30 Reasons Why People Should Be Getting Really Nervous About The State Of The U.S. Economy

The mainstream media is full of happy economic news these days.  The S&P 500 has shot up 16 percent since the beginning of July.  Ford Motor Company just reported a profit that jumped nearly 70 percent in the third quarter.  It was Ford’s best third quarter performance ever and it was the 6th quarterly profit in a row for the company.  Other major firms have announced earnings that have far exceeded expectations in recent weeks.  Hooray!  The pundits are proclaiming that the economic collapse is over and that the U.S. economy has won.  It is almost enough to make one tear into a stirring rendition of “Happy Days Are Here Again”.  But perhaps we should take a moment and get a hold of ourselves first.  After all, the underlying economic fundamentals have not changed.  The same long-term trends that were ripping the U.S. financial system apart a month or two ago are still continuing to do so.  Millions upon millions of American families are still deeply suffering.  So exactly what in the world is going on here?  Well, this is what is known as a “sucker’s rally”.  Those on the inside know better than to throw money at this market.  In fact, corporate insiders are now selling off stock so fast you would think it is going out of style.  Meanwhile, hordes of innocent rubes are jumping back into the stock market thinking that it is the perfect time to get in. 

The truth is that these “good times” are only temporary.  Don’t get used to them.  The following are 30 reasons why people should be getting really, really nervous about the state of the U.S. economy…. 

#1 Corporate insiders are selling off stock at a blinding pace and are looking for the exits.  Alan Newman, the editor of the Crosscurrents newsletter, examined a number of the top performing stocks in the market including Google, Apple and Target and found that the ratio of corporate insider stock sold to corporate insider stock purchased over the last six months for those companies was 3,177 to 1.  At the group of firms that Newman looked at, corporate insiders had purchased 38,000 shares of stock over the last six months and yet had sold off over 120 million shares.

#2 Analysts at both Bank of America and Goldman Sachs both believe that the U.S. Federal Reserve is going to initiate a new round of quantitative easing in November.  It does not take a genius to figure out that this is very likely to push up inflation and have very serious consequences for the U.S. dollar.

#3 Economists at Goldman Sachs are projecting that the Fed will have to purchase at least $4 trillion in assets during this next round of quantitative easing to get the U.S. economy moving in a positive direction once again.

#4 In the United States today, there are 5,057 janitors with Ph.D.’s, other doctorates, or professional degrees.

#5 Investors have very little faith in the U.S. dollar (and in paper currencies in general) at this point.  Precious metals are soaring to obscene heights.  The price of gold has increased more than 20 percent in 2010.  The price of silver has skyrocketed about 40 percent this year.  These are not signs that indicate that the U.S. financial system is stable.

#6 Robin Griffiths, a technical strategist at Cazenove Capital, told CNBC on Monday that the U.S. dollar is in danger of becoming “toxic waste”.

#7 In the United States today, 317,000 waiters and waitresses have college degrees.

#8 U.S. lending institutions repossessed an all-time record total of 102,134 homes in the month of September.  That was the first time that home repossessions in the U.S. had ever exceeded the 100,000 mark during a single month.

#9 According to a Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price report that was released on Tuesday, single family home prices in the United States declined  for a second straight month in August.

#10 In the United States today, over 18,000 parking lot attendants have college degrees.

#11 During the months of August and September, the state of Nevada had an unemployment rate of 14.4 percent, which was the highest in the history of the state.  Not that the rest of the country is doing any better.  The state of California has become a complete and total economic disaster zone, and the city of Detroit, Michigan is literally dying.

#12 The “official” unemployment rate in the United States has been at nine and a half percent or above for 14 consecutive months.

#13 The number of people unemployed in the state of California is approximately equivalent to the populations of Nevada, New Hampshire and Vermont combined.

#14 According to the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, there are approximately 3 million more vacant housing units than usual in the United States.

#15 China has reduced the export quota on rare earth elements for the second half of 2010 by 72%, thus strengthening their position in the world economy even more.  Rare earth elements are absolutely crucial to the manufacture of a vast array of high technology products, and now even more of them will have to be made in China.

