One Of The Largest “Too Big To Fail” Banks In America Boldly Declares That “The Wheels For A Slowdown Are In Motion”

Now even one of the biggest banks in the entire country is openly admitting that a “slowdown” is upon us.  Over the past week or so, the mainstream media has been filled with chatter about the possibility of a recession and what that would mean for the Trump campaign in 2020, and we continue to get more evidence on a daily basis that economic activity really is decelerating.  All of the numbers are pointing in the same direction, and I am going to share some brand new figures with you in this article.  But first, I want to address what Morgan Stanley just released to the public.  In a note that was just published, Morgan Stanley’s chief economist unequivocally stated that “the wheels for a slowdown are in motion”

The downtrend in some global economies is becoming contagious as weakness in the manufacturing sector begins to spread, according to Morgan Stanley, which warned clients that “the wheels for a slowdown are in motion.”

“Even as we have been revising our growth projections lower, we continue to highlight that the risks remain decidedly skewed to the downside,” Chetan Ahya, the bank’s chief economist, warned in a note published Tuesday. “We expect that if trade tensions escalate further … we will enter into a global recession (i.e., global growth below 2.5%Y) in three quarters.”

When “too big to fail” banks throw in the towel and start warning of “a global recession”, that is a really bad sign.

But let’s give Morgan Stanley some credit for at least trying to be honest.  The economic numbers have progressively gotten worse, and we just learned that domestic shipments of RVs are down a whopping 20 percent so far in 2019.  The following comes from Zero Hedge

To elaborate more on our July report titled “Trade War Chaos: Trump’s Tariffs Crash American RV Industry,” it seems the RV industry continues to flash a recessionary warning light.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Elkhart, Indiana, is the industrial hub of American RV manufacturing, has been used by analysts and economist as a leading indicator of consumer demand for luxury items.

Domestic shipments of RVs to dealers have plummeted 20% so far this year, compared to the same period last year, after dropping 4% in 2018, according to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association.

The RV industry is considered to be “a great bellwether of the economy”, and right now it is screaming that a recession is coming.

Meanwhile, more bad news continues to come out of the real estate sector, and it turns out that even wealthy people are now “pulling back” from buying homes…

Wealthy buyers are pulling back from some of the most expensive housing markets in the U.S., the latest sign that sky-high prices and fears of a recession are weighing on a key sector of the economy.

Toll Brothers Inc., the nation’s largest publicly traded luxury-home builder, said late Tuesday that purchase agreements fell 3% from a year earlier, worse than a decline of less than 1% that was expected by a Bloomberg survey of six analysts. The company’s orders in California, home to some of the priciest markets in the country, tumbled 36% from a year earlier.

Of course whenever I start bringing up numbers like these, some skeptics point to the employment statistics as “proof” that things really aren’t so bad.

Well, it turns out that those employment numbers were wildly inaccurate.

In fact, the Labor Department just admitted that the U.S. actually has 501,000 less jobs than they previously thought

The labor market seemed to defy gravity last year, generating more than 200,000 jobs a month despite a historically low unemployment rate that made it harder for employers to find workers.

Turns out job growth wasn’t as robust as it appeared.

The Labor Department revised down total job gains from April 2018 to March 2019 by 501,000, the agency said Wednesday, the largest downward revision in a decade.

An error of more than half a million jobs is colossal, and it is going to make it more difficult for us to have faith in the “official numbers” that they give us in the future.

In the end, it turns out that all of those glowing headlines about U.S. employment in 2018 were grossly overstated.  If these revised numbers are accurate, then job growth was just barely keeping up with population growth in 2018, and of course we have started to see the employment numbers begin to deteriorate in recent months.

But if you listen to some of the pundits, you would be tempted to think that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.  For example, consider what Brian Moynihan just told CNBC

“I’d love to say that the optimistic universe is most likely to prevail, but the talking heads talk endlessly about how a recession is inevitable,” he said. “This kind of talk sows fear, which erodes confidence, and without confidence business pauses its new hires and its investments, which then leads to a downturn in consumer spending, which then leads to a recession.”

And CNBC’s Jim Cramer insists that everything will be just fine if the “angry rhetoric” is toned down

“If the president were to simply calm down the rhetoric on China, rather than taking them on like some kind of trash-talking wide receiver, the bears would lose their biggest crutch,” said the “Mad Money” host, who blamed fears about the bond market on “angry rhetoric and frightening jeremiads from supposed experts” who should listen to conference calls.

