After a series of stunning declines through the month of January and the first half of February, global financial markets seem to have found a patch of relative stability at least for the moment. But that does not mean that the crisis is over. On the contrary, all of the hard economic numbers that are coming in from around the world tell us that the global economy is coming apart at the seams. This is especially true when you look at global trade numbers. The amount of stuff that is being bought, sold and shipped around the planet is falling precipitously. So don’t be fooled if stocks go up one day or down the next. The truth is that we are in the early chapters of a brand new economic meltdown, and I believe that all of the signs indicate that it will continue to get worse in the months ahead. The following are 21 new numbers that show that the global economy is absolutely imploding…
#1 Chinese exports fell by 11.2 percent year over year in January.
#2 Chinese imports were even worse in January. On a year over year basis, they declined a whopping 18.8 percent.
#3 It may be hard to believe, but Chinese imports have now plunged for 15 months in a row.
#4 In India, exports were down 13.6 percent on a year over year basis in January.
#5 In Japan, exports declined 8 percent in December on a year over year basis, while imports plummeted 18 percent.
#6 For the sixth time in six years, Japanese GDP growth has gone negative.
#7 In the United States, exports were down 7 percent on a year over year basis in December.
#8 U.S. factory orders have fallen for 14 months in a row.
#9 The Restaurant Performance Index in the United States has dropped to the lowest level that we have seen since 2008.
#10 This month the Baltic Dry Index fell below 300 for the first time ever.
#11 It is now cheaper to rent a 1,100 foot merchant vessel than it is to rent a Ferrari.
#12 Orders for Class 8 trucks in the United States dropped by 48 percent on a year over year basis in January.
#13 Due to a lack of demand for trucks, Daimler just laid off 1,250 U.S. workers.
#14 Even though Saudi Arabia and Russia have agreed to freeze oil production at current levels, the price of U.S. oil has still fallen below 30 dollars a barrel.
#15 It is being reported that 35 percent of all oil and gas companies around the world are at risk of falling into bankruptcy.
#16 According to CNN, 67 oil and gas companies in the United States filed for bankruptcy during 2015.
#17 The number of job cuts in the United States skyrocketed 218 percent during the month of January according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
#18 All over America, retail stores are shutting down at a stunning pace. The following list of store closures comes from one of my previous articles…
-Wal-Mart is closing 269 stores, including 154 inside the United States.
-K-Mart is closing down more than two dozen stores over the next several months.
-J.C. Penney will be permanently shutting down 47 more stores after closing a total of 40 stores in 2015.
-Macy’s has decided that it needs to shutter 36 stores and lay off approximately 2,500 employees.
-The Gap is in the process of closing 175 stores in North America.
-Aeropostale is in the process of closing 84 stores all across America.
-Finish Line has announced that 150 stores will be shutting down over the next few years.
-Sears has shut down about 600 stores over the past year or so, but sales at the stores that remain open continue to fall precipitously.
#19 The price of gold is enjoying its best quarterly performance in 30 years.
#20 Global stocks have fallen into bear market territory, which means that about one-fifth of all global stock market wealth has already been wiped out.
#21 Unfortunately for global central banks, they have pretty much run out of ammunition. Since March 2008, central banks have cut interest rates 637 times and they have purchased a staggering 12.3 trillion dollars worth of assets. There is not much more that they can do, and now the next great crisis is upon us.
Without any outside influences, the global economy and the global financial system will continue to rapidly fall apart.
But if we do have a major “black swan event” take place, that could cause the bottom to fall out at any moment.
In particular, I am deeply concerned about the possibility that World War III could be sparked in the Middle East. In an article that I published earlier today entitled “Turkey Is Asking The United States To Take Part In A Ground Invasion Of Syria“, I included a quote from Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu that reveals just how eager Turkey and Saudi Arabia are for war to begin…
“Some countries like us, Saudi Arabia and some other Western European countries have said that a ground operation is necessary,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told Reuters in an interview.
However, this kind of action could not be left to regional powers alone. “To expect this only from Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar is neither right nor realistic. If such an operation is to take place, it has to be carried out jointly, like the (coalition) air strikes,” he said.
The Turks and the Saudis very much want the United States to take a leading role in any ground invasion of Syria, but the Obama administration is not likely to do that.
So we shall see if the Turks and the Saudis are willing to go ahead without us. Let us hope that they do not decide to invade Syria, because that could start the biggest war in the Middle East that any of us have ever seen.
Unfortunately, Turkey is already attacking.
Turkey has been shelling Kurdish and Syrian military positions in northern Syria for four days in a row even though the Obama administration has been urging them to stop.
The first month and a half of 2016 has already been quite chaotic, and the stage is set for global events to greatly accelerate during the months ahead.
Sadly, the mainstream media in the United States is largely ignoring the preparations for a ground invasion of Syria, and they keep telling us that the global economy is going to be just fine, so most ordinary Americans are going to be absolutely blindsided by what is about to happen.
We have not seen global economic activity fall off this rapidly since the great recession of 2008. Manufacturing activity is imploding all over the planet, global trade is slowing down at a pace that is extremely alarming, and the Baltic Dry Index just hit another brand new all-time record low. If the “real economy” consists of people making, selling and shipping stuff, then it is in incredibly bad shape. Here in the United States, the dismal economic numbers continue to stun all of the experts. For example, on Monday we learned that the Texas general business activity index just hit a six year low…
Economic activity in Texas keeps getting worse.
