By Michael Snyder – BLN Contributing Writer
Most Americans know that the U.S. economy is in bad shape, but what most Americans don’t know is how truly desperate the financial situation of the United States really is. The truth is that what we are experiencing is not simply a “downturn” or a “recession”. What we are witnessing is the beginning of the end for the greatest economic machine that the world has ever seen. Our greed and our debt are literally eating our economy alive. Total government, corporate and personal debt has now reached 360 percent of GDP, which is far higher than it ever reached during the Great Depression era. We have nearly totally dismantled our once colossal manufacturing base, we have shipped millions upon millions of middle class jobs overseas, we have lived far beyond our means for decades and we have created the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world. A great day of financial reckoning is fast approaching, and the vast majority of Americans are totally oblivious.
But the truth is that you cannot defy the financial laws of the universe forever. What goes up must come down. The borrower is the servant of the lender. Cutting corners always catches up with you in the end.
Sometimes it takes cold, hard numbers for many of us to fully realize the situation that we are facing.
So, the following are 50 very revealing statistics about the U.S. economy that are almost too crazy to believe….
#50) In 2010 the U.S. government is projected to issue almost as much new debt as the rest of the governments of the world combined.
#49) It is being projected that the U.S. government will have a budget deficit of approximately 1.6 trillion dollars in 2010.
#48) If you went out and spent one dollar every single second, it would take you more than 31,000 years to spend a trillion dollars.
#47) In fact, if you spent one million dollars every single day since the birth of Christ, you still would not have spent one trillion dollars by now.
#46) Total U.S. government debt is now up to 90 percent of gross domestic product.
#45) Total credit market debt in the United States, including government, corporate and personal debt, has reached 360 percent of GDP.
#44) U.S. corporate income tax receipts were down 55% (to $138 billion) for the year ending September 30th, 2009.
#43) There are now 8 counties in the state of California that have unemployment rates of over 20 percent.
#42) In the area around Sacramento, California there is one closed business for every six that are still open.
#41) In February, there were 5.5 unemployed Americans for every job opening.
#40) According to a Pew Research Center study, approximately 37% of all Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 have either been unemployed or underemployed at some point during the recession.
#39) More than 40% of those employed in the United States are now working in low-wage service jobs.
#38) According to one new survey, 24% of American workers say that they have postponed their planned retirement age in the past year.
#37) Over 1.4 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009, which represented a 32 percent increase over 2008. Not only that, more Americans filed for bankruptcy in March 2010 than during any month since U.S. bankruptcy law was tightened in October 2005.
#36) Mortgage purchase applications in the United States are down nearly 40 percent from a month ago to their lowest level since April of 1997.
#35) RealtyTrac has announced that foreclosure filings in the U.S. established an all time record for the second consecutive year in 2009.
#34) According to RealtyTrac, foreclosure filings were reported on 367,056 properties in March 2010, an increase of nearly 19 percent from February, an increase of nearly 8 percent from March 2009 and the highest monthly total since RealtyTrac began issuing its report in January 2005.
#33) In Pinellas and Pasco counties, which include St. Petersburg, Florida and the suburbs to the north, there are 34,000 open foreclosure cases. Ten years ago, there were only about 4,000.
#32) In California’s Central Valley, 1 out of every 16 homes is in some phase of foreclosure.
#31) The Mortgage Bankers Association recently announced that more than 10 percent of all U.S. homeowners with a mortgage had missed at least one payment during the January to March time period. That was a record high and up from 9.1 percent a year ago.
#30) U.S. banks repossessed nearly 258,000 homes nationwide in the first quarter of 2010, a 35 percent jump from the first quarter of 2009.
#29) For the first time in U.S. history, banks own a greater share of residential housing net worth in the United States than all individual Americans put together.
#28) More than 24% of all homes with mortgages in the United States were underwater as of the end of 2009.
#27) U.S. commercial property values are down approximately 40 percent since 2007 and currently 18 percent of all office space in the United States is sitting vacant.
#26) Defaults on apartment building mortgages held by U.S. banks climbed to a record 4.6 percent in the first quarter of 2010. That was almost twice the level of a year earlier.
#25) In 2009, U.S. banks posted their sharpest decline in private lending since 1942.
#24) New York state has delayed paying bills totalling $2.5 billion as a short-term way of staying solvent but officials are warning that its cash crunch could soon get even worse.
#23) To make up for a projected 2010 budget shortfall of $280 million, Detroit issued $250 million of 20-year municipal notes in March. The bond issuance followed on the heels of a warning from Detroit officials that if its financial state didn’t improve, it could be forced to declare bankruptcy.
#22) The National League of Cities says that municipal governments will probably come up between $56 billion and $83 billion short between now and 2012.
