We Already Have a Universal Basic Income

By: Laurence M. Vance, lewrockwell.com

Harvard dropout and Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg recently gave the commencement address at Harvard. In his speech he proposed a “universal basic income to make sure everyone has a cushion to try new ideas.”

But Zuckerberg is not alone.

First it was Milton Friedman, then it was Charles Murray, and then it was Matt Zwolinski. Now it is Michael Tanner and Jesse Walker. Why are some libertarians even talking about a universal basic income or a guaranteed minimum income? Why are some libertarians trying to be efficiency experts for the welfare state?

We already have a universal basic income. It is called welfare.

There are in the United States about eighty means-tested welfare programs. These are programs that limit benefits or payments based on the beneficiary’s income and/or assets. There are also welfare programs that most Americans have never heard of. And there are other welfare programs that most Americans don’t consider to be welfare programs.

Welfare is welfare, no matter what it is called and no matter what people think about.

The elderly have Social Security and Medicare.

The elderly poor also have access to the Elderly Nutrition Program and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP).

The disabled have Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and are also eligible for Social Security and Medicare.

The poor have Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP [formerly known as food stamps]), section 8 housing vouchers, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), subsidized phone service, community health centers, public housing, and family planning programs.

Hungry children have school breakfast and lunch programs.

Low-income taxpayers have refundable tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC), and the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC).

The unemployed have free federal job training programs.

Those who get laid off from their jobs have unemployment compensation.

Low-income pregnant women and new mothers have Healthy Start and Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

Low-income students have Pell Grants and all students have access to federal student loans.

Farmers have farm subsidies.

Refugees have assistance programs.

Homeowners have low-cost federal flood insurance.

All parents can send their children to public schools at no cost.

Let’s take a closer look at just one of the above welfare programs: the EITC.

Unlike regular tax credits, refundable tax credits are a form of welfare. A regular tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction of the amount of income tax owed. Tax credits may reduce the tax owed to zero, but if there is no taxable income to begin with, then no credit can be taken. A refundable tax credit is treated as a payment from the taxpayer like federal income tax withheld or estimated tax payments. If the tax credit “payment” is more than the tax owed after the regular tax credits are applied, then the “taxpayer” receives a refund of the money he never actually paid in. The money is simply taken from real taxpayers and transferred to him.

According to the IRS:

The Earned Income Tax Credit, EITC or EIC, is a benefit for working people with low to moderate income. To qualify, you must meet certain requirements and file a tax return, even if you do not owe any tax or are not required to file. EITC reduces the amount of tax you owe and may give you a refund.

For the tax year 2016, the maximum EITC amounts are:

$6,269 with three or more qualifying children

$5,572 with two qualifying children

$3,373 with one qualifying child

$506 with no qualifying children

To qualify for the EITC, if one is single, earned income and adjusted gross income (AGI) must each be less than $14,880 (no children), $39,296 (1 child), $44,648 (2 children), or $47,955 (3 or more children). For married taxpayers, the amounts are $20,430 (no children), $44,846 (1 child), $50,198 (2 children), $53,505 (3 or more children).

If one has three children, the sweet spot to receive the maximum EITC is achieved when one has income of at least $13,900 but less than $18,200 (single) or $23,750 (married). And don’t think that people receiving the EITC don’t have some idea of this.

Americans who receive the EITC get another added benefit as well. According to page 58 of the IRS’s 1040 instructions for 2016:

Any refund you receive as a result of taking the EIC can’t be counted as income when determining if you or anyone else is eligible for benefits or assistance, or how much you or anyone else can receive, under any  federal  program or under any state or local program  financed in whole or in part with federal funds. These programs include Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income  (SSI), and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps). In addition, when determining eligibility, the refund can’t be counted as a resource for at least 12 months after you receive it. Check with your local benefit coordinator to find out if your refund will affect your benefits.

The problem with a guaranteed minimum income, like the problem with welfare in general, is that it is the government that is the guarantor. But before the government can give, it must first take from productive members of society. This is what makes all welfare immoral.

Libertarians who talk in any way about a universal basic income should make the immorality of welfare the central theme, not an afterthought.

Welfare doesn’t need to be reformed, improved, changed, replaced, fixed, saved, revamped, simplified, trimmed, or made more effective or efficient. It doesn’t need to have more stringent enrollment requirements, it doesn’t need drug testing for recipients, it doesn’t need stronger work requirements, and it doesn’t need time limits. It needs to be completely eliminated in its entirety, and all the government bureaucrats that administer welfare programs be laid off, not reassigned. The welfare state doesn’t need libertarian efficiency experts. It needs to be destroyed root and branch.


Laurence M. Vance [send him mail] writes from central Florida. He is the author of The War on Drugs Is a War on Freedom; War, Christianity, and the State: Essays on the Follies of Christian Militarism; War, Empire, and the Military: Essays on the Follies of War and U.S. Foreign Policy; King James, His Bible, and Its Translators, and many other books. His newest book is Gun Control and the Second Amendment. Visit his website.

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The Worst Financial Nightmare In Illinois History Erupts As State Comptroller Declares ‘We Are In Massive Crisis Mode’

The Worst Financial Nightmare In Illinois History Erupts As State Comptroller Declares ‘We Are In Massive Crisis Mode’ | broke | Economy & Business Special Interests

Margaret Thatcher once said that the big problem with socialist governments is that “they always run out of other people’s money”, and unfortunately we are witnessing this play out in a major way in the state of Illinois right now.  At this point, the Illinois state government has more than 15 billion dollars of unpaid bills.  Yes, you read that correctly.  They are already 15 billion dollars behind on their bills, and they are on pace to take in 6 billion dollars less than they are scheduled to spend in 2017.  It is the worst financial crisis in the history of Illinois, and State Comptroller Susana Mendoza sounds like she is about ready to tear her hair out in frustration

“I don’t know what part of ‘We are in massive crisis mode’ the General Assembly and the governor don’t understand. This is not a false alarm,” said Mendoza, a Chicago Democrat. “The magic tricks run out after a while, and that’s where we’re at.”

It’s a new low, even for a state that’s seen its financial situation grow increasingly desperate amid a standoff between the Democrat-led Legislature and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. Illinois already has $15 billion in overdue bills and the lowest credit rating of any state, and some ratings agencies have warned they will downgrade the rating to “junk” if there’s no budget before the next fiscal year begins July 1.

Would you continue to do work for the Illinois state government if you knew that they were this far behind on their bills and that it is doubtful that you would be paid any time in the foreseeable future?

Of course the answer to that question is quite obvious.  As contractual relationships break down, social services are starting to suffer, and there is not much hope that things will take a turn for the better any time soon.

At this point things have gotten so bad that the Illinois Department of Transportation is planning to cease all roadwork starting on July 1st, and even the Powerball lottery is threatening to cut all ties with the state

As reported previously, the state Transportation Department said it would stop roadwork by July 1 if Illinois entered its third consecutive fiscal year without a budget – the longest such stretch of any US state – while the Powerball lottery said it may be forced to dump Illinois over its lack of budget. For now, state workers have continued to receive pay because of court orders, but school districts, colleges and medical and social service providers are under increasing strain.

