16 Signs That Most Americans Are NOT PREPARED For The Coming Economic Collapse

By Michael Snyder.

Disaster Is ComingSometimes I think that I sound like a broken record.  I am constantly using phrases such as “get prepared while you still can” and “time is running out”.  In fact, I use them so often that people are starting to criticize me for it.  But the truth is that only a small percentage of people out there are actively taking steps to get ready for what is coming.  Most of the country is not prepared at all.  In many ways, it is just like 2007 all over again.  There were many people that could see what was about to happen and were doing all they could to warn people, but most did not listen.  And then the great financial crisis of 2008 struck and millions of people lost their jobs and their homes.  Unfortunately, the next great wave of the economic collapse is going to be even more painful than the last one.  It is imperative that people get prepared for what is on the horizon, but for the most part it is just not happening.

A lot of it has to do with the fact that we have such short memories and such short attention spans in America today.  Thanks to years of television and endless hours on the Internet, I find myself having a really hard time focusing on anything for more than just a few moments.  And we are accustomed to living in an “instant society” where we don’t have to wait for anything.  In such a society, we are used to “news cycles” that only last for 24 hours and very few people take a “long-term view” of anything.

And another one of the big problems that we are facing is something called “normalcy bias”.  The following is how Wikipedia defines it…

The normalcy bias, or normality bias, refers to a mental state people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects. This often results in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster, and on a larger scale, the failure of governments to include the populace in its disaster preparations. The assumption that is made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster never has occurred then it never will occur. It also results in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs. People with a normalcy bias have difficulties reacting to something they have not experienced before. People also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation.

Over the past several years, the U.S. economy has been relatively stable.  And that is a good thing.  But it has also lulled millions upon millions of people into a false sense of security and complacency.  At this point, most Americans consider 2008 to be a temporary bump in the road, and most assume that the U.S. economy will always be strong.

Unfortunately, that is not the truth.  As I have written about previously, the long-term trends that are destroying our economy have continued to get worse since 2008, and none of the problems that caused the last financial crisis have been fixed.

We are steamrolling toward the edge of an economic cliff, and most people in our entertainment-addicted society are totally oblivious to what is going on.  So they are not doing anything to get ready for the immense economic pain that is coming.  The following are 16 signs that most Americans are completely unprepared for the coming economic collapse…

#1 Could you come up with $2000 right now?  According to a shocking study that was just released, 40 percent of Americans could not

Forty percent of individuals in the U.S. said they could not or probably could not come up with $2,000 if an unexpected need arose, according to research by Atif Mian of Princeton University and Amir Sufi of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

#2 In that same study, Americans were asked the following question…

“Do you have 3 months emergency funds to cover expenses in case of sickness, job loss, economic downturn?”

An astounding 60 percent of people that responded said that they do not.

#3 Another study found that less than one out of every four Americans has enough money stored away to cover six months of expenses.

#4 Some people are actually trying really hard to get ahead, but admittedly that is really tough to do when we are all being taxed into oblivion.  In fact, it was reported this week that Americans now spend more on taxes than they spend on food, clothing and housing combined.

#5 Right now, more Americans are dependent on the government than ever before.  In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 49 percent of all Americans live in a home that currently gets direct monetary benefits from the federal government.

#6 It is estimated that less than 10 percent of the entire U.S. population owns any gold or silver for investment purposes.  That is a stunning number.

#7 It has been estimated that there are approximately 3 million “preppers” in the United States.  But that means that almost everyone else is not prepping.

#8-16 The following are nine more statistics that come from a survey conducted by the Adelphi Center for Health Innovation.  As you can see, a significant portion of the population is not even prepared for a basic emergency that would last for just a few days…

  • 44 percent don’t have first-aid kits
  • 48 percent lack emergency supplies
  • 53 percent do not have a minimum three-day supply of nonperishable food and water at home
  • 55 percent believe local authorities will come to their rescue if disaster strikes
  • 52 percent have not designated a family meeting place if they are separated during an emergency
  • 42 percent do not know the phone numbers of all of their immediate family members
  • 21 percent don’t know if their workplace has an emergency preparedness plan
  • 37 percent do not have a list of the drugs they are taking
  • 52 percent do not have copies of health insurance documents

What do you think is going to happen to these people once the economy collapses and there is chaos in the streets?

How are they going to survive?

After all of these years of writing about the coming economic collapse, nothing has changed as far as the long-term outlook is concerned.

We are still heading toward a complete and total economic meltdown.

But most Americans continue to have faith in the system, and the mainstream media keeps assuring them that everything is going to be just fine.

And in this “dumbed-down” society of ours, most people are perfectly content to let others do their thinking for them.  In America today, only one out of every six Americans can even find Ukraine on a map of the world.  That is how far we have fallen.

In this day and age, it is imperative that we all learn how to think for ourselves.  The foundations of our society are crumbling, our economic system is failing and the blind are leading the blind.  If we do not learn to make our own decisions, we are just going to follow the rest of the herd into oblivion.

