Archive for the ‘Mathematics’ Category
Most people fail to understand basic mathematical concepts such as exponents and ratios as they apply to everyday life. We usually “get it” when it comes to the mathematical facts that are taught in school (if we passed through basic Algebra) but nobody in our government schools ever teaches how these functions apply to the real world.
The reason they don’t, I assert, is that the educational establishment from the government itself on down knows full well how these functions relate to everyday life, and they also know that if you understood these facts there would be a revolution the next morning as you would understand exactly how you have been systematically and intentionally robbed by the mavens of finance with not only the consent but the active participation of your government.
With that in mind I wish to present two pieces of data today. The first is “average hourly earnings”, which is from the St Louis Fed, and the second is the total systemic debt, public and private, taken from the Fed Z1.
Why the second as a point of comparison? Because as I have repeatedly pointed out “credit” (that is, debt on the other side of the balance sheet) spends exactly the same as does currency (emitted money.) Therefore, when one compares earnings power in real terms one must look at the denominator that is in actual use, which is that currency + credit.
Over the last 30 years, from 1980 to today, the average production and non-supervisory employee earnings have gone from $6.61 to $20.09 (not seasonally adjusted.) We will use the September 2012 cut-off for this because that’s where our Z1 data ends (for another few weeks), which is $19.83.
This is an almost-perfect triple, which sounds great at first — you’re making three times as much, per hour, today as you were in 1980.
But how far does that money go?
In January of 1980 (in other words, the end of Q4 1979) the total systemic debt was $4.274 trillion. Were that to have tripled, that is, your purchasing power was to remain exactly constant then systemic debt would be about $12.82 trillion.
It is in fact $55.358 trillion, or 12.95 times greater.
Now to be fair we adjust for the population change. It has gone from ~227 million to about 314 million; roughly a 38% increase. In other words on a per-person basis the increase in debt has been a bit over 9x.
You got 3 of the multiples in increased dollars in your paycheck. You went backwards at three times the rate of “nominal” acceleration unless you were somehow able to glom some of the debt cycle “profits”, all of which were factually illusory.
This is what “drove” you into the stock market. It is what “drove” you into “investing” rather than saving. But since you can only pick up small crumbs even if you do so, and even if you’re right more often than wrong, the fact remains that you are still behind.
Who stole your purchasing power via this mechanism?
That’s simple — the 0.01%. The Wall Street Banks. The politicians. Their friends.
Everyone but you.
But — but — but you say, how about since 2006?
Ok. 2006, incidentally, is when the BLS started tracking all employees, not just non-supervisory ones. At the end of the first quarter of 2006 the average hourly earnings were $20.38. Again, as of 10/1/2012 (last update for the Z1) they were $23.55, or an increase of 15.6%.
At the end of the first quarter of 2006 systemic debt was $43.16 trillion. As of the end of the third quarter of last year it was $55.36 trillion, as noted before,an increase of 28.3% while population only increased about 5% during the same period.
In other words you are still going backward and in fact your hourly earnings are decreasing in purchasing power terms and have been since 2006, just as they have been since 1980. In fact GDP has “increased” by 20.1% over the same period (2006-Q1 to 2012-Q3) yet debt has gone up by 28.3% (22.2% population-adjusted), which means that GDP has actually declined in real terms on a per-capita basis over that period, not advanced.
The so-called “increase” in your wages are an intentional chimera which is thrown to you to make you “feel good” about your earnings “going up.” But in point of fact they’re not going up at all, they are going down because the divisor, the total number of dollars in the system that are available to buy the goods and services are rising much faster than your earnings are.
The fraud you’re being sold is exactly identical to going into a bakery and ordering a sheet cake. The baker asks you how many pieces you would like the cake cut into; your options are 2, 4, 8, 16 or 32. He then tells you that if you’re really hungry you should choose 32, because that way you can eat more pieces.
You’d either laugh at the baker or string him up by his necktie were he to pull that crap, yet this is exactly what Ben Bernanke along with all the politicians have been selling you for the last 30 years.
