We haven’t seen numbers like these since the last global recession. I recently wrote about how global trade is imploding all over the planet, and the same thing is true when it comes to manufacturing. We just learned that manufacturing in China has now been contracting for seven months in a row, and as you will see below, U.S. manufacturing is facing “its toughest period since the global financial crisis”. Yes, global stocks have bounced back a bit after experiencing dramatic declines during January and the first part of February, and this is something that investors are very happy about. But that does not mean that the crisis is over. All bear markets have their ups and downs, and this one will not be any different. Meanwhile, the cold, hard economic numbers that keep coming in are absolutely screaming that a new global recession is here.
Just consider what is happening in China. Manufacturing activity continues to implode, and factories are shedding jobs at the fastest pace since the last financial crisis…
Chinese manufacturing suffered a seventh straight month of contraction in February.
China’s official Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) stood at 49.0 in February, down from the previous month’s reading of 49.4 and below the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis.
A private survey also showed China’s factories shed jobs at the fastest rate in seven years in February, raising doubts about the government’s ability to reduce industry overcapacity this year without triggering a sharp jump in unemployment.
For years, the expansion of the Chinese economy has helped fuel global economic growth. But now things have shifted dramatically.
At this point, things are already so bad that the Chinese government is admitting that millions of workers are going to lose their jobs at state-controlled industries in China…
China’s premier told visiting U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew on Monday his government is pressing ahead with painful reforms to shrink bloated coal and steel industries that are a drag on its slowing economy and ruled out devaluing its currency as a short-cut to boosting exports.
Premier Li Keqiang’s comments to Lew on Monday were in line with a joint declaration by financial officials from the Group of 20 biggest rich and developing economies who met over the weekend in Shanghai. They pledged to avoid devaluations to boost sagging trade and urged governments to speed up reforms to boost slowing global growth.
Across all state-controlled industries, as many as six million workers could be out of a job, with almost two million in the coal industry alone.
But it isn’t just China. Right now manufacturing activity is slowing down literally all over the planet, and this is exactly what we would expect to see if a new global recession had begun. The following chart and analysis come from Zero Hedge…
As the below table shows, 28 regions have reported so far. Seven saw improvements in their manufacturing sectors in February, twenty recorded a weakening, and India was unchanged. This means that over 70% of the world saw manufacturing sentiment deteriorate in February compared to January.
In terms of actual expansion, there were 21 countries in positive territory and 7 in negative. In particular, Greece moved from neutral to contraction territory, while Taiwan dropped below breakeven from expansion.
Unfortunately, most Americans don’t really pay much attention to what is going on in the rest of the world. For most of us, what really matters is what is happening inside the good ole USA.
And of course the news is not good. There were more signs of trouble for U.S. manufacturing in the February numbers, and this continues a trend that stretches back well into last year. The following is what Chris Williamson, the chief economist at Markit, had to say about these numbers…
“The February data add to signs of distress in the US manufacturing economy. Production and order book growth continues to worsen, led by falling exports. Jobs are being added at a slower pace and output prices are dropping at a rate not seen since mid-2012.
“The deterioration in the manufacturing sector’s performance since mid-2014 has broadly tracked the dollar’s rise, which makes US goods more expensive in overseas markets and leads US consumers to favour cheaper imported goods.
“With other headwinds including the downturn in the oil sector, heightened uncertainty due to financial market volatility, global growth worries and growing concerns about the presidential election, it’s no surprise that the manufacturing sector is facing its toughest period since the global financial crisis.“
Over the past couple of decades, the U.S. economy has lost tens of thousands of manufacturing facilities. We desperately need a manufacturing renaissance – not another manufacturing decline.
As good paying manufacturing jobs have been shipped overseas, they have been replaced by low paying service jobs. As a result, the middle class is shrinking and the ranks of the poor are exploding.
And no matter what Obama may say, unemployment remains a major problem in the United States as well. At this point, unemployment rates in 36 states are higher than they were just before the last recession hit in 2008.
Of course a lot of people are going to look at this article and will point to the stock market gains of the past couple of weeks as evidence that “things are getting better”. It is this kind of clueless approach that is keeping the American people from coming together on solutions to our problems.
The truth is that the United States has been experiencing economic decline for decades. Our economic infrastructure has been gutted, the middle class is steadily deteriorating, and we have amassed the biggest pile of debt in the history of the world.
Anyone that believes that things are “just fine” is in a massive state of denial. Consuming far more wealth than we produce is not a formula for a sustainable economy, and it is just a matter of time before we find this out the hard way.
We have not seen global economic activity fall off this rapidly since the great recession of 2008. Manufacturing activity is imploding all over the planet, global trade is slowing down at a pace that is extremely alarming, and the Baltic Dry Index just hit another brand new all-time record low. If the “real economy” consists of people making, selling and shipping stuff, then it is in incredibly bad shape. Here in the United States, the dismal economic numbers continue to stun all of the experts. For example, on Monday we learned that the Texas general business activity index just hit a six year low…
Economic activity in Texas keeps getting worse.
The general business activity index out Monday from the Dallas Federal Reserve for January was -34.6, a six-year low and much worse than economists had expected.
The forecast for the monthly index was -14, following a December reading of -21.6 (revised from -20.1) that was also worse than expected.
The last coal train to leave Erwin rolled slowly out of town just after at 3 p.m. Thursday, less than eight hours after CSX Transportation employees heard the news that rocked all of Unicoi County.
