This Story Is A Perfect Example Of The Economic Despair That Most American Families Are Enduring In This “Booming” Economy

The middle class in America is being systematically eviscerated right in front of our eyes.  I don’t normally do this, but today I want to share with you an email that was recently sent to me by a reader.  I asked for permission to share her story with all of you, because I think that it will be encouraging for a lot of people out there to understand that they aren’t alone.  In this supposedly “booming” economy, millions upon millions of American families are barely making it from month to month even though they are working as hard as they possibly can.  But because the mainstream media has been endlessly touting “good economic news” for the last several years, many of those that are struggling end up believing that something must be wrong with them since they aren’t participating in all of the “prosperity”.  But of course the truth is that almost all of the economic rewards have been going to the very top of the economic pyramid.  Meanwhile, the middle class continues to shrink and more families fall into poverty with each passing month.

As you read the email that I am about to share with you, there are several things that I want you to notice.

#1 These people are not lazy.  The husband has a good job for the area in which they live, and the wife is working very hard to bring in some online income as she takes care of the kids.  So neither of them would be considered to be “unemployed”.

#2 They are also very frugal.  They have cut expenses as far as they can, and they are still not able to make ends meet.

#3 They are being crushed by medical bills.  Our healthcare system is a completely and total nightmare, and there are no solutions in sight.  Thanks to the Democrats, soaring health insurance premiums are absolutely crushing middle class families.  And the Republicans have had almost two years to try to fix things, and they have completely failed to get anything done.  Shame on all of them.

#4 Almost everyone that they know is on government assistance, and so far they have resisted the urge to follow suit.  Right now, more than 100 million Americans receive assistance from the government every month, and we are rapidly being transformed into a full-blown socialist nation.

I could say so much more, but let me get right to the email.  This story really touched my heart, and I know that it will touch your heart as well…

I and my husband have been reading your blog for five or six years now. So many of your articles sound just like us, and I just wanted to share our situation and perspective as conservative Christians who were actually taught Biblical handling of money. Hopefully it will help you with your writing!

Unlike most millennials, we came into marriage with no debt and a decent savings. We have always lived on a strict budget that usually doesn’t include clothing or eating out; most of the time it doesn’t even include saving! We have never used credit cards. I am very frugal, shopping by what’s on sale, buying in bulk, cooking from scratch, and often doing without. We eat beans more than anything else. We own one vehicle, and half the time have to borrow a car from family because ours breaks down and we don’t have the money to fix it.

We work hard. My husband works for the county more than full time, and makes quite a bit more than most jobs in our area (minimum wage is 8.25 here), but a third of his check goes straight to taxes. I worked outside the home before we had children, and now have a blog and an online business that make a few hundred a month on average. We also work hard growing a large garden and keeping a few animals for food.

Unfortunately we just can’t make ends meet. We’ve used up all of our savings and haven’t been able to replace it. Family members are giving us $500-$1000 every month. We’ve both been in the hospital a few times for injury and illness, and each time costs thousands of dollars. We spent our tax return this year on medical bills, and still owe thousands to the local hospital.

We see what is going on in this country, and around the world, and we want to be prepared, but instead of getting ahead we just get more and more behind. We’ve already sold everything that was worth anything.

After taxes, the biggest expense that is killing us is insurance. All the types of insurance that are mandatory or just seem like a necessity now – health insurance, car insurance, insurance for our mobile home and rental property (required by our landlord), life insurance that is necessary with my husband’s job.

Medical bills are next on the list – who can afford to go to a doctor nowadays, even with insurance? We do everything possible to avoid doctor visits, even having our last child at home without a midwife even though I am considered high risk. Sometimes emergencies happen though, and going to the doctor just isn’t avoidable.

Pretty much all of our friends and co-workers are getting government help every month. Honestly we’d be a lot better off if we did to, but we don’t want to. It’s not the government’s job to take care of everybody.

But really, what are we supposed to do? Is there anything we can do to fix the mess our economy is in? Is there anything people like us can do to get out of this situation, or is it just a hopeless downward spiral that’s going to get worse and worse till we are living under a bridge?

I wrote her back and tried to encourage her.  No matter how bad things seem to be in life, there is always a way to turn things around if you just keep on fighting.

And things could turn around for America too, but we would have to be willing to fundamentally change our ways, and at this moment there are no indications that this will happen any time soon.

I get accused of being all about “doom and gloom”, but in my latest book I set forth a detailed prescription for what we need to do to turn things around.  And I ran for Congress on a platform of positive solutions, but that message didn’t resonate enough with the voters.

