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Middle Class Death Spiral: Consumers Have Never Been In More Debt, And Bankruptcies Are Surging

Michael Snyder
August 14th, 2019
The Economic Collapse Blog
Comments (24)

This article was originally published by Michael Snyder at The Economic Collapse Blog.

This wasn’t supposed to happen.  During the relative economic stability of the past few years, the middle class was supposed to experience a resurgence, but instead, it has just continued to be hollowed out.  The cost of living has risen much faster than wages have, and as a result, hard-working families all over America are being stretched financially like never before.

Even though most of us are working, 59 percent of all Americans are currently living paycheck to paycheck, and almost 50 million Americans are living in poverty.  In a desperate attempt to continue their middle-class lifestyles, many Americans have been piling up mountains of debt, and it has gotten to the point where we have a major crisis on our hands.

According to the New York Post, the total amount of debt that U.S. households have accumulated is about to cross the 14 trillion dollar mark for the first time ever…

Meanwhile, record American household debt, near $14 trillion including mortgages and student loans, is some $1 trillion higher than during the Great Recession of 2008. Credit card debt of $1 trillion also exceeds the 2008 peak.

Americans are spending heavily, again — and often recklessly, say analysts.

This is the exact opposite of what U.S. consumers should be doing.  We can see signs of a fresh economic slowdown all around us, and consumers should be feverishly trying to get out of debt as fast as they can.

But instead, debt levels just keep setting record after record.  In fact, total student loan debt just hit a brand new record high of 1.605 trillion dollars, and auto loan debt just hit a brand new record high of 1.174 trillion dollars.

It would be one thing if we could handle all of this debt, but that isn’t the case.  Bankruptcies have been steadily rising, and according to the latest figures, the number of bankruptcy filings shot up another 5 percent in the month of July

Bankruptcy petitions for consumers and businesses are on the rise. There was a 5% increase in total bankruptcy filings in July 2019 from the previous month, the American Bankruptcy Institute said this week. There were 64,283 bankruptcy filings, up from 62,241 for the same period last year.

Unfortunately, this is probably just the beginning.

Right now, most of the country is living on the edge financially, and so a major economic slowdown would inevitably cause another enormous tsunami of consumer bankruptcies as we saw in 2008.

Even now, things are already so bad that many hard-working “middle class” workers in high-cost cities such as New York are so financially stretched that they have to rely on free food from local food banks

“In high-cost cities like New York, personal incomes are not often enough to pay the household bills,” Zac Hall, vice president of anti-poverty programs at the Food Bank For New York City, told The Post. “We are seeing people using consumer debt as a way to make ends meet when they come here,” he added, citing the pressures his nonprofit faces to keep up the distribution of food and meals at no cost to some 1.5 million New Yorkers.

If 1.5 million people in New York are being fed by foodbanks now while things are still relatively stable, how bad will things be when the economy really starts to tank?

For decades, the “almighty U.S. consumer” was one of the fundamental pillars of our economy, but now that is no longer true.

U.S. consumers simply do not have a lot of discretionary income to spend these days, and this is killing major retailers all over the nation.  We are on pace to absolutely shatter the all-time record for store closings in a single year, and within the past 7 days, more big retailers have announced that they will be permanently shutting down stores.

For example, Walgreens just announced that they will be closing “approximately 200 U.S. stores”

Walgreens plans to close approximately 200 U.S. stores, the company announced Tuesday in an SEC filing.

According to the document posted Tuesday on the Securities and Exchange Commission website, the move to close stores follows “a review of the real estate footprint in the United States.”

That wouldn’t be happening if the U.S. economy really was “booming”.

Here is another example that comes to us from Wolf Street

A’Gaci, a young women’s fashion retailer based in Texas, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Thursday, for the second time, after having filed for the first time in January 2018. This time, it will liquidate. All its remaining 54 stores in seven states and Puerto Rico will be closed – the “bulk” of them by the end of this month.

In addition, we just learned that Party City is going to be closing more stores than expected in 2019

Party City is increasing the number of stores expected to shutter this year.

The New Jersey-based party supplies company said it was looking to close 55 stores throughout the year, up 10 from the May estimate of 45 stores.

I honestly don’t know what malls and shopping centers all over the U.S. are going to do.  I once warned of a future in which America’s landscape would be littered with abandoned stores, and that future has now arrived.

For the moment, those at the very top of the economic pyramid are still doing okay, but the middle class is eroding a little bit more with each passing day.  For much more on this, I would encourage you to check out this Youtube video by Jeremiah Babe.

I have been writing about the evisceration of the U.S. middle class for a decade, and the condition of the middle class right now is as bad as I have ever seen it.

