9 Signs That Some Of America’s Long-Term Trends Are Starting To Become Very Serious Short-Term Problems

Ignoring long-term problems can work for a while, but eventually they catch up with you.  Over the years, I have written many articles about alarming long-term trends in our society that desperately needed to be addressed.  Of course the vast majority of those long-term trends never got much attention, because our political system tends to reward politicians that focus on short-term issues.  As a result, many of the long-term trends that I have written about previously have now gotten to a point where they have started to become very serious short-term problems.  In this article, I would like to share 9 examples of this with you.

#1 I have been warning about exploding debt levels for as long as I have been writing about the economy.  Most people know that the U.S. national debt has now crossed the 28 trillion dollar threshold, but hardly anyone is talking about the explosion of corporate debt that we have been witnessing in recent months.  According to the Federal Reserve, total corporate debt in the United States is now up to a whopping 11.2 trillion dollars

Before the pandemic, U.S. companies were borrowing heavily at low interest rates. When Covid-19 lockdowns triggered a recession, they didn’t pull back. They borrowed even more and soon paid even less.

After a brief spike, interest rates on corporate debt plummeted to their lowest level on record, bringing a surge in new bonds. Nonfinancial companies issued $1.7 trillion of bonds in the U.S. last year, nearly $600 billion more than the previous high, according to Dealogic. By the end of March, their total debt stood at $11.2 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve, about half the size of the U.S. economy.

#2 Needless to say, this level of corporate debt is not even close to sustainable, and we are starting to see a lot of prominent names go bankrupt.  In fact, one of the largest mall owners in the entire country officially filed for bankruptcy on Sunday

Washington Prime Group, a major mall owner of more than 100 locations across the United States, filed for bankruptcy, citing pandemic-related shutdowns.

The Columbus, Ohio-based company filed for Chapter 11 late Sunday, saying Covid-19 “created significant challenges” and that the move is “necessary.” Washington Prime secured $100 million in new funding to support its day-to-day operations so it can “continue in the ordinary course without interruption.”

#3 The standard of living in the United States has been going down for a very long time.  Here in 2021, inflation is growing at a much faster rate than wages are, and this is squeezing middle class families like never before.  One of the ways that families are dealing with this is by putting off major purchases, and that is one of the reasons why the average age of the vehicles on our roads has now reached an all-time record high

The average age of vehicles on U.S. roadways rose to a record 12.1 years last year, as lofty prices and improved quality prompt owners to hold on to their cars longer.

It was the first time the average vehicle age rose above 12 years, according to data released Monday by research firm IHS Markit. While the average vehicle age has risen steadily over the last 15 years, the trend accelerated during the coronavirus pandemic partly because of a drop in new-car sales, IHS said.

#4 America’s growing homelessness crisis has accelerated greatly during the pandemic, and the big cities in California are being hit the hardest.  At this point, it is really difficult to navigate through the streets of San Francisco without stumbling over a tent or stepping in human excrement

For a city as opulent as San Francisco, it’s long been jarring to see the extreme poverty of those experiencing homelessness on its streets. If you walk around downtown, tents, makeshift cardboard beds and human excrement can be seen littering the sidewalks. Impoverished people lie on the ground as a blur of highly paid professionals whiz by.

#5 The homelessness crisis is also one of the factors that is fueling the dramatic rise in crime rates that we have been seeing all over the nation.  Once upon a time, millions of eager tourists would flock to Venice Beach, but now the phrase “like hell went to hell” is being used to describe conditions at that once pristine tourist trap…

Year-to-date numbers show that robberies have nearly tripled since the same period last year. Homeless-related robberies are up 260 percent; homeless-related assaults with a deadly weapon is up 118 percent; property crimes and area burglaries are up 85 percent; and grand theft auto is up 74 percent.

According to Embrich, felony arrests are up 68 percent, while misdemeanor arrests have grown by 355 percent. But arrests aren’t enough: Suspects are often released back onto the streets within hours.

#6 The police are the ones that are supposed to protect us from crime and restore order when things get out of control, but now they are leaving public service in record numbers.  After being endlessly demonized by leftist activists and the mainstream media, police officers are either retiring or resigning at a staggering rate….

Police retirements have risen by 45 percent in the past year, with officers opting out of forces across the country amid Black Lives Matter demonstrations that fueled anti-cop rhetoric.

The alarming statistic was revealed by the Police Executive Research Forum on Sunday, with the organization also revealing that resignations rose by 18 percent during the same twelve month period.

#7 Have you noticed that many of our cities are becoming disgustingly filthy?  When I was growing up, I often heard the phrase “cleanliness is next to godliness”, but you never hear anyone use it anymore.  These days, filth and grime are everywhere, and that has resulted in widespread infestations.  Many of our cities now have massive problems with rats and bed bugs, but Chicago is the worst of them all

The Windy City is known for quite a few things: hot dogs, deep dish, baseball. But here’s one thing you probably don’t associate with Chicago: bed bugs. Turns out these tiny hitchhiking pests are quite fond of our city, according to the latest numbers available through Atlanta-based Orkin, a company that specializes in pest control services.