Inexplicably, most Americans seem to like the status quo even though the system is literally coming apart at the seams all around us.

What we have been doing as a nation does not work, it is not sustainable, and it has become exceedingly clear that a day of reckoning is rapidly approaching.  At this point it is so obvious that even the mainstream media is starting to warn of imminent economic disaster.

For years, many of us have been warning what would happen if we did not change our ways, and we have been trying to offer alternative solutions, but most Americans continue to embrace the current system and believe that it will be able to survive despite all of the evidence to the contrary.

In the end, it is probably going to take a complete and utter collapse of the current system before most people will wake up, and that is something that nobody will enjoy.

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

A List Of 100 Things That Liberals Hate About America

Why do liberals seem to hate just about everything that is good and true and right about this country?  Earlier today I was writing an article about Kathy Griffin and the hate-filled ideology that she represents, and it got me thinking about a lot of things.  I truly believe that her now infamous photograph will turn out to be a defining moment in American politics.  It has become exceedingly clear that Kathy Griffin and those like her have nothing to offer but anger, hate and violence, and that is not a message that most Americans are going to embrace.  So if true conservatives can start communicating a message of love, peace, prosperity, liberty and freedom that is based on the principles and values that this nation was founded upon, there is no way that the left is going to be able to compete with that.

If we want to make America great again, we need to embrace the things that made us great in the first place.  Unfortunately, the left tends to hate most of those things.  In fact, many leftists will actually tell you that America was never great.  These “progressives” want our nation to be fundamentally “transformed” into an entirely different place than our forefathers intended, and they plan to use big government as the tool to conduct that “transformation”.

If they ultimately win, the country that you and I love so much today will be gone forever.  I want you to read the list below and imagine what the United States would be like if all of these things were eradicated.  The following is a list of 100 things that liberals hate about America…

#1 The U.S. Constitution

#2 Liberty

#3 Freedom

#4 Success

#5 Big Trucks

#6 Capitalism

#7 Free Markets

#8 Wealthy People

#9 Economic Prosperity

#10 The Rule Of Law

#11 Traditional Values

#12 The American Flag

#13 The Founding Fathers

#14 Guns

#15 Limited Government

#16 Religious Freedom

#17 Homeschooling

#18 Private Schools

#19 Christian Schools

#20 Entrepreneurs

#21 Ronald Reagan

#22 Donald Trump

#23 Mike Pence

#24 Country Music

#25 Rush Limbaugh

#26 The Tea Party

#27 Lower Taxes

#28 Old-Fashioned Light Bulbs

#29 Jesus

#30 The Bible

#31 The Christian Faith

#32 The Drudge Report

#33 John Wayne

#34 Alex Jones

#35 NASCAR

#36 Tupperware

#37 Big Cheeseburgers

#38 Football

#39 Clint Eastwood

#40 The Army

#41 The Navy

#42 The Marines

#43 The Air Force

#44 Ron Paul

#45 Rand Paul

#46 Marriage

#47 Family

#48 Babies

#49 Wal-Mart

#50 Flag Pins

#51 Steakhouses

#52 Chuck Norris

#53 Bottled Water

#54 George Washington

#55 The 1st Amendment

#56 The 2nd Amendment

#57 The 10th Amendment

#58 The Pledge Of Allegiance

#59 McDonald’s

#60 Coca-Cola

#61 Fried Food

#62 Muscle Cars

#63 Charlie Daniels

#64 Dolly Parton

#65 Duck Dynasty

#66 Johnny Cash

#67 Sarah Palin

#68 Cheesesteaks

#69 Sean Hannity

#70 Rodeos

#71 Cadillacs

#72 Barbie Dolls

#73 Ted Cruz

#74 Fiscal Sanity

#75 Charlton Heston

#76 Israel

#77 Benjamin Netanyahu

#78 Miners

#79 Loggers

#80 The Coal Industry

#81 National Sovereignty

#82 National Borders

#83 Uncle Sam

#84 The Washington Redskins

#85 Small Businesses

#86 Self-Employment

#87 Harley-Davidson Motorcycles

#88 Military Veterans

#89 The Phrase “Islamic Terror”

#90 Big Families

#91 The Bible Belt

#92 The Creation Museum

#93 The 10 Commandments

#94 Anyone That Is Pro-Life

#95 Anyone That Disagrees With Them

#96 Hard Work

#97 Patriotism

#98 Winning

#99 The Truth

#100 The American People

Why Are So Many Among The Elite Building Luxury Bunkers In Preparation For An Imminent ‘Apocalypse’?

earthship-photo-by-felix-mullerDo they know something that the rest of us do not?  There are tens of millions of ordinary Americans that are feeling really good about the future now that Donald Trump has won the election, but meanwhile the elite are feverishly constructing luxury bunkers at a pace unlike anything we have ever seen before.  So why are so many among the elite preparing for an imminent “apocalypse” when tens of millions of other Americans are anticipating a new era of peace and prosperity?  Are they smarter than most of the rest of us, or are they simply being paranoid?

