We Witnessed The 3rd Largest Point Crash In Stock Market History On The Same Day That The 3rd Most Powerful Hurricane To Ever Hit The U.S. Made Landfall

If you don’t believe in “coincidences”, what are we supposed to make of this?  On Wednesday, the 3rd most powerful hurricane to ever hit the United States made landfall in the Florida panhandle.  Entire communities were absolutely shredded as Hurricane Michael came ashore with sustained winds of 155 miles per hour.  You can find the entire article that I just posted about this massive storm right here.  In this article, I am going to focus on what just happened on Wall Street.  At the exact same time that Hurricane Michael was causing chaos in the Southeast, an October stock market crash was causing havoc in the Northeast.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 831 points, which was the 3rd largest single day point crash in stock market history.  Of course it isn’t as if we hadn’t been repeatedly warned that this was coming, and the truth is that it looks like this is only the start of the financial shaking.

In fact, international financial markets are in a state of chaos as I write this article.  Asian markets are a sea of red, and at this moment Dow futures are way down.

So it appears likely that Wednesday’s nightmare may extend into Thursday as well.

But before we look ahead too much, let’s talk about the utter carnage that we just witnessed.

According to Bloomberg, the 500 wealthiest people in the world lost 99 billion dollars on Wednesday…

Plunging global markets lopped $99 billion from the fortunes of the world’s 500 wealthiest people on Wednesday, the year’s second-steepest one-day drop for the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos lost $9.1 billion, the most of anyone on the index, as shares of the online retailer fell the most in more than two years. The plunge lowered Bezos’s net worth to $145.2 billion, its lowest since July.

Can you imagine losing that much money on a single day?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has now fallen for four out of the last five trading sessions, and for the month as a whole all three of the major indexes are way down

Stocks have fallen sharply this month. For October, the S&P 500 and the Dow are down more than 4.4 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively. The Nasdaq, meanwhile, has lost more than 7.5 percent.

Tech stocks are being hit particularly hard.  In fact, tech stocks just had their worst day in more than seven years

Technology stocks got clobbered on Wednesday, suffering their worst day in more than seven years, as concerns over rising interest rates punished the overall market, particularly shares of companies that have been the best performers.

The S&P 500 Information Technology Index closed at $1,220.62, down 4.8 percent, marking the biggest decline since August 18, 2011, when the index dropped 5.3 percent. All 65 members of the index fell.

At this point, 330 out of the 505 stocks that make up the S&P 500 are already more than 10 percent below their 52-week highs.

That means that about two-thirds of all S&P 500 stocks are officially in correction territory.

And 140 of those stocks are already down more than 20 percent from their 52-week highs, and that means that they are officially in bear market territory.

So why is this happening?

Many of the “experts” are pointing to the dramatic rise in interest rates

Nervousness had been building for days on Wall Street. The catalyst was the recent spike in the yield on a closely watched government bond to a seven-year high.

The 10-year Treasury note — whose key rate impacts the pricing on things ranging from fixed-rate mortgages to stocks to virtually every financial asset on the planet — recently climbed above 3.25 percent for the first time since May 2011. And when you add the threat of higher borrowing costs on things like houses and cars and corporate debt to the economic obstacles caused by the U.S. trade war with China, all it takes is a whiff of weakness to set a major sell-off in motion.

A week ago, I warned my readers that rapidly rising rates could spark a market sell-off, and now it is happening with a ferocity that is absolutely breathtaking.

Needless to say, President Trump was not thrilled by the market crash on Wednesday, and he is pointing the blame at the Federal Reserve

President Donald Trump slammed the Federal Reserve as “going loco” for its interest-rate increases this year in comments hours after the worst U.S. stock market sell-off since February.

Trump said in a telephone interview on Fox News late Wednesday night the market plunge wasn’t because of his trade conflict with China: “That wasn’t it. The problem I have is with the Fed,” he said. “The Fed is going wild. They’re raising interest rates and it’s ridiculous.”

“That’s not the problem,” he said of the trade standoff. “The problem in my opinion is the fed,” he added. “The fed is going loco.”

I love it.

I absolutely love it.

Could it be possible that we will soon see supporters chant “end the Fed” at Trump rallies?

No president has ever openly criticized the Federal Reserve like this, and I greatly applaud Trump for doing so.

And he is precisely correct – the Federal Reserve is the problem.

