The United States Has Become A Banana Republic

If we continue destroying the U.S. dollar at our current pace, toilet paper will eventually be more valuable than U.S. dollars.  I know that sounds absolutely crazy, but it is true.  Once the COVID pandemic hit the United States, those that control the levers of power in this country decided to go “full Weimar” and they never looked back.  As a result, the size of our money supply is rising at a rate that would have been unimaginable just a few short years ago.  To illustrate what I am talking about, I would like for you to check out this chart that was posted on Twitter by James Turk.  As you can see, M1 was up by more than 50 percent in 2020.

We’ve never had a year like that in all of U.S. history.  What we are doing is literally insane, but most Americans aren’t even aware of what is happening because the mainstream media isn’t talking about it.

If you are not familiar with “M1”, here is a definition that comes from Investopedia

M1 is the money supply that is composed of physical currency and coin, demand deposits, travelers’ checks, other checkable deposits, and negotiable order of withdrawal (NOW) accounts. M1 includes the most liquid portions of the money supply because it contains currency and assets that either are or can be quickly converted to cash. However, “near money” and “near, near money,” which fall under M2 and M3, cannot be converted to currency as quickly.

When new money enters the system, every dollar that you are currently holding becomes less valuable.

And if your paycheck does not rise at the same rate that the money supply is rising, that means that your paycheck becomes less valuable as well.

It is helpful to think of our money system as a pie.  When more dollars are added to the pie, your share of the pie steadily becomes smaller.

So who does benefit when the pie is expanded?

The ultra-wealthy do, and I will discuss that more below.

But first, I wanted to share another chart with you.  The first chart from James Turk showed how M1 has been rising on a percentage basis, and this next chart which comes directly from the Federal Reserve shows how M1 has been rising on an absolute basis…

Just look at that for a moment.

It truly is breathtaking.  M1 has literally been rising at almost a vertical rate, and it makes all of the inflation that has come before look almost meaningless.

This is why the stock market keeps hitting record high after record high.  Stocks started to crash when COVID first started to spread in the United States, and the Federal Reserve decided to do whatever was necessary to rescue the markets.  The “unprecedented” response that we witnessed ended up being “a key driver of billionaire wealth” in 2020…

A key driver of billionaire wealth concentration was the unprecedented monetary policy response to stabilize financial markets in the early days of the pandemic, which spurred the stock market’s gravity-defying rise. When Wall Street was on the verge of panic in March, the Federal Reserve intervened with the promise of low rates and an open-ended liquidity spigot.

In addition, Congress just kept passing “stimulus package” after “stimulus package” in a desperate attempt to “rescue” the economy.

But in the process they borrowed and spent trillions of dollars that we did not have, and that also helped to fuel our transition into hyperinflation.

The good news is that hyperinflation is not showing up at the grocery store or at Walmart yet.  Eventually it will happen, but so far consumer prices are just rising at a pace that is quite a bit brisker than usual.  Where we are seeing hyperinflation is in stock prices, high end real estate in rural and suburban areas, and in other areas of the economy that the ultra-wealthy have been pouring their money into.

Despite the fact that we just endured one of the worst economic years in U.S. history, 2020 was actually a banner year for billionaires

Between roughly mid-March and Dec. 22, the United States gained 56 new billionaires, according to the Institute for Policy Studies, bringing the total to 659. The wealth held by that small cadre of Americans has jumped by more than $1 trillion in the months since the pandemic began.

According to a December report issued jointly by Americans for Tax Fairness and the Institute for Policy Studies using data compiled by Forbes, America’s billionaires hold roughly $4 trillion in wealth — a figure roughly double what the 165 million poorest Americans are collectively worth. The 10 richest billionaires have a combined net worth of more than $1 trillion.

Last year the rich got a whole lot richer, and the poor got a whole lot poorer.

As I discussed the other day, 2020 was a “personal financial disaster” for 55 percent of all Americans.  The year ended with close to 20 million Americans still receiving government unemployment benefits, and poverty and homelessness have been exploding all around us.

