National Debt

It really is hard to find the words to describe the true horror of the national debt.  The U.S. government has been on the greatest debt binge in all of human history, and a day of reckoning is coming that is going to be so painful that it is going to shock America to the core.  We have lived so far above our means for so long that none of us really has any concept of what “normal” is like anymore.  The United States has enjoyed the greatest party in the history of the world, but now this decades-old party is ending and the bills are coming due.  It was Dick Cheney who famously said that “deficits don’t matter”.  Well, try telling that to the nation of Greece right about now.  The horror that Greece is just beginning to experience is a preview of what is going to happen to us as well.  Only when it happens to us it is going to be so much worse, because when we go down we are going to bring the entire global financial system down with us.

What we have done to future generations is beyond sickening.  Previous generations entrusted to us the greatest economic machine in the history of the world and we destroyed it.  Now we are leaving to our children and our grandchildren an economic future that has been totally wiped out and a national debt of more than 14 trillion dollars that we expect them to repay.

In Washington D.C. these days, there is a lot of talk about the debt ceiling.  But whatever the politicians do, it is not going to solve our debt problems.  If the debt ceiling does not get raised, we move the financial pain into the present.  World financial markets would crash and that would be followed by a devastating economic nightmare.

If we do raise the debt ceiling, that will “kick the can down the road” a little bit farther.  However, world financial markets will still crash eventually and our eventual economic nightmare will be even worse.

Well, can’t we just “inflate our way” out of debt?

No, unfortunately things are just not that easy.  If we try to inflate our way out of debt, interest rates will likely rise just as quickly as inflation does, and that would be absolutely catastrophic.

Before interest rates even reached 20% we would hit a point where it would take every single dollar taken in by the federal government just to pay the interest on the national debt.

Meanwhile, rapidly rising inflation would devastate the value of all of your bank accounts and every other single financial asset that you own.

So no, inflating our way out of debt is not going to work.

At the moment, the U.S. federal government is able to borrow gigantic quantities of money at super low interest rates.

When that changes, all hell is going to be unleashed.

The following are 41 statistics about the national debt that are almost too crazy to believe….

1 – As of June 20th, the U.S. national debt was $14,344,524,186,068.19.

2 – 30 years ago, the U.S. national debt was approximately 14 times smaller.

3 – It took from the presidency of George Washington to the presidency of Ronald Reagan for the U.S. government to accumulate one trillion dollars of debt.

4 – Since then, we have added more than 13 trillion dollars of additional debt.

5 – The United States government is responsible for more than a third of all the government debt in the entire world.

6 – If you divide up the national debt equally among all U.S. households, each one owes over $125,000.

7 – Mandatory federal spending is going to surpass total federal revenue for the first time ever in this fiscal year.  That was not supposed to happen until 50 years from now.

8 – Between 2007 and 2010, U.S. GDP grew by only 4.26%, but the U.S. national debt soared by 61% during that same time period.

9 – The federal government has borrowed 29,660 more dollars per household since Barack Obama signed the economic stimulus law.

10 – During Barack Obama’s first two years in office, the U.S. government added more to the U.S. national debt than the first 100 U.S. Congresses combined.

11 – The U.S. national debt is currently rising by well over 4 billion dollars every single day.

12 – The U.S. government is borrowing over 2 million more dollars every single minute.

13 – The U.S. government borrows an average of about 168 million dollars every single hour.

14 – The combined debt of the major GSEs (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Sallie Mae) has increased from 3.2 trillion in 2008 to 6.4 trillion in 2011.  Thanks to George W. Bush, Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress, U.S. taxpayers are guaranteeing that debt.  This is debt that is not even included in the $14.3 trillion national debt figure.

15 – Some experts estimate that the unfunded liabilities of the U.S. government for programs such as Social Security and Medicare are in the neighborhood of 60 trillion dollars.  Other experts claim that the total for federal government unfunded liabilities could be well over $100 trillion.  But what almost everyone agrees on is that it is going to be virtually impossible to even come close to meeting all of those obligations.

16 – The U.S. government currently has to borrow approximately 41 cents of every single dollar that it spends.

17 – The total compensation that the federal government workforce earned last year came to a grand total of approximately 447 billion dollars.

18 – The level of government waste in this country is absolutely mind blowing. For example, the Department of Health and Human Services has just announced a brand new $500 million program that will, among other things, seek to solve the problem of 5-year-old children that “can’t sit still” in a kindergarten classroom.

19 – In the past, the U.S. government has spent $2.6 million dollars to study the drinking habits of Chinese prostitutes and $400,000 dollars to pay researchers to cruise bars in Buenos Aires, Argentina to find out why gay men engage in risky sexual behavior when drunk.

20 – The cost for the first week of airstrikes on Libya was 600 million dollars.  Keep in mind that the leader of the opposition in Libya has admitted that his forces contain large numbers of the same “al-Qaeda fighters” that were shooting at American troops in Iraq.  So we are going broke and we are helping al-Qaeda take power in Libya at the same time.

21 – Just one day of the war in Afghanistan costs more money than it took to build the entire Pentagon.

22 – In 1980, government transfer payments accounted for just 11.7% of all income.  Today, government transfer payments account for 18.4% of all income.

2359 percent of all Americans now receive money from the federal government in one form or another.

24 – Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid.  Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid.

25 – Back in 1950, each retiree’s Social Security benefit was paid for by approximately 16 workers.  Today, each retiree’s Social Security benefit is paid for by approximately 3.3 workers.  By 2025 it is projected that there will be approximately two workers for each retiree.

26 – U.S. households are now actually receiving more money from the U.S. government than they are paying to the government in taxes.

27 – Back in the 1950s, corporate taxes accounted for about 30 percent of all federal revenue.  In 2009, corporate taxes accounted for just 6.6 percent.

