Why are so many people suddenly moving away from major U.S. cities? Recently, I wrote about the mass exodus that is happening out of the state of California, but the truth is that what is happening there is just part of a national phenomenon. The populations of some of our largest cities are steadily shrinking, and many experts are completely mystified by the seismic demographic shifts that we are now witnessing. Of course there are a whole host of reasons why people would want to move away from huge cities such as Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore and Cleveland. For some families, it simply comes down to wanting a better life for their children. But as you will see below, there are others that believe that things in this country are about to take an apocalyptic turn, and the big cities will not be a place that you want to be when economic collapse, rioting, looting, civil unrest and crime are all spiraling out of control.
According to data just released by the U.S. Census Bureau, Chicago took the prize for the biggest population loss from 2015 to 2016, and it was followed by Detroit and Baltimore…
The counties containing Chicago, Detroit and the independent city of Baltimore were the biggest population losers in the United States from 2015 to 2016, according to data released today by the Census Bureau.
Cook County, Ill., where Chicago is the county seat, had the largest population loss of any county in the country from 2015 and 2016.
Cook County alone had a “domestic migration” loss of more than 66,000 people. That is a staggering number of people to lose in a single year.
Cleveland and Milwaukee were also very high on the list, and some are pointing out that all of these cities are in relatively colder climates and are all struggling economically.
So you certainly can’t blame people living in these cities for wanting to find somewhere warmer and more economically prosperous to live.
But others that are moving away from large cities are deeply concerned about where things are ultimately headed in this country. It doesn’t take a genius to see that anger, frustration and hatred are rising all around us, and many believe that conditions are ripe for civil unrest and civil conflict. In fact, best-selling author Doug Casey believes that we could soon see a “civil war” that is set off by a “financial collapse”…
Best-selling author Doug Casey wrote “Crisis Investing” at the time when the U.S. political landscape was transitioning from the Carter Administration to the Reagan Administration. Now, Casey sees a coming crisis that is equal or worse than the Civil War. Casey explains, “In the U.S. right now, there seems to be so much antagonism it’s almost like pre-Civil War. There is actually hatred in the U.S. at this point. It used to be the Republicans and Democrats could disagree, but they could have a civil conversation about a difference of opinion. Now, it’s active hatred between these two groups. This is not going to end well.”
Casey thinks the coming financial collapse will be the trigger. Casey says, “It’s going to come down eventually. I am worried about that, but we are in a situation where the country seem like it is just before a civil war. It will be more serious than just a financial collapse, and it is likely to be set off by a financial collapse.”
Without a doubt, our financial system is certainly primed for a financial collapse, and when things get really, really bad in this country how will people respond?
Many have decided that they want to get away from the major population centers before we find out the answer to that question.
For example, not too long ago the Chicago Tribune ran a story about why so many preppers are moving to the Great Northwest. One of the individuals profiled was an ex-resident of California named Trevor Treller who moved up to north Idaho prior to the recent election…
Trevor Treller, 44, who carries a small Smith & Wesson pistol on his hip, moved to north Idaho last year from Long Beach, California, and recently paid a little less than $400,000 for a defensible three-bedroom house on five wooded acres.
Treller, a sommelier at a local resort, said Obama was a key factor in his decision. He said the president has inflamed racial tensions in America, presided over a dangerous expansion of the national debt, been “hostile” to Second Amendment rights and failed to curtail the nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran.
Treller said any one of those factors could lead to crippling chaos, so he and his wife have laid in food, weapons and ammunition and are installing an iron gate across their long gravel driveway.
Of course it isn’t just ordinary Americans such as Treller that are deeply concerned about what is coming.
Less than a week ago, CNN ran an article entitled “Billionaire bunkers: How the 1% are preparing for the apocalypse“…
Many of the world’s elite, including hedge fund managers, sports stars and tech executives (Bill Gates is rumored to have bunkers at all his properties) have chosen to design their own secret shelters to house their families and staff.
Gary Lynch, general manager of Texas-based Rising S Company, says 2016 sales for their custom high-end underground bunkers grew 700% compared to 2015, while overall sales have grown 300% since the November US presidential election alone.
So why are Bill Gates and his billionaire friends so interested in buying luxury survival bunkers if everything is going to be just fine?
Can someone explain that one to me?
