Paper Money Madness: Inflation-Fueled Economic Growth Does Not Indicate That An Economy Is Getting Stronger

If the U.S. economy “grows” by 4 percent in 2011, but by the end of the year we are paying $3.00 for a loaf of bread, $4.00 for a gallon of milk and $5.00 for a gallon of gasoline are the American people going to be better off economically or worse off?  The answer is obvious, but most “experts” in the mainstream media continue to insist that as long as U.S. GDP is increasing and as long as the stock market is going up that our economy is improving.  But that is just not the case.  If the amount of money in circulation was relatively constant, those measurements would be helpful, but unfortunately the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve are dramatically pumping up the money supply right now.  Just because larger amounts of paper money are changing hands does not mean that the economy is getting stronger.  Of course GDP is going to rise when there is much more money in the system.  But economic growth that is fueled by inflation is just an illusion and it is not an indicator of economic health at all.

A very basic example shows this very easily.  Imagine if suddenly everyone in the United States had the amount of money they owned instantly doubled.  Would the U.S. economy be twice as healthy?  Of course not.  Very quickly prices would rise to meet the new level of money.

Well, in the United States today our “authorities” are pumping massive amounts of new dollars into the system.  That is one reason why so many people are so upset about the Federal Reserve’s “quantitative easing 2” program.  The Federal Reserve is creating money out of thin air and pumping it into the financial system.  The first people that get their hands on this new money are Wall Street banks and major financial institutions.  The idea is that eventually all of this new money will “trickle down” and will help average Americans, but that just does not seem to be happening.

In addition, when the U.S. government goes into more debt, this also creates more money.  The U.S. government has accumulated far more new debt during the last two years than it ever has in any other two year period. When the U.S. government spends all of this money that it borrows it introduces a massive amount of new money into the system.

There are many ways to measure the money supply, and one of the most basic (M1) is displayed below.  As you can see, thanks to the actions of the Federal Reserve and the U.S. government, the money supply is rising at an almost exponential rate at this point.  The money supply has grown rapidly at various points in the past, but what we are witnessing now is really unprecedented…..

So what happens when you have a lot more money chasing roughly the same number of goods and services?

Well, you have inflation of course.

Are our “leaders” alarmed by any of this?

No, in fact they plan to pump up the money supply even more.  The Federal Reserve seems content to continue their “quantitative easing” program and Barack Obama is proposing all kinds of new federal spending which will be funded by more debt.

So the truth is that we had better have some significant “economic growth” during 2011.  If this amount of money is pumped into our financial system and we don’t see any “economic growth” then that would be an indication of a major league economic breakdown.

But instead of looking at things rationally, many mainstream economists are hailing the fact that the U.S. economy may grow by a few percentage points in 2011 as a sign that happy days are here again.

According to a recent article in USA Today, economists are becoming increasingly optimistic about 2011, and the consensus seems to be that economic growth in the United States will fall somewhere between 3 and 4 percent….

Economists are more optimistic about the recovery than they were just a few months ago, significantly upgrading their forecasts for 2011 as consumers open their wallets.

Unfortunately, the irrational optimism is not limited to just the United States.  As global leaders prepare to descend on the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland many mainstream media outlets are declaring that the worldwide financial crisis is over and that we are now entering a glorious boom time for the global economy.  For example, the following is how one recent article from Bloomberg opened….

For only the third time since the Industrial Revolution, the world may be entering a long-term growth cycle that will lift all economies simultaneously, driving bond yields and commodity prices higher.

People don’t seem to realize that just because more money is changing hands and just because financial markets are going higher that it doesn’t mean that the economic situation is improving.

If a rising GDP and a soaring stock market truly were strong indicators of economic health, then Zimbabwe would have been one of the strongest economies on the planet over the last 10 years.

Inflation changes everything.

Unfortunately, official U.S. government inflation figures have become so manipulated that they are of basically no value at this point.  Whenever one particular category starts to experience significant inflation, the U.S. government simply removes that category from the inflation calculations.  Over the past 40 years the way that inflation is calculated has been changed way too many times.

If you really want to get a good idea of what is happening with inflation, a good thing to do is to look at the basic commodities that everyone uses around the world.

For example, according to the United Nations, the global price of food hit an all-time high in December.  Not only that, but almost every major agricultural commodity that you could possibly name experienced a double-digit percentage increase in price during 2010.

In addition, the price of oil is steamrolling towards $100 a barrel again.  In fact, many analysts are convinced that the price of oil will set a new all-time record in 2011.

A recent editorial in Newsweek was not optimistic that we will be able to stem this rising tide of inflation….

The final dam to stopping $150-a-barrel oil and $4-a-gallon gas is being breached, as financial regulation continues its daily erosion into worthlessness.

So what is the answer to these problems?

Well, according to many of the top “economic leaders” in the world, the solution is to create even more money and even more credit.

Between 2000 and 2009, the total amount of credit in the world grew from 57 trillion dollars to 109 trillion dollars.  Now the World Economic Forum says that we need to grow the total amount of credit by another 100 trillion dollars over the next ten years to “support” the anticipated amount of “economic growth” around the world that they expect to see.

Does that make any sense?

We have to double the amount of debt in the world so that the world economy can grow?

But this is what the world economic system has become at this point.  It is a never ending debt spiral that requires constantly increasing levels of debt and paper money.

That is a huge reason why precious metals such as gold and silver are becoming so popular.  Investors are becoming sick and tired of the constantly inflating paper currencies.  Gold and silver are both very much in demand right now.  For example, the Chinese are voraciously gobbling up gold right now.  Also, the Central Bank of Russia has announced plans to purchase 100 metric tons of gold per year in order “to replenish the country’s gold reserves”.

But what about average Americans?  What is going to happen to them in a world where prices are rising rapidly?

Well, the answer is very simple.  In an environment of rapidly rising prices, the standard of living for most Americans is going to go down.

