15 Economic Statistics That Just Keep Getting Worse

A little over a week ago, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner penned an article for the New York Times entitled “Welcome To The Recovery” in which he touted the great strides that the U.S. economy was making.  But with unemployment still dangerously high and with foreclosures and personal bankruptcies continuing to set all-time records, should we really be talking about a “recovery”?  The truth is that the numbers don’t lie, and statistic after statistic shows that the economic fundamentals continue to get progressively worse.  The U.S. government can continue to try to pump up with economy with more debt, but the reality is that there is not going to be a legitimate “recovery” until consumer spending rebounds.  Consumer spending makes up the vast majority of U.S. GDP.  But without good jobs, consumers are not going to be able to spend money.  Unfortunately, our jobs base continues to be erode as millions upon millions of middle class jobs are shipped over to China, India and dozens of third world nations by the global predator corporations that now dominate the world economy.

The U.S. government cannot create real wealth out of thin air.  It can borrow even more money and flood the economy with even more paper currency, but the short-term “buzz” that creates does absolutely nothing to solve our long-term economic problems.

It is the private sector that actually creates wealth.  But unfortunately, over the last several decades we have allowed that wealth to become highly concentrated.  Now the giant global predator corporations have decided that American workers aren’t really that desirable after all.  They are slowly taking away their factories and their offices and they are moving them to where people are willing to work for one-tenth the pay. 

So where does that leave middle class American “consumers”?

Well, it leaves us in a world of hurt.

The following are 15 key economic statistics that just keep getting worse and which reveal the horrific economic plight in which we now find ourselves…. 

1 – The number of Americans who are receiving food stamps rose to a new all-time record of 40.8 million in May.  The number of Americans receiving food stamps has set a new all-time record for 18 months in a row.  But there is every indication that things are going to get even worse.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that the number of Americans on food stamps will increase to 43 million in 2011. 

2 – The U.S. economy lost 131,000 more jobs during the month of July.  But the truth is that the U.S. economy has been bleeding jobs for a long time.  According to one analysis, the United States has lost 10.5 million jobs since 2007.  Meanwhile, immigrants (both legal and illegal) continue to pour into this nation in unprecedented numbers.

3 – Americans who are out of work are finding it incredibly difficult to get back into the workforce.  In the United States today, the average time needed to find a job has risen to an all-time record of 35.2 weeks.

4 – The U.S. government keeps trying to pump up the economy with debt, and in the process things are getting wildly out of control.  According to a U.S. Treasury Department report to Congress, the U.S. national debt will top $13.6 trillion this year and climb to an estimated $19.6 trillion by 2015.

5 – The interest on all of this debt is becoming increasingly oppressive.  As of July 1st, the U.S. government had spent $355 billion so far in 2010 on interest payments to the holders of the national debt.  The total for 2010 should be somewhere in the neighborhood of $700 billion.  According to Erskine Bowles, one of the heads of Barack Obama’s national debt commission, the U.S. government will be spending $2 trillion just on interest on the national debt by 2020.  Keep in mind that the entire U.S. government budget is less than $4 trillion for the entire year of 2010.

6 – If the U.S. government was forced to use GAAP accounting principles (like all publicly-traded corporations must), the annual U.S. government budget deficit would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 trillion to $5 trillion.

7 – Social Security will pay out more in benefits in 2010 than it receives in payroll taxes.  This was not supposed to happen until at least 2015.  In the years ahead, these new “Social Security deficits” are projected to be absolutely catastrophic

8 – There are simply far too many retirees and not nearly enough workers to support them.  Back in 1950 each retiree’s Social Security benefit was paid for by 16 workers.  Today, each retiree’s Social Security benefit is paid for by approximately 3.3 workers.  By 2025 it is projected that there will be approximately two workers for each retiree.

9 – Wealth continues to become highly concentrated at the top.  Since 1973, the average CEO’s salary has increased from 26 times the median income to over 300 times the median income.

10According to a poll taken in 2009, 61 percent of Americans “always or usually” live paycheck to paycheck.  That was up significantly from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.

11 – The Mortgage Bankers Association recently announced that more than 10% of all U.S. homeowners with a mortgage had missed at least one mortgage payment during the January to March time period.  That was a new all-time record and represented an increase from 9.1 percent a year ago.

12 – A recent survey of last year’s college graduates found that 80 percent moved right back home with their parents after graduation.  That was up substantially from 63 percent in 2006.

