Study Discovers That If The Debt Machine Was Turned Off, The U.S. Would Immediately Plunge Into A Horrifying Depression

A new study has discovered that we are far more dependent on America’s great debt creation machine than most of us would have ever dared to imagine.  Today, debt is involved in most of our major transactions.  In order to purchase a home, most of us go into debt.  The same thing is true when most of us buy a vehicle.  Total credit card debt is well over a trillion dollars, and total student loan debt is now over a trillion and a half dollars.  Corporate debt has more than doubled since the last financial crisis, state and local governments are absolutely drowning in debt and unfunded pension liabilities, and the federal government is more than 22 trillion dollars in debt.  The Federal Reserve and the “too big to fail” banks are at the core of this insidious debt-based system, and it has been systematically destroying the bright future that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have.  But if we suddenly turned off America’s great debt creation machine at this point, our entire economic system would totally collapse because we have become so dependent on it.  In fact, a study that was just conducted by Bloomberg discovered that “gross domestic product per capita would plunge into negative territory” if the ability to borrow was suddenly removed…

The nation’s health as measured by gross domestic product per capita would plunge into negative territory without its dependence on borrowed money, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

In fact, the U.S. would fall almost to the bottom of a ranking of 114 economies by GDP per capita. Only Italy, Greece and Japan would fare worse. That’s a seismic shift from America’s comfortable No. 5 spot on a list based on conventional measures.

Our massively inflated debt-fueled standard of living is completely and utterly dependent on the continual creation of more debt.

In essence, this study found that without debt we wouldn’t have much of an economy at all.  In fact, Bloomberg says that U.S. per capita income would collapse from $66,900 a year to “negative $4,857”

To get this somewhat dystopian measure, Bloomberg took each economy’s 2020 GDP as projected by the International Monetary Fund as a starting point. We then adjusted the number by removing the ability to borrow, while adding reserves to create an alternative wealth measure.

U.S. per capita income of $66,900 would be slashed to a negative $4,857 using this measure. That’s a total loss of almost $72,000 for every man, woman and child.

So the only thing keeping us from complete and total economic collapse is the fact that debt is flowing like wine.

But what would happen if some sort of major national crisis erupted someday and all of a sudden everyone was afraid to lend money?

That is something to think about, because such a scenario may be a whole lot closer than many people might think.

As it stands, we appear to be on the precipice of the worst economic downturn since the last financial crisis, and our trade war with China just went to an entirely new level as the month of September began

The biggest reason for last week’s torrid stock market rally was rekindled “optimism” that the escalating trade war between the US and China may be on the verge of another ceasefire following phone conversations, fake as they may have been, between the US and Chinese side. This translated into speculation that a new round of tariffs increases slated for this weekend may not take place or be delayed.

However, that did not happen, and with no trade deal in sight, at 12:00am on Sunday, the Trump administration slapped tariffs on $112 billion in Chinese imports, the latest escalation in a trade war that’s ground the global economy to a halt, sent Germany into a recession, and given the market an alibi to keep rising because, wait for it, “a trade deal is imminent.”

Only, it isn’t, and 1 minute later, at 12:01am EDT, China retaliated with higher tariffs being rolled out in stages on a total of about $75 billion of U.S. goods. The target list strikes at the heart of Trump’s political support – factories and farms across the Midwest and South at a time when the U.S. economy is showing signs of slowing down.

The Chinese knew that these tariffs were about to go into effect, and so they were ready and waiting to retaliate just one minute later.

Of course many U.S. companies will be hit extremely hard by these tariffs that the Trump administration just implemented.  The following comes from CNBC

That means that when an electronics company imports a TV, or a smart speaker, or a drone from China starting September 1, it will have to pay a 15% tax to the U.S. government.

Eventually, this will end up raising prices on gadgets and other products for people in the United States, said Bronwyn Flores, a spokeswoman for the Consumer Tech Association (CTA), a trade group that represents 2,000 different companies in the electronics industry, including brands like Apple and LG and retailers like Walmart and Best Buy.

Basically, people are not going to be able to buy as much stuff during the holiday shopping season, and overall economic activity will be slower than it otherwise would have been.

