The Number Of Billionaires In America Has Absolutely Exploded During The Pandemic

For the wealthy and the ultra-wealthy, happy days are here again.  Even though we have just been through one of the most difficult 12 months in our history, the number of billionaires has increased dramatically during this pandemic.  That seems rather odd, but there is no denying that the rich have gotten even richer during this crisis.  In fact, Forbes revealed this week that the number of billionaires has risen by about 30 percent over the past year…

The number of newly minted and reissued billionaires soared last year, Forbes reported Tuesday in its annual ranking, a staggering accumulation of personal wealth that stands in sharp contrast with the widespread economic struggles unleashed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The number of billionaires on Forbes’ 35th annual ranking swelled by 660 to 2,755 — a roughly 30 percent jump from a year ago — and 493 of them are first-timers. Seven of eight are richer than they were before the pandemic. Forbes calculates net worth by using stock prices and exchange rates from March 5.

Of course thanks to the reckless policies of our leaders, a billion dollars does not go nearly as far as it once did.

But still, a billion dollars is a whole lot of money.

Needless to say, the biggest reason why the number of billionaires has exploded is because we have been witnessing one of the greatest stock market rallies in history.

A year ago, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was sitting at about 23,000.

Today, it is above 33,000, and some analysts expect it to shoot quite a bit higher throughout the rest of 2021.

Stock prices have never been more detached from economic reality as they have been over the past 12 months, and they have only risen so high because of unprecedented intervention by the Federal Reserve and because of extremely wild spending by the federal government.

Many have warned that the party will inevitably come to a crashing end at some point, but it hasn’t happened yet.

So for now, the market optimists look like champions.

And now that Joe Biden is in the White House, the corporate media is telling us that we are on the verge of a grand new era of American prosperity.  The corporate media insists that the pandemic will soon be behind us thanks to the vaccines, and the talking heads on television envision a return to the good old days very quickly.

In fact, Barron’s is already declaring that the “U.S. economy might be stronger than it’s ever been”.

And CNN is trying to convince us that “America’s economy could be heading for a golden era of growth”.

Really?

If the U.S. economy is actually improving, then why are new claims for unemployment benefits going up?

The number of Americans filing first-time unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week, according to the Labor Department.

Data released Thursday showed 744,000 Americans filed first-time jobless claims in the week ended April 3. Analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting 680,000 filings. The previous week’s total was revised higher by 9,000 to 728,000.

If economic conditions were getting better, that number should be going the other way.

Even I didn’t expect a number this bad.

Prior to 2020, the all-time record high for new unemployment claims in a single week was 695,000.  That record was established in October 1982, and it stood all the way until the COVID pandemic hit the U.S. early last year.

Sadly, we have been above 695,000 almost every single week since then.

The numbers compiled by the states tell us that nearly three-quarters of a million Americans filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week.  That is an absolutely catastrophic number.  Nobody should be talking about a “golden era of growth” or claiming that the “economy might be stronger than it’s ever been” until we get that number back down to pre-pandemic levels.

And right now, we are at a level that is about three times as high as pre-pandemic levels.

Look, the truth is that anyone that tells you that unemployment is low in the United States is lying to you.

According to John Williams of shadowstats.com, if honest numbers were being used the unemployment rate in the United States would be 25.7 percent right now.

That is the sort of number that we would expect to see during an economic depression, and the truth is that we are in an economic depression.

Over the past year, more than 70 million new claims for unemployment benefits have been filed, and approximately 4 million U.S. businesses have gone out of existence permanently.

But don’t worry, the stock market is hovering near all-time record highs and the corporate media is telling you that everything is going to be wonderful now that Joe Biden is in control.

Come on man!

You can’t really believe that stuff that they are shoveling.

With each passing day, more Americans are losing their jobs, more Americans are falling out of the middle class, and the cost of living just keeps going up even higher.

In fact, we just learned that global food prices have now gone up for 10 months in a row

The global food-price rally that’s stoking inflation worries and hitting consumers around the world shows little sign of slowing.

Even with grain prices taking a breather on good crop prospects, a United Nations gauge of global food costs rose for a 10th month in March to the highest since 2014. Last month’s advance was driven by a surge in vegetable oils amid stronger demand and tight inventories, according to Abdolreza Abbassian, a senior economist at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization.

I am going to continue to watch global food prices very carefully, because I believe that it will be a very important trend in the months and years ahead.

