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Winds Of War: Is Russia Conducting A Massive Mobilization Of Troops For An Invasion Of Ukraine?

Russian Troops - Public DomainThe drumbeats of war are growing louder.  Fighting in eastern Ukraine between separatists and pro-government forces has risen to an intensity not seen in well over a year, and the Russians claim that they recently foiled a “Ukrainian plot” to conduct terror attacks in Crimea.  As tensions in the region have increased, the Russians have used the cover of “military drills” to move massive amounts of troops and military equipment up to the border with Ukraine.  This is something that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, but things have intensified since then, and a huge military exercise is planned for September.  Needless to say, the Ukrainians are quite alarmed by this, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is warning that a full scale mobilization of the Ukrainian military may be needed.  If something is going to happen, it is likely to happen soon.  As you will see below, once we get into October it will become much less likely that we would see a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

We aren’t hearing much about this conflict in the U.S. media, but over in Europe this is a very big deal.  Just consider the following excerpt from an article in the Independent entitled “Russia is teetering on the brink of ‘all out war’ with Ukraine“…

Ukraine is holding a major military parade in Kiev today to mark its 25th anniversary as an independent state. But, at a time that should otherwise be a moment of national celebration, a serious crisis with Moscow is flaring up. So serious, in fact, that on Tuesday the Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande were forced to hold a three-way phone call to try to de-escalate the situation.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has even warned that there is growing risk of a “full scale Russian invasion along all fronts,” ratcheting up what is already the bloodiest European conflict since the wars over the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

And the truth is that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has some very good reasons to be concerned.  As the Washington Post has pointed out, the Russians have used military exercises as an excuse to stage forces for military action in the past…

As violence in the east heats up, Ukrainian officials have suggested that Russia may use the upcoming military drills, called Kavkaz (Caucasus) 2016, as cover for military action against Ukraine. The drills are the first to integrate the Crimean Peninsula, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, into the country’s military planning, and thousands of Russian troops will be brought in for air, land and sea exercises.

Ukrainian government analysts have recalled that exercises served as staging grounds for troop incursions in 2014, as did Russian military exercises held shortly before the Georgian war of 2008. Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations suggested that Russia may have “bad intentions,” while the West has also said it would like observers to be present.

If there is going to be a Russian invasion of Ukraine in September, Kavkaz 2016 will likely be used as cover for invasion preparations.  It is a yearly exercise, but in 2016 it looks like it will be much bigger than ever before, and some analysts have pointed out that the Russians have not conducted a mobilization on this scale since the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.  Here is more on Kavkaz 2016 from the Daily Signal

In September, Russia has plans for a large-scale strategic military exercise called Kavkaz-2016. The exercise, which is an annual event, will include units deployed near the borders of Ukraine, Georgia, and Azerbaijan—including two Russian military districts in the Southern and Northern Caucasus, the Russian Black Sea Fleet (headquartered in occupied Crimea), and the Caspian Flotilla.

It is not immediately clear the exact size of this year’s exercise, but last year it comprised 95,000 troops, 7,000 vehicles, and 150 aircraft, according to a report by IHS Markit, a U.K.-based intelligence and analysis firm.

If the Russians are going to do something, they need to do it soon, because the weather turns very bad during the month of October.  Here is one how one analyst assessed the situation

“But will there be a war – we’ll see, no much time for guessing left… In this situation, the main thing for Russia is to achieve strategic and tactical surprise. And if she does not start now – then it will be too late. One would need to turn off full-scale operations in October because of the rains and the next draft to Russian army (it would mean the demobilization of current wave of conscripts and training the new ones – UT).”

A Russian invasion of Ukraine would mean that Russian relations with the U.S. and with Europe would immediately plunge to Cold War levels.  Of course some would argue that we are already there.  In any event, a Russian invasion would force the U.S. and NATO to make some very uncomfortable decisions.

Would the U.S. and NATO just stand by and do nothing while Ukraine is overrun by the Russians?

Maybe.

But if the U.S. and NATO responded with military force, that would risk a full scale nuclear confrontation with Russia.

Right now, a war with Russia is about the last thing that most Americans are thinking about, but the truth is that we are not that far away from such a scenario.

Over in Russia, the mindset is totally different.  The following is from a Newsweek article entitled “In Europe and Russia, There’s Talk of War“…

Recently, I grabbed a taxi in Moscow. When the driver asked me where I was from, I told him the United States. “I went there once,” he said, “to Chicago. I really liked it.”

“But tell me something,” he added. “When are we going to war?”

The question, put so starkly, so honestly, shocked me. “Well, I hope never,” I replied. “No one wants war.”

At the office, I ask a Russian employee about the mood in his working class Moscow neighborhood. The old people are buying salt, matches and gretchka [buckwheat], he tells me—the time-worn refuge for Russians stocking up on essentials in case of war.

In the past two months, I’ve traveled to the Baltic region, to Georgia, and to Russia. Talk of war is everywhere.

Most Americans don’t realize that Russians already view the United States more negatively than they did even during the height of the Cold War.  On Russian television they openly talk about the inevitability of a war between the United States and Russia, and the Russian military has feverishly been preparing for such a future conflict.

If we can get to October, we can probably breathe a bit of a sigh of relief because the Russians are not likely to conduct an invasion once the weather turns bad.

But for now there are very good reasons to be concerned, and we shall see what happens over the coming weeks…

Bye Bye Middle Class: The Rate Of Homeownership In The United States Has Hit The Lowest Level Ever

Abandoned House - Public DomainThe percentage of Americans that own a home has fallen to the lowest level ever recorded.  During the second quarter of 2016, the non-seasonally adjusted homeownership rate fell to just 62.9 percent, which was exactly where it was at when the U.S. Census began publishing this measurement back in 1965.  This is not what a “recovery” looks like.  All throughout the Obama years, the percentage of Americans that own a home has gotten smaller and smaller and smaller.  The reason for this, of course, is that the middle class in America is dying.  Last year, we learned that middle class Americans now make up a minority of the population for the first time ever.  In order to have a high rate of homeownership, you need a thriving middle class, and you can’t have a thriving middle class without good paying middle class jobs.  This is why I write about the evisceration of the middle class so extensively, because the U.S. economy is systematically being hollowed out and most Americans don’t understand what is happening.

