By Michael Snyder - BLN Contributing Writer
If you think the U.S. economy is bad now, just wait for a few months. Things are about to become absolutely nightmarish. None of the long-term economic trends that are hollowing out our economy have been addressed and more bad economic news seems to come out virtually every single day. Now there is constant talk of the "next recession" in the mainstream media. But did the last recession ever truly end? The number of good jobs continues to decline, more stores are closing, incomes continue to go down, credit card debt and student loan debt are soaring, the housing market resembles a corpse, the number of Americans living in poverty continues to rise and government debt is at unprecedented levels. We are losing blood fast, and almost all of our leaders are either too corrupt or too incompetent to be able to do anything about it. The U.S. economy really and truly is about to go into the toilet, and if something is not done very quickly we are going to experience a complete and total economic disaster in this nation.
Americans have been promised over and over that this economic downturn is just "temporary" and that things will return to normal soon. During this upcoming election cycle, the Democrats will swear that they have all the answers and that if we just elect them everything will be okay. The Republicans will also swear that they have all the answers and that if we just elect them everything will be okay.
Well, both sides are lying. The economic plans of both major political parties are a joke. Neither of them can restore economic prosperity to this nation.
Our politicians could delay the coming economic collapse by borrowing gigantic piles of money and pumping all of that cash into the economy. But stealing from our children and our grandchildren is not exactly sound economic policy.
Yes, the U.S. economy is in bad shape right now, but things are about to get even worse. The long-term problems that are destroying our economy have not been fixed, and the leaks in our ship are going to continue to grow.
The following are 30 signs that the U.S. economy is about to go into the toilet....
#1 An increasing number of unemployed Americans have become so desperate that they have started to look for work overseas. For example, the number of Americans that are submitting applications for temporary work visas in Canada has approximately doubled since 2008. Other Americans are willing to learn foreign languages and travel to the other side of the world if that is what it takes to land a decent job. Just consider the following quote from a recent USA Today report....
Job placement firms are reporting a surge in American worker interest in booming economies such as Hong Kong, Singapore, China and, increasingly, India. Hunt Partners, an executive search firm, estimates that it's getting 50% to 100% more unsolicited résumés from Americans looking for Asia-based positions today than before the recession.
#2 When Barack Obama first took office, the official U.S. unemployment rate was 7.6 percent. Today it is 9.1 percent.
#3 The number of Americans that are concerned that they will lose their jobs continues to hover near record highs. According to Gallup, 30 percent of all employed Americans are worried that they will soon be laid off.
#4 After three straight years of very high unemployment, you can feel frustration and desperation in the air almost everywhere that you go. Many unemployed Americans are now at the end of their ropes. The following is from a testimonial that was recently posted on The Atlantic....
The most difficult part of the job search is:
1. that I don't live near a factory or outsource outlet in China, India, or Malaysia.
2. trying not to appear desperate for a job when I am, in fact, quite desperate for a job.
3. that I am subject to everyone's advice on how to get a job, but no real job leads.
4. that I am reminded that having a good job is not an entitlement.
5. that when I become depressed from my job search, I'm told told to cheer up or else give a bad vibe to prospective employers ... yet when I become happy through non-search related activities, I am reminded that I should be looking for work
7. that when I confide to friends and family that I have "given up" to pursue more fruitful interests, it elicits a crushing look of disbelief, disappointment, and disgust
8. waiting for permission to give up.
#5 The percentage of American men that are employed continues to plummet. In July, only 63.5 percent of all men in the United States had a job. Since 1948, that number has only been lower one time (63.3 percent in December 2009).
#6 Back in the 1950s, manufacturing accounted for about 28 percent of U.S. GDP. Last year, it accounted for just 11.7 percent. Meanwhile, manufacturing now accounts for about 25 percent of GDP in China and they now actually have more factory production each year than we do. Sadly, Barack Obama is pushing for even more trade agreements that will send millions more of our jobs overseas.
#7 The percentage of Americans that are working low paying jobs continues to relentlessly march upwards. Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs. Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.
#8 According to John Williams of shadowstats.com, after you add in all short-term discouraged workers, all long-term discouraged workers and all Americans that are working part-time because they cannot find full-time employment, the real unemployment rate should be approximately 23 percent.
#9 We are starting to see another huge wave of store closings and layoffs. For example, the parent company of Payless stores has announced that it will be permanently closing 475 stores. Borders is in the process of closing every single one of its 399 stores. Also, Bank of America has just announced that it will be closing about 600 branches, and that could result in the loss of about 30,000 good jobs.
