We Are Suffering Through The Most Painful Economic Crisis Since The Great Depression Of The 1930s

I warned that an economic collapse was coming, and an economic collapse is exactly what we got.  2020 was a “personal financial disaster” for 55 percent of all Americans, approximately 12 million U.S. renters are “at least $5,850 behind in rent and utilities payments”, the Aspen Institute is projecting that up to 40 million people could be facing eviction when the rent and mortgage moratoriums finally end, and more than 70 million new claims for unemployment benefits have been filed since the COVID pandemic began.

Nobody can point to a time since the Great Depression of the 1930s when the U.S. economy was in worse shape than it is right now.

Unfortunately, there are no indications that this nightmare is going to end.  Last week, another 900,000 Americans filed new claims for unemployment benefits

Another 900,000 people filed new unemployment claims last week, President Donald Trump’s last in office, a snapshot of the significant labor market challenges facing President Joe Biden.

An additional 423,000 people in 47 states filed new claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, the program created to help gig and self-employed workers.

Prior to 2020, the all-time record for new unemployment claims in a single week was just 695,000, and that old record was set all the way back in 1982.

We shattered that old record early in 2020, but the bigger story is what has happened since we broke it.

At this point, the number of new claims for unemployment benefits has been above 695,000 for 44 weeks in a row.

That is starting to come close to a full year.

If that does not qualify as a “collapse”, then you are probably using a completely different definition of the word than I am using.

This unemployment crisis has hit low wage workers particularly hard.  At this point, even Fed officials are being forced to admit that the unemployment rate for low wage workers “is above 20%”.

Many of those low wage workers used to be employed in the restaurant industry, but the restaurant industry continues to be mired in the worst stretch that it has ever encountered

The number of “seated diners,” a daily measure with which OpenTable tracks walk-ins and diners with reservations, in the week through January 20 in the US was down on average by 57% from the same period last year.

The hospitality industry also typically employs large numbers of low wage workers, and we are being told that last year was the “worst year on record” for that industry…

According to STR, Inc, a hotel industry market data firm, 2020 was absolutely the worst year on record for hotels as industrywide profits fell to zero, as the virus pandemic and resulting government-enforced social distancing measures kept travelers at home.

STR’s latest report said the US hotel occupancy rate was 44% for the year, down from 66% in 2019. This was the lowest occupancy rate on record. In an earlier STR report, we noted weeks ago that the industry had one billion unsold room nights for the first time, surpassing the record of 786 million in 2009.

Countless numbers of small business owners have also been absolutely devastated by this economic downturn.

Each month, thousands of small businesses die a permanent death, and the outlook for the months ahead is not good at all.

The Epoch Times recently interviewed one small business owner in Minnesota who admitted that “the fallout by this time next year will be shocking”…

The ramifications of the forced shutdowns on thousands of small businesses in Minnesota is going to be huge, says Julie Schroeder, who owns two craft stores in the Minneapolis metro area.

“The fallout by this time next year will be shocking,” she told The Epoch Times on Dec. 30, 2020.

Meanwhile, north of the border small businesses are being destroyed at a staggering rate as well

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is warning that more than 220,000 businesses across the country are at risk of permanently closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CFIB, a lobby group that represents small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in Canada, released a new report on Thursday that surveyed 4,129 members about business prospects through the pandemic. The survey found that 181,000 businesses – or one in six – are seriously contemplating permanently closing. That’s up from a similar survey conducted in July, which found that 158,000 businesses were at risk of closing.

In the end, if we can keep the amount of small businesses in the U.S. and Canada that go under to less than 20 percent that should be considered a major victory.

Because I have a feeling that the final number is going to be well above that threshold.

And the Biden administration does not seem too sympathetic to the needs of small businesses at this point.  For example, one new law that Biden is likely to sign would absolutely cripple small truckers

Trucking industry experts expect Joe Biden’s presidency to seriously jeopardize many small American trucking companies, and the prospects of truck drivers who work as independent contractors.

Biden is poised to sign a transportation law passed in the Democratic House and stalled in the then-Republican Senate in 2019. The Moving Forward Act had required commercial motor vehicles to maintain more than $2 million in insurance liability, more than doubling the existing $750,000.

Wouldn’t it be nice if our representatives in Washington were forced to take a basic course in economics before they were allowed to serve?

The blind are leading the blind, and the economic nightmare that we are currently experiencing is eventually going to get a whole lot worse.

But hopefully we can at least have a short period of time where things will plateau a bit before the next major trigger event happens.