Traditionally, owning a home has been a sign that you have arrived as a member of the middle class, but under Barack Obama the percentage of Americans that own a home has fallen every single year.  In the past, we have talked about how it had fallen to the lowest level in decades, but now it has officially fallen to the lowest level ever.  The following comes from CNBC

After rising just over a decade ago to its highest level ever, the nation’s homeownership rate fell to match its all-time low and could drop even further in the months to come.

In the second quarter of this year, the rate fell to 62.9 percent, not seasonally adjusted, which is the same as it was in 1965, when the U.S. Census started tracking the metric. During the epic housing boom in the mid-2000s, the rate soared as high as 69.2 percent. That was when politicians touted the so-called “ownership society.”

So why is this happening?

Well, according to Wolf Richter analysts are blaming many factors…

  • Rising home prices in an economy of stagnant wages (for the lower 80%) have pushed entry-level homes out of reach for many people.
  • Lower priced homes in many urban areas entail a huge and costly ($ and time) commute every day. And even then, these homes may be too much of stretch for big parts of the population in expensive urban areas.
  • First time buyers are having trouble saving for a down payment since they spend their last available dime to meet soaring rents.
  • Millennials have been blamed. They always get blamed for everything. They saw their parents deal with the American Dream as it turned into the American Nightmare, and they learned their lesson early in life.
  • The super-low interest rate environment hasn’t made homes more affordable because home prices, in response to super-low interest rates, have soared, and in the end, mortgage payments are higher than they were before.
  • Higher home prices entail other costs that are higher, including taxes, brokerage fees, and insurance.

Certainly all of those points are legitimate, but the truth is that what we are facing is much broader than all of that.  The middle class in the United States has been dying for decades, and in recent years the long-term trends that have been slowly eating away at the middle class like cancer have accelerated significantly.  Just consider these numbers…

-In America today, nobody has a job in one out of every five families.

-At this moment, 102 million working age Americans do not have a job.

-According to the Social Security Administration, 51 percent of American workers currently make less than $30,000 a year.

-In 1970, the middle class brought home approximately 62 percent of all income. Today, that number has plunged to just 43 percent.

-The Federal Reserve says that 47 percent of Americans could not pay an unexpected $400 emergency room bill without borrowing the money from somewhere or selling something.

-One recent survey discovered that 62 percent of all Americans have less than $1,000 in savings.

-If you currently have no debt and you also have ten dollars in your pocket, that gives you a greater net worth than about 25 percent of all Americans.

-According to Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer, the authors of a book entitled “$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America“, there are 1.5 million “ultrapoor” households in the United States that live on less than two dollars a day.  If you can believe it, that number has doubled since 1996.

-Back in 2007, approximately one out of every eight children in America was on food stamps. Today, that number is one out of every five.

-Things continue to get worse for the middle class as we head into the second half of 2016.  Gallup’s U.S. economic confidence index just hit the lowest level so far this year.

I could keep quoting numbers at you all day, but hopefully you are getting the picture.

The middle class in America just keeps getting smaller and smaller and smaller, and our politicians just keep on conducting business as usual.  They don’t seem to care that they are strangling the life out of what was once the largest and most thriving middle class in the history of the planet.

And things could soon get much worse for the middle class as this new global economic crisis accelerates.  In fact, highly respected economist Peter Schiff believes that a major downturn in the U.S. is imminent

HERE IS THE REALITY: The world has caught on, and the gig is up. Under Obama’s stewardship, the U.S. national debt has gone from $10 Trillion, to what will be $20 Trillion by the time he leaves office, with nothing more than 100 MILLION Americans out of work, and 50 MILLION in poverty and on food stamps. That’s what cheap money bought for us. It was all “borrowed” cheap money too, making it infinitely worse, and the world is tired of lending.

There are so many families out there that are really struggling right now, and more than two-thirds of all Americans believe that the country is on the wrong track.

I would like to tell you that happy days are here again and that the best times for America are just around the corner, but unlike the politicians at the Republican and Democratic national conventions, I am not going to lie to you.

Very rough times are coming, and things are going to get much harder for the middle class.

Plan accordingly, and get prepared while you still can.

The Future Of America? – More Than Half Of All U.S. Adults Under Age 30 Now Reject Capitalism

Young People Abstract - Public DomainA shocking new survey has found that support for capitalism is dying in America.  In fact, more than half of all adults in the United States under the age of 30 say that they do not support capitalism at this point.  You might be tempted to dismiss them as “foolish young people”, but the truth is that they are the future of America.  As older generations die off, they will eventually become the leaders of this country.  And of course our nation has not resembled anything close to a capitalist society for quite some time now.  In a recent article, I listed 97 different taxes that Americans pay each year, and some Americans actually end up returning more than half of what they earn to the government by the time it is all said and done.  So at best it could be said that we are running some sort of hybrid system that isn’t as far down the road toward full-blown socialism as most European nations are.  But without a doubt we are moving in that direction, and our young people are going to be cheering every step of the way.

When I first heard of this new survey from Harvard University, I was absolutely stunned.  The following is from what the Washington Post had to say about it…

The Harvard University survey, which polled young adults between ages 18 and 29, found that 51 percent of respondents do not support capitalism. Just 42 percent said they support it.

It isn’t clear that the young people in the poll would prefer some alternative system, though. Just 33 percent said they supported socialism. The survey had a margin of error of 2.4 percentage points.

Could it be possible that young adults were confused by the wording of the survey?

Well, other polls have come up with similar results

The university’s results echo recent findings from Republican pollster Frank Luntz, who surveyed 1,000 Americans between the ages of 18 and 26 and found that 58% of respondents believed socialism to be the “more compassionate” political system when compared to capitalism. And when participants were asked to sum up the root of America’s problem in one word, 29% said “greed.”

This trend among our young people is very real, and you can see it in their support of Bernie Sanders.  For millions upon millions of young adults in America today, Hillary Clinton is not nearly liberal enough for them.  So they have flocked to Sanders, and if they had been the only ones voting in this election season, he would have won the Democratic nomination by a landslide.

Sadly, most of our young people don’t seem to understand how socialism slowly but surely destroys a nation.  If you want to see the end result of socialism, just look at the economic collapse that is going on in Venezuela right now.  The following comes from  a Bloomberg article entitled “Venezuela Doesn’t Have Enough Money to Pay for Its Money“…

Venezuela’s epic shortages are nothing new at this point. No diapers or car parts or aspirin — it’s all been well documented. But now the country is at risk of running out of money itself.

