Not Ready For Economic Collapse: Only 41 Percent Of Americans Have $1000 To Cover An Emergency

We better hope that the U.S. economy holds together in 2020, because if there is any sort of major economic crisis much of the country is going to be broke almost immediately.  Today, close to half of all Americans are living on the edge financially.  For many, it is out of necessity, but for others it is a conscious choice.  Way too many people out there see no need to build up a substantial financial cushion because they have a tremendous amount of faith in the system.  They don’t think that things will ever get too bad in this country, and so there is no urgency to put funds away for a rainy day.  But even if authorities could somehow prevent an economic downturn from ever happening again, individual emergencies are taking place all around us on a constant basis.  Cars break down, people get sick, and accidents happen.  Unfortunately, most Americans are completely unprepared for some sort of an emergency to strike.  In fact, a brand new survey has discovered that just 41 percent of Americans could cover a $1,000 emergency expense using their current savings…

Bankrate’s January Financial Security Index survey reveals that just four in 10 U.S. adults (41 percent) would cover the cost of a $1,000 car repair or emergency room visit using savings. The findings echo what previous Bankrate studies and others — including the Federal Reserve and the Pew Charitable Trusts — have found about Americans’ lack of rainy-day savings.

So where would everyone else get the money for an emergency?

Well, most of them would either borrow the money or get it from a relative.

And usually an emergency costs a lot more than $1,000.  Here is more from the Bankrate survey

Emergencies often aren’t cheap. Among survey respondents who said they or their family members dealt with an unexpected expense in the past 12 months, the median amount of the largest expense was $1,750.

Three in 10 adults (29 percent) said they or their family members spent at least $5,000 in the past year to cover an unanticipated cost.

The bottom line is that most of the country is living paycheck to paycheck, and most Americans are just one small step away from financial disaster.

Back in 2008, millions of Americans suddenly lost their jobs, and because so many of them were living on the edge financially a lot of them suddenly couldn’t pay their mortgages.

You would think that we would have learned something from that very painful experience, but we didn’t.

So we better hope that the U.S. economy remains relatively stable, because a serious downturn would be very ugly.

Unfortunately, an increasing number of experts are warning that our luck is about to run out.  In fact, the head of the IMF recently warned that we could potentially be facing another “Great Depression”

The head of the International Monetary Fund has warned that the global economy risks a return of the Great Depression, driven by inequality and financial sector instability.

Speaking at the Peterson Institute of International Economics in Washington, Kristalina Georgieva said new IMF research, which compares the current economy to the “roaring 1920s” that culminated in the great market crash of 1929, revealed that a similar trend was already under way.

That certainly doesn’t sound good at all.

Here in the United States, most people have been choosing to ignore all the signs that the economy is starting to really slow down.

But as stores and businesses continue to close down all over the nation, it is going to become very difficult to ignore all of the empty buildings.

For example, Macy’s just announced that they will be closing nearly 30 stores

Macy’s is closing roughly more than two dozen stores as troubles mount for the storied retailer.

The company confirmed to CNN Business that it’s shuttering 28 Macy’s locations and one Bloomingdale’s location in the coming months. Closures affect locations in several states, including Florida, California and Georgia, according to lists compiled from various media reports.

And one of the most prominent mall retailers in the entire country has just announced that they will be closing 91 stores

Fashion retailer Express plans to close 91 stores as part of a “fleet rationalization” after a sales slump during the holidays.

The move comes amid a rash of store closures following the holiday shopping season.

Of course I could go on and on all day.  Here are just a couple more examples of major retailers that are closing down stores

Bed Bath & Beyond is closing 60 locations, with the list being revealed Tuesday. And Schurman Retail Group plans to close its Papyrus and American Greetings stores, totaling about 254 locations, within the next four to six weeks.

But despite all of the evidence to the contrary, the irrational optimists would still have us believe that America has entered a new era of tremendous economic prosperity.

I actually wish that was true.

Sadly, decades of exceedingly bad decisions are catching up with us in a major way, and instead of changing course we continue to steamroll toward a date with destiny.

Right now I am going to share with you the number one piece of advice that I give to everyone who asks about preparing for the great storm that is ahead.

Build up a financial cushion.

When things get bad, you are going to need money.

I know that sounds exceedingly simple, but obviously most of the country is choosing not to do this.

Instead, most of the country is surviving from month to month with barely any money in their bank accounts, and so when disaster strikes they are going to be looking for someone else to rescue them.

We have had more than a decade since the crisis of 2008 to prepare for the next one, but most people are acting as if the next one will never arrive.

Unfortunately, the truth is that the next crisis has already started, and businesses all over the nation are going bankrupt.