So many people out there are really hurting right now, and it is not just financial pain that they are dealing with.

The past several months have been excruciatingly painful for tens of millions of Americans, and the truth is that there are countless people out there that are emotionally shattered at this moment.

If you are one of those people, just keep hanging in there.

It will take some time, but you will get through this and you will recover.

And I will continue to be here pumping out articles as I do my very best to try to help everyone make sense of a world that is going completely mad.

***Michael’s new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.***

About the Author: My name is Michael Snyder and my brand new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available on Amazon.com.  In addition to my new book, I have written four others that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned)  By purchasing the books you help to support the work that my wife and I are doing, and by giving it to others you help to multiply the impact that we are having on people all over the globe.  I have published thousands of articles on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but I also ask that they include this “About the Author” section with each article.  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions.  I encourage you to follow me on social media on FacebookTwitter and Parler, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

“655 people have $4 trillion in wealth. 200 million can’t cover a $1000 expense.”

The COVID pandemic has caused the gap between the ultra-wealthy and the rest of us to grow larger than it ever has been before.  Thanks to the hyperinflationary policies of the Federal Reserve and our politicians in Washington, stock prices have soared to unprecedented heights in recent months.  This pushed the wealth of the uber-rich to dizzying heights, but for the rest of the country 2020 was an unmitigated nightmare.  As I have discussed previously, one survey found that 2020 was a “personal financial disaster” for 55 percent of all Americans.  More than 110,000 restaurants shut down permanently last year, Americans filed more than 70 million claims for unemployment benefits, and tens of millions are potentially facing eviction in 2021.  But even though we are mired in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s, those at the very top of the economic pyramid are laughing all the way to the bank.

Earlier today, I came across a tweet from Sven Heinrich that really struck an emotional chord with me…

655 people have $4 trillion in wealth.

200 million can’t cover a $1000 expense.

I certainly don’t have any problem with people gaining wealth by working extremely hard and making society a better place in the process.

But most of the people at the very top of the economic pyramid only increased their wealth in 2020 because the powers that be decided to open up the firehoses and rain obscene amounts of money on them.

That isn’t right.

As a result of the deeply flawed policies that were implemented because of the COVID pandemic, the gap between “gains in financial assets and the health of the economy” was the largest ever recorded last year…

But as stock market indexes staged a huge rebound from the lows seen in March when the pandemic first hit, the gap between the wealthy and the poor extended an already widening trend to historic proportions.

A report via BofA Global Research published on Friday notes that a measure of the differential between gains in financial assets and the health of the economy hit a record at 6.3X in 2020.

My regular readers are probably sick and tired of hearing me say that the stock market has become completely divorced from economic reality, and now we have a hard number which backs up what I have been saying all along.

As I write this article, the Dow is sitting just above 31,000, and that is utterly absurd.

If the Dow were to fall to 15,000 it would still be overvalued.

Meanwhile, a brand new survey has discovered that only 39 percent of all Americans “would be able to cover an unexpected $1,000 expense”

Just 39% of Americans would be able to cover an unexpected $1,000 expense, according to a new report from Bankrate.com.

That’s down from 2020, when 41% of people said they could cover a $1,000 cost with their savings.

If only 39 percent of Americans currently have enough money for such an unexpected expense, that means that 61 percent of Americans do not.

According to Google, the current population of the U.S. is 328 million, and 61 percent of 328 million is just over 200 million.

So that is where Sven Heinrich got that figure from.

200 million of us have so little money that we are just barely scraping by from month to month.

And according to one of Walmart’s top executives, many of their customers do not expect “any kind of speedy recovery”

Walmart Chief Customer Officer Janey Whiteside said Tuesday that many of its shoppers don’t expect the economy to quickly bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic.

Almost half of customers surveyed in November told Walmart that they were worried about the current health of the economy, she said when speaking at the virtual National Retail Federation conference. She said 40% said they didn’t expect “any kind of speedy recovery.”

Unfortunately, those that are pessimistic about how the U.S. economy will perform in 2021 are right on target.

It is going to be a very painful year.

Of course it isn’t just consumers that are concerned about the year ahead.  Small business optimism is falling as well

A popular gauge of small-business confidence in the US sank to a seven-month low in December as stricter lockdown measures and climbing daily case counts cut into economic activity.

The National Federation of Independent Businesses’ index of small-business optimism fell 5.5 points last month to 95.9, according to a Tuesday release. The reading lands below the average index value since 1978 of 98 and marks the lowest level since May. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected the gauge to dip slightly to 100.2.