28 – The U.S. national debt has increased in size for 54 years in a row.

29 – If the U.S. government was forced to use GAAP accounting principles (like all publicly-traded corporations must), the U.S. government budget deficit would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 trillion to $5 trillion each and every year.

30According to a shocking U.S. government report, interest on the national debt and mandatory spending on entitlement programs will absorb approximately 92 cents of every dollar of federal revenue by the year 2019.

31 – A recently revised IMF policy paper entitled “An Analysis of U.S. Fiscal and Generational Imbalances: Who Will Pay and How?” projects that U.S. government debt will rise to about 400 percent of GDP by the year 2050.

32 – The U.S. government spent over 413 billion dollars on interest on the national debt during fiscal 2010.

33 – Approximately one out of every four dollars that the U.S. government borrows goes to pay the interest on the national debt.

34 – It is now being projected that by the year 2021, interest payments on the national debt will amount to $1.1 trillion dollars a year.

35 – If interest rates move up even slightly, the interest on the national debt is going to be a whole lot worse.  A recent article in the Huffington Post laid this out really well….

According to a recent note from the sage of Dallas based Hayman Capital, highly respected Kyle Bass, a move back to 5% (2006 levels) in short term interest rates will increase annual U.S. interest expense by almost $700 billion annually. This is against current U.S. government tax revenues of $2.228 trillion (CBO FY 2011 forecast).

36 – If the U.S. national debt (more than 14 trillion dollars) was reduced to a stack of 5 dollar bills, it would reach three quarters of the way to the moon.

37 – A trillion $10 bills, if they were taped end to end, would wrap around the globe more than 380 times.  That amount of money would still not be enough to pay off the U.S. national debt.

38 – If Bill Gates gave every penny of his fortune to the U.S. government, it would only cover the U.S. budget deficit for 15 days.

39 – If you were alive when Jesus was born and you spent one million dollars every single day since that point, you still would not have spent one trillion dollars by now.  But this year alone the U.S. government is going to add more than a trillion dollars to the national debt.

40 – If you went out today and started spending one dollar every single second, it would take you over 31,000 years to spend one trillion dollars.

41 – If the federal government began right at this moment to repay the U.S. national debt at a rate of one dollar per second, it would take over 440,000 years to pay off the national debt.

You might be depressed after reading all of those statistics about the national debt, but there is some good news.

If you would like to help address this problem, the federal government is actually taking online donations that will go towards paying off the national debt.

Try not to laugh.

The national debt is a problem that should have been handled 20 or 30 years ago.

But it wasn’t.

So now what we have to look forward to is a very bleak future.  Even if we totally scrapped our current monetary system and repudiated the debt, the transition would be “rocky” at best and we would not enjoy anything close to the standard of living that we are enjoying today.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of our politicians in Washington D.C. would never even dream of abandoning the current system. Most of them still totally believe in it.

But this current system is headed for an inevitable collapse.  There is no way of getting around it.

Even most of our top politicians are now admitting that our current state of affairs is “unsustainable”.  They just don’t have the guts to do anything about it.

A horrific economic collapse is coming.

It is going to change the world.

You better get ready.

Even Ben Stein Is Warning That An Economic Collapse Is Coming

He sure has come a long way since “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”.  During a recent television segment for CBS, Ben Stein declared that “the tea leaves are ominous” and he warned that an economic collapse may be coming.  In particular, Ben Stein is deeply concerned about inflation.  During his recent appearance on CBS, Stein proclaimed that the Federal Reserve is “just shoving money out the door as fast as it can” and that this could have horrific consequences for the U.S. financial system.  Sadly, Ben Stein is exactly right on this point.  The Federal Reserve has already injected enough money into the financial system to create an inflationary disaster.  Fortunately most of this liquidity is still being held by the banks (this will be further explored below), but once all of that money starts getting released into the financial system it is going to unleash economic chaos.

In the video that you are about to watch, Ben Stein states that “when serious inflation hits, it hits everyone”.

And that is absolutely true.  Inflation is a hidden tax on ever single dollar that each one of us holds.  Nobody can cheat that hidden tax and nobody can escape from it.

You may have noticed that the price of gas is going up.

In fact, just the other day UPI reported that the price of gas at one station in the Washington D.C. area was up to 5 dollars a gallon.

Can it get much worse?

Well, actually yes it can.

Richard Hastings, a strategist at Global Hunter Securities, recently told CNBC that he believes that we could potentially see $6 gas at some point this summer.

Do you think that a lot of American families will rethink their summer vacations if that happens?

You betcha.

Perhaps Americans will just fly instead.

Well, that is rapidly becoming more expensive as well.  Just check out what one recent CNN article had to say about rising airfares….

Late Tuesday, Southwest Airlines raised all of its round-trip fares by $10. Delta (DAL, Fortune 500) initiated this latest round of price increases on Monday, and as of midday Wednesday American Airlines (AMR, Fortune 500), JetBlue (JBLU) and United Airlines (UAL) had matched it.

As Ben Stein also notes in the video below, food prices are soaring as well.  Rampant money printing by the Federal Reserve and serious crop problems all over the globe have created a “perfect storm” for agricultural commodities.  In the video, Stein sounds downright apocalyptic as he describes crop failures around the world….

But now, we are getting serious crop shortfalls in China – an enormously important agricultural producer and consumer. U.S. crop forecasts are also disappointing. There are huge problems in Australia, South America, and Russia. Corn, wheat, rice and other foodstuff prices are just going wild.

And you know what?

Ben Stein is right.

In a recent article about the global food crisis, I detailed some of the agricultural commodity price increases that we have seen….