But for now, the good news is that at least economic conditions are relatively stable.

Yes, things are not nearly as good as they were before the pandemic, but at least they are not getting a whole lot worse.

So even though things are not great, we should enjoy this period of relative stability while we still can, because it definitely will not last.

***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.

Eviction Moratorium Ruled Unconstitutional, Largest Tsunami Of Evictions In U.S. History Incoming…

Ever since last summer, a federal moratorium on evictions has prevented landlords from evicting millions of tenants that are behind on their rent payments.  This moratorium has caused extreme financial distress for many landlords, but it has also kept us from witnessing millions upon millions of Americans being thrown out into the cold streets.  Of course this moratorium on evictions was never actually legal, and it was just a matter of time before it was challenged in front of a federal judge that still had respect for the U.S. Constitution.  On Thursday, a federal judge in the Eastern District of Texas named John Campbell Barker ruled that the federal moratorium is completely unconstitutional

J. Campbell Barker, a Trump-nominated judge in the Eastern District of Texas, issued the 21-page ruling Thursday in response to a lawsuit from a group of landlords and property managers.

“The federal government cannot say that it has ever before invoked its power over interstate commerce to impose a residential eviction moratorium,” Barker wrote, noting that it did not do so during the Spanish Flu pandemic or during the Great Depression. “The federal government has not claimed such a power at any point during our nation’s history until last year.”

But Barker did not issue any sort of an injunction, and so the moratorium is still in effect for the moment.  In his ruling, Barker expressed his belief that the defendants will “respect the declaratory judgment” and will willingly withdraw the moratorium on their own…

The scope of the order is unclear. Barker wrote that given “defendants’ representations to the court, it is ‘anticipated that [defendants] would respect the declaratory judgment.’”

Federal officials could attempt to drag their feet, but the current moratorium is set to expire on March 31st anyway.

So whether it happens immediately or in a few weeks, the federal moratorium on evictions is ending.

Of course some states have their own moratoriums in place, and Barker noted that those are constitutional.  So renters in those states will still have at least some protection moving forward.

But for most of the country, things are about to change in a major way.

According to one recent study, a whopping 10 million U.S. households are currently behind on their rent payments

An analysis released last month by Moody’s Analytics and the Urban Institute said that some 10 million renters are behind on paying rent and risk being evicted. Moreover, the typical delinquent renter is almost four months and $5,600 behind on monthly rent and utility payments as of January, according to the analysis.

“To put that into some perspective, approximately seven million households lost their homes in foreclosure during the five darkest years of the global financial crisis,” the researchers wrote. “Here we have 10 million families facing a similar fate over a matter of months.”

Even if rent moratoriums remain in place in some states for the foreseeable future, we are still going to see millions upon millions of households evicted here in 2021.

It will be the largest tsunami of evictions in U.S. history, and homelessness is going to rise dramatically.

Needless to say, it isn’t going to be a happy time.

Meanwhile, we have already been witnessing a tsunami of bankruptcies.

In fact, the number of Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings in 2020 was “at least 30 percent higher than any of the previous four years”

Bankruptcies filed by entertainment companies in 2020 nearly quadrupled, and filings nearly tripled for oil and gas companies, doubled for computer and software companies and were up 50 percent or more for restaurant owners, real estate companies and retailers, compared with 2019, data from the research firm show. There were 5,236 Chapter 11 filings in 2019, but 6,917 last year, a tally at least 30 percent higher than any of the previous four years.

This isn’t what an “economic recovery” looks like.

Sadly, the truth of the matter is that the U.S. economy is in the process of melting down all around us, and a whole lot more pain is ahead.

Up until just recently, the stock market had been one of the very few bright spots, but now chaos has returned to Wall Street.

On Friday, the Dow was down another 469 points

The Dow Jones Industrial Average swung wildly Friday to close near its session low as Wall Street struggled to shake off fears of rapidly rising rates.

The blue-chip benchmark ended the volatile session 469.64 points, or 1.5%, to 30,932.37 after trading in the green earlier. The S&P 500 fell 0.5% to 3,811.15 as energy and financial stocks pulled back. The Nasdaq Composite ended the day 0.6% higher at 13,192.34 as Big Tech names rebounded after a large sell-off in the previous session amid surging bond yields. Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon each rose more than 1%. The tech-heavy benchmark gyrated in Friday’s session where it jumped 1.9% at its high and fell as much as 0.7%.

