8 Reasons Why The Greek Debt Deal May Not Stop A Chaotic Greek Debt Default

The global financial system is not a game of checkers.  It is a game of chess.  All over the world today, news headlines are proclaiming that this new Greek debt deal has completely eliminated the possibility of a chaotic Greek debt default.  Unfortunately, that is simply not the case.  Rather, the truth is that this new deal actually “sets the table” for a Greek debt default.  When I was studying and working in the legal arena, I learned that sometimes you make an agreement so that you can get the other side to break it.  That may sound very strange to the average person on the street, but this is how the game is played at the highest levels.  It is all about strategy.  And in this case, the new debt deal imposes such strict conditions on Greece that it is almost inevitable that Greece will fail to meet some of them.  When Greece does fail, Germany and the other northern European nations may try to claim that they “did everything that they could” but that Greece just did not “live up to its obligations”.  So does this mean that we will definitely see a chaotic Greek debt default?  No.  What this does mean is that the chess pieces are being moved into position for one.

The following are 8 reasons why the Greek debt deal may not stop a chaotic Greek debt default….

#1 Greece Is Being Set Up To Fail

The terms of this new debt deal impose some incredibly harsh austerity measures on Greece and from now on the Greek government will be subject to “permanent monitoring” by EU officials.

In other words, they will be under a microscope.

Any violation of the terms of the debt deal could be used as a pretext to bring down the hammer and cut off bailout funds.  Potentially, this could even happen just a few weeks from now.

It has become obvious that there are many politicians in Europe that would very much like to kick Greece out of the euro.  In a recent column, the International Business Editor of The Telegraph summed up the situation this way….

It is clear that Berlin, Helsinki, and the Hague have taken the decision to eject Greece from the euro whatever the country now does. Even if Greece complies to the letter with the impossible terms of the EU-IMF Troika, it will not make any difference. A fresh pretext will be found.

#2 The Next Greek Election Could Bring An End To The Bailout Deal Overnight

The next national Greek elections are scheduled for April.  Political parties opposed to the bailout have been surging in recent polls.  It is becoming increasingly likely that the next Greek government will abandon this new deal entirely.

The following is what hedge fund manager Dennis Gartman told CNBC about what is likely to happen after the next elections….

“A new government is going to come to power following elections that shall take place sometime this spring, and if anyone anywhere believes that the next Greek government shall do anything other than abrogate all the agreements made with the ‘troika,’ then we have a bridge we’d like to sell them at a very high price”

With each passing day anger and frustration inside Greece continue to rise, and those that are currently holding power in Greece are becoming very unpopular.

One current member of Greek Parliament recently talked about what he thinks will happen in the aftermath of the next election….

“If we achieve a Left-dominated government, we will politely tell the Troika to leave the country, and we may need to discuss an orderly return to the Drachma”

#3 This Bailout Deal Is Going To Make Economic Conditions In Greece Even Worse

In a previous article, I listed some of the new austerity measures that are being imposed on Greece by this new agreement….

The EU and the IMF are demanding that Greece fire 15,000 more government workers immediately and a total of 150,000 government workers by 2015.

The EU and the IMF are demanding that wages for government workers be cut by another 20 percent.

The EU and the IMF are demanding that the minimum wage be slashed by more than 20 percent.

The EU and the IMF are also demanding significant reductions in unemployment benefits and pension benefits.

The austerity measures that have already been implemented over the past few years have already pushed Greece into an economic depression.

These new austerity measures will deepen that depression.

At the moment, the Greek national debt is sitting at about 160 percent of GDP.

We are being told that these new austerity measures will reduce that ratio to 120 percent by 2020, but already there are many in the financial world that are calling such a goal “comical“.

Even with this new deal, the Greek national debt is still completely and total unsustainable.  A “confidential report” produced by analysts from the European Central Bank, the European Commission, and the International Monetary Fund says the following about what this new debt deal is likely to accomplish….

There are notable risks. Given the high prospective level and share of senior debt, the prospects for Greece to be able to return to the market in the years following the end of the new program are uncertain and require more analysis. Prolonged financial support on appropriate terms by the official sector may be necessary. Moreover, there is a fundamental tension between the program objectives of reducing debt and improving competitiveness, in that the internal devaluation needed to restore Greece competitiveness will inevitably lead to a higher debt to GDP ratio in the near term. In this context, a scenario of particular concern involves internal devaluation through deeper recession (due to continued delays with structural reforms and with fiscal policy and privatization implementation). This would result in a much higher debt trajectory, leaving debt as high as 160 percent of GDP in 2020. Given the risks, the Greek program may thus remain accident-prone, with questions about sustainability hanging over it.

The GDP of Greece fell by 6.8 percent during 2011.

2012 was already expected to be even worse, and all of these new austerity measures certainly are not going to help things.

And every time the Greek economy contracts that makes a chaotic debt default even more likely.

#4 The Greek Parliament Must Still Vote On This Bailout Deal

It is anticipated that the Greek Parliament will vote on this new agreement on Wednesday.

It is expected to pass.

But when it comes to Greece these days, there are no guarantees.

#5 The Greek Constitution Must Still Be Modified

Under the terms of this new agreement, Greece is being required to change its constitution.

The following is how an article in The Economist describes this requirement….

