11 Signs That The U.S. Economy Is Rapidly Deteriorating Even As The Stock Market Soars

Dollar Bending - Public DomainWe have seen this story before, and it never ends well.  From mid-March until early May 2008, a vigorous stock market rally convinced many investors that the market turmoil of late 2007 and early 2008 was over and that happy days were ahead for the U.S. economy.  But of course we all know what happened.  It turned out that the market downturns of late 2007 and early 2008 were just “foreshocks” of a much greater crash in late 2008.  The market surge in the spring of 2008 was just a mirage, and it masked rapidly declining economic fundamentals.  Well, the exact same thing is happening right now.  The Dow rose another 222 points on Tuesday, but meanwhile virtually every number that we are getting is just screaming that the overall U.S. economy is steadily falling apart.  So don’t be fooled by a rising stock market.  Just like in the spring of 2008, all of the signs are pointing to an avalanche of bad economic news in the months ahead.  The following are 11 signs that the U.S. economy is rapidly deteriorating…

#1 Total business sales have been declining for nearly two years, and they are now about 15 percent lower than they were in late 2014.

#2 The inventory to sales ratio is now back to near where it was during the depths of the last recession.  This means that there is lots and lots of unsold stuff just sitting around out there, and that is a sign of a very unhealthy economy.

#3 Corporate earnings have declined for four consecutive quarters.  This never happens outside of a recession.

#4 Profits for companies listed on the S&P 500 were down 7.1 percent during the first quarter of 2016 when compared to the same time period a year ago.

#5 In April, commercial bankruptcies were up 32 percent on a year over year basis, and Chapter 11 filings were up 67 percent on a year over year basis.  This is exactly the kind of spike that we witnessed during the initial stages of the last major financial crisis as well.

#6 U.S. rail traffic was 11 percent lower last month than it was during the same month in 2015.  Right now there are 292 Union Pacific engines sitting idle in the middle of the Arizona desert because there is literally nothing for them to do.

#7 The U.S. economy has lost an astounding 191,000 mining jobs since September 2014.  For areas of the country that are heavily dependent on mining, this has been absolutely devastating.

#8 According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, U.S. firms announced 35 percent more job cuts during April than they did in March.  This indicates that our employment problems are accelerating.

#9 So far this year, job cut announcements are running 24 percent above the exact same period in 2015.

#10 U.S. GDP grew at just a 0.5 percent annual rate during the first quarter of 2016.  This was the third time in a row that the GDP number has declined compared to the previous quarter, and let us not forget that the formula for calculating GDP was changed last year specifically to make the first quarter of each year look better.  Without that “adjustment”, it is quite possible that we would have had a negative number for the first quarter.

#11 Barack Obama is poised to become the first president in U.S. history to never have a single year during his time in office when the economy grew by more than 3 percent.

But you never hear Obama talk about that statistic, do you?

And the mainstream media loves to point the blame at just about anyone else.  In fact, the Washington Post just came out with an article that is claiming that the big problem with the economy is the fact that U.S. consumers are saving too much money…

The surge in saving is the real drag on the economy. It has many causes. “People got a cruel lesson about [the dangers] of debt,” says economist Matthew Shapiro of the University of Michigan. Households also save more to replace the losses suffered on homes and stocks. But much saving is precautionary: Having once assumed that a financial crisis of the 2008-2009 variety could never happen, people now save to protect themselves against the unknown. Research by economist Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics finds higher saving at all income levels.

So even though half the country is flat broke, I guess we are all supposed to do our patriotic duty by going out and running up huge balances on our credit cards.

What a joke.

Of course the U.S. economy is actually doing significantly better at the moment than almost everywhere else on the planet.  Many areas of South America have already plunged into an economic depression, major banks all over Europe are in the process of completely melting down, Japanese GDP has gone negative again despite all of their emergency measures, and Chinese stocks are down more than 40 percent since the peak of the market.

This is a global economic slowdown, and just like in 2008 it is only a matter of time before the financial markets catch up with reality.  I really like how Andrew Lapthorne put it recently

On the more bearish slant is Andrew Lapthorne, head of quantitative strategy at Societe Generale. To him this profit downturn is a sign that stocks are far too overvalued and the economy is weaker than you think.

“MSCI World EPS is now declining at the fastest pace since 2009, losing 4% in the last couple of months alone (this despite stronger oil prices),” wrote Lapthorne in a note. For the S&P 500 specifically, the year on year drop in profit drop was the most since third quarter of 2009.

“Global earnings are now 14% off the peak set in August 2014 and back to where they stood five years ago. Equity prices on the other hand are 25% higher. Gravity beckons!”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Look, this is not a game.

So far in 2016, three members of my own extended family have lost their jobs.  Businesses are going under at a pace that we haven’t seen since 2008, and this means that more mass layoffs are on the way.

We can certainly be happy that U.S. stocks are doing okay for the moment.  May it stay that way for as long as possible.  But anyone that believes that this state of affairs can last indefinitely is just being delusional.

Gravity beckons, and the crash that is to come is going to be a great sight to behold.