As I discussed yesterday, I do not believe that a massive stock market crash is imminent.  But the early warning signs that we are witnessing now should definitely not be ignored.

Many are expecting economic conditions in the U.S. to improve as the COVID pandemic fades, but it is inevitable that many more “trigger events” will hit us in 2021 and beyond.

Considering how vulnerable we are right now, it certainly isn’t going to take much to send us into a death spiral from which we will never recover.

Unfortunately, it is always those at the very bottom of the economic food chain that get hit the hardest when challenging times arrive.

I feel very badly for the landlords that haven’t been able to collect rent for months and months, but I also feel very badly for the millions of Americans that will soon be thrown out into the streets.

The economic pain and suffering that we will soon see will be off the charts, and those that are expecting Joe Biden and his minions to save them will be bitterly, bitterly disappointed.

***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.

Has The Great Shaking Of The Financial Markets Finally Begun?

A whole host of prominent voices have been warning that volatility and chaos would be returning to Wall Street, and that is precisely what has happened.  But is this just a temporary blip, or has the great shaking of the financial markets finally begun?  Many stock market investors are very much hoping for the former, because the pain is already becoming quite severe.  The Nasdaq has fallen more than 5 percent this week, and it is headed for its second consecutive weekly loss.  But the bond market has actually been making even bigger news.  On Thursday, the yield on 10-year U.S. Treasuries actually exceeded 1.6% at one point, and that was the highest level that we have seen in quite a long time.  Some pundits are calling what just took place a “flash crash”, but it certainly appears that yields could move even higher in the days ahead.

Throughout the COVID pandemic, stock prices have just gone higher and higher, but everyone knew that the party would end eventually.

Have we now reached that point?  The numbers tell us that Thursday was the single worst day for stocks so far in 2021

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 559.85 points, or 1.8%, to 31,402.01, slipping from a record high. The S&P 500 lost 2.5% to 3,829.34 in its worst day since Jan. 27. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite slid 3.5% to 13,119.43, posting its biggest sell-off since Oct. 28. Alphabet, Facebook, and Apple all fell more than 3%, while Tesla dropped 8.1%. Microsoft shed 2%.

We are being told that the biggest reason why stocks were falling so much was because of “a full on rout in the bond market”

It’s “just a full on rout in the bond market. So that filters into everything else,” said Evercore ISI strategist Dennis DeBusschere. “It looks like we just had a flash move in bonds. With a puke move that drove [10-year] yields to 1.6%… We just have to wait for some form of equilibrium in bonds.”

Considering how much our money supply has been rising, there was simply no way that bond yields could stay where they were.  It was just a matter of time before inflation fears scared investors, and finally on Thursday the rush for the exits became a stampede

“It is all about bond yields today,” said Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist for LPL Financial. “There was a flash spike in the 10-year yield and that upset the apple cart, as higher yields are spooking the stock market. Could there be more inflation coming than what most think?”

I can answer Detrick’s question in one word.

Yes.

Eventually, we are going to see inflation rise to levels that most people never dreamed would be possible in the United States.

Meanwhile, the real economy continues to rapidly deteriorate all around us.

One day after Fry’s Electronics announced that it would be going out of business, Best Buy revealed that it will be letting 5,000 workers go

Best Buy said Thursday that it laid off 5,000 workers this month and is planning to close more stores this year as more consumers buy electronics online.

The news comes at a time when big chains face growing competition from Amazon and other sites that sell items like TVs and laptops. Fry’s Electronics said Wednesday that it would abruptly close all of its stores overnight, ending nearly four-decades in business.

I have always had a soft spot for Best Buy, and so this made me quite sad.

So many iconic businesses are crumbling, and America will never be the same.

Of course one of the primary reasons why so many traditional retailers are failing is because online shopping has surged during this pandemic.  But as online shopping becomes increasingly dominant, it has created an epidemic of package thefts

Forty-three percent of Americans shopping online experienced package theft last year, up from 36 percent in 2019, according to a recent market research study. Of that 43 percent, almost two-thirds reported packages having been stolen more than once. The New York Police Department does not keep data to that level of specificity, I was told, and the most recent figures available for the city estimated that 90,000 packages had disappeared every day in 2019.

90,000 packages a day?

The number really shocked me.

That means that on average at least 90,000 crimes are committed in just one of our major cities every single day.

If things are that bad in New York, what would the number for the entire nation be?

