U.S. Job Cut Announcements Rise 117 Percent To The Highest Level That We Have Seen In More Than 3 Years

We have not seen anything like this since the last recession.  Layoff announcements are coming fast and furious now, and the speed at which workers are being laid off is shocking a lot of people.  In this day and age, big companies have absolutely no loyalty to their workers.  The moment it becomes financially advantageous for them to start laying off employees, most of them will do it in a heartbeat.  I personally know someone that was an extremely hard worker and that put in extra time and effort for his company for many, many years, but he was just laid off because that is what the number crunchers determined was the right move.  It is a cold, cruel world, and as we witnessed back in 2008, job losses can occur at a pace that is absolutely breathtaking when a recession strikes.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been documenting the numbers that indicate that a major economic slowdown has begun, and we may have gotten the biggest one so far on Thursday.

According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, the number of job cut announcements in February was up 117 percent compared to the same period last year.  The following comes from Fox Business

While many experts and investors are eagerly awaiting data on status of the labor market Opens a New Window. to be released by the government on Friday, a new report shows U.S. employers cut more jobs Opens a New Window. last month than they have in the past 3.5 years.

Even though it is the shortest month of the year, U.S. employers announced plans to cut 76,835 jobs last month, according to a report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas. That’s a 117 percent year-over-year increase, and a 45 percent increase over January’s numbers.

You have to go all the way back to 2015 to find a month that was as bad as February.

Are you starting to see that the momentum for the economy has clearly shifted?

The economic news just keeps getting worse and worse as we roll through 2019, and the retail sector is being hit harder than just about anyone else.

In fact, retailers announced more job cuts in February than any other sector did

The retail sector had the most planned job cuts, with 41,201 so far this year – the highest January-February total since 2009. The industrial goods sector – including some manufacturers – followed with nearly 32,000 cuts announced during the same time period.

The primary reasons employers cited for eliminating positions were restructuring and bankruptcy.

This is being called a “retail apocalypse”, and we are on pace to absolutely shatter the all-time record for store closings in a single year.

At this point, retailers have already announced the closure of more than 5,300 stores.  The following list of retailers that have announced that they are shutting down at least 10 locations comes from Business Insider

Payless ShoeSource: 2,500 stores
Gymboree: 805 stores
Family Dollar: 390 stores
Shopko: 251 stores
Chico’s: 250 stores
Gap: 230 stores
Performance Bicycle: 102 stores
Charlotte Russe: 520 stores
Sears: 70 stores
Destination Maternity: 42-67 stores
Victoria’s Secret: 53 stores
Kmart: 50 stores
Abercrombie & Fitch: 40 stores
Christopher & Banks: 30-40 stores
JCPenney: 27 stores
Beauty Brands: 25 stores
Henri Bendel: 23 stores
Lowe’s: 20 stores

And that list doesn’t even include the fact that Amazon is closing all 87 of its pop-up stores.

I have repeatedly warned that we will be facing a future of boarded up windows, empty retail stores and abandoned malls, and it is happening right in front of our eyes.

Of course it isn’t just the retail industry that is rapidly laying off workers.  Here are just a few of the highlights from the workforce reduction announcements that we have seen in recent days…

-Tesla continues to struggle, and they have already laid off 8 percent of their entire workforce.

-Microsoft is cutting approximately 200 jobs in their commercial sales business.

-JP Morgan is steadily shutting down bank branches in lower income neighborhoods.

-We Work has announced that they have let 300 employees go.

-Devon Energy is eliminating about 200 workers.

-Whole Foods is cutting back worker hours.

-Encana has announced that it is laying off 274 workers in the Houston area.

-In North Carolina, Duke Energy has eliminated 1,900 positions.

-Ocwen Financial is planning to lay off approximately 2,000 workers over the course of 2019.

And in my article yesterday, I noted that General Motors is shutting down four major production plants this year.

It’s really happening.

The bubble of debt-fueled false prosperity that we have been enjoying is disappearing, and the road ahead is going to be really rough.

On Thursday we also learned that U.S. household wealth has been plummeting.  In fact, the fourth quarter of 2018 was the worst quarter for household balance sheets since the last financial crisis

Americans’ net worth fell at the highest level since the financial crisis in the fourth quarter of 2018 as sliding stock market prices ate into the household balance sheet.

