work that way.
The truth is that government debt is becoming a monstrous problem all over the globe. Just check out how debt to GDP ratios all over the planet have grown over the past five years…
Debt to GDP ratio in 2007: 66.6 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2012: 103 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2007: 43.4 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2012: 85.0 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2007: 63.7 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2012: 86 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2007: 67.6 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2012: 80.5 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2007: 39.6 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2012: 69.3 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2007: 24.8 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2012: 106.4 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2007: 63.9 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2012: 108.1 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2007: 106.6 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2012: 120.7 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2007: 106.1 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2012: 170.6 percent
The Eurozone As A Whole
Debt to GDP ratio in 2007: 68.4 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2012: 87.3 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2007: 172.1 percent
Debt to GDP ratio in 2012: 211.7 percent
So how does all of this end?
Well, it is going to be messy, but it is very difficult to say exactly when the system will collapse under the weight of too much debt. Some nations, such as Japan, are able to handle very high debt loads because they have a very high level of domestic saving. Up to this point, an astounding 95 percent of all Japanese government bonds have been purchased domestically. But other nations collapse under the weight of government debt even before they reach a debt to GDP ratio of 100%. The following is an excerpt from a recent Congressional Research Service report…
It is hard to predict at what point bond holders would deem it to be unsustainable. A few other advanced economies have debt-to-GDP ratios higher than that of the United States. Some of those countries in Europe have recently seen their financing costs rise to the point that they are unable to finance their deficits solely through private markets. But Japan has the highest debt-to-GDP ratio of any advanced economy, and it has continued to be able to finance its debt at extremely low costs.
When a government runs up massive amounts of debt, it is playing with fire. You can pile up mountains of government debt for a while, but eventually it catches up with you.
Over the past 10 years, the U.S. national debt has grown by an average of 9.3 percent per year, but the overall U.S. economy has only grown by an average of just 1.8 percent per year. That is unsustainable by definition.
There is going to be a tremendous price to pay for the debt binge that the U.S. government has indulged in over the past decade. During Barack Obama’s first term, the amount of new debt accumulated by the federal government breaks down to about $50,521 for every single household in the United States. That is utter insanity.
If you can believe it, we have accumulated more new government debt under Obama than we did from the inauguration of George Washington to the end of the Clinton administration.
And most Americans realize that something is seriously wrong. One recent poll found that only 34 percent of all Americans believe that the country is heading in the right direction, and 60 percent of all Americans believe that the country is heading in the wrong direction.
If we keep piling up so much debt, at some point a moment of great crisis will arrive. When that moment arrives, we could see havoc throughout the entire global financial system. For instance, most people don’t really understand the key role that U.S. Treasuries play in the derivatives market. The following is from a recent article posted on Zero Hedge…
This time around, things will be far worse if nothing is solved. If the US loses another AAA rating, then the financial markets could face systemic risk. The reason for this is that US Treasuries are one of the senior most forms of collateral used by the banks to backstop the $600+ trillion derivatives market.
As any trader who trades on margin can tell you, when the value of your collateral is called into question, those on the other side of the trade come looking for you to put up more capital on your trades. This can result in assets being sold en masse (similar to what happened after Lehman failed) and things can get very ugly very fast.
For much more on the danger that derivatives pose to our financial system, please see this article: “The Coming Derivatives Panic That Will Destroy Global Financial Markets“.
Once again, nobody knows exactly when the sovereign debt bubble will burst, but if we continue down the path that we are currently on, it will inevitably happen at some point.
And according to Professor Carmen Reinhart, when this bubble does burst things could unravel very rapidly…
“These processes are not linear,” warns Prof. Reinhart. “You can increase debt for a while and nothing happens. Then you hit the wall, and—bang!—what seem to be minor shocks that the markets would shrug off in other circumstances suddenly become big.”
At some point the global financial system will hit the wall that Professor Reinhart has warned about.
Are you ready?
The number of Americans receiving money directly from the federal government has grown from 94 million in the year 2000 to over 128 million today. A shocking new research paper by Patrick Tyrrell and William W. Beach contains that statistic and a whole bunch of other very revealing numbers. According to their research, the federal government hands out money to 41.3 percent of the entire population of the United States each month. Overall, more than 70 percent of all federal spending goes to what they call “dependence-creating programs”. It is the most massive wealth redistribution scheme in the history of the world, and it continues to grow at a very rapid pace with each passing month. But can we really afford this? Of course we never want to see a single person go without food to eat or a roof to sleep under, but can the federal government really afford to support 128 million Americans every month? If millions more Americans keep jumping on to the “safety net” each year, how long will it be before it breaks and it is not there for anyone? The federal government is already drowning in debt. This year the U.S. national debt will easily blow past the 17 trillion dollar mark and we are rapidly heading toward financial oblivion. We are stealing more than 100 million dollars from our children and our grandchildren every single hour of every single day with no end in sight. If we don’t get our finances in order as a nation, what will the end result be?