#16 In 1985, the U.S. trade deficit with China was 6 million dollars for the entire year.  In the month of August alone, the U.S. trade deficit with China was over 28 billion dollars.

#17 Wheat, corn and other staples are absolutely soaring in price on world markets.  These higher food prices are going to hit U.S. consumers hard.

#18 In 2007, 3 U.S. banks failed.  In 2008, 25 U.S. banks failed.  In 2009, 140 U.S. banks failed.  Last Friday, it was announced that 139 U.S. banks have failed so far this year and it is not even the end of October yet.

#19 Total student loan debt in the United States is climbing at a rate of approximately $2,853.88 per second.

#20 Back in 1980, the United States imported approximately 37 percent of  the oil that we use.  Now we import nearly 60 percent of the oil that we use.

#21 According to an analysis by the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, the health care reform legislation that Congress didn’t read but passed into law anyway will generate $409.2 billion in additional taxes on the American people by the year 2019.

#22 Median household income in the U.S. declined from $51,726 in 2008 to $50,221 in 2009.  That was the second yearly decline in a row.

#23 One out of every six Americans is now enrolled in a government anti-poverty program, and yet the number of Americans signing up for food stamps and other social programs just continues to set new all-time records month after month after month.

#24 The number of Americans working part-time jobs “for economic reasons” is now the highest it has been in at least five decades.

#25 American 15-year-olds do not even rank in the top half of all advanced nations when it comes to math or science literacy.

#26 According to a recent poll conducted by CNBC, 92 percent of Americans believe that the performance of the U.S. economy is either “fair” or “poor”.

#27 After analyzing Congressional Budget Office data, Boston University economics professor Laurence J. Kotlikoff came to the conclusion that the U.S. government is now facing a “fiscal gap” of $202 trillion dollars.

#28 A trillion $10 bills, if they were taped end to end, would wrap around the earth more than 380 times.  That amount of money would still not be enough to pay off the U.S. national debt.

#29 According to the U.S. Treasury Department, the U.S. national debt is rapidly closing in on 14 trillion dollars and and will climb to an estimated $19.6 trillion by 2015.

#30 At our current pace, the Congressional Budget Office is projecting that U.S. government public debt will hit 716 percent of GDP by the year 2080.

The U.S. economy is in the midst of a long-term decline.  There are always going to be moments when it seems like things are getting a bit better, but then reality will kick in and the depressing slide will continue.

If you really want to understand what is happening to the U.S. economy, do not become fixated on the short-term numbers.  Instead, always keep an eye on the long-term trends.

The U.S. economy is dying.  We are getting whipped by the rest of the world and we are drowning in a sea of debt.  A little rally in the stock market is not going to do a thing to fix our very deep fundamental economic problems.

12 Ominous Signs For World Financial Markets

Can anyone explain the very strange behavior that we are seeing in world financial markets right now?  Corporate insiders are bailing out of the U.S. stock market at a very alarming rate.  Investors are moving mountains of money into gold and other commodities.  In fact, there is such a rush towards gold that shortages are starting to be reported in some areas.  Meanwhile, some very, very unusual option activity has started to show up.  In particular, someone is making some incredibly large bets that the S&P 500 is going to absolutely tank during the month of October.  Central banks around the world have caught a case of “loose money fever” and are apparently hoping that a new flood of paper money will shock the global economy back to life.  Meanwhile, the furor over the foreclosure procedure abuses of the major U.S mortgage companies threatens to bring even more turmoil to the U.S. housing industry.

There are some very ominous signs that something is just not right in world financial markets right now.  Some of the signs listed below may be related.  Others may not be.  That is for you to decide.

Often, just before something really bad happens, you can actually see the rats leaving a sinking ship if you know where to look.  The truth is that if things are going to go south it is the insiders who know before anyone else.

So are some of the signs below actually clues for what we should expect in the months ahead?

Maybe.

Maybe not.

You make your own call.

But it is becoming hard to deny that there are some serious danger signs out there at this point….    