“Its a hard pill to swallow,” county Mayor Greg Lynch said. “Of course, we heard rumors that something was coming down. But never in my wildest dreams did I imagine they would just shut down and leave town.”
CSX delivered the news of its decision to immediately close Erwin’s 175-acre rail yard and abruptly end the employment of the facility’s 300 workers in a series of meetings with employees conducted at the start of their morning shifts.
It has been said that if you want to know what is really happening with the U.S. economy, just watch the railroads.
And right now, rail traffic all over the nation is falling to depressingly low levels.
With regard to the train freight article this morning, we have in Grand Junction, CO., literally hundreds of engines sidelined on the tracks. They are three deep on some tracks and easily number over 250. I have never seen this many engines on the tracks before and I feel this is just another indicator of the slowdown in shipping.
In case you are tempted to think that this is just anecdotal evidence, I want you to consider what is happening to the largest railroad company in the United States.
According to Wolf Richter, operating revenues for Union Pacific were down 15 percent last year…
Union Pacific, the largest US railroad, reported awful fourth-quarter earnings Thursday evening. Operating revenues plummeted 15% year over year, and net income dropped 22%.
It was broad-based: The only category where revenues rose was automotive (+1%). Otherwise, revenues fell: Chemicals (-7%), Agricultural Products (-12%), Intermodal containers (-14%), Industrial Products (-23%), and Coal (-31%). Shipment of crude plunged 42%.
So Union Pacific did what American companies do best: it laid off 3,900 people last year.
And of course we can see evidence of the emerging economic slowdown all around us pretty much wherever we look. Sprint just laid off 8 percent of its workforce, GoPro is letting go 7 percent of its workers, and Wal-Mart just announced the closure of 269 stores.
But instead of dealing with reality, there are a lot of irrational optimists that insist that things will start bouncing back any day now. For instance, CNBC is reporting that Goldman Sachs is forecasting that the S&P 500 will end up finishing the year back at 2,100…
Goldman, though, is sticking with its forecast that the S&P 500 will rebound and finish the year at 2,100, a rise of about 11 percent from current levels but basically no net gain for the full year.
It is easy to say something like that, but the actions of the big banks speak louder than words.
Bank of America and Citigroup reduced headcount the most, eliminating about 20,000 staffers between them, according to fourth-quarter earnings reports from each bank. The respective moves amount to 4.6 percent and 4 percent fewer workers at the banks. JPMorgan Chase reported in its earnings that it employs 6,700 fewer workers than a year ago.
And guess what?
The “too big to fail” banks did the exact same thing just before the great stock market crash of 2008.
Since June 2015, approximately 15 trillion dollars of global stock market wealth has been wiped out. After a brief respite at the end of last week, it appears that the global financial crisis is getting ready to accelerate once again.
On Monday, the price of oil dipped back under 30 dollars, the Dow was down another 208 points, and the Nikkei is currently down another 389 points in early trading.
Somewhere close to one-fifth of all global stock market wealth has already been wiped out.
We only have about four-fifths left.
But in the end, I can talk about these numbers until I am blue in the face and some people will still not get prepared.
Some people have so much faith in Barack Obama, the Federal Reserve and the mainstream media that they would literally follow them off a cliff.
By now, most of the people that believe that they should prepare for the coming crisis have already gotten prepared, and most of those that want to believe that everything is going to work out just fine somehow are never going to get prepared anyway.
What is going to happen is going to happen, and tens of millions of people are going to end up bitterly regretting not listening to the warnings when they still had the chance.
Did you know that we buy nearly five times as much stuff from the Chinese as they buy from us? According to government numbers that were just released, we imported 44.9 billion dollars worth of stuff from China in September but we only exported 9.3 billion dollars worth of stuff to them. And this is not happening because our economy is so much larger than China’s. In fact, the IMF says that China now has the largest economy on the entire planet on a purchasing power basis. No, the truth is that this is happening because our economy is broken. Every month, we consume far more wealth than we produce. Because the outflow of money is far greater than the inflow, we have to go to major exporting nations and beg them to lend our dollars back to us so that we can pay our bills. Meanwhile, the quality of the jobs in this country continues to go down and our formerly great manufacturing cities are rotting and decaying. We are committing national economic suicide, and most Americans don’t seem to care.
Barack Obama is constantly hyping a “manufacturing resurgence” in America, but the numbers don’t lie. In September, our manufactured goods trade deficit with the rest of the world soared to a new all-time record high of 69.16 billion dollars. For the year, we are nearly 12 percent ahead of last year’s record pace.
When we buy far more things than we sell, we get poorer as a nation.
How do you think that we ever got into a position of owing China more than a trillion dollars?
We just kept buying far more from them than they bought from us, and their money just kept piling up. Now it has gotten to the point where our politicians literally beg them to lend our money back to us. They are the head and we are the tail.
And we did this to ourselves.
Once upon a time, the United States was the greatest manufacturing powerhouse that the world had ever seen. But now China manufactures more stuff than us and China also accounts for more total global trade (imports plus exports) than us.
This should never have happened. Several decades ago, the Chinese economy was a complete joke. But decades of incredibly foolish decisions by our politicians have resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of manufacturing facilities, millions of good paying jobs and the destruction of vast stretches of our economic infrastructure.
During the same time frame, gleaming new manufacturing facilities have gone up all over China.