Meanwhile, President Trump continues to sound hopeful that trade talks with China will bear fruit

President Donald Trump said trade talks with Beijing are still planned for September after a new round of tariffs went into effect on Sunday.

“We are talking to China, the meetings in September, that hasn’t changed,” Trump told reporters Sunday on the White House South Lawn after returning from Camp David.

These sorts of comments helped stabilize the financial markets last week, but if there was any hope that a trade agreement was imminent we would not have seen both sides impose new tariffs on Sunday.

And now we are moving into the month that is traditionally the worst for Wall Street.  The following comes from Fox Business

Investors may breathe a sigh of relief that August, typically a volatile month for stocks, is over, but history shows that September could be even worse for Wall Street.

Since 1950, September has been the worst month for the S&P 500 Index, which has dropped, on average, 0.5% during the month, a phenomenon referred to as the September effect. According to Dow Jones market data, the average decline of the Dow Jones Industrial Average in September is 1%, while the Nasdaq Composite generally sees an average fall of 0.5%.

We shall see what this September brings.  Certainly things are really shaky on Wall Street right now, and any piece of really bad news is likely to set off another wave of panic.

Without a doubt, the market is more primed for a crash than it has been at any point since 2008, and it definitely will not take much to make this a “September to remember”…

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

If America Is Such A Happy Place, Why Is The Suicide Rate Up 34% Since The Year 2000?

What in the world has happened to us?  Despite our ridiculously high standard of living compared to the rest of the world, America is a deeply unhappy place.  When I was growing up, there were no “smart phones”, the Internet did not exist, if you wanted to buy something you had to actually go to a store and hunt for it, and most vehicles were pieces of junk that completely broke down after a few years.  Today, we have hundreds of television channels, we have more movies than we could ever possibly watch, video games have become wildly creative and there is an app for almost anything that you could possibly need on your phone just a few clicks away.  We are literally drowning in entertainment, and yet we are far less happy than previous generations.  In fact, the CDC says that the suicide rate in the United States has risen by 34 percent since the year 2000…

Men who work in construction and extraction had the highest rates of suicide in the United States, according to a report published Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For women, suicide rates were highest among those who work in arts, design, entertainment, sports and media.

From 2000 to 2016, the suicide rate among the US working-age population — people 16 to 64 — increased 34%, the report says.

It greatly saddened me to learn that construction workers and miners have the highest suicide rates in the entire country.  My grandfather was a construction worker, and he took great pride in his work.  In fact, I still have a wooden bowl that he made for me sitting on my desk as I write this article.

On the other end of the spectrum, suicide rates are lowest among teachers, professors and librarians

For both sexes, the occupational group with the lowest rate of suicides was education, training and library. This includes jobs such as teachers, professors and archivists.

This surprised me, because anyone that has ever spent much time in a classroom understands how much stress a teacher must endure on a daily basis.

But overall, the news is not good.  At a time when the U.S. has been at peace and supposedly “prospering”, our suicide rate has been absolutely skyrocketing.

If this many people are killing themselves now, what is going to happen once things get really, really bad in this country?

Of course the authorities are at a loss as to how to solve this crisis.  They are saying that this rise in suicide is a “tragedy” and that we must increase “prevention efforts”

“Increasing suicide rates in the U.S. are a concerning trend that represent a tragedy for families and communities and impact the American workforce,” said Dr. Debra Houry, director of CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. “Knowing who is at greater risk for suicide can help save lives through focused prevention efforts.”

In other words, they want us to throw more money at the problem.

In America today, whenever anything goes wrong the “solution” always seems to be to make the government even bigger and spend more taxpayer money.

But the truth is that big government is not going to save us.  People don’t need more government bureaucrats telling them how to run their lives.  Instead, what people really need is to find meaning and purpose in life, and that is not something that big government is going to provide.

Suicide rates are particularly high in many rural areas.  In fact, a previous CDC report discovered that the suicide rate in rural areas is actually 45 percent higher than in “large urban areas”…

The suicide rate in rural America is 45% greater than in large urban areas, according to a study released last fall by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A more recent CDC report said Montana’s suicide rate leads the nation, coming in at nearly twice the national average. A third long-touted CDC study, currently under review, listed farming in the occupational group, along with fishing and forestry, with the highest rate of suicide deaths.