#1 Corporate insiders are getting out of the U.S. stock market at an absolutely blinding pace.  It is being reported that the ratio of corporate insider selling to corporate insider buying last week was 1,411 to 1, and this week the ratio has soared even higher and is at 2,341 to 1.

#2 Many of the world’s wealthiest people are buying absolutely massive quantities of gold right now.

#3 It is being reported that J.P. Morgan is gobbling up the rights to as much physical gold as it possibly can.

#4 The United States Mint has announced that it has run out of 1-ounce, 24-karat American Buffalo gold bullion coins and that it will not be selling any more of them in 2010.

#5 It is becoming increasingly difficult to explain the unusually high option volume that we are witnessing right now.

#6 Some very large investors are making massive bets that the S&P 500 is going to take a serious tumble during the month of October.

#7 On Tuesday, the Bank of Japan shocked world financial markets by cutting interest rates even closer to zero and by setting up a 5 trillion yen quantitative easing fund.

#8 The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago are both publicly urging the Fed to do much more to stimulate the U.S. economy, including beginning a new round of quantitative easing, even if it means a significant rise in the U.S. inflation rate.

#9 Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz told reporters on Tuesday that the loose monetary policies of the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank are throwing the world into “chaos”.

#10 At the end of September, federal regulators announced a $30 billion bailout of the U.S. wholesale credit union system.

#11 Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and GMAC Mortgage have all suspended foreclosures in many U.S. states due to serious concerns about foreclosure procedures.  Now, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is actually demanding that all mortgage servicing companies in the state of Texas immediately suspend all foreclosures, the selling of foreclosed properties and the eviction of people living in foreclosed properties until they have completed a review of their foreclosure procedures.

#12 Not only that, but Nancy Pelosi and 30 other members of Congress are requesting a federal investigation of the foreclosure practices of U.S. mortgage lenders.  Needless to say, this controversy has the potential to turn the entire U.S. mortgage industry into an absolute quagmire.

So are dark days ahead for world financial markets?

Well, yeah, but it is incredibly hard to predict exactly when things are going to fall apart.

The truth is that there are going to be a whole lot more “crashes” and “collapses” in the years ahead.

The important thing, as discussed yesterday, is to keep your eye on the long-term trends.

The U.S. economy is undeniably in decline.  The only thing keeping the economy going at this point is a rapidly growing sea of red ink.  Debt is literally everywhere.  It is what our entire financial system is based on in 2010. 

In the months and years to come, the major players are going to try very hard to keep all the balls in the air and to continue the massive shell game that is going on, but in the end the whole thing is going to collapse like a house of cards.

Unfortunately, we have been destroying the U.S. economy for decades and there is simply not going to be a happy ending to this story.

The Death Cross: Another Sign That We Are On The Verge Of A Recession?

The Standard & Poor’s 500 50-day moving average stands poised to cross beneath the 200-day moving average.  To those in the financial industry, this is known as a “death cross”, and it is a very powerful indicator that we could be entering a bearish period.  So is this yet another sign that we are on the verge of a recession?  Well, anyone who has spent much time trying to interpret financial charts will tell you how inexact that science can be.  Financial markets can be wildly unpredictable, and there is always a tremendous amount of manipulation going on behind the scenes.  However, when you add this impending death cross with all of the other signs that we could be entering a recession, there certainly seems to be reason for alarm.  The truth is that financial markets across the globe are full of fear and panic right now.  In fact, as noted in another article, the dominant force in world financial markets in 2010 is fear.  When fear rules, markets become very volatile and they can fall very quickly.  Anyone who has spent much time trying to squeeze profits out of world financial markets knows that they tend to fall much faster than they ever rise.  So are we now approaching one of those times of panic when financial markets across the world fall at breathtaking speed?

Well, the truth is that nobody knows.  Anyone who says that they can predict these things with 100 percent certainty is either a liar or they are unbelievably rich.

But certainly the mood in the financial markets is grim.  If a death cross does happen on the S&P it is going to make things even more tense.