Without a doubt, something is going on among the elite.  Earlier today, WND published an article that discussed the fact that wealthy people “are quietly moving away from major cities” all over the globe because of concerns about security…

Widespread media reports as well as independent investigations from groups such as New World Wealth suggest wealthy people around the globe are quietly moving away from major cities because of fears of social instability. Increasing crime, terrorism and rising racial tensions have all been identified as factors driving the exodus. Even the Daily Beast reported the introduction of large numbers of Muslim refugees into Europe has made once prosperous areas fraught with danger, in the opinion of some security experts.

And just a few weeks ago a Hollywood Reporter article entitled “Panic, Anxiety Spark Rush to Build Luxury Bunkers for L.A.’s Superrich” talked about how “Oscar winners, sports stars and Bill Gates are building lavish bunkers” because of their anxiety about what is coming next.  The following is a short excerpt from that article…

Given the increased frequency of terrorist bombings and mass shootings and an under-lying sense of havoc fed by divisive election politics, it’s no surprise that home security is going over the top and hitting luxurious new heights. Or, rather, new lows, as the average depth of a new breed of safe haven that occupies thousands of square feet is 10 feet under or more. Those who can afford to pull out all the stops for so-called self-preservation are doing so — in a fashion that goes way beyond the submerged corrugated metal units adopted by reality show “preppers” — to prepare for anything from nuclear bombings to drastic climate-change events. Gary Lynch, GM at Rising S Bunkers, a Texas-based company that specializes in underground bunkers and services scores of Los Angeles residences, says that sales at the most upscale end of the market — mainly to actors, pro athletes and politicians (who require signed NDAs) — have increased 700 percent this year compared with 2015, and overall sales have risen 150 percent. “Any time there is a turbulent political landscape, we see a spike in our sales. Given this election is as turbulent as it is, we are gearing up for an even bigger spike,” says marketing director Brad Roberson of sales of bunkers that start at $39,000 and can run $8.35 million or more (FYI, a 12-stall horse shelter is $98,500).

This is all very odd, because among the general population interest in “prepping” has hit a multi-year low.  In fact, sales of emergency food and supplies are way down at the moment across the entire industry.

So once again the question must be asked – do the elite know something that the rest of us do not?

If they don’t, why are they spending so much time, effort and money on such extraordinary preparations?

For instance, down in Texas one group of investors is constructing “a $300 million luxury community replete with underground homes”

An investor group is planning for a doomsday scenario by building a $300 million luxury community replete with underground homes. There will also be air-lock blast doors designed for people worried about a dirty bomb or other disaster and off-grid energy and water production.

The development, called Trident Lakes, is northeast of Dallas.

Residents will enjoy an equestrian center, 18-hole golf course, polo fields, zip lines and gun ranges. Retail shops, restaurants and a row of helipads are also in the works. For those looking to “get away,” they’ll also be able to enjoy three white sand beaches and a neighborhood spa.

Most of us could hardly even imagine such luxury, and this is yet another example of the growing gap between the ultra-wealthy and the rest of us in this country.

If you do happen to be one of the ultra-wealthy, perhaps you may be interested in purchasing one of the extremely expensive U-shaped “Earthships” that one company has been constructing for the elite…

Billionaires are buying up “indestructible” alien boltholes to seek sanctuary in during alien Armageddon or more-likely nuclear war and disaster.

The US company creating the $1.5million “Earthship” eco-structures says humans “must evolve” and insists they “will soon be a necessity” for our species “to survive on this planet.”

The bizarre U-shaped hideaways, which can reportedly survive in any climate, can be deployed to any part of the world and are self-sufficient enough to survive in isolation – during a killer virus outbreak or a radiation catastrophe.