According to Tyrrell and Beach, federal spending on entitlement programs has been rising more than 6 times as fast as population growth has in recent years…
Between 1988 and 2011, spending on dependence-creating federal government programs has increased 180 percent versus “only” a 62 percent increase in the number of people who are enrolled in federal government programs, and a 27 percent increase in the population. Not only are more people enrolled in government programs than ever before, but more US taxpayer dollars are being spent on each recipient every year.
But even though the numbers that Tyrrell and Beach present in their paper are incredibly shocking, the truth is that they have probably underestimated the true scope of government dependence in America today. Just consider the following numbers…
Back in the year 2000, there were about 17 million Americans on food stamps. That number has exploded to more than 47 million today.
If you can believe it, today more than 70 million Americans are on Medicaid, and it is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.
Right now, there are more than 53 million Americans on Social Security, and that number is projected to absolutely explode as huge waves of Baby Boomers retire in the coming years.
As I wrote about in a previous article, the number of Americans on Medicare is expected to grow from 50.7 million in 2012 to 73.2 million in 2025.
And those are only four examples of government programs that have seen their numbers explode in recent years. There are so many more that could be mentioned. Overall, the federal government runs nearly 80 different “means-tested welfare programs“, and almost all of them are experiencing explosive growth.
So is the “128 million” figure that Tyrrell and Beach have come up with actually too low? I believe that it is. But in any event, nobody can deny that the “welfare state” in the U.S. has absolutely mushroomed in size since the turn of the century.
According to one recent poll, 55 percent of all Americans say that they have received money from a safety net program run by the federal government at some point in their lives. We are a nation that has become very comfortable leaning on Uncle Sam for help.
And poor people from all around the globe see how good things are here and they are eager to get a seat at the table. In a previous article, I talked about a federal government website (“WelcomeToUSA.gov“) that actually teaches new immigrants how to apply for welfare once they are able to get into the United States.
Will we all eventually becoming dependent on the government? If that happens will we still be free men and women?
Once someone is dependent on the government, they become forced to do what the government tells them to do in order to survive. If we all eventually become dependent on the federal government, how much power will that give them over us?
That is something to think about.
Another thing to ponder is how the U.S. middle class is rapidly disappearing.
There will always be poor people, and we should always take care of them, but what we should be truly alarmed about is how the middle class in America has been dramatically shrinking in recent years.
One of the biggest reasons why so many Americans are applying for government assistance these days is because there simply aren’t enough jobs for everyone. Politicians from both political parties have fully embraced the one world “free trade” economic agenda of the global elite, and as a result millions of our jobs are being shipped out of the country. Big corporations can either choose to pay U.S. workers a living wage with benefits, or they can choose to set up shop on the other side of the globe where it is legal to pay workers slave labor wages with no benefits. Plus there are much fewer taxes and regulations to deal with typically on the other side of the globe.
As long as this nation pursues this “one world economic agenda”, there will never be enough jobs in the United States ever again. Chronic unemployment will become the new normal. Our formerly great manufacturing cities will continue to degenerate into gang-infested war zones.
Apologists for the current system continue to insist that the answer is “more education”, but the truth is that government dependence is even exploding among those with advanced degrees. The following is a brief excerpt from a recent article on The Chronicle Of Higher Education…
People who don’t finish college are more likely to receive food stamps than are those who go to graduate school. The rolls of people on public assistance are dominated by people with less education. Nevertheless, the percentage of graduate-degree holders who receive food stamps or some other aid more than doubled between 2007 and 2010.
During that three-year period, the number of people with master’s degrees who received food stamps and other aid climbed from 101,682 to 293,029, and the number of people with Ph.D.’s who received assistance rose from 9,776 to 33,655, according to tabulations of microdata done by Austin Nichols, a senior researcher with the Urban Institute. He drew on figures from the 2008 and 2011 Current Population Surveys done by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor.
After reading that, does anyone still believe that “more education” is the answer to our problems?
What we need is more jobs, and lots of them. Unfortunately, our politicians continue to pursue policies that absolutely kill American jobs.