In fact, Chicago ranked no. 1 on the 2021 list, according to Orkin, reclaiming the top spot for the first time since 2017, when it slipped to no. 3, just behind Baltimore and Washington. For the sixth year in a row, Orkin also ranked Chicago the “rattiest” city in America.

#8 I have been writing about the drought in the western half of the country for years, but here in 2021 it is the worst we have ever seen.  As I write this article, an astounding 88 percent of the West is officially in a state of drought…

Lakes at historically low levels, unusually early forest fires, restrictions on water use and now a potentially record heat wave: even before summer’s start the US West is suffering the effects of chronic drought made worse by climate change.

Eighty-eight percent of the West was in a state of drought this week, including the entire states of California, Oregon, Utah and Nevada, according to official data.

#9 When drought gets bad enough, it leads to water shortages, and we will want to watch developments in California very closely.  Water supplies have gotten very tight throughout the state, and officials in Santa Clara County just officially declared “a water shortage emergency”

Santa Clara County is in extreme drought. We can’t afford to wait to act as our water supplies are being threatened locally and across California. We are in an emergency and Valley Water must do everything we can to protect our groundwater resources and ensure we can provide safe, clean water to Santa Clara County residents and businesses.

To better deal with these threats and the emergency they are causing, today my fellow Board Members and I unanimously declared a water shortage emergency condition in Santa Clara County. This declaration, which is among the strongest actions we can take under law, allows Valley Water to work with our retailers, cities and the county to implement regulations and restrictions on the delivery and consumption of water. We also are urging the County of Santa Clara to proclaim a local emergency and join us in underscoring the seriousness of the threats posed by the extreme drought.

Over the past few years, America has been hit by crisis after crisis, and many are yearning for a return to the good old days.  Unfortunately, that simply is not going to happen.

The United States is never going to be like it once was.  Too many things have changed, and our culture has been radically transformed over the past several decades.

Many of the items that I have shared in this article are simply symptoms of much broader cultural problems.  We are a deeply, deeply sick society, and it is getting worse with each passing day.

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

About the Author: My name is Michael Snyder and my brand new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available on Amazon.com.  In addition to my new book, I have written four others that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned)  By purchasing the books you help to support the work that my wife and I are doing, and by giving it to others you help to multiply the impact that we are having on people all over the globe.  I have published thousands of articles on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but I also ask that they include this “About the Author” section with each article.  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions.  I encourage you to follow me on social media on FacebookTwitter and Parler, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

‘Tis The Season For Bankruptcies, Store Closings And Tent Cities…

We need to make 2021 a year of hope, because right now there is more economic suffering in America than we have seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s.  More than 100,000 businesses have permanently closed down since the pandemic began, many of our most iconic chains have filed for bankruptcy over the past 12 months, and tent cities are popping up in major cities all across the country.  Coming into this year, the suicide rate in the U.S. was already at an all-time record high, and a Gallup survey recently discovered that the mental health of Americans is at an all-time low.  If we can’t find a way to give people hope, multitudes of Americans will decide that life is no longer worth living just like Anthony Quinn Warner did.  The explosion in Nashville should be a wake up call for all of us, because there are countless others out there that are feeling the hopelessness that Warner did.

In 2020, we saw retail stores close their doors at a pace that we have never seen before.  According to the New York Post, NYC lost more than 1,000 chain stores all by itself…

The Big Apple saw almost one in seven nationally recognized chain-store branches close their doors as the pandemic sent consumers scurrying for cover, according to a new report.

A record high 1,057 chain stores — including 70 Duane Reades, 49 Starbucks and 22 Papyruses — have waved the white flag over the past 12 months, according to the Center for an Urban Future’s annual “State of the Chains” report, set to be ­released Wednesday.

If you go back to 2018, 0.3 percent of all chain stores in the city shut down permanently.

This year, that figure has skyrocketed to 13.3 percent

The 13.3 percent decline shatters all previous records reported by the nonprofit agency since it began tracking the data 13 years ago. Last year, just 3.7 percent of all chain outlets closed, up from 0.3 percent in 2018.

Of course the same thing is happening all over the nation.  Empty retail buildings now litter the landscape, and it is only going to get worse.

But it is hard to imagine that the next 12 months could actually be worse than the past 12 months.  In an article published earlier this month, CNN listed 30 major chains that have filed for bankruptcy in 2020…

Papyrus

Bar Louie

Krystal

Pier 1 Imports

Modell’s Sporting Goods

True Religion

J.Crew Group

Neiman Marcus

JCPenney

Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes

Tuesday Morning

GNC

CEC Entertainment

NPC International

Brooks Brothers

Sur La Table

Muji USA

Lucky Brand

RTW Retailwinds

Ascena Retail Group

California Pizza Kitchen

Lord & Taylor

Tailored Brands

Stein Mart

Century 21 (department store chain)

Sizzler USA

Ruby Tuesday

Friendly’s

Guitar Center

Francesca’s

Sadly, now that the holiday season is done there will inevitably be another huge wave of store closings and bankruptcies.

Of course the new lockdowns are certainly not helping matters at all.  Millions upon millions of people are staying home and not spending money, and this is hitting the restaurant business particularly hard.