13 – During the first quarter of 2010, the total number of loans that are at least three months past due in the United States increased for the 16th consecutive quarter.

14 – The total number of U.S. bank failures passed the 100 mark in July of this year.  In 2009, the total number of U.S. bank failures did not pass the century barrier until October.

15 – The U.S. dollar continues to rapidly decline in value.  An item that cost $20.00 in 1970 would cost you $112.35 today.  An item that cost $20.00 in 1913 would cost you $440.33 today.

Any rational observer (and clearly U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner does not qualify) can see that the foundations of the U.S. economy are coming apart.  The rapidly accumulating mountain of debt that has fueled our “prosperity” is impossible to repay and is going to progressively choke the life out of our economic system.  The good jobs that we have allowed to be shipped out of our country are never coming back.  Every single day, more wealth flows out of this country than flows into it.

Anyone who claims that things are getting “better” is either ignorant, completely deluded or is purposely lying. 

The U.S. economy is not getting “better”.

The U.S. economy is dying.

You should adjust your plans accordingly.

Paupers In The Land Our Forefathers Conquered

A long time ago, in an America now far, far away, the majority of the American people owned the land that they live on.  The term “my land” actually meant something back then.  But today that has fundamentally changed.  Now the majority of the American people owe on the land that they live on.  In fact, most of them owe big money to the giant corporate banking interests that control the mortgage industry.  So how did the American people come to be debtors and paupers in the land that our forefathers conquered?  Today when someone says that they “bought a house” what they really mean is that they have signed up for 30 years (or more) of bloated mortgage payments which they care barely afford.  As you will see below, the percentage of residential mortgage debt to total home equity (housing net worth) in the United States continues to rise at a staggering pace.  In fact, thanks to the housing crash, for the first time in American history residential mortgage debt far surpasses the total home equity owned by all Americans.  So what does that mean?  It means that the big corporate banks have more of an interest in America’s homes than we do now.

So how are we getting our land taken from us?

Well, you can thank rampant inflation and the housing bubble.

Back in 1980, the United States was pushing up towards a total of $1 billion in total residential mortgage debt.  It took us over 200 years to get to that point as a nation.

By 1990, the United States approximately doubled that amount and was sitting at about $2 trillion  in total residential mortgage debt.

By the year 2000, the United States had just about $5 trillion in total residential mortgage debt.

By 2008, the United States had over $10 trillion in total residential mortgage debt.

Do you notice a trend?

In just the past 30 years the amount of residential mortgage debt in the United States has increased tenfold.

Meanwhile, thanks to the housing crash, home equity has taken a nosedive.  As you can see from the chart below, total residential mortgage debt in the U.S. now far exceeds total home equity….

So what does this mean?  It means that the banks have more of a financial interest in America’s homes than we do.  It means that we are quickly becoming paupers and debt slaves.

As you can see from the chart below, back in 1945 total home equity as a percentage of home value was extremely high (80%).  Home equity exceeded total residential mortgage debt by about a 4 to 1 margin.  But today total residential mortgage debt exceeds home equity and the situation is rapidly becoming worse….

We were all told to buy into the system and we could live the American Dream.  We were told to get a “good job” with one of the big global corporations and we were told to get a mortgage so that we could build up equity.  Well, that has turned out great for most of us, hasn’t it?

The reality is that the system so many of us trusted is dying.  We are now at the point where the system cannot provide jobs for millions of us anymore.  If unemployment continues to soar as it has, millions more of us will find ourselves destitute and homeless on the continent our forefathers conquered….

So how did all of this happen?

Back in 1913, the U.S. Congress gave control over U.S. currency to the Federal Reserve.  Since that time, the value of the U.S. dollar has slowly been eroded.  $1.00 in 1914 (the year after the Federal Reserve was established) had about the same buying power as $21.59 in 2010.  That means that the U.S. dollar has lost over 95 percent of its purchasing power since then.

So the accumulated wealth that our parents and grandparents hand down to us is being constantly devalued.  The only way to keep up with rising prices on land and on everything else is to go out into the system to get more of the “currency” that is controlled and manipulated by the Federal Reserve and the big corporate banks.  But what most of us don’t realize is that the game is rigged to slowly transfer the wealth of the nation over to them.

The house always wins in the end.

Thanks to the greed and stupidity of the American people, we have accumulated the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world.  It was a fun party while we were piling up all the debt, but now the bankers have us where they want us.

If only we had listened to those among our founding fathers who warned us about this trap.