In a tale that highlights the chaos of unbridled inflation, Venezuela is scrambling to print new bills fast enough to keep up with the torrid pace of price increases. Most of the cash, like nearly everything else in the oil-exporting country, is imported. And with hard currency reserves sinking to critically low levels, the central bank is doling out payments so slowly to foreign providers that they are foregoing further business.

Venezuela, in other words, is now so broke that it may not have enough money to pay for its money.

We are losing an entire generation of young people.  These days, there is quite a lot of talk about how we need to get America back to the principles that it was founded upon, but the cold, hard reality of the matter is that most of our young people are running in the opposite direction as fast as they can.

And Americans under the age of 30 are not just becoming more liberal when it comes to economics.  Surveys have found that they are more than twice as likely to support gay rights and less than half as likely to regularly attend church as the oldest Americans are.

So why is this happening?

Well, the truth is that our colleges and universities have become indoctrination centers for the progressive movement.  I know, because I spent eight years at public universities in this country.  The quality of the education that our young people are receiving is abysmal, but the values that are being imparted to them will last a lifetime.

And of course the same things could be said about our system of education all the way down to the kindergarten level.  There are still some good people in the system, but overall it is overwhelmingly dominated by the progressives.

Meanwhile, the major entertainment providers in the United States are also promoting the same values.  In a recent article entitled “Depressing Survey Results Show How Extremely Stupid America Has Become“, I discussed a Nielsen report which detailed how much time the average American spends consuming media on various electronic devices each day…

Watching live television: 4 hours, 32 minutes

Watching time-shifted television: 30 minutes

Listening to the radio: 2 hours, 44 minutes

Using a smartphone: 1 hour, 33 minutes

Using Internet on a computer: 1 hour, 6 minutes

Overall, the average American spends about 10 hours a day consuming one form of entertainment or another.

When you allow that much “programming” into your mind, it is inevitable that it is going to shape your values, and our young people are more “plugged in” than any of the rest of us.

So yes, I believe that it is exceedingly clear why we should be deeply concerned about the future of America.  The values that are being relentlessly pounded into the heads of our young people are directly opposed to the values that this nation was founded upon, and it is these young people that will determine the path that this country ultimately takes.

*About the author: Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog. Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled “The Rapture Verdict” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.*

I Am Mourning For America

Mourning - Public DomainI am mourning for America, because she is dying.  I am mourning for a nation that once knew such greatness but that has now fallen to depths that were once unimaginable.  I am mourning for the death and destruction that are coming, and I am mourning for a future that our children and our grandchildren will never get to see.  I am mourning for a nation that has refused to listen to the warnings and that now stands on the precipice of judgment.  I am mourning for games that will never be played, for books that will never be finished, for family vacations that will never get to happen and for memories that will never be made.  I am mourning for the economic depression that is coming, for the horror and suffering that friends and family will endure, and for the coming death of the country where I drew my first breath.

To many, these words will seem “over the top” and overly dramatic.  After all, despite the thousands of problems facing this nation, things still seem very “normal” at this moment.  Well, if you don’t “get” what I am saying right now, just bookmark this page and come back to it later.  Eventually it will make sense to you.

Last week, I was invited to be a guest on a major television show that is beamed into the homes of millions of people in the United States and Canada.  If you get a chance to view the shows that are being aired this week, you will notice that I wore all black.

I wasn’t just making a fashion statement.  I was doing it because I am in mourning for America.  Unlike so many that talk about the horrible things that are ahead for this country, I actually love the United States.  I truly wish that this nation had become everything that it could have become.  I love the part of the country where I currently live, I love the amazing people that I am constantly meeting, and I love the things that I have been able to experience just because I am an American.

Unfortunately, everything is about to change.

There are many out there that believe that America is still a great nation.  Well, great nations do not murder tens of millions of their own children.  As Dr. Chuck Missler has pointed out, the most dangerous place to be in America today is in a mother’s womb.

Since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, more than 56 million babies have been purposely destroyed in this country.

What does a nation that has murdered 56 million of its own children deserve?

I believe that we have just come out of a season of time when America has been shown exactly why it is about to be judged.

It is no accident that the undercover Planned Parenthood videos were released when they were.  Now the entire world knows that we slaughter our babies, harvest their organs and sell them off to the highest bidder.

So what has the response of the American people been to the revelation of this great evil?

Yes, a small minority of Americans have gotten upset, but most people have been completely unmoved by this news.

Our government gives Planned Parenthood hundreds of millions of dollars each year, and that isn’t going to change.  Planned Parenthood is just going to keep doing what they do, and the American people are just going to go back to ignoring the unprecedented holocaust that is happening behind closed doors all over the nation.

This past summer we also witnessed what I believe is the perfect bookend for the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision of 1973.  The institution of marriage was permanently altered in all 50 states, and most of the nation greatly rejoiced.

The White House was lit up with rainbow colors to honor what the Supreme Court did.  The rainbow is a symbol of God’s covenant with Noah, and in the book of Revelation there is a rainbow around the throne of God.  They have taken this symbol that belongs to God, and they are using it as a symbol of their defiance.

Of course these things that I have just mentioned are just the tip of the iceberg.  The truth is that evil is growing in this nation in thousands of different ways.  Every year there are 20 million new cases of sexually transmitted disease in the United States, we have the highest divorce rate in the entire industrialized world, and nearly one out of every five American women say that they have been raped at some point in their lives.  In the United States today, there are 60 million people that abuse alcohol and there are 22 million people that use illegal drugs.  America produces more pornography than the rest of the world combined, and surveys have found that Christian men use it at just about the same rate as everyone else.

I will not be publishing an article tomorrow.  In a few hours, Yom Kippur will begin where I live.  It is the most solemn of all the holidays described in the Bible, and it is a time of repentance.  I will be praying for myself, my family, my community and my nation.

If America had repented as a nation and had turned from her wicked ways, we would not have to go through the things that we are about to go through.

I believe that the time of grace that the United States has been given to repent is ending.

I know that this is very different from my usual format.  Is it okay if I just share what is on my heart from time to time?  On Thursday I will get back to sharing the facts, figures and hard information that you all have come to expect from me.  But today when I woke up I just felt that I should share these things with you.

Very shortly, things are going to start changing in a major way.

