Americans Are Taking On Debt As If Tomorrow Will Never Come

If you make a conscious choice to ignore all long-term consequences, managing your personal finances can be a lot of fun.  For example, instead of rationally evaluating what sort of mortgage payment you can actually afford, why not take a plunge and buy a $600,000 house?  You only live once, right?  And instead of making your current dumpy vehicle last another year or two, why not take out a huge loan on a brand new $60,000 SUV?  You know you deserve it.  While you are at it, why don’t you go on another huge spending spree and max out all of your credit cards again.  Paying off those credit cards will be very painful in the long run, but nobody thinks much about long-term consequences these days.

Just look at the federal government.  They are 28 trillion dollars in debt and yet our politicians continue to throw money around like a bunch of drunken sailors.

Of course the federal government is far from alone.  State and local governments have never been so deep in debt, we are in the midst of the greatest corporate debt binge of all time, and U.S. consumers are certainly doing their part.  In fact, last quarter we witnessed the largest increase in consumer debt since just before the last financial crisis

Americans have more debt than ever before.

A surge in credit card spending and home purchases caused US household debt to increase by $313 billion, or 2.1%, in the second quarter, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
That’s the largest nominal jump since 2007 and the biggest percentage increase in seven and a half years.

Overall, U.S. consumers are now $14,960,000,000,000 in debt.

We will shortly hit the 15 trillion dollar mark, and I think that we should commemorate the crossing of that threshold with some sort of celebration.

Of course any celebration should involve going into even more debt, because there are few things that Americans enjoy more than getting even deeper into debt.

Mortgage debt is rising particularly quickly.  Housing prices have been going through the roof recently, and this has created a frenzy on a scale that we haven’t seen since just before the subprime mortgage meltdown of 2008…

Mortgage debt, the single biggest contributor to overall household debt, rose $282 billion to $10.44 trillion. A whopping 44% of the outstanding balances were originated over the past year, accounting for both new mortgages and refinancings.

But even though the US housing market is red hot and borrowing to purchase homes is through the roof, “there are still 2 million borrowers in mortgage forbearance who are vulnerable to financial distress once the forbearance programs come to an end,” said Joelle Scally administrator of the Center of Microeconomic Data at the New York Fed.

Is it just me, or does it seem like we have been here before?

All of this just seems so oddly familiar.

Of course the experts are assuring us that this even bigger housing bubble will end so much more nicely than the last one did.

You believe them, don’t you?

After being showered with trillions upon trillions of dollars by the federal government, you would think that most Americans should be in pretty good financial condition these days.

Unfortunately, it turns out that all of that money just made the gap between the wealthy and the rest of us even larger

Americans added nearly $4 trillion to their savings during the coronavirus pandemic, but most of the gains went to the wealthy, according to a new study.

Stimulus checks, rising stock markets and fewer spending choices led to a massive savings boom over the past year, with Americans saving about $3.7 trillion, according to a study from Oxford Economics. Yet 70% of the gain went to the wealthiest 20% of Americans, the study found.

As I discussed the other day, there are millions and millions of Americans that were in danger of being thrown out into the streets once the eviction moratorium ended, but now Joe Biden has decided to come to the rescue

President Joe Biden’s administration Tuesday issued a targeted moratorium on evictions in areas hardest hit by COVID-19, replacing a nationwide evictions freeze that expired Saturday despite legal concerns about doing so unilaterally.

The new action, in effect for 60 days, bans evictions in counties with high rates of COVID-19 transmission, reflecting where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccinated residents mask indoors and in public settings.

But is this legal?

After all, we have already seen several courts rule on this, and they have said that it isn’t.

Well, just like any good career politician, Biden isn’t going to let a little thing like “legality” stand in the way

The president said he sought input from constitutional scholars to determine whether the CDC had the legal authority to issue a new evictions action but it was unclear whether it could pass constitutional muster.

“There are several key scholars who think that it may, and it’s worth the effort,” Biden said.

Biden says that even if the courts strike this new moratorium down, it will buy some time for his administration to get aid money to those that need it.

Needless to say, what Biden has decided to do has absolutely horrified those that still actually have respect for the U.S. Constitution.  Here is an excerpt from Jonathan Turley’s reaction

…What was astonishing is that Biden acknowledged that it is still likely unconstitutional but that they could tie it up in courts to get the money out in the interim…

Sadly, Biden’s approach is typical of how most Americans deal with things.