Net worth dropped to $104.3 trillion as the year came to an end, a decrease of $3.73 trillion from the third quarter, according to figures released Thursday by the Federal Reserve. The fall amounted to a drop of 3.4 percent.

An increasing number of families are feeling financially squeezed these days, and many of them are accumulating large amounts of debt as they attempt to keep things going.

But for a lot of Americans that are currently drowning in debt, the end of the road has already been reached.

In an article that I posted yesterday, I noted that an all-time record 7 million Americans are behind on their vehicle payments, 37 million credit card accounts are considered to be “seriously delinquent”, and 166 billion dollars worth of student loans are now in the “seriously delinquent” category.

This is a consumer debt crisis that already surpasses the numbers that we witnessed during the last recession.

Nobody is quite sure what is going to happen next.  This is very much a developing story, and I will share new numbers with you as I get them in.

We haven’t experienced anything quite like this since 2008, and most Americans are completely unprepared for a new economic downturn.

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.

Is China’s Social Credit System A Preview Of The Coming “Beast System”?

Virtually everything that you do online and offline is being monitored, tracked or recorded by someone.  Could you imagine what life would be like if the government compiled all of that information into a giant database and used it to punish those that had engaged in politically-incorrect behavior?  Here in the United States, Internet censorship has escalated dramatically, but over in China the government is cracking down on a much wider array of online and offline activities.  If you fail to make a credit card payment, get into an argument in public or say the wrong thing on social media, you could suddenly find yourself restricted from conducting a whole host of normal economic activities.  The primary marketing slogan for this social credit system is “once discredited, everywhere restricted”

China’s social credit system rates citizens based on their daily behaviour, and this could range from their bank credit to their social media activities.

With a tagline of ‘once discredited, everywhere restricted’, it vows to punish ‘untrustworthy’ citizens in as many ways as possible.

This system sounds like something right out of a George Orwell novel, and even entire businesses can be penalized.  In fact, it is being reported that 3.59 million Chinese businesses were added to “the official creditworthiness blacklist” last year.  The following comes from the South China Morning Post

Over 3.59 million Chinese enterprises were added to the official creditworthiness blacklist last year, banning them from a series of activities, including bidding on projects, accessing security markets, taking part in land auctions and issuing corporate bonds, according to the 2018 annual report released by the National Public Credit Information Centre.

On top of that, millions of ordinary Chinese citizens were restricted from flying and riding on trains last year for engaging in “untrustworthy conduct”

According to the report, the authorities collected over 14.21 million pieces of information on the “untrustworthy conduct” of individuals and businesses, including charges of swindling customers, failing to repay loans, illegal fund collection, false and misleading advertising, as well as uncivilised behaviour such as taking reserved seats on trains or causing trouble in hospitals.

About 17.46 million “discredited” people were restricted from buying plane tickets and 5.47 million were restricted from purchasing high-speed train tickets, the report said.

In other words, the Chinese government is banning enormous numbers of people from engaging in normal economic activities because they did something that the government does not like.

This sounds eerily similar to the economic restrictions that the Bible says will be imposed someday upon those that refuse to participate in the coming beast system.  This is what Revelation 13:16-18 says in the Modern English Version

16 He causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, 17 so that no one may buy or sell, except he who has the mark or the name of the beast or the number of his name.

18 Here is a call for wisdom: Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast. It is the number of a man. His number is six hundred and sixty-six.

All over the world, governments are taking more control over the daily lives of their citizens, and most freedom-loving people are greatly alarmed by this growing trend.

But many others are actually embracing the changes.  In fact, Bloomberg is reporting that China’s new social credit system is becoming “quite popular”…

It’s chilling, dystopian — and likely to be quite popular. Chinese have already embraced a whole range of private and government systems that gather, aggregate and distribute records of digital and offline behavior. Depicted outside of China as a creepy digital panopticon, this network of so-called social-credit systems is seen within China as a means to generate something the country sorely lacks: trust. For that, perpetual surveillance and the loss of privacy are a small price to pay.

Of course any Chinese citizen that dares to criticize the new system could suddenly lose their travel privileges (or worse), and so there is certainly a very strong incentive to say “the right thing” to western reporters.

As China’s system develops, it is inevitable that other nations will want to copy it.  If you can get everyone in an entire country to fear that they are constantly being watched and that if they do “the wrong thing” they will be quickly punished, then you suddenly have a very powerful behavioral tool that can radically transform a society.  It would basically be a dream come true for control freak politicians everywhere, and this kind of system would open the door for the worst kinds of tyranny.