Everywhere you look, the social decay that is eating away at our society like cancer is getting worse and worse.  At one time you could trust that most Americans were law abiding citizens that would consistently try to do the right thing, but those days are long gone.

And as economic conditions get even bleaker, that is just going to feed even more crime, civil unrest and social decay.

In the short-term, a very large proportion of the U.S. population is counting on the federal government to bail them out…

Almost one-third, or 29%, of U.S. adults are counting on another round of government relief to get by, and another 24% say they need it but doubt it will happen, a new CNBC + Acorns Invest in You survey conducted by SurveyMonkey found.

People of color are more likely to be relying on the relief, especially Black women. Half of Black Americans and 40% of Hispanics said they were counting on it, while 57% of Black women said the same. Additionally, 24% of Blacks and Hispanics need it but don’t think it will come to fruition.

All the way back when the first round of “stimulus payments” was being proposed, I warned that we were opening up Pandora’s Box.

I warned that the American people would be demanding more payments in the future, and they will reward politicians that are able to deliver those payments at the ballot box.

Of course by borrowing and spending trillions of dollars that we do not have, we are destroying the reserve currency of the world and we are setting the stage for horrific inflation in the future.

In fact, the inflation that is already here is now causing a tremendous amount of instability in the financial markets.

But the “great shaking” is not here quite yet.  What we are experiencing now are early warning signs, and hopefully people are paying attention.

***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.

Revenge: An Internet Mob Is Turning The Stock Market Into “A Video Game”, And The Establishment Is Freaking Out

Retail investors have banded together to turn over the tables on Wall Street, and it has created a wild frenzy that is making headlines all over the globe.  Unprecedented short squeezes have pushed the share prices of GameStop, AMC, Macy’s and BlackBerry to insane heights, and prominent voices in the financial world are complaining that trading in those stocks has become completely divorced from the fundamentals.  In fact, these young retail investors are actually being accused of turning the market into “a video game”.  Infamous investor Michael Burry, who made crazy amounts of money betting against the housing market during the last financial crisis, even had the gall to claim that recent trading in GameStop was “unnatural, insane, and dangerous”.

Of course Burry is right, but the truth is that the entire market has been transformed into a giant casino and has been “unnatural, insane, and dangerous” for a very long time.

If the entire market fell 50 percent tomorrow, stock prices would still be overpriced.

So it is more than just a little bit hypocritical for the Wall Street establishment to be complaining about GameStop when they have been gaming the system for years.

Ultimately, GameStop is not a good long-term investment.  Most people download video games these days, and so a brick and mortar retail chain that sells physical copies of video games shouldn’t be attractive to anyone.

GameStop lost money last year, and they will lose money again this year.

But a group on Reddit known as “WallStreetBets” noticed that some big hedge funds had taken ridiculously large short positions against GameStop, and they sensed an opportunity.  They realized that if they all started to buy GameStop all at once, it would likely create a short squeeze of epic proportions.

And that is precisely what has happened.

A year ago, a single share of GameStop was going for about four dollars.

At the beginning of the month, GameStop was sitting at $17.25.

On Wednesday, it closed at $347.51.

In addition to making huge profits, the investors on “WallStreetBets” also wanted to get revenge on the big hedge funds for all the evil things they have done in the past.

Every great story needs a great enemy, and in this case the great enemy is a hedge fund called Melvin Capital

Melvin Capital, the $12.5 billion hedge fund founded by Gabriel Plotkin, was one of the main targets of the Reddit campaign, after an SEC filing revealed that the fund had a large short position in GameStop.

‘By the end of the week (Or even the end of the day), Plotkin is going to have less than a college student 50k in debt who works part time at starbucks,’ one Reddit user wrote on Wednesday morning.

Nobody knows for sure how much money Melvin Capital has lost, but it appears to be in the billions

CNBC could not confirm the amount of losses Melvin Capital took on the short position. Citadel and Point72 have infused close to $3 billion into Gabe Plotkin’s hedge fund to shore up its finances. On Wednesday’s “Squawk Box,” Sorkin said Plotkin told him that speculation about a bankruptcy filing is false.

Melvin Capital has supposedly closed all of their short positions in GameStop now, but not everyone is buying that claim.

In any event, the crowd on WallStreetBets intends to continue to drive up the prices of GameStop, AMC, Macy’s and Blackberry for the foreseeable future.