I have to admit that I felt a twinge of jealousy when I first learned about these “Earthships”.  They are completely self-sufficient, they are environmentally-friendly, and they sound like they are quite comfortable.  The following is what one reporter discovered when she visited a community of these “Earthships”…

In addition to the cord-cutting power and self-sustaining water supply, each abode contains its own greenhouse. I could forage for figs, bananas, pineapple, broccoli, rosemary and chives in my fluffy socks. Or if the zombies weren’t looking, I could dash over to my neighbor’s place for supper. The Phoenix, a three-bedroom that sleeps six, dedicates one-third of its space to food production. Its tropical jungle supports parakeets and cockatiels (not for consumption) and a garden bursting with fruits and vegetables, including grapes, artichokes, lemons, melons, kale, squash, hot peppers and mushrooms that cling to a log. Chickens cluck around the back yard, which features a sunken den with a grill for coop-to-kebob meals. An indoor fishpond once contained a robust stock of tilapia before a group of guests threw a fish fry. Now, the littlest survivors swim laps with koi. For the dairy course, the staff is considering resident goats.

It sounds wonderful.

But once again, why go to all of this effort if a new era of peace and prosperity for humanity is right around the corner?

I really like what Carl Gallups had to say about this.  Carl is the author of Be Thou Prepared, and this is what he told WND about the preparations that the elite are making…

“I think that the rich and elite are becoming increasingly aware of the dangerous and potentially unstable world in which we now reside,” he warned. “Massive instances of civil unrest, even in America, are becoming a very real possibility. Internal terror attacks, swelling illegal alien populations, an influx of Islamic refugees, increasing racial discord, ambushing police officers, the rule of law continually being trampled by the political elite and an almost complete collapse of trust in the mainstream media – all of this has led to widespread cynicism and distrust among the population as a whole.”

Gallups noted “the rich usually have deeper connections to reliable information and prediction sources, and most of them have the means to take immediate action.”

I believe that Carl Gallups is right on the money.

Normally I am extremely hard on the elite, but in this case I believe that they are showing much more wisdom than the general population.

So many people are crying “peace and safety” right now, and yet we are right in the middle of what I have labeled “the danger zone“.

Our world is becoming more unstable with each passing day, but there is so much apathy among the American people at the moment.

I just don’t understand it.

The self-destructive behavior that we are engaging in as a nation is a recipe for national suicide, and the warning signs are all around us, but because disaster has not struck yet most people seem to believe that the warnings that they have been hearing are not true.

Meanwhile, the elite are preparing extremely hard for an imminent “apocalypse”, and I have a feeling that they are going to end up looking like the smart ones once it is all said and done.

19 Signs That American Families Are Being Economically Destroyed

19 - Public DomainThe systematic destruction of the American way of life is happening all around us, and yet most people have no idea what is happening.  Once upon a time in America, if you were responsible and hard working you could get a good paying job that could support a middle class lifestyle for an entire family even if you only had a high school education.  Things weren’t perfect, but generally almost everyone in the entire country was able to take care of themselves without government assistance.  We worked hard, we played hard, and our seemingly boundless prosperity was the envy of the entire planet.  But over the past several decades things have completely changed.  We consumed far more wealth than we produced, we shipped millions of good paying jobs overseas, we piled up the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world, and we kept electing politicians that had absolutely no concern for the long-term future of this nation whatsoever.  So now good jobs are in very short supply, we are drowning in an ocean of red ink, the middle class is rapidly shrinking and dependence on the government is at an all-time high.  Even as we stand at the precipice of the next great economic crisis, we continue to make the same mistakes.  In the end, all of us are going to pay a very great price for decades of incredibly foolish decisions.  Of course a tremendous amount of damage has already been done.  The numbers that I am about to share with you are staggering.  The following are 19 signs that American families are being economically destroyed…

#1 The poorest 40 percent of all Americans now spend more than 50 percent of their incomes just on food and housing.

#2 For those Americans that don’t own a home, 50 percent of them spend more than a third of their incomes just on rent.

#3 The price of school lunches has risen to the 3 dollar mark at many public schools across the nation.

#4 McDonald’s “Dollar Menu & More” now includes items that cost as much as 5 dollars.

#5 The price of ground beef has doubled since 2009.

#6 In 1986, child care expenses for families with employed mothers used up 6.3 percent of all income.  Today, that figure is up to 7.2 percent.

#7 Incomes fell for the bottom 80 percent of all income earners in the United States during the 12 months leading up to June 2014.

#8 At this point, more than 50 percent of all American workers bring home less than $30,000 a year in wages.

#9 After adjusting for inflation, median household income has fallen by nearly $5,000 since 2007.

#10 According to the New York Times, the “typical American household” is now worth 36 percent less than it was worth a decade ago.

#11 47 percent of all Americans do not put a single penny out of their paychecks into savings.

#12 One survey found that 62 percent of all Americans are currently living paycheck to paycheck.