Americans generally tend to be quite optimistic about the future, but looking ahead there just aren’t any reasons to be optimistic about the U.S. economy in 2021.

The COVID pandemic continues to get even worse, new lockdowns have been instituted all over the country, our federal government is in a state of chaos, and there will inevitably be more rioting, looting and civil unrest in the months ahead.

Plus, there will undoubtedly be some additional unexpected surprises that most people are not anticipating.

Before I wrap up this article, there is just one more thing that I wanted to mention.  A programmer in San Francisco named Stefan Thomas is the proud owner of 7,002 Bitcoin, but he can’t access his fortune because he forgot the password, and he only has two more tries before he is locked out permanently…

Take Stefan Thomas, a programmer in San Francisco, who told The New York Times that he has 7,002 Bitcoin tucked away — currently worth about $236 million, nearly a quarter billion dollars — but that he has no idea how to access it and can only guess two more passwords before being locked out forever.

Even setting aside the long term prospects for crypto, the key message of these horror stories is that taking digital finances into your own hands is a huge risk if you can’t manage your passwords.

Can you imagine how you would feel if that happened to you?

Sadly, it could be argued that essentially the same thing is happening to the nation as a whole.

America has “forgotten the password” to what once made us so great, and we are running out of chances.

Let us hope that we wake up before it is too late, because time is not on our side at this point.

***Michael’s new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.***

About the Author: My name is Michael Snyder and my brand new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available on Amazon.com.  In addition to my new book, I have written four others that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned)  By purchasing the books you help to support the work that my wife and I are doing, and by giving it to others you help to multiply the impact that we are having on people all over the globe.  I have published thousands of articles on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but I also ask that they include this “About the Author” section with each article.  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions.  I encourage you to follow me on social media on FacebookTwitter and Parler, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

The economic implosion of 2020: Job losses ramp up again as millions of Americans continue to slide into poverty

The mainstream media keeps trying to convince us that things are about to get a whole lot better for the U.S. economy, but instead they just keep getting worse.  On Thursday, we learned that another 898,000 Americans filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week.  That was the highest number that we have seen since August, and it is yet more evidence that a new wave of layoffs has begun.  But according to the experts that the mainstream media relies upon, this wasn’t supposed to happen.  According to them, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits was supposed to be steadily tapering off as the U.S. economy shifted into recovery mode.  Unfortunately for all of us, those experts have been dead wrong.

Yesterday, I wrote about the decline of the middle class in our country, and here in 2020 this pandemic has greatly accelerated that process.

In fact, one new study has found that almost 8 million more Americans have plunged into poverty just since May

Nearly 8 million Americans have slid into poverty since May, according to a Columbia University study reported by the New York Times.

Why it matters:The researchers found that the monthly poverty rate for September was higher than rates during April or May, and it also topped pre-crisis levels, “[d]ue to the expiration of the CARES Act’s stimulus checks and $600 per week supplement to unemployment benefits.”

And another study discovered that 6 million more Americans fell into poverty in just the last three months

A separate study by researchers at Notre Dame and the University of Chicago, found that 6 million people have slipped into poverty in the last three months, per the Times.

Our hearts should be breaking because of what is going on all over the country right now.

Millions upon millions of hard working people have lost their jobs and can’t find new ones.  As a result, they have lost the comfortable middle class lifestyles that they once enjoyed and have now joined the ranks of the poor.

But the official government numbers don’t look that bad because millions of those people are not even categorized as “unemployed”.  Instead, many of the workers that have lost their jobs during this pandemic have been thrown into a category that is called “not in the labor force”.

In order to have faith in the official government numbers, you have got to believe that more than 100 million working age Americans are “not in the labor force” because they don’t want to work.

It is such a sham.  Why don’t we just put every single American that is not working into the “not in the labor force” category so that we can have 0.0 percent unemployment?

Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Of course the truth is that more Americans are being laid off with each passing day.  Over the past few weeks, some of the most iconic companies in the entire nation have been letting workers go

Further, companies have begun initiating layoffs on a trajectory similar to traditional recessions, economists said, as slowdowns in consumer demand (rather than state-mandated shutdowns) lead them to cut jobs or close for good.

Companies such as AllstateAmerican AirlinesDisneyRoyal Dutch Shell and United Airlines have each announced plans to cut thousands of workers in recent weeks.

Some parts of the country have been hit much harder than others by this economic downturn.

