Michael Snyder, Contributor
The global debt crisis has reached a dangerous new phase. Unfortunately, most Americans are not taking notice of it yet because most of the action is taking place overseas, and because U.S. financial markets are riding high. But just because the global economic crisis is unfolding at the pace of a “slow-motion train wreck” right now does not mean that it isn’t incredibly dangerous.
As I have written about previously, the economic collapse is not going to be a single event. Yes, there will be days when the Dow drops by more than 500 points. Yes, there will be days when the reporters on CNBC appear to be hyperventilating. But mostly there will be days of quiet despair as the global economic system slides even further toward oblivion. And right now things are clearly getting worse.
Things in Greece are much worse than they were six months ago. Things in Spain are much worse than they were six months ago. The same thing could be said for Italy, France, Japan, Argentina and a whole bunch of other nations. The entire global economy is slowing down, and we are entering a time period that is going to be incredibly painful for everyone. At the moment, the U.S. is still experiencing a “sugar high” from unprecedented fiscal and monetary stimulus, but when that “sugar high” wears off the hangover will be excruciating.
Reckless borrowing, spending and money printing has bought us a brief period of “economic stability”, but our foolish financial decisions will also make our eventual collapse far worse than it might have been. So don’t think for a second that the U.S. will somehow escape the coming global economic crisis. The truth is that before this is all over we will be seen as one of the primary causes of the crisis.
The following are 21 signs that the global economic crisis is about to go to a whole new level….
#1 Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer says that the global economy is “awfully close” to recession.
#2 It was announced last week that the unemployment rate in Greece has reached an all-time high of 25.1 percent. Unemployment among those 24 years old or younger is now more than 54 percent. Back in April 2010, the unemployment rate in Greece was only sitting at 11.8 percent.
#3 The IMF is warning that Greek debt may have to be “restructured” yet again.
#4 Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg says that it is “probable” that Greece will leave the euro, and that it might happen within the next six months.
#5 A crowd of approximately 40,000 angry Greeks recently descended on Athens to protest a visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel…
From high-school students to pensioners, tens of thousands of Greek demonstrators swarmed into Athens yesterday to show the visiting German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, their indignation at their country’s continued austerity measures.
Flouting the government’s ban on protests, an estimated 40,000 people – many carrying posters depicting Ms Merkel as a Nazi – descended on Syntagma Square near the parliament building. Masked youths pelted riot police with rocks as the officers responded with tear gas.
The authorities had deployed 7,000 police, water cannon and a helicopter. Snipers were placed on rooftops to ensure the German leader’s safety.
#6 The debt crisis is Argentina is becoming increasingly troublesome.
#8 Standard & Poor’s has slashed the credit rating on Spanish government debt to BBB-, which is just one level above junk status.
#9 Back in the year 2000, the ratio of total debt to GDP in Spain was 192 percent. By 2011, it had reached 363 percent.
#10 Record amounts of money are being pulled out of Spanish banks, and many large Spanish banks are rapidly heading toward insolvency.
#11 Manufacturing activity in Spain has contracted for 17 months in a row.
#12 It is being projected that home prices in Spain will fall by another 15 percent by the end of 2013.
#13 The unemployment rate in France is now above 10 percent, and it has risen for 16 months in a row.
#14 There are signs that Switzerland may be preparing for “major civil unrest” throughout Europe.
#15 The former top economist at the European Central Bank says that the ECB has fallen into a state of “panic” as it desperately tries to solve the European debt crisis.
#16 According to a recent IMF report, European banks may need to sell off 4.5 trillion dollars in assets over the next 14 months in order to meet strict new capital requirements.
#17 In August, U.S. exports dropped to the lowest level that we have seen since last February.
#18 Economics Professor Barry Eichengreen is very concerned about what is coming next for stocks in the United States…
I’m worried that stock markets in the United States in particular have gotten ahead of economic growth
#19 During the week ending October 3rd, investors pulled more than 10 billion dollars out of U.S. mutual funds. Overall, a total of more than 100 billion dollars has been pulled out of U.S. mutual funds so far this year.
#21 When shipping companies start laying off workers, that is one of the best signs that economic activity is slowing down. That is why it was so troubling when it was announced that FedEx is planning to get rid of “several thousand” workers over the coming months. According to AFP, “its business is being hit by the global economic slowdown”.
For even more signs that the global economy is rapidly crumbling, please see my previous article entitled “The Largest Economy In The World Is Imploding Right In Front Of Our Eyes“.
So is anyone doing well right now?
Yes, it turns out that QE3 is padding the profits of the big banks in the United States and making the wealthy even wealthier just like I warned that it would.
According to the Washington Post, QE3 is helping the big banks much more than it is helping consumers. Is this what the Fed intended all along?…
JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, the nation’s largest mortgage lenders, said Friday they won’t make home loans much cheaper for consumers, even as they reported booming profits from that business.
Those bottom lines have been padded by federal initiatives to stimulate the economy. The Federal Reserve is spending $40 billion a month to reduce mortgage rates to encourage Americans to buy homes. Instead, its policies may be generating more benefits for banks than borrowers.
So exactly how much has QE3 helped out the big banks? Just check out these numbers…
Revenue from mortgages was up 57 percent in the third quarter compared with the same period last year at JPMorgan and more than 50 percent up at Wells Fargo.
But should we expect anything else from the Federal Reserve?
The American people are trusting the Fed to protect our economy, and yet they cannot even protect their own shipments of money. In fact, the Fed recently lost a large shipment of new $100 bills.
Or perhaps could letting people steal money from their own trucks be another way that the Fed is trying to “stimulate the economy”?
Stranger things have happened.
In any event, the truth is that the U.S. economy and the U.S. financial system are unsustainable from any angle that you want to look at things.
We are drowning in government debt, we are drowning in consumer debt, Wall Street has been transformed into a high risk casino where our largest financial institutions are putting it all on the line on a daily basis, we are consuming far more than we are producing, there are more than 100 million Americans on welfare and we are stealing more than 100 million dollars an hour from future generations to pay for it all.
Anyone that believes that we are in “good shape” does not know the first thing about economics.
Sadly, the U.S. is not alone. Nations all over the globe are experiencing similar problems.
The global economic crisis is just beginning and it is going to get much, much worse.
I hope that you ready.
This article first appeared here at the Economic Collapse. Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.