And someday we could even see such a system implemented in the United States.  In fact, former DHS head Michael Chertoff says that such a system is already starting to develop

Chertoff, who now runs the security consulting company The Chertoff Group, says there are already glimpses of social scoring here in the United States.

“We’re beginning to see it already where insurance companies affect your premium based on whether you’re eating healthy, getting a good night’s sleep or getting enough exercise,” he said, adding that the need for Congress to act is urgent.

But Chertoff said the emphasis needs to change from how do we keep things confidential, and instead pass laws that focus on who controls the data once it’s been generated.

Everybody wants an orderly society, but we should never sacrifice our basic liberties and freedoms in a desperate attempt to get more safety and security.

This social credit system may be making Chinese citizens safer and more secure, but in the process their entire nation is being turned into a dystopian hell from which there will be no escape.

And unless we stand up and fight against this trend, it is only a matter of time before we have such a system too.

If George Orwell could see what we have become, he would be rolling over in his grave.

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. 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.

Global Debt Surpasses 244 Trillion Dollars As “Nearly Half The World Lives On Less Than $5.50 A Day”

The borrower is the servant of the lender, and one of the primary ways that the elite keep the rest of us subjugated is through the $244,000,000,000,000 mountain of global debt that has been accumulated.  Every single day, the benefits of our labor are going to enrich somebody else.  A portion of the taxes that are deducted from your paycheck is used to pay interest on government debt.  A portion of the profits that your company makes probably goes to servicing some form of business debt.  And most Americans are continuously making payments on their mortgages, their auto loans, their credit card balances and their student loan debts.  But most people never stop to think about who is becoming exceedingly wealthy on the other end of these transactions.  Needless to say, it isn’t the 46 percent of the global population that is living on less than $5.50 a day.

The world has never seen anything like this mountain of debt ever before, and one of the central themes of The Economic Collapse Blog is that all of this debt will ultimately destroy our society.  According to the Institute of International Finance, the total amount of global debt is now  “more than three times the size of the global economy”

The world’s debt pile is hovering near a record at $244 trillion, which is more than three times the size of the global economy, according to an analysis by the Institute of International Finance.

The global debt-to-GDP ratio exceeded 318 percent in the third quarter of last year, despite a stronger pace of economic growth, according to a report by the Washington-based IIF released on Tuesday.

But it isn’t as if all of this spending has lifted billions of people out of poverty.  In fact, 46 percent of the population of the world is “living on less than $5.50 a day” according to the World Bank

Over 1.9 billion people, or 26.2 percent of the world’s population, were living on less than $3.20 per day in 2015. Close to 46 percent of the world’s population was living on less than $5.50 a day.

Global inequality continues to grow worse with each passing year, and that is because the global financial system is literally designed to funnel as much wealth to the very top of the pyramid as possible.

Of course things could be very different.  We don’t actually need to have a debt-based system which systematically makes the rich even richer.

One of the big secrets that nobody is supposed to talk about is the fact that governments don’t actually have to borrow money.  For example, the U.S. government could start issuing debt-free “United States notes” tomorrow, and this actually happened for a very brief period of time under President John F. Kennedy in the 1960s just before he was assassinated.  It is highly immoral for us to be borrowing trillions of dollars that we expect future generations to repay, and that is why I have been a huge proponent of shutting down the debt-based Federal Reserve system and ending the debt-based currency known as “Federal Reserve notes”.

But these days, only a small minority of the population seems to care.  We are literally debt slaves, and most Americans have seemingly embraced their enslavement.  I really like what Devvy Kidd had to say about this in her latest article

The average American is a debt slave already at birth. And by the time he dies, his debt will have increased exponentially, thus passing on an even bigger debt and greater enslavement to the next generation.

This is a vicious circle that has gone on for just over 100 years. A very small elite has become incredibly wealthy and the masses have become enslaved by private and government debt.

For the majority of people, it will be impossible to extricate themselves from this massive debt stone around their neck. Instead they will add to the debt by taking on more debt.

Wake up!

At least the “yellow vests” in France are willing to take a stand against the systematic tyranny that is raging all around them.  In America today, most people don’t really care about much of anything unless it somehow intrudes on the bubble of mindless entertainment that most Americans have constantly surrounded themselves with.

And guess who produces all of that mindless entertainment?

It is produced by giant media corporations that are owned by the same global elitists that control our giant mountain of debt.