Nobody has more power over the performance of the U.S. economy than the Federal Reserve does, and the only way that our long-term economic and financial problems will ever be fixed is if the Federal Reserve is shut down.

So I hope that President Trump’s feud with the Federal Reserve gets as heated as possible.  I hope that the Federal Reserve becomes a central issue during the 2020 presidential election, and I hope that every Trump supporter in the entire country will urge Trump to make a promise to shut down the Federal Reserve.

The Federal Reserve is a deeply insidious system that has turned America into a nation of debt slaves, and it is definitely time to end that sick and twisted debt-based system and return this nation to a solid financial foundation.

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.

The Last Days Warrior Summit is the premier online event of 2018 for Christians, Conservatives and Patriots.  It is a premium-members only international event that will empower and equip you with the knowledge and tools that you need as global events begin to escalate dramatically.  The speaker list includes Michael Snyder, Mike Adams, Dave Daubenmire, Ray Gano, Dr. Daniel Daves, Gary Kah, Justus Knight, Doug Krieger, Lyn Leahz, Laura Maxwell and many more. Full summit access will begin on October 25th, and if you would like to register for this unprecedented event you can do so right here.

Ron Paul Is Warning That A 50% Stock Market Decline Is Coming – And That There Is No Way To Stop It

Is Ron Paul about to be proven right once again?  For a very long time, Ron Paul has been one of my political heroes.  His willingness to stand up for true constitutional values and to keep saying “no” to the Washington establishment over and over again won the hearts of millions of American voters, and I wish that there had been enough of us to send him to the White House either in 2008 or in 2012.  To this day, I still wish that we could make his classic work entitled “End The Fed” required reading in every high school classroom in America.  He was one of the few members of Congress that actually understood economics, and it is very sad that he has now retired from politics.  With the enormous mess that Washington D.C. has become, we sure could use a lot more statesmen like him right now.

But even though he has retired from politics, Ron Paul is still speaking out about the most important issues of the day.  And what he recently told CNBC is extremely ominous.

The following comes from a CNBC article entitled “Ron Paul: US is barreling towards a stock market drop of 50% or more, and there’s no way to prevent it”

According to the former Republican Congressman from Texas, the recent jump in Treasury bond yields suggest the U.S. is barreling towards a potential recession and market meltdown at a faster and faster pace.

And, he sees no way to prevent it.

Of course lots of such predictions are flying around these days.

In fact, at this point even the IMF is warning of a “second Great Depression”.

So when it actually takes place it won’t be much of a surprise.  However, I do believe that many will be surprised by the ferocity of the coming crash.  According to Ron Paul, stock prices could end up falling by up to 50 percent

Paul is a vocal Libertarian known for an ardent grassroots fanbase that propelled him to multiple presidential runs, as well as his grim warnings about the economy. Yet he has been warning investors for years that an epic drop of 50 percent or more will eventually hit the stock market. He predicted the February correction, but not in size and scope.

Actually, stock prices need to fall by at least 50 percent in order for stock valuations to get close to their long-term averages.

In the end, if stocks only fall by 50 percent we will be extremely fortunate.  Stock valuations always, always, always return to their long-term averages eventually, and usually they fall below those averages during a period of adjustment.

And the mood on Wall Street has definitely changed.  The euphoria that we once witnessed is now gone, and instead it has been replaced by a gnawing sense that a really big downturn is coming.  In his most recent piece, John Hussman compared it to the fading out of a pop song

In recent days, the combination of extreme valuations and unfavorable market internals has been joined by acute dispersion in daily trading data that often occurs within a few days of pre-collapse peaks in the market. My opinion is that the music has already quietly faded out like the end of a pop song, in a wholly uneventful way, and that even a surprise push to further highs would be marginal.

And he concluded his most recent piece with this very chilling statement

For now, and until market conditions shift, there’s an open trap door under the equity market, and it’s a very long way down.

The end of last week was very bad for the markets, and so Monday and Tuesday will be key.

If stock prices continue to fall, this could be the beginning of a race for the exits.

But if stock prices rebound a bit, it means that we could have some more time.

And keep an eye on junk bonds.  They crashed really hard just before the financial crisis of 2008, and they are starting to slip here in October 2018.

A full-blown junk bond panic would definitely be a very clear sign that a major market crash is imminent.

As I write this, all of the markets in Asia are down.  Chinese stocks have fallen almost 3 percent, and that is very troubling news.