Everywhere you look, retail stores are closing and economic warning signs are flashing red, but those that sell survival bunkers to the elite are making tremendous amounts of money.
And I certainly wish that I could afford one of these survival bunkers, because they sound quite appealing…
One of those shelters, Vivos xPoint, is near the Black Hills of South Dakota, and consists of 575 military bunkers that served as an Army Munitions Depot until 1967.
Presently being converted into a facility that will accommodate about 5,000 people, the interiors of each bunker are outfitted by the owners at a cost of between $25,000 to $200,000 each. The price depends on whether they want a minimalist space or a home with high-end finishes.
The compound itself will be equipped with all the comforts of a small town, including a community theater, classrooms, hydroponic gardens, a medical clinic, a spa and a gym.
These elitists plan to ride out the coming American apocalypse in style while the world above them is literally going insane.
Meanwhile, most of the general population continues to be completely oblivious to what is about to happen to them, and so the events that are coming will close upon them suddenly like a trap and there will be no escape.
The United States and China are the two largest economies in the world by far, and the upcoming trade war that is about to erupt will be cataclysmic for both sides. The Trump administration and the Chinese government are both gearing up for a prolonged trade war, and this is going to have very severe implications for the entire global economy. During the campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly stated that we “can’t continue to allow China to rape our country”, and he was quite correct about that. Over the past ten years, the U.S. has run a trade deficit of over $2 trillion with China, and as a result of imbalanced trade we have lost tens of thousands of manufacturing businesses, millions of good paying jobs, and hundreds of billions of dollars of tax revenue.
So clearly something needs to be done to balance our trade with China and other countries. But the situation must also be handled delicately, because trade disruptions could bring substantial short-term economic pain.
Prior to winning the election, Trump threatened to unilaterally impose a 45 percent tariff on Chinese exports. Unfortunately, China is not just going to sit there and take whatever Trump throws at them. Every single time the U.S. has imposed tariffs on Chinese goods in the past, China has responded by slapping tariffs on U.S. goods.
And this time around, the Chinese are already preparing a very harsh response even though Trump has not officially made his move yet…
The policy advisers believe the Trump administration is most likely to impose higher tariffs on targeted sectors where China has a big surplus with the United States, such as steel and furniture, or on state-owned firms.
China could respond with actions such as finding alternative suppliers of agriculture products or machinery and manufactured goods, while cutting its exports of consumer staples such as mobile phones or laptops, they said.
Other options include imposing tax or other restrictions on big U.S. firms operating in China, or limiting their access to China’s fast-growing services sector, they added.
When this coming trade war erupts, economic activity will be reduced significantly. And considering the fact that U.S. economic growth is projected to be about one percent in the first quarter of 2017, that could be more than enough to push us into a deep recession.
Some of the biggest U.S. exports to China include airplanes, autos and agricultural products, and the Chinese are ready to attack on all of those fronts. The following comes from CNN…
Here’s what Global Times, a newspaper backed by the Communist Party, had to say about how Beijing would respond to tariffs of 45%:
“A batch of Boeing orders will be replaced by Airbus,” the paper said Monday. “U.S. auto and iPhone sales in China will suffer a setback, and U.S. soybean and maize imports will be halted.”
But once again, something must be done for the long-term good of our country. We have been allowing the Chinese to flood our shores with super cheap goods, but meanwhile they have already been hitting our products with ridiculously high tariffs. Here is just one example…
U.S.-made cars exported to China face tariffs of at least 25 percent, including American-made Cadillacs. The American-made Jeep Grand Cherokee costs $27,490 at U.S. dealerships and cost at least $85,000 in China.
What we have with China today is very far from “free trade”, and if they want to trade with us they need to do so on a level playing field.
But China will never allow that to happen. As Donald Trump has correctly stated, they have been “raping” us for years, and they are going to fight very hard to keep anything from upsetting the status quo.
Trump has got to do something for the long-term good of the U.S. economy, but he has also got to try to find a way to avoid a major trade war, because a major trade war would be exceedingly painful for both countries.
Most Americans don’t realize this, but more iPhones are actually sold in China than in the United States. And it is being projected that Boeing will sell nearly 7,000 airplanes to China over the next decade…
By the end of 2015, Chinese consumers bought 131 million iPhones. The total sales to U.S. customers during the same period stood at only 110 million. And iPhones are only a small part of U.S. exports. Boeing, which employs 150,000 workers in the U.S., estimates that China will buy some 6,810 airplanes over the next 20 years, and that market alone will be worth more than $1 trillion.