#10 Median household income has fallen for three years in a row.
#11 Americans are really starting to rack up consumer debt once again. According to Time Magazine, U.S. consumers are on pace to collectively add 54 billion dollars in credit card debt in 2011.
#12 Student loan defaults are rising very sharply. Just consider the following excerpt from a recent New York Times article....
The share of federal student loan defaults rose sharply last year, especially at for-profit colleges and universities, where 15 percent of borrowers defaulted in the first two years of repayment, up from 11.6 percent the previous year.
#13 According to a chart in The Economist, whenever the number of newspaper articles in the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal that mention the word "recession" goes over 1,500 in a particular quarter, the U.S. economy almost always goes into a recession.
#14 The U.S. housing crash just continues to get worse. The index of home builder sentiment put out by the National Association of Home Builders fell once again during the month of September. With such a glut of unsold foreclosed homes on the market, it is making things really hard of home builders. Things have gotten so bad that even the U.S. government now owns nearly a quarter of a million foreclosed homes. The impact of this housing nightmare on families has been absolutely devastating. Just check out what a recent Time Magazine article had to say about what has been going on in California....
The impact on children has been brutal: since 2007, 7% of the state's children have had a foreclosure process started on their homes, the fourth-highest level in the nation, according to a study released this month by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
#15 Many believe that due to much tighter lending standards, it is now harder to be approved for a mortgage than at any other time since World War II. This is absolutely crushing the housing market.
#16 Most Americans don't seem to expect housing prices to recover for an extended period of time. One recent survey found that 54 percent of Americans believe that there will not be a housing recovery until "2014 or later".
#17 The combined debt of the largest GSEs (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Sallie Mae) has increased from 3.2 trillion in 2008 to a whopping 6.4 trillion in 2011. If that debt goes bad, U.S. taxpayers will be left holding the bill.
#18 There are now nearly 50 million Americans that do not have health insurance, and the percentage of Americans covered by employer-based health plans has fallen for 11 years in a row. Meanwhile, Americans now spend about 3 times as much on health care as they did back in 1990.
#19 The Postal Service has publicly announced that it is "on the verge" of financial collapse.
#20 The number of small businesses continues to fall. I recently noted this fact on The American Dream Blog....
The number of "self-employed" Americans continues to rapidly shrink. According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 16.6 million Americans were self-employed back in December 2006. Today, that number has shrunk to 14.5 million. Even though we have 14 million unemployed people in this country and jobs are incredibly difficult to come by, the number of people trying to work for themselves continues to decrease because the environment for small businesses in this country has become so incredibly toxic.
#21 American consumers have become tremendously pessimistic. According to one recent survey, 61 percent of all Americans believe that they will not return to their "pre-recession" lifestyles until at least 2014. According to a different recent survey, 39 percent of Americans actually believe that the U.S. economy has now entered a "permanent decline".
#22 Many U.S. investors certainly seem to believe that trouble is coming. According to CNN, last month the number of bets against the S&P 500 was the highest that we have seen in about a year.
#23 The number of U.S. households that are "doubling up" continues to grow. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of combined households has increased by 10.7 percent since 2007.
#24 When Barack Obama moved into the White House, the average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States was $1.83. Today it is $3.58.
#27 On Barack Obama's first day on the job, there were about 32 million Americans on food stamps. Today, there are more than 45 million Americans on food stamps.
#28 If there is a financial collapse in Europe, that will definitely plunge us into another recession. Right now, things do not look promising. At this point, headlines all over the world are proclaiming that Greece is dangerously close to defaulting.
#29 At some point soon, investors all over the globe may decide that it is time to start dumping U.S. government debt. For example, Chinese officials are now openly talking about the need to "liquidate" their holdings of U.S. Treasuries.
#30 The U.S. national debt continues to explode in size and spiral out of control. According to Professor Laurence J. Kotlikoff, the U.S. "fiscal gap" increased by about 6 trillion dollars last year. In fact, Kotlikoff makes a compelling argument that Greece is actually in better shape financially than the United States is.
Do you now understand how much trouble we are in?
The long-term trends that are destroying us continue to get worse.
The United States is steamrolling directly toward an economic collapse.
When this economy hits bottom and splatters all over the place, it is not going to be easy to fix.
The America that we know today is going to be wiped out by a gigantic mountain of debt and by the consequences of decades of really bad decisions.
We were handed the keys to the greatest economic machine in the history of the world and we have wrecked it.
So prepare for really, really hard times ahead.
The era of endless prosperity is ending.
Next comes the pain.
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