35 Mind Blowing Facts About America That Previous Generations Of Americans Never Would Have Believed

The only thing that seems to be constant in our society is change, and today America is changing at a pace that is more rapid than we have ever seen before.  But is that a good thing or a bad thing?  For a moment, I would like for you to imagine what it would be like for a group of average Americans from 1919 to suddenly be transported to our time.  How do you think that they would feel about what we have become?  Certainly they would be absolutely amazed by our advanced technology, but beyond that they would almost certainly have very strong opinions about the current state of our society.  Similarly, if any of us were suddenly transported 100 years into the future, I am sure that we would be completely and utterly shocked by how things had changed.  The decisions that we make today are going to echo long into the future, and if we make very bad decisions there might not be a future for our country at all.

The following are 35 mind blowing facts about America that previous generations of Americans never would have believed…

#1 Approximately one-fourth of the entire global prison population is in the United States.

#2 By the time an American child reaches the age of 18, that child will have seen approximately 40,000 murders on television.

#3 The average U.S. adult “logs 6 hours, 43 minutes of total screen time daily”.

#4 Approximately 96 percent of all Americans use the Internet.

#5 According to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, nearly 56,000 bridges in the United States are currently “structurally deficient”.  What makes that number even more chilling is the fact that vehicles cross those bridges a total of 185 million times a day.

#6 In more than half of all U.S. states, the highest paid public employee in the state is a football coach.

#7 The Pentagon has more square footage of office space than any other office building in the entire world.

#8 The state of Alaska is 429 times larger than the state of Rhode Island.  But Rhode Island has a significantly larger population than Alaska does.

#9 Alaska has a longer coastline than all of the other 49 U.S. states put together.

#10 The city of Juneau, Alaska is about 3,000 square miles in size. It is actually larger than the entire state of Delaware.

#11 The average age of America’s dams is now 52 years.

#12 The average supermarket in the United States wastes about 3,000 pounds of food each year.

#13 There are more than 75 million dogs in the United States, and that number is constantly growing.

#14 Montana has three times as many cows as it does people.

#15 The grizzly bear is the official state animal of California. But no grizzly bears have been seen in the state since 1922.

#16 The only place in the United States where coffee is grown commercially is in Hawaii.

#17 More than 2 million Americans work for Wal-Mart.

#18 Half of all American workers make less than $30,533 a year.

#19 According to one recent survey, 37 percent of all Americans eat fast food every 24 hours.

#20 One study found that one-third of all American teenagers haven’t read a single book in the past year.

#21 Almost one-third of all Millennials are still living with their parents.

#22 The suicide rate in the United States has risen by 33 percent since 1999.

#23 Women have earned at least 57 percent of all bachelor’s degrees in the United States for 18 years in a row.

#24 If the U.S. health care system was a country, it would have the fifth largest GDP on the entire planet.

#25 America does not have a single airport that is considered to be in the top 25 in the world.

#26 Today, a million Americans are living in their RVS, and that number is rising with each passing year.

#27 More than 100 churches in the United States are dying every single week.

#28 The original name of the city of Atlanta was “Terminus“.

#29 There are three towns in the United States that have the name “Santa Claus“.

#30 There is actually a town in Michigan called “Hell“, and during the recent polar vortex it actually froze over.

#31 Almost one-third of all land in the United States is owned by the federal government.

#32 More than 27 million acres of U.S. farmland is owned by foreigners.

#33 Congestion on our highways costs Americans approximately 101 billion dollars a year in wasted fuel and time.

#34 According to Bloomberg, it is being projected “that by 2025, shortfalls in infrastructure investment will subtract as much as $3.9 trillion from U.S. gross domestic product.”

#35 In 1980, the U.S. national debt had just surpassed the one trillion dollar mark.  In 2019, we are about to surpass the 22 trillion dollar mark with no end in sight.

These days, just about everyone that tries to step forward and shake up the system is slapped with heavy criticism.

But at least they are trying to do something.

Holding an important position does not make you a leader.  Rather, being a leader is about having a positive vision for the future and doing whatever you can to achieve that vision.

We have way too many “leaders” out there that are simply filling seats.  Our country is literally falling apart at the seams, and all they can think about is protecting their careers.