The general business activity index out Monday from the Dallas Federal Reserve for January was -34.6, a six-year low and much worse than economists had expected.
The forecast for the monthly index was -14, following a December reading of -21.6 (revised from -20.1) that was also worse than expected.
One could perhaps argue that this is to be expected in Texas because of the collapse in the price of oil.
But what about the very unusual things that we are seeing in other areas of the country? In Erwin, Tennessee, a rail terminal that had been continuously operating for 135 years was just permanently shut down, and hundreds of workers now find themselves without a job…
The last coal train to leave Erwin rolled slowly out of town just after at 3 p.m. Thursday, less than eight hours after CSX Transportation employees heard the news that rocked all of Unicoi County.
“Its a hard pill to swallow,” county Mayor Greg Lynch said. “Of course, we heard rumors that something was coming down. But never in my wildest dreams did I imagine they would just shut down and leave town.”
CSX delivered the news of its decision to immediately close Erwin’s 175-acre rail yard and abruptly end the employment of the facility’s 300 workers in a series of meetings with employees conducted at the start of their morning shifts.
It has been said that if you want to know what is really happening with the U.S. economy, just watch the railroads.
And right now, rail traffic all over the nation is falling to depressingly low levels.
One of Steve Quayle’s readers says that rail traffic in Colorado has slowed down so much that hundreds of engines are just sitting there on the tracks…
With regard to the train freight article this morning, we have in Grand Junction, CO., literally hundreds of engines sidelined on the tracks. They are three deep on some tracks and easily number over 250. I have never seen this many engines on the tracks before and I feel this is just another indicator of the slowdown in shipping.
In case you are tempted to think that this is just anecdotal evidence, I want you to consider what is happening to the largest railroad company in the United States.
According to Wolf Richter, operating revenues for Union Pacific were down 15 percent last year…
Union Pacific, the largest US railroad, reported awful fourth-quarter earnings Thursday evening. Operating revenues plummeted 15% year over year, and net income dropped 22%.
It was broad-based: The only category where revenues rose was automotive (+1%). Otherwise, revenues fell: Chemicals (-7%), Agricultural Products (-12%), Intermodal containers (-14%), Industrial Products (-23%), and Coal (-31%). Shipment of crude plunged 42%.
So Union Pacific did what American companies do best: it laid off 3,900 people last year.
And of course we can see evidence of the emerging economic slowdown all around us pretty much wherever we look. Sprint just laid off 8 percent of its workforce, GoPro is letting go 7 percent of its workers, and Wal-Mart just announced the closure of 269 stores.
But instead of dealing with reality, there are a lot of irrational optimists that insist that things will start bouncing back any day now. For instance, CNBC is reporting that Goldman Sachs is forecasting that the S&P 500 will end up finishing the year back at 2,100…
Goldman, though, is sticking with its forecast that the S&P 500 will rebound and finish the year at 2,100, a rise of about 11 percent from current levels but basically no net gain for the full year.
It is easy to say something like that, but the actions of the big banks speak louder than words.
Most people don’t realize this, but several of the “too big to fail” banks laid off thousands of workers in 2015…
Bank of America and Citigroup reduced headcount the most, eliminating about 20,000 staffers between them, according to fourth-quarter earnings reports from each bank. The respective moves amount to 4.6 percent and 4 percent fewer workers at the banks. JPMorgan Chase reported in its earnings that it employs 6,700 fewer workers than a year ago.
And guess what?
The “too big to fail” banks did the exact same thing just before the great stock market crash of 2008.
When are people going to finally start understanding that we have a major league crisis on our hands?
Since June 2015, approximately 15 trillion dollars of global stock market wealth has been wiped out. After a brief respite at the end of last week, it appears that the global financial crisis is getting ready to accelerate once again.
On Monday, the price of oil dipped back under 30 dollars, the Dow was down another 208 points, and the Nikkei is currently down another 389 points in early trading.
Somewhere close to one-fifth of all global stock market wealth has already been wiped out.
We only have about four-fifths left.
But in the end, I can talk about these numbers until I am blue in the face and some people will still not get prepared.
Some people have so much faith in Barack Obama, the Federal Reserve and the mainstream media that they would literally follow them off a cliff.
By now, most of the people that believe that they should prepare for the coming crisis have already gotten prepared, and most of those that want to believe that everything is going to work out just fine somehow are never going to get prepared anyway.
What is going to happen is going to happen, and tens of millions of people are going to end up bitterly regretting not listening to the warnings when they still had the chance.
Have you noticed that things have gotten eerily quiet in the month of October? After the chaos of late August and early September, many had anticipated that we would be dealing with a full-blown financial collapse by now, but instead we have entered a period of “dead calm” in which things have become exceedingly quiet in almost every way that you can possibly imagine. Other “watchmen” that I highly respect have made the exact same observation. Even though the economic numbers are screaming that we have entered a global recession, they aren’t really make any headline news. A whole host of major financial institutions around the planet are currently in danger of collapsing and creating the next “Lehman Brothers moment”, but none of them has imploded just yet. And of course Barack Obama seems bound and determined to start World War III. On Monday, it was announced that he is sending a guided missile destroyer into Chinese waters in the South China Sea. The Chinese have already stated that they might just start shooting if this happens, but Barack Obama doesn’t seem to care. But until the shooting actually begins, that is not likely to upset the current tranquility that we are enjoying either.