In some cases, people were waiting in lines that were up to 12 hours long just to get a couple of bags of groceries at food banks around the nation.  We haven’t seen anything like this since the Great Depression of the 1930s, and many are expecting things to get even worse in 2021.

And with each passing day, more businesses are closing and more Americans are being laid off.

The retail sector has been hit particularly hard.  The following comes from Axios

Malls are going belly up. Familiar names like J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus and J. Crew have filed for bankruptcy. Increasingly, Americans’ shopping choices will boil down to a handful of internet Everything Stores and survival-of-the-fittest national chains.

And what we have experienced so far is just the tip of the iceberg.  One recent report projected that “100,000 brick-and-mortar U.S. retail stores will close by 2025”

A research report from UBS predicts that 100,000 brick-and-mortar U.S. retail stores will close by 2025, in a trend that started before the pandemic and has accelerated amid coronavirus-related shutdowns.

Our national landscape is already littered with abandoned stores and restaurants, and they are telling us that it is only going to get worse.

What is our country going to look like as this process plays out?

Of course our authorities will just respond to every new crisis by printing even more money.

That is what they did down in Venezuela, and now just about everyone in Venezuela is a millionaire.

But most of those “millionaires” are living in crushing poverty because the money is absolutely worthless.

Sadly, many other countries are doing the same thing that the U.S. is doing, and so this hyperinflationary spiral is not likely to end any time soon.

But let there be no doubt that we are also in a global economic depression.  Global GDP is about 8 percent lower than it was before the pandemic started, and the outlook for 2021 does not look promising at all.

If you think that there is a way for this economic story to end well, just go back and look at the M1 chart from the Federal Reserve one more time.

Every other time this has been tried in human history, the story has ended badly.

Our story is going to end badly too, and every American needs to get prepared to survive in a very painful hyperinflationary environment.

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

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

We’re On A Highway To Hyperinflation

Well, here we go again.  The U.S. House of Representatives just passed a $900 billion stimulus package, and we are being promised that it will provide a real “boost” to the economy.  Of course we were told the exact same thing about all of the other “stimulus packages” that have been passed since the beginning of the pandemic.  Most importantly to many Americans, $600 stimulus payments will soon be sent out directly to the American people.  If you are married and have three kids, you will get a total of $3,000, because each member of your family is counted equally for this round of stimulus payments.

But it won’t just be U.S. citizens that will be receiving free money.  According to Michelle Hackman of the Wall Street Journal, families of illegal immigrants will now be eligible as well…

Family members of unauthorized immigrants are now eligible to get stimulus checks under the $900 billion deal reached last night. That eligibility is retroactive, so adults excluded last time could get up to $1800 now

In addition, there is a tremendous amount of pork in the spending package that the House just authorized.  The following comes from Zero Hedge

And now, on to the pork… which includes billions to foreign countries, US military weapons purchases which go above and beyond their budgets, $40 million for the Kennedy Center, and nearly $200 million so that federal HIV/AIDS workers overseas can buy cars and car insurance, among other things.

Not surprisingly, the bill passed the House by a vote of 359 to 53.

I would like to applaud the 53 members of the House that tried to stand up and do the right thing, because this bill should have never been passed.

It is being reported that the bill was 5,593 pages long, and our representatives were only given a few hours to read it

Several members of Congress are taking to social media to complain about the handful of hours they have to read the 5,593-page spending bill.

Early Monday afternoon, the behemoth piece of legislation was uploaded, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi scheduled a vote for the evening.

It is going to take weeks before we learn all of the insidious things that were snuck into this bill, because that is how long it is going to take for ordinary citizens to read it.

As for members of Congress, I doubt that any of them will ever end up reading the entire thing.

Our system of government is so broken, but most of the population doesn’t seem to care.

And most Americans also don’t seem to care that all of this ridiculous spending is literally destroying the bright future that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have.

You see, the truth is that we don’t have 900 billion dollars to spend on a stimulus package.

Instead, the federal government will have to borrow 900 billion new dollars that the Federal Reserve creates out of thin air.