The system of our enslavement is far more sophisticated than it was in previous eras of human history, but it is still deeply insidious.

There is one more thing that I would like to mention today.  On many previous occasions, I have discussed how the elite have transformed Wall Street into the largest casino on the entire planet, and it is true that some people have made a lot of money in that casino.

But so many others have been deeply burned and have lost everything.  Here is just one example

I had quit day-trading back in November but was still using a swing trading system that damn near never lost (really), until I got completely run over last week. Literally every move I made was wrong, and I managed to completely wipe out my entire gambling account. I want to be clear, we’re not broke or anything near it (still get to claim millionaire status), but holy crap did I decimate my account something stupid.

So, I’m here to tell you that the scary stories you hear from elders who quit trading? They’re true. Trading is a losing game. It’s just gambling.

Most people who claim to be winners just ignore their losses and pretend everything is ok. To be sure, some people really can make a living at it, and good for them. But the odds are massively against you. The system is designed to take your money while you’re stressed, guessing, nervous, angry, depressed, or most of all – desperate.

The game is literally rigged against us, and we need to realize what we are up against.

Tinkering around with the current system is not going to fix anything.  We need to ditch this current system and start again from scratch, but it will probably take a horrific collapse before most people start to understand this.

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.  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 Metaphor For America: 700 Pound Man Plans To Eat And Play Video Games While Naked Until He Dies

34-year-old Casey King is so obese that he can’t work, he has to bathe outside in a trough like a pig, and he has to rely on his father to constantly take care of him.  He now weighs more than 700 pounds, but he just keeps on eating massive amounts of unhealthy food.  Just like America as a whole, he has absolutely no self-discipline and absolutely no desire to turn his life around.  On some level he understands that he is literally killing himself with his destructive behavior, but he does not have a desire to change.  Instead, he told TLC that he “will just eat until I am dead”

Featuring in a TLC TV series called Family by the Ton, Casey said: “I will just eat until I am dead, probably.

“I wake up around 12, figure out something I’m going to eat immediately [then it’s] TV, video games, bed — it’s not a lot of activity.”

Because of the hot weather in Georgia he prefers to skip clothes, wearing only a headset through which he uses to chat to other gamers playing online.

It is easy to criticize Casey for his lack of activity, but he is really not too different from most other Americans.

As I have written about before, the average American spends approximately five hours a day watching television.  We are willingly plugging ourselves into “the propaganda matrix” for thousands upon thousands of hours, and of course that is going to greatly affect our outlook on life and how we see the world.

But of course most Americans don’t watch television and play video games while naked.  But for Casey, clothes have become too restricting and so he just sits on his bed naked all day long

‘It’s hot in Georgia, and all my clothing is restricting and tight, so I just sit there naked, free as can be and no one bothers me — door’s shut, we’re good,’ he explained.

The gaming community has become a safe space for him because it allows him to escape his everyday life.

‘I’m accepted in all those virtual reality worlds and the gaming world I’m in,’ he said. ‘No one sees me. That is my outside. That is my world that I can be the Casey I want to be, but not be judged on my weight.’

The only reason why Casey is able to live this kind of lifestyle is because his father takes care of him and pays all the bills.

And on a much grander scale, isn’t this what our country is turning into?  Young adults are flocking to socialist ideas because they want the nanny state to take care of them from the cradle to the grave and give them everything for free.

At 34 years of age, Casey should be in the prime of his life, but instead he is utterly dependent on his father as he waits around to die.  He needs a reason to live, and right now he doesn’t have one.  In the end, this is not how he anticipated his life would turn out

‘I never would’ve thought at 34 I’d be living with my father, and I’d have no job, have no real money, and just be playing video games all day and eating,’ he said.

It would be really easy to look down on Casey, but the truth is that our nation is just like him in so many ways.

At this point, we are a nation that completely lacks self-discipline.  Obesity is at an all-time high in the United States, millions of us are addicted to legal and illegal drugs, we have one of the highest rates of alcoholism on the planet, 37 percent of all Americans have eaten fast food within the last 24 hours, and the CDC says that 110 million Americans currently have a sexually-transmitted disease.

But when I first learned about Casey, I didn’t think about any of those things.

Instead, I thought about our exploding mountain of debt.  Like Casey, we just can’t stop ourselves from going back for more.  We have been on the greatest debt binge in the history of the world, but our hunger just keeps growing.

