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.

An “Earnings Recession” Is Here – Big Companies All Over America Are Reporting Disastrous Financial Results

If the U.S. economy really was “booming”, then corporate earnings would be rising.  But that isn’t happening.  In fact, we haven’t seen corporate earnings fall like this since the last recession.  They fell during the first quarter of this year, and based on the results we have so far, it appears that corporate earnings will be down substantially once again in the second quarter.  When corporate earnings drop for two quarters in a row, that is officially considered to be an “earnings recession”, and that normally occurs just before the overall economy plunges into recession territory.  As things get tighter for our corporate giants, we should expect a lot more layoffs in the months ahead, and the unemployment rate should rise quite briskly.  In other words, it looks like our economic problems are about to accelerate substantially.

This week, some of the largest companies in the entire country reported results for the second quarter, and we witnessed disappointment after disappointment.

Let’s start with Boeing

The 737 Max is already more than four months into an unprecedented global grounding, which authorities ordered after two fatal crashes. The manufacturer provided hints of the strain on its resources, starting with a US$1.01 billion burn of free cash flow in the second quarter — a US$5 billion swing from last year’s gain during the same period.

Of course Boeing made a bad plane, and so their disastrous results could certainly be blamed on that.

But what about Netflix?  Once one of the darlings of Wall Street, Netflix has been absolutely monkeyhammered in recent days…

Netflix’s disappointing quarter reported last Wednesday has caused the streaming darling of Wall Street to shed more than $24 billion in value in six days as the stock has sunk 15 percent.

Shares of Netflix have now fallen each of the last nine trading days, as the stock began its downfall even before it released its quarterly financial report, which indicated it lost subscribers in the U.S. for the first time since launching its streaming service nearly a decade ago.

Yes, Netflix could be considered a special case because they are facing a lot of new competition.  Last December I wrote an entire article predicting that this would happen, and this is just the beginning of the company’s problems.

On the other hand, the future was supposed to be exceedingly bright for Tesla, but the firm is hemorrhaging money like crazy and over the past 24 hours the stock price has crashed hard

Even after delivering a record number of cars in its second quarter, Tesla (TSLA) is still bleeding money. Tesla said Wednesday that it lost $408 million during the three months ending in June, far worse than Wall Street had expected. Shares of Tesla fell more than 10% in after hours trading following the earnings report.

The loss was slightly less painful than the previous quarter, in which Tesla lost $702 million.

But Elon Musk has a gift for getting investors to hand over giant piles of money, and so Tesla is going to survive for now.

Meanwhile, the rest of the auto industry is really struggling as well.  In fact, Ford just reported very disappointing results and reduced the forecast for the remainder of 2019 significantly

Ford shares plunged Wednesday after the automaker reported second-quarter earnings that were short of expectations and issued a disappointing forecast for the year.

Ford, which has slashed thousands of jobs this year, is also investing $11 billion by 2022 in electric and hybrid vehicles to try to keep pace in a changing industry.

Are you starting to see a pattern?

Even Paypal is falling short of expectations.  The following comes from CNBC

Shares of PayPal fell as much as 6% in after-hours trading after the payments giant missed Wall Street’s estimates for second-quarter revenue and lowered its full-year guidance.

Everything that I have just shared with you makes complete and total sense if the U.S. economy is in the process of plunging into a new recession.

And other economic numbers continue to tell us the exact same thing.  For example, we just got the worst U.S. manufacturing PMI number in 118 months.  That is absolutely terrible news, but Europe’s manufacturing sector is doing even worse.

Manufacturing activity is slowing down all over the globe, and a big reason for that is because global trade is shrinking at the fastest pace that we have seen since the last financial crisis.

Meanwhile, we just learned that existing home sales in the United States have now fallen on a year over year basis for sixteen months in a row.

After something happens 16 times in a row, you would think that the experts would be able to spot a “trend” by now, but so many of them continue to be optimistic about the real estate industry.

In addition, store closing announcements just continue to roll in at a stunning rate.  This week, we learned that GNC is planning to close up to 900 stores by the end of 2020.

We were already on pace to absolutely shatter the all-time record for store closings in a single year even before that announcement, and the phrase “retail apocalypse” almost doesn’t seem strong enough to describe what we are witnessing any longer.