Over the next two months Greece has promised to adopt legislation “ensuring that priority is granted to debt-servicing payments”, with a view to enshrining this in the constitution “as soon as possible”. These arrangements may not amount to the budget  “commissar” once threatened by some creditors, but the effect may be pretty much the same.

So will this actually get done?

We will see.

Forcing a sovereign country to modify its constitution is a very serious thing.  If I was a Greek citizen, I would be highly insulted by this.

#6 Several European Parliaments Still Need To Approve This Deal

The German Parliament still must approve this new agreement.  This is also the case for the Netherlands and Finland as well.

Many politicians in all three nations have been highly critical of the Greek bailouts.

It is expected that all of these parliaments will approve this deal, but you just never know.

#7 Private Investors Still Have To Agree To This New Deal

Private investors are being asked to take a massive “haircut” on Greek debt.  The following is how the size of the “haircut” was described by a USA Today article….

Banks, pension funds and other private investors are being asked to forgive some €107 billion ($142 billion) of the total €206 billion ($273 billion) in devalued Greek government bonds they hold.

There is absolutely no guarantee that a solid majority of private investors will agree to this.

In the end, probably the only thing that is guaranteed is that litigation regarding this “haircut” is likely to stretch on for many years to come.

#8 The Global Financial Community Still Expects Greece To Default

Almost all of the analysts that were projecting a chaotic Greek debt default are still projecting one today.  Yes, many of them believe that “the can has been kicked down the road” for a few months, but most of them are still convinced that a default by Greece is inevitable.

The following comes from a Bloomberg article that was released after the Greek debt deal was announced….

“The danger of Greece saving itself into economic depression and having to default and exit the common currency zone remains substantial,” said Christian Schulz, an economist at Berenberg Bank in London. Jennifer McKeown of Capital Economics Ltd. repeated her forecast that Greece will quit the euro by the end of the year.

The odds that this agreement will survive for very long are not great.

It will be nearly impossible for Greece to meet all of the conditions being imposed upon it by this new deal.  All of the politicians in northern Europe that are just itching to cut off aid to Greece will soon have the excuse that they need for doing so.

And the Greek people could decide to bring all of this to an end very quickly.  If they elect a new government in April that does not support this bailout agreement, the game will be over.

So don’t be fooled by all the headlines.

A chaotic Greek debt default has not been averted.

The truth is that a chaotic Greek debt default is now closer than ever.

Why Is Global Shipping Slowing Down So Dramatically?

If the global economy is not heading for a recession, then why is global shipping slowing down so dramatically?  Many economists believe that measures of global shipping such as the Baltic Dry Index are leading economic indicators.  In other words, they change before the overall economic picture changes.  For example, back in early 2008 the Baltic Dry Index began falling dramatically.  There were those that warned that such a rapid decline in the Baltic Dry Index meant that a significant recession was coming, and it turned out that they were right.  Well, the Baltic Dry Index is falling very rapidly once again.  In fact, on February 3rd the Baltic Dry Index reached a low that had not been seen since August 1986.  Some economists say that there are unique reasons for this (there are too many ships, etc.), but when you add this to all of the other indicators that Europe is heading into a recession, a very frightening picture emerges.  We appear to be staring a global economic slowdown right in the face, and we all need to start getting prepared for that.

If you don’t read about economics much, you might not know what the Baltic Dry Index actually is.

Investopedia defines the Baltic Dry Index this way….

A shipping and trade index created by the London-based Baltic Exchange that measures changes in the cost to transport raw materials such as metals, grains and fossil fuels by sea.

When the global economy is booming, the demand for shipping tends to go up.  When the global economy is slowing down, the demand for shipping tends to decline.

And right now, global shipping is slowing way, way down.

In fact, recently there have been reports of negative shipping rates.

According to a recent Bloomberg article, one company recently booked a ship at the ridiculous rate of negative $2,000 a day….

Glencore International Plc paid nothing to hire a dry-bulk ship with the vessel’s operator paying $2,000 a day of the trader’s fuel costs after freight rates plunged to all-time lows.

Glencore chartered the vessel, operated by Global Maritime Investments Ltd., a Cyprus-based company with offices in London, Steve Rodley, GMI’s U.K. managing director, said by phone today. The daily payments last the first 60 days of the charter, Rodley said. The vessel will haul a cargo of grains to Europe, putting the carrier in a better position for its next shipment, he said.

So why would anyone agree to ship goods at negative rates?

Well, it beats the alternative.

This was explained in a recent Fox Business article….

“They’re doing this because you can’t just have ships sitting. If they sit too long, then that’s hard on the ships. They have to keep them loaded and moving from port to port,” said Darin Newsom, senior commodities analyst at DTN.

If the owner of a ship can get someone to at least pay for part of the fuel and the journey will get the ship closer to its next destination, then that is better than having the ship just sit there.

But just a few short years ago (before the last recession) negative shipping rates would have been unthinkable.

Asian shipping is really slowing down as well.  The following comes from a recent article in the Telegraph….

Shanghai shipping volumes contracted sharply in January as Europe’s debt crisis curbed demand for Asian goods, stoking fresh doubts about the strength of the Chinese economy.

Container traffic through the Port of Shanghai in January fell by more than a million tons from a year earlier.

So this is something we are seeing all over the globe.

Another indicator that is troubling economists right now is petroleum usage.  It turns out that petroleum usage is really starting to slow down as well.