Eventually, each of those mini-bubbles will collapse, but for now the big short sellers are squealing in pain.

Needless to say, the large hedge funds have been reaching out to their “friends” for help, and the SEC just released a statement which indicated that they are watching developments closely…

We are aware of and actively monitoring the on-going market volatility in the options and equities markets and, consistent with our mission to protect investors and maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, we are working with our fellow regulators to assess the situation and review the activities of regulated entities, financial intermediaries, and other market participants.

And White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters just a few hours ago that the White House is “monitoring” the situation.

But what is there to “monitor”?

All is fair in love and investing, and the retail investors of “WallStreetBets” caught some big hedge funds with their pants down and punished them for it.

After everything that big hedge funds have gotten away with over the years, many would argue that a little bit of revenge was definitely in order.

But Wall Street has never seen anything like this before.

Retail investors are supposed to be small fish that get eaten alive by the bigger fish, but now technology has changed the rules of the game

The way people trade stocks has been upended by the rise of no-fee apps like Robinhood. That technology has democratized investing, giving armchair investors far removed from traditional banks free access to sophisticated trading instruments, like options.

You could pay an analyst to tell you what stocks to buy, or you could create a Reddit account and follow forums like WallStreetBets. Millions of young people are opting for the latter, which is partly why the sudden surges in GameStop and AMC have caught Wall Street veterans by surprise.

Nobody should shed a tear for the short sellers.

They have made obscene amounts of money over the years by manipulating the markets and by preying on weak companies.

Now an Internet mob is preying on them, and many that are involved believe that revenge is a dish best served cold.

If you can’t handle the pain, don’t play the game.

In the end, this entire farce of a market is going to utterly collapse anyway.  So the truth is that very few are going to get out of this thing unscathed.

Since the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009, investors have seen their portfolios increase in value by trillions of dollars, but this bubble only exists because of unprecedented manipulation by the Federal Reserve and others.

Now a relatively small group of retail investors is manipulating stock prices to punish a couple of hedge funds and everyone is in an uproar over it?

What a joke.

Our financial markets are fraudulent, and they have been for many years.

Nobody should be accusing retail investors of turning the stock market into “a video game”, because the Federal Reserve already did that a long time ago.

***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.

As The Stock Market Soars, The Numbers Say That The Real Economy Is In The Midst Of A Historic Crash

Have you been watching the madness that has been unfolding on Wall Street?  Even though we are in the middle of the worst global pandemic in 100 years, and even though rioters and looters have been turning our major cities into war zones, stock prices have been going up day after day.  In fact, the Nasdaq closed at an all-time record high on Monday.  Sometimes people ask me to explain this rationally, and I can’t, because the Federal Reserve has transformed our “financial markets” into a total mockery at this point.  The real economy is literally collapsing all around us, but thanks to Fed intervention stock investors are doing just fine.  It has been absolutely disgusting to watch, and if Adam Smith could see what was happening he would be rolling over in his grave.  Unfortunately, thanks to our rapidly declining system of education most Americans don’t even know who Adam Smith is anymore.

I can’t recall another time in modern U.S. history when stock prices skyrocketed as the U.S. economy plunged into a recession.  What we have been witnessing has truly been extremely bizarre, and it will be fascinating to see how long it can last.

Meanwhile, the real economy is a giant mess.  On Monday, the National Bureau of Economic Research finally got around to letting us know that a recession has officially begun

It’s official: The United States is in a recession.

The National Bureau of Economic Research said Monday the U.S. economy peaked in February, ending the longest expansion in U.S. history at 128 months, or about 10½ years.

In truth, the announcement codifies the painfully obvious. States began shutting down nonessential businesses in mid-March to contain the spread of the coronavirus, halting about 30% of economic activity and putting tens of millions of Americans out of work.

And in other news, the sky is blue and the moon is not made out of cheese.

Anyone with half a brain can see that the economy is falling apart.  For example, we just learned that U.S. factory orders were down 22.3 percent in April compared to a year earlier…

Having collapsed by a record 10.4% MoM in March, April factory orders were expected to accelerate even lower and it did. However, the 13.0% plunge in April was modestly better than the 13.4% MoM drop expected… but is still the worst in American history.

Year-over-year, factory orders collapsed 22.3% – the worst since the peak of the financial crisis.

Of course it is not that difficult to find a number that is even worse than that.