The Next Employment Crisis Is Here: Job Cuts At U.S. Companies Jump 35 Percent In April

Layoffs - Public DomainShould we be alarmed that the number of job cuts announced by large U.S. companies was 35 percent higher in April than it was in March?  This is definitely a case where the trend is not our friend.  According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, U.S. firms announced 65,141 job cuts during April, which represented a massive 35 percent increase over the previous month.  And so far this year overall, job cut announcements are running 24 percent higher than for the exact same period in 2015.  Meanwhile, on Thursday we learned that initial claims for unemployment benefits shot up dramatically last week.  In fact, the jump of 17,000 was the largest increase that we have seen in over a year.  Of course the U.S. economy has been slowing down for quite a while now, and many have been wondering when we would begin to see that slowdown reflected in the employment numbers.  Well, that day has now arrived.

At this point, U.S. firms are laying off people at a rate that we have not seen since the last financial crisis.  Here is what Zero Hedge had to say about these latest numbers…

While one can debate the veracity of the BLS’ seasonally adjusted data, one thing is certain: when a company announces it will layoff thousands, it will. So for all those who suggest that all is well with the US jobs picture based on initial claims reports, here is the latest report from Challenger according to which the pace of downsizing increased in April jumped by 35% to 65,141 during the month of April, from the 48,207 layoff announcements in March.

Looking further back, in the first four months of 2016, employers have announced a total of 250,061 planned job cuts, up 24% from the 201,796 job cuts tracked during the same period a year ago. This represents the highest January-April total since 2009, when the opening four months of the year saw 695,100 job cuts in the aftermath of the biggest financial crisis in modern history.

So what is causing this?

Why are firms laying off so many people all of a sudden?

My readers are very well aware of the pain that the energy industry is experiencing at the moment, but surprisingly it was not the energy industry that announced the most job cuts in April…

Computer firms announced 16,923 job cuts during the month; the highest total among all industries. That total includes 12,000 from chipmaker Intel, which is shifting away from the traditional desktop and laptop market and toward the mobile market. To date, computer firms have announced 33,925 job cuts, up 262 percent from a year ago, when job cuts in the sector totaled just 9,368 through the first four months of the year.

Yes, the U.S. energy industry has lost well over 100,000 good paying jobs since the beginning of last year, but the downturn is so much broader than that.  All over America corporate earnings are down, and when earnings fall it is inevitable that layoffs will follow.

As I have written about previously, earnings for companies listed on the S&P 500 have fallen a total of 18.5 percent from their peak in late 2014, and it was being projected that corporate earnings overall would be down 8.5 percent for the first quarter of 2016 compared to the same period a year ago.

And in the chart that I have posted below, you can see that corporate profits after tax have been falling precipitously since peaking in mid-2015…

corporate profits

As this new economic downturn intensifies, the layoffs will accelerate.

In plain English, that means that a whole lot more people will be losing their jobs.

Unfortunately, a very large percentage of Americans didn’t learn anything from the last crisis and are living on the financial edge.  In fact, the Federal Reserve says that 47 percent of all Americans cannot even pay an unexpected $400 emergency room bill without borrowing the money or selling something.

So just like back in 2008, we are going to see huge numbers of people unable to pay their bills when they lose their jobs.  Foreclosures are going to skyrocket, and lots and lots of families are going to be put out into the street.

This is why I have been preaching the importance of having an emergency fund for years.  It is absolutely imperative to have an emergency fund that can cover your bills for at least six months in the event that there is a job loss or some other sort of major disaster strikes.

If you have not done this already, you are probably already too late.

The cold, hard reality of the matter is that it would take most families quite a while to save up a six month emergency fund if they are starting from zero.

So if you are in this position and you lose your job, you may have to move in with family or friends when your money runs out.

I don’t mean to be cold, but this is the situation that we are facing.  The next employment crisis is already here, and it is going to get much, much worse.  No matter who becomes “the next president”, job cuts are going to accelerate and good jobs are going to become exceedingly difficult to find.

I am certainly not advocating that anyone give up.  If you still have a good job for the moment, tighten your belt and use this time to feverishly prepare the very best that you can.

Sadly, tens of millions of Americans believed that this bubble of false prosperity would keep on rolling, and so they wasted immense amounts of precious time and resources.  Now the day of reckoning is here, and vast numbers of our fellow citizens are going to discover the horror of being unprepared.

Earth Changes In 2016? How To Get Prepared For The Coming Earthquakes And Volcanic Eruptions

Four Horsemen - Public DomainAll over the world seismic activity is increasing.  In recent weeks we have seen a dramatic earthquake in Ecuador, more than 600 earthquakes have experts extremely alarmed about what is happening to Japan’s southern Island, and 37 volcanoes around the planet are erupting right now.  Most of the large earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that we have witnessed lately have come along the Ring of Fire, which is an area of seismic instability which roughly encircles the Pacific Ocean.  Fortunately the west coast of the United States has been spared so far, but scientists tell us that tension has been building up along the San Andreas fault and the Cascadia Subduction Zone for decades, and they assure us that it is only a matter of time before we see a major event.  What that day arrives, will you be prepared?

