New Numbers Confirm That The Global Economy And The U.S. Economy Are The Weakest They Have Been Since The Last Recession

Even mainstream economists are admitting that economic activity is slowing down.  And at this point that fact would be very difficult to deny, because the numbers are very clear.  We haven’t faced anything like this in a decade, and many are deeply concerned about what is coming next.  Will it be just another recession, or will it be an even greater crisis than we faced in 2008?  According to Bloomberg Economics, the global economy experienced a “sharp loss of speed” over the course of 2008 and global economic conditions are now “the weakest since the global financial crisis”…

The global economy’s sharp loss of speed through 2018 has left the pace of expansion the weakest since the global financial crisis a decade ago, according to Bloomberg Economics.

Its new GDP tracker puts world growth at 2.1 percent on a quarter-on-quarter annualized basis, down from about 4 percent in the middle of last year. While there’s a chance that the economy may find a foothold and arrest the slowdown, “the risk is that downward momentum will be self-sustaining,” say economists Dan Hanson and Tom Orlik.

This is definitely the worst condition that the global economy has been in since I started The Economic Collapse Blog, and I am personally very alarmed about where things are heading.  The tremendous economic optimism of early 2018 has given way to a tremendous wave of pessimism, and the speed at which the economic environment is changing has stunned a lot of the experts.

In fact, Bloomberg economists Dan Hanson and Tom Orlik openly admit that they are “surprised” by how quickly the global economy has shifted…

“The cyclical upswing that took hold of the global economy in mid-2017 was never going to last. Even so, the extent of the slowdown since late last year has surprised many economists, including us.

Of course the U.S. has not been immune from the changes.  The U.S. economy is rapidly slowing down as well, and this is something that I have been heavily documenting on my website.

And now we have just received more confirmation that the economy is decelerating.  The Atlanta Fed has just updated their GDPNow model yet again, and with this new revision they are now projecting that the U.S. economy will grow at a rate of just 0.2 percent during the first quarter of 2019…

Moments ago we got another confirmation of this, when following the latest retail sales report which saw a dramatic cut to December retail sales even as January surprised modestly to the upside, the Atlanta Fed slashed its Q1 GDP nowcast, and after rebounding modestly from 0.3% to 0.5% a week ago, it has once again slumped, and is now at the lowest recorded level, and just 0.2% away from economic contraction.

This is how the AtlantaFed justified its latest Q1 GDP cut, which as of March 11 was just 0.2 percent, down from 0.5 percent on March 8: “After this morning’s retail sales report from the U.S. Census Bureau, the nowcast of first-quarter real personal consumption expenditures growth declined from 1.5 percent to 1.0 percent.”

In other words, we are just a razor thin margin away from entering an economic contraction.

Last week, we learned that U.S. job cut announcements were up 117 percent in February when compared to last year.  All of the economic momentum is in a negative direction right now, and it is going to be exceedingly difficult to avert a recession at this point.

And of course a lot of analysts believe that what is coming will be a whole lot worse than just a recession.  The greatest debt bubble in the entire history of our planet is in the process of bursting, and the consequences are going to be absolutely horrific.  I really like how financial expert Egon von Greyerz recently made this point

People must understand that the world has never faced risk of this magnitude. We are now in the final seconds of the global mega bubble, the likes of which the world has never seen before. What will happen next will be worse than the fall of the Roman Empire, much worse than the South Sea and Mississippi Bubbles, and will create a disaster that will dwarf the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The problem is simple to define and is all based around debts and liabilities. At the beginning of this century, global debt was $80 trillion. When the Great Financial Crisis started in 2006, global debt had gone up by 56% to $125 trillion. Today it is $250 trillion.

There is no way that a 250 trillion dollar bubble is going to burst in an orderly fashion.  Essentially, we are looking at the sort of apocalyptic financial scenario that I have been warning about for a long time, and most people have no idea that it is coming.

And if people only listened to the financial authorities, it would be easy to get the impression that everything is going to be just fine.

For example, Fed Chair Jay Powell just told 60 Minutes that the outlook for the U.S. economy “is a favorable one”.  The following comes from Fox Business

Jay Powell, the head of the Federal Reserve, says he does not see a recession hitting the U.S. economy anytime soon.