Just look at heavy truck sales.  Last month they were down a whopping 37 percent from the same month in 2019…

The last three months have been catastrophic for segments of the trucking business, after an already tough period that started in late 2018. In May, orders for Class 8 trucks – the heavy trucks that haul much of the goods-based economy across the US – plunged 37% from the  low levels in May a year earlier, and by 81% from May two years ago, to 6,600 orders, according to estimates by FTR Transportation Intelligence today.

Not to be outdone, the number of corporate bankruptcies shot up 48 percent last month compared to the same period a year ago…

Corporate bankruptcies spiked during May as the coronavirus pandemic slammed the U.S. economy, pushing the number of filings to levels recorded in the wake of the 2007-09 recession.

U.S. courts recorded 722 businesses nationwide filing for chapter 11 protection last month, a yearly increase of 48%, according to figures from legal-services firm Epiq Global.

But every time we get another horrific economic figure, the stock market goes even higher.

The worse the news gets, the more investors seem to like it.  Week after week, we have seen unprecedented numbers of Americans file for unemployment benefits, and at this point a grand total of more than 42 million Americans have lost a job since this pandemic began.

And yet investors keep taking these job losses as signs that they should buy even more stocks.

Perhaps someone should spread a rumor that a planet-killing asteroid is about to hit us, because that would probably really get investors salivating.

Of course most ordinary Americans don’t get to live in a Fed-fueled fantasy world, and this new economic downturn is hitting most of them extremely hard.

In fact, it is being reported that approximately a third of all Americans “are now showing signs of clinical anxiety and depression”…

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic crash, which triggered depression-like unemployment with 40 million initial claims filed in ten weeks, a third of Americans are now showing signs of clinical anxiety and depression, according to new data collected by the Census Bureau. This, by far, is the most comprehensive and troubling sign yet of the psychological toll inflicted on Americans due to months of lockdowns.

The Census Bureau contacted one million households between May 7 and 12, and about 42,000 responded, said The Washington Post. The survey was about 20 minutes long and buried deep within, several questions asked respondents about depression and anxiety. Those who answered provided a laggard but clearest snapshot into people’s mental state at the tail end of the lockdown, where many folks were subjected to isolationism, virus fears, and widespread unemployment.

That is the most alarming number that I have shared with you so far in this article, but I am about to share with you some numbers that are even more alarming.

In recent days, we have watched rioters destroy large sections of our major cities all across America.  But when asked about “violent protests”, a surprising percentage of Americans actually support them…

A broad majority of Americans say the peaceful protests happening all across the country after police violence against African Americans are justified (84% say so), and roughly a quarter (27%) say violent protests in response to police harming or killing African Americans are justified. Both figures are higher than they were when similar protests rose in the fall of 2016. Then, 67% saw peaceful protests as justified while 14% felt violent protests were.

There isn’t much of a racial or partisan difference over whether peaceful protests are justified now, but the gaps are larger over violent protests. Among Democrats, 42% consider violent protests justified in response to police violence against African Americans, while just 9% of Republicans agree.

Yes, you read that last sentence correctly.

42 percent.

Unfortunately, a lot more economic pain is on the way, and that is just going to fuel even more rioting, looting and violence.

These are definitely not “the best of times” no matter what stock market investors seem to think.

We have entered a deeply disturbing new chapter in American history, and life in this country will never be the same again.

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.

Hope For A U.S.-China Trade Deal Is Completely Dead, And Wall Street Is Starting To Panic

The reality of what we are now facing is starting to sink in for Wall Street investors, and they are starting to panic.  Hope that the U.S. and China would be able to agree to a trade deal had fueled a tremendous stock market rally over the last couple of months, but of course it just turned out to be a cruel mirage.  There isn’t going to be a trade deal prior to the 2020 presidential election, and at this point even President Trump is telling us not to expect one before November 2020.  Just check out what he told the press on Tuesday

“In some ways, I like the idea of waiting until after the election for the China deal, but they want to make a deal now and we will see whether or not the deal is going to be right,” Trump told reporters earlier on Tuesday.

When asked if he had a deal deadline, he added: “I have no deadline, no … In some ways, I think it is better to wait until after the election if you want to know the truth.”

President Trump is attempting to spin things to make it sound like it is his decision to hold off on a trade deal, and that may be a politically savvy thing to do.

But the truth is that the Chinese never wanted to do a comprehensive trade deal with Trump.  They have been stringing him along all this time, because they wanted to delay Trump’s tariffs for as long as possible.  But their original intention was to wait until a Democrat was in the White House to cut a deal.