America desperately needs change, but unfortunately we have very few change agents.  So we continue to steamroll toward our date with destiny, and time is not on our side.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.  His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News.  From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the nation.  If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so.  The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

The Most Depressing Stat Of The Month: The U.S. National Debt Is About To Pass The $22 Trillion Mark

The U.S. national debt is wildly out of control, and nobody in Washington seems to care.  According to the U.S. Treasury, the federal government is currently $21,933,491,166,604.77 in debt.  In just a few days, that figure will cross the 22 trillion dollar mark.  Over the last 10 years, we have added more than 11 trillion dollars to the national debt, and that means that it has been growing at a pace of more than a trillion dollars a year.  To call this a major national crisis would be a massive understatement, and yet there is absolutely no urgency in Washington address this absolutely critical issue.  We are literally destroying the financial future of this nation, but most Americans don’t seem to understand the gravity of the situation that we are facing.

The Congressional Budget Office projects that the national debt and interest on that debt will both explode at an exponential rate in future years if we stay on the path that we are currently on.  According to the CBO, the federal government spent 371 billion dollars on net interest during the most recent fiscal year…

In fiscal 2018, the government spent $371 billion on net interest, while the Defense Department budget was $599 billion. Social Security benefits cost $977 billion, Medicare $585 billion and Medicaid $389 billion, according to the CBO estimates.

But the CBO said interest outlays’ rate of growth in fiscal 2018 was faster than that for the three mandatory federal programs: Social Security (up $43 billion, or 5 percent); Medicaid (up $14 billion, or 4 percent); and Medicare (up $16 billion, or 3 percent). In comparison, net interest on the public debt increased by $62 billion, or 20 percent.

The 371 billion dollars that we spent on interest could have been spent on roads, schools, airports, strengthening our military or helping the homeless.

Instead, it was poured down a black hole.

As interest rates rise, it is being projected that we will soon be spending more on interest on the national debt than we do on national defense.  And not too long after that, interest on the national debt will cost us more than the entire Social Security program each year.

The bigger our debt gets, the more interest we have to pay, and the CBO is projecting that we will add another 12 trillion dollars to the debt during the 2020s…

Washington has been drowning in red ink for years and it’s only going to get a lot worse over the next decade, a fresh government estimate shows.

The U.S. is likely to add $12 trillion in public debt from 2020 to 2029 through a combination of higher government spending and slower economic growth, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Of course CBO estimates are almost always way too optimistic, and so reality will probably be a lot worse than that.

But if government debt is so bad, why do we just keep on accumulating more of it?

Well, the truth is that government debt always makes the short-term look better.  When the government borrows money and spends it into the economy, it increases GDP.  In essence, we are sacrificing our long-term prosperity in order for some short-term gain.

If we went back and removed the 11 trillion dollars that the federal government borrowed and spent over the last decade, we would be in the worst economic depression in American history right now.  But by stealing from the future, the federal government has been able to stabilize things.

Unfortunately, the future always arrives eventually, and our future is looking extremely bleak at the moment.

If we want to turn things around, we should not be afraid to learn from what other countries have done.  Switzerland and Sweden have both found a lot of success in managing their budgets by adopting very strict fiscal frameworks

What magic formula keeps the Swiss and Swedish fiscal houses in order?

In both cases, they adopted a comprehensive fiscal framework anchored by sensible fiscal targets and enforced by spending and tax limits. It allows them to live with prevailing economic cycles by pegging federal spending and debt to GDP — spending more when the economy is down, and less when growth is strong — and establishing a process for living within those goals.

But that would require discipline, and that is something that is severely lacking in our nation’s capital right now.

In fact, on the left it has become very trendy to say that the U.S. can never face a debt crisis because we can always “print more money”.  Here is one example

All lending to the U.S. government is done in dollars, and the Treasury controls the supply of that currency. It is literally impossible for America to face a pure debt crisis because it can always print enough money to pay its bills.

Again, that creates its own problems. Doing so would risk significant inflation which would almost certainly harm the country’s credit rating, making future borrowing more expensive. However, America structurally can’t reach a point where it doesn’t have the money to pay its debts; only a point where it prioritizes different concerns.

There is so much wrong with those two paragraphs that I don’t even know where to begin.

First of all, the U.S. Treasury does not control the supply of our currency.  The Federal Reserve does, and under normal circumstances more “Federal Reserve notes” do not come into existence unless a corresponding amount of U.S. debt is also issued.

In other words, the process of creating more money also creates more debt.  Most Americans simply do not understand that the Federal Reserve system was designed to be a perpetual debt machine, and it is the primary reason why we are now nearly 22 trillion dollars in debt.  During my run for Congress, abolishing the Federal Reserve was one of the key issues that I ran on, and we need to continue to educate the American people about these issues.