In fact, the National Restaurant Association is warning “that 40% to 50% of restaurants may go bankrupt in the months ahead” if something is not done…

The National Restaurant Association said that 40% to 50% of restaurants may go bankrupt in the months ahead if they don’t reopen immediately. Two of the U.S.’s most iconic restaurants, the 21 Club in Manhattan and the Cliff House in San Francisco, announced they had closed their doors permanently after nearly 100 years of business. As they die, so do hundreds of jobs in these cities. The workers out of work aren’t rich. Overall, 15 million middle-income people work for bars and restaurants.

I can definitely understand why so many restaurant owners are absolutely furious right now.

You can watch one restaurant owner give an impassioned speech in which he boldly declares that “I’m not ready to give my country up to these people” right here.  I have to admit, I got pretty fired up watching that one.

Unfortunately, the control freak politicians have shown that they are willing to take draconian measures in order to implement their ridiculous lockdowns.  For example, just recently heavily armed police heartlessly raided a hair salon that refused to comply with the COVID lockdown in California.  If I was that salon owner, I would move out of California and never look back.

What is ironic is that many of the politicians that are supposed to be the most “liberal” are the ones that are actually hurting those at the bottom of the economic food chain the most

Democrats and their liberal economic advisers obsess about income inequality. Will someone please tell them that no act in modern times has widened the gap between the rich and the poor more than the lockdowns going on right now?

Diane Yentel, the president and CEO of the leftist National Low Income Housing Coalition, said, “The majority of the up to 17 million households at risk of losing their homes this winter are people of color.”

As economic conditions continues to unravel, more Americans are falling out of the middle class and into poverty with each passing day, and we continue to see more evidence of this all around the nation.  In Chicago, it was being reported that people were lined up for 15 blocks to receive food and toys at a holiday giveaway…

A Chicago actress and her foundation brought 3,000 toys, food, and countless smiles to the West Garfield Park neighborhood for the holidays Wednesday.

As CBS 2’s Marissa Parra reported, people waited for more than two hours in their cars for the giveaway, and there were lines that stretched over 15 blocks – dramatically underscoring the need.

Can you imagine waiting in a line that is 15 blocks long?

The bread lines during the Great Depression were long, but I don’t think they were that long.

Homelessness is also growing at a very frightening rate, and this is fueling the rise of tent cities from coast to coast

Tent cities are expanding across the United States as experts warn that the ongoing pandemic could lead to a ‘catastrophic’ homeless crisis where hundreds of thousands more Americans are living on the streets.

In Phoenix, authorities have converted two enormous parking lots into tent cities for the homeless, but even the homeless are being required to follow social distancing protocols

To deal with an exploding homeless population and encourage social distancing during the pandemic, Marcipoa County officials turned this pair of asphalt-topped parking lots into the area’s newest homeless shelter. The county has more than 7,500 people on the streets, and nearly 5,000 dead from COVID-19.

Inside the crowded encampment, ringed by security fencing and barbed wire, each family has been allotted a 12-by-12-foot lot, marked by paint, to separate people as much as possible.

This is the cold, hard reality that multitudes of people are living at this point.  Dependence on the government and unquestioning submission to authorities have become a way of life for countless numbers of Americans, and economic conditions are not going to be getting better for the foreseeable future.

This is why we must give people hope in 2021 and beyond, because the amount of economic pain that we are witnessing around the country is already off the charts.

The government may be able to send checks to people, but it cannot give them hope.

And when people have lost all hope and have become extremely desperate, they can end up doing very foolish things just like Anthony Quinn Warner did.

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

About the Author: My name is Michael Snyder and my brand new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available on Amazon.com.  In addition to my new book, I have written four others that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned)  By purchasing the books you help to support the work that my wife and I are doing, and by giving it to others you help to multiply the impact that we are having on people all over the globe.  I have published thousands of articles on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but I also ask that they include this “About the Author” section with each article.  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions.  I encourage you to follow me on social media on FacebookTwitter and Parler, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

This Explosion Of Bankruptcies And Layoffs In The United States Is Unlike Anything We Have Ever Seen Before

The U.S. economy was supposed to be turning a corner by now, but instead it looks like we are headed for an exceedingly painful winter.  All over the country, big companies are laying off thousands of workers, and in some cases the numbers are even larger than that.  As you will see in this article, Disney just announced that they will be laying off tens of thousands of workers, and the airline industry is warning that 100,000 workers could soon permanently lose their jobs if the federal government doesn’t bail them out.  Meanwhile, we have been seeing businesses fail at a pace that is absolutely stunning.  According to the Wall Street Journal, this year we are on pace to set new records for retail stores closings, retail bankruptcies, and retail liquidations…

Retail store closings in the U.S. reached a record in the first half of 2020 and the year is on pace for record bankruptcies and liquidations as the Covid-19 pandemic accelerates industry changes, particularly the shift to online shopping, according to a report on the downturn’s severity.

Apparel retailers have been hit particularly hard during this pandemic, and it has been extremely sad to see some of the most iconic brands in the entire industry reach the end of the line

Among the notable companies that went belly-up over the summer are Lord & Taylor and its subsidiary, Le Tote; Tailored Brands, which is the parent company of Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank; and Ann Taylor’s corporate parent Ascena Retail Group.