So what happens if all or part of that economic activity goes away?
According to one study, in the short-term millions of U.S. jobs could potentially be at risk if a major trade war happens…
“Millions of American jobs that appear unconnected to international trade—disproportionately lower-skilled and lower-wage jobs—would be at risk,” according to the PIIE study.
And of course a major trade war would hit American consumers very hard as well.
Just think about it. When you go into a Wal-Mart or a dollar store, are more of the products made in the United States or in China?
A trade war would hit all of us in the wallet as the cost of living goes up. And considering the fact that about two-thirds of the country is essentially living paycheck to paycheck, that would not be a good thing.
So yes, our trading relationship with China definitely needs to be rebalanced, but Trump needs to find a way to make this transition as minimally disruptive as possible.
A major trade war is just one of the “black swans” that could push us into the kind of economic nightmare scenario that I have been warning about for a very long time. And sometimes a trade war can serve as a prelude to a real war. The South China Sea has become a major sticking point between the U.S. and China, and the Chinese are getting ready to cross one of the “red lines” that Barack Obama established while he was still in office…
Beijing has plans to start construction on the disputed Scarborough Shoal this year.
China has reclaimed land in both the Spratly and Paracel Islands and constructed military outposts, but it has been hesitant to start construction on the Scarborough Shoal. Xiao Jie, the mayor of Sansha — an administrative base for China’s South China Sea activities masquerading as a city — said this week that China intends to construct environmental monitoring stations on a number of territories in the South China Sea, including the Scarborough Shoal.
So how will Trump respond when construction on Scarborough Shoal actually begins?
It will be very interesting to watch how that plays out.
The relationship between the United States and China was starting to deteriorate badly even before Donald Trump was elected, and it is very easy to see how it could totally break down in the months ahead.
And considering how interconnected the global economy is today, the United States and China could easily end up dragging down everyone else along with them.
We always knew that this would start happening. Earlier this month, I wrote about the severe economic problems that are plaguing South America, but up to this point I have neglected to discuss the horrific famines that are breaking out all over Africa. Right now there is a desperate need for food in South Sudan, Somalia, northeast Nigeria, Eritrea and Kenya. And Yemen, even though it is not technically part of Africa, is being affected by many of the same factors that are crippling nations all over eastern Africa. The United Nations says that more than 20 million people could die from starvation and disease if nothing is done. When I write about economic collapse, this is the kind of thing that I am talking about, and we are starting to see alarming conditions spread across the globe. Many believe that we could never possibly face this kind of food crisis in the western world, but unfortunately wishful thinking will only get you so far.
The United Nations was formed in 1945, and the UN has just announced that what we are facing this year is “the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the UN”. The following comes from a CNN article entitled “20 million at risk of starvation in world’s largest crisis since 1945, UN says“…
“We stand at a critical point in history. Already at the beginning of the year we are facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the UN,” UN humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien said Friday.
“Now, more than 20 million people across four countries face starvation and famine. Without collective and coordinated global efforts, people will simply starve to death. Many more will suffer and die from disease.”
It would be hard to overstate the level of human suffering that we are witnessing in many parts of Africa at this moment. In Somalia, the UN estimates that more than 6 million people are in desperate need of food aid…
As Somalia inches closer to a calamitous famine, the prospect of utter devastation and colossal loss of human life is once again becoming an imminent reality. The humanitarian situation in Somalia is deteriorating by the day with up to 6.2 million people in need of urgent aid. People across Somalia have been forced to walk hundreds of miles in search of food, water and shelter- with women and children disproportionately affected. Over 300,000 children under the age of five are severely malnourished, with over 200,000 more children at risk of acute malnutrition.
In South Sudan, close to half the population is in dire need of assistance, and things have gotten so bad there that people will literally eat grass if they can find it…
Across South Sudan more than one million children are believed to be acutely malnourished and UNICEF have said that if urgent aid does not reach them, many of them will die. “There is no food, we eat anything we can find,” one South Sudanese mother told ITV. “We will find grass, we will eat it. That’s just the way it us for us now.”