In this economic environment, employers are simply not going to increase salaries fast enough to keep up with the rising price of food, gas and health care.

In addition, there are tens of millions of Americans that are on fixed incomes.  As prices rise, those fixed incomes will simply not go as far.

So the truth is that most Americans are going to find their finances stretched even thinner in the months and years to come.

Inflation is like a thief.  When prices rise it means that the purchasing power of all the dollars that we have accumulated goes down.

But for our politicians, inflation can be a helpful thing.  They can take inflation-fueled “economic growth” numbers and claim that their policies are working and that the economy is becoming healthier.

A year from now when these jokers trot out their “economic growth” numbers and yet the cost of nearly everything you buy has increased dramatically, don’t you believe their propaganda.

Yes, U.S. economic numbers are most likely going to experience a little bit of inflation-fueled “growth” in 2011.

But it will not mean that our economy is improving.

Which Of The Currencies Of The World Is Going To Crash First?

Last year was an absolutely fascinating time for world currency markets.  The yen, the dollar and the euro all took their turns in the spotlight.  Each experienced wild swings at various times, but the overall theme that we saw was that faith in paper currencies is dying.  The biggest reason for this is the horrific sovereign debt crisis that has swept the globe.  The United States, Japan and a whole host of European nations are all drowning in debt.  The U.S. and Japan are both steamrolling toward insolvency, and several European nations would have already defaulted on their debts if they had not been bailed out.  So which of the major currencies of the world is going to crash first?  Will one (or more) of the big currencies fall before the end of 2011?  Once one major currency collapses will the rest start to fall like dominoes?  The truth is that the world has never seen a sovereign debt crisis of this magnitude in all of human history.  Almost the entire globe is drowning in a sea of red ink and it has brought us right to the brink of financial disaster.

So which of the currencies of the world is going to be the first to come crashing down?  Well, let’s take a quick look at the yen, the euro and the dollar….

The Yen

Japan has the 3rd biggest economy in the world, but they are also deeply swamped in debt.  At well over 200%, the Japanese government has the biggest debt to GDP ratio of all of the major industrialized nations.  In fact, it is estimated that this massive pile of Japanese government debt amounts to approximately 7.5 million yen for every person living in the entire nation of Japan.

So why hasn’t Japan defaulted yet?  Well, a big reason is because Japan has one of the highest personal savings rates on the entire globe, and Japanese citizens have been more than happy to gobble up huge amounts of Japanese government debt at very, very low interest rates.

However, Standard & Poor’s has warned that they may have to slash Japan’s credit rating if the debt gets much bigger, and once confidence starts to falter Japan is going to have to start paying higher interest rates.

At some point Japan is going to be facing a financial meltdown, but for the moment they are hanging in there.

The Euro

Several large European nations would have already defaulted on their debts if they had not been bailed out last year.  Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Belgium and Spain are all on very shaky ground right now.  Several of them have already had their credit ratings slashed.

Bond yields all over Europe have been absolutely soaring in recent months.  It is getting really expensive for many of these nations to take on new debt.  Interest rates on 10-year Greek bonds went from 6 percent up to 13 percent in just a single month at one point in 2010.  In fact, even some of the nations that aren’t in the most danger are even feeling the pain.  For example, the cost of insuring French debt hit a new record high on December 20th.

Right now there are all kinds of rumblings that more European nations are going to need bailouts very soon.  Professor Willem Buiter, the chief economist at Citibank, is warning that quite a few EU nations could financially collapse in the next few months if they are not rapidly bailed out….

“The market is not going to wait until March for the EU authorities to get their act together. We could have several sovereign states and banks going under. They are being far too casual.”

So where is all of this bailout money coming from?  Well, a lot of it is coming from Germany and a significant amount of it is actually coming from the United States.

But will wealthy nations such as Germany be willing to pour hundreds of billions of euros into these financial black holes indefinitely?

Are the Germans going to accept a situation where they are permanently bailing out the “weak sisters” all over the rest of the continent?

Already some prominent politicians in Europe are calling for the European “bailout fund” to be doubled in size to about 2 trillion dollars.  Other analysts believe that it is going to take at least 4 or 5 trillion dollars to properly bail out all of the European nations that need it.

In any event, the truth is that the situation is really, really bad.  If at some point the bailouts stop, the defaults are going to begin.

The Dollar

The United States has the biggest national debt of all.  The 14 trillion dollar threshold has just been crossed, and the national debt is now less than 300 billion dollars away from the 14.294 trillion dollar debt ceiling.  If the U.S. Congress does not raise the debt ceiling, the U.S. government will shortly begin to default on its debts.  Of course everyone fully expects that the U.S. Congress will indeed raise the debt ceiling just like they have every time before.

However, U.S. politicians are not going to be able to keep kicking the can down the road forever.  Today the U.S. national debt is more than 14 times larger than it was just 30 years ago.  Everyone around the world is beginning to realize that this debt is not even close to sustainable.  Investors are beginning to become more hesitant about loaning the United States money.  The Federal Reserve has been forced to step in and “buy” more and more of the debt the U.S. government is issuing.

Yields on U.S. Treasuries have been moving up in recent months and this could eventually become a huge problem.

Why?

Well, the sad truth is that the U.S. government has been increasingly using short-term debt.

At this point, the average maturity of U.S. government bonds has fallen to 4.4 years.  The is the lowest figure of all the major industrialized nations. That means that the U.S. government must constantly roll over massive amounts of debt.

As a point of comparison, UK government debt has an average maturity of approximately 13 years.  That obviously gives them a lot more breathing room.

For the United States, the situation could become incredibly dire if interest rates start to go up.

If interest rates on U.S. government debt reach an average of 7 percent, interest payments on the debt would gobble up approximately 45 percent of the tax revenue that the U.S. government takes in each year.

Yes, at that point the game would be over.

But what the United States has going for it that the European nations do not is that the United States can just have the Federal Reserve keep printing currency.  Unfortunately for the nations involved in the euro, they do not have that option.

