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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That certainly doesn’t sound good at all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I actually wish that was true.

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

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

Build up a financial cushion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Goodbye Middle Class: 50 Percent Of American Workers Make Less Than 33,000 Dollars A Year

The truth is that most American families are deeply struggling, but you hardly ever hear this from the mainstream media.  Yes, about 10 percent of all American workers are making $100,000 or more a year, but most of those high paying jobs are concentrated in the major cities along the east and west coasts.  For much of the rest of the country, these are very challenging times as the cost of living soars but their paychecks do not.  According to the Social Security Administration, the median income in the United States last year was just $32,838.05.  In other words, 50 percent of American workers made more than $32,838.05 and 50 percent of American workers made less than $32,838.05 in 2018.  Let’s be generous and round that number up to $33,000, and when you break it down on a monthly basis it comes to just $2,750 a month.  Of course nobody can support a middle class lifestyle for a family of four on $2,750 a month before taxes, and so in most families more than one person is working these days.  In fact, in many families today more than one person is working multiple jobs in a desperate attempt to make ends meet, and it still is often not quite enough.

If you want to look at the Social Security wage statistics for yourself, you can find them right here.  As you will see, I am not making these numbers up.

These days many would have us feel bad if we are not making at least $100,000 a year, but according to the report only about 10 percent of all American workers make that much money.

Instead, most Americans are in what I would call “the barely getting by” category.  Here are some key facts that I pulled out of the report…

-33 percent of all American workers made less than $20,000 last year.

-46 percent of all American workers made less than $30,000 last year.

-58 percent of all American workers made less than $40,000 last year.

-67 percent of all American workers made less than $50,000 last year.

That means that approximately two-thirds of all American workers are making $4,000 or less a month before taxes.

Ouch.

But these numbers help us to understand why survey after survey has shown that most Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.  After paying the bills, there just isn’t much money left for most of us.

And for an increasing number of Americans, even paying the bills has become exceedingly difficult.  In fact, a brand new report from UBS says that 44 percent of all U.S. consumers “don’t make enough money to cover their expenses”…

Low-income consumers are struggling to make ends meet despite the “greatest economy ever,” and if a recession strikes or the employment cycle continues to decelerate — this could mean the average American with insurmountable debts will likely fall behind on their debt servicing payments, according to a UBS report, first reported by Bloomberg.

UBS analyst Matthew Mish wrote in a recent report that 44% of consumers don’t make enough money to cover their expenses.

That means that about half the country is flat broke and struggling just to survive financially.

Of course those at the top of the economic food chain often don’t have a lot of sympathy for those that are hurting.  Many of them have the attitude that those that are struggling should just go out and get one of the “good jobs” that the mainstream media is endlessly touting.

But most jobs in the United States are not “good jobs”.

Today, the poverty level for a household of four in the United States is $25,750.  More than 40 percent of the workers in this country make less than that each year.

Starting a business is always an option, but that takes money, and thanks to government regulations it is harder than ever to run a small business successfully.

Just look at what is happening to our dairy farmers.  There are few occupations that are more quintessentially “American” than being a dairy farmer, and since most people drink milk and eat cheese, you would think that it would be a pretty safe profession.

But instead, dairy farms are shutting down at a pace that is absolutely chilling all over the nation.  For example, just check out what has been going on in Wisconsin

Wisconsin lost another 42 dairy farms in July, and since January 1, has lost 491 farms, reports the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

At this rate, the Dairy State could lose 735 dairy farms this year, which would be a decline of 9%. In 2018, the state lost 691 farms, a rate of decline of 7.9%.

Over the last decade the state has lost more than 5,000 farms, or 40% of its licensed dairy farms. To state the obvious, the current rate of exits is more than double that of the last decade.

So why is this happening?

Government.

In profession after profession, government control freaks have made it nearly impossible to make a living, and this has pushed the percentage of Americans that are self-employed to historic lows.

If you are struggling right now, I want you to know that you are not alone.  There are tens of millions of other Americans that are really hurting in this economy, and the bad news is that economic conditions will soon get a lot worse.

But you can make it through whatever is ahead.  You just have to keep believing.

A lot of people accuse me of spreading “doom and gloom”, but that is not true at all.  There is hope in understand what is happening, and there is hope in getting prepared for the hard times that are ahead.  When you take steps to prepare, you are telling yourself and everyone around you that you believe that you can make it through the storm that is coming.