“The outlook for our economy, in my view, is a favorable one,” Powell said Sunday in an interview with CBS’s Scott Pelley for “60 Minutes.”

If you are tempted to believe Powell, let me remind you of what former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke told Congress in early 2008

“The U.S. economy remains extraordinarily resilient,” the U.S. central bank chief said in answering questions after testifying before the House of Representatives Budget Committee.

Bernanke added that growth will be worse this year. “We currently see the economy as continuing to grow, but growing at a relatively slow pace, particularly in the first half of this year,” he said.

Of course we all remember what happened next.  The U.S. economy plunged into the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s, and we are still dealing with the aftermath of that crisis to this day.

Nobody is going to ring a bell when the next recession starts.  It is just going to happen, and just like last time, most Americans are going to be blindsided by it.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

As The Economy Teeters On The Brink Of A Recession, U.S. Debt Levels Are Absolutely Exploding

We now have official confirmation that the U.S. economy has dramatically slowed down.  In recent days I have shared a whole bunch of numbers with my readers that clearly demonstrate that a new economic downturn has begun.  And even though stock prices have been rising, the numbers for the “real economy” have been depressingly bad lately.  But what we didn’t have was official confirmation from the Federal Reserve that the economy is really slowing down, but now we do.  According to the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow model, the economy is growing “at a 0.3 percent annualized rate in the first quarter”

The U.S. economy is growing at a 0.3 percent annualized rate in the first quarter, based on data on domestic construction spending in December released on Monday, the Atlanta Federal Reserve’s GDPNow forecast model showed.

For years, the goal has been to get U.S. growth above the key 3 percent threshold, but what this forecast is telling us is that economic growth is currently at one-tenth of that level.

That is just barely above recession territory.

So when I say that we are teetering on the brink of a recession, I am not exaggerating.

We also just got some really bad news about construction spending

Construction spending fell 0.6% in December from November, based on a seasonally adjusted annual rate, released today by the Commerce Department. Compared to December a year earlier, total construction spending inched up only 0.8% (not seasonally adjusted), the lowest growth rate since Oct 2011, coming out of the great recession.

Now we can add that to the list of all the other numbers that are telling us that very rough times are ahead.

Meanwhile, debt levels in the U.S. just continue to explode.

According to the latest report, Americans now have 480 million credit cards.  That is about 100 million more than during the last recession.

In other words, there are about 1.5 credit cards for every man, woman and child in the entire country.

The total amount of credit card debt in the United States has now reached a whopping $870,000,000,000.  That number has never been higher in the history of our nation.

And when you total up all forms of individual debt, U.S. consumers are now 13.5 trillion dollars in the hole.

Corporate debt levels are exploding as well, and this is something that Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan warned about on Tuesday

U.S. nonfinancial corporate debt consists mostly of bonds and loans. This category of debt, as a percentage of gross domestic product, is now higher than in the prior peak reached at the end of 2008, Kaplan said.

A number of studies have concluded this level of credit could “potentially amplify the severity of a recession,” he noted.

The lowest level of investment-grade debt, BBB bonds, has grown from $800 million to $2.7 trillion by year-end 2018. High-yield debt has grown from $700 million to $1.1 trillion over the same period. This trend has been accompanied by more relaxed bond and loan covenants, he added.

Overall, corporate debt has more than doubled since the last financial crisis, and that is just one of the reasons why our financial system is far more vulnerable today than it was just before the last financial crisis.

This week we also learned that the federal budget deficit is exploding as well.  The following comes from Business Insider

According to a report from the Treasury Department released Tuesday, the budget deficit — that is the difference between what the federal government takes in and what it spends — hit $310 billion in the first four months of fiscal year 2019.

Fiscal years for the federal government run October through September, so the data reflects the shortfall from October 2018 through January 2019. Based on the data, the deficit increased by 77% compared to the same period the prior year.

A 77 percent increase in one year?

I don’t even have the words to describe how foolish this is.