But most Americans won’t realize what is happening until things really start getting out of hand, and by then it will be far too late to make any sort of preparations.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.

The Cold, Hard Facts Which Prove That The Past Decade Was Actually Quite Awful For The U.S. Economy

If this is what “the good times” look like, how nightmarish are “the bad times” going to be?  In America today, more than 500,000 of us are homeless, about 40 million of us are living in poverty, 50 percent of all workers make less than $33,000 a year, and 70 percent of us have cried about money.  But at least the economy has been “growing”, right?  Well, in this article I would like to address that.  Even if you believe that the highly manipulated economic growth numbers that the government puts out are legitimate, they still show that we are in one of the worst economic stretches in all of U.S. history.

From 1930 to 1933, the U.S. economy experienced four years in a row during which GDP growth each year was under 3 percent.

Up until this current stretch, that was the longest streak in our entire history.

Of course we have absolutely shattered that old record, and now that 2019 is over we can add one more year to our growing total.  At this point, you have to go back to 2005 to find the last year in which the U.S. economy grew by at least 3 percent.

That means that the U.S. economy has not actually had a “good year” since the middle of the Bush administration.

14 years in a row of economic growth below 3 percent is not anything to cheer about.  In fact, it is downright abysmal.

But the good news is that stock prices have been steadily rising over the past decade.  Just check out the numbers that David Wessel recently shared with PBS

So, look, the stock market had a terrific decade. The S&P 500 rose nine out of 10 years. The S&P 500 is up nearly 30 percent this year, just this year alone. And half the stock market wealth in America is held by the top 1 percent of people.

The Federal Reserve created trillions of dollars out of thin air and pumped that money into the financial markets, and of course that was going to be good for stock prices.  And pushing interest rates to the floor also helped inflate the massive bubble that we now see on Wall Street.  The following bit of analysis comes from CNBC

The Fed has kept borrowing rates low throughout the decade, gradually raising them from the end of 2015 through 2018, only to cut quickly again in 2019 to try to fend off any uncertainty in the economy. The central bank’s balance sheet sits at roughly $4 trillion, quadruple its size in 2008.

Needless to say, there is going to be a great price to pay in the long-term for such manipulation, but as long as stock prices keep rising most people don’t seem to care.

Unfortunately, these high stock prices do not represent any sort of permanent wealth.  They are simply a snapshot of what people are willing to pay at this moment in time, and a major disaster could come along which could cut those prices in half by next month.

Economic optimists also like to point to the employment numbers as evidence that the economy is doing well, but those numbers are so manipulated that they are essentially meaningless at this point.

In fact, most of the people that are transitioning from not having a job to having a job each month did not even count as “unemployed” the month previously

This year, the portion of people who got jobs each month who wouldn’t even have been counted among the unemployed the month before reached 75 percent. That’s by far the highest it’s been in the last three decades. The percentage of working-age Americans who have jobs only returned to its pre-Great Recession peak in the last few months. (It still has a ways to go before it returns to its previous peak, just before the 2001 recession.)

Today, more than 100 million working age Americans do not have a job, and John Williams has calculated that if honest numbers were being used that the real unemployment rate would be above 20 percent.

The truth is that we still have an employment crisis in this country, and anyone that suggests otherwise is not being straight with you.

Meanwhile, productivity growth has been absolutely terrible over the past decade, an increasing share of the economy has become concentrated in corporate hands, and small business creation has continued to collapse.  The following comes from an excellent article by Annie Lowrey

In many ways, the American economy became more sclerotic. Corporate concentration increased, with more industry sectors dominated by a small handful of firms. All the stories about the furious innovation coming from Silicon Valley and other tech-dominated regions aside, the start-up economy continued its long, slow collapse. The number of IPOs has fallen, and there are now half as many publicly listed businesses as there were in the late 1990s. Our cultural obsession with start-ups peaked at a time when companies under a year old were half as common as they were 40 years ago.

At the same time, the cost of living for average American families has been skyrocketing but our paychecks have not.  As a result, more Americans are being squeezed out of the middle class with each passing month.  Here is more from Lowrey

Millions of young families who tried to save for a home were unable to purchase one, sapped by the toxic combination of high rents and a lack of stock. Throw in sky-high child-care prices, spiraling out-of-pocket health-care fees, and heavy educational-debt loads, and the 2010s crushed a whole generation as it entered its prime earning years. The Millennials are on track to be the first generation in contemporary history to end up poorer than their parents—unless Gen X beats them to it.

The only thing that has saved our economy from plunging into a horrific depression has been the greatest debt binge in all of human history.