But it isn’t just the retail industry that is being utterly devastated.

According to Zero Hedge, there has been a “40% eruption in bankruptcy filings” in New York City so far in 2020, and one bankruptcy lawyer is warning that “there will be an avalanche of bankruptcies” as we approach the end of the year…

While Wall Street panic buys stocks again, on hopes Washington can pass the next round of much-needed economic stimulus, the broader commercial real estate market continues to implode and nowhere more so than the epicenter in New York City, where nearly 6,000 business closures, has resulted in a 40% eruption in bankruptcy filings across business districts of all five boroughs this year, reported Bloomberg.

Al Togut, a bankruptcy lawyer who has handled insolvencies for small firms to mega-corporations, said, “by late fall, there will be an avalanche of bankruptcies … When the cold weather comes, that’s when we’ll start to see a surge in bankruptcies in New York City.”

So does that sound like things will be getting better or does that sound like things will be getting worse?

I know that the answer is obvious.  I am just trying to make things crystal clear for those that have been deluded into thinking that we are headed for some sort of a “recovery”.

As more businesses collapse, more workers will lose their jobs.  So even though we have already seen more than 60 million American workers file new claims for unemployment benefits in 2020, more waves of unemployment are still on the way.

For example, we just learned that KPMG will be eliminating 1,400 jobs.  Those are good paying jobs and they will not be easy to replace.

Not to be outdone, Disney has announced that they will be laying off 20 times as many workers

Disney is set to lay off around 28,000 employees in the United States as prolonged closures and limited attendance have decimated its theme park business.

The announcement was made in a letter to employees Tuesday from Josh D’Amaro, Disney’s head of parks, who detailed several ‘difficult decisions’ the company has been forced to make amid the ongoing pandemic.

Personally, I think that it is very cruel for Disney to do this.

They have made countless billions of dollars off of all of us over the past several decades, and they are in absolutely no danger of going bankrupt.

So can’t they come up with a little bit of cash to pay those workers during these tough months?

On the other hand, the airline industry is actually on the verge of a historic implosion, and we are being told that 100,000 workers could soon lose their jobs if they don’t get a massive bailout from the federal government.  The following comes from Wolf Richter

October 1 is the day US airlines that accepted their portion of the $25-billion bailout under the CARES Act can start involuntary layoffs of their employees. They’ve been shedding large numbers of employees since March but through voluntary buyouts, early retirements, and other programs that induced employees to temporarily or permanently leave. Now the airlines are engaged in a desperate lobbying effort to get legislation signed into law that would provide the next $25-billion bailout package. Threats have been flying, so to speak, to motivate Congress to get this done.

American Airlines CEO Doug Parker told CBS News on Sunday that if there isn’t a new bailout program, “there are going to be 100,000 aviation professionals who are out of work, who wouldn’t be otherwise.” This would include the 18,000 employees American Airlines has threatened to lay off.

With everything that is going on, I don’t have any idea how so many Americans can still feel so confident about the economy right now.

It just doesn’t make any sense.

Perhaps this is another sign of how self-involved we have all become.  If you haven’t lost your job and nobody you know personally has lost a job, perhaps things still seem okay in your little world.

But for many Americans, this economic downturn has quickly become a horror show.  In Philadelphia, a housekeeper named Kat Payne was “furloughed” from her hotel job back in March, and now trying to figure out how to survive has become part of her daily routine

Most mornings, Kat Payne calls a family meeting and talks with her children about how — or if — they are going to be able to pay their bills each month. It’s a routine she began after she was furloughed from her job as a housekeeper at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown in March.

Payne, along with her 27-year-old daughter Kipati and 28-year-old son Atrayu, gather in their North Philadelphia living room, with the household bills in hand. She reviews the mortgage payments and her retirement and savings accounts with her children.

At this point, Payne has not been able to pay her mortgage for four months in a row, and she just received a letter with some more devastating news

Payne, 51, a single parent, recently received a letter from Marriott, which she reads out loud to her children: “We’re extending your layoff until December 31, 2020.”

Could you imagine being in her shoes?

What would you do?

Unfortunately, there are tens of millions of other Americans just like her that are deeply hurting right now, and economic conditions are only going to get worse in 2021 and beyond.

With each passing month, more businesses are going to crumble, more workers are going to lose their jobs, and more financial stress is going to be put on the system.

All of the dominoes are starting to fall, and every day there are more headlines that tell us that our society is coming apart at the seams.

I have been warning my readers for a very long time that this was coming, and now that it is here there will be no escape.

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

About the Author: My name is Michael Snyder and my brand new book entitled “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America” is now available on Amazon.com.  By purchasing the book you help to support the work that my wife and I are doing, and by giving it to others you help to multiply the impact that we are having on people all over the globe.  I have published thousands of articles on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but I also ask that they include this “About the Author” section with each article.  In addition to my new book, I have written four others that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The EndGet Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned)  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions.  I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you remember the subprime mortgage meltdown of 2008?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That is terrible.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And you know what?

He’s right.