*According to the World Bank, the global price of food has risen 36% over the past 12 months.

*The commodity price of wheat has approximately doubled since last summer.

*The commodity price of corn has also about doubled since last summer.

*The commodity price of soybeans is up about 50% since last June.

*The commodity price of orange juice has doubled since 2009.

But it isn’t just food and gas that are going up.  We are seeing inflation everywhere.  The value of virtually all “hard assets” is going up.

Investors are running to precious metals such as gold and silver in a desperate attempt to preserve their wealth.  Gold and silver have been absolutely skyrocketing.  The price of gold set another brand new all-time record high this week.  The price of silver hit a 31-year high today.

So why is this happening?

One of the biggest reasons for all of this is that the Federal Reserve has been flooding the system with new money.  In the video below, Ben Stein points to quantitative easing as the primary reason why we are seeing so much inflation….

But most important of all, the Fed is just shoving money out the door as fast as it can, creating piles of cash in banks.

The Federal Reserve had hoped that economic growth would be sparked by all of this new cash, but that is only happening to a minimal degree.

Instead, what Ben Stein believes all of this new money is going to bring about is a situation known as “stagflation”.

Do you remember the 1970s and the “misery index”?

Well, we seem to be headed for a repeat of those days.

In a previous article, I defined stagflation….

Stagflation exists when inflation and unemployment are both at high levels at the same time.

Up to this point, we have had high unemployment but relatively low levels of inflation.

But now we are going to get to enjoy high unemployment and high inflation at the same time.

Oh goody!

Video of Ben Stein’s recent appearance on CBS is posted below.  You can read a transcript of his remarks here.  It is amazing that a mainstream news outlet would allow this much truth to get out….

Look, the reality is that you cannot pump this much money into the financial system without there eventually being very serious consequences.

For decades the Federal Reserve has been systematically debasing the U.S. dollar, but what the Fed has been doing to the money supply over the past couple of years is absolutely unprecedented.  Just check out the chart below….

So why hasn’t all of this new cash caused chaos in the economy already?

Well, because most of it is still trapped in the financial system.  Banks have been reluctant to loan it out.  Instead, they seem content to keep most of it on reserve at the Fed.

But if all of this new money starts leaking out into the economy it is going to drive prices up.  When you have lots more money chasing roughly the same number of goods and services it is inevitable that inflation will result.

Robert Wenzel of EconomicPolicyJournal.com believes that more quantitative easing is not even necessary to turn the U.S. economy into a hyperinflationary nightmare.  In fact, Wenzel says that there are enough excess reserves at the Fed right now to turn us into another Zimbabwe….

With over $1.4 TRILLION in excess reserves, Bernanke never has to resort to QE style monetary operations ever again, to print money. If those excess reserves leak into the system, Bernanke has enough sitting there to make Zimbabwe look like a model of prudent money management. As per usual, Bernanke has most of the media and Fed watchers looking at the wrong card.

Forget about QE3, keep your eye on excess reserves. Excess reserves are funds that are not in the system bidding up prices, but when they enter the system by banks using them to make loans, have the potential to result in a multiple of their size, when they impact the money supply. Because of this potential for multiple size impact, excess reserve entering the economy are considered high-powered money.

We would have never even been in this position if we had never allowed the Federal Reserve to be created and had never gotten 14 trillion dollars in debt.  But now America has a debt problem that can never be solved under the current system.  We are locked into a debt spiral from which there is no escape.

Last year, the U.S. government spent more on interest on the national debt than on the following departments combined….

*The Department of Health and Human Services

*The Department of Energy

*The Department of Veterans Affairs

*The Department of Justice

*The Department of Homeland Security

*The Department of Agriculture

*The Treasury Department

*The Department of Labor

Ouch!

But right now the U.S. is still able to borrow tons of money at super low interest rates.

So what happens if interest rates go up?

It could potentially be catastrophic.

That is why the decision by S&P to downgrade its outlook on U.S. government debt was such a big thing the other day.  The U.S. still has a “AAA” rating, but S&P is warning that the AAA rating is in danger.

So what would it mean if the U.S. lost the AAA rating that it currently holds?

The Washington Post recently described it this way….

A credit rating downgrade for the United States would spell even more financial trouble for the U.S. government, hampering its ability to borrow money as investors demand higher yields to make up for the increased risk. That would cause its national debt to balloon further and increase the need to hike taxes or make even more painful cuts in spending.

But the U.S. government continues to borrow money like there is no tomorrow and Ben Bernanke and his friends at the Fed continue to recklessly print money.

As bad as things may seem for many of you right now, the truth is that what we are experiencing at the moment is a “false bubble of prosperity”.  Things are eventually going to get much, much worse.

Enjoy this time of economic peace and stability while you still can.  Our leaders have absolutely destroyed our economic future and we are going to want to have some good memories to hold on to while we are living through economic hell in the years ahead.

Good Economic Numbers? Don’t Be Fooled By The Financial Sugar High

The U.S. financial system is like a junkie that needs continually increasing amounts of “junk” to get the same “buzz”.  So what is the U.S. financial system addicted to?  It is addicted to money and debt.  For many years, whenever the Federal Reserve would lower interest rates or the U.S government would borrow and spend more money, the U.S. economy would respond positively.  But just like with any other kind of artificial stimulation, over time it has taken greater and greater amounts of debt and cheap money to get a response from our economic system.  So yes, the fact that the official unemployment rate went down 0.1%  last month is good news, but considering the massive amount of spending that the U.S. government is doing and considering the gigantic quantity of money that the Federal Reserve is injecting into the financial system, the truth is that the unemployment rate should be falling much faster than that.  So don’t be fooled by the good economic numbers and don’t be fooled by the financial “sugar rush”.  The U.S. government and the Federal Reserve have been pulling out all the stops to stimulate the economy, and the fact that all of their efforts are barely moving the unemployment rate at all is an indication of just how far our economic situation has degenerated.