Because the truth is that the national debt is an existential threat to the future of this nation, and we are systematically destroying the very bright future that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.  His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News.  From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the nation.  If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so.  The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

A Nightmare Scenario

NightmareMost people have no idea that the U.S. financial system is on the brink of utter disaster.  If interest rates continue to rise rapidly, the U.S. economy is going to be facing an economic crisis far greater than the one that erupted back in 2008.  At this point, the economic paradigm that the Federal Reserve has constructed only works if interest rates remain super low.  If they rise, everything falls apart.  Much higher interest rates would mean crippling interest payments on the national debt, much higher borrowing costs for state and local governments, trillions of dollars of losses for bond investors, another devastating real estate crash and the possibility of a multi-trillion dollar derivatives meltdown.  Everything depends on interest rates staying low.  Unfortunately for the Fed, it only has a certain amount of control over long-term interest rates, and that control appears to be slipping.  The yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries has soared in recent weeks.  So have mortgage rates.  Fortunately, rates have leveled off for the moment, but if they resume their upward march we could be dealing with a nightmare scenario very, very quickly.

In particular, the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries is a very important number to watch.  So much else in our financial system depends on that number as CNN recently explained…

Indeed, since May, just before Bernanke announced a probable end to QE3, the yield on 10-year Treasuries has jumped around almost one percentage point, to 2.6%, wiping out more than two years of interest payments. The markets clearly fear that far higher long-term rates are lurking in the absence of exceptional policies to rein them in.

That’s a crucial issue, because those rates are highly influential in determining the future performance of stocks, bonds, and real estate. Investors grant equities higher multiples when long-term rates are lower; both longer-maturity Treasuries and corporate bonds jump when rates decline; and developers pocket more cash flow from their projects when they borrow cheaply, raising the values of office and apartment buildings. When rates reverse course, so do all of those prices the Fed has been endeavoring to swell as a tonic for the economy.

Even though the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries has risen substantially, it is still very low.  It has a lot more room to go up.  In fact, as the chart posted below demonstrates, the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries was above 6 percent back in the year 2000…

10 Year Treasury Yield

And the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries should rise substantially.  It simply is not rational to lend the U.S. government money at less than 3 percent when the real rate of inflation is about 8 percent, the Federal Reserve is rapidly debasing the currency by wildly printing money and the federal government has been piling up debt as if there is no tomorrow…

National Debt

Anyone that lends the U.S. government money at current rates is being very foolish.  You will end up getting back money that has much less purchasing power than you originally invested.

Why would anyone do that?

But if interest rates rise, the U.S. government could be looking at some very hairy interest payments very rapidly.  For example, if the average rate of interest on U.S. government debt just gets back to 6 percent (and it has been far higher than that in the past), the federal government will be shelling out a trillion dollars a year just in interest on the national debt.

State and local governments all over the nation could also very rapidly be facing a nightmare scenario.

Detroit is already on the verge of formally declaring the largest municipal bankruptcy in the history of the United States, and there are many other state and local governments from coast to coast that are rapidly heading toward financial disaster even though borrowing costs are super low right now.

If interest rates start rising dramatically, it would cause a huge wave of municipal financial disasters, and municipal bond investors would lose massive amounts of money

“Muni bond investors are in for the shock of their lives,” said financial advisor Ric Edelman. “For the past 30 years there hasn’t been interest rate risk.”

That risk can be extreme. A one-point rise in the interest rate could cut 10 percent of the value of a municipal bond with a longer duration, he said.

Many retail buyers, though, are not ready for the change and “when it starts, it will be too late for them to react,” he said, adding that he was encouraging investors to look at their portfolio allocation and make changes to protect themselves from interest rate risks now.

In fact, bond investors of all types could be facing monstrous losses if interest rates go up dramatically.

It is being projected that if U.S. Treasury yields rise by an average of 3 percentage points, it will cause bond investors to lose a trillion dollars.

And already we have started to see a race for the exits in the bond market.  A total of 80 billion dollars was pulled out of bond funds during the month of June alone.  If you want a visual of the flow of money out of the bond market, just check out the chart in this article.

We are witnessing things happen in the financial markets that have not happened in a very, very long time.

And junk bonds will be hit particularly hard.  About a decade ago, the average yield on junk bonds was about twice what it is right now.  When the junk bond crash comes, there is going to be mass carnage on Wall Street.

But of much greater importance to most Americans is what is happening to mortgage rates.  As mortgage rates rise, it becomes much more difficult to sell a house and much more expensive to buy a house.