So what has caused this unprecedented crisis?

At the core, the problem is political.  A tense standoff between a Republican governor and a Democratic legislature has resulted in the state going 700 days without a budget

On May 31, Illinois will have gone 700 days without a budget, an unprecedented political failure. Also on May 31, if a budget is not passed, it could mean that the state could go until 2019—an unimaginable idea, except that senators have already imagined it.

How does a state, led by a successful businessman as governor, a brilliant political strategist in the House, and a consummate dealmaker in the Senate, end up in this kind of political disorganization? Bad political errors led to bad political incentives, and as the problem worsened, so did the political risk of solutions—and what politicians had to ask of their constituents.

This is another example of how deeply divided we are as a nation right now.  Democrats hate Republicans and Republicans hate Democrats, and it is getting to the point where the two parties cannot work together on even the most basic things.

In the end, the state of Illinois is either going to have to cut spending dramatically, raise taxes substantially or some combination of both.  And since the Democrats have very large majorities in both chambers of the state legislature, I wouldn’t count on spending being cut that much.

This is the thing with big government – it always has a tendency to get even bigger.  And the bigger government gets, the more of our money and the more of our freedom it takes away.

That is why I am a huge advocate of dramatically shrinking the size of government on the federal, state and local levels.  Like Rand Paul has often said, I want a government so small that I can barely see it.

When you let government get out of control, what you end up with is a ravenous beast that has an endless appetite for more of your money.  In Illinois, the money is all gone and the beast is desperately hungry for more.

Sadly, what is happening in Illinois is just the tip of the iceberg.  If stock prices start declining from these massively inflated levels, state pension funds all over America are going to be in crisis mode very rapidly.  And a new recession would greatly accelerate the financial problems of a whole bunch of states that are already dealing with huge budget shortfalls.

Unfortunately, experts all over the country are warning that the next major downturn is coming very quickly.  For example, just consider what Bernard Arnault just told CNBC

A financial crisis could be just around the corner, according to the chief executive of LVMH, who has described the global economic outlook as “scary”.

“For the economic climate, the present situation is…mid-term scary,” Bernard Arnault told CNBC Thursday.

“I don’t think we will be able to globally avoid a crisis when I see the interest rates so low, when I see the amounts of money flowing into the world, when I see the stock prices which are much too high, I think a bubble is building and this bubble, one day, will explode.”

There is always a price to pay for going into too much debt.

A financial day of reckoning can be delayed for a while, but eventually bad financial decisions are going to catch up with you.  The state of Illinois is learning this lesson in a very harsh manner right now, and the country as a whole is on the exact same path as Illinois.

I am often criticized for endlessly warning about America’s coming day of reckoning, but you can’t pile up the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world without paying a price.

Just like the state of Illinois, we will pay for decades of exceedingly foolish decisions, and unfortunately this is going to cause severe economic pain throughout our entire society.


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Buy Your Food from the CIA: Amazon Buys Whole Foods

Buy Your Food from the CIA: Amazon Buys Whole Foods | whole-foods | Economy & Business US News

The Whole Foods Market in Midtown New York is seen on June 16, 2017. Amazon is once again shaking up the retail sector, with the announcement Friday it will acquire upscale US grocer Whole Foods Market, known for its pricey organic options, in a deal that underscores the online giant’s growing influence in the economy. / AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARYTIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images ORG XMIT: Amazon Bu ORIG FILE ID: AFP_PM23B

By: Jon Rappoport, No More Fake News

When Amazon boss and billionaire Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post in 2013, he also had an ongoing $600 million contract to provide cloud computing services to the CIA. That meant the Washington Post, which already had a long history of cooperation with the CIA, renewed their wedding vows with the Agency and doubled down on the alliance.

By any reasonable standard of journalism, the Post should preface every article about the CIA, or article sourced from the CIA, with a conflict of interest admission: TAKE THIS PIECE WITH A FEW GIANT GRAINS OF SALT, BECAUSE OUR NEWSPAPER IS OWNED BY A MAN WHO HAS A HUGE CONTRACT TO PROVIDE SERVICES TO THE CIA.

Now Bezos and his company, Amazon, have bought Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. Whole Foods is the premier retailer of “natural” foods in America.

The degree of profiling of Whole Foods customers will increase by a major factor. Amazon/CIA will be able to deploy far more sophisticated algorithms in that regard.

It’s no secret that many Whole Foods customers show disdain for government policies on agribusiness, health, medicine, and the environment. Well, that demographic is of great interest to the Deep State, for obvious reasons. And the Deep State will now be able to analyze these customers in finer detail.

At the same time, the Amazon retail powerhouse will exercise considerable control over the food supply, since it will be selling huge numbers of food products to the public. Amazon will have new relationships with all the farmers Whole Foods has been using as suppliers.

Perhaps this disclaimer posted on every Whole Foods item is now in order: KEEP IN MIND THE FACT THAT THE OWNER OF WHOLE FOODS, AMAZON, HAS A VERY TIGHT RELATIONSHIP WITH THE CIA. USE YOUR IMAGINATION.

Then there is this. The CIA has its own private company, called In-Q-Tel, which was founded in 1999 to pour investment money into tech outfits that could develop new ways to facilitate “data collection,” and service other CIA needs. In-Q-Tel, Jeff Bezos, and Amazon are connected. For example, here is a 2012 article from technologyreview.com:

“Inside a blocky building in a Vancouver suburb, across the street from a dowdy McDonald’s, is a place chilled colder than anywhere in the known universe. Inside that is a computer processor that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and the CIA’s investment arm, In-Q-Tel, believe can tap the quirks of quantum mechanics to unleash more computing power than any conventional computer chip. Bezos and In-Q-Tel are in a group of investors who are betting $30 million on this prospect…”

Nextgov.com described the deal this way: “Canadian company D-Wave Systems raised $30 million to develop quantum computing systems. Bezos Expeditions, the personal investment company of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and CIA venture capital arm In-Q-Tel participated in the latest funding round, the firm announced. The company’s quantum computing technology seeks to speed up data-crunching. If successful, the technology could aid automated intelligence gathering and analysis.”

Yes, automated intelligence gathering and analysis are exactly what outfits like Amazon and the CIA need for profiling the public. Other companies who have purchased products from D-Wave Systems? Goldman Sachs and Lockheed Martin. Let’s see: Amazon, CIA, Goldman, Lockheed—a formidable collection of Deep State players.

“Buy your food from the purest natural retailer in the world, the CIA. Oops, I mean Amazon. Oops, I mean Whole Foods.”

(To read about Jon’s mega-collection, The Matrix Revealed, click here.)


Jon Rappoport is the author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free NoMoreFakeNews emails here or his free OutsideTheRealityMachine emails here.