#21) Half a dozen cash-poor U.S. states have announced that they are delaying their tax refund checks.
#20) Two university professors recently calculated that the combined unfunded pension liability for all 50 U.S. states is 3.2 trillion dollars.
#19) According to EconomicPolicyJournal.com, 32 U.S. states have already run out of funds to make unemployment benefit payments and so the federal government has been supplying these states with funds so that they can make their payments to the unemployed.
#18) This most recession has erased 8 million private sector jobs in the United States.
#17) Paychecks from private business shrank to their smallest share of personal income in U.S. history during the first quarter of 2010.
#16) U.S. government-provided benefits (including Social Security, unemployment insurance, food stamps and other programs) rose to a record high during the first three months of 2010.
#15) 39.68 million Americans are now on food stamps, which represents a new all-time record. But things look like they are going to get even worse. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is forecasting that enrollment in the food stamp program will exceed 43 million Americans in 2011.
#14) Phoenix, Arizona features an astounding annual car theft rate of 57,000 vehicles and has become the new “Car Theft Capital of the World”.
#13) U.S. law enforcement authorities claim that there are now over 1 million members of criminal gangs inside the country. These 1 million gang members are responsible for up to 80% of the crimes committed in the United States each year.
#12) The U.S. health care system was already facing a shortage of approximately 150,000 doctors in the next decade or so, but thanks to the health care “reform” bill passed by Congress, that number could swell by several hundred thousand more.
#11) According to an analysis by the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation the health care “reform” bill will generate $409.2 billion in additional taxes on the American people by 2019.
#10) The Dow Jones Industrial Average just experienced the worst May it has seen since 1940.
#9) In 1950, the ratio of the average executive’s paycheck to the average worker’s paycheck was about 30 to 1. Since the year 2000, that ratio has exploded to between 300 to 500 to one.
#8) Approximately 40% of all retail spending currently comes from the 20% of American households that have the highest incomes.
#7) According to economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, two-thirds of income increases in the U.S. between 2002 and 2007 went to the wealthiest 1% of all Americans.
#6) The bottom 40 percent of income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.
#5) If you only make the minimum payment each and every time, a $6,000 credit card bill can end up costing you over $30,000 (depending on the interest rate).
#4) According to a new report based on U.S. Census Bureau data, only 26 percent of American teens between the ages of 16 and 19 had jobs in late 2009 which represents a record low since statistics began to be kept back in 1948.
#3) According to a National Foundation for Credit Counseling survey, only 58% of those in “Generation Y” pay their monthly bills on time.
#2) During the first quarter of 2010, the total number of loans that are at least three months past due in the United States increased for the 16th consecutive quarter.
#1) According to the Tax Foundation’s Microsimulation Model, to erase the 2010 U.S. budget deficit, the U.S. Congress would have to multiply each tax rate by 2.4. Thus, the 10 percent rate would be 24 percent, the 15 percent rate would be 36 percent, and the 35 percent rate would have to be 85 percent.
The U.S. Economic Collapse Top 20 Countdown
By Michael Snyder – BLN Contributing Writer
So just how bad is the U.S. economy? Well, the truth is that sometimes it is hard to put into words. We have squandered the great wealth left to us by our forefathers, we have almost totally dismantled the world’s greatest manufacturing base, we have shipped millions of good jobs overseas and we have piled up the biggest mountain of debt in the history of mankind. We have taken the greatest free enterprise economy that was ever created and have turned it into a gigantic house of cards delicately balanced on a never-ending spiral of paper money and debt. For decades, all of this paper money and debt has enabled us to enjoy the greatest party in the history of the world, but now the bills are coming due and the party is nearly over.
In fact, things are already so bad that you can pick almost every number and find a corresponding statistic that shows just how bad the economy is getting.
You doubt it?
Well, check this out….
20 – Gallup’s measure of underemployment hit 20.0% on March 15th. That was up from 19.7% two weeks earlier and 19.5% at the start of the year.
19 – According to RealtyTrac, foreclosure filings were reported on 367,056 properties in the month of March. This was an increase of almost 19 percent from February, and it was the highest monthly total since RealtyTrac began issuing its report back in January 2005.
18 – According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in March the national rate of unemployment in the United States was 9.7%, but for Americans younger than 25 it was well above 18 percent.
17 – The FDIC’s list of problem banks recently hit a 17-year high.
16 – During the first quarter of 2010, the total number of loans that are at least three months past due in the United States increased for the 16th consecutive quarter.
15 – The Spanish government has just approved a 15 billion euro austerity plan.
14 – The U.S. Congress recently approved an increase in the debt cap of the U.S. government to over 14 trillion dollars.
13 – The FDIC is backing 8,000 banks that have a total of $13 trillion in assets with a deposit insurance fund that is basically flat broke. In fact, the FDIC’s deposit insurance fund now has negative 20.7 billion dollars in it, which actually represents a slight improvement from the end of 2009.