In just a matter of days, the U.S. national debt will hit the 22 trillion dollar mark, but nobody in Washington seems to care.  But if you were to sit down and talk with most of our politicians, they would ultimately admit that all of this debt is an existential threat to our nation.  It is just that they completely lack the willpower to do anything about it.

We know that what we are doing is definitely going to kill us, but we are not willing to change.

Meanwhile, state and local government debt levels are at record highs, public and private pensions are unfunded by trillions upon trillions of dollars, corporate debt has doubled since the last financial crisis, auto loan debt is at an all-time high, credit card debt is absolutely soaring, and student loan debt has roughly tripled over the last decade.

So please don’t be too critical of Casey, because the truth is that he would make a perfect poster boy for what we have become as a nation.

When people point to a modestly good short-term economic number as some sort of “victory”, I just laugh, because the truth is that all of those numbers are fueled by record amounts of debt.

During 2018, we added close to 1.4 trillion dollars to our national debt.  If all of that money was pulled out of the economy and we had only been spending what we had been bringing in, we would be in the worst depression in American history right now.

The only way we can maintain our economic facade is by endlessly gorging ourselves on debt, but in the process we are literally destroying the bright future that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have.

In the final analysis, what we are doing to ourselves as a nation makes Casey King look like a sharp, disciplined, athletic young man in comparison.

If we keep doing this to ourselves, we have no future, and nobody can argue with that.

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.  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 Mainstream Media Declares That This Is “The Worst Time In Decades To Make Money In The Markets”

It looks like the turmoil for the financial markets is going to continue to get worse, and the mainstream media is really starting to freak out.  Just a few months ago, they were continuously using the word “booming” to describe the state of the U.S. economy and they were assuring us that the stock market was going to continue to go up.  But after a couple of really bad months, there has been a dramatic psychological shift.  Instead of telling us that everything is going to be great, now the mainstream media is starting to sound just like The Economic Collapse Blog.  For example, Bloomberg just posted an article with this rather startling headline: “It’s the worst time in decades to make money in the markets”

Market statisticians are falling over each other in 2018 to describe the pain being felt across asset classes. One venerable shop frames it this way: Things haven’t been this bad since Richard Nixon’s presidency.

Ned Davis Research puts markets into eight big asset classes — everything from bonds to U.S. and international stocks to commodities. And not a single one of them is on track to post a return this year of more than 5 percent, a phenomenon last observed in 1972, according to Ed Clissold, a strategist at the firm.

Usually there are at least a few asset classes that are making money, but in 2018 nothing is working.

And it appears that Wednesday is going to be another really tough day on Wall Street.  As I write this article, Dow futures are down more than 300 points, and that almost certainly means that the Dow will be pushed well below the 25,000 threshold.

As I have discussed before, 25,000 is a key psychological resistance barrier for the Dow.  If stock prices break through that barrier and don’t immediately bounce back, the rush for the exits could become a stampede.

The biggest piece of news that is rattling investors at the moment is the fact that Huawei CFO Wanzhou Meng was just arrested in Canada, and it looks like she will be extradited to the United States.  She is also the daughter of the founder of the company, and that makes her a very powerful woman in China.

Needless to say, the Chinese are very upset about this, and they are promising to “take all measures” to protect her “legitimate rights”.  The following comes from their official statement

At the request of the US side, the Canadian side arrested a Chinese citizen not violating any American or Canadian law. The Chinese side firmly opposes and strongly protests over such kind of actions which seriously harmed the human rights of the victim. The Chinese side has lodged stern representations with the US and Canadian side, and urged them to immediately correct the wrongdoing and restore the personal freedom of Ms. Meng Wanzhou. We will closely follow the development of the issue and take all measures to resolutely protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens.

Unless Meng is released, and that seems very doubtful at this point, you can absolutely forget about any sort of a “truce” between the United States and China.

Sadly, most Americans don’t really understand what is happening.  Most Americans are still entirely convinced that the U.S. and China are “friends”, but that was never really accurate.  At best, we were “frenemies”, but now relations have taken an extremely sour turn.

In the months ahead, relations between the United States and China will almost certainly continue to deteriorate, and the two largest economies on the entire planet will increasingly decouple from one another.  This will be a decidedly negative development for the entire global economy, but there is no going back at this point.