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We Are Getting Very Close To An Inverted Yield Curve – And If That Happens A Recession Is Essentially Guaranteed

We Are Getting Very Close To An Inverted Yield Curve – And If That Happens A Recession Is Essentially Guaranteed | glass-ball-beach | Economy & Business Special Interests

If something happens seven times in a row, do you think that there is a pretty good chance that it will happen the eighth time too?  Immediately prior to the last seven recessions, we have seen an inverted yield curve, and it looks like it is about to happen again for the very first time since the last financial crisis.  For those of you that are not familiar with this terminology, when we are talking about a yield curve we are typically talking about the spread between two-year and ten-year U.S. Treasury bond yields.  Normally, long-term rates are higher than short-term rates, but when investors get spooked about the economy this can reverse.  Just before every single recession since 1960 the yield curve has “inverted”, and now we are getting dangerously close to it happening again for the first time in a decade.

On Thursday, the spread between two-year and ten-year Treasuries dropped to just 79 basis points.  According to Business Insider, this is almost the tightest that the yield curve has been since 2007…

The spread between the yields on two-year and 10-year Treasurys fell to 79 basis points, or 0.79%, after Wednesday’s disappointing consumer-price and retail-sales data. The spread is currently within a few hundredths of a percentage point of being the tightest it has been since 2007.

Perhaps more notably, it is on a path to “inverting” — meaning it would cost more to borrow for the short term than the long term — for the first time since the months leading up to the financial crisis.

So why is an inverted yield curve such a big event?  Here is how CNBC recently explained it…

An inverted yield curve, which has correctly predicted the last seven recessions going back to the late 1960’s, occurs when short-term interest rates yield more than longer-term rates. Why is an inverted yield curve so crucial in determining the direction of markets and the economy? Because when bank assets (longer-duration loans) generate less income than bank liabilities (short-term deposits), the incentive to make new loans dries up along with the money supply. And when asset bubbles are starved of that monetary fuel they burst. The severity of the recession depends on the intensity of the asset bubbles in existence prior to the inversion.

What is truly alarming is that the Federal Reserve can see what is happening to the yield curve, and they can see all of the other indications that the economy is slowing down, but they decided to raise rates anyway.

Raising rates in a slowing economy is a recipe for disaster, but the Fed has gone beyond that and has declared that it intends to start unwinding the 4.5 trillion dollars of assets that have accumulated on the Fed’s balance sheet.

Janet Yellen is trying to tell us that this will be a smooth process, but many analysts are far from convinced.  For instance, just consider what Peter Boockvar recently told CNBC

“They desperately want this to be an easy, smooth, paint-drying type of process, but there’s no chance,” said Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group. “The whole purpose of quantitative easing was to inflame the markets higher. Why shouldn’t the reverse happen when we do quantitative tightening?”

I hope that there are no political motivations behind the Fed’s moves.  During the Obama era, interest rates were pushed all the way to the floor and the financial system was flooded with new money by the Fed.  But now the Fed is completely reversing the process now that Donald Trump is in office.

When the inevitable stock market crash comes, Trump will get most of the blame, but it will actually be the Federal Reserve’s fault.  If the Fed had not injected trillions of dollars into the system, stocks would not have ever gotten this high.  And now that they are reversing the process that created the bubble, a whole lot of innocent people out there are going to get really hurt as stock prices come crashing down.

And if you thought that the last recession was bad for average American families, wait until you see what happens this time around.  As Kevin Muir has noted, it is utter madness for the Fed to hit the breaks in a rapidly slowing economy…

There are a million other little signs the US economy is rolling over, but that’s not important. What is important is the realization that until financial conditions back up, the Fed will not ease off the brake.

To top it all off, the Fed is not only braking, but they are also preparing the market for a balance sheet unwind. This is like QE in reverse.

It’s a perfect storm of negativity. An overly tight Fed that is determined to withdraw monetary stimulus even in the face of a declining economy.

Even if the Fed ultimately decides not to unwind their balance sheet very rapidly, rising rates will still significantly slow down economic activity.

Rising mortgage rates are going to hit the housing market hard, rising rates on auto loans are horrible news for an auto industry that is already having a horrendous year, and rising rates on credit cards will mean higher credit card payments for millions of American families.

And this comes at a time when indicator after indicator is already screaming that the next recession is dead ahead.

Today, an unelected, unaccountable central banking cartel has far more power over our economy than anyone else, and that includes President Trump and Congress.  The more manipulating they do, the bigger our economic booms and busts become, and this next bust is going to be a doozy.

There have been 18 distinct recessions or depressions since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913, and if we finally want to get off of this economic roller coaster for good we need to abolish the Federal Reserve.

As many of you may have heard, I am very strongly leaning toward running for Congress here in Idaho, and one of the key things that is going to set me apart from any other candidate is that I am very passionate about shutting down the Federal Reserve.  I recently detailed why it is imperative that we do this in an article entitled “The Federal Reserve Must Go”.  Central banks are designed to create government debt spirals, and the size of the U.S. national debt has gotten more than 5000 times larger since the Fed was initially established.

If we ever want to do something about our national debt, and if we ever want to get our economy back on track on a permanent basis, we have got to do something about the Federal Reserve.

Anyone that would suggest otherwise is just wasting your time.

The post We Are Getting Very Close To An Inverted Yield Curve – And If That Happens A Recession Is Essentially Guaranteed appeared first on The Sleuth Journal.


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Almost 9000 Retail Stores Will Close This Year: Here’s the List of Businesses in Trouble

Almost 9000 Retail Stores Will Close This Year: Here’s the List of Businesses in Trouble | retail-stores-going-out-of-business | Economy & Business Special Interests

Back in January, after the worst Christmas sales in a decade, I predicted that 2017 would be the year of the Retailpocalypse and that we’d see hundreds of retail stores closing.

Sadly, I was wrong.

We’re going to see thousands of stores closing.

According to a CNN Money report, more than 300 retailers have filed for bankruptcy already and we’re only halfway through the year.

Another report by Credit Suisse has an even gloomier prediction:

…around 8,640 stores in the U.S. will close by the end of 2017 — easily surpassing the number of stores closed in a year over the past two decades. (source)

When retail stores close, it affects everyone.

Even if you’re not much of a consumer, when retail stores close, it can still affect you.

  • Higher rates of unemployment mean more competition for available jobs.
  • When larger stores in a mall close, it often takes down the other stores with it.
  • Thousands of newly unemployed people are adding even more weight to our already strained social safety net.
  • Scarcity drives up prices.

Retail stores can be a glimpse at how our economy, in general, is faring.

Underserved communities have a lot of problems that are all rooted in the loss of their retail stores.

When consumers have to drive further for everything, that is like a tax on everything they purchase. Travel time, expenses, and wear and tear mean that they’re spending just a little bit more on everything they buy.

Often, people begin moving out of smaller towns that are bereft of retailers because it’s so inconvenient to purchase the things they want or need. Others leave because they lost their job and there were no other jobs available. Property values decline.

Mom and Pop stores that existed before the chain retailers arrived were often driven out of business. Fewer options mean higher prices at any stores still remaining.

As Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse Blog wrote:

At this moment, the number of working age Americans that do not have a job is hovering near a record high.  So being able to at least get a job in the retail industry has been a real lifeline for many Americans, and now that lifeline may be in grave danger.

For those running our big corporations, losing these kinds of jobs is not a big deal.  In fact, many corporate executives would be quite happy to replace all of their U.S. employees with technology or with foreign workers.

But if the middle class is going to survive, we need an economy that produces good paying jobs.  Unfortunately, even poor paying retail jobs are starting to disappear now, and the future of the middle class is looking bleaker than it ever has before. (source)

These stores could be filing for bankruptcy or closing their doors this year.

Some experts predict that one in four malls will be closed within the next five years.

The retail apocalypse is real.

So real, in fact, that 20 to 25% of all U.S. malls will close by 2022, according to new research from Credit Suisse.

That translates to 220 to 275 of the nation’s 1,100 shopping malls, the research note said, according to Fortune.

Fueled by the rise of e-commerce, mass store closings and bankruptcies, brick and mortar retail stores have been closing around the U.S. at an increasing rate. And the fight against e-commerce giants like Amazon will only get worse. (source)

Ouch.

According to a Moody’s Investor Service report, the outlook is extremely grim for the following retailers, who have been downgraded to the lowest ranking on their credit spectrum. All of these brands/retailers are now classed by Moody’s as “subject to very high credit risk.”

  • Boardriders SA
  • Bon Ton
  • Cole Haan
  • Charlotte Russe
  • Charming Charlie
  • J. Crew
  • Claire’s
  • David’s Bridal
  • Eddie Bauer
  • Fairway Market
  • Gymboree
  • K-Mart
  • MAG Retail
  • Neiman Marcus
  • Ninety-Nine Cents Only
  • Nine West
  • Savers
  • Sears
  • Tom’s (weeps – I love those shoes)
  • Totes Isotoner
  • Tops Friendly Market
  • True Religion
  • Vince

This is on top of stores that were in trouble or whose projections were down back in January:

  • Aeropostale
  • American Eagle
  • Chicos
  • CVS
  • Finish Line
  • Kohls
  • Macy’s
  • Men’s Wearhouse
  • The Children’s Place

Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself in a crumbling economy.

I really don’t believe that all of this can be blamed on Amazon. We’ve become a country of consumers instead of a country of producers. We work to pay for things that profit huge corporations who have their goods produced for pennies in other countries instead of working to produce these things ourselves.

The problem with our economy is that we’ve become a country of consumers instead of a country of producers.CLICK TO TWEET

That, in my opinion, is the problem in a nutshell.

There are a few things you can do to provide some stability.

The most important prep you can make when the future is questionable is to learn to become a producer. Learn to meet your own needs by growing food, providing a necessary service, or creating something that people will always need.

 

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Source: Alternative news journal

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Peak Economic Delusion Signals Coming Crisis

Peak Economic Delusion Signals Coming Crisis | surreal-money | Economy & Business Sleuth Journal Special Interests

In my article ‘The Trump Collapse Scapegoat Narrative Has Now Been Launched‘, I discussed the ongoing and highly obvious plan by globalists and international financiers to pull the plug on their fiat support for stock markets and portions of the general economy while blaming the Trump Administration (and the conservative ideal) for the subsequent crash. Numerous economic shocks and negative data which had been simmering for years before the 2016 elections are rising to the surface of the normally oblivious mainstream. This recently culminated in a surprise stock dive that stunned investors; investors that have grown used to the Dow moving perpetually upward, while the economic media immediately began connecting the entire event to Trump and the “Comey memos”, which likely do not exist.

My position according to Trump’s behavior and cabinet selection is that he is aware of this agenda and is playing along. That said, there is another important issue to consider – the participation of the ignorant in helping the Ponzi con-game continue.

There is a famous investor’s anecdote from Joe Kennedy, the father of John F. Kennedy, about the onset of the Great Depression – he relates that one day, just before the crash of 1929, a shoe shine boy tried to give him stock tips. He realized at that moment that when the shoe shiner is offering market tips the market is too popular for its own good. He cashed out of the market and avoided the crash that many people now wrongly assume was the “cause” of the Great Depression.

I don’t know that this story is true, but if it is, it is an interesting example of peak economic delusion. We do not have quite the same investment environment as existed in those days. Today, algorithmic computers dominate the functions of the stock market, chasing headlines and each other, but this does not and will not save the economy from another depression. In fact, all they have done along with substantial aid from central banks is artificially elevate equities while every other fiscal indicator implodes.

But this farce in stocks could not succeed for so many years without help. I would say the real “shoe shine boys” of our era are actually the dullards in the mainstream financial media, stabbing in the dark and desperate to believe that the astonishing “recovery” since 2009 is real.

This attitude is evident in a recent article published by Bloomberg titled ‘Prophets Of Doom With Too Much Gloom’. The piece focuses not on alternative analysts like myself which are usually targeted with the mentally lazy “doom and gloom” label by the MSM. Rather, the targets are “big names” in the investment world who now finally agree with what alternative analysts have been saying for some time. Names like Bill Gross and Paul Singer.

Bloomberg laments the sudden tide of negative predictions for their beloved Dow Jones and other exchanges from people who have the ear of the larger mainstream. Instead of considering their warnings and looking at the available evidence, Bloomberg instead decides to craft a conspiracy theory in which bond traders and hedge fund managers like Gross and Singer feel jilted by the unnatural rise in stocks and now scheme to lure investors away from the infinite fountain of wealth. Yes, that’s right, Bloomberg accuses Gross and Singer of “stock envy”.

I say, Bloomberg is a modern day shoe shine boy.

Some might argue that Bloomberg is perfectly cognizant of the fact that the economy is in severe decline and that they are helping their central banker buddies keep the public in the dark through misinformation. While this may be true for Bloomberg himself and media elites like him, I think the average analyst at Bloomberg news is just as ignorant of the fiscal situation as most people. I think they are legitimately biased and will conjure whatever story they need to help them and others believe that the system is in ascendance rather than decline.

For those of us who were analysts before the derivatives crash of 2008, this mindset is nothing new. I remember the complete arrogance present in the mainstream just before the implosion; the sneering and attacks that were used in an attempt to silence anyone with the guts to openly suggest the fundamentals and the data did not support the investment exuberance. I remember many people asserting that that the economy’s progress was unstoppable, that another crash like 1929 was impossible, that the real estate market was an invincible engine. They were all wrong, yet, they were so confident. Most of these same people still work in the financial press to this day. Imagine that…

I would prefer to point to the hard data on hand than mere mainstream opinion. Maybe I’m a little paranoid, but I’ve already seen mainstream analysts fail on numerous occasions.