To me, what we are experiencing at the moment would best be described as “the calm before the storm”. If you are not familiar with this concept, this is how it is defined by How Stuff Works…
Have you ever spent an afternoon in the backyard, maybe grilling or enjoying a game of croquet, when suddenly you notice that everything goes quiet? The air seems still and calm — even the birds stop singing and quickly return to their nests.
After a few minutes, you feel a change in the air, and suddenly a line of clouds ominously appears on the horizon — clouds with a look that tells you they aren’t fooling around. You quickly dash in the house and narrowly miss the first fat raindrops that fall right before the downpour. At this moment, you might stop and ask yourself, “Why was it so calm and peaceful right before the storm hit?”
Like so many others, I believe that a great storm is coming, and yet right at this moment things seem so peaceful.
Unfortunately, this period of peace and quiet is not going to last for long, and most Americans know deep down that something is seriously wrong with our nation. In fact, a new WND/Clout poll has found that 85.3 percent of all likely voters in the United States believe that our country is going in the wrong direction…
The poll found 92.6 percent of those who identified themselves as conservative believe the nation is on the wrong track. Among those who call themselves liberal, 90.9 percent said it is going the wrong direction.
When asked what they think of the American economy after seven years of Obama’s leadership and economic policies, nearly 80 percent described it as “very fragile” or “somewhat fragile.”
Self-identified Democrats, Republicans, liberals and conservatives were in general agreement, with about 75 percent to 80 percent describing the economy as “somewhat fragile” or “very fragile.”
But even though we are steamrolling in the wrong direction, we haven’t suffered any incredibly serious consequences for it yet.
For the moment, this is allowing the mockers to have a field day. They are fully confident that Barack Obama and the Federal Reserve knew what they were doing after all, and they are gleefully taunting those of us that have been warning of the great disaster that is heading our way.
However, those that are wise are getting prepared.
I think that we could all learn some lessons from what Overstock.com Chairman Jonathan Johnson is doing. The following is an extended excerpt from a recent Zero Hedge article…
One week ago Johnson, who is also candidate for Utah governor, spoke at the United Precious Metals Association, or UPMA, which we first profiled a month ago, and which takes advantage of Utah’s special status allowing the it to use gold as legal tender, offering gold and silver-backed accounts. As a reminder, the UPMA takes Federal Reserve Notes (or paper dollars) which it then translates into golden dollars (or silver). The golden dollars are based off the $50 one ounce gold coins produced by the Treasury of The United States. They are legal tender under the law and are protected as such.
What did Johnson tell the UPMA? Here are some choice quotes:
We are not big fans of Wall Street and we don’t trust them. We foresaw the financial crisis, we fought against the financial crisis that happened in 2008; we don’t trust the banks still and we foresee that with QE3, and QE4 and QE n that at some point there is going to be another significant financial crisis.
So what do we do as a business so that we would be prepared when that happens. One thing that we do that is fairly unique: we have about $10 million in gold, mostly the small button-sized coins, that we keep outside of the banking system. We expect that when there is a financial crisis there will be a banking holiday. I don’t know if it will be 2 days, or 2 weeks, or 2 months. We have $10 million in gold and silver in denominations small enough that we can use for payroll. We want to be able to keep our employees paid, safe and our site up and running during a financial crisis.
We also happen to have three months of food supply for every employee that we can live on.
Why would such a seemingly intelligent and successful CEO of a large Internet company do such things?
It is because he can see the writing on the wall.
This period of calm will not last. A great storm is coming, and when it does arrive those that have not prepared for it are going to suffer tremendously.
Most people have no idea just how fragile our system really is. Today, some of these “too big to fail” banks supposedly have trillions of dollars in assets, but if you want to withdraw $10,000 or more in cash you have got to give them 24 hours notice to get enough money…
This is just the beginning. As anyone can tell you, it’s all but impossible to move large amounts of money into cash in the US. Even the large banks will routinely ask you for 24 hours notice if you need $10,000 or more in cash. These are banks will TRILLIONS of dollars worth of assets on their books.
And with each passing day we see even more signs of the global economic slowdown that is emerging all around us. For example, we just learned that the China Containerized Freight Index has dropped to the lowest level ever recorded. China accounts for more global trade than anyone else, and so this is a very clear sign that global economic activity is slowing down dramatically…
By early July, the index dropped below 800 for the first time in its history, which started in 1998 when the index was set at 1,000. It soon recovered to about 850. And just when bouts of hope were rising that the worst was over, it plunged again and hit even lower levels.
The latest weekly reading dropped another 1.7% from the prior week to 752.21, the worst level ever. The CCFI is now 30% below where it had been in February this year and 25% below where it had been 17 years ago at its inception.
But for those that don’t want to believe that hard times are on the way, they can take comfort in the eerie period of calm that we are experiencing right now.
What they don’t realize is that this truly is “the calm before the storm”, and the global economic crisis that is ahead of us is going to be far beyond what most people ever dared to imagine was possible.
A banker named Andrew Huszar that helped manage the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing program during 2009 and 2010 is publicly apologizing for what he has done. He says that quantitative easing has accomplished next to nothing for the average person on the street. Instead, he says that it has been “the greatest backdoor Wall Street bailout of all time.” And of course the cold, hard economic numbers support what Huszar is saying. The percentage of working age Americans with a job has not improved at all during the quantitative easing era, and median household income has actually steadily declined during that time frame. Meanwhile, U.S. stock prices have doubled overall, and the stock prices of the big Wall Street banks have tripled. So who benefits from quantitative easing? It doesn’t take a genius to figure it out, and now Andrew Huszar is blowing the whistle on the whole thing.