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

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

Guess Who Is Preparing For A Major Stock Market Crash?

Pessimism is spreading like wildfire on Wall Street, and this is particularly true among one very important group of investors.  And considering how much money they have, it may be wise to listen to what they are telling us.  According to a very alarming survey that was recently conducted by UBS Wealth Management, most wealthy investors now believe that there will be a “significant” stock market decline before the end of next year.  The following comes from Yahoo Finance

Wealthy people around the globe are hunkering down for a potentially turbulent 2020, according to UBS Global Wealth Management.

A majority of rich investors expect a significant drop in markets before the end of next year, and 25% of their average assets are currently in cash, according to a survey of more than 3,400 global respondents. The U.S.-China trade conflict is their top geopolitical concern, while the upcoming American presidential election is seen as another significant threat to portfolios.

Of course this could ultimately become something of a self-fulfilling prophecy if enough wealthy investors pull their money out of stocks and start increasing their cash reserves instead.  Nobody wants to be the last one out of the barn, and it isn’t going to take too much of a spark to set off a full-blown panic.  Perhaps the most troubling number from the entire survey is the fact that almost 80 percent of the wealthy investors that UBS surveyed believe that “volatility is likely to increase”

Nearly four-fifths of respondents say volatility is likely to increase, and 55% think there will be a significant market sell-off before the end of 2020, according to the report which was conducted between August and October and polled those with at least $1 million in investable assets. Sixty percent are considering increasing their cash levels further, while 62% plan to increase diversification across asset classes.

During volatile times for the market, stocks tend to go down.

And during extremely volatile times, stocks tend to go down very rapidly.

Could it be possible that many of these wealthy investors have gotten wind of some things that the general public doesn’t know about yet?

Of course the truth is that anyone with half a brain can see that stock valuations are ridiculously bloated right now and that a crash is inevitable at some point.

And as I noted yesterday, corporate insiders are currently selling off stocks at the fastest pace in about two decades.

But why is there suddenly so much concern about 2020?

A different survey of business executives that was recently conducted found that 62 percent of them believe that “a recession will happen within the next 18 months”

A majority of respondents – 62% – believe a recession will happen within the next 18 months. Private companies are particularly worried that a recession lurks in the near term, with 39% anticipating a recession in the next 12 months. This compares with 33% of public company respondents who felt the same way. About one-quarter – 23% – of respondents do not expect a recession within the next two years.

62 percent is a very solid majority, and without a doubt we are starting to see businesses pull back on investment in a major way.

In fact, according to Axios business investment in the United States has now dropped for six months in a row…

  • Business investment has fallen for six months straight and declined by 3% in the third quarter, the largest drop since 2015.
  • The retrenchment by businesses helped turn Wednesday’s U.S. workforce productivity report — a key economic metric that compares goods-and-services output to the number of labor hours worked — negative for the first time in four years.

I know that I bombard my readers with numbers like this on an almost daily basis, but I cannot stress enough how ominous the economic outlook is at this point.

And it isn’t just the U.S. that we need to be concerned about.  Two other surveys that measure the business outlook for the entire globe just fell to their lowest levels in a decade

The IHS Markit global business outlook—which surveys 12,000 companies three times a year—fell to the worst level since 2009, when data was first collected.

The Ifo world economic outlook, which surveys 1,230 people in 117 countries, fell in the fourth quarter to the worst level since the second quarter of 2009.

Markit’s poll found optimism for activity, employment and profits in the year ahead were all at the lowest level since the financial crisis. Markit also reported a decline in planned investment spending, with inflation expectations at a three-year low.

It is really happening.

The global economy really is heading into a major downturn.

And once this crisis really gets rolling, it is going to be exceedingly painful.

All across America, big companies are already starting to go under at a pace that is absolutely frightening.  For instance, on Tuesday one of the biggest dairy companies in the entire country filed for bankruptcy

Dairy giant Dean Foods filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as declining milk sales take a toll on the industry.

Dean Foods – whose more than 50 brands include Dean’s, Land O’ Lakes and Country Fresh – said it intends to continue operating.

The company said it “is engaged in advanced discussions” for a sale to Dairy Farmers of America, a national milk cooperative representing farmers, producers and brands such as Borden cheese and Kemps Dairy.

I have quite a few relatives in Minnesota, and I have always had a soft spot for Land O’Lakes butter.  So it definitely saddened me to hear that this was happening.

But a lot more major casualties are coming.

Of course the economic optimists will continue to insist that we are just experiencing a few bumps on a path that leads to a wonderful new era of American prosperity.  They will continue to tell us of a great “financial harvest” that is about to happen even when things are falling apart all around us.

You can believe them if you want, but most wealthy investors and most business owners believe that hard times are dead ahead.

I have never seen so much pessimism about a coming year as I am seeing about 2020 right now.

There is a growing national consensus that it is going to be a very chaotic year, and I would recommend using what little time you have left to get prepared for it.

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

If Impeachment Fails, Will The Elite Crash The Economy In Order To Prevent Four More Years Of Trump?