Many in the mainstream media were extremely excited when the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the U.S. unemployment rate declined to 8.8% in March.  U.S. stocks soared as investors enthusiastically welcomed the news.  But should we all really be jumping up and down over this?

The truth is that some other measures show that the unemployment situation in the United States is becoming worse.

According to Gallup, the number of Americans that are either unemployed or working part-time but desiring full-time work actually rose from 19.8 percent in February to 20.3 percent in March.

So let us not get too excited about the employment situation.  Yes, unemployment is not spinning wildly out of control at the moment and that is good news.

However, when you look at the larger picture things look rather grim.

What the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve have been doing is that they have been mortgaging our future big time for short-term economic gain.

This year alone, the U.S. government is going to run an all-time record budget deficit of approximately 1.6 trillion dollars.  By borrowing 1.6 trillion dollars that we do not have and spending it into the system, it does stimulate the economy.

There are some members of Congress that would like to implement substantial budget cuts, but most members of Congress fear doing too much budget cutting right now because it would “harm the economy”.

And you know what?  They are right – budget cuts would harm our economy in the short-term.

But continuing to pile up all of this debt is setting the stage for an absolute economic nightmare in the mid to long term.

We have lived far, far beyond our means for decades, and most of our politicians are acting like this can go forever.

But tell me, does anyone out there actually believe that we can keep expanding the national debt like this indefinitely?….

Yes, government spending does stimulate the economy.  The Keynesians are right about that.

However, by accumulating a national debt that is spinning wildly out of control, we have completely destroyed the economic future of this nation.

The Federal Reserve has been very busy trying to stimulate the U.S. economy as well.

Over the past couple of years, the Fed has been injecting massive amounts of money into the financial system.  The theory is that the financial system will loan this money out to the American people and that will stimulate the economy and create more jobs.

Well, that may very well be true to a certain extent in the short-term, but as I wrote about yesterday, in the long-term this is going to create a substantial amount of inflation.

The chart posted below cannot be emphasized enough.  It shows how the Fed has dramatically increased the size of the adjusted monetary base since mid-2008….

Yes, all of this new money will stimulate economic activity, but it is completely and totally ludicrous for Ben Bernanke to attempt to deny that this is also going to cause significant inflation.

So when taking a look at the economic numbers, it is absolutely critical to keep in mind that our “authorities” have pushed all the chips to the middle of the table in an all-out attempt to stimulate the economy in the short-term.

The small economic “sugar rush” that we are experiencing right now is all we have gotten out of it so far.

Sadly, this is about the best that the U.S. economy is going to do from now on.  Things really are not going to get much better than this.

Yes, unemployment numbers might come down a little more, but pretty soon inflation is going to really kick in and that is going to have a really negative impact on tens of millions of Americans.

First of all, when inflation really starts taking off it is going to be absolutely devastating for those on fixed incomes.  Many of them will be completely wiped out.

Secondly, those that do have jobs are going to find that their incomes are not nearly keeping up with inflation.

In fact, we are seeing this starting to happen already.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. workers in the private sector only saw their pay increase by 2.1% during 2010.

So did what we are paying for food and gas only go up 2.1% in 2010?

Of course not.

So are things getting better so far in 2011?

No.

One of the depressing things about the new numbers released by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics was that wages for U.S. workers did not increase in March.

According to the BLS, the average U.S. worker earned $22.87 an hour during the month of March, which is exactly the same number we saw in February.

So inflation is going up and wages are staying flat.

That means that American family budgets are going to be squeezed even more.

In addition, the numbers from the BLS show that it is still incredibly difficult to get a job.  In fact, the average length of unemployment in the U.S. is now an all-time record 39 weeks.

So is anyone doing well right now?

Well, yes – as I have written about previously, those at the very top of the food chain are doing quite well these days.

According to USA Today, median CEO pay soared 27 percent during 2010.  For the year, median CEO pay was a stunning $9.0 million.

Wouldn’t you like to be making 9 million dollars a year?

According a recent report by CNN, the 25 highest-paid hedge fund managers in the United States combined to bring in an astounding $22.07 billion in income during 2010.

Wouldn’t you like to get just a small piece of that?

All of the measures that the government and the Federal Reserve are using to stimulate the economy are causing tremendous distortions in our financial system.

Wall Street is absolutely swimming in cash right now.  There are some people that are making obscene amounts of money.

But ultimately the party is going to end for all of us.

It has been incredibly foolish for the government and the Fed to go “all in” in a desperate attempt to boost short-term economic numbers.

Our long-term economic future is completely gone.  Our financial system is heading for a horrible collapse.  It is not a matter of “if” it will happen, but rather “when” it will happen.

You better buckle up and get ready.

Wal-Mart Says “Serious” Inflation Is Coming

Thank you Ben Bernanke for all the money printing.  Thanks to a massive injection of cash into the financial system by the Federal Reserve and other central banks, the price of almost every major commodity has skyrocketed over the past six months.  Now those price increases are starting to filter down to the retail level.  During a recent meeting with USA TODAY’s editorial board, Wal-Mart CEO Bill Simon said that rising inflation in the United States is “going to be serious” and that Wal-Mart is “seeing cost increases starting to come through at a pretty rapid rate.”  For many years Wal-Mart has been famous for their “low prices”, so for the head of Wal-Mart to publicly warn that much higher prices are coming is more than a little alarming.  There are millions of American families that are already drowning in debt, that can barely pay their mortgages and that are struggling to put food on the table for their families.  So what is going to happen to the U.S. economy when prices start rising substantially at places such as Wal-Mart?