That occupational study was based on 2012 data, when farming was strong and approaching its peak in 2013, says Jennifer Fahy, communications director for the nonprofit Farm Aid. Farmers’ net income has fallen 50% since 2013 and is expected to drop to a 12-year low this year, the US Department of Agriculture reports.

Without a doubt, things are tough in rural areas all over the nation right now.  According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, almost 1 out of every 4 children in rural areas is currently living in poverty.  My wife and I live in a rural area, and there are so many families up here that are deeply struggling right now.

As the middle class has deteriorated, more Americans than ever have been forced to turn to the government for help.  At this point, almost 52 percent of all children live in a home that receives monthly help from the federal government

The Census Bureau has released new data that strengthens the case for calling the current generation of American children “The Welfare Generation.”

Among American residents under 18 years of age in 2017, according to the Census Bureau, 51.7 percent lived in households in which one or more persons received benefits from a means-tested government program.

If the U.S. economy really was in good shape, we wouldn’t have such a dramatic problem with poverty.

And this is something that a lot of Americans are quite concerned about.  The following are some very interesting numbers from a recent MSN poll

  • Approximately 2/3 of people are concerned about the level of poverty in the United States right now.
  • Women are 1.2x more likely than men to be concerned about the issue of poverty.
  • Generally speaking, the more money you make, the less likely you are to care about poverty (although more than half of those making $150K+ are still concerned about the issue).

From those numbers, it looks like men have some work to do in the compassion department.

In the years ahead, poverty is likely to get a whole lot worse in this country.

The suicide rate has already been spiking during “normal times”, and many are deeply alarmed about what might happen once this nation enters a period of utter despair.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s talk about poverty.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inverted Global Yield Curve Creates “The Perfect Cocktail For A Liquidity Crunch” As The IMF Warns Of “A Second Great Depression”

Why would the IMF use the phrase “a second Great Depression” in a report that they know the entire world will read?  To be more precise, the IMF stated that “large challenges loom for the global economy to prevent a second Great Depression”.  Are they saying that if we do not change our ways that we are going to be heading into a horrific economic depression?  Because if that is what they are trying to communicate, they would be exactly correct.  At this moment, global debt levels are higher than they have ever been before in all of human history, and in their report the IMF specifically identified “global debt levels” as one of the key problems that could lead to “another financial meltdown”

The world economy is at risk of another financial meltdown, following the failure of governments and regulators to push through all the reforms needed to protect the system from reckless behaviour, the International Monetary Fund has warned.

With global debt levels well above those at the time of the last crash in 2008, the risk remains that unregulated parts of the financial system could trigger a global panic, the Washington-based lender of last resort said.

And the IMF report also seemed to indicate that global central banks were responsible for the situation in which we now find ourselves.

In the report, an “extended period of ultralow interest rates” was blamed for “the build-up of financial vulnerabilities”

The IMF Global Financial Stability report read: “The extended period of ultralow interest rates in advanced economies has contributed to the build-up of financial vulnerabilities.

The large accumulation of public debt and the erosion of fiscal buffers in many economies following the crisis point to the urgency of rebuilding those defences to prepare for the next downturn.”

This is extremely unusual language for a globalist institution such as the IMF to be using.

Are they trying to signal that a major global financial crisis is imminent?

Of course they would hardly be the first to sound the alarm.  Prominent names throughout the financial world are making all sorts of ominous declarations these days, and more red flags continue to pop up with each passing day.

For example, according to one analysis the global yield curve has gone negative for the first time since the last financial crisis, and this has created “the perfect cocktail” for a “liquidity crunch”…

A stronger US dollar and the global cost of capital rising is the perfect cocktail, in our opinion, for a liquidity crunch.

Major liquidity crunches often occur when yield curves around the world flatten or invert. Currently, the global yield curve is inverted; this is an ominous sign for the global economy and financial markets, especially overvalued stocks markets like the US.

To me, that is one of the most alarming charts that we have seen in a very long time.