Needless to say, injecting 900 billion more dollars into the economy is going to be yet another massive shock for the money supply.  Even without this new stimulus package, M2 has been rising at an exponential rate since the start of the pandemic due to all of the previous stimulus packages that Congress approved and all of the “quantitative easing” that the Federal Reserve has been doing.

Prior to 2020, we had “inflation”, but now we have definitely entered a “hyperinflationary” phase.

In the short-term, $600 payments will help ease the economic suffering of tens of millions of Americans.

But in the long run, we are going down the exact same path that Venezuela, Zimbabwe and the Weimar Republic went down.

As I have explained to my regular readers repeatedly, just about everyone in Venezuela is a millionaire today, but just about everyone is also living in poverty because their money is almost absolutely worthless.

Unfortunately, most Americans are not interested in discussing the inflationary impact that all of this reckless spending is having.  Instead, social media is full of angry comments about how these $600 stimulus payments are not nearly large enough.

Just check out what some of the people on Twitter are saying…

Eli Yudin: Members of Congress got paid $130,000 to spend 9 months arguing about whether we deserve $600

Robert ReichPeople are starving and the GOP has the nerve to hand over a one-time $600 check, as the Pentagon spends $2 billion a day. The cruelty is staggering.

VeBeeYou and I : $600 … No thank you! Sudan : $700,000,000…HELL NO !

@BlessUSA45Leader of both party’s celebrating while laughing their asses off at us because they actually believe we are delighted to get our 600 dollar check from them.

@marie32318459: “i am very proud of this deal, because we came together, BI partisan” this is unacceptable. 9 MONTHS, getting paycheck after paycheck with American tax dollars and then come up with this “spit-in-the face” 600$ and they actually congratulating each other on this?
#eattherich

Allegedly Legendary: @SpeakerPelosi Americans need monthly cash assistance for all, #Med4All and a real plan to get people back to work. Not a $600 dollar one-time check. You’ve given tax cuts in the billions and bailouts but don’t help the American people. #StimulusChecksOrStrike

This is one of the big problems that happens once you start cruising down the road to socialism.

People always want more.

And actually Joe Biden is promising much more “stimulus” once he gets into the White House.

Giving people free money is a fast way to win votes, but it is also going to destroy the value of our currency.

If M2 continues to rise at an exponential rate, what do you think that is going to do to the cost of living in this country?

We all know the answer to that question, and if our paychecks do not keep pace that means that our standard of living will be going way down.

I have been warning that our financial system is headed for an epic meltdown, and now it is starting to become a reality right in front of our eyes.

Throughout human history, once currency devaluation reaches an exponential phase things always have ended badly.

And now it is our turn.

We’re on a highway to hyperinflation, and our maniacal free spending politicians are behind the wheel.

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

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

We Are Being Told To Prepare “To See High Prices At Grocery Stores” And “It’s Likely That Shortages May Only Get Worse”

If you have been to a grocery store lately, then you already know that prices are higher than usual and that there are shortages of certain items.  Many Americans have been assuming that as COVID-19 restrictions are slowly rolled back that these shortages will eventually disappear, but now even the Washington Post is admitting that “shortages may get worse” in the weeks and months ahead.  Of course there will still be plenty of food available in the grocery stores, but you may have to do without some of your favorite products for a while.  And you should also brace yourself for significantly higher prices for many of the products that do remain available.  As WBTV has noted, this will especially be true for basic meat staples such as ground beef and chicken…

Americans looking to get outside this holiday weekend, maybe fire up the grill, should be prepared to see high prices at grocery stores, especially cookout staples like ground beef and chicken.

The meat at the store is a little bit more expensive because of plants that are shutting down and causing a logjam in the food supply chain.

All over the country, COVID-19 is playing havoc with food distribution systems, and nobody has been hit harder than meat processing facilities.  The virus has spread like wildfire in such facilities, and this has resulted in many of them being forced to shut down for an extended period of time.