First, consider the fact that the Federal Reserve, the key component along with other central banks around the world in the rise of stock markets, is now cutting off the flow of easy money through continued interest rate hikes. I predicted this move back in 2015 when almost everyone said the Fed would go to negative rates instead. Without no-cost Fed money to feed the machine, stock markets have essentially stalled, and now, there is talk of a “tech dump” on the horizon.  With the vast majority of gains in equities the past year attributed to only five major companies, all of them tech oriented, this would be a disaster for stocks.

This is a considerable shift away from the last few years, in which it was expected by many that markets would expand exponentially for the foreseeable future. Now that the Fed’s quantitative easing and near-zero interest rates have been removed as fuel, the true economic picture is becoming clear, even to the mainstream.

According to the Atlanta Fed, US GDP in the first quarter of 2017 has declined to 0.7% , going back to lows touched on in 2014 after the Fed reduced QE.

The US has lost 5 million manufacturing jobs since the year 2000, and this trend has accelerated in recent years. Manufacturing in the US only accounts for 8.48% of all jobs according to May statistics.

102 million working age Americans do not currently have a job. This includes the 95 million Americans not counted by the Bureau of Labor because they assume these people have been unemployed so long they “do not want to work”.

Thousands of retail outlet stores, the primary engine of the American economy, are set to close in 2017.  Sweeping bankruptcies and downsizing are ravaging the retail sector, and internet retailers are not taking up the slack despite highly publicized growth.  In 2016, online retail sales only accounted for 8.1% of all retail sales.

Oil inventories continue to amass as US energy demand declines. Declining energy demand is a sure sign of overall economic decline. OPEC and other entities continue to argue that “too much supply” is the issue; an attempt to distract away from the reality of lower consumption and the falling wealth of consumers.

Corporate earnings expectations continue their dismal path, suggesting that stock markets have been supported by central bank stimulus and blind investor faith in central bank intervention. The stimulus is now being cut off. How long before investor faith is finally lost?

Peak Economic Delusion Signals Coming Crisis | earnings-exp1 | Economy & Business Sleuth Journal Special Interests

These are only a few of the MANY data points that paint a very ugly picture for the US economy. The rest of the world is just as tenuous if not worse.

This is why when I hear the phrase “doom and gloom” I have to laugh and think of the shoe shine boys. These are people with limited experience in tracking the economy, or very short memories, or both. This is also the product of a vast misconception about economic crisis or collapse – the assumption that crisis and collapse are “events”, that they happen suddenly and without warning. If the nation does not look like a television zombie drama tomorrow, there must not be a collapse. In truth, economic collapse NEVER happens without warning, because as I have said ten thousand times and will say ten thousand times more, collapse is a process, not an event. The data points above show an economy that is in severe deterioration, not recovery. Stock markets are next, not that stock markets matter much in the grand scheme of things.

It is unfortunate that so many people only track stocks when accounting for economic health. They have crippled themselves and their own observations, and actually condescend when confronted with counter-observations and data. They help globalists and international financiers by perpetuating false narratives; sometimes knowingly but often unconsciously. And, when the system does destabilize to the point that they actually realize it, they will blame all the wrong culprits for their pain and suffering.

The question is not “when” we will enter collapse; we are already in the midst of an economic collapse. The real question is, when will the uneducated and the biased finally notice? I suspect the only thing that will shock them out of their stupor will be a swift stock market drop, since this is the only factor they seem to pay attention to. This will happen soon enough. In the meantime, anyone who discusses legitimate data and warns of the dangers to come is a “doom and gloomer”. Mark my words, one day this label will be considered a badge of honor.

 

This article was republished from Alt-Market.com.

After 8 long years of ultra-loose monetary policy from the Federal Reserve, it’s no secret that inflation is primed to soar. If your IRA or 401(k) is exposed to this threat, it’s critical to act now! That’s why thousands of Americans are moving their retirement into a Gold IRA. Learn how you can too with a free info kit on gold from Birch Gold Group. It reveals the little-known IRS Tax Law to move your IRA or 401(k) into gold. Click here to get your free Info Kit on Gold.

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8 Steps To Surviving A Job Loss

8 Steps To Surviving A Job Loss | lost-job | Business Economy & Business PreparednessSurvival

A 2014 report on jobs showed some alarming statistics:  1 in 5 Americans have lost their jobs over the past five years and remained unemployed. The US economy is free-falling, and the middle class is taking the hit.

Unless you live in a neighborhood of rainbows and unicorns, it’s a good bet that this has happened to either your family or someone you know.  Sometimes the lay-off is expected, as you see your company’s profits dwindling. Other times, it is completely out of the blue when you get called into the managers office and handed your walking papers.

Either way, when the axe falls, you are reeling in shock. Well, tough love, here: Get ahold of yourself!  The first steps you take can help you to survive until you get a new source of income.

This article is not about how to prep for a personal financial collapse. Hopefully, you’ve already begun creating a food stockpile8 Steps To Surviving A Job Loss | ir?t=frugality00-20&l=as2&o=1&a=1495933415 | Business Economy & Business PreparednessSurvival , socking away an emergency fund8 Steps To Surviving A Job Loss | ir?t=frugality00-20&l=as2&o=1&a=1595555277 | Business Economy & Business PreparednessSurvival , and working towards self-reliance8 Steps To Surviving A Job Loss | ir?t=frugality00-20&l=as2&o=1&a=1496092589 | Business Economy & Business PreparednessSurvival .

I recently wrote about the 3 steps for surviving any disaster, and job loss is no exception. You must ACCEPT that the event has occurred, you must make a PLAN, and you must ACT on that plan. Here are the steps to minimizing the damage to your personal finances when a sudden job loss occurs.

1.) Don’t sign anything right away.

As much loyalty as you may have had to your company, they clearly don’t feel the same sense of loyalty towards you. Many companies will try to get you to sign paperwork right away to “settle the details.”  Trust me when I say, these details will be skewed in their favor, and not yours.  You do NOT have to sign anything while sitting there, stunned at your sudden change in circumstances.  It’s vital that you take the time to read over everything carefully. Your severance package, your 401K, any accrued pension, and unemployment benefits will be at risk.  In some cases, you can negotiate this, even though you are not sitting in the power seat. Don’t commit to any type of agreement while you’re reeling, particularly if they try to coerce you into signing immediately. Regardless of what you may be told, any delay in your unemployment benefits or severance will be minimal.

2. Begin a total spending freeze for a couple of days.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when faced with a shocking job loss is to go on spending as though they still have an income. Perhaps they go and buy something to try and make themselves feel better. Maybe they just continue spending like they always did, with hundreds of dollars going out for kids’ activities, dinners out, and shopping trips.  Just stop.  You need a few days to re-assess your budget and see where you’re at.  You don’t want to regret the expenditures you make right after a job loss. Put yourself on a complete spending freeze for the next few days while you assess the change in your financial situation.

3.) Apply for unemployment benefits.

Unemployment is not welfare. It is something that you paid in to the entire time you were employed. Please don’t feel guilty about taking the money that is rightfully yours. Keep in mind that it can take up to two months for your benefits to start, and that money from your severance package can delay the onset of benefits. Unemployment is only a portion of what you made when you were employed, so a revamp of the budget is a must.  Make your application immediately so that you know where you stand and when you can expect the money to start coming in.