And we continue to get more confirmation that the global economic slowdown is starting to accelerate.  For example, Reuters just announced that it will be eliminating 3,200 jobs

Thomson Reuters Corp said on Tuesday that it will cut its workforce by 12 percent in the next two years, axing 3,200 jobs, as part of a plan to streamline the business and reduce costs.

The news and information provider, which completed the sale of a 55-per cent stake in its Financial & Risk (F&R) unit to private equity firm Blackstone Group LP, announced the cuts during an investor day in Toronto, in which it outlined its future strategy and growth plans.

We have also gotten more evidence that consumer credit is really starting to tighten up.  The following numbers come from Business Insider

Rejection rates for credit-card applicants came in at 20.8% in the October survey, up from 14.4% a year ago, while the rejection rate for credit-limit increases ticked up to 31.7%, compared with 24.9% a year ago.

Meanwhile, the proportion of respondents who had an account shut down by a lender reached its highest level since the Fed launched the “Credit Access Survey” in 2013. In October, 7.2% of surveyed consumers reported having an account involuntarily shut down in the previous 12 months, up from 5.7% last year and 4.2% in 2016.

The reason why rejection rates and account shutdowns are soaring is because credit card debt delinquency rates have been rising.

More Americans are getting behind on their credit card payments, and this is spooking a lot of financial institutions.  But if consumer credit really tightens up, that is going to cause economic activity to slow even further, and that will just make a very deep recession even more inevitable.

Sadly, debt bubbles do not last forever.  The big credit card companies can see what is happening, and they are trying to protect themselves.

On a national level, “the Everything Bubble” is now beginning to burst, and for many investors the goal has shifted from “maximizing returns” to “wealth preservation”.

Unfortunately just about every single asset class is doing poorly right now, and as Zero Hedge has noted, that means that “there’s nowhere to run”…

The inability of any single asset class to escape the dismal black hole supergravity of devastating losses in a brutal post-BTFD catharsis that has mutated into an equal-opportunity rout, crushing returns across all assets, has left investors reeling, shellshocked and paralyzed, and dreading what may come tomorrow let alone next year when both the US economy and corporate earnings are expected to see their supercharged recent growth rates come crashing back down to earth.

Such a uniform underperformance by all assets is unique in history, because when “something falls, something else gains. Amid the financial catastrophe of 2008, Treasuries rallied. In 1974, commodities were a bright spot. In 2002, it was REITs.” Yet, in 2018, there’s nowhere to run.

The bull market survived for much longer than many were anticipating, but now the party is over.

Nobody is quite sure exactly what is going to happen next, but there is a growing consensus that whatever is going to happen is likely to be very painful.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

Middle Class Erosion: 33 Million Americans Will Not Travel During The Holidays Because They Can’t Afford To Do So

We have repeatedly been told that the U.S. economy is “booming”, but meanwhile the middle class in the United States continues to be hollowed out.  The financial bubbles that the Federal Reserve has created have been a great blessing for those at the very top of the economic pyramid, but most of the country is still deeply struggling.  According to one survey, 78 percent of all full-time workers in the U.S. live paycheck to paycheck, and that doesn’t even include part-time workers or those that are unemployed.  We have also been told that unemployment is “low”, but the real numbers tell us that there are more working age Americans without a job in 2018 than there was at any point during the last recession.  Most of the people that my wife and I know are struggling, and I continually get emails from readers all over the country that are struggling.  The sad truth is that the middle class is slowly but surely dying, and more people are falling into poverty with each passing day.

And we got more evidence of this fact on Tuesday.  According to one new survey, 33 million Americans will not travel during the holiday season because they simply cannot afford to do so…

Wallet Hub’s Winter Travel Survey has revealed a disturbing trend: 33 million Americans won’t travel this winter because they can’t afford it.

I have been warning about the effect that rising interest rates would have on the economy, and rising rates are being blamed for this travel slowdown.  The following comes from MSN

However, Americans are still feeling the pinch of the pocketbook—part of that has to do with rising interest rates.

“U.S. consumers will be shelling out billions of dollars in extra charges they otherwise could be spending on other things such as travel,” said Mark A. Bonn, director of the resort and vacation rental management program at Florida State University. “This makes it difficult to travel now, let alone after the holiday spending has ended.”

But of course the truth is that most Americans were deeply struggling long before interest rates started to rise.

Those of us in our prime working years can try to work even harder to make ends meet, but when you are elderly and on a fixed income, there is little that can be done.