China is literally wiping the floor with us on the global economic stage and most Americans don’t even understand what is happening. Here is more on the trade deficit numbers that were just released from the RealityChek Blog…
>The China goods deficit of $35.56 billion blew past the old mark of $30.86 billion, set in July, by 15.23 percent. The new deficit also represented a 17.77 percent increase over the August level of $30.20 billion.
>U.S. goods exports to the still strongly growing Chinese economy fell on month in September from $9.63 billion to $9.33 billion (3.12 percent). U.S. merchandise imports from China jumped by 12.70 percent over August levels, from $39.83 billion to $44.89 billion – itself an all-time high.
>The U.S. goods deficit with China this year is now so far running 5.62 percent ahead of 2014’s record pace.
>The longstanding U.S. manufacturing trade shortfall shot up from $59.10 billion in August to $69.16 billion in September. This 17.02 percent jump resulted in a beat of the old record of $67.33 billion, also set in July, by 2.72 percent.
And it isn’t just cheap plastic trinkets that China is selling to us.
In fact, their number one export to us is computer equipment.
Meanwhile, one of our main exports to them is “scrap and trash”.
Sadly, there are a couple of factors that will probably make our trade deficit with the rest of the world even worse in the months ahead.
Number one, the currency war that I wrote about earlier this week will probably push the U.S. dollar even higher against the yen and the euro.
You might think that a rising dollar sounds good, but the truth is that it will make our exports less competitive in the global marketplace.
Nations such as Japan devalue their currencies so that they can sell more stuff to us. But that hurts our own domestic industries. And when our own domestic industries suffer, that means less jobs for American workers.
Secondly, the collapse in the price of oil could have very serious implications for the shale oil industry.
In recent years, the shale oil revolution has caused local economic booms in states such as Texas and North Dakota. But shale oil tends to be quite expensive to extract. As I write this, the price of U.S. oil has fallen to about 77 dollars a barrel. If it stays at that level or keeps going down, shale oil production in the United States will slow down dramatically.
In other words, a lot of these shale oil “boom towns” could go “bust” very rapidly.
If that happens, the amount of oil that we import will rise substantially and that will add to our overall trade deficit.
But of course the biggest factor fueling our trade deficit is that the vast majority of Americans simply do not care that we are committing national economic suicide.
When we buy products made in America, we support American businesses and American workers.
When we buy products made overseas, we hurt American businesses, we kill American jobs and we make ourselves poorer as a nation.
Of course there is nothing wrong with buying a foreign-made product once in a while. But this holiday season, most people will fill their shopping carts to the brim with foreign-made goods without even thinking twice about it.
The next time that you go into a huge retail establishment such as Wal-Mart, start picking up products and look to see where they were made.
I think that you will be shocked at how few of them are actually made inside the United States.
When are Americans going to get sick and tired of making China wealthier at our expense?
We are willing participants in the destruction of the U.S. economy, and yet only a small minority of people seem to care.
What is it going to take for people to finally wake up?
Their names are familiar to all of us: Cleveland, Flint, Youngstown, Saginaw, Gary, Toledo, Reading, Akron, Flint and Buffalo were all once booming manufacturing cities that were absolutely packed with thriving middle class families. But now most of the manufacturing jobs are gone and all of those cities are just shadows of their former selves. When you drive through many of these communities, you will notice that a lot of people have a really hollow look in their eyes. Decades of slow, steady economic decline have really taken a toll, and even the architecture in these cities looks depressed. But despite all of the decay, there is still evidence that there was once something truly great about these communities. Will we be able to recapture that greatness before it is too late?
A lot of writers make economics really complicated, but the truth is that it does not have to be. For example, if you want your country to have a great economy it has got to produce wealth. And one of the primary ways to produce wealth is to make stuff. Immediately after World War II, the United States had the greatest manufacturing base the world had ever seen and we outproduced the rest of the planet combined. Great manufacturing cities sprouted up all over America and the middle class thrived. It was truly a great time to be an American.
But then we decided to start shipping in cheaper products from overseas. At first it didn’t create too much of a problem for our massive economy, but eventually the floodgates opened up and we lost tens of thousands of manufacturing facilities and millions upon millions of good paying jobs. Our labor pool was merged with the labor pool of countries such as communist China where it is legal to pay slave labor wages to manufacturing workers. Needless to say, our workers could not compete with that and our middle class started to shrink rapidly.
Today, there are many American cities that were once truly great that are now truly frightening to visit. For example, a recent CNBC article detailed the plight of Reading, Pennsylvania…
In August 2008, factory workers David and Barbara Ludwig treated themselves to new cars—David a Dodge pickup, Barbara a sporty Mazda 3. With David making $22 an hour and Barbara $19, they could easily afford the payments.
A month later, Baldwin Hardware, a unit of Stanley Black & Decker, announced layoffs at the Reading plant where they both worked. David was unemployed for 20 months before finding a janitor job that paid $10 an hour, less than half his previous wage. Barbara hung on, but she, too, lost her shipping-dock job of 26 years as Black & Decker shifted production to Mexico. Now she cleans houses for $10 an hour while looking for something permanent.
They still have the cars. The other trappings of their middle-class lifestyle? In the rear-view mirror.
I once had an aunt that lived in Reading. She is dead now, and so is most of the city. At this point, more than 40 percent of those living in Reading are impoverished and the city government is flat broke.