Just as I have warned, America’s landscape is being littered by boarded up stores and abandoned malls, and this is particularly true in our poorest areas.

Unprecedented money printing by the Federal Reserve and an unprecedented debt binge by the federal government may have bought us a very brief reprieve, but none of the fundamental economic problems that were identified during the last recession were ever fixed.

Now a new crisis has arrived, and we are just in the very early chapters of it.

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.

Elizabeth Warren Is Warning That An “Economic Crash” Is Coming

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is sounding the alarm.  In an opinion piece that she put out on Monday, she boldly warned that an “economic crash” is coming.  Actually, much of her article sounds like it could have come directly from the pages of the Economic Collapse Blog, and her analysis of the current state of the U.S. economy was right on the money.  Of course her proposed “solutions” are completely and totally nuts, and we will discuss that later in the article.  But it is quite remarkable that a woman that has a really, really good chance of becoming the next president of the United States is saying so many of the exact same things that I have been saying.  For example, just consider this paragraph

When I look at the economy today, I see a lot to worry about again. I see a manufacturing sector in recession. I see a precarious economy that is built on debt — both household debt and corporate debt — and that is vulnerable to shocks. And I see a number of serious shocks on the horizon that could cause our economy’s shaky foundation to crumble.

Everything that she said there is true.  The manufacturing sector is definitely slowing down, and without a doubt U.S. households are drowning in debt.

In another paragraph, Warren elaborated on the unprecedented debt problems that U.S. families are currently facing

A generation of stagnant wages and rising costs for basics like housing, child care, and education have forced American families to take on more debt than ever before. The student debt load has “more than doubled since the financial crisis.” American credit card debt matches its 2008 peak. Auto loan debt is the highest it has ever been since we started tracking it nearly 20 years ago, and a record 7 million Americans are behind on their auto loans — many of which have similar abusive characteristics as pre-crash subprime mortgages. 71 million American adults — more than 30% of the adults in the country — already have debts in collection. Families may be able to afford these debt payments now, but an increase in interest rates or a slowdown in income could plunge families over a cliff.

That is a fantastic paragraph, and once again everything that she said there is completely accurate.

Today, 59 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, and even a mild recession would be absolutely disastrous for tens of millions of American families.  During the coming recession we are likely to see debt defaults go through the roof, and Warren has correctly identified how vulnerable we are right now.

And she also accurately detailed the problems that the U.S. manufacturing sector is facing

Despite Trump’s promises of a manufacturing “renaissance,” the country is now in a manufacturing recession. The Federal Reserve just reported that the manufacturing sector had a second straight quarter of decline, falling below Wall Street’s expectations. And for the first time ever, the average hourly wage for manufacturing workers has dropped below the national average.

Of course it isn’t just U.S. manufacturing that is struggling right now.  We haven’t seen global manufacturing numbers this bad since the last financial crisis, and this is something that I detailed in a previous article.

In addition, it appears that we are about to get confirmation that we have now entered an “earnings recession”.  The following comes from USA Today

Yet with second-quarter earnings season underway, analysts are nervously waiting to see if the final results will deliver a second straight quarterly drop in corporate profits. Those surveyed by FactSet reckon the earnings of  S&P 500 companies declined 1.9% in the April-June period from a year earlier. That’s based on a blend of their pre-earnings season estimate and actual results of the 16% of companies reporting so far.

Why the concern over back-to-back declines?

Two consecutive quarterly decreases would represent an earnings recession, which typically – but not always – foreshadows an economic recession within a year or two. Companies whose profits are squeezed tend to pull back hiring and investment.

Clearly we are facing some very serious economic challenges.

So what does Warren want to do to fix things?

Well, apparently she believes that everything will be just fine if we raise the minimum wage, spend a lot more money, and give away lots of free stuff

We can raise incomes by increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour, strengthening unions, ensuring that women of color get the wages they deserve, and empowering workers to elect at least 40% of board members at big American corporations. We can reduce costs and slash household debt by cancelling up to $50,000 in student loan debt for 95% of people who have it, bringing down the cost of rent, providing universal affordable child care and early education for all our kids ages 0–5, and making tuition free at every public technical school, two-year college, and four-year college.

Is she insane?

Seriously, where does she plan to get the money to fund her wacky proposals?  At this point we are already 22 trillion dollars in debt, and a “compromise” deal was just reached in Washington that will greatly accelerate the pace at which our national debt is increasing.