By now, it is exceedingly obvious that the global elite absolutely hate Donald Trump.  No president in U.S. history has faced such a relentless assault by the corporate media, and there have been attempts to sabotage his presidency at every turn.  Miraculously, Trump has survived all of these attacks so far, but now the specter of impeachment looms large over his administration.  The Democrats have a solid majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, they are working quickly toward drafting articles of impeachment, and they actually hope to have Trump impeached by Christmas Day.  But in order to have Trump removed from office, 67 votes will be needed in the Senate, and right now Democrats only control 47 of those seats.  It was always going to be tough for Democrats to get 20 Republicans in the Senate to turn on Trump, but they have bungled this process so badly that they might not end up getting any at all.

That scenario will become even more likely if House Republicans stand solidly united behind Trump, and at this point even the Washington Post is admitting that there is a possibility “that not a single House Republican” will vote for the articles of impeachment…

Congressional Republicans are sticking with their party leader in the face of thousands of pages of evidence showing President Trump leveraged foreign policy for political favors, raising the possibility that not a single House Republican will vote for his impeachment.

Of course it will only take a simple majority to impeach Trump in the House, and Democrats will be able to do that with no problem, but it appears that the effort to remove Trump will be completely dead when it gets to the Senate.

Yes, things could still change and this is a very fluid situation, but as things stand today it seems that Trump is safe.

So what are the elite going to do if impeachment fails?

They are facing the prospect that Trump could actually win again in 2020, and that would mean that he would remain in the White House until January 2025.

For many among the elite, such a scenario must be avoided at all costs.  And the quickest way to get the general public to turn on any president is for the economy to crumble.

This is one of the reasons why some prominent voices on the left have been openly wishing for a recession.  For example, just check out what Bill Maher said not too long ago

“I’ve been saying for about two years that I hope we have a recession and people get mad at me,” said Maher, a multimillionaire who would likely be well insulated from a financial downturn.

“I’m just saying we can survive a recession,” he continued. “We’ve had 47 of them. We’ve had one every time there’s a Republican president! They don’t last forever, You know what lasts forever? Wiping out species!”

Maher is literally wishing for economic pain for more than 300 million Americans just so that another four years of Trump can be avoided.

That is how obsessed some of these radicals are with getting rid of Trump.

And without a doubt, the performance of the economy could be Trump’s Achilles heel.  Whenever any piece of good economic news comes out, he eagerly takes credit for it, and he has publicly warned that there will be an economic crash if a Democrat wins in 2020…

President Donald Trump predicted doom if he isn’t re-elected in 2020, saying that the economy would “CRASH” like it did during the Great Depression.

In a tweet Wednesday morning, the president called the crowded field of Democratic challengers “clowns” and compared the prospects of one of them winning to the stock market collapse of 1929.

Even though many Democrats on Wall Street absolutely hate Trump, it is undeniable that they have made out very well while he has been in the White House.  In fact, only three presidents have seen the stock market perform better during their first three years in office

Stock market performance in first three years since Trump’s election, then, ranks fourth among the 14 elected presidents since Herbert Hoover. That’s pretty good! It’s worth noting, though, that there’s not a whole lot separating him from John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush. A bad week or two, and he could easily fall to eighth place. On the other hand, falling to ninth would take some work, as would catching up to Dwight Eisenhower for third. Put into letter grades, I’d give the market’s performance since Trump’s election a solid B.

But what happens if the stock market crashes and the U.S. economy plunges into a deep recession in 2020?

Well, just as Trump has been getting credit for the good things that have happened in recent years, he would also get the blame if things got really bad.

Of course that wouldn’t actually be fair, because the truth is that the Federal Reserve actually has far more influence over the performance of the economy and the performance of the stock market than the president does.

But the general public does not understand these things.

When things really start to fall apart, people are going to blame whoever is in the White House, and since Trump was so eager to take credit when things were going good he won’t have any way to avoid the blame when things severely deteriorate.

So would the global elite really resort to “the nuclear option” of crashing the economy in order to prevent Trump from winning the next election?

You never know, but it is entirely possible.  Today, debt is the lifeblood of our economy, and if the big banks started to tighten up the flow of credit that would begin to slow down our economy immediately.  And as I noted yesterday, we are already starting to see banks deny loans to farmers in the middle of the country on a widespread basis.  The tighter that lenders become with their money, the worse that our economy will do, and this is something that we should be watching closely.

The stock market is also a potential flashpoint.  Right now, insiders are selling off their stocks “at the fastest pace in two decades”, and valuations are ridiculously inflated.  Companies that are losing giant mountains of money every single year are supposedly worth billions of dollars, and the market has been going up for so long that most investors have completely forgotten about 2008.  But at some point this entire charade is going to come crashing down, and it wouldn’t take very much of a “push” to make that happen.

There is an even bigger bubble in the bond market.  Today, there is 188 trillion dollars of debt in the global financial system, and those at the very top of the economic food chain control much of that debt.  Could it be possible that they would be willing to unleash a bit of chaos in order to achieve their political goals?

I don’t think that the global elite really want to go through a major crisis, but at this point for many of them just about anything is preferable to four more years of Trump.

We are less than two months away from 2020, and I truly believe that it will be the most chaotic year that any of us have seen in a very long time.