That is why an increasing number of analysts believe that it will be the euro that will crash and burn first.

But only time will tell.

There are even many that believe that authorities at the highest level actually want the dollar, euro and yen to fail.

Why?

Well, many of the same individuals and groups that brought us NAFTA, the WTO, the IMF, the OECD and the World Bank believe that it would be absolutely wonderful for humanity if we could all have a single, united global currency.  The “chaos” produced by the fall of our existing global currencies could provide the perfect “opportunity” to provide the grand “solution” that they have been hoping to introduce all along.

All over the world top politicians and financiers have been very open about the fact that a world currency is coming.  In fact, men like George Soros are openly talking about these things.  The United Nations has been publicly calling for the U.S. dollar to be replaced with a new global currency for some time now.  Just this week Chinese President Hu Jintao stated that “the current international currency system is the product of the past.”

So will the American people just sit back and accept it when their dollars are replaced with a new global currency?

Well, sadly, when things go badly most Americans seem to be willing to accept just about anything if it will mean that things will go back to “normal”.  When the global economy falls to pieces, and there already lots of signs that we are on the verge of such a collapse, will the American people be willing to say goodbye to the dollar if politicians from both major political parties tell them that the new global currency is the “answer” to our problems?

Hopefully the American people will wake up and will realize that “globalism” is rapidly wiping away almost everything that it means to be an “American”.  Now even many of our children and teens are primarily identifying themselves as “citizens of the world” rather than “citizens of the United States”.

Even if the U.S. dollar does collapse, it is absolutely imperative that we continue to have our own national currency.  The U.S. Constitution does not make any provision for any sort of “world currency”.  If we allow the globalists to push a truly global currency down our throats it will be another giant step towards the creation of a totalitarian one world system.

So what do you think about all of this?  Please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts below….

Austerity In America: 22 Signs That It Is Already Here And That It Is Going To Be Very Painful

Over the past couple of years, most Americans have shown little concern as austerity measures were imposed on financially troubled nations across Europe.  Even as austerity riots erupted in nations such as Greece and Spain, most Americans were still convinced that nothing like that could ever happen here.  Well, guess what?  Austerity has arrived in America.  At this point, it is not a formal, mandated austerity like we have seen in Europe, but the results are just the same.  Taxes are going up, services are being slashed dramatically, thousands of state and city employees are being laid off, and politicians seem to be endlessly talking about ways to make even deeper budget cuts.  Unfortunately, even with the incredibly severe budget cuts that we have seen already, many state and local governments across the United States are still facing a sea of red ink as far as the eye can see.

Most Americans tend to think of “government debt” as only a problem of the federal government.  But that is simply not accurate.  The truth is that there are thousands of “government debt problems” from coast to coast.  Today, state and local government debt has reached at an all-time high of 22 percent of U.S. GDP.  It is a crisis of catastrophic proportions that is not going away any time soon.

A recent article in the New York Times did a good job of summarizing the financial pain that many state governments are feeling right now.  Unfortunately, as bad as the budget shortfalls are for this year, they are projected to be even worse in 2012….

While state revenues — shrunken as a result of the recession — are finally starting to improve somewhat, federal stimulus money that had propped up state budgets is vanishing and costs are rising, all of which has left state leaders bracing for what is next. For now, states have budget gaps of $26 billion, by some estimates, and foresee shortfalls of at least $82 billion as they look to next year’s budgets.

So what is the solution? Well, for state and local politicians from coast to coast, the answer to these financial problems is to impose austerity measures.  Of course they never, ever use the term “austerity measures”, but that is exactly what they are.

The following are 22 signs that austerity has already arrived in America and that it is going to be very, very painful….

#1 The financial manager of the Detroit Public Schools, Robert Bobb, has submitted a proposal to close half of all the schools in the city.  His plan envisions class sizes of up to 62 students in the remaining schools.

#2 Detroit Mayor Dave Bing wants to cut off 20 percent of the entire city from police and trash services in order to save money.

#3 Things are so tight in California that Governor Jerry Brown is requiring approximately 48,000 state workers to turn in their government-paid cell phones by June 1st.

#4 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing to completely eliminate 20 percent of state agencies.

#5 New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has closed 20 fire departments at night and is proposing layoffs in every single city agency.

#6 In the state of Illinois, lawmakers recently pushed through a 66 percent increase in the personal income tax rate.

#7 The town of Prichard, Alabama came up with a unique way to battle their budget woes recently.  They simply stopped sending out pension checks to retired workers.  Of course this is a violation of state law, but town officials insist that they just do not have the money.

#8 New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently purposely skipped a scheduled 3.1 billion dollar payment to that state’s pension system.

#9 The state of New Jersey is in such bad shape that they still are facing a $10 billion budget deficit for this year even after cutting a billion dollars from the education budget and laying off thousands of teachers.

#10 Due to a very serious budget shortfall, the city of Newark, New Jersey recently made very significant cuts to the police force.  Subsequently, there has been a very substantial spike in the crime rate.

#11 The city of Camden, New Jersey is “the second most dangerous city in America”, but because of a huge budget shortfall they recently felt forced to lay off half of the city police force.

#12 Philadelphia, Baltimore and Sacramento have all instituted “rolling brownouts” during which various city fire stations are shut down on a rotating basis.

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

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

#15 In Connecticut, the governor is asking state legislators to approve the biggest tax increase that the state has seen in two decades.

#16 All across the United States, conditions at many state parks, recreation areas and historic sites are deplorable at best.  Some states have backlogs of repair projects that are now over a billion dollars long.  The following is a quote from a recent MSNBC article about these project backlogs….

More than a dozen states estimate that their backlogs are at least $100 million. Massachusetts and New York’s are at least $1 billion. Hawaii officials called park conditions “deplorable” in a December report asking for $50 million per year for five years to tackle a $240 million backlog that covers parks, trails and harbors.

#17 The state of Arizona recently announced that it has decided to stop paying for many types of organ transplants for people enrolled in its Medicaid program.