America is dying, and the hardest times that any of us have ever seen are right in front of us.

Half The Country Makes Less Than $27,520 A Year And 15 Other Signs The Middle Class Is Dying

Depressed - Photo by Sander van der WelIf you make more than $27,520 a year at your job, you are doing better than half the country is.  But you don’t have to take my word for it, you can check out the latest wage statistics from the Social Security administration right here.  But of course $27,520 a year will not allow you to live “the American Dream” in this day and age.  After taxes, that breaks down to a good bit less than $2,000 a month.  You can’t realistically pay a mortgage, make a car payment, afford health insurance and provide food, clothing and everything else your family needs for that much money.  That is one of the reasons why both parents are working in most families today.  In fact, sometimes both parents are working multiple jobs in a desperate attempt to make ends meet.  Over the years, the cost of living has risen steadily but our paychecks have not.  This has resulted in a steady erosion of the middle class.  Once upon a time, most American families could afford a nice home, a couple of cars and a nice vacation every year.  When I was growing up, it seemed like almost everyone was middle class.  But now “the American Dream” is out of reach for more Americans than ever, and the middle class is dying right in front of our eyes.

One of the things that was great about America in the post-World War II era was that we developed a large, thriving middle class.  Until recent times, it always seemed like there were plenty of good jobs for people that were willing to be responsible and work hard.  That was one of the big reasons why people wanted to come here from all over the world.  They wanted to have a chance to live “the American Dream” too.

But now the American Dream is becoming a mirage for most people.  No matter how hard they try, they just can’t seem to achieve it.

And here are some hard numbers to back that assertion up.  The following are 15 more signs that the middle class is dying…

#1 According to a brand new CNN poll, 59 percent of Americans believe that it has become impossible for most people to achieve the American Dream…

The American Dream is impossible to achieve in this country.

So say nearly 6 in 10 people who responded to CNNMoney’s American Dream Poll, conducted by ORC International. They feel the dream — however they define it — is out of reach.

Young adults, age 18 to 34, are most likely to feel the dream is unattainable, with 63% saying it’s impossible. This age group has suffered in the wake of the Great Recession, finding it hard to get good jobs.

#2 More Americans than ever believe that homeownership is not a key to long-term wealth and prosperity…

The great American Dream is dying. Even though many Americans still desire to own a home, they are losing faith in homeownership as a key to prosperity.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans, or 64%, believe they are less likely to build wealth by buying a home today than they were 20 or 30 years ago, according to a survey sponsored by non-profit MacArthur Foundation. And nearly 43% said buying a home is no longer a good long-term investment.

#3 Overall, the rate of homeownership in the United States has fallen for eight years in a row, and it has now dropped to the lowest level in 19 years.

#4 52 percent of Americans cannot even afford the house that they are living in right now…

“Over half of Americans (52%) have had to make at least one major sacrifice in order to cover their rent or mortgage over the last three years, according to the “How Housing Matters Survey,” which was commissioned by the nonprofit John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and carried out by Hart Research Associates. These sacrifices include getting a second job, deferring saving for retirement, cutting back on health care, running up credit card debt, or even moving to a less safe neighborhood or one with worse schools.”

#5 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 36 percent of Americans under the age of 35 own a home.  That is the lowest level that has ever been measured.

#6 Right now, approximately one out of every six men in the United States that are in their prime working years (25 to 54) do not have a job.

#7 The labor force participation rate for Americans from the age of 25 to the age of 29 has fallen to an all-time record low.

#8 The number of working age Americans that are not employed has increased by 27 million since the year 2000.

#9 According to the government’s own numbers, about 20 percent of the families in the entire country do not have a single member that is employed at this point.

#10 This may sound crazy, but 25 percent of all American adults do not even have a single penny saved up for retirement.

#11 As I noted in one recent article, total consumer credit in the United States has increased by 22 percent over the past three years, and 56 percent of all Americans have “subprime credit” at this point.

#12 Major retailers are shutting down stores at the fastest pace that we have seen since the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

#13 It is hard to believe, but more than one out of every five children in the United States is living in poverty in 2014.

#14 According to one recent report, there are 49 million Americans that are dealing with food insecurity right now.

#15 Overall, the U.S. poverty rate is up more than 30 percent since 1966.  It looks like LBJ’s war on poverty didn’t work out too well after all.

Sadly, it does not appear that there is much hope on the horizon for the middle class.  More good jobs are being shipped out of the country and are being lost to technology every single day, and our politicians seem convinced that “business as usual” is the right course of action for our nation.

Unless something dramatic happens, it is going to become increasingly difficult to eke out a middle class existence as a “worker bee” in American society.  The truth is that most big companies these days do not have any loyalty to their workers and really do not care what ends up happening to them.

To thrive in this kind of environment, new and different thinking is required.  The paradigm of “go to college, get a job, stay loyal and retire after 30 years” has been shattered.  The business world is more unstable now than it has been during any point in the post-World War II era, and we are all going to have to adjust.

So what advice would you give to people that are struggling out there right now?  Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…

Is The Mainstream Media Dying?

CNN News Studio - Photo by DougRatings at CNN, MSNBC and Fox News have all been plummeting in recent years, and newspaper ad revenues are about a third of what they were back in the year 2000.  So is the mainstream media dying?  Despite what you may have heard, the mainstream media is certainly not completely dead just yet.  The average American watches approximately 153 hours of television a month, and as I pointed out in a previous article, about 90 percent of the “information” that is endlessly pumped into our heads through our televisions is controlled by just six gigantic media corporations.  However, there are a whole host of signs that things are changing – especially when it comes to news.  More Americans than ever are losing faith in the establishment-controlled media and are seeking out alternative sources of information.  Is this a trend that the big media companies are going to be able to reverse at some point?

For years, the “news business” has been dominated by CNN, Fox News and MSNBC.  But now all three channels are rapidly losing viewers.  According to a recently released Pew Research study, the number of prime time viewers for all three networks combined fell by 11 percent last year…

In 2013, the cable news audience, by nearly all measures, declined. The combined median prime-time viewership of the three major news channels—CNN, Fox News and MSNBC—dropped 11% to about 3 million, the smallest it has been since 2007. The Nielsen Media Research data show that the biggest decline came at MSNBC, which lost nearly a quarter (24%) of its prime-time audience. CNN, under new management, ended its fourth year in third place, with a 13% decline in prime time. Fox, while down 6%, still drew more viewers (1.75 million) than its two competitors combined (619,500 at MSNBC and 543,000 at CNN).