We are on pace to add way over a trillion dollars to the national debt this year, and one of the big things fueling this horrific debt binge is our rapidly expanding interest payments

Finally, and perhaps most concerning, is that for the first four months of this fiscal year, interest payments on the U.S. national debt hit $192 billion, $17 billion, or 10% more than in the same four-month period last year and the most interest ever paid in the first third of the fiscal year. As Reuters’ Jeoff Hall points out, annualizing the $192BN interest expense means that the interest on U.S. public debt is on track to reach a record $575 billion this fiscal year, more than the entire budget deficit in FY 2014 ($483 BN) or FY 2015 ($439 BN), and equates to 2.7% of estimated GDP, the highest percentage since 2011.

But according to the proponents of modern monetary theory (MMT), we can spend as much money as we want because “deficits almost never matter”

Because MMT holds that government spending isn’t funded by taxes, the Green New Deal doesn’t include any measures to finance the very large, open-ended fiscal commitments it would undertake. According to MMT economists, the only possible danger from the resultant government debt would be inflation, which can usually be controlled with tools other than raising taxes. In other words, deficits almost never matter. So confident are they of their theory’s universal applicability that MMT proponents often respond to their critics with scorn.

If you can believe it, there are actually members of Congress that believe this stuff.  Of course the truth is that our national debt is an existential threat to the continued existence of our nation, and this is a point that I have made repeatedly.

The U.S. economy was in far better shape just prior to the financial crisis of 2008 than it is now, and today we are drowning in far more debt than we were at that time.

The stage is set for the most terrifying economic horror show in American history, and the clock is ticking away with each passing day.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

35 Mind Blowing Facts About America That Previous Generations Of Americans Never Would Have Believed

The only thing that seems to be constant in our society is change, and today America is changing at a pace that is more rapid than we have ever seen before.  But is that a good thing or a bad thing?  For a moment, I would like for you to imagine what it would be like for a group of average Americans from 1919 to suddenly be transported to our time.  How do you think that they would feel about what we have become?  Certainly they would be absolutely amazed by our advanced technology, but beyond that they would almost certainly have very strong opinions about the current state of our society.  Similarly, if any of us were suddenly transported 100 years into the future, I am sure that we would be completely and utterly shocked by how things had changed.  The decisions that we make today are going to echo long into the future, and if we make very bad decisions there might not be a future for our country at all.

The following are 35 mind blowing facts about America that previous generations of Americans never would have believed…

#1 Approximately one-fourth of the entire global prison population is in the United States.

#2 By the time an American child reaches the age of 18, that child will have seen approximately 40,000 murders on television.

#3 The average U.S. adult “logs 6 hours, 43 minutes of total screen time daily”.

#4 Approximately 96 percent of all Americans use the Internet.

#5 According to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, nearly 56,000 bridges in the United States are currently “structurally deficient”.  What makes that number even more chilling is the fact that vehicles cross those bridges a total of 185 million times a day.

#6 In more than half of all U.S. states, the highest paid public employee in the state is a football coach.

#7 The Pentagon has more square footage of office space than any other office building in the entire world.

#8 The state of Alaska is 429 times larger than the state of Rhode Island.  But Rhode Island has a significantly larger population than Alaska does.

#9 Alaska has a longer coastline than all of the other 49 U.S. states put together.

#10 The city of Juneau, Alaska is about 3,000 square miles in size. It is actually larger than the entire state of Delaware.

#11 The average age of America’s dams is now 52 years.

#12 The average supermarket in the United States wastes about 3,000 pounds of food each year.

#13 There are more than 75 million dogs in the United States, and that number is constantly growing.

#14 Montana has three times as many cows as it does people.

#15 The grizzly bear is the official state animal of California. But no grizzly bears have been seen in the state since 1922.

#16 The only place in the United States where coffee is grown commercially is in Hawaii.

#17 More than 2 million Americans work for Wal-Mart.

#18 Half of all American workers make less than $30,533 a year.

#19 According to one recent survey, 37 percent of all Americans eat fast food every 24 hours.

#20 One study found that one-third of all American teenagers haven’t read a single book in the past year.

#21 Almost one-third of all Millennials are still living with their parents.

#22 The suicide rate in the United States has risen by 33 percent since 1999.

#23 Women have earned at least 57 percent of all bachelor’s degrees in the United States for 18 years in a row.

#24 If the U.S. health care system was a country, it would have the fifth largest GDP on the entire planet.

#25 America does not have a single airport that is considered to be in the top 25 in the world.