And as we plunge into this new economic downturn, things are only going to get worse.  The middle class is absolutely drowning in debt, and even a mild recession would be enough to financially wipe out millions of American families.

Michael Snyder is the author of several books, including Get Prepared Now!: Why A Great Crisis Is Coming & How You Can Survive It. He is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist.

Are you and your family prepared for the greatest economic collapse that America has ever seen? Economic expert Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse Blog and Barbara Fix, author of Survival: Prepare Before Disaster Strikes, address the whys and the hows of getting prepared for the coming crisis in their new book.

Dave Ramsey’s book, The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness is also an excellent resource for those struggling with money or living paycheck to paycheck.  Ramsey’s plan for getting out of debt is simple and easy to follow.

By now, you’ve heard all the nutty get-rich-quick schemes, the fiscal diet fads that leave you with a lot of kooky ideas but not a penny in your pocket. Hey, if you’re tired of the lies and sick of the false promises, take a look at this—it’s the simplest, most straightforward game plan for completely making over your money habits. And it’s based on results, not pie-in-the-sky fantasies.

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Author: Michael Snyder
Date: August 14th, 2019
Website: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com

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  1. And that ain’t all, brother. White couples having only one child is an extinction event. Mathematical certainty. No guessing is needed. In 100 years, the White population of the world will be 75% smaller. The future belongs to those that show up for it.

    • Genius says:

      In 100 years the entire world population will be 75% smaller.

      • durangokidd says:

        For a guy who is always considered too optimistic ….. I give that 75% reduction in population about 25 years. Consider that the Age of Consent in America is 16-18 yrs; and in Nigeria that Age of Consent is 11 …… YES !!! Fucking is legal at 11 in Nigeria !!!

        Global problems are going to continue to skyrocket in the most populous countries. We haven’t seen anything yet. War, hunger, and disease will be epidemic as turd world nations fight over resources. Yet the Left will try to convince US that WE need to give up our wealth (and sovereignty) to fed, clothe, educate, and house the illiterate masses who keep multiplying way beyond their means and abilities. That is a recipe for disaster on a massive scale.

        Its gonna get ugly, soon. Grazers will be eliminated. 🙁

    • Frank Thoughts says:

      Very true. But those who will be turning up are knee grows with AKs. And that will not go well for them. An epic war will occur as the white civilisation disappears. The idea that the Chinese, Indians and Africans are going to live in peace is absurd.

      Putting modern technology in the hands of retarded civilisations and cultures has never been peaceful.

      Look at violence in these countries right now. The rape, the butchery, etc.

      There will be more Rwanda’s, more Rohingas, more Congos.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Most USA Politicians NWO puppets are AntiAmerican. They are INTENTIONALLY spending America into the ground. Trying to collapse the USA. TRAITORS!!!!!

    If a corporate head spent like USA politicians do they would be fired.
    If a private citizen spent like USA politicians do, they would be in PRISON for Fraud/Theft.

    TRILLIONS of dollars deficit.
    Multi TRILLIONS in debt.

    To finance wars that enrich the politicians and defense contractors. Then the politicians and generals go to work for the same contractors once they are out of office. CORRUPTION/FRAUD.

    Allowing the USA to be in that much debt is TREASON and criminal.

    go look at: USdebtClock.o r g
    Numbers will make you sick. Your USA gobment at work.
    “One day those chickens will come home to roost. But the roost will have already been pawned to China.”

    USA politicians hard at work to:
    * Spend America into BANKRUPTCY to point of economic collapse.
    * Start/Fight expensive wars constantly. Never ending war. It never stops. Never are troops allowed to win. Just ongoing wars never end.
    * Open Borders -Allow foreign Invaders to overwhelm American cities, invaders like China-Russia to build a standing Army within USA. Leftist-communist-gangs-drug cartels, with idiotic open borders. Demographics–Water down your vote. These immigrants will out breed you.
    * Allow foreigners to control and own US Mass Media. AntiAmerican brainwashing TelLieVision.
    * Allow UN to govern Americans.

    That is your infantile idiotic corrupt criminal gobment with a jack boot loafer on your THROAT.
    Why is ANY of this Allowed?

    – – My comments banned and shadow banned here. Can’t have thinking sheep.

  3. aljamo says:

    Not much you can do when rising prices far outpace savings as with the majority of citizens.

