Archive for the ‘Oligarchy’ Category
Why keep squabbling over issues that cannot be resolved except by the Tyranny of the Manipulated Majority? Decentralize, diffuse and devolve power to the lowest level and the national dead-ends vanish. Natural selection will sort out what works and what doesn’t.
The solution to centralized power can be summarized as the three Ds: diffusion, decentralization, and devolution of power to local communities. Yesterday I analyzed the global failure of centralization: The Master Narrative Nobody Dares Admit: Centralization Has Failed (June 21, 2012).
The concentration of power into the hands of a few bureaucrats in Europe has failed, just as concentrating monetary power into the (privately owned) hands of Federal Reserve bureaucrats has failed. Enabled by a captured Central State, financial power has become concentrated in five banks, media control has been concentrated into six corporations, and so on, ad nauseum.
Concentrating centralized political power inevitably spawns State/private-capital cartels that stripmine taxpayer/citizens. This cannot be avoided or staved off with 1,000-page legislative bills and 30,000 pages of regulations, all of which serve to consolidate the power of centralized government and private capital.
The Argument Industry (May 25, 2012) is a symptom of what I term profound political disunity. (If I didn’t coin the phrase, I am the predominant user of it in recent history.) This is a key concept in my books Survival+ and Resistance, Revolution, Liberation, for it underpins our inability to address, much less solve, the over-arching problems of our society and economy.
Yes, arguing fruitlessly without hope of resolution is a profitable “make-work” business, but it has a debilitating effect in the real world: views get hardened by propaganda into rigid ideological silos, and fractured institutions are slowly delegitimized.
Take gay marriage as an example. Does anyone seriously think there will ever be some sort of national consensus on this issue? Why does anyone think there *should* be a national consensus that is politically imposed on the minority who disagree?
My friend Richard Metzger of Dangerous Minds recently summarized the “devolution solution”–devolve power to the states:
They want to force their way of life on everyone else, we think they’re idiots, etc, etc. and n’er the twain shall meet. EVER.So why try to force the fit if it doesn’t work anymore? Let Arizona do whatever it wants. Or Wisconsin, Or Florida.
Let North Carolina ban gay marriage… but let the gays in NC pick up the hint and move to more hospitable climes and so forth for other groups and individuals who would not be able to get along in a situation whereby the DOMINANT paradigm of a particular region would be allowed to have free rein.
But let the rest of us do what we want to do and we’ll KEEP our tax dollars *where we live*, thank you very much!
Not only do I totally agree, but I would devolve power even lower down the ecosystem to counties. Let me first stipulate that I have consistently held that there is an essential role for a strong but limited Central State: it must have the power to disrupt and dismantle local monopolies, oligarchies and criminal organizations, and it must retain the power to guarantee freedom of faith, exchange, movement, expression, enterprise and association to all individuals. It must also be empowered to defend the nation against external threats and attack, and protect the nation’s “commons”–its soil, water, air, natural beauty and resources–from despoilation and exploitation by global, national or local Elites.
But beyond these limited roles, all other power should be diffused and decentralized to the lowest units of local political power, the counties. If County A legalizes gay marriage, County B bans it and County C decides that marriage is a private affair that the government should have no role in, then people who have concluded this is a key issue will migrate to the county of their choice. (County D may choose by not choosing to enable an “Argument Industry” that endlessly gnaws over the same old tired ideological debates as part of the local “entertainment industry.”)
There is a decidedly favorable element of natural selection to this process of letting local communities choose their own machinery of governance. With no Savior State to skim money from one community to give to another out of political favoritism, local communities will have to tax themselves for whatever services they desire.
If productive people are being taxed into penury and receiving little in the way of services they desire, they will move to a county with more favorable policies. Corrupt kleptocracies will be abandoned until there are no productive people left to exploit, and the kleptocracy will implode.
Each county will be an experiment on what works and doesn’t work, and it is likely there will be a spectrum of successful models. Those counties which allow concentrations of power to infect and control their social and financial ecosystems will likely stagnate; those which incentivize freeloading will be overwhelmed with freeloaders, and so on.Risk and consequence will be reunited, as they are in Nature.