#13 According to the U.S. Department of Education, 33 percent of all Americans with student loans are currently behind on their student loan debt repayments.

#14 According to one recent report, 43 million Americans currently have unpaid medical debt on their credit reports.

#15 The rate of homeownership in the U.S. has been declining for seven years in a row, and it is now the lowest that it has been in 20 years.

#16 For each of the past six years, more businesses have closed in the United States than have opened.  Prior to 2008, this had never happened before in all of U.S. history.

#17 According to the Census Bureau, 65 percent of all children in the United States are living in a home that receives some form of aid from the federal government.

#18 If you have no debt at all, and you also have 10 dollars in your wallet, that you are wealthier than 25 percent of all Americans.

#19 On top of everything else, the average American must work from January 1st to April 24th just to pay all federal, state and local taxes.

All of us know people that once were doing quite well but that are now just struggling to get by from month to month.

Perhaps this has happened to you.

If you have ever been in that position, you probably remember what it feels like to have people look down on you.  Unfortunately, in our society the value that we place on individuals has a tremendous amount to do with how much money they have.

So if you don’t have much money, there are a lot of people out there that will treat you like dirt.  The following excerpt comes from a Washington Post article entitled “The poor are treated like criminals everywhere, even at the grocery store“…

Want to see a look of pure hatred? Pull out an EBT card at the grocery store.

Now that my kids are grown and gone, my Social Security check is enough to keep me from qualifying for government food benefits. But I remember well when we did qualify for a monthly EBT deposit, a whopping $22 — and that was before Congress cut SNAP benefits in November 2013. Like 70 percent of people receiving SNAP benefits, I couldn’t feed my family on that amount. But I remember the comments from middle-class people, the assumptions about me and my disability and what the poor should and shouldn’t be spending money on.

Have you ever seen this?

Have you ever experienced this yourself?

These days, most people on food stamps are not in that situation because they want to be.  Rather, they are victims of our long-term economic collapse.

And this is just the beginning.  When the next major economic crisis strikes, the suffering in this country is going to go to unprecedented levels.

As we enter that time, we are going to need a whole lot more love and compassion than we are exhibiting right now.

As a nation, we have made decades of incredibly bad decisions.  As a result, we are experiencing bad consequences which are going to become increasingly more severe.

The numbers that I just shared with you are not good.  But over the next several years they are going to get a whole lot worse.

Everything that can be shaken will be shaken, and life in America is about to change in a major way.

 

14 Reasons Why The U.S. Economy’s Bubble Of False Prosperity May Be About To Burst

Bubbles - Public DomainDid you know that a major event just happened in the financial markets that we have not seen since the financial crisis of 2008?  If you rely on the mainstream media for your news, you probably didn’t even hear about it.  Just prior to the last stock market crash, a massive amount of money was pulled out of junk bonds.  Now it is happening again.  In fact, as you will read about below, the market for high yield bonds just experienced “a 6-sigma event”.  But this is not the only indication that the U.S. economy could be on the verge of very hard times.  Retail sales are extremely disappointing, mortgage applications are at a 14 year low and growing geopolitical storms around the world have investors spooked.  For a long time now, we have been enjoying a period of relative economic stability even though our underlying economic fundamentals continue to get even worse.  Unfortunately, there are now a bunch of signs that this period of relative stability is about to end.  The following are 14 reasons why the U.S. economy’s bubble of false prosperity may be about to burst…

#1 The U.S. junk bond market just experienced “a 6-sigma event” earlier this month.  In other words, it is an event that is only supposed to have a chance of 1 in 500 million of happening.  Billions of dollars are being pulled out of junk bonds right now, and that has some analysts wondering if a financial crash is right around the corner.

#2 The last time that we saw a junk bond rout of this magnitude was back during the financial crash of 2008.  In fact, as the Telegraph recently explained, bonds usually crash before stocks do…

The credit market usually leads the equity market during turning points, as happened when credit markets cracked first in 2008.

Will the same thing happen this time around?

#3 Retail sales have missed expectations for three months in a row and we just had the worst reading since January.

#4 Things have gotten so bad that even Wal-Mart is really struggling.  Same-store sales at Wal-Mart have declined for five quarters in a row and the outlook for the future is not particularly promising.

#5 The four week moving average for mortgage applications just hit a 14 year low.  It is now even lower than it was during the worst moments of the financial crisis of 2008.

#6 The tech industry is supposed to be booming, but mass layoffs in the tech industry are actually 68 percent ahead of last year’s pace.