From 2009 to 2010, Huszar was responsible for managing the Fed’s purchase of approximately $1.25 trillion worth of mortgage-backed securities. At the time, he thought that it was a dream job, but now he is apologizing to the rest of the country for what happened…
I can only say: I’m sorry, America. As a former Federal Reserve official, I was responsible for executing the centerpiece program of the Fed’s first plunge into the bond-buying experiment known as quantitative easing. The central bank continues to spin QE as a tool for helping Main Street. But I’ve come to recognize the program for what it really is: the greatest backdoor Wall Street bailout of all time.
When the first round of quantitative easing ended, Huszar says that it was incredibly obvious that QE had done very little to benefit average Americans but that it had been “an absolute coup for Wall Street”…
Trading for the first round of QE ended on March 31, 2010. The final results confirmed that, while there had been only trivial relief for Main Street, the U.S. central bank’s bond purchases had been an absolute coup for Wall Street. The banks hadn’t just benefited from the lower cost of making loans. They’d also enjoyed huge capital gains on the rising values of their securities holdings and fat commissions from brokering most of the Fed’s QE transactions. Wall Street had experienced its most profitable year ever in 2009, and 2010 was starting off in much the same way.
You’d think the Fed would have finally stopped to question the wisdom of QE. Think again. Only a few months later—after a 14% drop in the U.S. stock market and renewed weakening in the banking sector—the Fed announced a new round of bond buying: QE2. Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, immediately called the decision “clueless.”
That was when I realized the Fed had lost any remaining ability to think independently from Wall Street.
Of course the fact that the Fed cannot think independently from Wall Street should not be a surprise to any of my regular readers. As I have written about repeatedly, the Federal Reserve was created by the Wall Street bankers for the benefit of the Wall Street bankers. When the Federal Reserve serves the interests of Wall Street, it is simply doing what it was designed to do. And according to Huszar, quantitative easing has been one giant “subsidy” for Wall Street banks…
Having racked up hundreds of billions of dollars in opaque Fed subsidies, U.S. banks have seen their collective stock price triple since March 2009. The biggest ones have only become more of a cartel: 0.2% of them now control more than 70% of the U.S. bank assets.
But Huszar is certainly not the only one on Wall Street that acknowledges these things. For example, just check out what billionaire hedge fund manager Stanley Druckenmiller told CNBC about quantitative easing…
“This is fantastic for every rich person,” he said Thursday, a day after the Fed’s stunning decision to delay tightening its monetary policy. “This is the biggest redistribution of wealth from the middle class and the poor to the rich ever.”
“Who owns assets—the rich, the billionaires. You think Warren Buffett hates this stuff? You think I hate this stuff? I had a very good day yesterday.”
Druckenmiller, whose net worth is estimated at more than $2 billion, said that the implication of the Fed’s policy is that the rich will spend their wealth and create jobs—essentially betting on “trickle-down economics.”
“I mean, maybe this trickle-down monetary policy that gives money to billionaires and hopefully we go spend it is going to work,” he said. “But it hasn’t worked for five years.”
And Donald Trump said essentially the same thing when he made the following statement on CNBC about quantitative easing…
“People like me will benefit from this.”
The American people are still being told that quantitative easing is “economic stimulus” which will make the lives of average Americans better.
That is a flat out lie and the folks over at the Federal Reserve know this.
In fact, a very interesting study conducted for the Bank of England shows that quantitative easing actually increases the gap between the wealthy and the poor…
It said that the Bank of England’s policies of quantitative easing – similar to the Fed’s – had benefited mainly the wealthy.
Specifically, it said that its QE program had boosted the value of stocks and bonds by 26 percent, or about $970 billion. It said that about 40 percent of those gains went to the richest 5 percent of British households.
Many said the BOE’s easing added to social anger and unrest. Dhaval Joshi, of BCA Research wrote that “QE cash ends up overwhelmingly in profits, thereby exacerbating already extreme income inequality and the consequent social tensions that arise from it.”
And this is exactly what has happened in the United States as well.
U.S. stocks have risen 108% while Barack Obama has been in the White House.
And who owns stocks?
The wealthy do. In fact, 82 percent of all individually held stocks are owned by the wealthiest 5 percent of all Americans.
Meanwhile, things have continued to get even tougher for ordinary Americans.
While Obama has been in the White House, the percentage of working age Americans with a job has declined from 60.6% to 58.3%, median household income has declined for five years in a row, and poverty has been absolutely exploding.
But the fact that it has been very good for Wall Street while doing essentially nothing for ordinary Americans is not the biggest problem with quantitative easing.
The biggest problem with quantitative easing is that it is destroying worldwide faith in the U.S. dollar and in the U.S. financial system.
In recent years, the Federal Reserve has started to behave like the Weimar Republic. Just check out the chart below…
The rest of the world is watching the Fed go crazy, and they are beginning to openly wonder why they should continue to use the U.S. dollar as the de facto reserve currency of the planet.
Right now, most global trade involves the use of U.S. dollars. In fact, far more U.S. dollars are actually used outside of the United States than are used inside the country. This creates a tremendous demand for U.S. dollars around the planet, and it keeps the value of the U.S. dollar at a level that is far higher than it otherwise would be.
If the rest of the world decides to start moving away from the U.S. dollar (and this is already starting to happen), then the demand for the U.S. dollar will fall and we will not be able to import oil from the Middle East and cheap plastic trinkets from China so inexpensively anymore.