#26 Today, a million Americans are living in their RVS, and that number is rising with each passing year.

#27 More than 100 churches in the United States are dying every single week.

#28 The original name of the city of Atlanta was “Terminus“.

#29 There are three towns in the United States that have the name “Santa Claus“.

#30 There is actually a town in Michigan called “Hell“, and during the recent polar vortex it actually froze over.

#31 Almost one-third of all land in the United States is owned by the federal government.

#32 More than 27 million acres of U.S. farmland is owned by foreigners.

#33 Congestion on our highways costs Americans approximately 101 billion dollars a year in wasted fuel and time.

#34 According to Bloomberg, it is being projected “that by 2025, shortfalls in infrastructure investment will subtract as much as $3.9 trillion from U.S. gross domestic product.”

#35 In 1980, the U.S. national debt had just surpassed the one trillion dollar mark.  In 2019, we are about to surpass the 22 trillion dollar mark with no end in sight.

These days, just about everyone that tries to step forward and shake up the system is slapped with heavy criticism.

But at least they are trying to do something.

Holding an important position does not make you a leader.  Rather, being a leader is about having a positive vision for the future and doing whatever you can to achieve that vision.

We have way too many “leaders” out there that are simply filling seats.  Our country is literally falling apart at the seams, and all they can think about is protecting their careers.

America desperately needs change, but unfortunately we have very few change agents.  So we continue to steamroll toward our date with destiny, and time is not on our side.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.  His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News.  From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the nation.  If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so.  The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

The Most Depressing Stat Of The Month: The U.S. National Debt Is About To Pass The $22 Trillion Mark

The U.S. national debt is wildly out of control, and nobody in Washington seems to care.  According to the U.S. Treasury, the federal government is currently $21,933,491,166,604.77 in debt.  In just a few days, that figure will cross the 22 trillion dollar mark.  Over the last 10 years, we have added more than 11 trillion dollars to the national debt, and that means that it has been growing at a pace of more than a trillion dollars a year.  To call this a major national crisis would be a massive understatement, and yet there is absolutely no urgency in Washington address this absolutely critical issue.  We are literally destroying the financial future of this nation, but most Americans don’t seem to understand the gravity of the situation that we are facing.

The Congressional Budget Office projects that the national debt and interest on that debt will both explode at an exponential rate in future years if we stay on the path that we are currently on.  According to the CBO, the federal government spent 371 billion dollars on net interest during the most recent fiscal year…

In fiscal 2018, the government spent $371 billion on net interest, while the Defense Department budget was $599 billion. Social Security benefits cost $977 billion, Medicare $585 billion and Medicaid $389 billion, according to the CBO estimates.

But the CBO said interest outlays’ rate of growth in fiscal 2018 was faster than that for the three mandatory federal programs: Social Security (up $43 billion, or 5 percent); Medicaid (up $14 billion, or 4 percent); and Medicare (up $16 billion, or 3 percent). In comparison, net interest on the public debt increased by $62 billion, or 20 percent.

The 371 billion dollars that we spent on interest could have been spent on roads, schools, airports, strengthening our military or helping the homeless.

Instead, it was poured down a black hole.

As interest rates rise, it is being projected that we will soon be spending more on interest on the national debt than we do on national defense.  And not too long after that, interest on the national debt will cost us more than the entire Social Security program each year.

The bigger our debt gets, the more interest we have to pay, and the CBO is projecting that we will add another 12 trillion dollars to the debt during the 2020s…

Washington has been drowning in red ink for years and it’s only going to get a lot worse over the next decade, a fresh government estimate shows.

The U.S. is likely to add $12 trillion in public debt from 2020 to 2029 through a combination of higher government spending and slower economic growth, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Of course CBO estimates are almost always way too optimistic, and so reality will probably be a lot worse than that.

But if government debt is so bad, why do we just keep on accumulating more of it?

Well, the truth is that government debt always makes the short-term look better.  When the government borrows money and spends it into the economy, it increases GDP.  In essence, we are sacrificing our long-term prosperity in order for some short-term gain.

If we went back and removed the 11 trillion dollars that the federal government borrowed and spent over the last decade, we would be in the worst economic depression in American history right now.  But by stealing from the future, the federal government has been able to stabilize things.