Perhaps no other region in the country has more eerie examples of urban decay than the once dominant industrial region known as the Rust Belt. Covering the Midwestern states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, the region is plagued by a number of abandoned factories, houses and buildings that lay in crumbling ruins.
You can see some incredible photographs by Seph Lawless of the decay in the Rust Belt right here. The pictures are incredibly depressing, but it doesn’t take too much imagination to see that these cities were once truly impressive.
Just take Gary, Indiana for instance. It was once known as “the Magic City” because it was doing so well, but now it is a rotting, decaying hellhole. The following is from an excerpt from a Daily Mail article about Gary…
Gary, a struggling city 30 miles south of Chicago along the shores of Lake Michigan, is a prime example of the trend.
Known as the ‘Magic City’ in the roaring 1920s for its spectacular growth, Gary is still home to U.S. Steel’s largest plant, but the number of mill jobs has shrunk to 5,000 from 30,000 in the 1970s.
Gary’s population in 1960 was more than 178,000, but it disintegrated to just 79,000 by 2012.
Some one-third of its residents live in poverty and the home and business vacancy rate is about 35 percent. Gary recorded 43 murders in 2012 – three times as many per capita as nearby Chicago.
At one time, Gary was the envy of the rest of the globe.
But now very few people would ever want to willingly live there.
The following is how James Kunstler described what he saw when he traveled through Gary, Indiana…
Between the ghostly remnants of factories stood a score of small cities and neighborhoods where the immigrants settled five generations ago. A lot of it was foreclosed and shuttered. They were places of such stunning, relentless dreariness that you felt depressed just imagining how depressed the remaining denizens of these endless blocks of run-down shoebox houses must feel. Judging from the frequency of taquerias in the 1950s-vintage strip-malls, one inferred that the old Eastern European population had been lately supplanted by a new wave of Mexicans. They had inherited an infrastructure for daily life that was utterly devoid of conscious artistry when it was new, and now had the special patina of supernatural rot over it that only comes from materials not found in nature disintegrating in surprising and unexpected ways, sometimes even sublimely, like the sheen of an oil slick on water at a certain angle to the sun. There was a Chernobyl-like grandeur to it, as of the longed-for end of something enormous that hadn’t worked out well.
Sadly, what is happening to Reading and Gary is just a preview of what is slowly happening to the entire nation as a whole.
Since 2001, the United States has lost more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities.
That is absolutely astounding.
Most of those jobs have gone overseas. That is why it seems like most of our products say “Made in China” these days. They are getting rich while our communities suffer, and then we have to beg the Chinese to lend our money back to us.
Meanwhile, we have a permanent epidemic of unemployment in this country. Back in the 1980s, over 20 percent of the jobs in the U.S. were manufacturing jobs. Today, only about 9 percent of the jobs in the U.S. are manufacturing jobs.
And an astounding number of our young men are just sitting at home instead of doing something productive. As I wrote about the other day, one out of every six men in their prime working years (25 to 54) do not have a job at this point.
Also, the percentage of working age Americans not participating in the labor force is up to 37.2 percent – a 36 year high.
Not only that, but the quality of our jobs has also steadily declined as we have lost good paying manufacturing jobs to overseas workers.
All over America, formerly prosperous communities are being transformed into crime-infested wastelands of poverty and despair. Of course the most famous example of this is Detroit. At one time, Detroit was the greatest manufacturing city that the world had ever seen and it had the highest per capita income in the entire country. But now it has become a rotting, decaying hellhole that the rest of the planet laughs at. And of course Detroit is far from alone. There are hundreds of other U.S. cities that are suffering a similar fate. In this article, the focus is going to be on Camden, New Jersey, but the truth is that there are lots of other “Detroits” and “Camdens” all over the nation. Jobs and businesses are leaving our cities at a staggering rate, and what is being left behind is poverty, crime and extreme desperation.
Earlier this month, Rolling Stone published an article that took a hard look at the nightmare conditions that exist in Camden. A city that once made Campbell’s soup and some of this nation’s most famous warships is now a national disgrace. The following are six of the best quotes out of that article…
-“In September, its last supermarket closed, and the city has been declared a “food desert” by the USDA. The place is literally dying, its population having plummeted from above 120,000 in the Fifties to less than 80,000 today.”
-“Their home is a city with thousands of abandoned houses but no money to demolish them, leaving whole blocks full of Ninth Ward-style wreckage to gather waste and rats.”
-“With legal business mostly gone, illegal business took hold. Those hundreds of industries have been replaced by about 175 open-air drug markets, through which some quarter of a billion dollars in dope moves every year.”
-“On January 18th, 2011, the city laid off 168 of its 368 police officers, kicking off a dramatic, years-long, cops-versus-locals, house-to-house battle over a few square miles of North American territory that should have been national news, but has not been, likely because it took place in an isolated black and Hispanic ghost town.”
-“After the 2011 layoffs, police went into almost total retreat. Drug dealers cheerfully gave interviews to local reporters while slinging in broad daylight.”
-“The carnage left Camden’s crime rate on par with places like Haiti after its 2010 earthquake, and with other infamous Third World hot spots, as police officials later noticed to their dismay when they studied U.N. statistics.”
You can read the rest of the article right here. But as bad as things have become in Camden, this should not be a surprise to most of you. The reality is that this kind of rot and decay is happening in communities all over the United States.