4.) Create a budget for necessities.

It’s absolutely vital that you drop your expenditures to the bare minimum until you are able to get another stream of income.  You need to take a look at where your money goes and base your new budget on the necessities. Although having a vehicle in each stall of the garage and an iPhone in the hand of every family member is nice, these are not necessary to sustaining life.

  • Water
  • Food (and the ability to cook it)
  • Medicine and medical supplies
  • Basic hygiene supplies
  • Shelter (including sanitation, lights, heat)
  • Simple tools
  • Seeds
  • Defense Items

Absolutely everything above those basic necessities is a luxury.

So, by this definition, what luxuries do you have?

5.) Slash luxury spending.

Reduce your monthly payments by cutting frivolous expenses. Look at every single monthly payment that comes out of your bank account and slash relentlessly.  Consider cutting the following:

  • Cable
  • Cell phones
  • Home phones
  • Gym memberships
  • Restaurant meals
  • Unnecessary driving
  • Entertainment such as trips to the movies, the skating rink, or the mall

6.) Start looking for new streams of income.

You know those people who tell you that it’s easy to find a new job if you wouldn’t be such a snob? Ignore them. The job market of today is not the job market of a decade ago. Jobs are few and far between, and good jobs are as elusive as unicorns in Central Park.  You may need to look at creating your own streams of income, like:

7.) Sell stuff.

All that stuff you’ve been meaning to go through in the basement just might be the key to keeping a roof over your head.  It’s time to start an Ebay account8 Steps To Surviving A Job Loss | ir?t=frugality00-20&l=as2&o=1&a=150084439X | Business Economy & Business PreparednessSurvival , have a yard sale8 Steps To Surviving A Job Loss | ir?t=frugality00-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B00MFCY2A0 | Business Economy & Business PreparednessSurvival (free at the time of publication), or get on Craigslist8 Steps To Surviving A Job Loss | ir?t=frugality00-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B00V7LCM3Y | Business Economy & Business PreparednessSurvival (free at the time of publication) and start selling things that have just been sitting there for a while.

Your trash might be another person’s treasure.  Instead of regifting those things in your attic, sell them so they can become someone else’s clutter.  You’d be surprised how much money you can make while decluttering your home.

8.) Look for the silver lining.

Although job loss can be terrifying, it can also be the start of something wonderful. When I lost my job in the automotive industry, I was devastated. As a single mom, how was I going to continue taking care of my two girls with no income?  Instead of being a bad thing, it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. I was able to take the writing I’d been dabbling in for years from a hobby to a full-time job.  I made a conscious decision NOT to search for another job, but to follow my dream of being a writer.  Maybe I succeeded because it was do-or-die time.  There was no option but to make it work. I began writing for other websites, started my own site, and began outlining books. As it turns out, that shocking, unceremonious discussion in the manager’s office was the best thing that ever happened to me.

When I lost my job in the automotive industry, I was devastated. As a single mom, how was I going to continue taking care of my two girls with no income?  Instead of being a bad thing, it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me8 Steps To Surviving A Job Loss | ir?t=frugality00-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B00JESFWNO | Business Economy & Business PreparednessSurvival . I was able to take the writing I’d been dabbling in for years from a hobby to a full-time job.  I made a conscious decision NOT to search for another job, but to follow my dream of being a writer and editor.  Maybe I succeeded because it was do-or-die time.  There was no option but to make it work. I began writing for other websites, started my own site, and began outlining books. As it turned out, that shocking, unceremonious discussion in the manager’s office was the best thing that ever happened to me.

As it turned out, that shocking, unceremonious discussion in the manager’s office was a turning point in my life. I’ve read many success stories that began the same way. Sometimes what seems like an ending can actually be a new beginning.

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2017 Is Going To Be The Worst Retail Apocalypse In U.S. History – More Than 300 Retailers Have Already Filed For Bankruptcy

2017 Is Going To Be The Worst Retail Apocalypse In U.S. History – More Than 300 Retailers Have Already Filed For Bankruptcy | End-Times-Ruins-Apocalypse-Public-Domain | Economy & Business Special Interests

Not even during the worst parts of the last recession did things ever get this bad for the U.S. retail industry. As you will see in this article, more than 300 retailers have already filed for bankruptcy in 2017, and it is being projected that a staggering 8,640 stores will close in America by the end of this calendar year. That would shatter the old record by more than 20 percent. Sadly, our ongoing retail apocalypse appears to only be in the early chapters. One report recently estimated that up to 25 percent of all shopping malls in the country could shut down by 2022 due to the current woes of the retail industry. And if the new financial crisis that is already hitting Europe starts spreading over here, the numbers that I just shared with you could ultimately turn out to be a whole lot worse.

I knew that a lot of retailers were filing for bankruptcy, but I had no idea that the grand total for this year was already in the hundreds. According to CNN, the number of retail bankruptcies is now up 31 percent compared to the same time period last year…

Bankruptcies continue to pile up in the retail industry.

More than 300 retailers have filed for bankruptcy so far this year, according to data from BankruptcyData.com. That’s up 31% from the same time last year. Most of those filings were for small companies — the proverbial Mom & Pop store with a single location. But there are also plenty of household names on the list.

Yes, the growth of online retailers such as Amazon is fueling some of this, but the Internet has been around for several decades now.

So why are retail store closings and retail bankruptcies surging so dramatically all of a sudden?

Just a few days ago, another major victim of the retail apocalypse made headlines all over the nation when it filed for bankruptcy. At one time Gymboree was absolutely thriving, but now it is in a desperate fight to survive

Children’s clothing chain Gymboree has filed for bankruptcy protection, aiming to slash its debts and close hundreds of stores amid crushing pressure on retailers.

Gymboree said it plans to remain in business but will close 375 to 450 of its 1,281 stores in filing for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. Gymboree employs more than 11,000 people, including 10,500 hourly workers.

And in recent weeks other major retailers that were once very prosperous have also been forced to close stores and lay off staff

This hemorrhaging of retail jobs comes on the heels of last week’s mass layoffs at Hudson Bay Company, where employees from Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor were among the 2,000 people laid off. The news of HBC layoffs came on the same day that Ascena, the parent company of brands like Ann Taylor, Lane Bryant, and Dress Barn, told investors it will be closing up to 650 stores (although it did not specify which brands will be affected just yet). Only two weeks ago, affordable luxury brand Michael Kors announced it too would close 125 stores to combat brand overexposure and plummeting sales.

In a lot of ways this reminds me of 2007. The stock market was still performing very well, but the real economy was starting to come apart at the seams.

And without a doubt, the real economy is really hurting right now. According to Business Insider, Moody’s is warning that 22 more major retailers may be forced to declare bankruptcy in the very near future…

Twenty-two retailers in Moody’s portfolio are in serious financial trouble that could lead to bankruptcy, according to a Moody’s note published on Wednesday. That’s 16% of the 148 companies in the financial firm’s retail group — eclipsing the level of seriously distressed retail companies that Moody’s reported during the Great Recession.