For instance, tourism has dried up almost completely in Las Vegas, and this week there have been more layoff announcements

The Tropicana Las Vegas has given notice to 828 employees that they are being laid off beginning Thursday, Oct. 15.

And layoffs at two Paris Las Vegas restaurants are coming soon as notices have been filed with the state. Mon Ami Gabi intends to lay off 96 employees, and the Eiffel Tower Restaurant will lay off 53 employees. Both moves are scheduled to happen on Dec. 16, and the layoffs will be permanent.

In the end, most of the jobs that have been lost in Las Vegas will never come back until the tourists return, and that is simply not going to be happening for the foreseeable future.

Next door, the state of California has been absolutely devastated by this crisis as well.

If you can believe it, one out of every four Californians received unemployment benefits between March and July.  The state may have more billionaires than anywhere else in the country, but according to the U.S. Census Bureau it also has the highest poverty rate

Home to 166 billionaires, who made over $235 billion since the beginning of the pandemic, the Golden State also has the highest poverty rate: 17.2% when adjusted for the cost of living, according to a recent Census Bureau analysis.

That means that almost one out of every five people in the entire state of California is living in poverty right now.

If this is what a “recovery” looks like, I would hate to see what the “bad times” are going to look like.

And without a doubt, economic conditions are definitely going to get worse than they are now.

So many families in California are just barely scraping by from month to month, and more of them are falling into poverty every day.  In fact, even USA Today is admitting that “California’s middle class isn’t done shrinking”…

To many, the streets of the Bay Area are renowned for the enduring homelessness crisis as much as for the renowned tech giants of Silicon Valley. In-between, California’s middle class isn’t done shrinking; teachers, artists, waiters and gig workers are awaiting their fate, often one government program away from having to take a minimum-wage job — or lose their homes.

It is kind of ironic.  Many of those that live in California like to lecture the rest of us about “wealthy inequality”, but it is worse in their state than anywhere else.

Those at the very, very top of the pyramid are thriving (for now), but meanwhile countless others are falling out of the middle class.

It is like a really perverse game of musical chairs.  Every time the music stops, more people lose their seats and the middle class shrinks some more.

Sadly, I think that this process is going to accelerate even more in 2021, and that is really bad news for millions upon millions of middle class American families that are deeply struggling right now.

***Michael’s new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.***

About the Author: My name is Michael Snyder and my brand new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available on Amazon.com.  In addition to my new book, I have written four others that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned)  By purchasing the books you help to support the work that my wife and I are doing, and by giving it to others you help to multiply the impact that we are having on people all over the globe.  I have published thousands of articles on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but I also ask that they include this “About the Author” section with each article.  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions.  I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

Goodbye Middle Class: Half Of All American Workers Made Less Than $34,248.45 Last Year

If you are making less than $3,000 a month, you have plenty of company, because about half of the country is in the exact same boat.  The Social Security Administration just released new wage statistics for 2019, and they are pretty startling.  To me, the most alarming thing in the entire report is the fact that the median yearly wage was just $34,248.45 last year.  In other words, half of all American workers made less than $34,248.45 in 2019, and half of all American workers made more than $34,248.45.  That isn’t a whole lot of money.  In fact, when you divide $34,248.45 by 12 you get just $2,854.05.  Needless to say, it is not easy to survive in America today on just $2,854.05 a month, and this may help to explain why we have been seeing so many people fall out of the middle class in recent years.

And of course all of the figures that I am sharing with you in this article are just for 2019.  This year, we have seen more than 63 million Americans file new claims for unemployment benefits as the U.S. economy has imploded during this pandemic, and so the final wage numbers for 2020 could be quite a bit worse than the numbers for 2019 were.  Please keep that in mind as you go through the rest of this article.

Once upon a time in America, a single income could easily support a middle class household in most cases, but those days are long gone.

The cost of living has been rising far faster than our paychecks have, and as a result many Americans have been working themselves to the bone just to survive financially from month to month.

To give you an idea of just how bad things have gotten, I would like to share with you some key numbers from the report that the Social Security Administration just released

-32.26 percent of American workers made less than $20,000 last year.

-44.79 percent of American workers made less than $30,000 last year.

-56.46 percent of American workers made less than $40,000 last year.

-65.91 percent of American workers made less than $50,000 last year.

Today, the poverty level for a household of five in the United States is $30,680.

That means that close to half of all workers in this country do not even make enough to get a family of five above the poverty level.

Wow.

There are tens of millions of Americans that are referred to as “the working poor” because they are living in poverty even though they are employed and are working extremely hard.  Many of you that are reading this article know exactly what I am talking about.  Some of you are working way more than 40 hours a week, and yet there never seems to be enough money at the end of the month.