Or you could just have blind faith in the system, even though it is exceedingly obvious that the system is crumbling all around us.  Those that are blindly trusting the system to take care of them are building their dreams on a foundation of sand, and when the waves come crashing in those dreams are going to get washed away very quickly.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep.  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 can only allow this to happen if this “About the Author” section is included 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wake up!

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

And guess who produces all of that mindless entertainment?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Mainstream Media Warns America Will Be Facing An “Economic Hellscape” If The Government Shutdown Continues

Is the mainstream media overhyping the economic impact of the government shutdown for political purposes?  Of course they are.  Once upon a time the mainstream media in the United States at least attempted to maintain a facade of objectivity, but those days are long gone.  In this case, they want to stir up as much public resentment against President Trump as possible in order to try to force him to end the government shutdown.  And when NBC News breathlessly declared that the U.S. “would face an economic hellscape” if this shutdown stretches on for an extended period of time, their article quickly went viral all over the Internet.

But will it really be “an economic hellscape”?

Here are some of the things that they say we will be facing in their “doomsday scenario”

  • 38 million low-income Americans lose food stamps
  • 6 million face an uncertain timetable for collecting tax refunds
  • 2 million without rental assistance and facing possible eviction
  • 800,000 paycheck-less federal employees plunged into dire financial straits
  • Shuttered parks and museums while overstressed airports cause tourism to tank
  • Federal court system slows to a crawl
  • Disaster relief money doesn’t get to storm-ravaged areas

Yes, things would certainly be unpleasant for a lot of people, and there would be a whole lot of anger around the country.

But such a scenario does not qualify as “an economic hellscape”.  I would encourage the folks over at NBC News to pick up a copy of The Beginning Of The End if they really want to know what the initial phases of a major economic crisis scenario could look like in this nation.

The most alarming item on their list is the fact that 38 million Americans could soon lose access to food stamps.  According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, that will officially happen by the end of February

By the end of February, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, run by the Department of Agriculture, would be out of funding — meaning almost 40 million low-income Americans could find themselves struggling to pay for food, said Joseph Brusuelas, chief economist for the accounting firm RSM US.

Things would certainly be tough for a lot of low income people, and there would be a lot more traffic at shelters and food banks, but nobody would starve to death.

The worst case scenario would be if mobs of angry people started taking to the streets and rioting in large urban areas.  That is definitely a possibility, especially if this shutdown lasts for several more months.

But for the moment, most of the focus is on the hundreds of thousands of federal workers that are not getting paychecks right now.  We are being endlessly bombarded with sob stories about how much these workers are suffering after missing one paycheck.

If people can’t handle going a couple of weeks without pay, how are they going to handle things when a real crisis erupts in this country?

With no end to the shutdown in sight, some lower paid federal workers have decided that it is time to find a new job

Transportation Security Agency officers forced to work without knowing when their next paycheck is coming are no longer just calling in sick. Now, 18 days into the partial government shutdown, some are resigning, according to Hydrick Thomas, who heads the TSA Council on the American Federation of Government Employees.

“Every day I’m getting calls from my members about their extreme financial hardships and need for a paycheck. Some of them have already quit and many are considering quitting the federal workforce because of this shutdown,”  the official said in a statement posted to the union’s website on Tuesday.

I can’t say that I blame TSA workers too much for quitting.  It is an absolutely miserable job, and the starting salary for TSA security officers is somewhere “between $25,000 to $30,000 a year”.

Of course we don’t actually need a TSA at all.  Many of us would love to go back to the days before 9/11 when we could get on flights without having someone inspect our private areas.

Another aspect of the shutdown that is horrifying NBC News is the fact that no new beers are being approved right now

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau is out during the shutdown. That means the federal government will not approve beer labels or process permits, which translates into no new beers.

At this moment there are literally millions of people around the world that actually have nothing to eat and no clean water to drink, and this is what we are whining about?

I have an idea.  Why don’t we shut down the “Alchohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau” permanently and let people make beer without having to get permission from the federal government first?

As I have proposed, we could save enormous amounts of money by simply shutting down useless government agencies that we do not need.

But that would make far too much common sense to work in America in 2019.  We live at a time when the American people expect the federal government to protect them from just about every potential danger that you can possibly imagine.