With less supply and roughly the same level of demand, meat prices have escalated quite a bit in recent weeks.  In fact, in April we witnessed the largest spike in food prices in 46 years

Prices Americans paid for eggs, meat, cereal and milk shot higher in April as people flocked to grocery stores to stock up on food amid government lockdowns designed to slow the spread of Covid-19.

The Labor Department reported Tuesday that prices U.S. consumers paid for groceries jumped 2.6% in April, the largest one-month pop since February 1974. The spike in supermarket prices was broad based and impacted items from broccoli and ham to oatmeal and tuna.

Of course there have also been whispers that some funny business has been taking place among the meatpacking giants, and federal officials are now investigating allegations of price fixing

Federal prosecutors are looking into allegations that the meatpacking industry is coordinating or manipulating prices, a person familiar with the investigation told FOX News.

The Department of Justice investigation has been going on for “months,” the source said.

Prosecutors are specifically scrutinizing the four largest meatpackers in the U.S., which control more than 80 percent of the market: JBS, National Beef, Tyson Foods and Cargill.

But no matter how that investigation unfolds, we should expect higher prices to continue, because the industry simply cannot produce as much meat as usual with so many facilities shut down right now.

And with each passing day, we learn of more workers that have become infected.  In fact, 570 workers at a single Tyson Foods plant in North Carolina just tested positive for the virus

Meat processing plants across the country are struggling with outbreaks of the coronavirus. That includes the Tyson Foods chicken processing facility in Wilkes County, N.C.

More than 2,200 workers were tested at the Wilkesboro plant, and 570 were positive for the coronavirus.

With so many meat processing facilities all over the nation currently idle, many farmers simply do not have anyone to sell to right now, and this has pushed many of them to the brink of financial ruin.

For example, it is exceedingly expensive to raise chickens on a massive scale, but with so many plants closed down North Carolina farmers are now being forced “to euthanize 1.5 million chickens”

Coronavirus outbreaks at meat processing plants are forcing North Carolina farmers to euthanize 1.5 million chickens, according to a state official.

Assistant Agriculture Commissioner Joe Reardon told The News & Observer that this is the first time during the pandemic that North Carolina farmers have had to euthanize their animals. Roughly a third of the 1.5 million chickens already had been killed, Reardon said.

Similar scenarios are playing out all over the U.S., and this is truly a tremendous tragedy.

Unlike some other areas around the globe right now, we would actually have plenty of meat if the farmers could get their animals through the supply chain.

Unfortunately, fear of COVID-19 has thrown the supply chain into a state of chaos, and that is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.  In fact, the mainstream media is now warning us “that shortages may only get worse”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated at least 5,000 workers were infected by the end of April, though advocates have suggested there could be more than 17,000. And with plants already slow to respond to outbreaks and some still partially closed, it’s likely that shortages may only get worse.

The good news is that eventually this pandemic will subside, and when that happens it is likely that the supply chain will start to revert back to normal once again.

But if fear of COVID-19 can cause this much chaos for our food distribution systems, what will happen once a much more severe crisis hits us?

When things really start going crazy in this country, basic supplies will disappear from the stores very rapidly, and the government is not going to be bringing baskets of food to your door.

In the end, you will be on your own.

And in the short-term, you should expect food prices to continue to rise.  The federal government has been borrowing and spending trillions of dollars that we do not have during this pandemic, and the Federal Reserve has cranked up the money creation machine to absolutely absurd levels.  What this means is that the value of our currency is rapidly being devalued, and eventually we will see very painful inflation.

I know that food prices seem really high right now, but they are only going to go up from here.

So stock up on what you can while you have this window of opportunity to do so, because this window of opportunity will not last indefinitely.