In addition, we all need to start taking a long-term view of things.  Just because the economic collapse is not going to happen this month does not mean that it is not going to happen.  When you step back and take a broader view of what is happening, it becomes exceedingly clear where we are heading.

Sadly, most Americans will never do that.


A former Washington, D.C., attorney, Michael Snyder runs a number of websites, including:

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  • cettel

    I was with you until the scurrilous falsehood,

    “#4 Some people are actually trying really hard to get ahead, but admittedly that is really tough to do when we are all being taxed into oblivion,”

    which was sourced to your own blog, which cited the fact that,

    “What U.S. corporations are able to get away with is absolutely amazing. The following figures come directly out of a report by Citizens for Tax Justice. These are combined figures for the tax years 2008, 2009 and 2010. During those three years, all of the corporations below made a lot of money. Yet all of them paid net taxes that were below zero for those three years combined.”

    So that the problem here isn’t really too-high taxes but something very different — unjust distribution of taxes; so that your allegation that “we are all” being “taxed into oblivion” is a foul lie which you yourself know to be false and yet state right up front in this article though you know it to be blatantly false.

    What CAN be truthfully said about the OVERALL level of taxation in the U.S. is that all studies show that it’s LOWER not HIGHER than in most competing nations. So, even on an overall basis, your “we are all being taxed into oblivion” is a blatant falsehood, even if you had intended there to allege that the U.S. ratio of government-expenditures divided by GDP is higher than in most of those other nations. It’s LOWER than in them.

    I stop reading when I find such sloppiness (or else intentional deception) in an article. It’s inexcusable.

    • kimyo

      in your view, does the gdp represent reality? (example: does flash trading in goldman sachs dark pools represent business activity?) your govt/expenditure ratio also fails to include trillion$ of off-budget disbursements.

      for a so-called, self-professed historian, you adhere to views and timelines which are particularly narrow. i find that inexcusable.

      ps: your use of weasel words like ‘overall’ and ‘most’ doesn’t help to strengthen your arguments. what is your list of ‘most competing nations’? which ones don’t make the cut?

      • cettel

        My first point was that he was knowingly asserting what he knew to be false.

        You ignored that and attacked me, while you ignored it. You obviously have an agenda, and it isn’t truth.

        You focused instead on my second point, which is that in 2009, the ranking of “Taxes as a Percentage of GDP,” by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (the organization of the wealthiest 28 countries), showed that the U.S. ranked as having the third-lowest total taxation-rate among the 28 nations. Only Chile and Mexico (the poorest of the 28 countries) had lower overall rates of taxation. The highest overall rates of taxation were almost all of the European countries, especially the Scandanavian ones. Here are previous OECD figures, up to 2006:
        Here is the 2013 OECD factbook:
        Here are recent international figures calculated by the Republican Party’s Heritage Foundation:

        All of them show the U.S. to have remarkably low ratio of taxes divided by GDP.

        • Charlie Primero

          “America should tax its slaves more because other countries do”.

          Brilliant reasoning there.

          • wunsacon

            Not a bad argument…

            More generally, comparing tax rates is next-to-impossible, due to all the hidden costs.

            For instance, I wonder whether comparative tax rates fairly account for “taxation via inflation and capital ‘gains'”. The US underestimates inflation and overestimates income and GDP, maybe not by as much reported on ShadowStats (which Mish critiqued a little negatively) but certainly far more than the official stats report. … How much does the EU follow suit?

            Second, what about stuff like apartment subsidies? I pay more for an apartment because local governments give stipends to other people who end up bidding up the rent.

          • Charlie Primero

            Good question. A truthful accounting of tax burdens would include wealth transfer via inflation. I have never seen one.

            I pay 8% tax on every pair of socks or other survival item I purchase. Renters pay the landlord’s property tax. People who drive to work pay fuel tax, tire tax, registration tax, inspection tax, insurance monopoly tax. Taxes are built into the prices of every manufactured item.

            Yet, we rarely see this mountain of small taxes included in the accounting. The shills pretend such things do not exist.

          • wunsacon

            >> Yet, we rarely see this mountain of small taxes included in the accounting.

            I’ve seen some people *try* to list those things. Hell if I know whether it was complete. 😉 We’d need details and comparable data from around the globe. Then, we’d need to type it into a database and sum it all up.

            Sounds like a project for a university economics team, sorta like the “billion price index” (or whatever it was called) at MIT.

          • cettel

            Re. your “What this all means is that I can barely believe a tax-rate comparison unless I perform the research myself, which I’ll never have time to do.”:

            That’s the classic rationalization provided by people who exhibit “confirmation bias” or “motivated reasoning”; google both phrases, each of which refers to closed-minded people. In your case, the most reliable data that exist on this matter, which are the data from the OECD, aren’t reliable enough for you, even though economists accept them as the most reliable. So, I also gave a link to the Republican Party’s Heritage Foundation calculations on this matter, which show the same thing: The U.S. tax-burden is just about the lowest among all industrialized countries.