Over in Yemen, there are about seven million people in need of food help, and authorities are warning that if nothing is done “millions of children” could starve to death…
“The numbers affected are absolutely extraordinary,” said Mark Kaye, Save the Children’s Yemen spokesperson.
“We keep on talking about a country that’s on the brink of famine, but for me these numbers highlight that we’re at the point of no return. If things are not done now we are going to be looking back on this and millions of children will have starved to death, and we’ll all have been aware of this for some time. That will shame us as an international community for years to come.
Eritrea was not specifically included in the recent UN alert, but it should have been. Much of the country has been hit by a crippling drought, and approximately half of all children in Eritrea are stunted…
But we cannot understand why Eritrea is not included in the appeal. Unicef has confirmed what we know from our friends and families inside the country. In a report in January, the agency said that the El Niño drought has hit half of all Eritrea’s regions. Acute malnutrition is widespread. As Unicef put it: “Malnutrition rates already exceeded emergency levels, with 22,700 children under five projected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition in 2017 … Half of all children in Eritrea are stunted, and as a result, these children are even more vulnerable to malnutrition and disease outbreaks.”
We have been warned that there would be famines in diverse places in these times. But here in the western world we tend to be lulled into a false sense of security by our comfortable lives, not realizing that the massively inflated standard of living that we have been enjoying has been fueled by the largest mountain of debt in the history of the planet.
In Kenya, a national emergency has been declared due to drought and famine. For those of you that are parents, what would you do if your children were crying out for food but you didn’t have anything to give them? The following story from Kenya is beyond heartbreaking…
Emmanuel Ayapar is three years old and can no longer walk. The flesh on his legs, which dangle from his mother’s hip as she carries him around, is wasting away.
He seems listless and sad, tongue flicking repeatedly in and out of his mouth.
‘We do not have enough food,’ said Veronica, his 28-year-old mother. ‘We eat only once a day.’
The little boy is suffering from severe malnutrition and is at risk of starving to death. He weighs just 15lb – half the typical weight for a boy of his age.
I don’t even know what to say after that.
In the western world we can be so incredibly self-absorbed that we don’t even realize that children are literally starving to death on the other side of the planet.
Hopefully those of us that live in “wealthy” western countries will step up to the plate and aid those in need, and hopefully this crisis will also help us to understand that we need to prepare for the day when things get difficult in our own nations too.
Would you take out a loan that has an annual percentage rate of 391 percent? Yes, I know that sounds absolutely crazy, but millions of Americans do it every single year. The typical payday loan requires borrowers to pay about 15 dollars for every $100 that they borrow for two weeks. That comes out to a yearly rate of about 391 percent. And the payday loan companies know exactly who to target. They have set up thousands of shops in the poorest communities all over the nation over the last several decades. Each year, approximately 12 million Americans take out payday loans and they pay approximately 7.4 billion dollars in interest and fees on those loans. Sadly, once you get hooked on payday loans they are very hard to stop. In fact, one study found that only 13 percent of payday borrowers get two loans or less per year. All other borrowers take out more loans than that. In fact, more than a third of all payday borrowers take out between 11 and 19 loans during the course of a single year. And as was mentioned earlier, the interest rates on these loans are beyond exorbitant. Payday loans are estimated to be about 20 times more expensive than bank loans, with annual interest rates that are sometimes as high as 500 percent. The payday loan companies circle the poor like vultures, because they know that the poor are the only ones desperate enough to agree to such terms. This is why we need to shut them down. The payday loan companies are making billions preying on the misery of the poor and it needs to be stopped.
And it just isn’t small, disreputable banks that are involved in these practices. The truth is that some of the largest banks in America are now making payday loans…
Some, including U.S. Bank, Fifth Third Bank and Wells Fargo, offer payday loans under names such as Ready Advance, Fast Loan and Early Access, according to the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL). They can carry interest rates averaging between 225 and 300 percent, CRL said.
Others major banks not making such loans directly, but instead they are investing millions of dollars in the companies that do make the loans. Bank of New York Mellon Corp., JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America are just some of the major banks that have invested large amounts of money in the payday loan industry.
These financial institutions are making billions of dollars by exploiting the people in our society that are the most vulnerable. As I showed the other day, the bottom 90 percent of America is systematically getting poorer, and many Americans in desperate financial situations have found the easy cash provided by the payday loan companies to be irresistible. The following are some statistics about payday loans from a recent Pew Research study...
