We just got more evidence that a major economic slowdown is underway here in the United States. Existing home sales were down a whopping 7.1 percent during the month of February, and this represented the biggest decline that we have seen in six years. This is yet another sign that we are in the early stages of a new crisis that is eerily reminiscent of what happened back in 2008. The truth is that most U.S. consumers are tapped out, and when you are tapped out it is really hard to get a mortgage. Banks aren’t really fond of lending money to people that can’t pay it back, and in recent years housing prices in many areas have risen to levels that are beyond the reach of most middle class families.
This huge decline in existing home sales is puzzling the “experts” in the mainstream media, because in recent weeks they have been breathlessly telling all of us how incredibly well the U.S. economy has been doing. Just check out the following excerpt from a CNBC report…
U.S. home resales fell sharply in February in a potentially troubling sign for America’s economy which has otherwise looked resilient to the global economic slowdown.
The National Association of Realtors said on Monday existing home sales dropped 7.1 percent to an annual rate of 5.08 million units, the lowest level since November.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why this is happening. In recent months we have seen mass layoffs in the energy industry, real median household income is still way below where it was just prior to the last recession, and U.S. consumers are increasingly turning to debt in a desperate attempt to make ends meet from month to month.
If you can believe it, consumers in the United States actually accumulated more new credit card debt during the 4th quarter of 2015 than they did during the years of 2009, 2010 and 2011 combined.
To me that is an absolutely staggering statistic, and it shows how late in the game it is.
Meanwhile, there have been a whole host of other signs in recent weeks that the U.S. economy has entered a major slowdown. The following list comes from one of my previous articles…
-The U.S. oil and rig count just dropped to the lowest level ever recorded
-One Houston CEO told employees that he was laying off that we have entered a “depression”
-It is being reported that 35 percent of all oil and gas companies around the world are at risk of falling into bankruptcy
-Unemployment in Canada just hit a three year high
-The number of job cuts in the United States skyrocketed 218 percentduring the month of January according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas
-U.S. manufacturing activity has been in contraction for four months in a row
-U.S. factory orders have now fallen for 15 months in a row
-Subprime auto loan delinquencies have hit their highest level since the last recession
-Orders for Class 8 trucks in the United States dropped by48 percent on a year over year basis in January
-The Restaurant Performance Index in the United States has dropped to the lowest level that we have seen since 2008
-Major retailers all over America are shutting downhundreds of stores
The mainstream media has access to all of those numbers too.
So why do they keep trying to convince us all that the economy is doing so well?
It doesn’t make any sense.
The truth is that we are in the midst of a long-term economic collapse that has been going on for decades and that appears to be accelerating once again.
And in particular, the middle class in America has been shouldering much of the pain. For the first time ever, the middle class is now a minority in the United States, and things get even worse for average American families with each passing year. Here is another list from one of my previous articles…
#1 This week we learned that for the first time ever recorded, middle class Americans make up a minority of the population. But back in 1971, 61 percentof all Americans lived in middle class households.
#2 According to the Pew Research Center, the median income of middle class households declined by 4 percent from 2000 to 2014.
#3 The Pew Research Center has also found that median wealth for middle class households dropped by an astounding 28 percentbetween 2001 and 2013.
#5 There are still 900,000 fewer middle class jobs in America than there were when the last recession began, but our population has gotten significantly larger since that time.
#6 According to the Social Security Administration, 51 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year.
#7 For the poorest 20 percent of all Americans, median household wealth declined from negative 905 dollars in 2000 to negative 6,029 dollars in 2011.
#8 A recent nationwide survey discovered that 48 percent of all U.S. adults under the age of 30 believe that “the American Dream is dead”.
#9 At this point, the U.S. only ranks 19th in the world when it comes to median wealth per adult.
#10 Traditionally, entrepreneurship has been one of the engines that has fueled the growth of the middle class in the United States, but today the level of entrepreneurship in this country is sitting at an all-time low.
#11 If you can believe it, the 20 wealthiest people in this country now have more money than the poorest 152 million Americans combined.
#12 The top 0.1 percent of all American families haveabout as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent of all American families combined.
#13 If you have no debt and you also have ten dollars in your pocket, that gives you a greater net worth than about25 percent of all Americans.
#14 The number of Americans that are living in concentrated areas of high poverty has doubled since the year 2000.
#15 An astounding 48.8 percent of all 25-year-old Americans still live at home with their parents.
#16 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 49 percentof all Americans now live in a home that receives money from the government each month, and nearly 47 million Americans are living in poverty right now.
#17 In 2007, about one out of every eight children in America was on food stamps. Today, that numberis one out of every five.
#18 According to Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer, the authors of a new book entitled “$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America“, there are 1.5 million “ultrapoor” households in the United States that live on less than two dollars a day. That number has doubled since 1996.
#19 46 million Americansuse food banks each year, and lines start forming at some U.S. food banks as early as [6:30] in the morning because people want to get something before the food supplies run out.
#20 The number of homeless children in the U.S. has increased by 60 percentover the past six years.
#21 According to Poverty USA, 1.6 million American children slept in a homeless shelter or some other form of emergency housing last year.
The years ahead are only going to get more difficultfor the middle class as the U.S. economy continues to crumble. The same long-term trends that have been eviscerating the middle class for decades continue to roll on, and our leaders seem powerless to do anything to stop them.
If you are reading this article, hopefully you can see what is happening and you are making preparations in advance for what is ahead.
Unfortunately, even though most Americans still remember experiencing tremendous pain during the last crisis, they refuse to prepare for the next one.
In the end, the only one that they will be able to blame is themselves.
Written by Michael Snyder