The national debt is already an existential threat to the future of our nation, and Warren’s proposals would cost us trillions more.

So where does she plan to get that kind of cash?  Is she going to tax all of us into oblivion?

Spending money that we do not have and the socialist economic policies of both major political parties are two of the biggest reasons why we are currently in such a horrible mess.  Warren’s “solutions” would only greatly compound our problems.

Sadly, our leaders are a reflection of who we are as a nation, and at this moment a big chunk of the population wants Elizabeth Warren.

A CBS News poll that was just released found that Joe Biden is still leading the race for the Democratic nomination, but the race has greatly tightened.  Biden was at 25 percent in the survey, but Warren was a close second at 20 percent.  Biden’s campaign has been faltering in recent weeks, while Warren’s campaign has been really surging.  In the end, it wouldn’t be a surprise at all if Elizabeth Warren wins the Democratic nomination.

And if she wins the nomination, there is a really good chance that she will be the next president of the United States.

By the time the 2020 election arrives, the “economic crash” that Elizabeth Warren is warning about is likely to be here.  But no amount of “free stuff” is going to fix things, and the truth is that socialism never works on a long-term basis.

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.

Dow 27,000? I Think That We Have FINALLY Reached Peak Stock Market Absurdity

Even though everything else seems to be going wrong, the stock market just continues to soar to new record highs.  In fact, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 27,000 for the first time ever on Thursday.  Investors continue to relentlessly believe that bright days are ahead even though we are on the brink of a war with Iran, we are in the middle of a trade war with China, California has been hit by more than 10,000 earthquakes over the past week, and all of the economic numbers are screaming that a recession is dead ahead.  There has certainly been a lot of craziness on Wall Street in recent years, but the truth is that stock prices have never been as absurd as they are right now.  It is inevitable that a very painful reality check is coming, but for the moment investors are celebrating another historic landmark

The 30-stock average broke above 27,000 for the first time in its history, rising 227.88 points, or 0.9% to 27,088.08. The Dow first closed above 26,000 in January of 2018, so it’s been a little more than a year-and-half trek between 1,000 point moves. The gains were largely driven by expectations the Fed will cut rates, insulating the market from a slowing economy and a trade battle with China.

But if things are so good, then why is the Federal Reserve talking about cutting interest rates?

Sadly, the truth is that the Federal Reserve is considering rate cuts because the economic numbers have been disastrous lately.  Global trade has fallen to the lowest levels that we have seen since the last recession, and manufacturing activity just continues to plummet.  Here in the United States, manufacturing activity just hit the “lowest level in nearly three years”

US manufacturing activity last month fell to its lowest level in nearly three years — well below the pace when President Donald Trump took office — another warning sign for the world’s largest economy as it marks the longest expansion on record.

The manufacturing slowdown was driven by weakening demand for US-made goods, with factories reluctant to produce stock they may not be able to sell, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s monthly survey.

Meanwhile, JPMorgan’s Global Manufacturing PMI just plunged to the lowest level in nearly seven years

It’s a bloodbath. No matter where you look, global manufacturing surveys are signaling growth is over (and in most cases, outright contraction is upon us).

JPMorgan’s Global Manufacturing PMI fell to its lowest level for over six-and-a-half years and posted back-to-back sub-50.0 readings for the first time since the second half of 2012.

But in the bizarro environment that we find ourselves in, investors see those absolutely horrible numbers as evidence that the Fed will soon cut interest rates, and that means it must be a good time to buy stocks.

Every bad economic number just seems to fuel the feeding frenzy, and there certainly have been a lot of bad numbers in recent days.

For example, we just learned that small business employment has been falling at a rate that we haven’t seen “in over 9 years”

The small business sector leads the cycle and employment here has plunged 61k in the past two months. Haven’t seen this in over 9 years; same decline we saw in Feb-March of 2008 when the consensus was busy calling for a soft landing.

That is terrible news, but for many investors that is a prime buying signal.

Everywhere we look we see signs of economic trouble.  The auto industry is mired in the worst slump in a decade, home sales have slowed dramatically all over the nation, and we are pace to absolutely shatter the record for most retail stores closed in a single year.  In fact, on Thursday we learned that another major retailer is completely liquidating

Fashion accessory retailer Charming Charlie will close all its stores after going bankrupt for the second time in less than two years. More than 3,000 full- and part-time employees could lose their jobs.

