If you want to be a “Good Samaritan” to the homeless in your community, you might want to check and see if it is legal first. All over the country, cities are passing laws that make it illegal to feed and shelter the homeless. For example, in this article you will read about a church in Maryland that was just fined $12,000 for simply allowing homeless people to sleep outside the church at night. This backlash against homeless people comes at a time when homelessness in America is absolutely exploding. In a previous article, I shared with my readers the fact that the number of homeless people in New York City has just set a brand new all-time high, and the homelessness crisis in California has become so severe that the L.A. City Council has formally asked Governor Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency. Sadly, instead of opening up our hearts to the rapidly growing number of Americans without a home, way too many communities are trying to use the law to force them to go somewhere else.
For nearly two thousand years, churches have been at the forefront of helping the poor and disadvantaged, but now many communities are trying to stop this from happening. Earlier today, I was absolutely stunned when I came across an article that talked about how a church in Dundalk, Maryland has been fined $12,000 for allowing the homeless to sleep outside the church at night…
“I showed up Wednesday morning to find a citation on the door that said we’re going to be fined $12,000 and have a court date because we have unhoused homeless people sleeping outside the church at night,” said Reverend Katie Grover with the Patapsco United Methodist Church.
Grover added that the men and women who sleep outside their doors do so because they have nowhere else to go and because they feel safe there.
“We feel we here as a church that it’s scriptural mandate that’s it an imperative to care for the least, the last, the lost, the poor, the hungry,” she said.
The authorities in Dundalk say that the church is running a “non-permitted rooming and boarding house”, and the severity of this fine is likely to put the church in significant financial difficulty if it is forced to pay it. You can watch a local news report discussing this story on YouTube right here…
Of course Dundalk is far from alone. All across the U.S. laws have been passed that specifically target the homeless. According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, the following are some of the most typical ways that the homeless are targeted…
Carrying out sweeps (confiscating personal property including tents, bedding, papers, clothing, medications, etc.) in city areas where homeless people live.
Making panhandling illegal.
Making it illegal for groups to share food with homeless persons in public spaces.
Enforcing a “quality of life” ordinance relating to public activity and hygiene.
There are some people that have been feeding the hungry for decades that now find that their work has been suddenly made illegal. For instance, down in Houston a Good Samaritan named Jay Hamberger is outraged that the help that he has been providing to the homeless for 27 years has now made him an outlaw…
Jay Hamberger has been bringing food to Houston’s homeless for 27 years. He feels the city is infringing on his right to help others by requiring him to have prior permission to distribute food on public and private property.
“I’ve done it with impunity for 27 years now, and I’m the most law-abiding outlaw, because what I’m doing is illegal,” Hamberger said. “My understanding is that there’s no legal way to make this right with the city.”
This is just another example of how our society is being strangled to death by control freaks.
If I see someone that is desperately hungry and I want to give that person food, then I am going to do it no matter what the law says.
Unfortunately, as the homelessness crisis continues to escalate these types of laws are only going to increase. Even in supposedly “tolerant” areas of the country we are seeing draconian measures being implemented. For example, just check out the new ordinance that was just passed in Los Angeles…
LA legislators passed an ordinance that would ban people from sleeping in cars and recreational vehicles (RVs) near homes, parks and schools. Advocates see the ordinance as the latest move to criminalize homeless people.
The Los Angeles City Council voted in favor of the ordinance on Wednesday. Banning people from sleeping near homes, schools and parks in their vehicles, would, if signed into law, only make it legal to sleep overnight in cars and RV’s in industrial or commercial districts from 9:00pm to 6:00am.
As millions of Americans have fallen out of the middle class in recent years, we have seen an explosion in the number of people living in cars, trucks and recreational vehicles. This is something that I addressed in my recent article entitled “Living In A Van Down By The River – Time To Face The True State Of The Middle Class In America“. During this time of the year many that live in their vehicles head for warmer climates, and cities like Los Angeles are responding to the influx of homeless people by trying to force them to go somewhere else.
And this “war on the homeless” has actually been ramping up for quite a while. Just check out these numbers from the Washington Post…
Cities have enacted a wave of crackdowns and new laws against panhandling, camping and other activities associated with homelessness. They say such efforts help preserve the renewed vitality, curbing crime, health problems and behaviors that bother residents and disrupt business.
Between 2011 and 2014, the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty found that bans on sleeping in cars shot up 119 percent, citywide camping prohibitions jumped 60 percent, anti-loitering laws increased 35 percent and anti-begging laws increased 25 percent in a survey of 187 cities.
Homeless people do not have a permanent address, and there is always a temptation to try to force them to go somewhere else so that they become someone else’s problem.
But the truth is that we have a massive national crisis on our hands. The number of homeless children in this country has increased by 60 percent since the end of the last recession, and the number of homeless people sleeping in shelters has risen to record levels in major cities on both the east and west coast.
And considering the fact that about two-thirds of the country is currently living paycheck to paycheck, how bad will things get once the next major recession strikes?
Poverty is growing all over the nation, and at the same time hearts all over America are growing very cold.
I truly fear for what this country is going to look like just a few years from now.
If you tried to put up a large cross in a public park in New York City there would be lawsuits flying all over the place, but apparently an ancient pagan arch that served as a gateway to the Temple of Baal is no problem at all. On Monday, September 19th, a reconstructed version of Palmyra’s Arch Of Triumph (also known as the Monumental Arch) will be erected in New York City. Specifically, it will be located in City Hall Park in Manhattan. The organization behind this project is known as the Institute for Digital Archaeology, and they have confirmed the location and the date on their official website…
This arch was originally constructed in Palmyra, Syria by the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus in the 3rd century A.D., and it stood there until it was destroyed by ISIS in 2015. The following comes from the Wikipedia article about this arch…
The Monumental Arch, also called the Arch of Triumph (Arabic: قوس النصر) or the Arch of Septimius Severus, was a Roman ornamental archway in Palmyra, Syria. It was built in the 3rd century during the reign of emperor Septimius Severus. Its ruins later became one of the main attractions of Palmyra, until it was destroyed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in October 2015. Most of its stonework still survives and there are plans to rebuild it using anastylosis.