For those not familiar with investing terminology, Investopedia defines a “death cross” this way….

A crossover resulting from a security’s long-term moving average breaking above its short-term moving average or support level.

In this case, the death cross would be happening on the S&P 500, which is a weighted index of the prices of 500 large-cap common stocks actively traded in the United States.  The S&P 500 is one of the most commonly used benchmarks for the overall U.S. stock market.

So how soon could we see a death cross on the S&P 500?

Well, some analysts believe that it could happen almost at any time….

“Because the market has moved down so violently, it’s brought about the likelihood of the Death Cross occurring much more rapidly,” Abigail Doolittle, the founder of Peak Theories Research, was recently quoted by CNBC as saying.  “It now appears it could be only a day or two off if downward momentum continues.”

But hopefully most of you that are reading this are not even in the stock market at this point anyway.

The truth is that the “rally” that we have witnessed in the financial markets has been nothing more than a “sucker’s rally”.

The fundamentals of the marketplace have not changed.

The U.S. housing market continues to teeter on the brink of disaster.

The sovereign debt crisis is worse now than it ever has been.

In fact, just about every economic indicator you could name is pointing to difficult times ahead.

So there was really no fundamental reason why we should have even seen such a rally.

But even with the recent rally, the stock market still has not been producing good returns.

So often you hear people giving advice that goes something like this….

“If you are going to get into the stock market just keep your money in there and ride out the hard times because in the long run things always go up”.

But do they?

The truth is that some people have done well, but overall inflation-adjusted returns from stocks over the past ten years have been pretty close to zero.

So if the stock market is a game that you want to play, you had better really know what you are doing (or hire someone else who does), because it can be a very cruel game for amateurs.

What does seem certain is that with so much tension in world financial markets right now, we are likely to continue to see an extreme amount of volatility in the marketplace.  In such an environment, even the slightest piece of good news or bad news can set off incredibly wild swings.

It is a very exciting time for those of us who follow the financial news, but for those seeking to actually squeeze some  profits out of the marketplace, times such as these are not easy.

“The World Has No Money, And The Emperor Has No Clothes”

Most of us are aware of the very old fairly tale by Hans Christian Andersen in which two weavers promise an emperor the finest suit of clothes imaginable, but from a fabric invisible to anyone who is unfit for his position or “just hopelessly stupid”.  Well, in the fairy tale it turns out that nobody wants to admit that they are “unfit” or “stupid”, so when the emperor parades before his subjects in his imaginary new suit of clothes, it takes a child to cry out: “But he isn’t wearing anything at all!”  Well, many of us have been declaring that the world economy “has no clothes” for some time now, but when the anchor of NBC News declares it on national television it gets a bit more attention.  During his recent appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, NBC’s Brian Williams was asked about the world financial situation.  His answer included this shocking statement: “The world has no money, and the Emperor has no clothes.”

During the interview, it was readily apparent that Williams was honestly shaken up by what had happened last Thursday in the stock market.  But who can blame him?  After all, most of us who watch the markets were totally stunned when the stock market dropped almost 1000 points exactly in less than an hour.

Normally a network news anchor is much more guarded and is much more careful about what is revealed to the public.  But on Letterman’s show, Williams gave us a glimpse of what he really thinks about the world economic situation….

“If I wasn’t a tad too close to this, I’d probably not leave the house.  But that’s how bad it is.”

A video clip that includes these jaw dropping comments by Williams is posted below….

So why did the U.S. stock market plunge so rapidly last Thursday?

Well, many have blamed the episode on a “bad trade” or a “computer glitch”.  Others claim that the Greek debt crisis caused a brief panic.  There are yet others who see something more insidious going on – such as Goldman Sachs seeking to remove their name from the financial headlines, or the Federal Reserve sending a message that S. 604 (the bill to audit the Federal Reserve) should not be passed.

The truth is that we will probably never know what actually caused the market to fall through the floor that afternoon.

But it did pave the way for more bailouts.

Over the weekend, European policy makers unveiled an unprecedented loan package worth almost $1 trillion and a program of bond purchases designed to stop the sovereign debt crisis that threatened to shatter confidence in the euro.