The following is an excerpt from a recent article posted on Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis….

As I have been telling you recently, there is some unprecedented data coming out in petroleum distillates, and they slap me in the face and tell me we have some very bad economic trends going on, totally out of line with such things as the hopium market – I mean stock market.

This past week I actually had to reformat my graphs as the drop off peak exceeded my bottom number for reporting off peak – a drop of ALMOST 4,000,000 BARRELS PER DAY off the peak usage in our past for this week of the year.

I would encourage you to go check out the charts that were posted in that article.  You can find them right here.  Often a picture is worth a thousand words, and those charts are quite frightening.

Over the past few days, I have been trying to make the point that nothing got fixed after the financial crisis of 2008 and that an even bigger crisis is on the way.

Yes, the stock market is flying high right now.

Yes, even “Dr. Doom” Nouriel Roubini is convinced that the stock market will go even higher.

But this rally will not last that much longer.

Wherever you look, global economic activity is slowing down.  The UK economy and the German economy both actually shrank a bit in the fourth quarter of 2011.  About half of all global trade involves Europe in one form or another.  As Europe slows down, it is going to affect the entire planet.

Many thought that the German economy was so strong that it would not be significantly affected by the problems the rest of Europe is having, but that is turning out not to be the case.

In a new article by CBS News entitled “German economic slowdown worse than expected?“, we are told that industrial production in Germany is declining even more than anticipated….

German industrial production fell 2.9 percent in December from the month before, according to official data released Tuesday, suggesting the country’s economic slowdown could be worse than expected.

So don’t believe all the recent hype about an “economic recovery”.  Europe is heading into a recession, Asia is slowing down and the U.S. will not be immune.

Despite what you hear from the mainstream media, the truth is that the U.S. economy is not improving and incredibly tough times are ahead.

Thankfully, those of us that are aware of what is happening can make preparations for the economic storm that is coming.

Others will not be so fortunate.

47 Signs That China Is Absolutely Destroying America On The Global Economic Stage

Have you ever watched a football game or a basketball game where one team dominates the other team so badly that calling it a “blowout” would be a huge understatement?  Well, that is what China is doing to the United States.  China is absolutely destroying America on the global economic stage.  Once upon a time, the Chinese economy was a joke and the U.S. economy was the most powerful the world had ever seen.  But over the past couple of decades the U.S. economy has decayed and declined while the Chinese economy has skyrocketed.  Today, China makes more steel, more automobiles, more beer, more cotton, more coal and more solar panels than we do.  China has the fastest train in the world, the fastest computer in the world and they export twice as much high-tech equipment as we do.  In 2011, our trade deficit with China was the largest trade deficit that one nation has had with another nation in the history of the world, and China has now accumulated more than 3 trillion dollars in foreign currency reserves.  Every single day, we lose more jobs, more businesses and more of our national wealth to China.  In technical economic terms, China has “taken us out behind the woodshed” and has beaten the living daylights out of us.  Unfortunately, most Americans are so addicted to entertainment that they don’t even realize what is happening.

If you do not believe that China is wiping the floor with America in front of the rest of the world, just keep reading.  The following are 47 signs that China is absolutely destroying America on the global economic stage….

#1 Back in 1998, the United States had 25 percent of the world’s high-tech export market and China had just 10 percent. Today, China’s high-tech exports are more than twice the size of U.S. high-tech exports.

#2 America has lost more than a quarter of all of its high-tech manufacturing jobs over the past ten years.

#3 The Chinese economy has grown 7 times faster than the U.S. economy has over the past decade.

#4 In 2010, China produced more than twice as many automobiles as the United States did.

#5 In 2010, China produced 627 million metric tons of steel.  The United States only produced 80 million metric tons of steel.

#6 In 2010, China produced 7.3 million metric tons of cotton.  The United States only produced 3.4 million metric tons of cotton.

#7 China produced 19.8 percent of all the goods consumed in the world during 2010.  The United States only produced 19.4 percent.

#8 During 2010, we spent $365 billion on goods and services from China while they only spent $92 billion on goods and services from us.

#9 In 1985, the U.S. trade deficit with China was 6 million dollars for the entire year.  The final U.S. trade deficit with China for 2011 will be very close to 300 billion dollars.  That will be the largest trade deficit that one nation has had with another nation in the history of the world.

#10 The U.S. trade deficit with China is now 28 times larger than it was back in 1990.

#11 Since China entered the WTO in 2001, the U.S. trade deficit with China has grown by an average of 18% per year.

#12 According to the New York Times, a Jeep Grand Cherokee that costs $27,490 in the United States costs about $85,000 in China.

#13 According to the Economic Policy Institute, America is losing half a million jobs to China every single year.

#14 The United States has lost a staggering 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000.

#15 The United States had been the leading consumer of energy on the globe for about 100 years, but during the summer of 2010 China took over the number one spot.

#16 15 years ago, China was 14th in the world in published scientific research articles.  But now, China is expected to pass the United States and become number one very shortly.

#17 China is also expected to soon become the global leader in patent filings.

#18 In 2009, the United States ranked dead last of the 40 nations examined by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation when it came to “change” in “global innovation-based competitiveness” over the previous ten years.

#19 China now awards more doctoral degrees in engineering each year than the United States does.

#20 China now possesses the fastest supercomputer on the entire planet.

