The Beginning Of The End
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This Is About As Good As Things Are Going To Get For The Middle Class – And It’s Not That Good

Depressed - Public DomainThe U.S. economy has had six full years to bounce back since the financial collapse of 2008, and it simply has not happened.  Median household income has declined substantially since then, total household wealth for middle class families is way down, the percentage of the population that is employed is still about where it was at the end of the last recession, and the number of Americans that are dependent on the government has absolutely exploded.  Even those that claim that the economy is “recovering” admit that we are not even close to where we used to be economically.  Many hope that someday we will eventually get back to that level, but the truth is that this is about as good as things are ever going to get for the middle class.  And we should enjoy this period of relative stability while we still can, because when the next great financial crisis strikes things are going to fall apart very rapidly.

The U.S. Census Bureau has just released some brand new numbers, and they are quite sobering.  For example, after accounting for inflation median household income in the United States has declined a total of 8 percent from where it was back in 2007.

That means that middle class families have significantly less purchasing power than they did just prior to the last major financial crisis.

And one research firm is projecting that it is going to take until 2019 for median household income to return to the level that we witnessed in 2007…

For everybody wondering why the economic recovery feels like a recession, here’s the answer: We’re still at least five years away from regaining everything lost during the 2007-2009 downturn.

Forecasting firm IHS Global Insight predicts that real median household income — perhaps the best proxy for middle-class living standards — won’t reach the prior peak from 2007 until 2019. Since the numbers are adjusted for inflation, that means the typical family will wait 12 years until their purchasing power is as strong as it was before the recession. That would be the longest period of stagnation, by far, since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Of course that projection assumes that the economy will continue to “recover”, which is a very questionable assumption at best.

Meanwhile, total household wealth has been declining for middle class families as well.

According to the New York Times, the “typical American household” is now worth 36 percent less than it was worth a decade ago.

That is a pretty substantial drop.  But you never hear our politicians (especially the Democrats) bring up numbers like that because they want us to feel good about things.

So why is all of this happening?

The biggest reason why the middle class is struggling so much is the lack of good jobs.

As the chart posted below demonstrates, the percentage of the working age population that is actually employed is still way, way below where it was prior to the last recession…

Employment Population Ratio

The “employment recovery” (the tiny little bump at the end of the chart) has been so miniscule that it is hardly even worth mentioning.

At the moment, we still have 1.4 million fewer full-time jobs than we did in 2008 even though more than 100,000 people are added to the U.S. population each month.

And a lot of the workers that have lost jobs since the start of the last recession have never been able to find a new one.

According to a brand new survey conducted by Rutgers University, more than 20 percent of all workers that have been laid off in the past five years still have not found a new job.

Meanwhile, the control freak bureaucrats that run this country continue to kill off small businesses.

In recent years we have seen large numbers of small businesses fail, and at this point the rate of small business ownership in the United States is at an all-time low.

As a result of everything that you have just read, the middle class is shrinking and dependence on the government is soaring.

Today, there are 49 million Americans that are dealing with food insecurity, and Americans received more than 2 trillion dollars in benefits from the federal government last year alone.

For many more statistics just like this, please see my previous article entitled “30 stats to show to anyone that does not believe the middle class is being destroyed“.

Without a doubt, things are not that good for the middle class in America these days.

Unfortunately, the next great wave of financial trouble is rapidly approaching, and once it strikes things are going to get substantially worse for the middle class.

Yes, the stock market set record high after record high this summer.  But what we have observed is classic bubble behavior.  So many of the exact same patterns that occurred just prior to previous stock market crashes are happening once again.

And it is interesting to note that September 22nd has marked important market peaks at various times throughout history…

For traders, September 22 is one of those days with a notorious history. UBS’s Art Cashin notes that September 22 marked various market highs in 1873, 1929, 1980, and even as recent as 2008.

Could the coming months be the beginning of the next major stock market decline?

Small-cap stocks are already starting to show signs of real weakness.  In fact, the Russell 2000 just hit a “death cross” for the first time in more than 2 years

The Russell 2000 has been diverging from the broader market over the last several weeks, and now technicians point out it has flashed a bearish signal. For the first time in more than two years, the small-cap index has hit a so-called death cross.

A death cross occurs when a nearer-term 50-day moving average falls below a longer-term, 200-day moving average. Technicians argue that a death cross can be a bearish sign.

None of us knows what the market is going to do tomorrow, but a lot of the “smart money” is getting out of the market right now while the getting is good.

So where is the “smart money” putting their assets?

In a previous article, I discussed how sales of gold bars to wealthy clients is way up so far this year.

And CNBC has just reported that the ultra-wealthy “are holding mountains of cash” right now…

Billionaires are holding mountains of cash, offering the latest sign that the ultra-wealthy are nervous about putting more money into today’s markets.

According to the new Billionaire Census from Wealth-X and UBS, the world’s billionaires are holding an average of $600 million in cash each—greater than the gross domestic product of Dominica.

Why are they doing this?

Are they concerned about the potential of a market crash?

And if we do see another market crash like we witnessed back in 2008, what is that going to mean for the rest of us?

2008 certainly did not destroy our economy.

But it did cause an immense amount of damage that we have never recovered from.

Now the next wave is approaching, and most people don’t even see it coming.