The Federal Reserve got into the act as well.  Over the weekend the Fed promised to flood the international financial system with U.S. dollars.  This was seen in the markets as a sign of “resolve” meant to keep doubt about the European economy from turning into a global crisis of confidence.

So on Monday, investors responded to these bailouts with exuberance.  The Dow Jones industrial average gained 405 points that day, which was the average’s biggest one day point gain since March 23rd, 2009.

But are more bailouts, more debt and a flood of paper money really something to celebrate?

No.

The truth is that debt and paper money that continually declines in value are some of the chief causes of the financial mess that the world is now in.

In fact, Congressman Ron Paul is warning that the European bailout that was just announced will just lead to even larger financial problems in the future….

And Ron Paul is right – all of these bailouts and all of this debt will eventually cause all of the major paper currencies (including the U.S. dollar) to collapse.

The funny thing about these bailouts is that they never seem to help the average people on the street.  Just take a look at the U.S. economy.  We are told that Wall Street has recovered and that things are getting back to normal, and yet more Americans than ever find themselves dependent on the U.S. government for their survival.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced that 39.68 million people, or 1 out of every 8 Americans, were enrolled in the food stamp program during February, an increase of 260,000 from the previous month.

Nearly 40 million Americans on food stamps?

How in the world did that happen?

Once upon a time, the old timers would tell us that one day things would get so bad that we would all have to stand in bread lines.

Well, today food stamps are the new bread lines.

If you have to rely on the government for the very bread that you eat, what kind of a position does that put you in?

The truth is that the once great American middle class is allowing the system to slowly keep grinding them into oblivion.

Like never before in our lifetimes, wealth is being concentrated in the hands of the “lucky one percent”, while the rest of us are rapidly being marginalized.

Do you ever stop to wonder why it seems like almost everyone is either broke or up to their eyeballs in debt?

That even goes for the major governments of the world.  The U.S. government (the “wealthiest” nation on the globe) has piled up the biggest mountain of debt in world history.

You see, Brian Williams was actually chillingly accurate when he declared that “the world has no money”.

So if the world doesn’t have any money, then who does have it?

The international bankers.

But, shhhhh, don’t tell anybody.

Just keep quietly clapping as the emperor walks down the street with no clothes on.

8 Theories For Why The Stock Market Plunged Almost 1000 Points In A Matter Of Minutes On May 6th

In one of the most dizzying half-hours in stock market history, the Dow plunged nearly 1,000 points on Thursday, May 6th before bouncing back to close down 347.80 points.  This represented the biggest intraday decline since 1987.  But what made this crash so absolutely shocking is that it happened in the course of less than an hour.  Between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. the Dow lost over 700 points before dramatically bouncing back about 600 points.  Two of the 30 stocks in the Dow, Procter & Gamble and 3M, plunged more than 30% in just 15 minutes.  Accenture went from trading at around 40 dollars a share all the way down to one cent before bouncing back.  Traders and investors were left completely stunned and wondering what in the world had just happened.

So what did happen?

The following are some of the most common theories being put forward to explain what happened….

#1) A Bad Trade

It has been widely suggested that a “fat finger trade” was responsible for triggering the panic.  According to CNBC, “sources” have told that network that a trader (possibly at Citigroup) entered a “b” for billion instead of an “m” for million in a trade involving Procter & Gamble.

However, Citigroup has already announced that it has found “no evidence” that it was involved in any erroneous trades.  In fact, a statement was released in which Citigroup spokesman Stephen Cohen said this….

“At this point, we have no evidence that Citi was involved in any erroneous transaction.”

#2) A Computer Glitch

New York Stock Exchange spokesman Rich Adamonis says that “there were a number of erroneous trades” on May 6th, and that these could have been caused by computer error.

And the truth is that trading in the financial markets is more automated and more reliant on computers than it ever has been before.  Trading literally moves at lightning speed now, and a number of analysts are warning that the pace of the market is so fast at this point that it is really easy for things to spin out of control very quickly.

