“655 people have $4 trillion in wealth. 200 million can’t cover a $1000 expense.”

The COVID pandemic has caused the gap between the ultra-wealthy and the rest of us to grow larger than it ever has been before.  Thanks to the hyperinflationary policies of the Federal Reserve and our politicians in Washington, stock prices have soared to unprecedented heights in recent months.  This pushed the wealth of the uber-rich to dizzying heights, but for the rest of the country 2020 was an unmitigated nightmare.  As I have discussed previously, one survey found that 2020 was a “personal financial disaster” for 55 percent of all Americans.  More than 110,000 restaurants shut down permanently last year, Americans filed more than 70 million claims for unemployment benefits, and tens of millions are potentially facing eviction in 2021.  But even though we are mired in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s, those at the very top of the economic pyramid are laughing all the way to the bank.

Earlier today, I came across a tweet from Sven Heinrich that really struck an emotional chord with me…

655 people have $4 trillion in wealth.

200 million can’t cover a $1000 expense.

I certainly don’t have any problem with people gaining wealth by working extremely hard and making society a better place in the process.

But most of the people at the very top of the economic pyramid only increased their wealth in 2020 because the powers that be decided to open up the firehoses and rain obscene amounts of money on them.

That isn’t right.

As a result of the deeply flawed policies that were implemented because of the COVID pandemic, the gap between “gains in financial assets and the health of the economy” was the largest ever recorded last year…

But as stock market indexes staged a huge rebound from the lows seen in March when the pandemic first hit, the gap between the wealthy and the poor extended an already widening trend to historic proportions.

A report via BofA Global Research published on Friday notes that a measure of the differential between gains in financial assets and the health of the economy hit a record at 6.3X in 2020.

My regular readers are probably sick and tired of hearing me say that the stock market has become completely divorced from economic reality, and now we have a hard number which backs up what I have been saying all along.

As I write this article, the Dow is sitting just above 31,000, and that is utterly absurd.

If the Dow were to fall to 15,000 it would still be overvalued.

Meanwhile, a brand new survey has discovered that only 39 percent of all Americans “would be able to cover an unexpected $1,000 expense”

Just 39% of Americans would be able to cover an unexpected $1,000 expense, according to a new report from Bankrate.com.

That’s down from 2020, when 41% of people said they could cover a $1,000 cost with their savings.

If only 39 percent of Americans currently have enough money for such an unexpected expense, that means that 61 percent of Americans do not.

According to Google, the current population of the U.S. is 328 million, and 61 percent of 328 million is just over 200 million.

So that is where Sven Heinrich got that figure from.

200 million of us have so little money that we are just barely scraping by from month to month.

And according to one of Walmart’s top executives, many of their customers do not expect “any kind of speedy recovery”

Walmart Chief Customer Officer Janey Whiteside said Tuesday that many of its shoppers don’t expect the economy to quickly bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic.

Almost half of customers surveyed in November told Walmart that they were worried about the current health of the economy, she said when speaking at the virtual National Retail Federation conference. She said 40% said they didn’t expect “any kind of speedy recovery.”

Unfortunately, those that are pessimistic about how the U.S. economy will perform in 2021 are right on target.

It is going to be a very painful year.

Of course it isn’t just consumers that are concerned about the year ahead.  Small business optimism is falling as well

A popular gauge of small-business confidence in the US sank to a seven-month low in December as stricter lockdown measures and climbing daily case counts cut into economic activity.

The National Federation of Independent Businesses’ index of small-business optimism fell 5.5 points last month to 95.9, according to a Tuesday release. The reading lands below the average index value since 1978 of 98 and marks the lowest level since May. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected the gauge to dip slightly to 100.2.

Americans generally tend to be quite optimistic about the future, but looking ahead there just aren’t any reasons to be optimistic about the U.S. economy in 2021.

The COVID pandemic continues to get even worse, new lockdowns have been instituted all over the country, our federal government is in a state of chaos, and there will inevitably be more rioting, looting and civil unrest in the months ahead.

Plus, there will undoubtedly be some additional unexpected surprises that most people are not anticipating.

Before I wrap up this article, there is just one more thing that I wanted to mention.  A programmer in San Francisco named Stefan Thomas is the proud owner of 7,002 Bitcoin, but he can’t access his fortune because he forgot the password, and he only has two more tries before he is locked out permanently…

Take Stefan Thomas, a programmer in San Francisco, who told The New York Times that he has 7,002 Bitcoin tucked away — currently worth about $236 million, nearly a quarter billion dollars — but that he has no idea how to access it and can only guess two more passwords before being locked out forever.

Even setting aside the long term prospects for crypto, the key message of these horror stories is that taking digital finances into your own hands is a huge risk if you can’t manage your passwords.

Can you imagine how you would feel if that happened to you?

Sadly, it could be argued that essentially the same thing is happening to the nation as a whole.

America has “forgotten the password” to what once made us so great, and we are running out of chances.

Let us hope that we wake up before it is too late, because time is not on our side at this point.