In addition, major exporting nations such as China and Saudi Arabia end up with giant piles of U.S. dollars due to their trading activities. Instead of just sitting on all of that cash, they tend to reinvest much of it back into U.S. Treasury securities. This increases demand for U.S. debt and drives down interest rates.
If the Federal Reserve continues to wildly create money out of thin air with no end in sight, the rest of the world may decide to stop lending us trillions of dollars at ultra-low interest rates.
When we get to that point, it is going to be absolutely disastrous for the U.S. economy and the U.S. financial system. If you doubt this, just read this article.
The only way that the game can continue is for the rest of the world to continue to be irrational and to continue to ignore the reckless behavior of the Federal Reserve.
We desperately need the rest of the planet “to ignore the man behind the curtain”. We desperately need them to keep using our dollars that are rapidly being devalued and to keep loaning us money at rates that are far below the real rate of inflation.
If the rest of the globe starts behaving rationally at some point, and they eventually will, then the game will be over.
Let us hope and pray that we still have a bit more time until that happens.
A lot of things that have not happened since the last recession are starting to happen again. As you read the list below, you will notice that the year “2009” comes up again and again. There is a reason for that. Many of the same patterns that we witnessed during the last major economic downturn are starting to repeat themselves. In fact, many of the things that are happening right now have not happened in quite a few years. For example, manufacturing activity in the U.S. has contracted for the first time in four years. The inventory to sales ratio is the highest that it has been in four years. Average hourly compensation just experienced the largest decline that we have seen in four years. We also just witnessed the largest decline in the number of mortgage applications that we have seen in four years. After everything that Barack Obama, the U.S. Congress and the Federal Reserve have tried to do, there has been no real economic recovery and now the U.S. economy is suddenly behaving as if it is 2009 all over again. A whole host of recent surveys indicate that the American people are starting to feel a bit better about the economy, but the underlying economic numbers tell an entirely different story. The following are 12 clear signals that the U.S. economy is about to really slow down…
#1 The average interest rate on a 30 year mortgage has risen above 4 percent for the first time in more than a year.
#2 The decline in the number of mortgage applications last week was the largest drop that we have seen since June 2009.
#3 Mark Hanson is reporting that “mass layoffs” have occurred at three large mortgage institutions…
This morning I was made aware that three large private mortgage bankers I follow closely for trends in mortgage finance ALL had mass layoffs last Friday and yesterday to the tune of 25% to 50% of their operations staff (intake, processing, underwriting, document drawing, funding, post-closing).
This obviously means that my reports of refi apps being down 65% to 90% in the past 3 weeks are far more accurate than the lagging MBA index, which is likely on its’ way to print multi-year lows in the next month.
#4 It was just announced that average hourly compensation in the United States experienced its largest drop since 2009 during the first quarter of 2013.
#5 As I wrote about the other day, the Institute for Supply Management manufacturing index declined to 49.0 in May. Any reading below 50 indicates contraction. That was the first contraction in manufacturing activity in the U.S. that we have seen since 2009.
#6 The inventory to sales ratio has hit a level not seen since 2009. That means that there is a lot of inventory sitting out there that people are not buying.
#7 According to the Commerce Department, the demand for computers dropped by a stunning 9 percent during the month of April.
#8 As I noted in a previous article, corporate revenues are falling at Wal-Mart, Proctor and Gamble, Starbucks, AT&T, Safeway, American Express and IBM.
#9 Job growth at small businesses is now at about half the level it was at the beginning of the year.
#10 The stock market is starting to understand that all of these numbers indicate that the U.S. economy is really starting to slow down. The Dow was down 216.95 points on Wednesday, and it dropped below 15,000 for the first time since May 6th.
#11 The S&P 500 has now fallen more than 4 percent since May 22nd. Is this the beginning of a market “correction”, or is this something much bigger than that?
#12 Japanese stocks are now down about 17 percent from the peak of May 22nd. Japan has the third largest economy on the planet and it is one of the most important trading partners for the United States. A major financial crisis in Japan would have very serious implications for the U.S. economy.
If we were going to have an “economic recovery”, it should have happened in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Unfortunately, as a recent Los Angeles Times article detailed, an economic recovery never materialized…
Real GDP growth — the value of goods and services produced after adjusting for inflation — is 15.4% below the 3% growth trend of past recoveries, wrote Edward Leamer, director of the UCLA Anderson Forecast. More robust growth will be necessary to bring this recovery in line with previous ones.
“It’s not a recovery,” he wrote. “It’s not even normal growth. It’s bad.”
Now we are rapidly approaching another major economic downturn.
But poverty in America has continued to experience explosive growth since the end of the last recession and dependence on the federal government is already at an all-time high.
How much worse can things get?
Sadly, they are going to get much, much worse.
What the U.S. economy is experiencing right now is not just a cyclical downturn. Rather, we are in the midst of a long-term economic decline that is the result of decades of very foolish decisions by our leaders.
It is imperative that we get the American people educated about what is happening. If people do not understand what is happening, they are not going to get prepared for the hard years that are coming.
If you have a family member or a friend that does not understand the long-term economic collapse that is unfolding all around us, please show them my article entitled “40 Statistics About The Fall Of The U.S. Economy That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe“. It goes a good job of pointing out many of the reasons why we are heading for complete and total economic disaster.
And the point is not to fill people with fear. Rather, there is a lot of hope in understanding what is happening and in getting prepared. As we have seen over in Europe, those that get blindsided by economic problems often become totally consumed with despair. Suicide rates have soared in economically-troubled nations such as Greece, Spain and Italy.