No, sticking our heads in the sand and pretending that everything is going to be just fine is not going to solve anything.

The U.S. economy has defied the laws of economics for an extended period of time, but now all of our mistakes are catching up with us, and the crisis that is ahead is going to be very painful.

Unfortunately, a lot of the so-called “experts” will continue to deny the obvious even when it is staring them in the face, and this is going to result in a tremendous amount of confusion among ordinary Americans as our nation spirals into a terrifying economic nightmare.

About 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. 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.

When It Comes To The U.S. Economy, Everyone Wants To Pin The Credit Or The Blame On Donald Trump

No matter what happens with the U.S. economy, most of the credit or the blame is going to go to President Trump.  And now that the U.S. economy appears to be headed for big trouble, the mainstream media is salivating over what this could mean for Trump’s chances of winning in 2020.  Within the past few days, the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News have all run stories about Trump and the economy, and they are all perpetuating the false premise that presidents should be held accountable for how the economy performs.  As I have repeatedly reminded my readers, the truth is that U.S. presidents generally have relatively little control over the direction of the economy.  In our system, it is the central planners at the Federal Reserve that primarily direct our economy, and so most of the credit or the blame for our economic performance should go to them.  And the truth is that even President Trump realizes this.  He understands that the Federal Reserve has control over key economic tools that he does not, and that is one of the reasons why he is so frustrated right now.  The Fed is not running things the way that he would run them, and he realizes that this could severely hurt his chances of winning the next election.

During his first term, President Trump has not actually been able to do much to alter the overall trajectory of the economy.  Some pundits point to the tax cuts that he was able to pass, and certainly reducing corporate tax rates helped things a little bit in the short-term, but the overall impact of the tax bill was relatively negligible.  Ultimately, the moves that the Federal Reserve has been making have been far more important, and at this point Trump seems to be convinced that Fed Chair Jerome Powell and others are intentionally trying to undermine him

He has insisted that his own handpicked Federal Reserve chair, Jerome H. Powell, is intentionally acting against him. He has said other countries, including allies, are working to hurt American economic interests. And he has accused the news media of trying to create a recession.

“The Fake News Media is doing everything they can to crash the economy because they think that will be bad for me and my re-election,” Mr. Trump tweeted last week. “The problem they have is that the economy is way too strong and we will soon be winning big on Trade, and everyone knows that, including China!”

Trade policy is one area where presidents do have more power than anyone else, and this is definitely where President Trump has had the biggest impact on the economy.  After claiming for months that a trade war would be “easy” to win, President Trump is now acknowledging that our trade war with China could potentially result in a recession

“I am doing this whether it’s good or bad for your statement about, ‘Oh, will we fall into a recession for two months?’ The fact is, somebody had to take China on,” Trump said.

“Whether it’s good for our country or bad for our country, short term, it had to be done,” he said, repeating that “whether it’s good or bad, short term, is irrelevant.”

And to be honest, this is the argument that Trump should have been making all along.  A trade conflict with China is most definitely going to be very painful, but it is also very true that something had to be done about China.  They have been taking advantage of us and ripping us off for years, and when previous administrations decided to do nothing about China they were being exceedingly negligent.

However, there is a huge difference between recalibrating our relationship with China and antagonizing them so much that our relationship with the Chinese is completely destroyed.  At this point it appears that we are doing the latter, and that is going to have enormous implications in 2020 and beyond.

And if our trade war with China does push us into a recession, there are many on the left that would greatly rejoice.  The following comes from a Fox News editorial by Steve Hilton

It’s pretty obvious that these establishment Trump-hating hysterics — all of them, of course, living comfortable coastal lives — actually want a recession because they think that’s the best way to get rid of Trump. At least one of them is honest about it.

“I’ve been saying for about two years  — that I hope we have a recession, and people get mad at me,” said Bill Maher, host of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher.”

Unfortunately for Trump, most Americans will squarely blame him if a recession happens even if it wasn’t his fault.  When the U.S. economy was doing relatively well, Trump repeatedly took full credit for it, and that was a huge mistake.  Because if the economy is really struggling in 2020, he probably won’t be able to successfully shift the blame to someone else.  The mainstream media will hammer him over and over again with editorials about “the failure of Trumponomics”, and even though most of those editorials won’t make any sense, they will still have a huge impact on millions of Americans voters.