#21 China now has the world’s fastest train and the world’s most extensive high-speed rail network.

#22 The construction of the new $200 million African Union headquarters was funded by China.

#23 Today, China produces nearly twice as much beer as the United States does.

#24 85 percent of all artificial Christmas trees are made in China.

#25 Amazingly, China now consumes 53 percent of the world’s cement.

#26 There are more pigs in China than in the next 43 pork producing nations combined.

#27 China is now the number one producer of wind and solar power on the entire globe.

#28 Chinese solar panel production was about 50 times larger in 2010 than it was in 2005.

#29 Right now, China is producing more than three times as much coal as the United States does.

#30 China controls over 90 percent of the total global supply of rare earth elements.

#31 China is now the number one supplier of components that are critical to the operation of U.S. defense systems.

#32 According to author Clyde Prestowitz, China’s number one export to the U.S. is computer equipment.  According to an article in U.S. News & World Report, during 2010 the number one U.S. export to China was “scrap and trash”.

#33 The United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs a month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

#34 Back in the year 2000, more than 20 percent of all jobs in America were manufacturing jobs.  Today, only about 5 percent of all jobs in America are manufacturing jobs.

#35 Between December 2000 and December 2010, 38 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Ohio were lost, 42 percent of the manufacturing jobs in North Carolina were lost and 48 percent of the manufacturing jobs in Michigan were lost.

#36 The average household debt load in the United States is 136% of average household income.  In China, the average household debt load is 17% of average household income.

#37 The new World Trade Center tower is going to be made with imported glass from China.

#38 The new MLK memorial on the National Mall was made in China.

#39 A Washington Post/ABC News poll conducted a while back found that 61 percent of all Americans consider China to be a threat to our jobs and economic security.

#40 According to U.S. Representative Betty Sutton, an average of 23 manufacturing facilities a day closed down in the United States during 2010.

#41 Overall, more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States have shut down since 2001.

#42 According to Professor Alan Blinder of Princeton University, 40 million more U.S. jobs could be sent out of the country over the next two decades.

#43 Over the past several decades, China has been able to accumulate approximately 3 trillion dollars in foreign currency reserves, and the U.S. government now owes China close to 1.5 trillion dollars.

#44 According to the IMF, China will pass the United States and will become the largest economy in the world in 2016.

#45 According to one prominent economist, the Chinese economy already has roughly the same amount of purchasing power as the U.S. economy does.

#46 According to Stanford University economics professor Ed Lazear, if the U.S. economy and the Chinese economy continue to grow at current rates, the average Chinese citizen will be wealthier than the average American citizen in just 30 years.

#47 Nobel economist Robert W. Fogel of the University of Chicago is projecting that the Chinese economy will be three times larger than the U.S. economy by the year 2040 if current trends continue.

If the global economy was a game, America would be losing very badly and China would have all the momentum.

Unfortunately, the global economy is not a game.  Very real businesses and very real jobs are affected by this every single day.

Barack Obama keeps talking about how “the economy is improving“, but the reality is that we have never even gotten close to where we were back before the financial crisis of 2008.

The following chart (which I pulled off a Fed website today) shows the average duration of unemployment in America.  Does this look like an economic recovery to you?….

The Obama administration tells us that the official unemployment rate is only 8.5 percent, but that is a joke.  Even the Congressional Budget Office admits that the official unemployment rate should actually be somewhere up around 10 percent.

But the real story is the number of long-term unemployed workers we have in America today.

According to the Hamilton Project, approximately 53 percent of all unemployed workers in the state of Florida were out of work for more than six months during 2011.

But Barack Obama seems absolutely amazed that there are still so many unemployed people out there during his “economic recovery”.   Just check out the following interaction that took place between Obama and one concerned wife during a recent appearance by Obama on Google+….

“Can I ask you what kind of engineer your husband is?,” Obama said to the wife of the unemployed engineer.

“He’s a semiconductor engineer,” she responded.

“It is interesting to me — and I meant what I said if your send me your husband’s resume, I’d be interested in finding out exactly what’s happening right there because the word that we’re getting is that somebody in that type of high-tech field, that kind of engineer, should be able to find something right away.”

Obama does not realize that it is not so simple to “find something right away” in this economy.

We have been shipping high-tech jobs overseas at a blistering pace.  The jobs simply are not there anymore.

In Europe, unemployment is even worse.  Just check out this chart which shows what has been happening to youth unemployment in Europe recently.

In both the United States and Europe, a great disconnect has taken place.  Just because big corporations in the U.S. and in Europe are doing well, that does not mean that they are going to provide good jobs for workers in the U.S. and in Europe.

These days, it is way too easy for big corporations to ship jobs over to places like China where it is perfectly legal to pay workers slave labor wages.

So unless something changes, that means that from now on there will be chronic structural unemployment problems in the United States.

That also means that the number of Americans dependent on the government is going to continue to increase.

And unfortunately, there are signs that the economy is about to experience another downturn.  Consumer confidence in the U.S. is falling once again.  The Baltic Dry Index, which is often used as a measure of the health of the world economy, has fallen more than 60 percent since October.

Perhaps most importantly of all, Europe is heading into a recession and several European nations are already experiencing depression-like conditions.

Considering the fact that half of all global trade involves Europe in some manner, that is not a good thing for us.