But whether a massive crisis erupts right now or not, the truth is that there is no way that we are going to avoid the consequences of our actions.

At this moment we are in the terminal phase of the biggest debt bubble in human history.  In fact, total indebtedness in the United States has increased by more than 2 trillion dollars over the past 12 months…

In total, indebtedness of consumers, corporations, and all governments has grown by $2.04 trillion over the past four quarters. And they’re going to be paying higher interest rates on this ballooning debt. In other words, debt service costs are going to rise substantially.

All of this debt has fueled a short-term bubble of relative “prosperity”, but meanwhile all of our long-term problems just continue to get worse.

There is no possible way that our debt bubble can continue to grow much faster than the overall economy indefinitely.  In fact, we have already been defying the laws of economics for way too long.

Eventually all debt bubbles burst, and when this one bursts we are going to experience economic pain on a scale that America has never seen before.

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.

The Last Days Warrior Summit is the premier online event of 2018 for Christians, Conservatives and Patriots.  It is a premium-members only international event that will empower and equip you with the knowledge and tools that you need as global events begin to escalate dramatically.  The speaker list includes Michael Snyder, Mike Adams, Dave Daubenmire, Ray Gano, Dr. Daniel Daves, Gary Kah, Justus Knight, Doug Krieger, Lyn Leahz, Laura Maxwell and many more. Full summit access will begin on October 25th, and if you would like to register for this unprecedented event you can do so right here.

Worst Job Growth In A Year – Way Below Expectations

We just got more evidence that the U.S. economy is starting to slow down.  The U.S. economy must produce somewhere around 200,000 jobs a month just to keep up with population growth, and last month we were way below that number.  In fact, the employment numbers that the government released on Friday were the worst that we have seen in an entire year.  In late 2018, the IMF is openly warning of “a second Great Depression”, and indications that another economic crisis is coming are emerging all around us.  Many had been hoping that very strong employment numbers on Friday would change that trend, but instead it was “the worst performance since last September”

Nonfarm payrolls rose just 134,000, well below Refinitiv estimates of 185,000 and the worst performance since last September, when a labor strike weighed on the numbers.

But even though the number of jobs created did not even come close to keeping up with population growth, we are told that the unemployment rate actually declined, and some media outlets are proudly touting this as some sort of “success”.

Of course other numbers actually show that the unemployment rate is rising.  The following comes from CNBC

A separate measure of unemployment that includes discouraged workers and those holding jobs part-time for economic reasons — sometimes called the “real unemployment rate” — edged higher to 7.5 percent.

And according to shadowstats.com, the actual unemployment rate in the United States right now is 21.3 percent.  That is down slightly from the peak, but it is nowhere even close to where we were before the last recession.

There are many out there that desperately want to believe that the U.S. economy is “booming”, but that simply is not accurate.

If the U.S. economy really is “booming”, then why has “the largest ever homeless encampment” that Minneapolis has ever seen just gone up?…

The Associated Press (AP) has revealed a troubling story of the largest ever homeless encampment site mostly made up of Native Americans has quickly erected just south of downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota.

City officials are scrambling to contain the situation as two deaths in recent weeks, concerns about disease and infection, illicit drug use and the coming winter season, have sounded the alarm of a developing public health crisis.

We also got another really bad piece of economic news on Friday.

According to official government numbers, the U.S. trade deficit increased once again in August

The US Census Bureau reported Friday that the trade deficit increased to $53.2 billion in August for both goods and services, up from $50.0 billion in July. The goods trade deficit, which draws most of Trump’s attention, also increased to $86.3 billion, a $3.8 billion increase from the month before.

The primary reason for the increase in the deficit was a collapse in exports, especially soybeans, which fell off by $1 billion, a 28% drop from the month prior. China, the largest buyer of US soybeans, imposed tariffs on the American crop and it appears the restrictions are taking a toll.

One of the primary goals of the trade war is to decrease the size of our trade deficit, and so far it is not working.

Financial markets responded very negatively to all of the bad economic news.  Stocks plunged for a third straight day on Friday, and the Nasdaq was hit particularly hard

US equity markets were pressured for a third straight day Friday, with all of the major averages sporting losses of at least 1% at their lows. Heavy selling pushed the tech-heavy Nasdaq down by as much as 2.1%, before rebounding and finishing with a loss of just more than 1%.