Look, I don’t want to seem completely unsympathetic to the plight of all of these federal workers that are being used as pawns in this game of political brinkmanship.  Because 78 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, that means that a lot of these federal workers are not going to be able to pay their bills, and that would be extremely stressful for anyone.  And at this point, thousands of federal workers have already begun filing for unemployment benefits

More than 4,700 federal employees filed for unemployment in the last week of December, compared with 929 the week prior, according to the Department of Labor. There is no federal data available yet for the first week of January. Unemployment rules vary by state; generally the government provides benefits to eligible workers who have lost a job “through no fault of their own,” for a maximum of 26 weeks.

But the mainstream media is blowing things way out of proportion when they start using phrases such as “economic hellscape”.

Yes, this shutdown is going to cause some significant pain for a lot of people, but it is definitely not the end of the world.

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

 

78 Percent Of Americans Are Living Paycheck To Paycheck – Including Many Government Workers Affected By The Shutdown

In just a few days, this will officially be the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, and there is no end in sight.  President Trump is pledging that he will not sign any spending bill unless it includes funding for a border wall, and the Democrats are promising their supporters that they will never agree to a single penny for a wall.  This could be the confrontation that ends up defining Trump’s presidency, and whoever backs down now is going to look incredibly weak.  But the longer this shutdown lasts, the more painful things are going to become for the hundreds of thousands of federal workers that are going without pay, and for the hundreds of thousands of workers that are employed by government contractors that rely on business from the federal government.

You should never play a game of chicken with somebody that is crazier than you are.  In this case, it looks like both sides fully expect the other party to blink first, but the truth is that neither side is likely to yield any time soon.

So the days ahead are likely to be exceedingly painful for most federal workers, because just like the population as a whole, most of them are living paycheck to paycheck.

In fact, one survey found that 78 percent of American workers are currently living paycheck to paycheck…

Government workers are far from alone in feeling stressed about not getting paid. Nearly 80 percent of American workers (78 percent) say they’re living paycheck to paycheck, according to a 2017 report by employment website CareerBuilder. Women are particularly vulnerable: 81 percent of them report living paycheck to paycheck, compared with 75 percent of men.

As I have repeatedly stressed, living paycheck to paycheck is something that you do not want to do if at all possible.  When you live paycheck to paycheck, you are just one major disaster away from financial ruin.  For example, if somebody in your family has a major accident or a significant medical emergency, it can quickly render you completely destitute.

That same survey also discovered that 70 percent of all workers are currently in debt

Just more than 70 percent of all respondents say that they’re in debt, and a quarter of workers say they weren’t able to make ends meet at the end of every month of the past year.

If you are scrambling to make debt payments every month and you have no financial cushion to fall back on, then you have no room for error, and that is where most Americans find themselves today.

So for most federal workers, this government shutdown is not just an inconvenience.

According to Professor Paul Light, somewhere around 800,000 government workers are currently going without pay…

The shutdown has left approximately 800,000 federal workers in financial limbo. Around 420,000 “essential” employees are working without pay, while another 380,000 have been ordered to stay home, according to calculations provided to CNBC by Paul Light, a professor of public service at New York University.

Of course the mainstream media is going to be filled with sob stories from these workers for as long as this shutdown lasts.  For instance, CNN recently profiled the plight of TSA security officer Jessica Caraballo

The partial government shutdown that began December 22 left Caraballo and 420,000 other federal workers across the country forced to work without a paycheck. Two weeks have passed and dozens of families like the Caraballos have put their lives on hold.

“Rent is due, light bill, gas bill, my car bill is due the 26th,” Caraballo said. “I already got my last paycheck and there’s no paycheck to come.”

“I don’t know when we would be able to celebrate birthdays, when we would be able to get ahead,” she added. “This is a pushback.”

Without a doubt things are tough right now for families like the Caraballos, but what will they do when a real national emergency strikes?

As we watch all the chaos that a minor disruption has created, it should cause all of us to realize that any sort of a major disruption could be extremely catastrophic for most of the country.

The vast majority of us are deeply, deeply dependent on the system.  That is fine and dandy as long as the system is functioning well, but what if someday it stops functioning altogether?

For the moment, many government workers can just pile up more debt to get through this short-term crisis.  Of course many of them are already drowning in debt, and we just learned that U.S. consumer borrowing was up another 22 billion dollars during the month of November.