So if you have a job right now, you might want to hold on to it tightly.  Jobs are precious commodities at the moment, and they are going to become even more scarce in the years ahead.

22 Signs That We Are On The Verge Of A Devastating Global Recession

2012 is shaping up to be a very tough year for the global economy.  All over the world there are signs that economic activity is significantly slowing down.  Many of these signs are detailed later on in this article.  But most people don’t understand what is happening because they don’t put all of the pieces together.  If you just look at one or two pieces of data, it may not seem that impressive.  But when you examine all of the pieces of evidence that we are on the verge of a devastating global recession all at once, it paints a very frightening picture.  Asia is slowing down, Europe is slowing down and there are lots of trouble signs for the U.S. economy.  It has gotten to a point where the global debt crisis is almost ready to boil over, and nobody is quite sure what is going to happen next.  The last global recession was absolutely nightmarish, and we should all hope that we don’t see another one like that any time soon.  Unfortunately, things do not look good at this point.

The following are 22 signs that we are on the verge of a devastating global recession….

#1 On Thursday it was announced that U.S. jobless claims had soared to a six-week high.

#2 Hostess Brands, the maker of Twinkies and Wonder Bread, has filed for bankruptcy protection.

#3 Sears recently announced that somewhere between 100 and 120 Sears and Kmart stores will be closing, and Sears stock has fallen nearly 60% in just the past year.

#4 Over the past 12 months, dozens of prominent retailers have closed stores all over America, and one consulting firm is projecting that there will be more than 5,000 more store closings in 2012.

#5 Richard Bove, an analyst at Rochdale Securities, is projecting that the global financial industry will lose approximately 150,000 jobs over the next 12 to 18 months.

#6 Investors are pulling money out of the stock market at a rapid pace right now.  In fact, as an article posted on CNBC recently noted, investors pulled more money out of mutual funds than they put into mutual funds for 9 weeks in a row.  Are there some people out there that are quietly repositioning their money for tough times ahead?….

Investors yanked money out of U.S. equity mutual funds for a ninth-consecutive week despite a bullish 2012 outlook from Wall Street and a December rally that’s carried over into the New Year.

#7 There are signs that the Chinese economy is seriously slowing down.  The following comes from a recent article in the Guardian….

Growth had slowed to an annual rate of 1.5% in the second and third quarters of 2011, below the “stall speed” that historically led to recession.

#8 The Bank of Japan says that the economic recovery in that country “has paused“.

#9 Manufacturing activity in the euro zone has fallen for five months in a row.

#10 Germany’s economy actually contracted during the 4th quarter of 2011.  At this point many economists believe that Germany is already experiencing a recession.

#11 According to a recent article by Bloomberg, it is being projected that the French economy is heading into a recession….

The French economy will shrink this quarter and next, suggesting the nation is in a recession as investment and consumer spending stagnate, national statistics office Insee said.

#12 There are a multitude of statistics that indicate that the UK economy is definitely slowing down.

#13 The credit ratings of Italy, Spain, Portugal, France and Austria all just got downgraded.

#14 It is being reported that the Spanish economy contracted during the 4th quarter of 2011.

#15 Bad loans in Spain recently hit a 17-year high and the unemployment rate is at a 15-year high.

#16 According to a recent article in the Telegraph, the Italian government is forecasting that there will be a recession for the Italian economy in 2012….

The Italian government predicts GDP will contract 0.4pc next year, but many economists fear the figure is optimistic.

“We can say without mincing words that we have already slipped into recession,” said Intesa Sanpaolo analyst Paolo Mameli. “We expect GDP to keep contracting for the next 3-4 quarters.”

#17 Italy’s youth unemployment rate has hit the highest level ever.

#18 The unemployment rate in Greece for those under the age of 24 is now at 39 percent.

#19 Greece is already experiencing a full-blown economic depression.  About a third of the country is now living in poverty and extreme medicine shortages are being reported.  Things have gotten so bad that entire families are being ripped apart.  According to the Daily Mail, hundreds of Greek children are being abandoned because the economy has gotten so bad that their parents simply cannot afford to take care of them anymore.  The note that one mother left with her child was absolutely heartbreaking….

One mother, it said, ran away after handing over her two-year-old daughter Natasha.

Four-year-old Anna was found by a teacher clutching a note that read: ‘I will not be coming to pick up Anna today because I cannot afford to look after her. Please take good care of her. Sorry.’

#20 In Greece, large numbers of people are simply giving up on life.  Sadly, the number of suicides in Greece has increased by 40 percent in just the past year.

#21 In many European countries, the money supply continues to contract rapidly.  The following comes from a recent article in the Telegraph….

Simon Ward from Henderson Global Investors said “narrow” M1 money – which includes cash and overnight deposits, and signals short-term spending plans – shows an alarming split between North and South.

While real M1 deposits are still holding up in the German bloc, the rate of fall over the last six months (annualised) has been 20.7pc in Greece, 16.3pc in Portugal, 11.8pc in Ireland, and 8.1pc in Spain, and 6.7pc in Italy. The pace of decline in Italy has been accelerating, partly due to capital flight. “This rate of contraction is greater than in early 2008 and implies an even deeper recession, both for Italy and the whole periphery,” said Mr Ward.

#22 The major industrialized nations of the world must roll over trillions upon trillions of dollars in debt during 2012.  At a time when credit is becoming much tighter, this is going to be quite a challenge.  The following list compiled by Bloomberg shows the amount of debt that some large nations must roll over in 2012….