#7 According to the Federal Reserve, 40 percent of all households in the United States are currently showing signs of financial stress.

#8 The U.S. homeownership rate has fallen to the lowest level since 1995.

#9 According to one survey, 76 percent of Americans do not have enough money saved to cover six months of expenses.

#10 Rumblings of a stock market correction have become so loud that even the mainstream media is reporting on it.  For example, just check out this CNN headline from earlier this month: “Is a correction near? Wall Street on edge“.

#11 The civil war in Iraq is spiraling out of control, and Barack Obama has just announced that he is going to send 130 troops to the country in a “humanitarian” capacity.  Iraq is the 7th largest oil producing nation on the entire planet, and if the flow of oil is disrupted that could have serious consequences.

#12 As a result of the conflict in Ukraine, the United States, Canada and the European Union have slapped sanctions on Russia.  In return, Russia has slapped sanctions on them.  Will this slowdown in global trade significantly harm the U.S. economy?

#13 The three day cease-fire between Hamas and Israel is about to end, and Hamas officials are saying that they are preparing for a “long battle“.  If a resolution is not found soon, we could potentially see a full-blown regional war erupt in the Middle East.

#14 The number of Ebola deaths continues to grow at an exponential rate, and if the virus starts spreading inside the United States it has the potential to pretty much shut down our entire economy.

Meanwhile, things look even more dire in much of the rest of the globe.

For example, the economic slowdown has gotten so bad in some nations over in Europe that they are actually experiencing deflation

Portugal has crashed into deep deflation and Italy’s inflation rate has fallen to zero as the eurozone flirts with recession, automatically pushing these countries further towards a debt compound spiral.

The slide comes amid signs of a deepening slowdown in the eurozone core, with even Germany flirting with possible recession. Germany’s ZEW index of investor confidence plunged from 27.1 to 8.6 in July, the sharpest fall since June 2012, during the European sovereign debt crisis. “The European Central Bank has to act now,” said Andrew Roberts, credit chief at RBS.

And in Japan, GDP just contracted at a 6.8 percent annual rate during the second quarter…

Japan’s economy suffered its worst contraction since 2011 in the second quarter as consumer spending on big items slumped in the wake of a sales tax rise.

Gross domestic product shrunk by an annualized 6.8% in the three months ended June, Japan’s Cabinet Office said Wednesday. The result was actually better than the 7% contraction expected by economists.

On a quarterly basis, Japan’s GDP dropped by 1.7% as business and housing investment declined. Japan’s economy last suffered a hit of this magnitude after the 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster.

There is no way that this bubble of false prosperity was going to last forever.  It was never real to begin with.  It was just based on a pyramid of debt and false promises.  In fact, the condition of the global financial system is now far worse than it was just prior to the financial crisis of 2008.

Sadly, most people do not understand these things.  Most people just assume that our leaders have fixed whatever caused the problems last time.  And when the next crisis arrives, they will be totally blindsided by it.

New World Disorder: Emerging Division Between East And West Threatens To Plunge The Globe Into Chaos

East And West - Public DomainIn general, over the last several decades the world has experienced an unprecedented era of peace and prosperity.  The opening up of relations with China and the “end of the Cold War” resulted in an extended period of cooperation between east and west that was truly unique in the annals of history.  But now things are shifting.  The civil war in Ukraine and the crash of MH17 have created an enormous amount of tension between the United States and Russia, and many analysts believe that relations between the two superpowers are now even worse than they were during the end of the Cold War era.  In addition, the indictment of five PLA officers for cyber espionage and sharp disagreements over China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea (among other issues) have caused U.S. relations with China to dip to their lowest point since at least 1989.  So could the emerging division between the east and the west ultimately plunge us into a period of global chaos?  And what would that mean for the world economy?

For as long as most Americans can remember, the U.S. dollar and the U.S. financial system have been overwhelmingly dominant.  But now the powers of the east appear to be determined to break this monopoly.  Four of the BRICS nations (China, Russia, India and Brazil) are on the list of the top ten biggest economies on the planet, and they are starting to make moves to become much less dependent on the U.S.-centered financial system of the western world.  For example, just last week the BRICS nations established two new institutions which are intended to be alternatives to the World Bank and the IMF…

So in their summit, from July 14 to 16, the five BRICS announced two major initiatives aimed squarely at increasing their power in global finance. They announced the launch of the New Development Bank, headquartered in Shanghai, that will offer financing for development projects in the emerging world. The bank will act as an alternative to the Washington, D.C.—based World Bank. The BRICS also formed what they’re calling a Contingent Reserve Arrangement, a series of currency agreements which can be utilized to help them smooth over financial imbalances with the rest of the world. That’s something the IMF does now.