Unfortunately, the future always arrives eventually, and our future is looking extremely bleak at the moment.

If we want to turn things around, we should not be afraid to learn from what other countries have done.  Switzerland and Sweden have both found a lot of success in managing their budgets by adopting very strict fiscal frameworks

What magic formula keeps the Swiss and Swedish fiscal houses in order?

In both cases, they adopted a comprehensive fiscal framework anchored by sensible fiscal targets and enforced by spending and tax limits. It allows them to live with prevailing economic cycles by pegging federal spending and debt to GDP — spending more when the economy is down, and less when growth is strong — and establishing a process for living within those goals.

But that would require discipline, and that is something that is severely lacking in our nation’s capital right now.

In fact, on the left it has become very trendy to say that the U.S. can never face a debt crisis because we can always “print more money”.  Here is one example

All lending to the U.S. government is done in dollars, and the Treasury controls the supply of that currency. It is literally impossible for America to face a pure debt crisis because it can always print enough money to pay its bills.

Again, that creates its own problems. Doing so would risk significant inflation which would almost certainly harm the country’s credit rating, making future borrowing more expensive. However, America structurally can’t reach a point where it doesn’t have the money to pay its debts; only a point where it prioritizes different concerns.

There is so much wrong with those two paragraphs that I don’t even know where to begin.

First of all, the U.S. Treasury does not control the supply of our currency.  The Federal Reserve does, and under normal circumstances more “Federal Reserve notes” do not come into existence unless a corresponding amount of U.S. debt is also issued.

In other words, the process of creating more money also creates more debt.  Most Americans simply do not understand that the Federal Reserve system was designed to be a perpetual debt machine, and it is the primary reason why we are now nearly 22 trillion dollars in debt.  During my run for Congress, abolishing the Federal Reserve was one of the key issues that I ran on, and we need to continue to educate the American people about these issues.

Because the truth is that the national debt is an existential threat to the future of this nation, and we are systematically destroying the very bright future that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.  His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News.  From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the nation.  If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so.  The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

The One Thing That Could Almost Guarantee A Trump Victory In 2020 Is On The Verge Of Happening

The left has been salivating over the prospect of voting Donald Trump out of office in 2020, but now something has happened that could change everything.  On Sunday, former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced that he is “seriously considering running for president as a centrist independent”.  If Schultz officially decides to run, and it looks like that is almost certainly going to happen, then a Trump victory in 2020 will become almost inevitable.  Unless something dramatic takes place, Trump is going to have the support of at least 40 to 45 percent of American voters in 2020.  But the key was going to be finding that last 5 to 10 percent that he needed to push him over the top.  Unfortunately for Trump, he does not do well with moderate independent voters, and Democratic strategists were counting on those voters to help them beat Trump.  But if a “centrist independent” like Schultz enters the race, he will inevitably steal a lot of those voters from the Democrats, and that is why the left is freaking out so much right now.

There is certainly room in the race for someone like Schultz.  If faced with a choice between Donald Trump and a radical leftist such as Kamala Harris, many Americans would be open to a third option.  And since Schultz is a billionaire, he could certainly provide the resources necessary to mount a serious independent bid.

But he would not have a prayer of actually winning.  40 percent of the country is going to vote Republican no matter what, and 40 percent of the country is going to vote Democrat no matter what.  If things go well for Schultz he could end up with 10 percent of the vote, and if things go perfectly for Schultz he could end up with 20 percent of the vote.

And he is likely to take far more votes from the Democrats than from the Republicans because everyone knows that he was a lifelong Democrat.  He was a big donor to top Democrats, and he voted Democrat his entire life.

So a three way race would be a dream come true for Trump.  In such a scenario Trump may only receive 45 percent of the national vote, but Schultz could pull enough support away from the Democratic candidate to push Trump over the top.

If you are a Trump supporter, send Schultz a message on Twitter encouraging him to run, because it looks like it isn’t going to take too much encouragement to push him over the edge.  In fact, it is being reported that he has already spent many months preparing an independent presidential campaign…

Before announcing his presidential ambitions this week, former Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz secretly undertook a months-long effort to prepare an independent presidential campaign against the nation’s two-party political system, deploying more than six national polls and laying the groundwork for paid advertising that could debut in the next two months.

