Countdown to Collapse

Michael Snyder of the Economic Collapse blog is quoted today on ZeroHedge for 12 items that show economic collapse is near. They are

#1 …the ratio of corporate insider selling to corporate insider buying has now reached an astounding 50 to 1.

#2 On Friday we learned that personal income in the United States experienced its largest one month decline in 20 years.

#3 In a stunning move, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder says that he will appoint an emergency financial manager to take care of Detroit’s financial affairs. If this does not work, Detroit will almost certainly have to declare bankruptcy. If that happens, it will be the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.

#4 On Friday it was announced that the unemployment rate in Italy had risen to 11.7 percent. That was a huge jump from 11.3 percent the previous month, and Italy now has the highest unemployment rate that it has experienced in 21 years.

#5 The youth unemployment rate in Italy has risen to a new all-time record high of 38.7 percent.

#6 On Friday it was announced that the unemployment rate in the eurozone as a whole had just hit a brand new record high of 11.9 percent.

#7 On Friday it was announced that the unemployment rate in Greece has now reached 27 percent, and it is being projected that it will reach 30 percent by the end of the year.

#8 The youth unemployment rate in Greece is now an almost unbelievable 59.4 percent.

#9 On Saturday, hundreds of thousands of protesters filled the streets of Lisbon and other Portuguese cities to protest the austerity measures that are being imposed upon them. It was reportedly the largest protest in the history of Portugal.

#10 According to Goldman Sachs, bank deposits declined all over Europe during the month of January.

#11 Over the weekend, the deputy governor of China’s central bank declared that China is prepared for a “currency war.”

#12 Italy is an economic basket case at this point, and the political gridlock in Italy is certainly not helping matters. Former comedian Beppe Grillo’s party could potentially tip the balance of power one way or the other in Italy, and over the weekend he made some comments that are really shaking things up over in Europe. For one thing, he is suggesting that Italy should hold a referendum on the euro.”

Today, Snyder has 16 signs the middle class is running out of money. ZeroHedge asks if “discretionary income is rapidly becoming a thing of the past for most American families?”

Snyder thinks so and here’s why:

#1 According to one brand new survey, 24 percent of all Americans have more credit card debt than money in the bank.

#2 J.C. Penney was once an unstoppable retail powerhouse, but now J.C. Penney has just posted its lowest annual retail sales in more than 20 years.

#3 In the United States today, a new car has become out of reach for most middle class Americans according to the 2013 Car Affordability Study.

#4 The founder of Subway Restaurants, Fred Deluca, says that the recent tax increases are having a noticeable impact on his business.

#5 Many other large restaurant chains are also struggling in this tough economic environment. Darden Restaurants, which owns the casual dining chains Oliver Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse and Red Lobster, said blended same-store sales at its three eateries would be 4.5 percent lower during its fiscal third quarter.

#6 The CFO of Family Dollar recently admitted to CNBC that this is a “challenging time” because of reduced consumer spending

#7 Even Wal-Mart is really struggling right now. According to a recent Bloomberg article, Wal-Mart is struggling “to restock store shelves as U.S. sales slump.”

#8 Electronics retailer Best Buy continues to struggle mightily. Best Buy just announced that it will be eliminating 400 jobs at its headquarters in Richfield, Minnesota.

#9 It is being projected that many of the largest retail chains in America, including Best Buy, will close down hundreds of stores during 2013. The following is a list of projected store closings for 2013 that I included in a previous article: Best Buy, Sears Holding Corp., J.C. Penney, Office Depot, Barnes & Noble, Gamestop, Office Max and RadioShack.

#10 Another sign that consumer spending is slowing down is the fact that less stuff is being moved around in our economy. As I have mentioned previously, freight shipment volumes have hit their lowest level in two years, and freight expenditures have gone negative for the first time since the last recession.

#11 Many young adults have no discretionary income to spend because they are absolutely drowning in student loan debt. According to the New York Federal Reserve, student loan debt nearly tripled between 2004 and 2012.

#12 The student loan delinquency rate in the United States is now at an all-time high. It is only a matter of time before the student loan debt bubble bursts.

#13 Due to a lack of jobs and high levels of debt, poverty among young adults in America is absolutely exploding. Today, U.S. families that have a head of household that is under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent.

#14 According to one recent survey, 62 percent of all middle class Americans say that they have had to reduce household spending over the past year.

#15 Median household income in the United States has fallen for four consecutive years. Overall, it has declined by more than $4000 during that time span.

#16 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the middle class is currently taking home a smaller share of the overall income pie than has ever been recorded before.

Are you starting to get the picture?”

Unfortunately, yes.

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