Suddenly Everyone Is Warning About The Next Financial Collapse

Are we about to see a repeat of 2008 (or something even worse)? Suddenly all kinds of people are coming out of the woodwork and warning that we could be on the verge of the next major financial collapse. Of course many economists and financial pundits just enjoy hearing themselves talk, and sometimes they will make outrageous claims just to get attention, but when so many ominous warnings come out all at once it does tend to make one sit up and take notice. The truth is that global financial markets are even more vulnerable today than they were in 2008, and all over the globe we are seeing trouble signs. Japan is trying to recover from the worst natural disaster that they have ever seen and they are dealing with a nuclear crisis that never seems to end. The Europeans are trying to put another bailout package for Greece together and about a half dozen more European nations that are drowning in debt will need bailouts after that. In the U.S., there are all kinds of signs pointing to the collapse of the economy and the politicians in Washington D.C. continue to “kick the can down the road” and hope that our economic problems will somehow fix themselves.  Oil prices are incredibly high and turmoil is sweeping the globe.  Conditions are certainly developing that could bring about a “perfect storm” and cause another global financial collapse.

The following is just a sampling of the financial warnings that we have seen in recent days from some prominent voices….

*Economist Nouriel Roubini: “I think right now we’re on the tipping point of a market correction. Data from the U.S., from Europe, from Japan, from China are suggesting an economic slowdown.”

*Jim Rogers: “I would expect to see some serious problems in the foreseeable future….By 2011, 2012, 2013, 2013, I don’t know when, we’re going to have an economic slowdown again.”

*Mark Mobius, the executive chairman of Templeton Asset Management’s emerging markets group: “There is definitely going to be another financial crisis around the corner because we haven’t solved any of the things that caused the previous crisis.”

*David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices: “Home prices continue on their downward spiral with no relief in sight.”

*Jeffrey Gundlach, CEO of DoubleLine Capital: “I think we’re looking at some type of echo in the credit crisis coming up here. That’s what I’m afraid of.”

*Carl Icahn: “I do think that there could be another major problem. Now, will it happen next week, next year, i don’t know and certainly nobody knows, but i don’t think that the system is working properly. I really find it amazing that we’re almost back to where it was, where there’s so much leverage going on in the investment banks today. There’s just way too much leverage and way too much risk-taking, with other people’s money.”

Sadly, the world really did not seem to learn much of anything from 2008.  Global financial markets are still pretty much operating the same way that they did before the last crisis.

But back before the crisis in 2008 things were much more stable around the globe.

When the horrible earthquake and tsunami struck Japan earlier this year, most economists brushed it off and believed that Japan would be “resilient” and would bounce back very quickly.

At the time, I went directly against the mainstream consensus with this article: “14 Reasons Why The Economic Collapse Of Japan Has Begun“.

I followed that up with another article entitled “The Japanese Economy Is In Much Bigger Trouble Than Most People Think“.

So who was right?

Well, it turns out that Japan is now officially in a recession.  Their economy contracted at a 3.7 percent annualized rate during the first quarter.

As bad as that number is, just remember that the tsunami did not even hit until March 11th.

So what is the 2nd quarter number going to look like?

There is often a lag between a disaster and the economic effects of the disaster.  The economic impact of this nightmare is going to be felt in Japan for many years to come.  In fact, it is going to be very interesting to see what kind of earnings reports we seeing coming out of Japan in the months ahead.

The economic problems in Japan are also really starting to be felt around the rest of the globe.  The other day, USA Today published an article with the following headline: “U.S. economy damaged more than thought by Japan quake“.

Amazingly, everyone seems to be really surprised that the worst tsunami in modern history is having a significant economic impact.

Meanwhile, the crisis at Fukushima just continues to get worse.

In case you haven’t noticed, the Japanese are not even close to finding a solution to this crisis.

If you want to get a good idea just how bad things are getting around Fukushima, just read this article by Natural News: “Land around Fukushima now radioactive dead zone; resembles target struck by atomic bomb“.

The mainstream media has been doing their best to downplay the crisis at Fukushima, but the truth is that it is now a worse disaster than Chernobyl and life in that region will never be the same again.

Conditions are also ripe in Europe for another financial collapse.

Have you been watching what has been going on in Greece?

It’s crazy.  Without another bailout the Greek government will soon start defaulting on their debts.

The EU and the IMF don’t want to give Greece more bailout money unless there are some significant “strings” attached.  But they also know that if Greece is not bailed out it will cause complete chaos in the financial markets.

The Greek population does not want more bailouts and more austerity.  There have been protests all over the country. Greek citizens have been pulling billions out of Greek banks as the country descends into chaos.

In the end, another bailout deal will get pushed through and the can will be kicked down the road a little while longer.

But what about all of the other European nations that need bailouts?

The government of Ireland is already indicating that they may need another bailout.

Portugal, Spain and Italy (along with several other European nations) are also teetering on the brink of financial disaster.

Most Americans do not realize it, but the European sovereign debt crisis really could set off another global financial crash.  Everyone really should be watching Europe.  It is going to be a very interesting summer.

Of course the United States continues to be an economic basket case.

More depressing housing data came out today.  U.S. home prices are now 5.1% lower than they were a year ago and they have fallen back to mid-2002 levels. CNN is declaring that a housing “double-dip” has been confirmed.

Sadly, U.S. home prices have now fallen farther during this economic downturn than they did during the Great Depression.

Also, the consumer confidence index fell from 66 in April to 60.8 this month.

Americans are becoming more pessimistic about the economy.

According to Gallup, 41 percent of Americans believed that the economy was “getting better” at this time last year.  Today, that number is at just 27 percent.

We are seeing a tremendous about of inflation in 2011, but incomes are not rising.  Unemployment is still rampant and very few jobs are being created.  What is even sadder is that a very high percentage of the jobs that are being created are part-time or temporary jobs.

But this was supposed to be the “recovery”.  Barack Obama and the Congress pushed through “stimulus package” after “stimulus package”.  We added trillions to our national debt.  The Federal Reserve has been printing money like crazy.  An all-out effort was made to pump up the U.S. economy in the short-term.

So after all of that, is this what the “recovery” is going to look like?