All of that effort tells me that Howard Schultz is not just “thinking about it”.  He really wants to do this, and that is extremely good news for Trump.

On Monday, Schultz released his brand new book entitled “From the Ground Up: A Journey to Reimagine the Promise of America”, which is essentially his way of introducing himself as a presidential candidate to the American people.  If you will remember, Barack Obama did the same thing when he first ran for president.  Now Schultz is going on a book tour, and on this tour he will “test the appeal of his ideas”

An early advertising effort, made possible by Schultz’s net worth of about $3.4 billion, would be designed to help Schultz show early promise in national polls during his book tour, which he has described as a time to test the appeal of his ideas.

But if he is a lifelong Democrat, then why didn’t he just run as a Democrat?

Well, these days the Democratic Party has taken a radical turn to the left, and Schultz simply doesn’t agree with many of the socialist policy positions that they are currently espousing

But in 2019, he says he cannot in good conscience run as a Democrat. He is considering an independent run. “What the Democrats are proposing is something that is as false as the wall,” he says, indicating “free” health care, “free” college, and the entire litany of “free” things “which the country cannot afford.” He worries — oh, bless his pointy little head! — about the national debt, unfunded liabilities, and other examples of fiscal recklessness. He thinks that the Democrats’ current “liquidate the kulaks as a class” approach to taxes may prove counterproductive to the long-term interests of the United States as a whole. He worries that “extremists” have taken over both parties.

And in this political environment, a moderate white billionaire would simply not have a prayer of winning the Democratic nomination.

So if he wants to run for president, his only option is to do it as an independent, and the fact that he might actually do this is really stressing out those on the left.  The New York Times just published an editorial entitled “Howard Schultz, Please Don’t Run for President”, and Henry Blodget is urging Schultz “to go home”

Unfortunately, right now, our political system is built around only two major parties.

The best way to defeat a candidate from one party is to vote for the candidate from the other.

So if you want to see President Trump fired in 2020, you should probably urge Howard Schultz to go home.

And the media attacks on Schultz have already begun.  For example, a Slate article is painting him as someone that was horrible to his employees…

For one, during Schultz’s long tenure as CEO, Starbucks repeatedly fought against workers’ attempts to organize a union. In 2008, for example, a National Labor Relations Board judge found that the company had illegally fired three workers for their union activities, as well as violated other aspects of the law. Starbucks workers in our country still don’t have a union. Although the right wing has tried for years to paint unions as extreme, a recent Gallup poll showed that 62 percent of Americans approve of labor unions; similarly, an MIT survey found that most workers wanted a greater voice on the job, and that almost half would join a union if given the opportunity. Squelching union organizing efforts may be routine for companies, but it’s not where our country’s political center lies.

Starbucks also pays its workers poverty wages. According to PayScale, an online salary information company, the average hourly rate for Starbucks employees is around $11 per hour. Baristas average $9.77 per hour, and wages don’t reach $15 per hour until a worker becomes a retail store manager ($17.44) or assistant manager ($15.17).

If there is enough abuse from the left, it is still possible that Schultz could pull the plug on his campaign before it has even begun.

But if you are a Trump supporter, you definitely do not want that to happen, because having at least one viable third party candidate is probably the key to Trump winning in 2020.  So everyone needs to encourage Schultz to run, because we absolutely do not want a radical socialist like Kamala Harris in the White House.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.  His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News.  From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the nation.  If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so.  The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

A Metaphor For America: 700 Pound Man Plans To Eat And Play Video Games While Naked Until He Dies

34-year-old Casey King is so obese that he can’t work, he has to bathe outside in a trough like a pig, and he has to rely on his father to constantly take care of him.  He now weighs more than 700 pounds, but he just keeps on eating massive amounts of unhealthy food.  Just like America as a whole, he has absolutely no self-discipline and absolutely no desire to turn his life around.  On some level he understands that he is literally killing himself with his destructive behavior, but he does not have a desire to change.  Instead, he told TLC that he “will just eat until I am dead”

Featuring in a TLC TV series called Family by the Ton, Casey said: “I will just eat until I am dead, probably.

“I wake up around 12, figure out something I’m going to eat immediately [then it’s] TV, video games, bed — it’s not a lot of activity.”