In order to have a middle class, you have got to have middle class jobs.
There is no way around that.
And right now, hordes of young people are graduating from college and discovering that the middle class jobs that they were promised simply are not there.
CNN recently profiled a 37-year-old college graduate named Bobby Bingham. Because he cannot find a good job, he is forced to work four low paying jobs…
Bobby Bingham works four jobs in Kansas City, Missouri, yet he has very little to show for it.
Bingham is 37 years old and has a college degree, but like many Americans, is stuck working many hours in low wage, part-time jobs.
Each week, he works a total of about 60 hours in his jobs as a massage therapist, a waiter at a Mexican restaurant, a delivery man for sandwich chain Jimmy John’s and a receptionist at his massage school.
Bingham makes approximately $400 a week, which works out to about $20,000 a year. He has come to the conclusion that he may never be able to make enough to support a family…
“I’ve come to the point in my life where I wonder if I can ever support a family,” he said. “I have no idea how that’s ever going to logically happen.”
That deeply saddened my heart when I read that. Here is a young man that wants to get married, have a family and do all the right things, but the economy is so bad that he fears that this may never be possible for him.
As I have written about previously, the economic downturn that we are experiencing right now has hit men particularly hard. The number of men in their prime working years that do not make enough money to support a family is rising with each passing year, and this is causing massive problems in this country.
And when our politicians proclaim that all we need is “more education”, I feel like vomiting. The U.S. population as a whole has more “education” today than it ever has had before.
If you think that “more education” is the answer, then check out the following excerpt from a recent interview with a law school graduate that is making about $40,000 a year and that has about $200,000 in law school debt…
Yes, it’s extremely hard to get by. I can’t afford rent or a car and can barely afford food. Anything extra like enjoying myself with friends, going to a movie, traveling, etc. — that’s all out the window for the foreseeable future and possibly for the rest of my life thanks to law school. I live with my parents. I don’t have a car. I don’t go out to socialize. I don’t date. I don’t buy new clothes. I don’t buy electronics. I don’t buy much of anything. I spend my free time working other jobs to put more money toward my debt. I do contract work for other lawyers, but the pay is very low and payment is sporadic.
Why did this happen to him? Well, the truth is that there are way, way too many law school graduates. There are not nearly enough good jobs for all of them. In fact, this particular law school graduate deeply regrets ever going to law school and considers it “an extraordinary waste of money”…
I consider law school a waste of my life and an extraordinary waste of money. I feel like I was duped and tricked. At the end of the day, it’s my own fault for being a sucker and I learned an extremely hard lesson. Because I went to law school, I don’t see myself having a family, earning a comfortable wage, or having an enjoyable lifestyle.
But at least he has a job. There are millions of college graduates that do not. And there are hundreds of thousands of other college graduates that are currently working as waiters and waitresses. Large numbers are also working temp jobs or standing behind registers in retail stores.
Over the past decade, tens of thousands of businesses and millions of good jobs have left this country. The quality of the jobs that remain continues to decline at a frightening pace, and most of the new jobs that are being “created” these days are part-time jobs.
But you won’t hear the mainstream media or our most prominent politicians talk about these things much. You won’t hear them talk about the fact that median household income in the United States has fallen for five years in a row or about the fact that the rate of homeownership in the United States has fallen for eight years in a row.
The middle class is dying.
Wake up America.
And even as millions of our jobs have been shipped to the other side of the planet, some of the most prominent “American companies” have been bought up by foreigners. The following list comes from a recent Economy In Crisis article…
Here are some of America’s most famous brands currently held in foreign hands:
Budweiser, now owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev N.V., which is based in Leuven, Belgium
Alka-Seltzer, now owned by German company Bayer Schering Pharma AG
Ben & Jerrys, now owned by British-Dutch Unilever
AMC theaters, now owned by the Chinese
7-Eleven, now owned by the Japanese company, Seven & I Holdings
Woman’s Day Magazine, now owned by the French company, Hachette Filipacchi Médias, S.A
Purina, now owned by the Swiss company, Nestle
Gerber, now owned by the Swiss pharmaceutical giant, Novartis
Firestone, now owned by the Japanese Bridgestone Corporation
Citgo, now owned by the government of Venezuela
French’s Mustard, now owned by Reckitt Benckiser, a British conglomerate
Frigidaire, now owned by Sweden’s AB Electrolux
The Plaza Hotel in New York City, now owned by Israeli billionaire Yitzhak Tshuva’s El-Ad Group
Trader Joes, now owned by German billionaires Karl and Theo Albrecht
Dial soap, now owned by Henkel KGaA, based in Dusseldorf, Germany
Sunglass Hut, now owned by Italian eyewear seller Luxottica Group
And if you are waiting for the jokers in Washington D.C. to fix things, you are going to be waiting for a very, very long time.
Over the past several years, both the Democrats and the Republicans have proven again and again that they are basically completely and totally useless. In fact, just about everything that they try to do actually makes our problems even worse.
In just a few days, Barack Obama leaves for a 17 day holiday vacation in Hawaii. Many have criticized him and the members of Congress for taking so much time off, but perhaps that is the best thing that they can do at this point. As long as they are away from Washington D.C., at least they won’t be making things even worse for all the rest of us.