Everything in the global financial system revolves around the flow of debt.  When money is cheap and flowing freely, economic growth tends to expand.  But when a liquidity crunch happens, economic activity can start contracting very rapidly, and it looks like that is the type of scenario that is quickly starting to develop.

In fact, we are already witnessing a substantial liquidity crunch in emerging markets.  Lenders are hesitant to lend while economic conditions in those countries are chaotic, and a rapidly rising dollar has made servicing existing dollar-denominated debts increasingly problematic.

As we witnessed in 2008, debt bubbles end when liquidity begins to tighten up.  The only way that this current debt bubble can survive is if it continues to expand, and it can only expand for as long as lenders are willing to part with their money easily.

If interest rates continue to go higher, the U.S. economy and the global economy as a whole are going to be hit really hard.

On Thursday, the fact that interest rates “hit new multiyear highs” was blamed for the large decline in the stock market…

Stocks fell sharply on Thursday as interest rates hit new multiyear highs, dampening investor sentiment.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 201 points as Nike and Home Depot lagged. The 30-stock index dropped 356 points at its lows of the day and posted its worst decline since Aug. 10.

The Dow hit a new all-time high earlier this week, but many believe that it was essentially an illusion.

Because right now there are three times as many stocks at 52-week lows than there are stocks at 52-week highs.  Prior to this week, there was only one other day since 1965 when this happened

There have been two days since 1965 have seen 3x as many NYSE stocks at year-lows than at year-highs while the Dow traded at an all-time high.

The only other time prior to October 3, 2018?

December 28, 1999. The Dow was just days prior to hitting 11,722 on January 10, 2000, which would mark its long-term top. It would bottom at 8,062 on September 21, 2001. A 32% decline. The Nasdaq lost over 60% of its value during that same period, and would decline 78% from its all-time high.

I know that I have used a lot of technical jargon in this article, but the bottom line is this…

Big trouble is coming.

At this point, even Dennis Gartman is saying that “one cannot but think that a global bear market of some very real consequence is developing.”

Sentiment on Wall Street has shifted at a rate that is absolutely breathtaking.  The mindless optimism of recent years has been replaced with an ominous feeling that a major downturn is imminent.

And because markets tend to go down a lot faster than they go up, a lot of people could end up being wiped out financially before they even realize what just hit them.

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

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

The American Dream Is Getting Smaller, And The Reason Why Is Painfully Obvious…

Over the past decade, an unprecedented stock market boom has created thousands upon thousands of new millionaires, and yet the middle class in America has continued to shrink.  How is that even possible?  At one time the United States had the largest and most vibrant middle class in the history of the planet, but now the gap between the wealthy and the poor is the largest that it has been since the 1920s.  Our economy has been creating lots of new millionaires, but at the exact same time we have seen homelessness spiral out of control in our major cities.  Today, being part of the middle class is like playing a really bizarre game of musical chairs.  Each month when the music stops playing, those of us still in the middle class desperately hope that we are not among the ones that slip out of the middle class and into poverty.  Well over 100 million Americans receive money or benefits from the federal government each month, and that includes approximately 40 percent of all families with children.  We are losing our ability to take care of ourselves, and that has frightening implications for the future of our society.

One of the primary reasons why our system doesn’t work for everyone is because virtually everything has been financialized.  In other words, from the cradle to the grave the entire system has been designed to get you into debt so that the fruits of your labor can be funneled to the top of the pyramid and make somebody else wealthier.  The following comes from an excellent Marketwatch article entitled “The American Dream is getting smaller”

More worrying, perhaps: 33% of those surveyed said they think that dream is disappearing. Why? They have too much debt. “Americans believe financial security is at the core of the American Dream, but it is alarming that so many think it is beyond their reach,” said Mike Fanning, head of MassMutual U.S.

Almost everyone that will read this article will have debt.  In America today, we are trained to go into debt for just about everything.

If you want a college education, you go into debt.

If you want a vehicle, you go into debt.

If you want a home, you go into debt.

If you want that nice new pair of shoes, you don’t have to wait for it.  Just go into more debt.