On this map you can see how Palmyra was laid out. The Arch of Triumph (identified on the map as the “monumental arch”) connected the main street of the Colonnade with the Temple of Bel. If you wanted to go to the Temple of Bel, there was essentially one way in and one way out, and everyone coming and going would pass through this arch.
Those that are familiar with ancient Middle Eastern deities already know that “Bel” and the “Baal” that we find in the Bible were one and the same. Here is more from Wikipedia…
Back in April, the arch that stood directly in front of the Temple of Baal was supposed to be put up in Times Square, but fortunately that project was ultimately canceled. A reproduction of the Arch of Triumph (the arch discussed in this article) was put up in Trafalgar Square in London at that time, and there were rumblings that a reproduction of the Arch of Triumph would also come to New York at a later date.
Unfortunately, that has now become a reality.
So why are people getting so upset about some ancient arch that may be connected to an ancient god that nobody seems to worship anymore?
Well, the truth is that “Baal” is mentioned in the Bible more than 100 times. A very high percentage of current world religions can be traced directly back to this ancient deity and to ancient Babylon, and the practices involved in ancient Baal worship are “eerily similar” to things that go on in society today. The following comes from an excellent article by Matt Barber…
Ritualistic Baal worship, in sum, looked a little like this: Adults would gather around the altar of Baal. Infants would then be burned alive as a sacrificial offering to the deity. Amid horrific screams and the stench of charred human flesh, congregants – men and women alike – would engage in bisexual orgies. The ritual of convenience was intended to produce economic prosperity by prompting Baal to bring rain for the fertility of “mother earth.”
The natural consequences of such behavior – pregnancy and childbirth – and the associated financial burdens of “unplanned parenthood” were easily offset. One could either choose to engage in homosexual conduct or – with child sacrifice available on demand – could simply take part in another fertility ceremony to “terminate” the unwanted child.
Modern liberalism deviates little from its ancient predecessor. While its macabre rituals have been sanitized with flowery and euphemistic terms of art, its core tenets and practices remain eerily similar.
We tend to think that we are vastly more “advanced” than the pagan idol worshippers of the ancient world, but is that really the case?
They killed their babies by the thousands, but we have killed our babies by the millions.
They had “free love” around the altars of Baal, but we have turned it into a permanent lifestyle.
Multitudes would gather around the altars of Baal to watch the bisexual orgies, but we have turned watching others having sex into a multi-billion dollar industry.
Just like ancient Israel, our society has turned away from following the God that created all things, and instead we are embracing the ways of the ancient pagan world. Unfortunately, there are very serious consequences for doing this. Just consider what Jonathan Cahn recently told George Noory during an interview on Coast to Coast…
“Western Civilization was once totally pagan and then in a sense it got cleaned up,” Cahn said. “But what [one of these mysteries is] saying is, if it turns back away from God and turns to evil and immorality, it’s going to be seven times worse than it does before. And how that translates is, before you had the Gospel you had Nero, you had Caligula. But when you have a post-Christian civilization, it’s much more dangerous than a pre-Christian one. But that’s when you produce Hitlers, you produce Stalins, you produce ultimately the Antichrist. That’s end-time prophecy. We are witnessing that as well.”
I believe that it is quite appropriate that an arch that once served as a gateway to the Temple of Baal is going up in New York City on Monday, because we are going down the exact same path that ancient Israel once did.
Sadly, if we keep doing the same things that they once did, our ultimate fate will end up being very similar as well.
UPDATE: The arch has now been unveiled, and you can see video of the unveiling right here…
The gigantic wildfire that has forced the evacuation of the entire city of Fort McMurray in northern Alberta has been nicknamed “the Beast“, and mainstream news reports are telling us that it is now approximately 25 percent larger than New York City. 88,000 people have already been forced out of their homes, at least 1,600 buildings have been destroyed, and smoke from the fire has been spotted as far away as Iowa. To say that this is a “disaster” is a massive understatement. Northern Alberta is “tinder dry” right now, and authorities say that high winds could result in the size of the fire doubling by the end of the weekend. One-fourth of Canada’s oil output has already been shut down, and the edge of the fire is now getting very close to the neighboring province of Saskatchewan. This is already the most expensive natural disaster in the history of Canada, and officials fully expect to be fighting this blaze for months to come.
At this point, only rain is going to stop this fire. Canadian authorities insist that they are not going to be able to defeat this raging inferno no matter how many resources they throw at it. The best that they can hope for is to try to steer it away from heavily populated areas until the rain comes.
Nobody knows precisely how this tragedy is going to end, but everyone agrees that it is going to last for quite some time. According to the Washington Post, this fire has the potential to keep on burning “for months”…
The images are ones of devastation — scorched homes, virtually whole neighborhoods burned to the ground. And Canadian officials say they expect to fight the massive wildfire that has destroyed large parts of Alberta’s oil sands town for months.
There’s fear the growing wildfire could double in size and reach a major oil sands mine and even the neighboring province of Saskatchewan.
I have relatives that live up in Alberta, and this is the biggest thing to hit that part of the world in many, many years.