20 Signs That All Point To The Exact Same Thing – Can You Guess What That Is?

The U.S. economy is in a massive amount of trouble.  There aren’t enough jobs.  There isn’t enough money to go around.  Business activity is slowing down again.  Household wealth has been falling.  Food prices have been rising.  Many state and local governments all over the country are flat broke and are drowning in debt.  The federal government has been rolling up unprecedented amounts of debt in an attempt to keep things going, but everyone knows that kind of borrowing is simply unsustainable.  So where do we go from here?  We consume far more than we produce and we use debt to make up the difference.  40 years ago the total amount of debt in America (government, business and consumer) was less than 2 trillion dollars.  Today it is nearly 55 trillion dollars.  How in the world did we let the total amount of debt in the United States grow more than 27 times larger over the past 40 years?  Our economic system is fundamentally broken, but most Americans don’t realize it yet because times are still relatively good.

However, the next great economic crisis is going to wake a whole lot of Americans up.

And when they realize what has happened to our future, they are going to be really, really angry.

Enjoy the good times while they last.  The next recession is rapidly approaching, and it will not be pleasant.

The following are 20 signs that all point to the exact same thing….

#1 The unemployment rate in the U.S. has been above 8 percent for 40 months in a row, and 42 percent of all unemployed Americans have been out of work for at least half a year.  As I wrote about recently, there are never going to be enough jobs in America ever again.  As bad as things are right now, they are about to get even worse.  So what is our country going to look like once the unemployment rate starts shooting up rapidly once again?

#2 35 percent of all unemployed workers have had to dip into retirement savings in order to make ends meet over the past year.

#3 Since 2008, the U.S. economy has lost 1.3 million jobs while at the same time 3.6 million more Americans have been added to Social Security’s disability insurance program.

#4 A recent survey conducted by the National Association for Business Economics found that only 23 percent of all U.S. companies plan to hire more workers over the next 6 months.  When the same question was asked a few months ago that number was at 39 percent.

#5 An important measure of U.S. manufacturing activity has fallen to its lowest level since June 2009.

#6 Hundreds of thousands of federal jobs at civilian agencies will likely be lost if Congress allows the automatic federal budget cuts to go into effect next year.  The following is from a recent article posted on federalnewsradio.com….

A report released Tuesday suggests that several hundred thousand federal jobs at civilian agencies would be on the chopping block within the next year if Congress lets the automatic budget cutting process known as sequestration go into effect.

The study, authored by George Mason University professor Stephen Fuller, adds a new dimension to a budget debate that’s so far been centered on sequestration’s effects on the military.

#7 The teen unemployment rate in Washington D.C. right now is 51.7 percent.

#8 Gallup’s U.S. Economic Confidence Index is now the lowest that it has been since January.

#9 The median net worth of U.S. households in 2007 was $126,400.  By 2010, it had fallen to just $77,300.

#10 Pensions at S&P 500 companies are more under-funded than they have ever been before.

#11 According to the New York Times, state and local governments across America “shortchanged their pension plans by more than $50 billion” between 2007 and 2011.

#12 The city of Compton, California is evaluating whether or not it should declare bankruptcy.  If it did, it would become the fourth California city to declare bankruptcy this year.

#13 The percentage of U.S. households that are spending more than half their incomes on housing is at an all-time high.

#14 For the first time in modern history, Canadian households are wealthier than American households are.

#15 One recent poll found that 42 percent of all Americans believe that China is the leading economic power in the world while only 36 percent believe that the U.S. is still the leading economic power in the world.

#16 According to the federal government, the price of food rose much faster than the general rate of inflation did during 2011.  Just check out these rates of food inflation for 2011….

  • Beef: +10.2%
  • Pork: +8.5%
  • Fish: +7.1%
  • Eggs: +9.2%
  • Dairy: +6.8%
  • Oils and Fats: +9.3%

If that happened during a somewhat “normal year”, what will food prices look like after we are done with the drought of 2012?

#17 The price of a bushel of corn has risen by 54 percent since mid-June.

#18 According to one survey, 42 percent of all American workers are living paycheck to paycheck.

#19 A different survey found that 28 percent of all Americans have absolutely no emergency savings at all right now.

#20 Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke made the following statement to Congress on Tuesday: “At this point we don’t see a double dip recession. We see continued moderate growth.”

Do you remember that old Seinfeld episode when George Costanza decided that he would “do the opposite” of everything that his instincts were telling him to do and everything started working out great for him?

Well, when it comes to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, the key is to “believe the opposite” of everything that he says.

And since Bernanke does not believe that a double dip recession is going to happen, that probably means that we are about to hit another recession.

If you doubt this theory about Bernanke, just go back and check out his track record.

Okay, so if our economy is in big trouble shouldn’t our leaders be doing something about it?

Well, it is election season now so I wouldn’t expect too much from Barack Obama.  He is too busy raising money in France and in China.

I wouldn’t expect too much from Obama’s economic advisers either.  In fact, Obama’s much-ballyhooed “jobs council” has not even met in six months.

Not that the “jobs council” was ever going to do anything substantive anyway.

The truth is that it was just for show and most of the CEOs on the council have been sending jobs overseas anyway.

Well, what about the SEC?

Shouldn’t they be doing something to fix the financial system?

No, they are too busy investigating the Amish.

It looks like we are on our own.

Soon, even more parts of the country will start looking like Detroit or Baltimore or Cleveland.

This country is rapidly falling apart, and the federal government is not going to save us.

That is why we need to focus on preparing to weather the coming storm on a family and community level.

There is hope in being prepared.  The coming economic crisis will wipe out many Americans because they will never even see it coming.  But that does not have to happen to you.

If you work really hard right now to prepare your family for the storm that is on the horizon, then you will have a much better chance of making it through to the other side.

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