Most of us do whatever we feel like doing in the moment, and we don’t really give too much consideration to the long-term consequences.

Let us party today, because tomorrow is not guaranteed for any of us!

Of course the truth is that “tomorrow” always arrives eventually, and our “tomorrow” is going to be more painful than most people would dare to imagine.

But for the moment, the consequences of our actions have not caught up with us quite yet, and so it is still party time.

Most Americans fully intend to enjoy this party for as long as they possibly can, but at this point time is not on our side.

***It is finally here! Michael’s new book entitled “7 Year Apocalypse” 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 “7 Year Apocalypse” is now available on Amazon.com.  In addition to my new book I have written five others that are available on Amazon.com including  “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America”“The Beginning Of The End”“Get Prepared Now”, and “Living A Life That Really Matters”. (#CommissionsEarned)  By purchasing the books you help to support the work that my wife and I are doing, and by giving it to others you help to multiply the impact that we are having on people all over the globe.  I have published thousands of articles on The Economic Collapse BlogEnd Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe.  I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but I also ask that they include this “About the Author” section with each article.  The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions.  I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as we possibly can.

Mass Panic In Cyprus: The Banks Are Collapsing And ATMs Are Running Out Of Money

Cyprus ATM - Photo Via @ImeldaflatteryEuropean officials are openly admitting that the two largest banks in Cyprus are “insolvent“, and it is now being reported that Cyprus Popular Bank only has “enough liquidity to cover the next few hours“.  Of course all banks in Cyprus are officially closed until Tuesday at the earliest, but there have been long lines at ATMs all over Cyprus as people scramble to get whatever money they can out of the banks.  Unfortunately, some ATMs appear to be “malfunctioning” and others appear to have already run out of cash.  You can see some photos of huge lines at one ATM in Cyprus right here.  Some businesses are now even refusing to take credit card payments.  This is creating an atmosphere of panic on the streets of Cyprus.  Meanwhile, the EU is holding a gun to the head of the Cyprus financial system.  Either Cyprus meets EU demands by Monday, or liquidity for the banks will be totally cut off and Cyprus will be forced out of the euro.  It is being reported that European officials believe that the “economy is going to tank in Cyprus no matter what“, and that it would be okay to let the financial system of Cyprus crash and burn if politicians in Cyprus are not willing to do what they have been ordered to do.  Apparently European officials are very confident that the situation in Cyprus can be contained and that it will not spread to other European nations.

Unfortunately, European officials are losing sight of the bigger picture.  If the largest banks in Cyprus are allowed to fail, it will be another “Lehman Brothers moment“.  The faith that people have in banks all over Europe will be called into question, and everyone will be wondering what major European banks will be allowed to fail next.

Meanwhile, European officials have already completely shattered confidence in deposit insurance at this point.  Everyone now knows that when there is a major bank failure that depositors will be expected to share in the pain.  Expect to see “bank jogs” all over southern Europe over the coming weeks.

The banks in Cyprus had been scheduled to reopen on Tuesday, but very few people expect that to actually happen at this point.  In fact, Bloomberg is reporting that EU officials are actually thinking about shutting down the two biggest banks in Cyprus and freezing their assets…

Finance ministers for the 17 euro countries are considering a plan to shutter the two biggest banks in Cyprus and freeze the assets of uninsured depositors, said the four officials, who asked not to be named because the talks are ongoing. The ministers are holding a teleconference tonight.

Cyprus Popular Bank Pcl (CPB) and the Bank of Cyprus Plc would be split to create a so-called bad bank, one of the officials said. Insured deposits — below the European Union ceiling of 100,000 euros ($129,000) — would go into a so-called good bank and not sustain any losses, while uninsured deposits would go into the bad bank and be frozen until assets could be sold, said the four officials.

Losses to unsecured creditors, including uninsured depositors, could reach 40 percent under the plan, which has support from the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank. The proposal, a version of which was rejected last week, is considered a better option than taxing insured deposits or allowing Cypriot banks to collapse in a disorderly fashion if they lose access to ECB aid, the officials said.

Such a scenario would be an utter disaster.

How would you feel if you woke up someday and 40 percent of your life savings was suddenly gone?

According to Greek newspaper Kathimerini, European officials are also openly discussing the possibility of a Cyprus exit from the eurozone if a suitable bailout agreement is not worked out…

The possibility of Cyprus exiting the eurozone was discussed during teleconference involving technocrats from the Euro Working Group on Wednesday, Kathimerini understands.