There were a couple of notable seismic events which took place on Monday.  First of all, the largest volcano in Russia’s Far East known as Klyuchevskaya Sopka violently erupted.  Steaming hot ash was shot more than three miles up into the air, but fortunately it is not a heavily populated area.  This represents yet another major volcanic eruption along the Ring of Fire, and this has some scientists extremely concerned about what may be coming next.

Here in the United States, an unusual swarm of 21 earthquakes along the Arizona-Nevada border is also raising eyebrows

More small earthquakes shook northwest Arizona Sunday adding to the list of temblors that have struck the area since March 29.

The Arizona Geological Survey said two quakes occurred, including a magnitude 2.6 quake at 12:07 a.m.

There has been a swarm of 21 quakes in an area along the Arizona-Nevada line south-southwest of Littlefield, AZ, which is also close to southwestern Utah and the frequency and span puzzles geologists.

The good news is that we have not had a truly historic earthquake in the U.S. for decades, and there have been no major volcanic eruptions since Mount St. Helens exploded back in 1980.

But scientists assure us that we are living on borrowed time, and there are three extremely dangerous volcanoes in North America that I am keeping a close watch on right now…

#1 Mt. Popocatepetl

Popocatepetl is an Aztec word that can be translated as “smoking mountain”, and more than 25 million people live within range of this extraordinarily dangerous mountain.  Experts tell us that during the time of the Aztecs, entire cities were completely buried in super-heated mud from this volcano.  In fact, the super-heated mud was so deep that it buried entire pyramids.  In the event of a full-blown eruption, Mexico City’s 18 million residents probably wouldn’t be buried in super-heated mud, but it would still be absolutely devastating for Mexico’s largest city.

#2 Mt. Rainier

Mt. Rainier has been dubbed a “time bomb“, “the most dangerous mountain in the United States” and “one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world” because it sits so close to Seattle, Tacoma and other major cities along the coast of Washington state.  In the event of a full-blown eruption, countless numbers of people would literally be buried alive in a tsunami of super-heated mud.  These tsunamis of super-heated mud are known as “lahars”, and scientists believe that Mt. Rainier is capable of producing lahars that could move at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour.  I am so convinced that an eruption of Mt. Rainier is in our future that I even put one in my novel.

#3 The Yellowstone Supervolcano

Many of us that are a bit older still remember the eruption of Mount St. Helens back in 1980.  Well, scientists tell us that a full-blown eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano would have up to 2,000 times the power of that eruption.  Salt Lake City would be toast, anything caught outside in Denver would probably be dead in pretty short order, and a layer of volcanic ash at least 10 feet deep would be dumped on everything even up to 1,000 miles away.  Food production in America would be virtually wiped out, and a “volcanic winter” would cool global temperatures by up to 20 degrees for an extended period of time.

In other words, life as we know it would come to an end.

That is why the extremely unusual activity going on at Yellowstone right now is such a concern.  If it decides to blow, world history will make a dramatic turn in a single moment.

So what should we do?

As always, we should never give in to fear.  There are definitely going to be major earthquakes and historic volcanic eruptions in North America, and we are going to have to deal with them.  Doing some common sense things in advance will give you and your family the best chance of calmly and smoothly making it through such a crisis.

Below, I have shared some tips that come directly from the CDC.  This first set of tips suggests things that you and your family can do to get prepared for a major earthquake…

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Gather Emergency Supplies

Stock up now on emergency supplies that can be used after an earthquake. These supplies should include a first aid kit, survival kits for the home, automobile, and workplace, and emergency water and food. Store enough supplies to last at least 3 days.

Evacuation Plans

If an earthquake occurs, you may need to evacuate a damaged area afterward. By planning and practicing for evacuation, you will be better prepared to respond appropriately and efficiently to signs of danger or to directions by civil authorities.

  • Take a few minutes with your family to discuss a home evacuation plan. Sketch a floor plan of your home; walk through each room and discuss evacuation details.
  • Plan a second way to exit from each room or area, if possible. If you need special equipment, such as a rope ladder, mark where it is located.
  • Mark where your emergency food, water, first aid kits, and fire extinguishers are located.
  • Mark where the utility switches or valves are located so that they can be turned off, if possible.
  • Indicate the location of your family’s emergency outdoor meeting place.

Establish Priorities

Take time before an earthquake strikes to write an emergency priority list, including:

  • important items to be hand-carried by you
  • other items, in order of importance to you and your family
  • items to be removed by car or truck if one is available
  • things to do if time permits, such as locking doors and windows, turning off the utilities, etc.