12 – The U.S. national debt soared from the $12 trillion mark to the $13 trillion mark in a frighteningly short period of time.
11– It is being reported that a massive network of big banks and financial institutions have been involved in blatant bid-rigging fraud that cost taxpayers across the U.S. billions of dollars. The U.S. Justice Department is charging that financial advisers to municipalities colluded with Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Lehman Brothers, Wachovia and 11 other banks in a conspiracy to rig bids on municipal financial instruments.
10 – The Mortgage Bankers Association recently announced that more than 10 percent of all U.S. homeowners with a mortgage had missed at least one payment during the January-March time period. That was a record high and up from 9.1 percent a year ago.
9 – The official U.S. unemployment number is 9.9%, although the truth is that many economists consider the true unemployment rate to be much, much higher than that.
8 – The French government says that its deficit will increase to 8 percent of GDP in 2010, but by implementing substantial budget cuts they hope that they can get it to within the European Union’s 3 percent limit by the year 2013.
7 – The biggest banks in the U.S. cut their collective small business lending balance by another $1 billion in November. That drop was the seventh monthly decline in a row.
6 – The six biggest banks in the United States now possess assets equivalent to 60 percent of America’s gross national product.
5 – That is the number of U.S. banks that federal regulators closed on Friday. That brings that total number of banks that have been shut down this year in the United States to a total of 78.
4 – According to a study published by Texas A&M University Press, the four biggest industries in the Gulf of Mexico region are oil, tourism, fishing and shipping. Together, those four industries account for approximately $234 billion in economic activity each year. Now those four industries have been absolutely decimated by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and will probably not fully recover for years, if not decades.
3 – Decent three bedroom homes in the city of Detroit can be bought for $10,000, but no one wants to buy them.
2 – A massive “second wave” of adjustable rate mortgages is scheduled to reset over the next two to three years. If this second wave is anything like the first wave, the U.S. housing market is about to be absolutely crushed.
1 – The bottom 40 percent of all income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth. But of course many on Wall Street and in the government would argue that there is nothing wrong with an economy where nearly half the people are dividing up 1 percent of the benefits.
25 Questions To Ask Anyone Who Is Delusional Enough To Believe That This Economic Recovery Is Real
By Michael Snyder – BLN Contributing Writer
If you listen to the mainstream media long enough, you just might be tempted to believe that the United States has emerged from the recession and is now in the middle of a full-fledged economic recovery. In fact, according to Obama administration officials, the great American economic machine has roared back to life, stronger and more vibrant than ever before. But is that really the case? Of course not. You would have to be delusional to believe that. What did happen was that all of the stimulus packages and government spending and new debt that Obama and the U.S. Congress pumped into the economy bought us a little bit of time. But they have also made our long-term economic problems far worse. The reality is that the U.S. cannot keep supporting an economy on an ocean of red ink forever. At some point the charade is going to come crashing down.
And GDP is not a really good measure of the economic health of a nation. For example, if you would have looked at the growth of GDP in the Weimar republic in the early 1930s, you may have been tempted to think that the German economy was really thriving. German citizens were spending increasingly massive amounts of money. But of course that money was becoming increasingly worthless at the same time as hyperinflation spiralled out of control.
Well, today the purchasing power of our dollar is rapidly eroding as the price of food and other necessities continues to increase. So just because Americans are spending a little bit more money than before really doesn’t mean much of anything. As you will see below, there are a whole bunch of other signs that the U.S. economy is in very, very serious trouble.
Any “recovery” that the U.S. economy is experiencing is illusory and will be quite temporary. The entire financial system of the United States is falling apart, and the powers that be can try to patch it up and prop it up for a while, but in the end this thing is going to come crashing down.
But as obvious as that may seem to most of us, there are still quite a few people out there that are absolutely convinced that the U.S. economy will fully recover and will soon be stronger than ever.
So the following are 25 questions to ask anyone who is delusional enough to believe that this economic recovery is real….
#1) In what universe is an economy with 39.68 million Americans on food stamps considered to be a healthy, recovering economy? In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts that enrollment in the food stamp program will exceed 43 million Americans in 2011. Is a rapidly increasing number of Americans on food stamps a good sign or a bad sign for the economy?
#2) According to RealtyTrac, foreclosure filings were reported on 367,056 properties in the month of March. This was an increase of almost 19 percent from February, and it was the highest monthly total since RealtyTrac began issuing its report back in January 2005. So can you please explain again how the U.S. real estate market is getting better?
#3) The Mortgage Bankers Association just announced that more than 10 percent of U.S. homeowners with a mortgage had missed at least one payment in the January-March period. That was a record high and up from 9.1 percent a year ago. Do you think that is an indication that the U.S. housing market is recovering?