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

A Taste Of What Is Coming – Food Prices Just Increased By The Most That We Have Seen Since 1974

Get ready to pay much more for groceries.  I have been warning that the flood of new money that the Federal Reserve and Congress have been pumping into the system would have very serious consequences, and I have also been warning that food prices would be shooting higher.  When things start getting really crazy, demand for food and other basic essentials goes way up, and meanwhile this pandemic has significantly disrupted production of certain products.  So even though most of the economy is currently still in a deflationary phase, food prices are beginning to spike.  In fact, the U.S. Labor Department says that we just witnessed the largest one month increase since February 1974

The Labor Department reported Tuesday that prices U.S. consumers paid for groceries jumped 2.6% in April, the largest one-month pop since February 1974. The spike in supermarket prices was broad based and impacted items from broccoli and ham to oatmeal and tuna.

The price of the meats, poultry, fish and eggs category rose 4.3%, fruits and vegetables climbed 1.5%, cereals and bakery products advanced 2.9%, and dairy goods gained 1.5%.

Sadly, this is just the beginning.

Prior to this pandemic, Americans spent about 10 percent of their incomes on food.

As this new economic depression deepens, expect that number to eventually more than double.

We live at a time when global food supplies are becoming increasing stressed for a variety of reasons.  In wealthy countries this is going to force food prices aggressively higher, and in poor countries this is going to mean that a lot of people simply will not have enough to eat.

Already, we are seeing some crazy prices for certain items here in the United States.  King Arthur Flour is very popular these days, and because supplies have become so tight a single bag is now selling for more than 26 dollars on eBay…

Five-pound bags of King Arthur Flour have been so hard to score that they were selling this week on eBay for $26.49, five times the store price.

If you planned on stocking up on flour, hopefully you did it ahead of time.

Many out there are suggesting that the best thing that we can do during an economic environment such as this is to keep showering the American people with more government checks.

In fact, Democrats in Congress have just introduced a new bill that would borrow and spend an additional three trillion dollars that we don’t currently have

State and local governments would share nearly $1 trillion in federal aid to cover their coronavirus-related costs and families would get another round of direct payments under a stimulus bill House Democrats unveiled Tuesday.

The more than $3 trillion Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, or HEROES Act, also would expand unemployment assistance, boost food stamps, increase emergency grants to small businesses trying to weather the COVID-19 pandemic that has slammed the economy and upended daily life in the U.S.

Without a doubt, millions upon millions of Americans are deeply hurting right now.  Just about everyone has been thrilled to receive the first round of “stimulus checks”, and certainly very few people would complain if another round was sent out.

But if sending everyone a thousand dollars is good, wouldn’t sending everyone a million dollars be even better?

Needless to say, throwing giant piles of money around recklessly is not a good idea, because it destroys the value of our currency.

Venezuela tried that, and at this point almost everyone in the country is a millionaire

What if I told you that in the socialist paradise of Venezuela, everyone’s a millionaire?

The Bolivarian Revolution has raised the minimum wage over 50 times throughout the past 20 years. As of May 2020, it’s been set at 400,000 bolivars, plus a 400,000 socialist food ticket bonus, bringing it to an astounding total of 800,000 bolivars per month.

But even though there are so many “millionaires” running around, almost everyone in Venezuela is living in deep poverty because the money has become virtually worthless.

Do we really want to become just like Venezuela?

Because that is the path that we are currently on.

Every time a new dollar is created, every existing dollar that you currently hold declines in value.

And every time a new dollar is created, the value of your paycheck goes down if your employer doesn’t give you a raise to match the increase in the money supply.

But the mainstream media continues to be enamored by the Federal Reserve’s ability to “solve our problems” by creating trillions of dollars out of thin air.  Just consider the following quote from a recent USA Today article

It works like magic. With a few strokes on a computer, the Federal Reserve can create dollars out of nothing, virtually “printing” money and injecting it into the commercial banking system, much like an electronic deposit. By the end of the year, the Fed is projected to have purchased $3.5 trillion in government securities with these newly created dollars, one of many tools it is using to help prop up the ailing economy during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Oxford Economics.

“It works like magic”?

You can probably imagine how I responded when I first read that.

They make it sound like some sort of Disney production, but in reality what the Federal Reserve is doing is slowly but surely turning us into the Weimar Republic.