Write Down Important Information

Make a list of important information and put it in a secure location. Include on your list:

  • important telephone numbers, such as police, fire, paramedics, and medical centers
  • the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of your insurance agents, including policy types and numbers
  • the telephone numbers of the electric, gas, and water companies
  • the names and telephone numbers of neighbors
  • the name and telephone number of your landlord or property manager
  • important medical information, such as allergies, regular medications, etc.
  • the vehicle identification number, year, model, and license number of your automobile, boat, RV, etc.
  • your bank’s or credit union’s telephone number, account types, and numbers
  • radio and television broadcast stations to tune to for emergency broadcast information

Gather and Store Important Documents in a Fire-Proof Safe

  • Birth certificates
  • Ownership certificates (automobiles, boats, etc.)
  • Social Security cards
  • Insurance policies
  • Wills
  • Household inventory, including:
    • list of contents
    • photographs of contents of every room
    • photographs of items of high value, such as jewelry, paintings, collectors’ item

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Preparing for a volcanic eruption requires a strategy that is a little bit different.  Here are more tips from the CDC

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If you are told to evacuate

Follow authorities’ instructions if they tell you to leave the area. Though it may seem safe to stay at home and wait out an eruption, doing so could be very dangerous. Volcanoes spew hot, dangerous gases, ash, lava, and rock that are powerfully destructive.

Preparing to evacuate

  • Tune in the radio or television for volcano updates.
  • Listen for disaster sirens and warning signals.
  • Review your emergency plan and gather your emergency supplies. Be sure to pack at least a 1-week supply of prescription medications.
  • Prepare an emergency kit for your vehicle with food, flares, booster cables, maps, tools, a first aid kit, a fire extinguisher, sleeping bags, a flashlight, batteries, etc.
  • Fill your vehicle’s gas tank.
  • If no vehicle is available, make arrangements with friends or family for transportation, or follow authorities’ instructions on where to obtain transportation.
  • Place vehicles under cover, if at all possible.
  • Put livestock in an enclosed area. Plan ahead to take pets with you, but be aware that many emergency shelters cannot accept animals.
  • Fill your clean water containers.
  • Fill sinks and bathtubs with water as an extra supply for washing.
  • Adjust the thermostat on refrigerators and freezers to the coolest possible temperature. If the power goes out, food will stay cooler longer.

As you evacuate

  • Take only essential items with you, including at least a 1-week supply of prescription medications.
  • If you have time, turn off the gas, electricity, and water.
  • Disconnect appliances to reduce the likelihood of electrical shock when power is restored.
  • Make sure your automobile’s emergency kit is ready.
  • Follow designated evacuation routes—others may be blocked—and expect heavy traffic and delays.

If you are told to take shelter where you are

  • Keep listening to your radio or television until you are told all is safe or you are told to evacuate. Local authorities may evacuate specific areas at greatest risk in your community.
  • Close and lock all windows and outside doors.
  • Turn off all heating and air conditioning systems and fans.
  • Close the fireplace damper.
  • Organize your emergency supplies and make sure household members know where the supplies are.
  • Make sure the radio is working.
  • Go to an interior room without windows that is above ground level.
  • Bring your pets with you, and be sure to bring additional food and water supplies for them.
  • It is ideal to have a hard-wired (non-portable) telephone in the room you select. Call your emergency contact—a friend or family member who does not live near the volcano—and have the phone available if you need to report a life-threatening condition. Remember that telephone equipment may be overwhelmed or damaged during an emergency.

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In the end, you have got to do what you feel is best for you and your family.

Personally, I would be extremely hesitant to live in very high risk areas along the west coast or near the Yellowstone supervolcano.  This is especially true considering how dramatically global seismic activity is increasing.

But others point to the fact that these “danger areas” have not seen any major events in decades, so they wonder what all of the fuss is about.

So what do you think?  Please feel free to join the discussion by posting a comment below…

*About the author: Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog. Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled “The Rapture Verdict” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.*

Dozens Of Large Earthquakes Strike As Speculation Mounts That Japan’s Southern Island May Split

Kyushu EarthquakesOver the past 48 hours, our planet has been hit by literally dozens of earthquakes of magnitude 4.0 or greater, and scientists are acknowledging that what is taking place is highly unusual.  This strange shaking began toward the end of last week when the globe was struck by five major earthquakes over the space of just two days, and over the weekend the seismic activity just continued to escalate.  Very early on Saturday, Japan’s southern island of Kyushu was hit by a magnitude 7.3 earthquake, and on Saturday night a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck off Ecuador’s Pacific coast.  It was the worst earthquake that Ecuador had experienced since 1979, and it was followed by at least 163 aftershocks.  Unfortunately, there are indications that what we have seen so far may be just the beginning.

Because the Ecuador earthquake was bigger, it is getting most of the headlines at the moment, but the truth is that what is going on in Japan is potentially far more dangerous.

Over the past week, Japan’s southern Island of Kyushu has been rocked by a series of devastating quakes, including two major ones in less than 48 hours.  The following comes from the Guardian

A second major earthquake in less than two days has shaken Japan’s southern island of Kyushu, with at least 34 people thought to have been killed, about 1,500 injured and more feared buried after building collapses and landslides.

The 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck at about 1.30am on Saturday, waking people across the island – including the thousands already in crisis centres. It caused widespread damage, with several landslides and a village evacuated over fears a dam might burst.