Charming Charlie Holdings Inc. filed for Chapter 11 protection in Delaware with plans for going-out-of-business sales at about 261 stores, according to court documents. The chain expects the liquidation to take about two months.

But in an environment where “bad news is good news”, that is just another indication that this is a perfect time for investors to gobble up stocks like there is no tomorrow.

For months, I have been documenting the numbers that indicate that a new economic downturn has already begun.  And one of the sectors where we can see this most clearly is in the trucking industry

Freight rates have dipped year-over-year for six months straight while loads on the spot market, in which retailers and manufacturers buy trucking capacity as they need it, rather than through a contract, fell by 50.3% in June year-over-year. Truckers have also continued to warn of a “bloodbath” as they slash their profit expectations and companies file for bankruptcy.

Yet no matter how bad things get for the real economy, the euphoria on Wall Street never seems to end.

Investors just continue to relentlessly pour more money into stocks when everything is telling them to stop.

In fact, even the bond market is flashing warning sign after warning sign.  The following example comes from CNN

Something happened in the bond market last week that has occurred before five of the past six major market meltdowns.

The yield on the benchmark 30-year US Treasury bond — the lesser-known but still important fixed income cousin to the 10-year — briefly dipped below 2.5%. In other words, the 30-year was yielding less than the Federal Reserve’s short-term federal funds rate.

But until the next market meltdown actually happens, the irrational optimists on Wall Street are just going to continue to mock those of us that are warning that the party cannot continue indefinitely.  Sadly, when the party on Wall Street finally ends it is likely to happen very suddenly, and the pain will be off the charts.

Let me say this one more time.  You only make money in the stock market if you get out in time.  If you are still holding on to your stocks after the big crash happens, it is not going to matter that the Dow once hit 27,000, because you will never see any of the money that you could have made if you had gotten out at the top of the market.

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.

Hard Working Americans Sure Do See The Economy A Lot Differently Than The “Experts” Do

Right now the entire nation is buzzing about the very first debates for Democratic presidential contenders in 2019, and much of the focus of those debates will be on the economy.  A total of 20 candidates will participate in those debates, and the vast majority of them don’t have a prayer of actually winning the nomination.  Of course all of them will have “plans” for “fixing” the economy, but the truth is that most of those plans really aren’t that radically different from what has been tried in the past.  No matter who has been in the White House, our insatiable appetite for debt has allowed us to enjoy a tremendously bloated standard of living that was far beyond what we actually deserved.  We have been consuming far more wealth than we have been producing for so long that most Americans have come to accept this state of affairs as “normal”.  And under no circumstance will Americans elect any presidential candidate that would suggest that we should be willing to accept a lower standard of living and quit going into so much debt.  Everyone wants to hear that we will be able to have an even higher standard of living in the future, and of course that is what a lot of our politicians eagerly tell them.

But it isn’t true.

Sadly, the reality of the matter is that we are at the very end of the greatest debt bubble in the history of the world, and the way we live is about to dramatically change no matter who we send to Washington.

As I discussed yesterday, the evidence that the U.S. economy has already entered a significant downturn continues to grow.  All of the economic numbers that we have been getting lately have been bad, and yet so many of the “experts” continue to claim that the U.S. economy is in great shape.

In fact, a survey that was just released had some rather starting results.  100 percent of the “experts” that were surveyed rated the performance of the U.S. economy as either “excellent” or “good”, but average hard working Americans were a lot more evenly split

A new survey from financial information website Bankrate.com found that everyday Americans have a less favorable view of the economy than experts do. All the experts rated the economy as being “excellent” or “good,” compared to just 59 percent of others. And 39 percent of everyday Americans said the economy was “not so good” or “poor.”

Bankrate surveyed around 1,000 people and nine economic experts for the study.

The survey also included a question about when the next recession would begin.  Approximately 40 percent of average hard working Americans felt that a recession had either already begun or would begin very soon, but none of the “experts” felt that way

Everyday Americans also said they expect a recession to hit sooner than the experts predict. A fifth of Americans polled said they believe the recession has already begun, and 21 percent said they expected it to begin within six months or a year. However, all the experts said they don’t expect a recession to begin for either one to two years or more than two years.