But if this was really primarily caused by a “computer glitch”, how are investors supposed to have any confidence at all in the market?  After all, if a computer error can wipe out half your account in less than an hour, why invest at all?

#3) Cascading Stop Losses

Once the market hits certain technical levels, it is going to automatically start triggering stop loss orders.  Once those stop loss orders are triggered, it will push the market down further thus triggering more stop loss orders.

While there have been some protections implemented to guard against this kind of thing, the reality is that it does still happen.

#4) Hackers

Hackers have become more sophisticated and more cunning than ever before.  In fact, the bigger a target is, the more enjoyment most hackers get out of taking them down.  Is it a possible that someone could have hacked in to the New York Stock Exchange?

#5) Cyberterrorism

Rogue nations and terrorist organizations have been developing their “cyber warfare” capabilities for some time now.  We have been repeatedly warned that someday we will see an “Internet 9/11”.  Could this stock market plunge be a preview of that?

#6) Fear Of The European Debt Crisis Spreading

There are mounting concerns in the financial markets about Greece’s financial condition and that the European debt crisis could spread around the globe.

In fact, the Dow has lost 631 points, or more than 5%, in just the last three days amidst worries about the situation in Greece.  This represents the biggest three day drop since March 2009.

#7) Stop Hunting

Anyone who has spent much time in the Forex market knows what this is all about.  The truth is that some of the big financial sharks in the marketplace seem to really enjoy blowing out stop losses.

So could have this have been a situation where a stop loss hunting expedition spun wildly out of control?

#8) A Real Panic

There is also the possibility that this was a real financial panic.  There are huge concerns about what is going on in Europe and the currency markets are fluctuating wildly.  The Dow was already down several hundred points even before the massive plunge took place.  The reality is that there is a lot of fear in the financial markets right now.

But if it was a real panic, then why did the Dow bounce back so quickly?  Well, it is the job of the “plunge protection team” to keep the stock market from declining too rapidly.  So did the “plunge protection team” swing into action today?  Well, the truth is that we will probably never know because the general public is not supposed to know when they intervene.

In any event, the next couple of days should hopefully make all of this a lot clearer.  The trading during the afternoon of May 6th at the big firms will be gone over with a fine-toothed comb, and the exchanges will be closely analyzing their systems for any glitches.

It has already been announced that some of the most erroneous trades will be cancelled.  The Nasdaq and NYSE’s ARCA trading unit have both said that they will cancel trades executed between 2:40 p.m. and 3 p.m. on May 6th where a stock price rose or fell more than 60 percent from the last trade in that security at 2:40 p.m.

But this episode shows just how vulnerable our financial markets really are.  After witnessing what we saw today, it is going to be really hard to have confidence in the system.

In fact, even if this was just one “bad trade” or a “simple computer glitch”, the reality is that this episode is going to inject even more fear into a marketplace that is already filled with tension.

When fear grips a market things can go south very, very quickly.  The truth is that markets tend to fall more quickly than they rise, and if a wave of panic starts sweeping over the financial markets we could see things get quite messy in the coming days.

Black-Friday-Flyer-Template2

The Economic Recovery Is Moving Along Quite Well – For The Boys Down On Wall Street

If you are part of the Wall Street establishment, the economic recovery is moving along quite well.  Many of the biggest firms on Wall Street just handed out record-setting bonuses, the Stock Market has been moving up steadily and the DOW is back up to around 11,000.  Profits at the top banks have been quite impressive lately.  Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo combined for first quarter profits of $13.4 billion – the most in almost three years.  Yes, life is quite good down on Wall Street these days.  People are still buying fast cars, big yachts and homes in the Hamptons.  It is almost as if “the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression” didn’t even happen.  Things are quickly getting back to “normal” for the banking elite and to many it seems like there are a lot more smiles down on Wall Street than there have been in a long, long time.

Bank of America’s chief executive officer, Brian T. Moynihan, is being quoted by Reuters as saying that “the worst of the credit cycle is clearly behind us” and that the economic growth we are experiencing is “real”.