Japan: 3,000 billion
U.S.: 2,783 billion
Italy: 428 billion
France: 367 billion
Germany: 285 billion
Canada: 221 billion
Brazil: 169 billion
U.K.: 165 billion
China: 121 billion
India: 57 billion
Russia: 13 billion

Keep in mind that those numbers do not include any new borrowing.  Those are just old debts that must be refinanced.

As I mentioned at the top of this article, things do not look good.

The last thing that we need is another devastating global recession.

As I wrote about yesterday, the U.S. economy is in the midst of a nightmarish long-term decline.  The last major global recession helped to significantly accelerate that decline.

So what will happen if this next global recession is worse than the last one?

Sadly, the people that will get hurt the most by another recession will not be the wealthy.

The people that will get hurt the most will be the poor and the middle class.

So what should all of us be doing about this?

We should use the time during this “calm before the storm” to prepare for the hard times that are coming.

As always, let us hope for the best and let us prepare for the worst.

But things certainly do not look promising for the global economy in 2012.

17 Quotes About The Coming Global Financial Collapse That Will Make Your Hair Stand Up

Is the world on the verge of another massive global financial collapse?  Yes.  The western world is drowning in an ocean of debt unlike anything the world has ever seen before, and our financial markets are gigantic casinos that are dependent on huge mountains of risk and leverage remaining very stable.  In the end, this house of cards that has been built on a foundation of sand is going to come crashing down in a horrifying manner.  Usually in this column I go on and on about why things will soon get much worse.  But today I am going to take a bit of a break.  Today, I am going to let some of the top financial professionals in the world tell you why things will soon get much worse.  Many of the quotes that you are about to read just might make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.  Most people out there have no idea what is about to happen.  Most people out there are working hard and are busy preparing for the holidays and they are hopeful that the economy will turn around soon.  But that is not going to happen.  We are heading for another major global financial collapse, and when it happens the U.S. economy is going to get even worse.

The epicenter for the coming global financial collapse is almost certainly going to be in Europe.  As you will see below, financial professionals all over the world are sounding the alarm about Europe.  It is a disaster that everyone can see coming but that nobody seems to be able to prevent.

Of course the failure of the “supercommittee” in the United States certainly is not helping matters.  There is already talk that we may soon see another downgrade for U.S. debt.  It is hard to even describe how incompetent the U.S. Congress is.

There is a tremendous lack of leadership both in the United States and in Europe right now.  The financial world is more interconnected than ever before, and when the financial dominoes start to fall it is going to take a miracle to keep a complete and total disaster from unfolding.

So when the time comes, who is going to step forward and provide that leadership?

That is a really, really good question.

Right now, panic and fear are spreading like wildfire in the financial world and nobody knows for sure what is going to happen next.

But one thing is for certain.  Pessimism is growing stronger by the day.

The following are 17 quotes about the coming global financial collapse that will make your hair stand up….

#1 Credit Suisse’s Fixed Income Research unit: “We seem to have entered the last days of the euro as we currently know it. That doesn’t make a break-up very likely, but it does mean some extraordinary things will almost certainly need to happen – probably by mid-January – to prevent the progressive closure of all the euro zone sovereign bond markets, potentially accompanied by escalating runs on even the strongest banks.”

#2 Willem Buiter, chief economist at Citigroup: “Time is running out fast.  I think we have maybe a few months — it could be weeks, it could be days — before there is a material risk of a fundamentally unnecessary default by a country like Spain or Italy which would be a financial catastrophe dragging the European banking system and North America with it.”

#3 Jim Reid of Deutsche Bank: “If you don’t think Merkel’s tone will change then our investment advice is to dig a hole in the ground and hide.”

#4 David Rosenberg, a senior economist at Gluskin Sheff in Toronto: “Lenders are finding it difficult to finance their day-to-day operations with short-term funding. This is a lot like 2008 but with more twists.”

#5 Christian Stracke, the head of credit research for Pimco: “This is just a repeat of what we saw in 2008, when everyone wanted to see toxic assets off the banks’ balance sheets”

#6 Paul Krugman of the New York Times: “At this point I’d guess soaring rates on Italian debt leading to a gigantic bank run, both because of solvency fears about Italian banks given a default and because of fear that Italy will end up leaving the euro. This then leads to emergency bank closing, and once that happens, a decision to drop the euro and install the new lira. Next stop, France.”

#7 Paul Hickey of Bespoke Investment Group: “More and more, we are hearing anecdotal comments from individual and professionals that this is the most difficult environment they have ever experienced as the market is like a fish flopping around after being taken out of the water.”

#8 Bob Janjuah of Nomura International: “Germany appears to be adamant that full political and fiscal integration over the next decade (nothing substantive will happen over the short term, in my view) is the only option, and ECB monetisation is no longer possible. I really think it is that clear and simple. And if I am wrong, and the ECB does a U-turn and agrees to unlimited monetisation, I will simply wait for the inevitable knee-jerk rally to fade before reloading my short risk positions. Even if Germany and the ECB somehow agree to unlimited monetisation I believe it will do nothing to fix the insolvency and lack of growth in the eurozone. It will just result in a major destruction of the ECB‟s balance sheet which will force an ECB recap. At that point, I think Germany and its northern partners would walk away. Markets always want short, sharp, simple solutions.”