You can find the full list right here. If this many major retailers are “distressed” now, what are things going to look like once the financial markets start crashing?

As thousands of stores close down all across the United States, this is going to put an incredible amount of stress on shopping mall owners. In order to meet their financial obligations, those mall owners need tenants, but now the number of potential tenants is shrinking rapidly.

I have talked about dead malls before, but apparently what we have seen so far is nothing compared to what is coming. The following comes from CNN

Store closings and even dead malls are nothing new, but things might be about to get a whole lot worse.

Between 20% and 25% of American malls will close within five years, according to a new report out this week from Credit Suisse. That kind of plunge would be unprecedented in the nation’s history.

I can’t even imagine what this country is going to look like if a quarter of our shopping malls shut down within the next five years. Already, there are some parts of the U.S. that look like a third world nation.

And what is this going to do to employment? Today, the retail industry employs millions upon millions of Americans, and those jobs could start disappearing very rapidly

The retail sales associate is one of the most popular jobs in the country, with roughly 4.5 million Americans filling the occupation. In May, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics released data that found that 7.5 million retail jobs might be replaced by technology. The World Economic Forum predicts 30 to 50 percent of retail jobs will be gone once struggling companies like Gymboree fully hop on the digital train. MarketWatch found that over the last year, the department store space bled 29,900 jobs, while general merchandising stores cut 15,700 positions. At this rate, one Florida columnist put it soberingly, “Half of all US retail jobs could vanish. Just as ATMs replaced many bank tellers, automated check-out stations are supplanting retail clerks.”

At this moment, the number of working age Americans that do not have a job is hovering near a record high. So being able to at least get a job in the retail industry has been a real lifeline for many Americans, and now that lifeline may be in grave danger.

For those running our big corporations, losing these kinds of jobs is not a big deal. In fact, many corporate executives would be quite happy to replace all of their U.S. employees with technology or with foreign workers.

But if the middle class is going to survive, we need an economy that produces good paying jobs. Unfortunately, even poor paying retail jobs are starting to disappear now, and the future of the middle class is looking bleaker than it ever has before.

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10 Reasons To Prepare For An Economic Collapse

10 Reasons To Prepare For An Economic Collapse | Global-Money | Collapse Economy & Business PreparednessSurvival

It was not that long ago that the country of Greece suffered a devastating collapse of their economy.  At the time, there was a lot of blame game going on but, at the end of the day, it was years of irresponsible and unrestrained spending that took them down.  That, coupled with questionable accounting practices and misstated economic indicators left the Greek citizens befuddled and angry when the reality of a depression hit.

Could the same thing happen here?  Not to be depressing but in going through my own thoughts as I answer the question “What am I least prepared for?”, I realized that it was time for a wake-up call and time to re-evaluate my own preps within the context of an economic collapse.

Looking back at what happened during or our own Great Depression, I have come to realize that an economic collapse, if it were to happen, would have the compound effect of combining all woes we so diligently prepare for into one huge mess – a mess that may take decades to resolve.

I worry about this, because, as prepared as I may be, I find it difficult to wrap my head around a mega collapse that will result in food and water shortages, power outages, civil disobedience, medical anarchy, and worse.

A global economic collapse, unlike a natural disaster which, as tragic as it may be, is a short term event, will change our lives forever.

Time for a Wake-Up Call

Back in 2012, Michael Snyder wrote about the lessons we can learn from the financial melt-down in Greece.

At the time, being a prepper in the United States typically branded you as an nut job.  Now that preparedness has become more mainstream, I feel that we should review those lessons and take another look at the ramifications of an economic collapse.

Here are the 10 lessons along with my own thoughts as they might apply to an economic collapse in 2015 and beyond.

10 Reasons Why We Need to Prepare for an Economic Collapse

1.  Food Shortages Can Actually Happen

Most people assume that they will always be able to run out to their local supermarket or warehouse club.  Those of us that prepare, know better. It is those folks that do not prepare that we need to worry about.

2. Medicine Is One Of The First Things That Becomes Scarce During An Economic Collapse

When credit systems and distribution channels are compromised, medical supplies will not make their way to the local pharmacy.  Any medicines and supplies that are available will likely be diverted for use by the power elite.  Sorry to be such a cynic but we all know that there are privileged classes that have the power and the means to get whatever they want, even if it means denying the rest of the population with their fair share.

3.  When An Economy Collapses, So Might The Power Grid

No money to pay workers and no fuel to fire the grid translates into no grid at all.  Going without power for a week or two is one thing but going off grid for months or even years?  We are a soft society accustomed to our comforts.  Without the grid, our lives will be quite different than the life we live today.

4.  During An Economic Collapse You Cannot Even Take Water For Granted

When the grid goes down, so goes the water treatment facilities that ensure that clean water flows from our faucets.  I survived 12 days without running water.  Do-able yes.  Fun? Hardly, but I knew the water would come back on eventually. What if the water never came back on?

5. During An Economic Crisis Your Credit Cards And Debit Cards May Stop Working

Same thing.  If the grid is down, our banking system will basically be down too.  This means that credit cards and debit cards will be useless to transact business and make purchases.

6.  Crime, Rioting And Looting Become Commonplace During An Economic Collapse

This is not a maybe.  The haves will need to defend their property from the have-not’s.  I also suspect that the “haves” (aka preppers) may have to defend themselves from government looters.  It will be every man or woman on their own; defending what is theirs.

The young and healthy might be able to handle this but what about the elderly, the sick, and the disabled?  Even if they prep, how will they defend themselves?

7. During A Financial Meltdown Many Average Citizens Will Start Bartering

Without credit cards, debit cards, and quite possibly currency, a barter economy will emerge.  By the way, the best description I have read relative to how such an economy will work was is James Wesley Rawles book, Patriots.

Things will definitely fall apart during an economic collapse. Having supplies and especially skills to barter with not be an option.

8. Suicides Spike During An Economic Collapse

This happened in the 30s and it will happen again. When people no longer have hope, they feel that life is not worth living.  My guess is people will start jumping out of buildings and may take family members with them in a suicide pact.

9.  Your Currency May Rapidly Lose Value During An Economic Crisis

Let me take this one step further.  Your currency WILL lose value during an economic collapse.  It happened in Germany during the Weimar Republic and it has happened more recently elsewhere around the globe.  We are not immune to runaway inflation coupled with devaluation of our currency.

10. When Things Hit The Fan The Government Will Not Save You

If you think that the government will come to the rescue of those that are suffering think again.  Remember the aftermath of Katrina?  Remember Super Storm Sandy?

It is foolhardy to believe that government assistance of any type will become available following a collapse. History has demonstrated over and over again that governments cannot be counted on when things hit the fan. You will be on your own so you better be ready mentally to accept that reality and the tough times that will ensue.

The Final Word

If you have made it this far you might be thinking “Gaye, we know all of that.  That is why we prep.”.