Over the last ten years we have added more than 10 trillion dollars to the national debt, state and local government debt has soared to record highs all over the nation, corporate debt has risen more than 50 percent, student loan debt has more than doubled and the total amount of U.S. household debt is now nearing 14 trillion dollars.

By stealing from the future, we have been able to stabilize the present, but the long-term cost will be more than we can bear.

It is only a matter of time before our mistakes catch up with us, and the clock is ticking.

So please don’t try to tell me that the U.S. economy is in good shape.

The last decade was one of the worst stretches for economic growth in our history, and a day of reckoning awaits us during the decade that is directly ahead.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.

47 Percent Of GDP – This Is Definitely The Scariest Corporate Debt Bubble In U.S. History

We are facing a corporate debt bomb that is far, far greater than what we faced in 2008, and we are being warned that this “unexploded bomb” will “amplify everything” once the financial system starts melting down.  Thanks to exceedingly low interest rates, over the last decade U.S. corporations have been able to go on the greatest corporate debt binge in history.  It has been a tremendous “boom”, but it has also set the stage for a tremendous “bust”.  Large corporations all over the country are now really struggling to deal with their colossal debt burdens, and defaults on the riskiest class of corporate debt are on pace to hit their highest level since 2008.  Everyone can see that a major corporate debt disaster is looming, but nobody seems to know how to stop it.

At this point, companies listed on our stock exchanges have accumulated a total of almost 10 trillion dollars of debt.  That is equivalent to approximately 47 percent of U.S. GDP

A decade of historically low interest rates has allowed companies to sell record amounts of bonds to investors, sending total U.S. corporate debt to nearly $10 trillion, or a record 47% of the overall economy.

In recent weeks, the Federal Reserve, the International Monetary Fund and major institutional investors such as BlackRock and American Funds all have sounded the alarm about the mounting corporate obligations.

We have never witnessed a corporate debt crisis of this magnitude.

Corporate debt is up a whopping 52 percent since 2008, and this bubble is continually growing.

And actually the 10 trillion dollar figure is the most conservative number out there.  Because if you add in all other forms of corporate debt, the grand total comes to 15.5 trillion dollars.  The following comes from Forbes

Total corporate debt is actually much higher. Adding the debt of small medium sized enterprises, family businesses, and other business which are not listed in stock exchanges ads another $5.5 trillion. In other words, total US corporate debt is $15.5 trillion, 74% of US GDP.

Needless to say, this mountain of corporate debt is definitely not sustainable, and I have already noted that defaults are rising.  One expert recently explained that all of this debt is “an exploded bomb” and that at some point something will come along to “trigger the explosion”…

“We are sitting on the top of an unexploded bomb, and we really don’t know what will trigger the explosion,” said Emre Tiftik, a debt specialist at the Institute of International Finance, an industry association.

Right now a lot of large corporations are so maxed out that they can barely service their debts.  So when things start getting really bad for the economy, we could be facing a wave of defaults unlike anything we have ever seen before.

When asked about what this will mean during the next recession, a finance professor at the University of Pennsylvania warned that it will “make everything happen faster, larger, worse”

“It’s going to amplify everything,” said Krista Schwarz, a finance professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. “It’s going to make everything happen faster, larger, worse. The recession would just be that much deeper.”

It sounds like she could be a writer for The Economic Collapse Blog.

Of course I am being a bit silly, but the truth is that there is nothing silly about the giant mountain of debt that our society is facing.

In addition to our looming corporate debt crisis, U.S. consumers are 14 trillion dollars in debt, state and local government debt levels are at record highs, and the U.S. national debt just hit the 23 trillion dollar mark.

If you can believe it, we have actually added another 1.3 trillion dollars to the national debt just since last Thanksgiving

The federal debt has increased by $1,303,466.578.471.45 since last Thanksgiving, according to data released by the U.S. Treasury.

That is the largest Thanksgiving-to-Thanksgiving increase in the debt in nine years. The last time the debt increased more from Thanksgiving to Thanksgiving was in 2010, when it increased by $1,785,995,360,978.10.

It also equals approximately $10,137.48 per household in the United States.

Adding 1.3 trillion dollars to the national debt in 12 months while things are still relatively stable is utter insanity, and what we are doing to future generations of Americans is beyond criminal.

And we aren’t even spending the money well.  In fact, Senator Rand Paul continues to document how we are wasting money in some of the most ridiculous ways imaginable

Sen. Rand Paul is continuing to expose the rampant waste of tax dollars by our government agencies. In a special Fall edition of his Waste Report, the Kentucky senator highlights some of the most wasteful expenditures of our federal government, including a half-a-million-dollar toilet nobody could use and a $22 million project to bring Serbian cheeses up to international standards.