Perhaps we should stop calling them “experts”, because they appear to be completely and utterly clueless.

And we had better hope that the economy can hold up, because a different survey has found that 71 percent of all Americans say that they “are unprepared for another financial crisis”…

Meanwhile, 43% of Americans say they feel financially insecure and 71% are unprepared for another financial crisis, such as going bankrupt or losing their home, a survey of 24,070 adults released this week by market researcher YouGov found. Some 55% of those who feel unprepared say they’re not confident that they will be able to afford retirement; they’re more likely than those who feel financially secure to say the government should make sure everyone has health insurance.

Today, 59 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, and U.S. consumer debt just soared to another brand new record high.  People are partying when they should be preparing, and this new economic downturn is going to catch most of us completely off guard.

And day after day we continue to get more numbers that are telling us that the economic outlook is very bleak.  For example, it is now being projected that U.S. auto sales will drop substantially over the next two years

The U.S. auto market hit a record for new cars, with 17.5 million in sales, in 2015. Sales the following year were flat then dipped to 17.2 million in 2017 and rebounded in 2018, rising to 17.3 million. But the first half of this year has plunged into negative territory. Edmunds anticipates sales for all of 2019 will drop to 16.9 million. That’s the same estimate from AlixPartners, which is forecasting a further dip to 16.3 million in 2020 and just 15.1 million in 2021.

Now we are in election season, and all sorts of different candidates will be touted as the one “that can turn the economy around” and restore “the promise of America’s future”.

Every election cycle they spout the same nonsense, and it is amazing that anyone still falls for it anymore.

Right now, America is on a highly self-destructive path that only leads to economic oblivion.  We are 22 trillion dollars in debt, we have been adding more than a trillion dollars a year to the national debt for more than a decade, state and local governments are drowning in record levels of debt, corporate debt has more than doubled since the last financial crisis, U.S. consumers are almost 14 trillion dollars in debt, and the world as a whole is now 244 trillion dollars in debt.

If we keep doing the same things over and over again, we are going to keep getting the same results.

Under our current system, there is no way that this game is going to end well for any of us.  The only thing left to do is to extend the party for as long as possible, and that is precisely what our politicians have been doing for a long time.

But at some point “extend and pretend” simply won’t work anymore, and a day of reckoning for America will finally arrive.

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.

Trump Just Poked The Dragon In The Eye, And U.S.-China Relations Just Took An Ominous Turn For The Worse

After what President Trump just did, the odds of the U.S. and China being able to reach a trade agreement this year officially just went from slim to none.  For China, there is no issue more sensitive than the status of Taiwan.  For the Chinese, it is unthinkable for anyone to even suggest that Taiwan is not a part of China, and the Chinese are prepared to defend their “one China” policy to the death if necessary.  On the other hand, most Americans are entirely clueless about Taiwan.  In fact, if you gave them a blank map of the world the vast majority of Americans wouldn’t even be able to find Taiwan thanks to our exceedingly poor system of public education.  So for most Americans, a news story about how President Trump plans to sell 2 billion dollars worth of arms to Taiwan is completely and utterly meaningless.  But for the Chinese, such news is a deep national insult

The United States is pursuing the sale of more than $2 billion worth of tanks and weapons to Taiwan, four people familiar with the negotiations said, in a move likely to anger China as a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies escalates.

An informal notification of the proposed sale has been sent to the U.S. Congress, the four sources said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the possible deal.

This arms sale barely made a blip in the U.S. news cycle, but over in China they are officially freaking out about this.  According to one report, this deal would send “over 100 tanks and almost 2,000 missiles” to Taiwan…

The US, which is the main weapons dealer to Taiwan, would send over 100 tanks and almost 2,000 missiles to the island. There was outrage in China, who said they were seriously concerned after Taiwan’s defence ministry confirmed the sale. The move is believed to further heighten tensions between Beijing and Washington.

It comes days after Chinese defence minister Wei Fenghe said: “If anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese military has no choice but to fight at all costs.”

You can do quite a bit of damage with 2,000 missiles.

Most Americans may not realize this, but the truth is that U.S.-China relations just took a really ominous turn for the worse.