However, if this shutdown lasts for another month or two, the mood of this nation is going to get quite sour, and that will especially be true once the food stamp benefits run out

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees SNAP at the federal level, is one of the agencies unfunded during the partial government shutdown. USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced Tuesday that SNAP would be funded through February, thanks to the funding bill that expired on Dec. 22, which included a provision allowing federal agencies to make obligated payments to support certain programs for 30 days after its expiration date.

Can you imagine the uproar that we would see if 38 million people were suddenly cut off from food stamps?

I think that the left is counting on that as negotiating leverage if they need it.

At this point we do not know how the political gridlock in Washington will end.  Today, President Trump walked out of a meeting with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi when Pelosi told him point blank that there will be no money for a wall.  At this point there does not seem to be any room for a compromise, and it will be politically disastrous for either side to back down now.

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of government workers are going to be hurting, and the pain will intensify with each passing day.

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

This Is One Of The Big Reasons Why So Many Families Are Feeling Extreme Financial Stress

Inflation Blackboard - Public DomainWhen the cost of living rises faster than paychecks do year after year, eventually that becomes a very big problem.  For quite some time I have been writing about the shrinking middle class, and one of the biggest culprits is inflation.  Every month, tens of millions of American families struggle to pay the bills, and most of them don’t even understand the economic forces that are putting so much pressure on them.  The United States never had a persistent, ongoing problem with inflation until the debt-based Federal Reserve system was introduced in 1913.  Since that time, we have had non-stop inflation and the U.S. dollar has lost more than 98 percent of its value.  If our paychecks were increasing faster than inflation this wouldn’t be a problem, but in recent years this has definitely not been the case for most Americans.

And unfortunately inflation is starting to accelerate once again.  In fact, it is being reported that inflation rose at the fastest pace in four years in January…

The prices Americans pay for goods and services surged in January by the largest amount in four years, mostly reflecting a rebound in the cost of gasoline that’s taking a bigger chunk out of household incomes.

The consumer price index, or cost of living, rose by a seasonally adjusted 0.6% in January, the government said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, our incomes have been incredibly stagnant.   In fact, we just learned that median household income did not go up at all during 2016.

This is one of the reasons why we consistently see families fall out of the middle class month after month.  Even if you keep the same job year after year, your standard of living is going to steadily go down unless your pay goes up.

The things that we all spend money on month after month just keep going up in price.  I am talking about food, housing, medical care and other essentials.  If there is one thing that we can always count on, it is the fact that things are going to cost more tomorrow than they do today.

Let’s talk about food for a moment.  Whenever I go to the grocery store, I am almost always shocked.  I still remember a time when I could get everything that I needed for an entire week for about 20 bucks, but these days you can’t even fill up one cart for 100 dollars.

That is because food prices have been rising aggressively for many years.  The following is a list that was posted on The Economic Policy Journal that shows how much some food and grocery items have increased over the past decade…

1. Tobacco and smoking products

-Price increase: 90.4%

2. Margarine

-Price increase: 63.6%

3. Uncooked ground beef

-Price increase: 46.3%

4. Shelf stable fish and seafood
-Price increase: 45.0%

5. Prescription drugs
-Price increase: 43.5%

6. Rice, pasta, cornmeal
-Price increase: 40.3%

7. Bread
-Price increase: 38.9%

8. Snacks
-Price increase: 38.4%

9. Miscellaneous poultry including turkey
-Price increase: 37.0%

10. Apples
-Price increase: 36.6%

11. Frankfurters
-Price increase: 35.8%

12. Canned vegetables
-Price increase: 35.3%

13. Salt and other seasonings and spices
-Price increase: 34.0%

14. Miscellaneous fats and oils including peanut butter
-Price increase: 34.0%

15. Miscellaneous processed fruits and vegetables including dried
-Price increase: 33.7%

16. Bacon and related products
-Price increase: 33.2%

17. Fresh whole chicken
-Price increase: 32.5%

18. Cakes, cupcakes, and cookies
-Price increase: 32.1%

19. Flour and prepared flour mixes
-Price increase: 32.1%

20. Canned fruits
-Price increase: 32.0%

And thanks to out of control government spending and reckless manipulation by the Federal Reserve, we have come to a time when inflation is starting to accelerate once again.