If County E decides that all CEOs of banks chartered to do business in the county must live in the county, then business/finance will adjust to that political will. As noted yesterday, If 500 banks are forced to compete in a transparent marketplace, it will be very difficult for those corporations to purchase the political power the five “too big to fail” Central State-created banks now own.
Is local control of the way of life “efficient”? Perhaps efficiency’s elevation to godlike status is as misplaced as confusing convenience with meaning. What “works” for some communities is not just what’s cheapest in terms of consumerism. “Efficiency” is often corporate-speak for a second-order tyranny.
Charles Hugh Smith – Of Two Minds
3.6 Million Taxpayer Dollars Being Used To Support The Lavish Lifestyles Of Former Presidents Such As Bush And Clinton
You are not going to believe how much money is being spent on our former presidents. At a time when U.S. government spending is wildly out of control, a total of 3.6 million dollars is being used to support the lavish lifestyles of former presidents such as George W. Bush and Bill Clinton in 2012. For 2013, the plan is to increase that amount to 3.7 million dollars. But do any of them really need this kind of welfare? The truth is that all of them are very wealthy. So what justification is there for giving them so much money? You can see the GSA budget proposal for former presidents for 2013 right here. The 3.7 million dollars for 2013 does not even include the cost of Secret Service protection. Rather, it only covers expenses such as office rentals, travel, phone bills, postage, printing and pension benefits. Certainly it is not unreasonable to grant former presidents a small pension, but should we be showering them with millions of dollars each year? At a time when the federal government is drowning in so much debt, the fact that these former presidents are willing to take such huge amounts of taxpayer money really does make them look like parasites.
So why are these former presidents getting this money?
Congress passed The Former Presidents Act of 1958 because they didn’t want other presidents to end up as poor as Harry Truman did.
Well, these days former presidents are definitely not in danger of ending up poor. But this law does enable former presidents to stick the U.S. taxpayer with some absolutely outrageous bills.
For example, George W. Bush is scheduled to get $1,356,000 from U.S. taxpayers in 2013.
$85,000 of that will be for phone expenses.
He must have a really, really bad calling plan.
Bill Clinton is scheduled to get $1,019,000 from U.S. taxpayers in 2013.
A whopping $442,000 of that will be for office space.
That breaks down to more than $36,000 a month.
I hope that office space is nice.
Perhaps he needs a lot of office space to hide from Hillary.
George H.W. Bush is scheduled to get $879,000 from U.S. taxpayers in 2013.
$63,000 of that total will be going toward “equipment”.
How many iPads does he really need?
Even the old peanut farmer, Jimmy Carter, will be getting $518,000from U.S. taxpayers in 2013.
But do they even need this money?
Exactly how wealthy are these former presidents?
Well, it turns out that they are very, very wealthy.
George W. Bush earned an estimated $15 million in speaking fees during just the first two years after he left office.
So why are we spending millions to support these guys?
Perhaps this is yet another question that we don’t have an answer to. We can add it to the list….
-Why do chimps throw poop?
The federal government has spent $592,527 to try to find the answer.
-Do unhappy people spend more time on Twitter or on Facebook?
The federal government has spent $198,000 in an attempt to get an answer.
-How do rats respond to jazz music when they are high on cocaine?
Your tax dollars are being spent to get to the bottom of it.
-Does cocaine cause Japanese quail to engage in sexually risky behavior?
The federal government has spent $175,587 to find out the truth.
Right now there are more than 100 million working age Americans that do not have jobs, and this is the kind of nonsense that the federal government is spending money on.
Shame on these former presidents for taking this money.
If our Congress critters are looking for a place to cut the federal budget, this would be a good place to start.
At first I thought this was just another one of ‘those videos’….you know, another one about the Federal Reserve, Jekyll Island, evil Joos, etc. Uh…no. This video examines history MUCH further back and when it comes to history, specifically American history, I’m no slouch. This film taught me things of which I had NO IDEA. It’s hard to stun me with anything regarding the depths of economic and government corruption these days, but this one shocked me.