Meanwhile, all of those efforts have also made our long-term economic problems even worse.

Because of our exploding national debt and the reckless money printing by the Federal Reserve, faith in the U.S. dollar is dying.  Even the United Nations is warning of a potential dollar collapse.

We are in big, big trouble.

This is about as good as things are going to get for the U.S. economy.  Despite unprecedented efforts, the U.S. economy is still struggling mightily and our long-term economic problems are scarier than ever.

Sadly, most Americans still believe that wonderful economic times are on the way.  Most believe that this downturn is just temporary and that things will soon be better than ever.

How do you think they are going to feel when they find out the truth?

20 Questions To Ask Anyone Foolish Enough To Believe The Economic Crisis Is Over

If you listen to Ben Bernanke, Barack Obama and the mainstream media long enough, and if you didn’t know any better, you might be tempted to think that the economic crisis is long gone and that we are in the midst of a burgeoning economic recovery.  Unfortunately, the truth is that the economic crisis is far from over.  In 2010, more homes were repossessed than ever before, more Americans were on food stamps than ever before and a smaller percentage of American men had jobs than ever before.  The reality is that the United States is an economic basket case and all of these natural disasters certainly are not helping things.  The Federal Reserve has been printing gigantic piles of money and the U.S. government has been borrowing and spending cash at a dizzying pace in an all-out effort to stabilize things.  They have succeeded for the moment, but our long-term economic problems are worse then ever.  We are still in the middle of a full-blown economic crisis and things are about to get even worse.

If you know someone that is foolish enough to believe that the economic crisis is over and that our economic problems are behind us, just ask that person the following questions….

#1 During the 23 months of the “Obama recovery”, an average of about 23,000 jobs a month have been created.  It takes somewhere in the neighborhood of 150,000 jobs a month just to keep up with population growth.  So shouldn’t we hold off a bit before we declare the economic crisis to be over?

#2 During the “recession”, somewhere between 6.3 million and 7.5 million jobs were lost.  During the “Obama recovery”, approximately 535,000 jobs have been added.  When will the rest of the jobs finally come back?

#3 Of the 535,000 jobs that have been created during the “Obama recovery”, only about 35,000 of them are permanent full-time jobs. Today, “low income jobs” account for 41 percent of all jobs in the United States. If our economy is recovering, then why can’t it produce large numbers of good jobs that will enable people to provide for their families?

#4 Agricultural commodities have been absolutely soaring this decade.  The combined price of cotton, wheat, gasoline and hogs is now more than 3 times higher than it was back in 2002.  So how in the world can the Federal Reserve claim that inflation has been at minimal levels all this time?

#5 Back in 2008, banks had a total of 27 billion dollars in excess reserves at the Fed.  Today, banks have a total of approximately 1.5 trillion dollars in excess reserves at the Fed.  So what is going to happen when all of this money eventually hits the economy?….

#6 If the U.S. economy is recovering, then why are shipments by U.S. factories still substantially below 2008 levels?

#7 Why are imports of goods from overseas growing much more rapidly than shipments of goods from U.S. factories?

#8 According to Zillow, the average price of a home in the U.S. is about 8 percent lower than it was a year ago and that it continues to fall about 1 percent a month. During the first quarter of 2011, home values declined at the fastest rate since late 2008. So can we really talk about a “recovery” when the real estate crisis continues to get worse?

#9 According to a shocking new survey, 54 percent of Americans believe that a housing recovery is “unlikely” until at least 2014.  So how is the housing industry supposed to improve if so many people are convinced that it will not?

#10 The latest GDP numbers out of Japan are a complete and total disaster.  During the first quarter GDP declined by a stunning 3.7 percent.  Of course I have been saying for months that the Japanese economy is collapsing, but most mainstream economists were absolutely stunned by the latest figures.  So will the rest of the world be able to avoid slipping into a recession as well?

#11 Next week, Republicans in the House of Representatives are going to allow a vote on raising the debt ceiling.  Everyone knows that this is an opportunity for Republican lawmakers to “look tough” to their constituents (the vast majority of which do not want the debt ceiling raised).  Everyone also knows that eventually the Republicans are almost certainly going to cave on the debt ceiling after minimal concessions by the Democrats.  The truth is that neither “establishment Republicans” nor “establishment Democrats” are actually serious about significantly cutting government debt.  So why do we need all of this political theater?

#12 Why are so many of our once great manufacturing cities being transformed into hellholes?  In the city of Detroit today, there are over 33,000 abandoned houses, 70 schools are being permanently closed down, the mayor wants to bulldoze one-fourth of the city and you can literally buy a house for one dollar in the worst areas.

#13 According to one new survey, about half of all Baby Boomers fear that when they retire they are going to end up living in poverty.  So who is going to take care of them all when the money runs out?

#14 According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average of about 5 million Americans were being hired every single month during 2006.  Today, an average of about 3.5 million Americans are being hired every single month.  So why are our politicians talking about “economic recovery” instead of “the collapse of the economy” when hiring remains about 50 percent below normal?

#15 Since August, 2 million more Americans have left the labor force.  But the entire period from August to today was supposed to have been a time of economic growth and recovery.  So why are so many Americans giving up on looking for a job?

#16 According to Gallup, 41 percent of Americans believed that the economy was “getting better” at this time last year.  Today, that number is at just 27 percent.  Are Americans losing faith in the U.S. economy?

#17 According to the U.S. Census, the number of children living in poverty has gone up by about 2 million in just the past 2 years, and one out of every four American children is currently on food stamps.  During this same time period, Barack Obama and Ben Bernanke have told us over and over that the U.S. economy has been getting better. So what is the truth?

#18 America has become absolutely addicted to government money. 59 percent of all Americans now receive money from the federal government in one form or another. U.S. households are now receiving more income from the U.S. government than they are paying to the government in taxes. Americans hate having their taxes raised and they hate having their government benefits cut.  So is there any hope that this will ever be turned around before disaster strikes?

#19 The combined debt of the major GSEs (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Sallie Mae) has increased from 3.2 trillion in 2008 to 6.4 trillion in 2011.  How in the world is the U.S. government going to be able to afford to guarantee all of that debt on top of everything else?