Unfortunately, the mainstream media will continue to cheer the Fed on as they steadily kill the U.S. dollar, but none of us will be cheering when a loaf of bread costs 5 dollars and a gallon of milk costs 10 dollars.

A torrent of newly created money is not going to fix our economy.  What we really need is for the American people to be allowed to go back to work, but quite a few states are indicating that some restrictions may not be lifted until August or later.

And even if all of the restrictions were lifted immediately, fear of COVID-19 is going to keep many Americans from resuming normal activities for the foreseeable future

Most Americans say they would be uncomfortable returning to their regular routines today, even as they are increasingly leaving their homes to visit others, according to a new CNN Poll conducted by SSRS.

The 58% who say they are not comfortable returning to their routines today is similar to the 60% who said last month that they would be uncomfortable doing so if guidelines on social distancing expired on April 30. On the other side, 41% say they would be comfortable resuming their regular routines now.

What all of this means is that we are going to be dealing with an economic depression for a long time to come, and every new crisis that erupts during this period of time is just going to intensify our problems.

For a long time, I warned that an economic collapse was coming, but I don’t have to do that anymore because the economic collapse is here.

Now the value of our currency is being absolutely destroyed by our authorities as they respond to this economic collapse, and that is going to have very serious implications for our future.

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

The Real Economic Numbers: 21.5 Percent Unemployment, 10 Percent Inflation And Negative Economic Growth

Every time the mainstream media touts some “wonderful new economic numbers” I just want to cringe.  Yes, it is true that the economic numbers have gotten slightly better since Donald Trump entered the White House, but the rosy economic picture that the mainstream media is constantly painting for all of us is completely absurd.  As you are about to see, if honest numbers were being used all of our major economic numbers would be absolutely terrible.  Of course we can hope for a major economic turnaround for America under Donald Trump, but we certainly are not there yet.  Economist John Williams of shadowstats.com has been tracking what our key economic numbers would look like if honest numbers were being used for many years, and he has gained a sterling reputation for being accurate.  And according to him, it looks like the U.S. economy has been in a recession and/or depression for a very long time.

Let’s start by talking about unemployment.  We are being told that the unemployment rate in the United States is currently “3.8 percent”, which would be the lowest that it has been “in nearly 50 years”.

To support this claim, the mainstream media endlessly runs articles declaring how wonderful everything is.  For example, the following is from a recent New York Times article entitled “We Ran Out of Words to Describe How Good the Jobs Numbers Are”

The real question in analyzing the May jobs numbers released Friday is whether there are enough synonyms for “good” in an online thesaurus to describe them adequately.

So, for example, “splendid” and “excellent” fit the bill. Those are the kinds of terms that are appropriate when the United States economy adds 223,000 jobs in a month, despite being nine years into an expansion, and when the unemployment rate falls to 3.8 percent, a new 18-year low.

Doesn’t that sound great?

It would be great, if the numbers that they were using were honest.

The truth, of course, is that the percentage of the population that is employed has barely budged since the depths of the last recession.  According to John Williams, if honest numbers were being used the unemployment rate would actually be 21.5 percent today.

So what is the reason for the gaping disparity?

As I have explained repeatedly, the government has simply been moving people from the “officially unemployed” category to the “not in the labor force” category for many, many years.

If we use the government’s own numbers, there are nearly 102 million working age Americans that do not have a job right now.  That is higher than it was at any point during the last recession.

We are being conned.  I have a friend down in south Idaho that is a highly trained software engineer that has been out of work for two years.

If the unemployment rate is really “3.8 percent”, why can’t he find a decent job?

By the way, if you live in the Boise area and you know of an opening for a quality software engineer, please let me know and I will get the information to him.

Next, let’s talk about inflation.

According to Williams, the way inflation has been calculated in this country has been repeatedly changed over the decades

Williams argues that U.S. statistical agencies overestimate GDP data by underestimating the inflation deflator they use in the calculation.

Manipulating the inflation rate, Williams argues in Public Comment on Inflation Measurement , also enables the US government to pay out pensioners less than they were promised, by fudging cost of living adjustments.