I cannot say that 100% of this film is accurate, but I can say that the first thing I was impressed by was that right out of the gate, it gets it right about the debt vs. production (they run in opposite directions) and its presentation of the QUANTITY or VOLUME of money in the monetary system being the key to control of governments. It was also impressive that they got the Thomas Jefferson quote RIGHT! (The one that is widely circulated alleging that TJ made a quote talking about inflation and deflation is bogus.) I also spent a bunch of time fact checking some of the other points in history with regard to certain people mentioned. The facts presented about the random people I chose, DID verify, despite picking some I thought were going to be blown out of the water.
Bottom line: This film is worth every minute of its hour and a half run time. If you THOUGHT you knew it all about how controlled we are, you still don’t know the half of it.
Discussion (registration required to post)
The self-interest of the alcoholic is to keep drinking. Is this truly in his best interests? The answer illuminates the pathology of power in America.
If we ignore the lip-service showered on “reform,” we find that there is really only one strategy in America: extend and pretend.Individuals, households, communities, cities, states, enterprises and the vast sprawling Empire of the Federal government and its many proxies–all are engaged in extend and pretend.
The closest analog is a seriously ill alcoholic who tells himself he just has a hang-over when it’s abundantly clear he is suffering from potentially terminal cancer.With a hang-over, extend and pretend is the only strategy that works: you can try various “magic potions” to relieve the symptoms, but the only real cure is to give the body enough time to cleanse itself of the toxins you’ve created and pretend to be functioning in the meantime.
In the case of aggressive cancer, then extend and pretend is the worst possible strategy: ignoring the rapid progression of the disease only makes eventual treatment more difficult and uncertain.
The only way to treat cancer is to face it straight-on, learn as much as you can about the disease and the spectrum of treatments, consider the side-effects and consequences of various treatment strategies, and then get to work radically transforming your entire life, mind, body and spirit to effect the cure.
Why do we perpetrate the delusion of a hang-over when it’s painfully clear we have cancer? We’re afraid, of course; we fear the unknown and find comfort in the belief that nothing has to really change. We call this denial, but it arises from fear and risk aversion.
In the moment, amidst all the swirling chaos of fear and uncertainty, we choose extend and pretend because it seems to be in our self-interest.
This is the ontology of extend and pretend: a delusional view of our self-interest.The drunk is terrified of not being able to drink himself into a stupor; in that dysfunctional state of being, then he perceives his self-interest as denying he has cancer because he knows that treatment will require him to stop drinking.
In effect, what he perceives as acting in his self-interest is actually an act of self-destruction.
Political and social revolutions occur when the productive classes realize the Status Quo no longer serves their self-interests.In other words, the revolution is first and foremost an internal process of recognition and enlightenment: all the propaganda issued by the Status Quo, i.e. that it serves the best interests of the productive classes, is finally recognized as false.
As this awakening begins, a divergence between the definitions of self-interest by the Power Elites (financial and political) and the productive classes begins to open. This is extremely dangerous to the Power Elites, who are fundamentally parasitical and predatory: their wealth and power all flow from the labor, taxes, debt service and passivity/complicity of the productive classes.
The Power Elites’ time-honored strategy to protect their own wealth and grip on power has three components:one is to pursue a strategy of pervasive, ceaseless propaganda to persuade the productive classes that the system is sound, fair and working for them; the second is to fund diversionary “bread and circuses” for the potentially troublesome lower classes, and the third is to harden the fiefdoms of power and wealth into an aristocracy that is impervious to the protests of debt-serfs and laborers below.
In addition to “the system is working for you” social control myth, the wealth/power aristocracy also invokes various fear-based social control myths: external enemies are threatening us all, so ignore your debt-serfdom and powerlessness, etc.
In the ideal Power Elite scenario, a theocracy combines faith and State: not only is it illegal to resist the Aristocracy, you will suffer eternal damnation for even thinking about it.
Ask yourself this: how much influence do you as a citizen, voter and taxpayer have over the Federal Reserve?If we’re honest, we must confess that the Federal Reserve is as remote to us as any branch of the North Korean government: we have zero influence over it, and the same can be said of our elected representatives.
This is the definition of an aristocracy, oligarchy (a power structure in which power is held by a small number of people), kleptocracy, etc.
The Power Elite has a key advantage over the citizenry: its own self-interest is clear.The citizenry must entertain this question: is the Status Quo really working for me or not? The Power Elite aristocracy has no such confusion: the Status Quo is working beautifully for them, and the only threat to their wealth and power is the possibility that the productive classes might opt out and stop paying the taxes and debt service which funds the parasitical Power Elite.