#18 Not only that, but Arizona is so desperate for money that they have even sold off the state capitol building, the state supreme court building and the legislative chambers.

#19 All over the nation, asphalt roads are actually being ground up and are being replaced with gravel because it is cheaper to maintain.  The state of South Dakota has transformed over 100 miles of asphalt road into gravel over the past year, and 38 out of the 83 counties in the state of Michigan have transformed at least some of their asphalt roads into gravel roads.

#20 The state of Illinois is such a financial disaster zone that it is hard to even describe.  According to 60 Minutes,  the state of Illinois is six months behind on their bill payments.  60 Minutes correspondent Steve Croft asked Illinois state Comptroller Dan Hynes how many people and organizations are waiting to be paid by the state, and this is how Hynes responded….

“It’s fair to say that there are tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people waiting to be paid by the state.”

#21 The city of Chicago is in such dire straits financially that officials there are actually toying with the idea of setting up a city-owned casino as a way to raise cash.

#22 Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is desperately looking for ways to cut the budget and he says that “hundreds of jurisdictions” in his state could go bankrupt over the next few years.

But everything that you have just read is only the beginning.  Budget shortfalls for our state and local governments are projected to be much worse in the years ahead.

So what is the answer?  Well, our state and local governments are going to have to spend less money.  That means that we are likely to see even more savage budget cutting.

In addition, our state and local politicians are going to feel intense pressure to find ways to “raise revenue”.  In fact, we are already starting to see this happen.

According to the National Association of State Budget Officers, over the past couple of years a total of 36 out of the 50 U.S. states have raised taxes or fees of some sort.

So hold on to your wallets, because the politicians are going to be coming after them.

We are entering a time of extreme financial stress in America.  The federal government is broke.  Most of our state and local governments are broke.  Record numbers of Americans are going bankrupt.  Record numbers of Americans are being kicked out of their homes.  Record numbers of Americans are now living in poverty.

The debt-fueled prosperity of the last several decades came at a cost.  We literally mortgaged the future.  Now nothing will ever be the same again.

Food Riots 2011

The stunningly violent food riots in Tunisia and Algeria show just how quickly things can change.  Just a few months ago, these two northern Africa nations were considered to be very stable, very peaceful and without any major problems.  But now protesters are openly squaring off with police in the streets.  Many of the protesters are throwing “fire bombs” or are shooting fireworks at the authorities, and the police are responding with a tremendous amount of violence themselves.  In Algeria, several protesters have been killed by police and several others have actually set themselves on fire to protest the economic conditions.  In Tunisia, more than 100 people have been killed and the president of that country actually had to flee for his life.  But on a global scale, food shortages have not even gotten that bad yet.  Yes, food prices are starting to go up and food supplies are a little bit tighter right now, but much worse times than these are coming.  So what in the world are the cities of the world going to look like when we have a very serious food shortage?

Just as we saw during the food riots of 2008, when people get to the point where they can’t even feed themselves anymore, they tend to lose it.  In the video posted below, you can really feel the desperation of these young Algerians as they riot in the streets….

This next video is of the food riots in Tunisia.  You will not want to let any young children watch this video.  In fact, if watching police beat and smash protesters laying on the ground upsets you, then you might not want to watch this video either.  The massive food riots that have erupted in Tunisia have left many city streets looking like war zones and at this point it is being reported that the violence has left over 100 people dead.  The president of Tunisia has left the country because of the rioting, and an interim president has been sworn in.  It is hoped that this will help restore order.  This video is absolutely stunning….

You see, the truth is that it is not just in the United States that people are becoming angry at government.  All over the world, frustration is boiling over.  But unlike the United States, where food is still very plentiful, in many areas of the world it is the deteriorating economic conditions that are sparking many of these riots.

According to the FAO, the global price of food hit a new record high in December.  For most Americans and Europeans, a rise in the price of food is just an inconvenience.  But in many areas of the world, even a relatively small rise in the price of food can mean that the survival of millions is suddenly threatened.

Global authorities are concerned that these food riots might start spreading – especially if the extremely harsh weather all over the globe continues to damage crops.

In fact, there are some signs that economic unrest is already beginning to spread….

*In the nation of Jordan, peaceful demonstrations were held in several locations around the country on Friday to protest rising food prices.

*In Libya, protests about the late completion of government subsidized housing entered their third day on Sunday.  Reportedly, hundreds of uncompleted units have been taken over by protesters and so far the police are not taking action to evict them.  There is also growing concern that the food riots in neighboring Tunisia will soon pour over into Libya.

*Economic protests also been reported recently in Mozambique, Morocco and Chile.

Sadly, the desperate economic conditions that are sparking these food riots did not develop overnight.  Rather, they have been building for decades.  The truth is that the new “global economy” is designed to funnel more and more of the wealth of the world into the hands of the wealthiest 0.001% of the global population.  Everyone else is left to fight with one another to divide up a pie that is increasingly shrinking.

Just consider the following five facts….

#1 Approximately 1 billion people throughout the world go to bed hungry every single night.

#2 Approximately 28 percent of all children in developing countries are considered to be underweight or have had their growth stunted as a result of malnutrition.

#3 Every 3.6 seconds someone starves to death and three-quarters of them are children under the age of 5.

#4 “Least developed countries” spent 9 billion dollars on food imports in 2002.  By 2008, that number had risen to 23 billion dollars.

#5 A study by the World Institute for Development Economics Research discovered that the bottom half of the world population owns approximately 1 percent of all global wealth.

So if things are this bad already, what kind of food riots are we going to see if all of this weird weather continues and global harvests are much lower than anticipated in 2011?

Most Americans have a really hard time even imagining such a thing, but the truth is that we are just one really bad harvest away from mass starvation in many areas of the world.

We are not going to see mass starvation in the United States in 2011, but we could see food prices start to go up significantly.  Keep in mind that more than 43 million Americans are already on food stamps.  The incredible abundance of food that we have been enjoying for so many decades is not guaranteed to last indefinitely.