But Wal-Mart is not the only major corporation that says that inflation is coming.  Hershey has just announced price increases of about 10 percent on their entire line of products.

So if you like chocolate you better start stocking up now.

Cocoa production is being seriously threatened by the political unrest in Africa right now.  The recent chaos in the Ivory Coast is certainly not good news for Hershey, but the truth is that all of the long-term trends indicate that prices for commodities such as cocoa, coffee and sugar are going to move up anyway.

In fact, Aaron Smith, the managing director of Superfund Financial, believes that coffee, sugar and cocoa will all be five to ten times more expensive by 2014 than they are today.

So if you are addicted to coffee or to sugar you might want to start making your plans accordingly.

But the truth is that inflation is not limited to just a few commodities.  Virtually every major agricultural commodity has soared in price over the past 6 months to a year.

So what is causing all of this?

Well, there are several factors which are major contributors.

First of all, overall global demand continues to increase.  The population of the world continues to grow, and as the economies of nations such as China and India develop, millions more people want to enjoy luxury items such as chocolate and coffee just like Americans do.

Secondly, all over the world central banks have been recklessly printing money in an attempt to stimulate their economies, but this is also going to end up causing tremendous inflation.

So how does that work?

Well, it is actually very simple.

For example, in the United States when there are more dollars chasing the same number of goods and services, what is going to happen?

Prices are going to rise of course.

And we are seeing this happen all over the world right now.

Thirdly, as the price of oil continues to rise, it is going to increase the cost of everything else.  The era of massive amounts of cheap food being transported around the world using massive quantities of cheap oil is rapidly coming to an end.

The following chart if from the Federal Reserve.  It shows that the price of oil is rapidly moving back to the level it was at prior to the financial crisis of 2008.  In fact, this chart is slightly out of date.  At last check, the price of oil was over $107 a barrel.  So what is it going to mean for our economy if we soon surpass the record that was set back in 2008?….

Fourthly, global instability is also going to cause prices to continue to rise.  Over the past year we have had really bizarre weather all over the globe, we have seen revolutions erupt all over Africa and the Middle East and the third largest economy in the world (Japan) just experienced the worst disaster that they have been through since World War 2 ended.

When things are unstable, economies don’t work as efficiently.  That means that less goods and services are produced.

But when there are less goods and services being chased by an increasing amount of money that tends to push prices up.

The truth is that inflation is here, and if the CEO of Wal-Mart is right, it is not going to go away any time soon.

In fact, many believe that the world is on the verge of another major economic crisis.

If you stop and think about it, every major region of the world is dealing with very serious problems right now.

Right now, the European debt crisis is worse than it ever has been before.  Did you notice that Standard & Poor’s just downgraded Portugal’s debt for the second time in a week?  Now Portuguese debt is rated BBB-, which is only one level above junk status.

That is a very alarming sign.

Asia is dealing with the Japanese crisis, nearly all of the countries in the Middle East are dealing with protests or full-blown revolutions, Africa is dealing with the war in Libya and quite a few revolutions of their own, and the U.S. is still deeply struggling with a whole host of economic problems.

Most Americans don’t realize just how precarious things are at the moment for the global economy.  The financial crash of 2008 did a lot of lasting damage, and the next wave of the financial crisis could potentially be even worse.  Unfortunately, the global financial system is more vulnerable than ever right now.

So what are the Federal Reserve and other central banks going to do the next time a major financial crisis happens?

They are going to print even larger quantities of money and they are going to give even larger bailouts to their friends of course.

The dollars that you have today are never going to be more valuable than they are right now.  Don’t wait too long to use them.  If you have a huge pile of dollars sitting in the bank your wealth is slowly but surely rotting away.

Very hard economic times are coming.  The inflation that the CEO of Wal-Mart is warning about is only the beginning.  Eventually we are going to see inflation in this country that is going to be absolutely mind blowing.

But don’t wait until the storm hits to start preparing.  We all have time now to prepare, so let us be wise and make the most of it.

Will Financial Problems In Portugal Cause The European Debt Crisis To Spiral Out Of Control?

Most Americans have no idea just how bad the financial problems over in Europe are right now.  The truth is that the entire European financial system is teetering on the brink of disaster.  Ireland and Greece have already received bailouts and Portugal, Spain, Italy, France and Belgium are all drowning in an ocean of unsustainable debt.  Sovereign credit ratings all over Europe have being slashed in recent months.  For example, a while back Moody’s Investors Service cut Ireland’s bond rating by five levels.  Up until now Europe has weathered all of this financial instability fairly well, but now huge new financial problems in Portugal threaten to send the European debt crisis spinning out of control.

The Prime Minister of Portugal, Jose Socrates, resigned on Wednesday after the major opposition parties banded together to vote down the austerity measures that he was requesting.  The package of budget cuts and tax increases was intended to get Portugal’s horrible debt crisis under control.  Prior to the vote, the prime minister warned that  he would no longer be able to run the country if the austerity package was not passed.

Now there are all kinds of questions about what is going to happen to Portugal.  At this point most financial authorities in Europe seem to be assuming that Portugal is going to need a bailout.

Today, Standard & Poor’s reduced the credit rating of long-term Portuguese government debt from “A-” to “BBB”.  Standard & Poor’s is also warning that the credit rating may be cut further if negotiations for a bailout do not go well.

Without a bailout, it seems almost certain that Portugal will default.

Interest rates on Portuguese government debt have risen to unsustainable levels.  The yield on 10-year Portuguese bonds hit 7.78% on Friday.  That was the highest it has been since Portugal joined the euro.

Authorities in Portugal are publicly saying that they simply cannot afford to pay that kind of interest.  Unfortunately for them, it appears that Portugal is going to be forced to issue more bonds by June at the very latest.