And the same thing is going to happen in the United States too. In fact, the suicide rate in the United States has already been rising according to the New York Times…
From 1999 to 2010, the suicide rate among Americans ages 35 to 64 rose by nearly 30 percent, to 17.6 deaths per 100,000 people, up from 13.7.
In fact, today more Americans are killed by suicide than by car accidents.
Isn’t that crazy?
Unfortunately, this is only just the beginning. When the system fails, millions of Americans are going to be convinced that their lives are over. A lot of them are going to do some very stupid things. We want to try to prevent as much of that as possible.
Thanks to decades of incredibly foolish decisions by our leaders, an economic collapse is inevitable. This is especially true considering the fact that our leaders in Washington D.C. and elsewhere will not even consider many of the potential solutions which could help start turning our economic problems around.
So since there are no solutions on the horizon, we need to explain to people what is happening and help them to get as prepared as possible.
The years ahead are going to be very hard, but we have a choice as to how we will respond to the challenges in front of us.
We can face those challenges with fear, or we can face them with courage.
Can you hear that sound? It is the sound of the air being let out of the economy. Since the election, there has been a massive tsunami of layoffs and business failures. Of course the company that is making the biggest headlines right now is Hostess. On Monday, Hostess will be in a New York bankruptcy courtroom as it begins the process of liquidating itself. Needless to say, Twinkie lovers all over America are horrified. Many are running out to grocery stores and hoarding as many as they can find, and some online sellers are already listing boxes of 10 Twinkies for as much as $10,000 on auction websites such as eBay. Well, there is really no reason to panic. It is very likely that another company will purchase the Twinkie brand and continue to produce them. In fact, it is already being rumored that a Mexican company may have the inside track. But even though the Twinkie may survive, the failure of Hostess is yet another sign of how weak the U.S. economy has become. Approximately 18,500 Hostess workers will be losing their jobs, and even if some of them are rehired by the company that takes over the Twinkie brand, the truth is that those workers will almost certainly be looking at greatly reduced pay and benefits. Sadly, we are seeing this kind of thing happen all over America. Large numbers of once thriving businesses are either shutting down or laying off workers. Overall, the failure of Hostess is not that big of a deal for the U.S. economy. But we may look back someday and remember Hostess as a symbol of the economic problems that were unleashed by the election of 2012. Since November 6th, a wave of pessimism has swept over the economy and we are now seeing some of the worst economic numbers that we have seen in more than a year. Many fear that we may have reached a tipping point and that things are only going to get worse from here.
Sadly, the reality is that Hostess is not the only iconic American company that is in a huge amount of trouble right now. Sears just announced a loss of nearly 500 million dollars in the third quarter. Sears has been bleeding money like this for a couple of years, and if they continue to do so it will just be a matter of time before Sears is headed for liquidation as well.
Can you imagine trying to explain the Sears catalog and Twinkies to future generations in a world where those things no longer exist?
Our world is changing at mind blowing speed, and the pace of change is only going to keep accelerating.
A few days after the election, I wrote an article about the huge number of layoff announcements that we saw after Barack Obama won.
Well, it has gotten even worse since then. The following is a partial list of the layoffs and job losses that have been announced since November 6th…
Abbott Labs 700
Adventist Health 48
Airlines SAS 6000
American Cotton Growers 110
American Independence Museum 4
American Airlines 4400 + 800 leaving voluntarily
American Coal 54
Atlantic Lottery Corporation 16
Assc Milk Producers 130
Aveo Oncology 45
Bechtel Power Corp 277
Bigpoint Games 47
Boston Scientific 1200
Brake Parts LLC 75
Brattleboro Retreat 31
Bristol Myers 500
Career Education 900 + Closing 23 Campuses
Consol Energy in W.V. 145
Crouse Hospital Syracuse NY 70
DEP in Tallahassee FL 15
DuPont, Co. 64
Eagle-Tribune, Andover 21
Emanuel Medical Cente 24
Energizer Holdings 1500
Exide Tech, Laureldale 150
City of Findlay, OH 39
First Energy 400
Gameforge Berlin 20
Gamesa Energy 92
GenOn Energy Inc 33
Glen Falls Hospital 29
GT Advanced Tech 165
Harris’ Broadcast 17
Hawker Beechcraft 400 + Facilities closing
Hill Rom 200
Hills Holdings 300
HMX Group 567
Iberia Airlines 4500
ICM of Colwich 25
Judson University 21
Juniper Networks 500
Kaiser Permanente 84
Kinetic Concepts 427
Kratos Defense Security 125
Lackawanna County PA 11
Lightyear Network Solutions 12+
Majestic Star Casino/hotel 80
Major Wind Company 3000
Martha Stewart Living 70
Mills Manufacturing NC 68
Momentive, Inc. 150
Monitor Group 235
Montco Behavioral Health/Dev 58
Nebraska Medical Center 38
Neovia Logistics Services 52
New Energy 40
Penn Refrigeration 40
Penske Logistics 50
Philips Electronics 218
Pierce Mfg 325
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne 100
Research in Motion 200
Rheem Manufacturing 50
Sentry Foods 70
Shaw’s Supermarket 700
Shawano foundry WI 90
Smith & Nephew 770
Smithfield Packing Co. 125
Solel Solar Systems 140
Southeastern Container 15
SRA Intl Inc 222
St. Jude Medical 300
Sun Media 500
TE Connectivity 620
TECO Coal Corporation 90
Texas Instruments 1700
The Providence Journal Co 23
TMX Group Ltd. 100
Turkey Point Nuclear Plant 277
Oce North America, Inc. 135
Turbocare OCE 220
US Cellular 980
UtahAmerican Energy Inc 102
Volvo Trucks Pulaski County 300
Wake Forest Baptist Medical 950
Welch Allyn 275
West Ridge Mine 102
World Media Enterprises Inc 105
WPS Health Insurance 600
Wright Patterson AFB 115
Wyodak Coal Mine 11
Sadly, the list actually keeps going. You can view the remainder of the list right here.