And the decline is far more dramatic when you look at just the key 25 to 54-year-old demographic.

From November 2012 to November 2013, CNN’s ratings for that demographic dropped by a staggering 59 percent, and MSNBC’s ratings for that demographic dropped by a staggering 52 percent.

Is this a sign that Americans are finally getting fed up with the endless propaganda being spewed by those establishment mouthpieces?

A recent survey conducted by a liberal polling firm would indeed seem to indicate that this is the case.  That survey found that only 6 percent of Americans consider MSNBC to be their most trusted source for news…

NBC News and sister cable network MSNBC rank at the bottom of media outlets Americans trust most for news, with Fox News leading the way, according to a new poll from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling.

In its fifth trust poll, 35 percent said they trusted Fox news more than any other outlet, followed by PBS at 14 percent, ABC at 11 percent, CNN at 10 percent, CBS at 9 percent, 6 percent for MSNBC and Comedy Central, and just 3 percent for NBC.

And of course it is not just the big mainstream news networks that are in decline.

A recently released Pew Research study discovered that the decline of America’s newspapers continued in 2013 as well…

The Newspaper Association of America has stopped compiling quarterly reports on advertising revenue. According to its annual numbers, which were released in April 2014, overall revenue for newspapers in 2013 was $37.6 billion, a decrease of 2.6% from 2012. Within that total, combined print and digital ad revenue decreased by 7%—to $20.7 billion.

Seven percent may not sound like much, but you have to realize that these declines have been happening year after year.  When you look back over a longer time frame, it really puts the massive decline that we have witnessed in advertising revenues in perspective

It took a half century for annual newspaper print ad revenue to gradually increase from $20 billion in 1950 (adjusted for inflation in 2013 dollars) to $65.8 billion in 2000, and then it took only 12 years to go from $65.8 billion in ad revenues back to less than $20 billion in 2012, before falling further to $17.3 billion last year.

Even when revenues from digital advertising and other categories described by the NAA as “niche publications, direct marketing and non-daily publication advertising” are added to print ad revenue (see red line in chart), the combined total revenues for print, digital and other advertising last year was still only $23.56 billion in 2013 dollars, which was the lowest amount of annual ad revenue since 1954, when $23.3 billion was spent on print advertising alone.

Yes, you read those numbers correctly.  As you can see from this chart, newspaper ad revenues are now about a third of what they were back in the year 2000.

That is not just a “shift” – that is a massive tsunami.

Needless to say, the big newspapers are quite distressed by all of this.

For example, “the Grey Lady” herself is essentially in a state of panic at this point.  Just recently, a 96 page internal New York Times report was obtained by BuzzFeed that basically skewers the company’s current strategy when it comes to the Internet…

A 96-page internal New York Times report, sent to top executives last month by a committee led by the publisher’s son and obtained by BuzzFeed, paints a dark picture of a newsroom struggling more dramatically than is immediately visible to adjust to the digital world, a newsroom that is hampered primarily by its own storied culture.

But they still don’t understand the true cause of their decline.

It isn’t the fact that they haven’t adapted to the Internet very well that is the primary reason for their decline.

Rather, it is the fact that the American people are losing faith in the New York Times and other similar establishment mouthpieces.

News magazines are also experiencing a dramatic multi-year decline.  Ad revenues are way down across the entire industry, and any publication that can keep their yearly losses to the single digits is applauded for it

For a third year in a row, news magazines faced a difficult print advertising environment. Combined ad pages (considered a better measure than ad revenue) for the five magazines studied in this report were down 13% in 2013, following a decline of 12.5% in 2012, and about three times the rate of decline in 2011, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. Again, hardest hit was The Week, which suffered a 20% drop in ad pages. The Atlantic fell 17%, The Economist 16%, and Time about 11%, while The New Yorker managed to keep its ad pages losses in single digits (7%).

Mainstream media executives appear to be optimistic that they can reverse these declines at some point, but they simply don’t realize that there has been a fundamental paradigm shift when it comes to the news media in the United States.

The general population has lost a tremendous amount of faith in the mainstream media.  They are increasingly becoming aware that it is deeply controlled by the establishment.

At this point, the charade is so out in the open that even reporters are talking about it.  For example, former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson says that the “influence on the media” by political and corporate interests is “unprecedented”

There is unprecedented, I believe, influence on the media, not just the news, but the images you see everywhere. By well-orchestrated and financed campaign of special interests, political interests and corporations. I think all of that comes into play.

Wow.

Remember, this is not just some outsider that is saying these things.  Attkisson worked in the industry for more than 30 years.

And the American people know that they are getting very little truth from the establishment media these days.  A recent Gallup survey found that only 23 percent of Americans have a great deal of confidence in the mainstream media at this point.  Increasingly, Americans are turning to other sources for news and information.

This is fueling an unprecedented alternative news boom, and more Americans than ever are relying on the Internet as their main source of news.  If you doubt this, just check out this chart.

30 years ago, you would have never been able to read this article.  It never would have gotten past the gatekeepers that had almost total control over what Americans read, watched and listened to.

But now things have changed.  The Internet has allowed ordinary Americans to communicate with each other on a scale that has never been possible before.  As we share information with each other, we are increasingly becoming aware that we don’t need the mainstream media to define what reality is for us after all.

If the mainstream media really wants to keep from dying, they should at least try to start telling us the truth.

Unfortunately, that simply is not going to happen.  The political and corporate interests that control the big media corporations have way too much to lose.

So we will have to continue to learn to think for ourselves and to share news and information with each other over the Internet.

In the end, we will all be much better off being unplugged from “the matrix” anyway.

What Recovery? Sears And J.C. Penney Are DYING

Sears - Photo by Belus Capital AdvisorsTwo of the largest retailers in America are steamrolling toward bankruptcy.  Sears and J.C. Penney are both losing hundreds of millions of dollars each quarter, and both of them appear to be caught in the grip of a death spiral from which it will be impossible to escape.  Once upon a time, Sears was actually the largest retailer in the United States, and even today Sears and J.C. Penney are “anchor stores” in malls all over the country.  When I was growing up, my mother would take me to the mall when it was time to go clothes shopping, and there were usually just two options: Sears or J.C. Penney.  When I got older, I actually worked for Sears for a little while.  At the time, nobody would have ever imagined that Sears or J.C. Penney could go out of business someday.  But that is precisely what is happening.  They are both shutting down unprofitable stores and laying off employees in a desperate attempt to avoid bankruptcy, but everyone knows that they are just delaying the inevitable.  These two great retail giants are dying, and they certainly won’t be the last to fall.  This is just the beginning.