This massive fire is making headlines all over the planet, and some of the video footage that is emerging is so shocking that it can be hard to believe. Some of the terms being used to describe the devastation are “hell”, “the end of the world” and “Armageddon”…
“It was something like Armageddon,” said Morgan Elliott, who traveled with his fiancee, Cara Kennedy, and their baby, Abigail. “Everything was burnt, houses gone. Leaving the city, it was like a scene out of a movie. It reminded me of the TV show ‘The Walking Dead’ where you’re going on the highway, and there’s just abandoned vehicles everywhere; hundreds of cars, just abandoned vehicles.”
In this YouTube video, you can watch vehicles attempt to escape Fort McMurray as hot embers from towering flames just a few feet away rain down on them. What would you do in this kind of situation?…
The amount of resources that has been committed to fighting this fire has been unprecedented, and yet it just continues to rage wildly out of control. The following comes from CNN…
The blaze is moving in a northeast direction and could reach the border with Saskatchewan by the end of Saturday, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said.
The response has been massive. Notley said more than 500 firefighters are battling the blaze around Fort McMurray, with the help of 15 helicopters and 14 air tankers. More than 1,400 firefighters and 133 helicopters are fighting blazes across the province.
Unfortunately, a lot of Americans simply are not going to care what is happening up in Alberta because it is in Canada.
I just checked the U.S. Drought Monitor, and much of the western third of the country is still extremely dry. Conditions are certainly ripe for another horrible wildfire season, and so let us pray for lots of rain between right now and the end of the summer.
Because all we have to do to see what a worst case scenario looks like is to watch what is going on in Fort McMurray right now.
To me, this is the closest thing that we have seen to “hell on Earth” in a very long time…
Last month, a “secret meeting” that involved more than 100 executives from some of the biggest financial institutions in the United States was held in New York City. During this “secret meeting“, a company known as “Chain” unveiled a technology that transforms U.S. dollars into “pure digital assets”. Reportedly, there were representatives from Nasdaq, Citigroup, Visa, Fidelity, Fiserv and Pfizer in the room, and Chain also claims to be partnering with Capital One, State Street, and First Data. This “revolutionary” technology is intended to completely change the way that we use money, and it would represent a major step toward a cashless society. But if this new digital cash system is going to be so good for society, why was it unveiled during a secret meeting for Wall Street bankers? Is there something more going on here than we are being told?
On a recent Monday in April, more than 100 executives from some of the world’s largest financial institutions gathered for a private meeting at the Times Square office of Nasdaq Inc. They weren’t there to just talk about blockchain, the new technology some predict will transform finance, but to build and experiment with the software.
By the end of the day, they had seen something revolutionary: U.S. dollars transformed into pure digital assets, able to be used to execute and settle a trade instantly. That’s the promise of a blockchain, where the cumbersome and error-prone system that takes days to move money across town or around the world is replaced with almost instant certainty.
So it is not just Michael Snyder from The Economic Collapse Blog that is referring to this gathering as a “secret meeting”. This is actually how it was described by Bloomberg. And I think that there is a very good reason why this meeting was held in secret, because many in the general public would definitely be alarmed by this giant step toward a cashless society. Here is more on this new system from Bloomberg…
While cash in a bank account moves electronically all the time today, there’s a distinction between that system and what it means to say money is digital. Electronic payments are really just messages that cash needs to move from one account to another, and this reconciliation is what adds time to the payments process. For customers, moving money between accounts can take days as banks wait for confirmations. Digital dollars, however, are pre-loaded into a system like a blockchain. From there, they can be swapped immediately for an asset.
“Instead of a record or message being moved, it’s the actual asset,” Ludwin said. “The payment and the settlement become the same thing.”
Why this is so alarming is because we are seeing other major moves toward a cashless system all over the planet. In Sweden, 95 percent of all retail transactions are already cashless, and ATM machines are being removed by the hundreds. In Denmark, government officials actually have a stated goal of “eradicating cash” by the year 2030. And in Norway, the biggest bank in the country has publicly called for the complete elimination of all cash.
As I have written about previously, cash transactions of more than 2,500 euros have already been banned in Spain, and France and Italy have both banned all cash transactions of more than 1,000 euros.
Little by little, cash is being eradicated, and what we have seen so far is just the beginning. 417 billion cashless transactions were conducted in 2014, and the final number for 2015 is projected to be much higher.
The global push toward a cashless society is only going to intensify, because banks and governments both tend to really like the idea of such a system.
Banks really like the concept of a cashless society because it would force everyone to be their customers. There would be no more hiding cash in a mattress at home or trying to pay all of your bills with paper money. Under a cashless system, we would all be dependent on the banks, and they would make lots of money whenever we swiped our cards or our “chips” were scanned.
Governments see a lot of advantages in a cashless society as well. They tell us that they would be able to crack down on drug dealers, tax evaders, terrorists and money launderers, but the truth is that it would enable them to watch, track, monitor and control virtually all of our financial transactions. Our lives would become open books to the government, and financial privacy would be a thing of the past.
In addition, the potential for tyranny would be absolutely off the charts.
Just imagine a world where the government could serve as the gatekeeper for who is allowed to use the cashless system and who is not. They could require that we all submit to some sort of government-issued form of identification before being permitted to operate within the system, or it is even conceivable that a loyalty oath would be required.
Of course if you did not submit to their demands, you could not buy, sell, open a bank account or get a job without access to the cashless system.
Hopefully people can understand where this is going. Paper money is a very important component of our freedom, and if it is taken away from us that will open the door for all sorts of abuse.
Even now, cash is slowly being “criminalized” in America. For example, if cash is used to pay for a hotel room that is considered by federal authorities to be “suspicious activity” that should be reported to the government. Of course it isn’t against the law to pay your hotel bill in cash just yet, but according to the government it is something that “terrorists” do so it needs to be closely watched.
It doesn’t take a whole lot of imagination to see where all of this is going. And for those of us that understand what time it is, this is a clear indication that it is getting late in the game.