Even companies owned by Obama supporters are laying people off. Just check out this excerpt from a report by CitizenLink…
A corporation whose part owner gave $2 million to a group committed to re-electing President Obama announced this week that it will be forced to lay off more than 1,000 employees in lieu of the financial hardship imposed by the president’s signature health care law.
Overall, more than 100,000 job losses have been announced since the election. It is almost as if the election was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Everyone in the business community that had been hoping for something different now realizes that no change is coming.
Meanwhile, Obama continues to pour on even more rules and regulations. According to CNSNews.com, the Obama administration has posted a total of 6,125 regulations on its reguations.gov website during the past 90 days. Our politicians are clueless and they simply don’t understand what they are doing to the business community.
But of course this goes for politicians from both sides. For decades we have been consuming far more than we produce and spending far more money then we bring in, and most of our politicians seem to be under the delusion that this can continue indefinitely.
The other night my wife had me watch a documentary entitled “The Queen of Versailles” that followed the lives of time share mogul David Siegel and his wife Jackie. I found it to be a perfect metaphor for what America is going through right now. David Siegel built the greatest time share empire the world has ever seen on a mountain of easy money and cheap credit. At the beginning of the movie, David and Jackie were living the high life and were constructing the largest house in America down in Florida.
Well, things dramatically changed when the financial crisis of 2008 struck. Suddenly nobody wanted to lend to David’s company and the house of cards started to crumble. But even though they were facing massive financial problems, Jackie found it incredibly difficult to adjust her lifestyle. She just kept spending and spending and spending.
It would be easy to pass judgment on David and Jackie, but the truth is that they are a perfect example of what this entire country is going through. Thousands of businesses are failing, our economic infrastructure is being gutted, millions of jobs are being shipped overseas, our financial system has become a gigantic casino and we keep piling even more mountains of debt on top of the mountains of debt that we already have. We have been living way above our means for so long that we don’t even have any concept of what “normal” is anymore.
If you have not seen “The Queen of Versailles” yet, I encourage you to do so. Don’t watch it to laugh at the downfall of David and Jackie Siegel. They are just trying to make their way in this world like all of us are. Rather, watch for parallels between their lives and what the United States is experiencing as a whole. As I mentioned earlier, I found their story to be a perfect metaphor for what is happening to this entire country. You can find the trailer for “The Queen of Versailles” right here.
As the economy falls apart, it is going to be really easy to point fingers at one another and blame one another. But what will really be needed is more love and compassion. A lot of workers at Hostess and a lot of other good companies just lost their jobs. The unemployment epidemic in this country is going to get a lot worse. These people are going to need our love and support.
In the end, we are all in this together. The coming economic storm is not going to be averted, but we can choose how we respond to it. Hopefully the crisis that is coming will bring out the best in many of us.
Barack Obama has destroyed the future of America in order to improve his chances of winning the next election. Under Obama, 5.3 trillion dollars has been ruthlessly stolen from our children and our grandchildren. That money has been used to pump up the debt-fueled false prosperity that we have been experiencing. When the U.S. government borrows money that it does not have from someone else (such as China) and spends that money into the economy it is going to make our economic numbers look better. Even if the government spends that money on incredibly stupid things, it still gets into the hands of average Americans who in turn spend that money on food, gas, clothes, etc. If we were to go back and take that extra 5.3 trillion dollars out of the U.S. economy, I guarantee you that we would be in a rip-roaring depression right now. We would look a lot like Greece at this point. For several years Greece has been raising taxes and cutting government spending in an attempt to balance the budget and these austerity measures have resulted in an unemployment rate of over 23 percent and an economy that has contracted by close to 25 percent. Most Americans don’t want to go through pain like that so they are okay with continuing to financially rape our children and our grandchildren. Just imagine how you would feel if your parents died tomorrow and you found out that they had left you with a million dollar debt that you were legally obligated to pay off. How would you feel, knowing that you had just been sold into debt slavery for the rest of your life? Well, that is how our children and our grandchildren are going to feel. We are destroying the greatest economic machine the world has ever seen, we are accumulating the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the planet, and the coming economic collapse that we have caused is going to wipe out the promising future that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have. If they get the chance, future generations of Americans will curse us bitterly and will spit on our graves. What we are doing to our children and our grandchildren is the kind of stuff that horror movies are made of. You should be ashamed of yourself America.
The federal budget deficit for 2012 will be larger than the entire U.S. national debt was 30 years ago. In 1982 Ronald Reagan was in the White House and the U.S. national debt was considered to be a tremendous national crisis. But somehow we have allowed our national debt to grow from about a trillion dollars back then to approximately $16,000,000,000,000 today.
By the end of Obama’s first term, the U.S. national debt will have grown more than it did from the time that George Washington became president to the time that George W. Bush became president.
That is hard to believe.
Obama is going to outdo all the presidents from George Washington through Bill Clinton in just one term.