The mainstream media in the United States is using the term “landslides” to describe what has happened all over Kyushu, but the truth is that in many instances it would be far more accurate to say that “giant cracks” or “vast chasms” have formed.  The geography of Japan’s southern island has been fundamentally transformed, and this is beginning to cause huge concerns.  Here is more from the Guardian

One major landslide tore open a mountainside in Minamiaso village in Kumamoto prefecture, destroying a key bridge that could cut off food and other relief transport to the worst-hit area.

Another landslide hit a road, collapsing a house that fell down a ravine. In another part of the village, houses were left hanging precariously at the edge of a huge hole.

I want to show you a map which comes directly from the U.S. Geological Survey.  This map shows all of the earthquakes of magnitude 2.5 or greater that have hit Japan’s southern island over the past week.  As you look at this map, do you see a pattern?…

Kyushu Earthquakes

The dozens of earthquakes that have hit Japan’s southern island over the past week appear to form something of a straight line that divides the island in two.  Many are now speculating that geological forces are beginning to tear Kyushu in half, and if that is true, the earthquake activity that we have seen in Japan so far is probably just the tip of the iceberg.

We could potentially be talking about an event that could ultimately have far more of an impact on Japan than the tsunami of 2011.  By the time it is all said and done, entire cities could be wiped off the map and millions upon millions of Japanese citizens could be displaced.

Already, the seismic activity that has rocked Kyushu is having quite an impact on the Japanese economy

Earlier today Toyota was one of many Japanese companies to announce that it will suspend most car production across Japan as a result of critical supply chain disruptions caused by the recent destructive earthquake and numerous aftershocks. All of the major assembly lines will be shut down across its four directly-run plants, and Toyota will be halting production in stages at other group companies as well.

According to the Nikkei Asian Review, most of the Toyota group in Japan will be effectively shut down through at least the end of this upcoming week, with a production loss of as many as 50,000 vehicles, including brands such as Prius, Lexus, and Land Cruiser.

Our planet resembles something of a giant cracked egg, and the enormous tectonic plates that we are all living on are constantly in motion.  So if Japan’s southern island is in the process of slowly splitting in half, that shouldn’t exactly be a surprise.  After all, scientists assure us that Los Angeles and San Francisco will be directly next to one another someday.

And it isn’t just Japan that we need to be concerned about.  All along the “Ring of Fire”, seismic activity is increasing, and this has many of the experts completely puzzled.  The following comes from an excellent piece by Alvin Conway

This has continued to baffle many of the world’s leading geologists, who still attest the rise in the number of large earthquakes is merely a random natural occurrence. For instance, the number of large earthquakes doubled in 2014. However, here’s what scientists had to say about it: “If you think there have been more earthquakes than usual this year, you’re right. A new study finds there were more than twice as many big earthquakes in the first quarter of 2014 as compared with the average since 1979.

We have recently experienced a period that has had one of the highest rates of great earthquakes ever recorded,” said lead study author Tom Parsons, a research geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Menlo Park, California.

If you are familiar with my work, then you already know that I believe that we have entered a period of time during which we will see seismic activity on a scale that none of us have ever experienced before.

This great shaking will combine with other factors such as financial collapse, geopolitical instability and civil unrest to produce what many have described as a “perfect storm”.  Life as we know it is in the process of fundamentally changing, and right now we are only in the very early chapters of this change.

Unfortunately, most people are ignoring the warnings and will continue to ignore them until it is far too late.

*About the author: Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog. Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled “The Rapture Verdict” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.*

Robert Kiyosaki And Harry Dent Warn That Financial Armageddon Is Imminent

Alarm Clock Globe - Public DomainFinancial experts Robert Kiyosaki and Harry Dent are both warning that the next major economic crash is in our very near future.  Dent is projecting that the Dow will fall to “5,500 to 6,000 by late 2017”, and Kiyosaki actually originally projected that a great crash was coming in 2016 all the way back in 2002.  Of course we don’t exactly have to wait for things to get bad.  The truth is that things are not really very good at the moment by any stretch of the imagination.  Approximately one-third of all Americans don’t make enough money to even cover the basic necessities, 23 percent of adults in their prime working years are not employed, and corporate debt defaults have exploded to the highest level that we have seen since the last financial crisis.  But if Kiyosaki and Dent are correct, economic conditions in this country will soon get much, much worse than this.

During a recent interview, Harry Dent really went out on a limb by staking his entire reputation on a prediction that we would experience “the biggest global bubble burst in history” within the next four years…

There will be… and I will stake my entire reputation on this… we are going to see the biggest global bubble burst in history in the next four years…

There’s only one way out of this bubble and that is for it to burst… all this stuff is going to reset back to where it should be without all this endless debt, endless printed money, stimulus and zero interest rate policy.

And of course he is far from alone.  Without a doubt, we are currently in the terminal phases of the greatest financial bubble the world has ever known, and it is exceedingly difficult to see any way that it will not end very, very badly.

Ultimately, Dent believes that we could see U.S. stocks lose two-thirds of their value by late next year

The Dow, I’m projecting, will hit 5,500 to 6,000 by late 2017… just in the next year and a half or so. 