So how much would a bailout of Portugal cost?

Well, according to one estimate, it would probably be in the neighborhood of 70 billion euros.

That isn’t going to sink Europe.

However, the concern is that the crisis in Portugal could have a domino effect.

There is increasing worry in Europe that Portugal’s neighbor, Spain, could also need a bailout.  But a bailout of Spain would potentially be so large that it would cause a financial nightmare for Europe.

The following is how a recent article in the Wall Street Journal sized up the problem….

Portugal’s admission that it will probably need a financial bailout raises a question that will shape the outcome of the euro zone’s debt crisis: Is Spain next?

The cost of saving Spain, a €1.1 trillion ($1.56 trillion) economy, would dwarf previous bailouts and could test the financial strength of Europe as a whole.

The truth is that the rest of Europe simply does not have the kind of financial muscle necessary to continue putting together huge bailouts indefinitely.  If Spain does go down, it is going to put a massive amount of strain on the rest of the continent.

There are other financial problems simmering in Europe right now as well.

According to a recent Business Insider article, the financial problems in Ireland are also creating a lot of concern at the moment….

Ireland’s banks are likely to need another $39 billion in support, which would use up 80% of its current bailout funds.

Ireland is a financial basket case right about now.  Confidence in Irish debt is rapidly evaporating.  In fact, the yield on 10-year Irish bonds recently hit 10.12%.

Ouch!

But that is nothing compared to what Greece is being forced to pay.

The yield on 10-year Greek bonds recently reached an astounding 12.58%.

There are persistent rumors that Greece is going to need yet another bailout.  The truth is that Germany and the other European nations that are coming up with the cash for these bailouts are just pouring their money into financial black holes.

Nations like Greece and Ireland are just money pits at this point.

As I have written about previously, the financial collapse of Europe has basically become inevitable.  The EU can keep coming up with bailout plan after bailout plan, but they are only putting off the crash for a while.

Eventually a point will come when all of the balls simply cannot be kept up in the air anymore.

So what is going to happen once that point is reached?

Well, many believe that we could actually see the end of the euro and potentially even the break up of the European Union.

Of course top politicians in Europe will fight tooth and nail to keep that from happening, but the truth is that at some point we are going to see some incredibly challenging financial problems in Europe.  How the EU responds to the crisis is going to be extremely interesting to watch.

So many people talk about the death of the U.S. dollar, but the truth is that we could very easily see a financial collapse and a major currency crisis in Europe prior to the collapse of the dollar.  Europe is in really, really bad shape right now.

Of course it doesn’t help that the entire world is so incredibly unstable right now.  The disaster in Japan, the war in Libya, the revolutions across the Middle East and the surging price of oil all threaten to throw the global economy into turmoil.

As I discussed in a previous article, people need to start preparing for economic disaster.  The entire global financial system is coming apart.  The U.S. economy is crumbling, Europe is dealing with an unprecedented debt crisis and Japan has just been struck with the worst economic disaster that it has seen since World War 2.

Most Americans don’t pay much attention to what is going on in Portugal (or in the rest of Europe for that matter), but they should.  The world is more interconnected than ever, and if Europe experiences a financial meltdown it will have dramatic consequences for the United States as well.

The financial crash of 2008 swept the entire globe and virtually every nation on earth was deeply affected.  The next wave of the financial crisis is also going to be felt globally.

We live in one of the most interesting times in the history of the world.

Are you prepared for what is about to happen?

People Of Earth: Prepare For Economic Disaster

It is not just the United States that is headed for an economic collapse.  The truth is that the entire world is heading for a massive economic meltdown and the people of earth need to be warned about the coming economic disaster that is going to sweep the globe.  The current world financial system is based on debt, and there are alarming signs that the gigantic global debt bubble is getting ready to burst.  In addition, global prices for the key resources that the major economies of the planet depend on are rising very rapidly.  Despite all of our advanced technology, the truth is that human civilization simply cannot function without oil and food.  But now the price of oil and the price of food are both increasing dramatically.  So how is the current global economy supposed to keep functioning properly if it soon costs much more to ship products between continents?  How are the billions of people that are just barely surviving today supposed to feed themselves if the price of food goes up another 30 or 40 percent?  For decades, most of the major economies around the globe have been able to take for granted that massive amounts of cheap oil and massive amounts of cheap food will always be there.  So what happens when that paradigm changes?

At last check, the price of U.S. crude was over 104 dollars a barrel and the price of Brent crude was over 115 dollars a barrel.  Many analysts fear that if the crisis in Libya escalates or if the chaos in the Middle East spreads that we could see the all-time record of 147 dollars a barrel broken by the end of the year.  That would be absolutely disastrous for the global economy.

But it isn’t just the chaos in the Middle East that is driving oil prices.  The truth is that oil prices have been moving upwards for months.  The recent revolutions in the Middle East have only accelerated the trend.

Let’s just hope that the “day of rage” being called for in Saudi Arabia later this month does not turn into a full-blown revolution like we have seen in other Middle Eastern countries.  The Saudis keep a pretty tight grip on their people, but at this point anything is possible.  A true revolution in Saudi Arabia would send oil prices into unprecedented territory very quickly.

But even without all of the trouble in the Middle East the world was already heading for an oil crunch.  The global demand for oil is rising at a very vigorous pace.  For example, last year Chinese demand for oil increased by almost 1 million barrels per day.  That is absolutely staggering.  The Chinese are now buying more new cars every year than Americans are, and so Chinese demand for oil is only going to continue to increase.

Much could be done to increase the global supply of oil, but so far our politicians and the major oil company executives are sitting on their hands.  They seem to like the increasing oil prices.