Sadly, the truth is that our system has evolved in a manner that makes it almost impossible for most Americans to ever build up much wealth.

If you are making the median monthly wage of just $2,854.05, there simply is not going to be much left over after all of the bills are paid.  First of all, you are going to need some place to live.  In the middle of the country you may be able to find something habitable for under $1,000 a month, but in most of our major metropolitan areas that simply is not going to be realistic.

Secondly, you are going to need to pay your utility bills.   If you can keep the combined cost of your power, water, phone, television and Internet bills to about $250 a month, you are doing quite well.

Thirdly, you will need a vehicle in order to get around, and these days it is hard to buy or lease a vehicle for less than $300 a month.  In addition, you will also need insurance, and that will set you back even more.

Fourthly, you will need health insurance.  If you are young and single, maybe you can find a plan for just a few hundred dollars a month, but most Americans pay far more.

Fifthly, you will probably want to eat, and that will cost you several hundred dollars a month as well.

At this point almost all of your money is already gone, and there are so many expenses that I haven’t even mentioned yet.

And of course you never even started with $2,854.05 in the first place, because all sorts of taxes were taken out of your paycheck before you even got it.

Are you starting to understand why so many families in America are deeply, deeply struggling today?

We have an economy that works for those at the very top of the food chain, but pretty much everyone else is desperately trying to stay afloat.

And now we have entered an economic downturn during which tens of millions of Americans have lost their jobs.  According to John Williams of shadowstats.com, if honest numbers were being used the real unemployment rate in the U.S. would be 26.9 percent right now, and that would rival the worst levels that we witnessed during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Others have come up with similar numbers.  For example, Axios is reporting that the “true unemployment rate” in the United States is currently 26.1 percent

A person who is looking for a full-time job that pays a living wage — but who can’t find one — is unemployed. If you accept that definition, the true unemployment rate in the U.S. is a stunning 26.1%, according to an important new dataset shared exclusively with “Axios on HBO.”

No matter how you want to crunch the numbers, everyone should be able to agree that millions upon millions of Americans are really hurting financially and are deeply concerned about the future.

And they have good reason to be concerned about the future, because our economic system is in the process of imploding.

For decades, the greatest debt bubble in the history of the world allowed us to enjoy a level of debt-fueled prosperity that was far greater than we actually deserved.

Now the party is ending, and our society is going to experience an enormous amount of pain as everything changes.

***Michael’s new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.***

About the Author: My name is Michael Snyder and my brand new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available on Amazon.com.  In addition to my new book, I have written four others that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned)  By purchasing the books you help to support the work that my wife and I are doing, and by giving it to others you help to multiply the impact that we are having on people all over the globe.  I have published thousands of articles on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but I also ask that they include this “About the Author” section with each article.  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions.  I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

Here Is Why The U.S. Economy Would Continue To Crash Even If All The Lockdowns Were Lifted Immediately…

COVID-19 has created an enormous amount of fear, and that fear is doing far more damage to the economy than the actual virus is.  In an environment of fear, financial institutions become a lot tighter with their money, and that inevitably causes economic activity to slow down.  For example, just consider what happened in 2008.  Mortgage lending standards suddenly became much more strict, and that greatly contributed to the horrific housing price crash which left millions upon millions of Americans underwater on their mortgages.  Unfortunately, this coronavirus pandemic has created a wave of fear that is far greater than what we experienced during the last recession, and that has enormous implications for the months ahead.

Extremely loose lending standards helped create debt-fueled “booms” throughout our economy in recent years, but now lending standards are going in the complete opposite direction very rapidly.

For instance, Chase is now requiring a credit score of at least 700 for all new home loans, and they are one of the financial institutions that is now requiring a down payment of at least 20 percent

A Chase spokesperson confirmed that starting April 14, new mortgage applicants will need a minimum credit score of 700 and a down payment of 20%. Refinancing applications for non-Chase mortgages will also need the same score. Chase didn’t disclose its previous lending standards but the average downpayment for first-time home buyers is around 6%, according to a 2018 survey from the National Association of Realtors.

If you own your home, would you have been approved for a mortgage under the new Chase standards?

And Chase is far from alone.  In fact, most major mortgage lenders have now tightened up, and Redfin is estimating that about a quarter of all home buyers last year would not have qualified under the new standards.

So if you remove about a quarter of all buyers from the marketplace moving forward, what happens to the housing market?