Overall, it was a very tough week on Wall Street.  The following is how Zero Hedge summarized the carnage…

 

  • US Stocks – worst 2-day drop since May
  • Small Caps, Nasdaq – biggest weekly drop in 7 months
  • Small Caps – biggest 5-week drop since Nov 2016
  • China (closed) ETF – biggest weekly drop in 7 months
  • Semis – biggest weekly drop in 6 months
  • FANGs – biggest weekly drop in 7 months
  • Homebuilders – worst.losing.streak.ever…
  • USD Index – best week in 2 months
  • HY Bonds – biggest weekly price drop in 8 months
  • IG Bonds – biggest weekly drop since Nov 2016
  • Treasury Yields – biggest weekly yield spike in 8 months
  • Yield Curve – biggest weekly steepening in 8 months
  • Gold – best weekly gain in 6 weeks

 

In particular, it is absolutely stunning what is happening to homebuilder stocks.  They have now fallen for 13 days in a row, and that could be another very clear indication that a housing crash is coming.

None of the problems that caused the crash of 2008 have been fixed.  It absolutely amazes me that some people think that you can “fix” our economy by tinkering with the tax code a little bit and getting rid of a few regulations.  A handful of marginal changes is not going to alter our long-term outlook one bit.

The truth is that our economic system requires extensive emergency surgery.  We need to abolish the Federal Reserve, abolish the IRS, abolish the income tax and start using currency that is not created by debt.  And that would just be for starters.  Our current economic system is fundamentally flawed, and in the long-term it is inevitably going to fail.  The best that anyone can do in the short-term is to keep inflating the bubbles so that things will hold together long enough until they can become somebody else’s problem.

Right now, the only way that we can achieve economic growth is by growing debt at a far faster pace than the overall economy is expanding.  That is a recipe for a long-term disaster, and everyone knows that we are in the process of committing national suicide, but nobody is really doing anything to stop it.

Sadly, it is probably going to take another major crisis before people start calling for real change, and that is extremely unfortunate.

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.

The Last Days Warrior Summit is the premier online event of 2018 for Christians, Conservatives and Patriots.  It is a premium-members only international event that will empower and equip you with the knowledge and tools that you need as global events begin to escalate dramatically.  The speaker list includes Michael Snyder, Mike Adams, Dave Daubenmire, Ray Gano, Dr. Daniel Daves, Gary Kah, Justus Knight, Doug Krieger, Lyn Leahz, Laura Maxwell and many more. Full summit access will begin on October 25th, and if you would like to register for this unprecedented event you can do so right here.

 

Evidence The Housing Bubble Is Bursting?: “Home Sellers Are Slashing Prices At The Highest Rate In At Least Eight Years”

The housing market indicated that a crisis was coming in 2008.  Is the same thing happening once again in 2018?  For several years, the housing market has been one of the bright spots for the U.S. economy.  Home prices, especially in the hottest markets on the east and west coasts, had been soaring.  But now that has completely changed, and home sellers are cutting prices at a pace that we have not seen since the last recession.  In case you are wondering, this is definitely a major red flag for the economy.  According to CNBC, home sellers are “slashing prices at the highest rate in at least eight years”…

After three years of soaring home prices, the heat is coming off the U.S. housing market. Home sellers are slashing prices at the highest rate in at least eight years, especially in the West, where the price gains were hottest.

It is quite interesting that prices are being cut fastest in the markets that were once the hottest, because that is exactly what happened during the subprime mortgage meltdown in 2008 too.

In a previous article, I documented the fact that experts were warning that “the U.S. housing market looks headed for its worst slowdown in years”, but even I was stunned by how bad these new numbers are.

According to Redfin, more than one out of every four homes for sale in America had a price drop within the most recent four week period…

In the four weeks ended Sept. 16, more than one-quarter of the homes listed for sale had a price drop, according to Redfin, a real estate brokerage. That is the highest level since the company began tracking the metric in 2010. Redfin defines a price drop as a reduction in the list price of more than 1 percent and less than 50 percent.

That is absolutely crazy.

I have never even heard of a number anywhere close to that in a 30 day period.

Of course the reason why prices are being dropped is because homes are not selling.  The supply of homes available for sale is shooting up, and that is good news for buyers but really bad news for sellers.

It could be argued that home prices needed to come down because they had gotten ridiculously high in recent months, and I don’t think that there are too many people that would argue with that.