So for now it looks like oil prices will continue to rise and this is going to result in much higher prices at the gas pump.

Already, ABC News is reporting that regular unleaded gasoline is going for $5.29 a gallon at one gas station in Orlando, Florida.

The U.S. economy in particular is vulnerable to rising oil prices because our entire economic system is designed around cheap gasoline.  If the price of gas goes up to 5 or 6 dollars a gallon and it stays there it is going to have a catastrophic effect on the U.S. economy.

Just remember what happened back in 2008.  The price of oil hit an all-time high of $147 a barrel and then a few months later the entire financial system had a major meltdown.

Well, as the price of oil rises it is going to create a whole lot of imbalances in the global financial system once again.

This is definitely a situation that we should all be watching.

But it is not just the price of oil that could cause a global economic disaster.

The global price of food could potentially be even more concerning.  As you read this, there are about 3 billion people around the globe that live on the equivalent of 2 dollars a day or less.  Those people cannot afford for food prices to go up much.

But global food prices are rising.  According to the United Nations, the global price of food has risen for 8 consecutive months.  Last month, the global price of food set a brand new all-time record high.  Many are starting to fear that we could actually be in the early stages of a major global food crisis.

The price of just about every major agricultural commodity has been absolutely soaring during the past year….

*The price of corn has doubled over the last six months.

*The price of wheat has more than doubled over the past year.

*The price of soybeans is up about 50% since last June.

*The price of cotton has more than doubled over the past year.

*The commodity price of orange juice has doubled since 2009.

*The price of sugar is the highest it has been in 30 years.

Unfortunately, the production of food in most countries around the world is very highly dependent on oil, so as oil goes up in price this is going to make the food crisis even worse.

Hold on to your hats folks.

Also, as I have written about previously, the world is facing some very serious problems when it comes to water.  Due to the greed of the global elite, there is not nearly enough fresh water to go around.  The following are some very disturbing facts about the global water situation….

*Worldwide demand for fresh water tripled during the last century, and is now doubling every 21 years.

*According to USAID, one-third of all humans will face severe or chronic water shortages by the year 2025.

*Of the 60 million people added to the world’s cities every year, the vast majority of them live in impoverished slums and shanty-towns with no sanitation facilities whatsoever.

*It is estimated that 75 percent of India’s surface water is now contaminated by human and agricultural waste.

*Not only that, but according to a UN study on sanitation, far more people in India have access to a mobile phone than to a toilet.

*In northern China, the water table is dropping one meter per year due to overpumping.

These days, one of the trendy things to do is to call water “the oil of the 21st century”, but unfortunately that is not a completely inaccurate statement.  Fresh, clean water is something that we all need, but right now world supplies are getting tight.

Our politicians and the global elite could be doing something about this if they really wanted to, but right now they seem perfectly fine with what is happening.

On top of everything else, the sovereign debt crisis is worse than it has ever been before.

All of the major global central banks have been feverishly printing money in an attempt to “paper over” this crisis, but it is not going to work.

Most Americans don’t realize it, but right now the continent of Europe is a financial basket case.  Greece and Ireland would have imploded already if they had not been bailed out, and now Portugal is on the verge of collapse.  The interest rate on Portugal’s 10-year notes has now been above 7% for about 3 weeks, and most analysts believe that it is only a matter of time before they are forced to accept a bailout.

Sadly, if the entire global economy experiences a slowdown because of rising oil prices, we could see half a dozen European nations default on their debts if they are not bailed out.

For now the Germans seem fine with bailing out the weak sisters that are all around them, but that isn’t going to last forever.

A day or reckoning is coming for Europe, and when it arrives the reverberations are going to be felt all across the face of the earth.  The euro is on very shaky ground already, and whether or not it can survive the coming crisis is an open question.

Of course there are some very serious concerns about Asia as well.  The national debt of Japan is now well over 200% of GDP and nobody seems to have a solution for their problems.  Up to this point, Japan has been able to borrow massive amounts of money at extremely low interest rates from their own people, but that isn’t going to last forever either.

As I have written about so many times before, the biggest debt problem of all is the United States.  Barack Obama is projecting that the federal budget deficit for this fiscal year will be a new all-time record 1.65 trillion dollars.  It is expected that the total U.S. national debt will surpass the 15 trillion dollar mark by the end of the fiscal year.

Shouldn’t we have some sort of celebration when that happens?

15 trillion dollars is quite an achievement.

Most Americans cannot even conceive of a debt that large.  If the federal government began right at this moment to repay the U.S. national debt at a rate of one dollar per second, it would take over 440,000 years to pay off the national debt.

But the United States is not alone.  The truth is that wherever you look, there is a sea of red ink covering the planet.

The current global financial system is entirely based on debt.  If the total amount of debt does not continually expand, the system will crash.  If somehow a way was found to keep this system going perpetually (which is impossible), the size of global debt would keep on increasing infinitely.

Now the World Economic Forum says that we need to grow the total amount of debt by another 100 trillion dollars over the next ten years to “support” the anticipated amount of “economic growth” around the world that they expect to see.

The entire global financial system is a gigantic Ponzi scheme.  It is designed to keep everyone enslaved to perpetual debt.  If at some point the debt spiral gets interrupted in some significant way, we are going to witness an economic disaster that is going to make what happened in 2008 look like a Sunday picnic.

The more research that one does on the current global economic situation, the more clear it becomes that we are absolutely doomed.

So people of earth you had better get ready.

An economic disaster is coming.