Did you know that Barack Obama has been secretly negotiating the most important trade agreement since the formation of the World Trade Organization? Did you know that this agreement will impose very strict Internet copyright rules, ban all “Buy American” laws, give Wall Street banks much more freedom to trade risky derivatives and force even more domestic manufacturing offshore? If you have not heard about this treaty, don’t feel bad. Obama has refused to even give Congress a copy of the draft agreement and he has banned members of Congress from attending the negotiations. The plan is to keep this treaty secret until the very last minute and then to railroad it through Congress and have it signed into law by October. The treaty is known as “the Trans-Pacific Partnership”, and the nations that are reported to be involved in the development of this treaty include the United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Peru, Brunei, Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia. Opponents of this treaty refer to it as “the NAFTA of the Pacific”, and if it is enacted it will push the deindustrialization of America into overdrive.
The “one world” economic agenda that Barack Obama has been pushing is absolutely killing the U.S. economy. As you will see later in this article, we are losing jobs and businesses at an astounding pace. And each new “free trade” agreement makes things even worse.
For example, just check out the impact that the recent free trade agreement that Obama negotiated with South Korea is having on us…
A 10 percent decline of U.S. exports to Korea
The U.S. trade deficit with Korea has climbed 37 percent
U.S. auto industry has been crippled
Loss of U.S. control where international trade, banking and finance is concerned
A projected 159,000 jobs will be lost
Wait a second – I though that “free trade” agreements were actually supposed to increase exports.
So why have they declined by 10 percent?
Did someone make a really bad deal?
And of course we have all seen the economic devastation that NAFTA has wrought.
When NAFTA was pushed through Congress in 1993, the United States actually had a trade surplus with Mexico of 1.6 billion dollars. By 2010, we had a trade deficit with Mexico of 61.6 billion dollars.
And “free trade” with China has turned out to be a complete and total nightmare as well.
Back in 1985, our trade deficit with China was approximately 6 million dollars (million with a little “m”) for the entire year.
In 2012, our trade deficit with China was 315 billion dollars. That was the largest trade deficit that one nation has had with another nation in the history of the world.
But instead of learning from the mistakes of the past, Barack Obama is pressing for more “free trade” agreements.
The agreement, under negotiation since 2008, would set new rules for everything from food safety and financial markets to medicine prices and Internet freedom. It would include at least 12 of the countries bordering the Pacific and be open for more to join. President Obama has said he wants to sign it by October.
Although Congress has exclusive constitutional authority to set the terms of trade, so far the executive branch has managed to resist repeated requests by members of Congress to see the text of the draft agreement and has denied requests from members to attend negotiations as observers — reversing past practice.
While the agreement could rewrite broad sections of nontrade policies affecting Americans’ daily lives, the administration also has rejected demands by outside groups that the nearly complete text be publicly released.
So exactly who in the world does this guy think that he is? Why won’t Obama let us know exactly what is in this treaty?
Fortunately, there have been a few leaks. One thing that we have discovered is that this new treaty would reportedly ban all “Buy American laws“.
That certainly would not be popular if it got out.
The American people wanted nothing to do with the very strict Internet copyright provisions of SOPA and loudly expressed their displeasure to members of Congress.
Unfortunately, now the provisions of SOPA are back. It is being reported that most of the provisions of SOPA have been quietly inserted into this treaty. If this treaty is enacted, those provisions will become law and the American people will not be able to do anything about it.
And according to the New York Times, there are all sorts of other disturbing things that have been slipped into the treaty…
And yet another leak revealed that the deal would include even more expansive incentives to relocate domestic manufacturing offshore than were included in Nafta — a deal that drained millions of manufacturing jobs from the American economy.
The agreement would also be a boon for Wall Street and its campaign to water down regulations put in place after the 2008 financial crisis. Among other things, it would practically forbid bans on risky financial products, including the toxic derivatives that helped cause the crisis in the first place.
Are you starting to understand why the Obama administration is keeping this treaty such a secret?
If the details of this treaty were revealed to the American people right now, it would create such an uproar that Congress would never approve this treaty.
So please share this article with as many people as you can. We have got to get the American people educated about this.
Enough damage has already been done to the U.S. economy by “free trade” agreements. Just consider the following statistics…
-The United States has lost more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities since 2001.
If you know someone that actually believes that the U.S. economy is in good shape, just show them the statistics in this article. When you step back and look at the long-term trends, it is undeniable what is happening to us. We are in the midst of a horrifying economic decline that is the result of decades of very bad decisions. 30 years ago, the U.S. national debt was about one trillion dollars. Today, it is almost 17 trillion dollars. 40 years ago, the total amount of debt in the United States was about 2 trillion dollars. Today, it is more than 56 trillion dollars. At the same time that we have been running up all of this debt, our economic infrastructure and our ability to produce wealth has been absolutely gutted. Since 2001, the United States has lost more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities and millions of good jobs have been shipped overseas. Our share of global GDP declined from 31.8 percent in 2001 to 21.6 percent in 2011. The percentage of Americans that are self-employed is at a record low, and the percentage of Americans that are dependent on the government is at a record high. The U.S. economy is a complete and total mess, and it is time that we faced the truth.
The following are 40 statistics about the fall of the U.S. economy that are almost too crazy to believe…
#13 When NAFTA was pushed through Congress in 1993, the United States had a trade surplus with Mexico of 1.6 billion dollars. By 2010, we had a trade deficit with Mexico of 61.6 billion dollars.