#20 If the U.S. national debt (more than 14 trillion dollars) was reduced to a stack of 5 dollar bills, it would reach three quarters of the way to the moon.  The U.S. government borrows about 168 million dollars every single hour.  If Bill Gates gave every penny of his fortune to the U.S. government, it would only cover the U.S. budget deficit for 15 days.  So how in the world can our politicians tell us that everything is going to be okay?

Feeling Depressed? 27 Depressing Statistics About The U.S. Economy That Will Make You Feel Even Worse

If you know someone that believes that the U.S. economy is in great shape, just show that person the following statistics.  But please don’t show these statistics to anyone that is feeling depressed or that has just lost a job – it might push such a person over the edge.  The sad truth is that the U.S. economy is in the midst of a long-term decline and it is coming apart at the seams.  Right now the Obama administration and the Federal Reserve are attempting to “paper over” our economic problems with massive amounts of government debt and paper currency, but in the end it is not going to work.  When you analyze the numbers objectively, it leads to the inescapable conclusion that we are headed for another Great Depression.  That is a very depressing thought, but there is no denying that decades of debt and incredibly bad decisions are starting to catch up with us.  The economic pain that is coming is going to be absolutely mind blowing.

It would be nice if our politicians and our business leaders suddenly started making incredibly wise decisions so that we could bring the U.S. economy in for a “soft landing”, but the chance of that happening is so small that it is not even worth mentioning.

It is time for all of us to face up to the truth.  In this day and age it is really easy to get caught up in the trap of feeling depressed, but once we understand exactly how bad our problems are it can be empowering because then we can start focusing on solutions.

The following are 27 depressing statistics about the U.S. economy that are almost too crazy to believe….

#1 The Obama administration projects that the federal budget deficit will be approximately $1,600,000,000,000 this year.  Right now the Republicans and the Democrats are fighting tooth and nail over budget cuts.  The Republicans are proposing to cut the budget deficit by 3.8%.  The Democrats only want to cut it by 2.1%.

#2 The U.S. economy actually grew more between 1930 and 1940 than it did during the decade that recently ended.

#3 Over the last decade, the number of Americans without health insurance has risen from about 38 million to about 52 million.

#4 Agricultural commodities are absolutely soaring.  The price of corn has more than doubled over the last 12 months.  Considering the fact that corn is in literally thousands of our food products, that is a very frightening statistic.

#5 Between 1999 and 2009, real median household income in the United States declined by 5.0%.

#6 It is being estimated that total U.S. government debt will grow by 42 percent by the year 2015.

#7 According to the Pentagon, the cost of the first week of attacks on Libya was 600 million dollars.

#8 The average American now spends approximately 23 percent of his or her income on food and gas.

#9 According to the U.S. Energy Department, the average U.S. household will spend approximately $700 more on gasoline in 2011 than it did during 2010.

#10 It is being projected that for the first time ever, the OPEC nations are going to bring in over a trillion dollars from exporting oil this year.  Their biggest customer is the United States.

#11 According to the Economic Policy Institute, almost 25 percent of U.S. households now have zero net worth or negative net worth.  Back in 2007, that number was just 18.6 percent.

#12 China produced 19.8 percent of all the goods consumed in the world last year.  The United States only produced 19.4 percent.

#13 The United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs per month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

#14 The U.S. trade deficit with China in 2010 was 27 times larger than it was back in 1990.

#15 U.S. home values have fallen an astounding 6.3 trillion dollars since the peak of the real estate market in 2005.

#16 According to RealtyTrac, one out of every 45 U.S. households was hit with a foreclosure filing in 2010.

#17 The number of homes that were actually repossessed reached the 1 million mark for the first time ever during 2010.

#18 New home sales in the United States set a brand new all-time record low in the month of February.

#19 Now home sales in the United States are now down 80% from the peak in July 2005.

#20 The financial condition of American families continues to deteriorate rapidly.  In 2010, one out of every eight American families had at least one family member that was unemployed.  That number was the highest it has been since the U.S. Labor Department began keeping track of that statistic back in 1994.

#21 There are now more than 6 million Americans that the government says have given up looking for work completely.

#22 According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average length of unemployment in the U.S. is now an all-time record 39 weeks.

#23 Americans now owe more than $900 billion on student loans, which is also an all-time record high.

#24 Average household debt in the United States has now reached a level of 136% of average household income.

#25 According to the Federal Reserve, between 2007 and 2009 median household net worth in the United States fell by 23 percent.

#26 The Federal Reserve also says that median household debt in the United States has risen to $75,600.

#27 According to a recent article posted on the website of the American Institute of Economic Research, the purchasing power of a U.S. dollar declined from $1.00 in 1913 to 4.6 cents in 2009.  Sadly, the Federal Reserve is working very hard to get rid of the little bit of purchasing power that the U.S. dollar has left.

19 Reasons Why The Federal Reserve Is At The Heart Of Our Economic Problems

Most Americans do not understand what the Federal Reserve is or why it is at the heart of our economic problems.  When Americans get into discussions about the economy, most of them still blame either the Democrats or the Republicans for inflation, for the housing crash, for our rampant unemployment and for the national debt.  But the truth is that the institution with the most power over our economic system is the Federal Reserve.  So exactly what is the Federal Reserve?  Most people would say that it is an agency of the federal government.  But that is absolutely not true.  In fact, the Federal Reserve itself has argued in court that it is not an agency of the federal government.  Rather, the Federal Reserve is a privately-owned banking cartel that has been given a perpetual monopoly over our monetary system by the U.S. Congress.  This privately-owned central bank has been destroying the value of the U.S. dollar for decades, it has run our economy into the ground and it has driven the U.S. government to the brink of bankruptcy.  The Federal Reserve operates in great secrecy, it has never been subjected to a comprehensive audit and it is not accountable to the American people.  Yet the decisions that the Federal Reserve makes have a dramatic impact on the lives of every single American citizen.

If you really want to understand what is causing our economic problems, it is absolutely crucial that you understand exactly what the Federal Reserve system is and how it is systematically destroying our economy.  Once you understand the truth about the Federal Reserve, you will view economic issues a whole lot differently.

The following are 19 reasons why the Federal Reserve is at the very heart of our economic problems….