#4) How can the U.S. real estate market be considered healthy when, for the first time in modern history, banks own a greater share of residential housing net worth in the United States than all individual Americans put together?
#5) With the U.S. Congress planning to quadruple oil taxes, what do you think that is going to do to the price of gasoline in the United States and how do you think that will affect the U.S. economy?
#6) Do you think that it is a good sign that Arnold Schwarzenegger, the governor of the state of California, says that “terrible cuts” are urgently needed in order to avoid a complete financial disaster in his state?
#7) But it just isn’t California that is in trouble. Dozens of U.S. states are in such bad financial shape that they are getting ready for their biggest budget cuts in decades. What do you think all of those budget cuts will do to the economy?
#8) In March, the U.S. trade deficit widened to its highest level since December 2008. Month after month after month we buy much more from the rest of the world than they buy from us. Wealth is draining out of the United States at an unprecedented rate. So is the fact that the gigantic U.S. trade deficit is actually getting bigger a good sign or a bad sign for the U.S. economy?
#9) Considering the fact that the U.S. government is projected to have a 1.6 trillion dollar deficit in 2010, and considering the fact that if you went out and spent one dollar every single second it would take you more than 31,000 years to spend a trillion dollars, how can anyone in their right mind claim that the U.S. economy is getting healthier when we are getting into so much debt?
#10) The U.S. Treasury Department recently announced that the U.S. government suffered a wider-than-expected budget deficit of 82.69 billion dollars in April. So is the fact that the red ink of the U.S. government is actually worse than projected a good sign or a bad sign?
#11) According to one new report, the U.S. national debt will reach 100 percent of GDP by the year 2015. So is that a sign of economic recovery or of economic disaster?
#12) Monstrous amounts of oil continue to gush freely into the Gulf of Mexico, and analysts are already projecting that the seafood and tourism industries along the Gulf coast will be devastated for decades by this unprecedented environmental disaster. In light of those facts, how in the world can anyone project that the U.S. economy will soon be stronger than ever?
#13) The FDIC’s list of problem banks recently hit a 17-year high. Do you think that an increasing number of small banks failing is a good sign or a bad sign for the U.S. economy?
#14) The FDIC is backing 8,000 banks that have a total of $13 trillion in assets with a deposit insurance fund that is basically flat broke. So what do you think will happen if a significant number of small banks do start failing?
#15) Existing home sales in the United States jumped 7.6 percent in April. That is the good news. The bad news is that this increase only happened because the deadline to take advantage of the temporary home buyer tax credit (government bribe) was looming. So now that there is no more tax credit for home buyers, what will that do to home sales?
#16) Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac recently told the U.S. government that they are going to need even more bailout money. So what does it say about the U.S. economy when the two “pillars” of the U.S. mortgage industry are government-backed financial black holes that the U.S. government has to relentlessly pour money into?
#17) 43 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved for retirement. Tens of millions of Americans find themselves just one lawsuit, one really bad traffic accident or one very serious illness away from financial ruin. With so many Americans living on the edge, how can you say that the economy is healthy?
#18) The mayor of Detroit says that the real unemployment rate in his city is somewhere around 50 percent. So can the U.S. really be experiencing an economic recovery when so many are still unemployed in one of America’s biggest cities?
#19) Gallup’s measure of underemployment hit 20.0% on March 15th. That was up from 19.7% two weeks earlier and 19.5% at the start of the year. Do you think that is a good trend or a bad trend?
#20) One new poll shows that 76 percent of Americans believe that the U.S. economy is still in a recession. So are the vast majority of Americans just stupid or could we still actually be in a recession?
#21) The bottom 40 percent of those living in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth. So is Barack Obama’s mantra that “what is good for Wall Street is good for Main Street” actually true?
#22) Richard Russell, the famous author of the Dow Theory Letters, says that Americans should sell anything they can sell in order to get liquid because of the economic trouble that is coming. Do you think that Richard Russell is delusional or could he possibly have a point?
#23) Defaults on apartment building mortgages held by U.S. banks climbed to a record 4.6 percent in the first quarter of 2010. In fact, that was almost twice the level of a year earlier. Does that look like a good trend to you?
#24) In March, the price of fresh and dried vegetables in the United States soared 49.3% – the most in 16 years. Is it a sign of a healthy economy when food prices are increasing so dramatically?
#25) 1.41 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009 – a 32 percent increase over 2008. Not only that, more Americans filed for bankruptcy in March 2010 than during any month since U.S. bankruptcy law was tightened in October 2005. So shouldn’t we at least wait until the number of Americans filing for bankruptcy is not setting new all-time records before we even dare whisper the words “economic recovery”?