Yes, there will be an implosion, and it will happen no matter whether coronavirus lockdowns are in effect or not.

And home equity loans are going to be hit even harder.  As I discussed last week, Wells Fargo is no longer taking HELOC applications at all.

So now matter how good your credit is, you simply cannot get a home equity line of credit from Wells Fargo at this point.

This is what fear does.

We see similar things happening in the credit card industry.  Standards have been greatly tightened for new customers, and in some instances existing customers are having their limits slashed or their cards suddenly canceled.  The following comes from Newsweek

Analysts warn that credit card companies are lowering credit limits and canceling cards—often without warning—amid the pandemic-induced economic crisis, just as they did during the Great Recession.

If you think that this won’t have a dramatic impact on the U.S. economy, then you probably haven’t been paying attention.

Our economy is a consumer driven economy, and if consumers don’t have access to easy credit there is no way in the world that economic activity will return to previous levels.

Of course even if they did have access to easy credit, many Americans are so afraid of this virus that they have no intention of resuming normal economic patterns any time soon

Here’s hoping you enjoyed the last movie or concert you attended, because if the results of a new survey are accurate, it may be a long, long time before such events are ever popular again. According to the research, 40% of Americans plan to avoid public spaces unless “absolutely necessary” long after the coronavirus pandemic has subsided.

The survey, commissioned by Vital Vio, asked 1,000 U.S. adults about how they envision every day life in the wake of the coronavirus. All in all, it looks like there are suddenly a whole lot more germaphobes in the land of the free. Over four in five (82%) said they are now more aware of, and concerned about, cleaning protocols in public areas. Additionally, 58% are more suspicious about their friends’ and family’s hygiene habits.

And a lot of companies are also going to be extremely hesitant to “return to normal” because of the threat of lawsuits.

Earlier today, I was stunned to learn that 771 coronavirus-related lawsuits have already been filed…

Hundreds of lawsuits stemming from the coronavirus pandemic are rapidly amassing in state and federal courts, the first wave of litigation challenging decisions made early during the crisis by corporations, insurance companies and governments.

Claims have been filed against hospitals and senior-living facilities, airlines and cruise lines, fitness chains and the entertainment industry – 771 as of Friday, according to a database compiled by Hunton Andrews Kurth, an international law firm tracking cases that emerge from the pandemic.

Isn’t that insane?

I have repeatedly warned my readers that it will be exceedingly difficult to “return to normal” in our overly litigious society, but even I didn’t expect so many lawsuits so soon.

And this is just the beginning.  Eventually there will be thousands upon thousands of coronavirus lawsuits, and they will tie up our courts for the foreseeable future.

This pandemic just seems to be magnifying everything that is wrong with our society, and at this point the future looks so bleak that even perpetually optimistic Warren Buffett is throwing in the cards

A 95% plunge in passengers. Billions in losses. A rush for new debt. A recovery that executives expect to take years. Coronavirus is roiling the airline industry and the Oracle of Omaha has seen enough.

Warren Buffett told investors Saturday that Berkshire Hathaway has sold its entire stakes in the four largest U.S. airlines — AmericanDeltaSouthwestUnited — as the pandemic upends another bet on the sector that the famed investor had shunned for years before a surprise return in 2016.

Buffett understands that fear of this virus is going to paralyze air travel for a very long time to come, and he is getting out while he still can.

But if our society cannot even handle COVID-19, what will things look like once much worse things start happening?

It has been sobering to watch how rapidly our “snowflake society” has melted during this pandemic.

Now virtually the entire nation is paralyzed by fear, and the once great U.S. economy is crashing all around us.

And the really bad news is that this is just the beginning…

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all many people as we possibly can.

Not Ready For Economic Collapse: Only 41 Percent Of Americans Have $1000 To Cover An Emergency

We better hope that the U.S. economy holds together in 2020, because if there is any sort of major economic crisis much of the country is going to be broke almost immediately.  Today, close to half of all Americans are living on the edge financially.  For many, it is out of necessity, but for others it is a conscious choice.  Way too many people out there see no need to build up a substantial financial cushion because they have a tremendous amount of faith in the system.  They don’t think that things will ever get too bad in this country, and so there is no urgency to put funds away for a rainy day.  But even if authorities could somehow prevent an economic downturn from ever happening again, individual emergencies are taking place all around us on a constant basis.  Cars break down, people get sick, and accidents happen.  Unfortunately, most Americans are completely unprepared for some sort of an emergency to strike.  In fact, a brand new survey has discovered that just 41 percent of Americans could cover a $1,000 emergency expense using their current savings…

Bankrate’s January Financial Security Index survey reveals that just four in 10 U.S. adults (41 percent) would cover the cost of a $1,000 car repair or emergency room visit using savings. The findings echo what previous Bankrate studies and others — including the Federal Reserve and the Pew Charitable Trusts — have found about Americans’ lack of rainy-day savings.

