States Are Now Wrestling With The Biggest Budget Crisis They Have Faced In All Of U.S. History

Most U.S. states are seeing tax revenues completely and utterly collapse during this COVID-19 pandemic, and some are already begging the federal government for bailout money.  Because if dramatic intervention does not happen, many states are going to have to start savagely slashing their expenditures, and that could mean unprecedented job losses on the state government level.  Typically, state government bureaucrats make above average salaries and those jobs often come with very nice benefit packages.  Once those jobs have been eliminated, they will not be easy to replace.

The tax revenue numbers that are starting to come in are nothing short of shocking.  Just consider these examples

Georgia is showing a decline of more than $100 million in sales tax, fuel tax and other tax revenue compared with the same period a year ago. Tennessee’s tax revenue is down more than $120 million. Pennsylvania’s is off by more $760 million, and Texas, which also has been hammered by the downturn in oil prices, has seen tax collections plummet by nearly $1 billion.

And New Jersey officials just reported that tax revenue in their state fell a whopping 60 percent during the month of April compared to a year ago.

These are unprecedented figures, and they have created gaping holes in state budgets all over the nation

Colorado faces a gap of nearly a quarter of the state’s general budget. The projected gap in California is more than a fifth of its spending plan and in Oklahoma, a sixth. The governor of Oregon is preparing to cut 17% of her budget. Michigan may have to slash up to a quarter of the money it sends to schools.

And what is truly frightening is that this new economic depression in only a couple of months old.

What will things look like once we get several more months down the road?

Already, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says that things are so bad in his state that a 61 billion dollar federal bailout is needed

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said his state needs $61 billion in federal support “or we will wind up aggravating the situation” by forcing cuts to local governments.

“You know who local governments are? That’s police, firefighters. You want me to cut hospitals? Hospitals are the nurses and the doctors who just got us through this and everyone celebrates as heroes. If you don’t fund the state, that’s who you’re cutting in terms of finances.”

Of course we have entered a time when literally everyone is going to be begging the federal government for money.

And as I discussed yesterday, all of the reckless borrowing and spending the federal government has been doing is going to absolutely wreck the value of our currency.

But most of our politicians are not really concerned about the value of the U.S. dollar at this point.  They just want to to rev up the cash machine and try to patch up our sinking ship.

Another thing to keep a close eye on is the fact that public pension plans all over the country are headed for major problems.  In fact, U.S. public pension plans just had the worst quarter ever recorded

Public pension plans lost a median 13.2% in the three months ended March 31, according to Wilshire Trust Universe Comparison Service data released Tuesday, slightly more than in the fourth quarter of 2008. March’s stock market plummet led to the biggest one-quarter drop in the 40 years the firm has been tracking.

“It was a horrible quarter for all public funds,” said Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund Investment Chief Angela Miller-May.

This was already an emerging crisis even before COVID-19 came along, and now a lot of these plans are going to be in very, very serious trouble.

This is one of the reasons why authorities are so desperate to prop up the stock market.  Pension plans have poured so much money into stocks in recent years, and that worked out just fine during the boom years.

But now that a new economic depression has arrived, it is going to turn out to be a catastrophic strategy.

Meanwhile, we continue to get more bad economic news with each passing day.  On Wednesday, we learned that Steak ‘n Shake will be permanently shutting down more than 50 locations

The restaurant Steak ‘n Shake has announced the decision to permanently close at least 51 of its restaurant locations nationwide. The move comes amid growing worry about the COVID-19 outbreak and its damage on the company’s financial future.

Biglari Holdings Inc. announced in its first quarter report that Steak ‘n Shake’s revenue has drop $59 million compared to the same time last year because of a decrease in demand.

For those keeping score at home, these are more jobs that are never, ever coming back.

But I certainly can’t blame Steak ‘n Shake for shutting down restaurants.  Social distancing restrictions will remain in effect in some areas of the country for many months to come, and fear of the coronavirus will keep many customers away long after all of the restrictions have finally been lifted.

Certain industries are just going to have to accept the fact that we have entered a new economic reality, and business models are going to have to fundamentally change.  For example, the International Air Transport Association is already projecting lower levels of air travel for at least the next five years

Demand for air travel will lag behind pre-coronavirus forecasts for at least five more years, according to the latest projections from the International Air Transport Association.

Global traffic, or the number of passengers carried times the distance flown, will still be about 10% below original estimates in 2025, Brian Pearce, the trade group’s chief economist, said in a media briefing Wednesday.