But is this just an “adjustment”, or is this the beginning of another crisis for the housing market?

Just like a decade ago, millions of American families have really stretched themselves financially to get into homes that they really can’t afford.  If a new economic downturn results in large numbers of Americans losing their jobs, we are once again going to see mortgage defaults rise to stunning heights.

We live at a time when the middle class is shrinking and most families are barely making it from month to month.  The cost of living is steadily rising, but paychecks are not, and that is resulting in a huge middle class squeeze.  I really like how my good friend MN Gordon made this point in his most recent article

The general burden of the American worker is the daily task of squaring the difference between the booming economy reported by the government bureaus and the dreary economy reported in their biweekly paychecks. There is sound reason to believe that this task, this burden of the American worker, has been reduced to some sort of practical joke. An exhausting game of chase the wild goose.

How is it that the economy’s been growing for nearly a decade straight, but the average worker’s seen no meaningful increase in their income? Have workers really been sprinting in place this entire time? How did they end up in this ridiculous situation?

The fact is, for the American worker, America’s brand of a centrally planned economy doesn’t pay. The dual impediments of fake money and regulatory madness apply exactions which cannot be overcome. There are claims to the fruits of one’s labors long before they’ve been earned.

The economy, in other words, has been rigged. The value that workers produce flows to Washington and Wall Street, where it’s siphoned off and misallocated to the cadre of officials, cronies, and big bankers. What’s left is spent to merely keep the lights on, the car running, and food upon the table.

And unfortunately, things are likely to only go downhill from here.

The trade war is really starting to take a toll on the global economy, and it continues to escalate.  Back during the Great Depression we faced a similar scenario, and we would be wise to learn from history.  In a recent post, Robert Wenzel shared a quote from Dr. Benjamin M. Anderson that was pulled from his book entitled “Economics and the Public Welfare: A Financial and Economic History of the United States, 1914-1946”

[T]here came another folly of government intervention in 1930 transcending all the rest in significance. In a world staggering under a load of international debt which could be carried only if countries under pressure could produce goods and export them to their creditors, we, the great creditor nation of the world, with tariffs already far too high, raised our tariffs again. The Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act of June 1930 was the crowning folly of the who period from 1920 to 1933….

Protectionism ran wild all over the world.  Markets were cut off.  Trade lines were narrowed.  Unemployment in the export industries all over the world grew with great rapidity, and the prices of export commodities, notably farm commodities in the United States, dropped with ominous rapidity….

The dangers of this measure were so well understood in financial circles that, up to the very last, the New York financial district retained hope the President Hoover would veto the tariff bill.  But late on Sunday, June 15, it was announced that he would sign the bill. This was headline news Monday morning. The stock market broke twelve points in the New York Time averages that day and the industrials broke nearly twenty points. The market, not the President, was right.

Even though the stock market has been booming, everything else appears to indicate that the U.S. economy is slowing down.

If home prices continue to fall precipitously, that is going to put even more pressure on the system, and it won’t be too long before we reach a breaking point.

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.

Oil Prices Have Been Rising And $4 A Gallon Gasoline Would Put Enormous Stress On The U.S. Economy

Thanks to increasing demand and upcoming U.S. sanctions against Iran, oil prices have been rising and some analysts are forecasting that they will surge even higher in the months ahead.  Unfortunately, that would be very bad news for the U.S. economy at a time when concerns about a major economic downturn have already been percolating.  In recent years, extremely low gasoline prices have been one of the factors that have contributed to a period of relative economic stability in the United States.  Because our country is so spread out, we import such a high percentage of our goods, and we are so dependent on foreign oil, our economy is particularly vulnerable to gasoline price shocks.  Anyone that lived in the U.S. during the early 1970s can attest to that.  If the average price of gasoline rises to $4 a gallon by the end of 2018 that will be really bad news, and if the average price of gasoline were to hit $5 a gallon that would be catastrophic for the economy.

Very early on Tuesday, the price of U.S. oil surged past $70 a barrel in anticipation of the approaching hurricane along the Gulf Coast.  The following comes from Fox Business

U.S. oil prices rose on Tuesday, breaking past $70 per barrel, after two Gulf of Mexico oil platforms were evacuated in preparation for a hurricane.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $70.05 per barrel at 0353 GMT, up 25 cents, or 0.4 percent from their last settlement.

If we stay at about $70 a gallon, that isn’t going to be much of a problem.