According to the Sacramento Bee, 9 million elderly Americans across the country “can’t afford to eat”, and in one of their recent articles they featured the plight of 71-year-old Floridian Janet Burke…

Burke is one of the nearly 9 million elderly people at risk of hunger in the United States. In Florida, with the highest percentage of people 60 and older, more than 750,000 elderly need food assistance, according to experts.

The problems confronting the elderly have become one of the hot topics for candidates this election year. Candidates in South Florida have pointed to the needs of the elderly as one of the key concerns voiced by voters.

More than 100 million Americans receive assistance from the government each month, but many citizens do not believe in receiving any help and so they just quietly suffer as they search for a way to make things better.

Today, I would like to share with you a testimony from someone that has been there.  My good friend Daisy Luther knows what it is like to barely survive from month to month, and the way that she described those struggles in one of her most recent articles was extremely poignant

Let’s talk about poverty.

I don’t mean the kind you’re talking about when your friends invite you to go shopping or for a night out and you say, “No, I can’t. I’m poor right now.”

I don’t mean the situation when you’d like to get a nicer car but decide you should just stick to the one you have because you don’t have a few thousand for a down payment.

I don’t mean the scene at the grocery store when you decide to get ground beef instead of steak.

I’m talking about when you have already done the weird mismatched meals from your pantry that are made up of cooked rice, stale crackers, and a can of peaches, and you’ve moved on to wondering what on earth you’re going to feed your kids.

Or when you get an eviction notice for non-payment of rent, a shut-off notice for your utilities, and a repo notice for your car and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about any of those notices because there IS NO MONEY.

If you’ve never been this level of broke, I’m very glad.

I have been this broke. I know that it is soul-destroying when no matter how hard you work, how many part-time jobs you squeeze in, and how much you cut, you simply don’t make enough money to survive in the world today.

If the U.S. economy really is “booming”, then why are millions upon millions of American families struggling like this?

Sadly, it is because the truth is that the U.S. economy is not “booming”, and we continue to get more indications that another major economic downturn is imminent.

It doesn’t have to be this way.  Blueprints have been proposed that would mean much better days ahead for America, but most Americans seem quite content with the status quo.

Most Americans seem to want corrupt politicians in Washington, a Federal Reserve system that is bankrupting future generations, an exploding national debt, a deeply oppressive system of taxation and a bloated national government that is becoming more monstrous with each passing day.

In this day and age, “liberty” and “freedom” are seen as antiquated concepts that are standing in the way of “progress”, and more government always seems to be the “solution” that is proposed whenever any crisis arises.

If we truly want to turn America around, we need to return to the values and the principles that once made this nation so great, and right now that simply is not happening…

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

The Last Days Warrior Summit is the premier online event of 2018 for Christians, Conservatives and Patriots.  It is a premium-members only international event that will empower and equip you with the knowledge and tools that you need as global events begin to escalate dramatically.  The speaker list includes Michael Snyder, Mike Adams, Dave Daubenmire, Ray Gano, Dr. Daniel Daves, Gary Kah, Justus Knight, Doug Krieger, Lyn Leahz, Laura Maxwell and many more. Full summit access will begin on October 25th, and if you would like to register for this unprecedented event you can do so right here.

America Is Committing Suicide: Over The Past 12 Months, The U.S. National Debt Has Increased By 1.271 Trillion Dollars

If we do not change course, our once great nation will be destroyed by a debt that has grown wildly out of control.  We are facing an unprecedented debt crisis that literally threatens to bring our country to an end, and yet our politicians are almost entirely silent on this issue in 2018.  In fact, Republicans and Democrats just worked together to pass another big, fat spending bill through Congress that is actually going to increase the pace at which we are going into debt.  What the Republicrats are doing is not just wrong.  To be honest, the truth is that they are committing crimes against humanity, and they are completely wiping out the very bright future that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have.  How in the world is America supposed to be “great again” when we are buried in so much debt that future generations can never have any possible hope of getting free from it?

The fiscal year of the federal government goes from October 1st to September 30th.  During the fiscal year that just ended, the U.S. national debt increased by 1.271 trillion dollars

The federal debt increased by $1,271,158,167,126.72 in fiscal 2018, according to data released today by the Treasury.

The total federal debt started the fiscal year at $20,244,900,016,053.51 according to the Treasury, and finished the fiscal year at $21,516,058,183,180.23.

This is one of the reasons why I wanted to go to Washington.  Our current “representatives” are completely and utterly failing us.