I was stunned when I first read that.

But this is how fast an economic death spiral can happen.  Fear of the coronavirus has paralyzed economic demand, and this is causing businesses all over America to fail.

As more businesses fail, that creates even more economic fear, and lenders get even tighter with their money.

Hopefully we can break out of this cycle of fear eventually, but of course this “perfect storm” that we are now facing is still only in the very early chapters.

At some point this coronavirus pandemic will fade, but there will be no running away from the consequences of decades of exceedingly foolish decisions.

Those decisions set the stage for the greatest economic crisis in our history, and now we are starting to watch that crisis play out right in front of our eyes on a daily basis.

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.

22 Signs That The Collapsing Spanish Economy Is Heading Into A Great Depression

What happens when debt-fueled false prosperity disappears?  Just look at Spain.  The 4th largest economy in the eurozone was riding high during the boom years, but now the Spanish economy is collapsing with no end in sight.  When a debt bubble gets interrupted, the consequences can be rather chaotic.  Just like we saw in Greece, austerity is causing the economy to slow down in Spain.  But when the economy slows down, tax revenues fall and that makes it even more difficult to meet budget targets.  So even more austerity measures are needed to keep debt under control and the cycle just keeps going.  Unfortunately, even with all of the recently implemented austerity measures the Spanish government is still not even close to a balanced budget.  Meanwhile, the housing market in Spain is crashing and unemployment is already above 24 percent.  The Spanish banking system is a giant, unregulated mess that is on the verge of a massive implosion, and the Spanish stock market has been declining rapidly.  The Spanish government is going to need a massive bailout and so will the entire Spanish banking system.  But that is going to be a huge problem, because the Spanish economy is almost 5 times as large as the Greek economy.  When the Spanish financial system collapses, the entire globe is going to feel the pain and there will be no easy solution.

So just how bad are things in Spain at this point?

The following are 22 signs that the collapsing Spanish economy is heading into a great depression….

#1 The unemployment rate in Spain has reached 24.4 percent – a new all-time record high.  Back in April 2007, the unemployment rate in Spain was only 7.9 percent.

#2 The unemployment rate in Spain is now higher than the U.S. unemployment rate was during any point during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

#3 According to CNBC, some analysts are projecting that the unemployment rate in Spain is going to go above 30 percent.

#4 The unemployment rate for those under the age of 25 in Spain is now a whopping 52 percent.

#5 There are more than 47 million people living in Spain today.  Only about 17 million of them have jobs.

#6 Retail sales in Spain have declined for 21 months in a row.

#7 The Bank of Spain has officially confirmed that Spain has already entered another recession.

#8 Last week, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services slashed Spain’s credit rating from A to BBB+.

#9 The yield on 10-year Spanish bonds is up around 6 percent again.  That is considered to be very dangerous territory.

#10 Two of Spain’s biggest banks have announced that they are going to stop increasing their holdings of Spanish government debt.

#11 Of all the loans held by Spanish banks, 8.15 percent are considered to be “bad loans”.

#12 The total value of all bad loans in Spain is equivalent to approximately 13 percent of Spanish GDP.

#13 Of all real estate assets held by Spanish banks, more than 50 percent of them are considered to be “troubled” by the Spanish government.

#14 That total amount of money loaned out by Spanish banks is equivalent to approximately 170 percent of Spanish GDP.

#15 Home prices in Spain fell by 11.2 percent last year, and the number of property repossessions in Spain rose by a staggering 32 percent during 2011.

#16 Spanish housing prices are now down 25 percent from the peak of the housing market and Citibank’s Willem Buiter expects the eventual decline to be somewhere around 60 percent.

#17 It is being projected the the economy of Spain will shrink by 1.7 percent this year, although there are some analysts that feel that projection is way too optimistic.

#18 The Spanish government has announced a ban on all cash transactions larger than 2,500 euros.

#19 One key Spanish stock index has already fallen by more than 19 percent so far this year.

#20 The Spanish government recently admitted that its 2011 budget deficit was much larger than originally projected and that it probably will not meet its budget targets for 2012 either.

#21 Spain’s debt to GDP ratio is projected to rise by more than 11 percent during 2012.

#22 Worldwide exposure to Spanish debt is estimated to be well over a trillion euros.

Spain is going down the exact same road that Greece went down.

Greece is already suffering through a great depression and now Spain is joining them.  The following is from a recent BBC article….

“In Spain today, a cycle similar to Greece is starting to develop,” said HSBC chief economist Stephen King.