#1 The Federal Reserve system is a debt-based financial system.

The way our system is designed, normally no money comes into existence without more debt being created.

But this creates a huge problem, because when a new dollar is created, the interest owed to the banking system on that dollar is not also created at the same time.

Therefore, the amount money that is created is not equal to the larger amount of debt that is also created.

This is a Ponzi scheme that is designed to drain wealth from the American people and transfer it to the banking system.

Today, the amount of debt in our economic system is far, far, far greater than the total amount of money.

The only way to keep the game going is to create even more money which creates even more debt.

#2 The Federal Reserve and the bankers have a monopoly on the creation of this debt-based money.

In the United States today, the only people that can create money are the bankers.

You cannot create money.

You would go to jail if you tried.

Even the U.S. government cannot create money.

Although the U.S. Constitution specifically gives Congress the power to create money, the U.S. Congress has given that power to the Federal Reserve and to the banking system.

This gives them an enormous amount of power.

So how does money creation actually work?

Most Americans don’t understand this.

As I have written about previously, the way our system is designed is that all money is supposed to originally come into existence as government debt….

When the government wants more money, the U.S. government swaps U.S. Treasury bonds for “Federal Reserve notes”, thus creating more government debt.  Usually the money isn’t even printed up – most of the time it is just electronically credited to the government.  The Federal Reserve creates these “Federal Reserve notes” out of thin air.  These Federal Reserve notes are backed by nothing and have no intrinsic value of their own.

The Federal Reserve then sells these U.S. Treasury bonds to investors, other nations (such as China) or sometimes they “sell” them back to themselves.  In fact, the Federal Reserve has been gobbling up a whole lot of U.S. Treasuries lately.  Some refer to this as “monetizing the debt”, but that is not quite an accurate statement.

When the Federal Reserve creates money this way, it does not also create the money to pay the interest on the debt that has been created.  Eventually this puts pressure on the U.S. government to borrow even more money to keep the game going.  So what this creates is a spiral where the U.S. government must keep borrowing increasingly larger amounts of money, where the money supply is endlessly expanding and where the value of the U.S. dollar is destined to continue going down forever.

Once “Federal Reserve Notes” are in circulation, there is another way that money is created.

It is called “fractional reserve lending”.

Once you or I deposit money into a bank, the bank is only required to keep a very small amount of it actually in the bank.  The rest of it the bank can loan out to others (at interest of course).  This process can be repeated over and over and over, creating more money and an even larger amount of debt.

But the important part to take away from all this is that normally money is only created when debt is created, and the amount of debt to be paid back is always larger than the amount of money created.

This entire system is designed to drain our wealth and to put it into the hands of the bankers.

#3 The power of money creation and debt creation is in the hands of private individuals – not the government.

The Federal Reserve claims that it is an “entity within the government, having both public purposes and private aspects.”

That sounds so reasonable, but the truth is that the Federal Reserve is a legalized banking cartel that is privately-owned.

In fact, the Federal Reserve is about as “federal” as Federal Express is.

In defending itself against a Bloomberg request for information under the Freedom of Information Act, the Federal Reserve objected by declaring that it was “not an agency” of the U.S. government and therefore it was not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.  It is kind of funny how Fed officials are always talking about how important their “independence” is, but whenever anyone starts criticizing them for being private they start stressing their ties with the government.

So who owns the Federal Reserve?

As the Federal Reserve’s own website describes, it is the member banks that own it….

The twelve regional Federal Reserve Banks, which were established by Congress as the operating arms of the nation’s central banking system, are organized much like private corporations–possibly leading to some confusion about “ownership.” For example, the Reserve Banks issue shares of stock to member banks. However, owning Reserve Bank stock is quite different from owning stock in a private company. The Reserve Banks are not operated for profit, and ownership of a certain amount of stock is, by law, a condition of membership in the System. The stock may not be sold, traded, or pledged as security for a loan; dividends are, by law, 6 percent per year.

In particular, as we will see below, the banks of the New York Federal Reserve have the most influence over the system.

So who owns the member banks?

Well, when you trace the ownership of the member banks to the very top you find that the international banking elite are very strongly represented.

#4 The Federal Reserve itself is not much of a profit-making institution.  Rather, it is a tool that enables others to make obscene amounts of money.

There are many that think of the Federal Reserve as an evil profit-making machine.  But the truth is that the Fed doesn’t make that much money.  Rather, the system was set up so that others could make an obscene amount of money from U.S. government debt.

Many of those opposed to the Federal Reserve point to the record $80.9 billion in profits that the Federal Reserve made last year as evidence that they are robbing the American people blind.  But then those defending the Federal Reserve will point out that the Fed returned $78.4 billion to the U.S. Treasury.

In the end, those numbers are not nearly as important as the hundreds of billions of dollars in interest that are made off of U.S. government debt each year.

If the U.S. government had been issuing debt-free money all this time, the U.S. government would likely not be spending one penny on interest payments.  Instead, the U.S. government spent over 413 billion dollars on interest on the national debt during fiscal 2010.  This is money that belonged to U.S. taxpayers that was transferred to the U.S. government which in turn was transferred to wealthy international bankers and other foreign governments.

This is where the magic of the Federal Reserve system is.  It is in getting the U.S. government enslaved to debt and using that debt to transfer hundreds of billions of dollars of our wealth into the hands of others.

As interest rates go up, this phenomenon is going to become even more brutal.  Right now it is being projected that the U.S. government will be paying 900 billion dollars just in interest on the national debt by the year 2019.

As you fill out your tax return this year, just keep in mind that vast quantities of our money is going to pay interest on debt that the U.S. government never needed to become enslaved to.

There are some very happy people out there that are becoming fabulously wealthy at our expense.

What a system, eh?

#5 The Federal Reserve is a perpetual debt machine.

As mentioned above, the U.S. government is enslaved to debt.

So how did it get enslaved?

Well, instead of printing up and spending the money that it needs, the U.S. government borrows it through the Federal Reserve system at interest.

In fact, as noted above, the U.S. government cannot create a single new dollar without borrowing it.

But each new dollar that the U.S. government borrows creates more than a dollar of new debt.