Once upon a time, at least members of the Tea Party would stand up and say something, but these days nobody seems to care that America’s future is being systematically destroyed.  Republicans have been in control of both houses of Congress, but our debt problems just continue to get worse and worse.  And the truth is that the budgets that have been passed since Donald Trump became president are simply slightly revised Obama budgets.  The Republicans have allowed the Democrats to have their way time after time, and it has been absolutely disgusting to watch.

In 8 of the past 11 fiscal years, the U.S. national debt has risen by more than a trillion dollars, and the U.S. national debt is now sitting at an all-time record high of 21.52 trillion dollars.

What we are doing is literally insane, and if we want our nation to survive we must change course immediately.

These days, there is a lot of discussion about the political gains that “Democratic socialists” have been making all over America, and Republicans are trying to assure us that the American people don’t actually want socialism.

But you know what?

We have already gone most of the way down the road toward socialism.  I think that Ron Paul made this point very well  in his most recent article

We know socialism does not work. It is an economic system based on the use of force rather than economic freedom of choice. But while many Americans seem to be in a panic over the failures of socialism in Venezuela, they don’t seem all that concerned that right here at home President Trump just signed a massive $1.3 trillion dollar spending bill that delivers socialism on a scale that Venezuelans couldn’t even imagine. In fact this one spending bill is three times Venezuela’s entire gross domestic product!

Did I miss all the Americans protesting this warfare-welfare state socialism?

If you are really against socialism, you should be fighting for the federal government to be greatly reduced in size and scope.

But so few Americans seem to believe in true limited government these days.

It would be a great first step if we would actually try to start living within our means.  But if 1.271 trillion dollars of government spending was pulled out of the economy over the past 12 months, the result would be a horrible economic depression.  And politicians do not like economic downturns, because when things get bad voters tend not to vote for incumbents.  So they just keep going into more debt and they keep kicking the can down the road.

But if we stay on the path that we are currently on, the CBO says that the United States will be 99 trillion dollars in debt by 2048.

Of course we will never actually ever get to 99 trillion dollars in debt.  America will cease to exist long before we ever reach that mark.

If we want to save America, we must take action now, but very few people seem to even care about our exploding debt at this point.

And it isn’t just our national debt that is the problem.  State and local government debt is at record levels all over the nation, corporate debt has doubled since the last financial crisis, and U.S. consumers are more than 13 trillion dollars in debt

If you added up the personal debt of every American — what they owe on their mortgages, credit cards, student loans, and more — the total is staggering. Collectively, we’re $13.2 trillion in the red. That’s the highest ever, according to the New York Fed.

Yet no one seems to be panicking. Maybe that’s because we can’t comprehend $13 trillion. Imagine buying every NFL team. And every NBA team. And every NHL team. And every Major League Baseball team. But that only adds up to $191 billion.

America is committing suicide in slow-motion, and it is an absolutely heartbreaking thing to witness.

It is almost as if we lack the will to survive as a nation.  All we seem to care about is our comfort level at this moment, and we don’t want anyone to tell us that we have to cut back on anything.  I think that Chris Martenson summed things up very well in his most recent piece

Nothing grows forever.  Cancer tries, but always defeats itself in the process.  Yeast parties until all the sugar in the vat is gone or it pollutes itself out of an active existence.

Can humans do better? The jury is still out on that.

But so far, the signs say that, as a group, we lack the ability to organize effectively against big, complex challenges. Especially if doing so requires us to willingly choose to live a life of less. We’re simply too addicted to more.

We cannot continue to go down this road.

Because at the end of this road is not just economic collapse.  What we are talking about is literally the end of the United States of America.

All throughout history, great societies have been done in by greed, sloth, corruption and laziness, and we are headed down the exact same path.  If we want to survive, emergency surgery is necessary, but at this point nobody is even tending to the dying patient.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

The Last Days Warrior Summit is the premier online event of 2018 for Christians, Conservatives and Patriots.  It is a premium-members only international event that will empower and equip you with the knowledge and tools that you need as global events begin to escalate dramatically.  The speaker list includes Michael Snyder, Mike Adams, Dave Daubenmire, Ray Gano, Dr. Daniel Daves, Gary Kah, Justus Knight, Doug Krieger, Lyn Leahz, Laura Maxwell and many more. Full summit access will begin on October 25th, and if you would like to register for this unprecedented event you can do so right here.

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