There are a lot of very powerful people that are absolutely determined to keep Trump from winning this upcoming election, and they would be willing to do just about anything in order to make that happen.

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

For Millions Of Americans In The Middle Of The Country, It Feels Like An Economic Depression Right Now

What do you do when you have lost all hope that things will ever turn around?  It may still feel like “the economy is booming” for those at the top end of the economic food chain in big coastal cities such as New York and San Francisco, but for millions of hard working Americans in the middle of the country, talk of a “coming recession” is absolutely ludicrous because it already feels like a severe economic depression is happening right now.  In America’s heartland, bankruptcies are surging, debt burdens are becoming overwhelming, and suicide rates are spiking to unprecedented levels.  We have not seen economic despair this extreme since the last recession, and I am about to share a story with you that will absolutely break your heart.

At one time, South Dakota farmers Chris and Amber Dykshorn looked toward the future with great optimism.  But mounting debts and several years of disastrous weather changed all that, and in June their community was shocked when Chris took his own life

Amber Dykshorn stood at her kitchen window and watched the storm come in.

It was a very dark Saturday night in the middle of the summer in the middle of a year that is on track to be the wettest in more than a century. The wind blew over the farm, the rain came down and she heard the ominous pings on her roof – pea-sized hail, striking the still-fragile stalks of the only corn her husband, Chris Dykshorn, was able to plant before he took his own life in June.

Chris had lost all hope.

The couple was absolutely drowning in debt, and they desperately needed a good year just to keep the farm going.

But then the rain just kept on coming, and now Amber has to deal with three young kids and $300,000 in farm debt all by herself

Did their crop insurance cover hail damage? She had no idea. That was something Chris would have taken care of, if he were here. Instead she was alone, with nearly $300,000 in farm debt, three kids ages 5 to 13 and a host of grief-fueled questions. Why hadn’t she been able to save him? What would happen to them now?

Sadly, the Dykshorns are not an isolated case.

All across the Midwest, farms are going under at a staggering rate.  According to the vice president of the National Farmers Union, the state of Wisconsin is “losing two farms a day” at this point…

“You look at the weather, you look at the crops you can’t get off the field, you look at the bills you can’t pay,” Patty Edelburg, vice president of the National Farmers Union, told Yahoo Finance. “Bankruptcies are up. Wisconsin is attributed as the No. 1 bankruptcy in the nation right now, when it comes to dairy farmers. That number is up, I think, 24% from last year already. We’re losing two farms a day.”

If you can believe it, the state of Wisconsin “lost almost 1,200 dairy farms” between 2016 and 2018.

Overall, the number of dairy farms in the state has fallen by 49 percent during the last 15 years.

Just think about that.

Half of all the dairy farms in our most important dairy producing state are completely gone.

And instead of tapering off, this “farm apocalypse” just continues to pick up speed.  Sadly, the bankers are contributing to this crisis in a major way by denying loans to many of these troubled farmers

“Farming is such a stressful occupation by itself,” Edelburg said. “When you start adding financial stress on top of it, it’s just going to add more stress. Farmers can’t pay their bills, they have no extra money, they have people honing down their neck looking to pay bills. They’re going to banks and they can’t get loans. They’re literally being denied loans.”

When you are already drowning in debt and your crops are failing and the banks won’t give you any more money, it can seem like there is no way out.

This is the position that Chris Dykshorn found himself in, and we can get an idea of what his emotional state was like just before he committed suicide from the final texts that he sent to his wife

“I’m struggling so bad today. I don’t know what to do anymore,” he texted on May 31. “I seriously don’t know how we r gonna make it.”

On June 1: “I just want to sit in the house and cry.”

And then: “What am I supposed to do. I am failing and feel like I’m gonna lose everything I’ve worked for the past how many years.”

As I have stressed over and over, suicide is never the answer.  But when someone loses all hope that there will ever be an opportunity to turn things around, it can be very difficult to keep going.

Meanwhile, money is flowing like wine on Wall Street thanks to the Federal Reserve.  The unelected Fed has been pumping billions upon billions of dollars into the financial markets, and this has resulted in a higher concentration of wealth among the top one percent than ever before.  The following comes from Bloomberg

The top 1% of American households have enjoyed huge returns in the stock market in the past decade, to the point that they now control more than half of the equity in U.S. public and private companies, according to data from the Federal Reserve. Those fat portfolios have America’s elite gobbling up an ever-bigger piece of the pie.

The very richest had assets of about $35.4 trillion in the second quarter, or just shy of the $36.9 trillion held by the tens of millions of people who make up the 50th percentile to the 90th percentile of Americans — much of the middle and upper-middle classes.

In essence, Wall Street is being showered by “welfare money” from the Federal Reserve, and nobody is holding the Fed accountable.

At the same time, tens of millions of American families are working low paying jobs and are just barely getting by from month to month.  The following comes from Zero Hedge

For instance, a new report sheds light on 53 million Americans, or about 44% of all US workers, aged 18 to 64, are considered low-wage and low-skilled.

Many of these folks are stuck in the gig economy, making approximately $10.22 per hour, and they bring home less than $20,000 per year, according to a Brookings Institution report.