Thus the Power Elite has a single goal:to persuade and coerce the citizenry into accepting their powerlessness and debt-serfdom as a pathological form of self-interest.
There is another dynamic to the Power Elite aristocracy’s grip on concentrated wealth and power: the self-selecting, self-perpetuating pathology of the aristocracy and the Upper Caste that so slavishly serves them. Author Chris Sullins identified this dynamic as one of self-propagating fractals (The MacRib is Back!September 23, 2008):
There are readers who might feel I’m being very hard on the public with the comparison so far. But look how people have allowed their names to be changed. They have gone from being called citizens to consumers. A citizen is a very human word which denotes awareness, involvement, and participation. It’s a word that sounds active and conscious in its very nature. A consumer by contrast sounds far more passive. A lot of other animals and even inanimate processes consume things. A consumer sounds like sheep grazing.
Once a populace accepts a self-definition that strips out their participation as anything but passive consumers, then the maintenance of power boils down to test-marketing new social control myths and fear-mongering.
This sophisticated level of marketing and predation requires a highly trained class of servants:an Upper Caste of technocrats, middle managers, marketers, lobbyists, “creatives,” engineers, etc. who do the heavy lifting that keeps the Power Elite’s wealth and status not just intact but expanding.
The reward for this service is a hefty salary that enables the purchase of the signifiers of upper-middle class existence and an intoxicating proximity to power and status visibility, i.e. some measure of recognition as “being somebody important.”
Until very recently I reckoned this Upper Caste of loyal servants comprised about 20% of the American populace, but upon closer examination of various levels of wealth and analysis of advert targeting (adverts only target those with enough money/credit to buy the goods being offered), I now identify the Upper Caste as only the top 10% (the aristocracy is at most the top 1/10th of 1%).
Wealth and income both fall rather precipitously below the top 10% line, and as globalization and other systemic forces relentlessly press productivity into fewer hands, then the rewards aggregate into a smaller circle of laborers.
As noted yesterday in Social Fractals and the Corruption of America(February 8, 2012), you cannot aggregate healthy, thrifty, honest, caring and responsible people into a group that is dysfunctional, spendthrift, venal and dishonest unless those individuals have themselves become dysfunctional, spendthrift, venal and dishonest.
This is the ontology of the pathology of power:If you want to join the elite levels of the Upper Caste, where “doing God’s work” is a daily practice of fraud, embezzlement, misrepresentation, collusion, purposeful obfuscation, all in service of a pathologically self-destructive notion of self-interest, then you must become dysfunctional, venal and dishonest (with becoming spendthrift in service of acquiring signifiers of status a close fourth).
Since non-pathological people will quit or be fired, then these fractals of corruption are self-selecting and self-perpetuating.This is true not just of financial America but of elected officialdom. Anyone who is still naive or delusional enough to think that getting elected to Congress or the state legislature will empower “doing good” will soon learn the ropes: the next election is less than two years away, and if you want to retain your grip on power you’re going to need a couple million dollars.
And if you want to “get something done,” you will need to take orders from your party leadership and service your donors.
I once had a friend who by extraordinary effort got himself elected to the state legislature. Being a young idealist, he actually refused to vote as his party leadership directed: thus identified as a rebel, he was predictably out two years later.
So much for “working within the system.” By the time all the donors, lobbyists, leeches and parasites have been properly serviced, the “reform” bill is 2,000 pages long.
As a result of the feudal structure of wealth and power in America and the self-reinforcing, self-propagating fractals of pathological servitude, the citizenry are increasingly remote from power.The aristocracy, like feudal lords in distant, fortified castles, demands obedient service of the powerless citizenry– work hard, pay your taxes and service your debt–and fears any awakening of true self-interest.
Just because a devoted member of the Upper Caste is allowed to enter the castle to do his work doesn’t mean he is part of the aristocracy. That glow of proximity to power is his reward for dutifully slaving away as a higher-order serf.
The American Revolution was triggered not by a sudden upwelling of noble ideals, but by the realization of the landed nobility and productive classes that the commercial and political domination of Great Britain was placing their wealth and liberty at risk.