Dennis Conley, an agricultural economist at the University of Nebraska, recently told MSNBC that food reserves in the United States are already disturbingly low….

“I haven’t seen numbers this low that I can remember in the last 20 or 30 years.”

So yes, there are legitimate reasons to be concerned.

The world really is on the verge of a major food crisis, and if global harvests are not significantly better than most analysts are currently projecting, then we are likely to see a lot more food riots around the globe before 2011 is over.

Instead Of Using This Period Of Economic Stability To Party We Should Be Using It To Prepare

The fact that the official U.S. government unemployment rate has dipped slightly is good news.  However, it is not the “economic turning point” that Barack Obama and others are proclaiming it to be.  Rather, what we are in right now is “the calm before the storm”.  The massive amount of government spending that the U.S. government has done over the past few years and the massive quantities of new dollars that the Federal Reserve has been pumping into the system has bought us all just a little bit of time.  Instead of using this brief period of economic stability to party, we should all be using it to prepare for the very hard economic times that are coming.  Please do not get fooled when the short-term economic numbers go up or down a little bit.  When evaluating the state of the U.S. economy, the key is to look at the long-term trends.  The truth is that when you take a longer-term view, it becomes undeniable that the United States is in the midst of a long-term economic decline from which there is no escape.

But how are most Americans responding to the “good news” that the U.S. economy has stabilized for the moment?  Many Americans are running right back out and are spending like it is 1999.  Many Americans are viewing the slight improvement in some of the economic numbers as a sign that “happy times are here again” and they are behaving just as they did right before the financial crisis of 2008.

Many of us have family or friends that are taking expensive trips, making huge purchases and partying as if the good times are never going to end.

But is this wise?

The fact that the official government unemployment rate declined to 9.4% in December has got a lot of people excited, including Barack Obama….

“The pace of hiring is beginning to pick up.”

So is the fact that the unemployment rate declined slightly good news?

Yes, it is good news.

However, there are also a whole lot of reasons not to be so excited about this one piece of unemployment data….

*A big part of the reason why the unemployment figure was down in December was because the government considered 260,000 Americans to have dropped out of the labor force.

*Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says that unemployment is likely to stay very high for four or five more years.

*The 103,000 jobs that were added in December was actually far below the 140,000 to 178,000 jobs that economists were expecting.

*Gallup numbers tell an entirely different story when it comes to unemployment.  According to Gallup, the unemployment rate actually rose to 9.6% at the end of December.  This was a significant increase from 9.3% in mid-December and 8.8% at the end of November.

*Not only that, but Gallup also says that the underemployment rate is moving up dramatically.  According to Gallup, the underemployment rate in the United States increased to 19.0% during December, which was up substantially from 18.5% in mid-December and 17.2% at the end of November.

*The percentage of Americans participating in the labor force is now the lowest it has been since the early 1980s.  In December, the Labor Force Participation Rate fell to 64.3%.   Over the last twenty years, the Labor Force Participation Rate has usually been around 66 or 67 percent.  So do less Americans want jobs today?  Of course not.  What has happened is that millions of Americans have become so discouraged about the lack of jobs that they aren’t even actively searching anymore.

*The number of Americans working part-time for “economic reasons” continues to hover around all-time highs.

*According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of Americans that have been out of work for more than 26 weeks actually increased in December.  In November, there were 6.328 Americans in that category, and in December there were 6.441 million Americans in that category.

So, as you can see, there are a whole lot of reasons not to get too excited about the employment numbers.

But has the economic situation in the United States somewhat stabilized in the short-term?

Yes, but this is not going to last forever.

When you look at the longer-term economic trends they just keep getting worse and worse and worse….

#1 Every single month the U.S. government goes into even more debt.  The U.S. government is now over 14 trillion dollars in debt and this debt in increasing by about 4 billion dollars every single day.

#2 Even single month state and local governments across the United States go into even more debt.  As I have written about previously, our infrastructure is literally crumbling and falling apart from coast to coast but our state and local governments can’t do anything about it because they are drowning in a sea of red ink.

#3 Every single month we are getting poorer as a nation.  Every month we consume massive amounts of foreign oil and cheap, foreign-made plastic trinkets and we send the rest of the world hundreds of billions of dollars of our money.  Unfortunately, very few of our politicians ever even mention this obscene transfer of wealth.

#4 Every single month we send large numbers of our factories and our jobs overseas.  Over the past decade, over 42,000 factories in the United States have shut down permanently and millions of good jobs have been outsourced and offshored.  Those jobs and those factories are never coming back and America is rapidly becoming a “post-industrial” nation.

#5 Every single month the United States continues to lose not only factory jobs, but also many other types of good paying “middle class jobs”.  In fact, since the year 2000, we have lost 10% of our middle class jobs.  In the year 2000 there were about 72 million middle class jobs in the United States but today there are only about 65 million middle class jobs.  Meanwhile, our population continues to grow larger.

#6 Almost every single month the cost of basics such as food, gasoline and health care goes up faster than our incomes do.  Inflation is a brutal “hidden tax” which is destroying the standard of living of middle class Americans.

#7 Confidence in the U.S. dollar and U.S. Treasury bonds is starting to rapidly decline.  When global confidence in the U.S. dollar and in U.S. Treasury bonds is totally gone, the entire world financial system will be thrown into total chaos and the U.S. economic system will fall like a house of cards.

#8 We are being constantly looted and pillaged by those at the top of the food chain.  Every single month the ultra-wealthy and the international banking elite drain even more money out of the system and transfer it to “offshore” banks.  At this point, a third of all the wealth in the world is held in “offshore” banks.

Right now we are still able to enjoy relatively good times because the rest of the world continues to loan the U.S. government massive amounts of cheap money and because the Federal Reserve has so far gotten away with printing gigantic piles of new money out of thin air.