And in addition to announcing this arms sale to Taiwan, President Trump also just threatened China with even more tariffs

DONALD Trump threatened to hit China with tariffs on “at least” another $300bn worth of goods today – as a Beijing propaganda campaign painted the US as evil bullies.

Tensions between the world’s two largest economies have soared sharply since talks aimed at ending a festering trade war broke down in early May.

But trust me, the announcement of the arms sale to Taiwan was far, far more insulting to China than the tariff threat was.

On the Chinese side, they have decided to hit the U.S. right in the farm belt by “putting purchases of U.S. soybeans on hold”

China is reportedly putting purchases of U.S. soybeans on hold amid the growing trade war with the U.S., according to a report from Bloomberg News. As the world’s largest soybean buyer, China’s move could ramp up the economic pressure on American farmers.

This has already been the worst year for U.S. farmers in decades, and this move by the Chinese is going to make things even worse.  For much more on this, please see an article that I posted earlier today entitled “U.S. Farms Are Facing Their Worst Crisis In A Generation – And Now Here Comes Another Monster Storm”.

Also, anti-American rhetoric in China has now reached a fever pitch.  According to CNN, the Chinese just issued an official alert warning Chinese travelers of “shooting, robbery and theft” in major U.S. cities…

On Tuesday, China’s Culture and Tourism Ministry warned its citizens of the risks of traveling to the US in an alert, citing frequent recent cases of “shooting, robbery and theft.”

On the same day, the country’s Foreign Ministry — along with China’s embassy and consulates in the US — issued a security alert for Chinese citizens, alleging “repeated harassment” of Chinese nationals in the US by local law enforcement officials.

Of course the Chinese are correct when they warn about the violence in our cities.  For example, more than 50 people were shot in the city of Chicago last weekend alone.

In addition to the travel warnings, Chinese state media is doing all that it can to put the U.S. in a bad light.  In fact, one major Chinese paper just called the United States the “enemy of the world”

The new travel advice did not come in isolation.

China’s ruling Communist Party has launched a trade war propaganda campaign, with recent efforts — delivered via state media — focusing on US “trade bullying” and “hegemony.” In one noteworthy article, published Tuesday in party mouthpiece the People’s Daily, the US was labeled the “enemy of the world.”

Does it sound to you like the Chinese are ready to surrender and head back to the negotiating table?

No, the truth is that they are just getting angrier with every week that goes by.  Most Americans don’t even know that we fought against the Chinese during the latter stages of the Korean War, but right now over in China those old battles against “the evil American invaders” are being publicly celebrated

President Xi Jinping’s state media has even begun to refer to a very bloody battle between America and Chinese forces during the Korean War.

The 1952 battle of Triangle Hill – or Shangganling in Chinese – has been glorified in China for decades as a turning point in the war.

School children are told how the sacrifice of Chinese soldiers eventually led to the “defeat of the evil American invaders”.

At this point, most Americans may be vaguely aware that some sort of a trade war is going on, but over in China they are taking this deadly seriously.  And without a doubt, the stage is being set for a full-fledged global showdown between the two superpowers.

This is not a game, and if things go badly we could potentially be facing apocalyptic consequences.

So hopefully Trump knows what he is doing, because right now things appear to be starting to spiral out of control very rapidly.

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.

This Wasn’t Supposed To Happen: U.S. Employment Growth Just Plunged To The Lowest Level In 9 Years

If the U.S. economy was heading into a recession, we would expect to see a slowdown in the employment numbers, and that is precisely what is happening.  According to payroll processing firm ADP, the U.S. economy only added 27,000 new jobs in May, and that is way below the number that is needed just to keep up with population growth.  Of course some in the mainstream media are attempting to put a positive spin on this, but there really is no denying that this is a truly awful number.  In fact, we have not seen a number this bad in more than 9 years

Job creation skidded to a near-halt in May in another sign that the U.S. economic momentum is slowing.

Companies added just 27,000 new positions during the month, according to a report Wednesday from payroll processing firm ADP and Moody’s Analytics that was well below Dow Jones estimates of 173,000.

The reading was the worst since around the time the economic expansion began and the jobs market bottomed in March 2010 with a loss of 113,000.

9 years is a very long time, but this terrible employment number is perfectly consistent with all of the other horrible economic numbers that have been rolling in lately.

Time after time in recent weeks I have been using phrases such as “since the last recession” to describe what we are witnessing.  The U.S. economy has not been in such rough shape in nearly a decade, and things just keep getting worse.