#9 Dan Akerson, CEO of General Motors: “The ’08 recession, which was a credit bubble that manifested itself through primarily the real estate market, that was a serious stress….This is much more serious.”

#10 Francesco Garzarelli of Goldman Sachs: “Pressures on Euro area sovereign bond markets have progressively intensified and spread like a wildfire.”

#11 Jim Rogers: “In 2002 it was bad, in 2008 it was worse and 2012 or 2013 is going to be worse still – be careful”

#12 Dr. Pippa Malmgren, the President and founder of Principalis Asset Management who once worked in the White House as an adviser to President Bush: “Market forces are increasingly determining what the options are and foreclosing on options policymakers thought they had. One option which is now under discussion involves permitting a country to temporarily leave the Euro, return to its native currency, devalue, commit to returning to the Euro at a better debt to GDP ratio, a better exchange rate and a better growth trajectory and yet not sacrifice its EU membership. I would like to say for the record that this is precisely the thought process that I expected to evolve,but when I proposed this possibility back in 2009, and again in September 2010, I had a 100% response from clients and others that this was “impossible” and many felt it was “ridiculous”. They may be right but this is the current state of the discussion. The Handelsblatt in Germany has reported this conversation, but wrongly assumes that the country that will exit is Germany. I think that Germany will have to exit if the Southern European states do not. Germany’s preference is to stay in the Euro and have the others drop out. The problem has been the Germans could not convince the others to walk away. But, now, market pressures are forcing someone to leave. Germany is pushing for that someone to be Italy. They hope that this would be a one off exception, not to be repeated by any other country. Obviously, though, if Italy leaves the Euro and reverts to Lira then the markets will immediately and forcefully attack Spain, Portugal and even whatever is left  of the already savaged Greeks. These countries will not be able to compete against a devalued Greece or Italy when it come to tourism or even infrastructure. But, the principal target will be France. The three largest French banks have roughly 450 billion Euros of exposure to Italian debt. So, further sovereign defaults are certainly inevitable, but that is true under any scenario. Growth and austerity will not do the trick, as ZeroHedge rightly points out. Ultimately, I will not be at all surprised to see Europe’s banking system shut for days while the losses and payments issues are worked out. People forget that the term “bank holiday” was invented in the 1930’s when the banks were shut for exactly the same reason.”

#13 Daniel Clifton, a policy strategist with Strategas Research Partners on the potential for more downgrades of U.S. debt: “We would expect further downgrades, a first downgrade from Moody’s and Fitch and possibly a second downgrade from S&P.”

#14 Warren Buffett on the problems in the eurozone: “The system as presently designed has revealed a major flaw. And that flaw won’t be corrected just by words. Europe will either have to come closer together or there will have to be some other rearrangement because this system is not working”

#15 David Kostin, equity strategist for Goldman Sachs: “The wide range of possible outcomes on both the super committee process and the unstable political economy in Europe drives our view that investors should assume the worst while hoping for the best.”

#16 Mark Mobius, the head of the emerging markets desk at Templeton Asset Management: “There is definitely going to be another financial crisis around the corner”

#17 Gerald Celente, founder of The Trends Research Institute: “The whole system is going down. Pull your money out your Fidelity account, your Scwhab accout, and your ETFs.”

Are you starting to get the picture?

When so many top financial professionals are freaking out like this, perhaps the rest of us should start paying attention.

They are telling us that “time is running out”.

They are telling us that “there is definitely going to be another financial crisis”.

They are telling us that this “is going to be worse” than 2008.

They are telling us that “the whole system is going down”.

Yes, a devastating financial collapse really is coming.  Just like in 2008, it will seem like the “end of the world” while it is happening, but it won’t be.  It will severely damage our financial system and our economy, but it will not finish us off.

Think of it this way.  When you build a sand castle at the beach, it doesn’t get totally wiped out by the first wave or the second wave that hits it.  Each wave does significant damage, but the destruction of your sand castle is a process.

It is the same thing with the U.S. economy.  We once had the most incredible economic machine that the world has ever seen.  It is constantly being gutted and the financial crisis of 2008 hit us really hard, but we are still doing okay.

After this next financial crisis we will be in even worse shape.  But we will still be breathing.

More “waves” will come after this next financial crisis.  If we continue on the road that we are on, our economy will progressively get worse and worse.

Not everyone will agree with this analysis, and that is okay.  In the end, time will reveal the truth to all of us.

Right now, we all need to get ready for the next wave that is about to hit us.  A lot of people are going to lose their jobs over the next few years.  Hopefully you are prepared for that.

25 Signs That A Horrific Global Water Crisis Is Coming

Every single day, we are getting closer to a horrific global water crisis.  This world was blessed with an awesome amount of fresh water, but because of our foolishness it is rapidly disappearing.  Rivers, lakes and major underground aquifers all over the globe are drying up, and many of the fresh water sources that we still have available are so incredibly polluted that we simply cannot use them anymore.  Without fresh water, we simply cannot function.  Just imagine what would happen if the water got cut off in your house and you were not able to go out and buy any.  Just think about it.  How long would you be able to last?  Well, as sources of fresh water all over the globe dry up, we are seeing drought conditions spread.  We are starting to see massive “dust storms” in areas where we have never seem them before.  Every single year, most of the major deserts around the world are getting bigger and the amount of usable agricultural land in most areas is becoming smaller.  Whether you are aware of this or not, the truth is that we are rapidly approaching a breaking point.