It is often said that “pride goeth before destruction”, and President Trump has repeatedly told us that this is the greatest economy ever and that he is responsible for it.  But of course this isn’t even close to the greatest economy ever.  The following comes from another Fox News editorial

The fact is Trump’s best economic growth is 3.5 percent in two quarters out of the 10 quarters he’s been in office, CNBC’s John Harwood reports, adding that same growth figure, 3.5 percent, is Obama’s seventh best quarter, George W. Bush’s eighth best, and Bill Clinton’s 17th best. Yet, Trump claims his economy is the best ever. Far from it.

When things were going relatively well, President Trump should have said that it was a team effort and he should have acknowledged that we still had an enormous amount of work to do.

And all along he should have been educating the American people about the fact that the Federal Reserve has far more power over the performance of the economy than he does.

But now it appears that we are facing a nightmare economic scenario, and everybody is going to blame him for the failure of the economy.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve will once again escape accountability for running our economy into the ground, and that is extremely unfortunate.

About 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. 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.

11 Reasons Why So Many Experts Believe That A U.S. Economic Crisis Is Imminent

The numbers are telling us that we have never been closer to the next recession than we are right now.  The storm clouds that were gathering on the horizon are now directly above us, and suddenly the mainstream media is filled with stories about when the next recession will begin and the effect that this may have on President Trump’s chances of winning in 2020.  In fact, there has been so much chatter about this that even President Trump is talking about it.  All over television, experts are breathlessly speculating about when the coming recession will begin, and they are dispensing lots of advice about how people should be preparing for it.

So what evidence has led so many of these talking heads to come to such a conclusion?

Well, the following are 11 reasons why so many experts now believe that a U.S. economic crisis is imminent…

#1 Last week, the “spread between the U.S. 2-year and 10-year yields” turned negative for the very first time in 12 years.  An inversion of the yield curve has occurred prior to every single U.S. recession since the 1950s, and this is one of the most important economic signals that we have seen yet.

#2 U.S. consumer sentiment just fell to the lowest level that we have seen in all of 2019.

#3 74 percent of the economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics believe that a recession will begin in the United States by the end of 2021.

#4 U.S. industrial production just slipped back into contraction territory.

#5 The IHS Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index just fell to the lowest level that we have seen since September 2009.

#6 Just like we witnessed in 2008, fear and volatility have returned to Wall Street in a major way.  In fact, so far this month we have already seen the 4th and 7th largest single day point declines in U.S. stock market history.

#7 The total number of bankruptcy filings in the United States has been steadily shooting up, and it rose another 5 percent during the month of July.

#8 Major U.S. retailers continue to shut down more stores, and we have continued to stay on a pace that would break the all-time record for store closings in a single year.

#9 As I discussed yesterday, on a year over year basis U.S. freight shipment volume has now fallen for 8 months in a row.

#10 According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the probability that a recession will happen within the next 12 months is now the highest that it has been since the last financial crisis.

#11 President Trump is suggesting that the Federal Reserve should cut interest rates by 100 basis points and that the Fed should restart quantitative easing as soon as possible.  Both of those moves would be considered to be “emergency measures” that should only happen if a major economic downturn was imminent.

In that list, I didn’t even mention our rapidly escalating trade war with China.  The two largest economies on the entire planet are engaged in an extremely bitter trade dispute, and that alone has the potential to plunge the entire global economy into a very deep downturn.

On the surface, the Trump administration is trying to assure us that everything is going to be just fine, but behind the scenes they appear to be preparing for the worst.  For example, we have just learned that the Trump administration is actually considering pushing for an emergency payroll tax cut

Several senior White House officials have begun discussing whether to push for a temporary payroll tax cut as a way to arrest an economic slowdown, three people familiar with the discussions said, revealing the growing concerns by President Donald Trump’s top economic aides.

The talks are still in their early stages, and the officials have not decided whether to formally push Congress to approve the cut, these people said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to disclose internal discussions. But the White House in recent days has begun searching for proposals that could halt a slowing economy.

If the U.S. economy really was “booming”, an emergency payroll tax cut wouldn’t make any sense at all.

But if we are on the verge of a very serious economic crisis, then such a move would make perfect sense.