According to CNBC, there is an increasing amount of concern that the rise in mortgage rates that we are witnessing could throw the real estate market into absolute turmoil…

The housing recovery is in for a major pause due to higher mortgage rates. It is not in the numbers now, and it won’t be for a few months, but it is coming, according to one noted analyst. The market has seen rising rates before, but never so far so fast; there is no precedent for a 45 percent spike in just six weeks. The spike is causing a sense of urgency now, a rush to buy before rates go higher, but that will be short term. Home sales and home prices will both come down if rates don’t return to their lows, and the expectation is that they will not.

We have seen the number of mortgage applications fall for four weeks in a row, and at this point mortgage applications have declined by 28 percent over the past month.

That is an absolutely stunning decline, but it just shows the power of interest rates.

Let’s try to put this into real world terms.

A year ago, the 30 year rate was sitting at 3.66 percent.  The monthly payment on a 30 year, $300,000 mortgage at that rate would be $1374.07.

If the 30 year rate rises to 8 percent, the monthly payment on a 30 year, $300,000 mortgage at that rate would be $2201.29.

Does 8 percent sound crazy to you?

It shouldn’t.  8 percent was considered to be normal back in the year 2000…

30 Year Mortgage Rate

This is what we are talking about when we talk about the “bubbles” that the Federal Reserve has created.  The housing market is now completely and totally dependent on these artificially low mortgage rates.  If rates go back to “normal”, the results would be absolutely devastating.

But of course the biggest problem with rapidly rising interest rates is the potential for a derivatives crisis.

There are several major U.S. banks that have tens of trillions of dollars of exposure to derivatives.  The following is from one of my previous articles entitled “The Coming Derivatives Panic That Will Destroy Global Financial Markets“…

JPMorgan Chase

Total Assets: $1,812,837,000,000 (just over 1.8 trillion dollars)

Total Exposure To Derivatives: $69,238,349,000,000 (more than 69 trillion dollars)

Citibank

Total Assets: $1,347,841,000,000 (a bit more than 1.3 trillion dollars)

Total Exposure To Derivatives: $52,150,970,000,000 (more than 52 trillion dollars)

Bank Of America

Total Assets: $1,445,093,000,000 (a bit more than 1.4 trillion dollars)

Total Exposure To Derivatives: $44,405,372,000,000 (more than 44 trillion dollars)

Goldman Sachs

Total Assets: $114,693,000,000 (a bit more than 114 billion dollars – yes, you read that correctly)

Total Exposure To Derivatives: $41,580,395,000,000 (more than 41 trillion dollars)

That means that the total exposure that Goldman Sachs has to derivatives contracts is more than 362 times greater than their total assets.

The largest chunk of those derivatives contracts is made up of interest rate derivatives.

I have mentioned this so many times before, but it bears repeating that there are approximately 441 trillion dollars worth of interest rate derivatives sitting out there.

If rapidly rising interest rates suddenly cause trillions of dollars of those bets to start going bad, we could potentially see several of the “too big to fail” banks collapse at the same time.

So what would happen then?

Would the federal government and the Federal Reserve somehow come up with trillions of dollars (or potentially even tens of trillions of dollars) to bail them out?

The Federal Reserve has created a giant mess, and when this current low interest rate bubble ends our financial system is going to slam very violently into a very solid brick wall.

As Graham Summers recently pointed out, entrusting Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke with control of our financial system is like putting a madman behind the wheel of a speeding vehicle…

Imagine if you were in the car with a driver who was going 85 MPH down a road with a speed limit of 35 MPH (this isn’t a bad metaphor as there is absolutely no evidence that QE creates jobs or GDP growth so there is no reason for the Fed to be doing it in the first place).

The guy is obviously out of control. The dangers of driving this fast are myriad (crashing, running someone over, etc.) while the benefits (you might get where you want to go a little faster assuming you don’t crash) are minimal.

Now imagine that the driver turned to you and said, “I’m thinking about slowing down.” Seems like a great idea doesn’t it? But then a mere two minutes later he says “ we need to continue at 85 MPH for the foreseeable future.”

At this point any sane person would scream, “STOP.” The driver is clearly a madman and shouldn’t be let anywhere near the driver’s seat. Moreover, he’s totally lost all credibility and isn’t to be trusted.

That’s our Fed Chairman.

Sadly, most Americans do not understand any of this.

Most Americans have no idea about the immense economic pain that is going to hit us when interest rates go back to normal levels.

All of this could have been avoided, but instead the American people let the central planners over at the Federal Reserve run wild.

When the bubble finally bursts, the official unemployment rate is going to rocket well up into the double digits, millions of families will lose their homes and America will find itself in the middle of the worst economic crisis in modern U.S. history.

Please share this article with as many people as you can.  We need to help people understand what is coming so that they will not be blindsided by it.

The Economic Collapse