#14 Back in 1985, our trade deficit with China was approximately 6 million dollars (million with a little “m”) for the entire year. In 2012, our trade deficit with China was 315 billion dollars. That was the largest trade deficit that one nation has had with another nation in the history of the world.
#25 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 49 percent of all Americans live in a home that receives direct monetary benefits from the federal government. Back in 1983, less than a third of all Americans lived in a home that received direct monetary benefits from the federal government.
#27 Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid. Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid, and things are about to get a whole lot worse. It is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.
#28 As I wrote recently, it is being projected that the number of Americans on Medicare will grow from 50.7 million in 2012 to 73.2 million in 2025.
#29 At this point, Medicare is facing unfunded liabilities of more than 38 trillion dollars over the next 75 years. That comes to approximately $328,404 for every single household in the United States.
#30 Right now, there are approximately 56 million Americans collecting Social Security benefits. By 2035, that number is projected to soar to an astounding 91 million.
#36 There are now 20.2 million Americans that spend more than half of their incomes on housing. That represents a 46 percent increase from 2001.
#3745 percent of all children are living in poverty in Miami, more than 50 percent of all children are living in poverty in Cleveland, and about 60 percent of all children are living in poverty in Detroit.
#38 Today, more than a million public school students in the United States are homeless. This is the first time that has ever happened in our history.
#39 When Barack Obama first entered the White House, about 32 million Americans were on food stamps. Now, more than 47 million Americans are on food stamps.
#40 According to one calculation, the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of “Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.”
What is happening to you America? Once upon a time, the United States was a place where free enterprise thrived and the greatest cities that the world had ever seen sprouted up from coast to coast. Good jobs were plentiful and a manufacturing boom helped fuel the rise of the largest and most vibrant middle class in the history of the planet. Cities such as Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Baltimore were all teeming with economic activity and the rest of the globe looked on our economic miracle with a mixture of wonder and envy. But now look at us. Our once proud cities are being transformed into poverty-stricken hellholes. Did you know that the city of Detroit once actually had the highest per-capita income in the United States? Looking at Detroit today, it is hard to imagine that it was once one of the most prosperous cities in the world. In fact, as you will read about later in this article, tourists now travel to Detroit from all over the globe just to see the ruins of Detroit. Sadly, the exact same thing that is happening to Detroit is happening to cities all over America. Detroit is just ahead of the curve. We are in the midst of a long-term economic collapse that is eating away at us like cancer, and things are going to get a lot worse than this. So if you still live in a prosperous area of the country, don’t laugh at what is happening to others. What is happening to them will be coming to your area soon enough.
The following are 24 signs that our once proud cities are turning into poverty-stricken hellholes…
#12 Violent crime in the city of Oakland increased by 23 percent during 2012.
#13 If you can believe it, more than 11,000 homes, cars and businesses were burglarized in Oakland during 2012. That breaks down to approximately 33 burglaries a day.
#14 As I have written about previously, there are only about 200 police officers assigned to Chicago’s Gang Enforcement Unit to handle the estimated 100,000 gang members living in the city.
#15 The number of murders in Chicago last year was roughly equivalent to the number of murders in the entire country of Japan during 2012.
#16 The murder rate in Flint, Michigan is higher than the murder rate in Baghdad.
#17 If New Orleans was considered to be a separate nation, it would have the 2nd highest murder rate on the entire planet.
#18 According to the Justice Department’s National Drug Intelligence Center, Mexican drug cartels were actively operating in 50 different U.S. cities in 2006. By 2010, that number had skyrocketed to 1,286.
#19 Back in 2007, the number of New York City residents on food stamps was about 1 million. It is now being projected that the number of New York City residents on food stamps will pass the 2 million mark this summer.
#20 The number of homeless people sleeping in the homeless shelters of New York City has increased by a whopping 19 percent over the past year.
#24 According to a recently released report, 60 percent of all children in the city of Detroit are living in poverty.
As I mentioned at the top of this article, the decline of the city of Detroit has become so famous that it has actually become a tourist attraction. The following is a short excerpt from an article in the New York Times…
But in Detroit, the tours go on, in an unofficial capacity. One afternoon at the ruins of the 3.5-million-square-foot Packard Plant, I ran into a family from Paris. The daughter said she read about the building in Lonely Planet; her father had a camcorder hanging around his neck. Another time, while conducting my own tour for a guest, a group of German college students drove up. When queried as to the appeal of Detroit, one of them gleefully exclaimed, “I came to see the end of the world!”
All of that money could have gone to U.S. businesses and U.S. workers. In turn, taxes would have been paid on all of that income which could have helped keep our cities great.
But instead, our politicians have stood idly by as we have lost tens of thousands of businesses and millions of jobs. If you can believe it, more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities have closed down permanently in the United States since 2001.
We have allowed our economic infrastructure to be absolutely gutted, and so we should not be surprised that our once proud cities are turning into poverty-stricken hellholes.
And this is just the beginning. The next wave of the economic collapse is rapidly approaching, and when it strikes unemployment in this country will eventually rise to a level that is more than double what it is now.
When that happens, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near our rotting, decaying cities.