Of course the U.S. is definitely not the only major economy that is facing serious troubles.  In fact, signs of economic trouble have been emerging all over the globe lately

The economies in Germany, Brazil, Italy, Mexico and a number of other countries are also showing vulnerabilities, experts say. The uncertainty is exacerbated by fears of the potential financial fallout that could happen if the United Kingdom leaves the European Union in October without first reaching a deal on the terms of its departure.

In particular, developments in Germany are quite troubling.  Their economy actually contracted last quarter, and the German government is “preparing to embrace new fiscal stimulus measures should its economy stumble into a deep recession”

Nearly two weeks after Der Spiegel sent its first trial balloon about the prospects that the German government might crank up its fiscal stimulus if Europe’s largest economy slides into recession (which, as we explained last week, is already on the cusp of doing), the trial balloons have crossed the Atlantic.

Bloomberg reported on Monday that the German government is preparing to embrace new fiscal stimulus measures should its economy stumble into a deep recession, “citing two people with direct knowledge of the matter.”

We haven’t seen talk like this in a very, very long time.  For many people, the extreme pain caused by the economic crisis of 2008 and 2009 has almost faded from memory, but the truth is that many experts believe that what is ahead is going to be even worse.

If everything was going to be just fine, President Trump would not be trying to get the Federal Reserve to make extremely deep interest rate cuts.  In life, what people do is far more important than what they say, and the moves that global leaders are making right now are telling us that huge trouble is coming.

So enjoy the relative stability that we are currently experiencing while you still can, because it looks like it won’t be lasting for too much longer.

About 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. 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.

In The U.S., A Transportation Recession Has Already Officially Arrived

A transportation recession often precedes a recession for the entire economy, and while the debate about when the U.S. economy as a whole will plunge into a recession is quite vigorous right now, the truth is that the debate is over regarding when a transportation recession will begin.  Throughout 2017 and most of 2018, U.S. freight shipment volume was booming, and that was a very strong sign that overall economic activity was rising.  But when economic activity begins to decline, freight shipment volume often goes negative, and that is precisely what is happening right now.  In fact, U.S. freight shipment volume has now declined on a year over year basis for eight months in a row

Freight shipments within the US by all modes of transportation – truck, rail, air, and barge – fell 5.9% in July 2019, compared to July 2018, the eighth month in a row of year-over-year declines, according to the Cass Freight Index for Shipments, which tracks shipments of consumer and industrial goods but not of bulk commodities such as grains. This decline along with the 6.0% drop in May were the steepest year-over-year declines in freight shipments since the Financial Crisis

When something happens for eight months in a row, that is definitely a trend, and we haven’t seen declines of this magnitude since the last recession.

And other numbers confirm what the Cass Freight Index is telling us.  For example, ACT Research says that the trucking industry is officially in a recession after “two consecutive quarters of negative growth”

The trucking industry is officially in a recession, according to data tracked by ACT Research.

After months of suggesting a pullback was possible, ACT President Kenny Vieth told FreightWaves on Thursday, July 11 that all metrics his firm tracks meet the technical definition of a recession – two consecutive quarters of negative growth.

Every freight metric we look at has been negative for at least six months,” he said.

Of course it is possible that the transportation industry could pull out of this recession without the U.S. economy as a whole dipping into one, but I wouldn’t count on it this time.

As I have been documenting for months, just about every economic indicator is telling us that big trouble is ahead.

And more bad news just keeps rolling in on a daily basis.  In fact, we just learned that yet another major retailer is shutting down all of their stores

Plus-size women’s clothing retailer Avenue Stores, LLC is shutting down all locations.

On Wednesday, the company announced plans to close all 222 stores across 33 states. Everything from clothing to store fixtures will be sold from locations across America, according to a press release.

Usually major retailers don’t do this sort of thing so late in the year.  If at all possible, there is usually an all-out effort to hang on through the highly lucrative Christmas season, and so things must have been really bad for Avenue Stores to pull the plug here in mid-August.

And all of this is happening even though interest rates are still much lower than the long-term average and the federal government is borrowing and spending money like there is no tomorrow.  According to Wolf Richter, our national debt is up by more than a trillion dollars over the last 12 months…

The US Gross National Debt has jumped by $363 billion in the two weeks since President Trump signed the law that suspended the debt ceiling. This surge pushed the total debt to $22.39 trillion. That’s up by $1.01 trillion from 12 months ago. And these are the good times.

This is emergency level spending, and it has been happening while the U.S. economy has still been relatively stable.