What Is Wrong With The U.S. Economy? Here Are 10 Economic Charts That Will Blow Your Mind

The 10 economic charts that you are about to see are completely and totally shocking.  If you know anyone that still does not believe that the United States is in the midst of a long-term economic decline, just show them these charts.  Sometimes you can quote economic statistics to people until you are blue in the face and it won’t do any good, but when those same people see charts and pictures suddenly it all sinks in.  What is great about charts is that you can very easily demonstrate what has been happening to the economy over an extended period of time.  As you examine the economic charts below, pay special attention to what has been happening to the U.S. economy over the last 30 or 40 years.  The truth is that what is wrong with the U.S. economy is not a great mystery.  All of the economic problems that we are experiencing now have taken decades to develop.  Hopefully the charts in this article will help people realize just how nightmarish our economic problems have become, because until people start realizing how incredibly bad things have gotten they will never be willing to accept the dramatic solutions that are necessary to fix our financial system.

The sad fact of the matter is that we have been living in the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world over the last 40 years.  All of this debt has purchased a wonderful standard of living for the vast majority of us, but all of this debt has also destroyed the economic future of our children and our grandchildren.  Someday future generations will look back on what we have done in absolute horror.

The 10 economic charts posted below are meant to shock you.  Most Americans today need to be shocked before they will be motivated to take action.  Please share these charts with as many people as you can.  Hopefully we can wake enough people up that something will be done about all of these problems while there is still time.

1 – Government spending is expanding at an exponential rate.  As you can see from the chart below, federal spending is almost 18 times higher than it was back in 1970.  Now Barack Obama has proposed a budget that would increase U.S. government spending to 5.6 trillion dollars in 2021.  Just imagine what the following chart would look like if that happens….

2 – U.S. government debt is absolutely exploding.  The U.S. national debt is currently $14,081,561,324,681.83.  It is more than 14 times larger than it was back in 1980.  Unfortunately, the national debt continues to grow at breathtaking speed.  In fact, the Obama administration is projecting that the federal budget deficit for this year will be an all-time record 1.6 trillion dollars.  Can we afford to continue to accumulate debt at this rate?….

3 – Unless something changes right now, the outlook for U.S. government finances in future years is downright apocalyptic.  The chart posted below is from an official U.S. government report to Congress.  As you can see, it is projected that interest on our exploding national debt is absolutely going to spiral out of control if we continue on the path that we are currently on….

4 – Household debt has soared to almost unbelievable levels over the last 30 years.  The sad truth is that it is not just the U.S. government that has a massive debt problem.  U.S. households have also been accumulating debt at a staggering rate.  Total U.S. household debt did not pass the 2 trillion dollar mark until the mid-1980s, but now total U.S. household debt is well over 13 trillion dollars….

5 – The total of all debt (government, business and consumer) in the United States is now well over 50 trillion dollars.  For the past couple of years this figure has been hovering around a level that is equivalent to approximately 360 percent of GDP.  This is a debt bubble that is absolutely unprecedented in U.S. history….

6 – As tens of thousands of U.S. factories get shut down and as millions of our jobs get shipped overseas, the number of unemployed Americans continues to go up and up and up.  As you can see from the chart below, there has been a long-term trend of increasing unemployment in the United States.  In fact, there are about 3 and a half times as many unemployed workers in the United States today as there were when 1970 began.  These jobs losses are going to continue as long as we allow our corporations to pay slave labor wages to workers on the other side of the globe.  All of the major trends in global trade are very bad for the U.S. middle class.  For example, the U.S. trade deficit with China for 2010 was 27 times larger than it was back in 1990.  How long will our politicians stand by as our nation bleeds jobs?….

7 – The median duration of unemployment in the United States is in unprecedented territory.  For most of the post-World War 2 era, when the median duration of unemployment in America reached 10 weeks that was considered a national crisis.  Well, today competition for jobs is so intense that the median duration of unemployment is now well over 20 weeks….

8 – Since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913, the value of the U.S. dollar has declined by over 95 percent.  One of the reasons given for the existence of the Federal Reserve is that the Fed helps control inflation.  But that is a huge lie.  The truth is that the United States never had consistently rampant inflation until the Federal Reserve took control.  In particular, once the U.S. totally went off the gold standard in the 1970s inflation really started escalating out of control….

9 – Now the Federal Reserve says that the solution to our current economic problems is to print even more money out of thin air.  The games that the Federal Reserve is playing with our money supply are simply inexcusable.  Just look at what the Federal Reserve has done to the monetary base since the beginning of the recession….

10 – All of this new money is creating tremendous inflation.  In particular, the price of oil is now ridiculously high.  A high price for oil is very, very bad for the U.S. economy.  Our entire economic system is based on being able to use massive quantities of very cheap oil.  Unfortunately, that paradigm is starting to break down and the consequences will be very bitter.  Back in mid-2008, the price of oil hit an all-time record of $147 a barrel and subsequently the world financial system imploded a few months later.  Well, the price of oil is on the march again and that is very bad news for the U.S. economy….

Needless to say, if the economic trends documented by the charts above continue the U.S. economy will be totally wiped out.  The U.S. economy as it currently exists is unsustainable by definition.  It is only a matter of time before we slam into an economic brick wall.

We have developed an economy that cannot function without debt, and at this point it seems like almost everyone is drowning in red ink.  The federal government is massively overextended, most of our state and local governments are massively overextended, most of our major corporations are massively overextended and the majority of U.S. consumers are massively overextended.

The only way that the game can continue is for the Federal Reserve to print increasingly larger amounts of paper money out of thin air and for everyone in the economic food chain to go into increasingly larger amounts of debt.

But no debt spiral can go on forever.  At some point this entire house of cards is going to collapse.

When that happens, there is going to be economic pain that is greater than anything that this country has ever seen before.

Someday we will all desperately wish that we could go back to the “good times” of 2011.  A great economic collapse is coming, and all of us had better get ready.

The Economic Collapse