But this “can” cannot be kicked down the road forever.  At some point, the greatest debt bubble in the history of the world is going to completely burst and the fallout is going to be nightmarish.

So what should we all be doing?

What we shouldn’t be doing is partying as if the good times are going to last indefinitely.

What we need to be doing is starting to prepare.

So what are some things that we all can do to prepare for hard economic times?  Well, the following are just a few of the columns I have authored in the past about prepping….

*What To Do

*Disaster Plan

*20 Things You Will Need To Survive When The Economy Collapses And The Next Great Depression Begins

Use this brief time of economic stability to prepare – once the economy falls apart it will be too late.

Hopefully some of the readers of this column will be willing to share some of their best preparation tips.  If you have got some tips and ideas that you would like to share with the rest of us, please feel free to post a comment below….

Need A Job? Too Bad! The Good Jobs Are Being Shipped Out Of America As Part Of The New One World Economy

I hope that you enjoy the cheap foreign-made plastic trinkets that you will be exchanging with your family and friends this holiday season, because they are literally destroying the U.S. economy.  As part of the new “one world economy” that both Democrats and Republicans insist is so good for us, millions of good paying middle class jobs have been shipped out of America.  Do you need a job?  Are you wondering where all the good jobs went?  Well, the next time you are out just walk into a store and start looking at the product labels.  Most of the things that are sold in our stores are now made out of the country.  So if you need a good paying job to support your family that is just too bad – you have been merged into a global labor pool where you must compete for jobs with people on the other side of the globe willing to work for less than a tenth of what you usually make.  Welcome to the “one world economy” where big global corporations make a fortune exploiting slave labor on the other side of the world while “overly expensive American workers” get dumped out on the street.

Are you in favor of a redistribution of wealth?  Most of the time when the phrase “redistribution of wealth” is brought up, conservatives and libertarians visibly cringe – as they should.  But did you know that right now the greatest redistribution of wealth in the history of the world is taking place and our politicians are doing nothing about it?

For a moment, imagine a giant map of the world.  On that giant map, put a huge pile of money on the United States, and also put a huge pile of money on China and on the OPEC nations.  Now imagine a big hand coming along once a month that takes tens of billions of dollars out of the U.S. pile and puts it into the piles of China and the OPEC nations.

As this continues month after month after month, what is eventually going to happen?

The U.S. pile of money is going to get far smaller and the other piles of money are going to get much, much larger.

And that is exactly what is happening in our world today.

Back in 1985, the U.S. trade deficit with China was 6 million dollars for the entire year – not really anything to worry about  it.

Well, let’s fast forward to 2010.  For the month of August alone, the trade deficit with China was more than 28 billion (that’s billion with a “b”) dollars.

In other words, the U.S. trade deficit with China in August was more than 4,600 times larger than the U.S. trade deficit with China was for the entire year of 1985.

My, how the world has changed in 25 years.

Oh, but doesn’t China “invest” some of that money they are getting from us back into our country?

Well yeah, our top officials regularly go over there to beg them to lend us more money.  Now we owe China close to a trillion dollars.  We also owe the major oil exporting nations of the Middle East massive amounts of money.

Is this a good idea?  Let us keep in mind the ancient principle that the borrower always ends up the servant of the lender.

Is it wise for the United States to become enslaved to China and to the oil exporters of the Middle East?

Is that any way to run an economy?  Is that any way to run a country?

All over the United States factories are closing down.  If you go to shopping centers in many areas of America you would think that the hottest new store was called “Space Available”.

Since the year 2000, we have lost 10% of our middle class jobs.  In the year 2000 there were about 72 million middle class jobs in the United States but today there are only about 65 million middle class jobs.

What kind of progress is that?

“But oh”, the supporters of the one world economy will declare, “the cheap goods, the cheap goods!”

Yes, I hope you enjoy paying ten percent less for your plastic trinkets.  But you will also support American workers one way or another.  Either you will provide them with good paying jobs, or you will pay for their food stamps and their unemployment checks.

One out of every six Americans is now enrolled in a federal anti-poverty program.  As 2007 began, 26 million Americans were on food stamps, but now 42 million Americans are on food stamps and that number keeps rising every single month.

Can anyone out there please explain how the “one world economy” is supposed to be good for us when 42 million Americans cannot even feed themselves?

Allowing our country to be deindustrialized just so that we can consume more cheap goods from China is like tearing down pieces of your house to keep your fire going.  In the end, you won’t have much of a house left.

Whatever your opinion of Donald Trump is, this next video is worth watching.  Trump certainly should not run for president, but as a savvy businessman he definitely understands what China is doing to us….

It is time for the American people to wake up.

We are being taken advantage of.

The one world economy is going to keep destroying the U.S. middle class.  There is no way that American workers can compete with slave labor on the other side of the globe.  It is impossible.

In fact, just about every kind of job imaginable is being shipped to places where labor is cheaper.  Even engineering and computer programming jobs are being offshored and outsourced.

The United States is even being slaughtered in high-tech industries.  Back in 1998, the United States had 25 percent of the world’s high-tech export market and China had just 10 percent. Ten years later, the United States had less than 15 percent and China’s share had soared to 20 percent.

According to one recent study, China could become the global leader in patent filings by next year.

The United States has become a bloated, slovenly nation that consumes massive amounts of wealth but that produces relatively little.

With each passing year, we make fewer things inside the United States….

*The United States has lost a staggering 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000.

*Since 2001, over 42,000 U.S. factories have closed down for good.

*As of the end of 2009, less than 12 million Americans worked in manufacturing.  The last time that less than 12 million Americans were employed in manufacturing was in 1941.

*Manufacturing employment in the U.S. computer industry is actually lower in 2010 than it was in 1975.

*In 2010, the number one U.S. export to China is “scrap and trash”.

Oh, but won’t “getting more education” solve all of our problems and get the American people back to work?

No.

The truth is that tens of millions of Americans have a “higher education” that is not doing them any good today.