The Death Of Sears

Sales have declined at Sears for 27 quarters in a row, and the legendary retailer has been closing hundreds of stores and selling off property in a frantic attempt to turn things around.

Unfortunately for Sears, it is not working.  In fact, Sears has announced that it expects to lose “between $250 million to $360 million” for the quarter that will end on February 1st.

Things have gotten so bad that Sears is even making commercials that openly acknowledge how badly it is struggling.  For example, consider the following bit of dialogue from a recent Sears television commercial featuring two young women…

“Wait, the movie theater is on the other side,” the passenger says.

“But Sears always has parking!” the driver responds.

Sears always has parking???

Of course the unspoken admission is that Sears always has parking because nobody shops there anymore.

I have posted video of the commercial below…

A couple of months ago I walked into a Sears store in the middle of the week and it was like a ghost town.  A few associates were milling around here and there having private discussions among themselves, but other than that it was eerily quiet.

You can find 18 incredibly depressing photographs which do a great job of illustrating why Sears is steadily dying right here.  This was once one of America’s greatest companies, but soon it will be dead.

The Death Of J.C. Penney

J.C. Penny has been a dead man walking for a long time.  In some ways, it is in even worse shape than Sears.

If you can believe it, J.C. Penney actually lost 586 million dollars during the second quarter of 2013 alone.

How in the world do you lose 586 million dollars in three months?

Are they paying employees to flush giant piles of cash down the toilets?

This week J.C. Penney announced that it is eliminating 2,000 jobs and closing 33 stores.  The following is a list of the store closings that was released to the public…

Selma, Ala. — Selma Mall

Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. — Arrow Plaza

Colorado Springs — Chapel Hills Mall

Meriden, Conn. — Meriden Square

Leesburg, Fla. — Lake Square Mall

Port Richey, Fla. — Gulf View Square

Muscatine, Iowa — Muscatine Mall

Bloomingdale, Ill. — Stratford Square Mall

Forsyth, Ill. — Hickory Point Mall

Marion, Ind. — Five Points Mall

Warsaw, Ind. — Marketplace Shopping Center

Salisbury, Md. — The Centre at Salisbury

Marquette, Mich. — Westwood Plaza

Worthington, Minn. — Northland Mall

Gautier, Miss. — Singing River Mall

Natchez, Miss. — Natchez Mall

Butte, Mont. — Butte Plaza Shopping Center

Cut Bank, Mont.

Kinston, N.C. — Vernon Park Mall

Burlington, N.J. — Burlington Center

Phillipsburg, N.J. — Phillipsburg Mall

Wooster, Ohio — Wayne Towne Plaza

Exton, Pa. — Exton Square Mall

Hazleton, Pa. — LaurelMall

Washington, Pa. — Washington Mall

Chattanooga — Northgate Mall

Bristol, Va. — Bristol Mall

Norfolk, Va. — Military Circle Mall

Fond du Lac, Wis., Forest Mall

Janesville, Wis. — Janesville Mall

Rhinelander, Wis. — Lincoln Plaza Center

Rice Lake, Wis. — Cedar Mall

Wausau, Wis. — Wausau Mall

The CEO of J.C. Penney says that these closures were necessary for the future of the company…

“As we continue to progress toward long-term profitable growth, it is necessary to reexamine the financial performance of our store portfolio and adjust our national footprint accordingly,” CEO Myron Ullman said in a news release.

Actually, his statement would be a lot more accurate if he replaced “continue to progress toward long-term profitable growth” with ” prepare for bankruptcy”.

It would be hard to overstate how much of a disaster 2013 was for J.C. Penney.  The following is an excerpt from a recent CNN article

It’s been a brutal year for J.C. Penney, its stock falling over 60% in the past 12 months. The company has been losing hundreds of millions of dollars per quarter, and is in the midst of another turnaround effort after ousting former Apple executive Ron Johnson last year.

Overall, shares of J.C. Penney have fallen by an astounding 84 percent since February 2012.  And keep in mind that this decline has happened during one of the greatest stock market rallies of all-time.

For now, J.C. Penney will continue to try to desperately raise more cash from investors that are foolish enough to give it to them, but all that is really accomplishing is just delaying the inevitable.

If you would like to see some photos that graphically illustrate why J.C. Penney is falling apart, you can find some right here.

And of course Sears and J.C. Penney are not the only large retailers that have fallen on hard times.  This week the CEO of Best Buy admitted that sales declined at his chain during the holiday season…

Best Buy shares skid on Thursday after the retailer said total revenue and sales at its established U.S stores fell in the all-important holiday season due to intense discounting by rivals, supply constraints for key products and weak traffic in December.

In the immediate aftermath of that announcement, Best Buy stock was down more than 30 percent in pre-market trading.

And Macy’s just announced that it is laying off 2,500 employees in an attempt to move in a more profitable direction.

So why is all of this happening?

Aren’t we supposed to be in the midst of an “economic recovery”?

That is what the Obama administration and the mainstream media keep telling us, but it is simply not true.

In fact, a new Gallup survey has found that the number of Americans that are “financially worse off” than a year ago is significantly higher than the number of Americans that say that they are “financially better off” than a year ago…

More Americans, 42%, say they are financially worse off now than they were a year ago, reversing the lower levels found over the past two years. Just more than a third of Americans say their financial situation has improved from a year ago.

That is why these stores are dying.

Things continue to get even worse for the middle class.

But a lot of people out there will continue to deny what is happening right in front of their eyes.  They are kind of like that woman over in California who was conned out of half a million dollars by a Nigerian online dating scam.  They will never admit the truth until it is far too late to do anything about it.

So have you been to a Sears or a J.C. Penney lately?

Do you believe that they will survive?