Because of the hot weather in Georgia he prefers to skip clothes, wearing only a headset through which he uses to chat to other gamers playing online.

It is easy to criticize Casey for his lack of activity, but he is really not too different from most other Americans.

As I have written about before, the average American spends approximately five hours a day watching television.  We are willingly plugging ourselves into “the propaganda matrix” for thousands upon thousands of hours, and of course that is going to greatly affect our outlook on life and how we see the world.

But of course most Americans don’t watch television and play video games while naked.  But for Casey, clothes have become too restricting and so he just sits on his bed naked all day long

‘It’s hot in Georgia, and all my clothing is restricting and tight, so I just sit there naked, free as can be and no one bothers me — door’s shut, we’re good,’ he explained.

The gaming community has become a safe space for him because it allows him to escape his everyday life.

‘I’m accepted in all those virtual reality worlds and the gaming world I’m in,’ he said. ‘No one sees me. That is my outside. That is my world that I can be the Casey I want to be, but not be judged on my weight.’

The only reason why Casey is able to live this kind of lifestyle is because his father takes care of him and pays all the bills.

And on a much grander scale, isn’t this what our country is turning into?  Young adults are flocking to socialist ideas because they want the nanny state to take care of them from the cradle to the grave and give them everything for free.

At 34 years of age, Casey should be in the prime of his life, but instead he is utterly dependent on his father as he waits around to die.  He needs a reason to live, and right now he doesn’t have one.  In the end, this is not how he anticipated his life would turn out

‘I never would’ve thought at 34 I’d be living with my father, and I’d have no job, have no real money, and just be playing video games all day and eating,’ he said.

It would be really easy to look down on Casey, but the truth is that our nation is just like him in so many ways.

At this point, we are a nation that completely lacks self-discipline.  Obesity is at an all-time high in the United States, millions of us are addicted to legal and illegal drugs, we have one of the highest rates of alcoholism on the planet, 37 percent of all Americans have eaten fast food within the last 24 hours, and the CDC says that 110 million Americans currently have a sexually-transmitted disease.

But when I first learned about Casey, I didn’t think about any of those things.

Instead, I thought about our exploding mountain of debt.  Like Casey, we just can’t stop ourselves from going back for more.  We have been on the greatest debt binge in the history of the world, but our hunger just keeps growing.

In just a matter of days, the U.S. national debt will hit the 22 trillion dollar mark, but nobody in Washington seems to care.  But if you were to sit down and talk with most of our politicians, they would ultimately admit that all of this debt is an existential threat to our nation.  It is just that they completely lack the willpower to do anything about it.

We know that what we are doing is definitely going to kill us, but we are not willing to change.

Meanwhile, state and local government debt levels are at record highs, public and private pensions are unfunded by trillions upon trillions of dollars, corporate debt has doubled since the last financial crisis, auto loan debt is at an all-time high, credit card debt is absolutely soaring, and student loan debt has roughly tripled over the last decade.

So please don’t be too critical of Casey, because the truth is that he would make a perfect poster boy for what we have become as a nation.

When people point to a modestly good short-term economic number as some sort of “victory”, I just laugh, because the truth is that all of those numbers are fueled by record amounts of debt.

During 2018, we added close to 1.4 trillion dollars to our national debt.  If all of that money was pulled out of the economy and we had only been spending what we had been bringing in, we would be in the worst depression in American history right now.

The only way we can maintain our economic facade is by endlessly gorging ourselves on debt, but in the process we are literally destroying the bright future that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have.

In the final analysis, what we are doing to ourselves as a nation makes Casey King look like a sharp, disciplined, athletic young man in comparison.

If we keep doing this to ourselves, we have no future, and nobody can argue with that.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.  His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News.  From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites.  If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so.  The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

U.S. Debt Poised To Hit The $22 Trillion Mark As “Storm Clouds” Indicate “We Could Have Another Financial Crisis”

The rapidly exploding U.S. national debt is about to cross another critical threshold.  According to the U.S. Treasury, the debt of the federal government is currently sitting at $21,854,296,172,540.94, and at our current pace we will likely hit the $22 trillion mark next month.  This is a horrifying national crisis, and yet nothing is being done about it.  When Barack Obama entered the White House in January 2008, the U.S. was $10.6 trillion in debt, and so that means that we have added 11.2 trillion dollars of new debt to that total in less than 11 years.  Needless to say, it doesn’t take a math genius to figure out that we have been adding an average of more than a trillion dollars a year to the national debt for more than a decade.  But instead of getting our insatiable appetite for debt under control, Congress is actually accelerating our spending.  At this point, there is no possible scenario in which this story ends well.

