The economic implosion of 2020: Job losses ramp up again as millions of Americans continue to slide into poverty

The mainstream media keeps trying to convince us that things are about to get a whole lot better for the U.S. economy, but instead they just keep getting worse.  On Thursday, we learned that another 898,000 Americans filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week.  That was the highest number that we have seen since August, and it is yet more evidence that a new wave of layoffs has begun.  But according to the experts that the mainstream media relies upon, this wasn’t supposed to happen.  According to them, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits was supposed to be steadily tapering off as the U.S. economy shifted into recovery mode.  Unfortunately for all of us, those experts have been dead wrong.

Yesterday, I wrote about the decline of the middle class in our country, and here in 2020 this pandemic has greatly accelerated that process.

In fact, one new study has found that almost 8 million more Americans have plunged into poverty just since May

Nearly 8 million Americans have slid into poverty since May, according to a Columbia University study reported by the New York Times.

Why it matters:The researchers found that the monthly poverty rate for September was higher than rates during April or May, and it also topped pre-crisis levels, “[d]ue to the expiration of the CARES Act’s stimulus checks and $600 per week supplement to unemployment benefits.”

And another study discovered that 6 million more Americans fell into poverty in just the last three months

A separate study by researchers at Notre Dame and the University of Chicago, found that 6 million people have slipped into poverty in the last three months, per the Times.

Our hearts should be breaking because of what is going on all over the country right now.

Millions upon millions of hard working people have lost their jobs and can’t find new ones.  As a result, they have lost the comfortable middle class lifestyles that they once enjoyed and have now joined the ranks of the poor.

But the official government numbers don’t look that bad because millions of those people are not even categorized as “unemployed”.  Instead, many of the workers that have lost their jobs during this pandemic have been thrown into a category that is called “not in the labor force”.

In order to have faith in the official government numbers, you have got to believe that more than 100 million working age Americans are “not in the labor force” because they don’t want to work.

It is such a sham.  Why don’t we just put every single American that is not working into the “not in the labor force” category so that we can have 0.0 percent unemployment?

Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Of course the truth is that more Americans are being laid off with each passing day.  Over the past few weeks, some of the most iconic companies in the entire nation have been letting workers go

Further, companies have begun initiating layoffs on a trajectory similar to traditional recessions, economists said, as slowdowns in consumer demand (rather than state-mandated shutdowns) lead them to cut jobs or close for good.

Companies such as AllstateAmerican AirlinesDisneyRoyal Dutch Shell and United Airlines have each announced plans to cut thousands of workers in recent weeks.

Some parts of the country have been hit much harder than others by this economic downturn.

For instance, tourism has dried up almost completely in Las Vegas, and this week there have been more layoff announcements

The Tropicana Las Vegas has given notice to 828 employees that they are being laid off beginning Thursday, Oct. 15.

And layoffs at two Paris Las Vegas restaurants are coming soon as notices have been filed with the state. Mon Ami Gabi intends to lay off 96 employees, and the Eiffel Tower Restaurant will lay off 53 employees. Both moves are scheduled to happen on Dec. 16, and the layoffs will be permanent.

In the end, most of the jobs that have been lost in Las Vegas will never come back until the tourists return, and that is simply not going to be happening for the foreseeable future.

Next door, the state of California has been absolutely devastated by this crisis as well.

If you can believe it, one out of every four Californians received unemployment benefits between March and July.  The state may have more billionaires than anywhere else in the country, but according to the U.S. Census Bureau it also has the highest poverty rate

Home to 166 billionaires, who made over $235 billion since the beginning of the pandemic, the Golden State also has the highest poverty rate: 17.2% when adjusted for the cost of living, according to a recent Census Bureau analysis.

That means that almost one out of every five people in the entire state of California is living in poverty right now.

If this is what a “recovery” looks like, I would hate to see what the “bad times” are going to look like.

And without a doubt, economic conditions are definitely going to get worse than they are now.

So many families in California are just barely scraping by from month to month, and more of them are falling into poverty every day.  In fact, even USA Today is admitting that “California’s middle class isn’t done shrinking”…

To many, the streets of the Bay Area are renowned for the enduring homelessness crisis as much as for the renowned tech giants of Silicon Valley. In-between, California’s middle class isn’t done shrinking; teachers, artists, waiters and gig workers are awaiting their fate, often one government program away from having to take a minimum-wage job — or lose their homes.

It is kind of ironic.  Many of those that live in California like to lecture the rest of us about “wealthy inequality”, but it is worse in their state than anywhere else.

Those at the very, very top of the pyramid are thriving (for now), but meanwhile countless others are falling out of the middle class.

It is like a really perverse game of musical chairs.  Every time the music stops, more people lose their seats and the middle class shrinks some more.

Sadly, I think that this process is going to accelerate even more in 2021, and that is really bad news for millions upon millions of middle class American families that are deeply struggling right now.