According to John Williams of shadowstats.com, if honest numbers were being used the government would be telling us that inflation is rising at a 6 percent annual rate for the first time since 2011.

At the same time, evidence is mounting that U.S. consumers are simply tapped out.  Previously, I have explained that interest rates are going up, consumer bankruptcies are rising, and lending standards for consumers are really tightening up.

All of those are things we would expect to see if a new recession was starting.

And today we learned that the number of Americans refinancing their homes has fallen to the lowest level that we have seen since 2009

A slowdown in refinancing pulled down the total mortgage application volume last week as changes to certain government-loan programs made refinances less lucrative. Refinance volume now stands at its lowest level since June 2009.

If you will remember, we also saw a slowdown in mortgage refinancing just before the great financial crisis of 2008.

For mortgage applications overall, they are now down almost 31 percent from where they were a year ago…

Total mortgage application volume fell 3.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis last week from the previous week, and are nearly 31 percent lower than the same week a year ago, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

A 31 percent decline in a single year is catastrophic.

If this continues, it won’t be too long before everyone is talking about a new housing crash.

And we also learned this week that FHA mortgage delinquencies increased during the fourth quarter “for the first time since 2006”

Federal Housing Administration mortgage delinquencies jumped in the fourth quarter for the first time since 2006, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday. The FHA insures low down-payment loans and is a favorite among first-time homebuyers.

The seasonally adjusted FHA delinquency rate increased to 9.02 percent in the fourth quarter from 8.3 percent in the third quarter, MBA data show.

So many things are happening right now that we have not seen happen in many years, but most people are choosing not to see the red flags that are popping up all around us.

None of our long-term economic problems have been fixed.  And even though Donald Trump won the election, the truth is that our economy is in the worst shape it has been since the last financial crisis.  I continue to encourage all of my readers to get prepared for very hard times, but just like back in 2007 we are experiencing a wave of tremendous optimism right now and most people think that the party can somehow continue indefinitely.

Whether Donald Trump won the election or not, the truth is that a major economic downturn was going to come anyway.  You see, Donald Trump is not some magician that can just wave a wand and somehow make the consequences of decades of very foolish decisions instantly disappear.

We have been on the biggest debt binge in human history, and there is going to be a great price to pay when this immense debt bubble finally bursts.

Unfortunately, most people are not going to acknowledge the truth until it is too late.

During The Coming Economic Crisis Two-Thirds Of The Country Will Be Out Of Cash Almost Immediately

money-one-dollar-bills-public-domainDid you know that almost 70 percent of the U.S. population is essentially living paycheck to paycheck?  As you will see below, a brand new survey has found that 69 percent of all Americans have less than $1,000 in savings.  Of course one of the primary reasons for this is that most of us are absolutely drowning in debt.  In fact, the total amount of household debt in the United States now exceeds 12 trillion dollars.  So many Americans are so busy just trying to pay off their existing debts that they can’t even think about saving anything for the future.  If economic conditions remain relatively stable, the fact that so many of us are living on the edge probably won’t kill us.  But the moment the economy plunges into another 2008-style crisis (or worse), we could be facing a situation where two-thirds of the country is in imminent danger of running out of cash.

If you are living paycheck to paycheck, you live under the constant threat of your life being totally turned upside down if that paycheck ever goes away.  During the last crisis, millions of Americans lost their jobs very rapidly, and because so many of them were living paycheck to paycheck all of a sudden large numbers of people couldn’t pay their mortgages.  As a result, multitudes of American families went through the extremely painful process of foreclosure.

Unfortunately, it appears that we have not learned anything from the last go around.  According to the brand new survey that I mentioned above, 69 percent of all Americans have less than $1,000 in savings…

Last year, GoBankingRates surveyed more than 5,000 Americans only to uncover that 62% of them had less than $1,000 in savings. Last month GoBankingRates again posed the question to Americans of how much they had in their savings account, only this time it asked 7,052 people. The result? Nearly seven in 10 Americans (69%) had less than $1,000 in their savings account.

Breaking the survey data down a bit further, we find that 34% of Americans don’t have a dime in their savings account, while another 35% have less than $1,000. Of the remaining survey-takers, 11% have between $1,000 and $4,999, 4% have between $5,000 and $9,999, and 15% have more than $10,000.