Incidentally the S&P 500 stood at about 107 at the start of 1980. If it increased at the same rate as systemic credit it would stand at 1385, which is not all that far from where it actually is. “Greatest Bull Market in History” or outright fraud due to credit manipulation by a 0.01% of the population who have systematically and intentionally lied to you while skimming off 90+% of the so-called “gains” of said “bull market”, leaving you with scraps — if you’re fortunate enough to be able to participate at all.
There is no answer to these problems found in “redistribution” or “entitlements.” There is only one answer available, and that is to stop inflating the monetary system through fraudulently unbacked emission of credit and remove same from the system, forcing those who unjustly stole your effort to eat the losses that will ensue and go bankrupt, deflating the price level and restoring balance to the economy so that your purchasing power is also restored.
Would doing that result in a large amount of short-term economic pain? You bet it would. But that pain would fall disproportionately on those who stole from you in the first place, exactly as it should.
There is no other means by which you can restore your purchasing power; all other schemes to “increase credit”, “increase lending”, “lend support through QE” or “tax and redistribute” will simply steal more through the exact mechanism that has been used to rip you off thus far.
I can understand how someone might not “get it” when it comes to how they’ve been robbed if it has not been clear to them, and they simply didn’t know where to look to find the truth. But after seeing this (and verifying it for yourself, which is not very hard), exactly what excuse do you have for continuing to play the puerile game run by both the banksters and the politicians of all stripes?
WASHINGTON – A record number of U.S. counties — more than 1 in 3 — are now dying off, hit by an aging population and weakened local economies that are spurring young adults to seek jobs and build families elsewhere.
New 2012 census estimates released Thursday highlight the population shifts as the U.S. encounters its most sluggish growth levels since the Great Depression.
The findings also reflect the increasing economic importance of foreign-born residents as the U.S. ponders an overhaul of a major 1965 federal immigration law. Without new immigrants, many metropolitan areas such as New York, Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh and St. Louis would have posted flat or negative population growth in the last year.
There’s no population growth without importing low-skill or unskilled illegal immigrants?
That’s seen as a salvation?
Give me a break.
The economic reality is that debt accumulation eventually strangles growth. Debt requires servicing, which consumes funds you would otherwise spend on investment and consumption. As that service rises as a percentage of your income your ability to drive economic expansion dwindles until it reaches the point that additional debt actually makes the economy worse rather than better.
We’re there folks. We crossed over.
But our government and most-particular our President refuse to accept this.
In publicly saying he does not desire a balanced budget, the president has in effect said that he will continue to increase our debt to other countries. This makes us beholden to those countries, and makes us more vulnerable economically as well as from a national security policy standpoint.
It’s not about desire. It’s about necessity.
This is about arithmetic and a failed policy that was evident as a failure three decades ago but which was followed anyway because it was “easier.” This is exactly like the man who gets up in the morning, is dragging, and takes a snort of coke up his nose to “perk up” and make it into the office on time.
That’s a ridiculously destructive thing to do, but he does it. When he starts it doesn’t appear to have any bad side effects. But indeed it does, in that not only does the drug cost money but worse it has an intermediate-term drag on the body, which means you need ever-increasing amounts to get the same effect.
But there is an indirect cost buried in there as well in the form of insidious and invisible damage to your heart. Eventually you will collapse in the morning instead of having a second or third snort, if you don’t stop.
And the bad news is that there is no cheap or easy way to stop. If you choose to quit before you collapse you’re going to have a very bad time for a while as you withdraw and rebuild your body and its resources. This will take time and there’s no way to shortcut it or evade the necessary pain.
Our government and our people have become addicts. We are denying reality and have been for quite some time. Our cities and towns are dying and nobody in our government — not Congress, not The Administration — nobody — will tell the truth. They will not risk the backlash today even knowing that the ultimate outcome will be far worse than dealing with it now.
We’re very close to being quite-literally done as a nation folks, and with The Fed and government playing “wide-open monetary blast” there’s no margin left to try to counteract a downturn.
And that downturn is already baked in the cake.
To much fanfare, Paul Ryan’s budget proposal is highlighted in the Wall Street Journal this morning. Much cheering is being done by the ‘conservatives’ (Yay! Spending cuts!) while there is much hand-wringing being done by the other side (Oh-noes! Cuts are too big!). Is EITHER reaction merited? Well, I decided to pose the question to a 5th grader after cutting through much of the political-speak in the WSJ article. Let’s boil it down to very simple, 5th grade math. This requires an understanding of simple addition, subtraction and the concept of greater than and less than. ( +, -, <, >) Most children have a relatively firm grasp on this by the 4th or 5th grade.