***Michael’s new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.***

About the Author: My name is Michael Snyder and my brand new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available on Amazon.com.  In addition to my new book, I have written four others that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned)  By purchasing the books you help to support the work that my wife and I are doing, and by giving it to others you help to multiply the impact that we are having on people all over the globe.  I have published thousands of articles on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd 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 always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but I also ask that they include this “About the Author” section with each article.  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.  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.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

Goodbye Middle Class: Half Of All American Workers Made Less Than $34,248.45 Last Year

If you are making less than $3,000 a month, you have plenty of company, because about half of the country is in the exact same boat.  The Social Security Administration just released new wage statistics for 2019, and they are pretty startling.  To me, the most alarming thing in the entire report is the fact that the median yearly wage was just $34,248.45 last year.  In other words, half of all American workers made less than $34,248.45 in 2019, and half of all American workers made more than $34,248.45.  That isn’t a whole lot of money.  In fact, when you divide $34,248.45 by 12 you get just $2,854.05.  Needless to say, it is not easy to survive in America today on just $2,854.05 a month, and this may help to explain why we have been seeing so many people fall out of the middle class in recent years.

And of course all of the figures that I am sharing with you in this article are just for 2019.  This year, we have seen more than 63 million Americans file new claims for unemployment benefits as the U.S. economy has imploded during this pandemic, and so the final wage numbers for 2020 could be quite a bit worse than the numbers for 2019 were.  Please keep that in mind as you go through the rest of this article.

Once upon a time in America, a single income could easily support a middle class household in most cases, but those days are long gone.

The cost of living has been rising far faster than our paychecks have, and as a result many Americans have been working themselves to the bone just to survive financially from month to month.

To give you an idea of just how bad things have gotten, I would like to share with you some key numbers from the report that the Social Security Administration just released

-32.26 percent of American workers made less than $20,000 last year.

-44.79 percent of American workers made less than $30,000 last year.

-56.46 percent of American workers made less than $40,000 last year.

-65.91 percent of American workers made less than $50,000 last year.

Today, the poverty level for a household of five in the United States is $30,680.

That means that close to half of all workers in this country do not even make enough to get a family of five above the poverty level.

Wow.

There are tens of millions of Americans that are referred to as “the working poor” because they are living in poverty even though they are employed and are working extremely hard.  Many of you that are reading this article know exactly what I am talking about.  Some of you are working way more than 40 hours a week, and yet there never seems to be enough money at the end of the month.

Sadly, the truth is that our system has evolved in a manner that makes it almost impossible for most Americans to ever build up much wealth.

If you are making the median monthly wage of just $2,854.05, there simply is not going to be much left over after all of the bills are paid.  First of all, you are going to need some place to live.  In the middle of the country you may be able to find something habitable for under $1,000 a month, but in most of our major metropolitan areas that simply is not going to be realistic.

Secondly, you are going to need to pay your utility bills.   If you can keep the combined cost of your power, water, phone, television and Internet bills to about $250 a month, you are doing quite well.

Thirdly, you will need a vehicle in order to get around, and these days it is hard to buy or lease a vehicle for less than $300 a month.  In addition, you will also need insurance, and that will set you back even more.

Fourthly, you will need health insurance.  If you are young and single, maybe you can find a plan for just a few hundred dollars a month, but most Americans pay far more.

Fifthly, you will probably want to eat, and that will cost you several hundred dollars a month as well.

At this point almost all of your money is already gone, and there are so many expenses that I haven’t even mentioned yet.

And of course you never even started with $2,854.05 in the first place, because all sorts of taxes were taken out of your paycheck before you even got it.

Are you starting to understand why so many families in America are deeply, deeply struggling today?

We have an economy that works for those at the very top of the food chain, but pretty much everyone else is desperately trying to stay afloat.

And now we have entered an economic downturn during which tens of millions of Americans have lost their jobs.  According to John Williams of shadowstats.com, if honest numbers were being used the real unemployment rate in the U.S. would be 26.9 percent right now, and that would rival the worst levels that we witnessed during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Others have come up with similar numbers.  For example, Axios is reporting that the “true unemployment rate” in the United States is currently 26.1 percent

A person who is looking for a full-time job that pays a living wage — but who can’t find one — is unemployed. If you accept that definition, the true unemployment rate in the U.S. is a stunning 26.1%, according to an important new dataset shared exclusively with “Axios on HBO.”

No matter how you want to crunch the numbers, everyone should be able to agree that millions upon millions of Americans are really hurting financially and are deeply concerned about the future.

And they have good reason to be concerned about the future, because our economic system is in the process of imploding.

For decades, the greatest debt bubble in the history of the world allowed us to enjoy a level of debt-fueled prosperity that was far greater than we actually deserved.

Now the party is ending, and our society is going to experience an enormous amount of pain as everything changes.

***Michael’s new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.***

About the Author: My name is Michael Snyder and my brand new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available on Amazon.com.  In addition to my new book, I have written four others that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned)  By purchasing the books you help to support the work that my wife and I are doing, and by giving it to others you help to multiply the impact that we are having on people all over the globe.  I have published thousands of articles on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd 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 always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but I also ask that they include this “About the Author” section with each article.  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.  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.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

Here Is Why The U.S. Economy Would Continue To Crash Even If All The Lockdowns Were Lifted Immediately…

COVID-19 has created an enormous amount of fear, and that fear is doing far more damage to the economy than the actual virus is.  In an environment of fear, financial institutions become a lot tighter with their money, and that inevitably causes economic activity to slow down.  For example, just consider what happened in 2008.  Mortgage lending standards suddenly became much more strict, and that greatly contributed to the horrific housing price crash which left millions upon millions of Americans underwater on their mortgages.  Unfortunately, this coronavirus pandemic has created a wave of fear that is far greater than what we experienced during the last recession, and that has enormous implications for the months ahead.