Meanwhile, the global financial elite are really starting to talk up the possibility of a new financial crisis.

For example, the deputy head of the IMF just said that he sees “storm clouds building”

The storm clouds of the next global financial crisis are gathering despite the world financial system being unprepared for another downturn, the deputy head of the International Monetary Fund has warned.

David Lipton, the first deputy managing director of the IMF, said that “crisis prevention is incomplete” more than a decade on from the last meltdown in the global banking system.

“As we have put it, ‘fix the roof while the sun shines’. But, like many of you, I see storm clouds building and fear the work on crisis prevention is incomplete.”

And according to CNBC, Janet Yellen is warning that “we could have another financial crisis”…

“I think things have improved, but then I think there are gigantic holes in the system,” Yellen said Monday night in a discussion moderated by New York Times columnist Paul Krugman at CUNY. “The tools that are available to deal with emerging problems are not great in the United States.”

Yellen cited leverage loans as an area of concern, something also mentioned by the current Fed leadership. She said regulators can only address such problems at individual banks not throughout the financial system. The former fed chair, now a scholar at the Brookings Institution, said there remains an agenda of unfinished regulation. “I’m not sure we’re working on those things in the way we should, and then there remain holes, and then there’s regulatory pushback. So I do worry that we could have another financial crisis.”

It almost sounds as if they have been reading The Economic Collapse Blog.  Of course they probably aren’t, and the truth is that at this point the next crisis is so close that just about everybody should be able to see it.

So what can be done?

Well, Texas hedge fund manager Kyle Bass wants a trillion dollars in new infrastructure spending.

That sounds nice, but we are already adding more than a trillion dollars to our national debt every year.  If we want to spend a trillion dollars fixing up our crumbling infrastructure, where is that money going to come from?

We have been spending far, far more money than we have been bringing in, and that has been propping up our economy for quite some time now.  But we are progressively making our long-term problems much worse, and there is no way that we can sustain this Ponzi scheme for much longer.

And it isn’t just the national debt that is a massive problem.  U.S. consumers are more than 13 trillion dollars in debt, and a new report has discovered that credit card debt continues to surge to new heights

Americans are carrying a record amount of credit card debt, according to a new study.  The average American family has about $7000 in revolving debt compared to $6081 this time last year. And as interest rates rise, so will those monthly payments to service these debts.

This year’s report focused on revolving debt (debt that is carried over month after month) because it is a “more accurate indicator” of financial hardship, said NerdWallet, who compiled the report.  “Credit card debt is the stain on millions of Americans’ finances that doesn’t scrub off easily, if ever,” says NerdWallet credit card expert Kimberly Palmer. “High interest rates combined with expenses that continue to outweigh income mean that some households are unable to fully rid themselves of debt and, in fact, continue to take on more.”

We are a society that is absolutely addicted to cheap debt, but now interest rates are going up, and that is going to cause some enormous financial problems.

Our world has never seen anything like the debt bubble that we are facing right now, and most of that debt was accumulated when interest rates were low.  The system simply cannot handle higher rates at this point, and according to Michael Pento “a worldwide depression is coming like we have never seen before”…

“Unfortunately, a worldwide depression is coming like we have never seen before because we have never before had so much debt sit on top of artificially depressed interest rates,” said Pento in an interview with USA Watchdog‘s Greg Hunter back in May.“The hubris and arrogance of central banks to take that away, they are way too late in doing so, and they think they can do this with impunity.  They are dead wrong.  They (central banks) have always caused recessions.  We are heading into a global depression.”

Whenever you go into debt in order to enjoy a higher standard of living than you currently deserve, there are short-term benefits but long-term pain.

For decades, America has been stealing from the future in order to make the present more pleasant, but now we have painted ourselves into a corner.

If we had made wiser choices, things could have turned out differently, but that didn’t happen.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.