In his article entitled “The Great College-Degree Scam“, Richard Vedder explains that a large percentage of U.S. college graduates are working in jobs that have not historically required college degrees….

Here it is:  approximately 60 percent of the increase in the number of college graduates from 1992 to 2008 worked in jobs that the BLS considers relatively low skilled—occupations where many participants have only high school diplomas and often even less.

Ouch.

Later on in his article, Vedder notes that the number of college graduates that are waiting tables or that are working as cashiers is absolutely exploding….

In 1992 119,000 waiters and waitresses were college degree holders. By 2008, this number had more than doubled to 318,000. While the total number of waiters and waitresses grew by about 1 million during this period, 20% of all new jobs in this occupation were filled by college graduates. Take cashiers as well. While 132,000 cashiers possessed college degrees in 1992, by 2008, 365,000 cashiers were college graduates. As with waiters and waitresses, 20% of new cashiers since 1992 are college graduates.

So do you still think that the “one world economy” is a great idea?

Well, you might want to practice the following two phrases….

#1 “Would you like fries with that?”

#2 “Welcome to Wal-Mart!”

Our economy is turning into a low-wage service economy because we don’t make much of anything in the United States anymore.

So if you need a good job, I am afraid that the joke is on you.

The good jobs are being shipped out of the United States as part of the new one world economy, and millions of unemployed Americans have been left to fight over the low paying service jobs that remain.

So if you are flipping burgers or stocking shelves for a big multinational retail chain, perhaps you should consider yourself to be fortunate.  At least you still have a job.  There are millions of desperate, hungry-eyed Americans that would take your job in a second.

And you know what?  Things are only going to get worse.

How Can We Have A Healthy Economy If Virtually Everything We Eat And Drink Is Constantly Making Us All Sick?

In the United States today, we are all being constantly bombarded by chemicals, poisons and toxins.  Virtually everything that we eat or drink makes us less healthy.  The vast majority of Americans gladly consume aspartame, fluoride, BPA, genetically-modified food, pesticides, high fructose corn syrup, pharmaceutical drugs and toxic vaccines without any concern that those substances may ruin their health.  But the truth is that we are getting sicker and sicker and sicker as a nation.  According to one recent report, the United States has dropped to 49th place in the world in overall life expectancy.  Diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes are absolutely exploding.  So how in the world are we supposed to have a healthy and vibrant economy when virtually everything that we eat and drink is constantly making us sick?

Recently, my wife (who has always been extremely healthy) developed some alarming breathing problems.  She did not appear to suffer from any known medical condition, so we were completely puzzled.

Finally, we started examining what we were eating and drinking.  It turns out that she was putting some cream in her coffee that contained something known as “Polysorbate 80”.  Polysorbate 80 is found in a vast array of dairy products and is even used in many vaccines.  According to Drugs.com, “difficulty breathing” is indeed one of the known side effects of Polysorbate 80.  Once my wife cut the Polysorbate 80 out of her diet, the breathing difficulties subsided.  The following is how she describes what she went through….

Prior to my recent problems, I had never been in a situation were I felt as though there was very limited air available.  When the breathing problems would flare up, I would take in deep breath after deep breath but I just couldn’t get any oxygen.  My body tried to cope by constantly yawning which forced air into my lungs.  Some days it wouldn’t be so bad, but on other days it was really frightening.  My breathing was extremely labored at times.  I constantly had to yawn throughout the day in order to catch a satisfying breath.  One day my breathing was really labored – I was constantly gasping for deep breaths, but I wasn’t getting enough oxygen.  I was about to cry.  I felt as though I had dived to the bottom of  a deep pool and I was almost out of air.  My body was in a constant state of panic.  I felt so tired and I was worried that I may collapse at any time.  We got into the car, and I was almost ready to pass out.  We had the windows rolled down to give me the feeling of lots of oxygen, but I felt like I couldn’t take any in.  Fortunately that episode eventually subsided, but there were many days when I was in agony.  You cannot imagine how horrible it is to gasp for breath and never seem to get enough.  Several incidents really scared me.  What was even more frightening was that I had no idea at the time what was causing all this.

Thankfully my wife is doing much better now, but there are thousands and thousands of others across the United States that are experiencing similar breathing problems and nobody has any answers for them.

So what are some of the other side effects of Polysorbate 80?

Well, Drugs.com says that the following are “common” side effects….

Constipation; cough; diarrhea; dizziness; headache; muscle, joint, back, or stomach pain; nausea or vomiting; pain, swelling, irritation, redness, or bruising at the injection site; unusual tiredness or weakness.

In addition, Drugs.com says that the following are severe side effects of Polysorbate 80 that an individual should seek immediate medical attention for….

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); blurred vision or vision changes; chest pain; confusion; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, sore throat); one-sided weakness; pale skin color; redness, tenderness, or swelling of the calf; seizures; severe diarrhea, dizziness, headache, stomach pain, or vomiting; severe or persistent tiredness or weakness; slurred speech; sudden pain or numbness of an arm or leg; sudden shortness of breath; sudden trouble walking or loss of balance; swelling of the arms or legs; vision or speech problems; weight gain.

Remember, this is in countless dairy products all across the United States. Most Americans are absolutely clueless that they are pouring Polysorbate 80 into their coffee or that it is in the ice cream that they are eating.

Another major threat to our health is something called bisphenol-A (BPA).  BPA is one of the most widely used  chemicals in the entire world.  If you eat canned food or you drink bottled water you most likely have BPA in your home and you don’t even know it.

According to Natural News, BPA is not only in virtually every American home, but it has also been linked to some very serious health problems….

It is used to harden plastic in everything from infant and water bottles to mobile phone and computer casings, and also to make linings for cans of food, beverages and infant formula. Yet a growing body of research has implicated the chemical as an endocrine (hormone) disruptor that can lead to cancer, birth defects, behavioral problems and other diseases.

Shouldn’t someone be doing something about this?

Of course.