As a result, most Americans are currently up to their necks in red ink

Some 64% of those surveyed said they have a mortgage, 56% said they had credit-card debt and 26% said they have student-loan debt. Many surveyed said they don’t feel financially secure. More than a quarter said they wish they had better control of their finances.

You would have thought that we would have learned from the very hard lessons that the crisis of 2008 taught us.

But instead, we have been on the greatest debt binge in American history in recent years.  Here is more from the Marketwatch article

It makes sense that debt is on Americans’ minds. Collectively, Americans have more than $1 trillion in credit-card debt, according to the Federal Reserve. They have another $1.5 trillion in student loans, up from $1.1 trillion in 2013. Motor vehicle loans are now topping $1.1 trillion, up from $878.5 billion in 2013. And they have another nearly $15 trillion in mortgage debt outstanding.

That is one huge pile of debt.

We criticize the federal government for running up 21 trillion dollars in debt, and rightly so, but American consumers have been almost as irresponsible on an individual basis.

As long as you are drowning in debt, you will never become wealthy.  In order to build wealth, you have got to spend less than you earn, but most Americans never learn basic fundamentals such as this in our rapidly failing system of public education.

Many Americans long to become financially independent, but they don’t understand that our system is rigged against them.  The entire game is all about keeping consumers on that debt wheel endlessly chasing that piece of proverbial cheese until it is too late.

Getting out of debt is one of the biggest steps that you can take to give yourself more freedom, and hopefully this article will inspire many to do just that.

To end this article today, I would like to share 14 facts about how the middle class in America is shrinking that I shared in a previous article

#1 78 million Americans are participating in the “gig economy” because full-time jobs just don’t pay enough to make ends meet these days.

#2 In 2011, the average home price was 3.56 times the average yearly salary in the United States.  But by the time 2017 was finished, the average home price was 4.73 times the average yearly salary in the United States.

#3 In 1980, the average American worker’s debt was 1.96 times larger than his or her monthly salary.  Today, that number has ballooned to 5.00.

#4 In the United States today, 66 percent of all jobs pay less than 20 dollars an hour.

#5 102 million working age Americans do not have a job right now.  That number is higher than it was at any point during the last recession.

#6 Earnings for low-skill jobs have stayed very flat for the last 40 years.

#7 Americans have been spending more money than they make for 28 months in a row.

#8 In the United States today, the average young adult with student loan debt has a negative net worth.

#9 At this point, the average American household is nearly $140,000 in debt.

#10 Poverty rates in U.S. suburbs “have increased by 50 percent since 1990”.

#11 Almost 51 million U.S. households “can’t afford basics like rent and food”.

#12 The bottom 40 percent of all U.S. households bring home just 11.4 percent of all income.

#13 According to the Federal Reserve, 4 out of 10 Americans do not have enough money to cover an unexpected $400 expense without borrowing the money or selling something they own.

#14 22 percent of all Americans cannot pay all of their bills in a typical month.

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

As The Wealthy Flock To The Major Cities On Both Coasts, Poverty And Suicide Soar In Rural Areas

America is increasingly becoming a divided nation.  Those with money are flocking to the major cities on both coasts, while many of those that don’t are fleeing to rural areas.  As a result, economic conditions can look vastly different depending on where you live.  In large cities on the east and west coasts that have been heavily “gentrified”, it can seem like times have never been better.  Alternatively, there are certain areas in rural America where it feels like we are in the midst of a horrifying economic depression that never seems to end.  Some elitists derisively refer to the rural areas between the east and west coasts as “flyover country”, and they have little sympathy for the struggles of rural Americans.  But those struggles are very real, and in this article you will see that poverty and suicide rates are soaring in non-urban parts of the country.

A new study that was just released contains some hard data about the “income sorting” that is going on nationwide.  According to CBS News, the study found that those that are moving into expensive cities make much more money than those that are leaving, and conversely those that are moving into poorer cities make much less than those that are leaving for greener pastures…

America’s wealthy households are increasingly moving to coastal cities on both sides of the country, but those with more modest incomes are either relocating to or being pushed into the nation’s Rust Belt, according to a new study.