When the federal government borrows money that it does not have and spends it into the economy, that tends to boost overall economic activity and raise GDP numbers.  This was Barack Obama’s favorite economic trick, and Donald Trump has followed right in his footsteps.  But of course in the process we are literally destroying the bright future that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have.  What we are doing to future generations of Americans is beyond criminal, and all of us should be deeply disgusted by what is happening.

But of course the politicians in D.C. are deathly afraid to do anything about our exploding debt, because if we cut spending to sustainable levels that would immediately plunge the U.S. economy into a horrific recession.  And when bad economic times come, voters tend to vote out the people that are already holding office.

For President Trump, keeping the U.S. economy out of a recession is absolutely critical to his chances of winning in 2020, and he knows it.

His opponents know it too, and that is why many of them are openly rooting for a recession.  For instance, just check out what Bill Maher said on his show on Friday

HBO’s Real Time host Bill Maher made another desperate plea for a recession on Friday, saying that the economic downturn “would be very worth getting rid of Donald Trump.”

“So I’ve been saying for about two years that I hope we have a recession,” Bill Maher said. “And people get mad at me, as Sean Hannity thinks I’m actually causing a recession. I’m just saying we can survive a recession. We’ve had 47 of them. We’ve had one every time there’s a Republican president.”

“So, yes, a recession would be very worth getting rid of Donald Trump and these kind of policies,” Maher said after citing a dubious United Nations report that claims a million species are at risk of extinction.

On the other side, President Trump and his team are going to try to make things seem as rosy as possible between now and election day.

So they will keep telling us that everything is just wonderful, and they will keep insisting that a recession is not coming

Top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Sunday he does not forecast a recession “at all,” despite warning signs exhibited by the bond market last week.

“First of all, I don’t see a recession at all,” Kudlow told “Fox News Sunday.” “Second of all, the Trump pro-growth program, which I believe has been succeeding – lower tax rates, big rollback of regulations, energy opening, trade reform – we’re gonna stay with that. We believe that’s the heart of the free enterprise. We want an incentive-oriented supply-side economy, providing opportunities for everybody across the board.”

In the end, it really isn’t going to matter who is in the White House.  What is coming to America is going to be extremely painful, and we are about to reap the consequences for decades of incredibly foolish decisions.

How we view reality should never be distorted based on what political party we identify with.  When we willingly choose not to see things objectively, we become very susceptible to deception.

The truth is always going to be the truth, and in our case the truth is not pretty.

About 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. 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.

Middle Class Death Spiral: Consumers Have Never Been In More Debt, And Bankruptcies Are Surging

This wasn’t supposed to happen.  During the relative economic stability of the past few years, the middle class was supposed to experience a resurgence, but instead it has just continued to be hollowed out.  The cost of living has risen much faster than wages have, and as a result hard working families all over America are being stretched financially like never before.  Even though most of us are working, 59 percent of all Americans are currently living paycheck to paycheck, and almost 50 million Americans are living in poverty.  In a desperate attempt to continue their middle class lifestyles, many Americans have been piling up mountains of debt, and it has gotten to the point where we have a major crisis on our hands.

According to the New York Post, the total amount of debt that U.S. households have accumulated is about to cross the 14 trillion dollar mark for the first time ever…

Meanwhile, record American household debt, near $14 trillion including mortgages and student loans, is some $1 trillion higher than during the Great Recession of 2008. Credit card debt of $1 trillion also exceeds the 2008 peak.

Americans are spending heavily, again — and often recklessly, say analysts.

This is the exact opposite of what U.S. consumers should be doing.  We can see signs of a fresh economic slowdown all around us, and consumers should be feverishly trying to get out of debt as fast as they can.

But instead, debt levels just keep setting record after record.  In fact, total student loan debt just hit a brand new record high of 1.605 trillion dollars, and auto loan debt just hit a brand new record high of 1.174 trillion dollars.

It would be one thing if we could handle all of this debt, but that isn’t the case.  Bankruptcies have been steadily rising, and according to the latest figures the number of bankruptcy filings shot up another 5 percent in the month of July

Bankruptcy petitions for consumers and businesses are on the rise. There was a 5% increase in total bankruptcy filings in July 2019 from the previous month, the American Bankruptcy Institute said this week. There were 64,283 bankruptcy filings, up from 62,241 for the same period last year.

Unfortunately, this is probably just the beginning.