*About the author: Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog. Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled “The Rapture Verdict” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.*
Many of the exact same groups that participated in Occupy Wall Street and helped organize protest rallies in Ferguson and Baltimore are now promising to bring us “the largest civil disobedience actions in a generation”. I recently wrote about the trouble that radical leftists have caused by attempting to disrupt Trump campaign events, but now there is a very organized effort to turn this into a national movement. On March 19th, thousands of angry protesters will descend on Trump Tower in New York City to denounce Donald Trump’s “fascist policies”, and on April 2nd dozens of leftist organizations will join together to launch “Democracy Spring” in Philadelphia. From there, large numbers of liberal activists will march to Washington D.C. where they will “risk arrest” during a “peaceful” sit-in at the U.S. Capitol from April 11th to April 18th. If the radical left is this freaked out about Donald Trump now, how bad will things get if he actually becomes the Republican nominee?
I suppose that it was only a matter of time before the radical left began to specifically target Trump properties. I hope that Trump has good security, because it will definitely be tested starting tomorrow…
Left-wing demonstrators have announced their latest anti-Trump event – a march on Trump Tower in New York City to protest against The Donald’s “fascist policies”.
A Facebook page for the rally outlines the plan, organized by a group called ‘Cosmopolitan Antifascists’, to march on the building at 2pm on Saturday afternoon.
“Donald J. Trump has made headlines in recent months with his divisive rhetoric, hate speech, and extremist plans to “make America great again”. We, in fact, believe this will do the opposite to this nation. Trump’s policy threatens many of us in the Black, Latino, LGBT, Muslim, and other communities,” states the page.
According to the Facebook page for “Cosmopolitan Antifascists”, 5,000 people plan to show up and 15,000 more are “interested” in this event.
Will it turn out to be a completely peaceful protest?
Let’s certainly hope so.
Perhaps even more disturbing is what is going to happen in early April. Dozens of far left groups have gotten behind a movement that has been officially dubbed “Democracy Spring”.
Obviously, that name was chosen to conjure up memories of the “Arab Spring”, and we all remember how “peaceful” that was.
This spring, in the heart of the primary season, as the national election begins to take center stage, Americans of all ages, faiths, political perspectives, and walks of life will bring the popular cry for change to Washington in a way that’s impossible to ignore: with nonviolent civil disobedience on a historic scale.
We will demand that Congress listen to the People and take immediate action to save our democracy. And we won’t leave until they do — or until they send thousands of us to jail, along with the unmistakable message that our country needs a new Congress, one that that will end the legalized corruption of our democracy and ensure that every American has an equal voice in government.
Do you understand the threat that is being made there?
They are purposely planning to break the law and get arrested. In fact, their website says that there are already more than 2,000 people that have “pledged to risk arrest” between April 11th and April 18th…
The campaign will begin on April 2nd with a march from the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. where thousands will gather to reclaim the US Capitol in a powerful, peaceful, and massive sit-in that no one can ignore. Over 2,000 people have already pledged to risk arrest between April 11th-18th in what will be one of the largest civil disobedience actions in a generation.
And the list of groups that are backing this movement reads like a who’s who of radical leftist organizations…
15 Now Philly
100 Grannies for a Livable Future
African American Ministers in Action
American Ethical Union
American Family Voices
American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)
Big Apple Coffee Party
Brave New Films
Center for Biological Diversity
Center for the Working Poor
Citizen Action NY
Coffee Party USA
Columbus Campaign for Arms Control
Conscious Elders Network
Democracy for America
Democratic Socialists of America
Dolores Huerta Foundation
East Coast Cannabis Coalition (ECCC)
East Point Peace Academy
Elders Climate Action
Energy Action Coalition
Food & Water Watch
Franciscan Action Network
Friends of the Earth
Get Money Out – Maryland
Human Earth Animal Liberation (HEAL)
Institute for Policy Studies
Interfaith Moral Action on Climate (IMAC)
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
Jewish Voice for Peace
Just Foreign Policy
Leadership Development Initiative
March Against Corruption
March Against Monsanto
Maryland Committee to Amend
Massachusetts Communities Action Network (MCAN)
Money Out! People In!
National Organization for Women (NOW)
National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund
National People’s Action
Network of Spiritual Progressives/ Tikkun Magazine
New Hampshire Rebellion
Office of the Americas
PA United to Amend
Pay 2 Play
People Demanding Action
People for Bernie
People for the American Way
People Over Politics
People’s Empowerment Project
Pride at Work-New York City/Long Island
Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC)
Progressive Democrats of America
Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU)
Small Planet Institute
Social Security Works
South Central Wisconsin United To Amend
Stop Police Terror Project DC
Unitarian Universalist Association
Unitarian Universalist Church of Delaware County
United Native Americans
United for Peace and Justice
United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS)
United States Student Association (USSA)
United We Dream
U.S. Climate Plan
Ursulines of Tildonk for Justice & Peace
We are Woman
We the People Massachusetts
Working Families Party
World Beyond War
Young Democratic Socialists
Youth Jobs Coalition / We Have a Future
This is just the beginning. The radical left has won the hearts and minds of millions of our young people, and many of these groups are preaching a message of anger, frustration and direct confrontation.
For now, let’s hope that these “protests” are at least somewhat peaceful. But throughout history, leftist revolutions have almost always turned violent at least to a certain degree.
And let there be no confusion – the radical left very much wants a revolution. There is a reason why Bernie Sanders uses that word so much in his applause lines. It is a buzzword that evokes some very powerful imagery for the radical left.
America is changing, and not for the better. From this point forward, the radical left in America is going to become much more active, and in the end that is going to have dramatic consequences for all of us.
On Monday, we learned that a “possible Ebola patient” was being treated at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. We are being told that this individual recently returned from a country in Africa where there have been confirmed cases of Ebola. So that would narrow it down to Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and Nigeria. The patient is being described as a male “with high fever and gastrointestinal symptoms“. The hospital says that “necessary steps are being taken to ensure the safety of all patients, visitors and staff“. But could you imagine the panic that is going to be created if there actually is a confirmed case of Ebola in the heart of New York City? There is nothing in the post-World War II era that would even be comparable. Certainly 9/11 created fear for a short period of time, but a full-blown Ebola outbreak would create a panic that could potentially last for months or even years.
And this comes on the heels of another Ebola scare in the United Kingdom. According to a British news source, a seriously ill 72-year-old woman “collapsed and died” after getting off a plane from Sierra Leone at Gatwick Airport…
Airport staff tonight told of their fears of an Ebola outbreak after a passenger from Sierra Leone collapsed and died as she got off a plane at Gatwick.
Workers said they were terrified the virus could spread globally through the busy international hub from the West African country which is in the grip of the deadly epidemic.
The woman, said to be 72, became ill on the gangway after she left a Gambia Bird jet with 128 passengers on board. She died in hospital on Saturday.
Officials tell us that the plane was rapidly quarantined and that they were tracking down anyone that had been in contact with that woman.
I don’t know about you, but all of this is starting to remind me of some of the really bad Hollywood disaster movies that I have seen.
In my article yesterday, I included the following chart which shows how this Ebola outbreak is beginning to grow at an exponential pace…
Well, today the World Health Organization says that the total number of cases has risen to 1,663 and the total number of deaths has risen to 887. So just imagine what that chart would look like now. Yes, it is definitely not an exaggeration to use the word “exponential” to describe what is happening.
If Ebola does start spreading inside the United States, it would be incredibly disruptive to our way of life.
In areas where there were confirmed cases of Ebola, it is inevitable that schools would be shut down and large gatherings of people such as concerts and sporting events would be cancelled. In addition, due to fear of catching the virus, foot traffic at grocery stores and shopping malls would drop off dramatically. If the panic lasted for multiple months, our economy would essentially grind to a halt. Most economic activity still involves face to face interaction, and if people are afraid that if they go out in public they might catch a disease that will kill them, it would create an economic disaster of unprecedented proportions.
And what happens if strict travel restrictions (to prevent the spread of the disease) or plain old fear cause massive interruptions in our transportation system? Almost all economic activity involves moving something from one location to another, and if we are not able to move stuff around because of an Ebola pandemic, that would create nightmarish problems almost immediately. For example, the following is an excerpt from a report released by the American Trucker Associations that I discussed in a previous article…
A Timeline Showing the Deterioration of Major Industries Following a Truck Stoppage
The first 24 hours
• Delivery of medical supplies to the affected area will cease.
• Hospitals will run out of basic supplies such as syringes and catheters within hours. Radiopharmaceuticals will deteriorate and become unusable.
• Service stations will begin to run out of fuel.
• Manufacturers using just-in-time manufacturing will develop component shortages.
• U.S. mail and other package delivery will cease.
Within one day
• Food shortages will begin to develop.
• Automobile fuel availability and delivery will dwindle, leading to skyrocketing prices and long lines at the gas pumps.
• Without manufacturing components and trucks for product delivery,
assembly lines will shut down, putting thousands out of work.
Within two to three days
• Food shortages will escalate, especially in the face of hoarding and consumer panic.
• Supplies of essentials—such as bottled water, powdered milk, and
canned meat—at major retailers will disappear.
• ATMs will run out of cash and banks will be unable to process
• Service stations will completely run out of fuel for autos and trucks.
• Garbage will start piling up in urban and suburban areas.
• Container ships will sit idle in ports and rail transport will be disrupted, eventually coming to a standstill.
Within a week
• Automobile travel will cease due to the lack of fuel. Without autos and busses, many people will not be able to get to work, shop for groceries, or access medical care.
• Hospitals will begin to exhaust oxygen supplies.
Within two weeks
• The nation’s clean water supply will begin to run dry.
Within four weeks
• The nation will exhaust its clean water supply and water will be safe for drinking only after boiling. As a result gastrointestinal illnesses will increase, further taxing an already weakened health care system.
This timeline presents only the primary effects of a freeze on truck travel. Secondary effects must be considered as well, such as inability to maintain telecommunications service, reduced law enforcement, increased crime, increased illness and injury, higher death rates, and likely, civil unrest.
Are you starting to get the picture?
A major transportation disruption would not just result in an economic downturn. Many Americans would start running out of food and basic supplies very rapidly. Without the ability to constantly resupply at the grocery store, a lot of people would start giving in to panic in just a matter of days.
And needless to say, a full-blown Ebola outbreak would wreak havoc on our financial system. The stock market would almost certainly collapse and we would witness a credit crunch that would be absolutely unprecedented. Nobody would want to lend to anybody in the midst of an Ebola pandemic. The flow of money through our system would come to a screeching halt, and we would be facing an economic nightmare that would make 2008 look like a Sunday picnic.
So let us hope and pray that this crisis goes away and that Ebola does not start spreading across the country.
Because if it does, it could potentially kill millions of people, destroy our economy and plunge this nation into utter madness.
Did you know that 77 million Americans have unpaid debts that are “in collections” and that Congress is actually thinking about letting post offices offer payday loans? We live in a country where almost everyone is drowning in debt and where most people are either flat broke or very close to flat broke. Years ago, “your Mama is so broke” jokes were all the rage, and at the rate we are going they could make a big comeback. Some of my favorites were “your Mama is so broke she went to McDonald’s and put a milkshake on layaway” and “your Mama is so broke your family ate cereal with a fork to save milk”. Unfortunately, the facts that I am about to share with you are not funny at all. In fact, they are quite sobering. Yes, things are going fairly well for the elitists that live in the good areas of New York City, Washington D.C. and San Francisco right now, but most of the country is deeply struggling as our economic fundamentals continue to crumble. Please share these numbers with as many people as you can, because we need people to understand that there has not been an “economic recovery” for most of America. In fact, in many ways things just continue to get even worse. The following are 21 ways to end the phrase “Americans are so broke”…
1. Americans are so broke that about a third of them have debt collectors on their heels. One recent study discovered that more than one out of every three adults in the United States has an unpaid debt that is “in collections“. That is a total of 77 million people. In other words, the debt collection business in America is absolutely booming.
3. Americans are so broke that they are keeping their vehicles longer than ever. The average age of vehicles on America’s roads recently set a new all-time high of 11.4 years.
4. Americans are so broke that car dealers are having to go to extreme lengths to get new customers. Last year, one out of every four auto loans in the United States was made to someone with subprime credit.
5. Americans are so broke that 52 percent of them cannot even afford the homes that they are living in right now.
6. Americans are so broke that they are falling farther behind on their student loans than ever. The total amount of student loan debt in the U.S. has now reached a whopping 1.2 trillion dollars, and approximately seven million Americans are in default on their student loans at this point.
7. Young Americans are so broke that half of all college graduates are still relying on their parents financially when they are two years out of school.
8. Young Americans are so broke that only 36 percent of American adults under the age of 35 currently own a home. That is the lowest level that has ever been recorded.
Yesterday, Dollar Tree announced it would buy Family Dollar, a chain that is in the process of closing hundreds of stores and firing workers.
Other discount stores have been struggling as well, writes Heidi Moore at The Guardian. Fashion discounter Loehmann’s filed for bankruptcy, while Wal-Mart’s sales have declined for the past five quarters.
“There’s just not enough money deployed by American families to keep all the discount chains in business,” Moore writes.
10. Americans are so broke that they are running up record levels of debt. Overall, U.S. households are 11.68 trillion dollars in debt right now.
11. Americans are so broke that the wealth of the “typical American household” has fallen by 36 percent over the past decade.
12. Americans are so broke that one out of every four part-time workers in America is living below the poverty line.
15. Americans are so broke that the number of people on food stamps has increased by about 14 million while Obama has been in the White House. Ten years ago, the number of women in the U.S. that had jobs outnumbered the number of women in the U.S. on food stamps by more than a 2 to 1 margin. But now the number of women in the U.S. on food stamps actually exceeds the number of women that have jobs.
16. Americans are so broke that the U.S. government has had to spend an astounding 3.7 trillion dollars on welfare programs over the past five years.
17. Americans are so broke that more than 20 percent of all children in the U.S. are living in poverty.
19. Americans are so broke that 76 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.
20. Americans are so broke that 26 percent of Americans have absolutely no emergency savings whatsoever.
21. Americans are so broke that approximately two-thirds of all Americans do not have enough money saved up to cover six months of expenses if an emergency arose.
If things are this bad now, during the so-called “economic recovery”, how bad will things get during the next major economic downturn?
Unfortunately, most Americans have been lulled into a false sense of security. The financial crisis of 2008 seems like ancient history to most of them now, and most people appear to believe that our leaders have “fixed” whatever was wrong the last time.
The truth is that what we are experiencing right now is about as good as things are going to get for the U.S. economy. When the next crisis arrives, all of the numbers in the list above are going to rapidly get a lot worse.
So enjoy the rest of this “bubble” while you still can. It certainly will not last for too much longer.
Has the next major economic downturn already started? The way that you would answer that question would probably depend on where you live. If you live in New York City, or the suburbs of Washington D.C., or you work for one of the big tech firms in the San Francisco area, you would probably respond to such a question by saying of course not. In those areas, the economy is doing great and prices for high end homes are still booming. But in most of the rest of the nation, evidence continues to mount that the next recession has already begun for the poor and the middle class. As you will read about below, major retailers had an absolutely dreadful start to 2014 and home sales are declining just as they did back in 2007 before the last financial crisis. Meanwhile, the U.S. economy continues to lose more good jobs and 20 percent of all U.S. families do not have a single member that is employed at this point. 2014 is turning out to be eerily similar to 2007 in so many ways, but most people are not paying attention.
During the first quarter of 2014, earnings by major U.S. retailers missed estimates by the biggest margin in 13 years. The “retail apocalypse” continues to escalate, and the biggest reason for this is the fact that middle class consumers in the U.S. are tapped out. And this is not just happening to a few retailers – this is something that is happening across the board. The following is a summary of how major U.S. retailers performed in the first quarter of 2014 that was put together by Jim Quinn…
Wal-Mart Profit Plunges By $220 Million as US Store Traffic Declines by 1.4%
Target Profit Plunges by $80 Million, 16% Lower Than 2013, as Store Traffic Declines by 2.3%
Sears Loses $358 Million in First Quarter as Comparable Store Sales at Sears Plunge by 7.8% and Sales at Kmart Plunge by 5.1%
JC Penney Thrilled With Loss of Only $358 Million For the Quarter
Kohl’s Operating Income Plunges by 17% as Comparable Sales Decline by 3.4%
Costco Profit Declines by $84 Million as Comp Store Sales Only Increase by 2%
Staples Profit Plunges by 44% as Sales Collapse and Closing Hundreds of Stores
Gap Income Drops 22% as Same Store Sales Fall
American Eagle Profits Tumble 86%, Will Close 150 Stores
Aeropostale Losses $77 Million as Sales Collapse by 12%
Best Buy Sales Decline by $300 Million as Margins Decline and Comparable Store Sales Decline by 1.3%
Macy’s Profit Flat as Comparable Store Sales decline by 1.4%
Dollar General Profit Plummets by 40% as Comp Store Sales Decline by 3.8%
Urban Outfitters Earnings Collapse by 20% as Sales Stagnate
McDonalds Earnings Fall by $66 Million as US Comp Sales Fall by 1.7%
Darden Profit Collapses by 30% as Same Restaurant Sales Plunge by 5.6% and Company Selling Red Lobster
TJX Misses Earnings Expectations as Sales & Earnings Flat
Dick’s Misses Earnings Expectations as Golf Store Sales Plummet
Home Depot Misses Earnings Expectations as Customer Traffic Only Rises by 2.2%
Lowes Misses Earnings Expectations as Customer Traffic was Flat
That is quite a startling list.
But plummeting retail sales are not the only sign that the U.S. middle class is really struggling right now. Home sales have also been extremely disappointing for quite a few months. This is how Wolf Richter described what we have been witnessing…
This is precisely what shouldn’t have happened but was destined to happen: Sales of existing homes have gotten clobbered since last fall. At first, the Fiscal Cliff and the threat of a US government default – remember those zany times? – were blamed, then polar vortices were blamed even while home sales in California, where the weather had been gorgeous all winter, plunged more than elsewhere.
Then it spread to new-home sales: in April, they dropped 4.7% from a year ago, after March’s year-over-year decline of 4.9%, and February’s 2.8%. Not a good sign: the April hit was worse than February’s, when it was the weather’s fault. Yet April should be the busiest month of the year (excellent brief video by Lee Adler on this debacle).
We have already seen that in some markets, in California for example, sales have collapsed at the lower two-thirds of the price range, with the upper third thriving. People who earn median incomes are increasingly priced out of the market, and many potential first-time buyers have little chance of getting in. In San Diego, for example, sales of homes below $200,000 plunged 46% while the upper end is doing just fine.
As Richter noted, sales of upper end homes are still doing fine in many areas.
But how long will that be able to continue if things continue to get even worse for the poor and the middle class? Traditionally, the U.S. economy has greatly depended upon consumer spending by the middle class. If that continues to dry up, how long can we avoid falling into a recession? For even more numbers that seem to indicate economic trouble for the middle class, please see my previous article entitled “27 Huge Red Flags For The U.S. Economy“.
We’re turning down anew. The first quarter should revise into negative territory… and I believe the second quarter will report negative as well.
That will all happen by July 30 when you have the annual revisions to the GDP. In reality the economy is much weaker than that. Economic growth is overstated with the GDP because they understate inflation, which is used in deflating the number…
What we’re seeing now is just… we’ve been barely stagnant and bottomed out… but we’re turning down again.
The reason for this is that the consumer is strapped… doesn’t have the liquidity to fuel the growth in consumption.
Income… the median household income, net of inflation, is as low as it was in 1967. The average guy is not staying ahead of inflation…
This has been a problem now for decades… You were able to buy consumption from the future by borrowing more money, expanding your debt. Greenspan saw the problem was income, so he encouraged debt expansion.
That all blew apart in 2007/2008… the income problems have continued, but now you don’t have the ability to borrow money the way you used to. Without that and the income problems remaining, there’s no way that consumption can grow faster than inflation if income isn’t.
As a result – personal consumption is more than two thirds of the economy – there’s no way you can have positive sustainable growth in the U.S. economy without the consumer being healthy.
The key to the health of the middle class is having plenty of good jobs.
But the U.S. economy continues to lose more good paying jobs.
For example, Hewlett-Packard has just announced that it plans to eliminate 16,000 more jobs in addition to the 34,000 job cuts that have already been announced.
Today, there are 27 million more working age Americans that do not have a job than there were in 2000, and the quality of our jobs continues to decline.
This is absolutely destroying the middle class. Unless the employment situation in this country starts to turn around, there does not seem to be much hope that the middle class will recover any time soon.
Meanwhile, there are emerging signs of trouble for the wealthy as well.
For instance, just like we witnessed back in 2007, things are starting to look a bit shaky at the “too big to fail” banks. The following is an excerpt from a recent CNBC report…
Citigroup has joined the ranks of those with trading troubles, as a high-ranking official told the Deutsche Bank 2014 Global Financial Services Investor Conference Tuesday that adjusted trading revenue probably will decline 20 percent to 25 percent in the second quarter on an annualized basis.
In recent weeks, officials at JPMorgan Chase and Barclays also both reported likely drops in trading revenue. JPMorgan said it expected a decline of 20 percent of the quarter, while Barclays anticipates a 41 percent drop, prompting it to announce mass layoffs that will pare 19,000 jobs by the end of 2016.
Remember, very few people expected a recession the last time around either. In fact, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke repeatedly promised us that we would not have a recession and then we went on to experience the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
It will be the same this time as well. Just like in 2007, we will continue to get an endless supply of “hopetimism” from our politicians and the mainstream media, and they will continue to fill our heads with visions of rainbows, unicorns and economic prosperity for as far as the eyes can see.
But then the next recession will strike and most Americans will be completely blindsided by it.
At a time when Wall Street is absolutely swimming in wealth, New York City is experiencing an epidemic of homelessness. According to the New York Times, the last time there was this many homeless children in New York City was during the days of the Great Depression. And the number of homeless children in the United States overall recently set a new all-time record. As I mentioned yesterday, there are now 1.2 million public school kids in America that are homeless, and that number has gone up by about 72 percent since the start of the last recession. As Americans, we like to think of ourselves as “the wealthiest nation on the planet”, and yet the number of young kids that don’t even have a roof over their heads at night just keeps skyrocketing. There truly are “two Americas” today, and unfortunately most Americans that live in “good America” don’t seem to really care too much about the extreme suffering that is going on in “bad America”. In the end, what kind of price will we all pay for neglecting the most vulnerable members of our society?