Of course at this point the Chinese have soured on the Democrats as well.  The Chinese government views the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong the way that we view ISIS and al-Qaeda, and from the very beginning they have accused the United States of starting those protests.  And now that President Trump has signed the “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019” after it was overwhelmingly passed by both the House and the Senate, the Chinese are beyond angry.  At this point our relationship with China has been completely destroyed, and from now on we are going to have a deeply adversarial relationship with them no matter who is in the White House.

President Trump has threatened to go ahead with more tariffs on China on December 15th, and since there is zero chance of a trade deal by then, that is exactly what we should expect.

And if that happens, Wharton Business School Professor of Finance Jeremy Siegel is warning that chaos could be unleashed on Wall Street

If Trump doesn’t reach a trade deal with China and “the tariffs get put on on Dec. 15 … I don’t know if I want to be around equities then,” Siegel said on CNBC’s Closing Bell on Tuesday.

Unfortunately, Siegel is precisely correct.  In fact, stock prices have already fallen for three days in a row, and the downturn really started to accelerate on Tuesday

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 280.23 points, or 1% to 27,502.81. The 30-stock average was led lower by trade-vulnerable Apple, Caterpillar and Boeing. The S&P 500 slid 0.7% to 3,093.20 amid losses in chip stocks like Nvidia, Micron and Advanced Micro Devices. The Nasdaq Composite lost about 0.6% to end the day at 8,520.64.

At its lows of the day, the Dow was down 457.91 points, or 1.7%. The S&P 500 dropped as much as 1.7% while the Nasdaq traded lower by as much as 1.6%.

Hopefully things will settle down for the rest of this week, but if December 15th comes and the tariffs are fully implemented, many analysts are warning that there could be panic.  Here is one example

And while the US may (or may not) end up victorious in such a showdown, it will give Wall Street strategists – who have all flipped a U-turn and reversed from extremely optimistic to suddenly pessimistic – copious opportunities to impress their clients with superlatives such as this one from Manulife managing director Sue Trinh, who said that “if tariffs scheduled for Dec. 15 are implemented it would be a huge shock to the market consensus,” adding that “Trump would be the Grinch that stole Christmas” if the December 15 tariffs go through.

Even though there isn’t going to be any sort of an agreement with China, it would be helpful for the U.S. economy if Trump decided to delay the December 15th tariffs.

I don’t think that is going to happen though.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration is also looking at raising tariffs on goods from France, Brazil and Argentina

Heightened trade fears come a day after Trump threatened new tariffs on several more countries. On Monday, the president said he would raise tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Brazil and Argentina. He also proposed slapping tariffs on France’s exports.

As I recently discussed, global trade has now fallen for four months in a row, and it certainly appears that things could get even worse in the months ahead.

And that means that it is more likely than ever that the U.S. economy as a whole will plunge into a deep recession.  In fact, Legg Mason is warning their clients that “the probability of a recession over the next 12 months is 50%”

Legg Mason, a diversified global asset management firm, said the probability of a recession over the next 12 months is 50%.

According to the variables the firm looks at to determine the health of the economy, recession risk is rising, said Jeff Schulze, the investment strategist for ClearBridge Investments, at Legg Mason’s market outlook for 2020 last Monday in New York.

Of course in the long-term what we are facing is going to be far worse than just another recession.

The “bubble to end all bubbles” is starting to look exceedingly vulnerable, and it isn’t going to take very much at all to push us into a new financial crisis.

Investing is all about hope.  People put their money into stocks and bonds because they anticipate a positive future in which the value of their investments goes up.

If you take that hope away, the entire foundation crumbles.  And now that the relationship between the United States and China has been destroyed, the future is looking a whole lot more bleak for investors than it was just a few weeks ago.

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

The Deutsche Bank Death Watch Has Taken A Very Interesting Turn

The biggest bank in Europe is in the process of imploding, and there are persistent rumors that the final collapse could happen sooner rather than later.  Those that follow my work on a regular basis already know that this is a story that I have been following for years.  Deutsche Bank is rapidly bleeding cash, they have been laying off thousands of workers, and the vultures have been circling as company executives desperately try to implement a turnaround plan.  Unfortunately for Deutsche Bank, it may already be too late.  And if Deutsche Bank goes down, it will be even more catastrophic for the global financial system than the collapse of Lehman Brothers was in 2008.  Germany is the glue that is holding the EU together, and so if the bank that is right at the heart of Germany’s financial system collapses, the dominoes will likely start falling very rapidly.