But the truth is that the big corporations that are pushing these chemicals are much more powerful than those who are trying to watch out for our health.

In fact, authorities all over the United States are putting one very toxic chemical into our water on purpose.

It is called fluoride, and it is being put into our water supposedly because it is good for our teeth.  What Americans are not being told is that fluoride is actually a highly toxic sedative and is causing a whole host of very serious health problems.

So exactly how dangerous is fluoride?  Well, the Fluoride Dangers blog puts it this way….

Even small amounts of fluoride consumed from tap water can damage your bones, teeth, brain, disrupt your thyroid function, lower IQ and/or cause cancer, according to evidence revealed in a groundbreaking 2006 National Research Council (NRC) fluoride report produced by a panel of experts who reviewed hundreds of published fluoride studies.

The Natural Health and Longevity Resource Center has published a list of ten of the most significant health dangers that the scientific research has shown that fluoride causes…..

1. Fluoride exposure disrupts the synthesis of collagen and leads to the breakdown of collagen in bone, tendon, muscle, skin, cartilage, lungs, kidney and trachea.

2. Fluoride stimulates granule formation and oxygen consumption in white blood cells, but inhibits these processes when the white blood cell is challenged by a foreign agent in the blood.

3. Fluoride depletes the energy reserves and the ability of white blood cells to properly destroy foreign agents by the process of phagocytosis. As little as 0.2 ppm fluoride stimulates superoxide production in resting white blood cells, virtually abolishing phagocytosis. Even micro-molar amounts of fluoride, below 1 ppm, may seriously depress the ability of white blood cells to destroy pathogenic agents.

4. Fluoride confuses the immune system and causes it to attack the body’s own tissues, and increases the tumor growth rate in cancer prone individuals.

5. Fluoride inhibits antibody formation in the blood.

6. Fluoride depresses thyroid activity.

7. Fluorides have a disruptive effect on various tissues in the body.

8. Fluoride promotes development of bone cancer.

9. Fluorides cause premature aging of the human body.

10. Fluoride ingestion from mouth rinses and dentifrices in children is extremely hazardous to biological development, life span and general health.

But perhaps even more dangerous is the sweetener known as aspartame.  Today, aspartame is an ingredient in literally thousands of different food and drink products.  In fact, it is often marketed in “health products” such as diet sodas.

According to an article on Mercola.com, aspartame is one of the most toxic substances being added to our foods….

Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. Many of these reactions are very serious including seizures and death.  A few of the 90 different documented symptoms listed in the report as being caused by aspartame include: Headaches/migraines, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, weight gain, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, tachycardia, insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, loss of taste, tinnitus, vertigo, memory loss, and joint pain.

According to researchers and physicians studying the adverse effects of aspartame, the following chronic illnesses can be triggered or worsened by ingesting of aspartame:  Brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, parkinson’s disease, alzheimer’s, mental retardation, lymphoma, birth defects, fibromyalgia, and diabetes.

According to Dr. Janet Hull, the following are known side effects of ingesting aspartame….

Eye
blindness in one or both eyes
decreased vision and/or other eye problems such as: blurring, bright flashes, squiggly lines, tunnel vision, decreased night vision
pain in one or both eyes
decreased tears
trouble with contact lenses
bulging eyes

Ear
tinnitus – ringing or buzzing sound
severe intolerance of noise
marked hearing impairment

Neurologic
epileptic seizures
headaches, migraines and (some severe)
dizziness, unsteadiness, both
confusion, memory loss, both
severe drowsiness and sleepiness
paresthesia or numbness of the limbs
severe slurring of speech
severe hyperactivity and restless legs
atypical facial pain
severe tremors

Psychological/Psychiatric
severe depression
irritability
aggression
anxiety
personality changes
insomnia
phobias

Chest
palpitations, tachycardia
shortness of breath
recent high blood pressure

Gastrointestinal
nausea
diarrhea, sometimes with blood in stools
abdominal pain
pain when swallowing

Skin and Allergies
itching without a rash
lip and mouth reactions
hives
aggravated respiratory allergies such as asthma

Endocrine and Metabolic
loss of control of diabetes
menstrual changes
marked thinning or loss of hair
marked weight loss
gradual weight gain
aggravated low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
severe PMS

Other
frequency of voiding and burning during urination
excessive thirst, fluid retention, leg swelling, and bloating
increased susceptibility to infection

Additional Symptoms of Aspartame Toxicity include the most critical symptoms of all
death
irreversible brain damage
birth defects, including mental retardation
peptic ulcers
aspartame addiction and increased craving for sweets
hyperactivity in children
severe depression
aggressive behavior
suicidal tendencies

Aspartame may trigger, mimic, or cause the following illnesses:
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Epstein-Barr
Post-Polio Syndrome
Lyme Disease
Grave’s Disease
Meniere’s Disease
Alzheimer’s Disease
ALS
Epilepsy
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
EMS
Hypothyroidism
Mercury sensitivity from Amalgam fillings
Fibromyalgia
Lupus
non-Hodgkins
Lymphoma
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

Sadly, there are thousands more toxins and chemicals that are being put into what we eat and what we drink.  The next time you go to the supermarket, just pick up a few products and start reading the labels.  You may find yourself incredibly shocked by what you find.

Does it seem like people all around you are constantly getting sick?  Well, the truth is that we have created an incredibly toxic environment for ourselves.  Diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes have skyrocketed in recent years.  We like to think of ourselves as being so “advanced”, but the truth is that we are constantly becoming less healthy as a nation.

It is hard to imagine any prosperous economy that is full of sick and dying people.  But if we don’t stop constantly poisoning ourselves by what we eat and by what we drink our national health is going to continue to fall apart.

Just like in almost every other category, America is in a deep state of decline.  We like to think that we should be telling everyone else in the world how they should be doing things, but the truth is that our own nation is a complete and total mess.

If your own health is not what it should be, you might want to take another look at what you are eating and what you are drinking.  A small change can make a big difference.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!