Right now, most of the country is living on the edge financially, and so a major economic slowdown would inevitably cause another enormous tsunami of consumer bankruptcies like we saw in 2008.

Even now, things are already so bad that many hard working “middle class” workers in high-cost cities such as New York are so financially stretched that they have to rely on free food from local food banks

“In high-cost cities like New York, personal incomes are not often enough to pay the household bills,” Zac Hall, vice president of anti-poverty programs at the Food Bank For New York City, told The Post. “We are seeing people using consumer debt as a way to make ends meet when they come here,” he added, citing the pressures his nonprofit faces to keep up the distribution of food and meals at no cost to some 1.5 million New Yorkers.

If 1.5 million people in New York are being fed by food banks now while things are still relatively stable, how bad will things be when the economy really starts to tank?

For decades, the “almighty U.S. consumer” was one of the fundamental pillars of our economy, but now that is no longer true.

U.S. consumers simply do not have a lot of discretionary income to spend these days, and this is killing major retailers all over the nation.  We are on pace to absolutely shatter the all-time record for store closings in a single year, and within the past 7 days more big retailers have announced that they will be permanently shutting down stores.

For example, Walgreens just announced that they will be closing “approximately 200 U.S. stores”

Walgreens plans to close approximately 200 U.S. stores, the company announced Tuesday in an SEC filing.

According to the document posted Tuesday on the Securities and Exchange Commission website, the move to close stores follows “a review of the real estate footprint in the United States.”

That wouldn’t be happening if the U.S. economy really was “booming”.

Here is another example that comes to us from Wolf Street

A’Gaci, a young women’s fashion retailer based in Texas, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Thursday, for the second time, after having filed for the first time in January 2018. This time, it will liquidate. All its remaining 54 stores in seven states and Puerto Rico will be closed – the “bulk” of them by the end of this month.

In addition, we just learned that Party City is going to be closing more stores than expected in 2019

Party City is increasing the number of stores expected to shutter this year.

The New Jersey-based party supplies company said it was looking to close 55 stores throughout the year, up 10 from the May estimate of 45 stores.

I honestly don’t know what malls and shopping centers all over the U.S. are going to do.  I once warned of a future in which America’s landscape would be littered with abandoned stores, and that future has now arrived.

For the moment, those at the very top of the economic pyramid are still doing okay, but the middle class is eroding a little bit more with each passing day.  For much more on this, I would encourage you to check out this Youtube video by Jeremiah Babe.

I have been writing about the evisceration of the U.S. middle class for a decade, and the condition of the middle class right now is as bad as I have ever seen it.

And as we plunge into this new economic downturn, things are only going to get worse.  The middle class is absolutely drowning in debt, and even a mild recession would be enough to financially wipe out millions of American families.

About 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. 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.

“Worst Year Ever”: The Chinese Ban On U.S. Agricultural Products Will Be A Death Blow For Countless U.S. Farms

U.S. farmers have never experienced a year quite like this.  During the first half of 2019, endless rain and unprecedented flooding were the major problems.  As a result of the incredibly wet conditions, millions of acres of prime farmland didn’t get planted at all, and tens of millions of other acres are going to yield a lot less than usual.  Even without anything else happening, we were going to see farm bankruptcies soar to absolutely crazy levels, but now the Chinese government is essentially cutting off U.S. agricultural imports.  This will greatly depress the prices that U.S. farmers get for their crops, and so many farmers that were still hoping to squeeze out a profit for this year will be hit with a loss instead.  Ultimately, the truth is that 2019 is going to be a death blow for countless U.S. farmers that were barely hanging on financially after a string of really tough years.  Many will leave the industry entirely and never go back to farming again, and our nation will be worse off because of it.

When the Chinese announced that they were going to completely stop buying U.S. agricultural products, it sent shockwaves across the middle portion of the country.  According to the executive vice president of the American Farm Bureau, our farmers and ranchers will now be facing “just a really tough, tough time”

“This is a body blow to farmers and ranchers all across the country,” Dale Moore, executive vice president of the American Farm Bureau, told FOX Business. “That’s one of the things that we are feeling the effects of, and this is on top of a year when mother nature has been a terrible business partner in many parts of the country. It’s just a really tough, tough time for farmers and ranchers in this country.”