So how did Wall Street respond to the latest employment news?

Actually, stock prices surged, because investors are super excited about the prospect that the Federal Reserve could soon lower interest rates

Stocks added to strong week-to-date performance on Wednesday as investors grew even more confident that the Federal Reserve will lower interest rates this year to reignite an economy wounded by trade battles.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 207.39 points to 25,539.57, while the S&P 500 advanced 0.8% to 2,826.15. The Nasdaq Composite closed 0.6% higher at 7,575.48.

Pushing interest rates all the way to the floor certainly helped the stock market recover after the last recession, but this time around there is a major twist.

The U.S. is currently engaged in a major trade war with China, and the normal tools that the Fed utilizes may not be powerful enough to overcome the negative effects of such a conflict.

And to make things worse, now the U.S. is also starting a trade war with Mexico.  On Wednesday, President Trump made it clear that “not nearly enough” progress had been achieved during negotiations with Mexican officials…

President Donald Trump said “not nearly enough” progress was made in talks with Mexico to mitigate the flow of undocumented migrants and illegal drugs, raising the likelihood that the U.S. will follow through with tariffs next week.

So tariffs will be slapped on Mexican goods starting on Monday, and President Trump seems quite excited about this

“If no agreement is reached, Tariffs at the 5% level will begin on Monday, with monthly increases as per schedule,” Trump tweeted Wednesday. “The higher the Tariffs go, the higher the number of companies that will move back to the USA!”

Of course the Mexicans will almost certainly retaliate, and both countries will start seeing higher prices and significant job losses.

In fact, one study has concluded that the U.S. economy could lose more than 400,000 jobs as a result of these tariffs on Mexico.  The following comes from CNN

If the 5% US tariff on all goods from Mexico takes effect and is maintained, more than 400,000 jobs in the United States could be lost, an analysis released this week found.

The tariffs on Mexico, set to go in effect on Monday, would cost Texas alone more than 117,000 jobs, according to the analysis by The Perryman Group, an economic consulting firm. Texas is Mexico’s largest export market, making the two economies closely intertwined.

And the truth is that those numbers could actually be on the low side.

According to Marc Thiessen, a trade war with Mexico would literally put millions of U.S. jobs at risk…

Indeed, Mexican tariffs could be even more devastating for Americans than those imposed on China. Deutsche Bank estimates the tariffs could raise the average price of automobiles sold in the United States by $1,300. Indeed, U.S. and Mexican auto-supply chains are so deeply integrated that many parts cross the border multiple times before they end up in a finished vehicle — which means they would be hit by tariffs multiple times, compounding costs. Ten million U.S. workers’ jobs depend on this supply chain; tariffs would put those jobs at risk, including those of the “forgotten Americans” in the industrial Midwest whose jobs Trump vowed to protect.

We shall see what happens, but the outlook for the U.S. economy for the rest of this year is not good at all, and beyond that things look exceedingly grim.

Hopefully I am wrong, but it certainly appears that a major economic downturn is developing just in time for the 2020 presidential election.

There is one more thing that I would like to mention before I wrap up this article.  This week, a Russian news source reported that Russia and China “will sign an agreement” regarding the use of their own national currencies in bilateral trade with one another…

Russia and China will sign an agreement on possible payments in national currencies. A decree of the Russian government on signing of a relevant agreement with the Chinese side was released on the official portal of legal information on Wednesday.

According to the draft decree approved through that government document, “settlements and payments for goods, service and direct investments between economic entities of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China are made in accordance with the international practice and the legislation of the sides’ states with the use of foreign currency, the Russian currency (rubles) and the Chinese currency (yuan).”

In other words, they are dumping the dollar in favor of their own national currencies when trading with each other.  This is a direct threat to the international dominance of the U.S. dollar, and other countries have been discussing similar moves.

For decades, the U.S. dollar has essentially been a global currency.  More dollars are actually used outside of the United States than within this country, and most Americans don’t realize that.

This has given us some enormous advantages in the global marketplace, and it could be just a matter of time before those advantages begin to disappear.

Things that used to take months or years to happen are now happening in a matter of days.  The pace of change is really picking up, and right now the momentum of events is heading in a direction that is definitely not favorable to the United States.

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.

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