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon is quoted as saying that the U.S. economy may be poised for “a strong recovery”.

And why wouldn’t they say these things?  Profits are up.  Their stock portfolios are up.  They are getting record bonuses.  They know that if anything does go wrong again that their friends in Washington D.C. will bail them out because they are “too big to fail”.

But for tens of millions of other Americans, the economy seems like it is getting worse than ever.  It is hard to explain the gut-wrenching agony that many highly-educated and highly-qualified American workers are going through as they send out hundreds of resumes only to get no response.  Or the absolute frustration of only being able to get a very low paying retail job and realizing that it will not even be able to pay the mortgage – much less support an entire family.  Or the soul-crushing despair of working two or three jobs and still not being able to pay the bills at the end of the month.

But these are the daily realities that millions of Americans must face now.  The truth is that there are not nearly enough jobs for everyone.  The number of unemployed Americans per job opening hit 5.5 in February.  It is like we are all caught in some bizarre game of musical chairs, and the losers end up destitute and out in the street.

Even many of those who can get jobs find themselves in bad situations.  Gallup’s underemployment measure hit 20.0% on March 15th.  That was up from 19.7% two weeks earlier and 19.5% at the start of the year.  A lot of very educated, very qualified people find themselves slaving away at jobs that high school students are qualified for.

But the ones being hurt the worst by this unemployment epidemic are the poor.  Check out the following chart.  At the end of 2009, the unemployment rate for those at the top end of the income scale in the United States was about 3%.  For those at the bottom of the income scale, the unemployment rate was about 30%….

It isn’t the boys down on Wall Street that are losing their homes and their jobs.

No, they are “too big to fail”.

It is millions of ordinary Americans that are losing their homes and their jobs.

And things keep getting worse.

According to RealtyTrac, foreclosure filings were reported on 367,056 properties in the month of March.  This was an increase of almost 19 percent from February, and it was the highest monthly total since RealtyTrac began issuing its report in January 2005.

Not only that, but RealtyTrac projects that there will be a total of 4.5 million home foreclosures by the end 2010.  If you figure that there are approximately 4 people per household, that is another 18 million people that will be facing the pain of a foreclosure filing.

For many Americans, losing their home to foreclosure is just too much.  For example, one man in Ohio actually decided to bulldoze his own home rather than let the bank take it in foreclosure proceedings.

Because of the extreme economic conditions, millions of Americans are in severe pain and are becoming increasingly desperate.  In some of the most depressed areas, crime is absolutely spiralling out of control.  So far this year in Detroit, car thefts are up 83%, robberies are up 50%, burglaries are up 20% and property destruction is up 42%.

Adding to all of this economic despair is the fact that food and gas prices are starting to shoot up.

In some areas of the United States, people are already paying as much as $3.50 for a gallon of gasoline, and many experts are now predicting that gasoline could hit $4.00 a gallon by the end of 2010.

Not only that, but wholesale food prices rose 2.4% in March, matching the biggest gain in 26 years.

So while the economic recovery is buzzing along quite well down on Wall Street, the reality is that for millions of other Americans things are really hard.  In fact, not even the smaller banks are experiencing much of a recovery.  The FDIC’s list of problem banks just hit a 17-year high.

No, the main beneficiaries of this “economic recovery” are the boys over on Wall Street.  They should enjoy it while it lasts, because even harder economic times are on the way, and the reality is that none of us will be able to completely escape the economic pain that is coming.