That’s creating “income sorting” across the country, with expensive cities like Los Angeles, New York and Seattle drawing wealthier residents. For instance, Americans who move to San Francisco earn nearly $13,000 more than those who move away, the study found. Conversely, those who are moving into less expensive inland cities such as Detroit or Pittsburgh earn up to $5,000 less than those who are leaving.

One of the consequences of this phenomenon is that real estate prices are wildly different depending on where you live.  As wealthy people have steadily migrated into expensive cities such as New York and San Francisco, this has pushed housing prices into the stratosphere

The trend may not only hurt poorer residents who are forced out, but also the rich Americans who move to coastal cities. Well-off residents who move to already expensive cities like San Francisco are bidding up real estate prices until property becomes unaffordable for all but the very richest families. Many end up renting — until that, too, becomes unaffordable.

The California real estate bubble has reached dizzying heights in recent years.  Earlier today, I came across an article about a rancher in Marin County that has reluctantly decided to sell his ranch, and he seemed quite sad about it.

So what made him decide to pull the trigger?

Well, the ranch that he once paid $40,000 for is now worth a cool 5 million dollars

Mark Pasternak is a Marin County-based rancher who produces specialty meat products for local shoppers and some of the toniest restaurants in the Bay Area. He bought his 75-acre Devil’s Gulch Ranch in western Marin County back in 1971 for $550 an acre and has been raising pigs, sheep, rabbits and poultry ever since. The farm is a fixture in the local community, so it shocked many when Pasternak announced the ranch is for sale.

He said he’s selling because of the jump in value. The land around his has already been snapped up by wealthy people for private ranches with large homes. The property Pasternak paid less than $40,000 for is now worth about $5 million.

Meanwhile, things continue to go from bad to worse in many rural parts of the country.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nearly one out of every four children in rural America is living in poverty

According to estimates by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nearly a quarter of children growing up in rural America were poor in 2016, compared to slightly more than 20 percent in urban areas.

It was a southwestern state, Arizona, according to the report, that had the highest rural child rate of any state, with 36 percent.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the report found the highest concentrations of child poverty, overall, in the Mississippi Delta, Appalachia and on Native American reservations.

These days, most of the good jobs are concentrated in the major cities.  Small businesses and family farms have traditionally been the lifeblood of rural communities, but our “modern economy” has not been kind to small businesses and family farms.

In rural America, times are tough, and that is one of the reasons why the suicide rate is much, much higher in rural areas than it is in the large cities.  The following comes from CNN

The suicide rate in rural America is 45% greater than in large urban areas, according to a study released last fall by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A more recent CDC report said Montana’s suicide rate leads the nation, coming in at nearly twice the national average. A third long-touted CDC study, currently under review, listed farming in the occupational group, along with fishing and forestry, with the highest rate of suicide deaths.

That occupational study was based on 2012 data, when farming was strong and approaching its peak in 2013, says Jennifer Fahy, communications director for the nonprofit Farm Aid. Farmers’ net income has fallen 50% since 2013 and is expected to drop to a 12-year low this year, the US Department of Agriculture reports.

If things are this bad now, what will it be like when economic conditions really begin to deteriorate?

We live at a time when the gap between the wealthy and the poor is exploding, and this is putting a tremendous amount of strain on our society.  At one time the wealthy lived in the “good parts” of our major cities and the poor lived in the “bad parts”, but now the poor are being completely forced out of our expensive cities on a massive scale.

It is most definitely a tale of two Americas, and I don’t think that it is going to have a happy ending.

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

After Raising Rates Once During The Obama Years, The Fed Promises Constant Rate Hikes During The Trump Era

janet-yellen-public-domainNow that Donald Trump has won the election, the Federal Reserve has decided now would be a great time to start raising interest rates and slowing down the economy.  Over the past several decades, the U.S. economy has always slowed down whenever interest rates have been raised significantly, and on Wednesday the Federal Open Market Committee unanimously voted to raise rates by a quarter point.  Stocks immediately started falling, and by the end of the session it was their worst day since October 11th.

The funny thing is that the Federal Reserve could have been raising rates all throughout 2016, but they held off because they didn’t want to hurt Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the election.

And during Barack Obama’s eight years, there has only been one rate increase the entire time up until this point.