So where would everyone else get the money for an emergency?

Well, most of them would either borrow the money or get it from a relative.

And usually an emergency costs a lot more than $1,000.  Here is more from the Bankrate survey

Emergencies often aren’t cheap. Among survey respondents who said they or their family members dealt with an unexpected expense in the past 12 months, the median amount of the largest expense was $1,750.

Three in 10 adults (29 percent) said they or their family members spent at least $5,000 in the past year to cover an unanticipated cost.

The bottom line is that most of the country is living paycheck to paycheck, and most Americans are just one small step away from financial disaster.

Back in 2008, millions of Americans suddenly lost their jobs, and because so many of them were living on the edge financially a lot of them suddenly couldn’t pay their mortgages.

You would think that we would have learned something from that very painful experience, but we didn’t.

So we better hope that the U.S. economy remains relatively stable, because a serious downturn would be very ugly.

Unfortunately, an increasing number of experts are warning that our luck is about to run out.  In fact, the head of the IMF recently warned that we could potentially be facing another “Great Depression”

The head of the International Monetary Fund has warned that the global economy risks a return of the Great Depression, driven by inequality and financial sector instability.

Speaking at the Peterson Institute of International Economics in Washington, Kristalina Georgieva said new IMF research, which compares the current economy to the “roaring 1920s” that culminated in the great market crash of 1929, revealed that a similar trend was already under way.

That certainly doesn’t sound good at all.

Here in the United States, most people have been choosing to ignore all the signs that the economy is starting to really slow down.

But as stores and businesses continue to close down all over the nation, it is going to become very difficult to ignore all of the empty buildings.

For example, Macy’s just announced that they will be closing nearly 30 stores

Macy’s is closing roughly more than two dozen stores as troubles mount for the storied retailer.

The company confirmed to CNN Business that it’s shuttering 28 Macy’s locations and one Bloomingdale’s location in the coming months. Closures affect locations in several states, including Florida, California and Georgia, according to lists compiled from various media reports.

And one of the most prominent mall retailers in the entire country has just announced that they will be closing 91 stores

Fashion retailer Express plans to close 91 stores as part of a “fleet rationalization” after a sales slump during the holidays.

The move comes amid a rash of store closures following the holiday shopping season.

Of course I could go on and on all day.  Here are just a couple more examples of major retailers that are closing down stores

Bed Bath & Beyond is closing 60 locations, with the list being revealed Tuesday. And Schurman Retail Group plans to close its Papyrus and American Greetings stores, totaling about 254 locations, within the next four to six weeks.

But despite all of the evidence to the contrary, the irrational optimists would still have us believe that America has entered a new era of tremendous economic prosperity.

I actually wish that was true.

Sadly, decades of exceedingly bad decisions are catching up with us in a major way, and instead of changing course we continue to steamroll toward a date with destiny.

Right now I am going to share with you the number one piece of advice that I give to everyone who asks about preparing for the great storm that is ahead.

Build up a financial cushion.

When things get bad, you are going to need money.

I know that sounds exceedingly simple, but obviously most of the country is choosing not to do this.

Instead, most of the country is surviving from month to month with barely any money in their bank accounts, and so when disaster strikes they are going to be looking for someone else to rescue them.

We have had more than a decade since the crisis of 2008 to prepare for the next one, but most people are acting as if the next one will never arrive.

Unfortunately, the truth is that the next crisis has already started, and businesses all over the nation are going bankrupt.

But most Americans won’t realize what is happening until things really start getting out of hand, and by then it will be far too late to make any sort of preparations.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.

The Cold, Hard Facts Which Prove That The Past Decade Was Actually Quite Awful For The U.S. Economy

If this is what “the good times” look like, how nightmarish are “the bad times” going to be?  In America today, more than 500,000 of us are homeless, about 40 million of us are living in poverty, 50 percent of all workers make less than $33,000 a year, and 70 percent of us have cried about money.  But at least the economy has been “growing”, right?  Well, in this article I would like to address that.  Even if you believe that the highly manipulated economic growth numbers that the government puts out are legitimate, they still show that we are in one of the worst economic stretches in all of U.S. history.