Heirloom Tomato Seeds

[FREE] Heirloom Tomato Seeds…Today Only! Get 150 FREE Heirloom Tomato Survival Seeds. Limit 1 Per Household, USA & Canada Residents Only, Just Cover Postage. Claim Your Free Seeds Now >>

What Is He Up To Now? George Soros Declares That Gold Is Now “The Ultimate Bubble”

What in the world is George Soros up to now?  At the 2010 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland Soros recently made the following statement: “When interest rates are low we have conditions for asset bubbles to develop, and they are developing at the moment. The ultimate asset bubble is gold.”  So is Soros trying to scare people away from gold?  The truth is that the price of gold did rise about 40 percent last year.  In the current economic environment, there has been a flight to safety as nervous investors have flocked to precious metals such as gold, silver and platinum.  But are these bad investments that are overvalued right now?  Not at all.  The truth is that gold and silver are just about the only things that have held their value over the past 100 years.  An ounce of gold could buy you a really nice suit 100 years ago and an ounce of gold can buy you a really nice suit today.  But now that it is starting to come out that there could be massive reserves of gold and oil in Haiti, we should expect the ongoing manipulation of the precious metal markets only to intensify.  The truth is that the big dogs like Soros want everyone else to get out of gold and silver so that they can swoop in and get more for themselves.

If you are looking for a bubble, you don’t have to look any farther than the U.S. stock market.  Remember all of that “bailout” money and “stimulus” money that the U.S. government injected into the economy?  Well, it didn’t help you much, did it?  Nope.  So where did it go?  It went to pumping up Wall Street.  In a recent article, Bob Chapman did a great job of explaining what is happening….

Liquidity is not flowing into the economy it is pouring into Wall Street to aid and abet more speculation, which has sent the Dow from 6600 to 10,700.

That is why some analysts are calling this a “jobless” recovery.  They think that because the stock market has gone up we are having a recovery.  But it is a lie.  The reality is that the stock market is experiencing a “sucker’s rally” and all the insiders are busy selling their holdings off into that rally as Chapman explains further down in his article….

It should be noted that insiders are selling into the never-ending rally, and mutual funds have very little money flow coming into the funds. That, of course, is our government at work manipulating the market. Just last week insiders bought $18 million worth of shares and sold $419 million.

But let’s not just blame Wall Street.

They are not the only ones responsible for the mess that we are in.

The truth is that we have all made bad choices.  We have all bought stuff made in China for years and years just because it was a few cents cheaper.  We knew that it would put some of our neighbors out of work eventually but we didn’t care as long as we could save a buck or two. 

All we cared about was the lowest price.  In fact, for decades the U.S. government made obscenely lopsided trade deals with foreign nations (that were very much not in our favor) just so that we could get cheaper goods for the American consumer.  We were told that anything that was good for the “consumer” was good for the economy.  “Free trade” (or in other words, other countries getting to send us all the cheap stuff they wanted to) was going to be the solution to all of our problems.

But it wasn’t.

Instead, we found out that there was a very high cost to those low prices.

In his excellent article entitled “The Wal-Mart Model of Self-Destruction: Lowest Prices, Always”, Charles Hugh Smith captured the high cost of our obsession with low prices beautifully….

The propaganda of marketing has so hollowed out American culture that most citizens cannot recall a time that “Consumerism” wasn’t the unofficial religion of American society. And what is the First Commandment of “consumerist religion”? The lowest price is all that matters.

Quality doesn’t matter; we’re going to move/throw it away anyway.

Who made it doesn’t matter. The idea that you might pay more to keep your neighbor employed is akin to worshipping the Devil: all that matters is the lowest price.

The sad thing is that many of you who are reading this article will keep running out to bloated globalist retailers like Wal-Mart just to save a few pennies.  It doesn’t matter that their stores are filled with cheap garbage made in virtual sweat shops all over the globe and that Wal-Mart has probably decimated a large percentage of the local businesses in your area since they moved in.  But on the bright side, they do pay slightly over minimum wage and they do provide part-time employment for many of the people in your area.  Perhaps you can get a job with them when your job gets shipped overseas too.

The truth is that we all need to quit being “consumers” and we all need to start participating in our communities once again.  Instead of supporting a big global chain that takes all of the profits out of your local community, why don’t you go visit the struggling small business down the street instead?  Instead of pumping your cash into the giant shell game known as the stock market, why don’t you help a family member start a business or put it into something real like gold and silver instead?

We are all supporting the current globalist system by putting money into their banks, by investing in their stocks and by endlessly shopping in their stores. 

Imagine what would happen if we all suddenly decided to stop.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!