This manipulation has ironically taken place quite openly over decades, as successive Republican and Democratic administrations made “improvements” in the way they calculated the data.

If inflation was still calculated the way that it was in 1990, the inflation rate would be 6 percent today instead of about 3 percent.

And if inflation was still calculated the way that it was in 1980, the inflation rate would be about 10 percent today.

Doesn’t that “feel” more accurate to you?  We have all seen how prices for housing, food and health care have soared in recent years.  After examining what has happened in your own life, do you believe that the official inflation rates of “2 percent” and “3 percent” that we have been given in recent years are anywhere near accurate?

Because inflation is massively understated, that has a tremendous effect on our GDP numbers as well.

If accurate inflation numbers were being used, we would still be in a recession right now.

In fact, John Williams insists that we would still be in a recession that started back in 2004.

And without a doubt, a whole host of other more independent indicators point in that direction too.  The following comes from an excellent piece by Peter Diekmeyer

Williams’ findings, while controversial, corroborate a variety of other data points. Median wage gains have been stagnant for decades. The U.S. labour force participation rate remains at multi-decade lows. Even our own light-hearted Big Mac deflator suggests that the U.S. economy is in a depression.

Another clue is to evaluate the U.S. economy just as economists would a third world nation whose data they don’t trust. They do this by resorting to figures that are hard to fudge.

There, too, by a variety of measures—ranging from petroleum consumption to consumer goods production to the Cass Freight Index—the U.S. economy appears to have not grown much, if at all, since the turn of the millennium.

In the end, all that any of us really need to do is to just open our eyes and look at what is happening all around us.  We are on pace for the worst year for retail store closings in American history, and this “retail apocalypse” is hitting rural areas harder than anywhere else

This city’s Target store is gone.

So is Kmart, MC Sports, JCPenney, Vanity and soon Herberger’s, a department store.

“The mall is pretty sad,” says Amanda Cain, a teacher and mother. “Once Herberger’s closes, we’ll have no anchors.”

About two-thirds of Ottumwa’s Quincy Place Mall will be empty with Herberger’s loss.

Of course it isn’t just the U.S. economy that is troubled either.

We are living in the terminal phase of the greatest debt bubble in global history, many nations around the globe are already experiencing a very deep economic downturn, and our planet is literally in the process of dying.

So please don’t believe the hype.

Yes, we definitely hope that things will get better, but the truth is that things have not been “good” for the U.S. economy for a very, very long time.

Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Tobacco and smoking products

-Price increase: 90.4%

2. Margarine

-Price increase: 63.6%

3. Uncooked ground beef

-Price increase: 46.3%

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

5. Prescription drugs
-Price increase: 43.5%

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

7. Bread
-Price increase: 38.9%

8. Snacks
-Price increase: 38.4%

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

10. Apples
-Price increase: 36.6%

11. Frankfurters
-Price increase: 35.8%

12. Canned vegetables
-Price increase: 35.3%

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

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

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

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

17. Fresh whole chicken
-Price increase: 32.5%

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

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

20. Canned fruits
-Price increase: 32.0%

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A 31 percent decline in a single year is catastrophic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We Are Being Set Up For Higher Interest Rates, A Major Recession And A Giant Stock Market Crash

bear-market-bull-market-public-domainSince Donald Trump’s victory on election night we have seen the worst bond crash in 15 years.  Global bond investors have seen trillions of dollars of wealth wiped out since November 8th, and analysts are warning of another tough week ahead.  The general consensus in the investing community is that a Trump administration will mean much higher inflation, and as a result investors are already starting to demand higher interest rates.  Unfortunately for all of us, history has shown that higher interest rates always cause an economic slowdown.  And this makes perfect sense, because economic activity naturally slows down when it becomes more expensive to borrow money.  The Obama administration had already set up the next president for a major recession anyway, but now this bond crash threatens to bring it on sooner rather than later.

For those that are not familiar with the bond market, when yields go up bond prices go down.  And when bond prices go down, that is bad news for economic growth.