Paul Ryan’s budget states that he would reduce spending from the current 5% annual increase to a mere 3.4% increase. He claims that this reduction in the rate of spending will result in a balanced budget by 2023. Well, for this math to work, it would mean that GDP (that which we produce or make) must exceed the rate of spending. In other words, GDP growth must be substantially greater than the 3.4% rate of spending. Therefore, annualized GDP growth must be a minimum of 5% over the next 10 consecutive years in order for Paul Ryan’s proposal to actually ‘balance the budget’ by 2023. Keep in mind, this 5% growth must occur in each and every successive year up until 2023 for Representative Ryan’s bill to actually balance the budget. That means, not just two or three years, but TEN years of consecutive 5% growth.
Let’s see if this is a realistic expectation. We will look to the government’s own historical records of United States GDP.
The last time we had even one isolated occurrence of 5% growth was in 1968. It was a one-time thing and has not been repeated since. As a matter of fact, since 1973 we’ve hardly managed to hold above 3% growth. In addition, for the past 8 years, GDP growth has been SUBSTANTIALLY UNDER 3%! Regular readers of this site will also know that economic indicators have not and do not foretell any increase in GDP growth in either the near or medium-term future. So, the likelihood of growth remaining at 2% or LESS for the foreseeable future is actually quite high.
So, I posed the following question to a 5th grader: If the annual spending increase is 3.4% and the annual growth is 2%, can you get out of debt? Is 3.4 < or > 2? In other words if you earn $10 per week in allowance, but spend $24 a week, will you get out of debt or get further in debt? Is 24 < or > than 10?
5th grader’s answer: I’ll be bankrupt. Oh, and even if we could get 5% growth and this budget ‘worked’…..I’LL BE TWENTY IN 2023!!! This whole thing is dumb.
I would agree. How long will we allow politicians to lie to us, hoping we can’t do simple math?
Here’s the bottom line folks:
These are the major spending items in the US Budget, from 1980 to today. I am ignoring all the ones that don’t matter, and I’m also intentionally leaving in one foil often used by both sides of the debate for scale purposes (Education.)
Of particular interest (and alarm) is Welfare, which doubled from 2007 to 2010. But — it appears to have come down some in the least two years and change. Therefore, while this is a problem, it is not the emergent one.
Those are the three categories on the top — Pensions (Social Security, mostly), Health Care and Defense.
One of them is discontinuous — Defense. It is possible that the rough tripling from roughly 1998 to today has stopped. If so then its impact on what is to come is not material.
Before you protest, please read the rest of this.
That leaves two categories — “Pensions” and “Health Care”.
Note the right scale graph, the purple dashed line. This is the reason that the so-called pundits, from Bernanke on down, all argue that we must deal with this sometime in the reasonable future, but right now we’re not about to hit the wall. That is, GDP is rising in rough conformance with those three major contributors to the government’s spending profile. And it is GDP (in one form or another) upon which all taxes are levied. Therefore, by first appearance, they argue, we are not about to have an imminent crack-up.
Note the category called “interest” and that it has been rising much slower that has the debt over the last few years. It tracked the debt growth until approximately 1996.
This is when active manipulation took hold by both The Fed and Government.
It is when, approximately, we transferred from growth in the economy to debt-financing for consumption.
Now I want to project out a few other assumptions just a couple of years.
First, I will project forward both Pensions and Health Care to 2015, along with the Debt.
I’m assuming defense remains constant. This is probably unrealistic given the screaming coming from the DOD right now, but let’s assume it in order to give the budget folks the benefit of the doubt.
Note that our public debt has exceeded $20 trillion. Note also that we have added $355 billion in annual expense to the budget and exactly none of it is discretionary. The so-called “sequester”, at $80 billion a year, is (by the second year) less than one quarter of this amount, and that assumes that every penny of it sticks.
Now I want to make one final assumption — The Fed loses control of interest rates because it is forced to abandon its programs due to either runaway “inflation” or the ongoing destruction of purchasing power in the American people’s lives.
