During the summer, many of the experts repeatedly assured us that the U.S. economy would be able to avoid a recession, but now reality is setting in.
Credit conditions continue to tighten, home sales are falling, credit card losses are exploding, stores are closing all over the country, and the number of bankruptcies is rising to very alarming levels. Meanwhile, the cost of living continues to become more and more suffocating. If you have a gut feeling that very hard times are on the horizon, you are definitely not alone. As you will see below, a staggering 71 percent of all Americans currently believe that America is on the wrong track, and our economy is one of the biggest reasons why they feel this way.
The following are 10 numbers which prove that the U.S. economy has hit a major pivot point…
#1 Consumer confidence was down more than expected this month…
The confidence of American consumers slipped this month, particularly about the future, as expectations persist that interest rates will remain elevated for an extended period.
The Conference Board, a business research group, said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index fell to 103 in September from 108.7 in August. Analysts were expecting a smaller decrease, to a reading of 105.
#2 The Conference Board’s index that measures future expectations has actually dropped below a level that historically signals “a recession within a year”…
Most troubling was the decline in the index measuring future expectations, which tumbled to 73.7 in September from 83.3 in August. Readings below 80 for future expectations historically signal a recession within a year.
#3 With mortgage rates at suffocating levels, sales of new homes in the U.S. fell 8.7 percent last month…
New home sales dropped in August from the month before, as mortgage rates topped 7% and rose to the highest levels in more than 20 years.
Sales of newly constructed homes fell 8.7% in August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 675,000 from a revised rate of 739,000 in July, according to a joint report from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Census Bureau.
#4 A record high percentage of U.S. consumers are indicating that credit conditions are getting tighter…
American consumers are worried about access to credit amid persistently higher interest rates and tighter standards at banks, according to a New York Federal Reserve survey released Monday.
Respondents indicating that the ability to get loans, credit cards and mortgages is harder now than it was a year ago rose to nearly 60%, the highest level in a data series that goes back to June 2013. The results were part of the New York Fed’s Survey of Consumer Expectations for August.
#5 Credit card losses are increasing at the fastest pace in 30 years…
Credit card companies are racking up losses at the fastest pace in almost 30 years, outside of the Great Financial Crisis, according to Goldman Sachs.
Credit card losses bottomed in September 2021, and while initial increases were likely reversals from stimulus, they have been rapidly rising since the first quarter of 2022. Since that time, it’s an increasing rate of losses only seen in recent history during the recession of 2008.
It is far from over, the firm predicts.
#6 At this point, things are getting so bad that even the Federal Reserve is laying off about 300 workers…
At a time when mainstream economists and FOMC policymakers are betting the farm on a “soft landing” for the US economy, an unexpectedly hard signal was just issued by none other than the Fed itself: for the first time in over a decade, the US central bank announced it would cut about 300 people from its payroll this year, a rare reduction in headcount for an organization that has grown steadily since 2010 – after all, it takes if not a village (with its own police force), then certainly thousands of workers to come up with catastrophically wrong economic forecasts and to keep the money printer primed and ready to pump out a few trillion at a moment’s notice.The nu
#7 The number of bankruptcy cases in the United States has increased on a year over year basis for 13 months in a row…
Data released Tuesday showed that Americans filed more than 39,000 bankruptcy cases in Aug. 2023, an 18 percent increase from the same time last year.
The data released by Unusual Whales details how, along with personal bankruptcy filings, there were more than 41,600 new bankruptcy cases recorded in August, including for businesses. This marks the thirteenth consecutive month that bankruptcy filings have shown a year-over-year increase under the Biden administration’s embarrassing and dangerous economic policies.
#8 Goldman Sachs is warning that America’s strategic oil reserve has hit a 40 year low…
America’s emergency oil stockpile has plunged to 40-year lows. The shrinking Strategic Petroleum Reserve is limiting Washington’s ability to shield consumers from the fallout of Saudi Arabia’s aggressive supply cuts, according to Goldman Sachs.
“At this point, US energy policy has fewer bullets left. It has less levers left in its policy toolkit,” Daan Struyven, head of oil research at Goldman Sachs, told CNN in a phone interview.
That’s one reason Goldman Sachs expects oil prices to stay high, averaging $100 a barrel this time next year. Triple-digit oil would boost already-high prices at the pump, worsening inflation and potentially influencing the 2024 race for the White House.
#9 It is being projected that the price of oil could eventually reach 150 dollars a barrel. Needless to say, such a development would radically change our economic outlook…
That’s Doug Lawler, chief executive of Continental Resources, the shale-drilling giant controlled by billionaire Harold Hamm, telling Bloomberg News on Monday that crude prices are set to remain elevated and could press to the $120- to $150-a-barrel range without new production.