Clearly, the idea is to create institutions and processes to supplement — and perhaps eventually supplant — the functions of those managed by U.S. and Europe. And they would be resources that they could control on their own, without the annoying conditions that the World Bank and the IMF always slap on their loans and assistance.

This comes at a time when both China and Russia are seeking to emphasize their own currencies and move away from using the U.S. dollar so much.

Even in the western media, it is being admitted that China’s yuan is “a growing force in global finance“, and according to CNBC the use of Chinese currency in international trade is growing very rapidly…

Of the German companies profiled, 23 percent are using the renminbi to settle trades, up from 9 percent last year, while usage in Hong Kong rose to 58 percent from 50 percent and to 17 percent from 9 percent in the U.S.

Usage of the renminbi among French companies – a new addition to this year’s list – was high at 26 percent.

And of course Russia has been actively pursuing a “de-dollarization strategy” for months now.  Each new round of economic sanctions pushes Russia even further in the direction of independence from the U.S. dollar, and Gazprom has been working hard to get large customers to switch from paying for natural gas in dollars to paying for natural gas in euros and other currencies.  For much more on this, please see my previous article entitled “Russia Is Doing It – Russia Is Actually Abandoning The Dollar“.

At this point, it seems clear that Russia plans to permanently decouple from the U.S. economy and the U.S. financial system.  Just today we learned that Vladimir Putin plans to make Russia less dependent on U.S. companies such as IBM and Microsoft, and any future rounds of sanctions are likely to cause even more damage to U.S. firms that do business in Russia.

But potentially much more troubling for the U.S. economy is the startling deterioration in the relationship between the Obama administration and China.  Some analysts are even describing this as “a tipping point”

One day, the United States indicts five PLA officers for cybercrimes; the next, the United States claims victory in WTO disputes over car tariffs and rare earth minerals. All this is happening while the United States promises enduring support for Asian allies, and it has moved openly to challenge the legitimacy of Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea. Meanwhile, China is busy creating facts on the ground and water. Last month, a $1 billion Chinese oil rig set up operations in territorial waters claimed by Vietnam. In the East China Sea, Chinese SU-27 fighter jets have come within 100 feet of Japanese surveillance aircraft.

This was all capped at the recent Shangri-La Asian Security dialogue in Singapore (Asia’s annual defense-ministers meeting): Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel bluntly described China’s behavior as “destabilizing, unilateral actions.” The PLA deputy chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Wang Guanzhong, accused the United States of “hegemonism.”

The mood has soured, more than the usual ups and downs of big-power relationships. The question now is not whether a “new type of relationship” is in the offing, but rather, whether U.S.-Chinese relations have reached a tipping point.

Most Americans could not care less about what China is doing in the South China Sea, but to the Chinese this is a very, very big deal.  In fact, China just sent a surveillance vessel to Hawaii as a bit of payback for what they regard as U.S. “provocations” in the region.

In the old days, China would have probably never have done such a thing.  But China is gaining confidence as the gap between the U.S. military and the Chinese military rapidly closes

Away from the Chinese military’s expanding capabilities in cyberspace and electronic warfare, Beijing is growing the size and reach of its naval fleet, advancing its air force and testing a host of new missiles, the Pentagon said Thursday.

An annual report to Congress on China’s evolving military capability concluded that the modernization was being driven in part by growing territorial disputes in the East and South China seas, as well as by Beijing’s desire to expand its presence and influence abroad.

In fact, the Chinese military has grown so powerful that we are now seeing headlines such as this one in The Week: “China thinks it can defeat America in battle”.

And the Russian military has made tremendous strides as well. Putin has been working hard to modernize the Russian nuclear arsenal, the Russians now have a “fifth generation” fighter jet that is supposedly far superior to the F-22 Raptor, and they have nuclear submarines that are so incredibly quiet that the U.S. Navy refers to them as “black holes“.

If Russia and China stay united, they are more than capable of providing a counterbalance to U.S. power around the globe.

But even if military conflict is not in our immediate future, the breakdown in relations between east and west could still have a dramatic impact on the global economy.

Over the years, the U.S. and China have developed a highly symbiotic relationship that fuels a tremendous amount of economic activity all over the planet.  Each year, we buy hundreds of billions of dollars of products from the Chinese.  Just imagine what our stores would look like if we took everything that was “made in China” out of them.  And after we send them giant piles of our money, we beg the Chinese to lend it back to us at ultra-low interest rates.  This arrangement has allowed China to become extremely wealthy and it has allowed Americans to enjoy a massively inflated standard of living fueled by ever increasing amounts of debt.