But some analysts are now speaking of “an impending supply crunch”, and that is a very troubling sign.  For example, just check out what Stephen Brennock is saying

“Exports from OPEC’s third-biggest producer are falling faster than expected and worse is to come ahead of a looming second wave of U.S. sanctions,” said Stephen Brennock, analyst at London brokerage PVM Oil Associates. “Fears of an impending supply crunch are gaining traction.”

So how high could prices ultimately go?

Well, energy expert John Kilduff is now projecting that we could see the price of gasoline at $4 a gallon by winter

Energy expert John Kilduff counts Iran sanctions as the top reason West Texas Intermediate (WTI) could climb as much as 30 percent by winter, and that could spell $4 a gallon unleaded gasoline at the pumps.

“The global market is tight and it’s getting tighter, and the big strangle around the market right now is what’s in the process of happening with Iran and the Iran sanctions,” the Again Capital founding partner said on CNBC’s “Futures Now.”

About two months from now, U.S. sanctions will formally be imposed on Iran, and that is going to significantly restrict the supply of oil available in the marketplace.

So refiners that had relied on Iranian oil are “scrambling” to find new suppliers, and this could ultimately drive oil prices much higher

Iran’s oil exports are plummeting, as refiners scramble to find alternatives ahead of a re imposition of U.S. sanctions in early November. That in turn has helped drain a glut of unsold oil.

“To the extent we’re seeing the Iran barrels lost to the market, you’re looking at a WTI price and Brent in the $85 to $95 range, potentially,” Kilduff said.

Other sources are also predicting that oil prices will rise.

Barclays is warning that “prices could reach $80 and higher in the short term”, and BNP Paribas is now anticipating that Brent crude will average $79 a barrel in 2019.

In addition to the upcoming Iranian sanctions, rising global demand for oil is also a major factor that is pushing up prices.

For example, many Americans don’t even realize that China has surpassed us and has now become the biggest crude oil importer on the entire planet

China became the world’s largest crude oil importer in 2017, surpassing the US and importing 8.4 million barrels per day.

The US only imported 7.9 million barrels per day in 2017, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

So what is the bottom line for U.S. consumers?

The bottom line is that gasoline prices are likely to jump substantially, and that is going to affect prices for almost everything else that you buy.

Excluding tech products, virtually everything else that Americans purchase has to be transported, and so the price of gasoline must be factored into the cost.

So if gasoline prices shoot up quite a bit, that means that almost everything is going to cost more.

And this would be happening at a time when inflation is already on the rise

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, less food and energy, hit 2.4% in July 2018. That’s its highest reading since September 2008.

Of course 2.4 percent doesn’t really sound that scary, and that is how the government likes it.

But if the rate of inflation was still calculated the way it was back in 1990, the current inflation rate would be above 6 percent.

And if the rate of inflation was still calculated the way it was back in 1980, the current inflation rate would be above 10 percent.

Inflation is a hidden tax on all of us, and it is one of the big reasons why the middle class is being eroded so rapidly.

Please do not underestimate the impact of the price of oil.  It shot above $100 a barrel in 2008, and it was one of the factors that precipitated the financial crisis later that year.

Now we are rapidly approaching another crisis point, and there are so many wildcards that could potentially cause major problems.

One of those wildcards that I haven’t even talked about in this article would be a major war in the Middle East.  One of these days it will happen, and the price of oil will instantly soar to well above $100 a barrel.

We live at a time of rising global instability, and we should all learn to start expecting the unexpected.

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.

 

10 Numbers That Prove That America’s Current Financial Condition Is A Horror Show

America’s long-term “balance sheet numbers” just continue to get progressively worse.  Unfortunately, since the stock market has been soaring and the GDP numbers look okay, most Americans assume that the U.S. economy is doing just fine.  But the stock market was soaring and the GDP numbers looked okay just prior to the great financial crisis of 2008 as well, and we saw how that turned out.  The truth is that GDP is not the best measure for the health of the economy.  Judging the U.S. economy by GDP is basically like measuring the financial health of an individual by how much money he or she spends, and I will attempt to illustrate that in this article.

If I went out right now and got a whole bunch of new credit cards and started spending money like there was no tomorrow, would that mean that my financial condition had improved?

No, in fact it would mean that my long-term financial condition just got a whole lot worse.

GDP is a measurement of how much economic activity is happening in our society, and it is basically an indication of how much money is changing hands.