#10 A new NBC News poll has found that 71 percent of Americans believe that the country is on the wrong track…
The 71% of Americans in our latest NBC News poll saying the country is headed in the wrong direction is the eighth time in the last nine NBC News surveys dating back to Oct. 2021 when the wrong track has been above 70%.
And the one exception was in Sept. 2022, when it was 68%.
We have never before seen this level of sustained pessimism in the 30-year-plus history of the poll.
For more than a year, there has been speculation about when the next wave of our economic crisis would arrive.
Well, it appears that it is here.
The months ahead promise to be very challenging, and the long-term outlook is even worse.
2024 is certainly shaping up to be quite a year.
Economic conditions will be deteriorating just as we head into the most tumultuous election season that we have ever witnessed.
Stay safe out there, because things will soon start getting really crazy in this country.
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Fighting the Surveillance State Begins with the Individual
It’s a well-known fact at this point that in the United States and most of the so-called free countries that there is a robust surveillance state in…
Forget Ron DeSantis: Walt Disney has a much bigger problem
The company’s political woes are a sideshow to the one key issue Bob Iger has to solve.
Walt Disney has a massive, but solvable, problem.
The company's current skirmishes with Florida Gov. DeSantis get a lot of headlines, but they're not having a major impact on the company's bottom line.
DeSantis has made Walt Disney (DIS) - Get Free Report a target in what he calls his war on woke, an effort to win right-wing support as he tries to secure the Republican Party nomination for president.
That effort has generated plenty of press and multiple lawsuits tied to the governor's takeover of the former Reedy Creek Improvement District, Disney's legislated self-governance operation. But it has not hurt revenue at the company's massive Florida theme-park complex.
Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger addressed the matter during the company's third-quarter-earnings call, without directly mentioning DeSantis.
"Walt Disney World is still performing well above precovid levels: 21% higher in revenue and 29% higher in operating income compared to fiscal 2019," he said.
And "following a number of recent changes we've implemented, we continue to see positive guest-experience ratings in our theme parks, including Walt Disney World, and positive indicators for guests looking to book future visits."
The theme parks are not Disney's problem. The death of the movie business is, however, a hurdle that Iger has yet to show that the company has a plan to clear.
Disney needs a plan to monetize content
In 2019 Walt Disney drew in more $11 billion in global box office, or $13 billion when you add in the former Fox properties it also owns. In that year seven Mouse House films crossed the billion-dollar threshold in theaters, according to data from Box Office Mojo.
This year, the company will struggle to reach half that and it has no billion-dollar films, with "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" closing its theatrical run at $845 million globally.
(That's actually good for third place this year, as only "Barbie" and "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" have broken the billion-dollar mark and they may be the only two films to do that this year.)
In the precovid world Disney could release two Pixar movies, three Marvel films, a live-action remake of an animated classic, and maybe one other film that each would be nearly guaranteed to earn $1 billion at the box office.
That's simply not how the movie business works anymore. While theaters may remain part of Disney's plan to monetize its content, the past isn't coming back. Theaters may remain a piece of the movie-release puzzle, but 2023 isn't an anomaly or a bad release schedule.
Consumers have big TVs at home and they're more than happy to watch most films on them.
Disney owns the IP but charges too little
People aren't less interested in Marvel and Star Wars; they're just getting their fix from Disney+ at an absurdly low price.
Over the past couple of months through the next few weeks, I will have watched about seven hours of premium Star Wars content and five hours of top-tier Marvel content with "Ahsoka" and "Loki" respectively.
Before the covid pandemic, I gladly would have paid theater prices for each movie in those respective universes. Now, I have consumed about six movies worth of premium content for less than the price of two movie tickets.
By making its premium content television shows available on a service that people can buy for $7.99 a month Disney has devalued its most valuable asset, its intellectual property.
Consumers have shown that they will pay the $10 to $15 cost of a movie ticket to see what happens next in the Marvel Cinematic Universe or the Star Wars galaxy. But the company has offered top-tier content from those franchises at a lower price.
Iger needs to find a way to replace billions of dollars in lost box office, but charging less for the company's content makes no sense.
Now, some fans likely won't pay triple the price for Disney+. But if it were to bundle a direct-to-consumer ESPN along with content that currently gets released to movie theaters, Disney might create a package that it can price in a way that reflects the value of its IP.
Consumers want Disney's content and they will likely pay more for it. Iger simply has to find a way to make that happen.
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