Shares of industrial, farming, oil and transportation companies have plummeted, a direct result of the increased tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

Of course President Trump is trying to be upbeat and he is promising that the Chinese will not be able to hurt our farmers, but the truth is that they already have.

Chinese imports of U.S. agricultural products fell by more than half from 2017 to 2018, and now they are going to zero.  The following comes from Fox Business

Despite Trump’s tweet, American farmers now stand to lose all of what was a $9.1 billion market in 2018, which was down sharply from the $19.5 billion U.S. farmers exported to China in 2017.

Unfortunately for U.S. farmers, they are caught right in the middle of a tug of war between the Chinese government and President Trump, and China specifically went after U.S. farmers in order to hurt Trump politically

China’s new agricultural ban has an additional benefit to the Chinese of maximizing negative political impact to Trump.

Important presidential election swing states in the Midwest grain belt such as Iowa and Wisconsin were vital to his 2016 election victory. Cutting this particular area of bilateral trade at a time when American farmers are recovering from the after-effects of this year’s floods is a potent way for Beijing to punch back against President Trump’s new tariffs.

If the presidential election was held this November, it would be really difficult for Trump to win in Iowa in Wisconsin.  Of course much can change between now and November 2020, but right now Trump is definitely losing support in the middle of the country.

Speaking of Wisconsin, it just happens to be one of the states that currently has the highest number of farm bankruptcy filings

Since last June, there have been a staggering 535 Chapter 12 bankruptcy filings, a 13 percent increase. Kansas, Minnesota and Wisconsin had the highest number of filings.

As a result, Congress passed the Family Farmer Relief Act to update the eligibility requirements for Chapter 12 bankruptcy, raising the debt limit from $4.1 million to $10 million — giving more farmers the chance to declare bankruptcy, thereby offering their producers and creditors a better chance to recognize and avoid mass liquidation.

President Trump will try to keep as many farms going as possible with his massive aid packages, but the truth is that even with those aid packages it is inevitable that farm bankruptcies will continue to surge.

In fact, they are already at the highest level that we have seen since the last recession.

What U.S. farmers really need is an end to the trade war and for the Chinese to start buying from them again.

Sadly, that is just not going to happen.  At this point, even Goldman Sachs is admitting that there will not be a trade deal with China before the 2020 presidential election…

Analysts at Goldman Sachs no longer think the U.S. and China will manage to negotiate a trade deal ahead of the 2020 presidential election — which is more than 15 months away.

“We had expected a final round of tariffs targeting remaining Chinese imports at a 10 percent rate,” the analysts, led by chief U.S. economist Jan Hatzius, wrote in a note to clients. “But news since President Trump’s tariff announcement last Thursday indicates that U.S. and Chinese policymakers are taking a harder line, and we no longer expect a trade deal before the 2020 election.”

This means that things will continue to go from bad to worse for U.S. farmers, and this will take a major toll on the U.S. economy as a whole.

We have entered the time of “the perfect storm”, and things are definitely not going to get any easier in the months ahead.

I wish that I had better news for you, but I don’t.  Global events are starting to greatly accelerate, and so many of the things that we have been warned about are starting to happen right in front of our eyes.

About 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. 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.

New Tariffs, Stocks Plunge, Manufacturing Falls Again And More Layoffs – But Everything Is “Fine”?

Things are starting to go downhill rather quickly now.  A day after the Federal Reserve cut interest rates for the first time in more than a decade, we received a whole bunch more bad economic news.  Most Americans don’t realize it yet, but our economy is in serious trouble.  We haven’t seen anything like this since the last recession, but most people seem to think that since stock prices are still very high that everything must be fine.  No, everything is definitely not “fine”, and as I noted yesterday, a lot of prominent names are loudly sounding the alarm.  Many analysts are expecting things to really start breaking loose as we get deeper into the second half of this year, and what we witnessed on Thursday certainly didn’t make the outlook any brighter.

President Trump completely shocked Wall Street when he announced that yet another round of tariffs will be imposed upon Chinese goods.  According to CNBC, these new tariffs will go into effect on September 1st…

Trump said in a series of tweets the tariff will be imposed on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods. The levy will take effect Sept. 1.

He said later in the day those levies could go up to 25%. Trump’s comments came after a U.S. delegation met with Chinese trade officials earlier this week. Those were the first in-person trade talks between China and the U.S. since both countries reached a truce on the situation.

This is essentially the equivalent of a “gut punch”, and it definitely takes our trade war with China to an entirely new level.