But just because more money is changing hands does not mean that things are going well.  What really matters is what is happening to assets and liabilities.  In other words, is wealth being built or is more debt just being accumulated?

Sadly, there are only a handful of bright spots in our economy.  A couple of very large tech companies such as Apple are accumulating wealth, but just about everywhere else you look debt is growing at an unprecedented pace.  Household debt has never been higher, corporate debt has doubled since the last financial crisis, state and local government debt is at record highs, and the U.S. national debt is wildly out of control.

If I went out tomorrow and spent $20,000 with a bunch of new credit cards, I could claim that my “personal GDP” was soaring because I was spending a lot more money then before.  But my boasting would be pointless because in reality I would just be putting my family in an extremely precarious financial position.

Economic growth that is produced by continually increasing amounts of debt is not a positive thing.  I wish that more people understood this very basic concept.  The following are 10 numbers that prove that America’s current financial condition is a horror show…

#1 U.S. consumer credit just hit another all-time record high.  In the second quarter of 2008, total consumer credit reached a grand total of 2.63 trillion dollars, and now ten years later that number has soared to 3.87 trillion dollars.  That is an increase of 48 percent in just one decade.

#2 Student loan debt has surpassed 1.5 trillion dollars for the first time ever.  Over the last 8 years, the total amount of student loan debt has shot up 79 percent in the United States.

#3 According to the Federal Reserve, the credit card default rate in the U.S. has risen for 7 quarters in a row.

#4 One recent survey found that 42 percent of American consumers paid their credit card bill late “at least once in the last year”, and 24 percent of Americans consumers paid their credit card bills late “more than once in the last year”.

#5 Real wage growth in the United States just declined by the most that we have seen in 6 years.

#6 According to one recent study, the “rate of people 65 and older filing for bankruptcy is three times what it was in 1991”.

#7 We are in the midst of the greatest “retail apocalypse” in American history.  At this point, 57 major retailers have announced store closings so far in 2018.

#8 The size of the official U.S. budget deficit is up 21 percent under President Trump.

#9 It is being projected that interest on the national debt will surpass half a trillion dollars for the first time ever this year.

#10 Goldman Sachs is projecting that the yearly U.S. budget deficit will surpass 2 trillion dollars by 2028.

And I haven’t even talked about unfunded liabilities.  Those are essentially future commitments that we have made that we don’t have the money for at the moment.

According to Professor Larry Kotlikoff, our unfunded liabilities are well in excess of 200 trillion dollars right now.

If individuals, corporations, state and local governments and the federal government all stopped going into more debt, we would plunge into the greatest economic depression in U.S. history immediately.

The system is deeply, deeply broken, and the only way that we can keep this debt bubble going is go keep accumulating even more debt.

Anyone out there that believes that the U.S. economy has been “fixed” is completely deceived.  NOTHING has been fixed.  Instead, our long-term financial imbalances are getting worse at an escalating pace.

Unfortunately, the attitude of the general public is so similar to what it was just prior to the great financial crisis of 2008.  Most people seem to assume that just because we have not experienced great consequences for our very foolish decisions up to this point that no great consequences are coming.

And many also assume that since control of the White House has switched parties that somehow things must magically be better as well.

Of course the truth is that the only way that our long-term problems are ever going to be fixed is if we start addressing the issues that caused those long-term problems in the first place, and that simply is not happening.

As I have traveled extensively over the course of the past year, I discovered that most Americans do not want to make fundamental changes to the system, because they are under the illusion that the current system is working just fine.  So it will probably take another major crisis before most people are ready to consider fundamental changes, and when it finally arrives we will need to be ready to educate the public.

The system that we have today is not fundamentally sound at all.  We desperately need to return to the values and principles that this nation was founded upon, but until things start getting really, really bad it is highly unlikely that the American people will be ready to embrace those changes.

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.

Ron Paul Warns That When The “Biggest Bubble In The History Of Mankind” Bursts It Could “Cut The Stock Market In Half”

When this bubble finally bursts, will we witness the biggest stock market crash in U.S. history?  “The bigger they come, the harder they fall” is a well used phrase, but I think that it is very appropriate in this case.  From a low of 6,443.27 on March 6th, 2009, we have seen the Dow nearly quadruple in value since the last financial crisis.  It has been a remarkable run, and it has lasted far longer than virtually any of the experts anticipated.  But what goes up must come down eventually.  This stock market bubble was almost entirely fueled by easy money from the Federal Reserve, and now that easy money has been cut off.  The insiders can see the handwriting on the wall and they are getting out of the market at a pace that we haven’t seen since 2008.  Could it be possible that the day of reckoning is finally at our door?