“Once again, The Waste Report takes a closer look at just some of what the federal government is doing with the American people’s hard-earned money, this time including stories of it continuing to turn over so many taxpayer dollars to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, funding research that involves hooking Zebrafish on nicotine, buying textbooks for Afghan students that are subpar or sitting in warehouses, and more in a list that totals over $230 million,” states a press release from Sen. Paul’s office.

Of course it isn’t just the United States that is drowning under an ocean of red ink.  As Bloomberg has detailed, when you total up all forms of debt in the world it comes to a grand total of 250 trillion dollars…

Zombie companies in China. Crippling student bills in America. Sky-high mortgages in Australia. Another default scare in Argentina.

A decade of easy money has left the world with a record $250 trillion of government, corporate and household debt. That’s almost three times global economic output and equates to about $32,500 for every man, woman and child on earth.

So if you have a household of four, your share comes to $130,000.

Are you ready to pay up?

In the end, all of this debt will never be paid off.  Instead, the bubble will just keep ballooning until it inevitably bursts.

And when it finally bursts, many are warning of a complete and total meltdown.  In fact, Rick Ackerman believes that “a Mad Max scenario” is likely…

Ackerman contends, “I am a little more bearish than that. I see a Mad Max scenario as inevitable. . . . I try not to think about it because we’ve all got lives to live and kids to raise. . . . When you go back to the calculous of deflation and that every penny of every debt must be paid, if not by the borrower then by the lender, we have already put ourselves into a condition where Social Security is going to fail. Medicare is going to fail. All the ‘just-in-time’ deliveries are going to be in jeopardy. Food from the grocery stores, one day shipping from Amazon, I don’t see how all these things can continue to operate in a condition other than in the false prosperity that we have now. We are at the pinnacle of affluence.”

I haven’t been able to find anyone that can logically argue that the road that we are currently on has a positive ending.

The truth is that we are headed for complete and total disaster, and the only real debate is about how long it will take for us to get there.

So enjoy these moments of relative stability while you still can, because it is only a matter of time before we go over the precipice.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.

5 More Signs That The Global Economy Is Careening Toward A Recession

The global economy is already in the worst distress that we have seen since 2008, and it appears that the global slowdown is actually picking up pace as we head into 2020.  And this is happening even though central banks around the world have been cutting interest rates and pumping massive amounts of money into their respective financial systems.  The central bankers appear to be losing control, and it certainly wouldn’t take much of a push for this new crisis to evolve into a complete and utter nightmare.  The U.S. economy hasn’t been hit quite as hard as economies in Asia and Europe have been, but without a doubt things are slowing down here too.  Corporate earnings have been falling quarter after quarter, auto loan delinquencies just hit a record high, the Cass Freight Index has declined for 11 consecutive months, and we just witnessed the largest drop for U.S. industrial production since 2009.  Everywhere around us there is bad economic news, but most Americans are still completely oblivious to what is happening.

In this article, I am going to share even more evidence that a global economic slowdown has already begun.  When you add these numbers to all of the other numbers that I have been sharing in recent weeks, it becomes impossible to deny that something major is taking place.

The following are 5 more signs that the global economy is careening toward a recession…

#1 It is being projected that global auto sales will be down approximately 4 percent this year.  According to CNN, this will be the second consecutive year that global auto sales have fallen…

With only a month left in the year, global auto sales are on track for a 3.1 million drop, about 4%, for the year, according to Fitch. That would be the biggest decline since 2008, when the financial crisis hit, and the second year in a row that sales have fallen. Fitch expects worldwide car sales to total 77.5 million in 2019.

#2 Global trade just keeps falling.  According to Zero Hedge, total global trade has now declined on a year over year basis for four months in a row…

Global trade on a YoY basis contracted by 1.1% in September, marking the fourth consecutive YoY declines and the most extended period of subdued trade since the financial crisis in 2009.

The CPB said supply chain disruptions between the US and China, due mostly to the trade war, were the most significant drag on international trade volumes. US volumes fell 2.1% in September MoM. Though in China, imports plunged 6.9% MoM.

As you can see from those first two examples, we keep witnessing things happen that we haven’t seen since the last financial crisis.  Over the past few months, I have used phrases such as “since 2008” and “since 2009” over and over again.  We literally have not seen economic numbers this bad since the last recession, and we are still in the very early phases of this new downturn.

And in some cases, the numbers are actually even worse than anything that we saw during the last recession, and that brings us to our next sign…

#3 Chinese industrial profits just fell by the largest percentage ever recorded

China Industrial Enterprises total profits collapsed in October to CNY427.5bn from CNY575.6bn in September – a 9.9% YoY plunge, the biggest drop on record.