Agreed; I am preaching the choir.  But, that being said, the overwhelming ramification of having all of these things happen at once will be a blow to the psyche that is of greater magnitude than anything you can imagine.

Think about it.  To prevail following a collapse you will still need to get up in the morning, go about your chores, and go about the business of living.  This is going to take a level of fortitude that I can not fathom.  Heck, there are some days, during these modern, comfortable times, that I can barely face the day and all of its challenges.

So where do we go from here?  What solutions are there to get you through to that mental place you know you will need to go to?

Three things you need to remember are:

1.  Only you can be counted on to take care of yourself and your family.
2.  Leaning coping skills during times of calm will give you a heads up on coping during times of crisis.
3.  Give yourself permission to worry, to be concerned, and to be a bit afraid.  This will keep you alert and on your toes at all time.

At the end of the day, those that prepare will be in it for the ride.  The real question is whether we have the mental fortitude to get there without losing are path along the way.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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The Next Financial Crisis Has Already Arrived In Europe, And People Are Starting To Freak Out

The Next Financial Crisis Has Already Arrived In Europe, And People Are Starting To Freak Out | The-European-Union-Flag-Coming-Apart-Public-Domain | Economy & Business World News

Did you know that the sixth largest bank in Spain failed in spectacular fashion just a few days ago?  Many are comparing the sudden implosion of Banco Popular to the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, and EU regulators hastily arranged a sale of the failed bank to Santander in order to avoid a full scale financial panic.  Sadly, most Americans have no idea that a new financial crisis is starting to play out over in Europe, because most Americans only care about what is going on in America.  But we should be paying attention, because the EU is the second largest economy on the entire planet, and the euro is the second most used currency on the entire planet.  The U.S. financial system is already teetering on the brink of disaster, and this new financial crisis in Europe could turn out to be enough to push us over the edge.

If EU regulators had not arranged a “forced sale” of Banco Popular to Santander, we would probably be witnessing panic on a scale that we haven’t seen since 2008 in Europe right about now.  The following comes from the Telegraph

Spanish banking giant Santander has stepped in to the rescue ailing rival Banco Popular by taking over the failing lender for €1 in a watershed deal masterminded by EU regulators to avoid a damaging collapse.

Santander will tap its shareholders for €7bn in a rights issue to raise the capital needed to shore-up Popular’s finances in a dramatic private sector rescue of Spain’s sixth-largest lender.

It will inflict losses of approximately €3.3bn on bond investors and shareholders but crucially will avoid a taxpayer bailout.

But now that a “too big to fail” bank like Banco Popular has failed, investors are immediately trying to figure out which major Spanish banks may be the next to collapse.  According to Wolf Richter, many have identified Liberbank as an institution that is highly vulnerable…

After its most tumultuous week since the bailout days of 2012, Spain’s banking system is gripped by a climate of fear, uncertainty and distrust. Rather than allaying investor nerves, the shotgun bail-in and sale of Banco Popular to Santander on Tuesday has merely intensified them. For the first time since the Global Financial Crisis, shareholders and subordinate bondholders of a failing Spanish bank were not bailed out by taxpayers; they took risks in order to make a buck, and they bore the consequences. That’s how it should be. But bank investors don’t like not getting bailed out.

Now they’re worrying it could happen again. As Popular’s final days showed, once confidence and trust in a bank vanishes, it’s almost impossible to restore them. The fear has now spread to Spain’s eighth largest lender, Liberbank, a mini-Bankia that was spawned in 2011 from the forced marriage of three failed cajas (savings banks), Cajastur, Caja de Extremadura and Caja Cantabria.

On Thursday, shares of Liberbank dropped by an astounding 20 percent, and that was followed up by another 19 percent decline on Friday.

Spanish authorities responded by banning short sales of Liberbank shares, and that caused a short-term rebound in the stock price.

But we haven’t seen this kind of chaos in European financial markets in a very long time.

Meanwhile, Nick Giambruno is sounding the alarm about a much bigger bubble.  At this moment, more than a trillion dollars worth of Italian government bonds have negative yields…

Over $1 trillion worth of Italian bonds actually have negative yields.

It’s a bizarre and perverse situation.

Lending money to the bankrupt Italian government carries huge risks. So the yields on Italian government bonds should be near record highs, not record lows.

Negative yields could not exist in a free market. They’re only possible in the current “Alice in Wonderland” economy created by central bankers.

You see, the European Central Bank (ECB) has been printing money to buy Italian government bonds hand over fist. Since 2008, the ECB and Italian banks have bought over 88% of Italian government debt, according to a recent study.

The moment that the ECB stops wildly buying Italian bonds, the party will be over and the Italian financial system will crash.  Unfortunately for Italy, the Germans are pressuring the ECB to quit printing so much money, and the Germans usually get their way in these things.

But if the Germans get their way this time, we could be facing a complete and utter nightmare very quickly.  Here is more from Nick Giambruno

Once the ECB—the only large buyer—steps away, Italian government bonds will crash and rates will soar.

Soon it will be impossible for the Italian government to finance itself.

Italian banks—which are already insolvent—will be decimated. They hold an estimated €235 billion worth of Italian government bonds. So the coming bond crash will pummel their balance sheets.

It’s shaping up to be a lovely train wreck.

And all of this is happening in the context of a global economy that appears to be headed for a major downturn.

For example, the last time that global credit growth showed down this rapidly was during the last financial crisis

From peak to trough the deceleration in global credit growth is now approaching that during the global financial crisis (-6% of global GDP), even if the dispersion of the decline is much narrower. Currently 55% of the countries in our sample have experienced a -0.3 standard deviation deterioration in their credit impulse (median over 12 months) compared to 77% of countries in Dec ’09 when the median decline was -1.4 stdev.”

Of course the last time global credit growth decelerated this dramatically, global central banks intervened on a scale that was unlike anything that we had ever seen before.

But this time around it is happening at a time when global central banks are very low on ammo

More importantly, back in 2009, not only China, but the Fed and other central banks unleashed the biggest injection of credit, i.e. liquidity, the world has ever seen resulting in the biggest asset bubble the world has ever seen. And, this time around, the Fed is set to hike for the third time in the past year, even as the ECB and BOJ are forced to soon taper as they run out of eligible bonds to monetize. All this comes at a time when US loan growth is weeks away from turning negative.

As such, what “kickstarts” the next spike in the credit impulse is unclear. What is clear is that if the traditional 3-6 month lag between credit inflection points, i.e. impulse, and economic growth is maintained, the global economy is set for a dramatic collapse some time in the second half.

There are so many experts that are warning about big economic trouble in our immediate future.  I would like to say that all of the experts that are freaking out are wrong, but I can’t do that.

I have not seen an atmosphere like this since 2008 and 2009, and everything points to an acceleration of the crisis as we enter the second half of this year.

The post The Next Financial Crisis Has Already Arrived In Europe, And People Are Starting To Freak Out appeared first on The Sleuth Journal.


Source: Alternative news journal

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