Of course we have been hearing warnings like this for a very long time.  In fact, I have been warning about a market crash for a very long time.  Just the other day, one of my readers insisted that if something was going to take place that “it would have happened by now”.  In the Internet age, we have been trained to have very short attention spans, but financial bubbles don’t care about the length of our attention spans.  They all inevitably come to a bitter end, but they don’t reach that end until they are good and ready.

And without a doubt we are on borrowed time, but meanwhile so many of us that are continually warning about what we are facing are getting a lot of heat for it.

For instance, when Ron Paul told CNBC that the stock market is “the biggest bubble in the history of mankind”, he was strongly criticized for it, but he was 100 percent correct…

This market is in the “biggest bubble in the history of mankind,” and when it bursts, it could cut the stock market in half, he told CNBC’s “Futures Now” Thursday.

If the Dow only plummets to about 12,000 or so during the coming downturn we will be exceedingly fortunate, because the truth is that stock prices need to fall by at least that much just to get us into the neighborhood where stock prices will start to make sense once again.

Today, sales to stock price ratios are hovering near all-time highs.

The same thing is true for earnings to stock price ratios and GDP to stock price ratios.

The only other times these ratios have been so elevated were just before major stock market crashes.

In the end, these ratios always, always, always return to their long-term averages eventually.

It may take many years, but it always happens.

So what factors led Ron Paul to make such an ominous prognostication?  The following comes from CNBC

“The Congress spending and the Federal Reserve manipulation of monetary policy and interest rates — debt is too big, the current account is in bad shape, foreign debt is bad and it’s not going to change,” he said.

Paul isn’t alone in his critique. A number of politicians have voiced concern over ballooning deficits, including current House Speaker Paul Ryan, who raised a warning on the nation’s debt in 2012.

Of course it isn’t just the U.S. that is drowning in debt.

According to the Institute of International Finance, total global debt just hit a brand new record high of 247 trillion dollars

Every quarter the Institute of International Finance publishes a new number of the total amount of global debt outstanding, and every quarter the result is the same: a new record high

Today was no exception: according to the IIF’s latest Global Debt Monitor, the amount of debt held in the world rose by the biggest amount in two years during the first quarter of 2018, when it grew by $8 trillion to hit a new all time high of $247 trillion, up from $238 trillion as of Dec. 31, 2017 and up by $30 trillion from the end of 2016.

Global debt has been rising much, much faster than global GDP, and at this point there is three times as much debt in the world as there is money.

There is no possible way that all of that debt can ever be paid off.  The only way that the party can continue is for debt to continue growing faster than global GDP, and everyone knows that is simply not sustainable in the long-term.

So an absolutely monumental “adjustment” is coming.  You can call it a “crash”, a “collapse” or anything else that you would like, but just as certainly as you are reading this article it is coming.

It is just a matter of time.

But for now, the talking heads on television continue to insist that everything is just fine and that the stock market still has more room to go up

There’s still room for stock markets to rise and worries of an impending recession are premature, according to Berenberg Capital Markets’ chief economist.

“Even if profits peaked in (the first quarter of) 2018, which remains uncertain, history suggests the stock market has room to appreciate,” Mickey Levy, Berenberg’s chief Americas and Asia economist, said in a client note this week. He pointed to data demonstrating how in every economic expansion since the mid-1970s, the S&P 500 index went on to appreciate for a “significant period” after corporate profits peaked.

I wish that CNBC would have me on just one time so that I could refute some of these guys.

Since 1913, the Federal Reserve has gone through 18 rate hiking cycles.  In 18 out of 18 cases, those rate hiking cycles have ended in either a recession or a market crash.

Do you really think that the 19th time will be different?

10 years ago, virtually everyone thought that the “boom times” would last forever too.  But they didn’t.  Instead, we plunged into the greatest economic and financial crisis since the Great Depression, but at this point 2008 seems like ancient history to most people.

Yet again we have fooled ourselves into thinking that the good times will just continue to keep on rolling, and once again our society will be in for a very rude awakening when the inevitable crash finally arrives.

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.