***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.

The Tens Of Millions Of Forgotten Americans That The U.S. Economy Has Left Behind

The evidence that the middle class in America is dying continues to mount.  As you will see below, nearly half the country would be unable “to cover an unexpected $400 expense”, and about two-thirds of the population lives paycheck to paycheck at least part of the time.  Of course the economy has not been doing that well overall in recent years.  Barack Obama was the only president in all of U.S. history not to have a single year when the economy grew by at least 3 percent, and U.S. GDP growth during the first quarter of 2017 was an anemic 0.7 percent.  During the Obama era, it is true that wealthy enclaves in New York, northern California and Washington D.C. did thrive, but meanwhile most of the rest of the country has been left behind.

Today, there are approximately 205 million working age Americans, and close to half of them have no financial cushion whatsoever.  In fact, a new survey conducted by the Federal Reserve has found that 44 percent of Americans do not even have enough money “to cover an unexpected $400 expense”

Nearly eight years into an economic recovery, nearly half of Americans didn’t have enough cash available to cover a $400 emergency. Specifically, the survey found that, in line with what the Fed had disclosed in previous years, 44% of respondents said they wouldn’t be able to cover an unexpected $400 expense like a car repair or medical bill, or would have to borrow money or sell something to meet it.

Not only that, the same survey discovered that 23 percent of U.S. adults will not be able to pay their bills this month

Just as concerning were other findings from the study: just under one-fourth of adults, or 23%, are not able to pay all of their current month’s bills in full while 25% reported skipping medical treatments due to cost in the prior year. Additionally, 28% of adults who haven’t retired yet reported to being grossly unprepared, indicating they had no retirement savings or pension whatsoever.

But just because you can pay your bills does not mean that you are doing well.  Tens of millions of Americans barely scrape by from paycheck to paycheck each and every month.

In fact, a survey by CareerBuilder discovered that 75 percent of all Americans live paycheck to paycheck at least some of the time…

Three-quarters of Americans (75 percent) are living paycheck-to-paycheck to make ends meet, according to a survey from CareerBuilder. Thirty-eight percent of employees said they sometimes live paycheck-to-paycheck, 15 percent said they usually do and 23 percent said they always do. While making ends meet is a struggle for many post-recession, those with minimum wage jobs continue to be hit the hardest. Of workers who currently have a minimum wage job or have held one in the past, 66 percent said they couldn’t make ends meet and 50 percent said they had to work more than one job to make it work.

So please don’t be fooled into thinking that the U.S. economy is doing well because the stock market has been hitting new record highs.

The stock market was soaring just before the financial crisis of 2008 too, and we remember how that turned out.

The truth is that the long-term trends that have been eating away at the foundations of the U.S. economy continue to accelerate, and the real economy is in substantially worse shape this year than it was last year.

Just about everywhere you look, businesses are struggling and stores are shutting down.  Yes, there are a few wealthy enclaves where everything seems wonderful for the moment, but for most of the country it seems like the last recession never ended.

In a desperate attempt to stay afloat, a lot of families have been turning to debt to make ends meet.  U.S. household debt has just hit a brand new all-time record high of 12.7 trillion dollars, but we are starting to see an alarming rise in auto loan defaults and consumer bankruptcies.  This is precisely what we would expect to see if the U.S. economy was moving into another major recession.

In fact, we are seeing all sorts of signs that point to a major economic slowdown right now.  Just check out the following from Wolf Richter’s latest article

Over the past five decades, each time commercial and industrial loan balances at US banks shrank or stalled as companies cut back or as banks tightened their lending standards in reaction to the economy they found themselves in, a recession was either already in progress or would start soon. There has been no exception since the 1960s. Last time this happened was during the Financial Crisis.

Now it’s happening again – with a 1990/91 recession twist.

Commercial and industrial loans outstanding fell to $2.095 trillion on May 10, according to the Fed’s Board of Governors weekly report on Friday. That’s down 4.5% from the peak on November 16, 2016. It’s below the level of outstanding C&I loans on October 19. And it marks the 30th week in a row of no growth in C&I loans.

Perhaps we will be very fortunate and break this pattern that has held up all the way back to the 1960s.

But I wouldn’t count on it.  Here is what Zero Hedge has to say about this alarming contraction in commercial and industrial loans…

Here’s the bottom line: unless there is a sharp rebound in loan growth in the next 3-6 months – whether due to greater demand or easier supply – this most accurate of leading economic indicators guarantees that a recession is now inevitable.

We are way overdue for a recession, the hard economic numbers are screaming that one is coming, and the financial markets are absolutely primed for a major crash.

As Americans, we tend to have such short memories.  Every time a new financial bubble starts forming, a lot of people out there start behaving as if it can last indefinitely.

But of course no financial bubble is going to last forever.  They all burst eventually, and now the biggest one in U.S. history is about to end in spectacular fashion.

Trump will get a lot of the blame since he is the current occupant of the White House, but the truth is that the conditions for the next crisis have been building up for many years, and the horrors that the U.S. economy is heading for were entirely predictable.

The Economic Collapse