That ongoing destruction is happening now and it is responsible for the zero GDP print last quarter. This is an emergent problem, not one for the future two, three or five years down the road, because without growing GDP that purple line does not go upward and the alleged ability to cope with the growing expenditures instantly evaporates.
That’s the bad news.
The worse news is what happens if The Fed is forced to back off.
Let’s assume that the One Year T-Bill rate goes back to the midpoint of its historical range (not including the 1980s discontinuity), or about 3.5%. What happens?
The expense profile of the government does not rise by $355 billion in mandatory spending, it rises by nearly $900 billion annually in just two years time!
This increase is approximately one third of all tax revenues and into a flat GDP there is no chance of collecting the taxes necessary to fund it.
That in turn will provoke a discontinuous interest rate move.
Pensions we can fix; OASDI can be repaired. We did the first piece of it with the expiration of the payroll tax cut that was (foolishly) passed. The rest is handled by indexing (now!) the retirement age to longevity.
The medical spending problem cannot be fixed within the government alone. It has to be addressed in the medical system as a whole. In short, the medical system must contract in terms of dollars spent by about 80% and then rise at no faster than GDP in the future.
This has to happen now. It can happen now, but doing so is a political nightmare.
We cannot do this in the future. We cannot do this over a period of 10, 20 or 30 years. We must do it right now, this year, today, in the present tense.
There is no other option and I don’t give a damn how much the medical providers, hospitals and lobbyists scream.
“Scotty, I need warp power in 2 minutes or we’re all dead.”
Yes, I’m fully-aware that the government and Fed will try to “kick the can” in some way, even if they see this as the imminent outcome of their acts. But any further ”can-kicking” just makes the problem worse by compounding the debt and expense profile even more.
Some of the back-of-the envelope numbers I had been working with gave us until about 2020 or thereabouts before the discontinuous spike occurred. Those models were ones that I tweaked back in 2007 and were the reason for my alarm at the time — we had less than a decade left before the impact started.
But now we have both Europe (which is falling back into recession), Britain (which is an utter basket case) and Japan, which has effectively declared that it will debase its currency and destroy the purchasing power of its citizens into a depleted savings base. In addition we have what is now a known set of outcomes from Obamacare, which I predicted would be an utter disaster and for many people would double their health care expenses (mostly insurance) and which is now known to be correct.
This changes have forced updates to those graphs and expectations and unfortunately they have pulled forward the “aw crap” date to as few as two years from now.
Note that these are quite-conservative estimates. If defense spending rises from here then it’s even worse. If welfare spending rises (E.g. more food stamps anyone?) then it’s even worse. If we subsidize more student loans, it’s even worse. This estimate and work assumes that no other part of the federal budget increases by one single net penny — a ridiculously conservative set of assumptions.
If the corrective actions aren’t taken in the immediate present tense then what you’re looking at is the outcome that will happen, and when that outcome occurs immediate collapse of the government’s funding model is assured.
This is not speculative — it is arithmetic.
The only option The Fed would have would into such an event would be to try to “QE” the difference via what at that point amount to completely-phony auctions and “open market operations” on top of what it’s doing now — that is, roughly double the destruction of purchasing power that is taking place today via their “QE-to-infinity.”
But that simply transfers the deficit to the population directly via that destruction of purchasing power and it falls almost-entirely on the bottom two quintiles of the income spectrum.
That’s a recipe for a nearly-guaranteed civil war as you will generate over 100 million Americans with nothing to lose.
Raw chart data from usgovernmentspending.com, traceable to US Budget data (official)
Time to do the math and get the REAL facts. Pay attention and learn something.
No rhetoric. No political agenda. No hyperbole. Just facts.
Judging from yesterday’s turnout at the ‘Gun Appreciation Day’ rallies across the United States, I’d say there are quite a few people in this country who already know how important it is to be able to defend one’s self. Now you have the actual mathematics.
This man knows the truth about the mathematics because he lived it. A Chinese national who is now a United States Citizen talks yesterday about how he participated in the Tienanmen Square protest in China. Things could have been so different for the Chinese people if they had any way to fight back against Mao’s tyranny. Instead, this man came to the United States, and we are grateful to have him and his wisdom.
To see more photographs of the rallies see: