Here Is Why The U.S. Economy Would Continue To Crash Even If All The Lockdowns Were Lifted Immediately…

COVID-19 has created an enormous amount of fear, and that fear is doing far more damage to the economy than the actual virus is.  In an environment of fear, financial institutions become a lot tighter with their money, and that inevitably causes economic activity to slow down.  For example, just consider what happened in 2008.  Mortgage lending standards suddenly became much more strict, and that greatly contributed to the horrific housing price crash which left millions upon millions of Americans underwater on their mortgages.  Unfortunately, this coronavirus pandemic has created a wave of fear that is far greater than what we experienced during the last recession, and that has enormous implications for the months ahead.

Extremely loose lending standards helped create debt-fueled “booms” throughout our economy in recent years, but now lending standards are going in the complete opposite direction very rapidly.

For instance, Chase is now requiring a credit score of at least 700 for all new home loans, and they are one of the financial institutions that is now requiring a down payment of at least 20 percent

A Chase spokesperson confirmed that starting April 14, new mortgage applicants will need a minimum credit score of 700 and a down payment of 20%. Refinancing applications for non-Chase mortgages will also need the same score. Chase didn’t disclose its previous lending standards but the average downpayment for first-time home buyers is around 6%, according to a 2018 survey from the National Association of Realtors.

If you own your home, would you have been approved for a mortgage under the new Chase standards?

And Chase is far from alone.  In fact, most major mortgage lenders have now tightened up, and Redfin is estimating that about a quarter of all home buyers last year would not have qualified under the new standards.

So if you remove about a quarter of all buyers from the marketplace moving forward, what happens to the housing market?

Yes, there will be an implosion, and it will happen no matter whether coronavirus lockdowns are in effect or not.

And home equity loans are going to be hit even harder.  As I discussed last week, Wells Fargo is no longer taking HELOC applications at all.

So now matter how good your credit is, you simply cannot get a home equity line of credit from Wells Fargo at this point.

This is what fear does.

We see similar things happening in the credit card industry.  Standards have been greatly tightened for new customers, and in some instances existing customers are having their limits slashed or their cards suddenly canceled.  The following comes from Newsweek

Analysts warn that credit card companies are lowering credit limits and canceling cards—often without warning—amid the pandemic-induced economic crisis, just as they did during the Great Recession.

If you think that this won’t have a dramatic impact on the U.S. economy, then you probably haven’t been paying attention.

Our economy is a consumer driven economy, and if consumers don’t have access to easy credit there is no way in the world that economic activity will return to previous levels.

Of course even if they did have access to easy credit, many Americans are so afraid of this virus that they have no intention of resuming normal economic patterns any time soon

Here’s hoping you enjoyed the last movie or concert you attended, because if the results of a new survey are accurate, it may be a long, long time before such events are ever popular again. According to the research, 40% of Americans plan to avoid public spaces unless “absolutely necessary” long after the coronavirus pandemic has subsided.

The survey, commissioned by Vital Vio, asked 1,000 U.S. adults about how they envision every day life in the wake of the coronavirus. All in all, it looks like there are suddenly a whole lot more germaphobes in the land of the free. Over four in five (82%) said they are now more aware of, and concerned about, cleaning protocols in public areas. Additionally, 58% are more suspicious about their friends’ and family’s hygiene habits.

And a lot of companies are also going to be extremely hesitant to “return to normal” because of the threat of lawsuits.

Earlier today, I was stunned to learn that 771 coronavirus-related lawsuits have already been filed…

Hundreds of lawsuits stemming from the coronavirus pandemic are rapidly amassing in state and federal courts, the first wave of litigation challenging decisions made early during the crisis by corporations, insurance companies and governments.

Claims have been filed against hospitals and senior-living facilities, airlines and cruise lines, fitness chains and the entertainment industry – 771 as of Friday, according to a database compiled by Hunton Andrews Kurth, an international law firm tracking cases that emerge from the pandemic.

Isn’t that insane?

I have repeatedly warned my readers that it will be exceedingly difficult to “return to normal” in our overly litigious society, but even I didn’t expect so many lawsuits so soon.

And this is just the beginning.  Eventually there will be thousands upon thousands of coronavirus lawsuits, and they will tie up our courts for the foreseeable future.

This pandemic just seems to be magnifying everything that is wrong with our society, and at this point the future looks so bleak that even perpetually optimistic Warren Buffett is throwing in the cards

A 95% plunge in passengers. Billions in losses. A rush for new debt. A recovery that executives expect to take years. Coronavirus is roiling the airline industry and the Oracle of Omaha has seen enough.

Warren Buffett told investors Saturday that Berkshire Hathaway has sold its entire stakes in the four largest U.S. airlines — AmericanDeltaSouthwestUnited — as the pandemic upends another bet on the sector that the famed investor had shunned for years before a surprise return in 2016.

Buffett understands that fear of this virus is going to paralyze air travel for a very long time to come, and he is getting out while he still can.

But if our society cannot even handle COVID-19, what will things look like once much worse things start happening?

It has been sobering to watch how rapidly our “snowflake society” has melted during this pandemic.

Now virtually the entire nation is paralyzed by fear, and the once great U.S. economy is crashing all around us.

And the really bad news is that this is just the beginning…

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all many people as we possibly can.

As The Perfect Storm Approaches, Most Americans Are Partying Instead Of Preparing

I can’t think of a time when Americans were more apathetic about getting prepared, and yet this is exactly the time when the urgency to get prepared should be at the highest.  Earlier today, my wife Meranda and I were discussing the fact that every single element of “the perfect storm” is coming together just as we had anticipated.  One by one, the pieces are all falling into place, and I share the most recent things that my research has uncovered with all of you on a daily basis.  Unfortunately, most Americans are absolutely convinced that there is no reason to get prepared for hard times because everything is going to be just great.  In America today, most people either believe that the future is going to be totally wonderful or that the future will be totally wonderful once we get rid of Trump.  Because so many of us have adopted one of these false narratives, most Americans are partying instead of preparing, and that is going to mean big trouble when things really start going haywire.

Are you familiar with “the rule of three”?  I just looked it up on Google, and this is how it is defined…

“You can survive for 3 Minutes without air (oxygen) or in icy water. You can survive for 3 Hours without shelter in a harsh environment (unless in icy water) You can survive for 3 Days without water (if sheltered from a harsh environment) You can survive for 3 Weeks without food (if you have water and shelter)”

Of course these numbers are not exact.  For example, many have gone without food for more than 3 weeks without serious problems.  But in general, this is a pretty good guideline for survival.

Sadly, if a major emergency were to hit this country tonight, most Americans would be completely unprepared when it comes to even the most basic essentials.  In fact, one survey found that only 39 percent of Americans have any sort of an “emergency kit” whatsoever…

When it comes to being prepared for an emergency, 39% say they have an emergency kit, while another 39% have a non-perishable food stock. A little less than one-third (28%) of people have stockpiles of water, and one in four people (25%) have an evacuation plan.

Of those who have an emergency kit, the most common items to have in the kit are: a first-aid kit (86%), flashlights or other light sources (83%), food (65%), water (63%), and blankets (62%).

Those are depressingly low numbers.

So what are all of those people going to do when things hit the fan and the government is not there to rescue them?

Needless to say, a lot of people will really freak out when they can’t get what they need.

But as long as things are relatively “normal”, this astounding lack of preparation will not be a problem.  And right now, Americans are acting as if things will be “normal” for the foreseeable future.  In fact, most of us are partying like it’s 1999 all over again.  According to CNBC, U.S. consumer debt just surpassed the four trillion dollar mark for the first time ever…

As of this month, outstanding consumer debt exceeded $4 trillion for the first time, according to the Federal Reserve.

Relatively strong holiday spending, particularly in November, and increasing credit card debt added more than $41 billion in outstanding balances at the end of 2018, according to LendingTree, a loan comparison website, which analyzed the data from the Fed.

We are spending money as if there is no tomorrow, and that would be fine if tomorrow never arrived.

Of course we really shouldn’t be spending money so wildly anyway, because many of us are already completely drowning in debt.  For example, auto loan delinquencies are already far higher than they were during the peak of the last recession.  The following comes from NBC News

At least 7 million Americans were in serious delinquency on their car loan — 90 or more days behind — at the end of 2018, according to data released Tuesday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

That’s 1 million more than at the end of 2010, after the recession.

And student loan delinquencies also just shot up to the highest level ever.  We have never seen anything like this before in modern American history, and yet the party continues to roll on.

For now.

Unfortunately, all parties eventually come to an end, and the end of this one is going to be particularly painful.

When disaster strikes, most Americans are going to be out of resources very, very rapidly.  One survey found that 78 percent of all American workers are living paycheck to paycheck.  That number is a little higher than other figures that I have seen, but everyone agrees that a solid majority of the country is barely scraping by each month.

When things get really bad, I honestly don’t know how most people are going to make it.

A number of years ago, a survey asked Americans how long they thought they would survive if the electrical grid went down for an extended period of time.

Nearly 75 percent said that they would be dead before the two month mark.

Hopefully you are more resourceful than that.  But without a doubt all of us are going to stand a better chance of surviving what is ahead if we make some basic preparations.  In particular, I would encourage everyone to stock up on some emergency food and make sure that you have a Berkey water filter.  It’s isn’t rocket science, but if you choose to do nothing because you have blind faith in the system, then you and your entire family could find yourselves in a world of hurt when things start getting really crazy out there.

If we had made different choices as a nation, we could have had a very different future.

Sadly, our self-destructive behavior continues to get even worse, and a day of reckoning for America is fast approaching.

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.

‘It Is Like A Nuclear Bomb Went Off In The Prepping Community’

nuclear-war-family-public-domainIs the prepper movement in the United States dying?  At one time it was estimated that there were 3 million preppers in the United States, but in late 2016 interest in prepping has hit a multi-year low.  The big reason for this, of course, is that the election of Donald Trump has fueled a tremendous wave of optimism among those that consider themselves to be conservatives, patriots and evangelical Christians.  Not since the election of Ronald Reagan has the mood on the right shifted in such a positive direction so suddenly.  But now that everyone is feeling so good about things, very few people still seem interested in prepping for hard times ahead.  In fact, it is like a nuclear bomb went off in the prepping community.

As the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, I am in contact with a lot of people that serve the prepping community.  And I can tell you that sales of emergency food and supplies have been crashing since Donald Trump’s surprise election victory.  Firms that help people relocate outside of the United States have seen business really dry up, and I know of one high profile individual that has actually decided to move back to the country after Trump’s victory.  It is almost as if the apocalypse has been canceled and the future history of the U.S. has been rewritten with a much happier ending.

Personally, I am quite alarmed that so many people are suddenly letting their guard down, but it is difficult to convince people to be vigilant when things seem to be going so well.  Just consider some of the things that have been happening in recent weeks…

-Donald Trump was just named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year.

-The Dow just keeps setting brand new record high after brand new record high.  In fact, the Dow has now risen by more than 1,200 points since Donald Trump won the election.

-The Russell 2000 has shot up an astounding 13 percent just since Trump’s victory.

-Donald Trump has convinced heating, ventilation and air conditioning giant Carrier to keep about 1,000 jobs in the United States instead of shipping them to Mexico.

-Donald Trump has convinced SoftBank to invest 50 billion dollars and create 50,000 new jobs in the United States.

-The U.S. dollar index recently hit the highest level that we have witnessed since March 2003.

-We just learned that U.S. Steel wants to bring back somewhere around 10,000 jobs to communities that lost them.

At this point there is an overwhelming belief among those on the right that Donald Trump is going to be able to do what he has promised to do.

And the numbers back this up.  In a previous article, I discussed the fact that a recent Gallup survey discovered that the percentage of Republicans that believe that the U.S. economy is “getting better” increased from just 16 percent immediately prior to the election to 49 percent immediately after the election.

I don’t recall ever seeing such a shift in public sentiment in just a few days.  Tens of millions of Americans have put their faith in Donald Trump, and time will tell if he will be able to deliver.  As billionaire Mark Cuban recently pointed out, Donald Trump is like a number one draft pick that has not proven himself yet…

“I’ll analogize it to the NBA draft: He’s the No. 1 pick,” Cuban said. “He’s who we put our hopes and dreams with, and we’re going to believe in him. Right now it’s a little bit easier because we haven’t played a game yet.”

“There’s no reason to rush to judgment or come to any conclusions now,” he continued. “Let’s see what happens starting January 21 and go from there. I hope he’s a superstar, and I hope everything turns out the way we all hope it will. But until January 21, there’s no real point at going into detail.”

Let us hope that President Trump will be everything that people are hoping that he will be.

I would love it if 2017 is a year filled with peace and prosperity.  That way I could write less about our economic troubles and instead do more of the positive stories that I have been sharing lately.  And my wife and I could take some time off and just spend some time enjoying our quiet life up here in the mountains.

I don’t think that is the way it is going to go, but I do hope that the optimists are right.

At this point I could start listing out all of the reasons why our economy is doomed no matter who is president, but unless you are already convinced all of that reasoning would probably fall on deaf ears.

Tens of millions of Americans are completely convinced that we are heading into a new golden era for America just because Donald Trump won the election, and for the sake of the nation let us hope that they are correct.

But what if they are wrong?

What if the rioting, violence and civil unrest that the radical left is planning for the Inauguration on January 20th sparks a movement that plunges many of our major cities into chaos throughout Trump’s presidency?

What if all of the incredibly bad decisions that were made during the Obama years result in the biggest economic downturn we have ever seen early in the Trump years?

What if Trump’s inability to get along with China results in a major trade war between the two largest economies on the entire planet?

What if the growing financial instability in Europe results in a new global financial crisis that Trump will not be able to do anything to stop?

I could go on and on, but I think that you get the point.

All of the things that myself and other watchmen have been warning about all this time are coming.

My hope is that the optimists are right and that the horrible events that are coming will be put off for as long as possible.

But I wouldn’t count on it.

A day of reckoning for America is fast approaching, and those that are wise understand the signs of the times.

Those That Wanted To Get Prepared Have Already Gotten Prepared By Now

No Excuses Road Sign - Public DomainIs the time for warning people to prepare for what is ahead coming to an end?  For years, bold men and women all over America have been sounding the alarm and warning people to get prepared physically, financially, mentally, emotionally and spiritually for the great storm that is rapidly approaching.  Personally, I have written more than 2,500 articles on my primary two websites combined, and so nobody can accuse me of not blowing the trumpet.  It has gotten to the point that sometimes I am even tired of listening to myself warn the people.  But now we are shifting into a new phase.

The other day I was reflecting on some of the things that I have been hearing lately.  Sales of emergency food and supplies are way down across the entire industry.  Many organizations and websites that have been instrumental in sounding the alarm for a long time are really struggling right now.  On my websites, traffic has hit a bit of a plateau after experiencing a tremendous surge late last year.  Overall, “prepping” was very hot just a few years ago, and at one time it was estimated that there were approximately three million “preppers” in the United States.  But these days there seems to be a tremendous amount of apathy out there.

As I reflected on all of this, I came to one inescapable conclusion.

Those that wanted to get prepared have already gotten prepared by now, and those that did not want to get prepared are not likely to do so any time soon.

I personally know a lot of people that are very, very prepared and have been for a long time.  Yes, there is still a small minority of people out there that only recently woke up and started prepping, but overall most of the preparation that people wanted to do has already been completed.  And for those that have not done anything to prepare, you could argue with them until the moon turns to cheese and they still won’t take any action.

At this point the die has been cast.  Most of those that felt that they should prepare have already prepared.  Most of those that felt that they should repent have already repented.  Most of those that felt that they should warn America have already sounded the alarm.

So now all that is left is to wait for the shaking to begin.

In looking back at what has transpired over the last several years, I think that it would be appropriate to say something about the failure of the church in America.

You see, if the churches of America were doing their job, all of the “watchmen” out there would not even be needed.  Our voices would simply be lost in a chorus of thousands upon thousands of pastors, teachers, ministers and evangelists boldly warning people about what is coming to this nation.

But instead, there is just deafening silence coming from most of the mainstream churches.

The sad thing is that many, many church leaders understand very clearly what is coming, but they have purposely chosen not to warn the people.  Some time ago, George Barna conducted a study that looked into why our churches are not addressing the key issues of the day, and what he discovered was absolutely astounding

“‘What we’re finding is that when we ask them about all the key issues of the day, [90 percent of them are] telling us, ‘Yes, the Bible speaks to every one of these issues,” he explained. “Then we ask them: ‘Well, are you teaching your people what the Bible says about those issues?’ and the numbers drop…to less than 10 percent of pastors who say they will speak to it.”

Most churches in America don’t want to talk about the hard things, because they desperately want to make people feel comfortable.  They want to entertain people and make them happy so that they will come back week after week and drop their money into the offering plate.

When it comes to defining success as a church, Barna found that there were five primary factors that were important to the majority of pastors, and none of them had anything to do with repentance and salvation through Jesus Christ…

“There are five factors that the vast majority of pastors turn to,” he outlined. “Attendance, giving, number of programs, number of staff, and square footage.”

Sadly, most Christians in America actually prefer these lukewarm churches, and the Apostle Paul warned that these times were coming nearly 2000 years ago.  The following is what 2 Timothy 4:3-4 says in the Modern English Version

3 For the time will come when people will not endure sound doctrine, but they will gather to themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires, having itching ears, 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth and turn to myths.

You may not want to hear this, but the majority of churches in America have already gone apostate, and that is the truth.

We are slowly but surely losing an entire generation of Americans, and yet our dead and dying churches just continue to slumber.  I shared the following numbers in a previous article, but they bear repeating.  The following comes directly out of a Pew Research Center report

Millennials – especially the youngest Millennials, who have entered adulthood since the first Landscape Study was conducted – are far less religious than their elders. For example, only 27% of Millennials say they attend religious services on a weekly basis, compared with 51% of adults in the Silent generation. Four-in-ten of the youngest Millennials say they pray every day, compared with six-in-ten Baby Boomers and two-thirds of members of the Silent generation. Only about half of Millennials say they believe in God with absolute certainty, compared with seven-in-ten Americans in the Silent and Baby Boom cohorts. And only about four-in-ten Millennials say religion is very important in their lives, compared with more than half in the older generational cohorts.

Those numbers are absolutely horrifying.  Yes, there are still a few really good churches scattered across the country.  But overall, the church in America is in really sorry shape, and the numbers don’t lie.  Christianity is in rapid decline in the United States, and somebody better wake up and start doing something about it.

Over the years, I can’t tell you how many dead churches that I have sat in.  That is why it is so refreshing when I actually find one where the gospel is preached and where people truly love one another.  I have had the privilege of sharing my message in such a church in recent months, and I wish that there were a lot more of them out there.

Unfortunately, most ministers in America are really busy doing things other than what they should be doing.  For instance, have you ever heard of “clergy response teams”?  If you can believe it, the government has actually recruited ministers to help the population accept martial law when it is declared someday.  The following comes from KSLA News

Could martial law ever become a reality in America?  Some fear any nuclear, biological or chemical attack on U.S. soil might trigger just that.  KSLA News 12 has discovered that the clergy would help the government with potentially their biggest problem: Us.

Can you believe that?

Here is more from the report…

Such clergy response teams would walk a tight-rope during martial law between the demands of the government on the one side, versus the wishes of the public on the other.  “In a lot of cases, these clergy would already be known in the neighborhoods in which they’re helping to diffuse that situation,” assured Sandy Davis.  He serves as the director of the Caddo-Bossier Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

For the clergy team, one of the biggest tools that they will have in helping calm the public down or to obey the law is the bible itself, specifically Romans 13.  Dr. Tuberville elaborated, “because the government’s established by the Lord, you know.  And, that’s what we believe in the Christian faith.  That’s what’s stated in the scripture.”

I don’t know about you, but I found that article to be extremely chilling.

But this is the state of things in America today.  We have a dead church that is stuffed to the gills with dead ministers, and the people are not being told the truth about the great shaking that is coming to America.

And when the great shaking comes, there will be multitudes of these dead churches and ministries that will go under and never rise again.

Meanwhile, God will be raising up a Remnant, and that Remnant is going to shake the world.

So what do you think about all of this?

Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…

European Stocks, Chinese Stocks And Commodities Are All Crashing – Are U.S. Stocks Next?

European Stock Market Crash - Public DomainA global stock market crash has begun.  European stocks are crashing, Chinese stocks are crashing, and commodities are crashing.  And guess what?  All of those things happened before U.S. stocks crashed in the fall of 2008 too.  In so many ways, it seems like we are watching a replay of the financial crisis of 2008, but this time around the world is in far worse shape financially.  Global debt levels are at an all-time high, the 75 trillion dollar global shadow banking system could implode at any time, and there are hundreds of trillions of dollars in derivatives that threaten to wipe out major banks all over the planet.  The last major worldwide financial crash was almost seven years ago, and very little has been done since that time to prepare for the next one.  If global markets do not calm down, we could see carnage in the months ahead that is absolutely unprecedented.

For months, European authorities have been promising us that a “Grexit” is already “priced in” to the markets and that any “contagion” from the Greek crisis will be “contained”.  Of course everyone knew that was just a smokescreen.  Just in the past couple of days since the Greek “no” vote, European stocks have already been crashing.  The following comes from Zero Hedge

Does this look contained to you?

Portugal, Spain, and Italy all collapsing…

European Stocks Crashing - Zero Hedge

As I mentioned at the top of this article, European stocks started crashing well before U.S. stocks started crashing during the last financial crisis.  If you doubt this, just look at this chart, and this chart and this chart.

Will the same thing happen again this time?

And just like I have warned repeatedly, European bond yields have started to soar.  When bond yields go up, bond prices go down, so many bond investors are losing a tremendous amount of money right now.  Here is more from Zero Hedge

Who’s next?

European bond risk is anything but “contained” as GGB 10Y Yields top 18%…

European Bond Yields - Zero Hedge

If there is not a last minute deal between Greece and her creditors, what we have witnessed so far in the bond markets will just be the tip of the iceberg.  In the months ahead, we could witness a bond crash unlike anything that we have ever seen in all of history.  Just consider what Egon von Greyerz recently told Eric King…

There is no liquidity in this market and this is where we will soon see a problem. We will see the bond market totally seizing up in the next few months. Eric, people simply don’t understand that this is a much bigger problem than Greece.

So we are talking about a worldwide problem, not just a Greek problem. The majority of the $100 trillion bond market is worthless, and of course a ticking time-bomb of over $1 quadrillion worth of derivatives is linked to that. This means that, sadly, we are heading into a major contagion that will lead to financial catastrophe for the world. This will also lead to an implosion of all bubble assets across the globe.

Hmm – there is that word “derivatives” again.

It is funny how that keeps popping up.

As things unravel over in Europe, a lot of desperate Europeans are feverishly purchasing physical gold.  The following comes from Bloomberg

European investors are increasing purchases of gold as Greece’s turmoil boosts the appeal for an alternative to the euro.

Demand from Greek customers for Sovereign gold coins was double the five-month average in June, the U.K. Royal Mint said in an e-mailed statement. CoinInvest.com, an online retailer, said sales on Saturday and Sunday were the highest since Cyprus limited cash withdrawals in 2013, driven by a jump in German, French and Greek buyers.

Investors are searching for a safe haven after Greece imposed capital controls, closed banks and stopped selling gold coins to the public until at least July 6.

Meanwhile, Chinese stocks have continued to fall.  Overall, Chinese stocks have fallen 27 percent since the peak, and a whopping 3.2 trillion dollars of “paper wealth” has been wiped out in China in just the last three weeks.

At this point things are so bad that about one-fourth of all stocks in China have already suspended trading according to CNN

The turmoil in China’s stock market is so bad that some companies are calling it quits.

Over 700 Chinese companies have halted trading to “self preserve,” according to the state media. That means about a quarter of the companies listed on China’s two big exchanges — the Shanghai and Shenzhen — are no longer trading.

Desperate measures are being employed to try to stop the stock market crash in China.  For example, over the weekend an alliance of securities brokerages pledged to invest “at least 120 billion yuan” in order to stabilize stock prices

China’s top 21 securities brokerages said on Saturday they would collectively invest at least 120 billion yuan ($19.3 billion) to help stabilize the country’s stock markets after a slump of nearly 30 percent since mid-June. In addition, 57 Chinese mutual funds are reportedly investing 2.2 billion yuan in stock funds.

The Chinese central bank has gotten involved as well.  In fact, the People’s Bank of China has taken the dramatic step of actually directly loaning money to brokerages

In an extraordinary move, the People’s Bank of China has begun lending money to investors to buy shares in the flailing market. The Wall Street Journal reports this “liquidity assistance” will be provided to the regulator-owned China Securities Finance Corp, which will lend the money to brokerages, which will in turn lend to investors.

The dramatic intervention marks the first time funds from the central bank have been directed anywhere other than the banks, signalling serious concern from authorities about the crisis.

In addition, the Chinese government has taken the following steps to intervene…

-All short selling of stocks has been banned.

-China’s national social security fund has been banned from selling stocks, but they can continue to buy stocks.

-Local media has been banned from using the terms “equity disaster” and “rescue the market” in their news reports.

But despite everything that you just read, Chinese stocks have still been falling.

Meanwhile, global commodity prices are crashing.  Just check out this chart.  This is also something that happened before U.S. stocks crashed back in 2008.

Thankfully, U.S. stocks have not started crashing yet.  But it should be noted that the “smart money” in the United States has been selling stocks like crazy since the “no” vote in the Greek referendum.  And if the patterns that we witnessed seven years ago hold up, it is just a matter of time before we experience a stock market crash too.

Incredibly, there are a lot of people out there that very strongly believe that everything is going to be just fine.  They have tremendous faith in the central bankers and in our political leaders, and they are assuring all the rest of us that there is no possible way that the global financial system could be brought down again.

I truly wish that they were right.  If everything was going to be just fine, instead of writing about the coming economic collapse I could write about sports or do a blog dedicated to LOLcats.  But of course the truth is that the “hopetimists” are dead wrong.

A great shaking is coming to our world, and life as we know it is about to change in a major way.

89 Tips That Will Help You Prepare For The Coming Economic Depression

89 Tips That Will Help You Prepare For The Coming Economic DepressionWhat do we need to do in order to prepare for the coming economic collapse?  Are there practical steps that we can take right now that will help us and our families survive the economic depression that is approaching?  As the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, I get asked these kinds of questions a lot.  Once people become convinced that an economic collapse is coming, they want to know what they should do.  And so in this article I am going to share some key pieces of advice from some of the top experts in the entire country.  If you are not convinced that economic disaster is on the way, this article might not be for you.  Instead, I would encourage you to go to my website where you will find more than 1,200 articles that set out the case for the coming economic collapse in excruciating detail.  For those of you that are interested in getting prepared, I apologize in advance for the outline format of this article.  To examine each of these points in detail would take an entire book.  In fact, I am the co-author of a book that will soon be published that discusses many of these things in great depth.  But you don’t have to wait for a book to get prepared.  Mostly, it comes down to common sense.  In this article, I share 89 common sense tips that will help you get prepared for the coming economic depression.  Hopefully a lot of people will find these to be very helpful.

This first set of tips are 11 things that I strongly encourage my readers to do…

#1 Have An Emergency Fund – This is so important that I wrote an entire article about this recently.

#2 Don’t Put All Of Your Eggs Into One Basket – In addition to having an emergency fund, you will also want to have gold, silver and other hard assets.  It is also a very good idea to keep a limited amount of cash at home in case you can’t access an ATM during a major emergency of some sort.

#3 Reduce Your Expenses And Get Out Of Debt – During a time of crisis you want to be as “lean and mean” as possible.  If you simplify your life and reduce your debt load now, you will be in much better shape when the next economic depression does arrive.

#4 Move Your Money Away From Unsafe Investments – When the financial world falls apart, you don’t want your finances to be exposed.  Markets tend to go down much faster than they go up, and during the next great financial crisis millions of Americans that have their life savings in stocks and bonds are going to get totally wiped out.

#5 Store Food And Supplies – Your dollars will never stretch farther than they do right now.  You probably will not need emergency food and supplies in the short-term, but the truth is that none of us ever knows when a major emergency will strike.  During 2014, my wife and I felt more of an urgency to stock up then ever before, and I hope that people are using this brief period of relative stability to do what they can to get prepared.

#6 Learn To Grow Your Own Food – Anything that you can do to become more independent of the system is a good thing.  This includes growing your own food.  And the truth is that some of the most expensive items in the grocery store these days are fresh fruits and vegetables.

#7 Defending Yourself And Your Family – As our world become increasingly unstable, people are going to become a lot more desperate.  And desperate people do desperate things.  You are going to need to have a plan for that.

#8 Move Away From The Big Cities If Possible – For a lot of people that are dependent on their current jobs, this is simply not possible right now.  But if it is possible for you, this is something that I strongly recommend that you think about.  Being stuck in the middle of a major city is not going to be a good place to be in the years ahead.

#9 Be Ready To Bug Out – There may come a time when you are forced to evacuate from your current location.  This may happen with very short notice.  If this ever does happen to you, the key will be to be prepared for it.

#10 Build A Community – Your neighbors and close friends can be an invaluable resource.  A cord of multiple threads is not easily broken, and if you have people that you can depend upon during a crisis that can make a world of difference.

#11 Have A Back-Up Plan And Be Flexible – Mike Tyson once aptly observed that everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth. The years ahead are going to require a great deal of flexibility, and you may find that the plans that you have made need to be altered.  So don’t get fixated on just one approach.

When there is a major emergency, some of the most simple items suddenly become some of the most important.

The following are 11 items that I recommend that every household have on hand…

– an axe

– a can opener

– flashlights

– battery-powered radio

– extra batteries

– lighters or matches

– fire extinguisher

– blankets

– sewing kit

– duct tape

– tools

And here are about a dozen more key items that should be on your list from Survival Mom

  • Lightsticks.  You can pick up one of these every time you wander into a Home Depot.  They don’t need batteries and can be hung around the neck with a string making it easier to spot everyone in your party when it gets dark. An alternative is the UVPaqlite, which never needs batteries.
  • Wool socks and sweaters.  People have literally frozen to death wearing their layers of cotton knit tees and hoodies.  For true survival conditions, nothing beats wool.
  • Upholstery needles and thread.  What if a sleeping bag or tent rips and you have no way of mending it?
  • Roll of quarters.  Handy for phone calls, although payphones aren’t as common as they used to be, and laundromats, but if you put it in a sock and wield it like a sling, you have a handy-dandy weapon! If the quarters are pre-1965 and 90% silver, you have a whole new type of currency.
  • Pencils.  Forget the pens.  They can run out of ink and freeze in cold weather.  With a pocket knife, you’ll always have a sharp pencil.
  • Super glue.  Professional hockey players always have this on hand to seal up small cuts, and the glue itself is harmless.  Unless you get it in your eye, like I did.  But that’s a story for a different type of post!
  • Rubber bands.  String just doesn’t cut it when what you really need is a rubber band
  • Tampons in a cardboard tube.  Did you know a tampon can be fit snugly into a bullet wound?  Guys on the battlefield carry these with them.  Just be aware that the blood in the wound will begin to clot.  Leave it to a medical professional to remove the tampon from the wound.  They’re also good for kindling.
  • Paracord belt.  It’s an accessory and survival tool in one!
  • Waterproof wrist watch.  Makes perfect sense.  I had just never thought of it.
  • Animal repellant trash bags.  Use these when you’re camping and animals will stay the heck away from your trash.
  • Safety pins.
  • Dental floss.  Besides helping to keep your teeth clean, it makes sturdy thread for mending.

But don’t just get focused on acquiring things.

Some of the most important elements of preparation involve things that we need to do for ourselves.

Acclaimed survival expert James Wesley Rawles has put together a “personal list” of things that everyone should think about before a crisis strikes.  A lot of these things are topics that “preppers” never seem to write about…

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Spare glasses.

Prescription and nonprescription medications.

Birth control.

Keep dentistry up to date.

Any elective surgery that you’ve been postponing

Work off that gut.

Stay in shape.

Back strength and health—particularly important, given the heavy manual tasks required for self-sufficiency.

Educate yourself on survival topics, and practice them. For example, even if you don’t presently live at your retreat, you should plant a vegetable garden every year. It is better to learn through experience and make mistakes now, when the loss of crop is an annoyance rather than a crucial event.

“Comfort” items to help get through high stress times. (Books, games, CDs, chocolates, etc.)

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If you have a serious illness or disease, that is going to need to be one of your top priorities when making preparations for the coming crisis.

This next tip comes from an excellent article that Dave Hodges published recently…

If you or your family has a chronic health condition, it is critical that you have 6 months to a year in medicine. Also, you should research natural alternatives to treatment for health conditions in case you are not able to meet this goal due to the inability to obtain prescriptions. Don’t forget to obtain some pain medication and antibiotics in case of unforeseen emergencies.

Probably one of the most popular topics for preppers to write about is food storage.

But those that are new to prepping are often very confused about how to get started.

It doesn’t have to be complicated.  If you start out by focusing on staples that you eat all the time, you should be in great shape.  The following are some recommendations about food storage that Pat Henry of the Prepper Journal has shared…

  • Rice – First off, buy a 50lb. bag of rice. These contain 504 servings and I don’t know too many people who won’t eat rice. It is simple to cook and stores for years if you keep it cool and dry. This bag at Sam’s costs about $19 now.
  • Beans – Next buy a bag of dry beans. This will check off the Beans part of your Beans, Bullets and Band-Aids list. A good size bag is about $5 and makes 126 servings. Buy two if you think your family would like them.
  • Canned meat – Cans are great for fruits and vegetables and anyone can find something they will eat. For canned meat, I recommend tuna or chicken because it tastes a heck of a lot better than Spam and you can easily mix that into your rice. For the meat you will need approximately 35 cans. Each can has about 3 servings and this will be the most costly, but they last over a year usually and your family probably eats chicken or tuna on a semi-regular basis anyway so restocking this should be simple.
  • Canned Vegetables – you will need about 40 cans of vegetables and again this can be whatever your family will eat. Expect to pay around a dollar each so $40 for veggies to last your family a month.
  • Canned Fruit – again, simple fruits that your family will eat. These can even be fruit cocktail if that is the safest thing. At Costco they have the #10 cans of fruit like pears or apple slices and each of these has 25 servings. 5 of these will cost about $25 and give your family their daily dose of fruit.
  • Oatmeal – Good old-fashioned oatmeal is simple to cook and store. A normal container has 30 servings each so purchase about 4 of these and your family won’t starve for breakfast. At $2 each that is about $8 for breakfast for a month for a family of four. Could you exchange Pop-tarts? Maybe, but I find oatmeal more filling and less likely to be snacked on.
  • Honey– Honey is a miracle food really as it will never go bad if you keep it dry and cool. Honey will last you forever and Sam’s has large containers that hold 108 servings. You can use this in place of sugar to satisfy the sweet tooth. Honey even has medicinal properties and you can use this to add some flavor to your oatmeal for breakfast.
  • Salt – Same as honey, salt will never go bad if you keep it dry and helps the flavor of anything. You can buy a big box of salt for around $1 and that will last your whole family a month easily.
  • Vitamins – I recommend getting some multivitamins to augment your nutrition in the case of a disaster or emergency. Granted, rice and beans aren’t the best and you won’t be getting as many nutrients from canned fruit and vegetables so the vitamins help to fill in the gaps and keep you healthy. One big bottle costs about $8. You will need to get a kids version too if you have children small enough that they can’t or won’t swallow a big multivitamin.

And as I mentioned above, another key to getting prepared is self-defense.  If you make all the preparations in the world, but somebody comes along and steals them from you, they won’t end up doing you any good.

The following are some basic tips about home security from prepping expert Todd Sepulveda

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Front Door – Your front door is a layer. But it shouldn’t be your only layer. Besides reinforcing the strike plate with 2 inch screws, you should have a solid deadbolt. Another layer could be a storm door with a lock or even burglar bars. A good latch is valuable too! If you want to add even more layers, utilizing a security door bar is a good idea. But you don’t only want to make sure that your front door is securely layered. Take some time to layer all the doors in your home.

Windows – Every window has a lock. But you can add a layer by including sliding window locks for about $5. Other options would include tint or blinds, which would make it harder for someone to look inside your house.

Burglar Alarm – A burglar alarm is a serious layer. Alarms can be monitored by an alarm company or they can be self-monitored. Self-monitored systems have greatly advanced and will even allow you to view your home on your smartphone.

Dogs – A dog or dogs can be a great layer, especially if they bark. My dogs alert me the minute someone is in the front of the yard. They run and bark at the door and don’t stop until I open it. Outside dogs are a layer to your perimeter. A big dog on the other side of the fence will make any criminal think twice.

Outside Lights – Lights that are mounted on the outside of your home, especially ones that are triggered by motion sensors are a must! Roaches run when you turn on the lights! Someone who is watching your house will not want to approach it if they know the lights are going to draw attention to them.

Outside Landscaping – Bushes can be a layer around windows. It is important that you don’t create an environment that will create a hiding place for someone to lay in waiting. Make sure that the bushes you choose to plant are thorny and cause a lot of discomfort if someone wants to go through them.

Personal Defense – A firearm is a layer that you would want to have if needed. If you want to use something that is not so deadly, you can always pick up a can of ColdSteel Inferno to spray in someone’s face. Having a few of these cans hidden in different parts of the house is a good idea.

Safe Room – A safe room would be a last ditch layer. Some people are putting them into their homes. If this is a scenario you want to take, you should research the necessary components for a “safe” safe room.

Neighborhood Watch – Although a Neighborhood Watch isn’t just focused on your home, it is a layer that could cause the bad guys to go looking in a different neighborhood altogether. Neighborhoods that have a Neighborhood Watch usually post signs in the entrances of their neighborhood.

Neighbors – Even if you don’t have a Neighborhood Watch, you should get to know your neighbors, especially those pesky ones that stay in everyone’s business…because they are going to keep a lookout! You gotta take some bad with the good!

Street Lights – Sticking with your neighborhood, it would be a good idea to immediately report any street lights that are out to the city or county that manages them. Again, light causes the roaches to run for cover!

Signs – Don’t underestimate the power of a cheap sign. A sign on a fence that reads “Beware of Dog” or a Security company sign on the front lawn somewhere will cause the bad guys to think twice before attempting to break into your house.

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If you do need to leave your home during a crisis, you should have a “bug out bag” ready for each member of your family.

The following are 7 key items that Survival Cache recommends including in each bug out bag…

1. Water

2. Food

3. Clothing

4. Shelter

5. First Aid Kit

6. Basic Gear

7. Weapons

Finally, it is important to remember that nobody is perfect and that everyone makes mistakes.

The following are 14 common mistakes that Backdoor Survival says a lot of preppers make…

1. Failure to inventory stored food supplies

2. Failure to perform a risk analysis and prepping for the most likely disruptive events first

3. Preparing mostly to bug out rather than bugging in

4. Failure to evacuate at just the right time

5. Having the gear but not knowing how to use it

6. Underestimating other humans as a threat

7. Spending your entire budget on gear instead of on food, water, and medical supplies

8. Lacking the knowledge to properly store your food supplies

9. Buying gear and supplies while ignoring the need to develop skills

10. Relying only on yourself and ignoring like-minded members of your community

11. Just because someone else does something does not mean that you should do it to

12. Falling victim to prepper procrastination

13. Obsessing about being behind the curve-ball

14. Forgetting that there is a life beyond prepping

Are there any additions that you would make to this list of tips?

Please feel free to add to the discussion by posting a comment below…

 

Prepare For Tough Times If Your Job Has Anything To Do With Real Estate Or Mortgages

Housing Crash 2013If you have a job that involves building homes, buying homes, selling homes or that is in any way related to the mortgage industry, you might want to start searching for alternate employment.  Seriously.  Interest rates are starting to rise dramatically, and mortgage lenders such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase are all cutting thousands of mortgage-related jobs.  Last week, mortgage refinance activity plunged to the lowest level that we have seen since June 2009 and total mortgage activity dropped to the lowest level since October 2008.  Unfortunately, this is only the beginning.  Mortgage rates closely mirror the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries, the the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries has nearly doubled since early May.  But it is still only sitting at about 3 percent right now.  As I have written about previously, it has a ton of room to go up before it hits “normal” historical levels, and so do mortgage rates.  As I noted the other day, some analysts believe that the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries is going to hit 7 percent eventually.  If that happens, mortgage rates will be more than double what they are today.  And we have already seen the average rate on a 30 year fixed rate mortgage go from 3.35 percent in May to 4.57 percent last week.  If interest rates continue to rise we could be heading for a “housing Armageddon” that will make the last housing crash look like a Sunday picnic.

The mini-housing bubble that we have been enjoying for the last couple of years is coming to an abrupt end.  It doesn’t matter what the mainstream media is telling you about a “sustainable” housing recovery.  Just look at how the big mortgage lenders are behaving.  They know the gig is up.  According to Bloomberg, Bank of America has just announced that they will be eliminating 2,100 mortgage-related jobs…

Bank of America Corp., the second-largest U.S. lender, will eliminate about 2,100 jobs and shutter 16 mortgage offices as rising interest rates weaken loan demand, said two people with direct knowledge of the plans.

Would they be doing that if we were really heading into a “sustainable housing recovery”?

And Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase are also both eliminating thousands of mortgage-related jobs

Mortgage lenders are paring staff as higher interest rates discourage refinancing and cast doubt on how long the housing market rebound will last. Wells Fargo & Co., the biggest U.S. home lender, plans more than 2,300 job cuts, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. may dismiss 15,000.

Would they be doing this if they thought that brighter days were ahead?

Of course not.

In fact, Well Fargo just announced that it expects to make 30 percent fewer home loans this quarter because of rapidly rising interest rates.

It’s over folks.

The mini-housing bubble that the mainstream media has been hyping so much is over.

If your job has anything to do with real estate or mortgages, it is time to start thinking about a career change.

This is especially true if your job is related to refinancing mortgages.  All of the smart people have already refinanced.  As rates continue to rise rapidly, the only ones that will be refinancing are really stupid people.  According to Zero Hedge, mortgage refinance activity has already dropped by a whopping 70 percent since early May…

For the 16th of the last 18 weeks, mortgage refinance activity plunged (dropping 20% this week alone). Since early May, when the dreaded word “Taper” was first uttered, refis have collapsed over 70%. With mortgage servicers and providers large and small laying people off, it seems hard for even the most egregiously biased bull to still suggest that the housing recovery is sustainable.

And this rise in interest rates is just getting started.  The Federal Reserve has not even begun to “taper” yet.  Once that starts happening, the consequences could be quite dramatic

“In early 1994, when the U.S. recovery gained strength, the Fed started a tightening cycle and bond markets crashed not only in the U.S. but also around the world,” European Central Bank Executive Board member Joerg Asmussen said on Tuesday.

“If spillovers were large in 1994, we can expect them to be even larger today in an even more deeply interconnected world,” he added in the text of a speech for delivery in Brussels.

Of course when the Federal Reserve “tapers” their quantitative easing it won’t really be “tightening” as much as it will be slowing down the pace at which they are recklessly creating tens of billions of dollars out of thin air.  But the effect will be similar to what we saw back in 1994.

As interest rates rise, it will become much more expensive to buy a home and much more difficult to sell a home.  To give you an idea of how dramatically interest rates can affect housing affordability, I wanted to share some numbers from one of my previous articles

A year ago, the 30 year rate was sitting at 3.66 percent.  The monthly payment on a 30 year, $300,000 mortgage at that rate would be $1374.07.

If the 30 year rate rises to 8 percent, the monthly payment on a 30 year, $300,000 mortgage at that rate would be $2201.29.

Does 8 percent sound crazy to you?

It shouldn’t.  8 percent was considered to be normal back in the year 2000.

Are you starting to get the picture?

As interest rates go up, home prices will have to fall.  Otherwise, nobody will be able to afford them.

In the end, we could end up with tens of millions more homeowners that are substantially “underwater” on their mortgages.

So who is to blame?

The Federal Reserve of course.

They created this bubble by forcing interest rates down to record low levels.

At some point it was inevitable that interest rates would start reverting back to more “normal” levels, and that “adjustment” is going to be immensely painful for the U.S. economy.

As we saw back in 2008 and 2009, when the housing industry suffers the entire economy suffers.

And the higher that interest rates go, the more suffering there will be.

So let us hope and pray that interest rates do not go any higher, but let us also start preparing for the very worst.

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