If dramatic changes are not made soon, in the years ahead water shortages are going to force large groups of people to move to new areas.  As the global water crisis intensifies, there will be political conflicts and potentially even wars over water.  We like to think of ourselves as being so “advanced”, but the reality is that we have not figured out how to live without water.  When the water dries up in an area, most of the people are going to have to leave.

And yes, it will even happen in the United States too.  For example, once Lake Mead dries up there is simply no way that so many people are going to be able to live in and around Las Vegas.

Right now, most of us take for granted that we will always have access to an unlimited amount of clean water.

But when you take a hard look at the data, it quickly becomes clear that everything that we have always taken for granted about water is about to dramatically change.

That following are 25 signs that a horrific global water crisis is coming.  The first 12 facts are about the United States, and the last 13 are about the rest of the world….

#1 Today, the United States uses approximately 148 trillion gallons of fresh water a year.

#2 According to the U.S. government, 36 U.S. states are already facing water shortages or will be facing water shortages within the next few years.

#3 Since 1998, the level of water in Lake Mead has plunged by more than 50 percent.  Lake Mead supplies about 85 percent of the water used in Las Vegas, and at this point the lake has 5.6 trillion gallons less water than it used to have.  Lake Mead is falling so fast that some believe that the Hoover dam could actually stop producing electricity in a few years.  Needless to say, that would be a total disaster for that entire region of the country.  In addition, if things continue at the current pace, it is being estimated that Lake Mead will run completely dry some time around the year 2021.

#4 According to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. interior west is now the driest that it has been in 500 years.

#5 The Ogallala Aquifer, which is a massive underground lake that stretches from South Dakota all the way to Texas, is rapidly drying up.  The Ogallala Aquifer is believed to be the largest body of fresh water in the world, and right now it is being drained at a rate of approximately 800 gallons per minute.  Right now it covers approximately 174,000 square miles, and since the 1950s we have drained enough water from it “to half-fill Lake Erie“.  Once upon a time, the Ogallala Aquifer had an average depth of about 240 feet, but today the average depth is just 80 feet.  If something is not done, we will definitely see a return of the Dust Bowl days of the 1930s.  We need to start listening to the experts.  Just consider what David Brauer of the Ogallala Research Service had to say when asked about the future of the Ogallala Aquifer….

“Our goal now is to engineer a soft landing. That’s all we can do.”

#6 A federal judge has ruled that the state of Georgia has very few legal rights to Lake Lanier.  Lake Lanier is the main water source for the city of Atlanta.  Millions more people are expected to move into the Atlanta area in the coming years, and this is creating an absolute nightmare for city officials.

#7 It is estimated that California only has a 20 year supply of fresh water left.

#8 It is estimated that New Mexico only has a 10 year supply of fresh water left.

#9 Things have gotten so dry in Arizona that now giant “dust storms” have been blowing through the city of Phoenix.

#10 Texas is has experienced one of the driest stretches that it has ever seen.  Right now, approximately 81 percent of the state of Texas is experiencing “exceptional drought” conditions, and wildfires have burned an astounding 3.6 million acres in the state.

#11 Approximately 40 percent of all U.S. rivers  and approximately 46 percent of all U.S. lakes have become so polluted that they are are now considered to be too dangerous to fish in, swim in or get drinking water from.

#12 Eight states in the Great Lakes region have signed a pact banning the export of water to outsiders – even to other U.S. states.

#13 It is being projected that by the year 2030, global demand for water will be 40 percent higher than it is today.

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

#15 According to USAID, one-third of the population of the earth will be facing severe or chronic water shortages by the year 2025.

#16 Of the 60 million people added to the world’s cities every year, the vast majority of them live in impoverished areas that have no sanitation facilities whatsoever.

#17 It is estimated that 75 percent of the surface water in India is now contaminated by human and agricultural waste.

#18 If you can believe it, according to a UN study on sanitation, far more people in India have access to a cell phone than to a toilet.

#19 In the developing world, 90 percent of all wastewater is discharged completely untreated into local rivers, streams or lakes.

#20 Every 8 seconds, somewhere in the world a child dies from drinking dirty water.

#21 Due to a lack of water, Saudi Arabia has given up on trying to grow wheat and will be 100 percent dependent on wheat imports by the year 2016.

#22 In northern China, the water table is dropping one meter every single year because of drought and overpumping.

#23 Incredibly, a new desert the size of Rhode Island is created in China every single year because of drought and overpumping.

#24 In China, 80 percent of all major rivers have become so horribly polluted that they do not support any aquatic life at all at this point.

#25 Collectively, the women of South Africa walk the equivalent of the distance to the moon and back 16 times a day just to get water.

To learn more about the coming global water crisis, check out the short video posted below….

Right now, more than a billion people around the globe do not have access to safe drinking water.

That number is going to keep increasing.

Without enough fresh water, people cannot grow enough food.  Global food prices are already starting to skyrocket, and the coming global water crisis certainly is not going to help matters.

A massive, massive disaster is on the horizon.  The era of gigantic amounts of cheap food and “unlimited” amounts of clean water is over.

A horrific global water crisis is coming.

You better get ready.

The Economic Collapse