That’ll be most of the damage… then it will rally and there’ll be some aftershocks into 2020… my four cycles point down into early 2020 and then they start one after the other to turn up… I think the worst will be over by 2020, but the worst of that will be by the end of 2017.

If that does happen, it will be a far worse crash than what we experienced back in 2008, and the economic consequences will be absolutely terrifying.

Another highly respected financial expert that is making similar claims is Robert Kiyosaki.  My wife is a big fan of his books, and I have always held him in high regard.

But what I didn’t realize is that he had actually predicted that there would be a major financial crash all the way back in 2002

Fourteen years ago, the author of a series of popular personal-finance books predicted that 2016 would bring about the worst market crash in history, damaging the financial dreams of millions of baby boomers just as they started to depend on that money to fund retirement.

Broader U.S. stock markets are recovering from the worst 10-day start to a year on record. But Robert Kiyosaki — who made that 2016 forecast in the 2002 book “Rich Dad’s Prophecy” — says the meltdown is under way, and there’s little investors can do but buy gold or silver and hope the Federal Reserve slows the slide.

I agree with Kiyosaki that one way that investors can shield their wealth is by getting gold and silver.  In a recent article, I explained exactly why I believe that silver in particular is ridiculously undervalued right now.

Kiyosaki also believes that the coming crash could be delayed a bit if the Federal Reserve decided to embark on another round of quantitative easing.  But even if that happens, Kiyosaki is absolutely convinced that eventually “it’s all going to come down”

Kiyosaki told MarketWatch that the combination of demographics and global economic weakness makes the next crash inevitable — but the Fed could stave it off with another round of quantitative easing, which might stimulate the economy.

The Fed turned more dovish at its March meeting, with the central bank penciling in fewer interest-rate hikes this year than were previously part of its implied framework. The Fed signaled those hikes would happen more slowly than had been anticipated earlier, owing to a weak global economic environment and a volatile stock market.

“The big question [whether] we do ‘QE4,’” said Kiyosaki. “If we do, the stock market will come roaring back, but it’s not rocket science. If we stop printing money, it crashes; if we print money, it goes up. But, eventually, it’s all going to come down.”

Another voice that I have come to respect is Jim Rickards.  He is not quite as apocalyptic as Kiyosaki or Dent, but without a doubt he is deeply concerned about where the global economy is headed…

Global growth is slowing both because of weakness in developed economies like Europe and Japan, and weakness in some of the emerging markets champions such as China, Brazil and Russia. The limits of monetary policy have been reached.

The evidence is now clear that negative interest rates don’t stimulate spending; they are only good for devaluation in the ongoing currency wars. World trade is shrinking; a rare phenomenon usually associated with recession or depression.

And he is exactly right.  The economic downturn that we are witnessing is truly global in scope.  Brazil has plunged into an economic depression, the Italian banking system is in the process of completely melting down, and Japan has implemented negative interest rates in a desperate attempt to keep their Ponzi scheme going but it really isn’t working.  In fact, Japanese industrial production just crashed by the most that we have seen since the tsunami of 2011.

Here in the United States, investors are generally feeling pretty good right now because stocks have rebounded substantially in recent weeks.  However, Rickards is warning that this rebound is very temporary

Stocks are clearly in a bubble. The stock market is ignoring the strong dollar, which in turn hurts exports and devalues overseas earnings. It is also ignoring declining corporate earnings, imminent defaults in the energy sector, and declining global growth in general.

Never mind. As long as money is cheap and leverage is plentiful, there’s no reason not to bid up stock prices, and wait for the greater fool to bid them up some more.

There is so much that we could learn from all these three men.

Sadly, just like we saw in 2008, most Americans are ignoring the warnings.

The mainstream media has conditioned the public to trust them, and right now the mainstream media is insisting that everything is going to be just fine.

So will everything be just fine as the months roll along?

We will just have to wait and see…

Radical Leftists Unleash Anti-Trump Riots Starting On March 19th

Democracy SpringMany of the exact same groups that participated in Occupy Wall Street and helped organize protest rallies in Ferguson and Baltimore are now promising to bring us “the largest civil disobedience actions in a generation”.  I recently wrote about the trouble that radical leftists have caused by attempting to disrupt Trump campaign events, but now there is a very organized effort to turn this into a national movement.  On March 19th, thousands of angry protesters will descend on Trump Tower in New York City to denounce Donald Trump’s “fascist policies”, and on April 2nd dozens of leftist organizations will join together to launch “Democracy Spring” in Philadelphia.  From there, large numbers of liberal activists will march to Washington D.C. where they will “risk arrest” during a “peaceful” sit-in at the U.S. Capitol from April 11th to April 18th.  If the radical left is this freaked out about Donald Trump now, how bad will things get if he actually becomes the Republican nominee?

I suppose that it was only a matter of time before the radical left began to specifically target Trump properties.  I hope that Trump has good security, because it will definitely be tested starting tomorrow

Left-wing demonstrators have announced their latest anti-Trump event – a march on Trump Tower in New York City to protest against The Donald’s “fascist policies”.