  4. Kevin2 says:


    The declining birth rate is effected by affluence regardless of race. The underclass, the least able to support children have more. Just so coincidently government has taken on the role of breadwinner so that those who can least afford to support their children don’t have to. At one time religion, the nemesis of socialists, did this function thus completing with the “progressives” for the spirit of America. Religious charity imposed moral values (at least formally, putting aside those damn Catholic Priests) putting social pressure on out of wedlock procreation. Conversely the progressives are 180 degrees out from that; the immoral are teaching the immoral to be immoral. What can go wrong with that?

  5. K2, I agree somewhat. The Marxists are anti-family. And anti-patriarchy. Feminism was intended to get women out of the family and into careers, where they would have less kids. Public schools were intended to get kids away from the parents and under the control of the state. A German Marxist, Froebel, invented kindergarten. It was to get kids away from the family at an even younger age. It would appear the communists have won. The only good thing is that the White commies are going extinct with us.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Those at the top of the pyramid will do anything stay there.

  7. rellik says:

    The real death spiral of the middle class was the passing of the 16th Amendment, a Federal income tax.
    Any thinking man knows once the poorer classes find out
    that through the vote, they can “steal”(tax) those better off than
    them there will be no end to it.
    We see the results. The poor robbing the “rich” middle class.
    Using the Federal government paid for by the taxes on the middle class, to kill the middle class.
    We are paying the Swordsman to do a good job, when he beheads us.

  8. Genius says:

    This is good news! I can buy up stuff at firesale prices from the deadbeats! Cash talks….

  9. Genius says:

    The DOW is going down again and metals keep rising. My prediction of silver in the 20’s in 6 months may well happen way before that. I see a new (to me) side by side in my future lol. Give it up debt zombies, I will own your toys!

  10. Clown World says:

    (2Pe 3) Short of any epic, Biblical cataclysms, life as we know it, going on, for ever and ever and ever…

    The downline in this pyramid scheme of idiocracy will always keep making more of themselves, no matter how improbable their chances of success. Lots of these people at 4th of July and county fairs.

    Or, a Malthusian population collapse frees up natural resources, resulting in more tangible wealth for the survivors, like when the Black Plague resulted in a labor shortage, so improved working conditions.

    Until such a time as ‘the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up’, this S&M looking guy with shaved head and goatee and shades and pointing both hands at you should be talking about abstract ideas, like counting cards. He wants to have style, gravitas, and visual interest. I want to see algebra.

    I put in A at B date. I get out X at Y date.

    He should be certain enough to accept cash from the proverbial loan shark, or tarred and feathered. I want him to make these speeches at a bikers’ road house, shouting and waving his hands around, forcefully.

  11. Kevin2 says:

    The export of manufacturing via “Free Trade” was the greatest single policy lowering the income of the middle class. The middle class however decreased their economic security with gross excess debt. Some out of necessity but most for wants rather than needs.

    • Yahooie says:

      “Some out of necessity but most for wants rather than needs.”

      So very true. And it starts with the kids wants being satisfied. Not all of their material wants should be satisfied. Perhaps they need to be taught about some of the intangibles that make life good. Than as adults they can make a life that’s satisfying without every new thing that comes along. However, much of society is hooked on social media.

  12. PlanPrepareTrainPray says:

    Your Criminal Liar Thief Politicians look at you as:
    * Sheep to be sheared
    * Cattle to be milked
    In near present/future, When it suites the war mongering murderer AntiAmerican Amerikka Politicians… YOU and your family are:
    * Goats to be slaughtered quietly.

    That is how the Politicians and Corporate heads look at you. You best remember that !

    There is no End, no Limit, no Boundry to the Evil that the Criminal Liar Thief ,Bought and Paid for, Politicians in suites will do, to you/your family/ or to a once great America. Most Amerikka politicians are pro UN, AntiAmerican, NWO controlled globalist. They are bought and paid for. They do Not represent you or your interests.
    * “Politician Wolves want unarmed Sheep/Livestock.”
    * “Politician Wolves decided YOU are what’s for dinner.”

    You are your ONLY Security. Take personal responsibility. Plan-Prepare-Train-Pray.

  13. Mr_Yesterday says:

    A thought provoking article. The argument is incomplete without recognizing the historical lessons. Famous quotes; Founding Fathers / lending, banking, money, land ownership, usury, and so on. Borrow that fiat if you want to, it’s everyone’s own personal financial decision. What is important is that liberty is given higher prioritization in any given restructuring. We don’t need to fix the economy surrounding money, we need to fix the money. If the whole world is in debt, to whom is it indebted? I’m sort of more into employee and locally owned companies lately.

  14. To no one specific. Some folks just have no reading comprehension. You tell them that White people are not breeding in numbers that will sustain their existence, and they remark that they see lots of them at the county fair, and that they’ll always be around. Sheesh.