So what happens if this relationship starts breaking down?

Without a doubt, it could potentially lead to global chaos.

So keep a close eye on this emerging division between the east and the west.  It could end up being far more important than most Americans would ever dare to imagine.

Everything Is Fine, But…

PovertyEverything is going to be just great.  Haven’t you heard?  The stock market is at an all-time high, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says that inflation is incredibly low, and the official unemployment rate has been steadily declining since early in Barack Obama’s first term.  Of course I am being facetious, but this is the kind of talk about the economy that you will hear if you tune in to the mainstream media.  They would have us believe that those running things know exactly what they are doing and that very bright days are ahead for America.  And it would be wonderful if that was actually true.  Unfortunately, as I made exceedingly clear yesterday, the U.S. economy has already been in continual decline for the past decade.  Any honest person that looks at those numbers has to admit that our economy is not even close to where it used to be.  But could it be possible that we are making a comeback?  Could it be possible that Obama and Bernanke really do know what they are doing and that their decisions have put us on the path to prosperity?  Could it be possible that everything is going to be just fine?

Sadly, what we are experiencing right now is a “mini-hope bubble” that has been produced by an unprecedented debt binge by the federal government and by unprecedented money printing by the Federal Reserve.  Once this “sugar high” wears off, it will be glaringly apparent that by “kicking the can down the road” Bernanke and Obama have made our long-term problems even worse.

Unfortunately, most Americans don’t understand these things.

Most Americans just let their televisions do their thinking for them, and right now their televisions are telling them that everything is going to be fine.

But is that really the case?

Everything is fine, but the city of Detroit has just filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy.  It will be the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history

Detroit filed for the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history Thursday after steep population and tax base declines sent it tumbling toward insolvency.

The filing by a state-appointed emergency manager means that if the bankruptcy filing is approved, city assets could be liquidated to satisfy demands for payment.

Wait a minute, didn’t Barack Obama say that he “refused to let Detroit go bankrupt” less than a year ago?

Everything is fine, but continuing claims for unemployment benefits just spiked to the highest level since early 2009.

Everything is fine, but in the month of June spending at restaurants fell by the most that we have seen since February 2008.

Everything is fine, but Google’s earnings for the second quarter came in way below expectations.

Everything is fine, but Microsoft’s earnings for the second quarter came in way below expectations.

Everything is fine, but chip maker Intel has reported revenue declines for four quarters in a row.

Everything is fine, but the number of housing starts in June was the lowest that we have seen in almost a year.

Everything is fine, but the number of mortgage applications has dropped 45 percent since May.

Everything is fine, but the homeownership rate in America is now at its lowest level in nearly 18 years.

Everything is fine, but the United States is losing half a million jobs to China every single year.

Everything is fine, but the U.S. economy actually lost 240,000 full-time jobs last month.

Everything is fine, but the number of full-time workers in the United States is now nearly 6 million below the old record that was set back in 2007.

Everything is fine, but 40 percent of all U.S. workers make less than $20,000 a year at this point.

Everything is fine, but robots are starting to take over fast food jobs.  If working class Americans someday won’t even be able to work at McDonald’s, what will they do to earn money in the years ahead as the jobs disappear?

Everything is fine, but the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline has now reached $3.66.

Everything is fine, but the number of Americans on food stamps has increased by almost 50 percent while Obama has been in the White House.

Everything is fine, but the U.S. government is going to borrow about 4 trillion dollars in fiscal 2013.

Everything is fine, but worldwide business confidence has fallen to the lowest level since the last recession.

Everything is fine, but the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff just told Congress that Obama is considering using the U.S. military to intervene in the conflict in Syria.

Unfortunately, the cold, hard reality of the matter is that everything is not fine.

As a nation, we consume far more wealth that we produce.

As a nation, we buy far more stuff from the rest of the world than they buy from us.

As a nation, our debt is growing at a much faster pace than our economy is.

As a nation, our share of global GDP has been dropping like a rock over the past decade.

Our economic infrastructure is being systematically gutted, Wall Street has been transformed into a gigantic casino and poverty in the United States continues to explode even in the midst of this so-called “economic recovery”.

How in the world can the mainstream media get away with telling the American people that everything is just fine?

The economic fundamentals are absolutely screaming that massive trouble is on the horizon.  Hopefully people are getting ready, because a whole lot of pain is on the way for this country.