-Fifty-eight percent of payday loan borrowers have trouble meeting monthly expenses at least half the time. These borrowers are dealing with persistent cash shortfalls rather than temporary emergencies.
-Only 14 percent of borrowers say they can afford to repay an average payday loan out of their monthly budgets.
-Seventy-eight percent of borrowers rely on information from lenders—who sell these loans as a safe, two-week product—when choosing to borrow money. This reliance reinforces the perception that payday loans are unlike other forms of credit because they will not create ongoing debt. Yet the stated price tag for a two-week, $375 loan bears little resemblance to the actual $520 cost over the five months of debt that the average user experiences.
-While payday loans are often presented as an alternative to overdrafting on a checking account, a majority of borrowers end up paying fees for both.
-Some borrowers ultimately turn to the same options they could have used instead of payday loans to finally pay off the loans. Forty-one percent need an outside cash infusion to eliminate payday loan debt– including getting help from friends or family, selling or pawning personal possessions, taking out another type of loan, or using a tax refund.
-By almost a three-to-one margin, borrowers favor more regulation of payday loans. A majority of borrowers say the loans both take advantage of them and that they provide relief. Despite feeling conflicted about their experiences, borrowers want to change how payday loans work.
But those statistics don’t really convey the real world consequences that these predatory loans have. Many Americans have lost everything that they had after they turned to payday loans. In fact, it is estimated that at least 50,000 Americans a year go bankrupt due to payday loans.
A recent NBC News article profiled Raymond Chaney, a 66-year-old military veteran that had his life totally destroyed by these predators…
For Raymond Chaney, taking out a payday loan was like hiring a taxi to drive across the country. He ended up broke — and stranded.
The 66-year-old veteran from Boise lives off of Social Security benefits, but borrowed from an Internet payday lender last November after his car broke down and didn’t have the $400 for repairs. When the 14-day loan came due, he couldn’t pay, so he renewed it several times.
Within months, the cash flow nightmare spun out of control. Chaney ended up taking out multiple loans from multiple sites, trying to to stave off bank overdraft fees and pay his rent. By February, payday lenders — who had direct access to his checking account as part of the loan terms — took every cent of his Social Security payment, and he was kicked out of his apartment. He had borrowed nearly $3,000 and owed $12,000.
“I’m not dumb, but I did a dumb thing,” said Chaney, who is now homeless, living in a rescue mission in Boise.
Is there anyone out there that still wants to argue that we should not shut these predators down?
Sadly, many Americans in poor communities have very few alternatives to the payday loan companies. In recent years, the large banking chains have been systematically closing down branches in poor neighborhoods while expanding in wealthy neighborhoods at the same time. Since the Federal Reserve is paying banks not to lend money, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for them to make high-risk loans to poor Americans who may not be able to pay them back. And recent regulations passed by Congress have made it not very profitable to offer checking accounts to poor people. In many poor communities all over the country, it has now gotten to the point where it is becoming extremely difficult to find a bank branch anywhere.
So payday loan companies have been more than happy to fill the void.
But don’t look down on those that have taken out payday loans. The truth is that almost all of us have willingly allowed ourselves to become enslaved to the system at one point or another.
For example, in a previous article entitled “Money Is A Form Of Social Control And Most Americans Are Debt Slaves“, I pointed out the utter foolishness of constantly carrying a balance on a credit card. In that article, I included a great explanation from a former Goldman Sachs banker about how incredibly crippling credit card debt can be…
On the debt side of things, how much does your credit card company earn if you carry just an average of a $5,000 credit card balance, paying, say, 22% annual interest rate (compounding monthly) for the next 10 years?
In your mind you owe a balance of only $5,000, which is not a huge amount, especially for someone gainfully employed. After all, $5,000 is just a quick Disney trip, or a moderately priced ski-trip, or that week in Hawaii. You think to yourself, “how bad could it be?”
The answer, including the cost of monthly compounding, is $44,235, or about 9 times what it appears to cost you at face value.
This is why one of the top things that I recommend for getting prepared for the economic crisis that is coming is to get out of debt.
You do not want to be enslaved to financial predators when everything starts falling apart all around you.
So do any of you have any payday loan or credit card horror stories to share? Please feel free to share what you have to say by posting a comment below…