Today, half of all American workers make less than $33,000 a year.  As the cost of living continues to rise much faster than wages do, hard working Americans are increasingly turning to debt in order to make ends meet, and during the next recession many families will not be able to service those debts.

All over the nation, we are watching a tragedy play out in slow motion.

America’s heartland is being gutted, and the “next recession” hasn’t even officially started yet.  But soon enough it will, and the deep depression that we are already witnessing in many parts of the middle of the country will get a lot worse.

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.

Middle Class Death Spiral: Consumers Have Never Been In More Debt, And Bankruptcies Are Surging

This wasn’t supposed to happen.  During the relative economic stability of the past few years, the middle class was supposed to experience a resurgence, but instead it has just continued to be hollowed out.  The cost of living has risen much faster than wages have, and as a result hard working families all over America are being stretched financially like never before.  Even though most of us are working, 59 percent of all Americans are currently living paycheck to paycheck, and almost 50 million Americans are living in poverty.  In a desperate attempt to continue their middle class lifestyles, many Americans have been piling up mountains of debt, and it has gotten to the point where we have a major crisis on our hands.

According to the New York Post, the total amount of debt that U.S. households have accumulated is about to cross the 14 trillion dollar mark for the first time ever…

Meanwhile, record American household debt, near $14 trillion including mortgages and student loans, is some $1 trillion higher than during the Great Recession of 2008. Credit card debt of $1 trillion also exceeds the 2008 peak.

Americans are spending heavily, again — and often recklessly, say analysts.

This is the exact opposite of what U.S. consumers should be doing.  We can see signs of a fresh economic slowdown all around us, and consumers should be feverishly trying to get out of debt as fast as they can.

But instead, debt levels just keep setting record after record.  In fact, total student loan debt just hit a brand new record high of 1.605 trillion dollars, and auto loan debt just hit a brand new record high of 1.174 trillion dollars.

It would be one thing if we could handle all of this debt, but that isn’t the case.  Bankruptcies have been steadily rising, and according to the latest figures the number of bankruptcy filings shot up another 5 percent in the month of July

Bankruptcy petitions for consumers and businesses are on the rise. There was a 5% increase in total bankruptcy filings in July 2019 from the previous month, the American Bankruptcy Institute said this week. There were 64,283 bankruptcy filings, up from 62,241 for the same period last year.

Unfortunately, this is probably just the beginning.

Right now, most of the country is living on the edge financially, and so a major economic slowdown would inevitably cause another enormous tsunami of consumer bankruptcies like we saw in 2008.

Even now, things are already so bad that many hard working “middle class” workers in high-cost cities such as New York are so financially stretched that they have to rely on free food from local food banks

“In high-cost cities like New York, personal incomes are not often enough to pay the household bills,” Zac Hall, vice president of anti-poverty programs at the Food Bank For New York City, told The Post. “We are seeing people using consumer debt as a way to make ends meet when they come here,” he added, citing the pressures his nonprofit faces to keep up the distribution of food and meals at no cost to some 1.5 million New Yorkers.

If 1.5 million people in New York are being fed by food banks now while things are still relatively stable, how bad will things be when the economy really starts to tank?

For decades, the “almighty U.S. consumer” was one of the fundamental pillars of our economy, but now that is no longer true.

U.S. consumers simply do not have a lot of discretionary income to spend these days, and this is killing major retailers all over the nation.  We are on pace to absolutely shatter the all-time record for store closings in a single year, and within the past 7 days more big retailers have announced that they will be permanently shutting down stores.

For example, Walgreens just announced that they will be closing “approximately 200 U.S. stores”

Walgreens plans to close approximately 200 U.S. stores, the company announced Tuesday in an SEC filing.

According to the document posted Tuesday on the Securities and Exchange Commission website, the move to close stores follows “a review of the real estate footprint in the United States.”

That wouldn’t be happening if the U.S. economy really was “booming”.

Here is another example that comes to us from Wolf Street

A’Gaci, a young women’s fashion retailer based in Texas, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Thursday, for the second time, after having filed for the first time in January 2018. This time, it will liquidate. All its remaining 54 stores in seven states and Puerto Rico will be closed – the “bulk” of them by the end of this month.

In addition, we just learned that Party City is going to be closing more stores than expected in 2019

Party City is increasing the number of stores expected to shutter this year.

The New Jersey-based party supplies company said it was looking to close 55 stores throughout the year, up 10 from the May estimate of 45 stores.

I honestly don’t know what malls and shopping centers all over the U.S. are going to do.  I once warned of a future in which America’s landscape would be littered with abandoned stores, and that future has now arrived.

For the moment, those at the very top of the economic pyramid are still doing okay, but the middle class is eroding a little bit more with each passing day.  For much more on this, I would encourage you to check out this Youtube video by Jeremiah Babe.

I have been writing about the evisceration of the U.S. middle class for a decade, and the condition of the middle class right now is as bad as I have ever seen it.

And as we plunge into this new economic downturn, things are only going to get worse.  The middle class is absolutely drowning in debt, and even a mild recession would be enough to financially wipe out millions of American families.

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

The Economic Collapse