There has been a tremendous amount of speculation about Deutsche Bank over the past several days, and so let’s start with what we know.

We know that Deutsche Bank has been losing money at a pace that is absolutely staggering

Deutsche Bank reported a net loss that missed market expectations on Wednesday as a major restructuring plan continues to weigh on the German lender.

It reported a net loss of 832 million euros ($924 million) for the third quarter of 2019. Analysts were expecting a loss of 778 million euros, according to data from Refinitiv. It had reported a net profit of 229 million euros in the third quarter of 2018, but a loss of 3.15 billion euros in the second quarter of this year.

If you add the losses for the second and third quarter of 2019 together, you get a grand total of nearly 4 billion euros.

How in the world is it possible to lose that much money in just 6 months?

If all they had their employees doing was flushing dollar bills down the toilet for 6 months, it still shouldn’t be possible to lose that kind of money.

When investors learned of Deutsche Bank’s third quarter results last week, shares of the bank went down about 8 percent in a single day.

Overall, the stock price has lost over a quarter of its value over the past year.

Unless you enjoy financial pain, I have no idea why anyone would want to be holding Deutsche Bank stock at this point.  As I have previously warned, it is eventually going to zero, and the only question remaining is how quickly it will get there.

We also know that Deutsche Bank has been laying off thousands of workers all over the world

On July 8, 2019, thousands of Deutsche Bank employees across the globe arrived at their offices, unaware that they would be leaving again, jobless, just a few hours later. In Tokyo, entire teams of equity traders were dismissed on the spot, while some London staff were reportedly told they had until 11am to leave the bank’s Great Winchester Street offices before their access cards stopped working.

The job cuts, which totalled 18,000, or around 20 percent of Deutsche Bank’s workforce, were the flagship element of a restructuring plan designed to save the ailing German lender.

The day before those layoffs happened, most of those employees would have probably told you that Deutsche Bank is in good shape and has a very bright future ahead.

Just like we witnessed with Lehman Brothers, there is always an effort to maintain the charade until the very last minute.

But the truth is that anyone with half a brain can see that Deutsche Bank is dying.  There have been so many bad decisions, so many aggressive bets have gone bad, and there has been one scandal after another

In April 2015, the bank paid a combined $2.5bn in fines to US and UK regulators for its role in the LIBOR-fixing scandal. Just six months later, it was forced to pay an additional $258m to regulators in New York after it was caught trading with Myanmar, Libya, Sudan, Iran and Syria, all of which were subject to US sanctions at the time. These two fines, combined with challenging market conditions, led the bank to post a €6.7bn ($7.39bn) net loss for 2015. Two years later, it paid a further $425m to the New York regulator to settle claims that it had laundered $10bn in Russian funds.

At this point, it is just a zombie bank that is stumbling along until someone finally puts it out of its misery.

Money is so tight at Deutsche Bank that they have even cancelled the Christmas reception for retired employees

Times change. Once upon a time (2001, in fact), Deutsche Bank was able to book stars like Robbie Williams for its staff Christmas party, with a Spice Girl turning up too just because it was such a great party. Now, according to the FT, Christian Sewing has even cancelled the daytime coffee-and-cake Christmas reception for retired employees.

Of course saving a few bucks on coffee and cake is not going to make a difference for a bank with tens of trillions of dollars of exposure to derivatives.

Deutsche Bank is the largest domino in Europe’s very shaky financial system.  When it fully collapses, it will set off a chain reaction that nobody is going to be able to stop.  David Wilkerson once warned that the financial collapse of Europe would begin in Germany, and Jim Rogers has warned that the implosion of Deutsche Bank would cause the entire EU to “disintegrate”

Then the EU would disintegrate, because Germany would no longer be able to support it, would not want to support it. A lot of other people would start bailing out; many banks in Europe have problems. And if Deutsche Bank has to fail – that is the end of it. In 1931, when one of the largest banks in Europe failed, it led to the Great Depression and eventually the WWII. Be worried!

Sadly, most Americans can’t even spell “Deutsche Bank”, and they certainly don’t know that it is the most important bank in all of Europe.

But those that understand the times we are living in are watching Deutsche Bank very carefully, because if it implodes global financial chaos will certainly follow.

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