At this point, the U.S. national debt is more than 22 times larger than it was when Jimmy Carter became president.
This has allowed us to enjoy a standard of living far beyond what we deserved to. We have stolen from the future to make the present more pleasant.
But hardly anybody wants the party to end. Especially not our Congress critters – they are living like kings and queens at our expense. Our “representatives” in Washington D.C. love to give speeches about being “financially responsible”, but most of them never take any serious action about the debt because the way things are working now has been incredibly good to them.
And the truth is that both political parties have been responsible. In 2010, Republicans took control of the House of Representatives with a clear mandate to get government spending under control. Not a single penny of government money can be spent without their permission. But since they took control, the U.S. national debt has increased by another 1.8 trillion dollars.
At this point, this current Congress (controlled by both Republicans and Democrats) has added more to the national debt than the first 97 Congresses combined.
We expect this kind of nonsense from the Democrats, but the Republicans are supposed to know better.
Of course our entire financial system is designed to permanently entrap our federal government in an endless spiral of debt, but neither political party ever talks about that.
Sadly, the U.S. national debt is now more than 5000 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was first created.
But we never hear about the link between the Federal Reserve and our national debt from either political party or on the mainstream news.
So most Americans do not even realize that our system is designed to create government debt.
It is absolutely disgusting.
We say that we care about our kids, and yet we are passing down a $16,000,000,000,000 debt to them.
Talk about child abuse.
Most people have a really hard time grasping how much money 16 trillion dollars actually is.
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.
And it would take you more than half a million years to spend 16 trillion dollars.
This is a debt that is impossible to pay back. Just look at how it has exploded over the past 40 years….
In a previous article I discussed the distressing rate at which our debt is growing….
It took more than 200 years for the U.S. national debt to reach 1 trillion dollars. In 1986, the U.S. national debt reached 2 trillion dollars. In 1992, the U.S. national debt reached 4 trillion dollars. In 2005, the U.S. national debt doubled again and reached 8 trillion dollars. Now the U.S. national debt is about to cross the 16 trillion dollar mark. How long can this kind of exponential growth go on?
If we can’t even slow down the growth of our debt, how do we ever expect to repay a single penny?
The sad truth is that we aren’t ever going to start paying down our debt. We have gotten to the point where if we take our foot off the debt accelerator we plunge directly into a depression and the entire system collapses. It is like a really sick version of the movie “Speed”.
Where is Keanu Reeves when you need him?
Since Barack Obama entered the White House, he has approved a whole host of measures that have been good for the economy in the short-term. TARP, the stimulus packages, the auto industry bailout and the payroll tax cut are just a few examples.
Barack Obama has wanted to do everything he possibly can to stimulate the economy in the short-term so that he can win again in 2012.
But what about the future?
Barack Obama could not care less about the future. He is just like so many of our other politicians. He is blinded by selfish ambition.
Since Barack Obama became president, the U.S. national debt has increased by an average of more than $64,000 per taxpayer.
Are you willing to write a check for your share?
Oh, let’s just pass this horrific debt on to our children, right?
The path that we are on as a nation cannot go on too much longer. The truth is that we are headed for financial oblivion.
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.
Of course we will never get to the point. Our financial system will collapse long before then.
Sadly, the United States already has more government debt per capita than Greece, Portugal, Italy, Ireland or Spain does.
So why are we not like Greece or Spain yet?
Well, it is because we are still able to borrow huge piles of money very, very cheaply.
But at some point that will come to an end, and when it does the consequences are going to be nightmarish.
Historically, the interest rate on 10 year U.S. Treasuries has averaged 6.68 percent. If the average rate of interest on U.S. debt rose to that level today, we would be paying more than a trillion dollars a year just in interest on the national debt.
And when you consider our future unfunded liabilities things get even more frightening.
According to Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff, the “fiscal gap” is “the present value difference between projected future spending and revenue”. His calculations have led him to the conclusion that the United States is facing a fiscal gap of 222 trillion dollars.
And this gap is rising at a breathtaking pace.
The following is an excerpt from a recent article co-authored by Kotlikoff….
In 2007, the first year the CBO produced the Alternative Fiscal Scenario, the gap, by our reckoning, stood at $175 trillion. By 2009, when the CBO began reporting the AFS annually, the gap was $184 trillion. In 2010, it was $202 trillion, followed by $211 trillion in 2011 and $222 trillion in 2012.
But if we interrupt this debt cycle we immediately go into a depression.
We are a debt addict that will die without more debt.
Meanwhile, our national ability to produce wealth is going down the toilet.
All over the country businesses are shutting down, factories are being closed and millions of jobs are being sent overseas.
As I wrote about the other day, American families are steadily getting poorer. The middle class is shrinking and the tax base is shriveling up.
Many Americans end up flat broke at the end of their lives these days. In fact, one study found that nearly half of all retirees end up with $10,000 or less when they die.
So where is all of the money for servicing this gigantic national debt going to come from?
Even if Bill Gates gave every single penny of his fortune to the U.S. government, it would only cover the U.S. budget deficit for 15 days.
So what is the solution?
If we keep spending money like this we are doomed, but if we stop spending money like this we are doomed.
And debt is not just a problem that the federal government is facing.
Posted below is a chart that shows the growth of all forms of debt in the United States over the past several decades. 40 years ago, there was less than 2 trillion dollars of total debt owed in the United States. Now there is nearly 55 trillion dollars of debt owed. This generation has destroyed the future and has set the stage for an unprecedented economic collapse. Shame on you America….