For example, the words of Thomas Jefferson in a letter to John Taylor dated May 28th, 1816 ring more true today than they ever have….

And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.

The truth is that the American people are being swindled and most of them don’t even realize it.  The wealth of America is slowly being transferred to the big banks.  All of the interest that we pay month after month after month makes them rich.

The financial system of the United States is broken.  But until the U.S. economy totally collapses most Americans will not realize it.  By then it will be far too late.

FINCA BAYANO

$4.00 A Gallon Gasoline By The End Of 2010? How In The World Are Average Americans Going To Make Ends Meet If This Keeps Up?

Gas prices are on the rise again.  In many areas of the U.S. gas prices are already hovering around $3.00 a gallon.  In fact there are some areas where people are paying as much as $3.50 a gallon, and many experts are predicting that gasoline could hit $4.00 a gallon by the end of 2010.  If this nonsense keeps up, how in the world is the average American family supposed to make ends meet?  Not only is filling up our tanks going to cost a lot more, but the price of gasoline factors into so many other things.  The U.S. economy just cannot handle a major increase in transportation costs at this point.  These increasing gasoline prices come at a time when U.S. consumers are already stretched to the max.

But it isn’t just gasoline prices that are going up.  The price of food is really starting to rise as well.  Rising demand and reduced supply drove supermarket prices for 16 basic foods up 6.2% in the first quarter of 2010.

Now, for those Americans who are independently wealthy, a large increase in gasoline and food prices might not mean much.

But for the rest of us who are trying to get our incomes to stretch as far as possible each month, it means a whole lot.

In fact, a record number of working Americans are finding that their paychecks are just not making it and are turning to government assistance programs such as food stamps just to make it.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, approximately 39.4 million Americans, a new all-time record, received food stamps in January.  This was up 22% from a year earlier.  In fact, the number of Americans on food stamps has hit all-time records for 14 consecutive months.

New all-time records for 14 months in a row?

How in the world can anyone claim that the U.S. economy is in good shape?

And it is just not people who are out of work or who are lazy who are applying for food stamps.  The truth is that a lot of hard working Americans who are doing everything they can to better themselves find themselves out of alternatives these days.

Some of those hard working Americans are readers of this site.  One of them recently left a comment that is very timely….

There are people on food stamps now, that you would never think they were. For example myself, I just went on food stamps last month. I am not a welfare mom, unemployed or declaring bankruptcy, I am educated and working as hard as I can to make ends meet.

I hold a Masters degree, and a part time job. I make minimum wage and if I were scheduled 40 hours a week my pay would just cover my expenses. Problem is, with retail the number of hours changes from week to week, and it hasn’t been near 40 since Christmas. Luckily I planned ahead and put money aside if I couldn’t find a job right out of school, or if I found one and lost it with today’s economy. I have been able to cover the bills my paycheck doesn’t, but the thing is, my savings has gotten low to that.

I honestly really didn’t want to go on food stamps, I just can’t find another job. Let that be a full time position, or even another part time one. I’m applying to everything I’m qualified for, remotely qualified for, and even over qualified for. But there really are that few of jobs out there.

I haven’t really told anyone I’m on food stamps, a good portion of my old friends are still in school and don’t understand why I can’t find a “real” job. Luckily at my new job there’s a whole store of people who know exactly what I’m going through and would never think of judging me for how much I make or where I live.

There are other people too. Once at work a mother with three kids came in, she had never used food stamps before and had no idea what to do at the register. She almost came to tears trying to explain she really didn’t want to use them, but her husband lost his job, and all that was left for the family was her part time job, and she was so ashamed they had them.

People really have no idea how many of their neighbors are on food stamps.

—-

Millions of Americans have done everything that the system has told them to do, and now the system is letting them down.

Why?

Because the system is failing.

The middle class is slowly being squeezed out of existence, and the years ahead are going to be very painful.

Already, it is getting extremely hard to live a middle class lifestyle.

If you haven’t read “It’s Impossible to Get By In the US” by Graham Summers of Phoenix Capital Research, you really need to.  In his article, Summers analyzes the expenses of a typical family making the median U.S. household income of $50,300 (he was using 2008 figures).  According to Summers, if a family making that much did everything right financially, they would maybe have a couple hundred bucks at the end of the month for discretionary spending.  But if they overpaid for their house or had any consumer debt then according to his calculations the typical American family would be operating in the red.

The truth is that the day is fast approaching when it will not be possible for the average American family to make it from month to month.

Even now record numbers of American families are failing financially.