In fact, China’s Industrial sector has seen annual declines in its profits for 4 of the last 6 months.

The trade war has hit the Chinese economy really hard, but it doesn’t look like a trade deal will happen any time soon.

#4 U.S. consumer confidence has now fallen for four months in a row

Consumer confidence dipped for a fourth straight month in November as economic conditions weaken toward the end of 2019, data released Tuesday by The Conference Board shows.

The board’s consumer confidence index dipped to 125.5 this month. That’s down from 126.1 in October. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected the index to rise to 126.6.

This wasn’t supposed to happen, and if it keeps happening that is going to have important implications for the 2020 election.

#5 Even the wealthy are cutting back on their spending.  According to Yahoo Finance, this is a continuation of a trend that we have been seeing for the past three quarters…

Spending by the top 10% fell 1% in the second quarter from the same period last year, according to an analysis of Federal Reserve data by Moody’s Analytics. And a four-quarter average of outlays by the high earners has slipped on an annual basis the past three quarters, marking the first such declines since the Great Recession of 2007-09.

In recent years, global central banks have engaged in unprecedented intervention in an attempt to stave off another crisis, and for a while their efforts appeared to be successful.

But just because the coming crisis was delayed does not mean that it was canceled.

In fact, over the past few years our long-term financial problems have actually gotten a lot worse.  We are facing the biggest debt bubble in the history of the planet, global financial markets are more primed for a crash than they have ever been before, and civil unrest is breaking out all over the world.  The stage is certainly set for “the perfect storm” that I keep talking about, and most Americans have absolutely no idea what is coming.

In all the time that I have been writing about the global economy, things have never looked more ominous then they do right now.

So buckle up and hold on tight, because it certainly looks like we are in for a very bumpy ride in the months ahead.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.

Black Friday Is Coming, And 48 Million Americans Still Have Holiday Debt From Last Year

The biggest shopping day of the year is almost here, and marketers are working hard trying to extract as much money from U.S. consumers as possible.  Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get consumers to open up their wallets, because many of them are already drowning in debt.  As a society, we have been trained to think of this as “the happiest time of the year”, and for many Americans the most important part of the holiday season is opening presents on Christmas morning.  So there is a tremendous amount of pressure to spend a lot of money on presents, but this often leads to high levels of credit card debt.  In fact, a survey that was just released discovered that 48 million Americans “are still paying off credit card debt from last holiday season”

The holidays can be hard: cooking elaborate meals, facing frigid temperatures, making travel plans that please everyone.

Overspending, however, is too easy. In fact, about 48 million Americans are still paying off credit card debt from last holiday season, according to a NerdWallet survey conducted by The Harris Poll.

Sadly, some of those consumers will end up paying the credit card companies more than twice what those Christmas presents originally cost, and it can be exceedingly difficult to ever get ahead when you are trapped in a seemingly endless cycle of debt.

So why do people do it?

Well, according to one financial therapist many Americans are chasing an “emotional experience” this time of the year…

Gift-buying requires money, time and energy when you may already feel overwhelmed, says Los Angeles-based financial therapist Amanda Clayman. During the holidays, “we’re chasing a sort of emotional experience,” she says. Think: the love and happiness of a Hallmark movie.

But feelings of grief or longing may be more realistic. “This is a sad and lonely time for many people,” says Sarah Newcomb, behavioral economist for Morningstar. Shopping (for anything or everything) can be a convenient coping mechanism.

We want what we see on television, but what we see on television is not real.

In the end, many Americans leave the holiday season feeling deeply disappointed, because what they were chasing was just an illusion.

Yes, some wealthy families will literally have hundreds of presents under their Christmas trees this holiday season, but most American families are deeply struggling these days.

In fact, over two million of us are actually living without basic necessities such as “running water or indoor plumbing”.  The following comes from Daisy Luther

A new report says that more than 2 million Americans in West Virginia, Alabama, Texas and the Navajo Nation Reservation in the Southwest are living without clean running water or indoor plumbing. They’re drinking from polluted streams. They’re carrying buckets of the same water home for washing. They’re urinating and defecating outside with no wastewater treatment.

The gap between the rich and the poor continues to grow, and at this point the wealthiest 0.1 percent of all Americans now have as much wealth as the poorest 90 percent of all Americans combined.

Let that sink in for a moment.

That is a recipe for societal disaster, and it is getting worse with each passing year.