If you live in “good America”, I very much encourage you to read an excellent piece about homelessness in New York City that was just published in the New York Times. What some young kids have to go through on a nightly basis should break all of our hearts…
She wakes to the sound of breathing. The smaller children lie tangled beside her, their chests rising and falling under winter coats and wool blankets. A few feet away, their mother and father sleep near the mop bucket they use as a toilet. Two other children share a mattress by the rotting wall where the mice live, opposite the baby, whose crib is warmed by a hair dryer perched on a milk crate.
Could you imagine having your own family live like that? The name of the little girl in the story is Dasani, and every night her family sleeps in a city-run homeless shelter that sounds like it is straight out of a horror movie…
Her family lives in the Auburn Family Residence, a decrepit city-run shelter for the homeless. It is a place where mold creeps up walls and roaches swarm, where feces and vomit plug communal toilets, where sexual predators have roamed and small children stand guard for their single mothers outside filthy showers.
It is no place for children. Yet Dasani is among 280 children at the shelter. Beyond its walls, she belongs to a vast and invisible tribe of more than 22,000 homeless children in New York, the highest number since the Great Depression, in the most unequal metropolis in America.
You can read the rest of that excellent article right here. Sadly, there are countless other children just like Dasani that live like this day after day, month after month, year after year.
Shouldn’t we be able to do better than this as a society? After all, the stock market has been hovering near record highs lately, and Wall Street is absolutely drenched with wealth for the moment.
With so much wealth floating around, why are New York City subways being “overrun with homeless” right now?
Something has gone horribly wrong.
I think that a recent editorial by David Simon, the creator of the Wire, summarized things pretty well. We are not “one America” anymore, and most of the people that live in “good America” don’t really care much about those living in “bad America”…
America is a country that is now utterly divided when it comes to its society, its economy, its politics. There are definitely two Americas. I live in one, on one block in Baltimore that is part of the viable America, the America that is connected to its own economy, where there is a plausible future for the people born into it. About 20 blocks away is another America entirely. It’s astonishing how little we have to do with each other, and yet we are living in such proximity.
There’s no barbed wire around West Baltimore or around East Baltimore, around Pimlico, the areas in my city that have been utterly divorced from the American experience that I know. But there might as well be.
Once upon a time, things were different in America. Nobody resented businessmen for building strong businesses and making lots of money. And successful businessmen such as Henry Ford hired large numbers of American workers and paid them very well. He felt that his workers should make enough money to buy the cars that they were building. In those days, businessmen were loyal to their workers and workers were loyal to those that employed them.
Unfortunately, those days are long gone. Today, in business schools all over America students are taught that the sole purpose of a corporation is to make as much money as possible for the stockholders. Not that there is anything wrong with making money. But at this point we have elevated greed above all other economic goals. Taking care of one another isn’t even a consideration anymore.
In the old days, big businesses actually needed our labor. But that is now no longer the case. Today, corporations are shipping millions of our jobs overseas and they are replacing as many of us with technology as they possibly can. The value of the labor of the working man is declining with each passing day.
As a result, the fortunes of big business and American workers are increasingly diverging. For example, the disconnect between employment levels and stock prices has never been greater in this country. If you doubt this, just check out this chart.
So why aren’t we hearing much about this secret treaty from U.S. news sources?
If this is going to affect millions of American jobs, shouldn’t the mainstream media be making a big deal out of this?
And even if we weren’t losing millions of jobs to the other side of the planet, we would still be losing millions of jobs to advancements in technology. In fact, a CNBC article that was posted earlier this week seems to look forward to the day when nobody will have to worry about the low pay that fast food workers get anymore because they will all be replaced by droids…
Maybe so, but as fast food workers protest low wages and the president of the United States equates hard work with the right to decent pay, the rise of technology once again proves to be no stunt, or laughing matter. McDonald’s, where food production is already about as mechanized as food science allows, stopped updating the famous number “served” figure at its restaurants back in 1994—just short of 100 billion—but how long will it be before trillions are served their burgers and fries by a drone, after being cooked by a droid? Those machines work for cheap, and the best thing is, they have no concept of hard work, or dignity, or the foresight to consider whether or not the “cool” things they can do ultimately contribute, or detract, from a strong, consumer-dependent economy.
So what is the solution to all of this?
Where will the millions of desperately needed jobs for “bad America” come from?
Well, it appears that good ideas are in short supply these days. In fact, some of the ideas being promoted by our “leaders” are absolutely insane. For example, one prominent entrepreneur recently suggested that the solution to our employment crisis is for Congress to pass an immigration bill which would bring in 30 million more low-skilled workers over the next ten years…
Middle class Americans face a tough future because robots and machinery are eliminating their jobs, according to Steve Case, an entrepreneur who earned roughly $1 billion by creating the first successful internet firm, America Online.
But Congress could help the situation by passing an immigration bill that would import some foreign entrepreneurs and almost 30 million low-skilled workers over the next decade, Case told an audience of D.C. lobbyists and lawyers gathered on Tuesday by the business-backed Bipartisan Policy Center.
Exactly how would this improve the employment situation in this country?
I still cannot figure that one out.
But there are people out there that actually believe this stuff.
Meanwhile, many parts of Europe are suffering through similar things.
Over 124 million people in the European Union – or almost a quarter of its entire population – live under the threat of poverty or social exclusion, a report by EU’s statistical office has revealed.
Last year, 124.5 million people, or 24.8 percent of Europe’s population were at risk of poverty or social exclusion, compared to 24.3 percent in 2011 and 23.7 percent in 2008, the Eurostat said in a document published earlier in the week.
So what is going to fix this?
Where are the good jobs for workers in North America and Europe going to come from in the years ahead?
If you have a potential solution, please feel free to share it below…