Put another way: they awoke to the fact that the Status Quo no longer served their essential self-interests. When the Upper Caste and productive classes reach this same conclusion, then perhaps they will elect a transformational third party to sweep away the corrupt political class.
This new party must embody a moral imperative that acts as a social fractal: retaining power is not the goal. If the people want to restore the pathological aristocracy to power in two years, then by all means let them have it. They will do so without our complicity, interest payments, labor and servitude, for we have opted out of pathology.
Charles Hugh Smith – Of Two Minds
“There is no means of avoiding a final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as the final and total catastrophe of the currency involved.” – Ludwig von Mises
The last week has offered an amusing display of the difference between the cheerleading corporate mainstream media, lying Wall Street shills and the critical thinking analysts like Zero Hedge, Mike Shedlock, Jesse, and John Hussman. What passes for journalism at CNBC and the rest of the mainstream print and TV media is beyond laughable. Their America is all about feelings. Are we confident? Are we bullish? Are we optimistic about the future? America has turned into a giant confidence game. The governing elite spend their time spinning stories about recovery and manipulating public opinion so people will feel good and spend money. Facts are inconvenient to their storyline. The truth is for suckers. They know what is best for us and will tell us what to do and when to do it.
The false storyline last week was the dramatic surge in new jobs. This fantastic news was utilized by the six banks that account for 80% of the stock market trading to propel the NASDAQ to an eleven year high and the Dow Jones to a four year high. The compliant corporate press did their part with blaring headlines of good cheer. The entire sham was designed to make Joe the Plumber pull out one of his 15 credit cards and buy a new 72 inch 3D HDTV for this weekend’s Super Bowl. When you watch a CNBC talking head interviewing a Wall Street shyster realize you have the 1% interviewing the .01% about how great things are.
What you most certainly did not hear from the MSM is that the NASDAQ is still down 42% from its 2000 high of 5,048. None of the brain dead twits on CNBC pointed out the S&P 500 is trading at the exact same level it reached on April 8, 1999. Twelve or thirteen years of zero or negative returns are meaningless when a story needs to be sold. On Friday the hyperbole utilized by the media mouthpieces was off the charts, leading to an all-out brawl between the critical thinking blogosphere and the non-thinking ”professionals” spouting the government sanctioned propaganda. Accusations flew back and forth about who was misinterpreting the data. I found it hysterical that anyone would debate the accuracy of BLS (Bureau of Lies & Swindles) data.
The drones at this government propaganda agency relentlessly massage the data until they achieve a happy ending. They use a birth/death model to create jobs out of thin air, later adjusting those phantom jobs away in a press release on a Friday night. They create new categories of Americans to pretend they aren’t really unemployed. They use more models to make adjustments for seasonality. Then they make massive one-time adjustments for the Census. Essentially, you can conclude that anything the BLS reports on a monthly basis is a wild ass guess, massaged to present the most optimistic view of the world. The government preferred unemployment rate of 8.3% is a terrible joke and the MSM dutifully spouts this drivel to a zombie-like public. If the governing elite were to report the truth, the public would realize we are in the midst of a 2nd Great Depression.
The unemployment rate during the Great Depression reached 25%. Without the BLS “adjustments” the real unemployment rate in this country is 23%. Cheerleading and packaging the data in a way to mislead the public does not change the facts:
- There are 242 million working age Americans. Only 142 million Americans are working. For the math challenged, such as CNBC analysts, that means 100 million working age Americans (41.5%) are not working. But don’t worry, the BLS says the unemployment rate is only 8.3%. Things are going so swimmingly well in this country the other 33.2% are kicking back enjoying the good life.
- The labor force participation rate and employment to population ratio are at 30 year lows. The number of Americans supposedly not in the labor force is at an all-time record of 87.9 million. A corporate MSM pundit like Steve Liesman would explain this away as the Baby Boomers beginning to retire. Great storyline, but the facts prove that old timers are so desperate for cash they have dramatically increased their participation in the labor market.