And Trump told the press that the tariffs will remain in place until the U.S. and China agree to a deal.  The following comes from Fox Business

President Trump said on Thursday the U.S. will continue to tax China until the world’s two largest economies reach a trade agreement .

“When my people came home they said we were talking. We have another meeting in September. Until such time as there is a deal we will be taxing them,” he said from the White House’s south lawn.

But as I have repeatedly explained to my readers, there isn’t going to be an agreement any time soon.  In fact, it is extremely doubtful that we will see one before the 2020 presidential election.  Trump is not going to back down from his core demands, the Chinese will never accept them, and China would much prefer to negotiate with whoever follows Trump in the Oval Office.

So these tariffs are here to stay, China will inevitably retaliate once again, and global economic activity will suffer.

But Trump doesn’t seem alarmed.  On Thursday, he also told reporters that if China doesn’t want to trade with the United States anymore “that would be fine with me”

“For many years China has been taking money out by the hundreds billions of dollars a year. We have rebuilt China so now it is time that we changed things around. If they didn’t want to trade with us anymore that would be fine with me. It would save us a lot of money,” Trump told reporters Thursday.

Those are very strong words, and Trump actually has a point.

In the short-term, decoupling from the Chinese economy is going to be extremely painful for us.  But the truth is that we should have never integrated our economy so deeply with China’s economy in the first place.  The Chinese government is one of the most tyrannical regimes on the entire planet, and they have no respect for basic human rights.  Trade agreements that were extremely unfavorable for the United States allowed China to become exceedingly wealthy at our expense, and the Chinese would like to continue taking advantage of us indefinitely if they could.

So something definitely needed to be done about China, but it is going to be a really, really painful period of adjustment for the U.S. economy.

After Wall Street learned of the new tariffs on Thursday, stock prices immediately began to plummet

When President Donald Trump announced a new round of tariffs on Chinese imports on Thursday, the Dow was up 311 points. Then it was down nearly 300 points.

That was the biggest swing since early January.

And it certainly would not be a surprise if stock prices continued to go down.  As I noted the other day, the stock market is more primed for a crash than it has ever been before.

At this point, stock prices are completely and totally disconnected from economic reality.  As stocks hit record high after record high in July, bad economic news just kept pouring in.

Of course August certainly just started off with a bang.  On Thursday, we learned that a key measure of U.S. manufacturing activity has fallen to the lowest level since September 2009

The IHS Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to 50.4 in July, down from 50.6 in June, driven by a weaker demand. The firm also noted managers’ signaled slower hiring.

In addition, Lowe’s just announced that they will be “laying off thousands of workers”

Lowe’s is laying off thousands of workers.

Layoffs will include assemblers, who put together items like grills and patio furniture. The company will also cut maintenance and facility-service jobs, such as janitors. The company said it is outsourcing those positions to third-party companies.

Lowe’s (LOW) declined to say exactly how many workers will be laid off. It said that workers whose jobs are being eliminated will be given transition pay and have the opportunity to apply for open roles at Lowe’s. The Wall Street Journal first reported Lowe’s plan.

This is the continuation of a trend that I have been tracking for months.  Big companies have been laying off workers at a level that we haven’t seen since the last recession, and many believe that what we have witnessed so far is just the beginning.

Also, the “trucking apocalypse” just continues to accelerate.  The following comes from Zero Hedge

Yet another trucking company has fallen victim to the recession in freight this year, according to FreightWaves. Terrill Transportation of Livermore, California shut its doors unexpectedly on July 30. The company had been in business 25 years.

Customer Manny Bhandal, president of Bhandal Bros. Inc., said that three of his trucks arrived at Terrill on July 30 to drop off a shipment and were turned away. Kevin Terrill, president of Terrill Transportation, did not respond to FreightWaves.

If the U.S. economy really was in “fine” shape, trucking company after trucking company would not be shutting their doors.

Sadly, instead of heeding the warning signs and using this time to get prepared for rough times ahead, most Americans are choosing to use this time to party.

And there is certainly not anything wrong with enjoying life, but we have gotten to the point where it is crystal clear that a new crisis is upon us, and most Americans are completely and utterly unprepared for what is about to happen.

I will continue to track these developments as they unfold.  We are truly in unprecedented territory, and I have a feeling that the second half of 2019 is going to be far more “interesting” than the first half was.

About 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. 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.

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