            The problem with taxes is their distribution — not (as Republicans lie) their amount.

          • wunsacon

            >> That’s the classic rationalization provided by people who exhibit “confirmation bias” or “motivated reasoning”;

            Also by “people who are busy doing something else for a living and can’t chase down all the details necessary for them to decide every issue for themselves”.

            So, please cut me some slack here, Eric.

            >> In your case, the most reliable data that exist on this matter, which
            are the data from the OECD, aren’t reliable enough for you, even though
            economists accept them as the most reliable. So, I also gave a link to
            the Republican Party’s Heritage Foundation calculations on this matter,
            which show the same thing:

            Why would I trust what economists accept? Ok, I agree w/ your assumption that Heritage Foundation probably would like to distort the stats to make rates look “too high”. Still, I’m not going to accept them either. Personally, I’ve grown less and less willing to trust other people’s work product, either at work or in the press (especially from “right”-wingers but also from “left”-wingers).

            >> The U.S. tax-burden is just about the lowest
            among all industrialized countries.

            For the 1%, likely so. I’m less sure about the rest of the curve.

          • cettel

            Re. your “Also by “people who are busy doing something else for a living and can’t chase down all the details necessary for them to decide every issue for themselves”.

            So, please cut me some slack here, Eric.”:

            You’ve perfectly displayed motivated reasoning, otherwise known as confirmation bias. You’ve done it by doing it again on the rebound — just an excuse for your refusal to rely on the consistent evidence that taxes are unusually low in the U.S. (unless one compare this country with libertarian heavens such as Guatemala, Niger, Panama, Sierra Leone, and Uganda).

            That’s called “a person of faith” or “closed-minded.” And, there’s no excuse for it.

          • wunsacon

            >> All the well-calculated and internationally-recognized data confirm it, but you choose to believe myths to the contrary.

            Which myths do you think I “believe”? Have you heard of “risk IQ”? I have varying degrees of confidence in “facts” presented to me by various people. When I read more, my opinions change.

            >> that taxes are unusually low in the U.S.

            I already agreed taxes are low for the wealthy. However, “how to measure” taxes is sufficiently complex that there’s room for significant error. In particular, “how to measure inflation” — which affects the inflation tax — is a widely debated subject with much room for legitimate debate and much room for error. And too much of “official” economics, economic reporting, and the financial system is a farce. Therefore, I’m skeptical of anyone’s methodology until I review it myself.

            More generally, Eric, you should review your posts for tone. You don’t come across well. I’ve noticed this in a number of your comments.

          • cettel

            The point of my original comment, concerning Michael Snyder’s article here, was that his point #4 included one assertion (that “we are all being taxed into oblivion”) that (as is clear by clicking on his link) he himself acknowledged to be false, so that it was a lie from him, and so that he knew that the real problem is the distribution of the tax-burden, not the amount of the tax-burden, such as this article from him alleges. Your comment to my having exposed his lie was to defend him by saying, “Well, that’s a little harsh.” And then you said “comparing tax rates is next-to-impossible, due to all the hidden costs,” even though the OECD’s methodology is the best on this, and is so recognized among economists, and your assertion there is only a reflection of your ignorance, and not of your knowledge of anything at all. You’re like the people who cite the under 3% of climatologists who deny global warming or else deny its chief cause. But you persisted through several levels of such defense of Michael Snyder’s lie, and I granted you the respect to deal with each level of your responses by documenting them to be based either on irrelevancies or on yet more falsehoods. At this present stage of our exchanges on the matter, I shall cease hope for reaching your mind by any rational means, because it is clear that it would be hopeless. Snyder’s having lied makes no difference to you, and all that you care about is that I “don’t come across well.” I really don’t care about that; it’s only truth that I care about (and exposing liars when I encounter one, so as to help others to recognize when someone is trying to deceive them; anyone who cares about truth wants to expose that, so as to prevent falsehoods from spreading).

          • wunsacon

            Message received. Good day.

          • Sherry Lee

            What kind of taxes are we talking about. Income tax, SS tax, Medicare Tax, State Tax, Gas Tax, (View tax in some states) Sales Tax, License Taxes, property taxes, utility tax, yada, yada, yada. If you want to throw health insurance premiums in the mix, most of us have very little left to actually live on. Some countries with higher income taxes have cheaper health costs. Don’t we need to look at the overall picture?

    • wunsacon

      Well, that’s a little harsh. But…yeah, we’re not “taxed into oblivion” — certainly not the 0.1% recipients of QE. Their taxes are merely “partial rebates”.

    • Charlie Primero

      Did you consider that perhaps the “WE” Snider refers to is people outside the 1%?
      I doubt many trust fund babies read Washington’s Blog.

      Next, please explain how taxing the shit out of me and sending that money to Oligarchs to pay for their yachts benefits society.