In March 2010, there were 158,000 bankruptcy filings.  That was up 19% from March 2009’s number, and it was also up 35% from February 2010’s number.

Things are getting scary out there.

But if all of that wasn’t bad enough, now state and local governments across the United States are either implementing or are considering substantial tax increases.  State and local governments all over the U.S. are facing unprecedented shortfalls, and they are looking for new sources of revenue.  But you just can’t get blood out of a stone.  Unfortunately, they are likely to keep finding ways to impose new taxes on us anyway.

So is there any good news?

No, not really.

The United States is heading for a complete economic collapse and everyone is going to feel the pain one way or another.

Just make sure that you and your family are as prepared as possible for the years ahead.

“The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation.”
-Vladimir Lenin

My New Book - The Beginning Of The End

12 Reasons Why Millions Of Americans Are Incredibly Angry About The State Of The U.S. Economy

We have reached a very interesting turning point in American history.  More than at any other point in modern times, Americans are deeply angry about the state of the economy.  In fact, it is no stretch to say that millions of U.S. citizens are hopping mad about the economic situation.  Most of them don’t know exactly what is wrong, and even fewer of them have any idea about how to go about fixing things, but they do know one thing.  They know that they are mad.  As Americans, we were raised with the belief that our overwhelmingly powerful economic machine would always provide good jobs and prosperity for all of us as long as we worked hard.  But we have come to learn that is not true.  We have come to learn that our politicians and our leaders have squandered the great inheritance that our forefathers left for us.  We have come to learn that the financial future of our nation is beyond bleak.  We have come to learn that our government has piled up the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world.  Now the foolish decisions of the past several decades are catching up with us.  The U.S. economy is experiencing structural failure, and the American people are angry.  They want answers.  They want someone to fix things.  They want things to go back to the way they used to be.

But that isn’t going to happen.  Once the American people truly start realizing that, the anger that will erupt will dwarf what we are seeing now.

Not that they are aren’t already incredibly steamed.  The following are 12 reasons why many Americans are absolutely furious about the state of the U.S. economy….

#1) There simply are not enough jobs for everyone.  The number of unemployed Americans per job opening has started to increase again, hitting 5.5 in February.  Even many of those who are able to get some work find themselves only able to obtain part-time employment.  Gallup’s underemployment measure hit 20.0% on March 15th.  This was up from 19.7% two weeks earlier and 19.5% at the start of the year.

#2) More Americans than ever find themselves having to rely on the U.S. government just to survive.  According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, about 39.4 million Americans, a new all-time record, received food stamps in January.  This was up 22% from a year earlier.  In fact, the number of Americans on food stamps has hit all-time records for 14 consecutive months.

#3) Foreclosures continue to set records across the United States.  RealtyTrac, the California-based authority on property trends and valuations, projects that there will be 4.5 million home foreclosures before the end of this year.  If you figure 4 people per household, that is another 18 million people that will be forced out of their homes.

#4) As unemployment and foreclosures continue to soar, “tent slums” have started popping up all over the United States.  Is this why our founding fathers fought and died?  So we could all live in “tent slums” as the big fat cats on Wall Street roll around in their bailout cash?

#5) But even with all of these economic problems, the price of food is going up.  Rising demand and reduced supply drove supermarket prices for 16 basic foods up 6.2% in the first quarter of 2010.

#6) Due to the exploding government debt, the American people are going to be confronted with some tough choices.  According to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, the United States will soon have to make difficult choices between higher taxes and reduced social spending.  Either alternative will slow down the U.S. economy.

#7) Meanwhile, corruption in the financial system is running rampant.  The CEOs of bailed-out regional banks are actually getting big raises.  The guy who helped bring down AIG is going to get off scott-free and will be able to keep the millions in profits that he made in the process.

#8) But the biggest fraud is being committed by the boys at the top of the food chain.  A whistle blower has come forward with “smoking gun” evidence of price manipulation by major financial institutions in the precious metals markets.  The scope of this fraud is in the trillions of dollars.  The American people can’t stomach much more of this type of thing.

#9) Almost all financial experts agree that the era of super cheap money is over and that interest rates are about to rise significantly.  This is going to make it much more expensive for most Americans to borrow money to buy a home, to buy a car, to buy things with their credit cards or to borrow money for education.  Those who already have adjustable loans are going to find a much larger portion of their income going to pay interest.  Needless to say, this is going to cause the U.S. economy to experience a significant slowdown.

