20 Signs That The U.S. Economy Is Heading For Big Trouble In The Months Ahead

20 Signs That The U.S. Economy Is Heading For Big Trouble In The Months Ahead - Photo by Frank KovalchekIs the U.S. economy about to experience a major downturn?  Unfortunately, there are a whole bunch of signs that economic activity in the United States is really slowing down right now.  Freight volumes and freight expenditures are way down, consumer confidence has declined sharply, major retail chains all over America are closing hundreds of stores, and the “sequester” threatens to give the American people their first significant opportunity to experience what “austerity” tastes like.  Gas prices are going up rapidly, corporate insiders are dumping massive amounts of stock and there are high profile corporate bankruptcies in the news almost every single day now.  In many ways, what we are going through right now feels very similar to 2008 before the crash happened.  Back then the warning signs of economic trouble were very obvious, but our politicians and the mainstream media insisted that everything was just fine, and the stock market was very much detached from reality.  When the stock market did finally catch up with reality, it happened very, very rapidly.  Sadly, most people do not appear to have learned any lessons from the crisis of 2008.  Americans continue to rack up staggering amounts of debt, and Wall Street is more reckless than ever.  As a society, we seem to have concluded that 2008 was just a temporary malfunction rather than an indication that our entire system was fundamentally flawed.  In the end, we will pay a great price for our overconfidence and our recklessness. (Read More...)

Money Is A Form Of Social Control And Most Americans Are Debt Slaves

Money Is A Form Of Social Control And Most Americans Are Debt Slaves - Photo by Serge Melki from Indianapolis, USAIs America really “the land of the free”?  Most people think of money as simply a medium of exchange that makes economic transactions more convenient, but the truth is that it is much more than that.  Money is also a form of social control.  Just think about it.  What did you do this morning?  Well, if you are like most Americans, you either got up and went to work (to make money) or to school (to learn the skills that you will need to make money).  We spend a great deal of our lives pursuing the almighty dollar, and there are literally millions of laws, rules and regulations about how we earn our money, about how we spend our money and about how much of our money the government gets to take from us.  Not that money is a bad thing in itself.  Without money, it would be really hard to have a modern society.  Unfortunately, our money is based on debt, and debt levels in the United States have exploded to absolutely unprecedented levels in recent years.  The borrower is the servant of the lender, and if you are like most Americans, nearly every major purchase that you make in your life is going to involve debt.  Do you want to get a college education so that you can get a “good job”?  You are told to get a student loan.  Do you want a car?  You are encouraged to get an auto loan and to stretch out the payments for as long as possible.  Do you want a home?  You are probably going to end up with a big fat mortgage.  And of course I could go on and on and on.  The cold, hard truth of the matter is that most Americans are debt slaves.  Most of us spend our entire lives trapped in an endless cycle of debt that we never escape until we die, and meanwhile our years of hard labor are greatly enriching those that own our debts. (Read More...)

Abolish The Income Tax: You Won’t Believe Who Is Getting Away With Paying Zero Taxes While The Middle Class Gets Hammered

Abolish The Income Tax - You Won't Believe Who Is Getting Away With Paying Zero Taxes While The Middle Class Gets Hammered - Photo by TravisThe federal income tax is a bad joke and it needs to be abolished.  All over the nation, hard working American families are being absolutely crushed by oppressive levels of taxation, and our politicians are constantly coming up with new ways to extract money from all of us every single year.  Meanwhile, many ultra-wealthy Americans and many of the most profitable corporations in the country pay little to nothing in taxes.  In fact, as you will see below, there are dozens of very prominent corporations that make billions of dollars in profits and yet don’t pay a dime in taxes.  Tax avoidance has become a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States.  Those that have the resources to “play the game” use shell companies, offshore tax havens and the thousands of loopholes in our tax code to minimize their tax burdens as much as possible.  Meanwhile, the rest of us get absolutely hammered.  This is fundamentally unfair.  The federal income tax system is irreversibly broken at this point, and it is time to abolish it.  If you think that the federal income tax system can be “fixed”, then you probably have never studied it.  Our tax code is nearly 4 million words long and it is absolutely riddled with thousands of loopholes that favor big corporations and the ultra-wealthy.  We should come up with a better, fairer way to fund the government.  The United States once prospered greatly without a federal income tax, and it could do so again. (Read More...)

Retail Apocalypse: Why Are Major Retail Chains All Over America Collapsing?