As a result, the government eventually has to collect more in taxes than what it has borrowed.

This phenomenon creates an endless debt spiral.

And is that not what we have in the United States today?  In fact, you see this in almost every nation on earth where a similar central banking system has been established.

Did you know that the U.S. national debt is more than 5,000 times larger than it was 100 years ago?

That’s right – back in 1910, prior to the passage of the Federal Reserve Act, the national debt was only about $2.6 billion.

The only way that the U.S. government can inject more money into the economy is by going into more debt.  But when new government debt is created, the amount of money to pay the interest on that debt is not also created.  In this way, it was intended by the international bankers that U.S. government debt would expand indefinitely and the U.S. money supply would also expand indefinitely.  In the process, the international bankers would become insanely wealthy by lending money to the U.S. government.

However, things did not have to turn out this way.

If the Federal Reserve had never been created, and the U.S. government had been issuing debt-free currency all this time, it is entirely conceivable that we would have absolutely no federal government debt at this point.

Unfortunately, we are now trapped in a debt-based system.

The U.S. national debt simply cannot ever be paid off.  U.S. government debt has been mathematically designed to expand forever.  It is a trap from which there is no escape.

Sadly, we have now gotten to a terminal phase of the debt spiral.  The Congressional Budget Office is projecting that U.S. government debt held by the public will reach a staggering 716 percent of GDP by the year 2080.  Remember when I used the term “debt spiral” earlier?  This is what a debt spiral looks like….

#6 The Federal Reserve system is designed to cause inflation.

As U.S. government debt expands at an exponential pace, it inevitably causes inflation.

Most Americans believe that inflation is a fact of life, but the truth is that the United States has only had a major, ongoing problem with inflation since the Federal Reserve was created back in 1913.

Sadly, the U.S. dollar has lost well over 95 percent of its value since the Federal Reserve was created.

If the Federal Reserve did not exist, it is theoretically conceivable that we could have an economy with little to no inflation.  Of course that would greatly depend on the discipline of our government officials (which is not very great at this point), but the sad truth is that our current system is always going to produce inflation.  In fact, the Federal Reserve system was originally designed to be inflationary.  Just check out the inflation chart posted below.  The U.S. never had massive problems with inflation before the Fed was created, but now it is just wildly out of control….

#7 The Federal Reserve has decided to play bizarre games with our money supply.

In a desperate attempt to revive the dying U.S. economy, the Federal Reserve has resorted to chucking gigantic quantities of cash into the financial system.

Remember how earlier I explained that normally whenever new money is created that more debt is created?

Well, lately the Fed has been resorting to a trick called “quantitative easing”.  What “quantitative easing” means is that the Federal Reserve zaps massive amounts of money into existence out of thin air and starts spending it on anything that it wants to buy.  Lately, this has primarily been done to buy up U.S. government debt.

But isn’t that “monetizing the debt”?

Of course it is, and it is a blatant Ponzi scheme.

However, what is even more alarming is what this is doing to our money supply.

Just look at what has happened to our monetary base since about mid-2008….

Does anyone in their right mind believe that this is not going to cause horrible inflation?

Right now most of the new cash is tied up in the financial system, but once it gets out into the regular economy watch out!

#8 The Federal Reserve is undemocratic.

In a previous article, I asked the following question:

“So what makes the central economic planning that the Federal Reserve does different from the central economic planning that communist China does?”

In both cases, a bunch of unelected elitists run the economy and make important economic decisions for the rest of us.

So what really is the difference?

#9 The Federal Reserve runs the U.S. economy.

Most Americans want to blame Obama or Bush or the U.S. Congress for the state of the economy.

But the truth is that it is the Federal Reserve that sets interest rates, it is the Federal Reserve that determines the money supply, it is the Federal Reserve that sets the “target rate” of inflation, it is the Federal Reserve that determines if unemployment is too high or too low and it is the Federal Reserve that watches over all of our banks.

Yes, Obama, Bush and the U.S. Congress all have things to answer for as well.

But none of them have the direct power over the economy that the Federal Reserve does.

#10 The Federal Reserve favors the big banks.

Not all financial institutions are treated equally by the Fed.

The truth is that the big banks (particularly those on Wall Street) are treated with great favor by the Federal Reserve.

If the Federal Reserve did not exist, the big Wall Street banks would not have such an overwhelming advantage.  Most Americans simply have no idea that over the last several years the Federal Reserve has been giving gigantic piles of nearly interest-free money to the big Wall Street banks which they turned right around and started lending to the federal government at a much higher rate of return.  I don’t know about you, but if I was allowed to do that I could make a whole bunch of money very quickly.  In fact, it has come out that the Federal Reserve made over $9 trillion in overnight loans to major banks, large financial institutions and other “friends” during the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009.

Wouldn’t you like to be able to zap trillions of dollars into existence and loan it out to your friends at very favorable terms?

Sadly, most of the “help” from the Federal Reserve always seems to go to the big boys.

When “small enough to fail” banks need assistance, they are usually told to go sell themselves to one of the big banks.

#11 The worse the debt problems caused by the Federal Reserve become, the more money the IRS needs to collect from the rest of us.

If the U.S. government could issue debt-free money, it is conceivable that we would not even need the IRS.  You doubt this?  Well, the truth is that the United States did just fine for well over a hundred years without a national income tax.  But about the same time the Federal Reserve was created a national income tax was instituted as well.  The whole idea was that the wealth of the American people would be transferred to the U.S. government by force and then transferred into the hands of the ultra-wealthy in the form of interest payments.

If the Federal Reserve was shut down, it is entirely possible that we would be able to shut down the IRS as well.

But the only way that the current system works is if massive amounts of wealth continue to be drained from the American people.

#12 The Federal Reserve creates artificial financial bubbles.

When you look back over the last several decades, you will find financial bubble after financial bubble.

So who created all of those bubbles?

It was the Federal Reserve.

The ridiculous policies of Greenspan and Bernanke have wrought disaster after disaster and yet most of our politicians still will not even consider major changes to the Federal Reserve.

#13 The Federal Reserve is anti-free market.

In a true free market system, the marketplace would determine what interest rates are.

In a true free market system, the marketplace would determine which financial institutions survive.