So the number of Americans that are forced to turn to the government for assistance will continue to grow, as will our national debt.
Sadly, most Americans still don’t realize what is happening. Most of them are still listening to those in the mainstream media that are insisting that everything is going to be just fine.
For example, the most famous economic journalist in the country, Paul Krugman of the New York Times, recently wrote that the deficit crisis has been “solved”…
True, there are projected problems further down the road, mainly because of the continuing effects of an aging population. But it still comes as something of a shock to realize that at this point reasonable projections do not, repeat do not, show anything resembling the runaway deficit crisis that is a staple of almost everything you hear, including supposedly objective news reporting.
So you heard it here first: while you weren’t looking, and the deficit scolds were doing their scolding, the deficit problem (such as it was) was being mostly solved.
I don’t know how in the world Paul Krugman can get paid to write such nonsense, but the truth is that our government debt problems are only just beginning.
In a previous article, I explained that the unfunded liabilities of the federal government are growing so rapidly that we could not cover them even if we raised the highest tax rate to 100%…
According to Chris Cox and Bill Archer, two men who served on Bill Clinton’s Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform, there is no way in the world that we could raise taxes high enough to pay for all of the obligations that we are currently taking on. They say that even if we taxed all corporations and all individuals at a 100% tax rate on all income over $66,193, “it wouldn’t be nearly enough to fund the over $8 trillion per year in the growth of U.S. liabilities.“
Yes, Paul Krugman, we do have a spending problem. Even if Bill Gates gave every single penny of his fortune to the federal government, it would only cover the U.S. budget deficit for about 15 days. We simply cannot go on spending money like this.
If anyone out there believes Paul Krugman and is convinced that the federal government is no longer facing a massive debt problem, please read this article: “55 Facts About The Debt And U.S. Government Finances That Every American Voter Should Know“.
But if we can’t afford to do all of this spending, then why are we doing it?
Well, it is because there are a whole lot of people out there that are really hurting. Poverty in the U.S. is absolutely exploding, and the gap between the wealthy and the poor has grown to unprecedented heights.
According to a recent article posted on Economy In Crisis, the bottom 60 percent of all Americans only own 2.3 percent of all the financial wealth in the nation combined.
That is astounding.
If you live in a wealthy area of the country, you may look around and things may look really good to you. But in many other areas of the country things are worse than they have ever been in the post-World War II era. 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.
Can you imagine that? We have over a million kids that are attending our public schools that do not have a home to go back to at night.
Our economy desperately needs more jobs, but we just continue to lose more of them. On Thursday, it was announced that American Express is eliminating 5,400 more jobs. More announcements like this come out just about every day now. 65 percent of all Americans expect 2013 to be a year of “economic difficulty”, and there aren’t a whole lot of reasons to be optimistic about things at this point.
When you lose your job, it can feel like your entire life is falling apart. The competition for jobs is absolutely fierce, and a lot of workers have fallen through the cracks. In this rough economic environment, there are millions of Americans that have never been able to put the pieces of their lives back together. A recent CNN article profiled a 42-year-old woman up in Oregon named Lynette who has had her life totally turned upside down by unemployment…
I’m a single mom with a son in high school.
Three years ago, I was laid off from a job working at a propane company. I had just gotten back on my feet after battling breast cancer, then cervical cancer, but the economy tanked, and I was the first to go.
I am now 42, and the cancer is gone. But it appears my employability is also gone.
She used to work in a position that helped others find government assistance, but now she is the one who has been forced to seek it…
Before I was diagnosed with cancer, I worked for the state of Oregon and was the number one service manager for the Department of Human Services. My job was to help low income families find work and get food stamps and insurance. Now, I cannot even get a job at McDonalds, and I’m the one living on social assistance.
Does anyone out there have a similar story to share? If so, please feel free to share it below…
America is rapidly becoming a nation of takers. An increasing number of Americans expect the government to take care of them from the cradle to the grave, and they expect the government to dig into the pockets of others in order to pay for it all. This philosophy can be very seductive, but what happens when the number of takers eventually outnumbers the number of producers? In 11 different U.S. states, the number of government dependents exceeds the number of private sector workers. This list of states includes some of the biggest states in the country: California, New York, Illinois, Ohio, Maine, Kentucky, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, New Mexico and Hawaii. It is interesting to note that seven of those states were won by Barack Obama on election night. In California, there are 139 “takers” for every 100 private sector workers. That is crazy! The American people have become absolutely addicted to government money, and it gets worse with each passing year. If you can believe it, entitlements accounted for 62 percent of all federal spending in fiscal year 2012. It would be one thing if we could afford all of this spending, but unfortunately we simply cannot. We are drowning in debt, and we are stealing more than a hundred million more dollars from future generations with each passing hour. No bank robber in history can match that kind of theft.