Perhaps the most alarming fact from this survey is that 62 percent of all Americans had less than $1,000 in savings last year.  So that means that this number has gotten 7 percent worse over the last 12 months.

How did that happen?  I thought the mainstream media was telling us that the economy was getting better…

Look, if you don’t have an emergency fund you are in danger of losing everything.  This is a point that I have been making over and over again for years, and in an article about this new survey USA Today made this point very strongly as well…

This data is particularly worrisome since the recommendation is for Americans to have six months in expenses saved in case of an emergency, such as a large medical expense, car repair bill, or losing your job. Without this emergency fund to fall back on, millions of Americans could be risking financial disaster.

As the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, people are constantly asking me what they should do to get prepared for what is coming.

The number one thing that I always suggest is to build up an emergency fund.

In a chaotic situation it is always hard to anticipate accurately what is going to happen, but without a doubt we are all going to need to continue to pay our bills and to buy things for our families during the next crisis.

Yes, someday the U.S. dollar will become rather worthless, but until that happens you are going to need to continue to put a roof over the heads of your family and to put food on the table.

And you are going to need money to do those things.

Some time ago, the Federal Reserve also found that a large percentage of Americans are living on the edge of financial disaster.  They discovered that 47 percent of all Americans could not even come up with $400 to pay for an unexpected emergency room visit without borrowing the money or selling something that they own.

If you can’t even come up with $400 you are really hurting, but that is the status of about half the country these days.

We are continually being told that the economy is strong, but that is simply not the truth.

In fact, it turns out that the period from 2005 to 2015 was the worst period for per capita real GDP growth in modern American history.  The following comes from Zero Hedge

  1. Growth was unusually strong in the 1960s and early 1970s. In every year from 1966 through 1973, per-capita income was up between 30 percent and 40 percent from a decade earlier. Thus, it’s not surprising that many Americans recall this as a great period for the nation’s economy.
  2. In every year from 1984 to 2007 — a period that economists call the Great Moderation, because of the way both growth and interest rates stabilized — per-person income was up between 20 percent and 30 percent from a decade earlier. That’s ample reason for Americans to view this as a good period for the economy.
  3. Cumulative per-person growth from 2005 to 2015 was lower than in any prior decade in the sample. That certainly helps explain why many Americans are unhappy with the nation’s recent economic performance.

And as I repeat over and over, Barack Obama is on track to be the one and only president in all of American history to never have a single year when the economy grew by at least 3 percent, and he has had eight years to try to accomplish that feat.

Why doesn’t Donald Trump ever bring up that amazing fact?  I would think that he could get a lot of mileage out of that number.

At this point, nobody can deny that the middle class is shrinking.  61 percent of all Americans lived in middle class households in 1971, but now the middle class makes up a minority of the population for the very first time in our history.

Back in 1970, the middle class brought home approximately 62 percent of all income, but today that figure has plummeted to just 43 percent.

Those that are still doing well often dismiss those that are struggling by barking out such phrases as “get a job”, but the truth is that getting a good job is not so easy these days.

The most recent statistics show that there are 7.9 million Americans that are considered to be officially unemployed.  When you add that number to the 94.1 million working age Americans that are considered to be “not in the labor force”, you get a grand total of 102 million working age Americans that do not have a job right now.

And just because you do have a job does not mean that everything is okay.  As I have discussed previously, 51 percent of all U.S. workers make less than $30,000 a year according to the Social Security Administration.

Everywhere you look things seem to be getting worse and not better.  Not too long ago I documented the explosion of tent cities all over the country as poverty continues to rise, and I discussed how one study found that some young women in our impoverished inner cities are so desperate that they are actually trading sex for food.

Sadly, it isn’t just a few hard cases that we are talking about.  Even in areas of the country that are supposed to be “doing well” we are seeing record-setting poverty numbers.  For example, it was recently reported that the number of New Yorkers sleeping in homeless shelters just set a brand new all-time high, and the number of New York families permanently living in homeless shelters is up 60 percent over the past five years.

If things are this bad during an “economic recovery”, what are they going to look like once the economy really starts imploding?

And considering the fact that almost 70 percent of the population has virtually no savings, could our nation handle an extended economic downturn that may be even worse than what we experienced in 2008 and 2009?

As a nation we truly are living on the edge, and it isn’t going to take very much at all to push us into oblivion.

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