In a true free market system, artificial financial bubbles would be far less likely.

But we don’t have a true free market system.

#14 The Federal Reserve tells the rest of the our banks what to do.

Most Americans don’t understand just how much power the Federal Reserve actually has over our local banks.

For example, just last year Federal Reserve officials walked into one bank in Oklahoma and demanded that they take down all the Bible verses and all the Christmas buttons that the bank had been displaying.

#15 The people currently running the Federal Reserve pretty much have no idea what they are doing.

In case anyone has not noticed, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has a very long track record of incompetence.  Nearly every major judgment that he has made since taking over that position has been dead wrong.

If one of us could go down the street and appoint the manager of the local Dairy Queen as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, it is very doubtful that person would do a worse job than Bernanke has done.

#16 Even though the Federal Reserve has such extraordinary power over the financial system, the American people are not permitted to examine their books.

The Federal Reserve claims that they are regularly audited, but when some members of Congress attempted to push through a true comprehensive audit of the Fed last year Federal Reserve officials threw a hissy fit.

The truth is that the Federal Reserve has never undergone a true comprehensive audit since it was created back in 1913.

Whenever the subject of an audit comes up, Bernanke and others at the Fed keep repeating the mantra of how important “the independence of the Federal Reserve” is.

Sadly, Ron Paul’s proposal to audit the Federal Reserve last year, which had previously been co-sponsored by 320 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, ultimately failed by a vote of 229-198.

Instead, a very, very limited examination of Fed transactions that occurred during the recent financial crisis was approved.

So what did that limited examination reveal?

Well, the Federal Reserve was forced to reveal the details of 21,000 transactions stretching from December 2007 to July 2010 that combined were worth trillions of dollars.  It turns out that the Federal Reserve was just handing out gigantic piles of nearly interest-free cash to their friends at the largest banks, financial institutions and corporations all over the globe.

Many members of Congress were absolutely stunned by these revelations.

So what would a more comprehensive audit reveal?

#17 The Federal Reserve has way too much power.

If the Federal Reserve did not exist, we would not have an unelected, unaccountable “fourth branch of government” running around that has gotten completely and totally out of control.  Even some members of Congress are now openly complaining about how much power the Fed has.  For example, Ron Paul told MSNBC last year that he believes that the Federal Reserve is now more powerful than Congress…..

“The regulations should be on the Federal Reserve. We should have transparency of the Federal Reserve. They can create trillions of dollars to bail out their friends, and we don’t even have any transparency of this. They’re more powerful than the Congress.”

#18 The Federal Reserve is dominated by Wall Street and the New York banks.

The New York representative is the only permanent member of the Federal Open Market Committee, while other regional banks rotate in 2 and 3 year intervals.  The former head of the New York Fed, Timothy Geithner, is now U.S. Treasury Secretary.  The truth is that the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has always been the most important of the regional Fed banks by far, and in turn the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has always been dominated by Wall Street and the major New York banks.

The cold, hard reality of the matter is that the Federal Reserve is just another one of the tools that the Wall Street banking elite use to dominate all the rest of us.

#19 The Federal Reserve has brought us to the brink of economic collapse.

If the Federal Reserve had never been created, the American people would not be so enslaved to debt.  At the very core of our economic problems is debt.  American consumers are swamped with debt, state and local governments are facing horrific debt problems from coast to coast and the federal government has piled up the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world.

We are living in an absolutely massive debt bubble, and when it bursts the world is going to experience financial chaos like it has never seen before.

Things did not have to turn out this way.  We did not have to adopt a debt-based financial system.  We did not have to allow the bankers to enslave us with debt.

But that is what happened.

Sadly, most Americans and the vast majority of our politicians are still clueless about these issues.

In 1922, Henry Ford wrote the following….

“The people must be helped to think naturally about money. They must be told what it is, and what makes it money, and what are the possible tricks of the present system which put nations and peoples under control of the few.”

Hopefully this article will help people understand our debt-based financial system a little bit better.

Until we fundamentally change our system, many of the economic and financial problems we are currently experiencing will never go away.

Thankfully, it does appear that some Americans are waking up.

According to a recent Bloomberg National Poll, the number of Americans that would like to see the Federal Reserve held more accountable or even completely abolished is increasing….

Asked if the central bank should be more accountable to Congress, left independent or abolished entirely, 39 percent said it should be held more accountable and 16 percent that it should be abolished. Only 37 percent favor the status quo.

Those are very exciting numbers.

Hopefully we can awaken many more Americans to the dangers of a debt-based economy.

In the book of Proverbs, it tells us the following….

The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.

Well, by allowing ourselves to become enslaved to debt, we have become the servants of the international banking system.

Not only that, we have also sold our children and our grandchildren into perpetual debt slavery.

Thomas Jefferson tried to warn us about this.

He believed that when the government borrows money in one generation which must be paid back by future generations it is equivalent to stealing….

And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.

In fact, Thomas Jefferson said that if he could add one more amendment to the U.S. Constitution it would be a ban on all government borrowing….

I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution. I would be willing to depend on that alone for the reduction of the administration of our government to the genuine principles of its Constitution; I mean an additional article, taking from the federal government the power of borrowing.

Where would we be today if we had listened to Thomas Jefferson?

The amount of government debt that we have racked up is a great evil.  We have stolen the future away from our children and our grandchildren.  We have put them in a position where they will spend the rest of their lives paying off our debts to the bankers.

We owe it to future generations to fix the problems that we have created.

That is why so many of us believe that it is time for the U.S. Congress to shut down the Federal Reserve.  Our current financial system is a complete and utter failure and we need to start over.

What Is Wrong With The U.S. Economy? Here Are 10 Economic Charts That Will Blow Your Mind

The 10 economic charts that you are about to see are completely and totally shocking.  If you know anyone that still does not believe that the United States is in the midst of a long-term economic decline, just show them these charts.  Sometimes you can quote economic statistics to people until you are blue in the face and it won’t do any good, but when those same people see charts and pictures suddenly it all sinks in.  What is great about charts is that you can very easily demonstrate what has been happening to the economy over an extended period of time.  As you examine the economic charts below, pay special attention to what has been happening to the U.S. economy over the last 30 or 40 years.  The truth is that what is wrong with the U.S. economy is not a great mystery.  All of the economic problems that we are experiencing now have taken decades to develop.  Hopefully the charts in this article will help people realize just how nightmarish our economic problems have become, because until people start realizing how incredibly bad things have gotten they will never be willing to accept the dramatic solutions that are necessary to fix our financial system.