Please feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…

The Sobering Reality Of What Life Is Like In Reno, Nevada

What do you do when the city where you live is dying?  All over the United States formerly great cities are crumbling, but some are definitely in worse shape than others.  One reader recently wrote to me about what she sees happening all around her in Reno, Nevada.  The unemployment rate in Reno is now up to 11.7 percent, which is well above the national average of 8.3 percent.  But that doesn’t tell the whole story.  The recent recession hit Nevada particularly hard and people have been moving out of the state in waves.  In fact, the labor force in Nevada has shrunk by close to 20 percent over the past year as workers have moved elsewhere in search of work.  But even though the labor force is now nearly 20 percent smaller, the unemployment rate is still well above 11 percent.  There simply are not enough jobs in large Nevada cities such as Reno and Las Vegas.  Unfortunately for Reno, it does not have the same kind of big corporate money pouring into it that Las Vegas does.  The good news is that you can buy a house very, very cheaply in Reno because homes were foreclosed on in droves during the housing crash.  Even today, some housing developments that were put up near the end of the boom times look like virtual ghost towns.  The main industry in Reno is “entertainment”, but many of Reno’s strip clubs and gambling establishments have aged so badly at this point that they just look kind of depressing.  I guess that is kind of fitting, because Nevada has the fifth highest suicide rate in the nation, and Reno has been ranked as one of the top 10 depressed cities in the entire country.  As the city has declined, gangs have moved in and the drug trade is flourishing.  Reno has been called the meth capital of America, and crime is on the rise.  Despite being surrounded by tremendous natural beauty, Reno has become a very unpleasant place in which to live.  But what is happening in Reno is also happening in hundreds of other communities across the United States.  Our economy is collapsing and our cities are crumbling right in front of our eyes, and it is only going to get worse from here.

A reader of my site named Heather who has been unemployed since November of last year recently shared the following with me….

I am living in Reno/Sparks Nevada and I feel like it is ground zero for collapse. There are a lot of people who are in denial right now and cannot see the larger picture. I keep also saying we are the canary in the coal mine for the rest of the country.  It is quite depressing driving around seeing empty office buildings with vacancies and retail areas just empty. Went to the stores and retail seems pretty slow also. I am volunteering at ProNet locally and it helps unemployed people finds jobs and skills. It has been depressing there too with very little jobs out there for many people who need one.

She said that I should share what is happening in Reno with my readers.  She wanted people to know what those living in Reno are going through.

You might think that since Reno is so sunny, so warm and surrounded by such natural beauty that it would be one of the happiest places in America.

Unfortunately it turns out that the opposite is true.

Reno is actually a very sad place.

In fact, last year Men’s Health ranked Reno as the ninth saddest city in the United States.

In response to this ranking, one resident of Reno wrote the following….

In light of this disheartening list-making, it is, of course, important for Nevadans to look on the bright side. Rather than allowing these statistics to depress us further, we can consider them a series of challenges that make living in places like Reno and Las Vegas all the more impressive. You don’t just live in Reno. You survive Reno! To dwell in Reno, you must triumph over the odds that are stacked against you—one of the things we’re supposed to do best here.

If we can withstand all of the emotional curveballs thrown at us because we have selected such a turbulent location in which to reside, we can probably survive anything.

As a lifelong Renoite, I am inclined to respond to these lists with defiance. Yeah, things can look pretty grim sometimes when no one can find a job, and there seems to be no way out.

And that is how many Americans are feeling these days.  They are broke, unemployed, depressed and out of options.

How can you pick up and start a new life somewhere else when you have no job and no money?

Sadly, a lot of younger Americans are turning to drugs in an attempt to escape the pain of their daily lives.

One article that I found attempted to find humor in the raging meth epidemic that is happening in Reno….

Reno has been affectionately called the meth capital of the nation. Some foolishly think mass drug usage can ravage a city as swiftly as it can ruin a user’s clear complexion. In all reality, drug addiction is no more than an endearing quirk, certainly not a cause for concern. Babies and adolescents with addiction-addled parents should stop being coddled and learn how to take care of themselves. I’ve been doing my own laundry since I was six months old­ — I’m sure they can do the same. If there is anything disturbing about the meth problem in Reno, it’s that it shows the lack of variety in this town. Why don’t you try some uppers like MDMA? Your teeth will thank me.

Unfortunately, Reno is far from alone.  In the past I have written about how formerly great cities such as Detroit, Cleveland and Baltimore are completely falling apart as well.  This kind of thing is literally happening from coast to coast.

There is a very serious lack of decent jobs in America right now.  At this point only 24.6 percent of all jobs in the United States are good jobs.

This has made it increasingly difficult for Americans to be able to take care of themselves.

If you can believe it, more than 100 million Americans are on welfare at this point.

And that number does not even include the tens of millions of people that are on Social Security and Medicare.

What in the world has happened to us?

These days most Americans work really hard all of their lives but never end up reaching their dreams.

In fact, one recent study found that 46 percent of all Americans die with less than $10,000 worth of financial assets.

Talk about depressing.

But instead of having us focus on how bad the economic numbers are, the Federal Reserve wants to start measuring how “happy” everyone is.  The following is from a recent ABC News article….

Ben Bernanke wants to know if you are happy.

The Federal Reserve chairman said Monday that gauging happiness can be as important for measuring economic progress as determining whether inflation is low or unemployment high. Economics isn’t just about money and material benefits, Bernanke said. It is also about understanding and promoting “the enhancement of well-being.”

So what would you say if the Federal Reserve contacted you and asked if you are happy?

Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below….

30 Statistics That Show That The Middle Class Is Dying Right In Front Of Our Eyes As We Enter 2012

Once upon a time, the United States had the largest and most vibrant middle class that the world has ever seen.  Unfortunately, that is rapidly changing.  The statistics that you are about to read prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the U.S. middle class is dying right in front of our eyes as we enter 2012.  The decline of the middle class is not something that has happened all of a sudden.  Rather, there has been a relentless grinding down of the middle class over the last several decades.  Millions of our jobs have been shipped overseas, the rate of inflation has far outpaced the rate that our wages have grown, and overwhelming debt has choked the financial life out of millions of American families.  Every single day, more Americans fall out of the middle class and into poverty.  In fact, more Americans fell into poverty last year than has ever been recorded before.  The number of middle class jobs and middle class neighborhoods continues to decline at a staggering pace.  As I have written about previously, America as a whole is getting poorer as a nation, and as this happens wealth is becoming increasingly concentrated at the very top of the income scale.  This is not how capitalism is supposed to work, and it is not good for America.