So we generally don’t want yields to go up.

Unfortunately, yields have been absolutely soaring over the past couple of weeks, and the yield on 10 year Treasury notes has now jumped “one full percentage point since July”

The 10-year Treasury yield jumped to 2.36% in late trading on Friday, the highest since December 2015, up 66 basis point since the election, and up one full percentage point since July!

The 10-year yield is at a critical juncture. In terms of reality, the first thing that might happen is a rate increase by the Fed in December, after a year of flip-flopping. A slew of post-election pronouncements by Fed heads – including Yellen’s “relatively soon” – have pushed the odds of a rate hike to 98%.

As I noted the other day, so many things in our financial system are tied to yields on U.S. Treasury notes.  Just look at what is happening to mortgages.  As Wolf Richter has noted, the average rate on 30 year mortgages is shooting into the stratosphere…

The carnage in bonds has consequences. The average interest rate of the a conforming 30-year fixed mortgage as of Friday was quoted at 4.125% for top credit scores. That’s up about 0.5 percentage point from just before the election, according to Mortgage News Daily. It put the month “on a short list of 4 worst months in more than a decade.”

If mortgage rates continue to shoot higher, there will be another housing crash.

Rates on auto loans, credit cards and student loans will also be affected.  Throughout our economic system it will become much more costly to borrow money, and that will inevitably slow the overall economy down.

Why bond investors are so on edge these days is because of statements such as this one from Steve Bannon

In a nascent administration that seems, at best, random in its beliefs, Bannon can seem to be not just a focused voice, but almost a messianic one:

“Like [Andrew] Jackson’s populism, we’re going to build an entirely new political movement,” he says. “It’s everything related to jobs. The conservatives are going to go crazy. I’m the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. With negative interest rates throughout the world, it’s the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything. Ship yards, iron works, get them all jacked up. We’re just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks. It will be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution — conservatives, plus populists, in an economic nationalist movement.”

Steve Bannon is going to be one of the most influential voices in the new Trump administration, and he is absolutely determined to get this “trillion dollar infrastructure plan” through Congress.

And that is going to mean a lot more borrowing and a lot more spending for a government that is already on pace to add 2.4 trillion dollars to the national debt this fiscal year.

Sadly, all of this comes at a time when the U.S. economy is already starting to show significant signs of slowing down.  It is being projected that we will see a sixth straight decline in year-over-year earnings for the S&P 500, and industrial production has now contracted for 14 months in a row.

The truth is that the economy has been barely treading water for quite some time now, and it isn’t going to take much to push us over the edge.  The following comes from Lance Roberts

With an economy running at below 2%, consumers already heavily indebted, wage growth weak for the bulk of American’s, there is not a lot of wiggle room for policy mistakes.

Combine weak economics with higher interest rates, which negatively impacts consumption, and a stronger dollar, which weighs on exports, and you have a real potential of a recession occurring sooner rather than later.

Yes, the stock market soared immediately following Trump’s election, but it wasn’t because economic conditions actually improved.

If you look at history, a stock market crash almost always follows a major bond crash.  So if bond prices keep declining rapidly that is going to be a very ominous sign for stock traders.

And history has also shown us that no bull market can survive a major recession.  If the economy suffers a major downturn early in the Trump administration, it is inevitable that stock prices will follow.

The waning days of the Obama administration have set us up perfectly for higher interest rates, a major recession and a giant stock market crash.

Of course any problems that occur after January 20th, 2017 will be blamed on Trump, but the truth is that Obama will be far more responsible for what happens than Trump will be.

Right now so many people have been lulled into a sense of complacency because Donald Trump won the election.

That is an enormous mistake.

A shaking has already begun in the financial world, and this shaking could easily become an avalanche.

Now is not a time to party.  Rather, it is time to batten down the hatches and to prepare for very rough seas ahead.

All of the things that so many experts warned were coming may have been delayed slightly, but without a doubt they are still on the way.

So get prepared while you still can, because time is running out.