Extremely loose lending standards helped create debt-fueled “booms” throughout our economy in recent years, but now lending standards are going in the complete opposite direction very rapidly.

For instance, Chase is now requiring a credit score of at least 700 for all new home loans, and they are one of the financial institutions that is now requiring a down payment of at least 20 percent

A Chase spokesperson confirmed that starting April 14, new mortgage applicants will need a minimum credit score of 700 and a down payment of 20%. Refinancing applications for non-Chase mortgages will also need the same score. Chase didn’t disclose its previous lending standards but the average downpayment for first-time home buyers is around 6%, according to a 2018 survey from the National Association of Realtors.

If you own your home, would you have been approved for a mortgage under the new Chase standards?

And Chase is far from alone.  In fact, most major mortgage lenders have now tightened up, and Redfin is estimating that about a quarter of all home buyers last year would not have qualified under the new standards.

So if you remove about a quarter of all buyers from the marketplace moving forward, what happens to the housing market?

Yes, there will be an implosion, and it will happen no matter whether coronavirus lockdowns are in effect or not.

And home equity loans are going to be hit even harder.  As I discussed last week, Wells Fargo is no longer taking HELOC applications at all.

So now matter how good your credit is, you simply cannot get a home equity line of credit from Wells Fargo at this point.

This is what fear does.

We see similar things happening in the credit card industry.  Standards have been greatly tightened for new customers, and in some instances existing customers are having their limits slashed or their cards suddenly canceled.  The following comes from Newsweek

Analysts warn that credit card companies are lowering credit limits and canceling cards—often without warning—amid the pandemic-induced economic crisis, just as they did during the Great Recession.

If you think that this won’t have a dramatic impact on the U.S. economy, then you probably haven’t been paying attention.

Our economy is a consumer driven economy, and if consumers don’t have access to easy credit there is no way in the world that economic activity will return to previous levels.

Of course even if they did have access to easy credit, many Americans are so afraid of this virus that they have no intention of resuming normal economic patterns any time soon

Here’s hoping you enjoyed the last movie or concert you attended, because if the results of a new survey are accurate, it may be a long, long time before such events are ever popular again. According to the research, 40% of Americans plan to avoid public spaces unless “absolutely necessary” long after the coronavirus pandemic has subsided.

The survey, commissioned by Vital Vio, asked 1,000 U.S. adults about how they envision every day life in the wake of the coronavirus. All in all, it looks like there are suddenly a whole lot more germaphobes in the land of the free. Over four in five (82%) said they are now more aware of, and concerned about, cleaning protocols in public areas. Additionally, 58% are more suspicious about their friends’ and family’s hygiene habits.

And a lot of companies are also going to be extremely hesitant to “return to normal” because of the threat of lawsuits.

Earlier today, I was stunned to learn that 771 coronavirus-related lawsuits have already been filed…

Hundreds of lawsuits stemming from the coronavirus pandemic are rapidly amassing in state and federal courts, the first wave of litigation challenging decisions made early during the crisis by corporations, insurance companies and governments.

Claims have been filed against hospitals and senior-living facilities, airlines and cruise lines, fitness chains and the entertainment industry – 771 as of Friday, according to a database compiled by Hunton Andrews Kurth, an international law firm tracking cases that emerge from the pandemic.

Isn’t that insane?

I have repeatedly warned my readers that it will be exceedingly difficult to “return to normal” in our overly litigious society, but even I didn’t expect so many lawsuits so soon.

And this is just the beginning.  Eventually there will be thousands upon thousands of coronavirus lawsuits, and they will tie up our courts for the foreseeable future.

This pandemic just seems to be magnifying everything that is wrong with our society, and at this point the future looks so bleak that even perpetually optimistic Warren Buffett is throwing in the cards

A 95% plunge in passengers. Billions in losses. A rush for new debt. A recovery that executives expect to take years. Coronavirus is roiling the airline industry and the Oracle of Omaha has seen enough.

Warren Buffett told investors Saturday that Berkshire Hathaway has sold its entire stakes in the four largest U.S. airlines — AmericanDeltaSouthwestUnited — as the pandemic upends another bet on the sector that the famed investor had shunned for years before a surprise return in 2016.

Buffett understands that fear of this virus is going to paralyze air travel for a very long time to come, and he is getting out while he still can.

But if our society cannot even handle COVID-19, what will things look like once much worse things start happening?

It has been sobering to watch how rapidly our “snowflake society” has melted during this pandemic.

Now virtually the entire nation is paralyzed by fear, and the once great U.S. economy is crashing all around us.

And the really bad news is that this is just the beginning…

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 BlogEnd 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 EndGet 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. 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.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all many people as we possibly can.

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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