A Facebook page for the rally outlines the plan, organized by a group called ‘Cosmopolitan Antifascists’, to march on the building at 2pm on Saturday afternoon.

“Donald J. Trump has made headlines in recent months with his divisive rhetoric, hate speech, and extremist plans to “make America great again”. We, in fact, believe this will do the opposite to this nation. Trump’s policy threatens many of us in the Black, Latino, LGBT, Muslim, and other communities,” states the page.

According to the Facebook page for “Cosmopolitan Antifascists”, 5,000 people plan to show up and 15,000 more are “interested” in this event.

Will it turn out to be a completely peaceful protest?

Let’s certainly hope so.

Perhaps even more disturbing is what is going to happen in early April.  Dozens of far left groups have gotten behind a movement that has been officially dubbed “Democracy Spring”.

Obviously, that name was chosen to conjure up memories of the “Arab Spring”, and we all remember how “peaceful” that was.

The official website of Democracy Spring tells us the following about the goals…

This spring, in the heart of the primary season, as the national election begins to take center stage, Americans of all ages, faiths, political perspectives, and walks of life will bring the popular cry for change to Washington in a way that’s impossible to ignore: with nonviolent civil disobedience on a historic scale.

We will demand that Congress listen to the People and take immediate action to save our democracy. And we won’t leave until they do — or until they send thousands of us to jail, along with the unmistakable message that our country needs a new Congress, one that that will end the legalized corruption of our democracy and ensure that every American has an equal voice in government.

Do you understand the threat that is being made there?

They are purposely planning to break the law and get arrested.  In fact, their website says that there are already more than 2,000 people that have “pledged to risk arrest” between April 11th and April 18th…

The campaign will begin on April 2nd with a march from the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. where thousands will gather to reclaim the US Capitol in a powerful, peaceful, and massive sit-in that no one can ignore. Over 2,000 people have already pledged to risk arrest between April 11th-18th in what will be one of the largest civil disobedience actions in a generation.

And the list of groups that are backing this movement reads like a who’s who of radical leftist organizations…

15 Now Philly
99Rise
100 Grannies for a Livable Future
act.tv
African American Ministers in Action
American Ethical Union
American Family Voices
American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)
Avaaz
Backbone Campaign
Big Apple Coffee Party
Brave New Films
Catholics United
Center for Biological Diversity
Center for the Working Poor
Citizen Action NY
Code Pink
Coffee Party USA
Columbus Campaign for Arms Control
Conscious Elders Network
Courage Campaign
Ctzn Well
Demand Progress
Democracy Chronicles
Democracy Coffee
Democracy for America
Democracy Matters
Democratic Socialists of America
Demos
Dolores Huerta Foundation
East Coast Cannabis Coalition (ECCC)
East Point Peace Academy
Elder Activists
Elders Climate Action
Every Voice
Energy Action Coalition
Food & Water Watch
Franciscan Action Network
Friends of the Earth
Get Money Out – Maryland
Human Earth Animal Liberation (HEAL)
Hightower Lowdown
Institute for Policy Studies
Interfaith Moral Action on Climate (IMAC)
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
Jewish Voice for Peace
Just Foreign Policy
Leadership Development Initiative
March Against Corruption
March Against Monsanto
Maryland Committee to Amend
Massachusetts Communities Action Network (MCAN)
MAYDAY.US
Money Out! People In!
MoveOn
National Organization for Women (NOW)
National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund
National People’s Action
Network of Spiritual Progressives/ Tikkun Magazine
New Hampshire Rebellion
Occupy Catholics
Office of the Americas
Other 98%
PA United to Amend
Pay 2 Play
Peace Action
People Demanding Action
People for Bernie
People for the American Way
People Over Politics
People’s Empowerment Project
Pride at Work-New York City/Long Island
Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC)
Progressive Democrats of America
Public Citizen
Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU)
ReThink Media
RootsAction
Rootskeeper.org
Rootstrikers
Shalom Center
Small Planet Institute
Social Security Works
South Central Wisconsin United To Amend
Stamp Stampede
Stop Police Terror Project DC
Sustain US
Unitarian Universalist Association
Unitarian Universalist Church of Delaware County
United Native Americans
United for Peace and Justice
United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS)
United States Student Association (USSA)
United We Dream
U.S. Climate Plan
Ursulines of Tildonk for Justice & Peace
We are Woman
We the People Massachusetts
WildEarth Guardians
WolfPAC
Women’s Promise
Working Families Party
Workmen’s Circle
World Beyond War
Yes Men
Young Democratic Socialists
Youth Jobs Coalition / We Have a Future

This is just the beginning.  The radical left has won the hearts and minds of millions of our young people, and many of these groups are preaching a message of anger, frustration and direct confrontation.

For now, let’s hope that these “protests” are at least somewhat peaceful.  But throughout history, leftist revolutions have almost always turned violent at least to a certain degree.

And let there be no confusion – the radical left very much wants a revolution.  There is a reason why Bernie Sanders uses that word so much in his applause lines.  It is a buzzword that evokes some very powerful imagery for the radical left.

America is changing, and not for the better.  From this point forward, the radical left in America is going to become much more active, and in the end that is going to have dramatic consequences for all of us.