When you get into too much debt, eventually really bad things start to happen. This is a very painful lesson that southern Europe is learning right now, and it is a lesson that the United States will soon learn as well. It simply is not possible to live way beyond your means forever. You can do it for a while though, and politicians in the U.S. and in Europe keep trying to kick the can down the road and extend the party, but the truth is that debt is a very cruel master and at some point it inevitably catches up with you. And when it catches up with you, the results can be absolutely devastating. Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal all tried to just slow down the rate at which their government debts were increasing, and look at what happened to their economies. In each case, GDP is shrinking, unemployment is skyrocketing, credit is freezing up and manufacturing is declining. And you know what? None of those countries has even gotten close to a balanced budget yet. They are all still going into even more debt. Just imagine what would happen if they actually tried to only spend the money that they brought in?
I have always said that the next wave of the economic collapse would start in Europe and that is exactly what is happening. So keep watching Europe. What is happening to them will eventually happen to us.
The following are 17 signs that a full-blown economic depression is raging in southern Europe…
#1 The Italian economy is in the midst of a horrifying “credit crunch” that is causing thousands of companies to go bankrupt…
Confindustria, the business federation, said 29pc of Italian firms cannot meet “operational expenses” and are starved of liquidity. A “third phase of the credit crunch” is underway that matches the shocks in 2008-2009 and again in 2011.
In a research report the group said the economy was caught in a “vicious circle” where banks are too frightened to lend, driving more companies over the edge. A thousand are going bankrupt every day.
#2 During the 4th quarter of 2012, the unemployment rate in Greece was 26.4 percent. That was 2.6 percent higher than the third quarter of 2012, and it was 5.7 percent higher than the fourth quarter of 2011.
#3 During the 4th quarter of 2012, the youth unemployment rate in Greece was 57.8 percent.
#4 The unemployment rate in Spain has reached 26 percent.
Data from Italy’s national statistics institute ISTAT showed that the country’s economy shrank by 0.9pc in the fourth quarter of last year and gross domestic product was down a revised 2.8pc year-on-year.
#10 The Greek economy is contracting even faster than the Italian economy is…
Greece also sank further into recession during the fourth quarter of 2012, with figures on Monday showing the economy contracted by 5.7pc year-on-year.
#12 Manufacturing activity is declining just about everywhere in Europe except for Germany…
Research group Markit said its index of activity in UK manufacturing – where 50 is the cut off between growth and decline – sank from 50.5 in January to 47.9 in February. It left Britain on the brink of a third recession in five years after the economy shrank by 0.3 per cent in the final quarter of 2012.
Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, said: ‘This represents a major setback to hopes that the UK economy can return to growth in the first quarter and avoid a triple-dip recession.’
The eurozone manufacturing index also read 47.9. Germany scored 50.3 but Spain hit 46.8, Italy 45.8 and France 43.9.
#13 The percentage of bad loans in Italian banks has risen to 12.2 percent. Back in 2007, that number was sitting at just 4.5 percent.
#14 Bank deposits experienced significant declines all over Europe during the month of January.
#15 Private bond default rates are soaring all over southern Europe…
S&P said the default rate for Italian non-investment grade bonds jumped to 9.5pc last year from 5.7pc in 2012 as local banks shut off funding. It was even worse in Spain, doubling to 14.3pc.
The default rate in France rocketed from 0.8pc to 8.7pc, the latest in a blizzard of bad news from the country as the delayed effects of tax rises, fiscal tightening, and the strong euro do their worst.
#16 Lars Feld, a key economic adviser to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, recently said the following…
“The sustainability of Italian public finances is in jeopardy. The euro crisis will therefore return shortly with a vengeance.”
#17 Things have gotten so bad in Greece that the Greek government plans to sell off 28 state-owned buildings – including the main police headquarters in Athens.
One of the few politicians in Europe that actually understands what is happening in Europe is Nigel Farage. A video of one of his recent rants is posted below. Farage believes that “the Eurozone has been a complete economic disaster” and that the worst is yet to come…
Most people believe that the eurozone has been “saved”, but that is not even close to the truth.
In fact, it becomes more likely that we will see the eurozone break up with each passing day.
So who would leave first?
Well, recently there have been rumblings among some German politicians that Greece should be the first to leave. The following is from a recent Reuters article…
Greece remains the biggest risk for the euro zone despite a calming of its economic and political crisis and may still have to leave the common currency, a senior conservative ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.
But there is also a chance that Germany could eventually be the first nation that decides to leave the euro. In fact, a new political party is forming in Germany that is committed to getting Germany out of the euro. The following is a brief excerpt from a recent article by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard…
A new party led by economists, jurists, and Christian Democrat rebels will kick off this week, calling for the break-up of monetary union before it can do any more damage.
“An end to this euro,” is the first line on the webpage of Alternative für Deutschland (AfD). “The introduction of the euro has proved to be a fatal mistake, that threatens the welfare of us all. The old parties are used up. They stubbornly refuse to admit their mistakes.”
They propose German withdrawl from EMU and return to the D-Mark, or a breakaway currency with the Dutch, Austrians, Finns, and like-minded nations. The French are not among them. The borders run along the ancient line of cleavage dividing Latins from Germanic tribes.
However this all plays out, the reality is that things are about to get much more interesting in Europe.
No debt bubble lasts forever. The Europeans are finding that out right now, and the U.S. won’t be too far behind.
But for the moment, most Americans assume that everything is going to be okay because the Dow keeps setting new all-time record highs.
Well, enjoy this little bubble of debt-fueled false prosperity while you can, because it won’t last for long.
A massive wake up call is coming, and it will be exceedingly painful for those that are not ready for it.