A big reason for this is because the Federal Reserve has been artificially pumping up the financial markets, and on Monday stocks hit yet another all-time high

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite hit all-time closing highs as they rose 0.8% to 3,133.64 and 1.3% to 8,632.49, respectively. Both indexes also notched intraday records. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also had a record close, gaining 190.85 points, or 0.5% to 28,066.47.

President Donald Trump tweeted about the record, saying: “Enjoy!”

But what most Americans don’t understand is that 84 percent of all stock market wealth is owned by the wealthiest 10 percent of all Americans.

Of course the stock market bubble won’t last indefinitely.  We are already in an earnings recession, and that earnings recession is expected to continue in the fourth quarter

Earnings in the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.75%  are now projected to decline 1.51% in the fourth quarter from the year before, according to a FactSet computation of analysts’ average forecasts for individual companies. An earnings recession is defined as two quarters or more of consecutive year-over-year declines, and earnings for S&P 500 components dipped in the first two quarters of 2019 and are all but certain to do so again in the third quarter — with nearly 95% of calendar third-quarter reports posted, earnings have dropped 2.34%, the biggest decline so far this year.

And about 75 percent of the time, an earnings recession leads into a full-blown recession for the economy as a whole

Three-fourths (75%) of earnings recessions since World War II have morphed into economic recessions, said CFRA Chief Investment Strategist Sam Stovall, who told Market Watch that he has been “scratching his head” trying to reconcile analyst pessimism around earnings with continued stock-market rallies.

So the truth is that those that are celebrating what the stock market is doing are not likely to be celebrating for too much longer.

And every day we continue to get more bad news from the real economy.  For example, we just learned that the largest maker of truck engines in the United States will be laying off about 2,000 workers

Those market trends are now impacting Cummins, a Columbus, Ind., manufacturer of heavy equipment. It’s the largest manufacturer of Class 8 truck engines, claiming a 38.3% market share in 2018 over competitors like Daimler and Volvo/Mack.

Cummins spokesperson Jon Mills confirmed to Business Insider that the company, which employs some 62,610 globally, will reduce its global workforce by about 2,000. Those layoffs will be complete by the first quarter of 2020, he said.

As a “perfect storm” overtakes America, many believe that this will be the last “normal” holiday season that Americans will be able to enjoy.

It has become exceedingly clear that very hard times are coming, and quite a few experts believe that the crisis that is ahead will be even worse than what we experienced in 2008.

So enjoy the time that you are able to spend with your family and friends over the coming weeks, because major changes are already starting to happen, and our nation will soon be dealing with one major headache after another.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.

Brace For Impact! The U.S. Economy Is Going Down, And It Is Going Down Hard…

I have so many bad economic numbers to share with you that I don’t even know where to start.  I had anticipated that the U.S. economic slowdown would accelerate during the fourth quarter of 2019, and that is precisely what has happened.  The Federal Reserve is trying to do all that it can to keep us from officially slipping into a recession, and the federal government is literally spending money as if tomorrow will never come, but all of that intervention has not been enough to reverse our economic momentum.  We are really starting to see conditions begin to deteriorate very rapidly now, and 2020 is already shaping up to be the most pivotal year for the U.S. economy since 2008.

Let me start my analysis by discussing how U.S. consumers are doing right now.  According to CBS News, a major new study that was just released found that 70 percent of all Americans are struggling financially…

Many Americans remain in precarious financial shape even as the economy continues to grow, with 7 of 10 saying they struggling with at least one aspect of financial stability, such as paying bills or saving money.

The findings come from a survey of more than 5,400 Americans from the Financial Health Network, a nonprofit financial services consultancy. The project, which started a year ago, is aimed at assessing people’s financial health by asking about debt, savings, bills and wages, among other issues.

That sure doesn’t sound like a “booming economy”, does it?

And even though things are already really tough for millions upon millions of American families, it appears that things are rapidly getting worse.  In fact, we just witnessed the largest decline for the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index since 2008

Despite stocks soaring to record highs, The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort index fell last week to 58.0 from 59.1 a week earlier, and has now plunged 5.4 points in three weeks, the biggest such drop since 2008

Yes, the employment situation in this country is still relatively stable for the moment, but the truth is that most of the “jobs” that have been “created” in recent years actually pay very little.  If you can believe it, 58 million jobs in the United States currently pay less than $793 a week

There are now roughly 105 million production and nonsupervisory jobs in the U.S. That’s 83 percent of all private sector jobs. And more than half of them — 58 million — pay less than the average weekly U.S. wage of $793. Many of these jobs don’t offer health care or other benefits.

These are the best jobs that many Americans can find and the most hours they can get.

And I discussed in a previous article, 50 percent of all U.S. workers currently make less than $33,000 a year.