Why Are Major Retail Chains All Over America Collapsing? -  Photo by Gars129If the economy is improving, then why are many of the largest retail chains in America closing hundreds of stores?  When I was growing up, Sears, J.C. Penney, Best Buy and RadioShack were all considered to be unstoppable retail powerhouses.  But now it is being projected that all of them will close hundreds of stores before the end of 2013.  Even Wal-Mart is running into problems.  A recent internal Wal-Mart memo that was leaked to Bloomberg described February sales as a “total disaster”.  So why is this happening?  Why are major retail chains all over America collapsing?  Is the “retail apocalypse” upon us?  Well, the truth is that this is just another sign that the U.S. economy is falling apart right in front of our eyes.  Incomes are declining, taxes are going up, government dependence is at an all-time high, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the percentage of the U.S. labor force that is employed has been steadily falling since 2006.  The top 10% of all income earners in the U.S. are still doing very well, but most U.S. consumers are either flat broke or are drowning in debt.  The large disposable incomes that the big retail chains have depended upon in the past simply are not there anymore.  So retail chains all over the United States are now closing up unprofitable stores.  This is especially true in low income areas. (Read More...)

Who Tells Us What To Think? Does The Mainstream Media = The Matrix?

Who Tells Us What To Think? Does The Mainstream Media = The Matrix? - Photo by ProperpilotDo you believe that you really think for yourself?  Did you come up with your attitudes, opinions and beliefs on your own, or are they continually being shaped and molded by someone else?  Could it be possible that you and everyone around you is actually hooked into a real life version of “the matrix” that is constantly defining your reality for you?  Sadly, the truth is that almost all of us have willingly hooked ourselves into a colossal media system that literally tells us what to think.  In the United States today, the average American watches 153 hours of television a month.  We also spend huge amounts of time watching movies, surfing the Internet, reading books and magazines, playing video games and listening to music.  Many Americans are so addicted to being “connected” that they will actually become physically uncomfortable if they are at home and there is total silence.  Unfortunately, as I pointed out in a previous article, somewhere around 90 percent of the “information” that we are allowing to be endlessly pumped into our heads is owned by just 6 gigantic media corporations.  So could it be possible that the thousands of hours of “news and entertainment” that you are allowing these gigantic corporations to fill your head with each year is having an effect on you?  Does the mainstream media have more control over you than you ever dreamed possible?  If you want to continue on in blissful ignorance, stop reading now,  but if you want to take “the red pill”, keep on reading because the further down the rabbit hole you go, the stranger that things get. (Read More...)

Is It Fair For People On Food Stamps To Buy Prime Rib And Lobster While Working Families Barely Survive?

Is It Fair For People On Food Stamps To Buy Prime Rib And Lobster While Working Families Barely Survive?Should we all quit working and jump on board the Obama gravy train?  Of course I am being facetious, but when you are barely surviving does there come a point when it just becomes easier to give up and totally rely on the government?  Today, the federal government runs nearly 80 different means-tested welfare programs, and many state and local governments have their own welfare programs on top of that.  If you become an expert on those programs and you learn how to game the system, can you live more comfortably than someone that lives honestly and works as hard as they can and yet still makes less than 10 dollars an hour?  Now, right from the outset of this article, let me make it abundantly clear that I do not believe that most people are abusing the system.  As I have written about over and over, the number of Americans living in poverty is rapidly increasing because there are not enough jobs.  There are not enough jobs because we are shipping millions of them out of the country to the other side of the globe, and we are also losing millions of jobs to technology.  There have always been those that need our help, and because of the foolish decisions that we have made as a nation, the ranks of the poor will continue to expand.  But it is also true that there are some people out there that are very brazenly abusing the system.  For example, is it really fair for people on food stamps to buy prime rib and lobster while many working families barely survive?  People like that are taking advantage of their fellow Americans, and they are making it harder for the people that really need the help to be able to get it. (Read More...)

Petrogold: Are Russia And China Hoarding Gold Because They Plan To Kill The Petrodollar?

Petrogold: Are Russia And China Hoarding Gold Because They Plan To Kill The Petrodollar?Will oil soon be traded in a currency that is thousands of years old?  What would a “gold for oil” system mean for the petrodollar and the U.S. economy?  Are Russia and China hoarding massive amounts of gold because they plan to kill the petrodollar?  Since the 1970s, the U.S. dollar has been the currency that the international community has used to trade oil around the globe.  This has created an overwhelming demand for U.S. dollars and U.S. debt.  But what happens when the rest of the globe starts rejecting the increasingly unstable U.S. dollar and figures out that gold can be used as a currency in international trade?  The truth is that it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to figure that out.  Demand for the U.S. dollar and U.S. debt would fall off the map and there would be a rush into gold unlike anything we have ever seen before.  So are Russia and China accumulating unprecedented amounts of gold right now because they eventually plan to cut the legs out from under the petrodollar and they want to gobble up huge stockpiles of gold before the cat is out of the bag?  Of course they will never admit this publicly, but there are rumblings out there that this is exactly what is happening. (Read More...)

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