Yes, we will always need a safety net. There are many people out there that simply cannot take care of themselves. We certainly don’t want to see anyone sleeping in the streets or starving to death.
But if the number of people jumping on to the safety net continues to grow at the current pace, the net will break and it will not be available for any of us.
For example, the number of Americans on food stamps grew from about 17 million in 2000 to more than 47 million today. It nearly tripled in just 12 years.
What will happen if it nearly triples again over the next 12 years?
The federal government even has a website (benefits.gov) that guides people through the process of figuring out what welfare programs they can take advantage of.
Overall, the federal government runs nearly 80 different “means-tested welfare programs” and more than 100 million Americans are already enrolled in at least one of those programs.
Yes, I realize that figure is very hard to believe. I had a hard time believing it when I first came across it.
And it is even more shocking when you realize that the figure of 100 million Americans does not even include those who only receive Social Security or Medicare.
Today, there are 56.76 million Americans on Social Security.
To support all of those Americans on Social Security, there are only about 94.75 million full-time private sector workers.
So there are just 1.67 full-time private sector workers to support each American that is on Social Security.
Medicare is also growing like crazy. As I wrote about the other day, the number of Americans on Medicare is expected to grow from 50.7 million in 2012 to 73.2 million in 2025.
How much farther can we push things before the entire system collapses?
In order to support this exploding entitlement system, we need a lot more Americans to be working good paying jobs.
Unfortunately, millions of good paying jobs continue to be shipped overseas and they aren’t coming back.
We are even losing good jobs to our own prisoners. The United States has the largest prison population in the world by far, and the exploitation of that low wage labor pool has become a boom industry in America. Even Microsoft and Boeing are using prison labor now. Just check out this video.
Meanwhile, there are millions upon millions of law-abiding Americans that cannot find jobs and that cannot take care of their families.
So poverty and dependence on the government are absolutely exploding. We have a system that is so messed up that it is hard to even put it into words. The middle class is being viciously shredded, and most Americans just continue to applaud the politicians from both parties that are doing this to us.
Our economy is being gutted at the same time that the welfare state is experiencing unprecedented growth. Instead of giving us real answers, our “leaders” just continue to borrow, spend and print more money. We are about to hit the debt limit again, and the Obama administration is saying that we should just do away with the debt limit permanently.
Most of our politicians don’t seem to understand that they are systematically destroying our economy and the bright futures that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have.
But there are some politicians out there that get it. Unfortunately, many of them live in other countries. For example, Canadian MP Pierre Poilievre seems to have a firm grasp on what debt is doing to the United States. The following are some excerpts from one of his speeches…
“By 2020, the US Government will be spending more annually on debt interest than the total combined military budgets of China, Britain, France, Russia, Japan, Germany, Saudi Arabia, India, Italy, South Korea, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Spain, Turkey, and Israel.”
“Through government spending the indulgence of one is the burden of another; through government borrowing, the excess of one generation becomes the yoke of the next; through international bailouts, one nation’s extravagance becomes another nation’s debt”
“Everyone takes, nobody makes, work doesn’t pay, indulgence doesn’t cost, money is free, and money is worthless.”
You can see his entire speech right here.
And if we continue down this path it is most definitely true that our money will eventually become worthless at some point. Just today I was down at the grocery store, and a can of chili that I was able to get on sale for 75 cents a couple of years ago now has a “sale price” of $1.69. If the Federal Reserve keeps recklessly printing dollars, eventually we will be fortunate to get a can of chili for 10 bucks. Things cost too much already, and the Fed seems absolutely determined to cut the legs out from under the U.S. dollar.
Unfortunately, printing money is the only way that we are going to be able to service the gigantic amounts of debt that we are accumulating.
According to Chris Cox and Bill Archer, two men who served on Bill Clinton’s Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform, there is no way in the world that we could raise taxes high enough to pay for all of the obligations that we are currently taking on. They say that even if we taxed all corporations and all individuals at a 100% tax rate on all income over $66,193, “it wouldn’t be nearly enough to fund the over $8 trillion per year in the growth of U.S. liabilities.”
Are you starting to get an idea of how much trouble we are in?
We don’t have enough money to pay for all of this.
We are broke.
Our current economy is a debt-induced illusion, and we will soon be waking up to a tremendous amount of pain.
Are you ready?