In recent years, many families have increasingly turned to debt in order to maintain their “middle class lifestyles”, but now a lot of those debts are starting to go bad.

In fact, the New York Fed just announced that serious auto loan delinquencies in the United States have hit a brand new record high.  The following comes from Wolf Richter

Serious auto-loan delinquencies – auto loans that are 90 days or more past due – in the third quarter of 2019, after an amazing trajectory, reached a historic high of $62 billion, according to data from the New York Fed today

Do you remember the subprime mortgage meltdown of 2008?

Well, a very similar thing is happening right now with auto loans.

Meanwhile, the bad economic numbers just keep rolling in.  Here are a few new data points that we have gotten since my last article…

-We just witnessed the worst decline for U.S. industrial production since 2009.

-The Cass Freight Index has just fallen for the 11th month in a row.

-Sears has announced that they will be laying off hundreds of workers as they continue to close stores at a very rapid pace.

At this point, it is going to be a real challenge to keep U.S. GDP growth above zero for the fourth quarter.  If you can believe it, the latest forecast from the Atlanta Fed is projecting a fourth quarter growth rate of just 0.3 percent…

The GDPNow model estimate for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the fourth quarter of 2019 is 0.3 percent on November 15, down from 1.0 percent on November 8. After this morning’s retail trade releases from the U.S. Census Bureau, and this morning’s industrial production report from the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, the nowcasts of fourth-quarter real personal consumption expenditures growth and fourth-quarter real gross private domestic investment growth decreased from 2.1 percent and -2.3 percent, respectively, to 1.7 percent and -4.4 percent, respectively.

That is terrible.

We aren’t talking about 3 percent.  They are projecting growth of “0.3 percent”, and if we slip below zero we could actually be in the beginning of a recession right now without even realizing it yet.

The Federal Reserve has been attempting to bolster the economy by cutting interest rates and by pumping massive amounts of money into the financial system.  They are telling us that this new round of money creation is “not QE”, but from the very beginning I have been pointing out that it really is more quantitative easing, and many in the financial world are starting to acknowledge this reality

After a month of constant verbal gymnastics (and diarrhea from financial pundit sycophants who can’t think creatively or originally and merely parrot their echo chamber in hopes of likes/retweets) by the Fed that the recent launch of $60 billion in T-Bill purchases is anything but QE (whatever you do, don’t call it “QE 4”, just call it “NOT QE” please), one bank finally had the guts to say what was so obvious to anyone who isn’t challenged by simple logic: the Fed’s “NOT QE” is really “QE.”

In a note warning that the Fed’s latest purchase program – whether one calls it QE or NOT QE – will have big, potentially catastrophic costs, Bank of America’s Ralph Axel writes that in the aftermath of the Fed’s new program of T-bill purchases to increase the amount of reserves in the banking system, the Fed made an effort to repeatedly inform markets that this is not a new round of quantitative easing, and yet as the BofA strategist notes, “in important ways it is similar.”

But as I discussed earlier, all of the Fed’s efforts are not working.

No matter how hard they try, they have not been able to reverse our economic momentum.

And many people believe that what we have seen so far is just the tip of the iceberg.  In fact, trends forecaster Gerald Celente is convinced that we are heading for “the Greatest Depression”

You think you have a crisis in a country near you now? You haven’t seen anything. When the Greatest Depression hits, people are going to be escaping violence, poverty, corruption — civil wars are happening in front of everybody’s eyes. And you think you’ve got a homeless problem in a city near you? You haven’t seen anything. You are going to see homeless everywhere. This is out of control and it’s going to only get worse as the global economy slows down…

And you know what?

He’s right.

What is coming is going to make 2008 look like a Sunday picnic, and our society is completely and utterly unprepared for what is about to happen.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.

The U.S. National Debt Just Hit The 23 Trillion Dollar Mark As We Continue To Steamroll Toward Financial Oblivion

This week, the U.S. national debt reached the 23 trillion dollar mark for the first time ever.  There was no fanfare, there were no politicians giving speeches about fiscal responsibility, and there has been very little national outrage.  We have simply come to accept that it is “normal” for our national debt to grow at an exponential rate, but the truth is that we are literally committing national suicide.  Given enough time, there is no doubt that this colossal mountain of debt will kill our Republic, and yet fiscal responsibility is not even a major national issue any longer.  Everyone seems to be okay with the fact that we are stealing more than 100 million dollars every single hour of every single day from future generations of Americans and destroying the bright future that they were supposed to have.  What we are doing to our children and our grandchildren is beyond criminal, and yet very few of us seem to care.