A reliable source told Kathimerini that the technical implications of a euro exit, as well as the adoption of capital controls were debated by the Euro Working Group officials during the teleconference.

As I mentioned above, European officials seemed resigned to the fact that there will be an economic collapse in Cyprus “no matter what”, and so letting Cyprus leave the euro would not make that much of a difference.  Either way, the banks are going to have to be “reorganized” and capital controls will be imposed…

In detailed notes of the call seen by Reuters, the group’s chair Austria’s Thomas Wieser said: “The economy is going to tank in Cyprus no matter what. Restrictions on capital will probably be imposed.”

Never before have we seen European officials impose such a harsh ultimatum with such a short deadline.  It is almost as if they want to boot Cyprus out of the euro.  The following comes from a recent CNBC report…

In stark twin warnings on Thursday, the European Central Bank said it would cut off liquidity to Cypriot banks and a senior EU official made clear to Reuters that the bloc was ready to see the bankrupt island banished from the euro in the belief it could then contain damage to the wider European economy.

And European officials are even publicly talking about the possibility that Cyprus will soon need to start using “their own currency”…

In Brussels, a senior European Union official told Reuters that an ECB withdrawal would mean Cyprus’s biggest banks being wound up, wiping out the large deposits it has sought to protect, and probably forcing the country to abandon the euro.

“If the financial sector collapses, then they simply have to face a very significant devaluation and faced with that situation, they would have no other way but to start having their own currency,” the EU official said.

This is absolutely shocking.  Everyone always thought that Greece would be the first to leave the euro, but now it looks like it might be Cyprus.

However, there is still a chance that Cyprus may find a way to comply with EU demands.  Politicians in Cyprus are frantically searching for a way to raise the needed cash without raiding private bank accounts.  The following is what CNN is saying about the latest efforts…

Leaders of Cyprus’ political parties agreed Thursday to create an “investment solidarity fund,” which would issue bonds backed by state and church assets.

The plan was due to be discussed by the Cypriot government and parliament on Thursday evening, but few details were available and it was not clear how much the fund would be worth.

According to Reuters, other proposals have been under consideration as well…

The government said a “Plan B” was in the works.

Officials said it could include: an option to nationalize pension funds of semi-government corporations, which hold between 2 billion and 3 billion euros; issuing an emergency bond linked to future natural gas revenues; and possibly reviving the levy on bank deposits, though at a lower level than originally planned and maybe excluding savers with less than 100,000 euros.

At this point it is unclear whether any of those proposals will turn out to be acceptable to European officials.

In fact, the tone of European officials has noticeably changed from previous bailout efforts.  They now seem much more willing to play hardball.  For example, just check out what German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble is saying about the situation in Cyprus…

German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told the ZDF public broadcaster on Tuesday night (19 March) he “took note with regret” of the Cypriot parliament’s rejection of the bailout deal, but insisted that the terms will stay the same.

Asked if the eurozone was willing to let Cyprus go bust, he answered: “Well, we are much more stable in the eurozone – we took measures to protect ourselves from the risks of contagion … but I don’t want to have any of this.”

He added: “It is a serious situation, but this cannot lead to a decision that makes absolutely no sense, to rescue a business model that has failed. Cyprus has a banking sector that is totally oversized and this made Cyprus insolvent. And nobody outside Cyprus is to blame for it.”

Schaeuble knows that the EU is holding all of the cards and that Cyprus is doomed without their help…

“The Cypriot state cannot fund itself on the markets. Its two largest banks are insolvent and are being kept afloat with emergency funding from the ECB, but only on the condition that there will be a long-term rescue programme. If this condition is no longer met, Cyprus will no longer be solvent and this is something Cypriot decision makers must know”

But the truth is that the EU can’t really afford to allow major banks to fail or for a single member to leave the eurozone.  If either of those things happen, the confidence game that has been holding the European financial system together will begin to rapidly evaporate.

If the EU thinks that they can abandon Cyprus without the crisis spreading to the rest of southern Europe they are just being delusional.

At least there are a few politicians in Europe that understand what is happening.  Nigel Farage, a very outspoken member of the European Parliament, is telling people to get their money out of banks in southern Europe as quickly as they can.  He is warning that a great collapse of the European financial system is coming and that people need to get prepared for it…

So what do you think?

Do you believe that we are on the verge of a major financial collapse in Europe?

Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below…

Cyprus Bank Run - Photo Via @jkozakou

The Economic Collapse