The sad fact of the matter is that we have been living in the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world over the last 40 years.  All of this debt has purchased a wonderful standard of living for the vast majority of us, but all of this debt has also destroyed the economic future of our children and our grandchildren.  Someday future generations will look back on what we have done in absolute horror.

The 10 economic charts posted below are meant to shock you.  Most Americans today need to be shocked before they will be motivated to take action.  Please share these charts with as many people as you can.  Hopefully we can wake enough people up that something will be done about all of these problems while there is still time.

1 – Government spending is expanding at an exponential rate.  As you can see from the chart below, federal spending is almost 18 times higher than it was back in 1970.  Now Barack Obama has proposed a budget that would increase U.S. government spending to 5.6 trillion dollars in 2021.  Just imagine what the following chart would look like if that happens….

2 – U.S. government debt is absolutely exploding.  The U.S. national debt is currently $14,081,561,324,681.83.  It is more than 14 times larger than it was back in 1980.  Unfortunately, the national debt continues to grow at breathtaking speed.  In fact, the Obama administration is projecting that the federal budget deficit for this year will be an all-time record 1.6 trillion dollars.  Can we afford to continue to accumulate debt at this rate?….

3 – Unless something changes right now, the outlook for U.S. government finances in future years is downright apocalyptic.  The chart posted below is from an official U.S. government report to Congress.  As you can see, it is projected that interest on our exploding national debt is absolutely going to spiral out of control if we continue on the path that we are currently on….

4 – Household debt has soared to almost unbelievable levels over the last 30 years.  The sad truth is that it is not just the U.S. government that has a massive debt problem.  U.S. households have also been accumulating debt at a staggering rate.  Total U.S. household debt did not pass the 2 trillion dollar mark until the mid-1980s, but now total U.S. household debt is well over 13 trillion dollars….

5 – The total of all debt (government, business and consumer) in the United States is now well over 50 trillion dollars.  For the past couple of years this figure has been hovering around a level that is equivalent to approximately 360 percent of GDP.  This is a debt bubble that is absolutely unprecedented in U.S. history….

6 – As tens of thousands of U.S. factories get shut down and as millions of our jobs get shipped overseas, the number of unemployed Americans continues to go up and up and up.  As you can see from the chart below, there has been a long-term trend of increasing unemployment in the United States.  In fact, there are about 3 and a half times as many unemployed workers in the United States today as there were when 1970 began.  These jobs losses are going to continue as long as we allow our corporations to pay slave labor wages to workers on the other side of the globe.  All of the major trends in global trade are very bad for the U.S. middle class.  For example, the U.S. trade deficit with China for 2010 was 27 times larger than it was back in 1990.  How long will our politicians stand by as our nation bleeds jobs?….

7 – The median duration of unemployment in the United States is in unprecedented territory.  For most of the post-World War 2 era, when the median duration of unemployment in America reached 10 weeks that was considered a national crisis.  Well, today competition for jobs is so intense that the median duration of unemployment is now well over 20 weeks….

8 – Since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913, the value of the U.S. dollar has declined by over 95 percent.  One of the reasons given for the existence of the Federal Reserve is that the Fed helps control inflation.  But that is a huge lie.  The truth is that the United States never had consistently rampant inflation until the Federal Reserve took control.  In particular, once the U.S. totally went off the gold standard in the 1970s inflation really started escalating out of control….

9 – Now the Federal Reserve says that the solution to our current economic problems is to print even more money out of thin air.  The games that the Federal Reserve is playing with our money supply are simply inexcusable.  Just look at what the Federal Reserve has done to the monetary base since the beginning of the recession….

10 – All of this new money is creating tremendous inflation.  In particular, the price of oil is now ridiculously high.  A high price for oil is very, very bad for the U.S. economy.  Our entire economic system is based on being able to use massive quantities of very cheap oil.  Unfortunately, that paradigm is starting to break down and the consequences will be very bitter.  Back in mid-2008, the price of oil hit an all-time record of $147 a barrel and subsequently the world financial system imploded a few months later.  Well, the price of oil is on the march again and that is very bad news for the U.S. economy….

Needless to say, if the economic trends documented by the charts above continue the U.S. economy will be totally wiped out.  The U.S. economy as it currently exists is unsustainable by definition.  It is only a matter of time before we slam into an economic brick wall.

We have developed an economy that cannot function without debt, and at this point it seems like almost everyone is drowning in red ink.  The federal government is massively overextended, most of our state and local governments are massively overextended, most of our major corporations are massively overextended and the majority of U.S. consumers are massively overextended.

The only way that the game can continue is for the Federal Reserve to print increasingly larger amounts of paper money out of thin air and for everyone in the economic food chain to go into increasingly larger amounts of debt.

But no debt spiral can go on forever.  At some point this entire house of cards is going to collapse.

When that happens, there is going to be economic pain that is greater than anything that this country has ever seen before.

Someday we will all desperately wish that we could go back to the “good times” of 2011.  A great economic collapse is coming, and all of us had better get ready.

What To Do

Today, more Americans than ever are absolutely convinced that we are headed for an economic collapse.  After all, it doesn’t take an advanced degree in economics to understand that American consumers, American businesses, local governments, state governments and the U.S. federal government are all drowning in debt.  It would be hard enough to deal with all of this debt during good economic times, but these are not good economic times.  In fact, right now the U.S. economy is being pounded by an unprecedented number of economic problems.  Tens of millions of Americans are unemployed or underemployed, 40 million Americans are on food stamps, the U.S. real estate crash continues to get worse, and the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico threatens to drag that entire region, and perhaps all of the United States, into a devastating economic depression.  So these days it is fairly easy to convince Americans that really hard economic times are coming.  But now an increasingly large number of people have a new question.  They want to know what to do about all of this.  In fact, probably the biggest group of questions I receive from readers is regarding what to do in order to prepare for the economic collapse that is coming.   People are tired of just talking about all of these problems and they want an action plan. 