At this point things are so bad that even Fed Chair Jerome Powell is warning Congress that the national debt is a major problem

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned lawmakers Wednesday that the ballooning federal debt could hamper Congress’ ability to support the economy in a downturn, urging them to put the budget “on a sustainable path.”

Powell suggested such fiscal aid could be vital after the Fed has cut its benchmark interest rate three times this year, leaving the central bank less room to lower rates further in case of a recession.

When a major downturn hits the U.S. economy, the federal government is not going to be able to do much because we are already spending money at emergency levels.

Of course Powell shouldn’t exactly be criticizing Congress, because the Fed has already been using up all of their ammunition too.

So when the next recession officially arrives, the amount of intervention that will be possible will be very limited.

Since Barack Obama’s inauguration, we have been adding an average of more than a trillion dollars to the national debt every year.  That is utter insanity, but it has helped the economy in the short-term.

When the federal government borrows money that it does not have and spends it into the economy, that boosts economic activity.  But at the same time it makes our long-term financial problems even worse.

If we were to go back and remove from the economy the 12.4 trillion dollars that the federal government added to our national debt since Obama’s inauguration, we would be in the deepest economic depression in American history right now.

So all of that reckless spending has kept us from economic disaster, but it has set the stage for something even worse when this bubble finally bursts.

In October, the federal government’s budget deficit for the month was $134.5 billion.  That was 34 percent higher than for the same month a year earlier.

I can’t even begin to describe how foolish this is.  The extreme negligence being committed by our politicians in Washington is mind blowing.

And this is just the beginning of our problems.  As our population ages, Social Security, Medicare and other entitlement programs are going to become rapidly more oppressive

This is only going to get worse. According to Census Bureau projections, by 2030 each 100 working-age Americans will be supporting 35 retirees, and this could rise to 42 by 2060. Another way to think of this is to calculate the number of retirees each worker must support. In 1946, the burden of one retiree was shared between 42 workers. Today, according to the SSA, roughly three workers cover each retiree’s Social Security and Medicare benefits. By 2030, however, there will be only two workers supporting each retiree.

So where are we going to get the money that we need to support those programs?

Of course we aren’t actually going to make it to 2060.  Our entire system will implode long before then.

Consumers have also been on a tremendous debt binge in recent years, and we just learned that total U.S. household debt is about to cross the 14 trillion dollar mark

Americans increased their borrowing for the 21st straight quarter as more households took out loans to buy homes or refinance existing mortgages, according to a report released today from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Total U.S. household debt rose $92 billion, or 0.7%, to $13.95 trillion in the third quarter, the New York Fed’s quarterly household credit and debt report showed.

We are in the final stages of the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world, and most of us realize that this chapter in our history is going to end very badly.

So why do we just keep making things worse?

Of course it isn’t just the United States that is drowning in debt.  According to the IMF, total global debt has now reached the 188 trillion dollar mark…

The global debt crisis has reached epic and historical proportions.  It’s now $188 trillion, which is more than double the entire economic output of the entire planet.

The global debt load has surged to a new record of around 230% of the world’s output, IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva said according to a report by the Daily Mail The entire globe’s economic stability is hanging by a thread, and this news makes that thread appear just a little thinner.

Most people don’t understand that the global financial system has literally been designed to create as much debt as possible.  But once you grasp this, it shouldn’t actually be a surprise that we are now 188 trillion dollars in debt.  The system is simply doing what it was intended to do.  For much more on this, please see my previous article entitled “Global Debt Is Up To $188,000,000,000,000 – This Is Officially The Biggest Debt Bubble The World Has Ever Seen”.

For decades, we have been ignoring the future consequences of running up so much debt, but at some point time is going to run out.

In a recent article, Ron Paul put it this way

Even though the federal deficit is already over one trillion dollars (and growing), President Trump and Congress have no interest in cutting spending, especially in an election year. Should he win reelection, President Trump is unlikely to reverse course and champion fiscal restraint. Instead, he will likely take his victory as a sign that the people support big federal budgets and huge deficits. None of the leading Democratic candidates are even pretending to care about the deficit. Instead they are proposing increasing spending by trillions on new government programs.

Joseph Zidle, a strategist with the Blackstone investment firm, has called the government — or “sovereign” — debt bubble the “mother of all bubbles.” When the sovereign debt bubble inevitably busts, it will cause a meltdown bigger than the 2008 crash.

As usual, Ron Paul is right on the mark.

And actually “a meltdown bigger than the 2008 crash” would be a best case scenario.

Ultimately, it is extremely doubtful that we are going to be able to survive what is going to happen to us once this bubble completely bursts.

The Republic that previous generations of Americans sacrificed so much to build is being systematically destroyed, and it is our own greed that is doing it.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.

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