#10) One of the biggest things that the American people are upset about is the “health care reform” bill that was just rammed down their throats.  It turns out that “health care reform” is actually going to be the biggest tax increase in American history.  Not only that, but because of taxes and mandates imposed upon health insurance companies by the legislation, health insurance premiums are also about to increase substantially.  So where will the average American family get the money to pay for these increases?

#11) In addition, the new health care law that was supposed to give all of us much better health care is actually going to force the cancellation of at least 60 doctor-owned hospitals that were scheduled to be opened according to the executive director of Physician Hospitals of America.  Why?  Well, it turns out that the new law singles out physician-owned hospitals, making new physician-owned projects ineligible to receive payments for Medicare and Medicaid patients.

#12) The reality is that Americans are increasingly becoming disenchanted with the lack of leadership in both political parties.  Approval ratings for leaders in both parties are extremely low, and anger at politicians is at an all-time high.  The Tea Party movement is just one symptom of the seething anger many Americans are feeling.  While many Americans are gathering together at large protest rallies to demonstrate against the policies of the government, others are expressing their displeasure on blogs and websites.  There has never been a moment in modern times when Americans have been so disenchanted with their political leadership.

This anger is not going to go away.  It could be soothed a bit if the U.S. economy was fully fixed and things went back to the way they used to be.  But as noted previously, that just is not going to happen.  Harder times are ahead.  Americans are going to get angrier and angrier.

But there is not much that can be done to prevent that anger.  The politicians who are in office when things really hit the fan are going to take the brunt of the anger, but it won’t be their fault.  The truth is that this economic collapse has been building for decades.  The American people are just not going to understand that the financial system cannot be fixed overnight.

Dark times are coming.  It is not going to be pretty.  There is going to be a lot of anger and a lot of hate.  But all of these economic problems could be seen well ahead of time and there have been those who have been screaming and yelling about them for decades.

But very few people wanted to listen.

Austin Coins

If The Money Supply Is Exploding Why Are We Not Seeing Rampant Inflation?

The U.S. money supply has been expanding at an absolutely unprecedented rate.  So why are we not experiencing rampant inflation?  Why is the U.S. dollar not falling through the floor?  Well, the truth is that all of this new money has gotten into the U.S. financial system but it is not getting into the hands of U.S. businesses and consumers.  In fact, even though the money supply is exploding, U.S. banks have dramatically decreased lending.  This has brought us to a very bizarre financial situation as a nation.

What we have seen is the U.S. government shovel massive amounts of cash into the U.S. financial system and then watch as the big banks sit on that cash and refuse to lend it. The biggest banks in the U.S. reduced their collective small business lending balance by another 1 billion dollars in November 2009.  That drop was the seventh monthly decline in a row.  In fact, in 2009 as a whole U.S. banks posted their sharpest decline in lending since 1942.

So all of this money that the U.S. government pumped into the financial system has been doing American businesses and consumers very little good.  That is why we can have a vastly increased money supply (as you can see from the chart below) and very little inflation.

So if the banks are not lending the money to the American people, what are they doing with it?  One of the things they are doing with it is buying U.S. government debt.  As you can see from the chart below, U.S. banks have cut business lending by approximately 350 billion dollars since early 2009 and they have purchased approximately 300 billion dollars worth of U.S. Treasury securities.

So instead of loaning money to American businesses and consumers who desperately need it, a ton of this new money is being used to pump up yet another bubble.  This time the bubble is in U.S. Treasuries.  Asia Times recently described how this trillion-dollar carry trade in U.S. government securities works….

Remarkably, the most aggressive buyers of US government debt during the past several months have been global banks domiciled in London and the Cayman Islands. They borrow at 20 basis points (a fifth of a percentage point) and buy Treasury securities paying 1% to 3%, depending on maturity.

This is the famous “carry trade”, by which banks or hedge funds borrow short-term at a very low rate and lend medium- or long-term at a higher rate. This works as long as short-tem rates remain extremely low. The moment that borrowing costs begin to rise, the trillion-dollar carry trade in US government securities will collapse.

So what happens when this bubble collapses?

Nobody knows for sure.  But anyone who has dealt with carry trades in the past knows that when carry trades unwind they can do so very, very quickly and the results can be nightmarish.

The truth is that the U.S. financial system is a house of cards that could fall at any time.  A lot of economic pain is on the horizon – it is only a matter of when it comes and how bad it is going to get.  Trends forecaster Gerald Celente is predicting that it could be as soon as this year….