We Are Being Killed On Trade – Rapidly Declining Exports Signal A Death Blow For The U.S. Economy

Abandoned Packard Automobile Factory - Photo by Albert DuceExports fell precipitously during the last two recessions, and now it is happening again.  So how in the world can anyone make the claim that the U.S. economy is in good shape?  On my website I have been repeatedly pointing out the parallels between the last two major economic downturns and the current crisis, and I am going to discuss another one today.  Since peaking in late 2014, U.S. exports have been steadily declining, and this is something that we never see outside of a major recession.  On the chart that I have shared below, the shaded gray bars represent the last two recessions, and you can see that exports of goods and services plunged dramatically in both instances…

Exports Of Goods And Services - Public Domain

And this chart does not even show the latest numbers that we have.  During the month of January, U.S. exports fell to a five and a half year low

The U.S. trade deficit widened more than expected in January as a strong dollar and weak global demand helped to push exports to a more than 5-1/2-year low, suggesting trade will continue to weigh on economic growth in the first quarter.

The Commerce Department said on Friday the trade gap increased 2.2 percent to $45.7 billion. December’s trade deficit was revised up to $44.7 billion from the previously reported $43.4 billion. Exports have declined for four straight months.

Because our exports are falling faster than our imports, our trade deficit is blowing out once again.  Every year we buy hundreds of billions of dollars more from the rest of the world than they buy from us, and this is systematically wrecking our economy.  Over the past several decades, we have lost tens of thousands of manufacturing facilities, millions of good paying manufacturing jobs, and major exporting nations such as China have become exceedingly wealthy at our expense.

We are being absolutely killed on trade, and yet very few of our politicians ever want to talk about this.

A brand new study that was recently discussed in the New York Times is bringing some renewed attention to these problems.  It turns out that the promised “benefits” of merging the U.S. economy into the global economic system simply have not materialized…

In a recent study, three economists — David Autor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, David Dorn at the University of Zurich and Gordon Hanson at the University of California, San Diego — raised a profound challenge to all of us brought up to believe that economies quickly recover from trade shocks. In theory, a developed industrial country like the United States adjusts to import competition by moving workers into more advanced industries that can successfully compete in global markets.

They examined the experience of American workers after China erupted onto world markets some two decades ago. The presumed adjustment, they concluded, never happened. Or at least hasn’t happened yet. Wages remain low and unemployment high in the most affected local job markets. Nationally, there is no sign of offsetting job gains elsewhere in the economy. What’s more, they found that sagging wages in local labor markets exposed to Chinese competition reduced earnings by $213 per adult per year.

Another study conducted by some of the same researchers discovered that 2.4 million American jobs were lost between 1999 and 2011 due to rising Chinese imports.

When are we going to finally wake up?

The middle class in America is being absolutely shredded, and yet only a few of us seem to care.

Meanwhile, global trade as a whole continues to slow down at a very frightening pace.  We just learned that the China Containerized Freight Index has now dropped to the lowest level ever recorded.  The following comes from Wolf Richter

The China Containerized Freight Index (CCFI), published weekly, tracks contractual and spot-market rates for shipping containers from major ports in China to 14 regions around the world. Unlike most Chinese government data, this index reflects the unvarnished reality of the shipping industry in a languishing global economy. For the latest reporting week, the index dropped 4.1% to 705.6, its lowest level ever.

How many numbers like this do we have to get before we will all finally admit that we are in the midst of a major global economic meltdown?

Here in the United States, the recent rally in the stock market has most people feeling pretty good about things these days.  But the truth is that there are ups and downs during any financial crisis, and this recent rally is putting the finishing touches on a very dangerous leaning “W” pattern that could signal a big dive ahead.

Harry Dent, the author of “The Demographic Cliff: How to Survive and Prosper During the Great Deflation Ahead“, has shown that this leaning “W” pattern is part of a huge “rounded top” for the S&P 500.  The following is a brief excerpt from one of his recent articles

The bull market from early 2009 into May 2015 looks just like every bubble in history, and I’m getting one sign after the next that we did indeed peak last May. The dominant pattern in the stock market is the “rounded top” pattern:

S&P 500 Rounded Top

After trading in a steep, bubble-like channel from late 2011 into late 2014, with only 10% maximum volatility top to bottom, the market finally lost its momentum… just as the Fed finished tapering its QE. That’s because the Fed was the primary driver in this stock bubble in the first place!

Now is not the time to relax at all.

In fact, now is the time to sound the alarm louder than ever.

That is one reason why my wife and I have started up a new television program.  It will be airing on Christian television, but it will also be available on YouTube as well…

As I have said before, 2016 is the year when everything changes.

So don’t be fooled just because the stock market had a couple of good weeks.  The truth is that global economic activity is slowing down significantly, geopolitical instability continues to get even worse, and this political season has caused very deep, simmering tensions in the United States to rise to the surface.

Let us hope that we have a few more weeks of relative stability like we are currently experiencing so that we can have more time to get prepared, but I certainly wouldn’t count on it.

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