But now that Donald Trump is headed for the White House, the Federal Reserve has decided that now would be a wonderful time to raise interest rates.  In addition to the rate hike on Wednesday, the Fed also announced that it is anticipating that rates will be raised three more times each year through the end of 2019

Fed policymakers are also forecasting three rate increases in 2017, up from two in September, and maintained their projection of three hikes each in 2018 and 2019, according to median estimates. They predict the fed funds rate will be 1.4% at the end of 2017, 2.1% at the end of 2018 and 2.9% at the end of 2019, up from forecasts of 1.1%, 1.9% and 2.6%, respectively, in September. Its long-run rate is expected to be 3%, up slightly from 2.9% previously. The Fed reiterated rate increases will be “gradual.”

So Barack Obama got to enjoy the benefit of having interest rates slammed to the floor throughout his presidency, and now Donald Trump is going to have to fight against the economic drag that constant interest rate hikes will cause.

How is that fair?

As rates rise, ordinary Americans are going to find that mortgage payments are going to go up, car payments are going to go up and credit card bills are going to become much more painful.  The following comes from CNN

Higher interest rates affect millions of Americans, especially if you have a credit card or savings account, or want to buy a home or a car. American savers have earned next to nothing at the bank for years. Now they could be a step closer to earning a little more interest on savings account deposits, even though one rate hike won’t change things overnight.

Rates on car loans and mortgages are also likely to be affected. Those are much more closely tied to the interest on a 10-year U.S. Treasury bond, which has risen rapidly since the election. With a Fed hike coming at a time when interest on the 10-year note is also rising, that won’t help borrowers.

The higher interest rates go, the more painful it will be for the economy.

If you recall, rising rates helped precipitate the financial crisis of 2008.  When interest rates rose it slammed people with adjustable rate mortgages, and suddenly Americans could not afford to buy homes at the same pace they were before.  We have already been watching the early stages of another housing crash start to erupt all over the nation, and rising rates will certainly not help matters.

But why does the Federal Reserve set our interest rates anyway?

We are supposed to be a free market capitalist economy.  So why not let the free market set interest rates?

Many Americans are expecting an economic miracle out of Trump, but the truth is that the Federal Reserve has far more power over the economy than anyone else does.  Trump can try to reduce taxes and tinker with regulations, but the Fed could end up destroying his entire economic program by constantly raising interest rates.

Of course we don’t actually need economic central planners.  The greatest era for economic growth in all of U.S. history came when there was no central bank, and in my article entitled “Why Donald Trump Must Shut Down The Federal Reserve And Start Issuing Debt-Free Money” I explained that Donald Trump must completely overhaul how our system works if he wants any chance of making the U.S. economy great again.

One way that Trump can start exerting influence over the Fed is by nominating the right people to the Federal Open Market Committee.  According to CNN, it looks like Trump will have the opportunity to appoint four people to that committee within his first 18 months…

Two spots on the Fed’s committee are currently open for Trump to nominate. Looking ahead, Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s term ends in January 2018, while Vice Chair Stanley Fischer is up for re-nomination in June 2018.

Within the first 18 months of his presidency, Trump could reappoint four of the 12 people on the Fed’s powerful committee — an unusual amount of influence for any president.

By endlessly manipulating the economy, the Fed has played a major role in creating economic booms and busts.  Since the Fed was created in 1913, there have been 18 distinct recessions or depressions, and now the Fed is setting the stage for another one.

And anyone that tries to claim that the Fed is not political is only fooling themselves.  Everyone knew that they were not going to raise rates during the months leading up to the election, and it was quite clear that this was going to benefit Hillary Clinton.

But now that Donald Trump has won the election, the Fed all of a sudden has decided that the time is perfect to begin a program of consistently raising rates.

If I was Donald Trump, I would be looking to shut down the Federal Reserve as quickly as I could.  The essential functions that the Fed performs could be performed by the Treasury Department, and we would be much better off if the free market determined interest rates instead of some bureaucrats.

Unfortunately, most Americans have come to accept that it is “normal” to have a bunch of unelected, unaccountable central planners running our economic system, and so it is unlikely that we will see any major changes before our economy plunges into yet another Fed-created crisis.

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