So what is the answer?

What should people do about this coming economic collapse?

Well, when I attended law school I was taught that there is a two word answer to almost any question that someone can ask about the law….

It depends.

And while there are some fundamental principles which we should all follow in getting prepared for the coming economic crisis (which I will share below), the truth is that each and every person has very different circumstances that they are facing, so when someone asks what they should do I give them that same answer….

It depends.

If you have a family you are going to prepare much differently than if you are single.

If you live along the coast you are going to prepare much differently than if you live in the mountains or in the city.

If you are wealthy you are going to prepare much differently from someone who only possesses limited resources.

If you are dependent on a job you are going to prepare much differently from someone who is self-employed.

If you live on a farm you are going to prepare much differently from someone who lives in an apartment building and has never even grown a garden.

The truth is that there are a ton of variables and there just is not a “one size fits all” answer.

However, there are some fundamental principles that we should all be following as we prepare for the coming economic collapse….

Get Out Of Debt

It is always, always, always a good idea to get out of debt, but this is particularly true during a time of economic crisis.  During an economic collapse, it will be very difficult to get work, money will be tight, and the last thing you will want to be doing is to be making monthly payments on some debt that you accumulated five years ago.  The reality is that when we borrow money we become a servant, and debt is a very cruel master

You especially want to get rid of debt that is at high interest rates (such as credit card debt).  There are very few things that are as good at bleeding your finances as credit card debt is.  For example, according to the credit card repayment calculator, if you have a $6000 balance on a credit card with a 20 percent interest rate and only pay the minimum payment each time, it will take you 54 years to pay off that credit card.

During those 54 years you will pay $26,168 in interest rate charges on that credit card balance in addition to the $6000 in principal that you are required to pay back.  That is before any fees or penalties are even calculated.

Can you see how financially debilitating that can be?

The truth is that if you haven’t already started, now is the time to develop a plan for how to get out of debt.  Paying off debt can be very painful, but it will put you in a much, much better position to weather the financial storms that are ahead.

Reduce Your Expenses

Along the same lines, it is a very good idea to start reducing your expenses right now.  The truth is that you cannot be sure that you will always have the same job or the same level of income.  Times are going to be very tight in the future.  Now is the time to start the belt tightening.

Yes, the truth is that the cost of everything seems to be going up these days, and most American families are already finding it increasingly difficult to get by each month.

But if your household is spending $5000 a month right now, are there ways that you could get that down to $4000 or maybe even $3000? 

If we all start learning to live with less right now, it will be much easier to do when times really get hard.

Increase Your Income

Yes, this is much easier said than done.  Especially considering the fact that it seems like there are hardly any jobs out there right now.

But the truth is that we are all going to have to work a lot harder and become a lot less dependent on employers.

It is going to become increasingly difficult to get good jobs in the months and years ahead.  The big global corporations are figuring out that they really don’t need us after all.  In many ways, it is much easier for them to hire a workforce from the other side of the world.

So where does that leave us?

Well, fortunately there are still a lot of ways to make money in America.  How long that will last is uncertain, but for now we should work while the working is good.  We are all going to have to start becoming a lot more entrepreneurial.

Nobody is going to hand you anything in this life.  If you just settle for your job (“just over broke”) you aren’t going to get too far in today’s world.

Many people start developing an extra income during their spare time in the evenings after work.  Yes, that would mean that you would have less time to sit on the couch and watch people talk about who LeBron James is going to play basketball for, but did you think that we were going to be able to get through this without making sacrifices?

Now is the time to rise up off the sofa and figure out how to make some more money.  There is still a little more time to get prepared.  If you keep putting off what you know needs to be done, eventually it will be too late.

In addition, learning to do things like growing a garden is another way of “increasing” your income.  All of the fruit and vegetables that you grow will mean that you won’t have to spend as much at the grocery store.

Stock Up On Essentials

There are tons of supplies still in the stores, and prices are still relatively low right now (especially compared to what they will be in the future).  So it is time to stock up on essentials while the getting is good.

In a previous article entitled “20 Things You Will Need To Survive When The Economy Collapses And The Next Great Depression Begins”, we listed 20 of the things that you will need in the event of a major disaster, an emergency or an economic collapse.  These are the things that you are going to want to make sure that you have ready right now, because after the crisis begins it may be too late to prepare….

#1) Storable Food

#2) Clean Water

#3) Shelter

#4) Warm Clothing

#5) An Axe

#6) Lighters Or Matches

#7) Hiking Boots Or Comfortable Shoes

#8) A Flashlight And/Or Lantern

#9) A Radio

#10) Communication Equipment

#11) A Swiss Army Knife

#12) Personal Hygiene Items

#13) A First Aid Kit And Other Medical Supplies

#14) Extra Gasoline (But Be Very Careful How You Store It)

#15) A Sewing Kit

#16) Self-Defense Equipment

#17) A Compass

#18) A Hiking Backpack

#19) A Community

#20) A Backup Plan

In the comments to that article, our readers suggested the following additional items….

A K-Bar Fighting Knife

Salt

Extra Batteries

Medicine

A Camp Stove

Propane

Pet Food

Heirloom Seeds

Tools

An LED Headlamp

Candles

Clorox

Calcium Hypochlorite

Ziplock Bags

Maps Of Your Area

Binoculars

Sleeping Bags

Rifle For Hunting

Extra Socks

Gloves

Gold And Silver Coins For Bartering

Of course there are probably many more items you could put on the list.

The point is to get educated, get informed and start getting prepared.

When things get really hard, that brand new pool table isn’t going to do you much good, but having a good supply of food and clean water will make all the difference.

Not that things are going to totally fall apart overnight.  It is going to be a process.

But you don’t start preparing when the storm is already on top of you. 

Most of us know what is coming.

Now we need to start taking action. 

This is how Americans got through the Great Depression of the 1930s – they tightened their belts, they were resourceful, and they did whatever they needed to do to provide for their families.

Now it is our turn.  Sure some people will laugh as many of us adjust our lifestyles in preparation for hard economic times, but it is those same people who will come knocking on your door when the rain does start pouring.

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