“The recession is so deep that when you take one step forward on austerity, it takes you two steps back.”

In Spain right now there is a lot of fear and panic about the economy.  In many areas, it seems like absolutely nobody is hiring right now.  The following is from a recent USA Today article….

“The situation is very bad. There’s no work,” said Enrique Sebastian, a 48-year-old unemployed surgery room assistant as he left one of Madrid’s unemployment offices. “The only future I see is one with wages of €400 ($530) a month for eight-hour days. And that’s if you can find it.”

But Spain is just at the beginning of a downward spiral.  Just wait until they have been through a few years of economic depression.  Once that happens, millions of people begin to lose all hope.  A recent Reuters article discussed the epidemic of suicides that is happening in Greece right now….

On Monday, a 38-year-old geology lecturer hanged himself from a lamp post in Athens and on the same day a 35-year-old priest jumped to his death off his balcony in northern Greece. On Wednesday, a 23-year-old student shot himself in the head.

In a country that has had one of the lowest suicide rates in the world, a surge in the number of suicides in the wake of an economic crisis has shocked and gripped the Mediterranean nation – and its media – before a May 6 election.

And you know what?

The nightmares that we are seeing unfold in Spain and Greece right now are just a preview of what is coming to most of the rest of the world.

The next wave of the economic crisis will soon envelop the United States, Japan and the rest of Europe.

When it strikes, the pain will be immense.

But it won’t be the end – it will only be just the beginning.

The global financial system is starting to crumble.

You better get ready.

The Worst In The World – The U.S. Balance Of Trade Is Mind-Blowingly Bad

Did you know that we buy about a half a trillion dollars more stuff from the rest of the world than they buy from us?  The U.S. balance of trade is not only mind-blowingly bad – it is the worst in the world.  It is being projected that the U.S. trade deficit for 2011 will be 558.2 billion dollars.  That would be an increase of more than 11 percent from last year.  As I have written about previously, the United States is the worst in the world at a lot of things, but as far as the economic well-being of our nation is concerned, our balance of trade is particularly important.  Every single month, far more money goes out of this country than comes into it.  Tax revenues are significantly reduced as all of this money gets sucked out of our communities.  The federal government, state governments and local governments borrow gigantic piles of money to try to make up the difference, but all of this borrowing just makes our debt problems a whole lot worse.  In the end, no amount of government debt is going to be able to cover over the fact that our national economic pie is shrinking.  We are continually consuming far more wealth than we produce, and that is a recipe for economic disaster.

The “current account balance” is one key indicator of how a country is doing economically.  The following is how the CIA World Factbook defines “current account balance”….

This entry records a country’s net trade in goods and services, plus net earnings from rents, interest, profits, and dividends, and net transfer payments (such as pension funds and worker remittances) to and from the rest of the world during the period specified.

If someone were to ask you what countries in the world have strong, thriving economies right now, what countries would you think of?

Would countries like China, Germany, Russia and Saudi Arabia come to mind?

Well, all of those nations have huge positive current account balances.  In fact, China has the best current account balance in the world at +$305 billion.

So who is on the other end of the scale?

The following information comes directly from a CIA World Factbook chart….

190 Turkey $ -48,420,000,000

191 Canada $ -48,500,000,000

192 India $ -51,780,000,000

193 France $ -54,400,000,000

194 United Kingdom $ -56,190,000,000

195 Spain $ -63,650,000,000

196 Italy $ -67,940,000,000

197 United States $ -470,200,000,000

The United States is rated dead last at number 197.

Just take a close look at those numbers for a minute.

The U.S. had a current account balance of negative 470 billion dollars in 2010.  That figure was almost 7 times worse than the next worst country (Italy).

Not only does the United States have the worst current account balance in the entire world, the truth is that no other country is even in the same ballpark as us.

We are bleeding wealth so fast that it is hard to even describe it.

But perhaps a real life example can help put this all into perspective.

One 22-year-old Saudi Arabian student has a collection of sports cars that is worth more than 12 million dollars.  Reportedly, his collection includes at least three Lamborghinis, five Ferraris and five Porsches.

And guess who paid for it?

You did.

Every month, billions of dollars go out of the United States to help pay for the insane lifestyles of the ultra-wealthy oil barons of the Middle East.

Meanwhile, dozens of major U.S. cities are degenerating into hellholes.

Once upon a time, Detroit was one of the greatest industrial cities that the world has ever seen.  It was the envy of the entire globe.

But now Detroit is an utter nightmare….