Today I went over to Safeway and I was absolutely appalled at the prices.  I honestly don’t know how most families make it these days.  I ended up paying over 140 dollars for about two-thirds of a cart of food.  That was after I “saved” 67 dollars on sale items.

When the cost of the basic things that we need – housing, food, gas, electricity – go up faster than our incomes do, that means that we are getting poorer.

Sadly, if you look at the long-term numbers, some very clear negative trends emerge….

-The number of good jobs continues to decrease.

-The rate of inflation continues to outpace the rate that our wages are going up.

-American consumers are going into almost unbelievable amounts of debt.

-The number of Americans that are considered to be “poor” continues to grow.

-The number of Americans that are forced to turn to the government for financial assistance continues to go up.

After you read the information below, it should become abundantly clear that the U.S. middle class is in a whole heap of trouble.

The following are 30 statistics that show that the middle class is dying right in front of our eyes as we enter 2012….

#1 Today, only 55.3 percent of all Americans between the ages of 16 and 29 have jobs.

#2 In the United States today, there are 240 million working age people.  Only about 140 million of them are working.

#3 According to CareerBuilder, only 23 percent of American companies plan to hire more employees in 2012.

#4 Since the year 2000, the United States has lost 10% of its middle class jobs.  In the year 2000 there were about 72 million middle class jobs in the United States but today there are only about 65 million middle class jobs.

#5 According to the New York Times, approximately 100 million Americans are either living in poverty or in “the fretful zone just above it”.

#6 According to that same article in the New York Times, 34 percent of all elderly Americans are living in poverty or “near poverty”, and 39 percent of all children in America are living in poverty or “near poverty”.

#7 In 1984, the median net worth of households led by someone 65 or older was 10 times larger than the median net worth of households led by someone 35 or younger.  Today, the median net worth of households led by someone 65 or older is 47 times larger than the median net worth of households led by someone 35 or younger.

#8 Since the year 2000, incomes for U.S. households led by someone between the ages of 25 and 34 have fallen by about 12 percent after you adjust for inflation.

#9 The total value of household real estate in the U.S. has declined from $22.7 trillion in 2006 to $16.2 trillion today.  Most of that wealth has been lost by the middle class.

#10 Many formerly great manufacturing cities are turning into ghost towns.  Since 1950, the population of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has declined by more than 50 percent.  In Dayton, Ohio 18.9 percent of all houses now stand empty.

#11 Since 1971, consumer debt in the United States has increased by a whopping 1700%.

#12 The number of pages of federal tax rules and regulations has increased by 18,000% since 1913.  The wealthy know how to avoid taxes, but most of those in the middle class do not.

#13 The number of Americans that fell into poverty (2.6 million) set a new all-time record last year and extreme poverty (6.7%) is at the highest level ever measured in the United States.

#14 According to one study, between 1969 and 2009 the median wages earned by American men between the ages of 30 and 50 dropped by 27 percent after you account for inflation.

#15 According to U.S. Representative Betty Sutton, America has lost an average of 15 manufacturing facilities a day over the last 10 years.  During 2010 it got even worse.  Last year, an average of 23 manufacturing facilities a day shut down in the United States.

#16 Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs.  Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.

#17 Most Americans are scratching and clawing and doing whatever they can to make a living these days.  Half of all American workers now earn $505 or less per week.

#18 Food prices continue to rise at a very brisk pace.  The price of beef is up 9.8% over the past year, the price of eggs is up 10.2% over the past year and the price of potatoes is up 12% over the past year.

#19 Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.

#20 The average American household will have spent a staggering $4,155 on gasoline by the end of 2011.

#21 If inflation was measured the exact same way that it was measured back in 1980, the rate of inflation in the United States would be well over 10 percent.

#22 If the number of Americans considered to be “looking for work” was the same today as it was back in 2007, the “official” unemployment rate put out by the U.S. government would be up to 11 percent.

#23 According to the Student Loan Debt Clock, total student loan debt in the United States will surpass the 1 trillion dollar mark at some point in 2012.  Most of that debt is owed by members of the middle class.

#24 Incredibly, more than one out of every seven Americans is on food stamps and one out of every four American children is on food stamps at this point.

#25 Since Barack Obama took office, the number of Americans on food stamps has increased by 14.3 million.

#26 In 2010, 42 percent of all single mothers in the United States were on food stamps.

#27 In 1970, 65 percent of all Americans lived in “middle class neighborhoods”.  By 2007, only 44 percent of all Americans lived in “middle class neighborhoods”.

#28 According to a recent report produced by Pew Charitable Trusts, approximately one out of every three Americans that grew up in a middle class household has slipped down the income ladder.

#29 In the United States today, the wealthiest one percent of all Americans have a greater net worth than the bottom 90 percent combined.

#30 The poorest 50 percent of all Americans now collectively own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.

Sadly, this article could have been much, much longer.  There are so many other statistics about the middle class that could have been included.

For even more insane economic numbers that show just how dramatically the U.S. economy is declining, just check out this article: “50 Economic Numbers From 2011 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe“.

What is even more frightening is that this is about as good as things are going to get.

We have already had “the economic recovery”, such as it was.

Now we are heading for another major financial crisis.  Just like back in 2008, the entire world is going to feel the pain.

But we never recovered from the last financial crisis.  We are like a boxer that is not ready to handle another blow.

And who is going to get hurt the most?  It will be those at the bottom of the food chain of course.  Tens of millions of Americans that are living in poverty will experience a massive amount of pain, and millions more Americans will fall out of the middle class and will join them.

If you have a good job, do your best to hang on to it.  If you don’t have a job, do your best to get one while you still can.  Jobs will become very precious in the years ahead.

But also try to do what you can to become less dependent on the system.  Almost anyone can find ways to make some extra money on the side.  Yes, it will likely cut into your television time.  If someday you were to lose your job you don’t want to be left with zero income.

Right now, the U.S. economy is slowly dying and as time goes by the number of middle class Americans it will be able to support will continue to decrease.

Yes, it is like a perverse game of musical chairs, but this is where we are at.

I encourage all of you to think about how you plan to make it through the collapse that is ahead.

Sticking our heads in the sand and pretending that everything is going to be okay is not going to help anyone.

But if we all start planning for the storm that is ahead, and if we get others around us to wake up as well, that is going to do a great deal of good in the long run.

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