From 1930 to 1933, the U.S. economy experienced four years in a row during which GDP growth each year was under 3 percent.

Up until this current stretch, that was the longest streak in our entire history.

Of course we have absolutely shattered that old record, and now that 2019 is over we can add one more year to our growing total.  At this point, you have to go back to 2005 to find the last year in which the U.S. economy grew by at least 3 percent.

That means that the U.S. economy has not actually had a “good year” since the middle of the Bush administration.

14 years in a row of economic growth below 3 percent is not anything to cheer about.  In fact, it is downright abysmal.

But the good news is that stock prices have been steadily rising over the past decade.  Just check out the numbers that David Wessel recently shared with PBS

So, look, the stock market had a terrific decade. The S&P 500 rose nine out of 10 years. The S&P 500 is up nearly 30 percent this year, just this year alone. And half the stock market wealth in America is held by the top 1 percent of people.

The Federal Reserve created trillions of dollars out of thin air and pumped that money into the financial markets, and of course that was going to be good for stock prices.  And pushing interest rates to the floor also helped inflate the massive bubble that we now see on Wall Street.  The following bit of analysis comes from CNBC

The Fed has kept borrowing rates low throughout the decade, gradually raising them from the end of 2015 through 2018, only to cut quickly again in 2019 to try to fend off any uncertainty in the economy. The central bank’s balance sheet sits at roughly $4 trillion, quadruple its size in 2008.

Needless to say, there is going to be a great price to pay in the long-term for such manipulation, but as long as stock prices keep rising most people don’t seem to care.

Unfortunately, these high stock prices do not represent any sort of permanent wealth.  They are simply a snapshot of what people are willing to pay at this moment in time, and a major disaster could come along which could cut those prices in half by next month.

Economic optimists also like to point to the employment numbers as evidence that the economy is doing well, but those numbers are so manipulated that they are essentially meaningless at this point.

In fact, most of the people that are transitioning from not having a job to having a job each month did not even count as “unemployed” the month previously

This year, the portion of people who got jobs each month who wouldn’t even have been counted among the unemployed the month before reached 75 percent. That’s by far the highest it’s been in the last three decades. The percentage of working-age Americans who have jobs only returned to its pre-Great Recession peak in the last few months. (It still has a ways to go before it returns to its previous peak, just before the 2001 recession.)

Today, more than 100 million working age Americans do not have a job, and John Williams has calculated that if honest numbers were being used that the real unemployment rate would be above 20 percent.

The truth is that we still have an employment crisis in this country, and anyone that suggests otherwise is not being straight with you.

Meanwhile, productivity growth has been absolutely terrible over the past decade, an increasing share of the economy has become concentrated in corporate hands, and small business creation has continued to collapse.  The following comes from an excellent article by Annie Lowrey

In many ways, the American economy became more sclerotic. Corporate concentration increased, with more industry sectors dominated by a small handful of firms. All the stories about the furious innovation coming from Silicon Valley and other tech-dominated regions aside, the start-up economy continued its long, slow collapse. The number of IPOs has fallen, and there are now half as many publicly listed businesses as there were in the late 1990s. Our cultural obsession with start-ups peaked at a time when companies under a year old were half as common as they were 40 years ago.

At the same time, the cost of living for average American families has been skyrocketing but our paychecks have not.  As a result, more Americans are being squeezed out of the middle class with each passing month.  Here is more from Lowrey

Millions of young families who tried to save for a home were unable to purchase one, sapped by the toxic combination of high rents and a lack of stock. Throw in sky-high child-care prices, spiraling out-of-pocket health-care fees, and heavy educational-debt loads, and the 2010s crushed a whole generation as it entered its prime earning years. The Millennials are on track to be the first generation in contemporary history to end up poorer than their parents—unless Gen X beats them to it.

The only thing that has saved our economy from plunging into a horrific depression has been the greatest debt binge in all of human history.

Over the last ten years we have added more than 10 trillion dollars to the national debt, state and local government debt has soared to record highs all over the nation, corporate debt has risen more than 50 percent, student loan debt has more than doubled and the total amount of U.S. household debt is now nearing 14 trillion dollars.

By stealing from the future, we have been able to stabilize the present, but the long-term cost will be more than we can bear.

It is only a matter of time before our mistakes catch up with us, and the clock is ticking.

So please don’t try to tell me that the U.S. economy is in good shape.

The last decade was one of the worst stretches for economic growth in our history, and a day of reckoning awaits us during the decade that is directly ahead.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.