*An analysis of census figures found that 48.5% of all men living in Detroit from age 20 to age 64 did not have a job in 2008.

*If you can believe it, the median price of a home in Detroit is now just $6000.

*Only 25 percent of students in Detroit graduate from high school.

So what happened to Detroit?

Well, just as has been happening in so many other U.S. cities, industry has been leaving at an astounding pace.

As I have written about previously, an average of 23 manufacturing facilities a day were shut down in the United States during 2010.

Overall, the U.S. has lost a total of more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities since 2001.

This country is bleeding middle class jobs profusely, and neither major political party seems to care.

American family budgets are being stretched tighter and tighter these days.  There are not nearly enough good jobs to go around and yet the cost of everything just seems to keep going up.

Many families are going into massive amounts of debt in an attempt to make ends meet.  According to a recent CNN article, credit card use in the United States is experiencing a major upswing once again….

Purchases made with credit cards rose 8.2% in the first quarter of 2011, 9% in the second quarter and 10.6% in the third quarter, according to First Data.

Of course American consumers were out in force on Black Friday once again this year.  They gleefully filled up their carts with cheap plastic crap made overseas, and many racked up huge credit card balances in the process.

But most of us never stop to think about those that make all of these cheap plastic products for us.

Thanks to the globalization of the economy, big corporations and corrupt governments can make stuff in countries where it is legal to pay slave labor wages and then ship their products into the United States for free.

It is important for all of us to learn what actually happens to these people that are working so hard for slave labor wages.  The following comes from a recent article in the Guardian….

At the Hung Hing factory the researcher found that the 8,000 workers put in up to 100 hours of overtime a month, far in excess of the legal maximum. Workers say they have to sign a document agreeing to work additional overtime on top of the legal maximum. The basic wage was £132 a month (up to £250 with maximum overtime payments) but wages were paid up to three weeks late.

Workers complained of inadequate training with the factory machines and last year one worker died when he fell into a machine. They said there were frequent injuries and concerns over the chemicals used. There were also complaints about the standard of the dormitories, where water for washing and flushing toilets is turned off at 10pm.

How in the world are American workers supposed to “compete” for jobs at those wage levels?

As I have written about previously, Professor Alan Blinder of Princeton University is warning that 40 million more U.S. jobs could be sent offshore over the next two decades if nothing is done to stop this.

But instead, our “representatives” in Congress just keep pushing more “free trade” agreements as the answer to our problems.  Congress has passed new free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, and the Obama administration has made “the NAFTA of the Pacific” a very high priority.

Well, if “free trade” is supposed to create so many jobs, then why was last decade the worst decade for the creation of jobs since the Great Depression?

If you can believe it, zero jobs were created between 1999 and 2009.  The following comes from an article in Washington Monthly….

“If any single number captures the state of the American economy over the last decade, it is zero. That was the net gain in jobs between 1999 and 2009—nada, nil, zip. By painful contrast, from the 1940s through the 1990s, recessions came and went, but no decade ended without at least a 20 percent increase in the number of jobs.”

But our leaders don’t care about us.  In fact, even the members of Obama’s “jobs panel” have been shipping jobs out of the United States at a very rapid pace.

The U.S. has run a negative balance of trade with the rest of the globe every single year since 1976.  During that time, the U.S. has run up a total trade deficit of more than 7.5 trillion dollars with the rest of the planet.

That 7.5 trillion dollars could have gone to support U.S. workers and U.S. businesses.

But it didn’t.  Instead, it went out of the country and it made foreigners wealthier as our own cities slowly rotted.

Now we are actually passing laws that encourage wealthy foreigners to come in and buy up pieces of the United States.

For example, there is actually a bill in Congress that would automatically give residence visas to any foreigners that are willing to spend at least half a million dollars to buy houses inside the United States.

The idea behind the bill is that this will get the housing market moving again.

There aren’t enough Americans with good jobs to buy houses, so we have now decided to beg foreigners to buy them.

How bizarre is that?

Until our horrendous balance of trade is fixed, the employment situation in this country is going to continue to get worse.

Any politician that tries to sell you on a “jobs plan” that does not address our balance of trade is either totally incompetent or is straight out lying to you.

The economic infrastructure of America is crumbling a little bit more every single day.  If something dramatic is not done, we will continue to bleed businesses, bleed jobs and bleed wealth.

Please share this information with as many people as you can.  The American people need to understand what is happening to the economy.  We need to work to wake up as many people as we can before it is too late.

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