- The data being dished out by the government on a daily basis does not pass the smell test. The working age population since 2000 has grown by 30 million people. The number of people working has grown by only 4.7 million. A critical thinker would conclude the unemployment rate should be dramatically higher than the reported 8.3%. But the government falsely reports the labor force has only increased by 11.8 million in the last eleven years. They have the gall to report that 17.9 million Americans just decided to leave the workforce. The economy was booming in 2000. It sucks today. Don’t more people need jobs when times are tougher? The Boomers retiring storyline has already proven to be false. The fact that 46 million (15% of total population) people are on food stamps is a testament to the BLS lie. A look at history proves how badly the current figures reek to high heaven:
- 2000 to 2011 – Not in Labor Force increased by 17.9 million.
- 1990′s – Not in Labor Force increased by 5 million.
- 1980′s – Not in Labor Force increased by 1.7 million.
- The Not in the Labor Force category is utilized to hide how bad the employment situation in this country really is. They conclude that 17 million out of 38 million Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 are not in the labor force. That is complete bullshit. From the time I turned 16, I worked. Everyone I knew worked. I worked through high school and college. It is a lie that 45% of these people don’t want a job. If you dig into their data, you realize the horrific state of employment in this country:
- 74% of 16 to 19 year olds are not employed
- 85% of black 16 to 19 year olds are not employed
- 31% of black 25 to 54 year old men are not employed
- 40% of 20 to 24 year olds are not employed
- 22% of 25 to 29 year old males are not employed
- 22% of 50 to 54 year old males are not employed
- According to the BLS, 11% of men between 25 and 54 are not in the labor force
Not only is real unemployment at Depressionary levels, but those that do have jobs are falling further and further behind. Wages have gone up less than 2% in the last year and have been rising at an annual rate below 3% for the last four years. According to our friends at the BLS, inflation has risen 3% in the last year. This is almost as ludicrous as their unemployment rate. Anyone living in the real world, as opposed to the BLS model world, knows that inflation on the things we need to live has been rising in excess of 10%. It is a fact that if you measure CPI exactly as it was measured in 1980, at the outset of our great debt inflation, it exceeds 10% versus the fake 3% reported without question by the MSM to a non-thinking public. A poor schmuck making the median salary of $25,000 who gets a 2% raise thinks he has $500 more to spend when in reality he has lost $2,000 of purchasing power. Federal Reserve created inflation is an insidious hidden tax that destroys the 99%, while enriching the 1%.
Until Debt Do Us Part
“Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein
The recovery storyline being touted by the oligarchy of politicians, bankers and media is designed to make consumers feel better. This is a key part of their master plan. Any honest assessment of the financial disaster that struck in 2008 would conclude it was caused by too much debt peddled to too many people incapable of paying it back, too few banks having too much power, the Federal Reserve keeping interest rates too low for too long, and that same Federal Reserve doing too little regulating of the Too Big To Fail Wall Street mega-banks. I wonder what Albert Einstein would think about the “solutions” rolled out to fix our debt problem. Would he find it insane that total credit market debt has actually risen to an all-time high of $53.8 trillion, up $533 billion from the previous 2008 peak? Our leaders have added $6.1 trillion to our National Debt in the last four years, a mere 66% increase. This unprecedented level of borrowing certainly did not benefit the American people, as real GDP has risen by $96 billion, or 0.7%, over the last four years.
Would Einstein find it insane that the governing elite would encourage the 4 biggest banks, that were the main culprits in creating a worldwide financial collapse, to actually get bigger? The largest banks in the U.S. now control 72% of all the deposits in the country versus 68.5% in 2008. The Too Big To Fail are now Too Bigger To Fail. Rather than liquidating the bad debts, breaking up the insolvent banks, selling off the good assets to well run banks, firing the executives, and wiping out the shareholders & bondholders foolish enough to invest in these badly run casinos, the powers that be chose to protect their fellow .01% brethren and throw the 99% under the bus.
Ben Bernanke, in conjunction with Tim Geithner and his masters on Wall Street, implemented a zero interest rate policy designed to enrich the Wall Street banks, force investors into the stock market, and encourage Americans to borrow and spend like it was 2005 again. Rather than accepting that our economy has been warped for decades, with over-consumption utilizing debt as the driving force, and allowing a reset, the Federal Reserve insanely encouraging banks and consumers to do the same thing again. We do know Bernanke has stolen $450 billion of interest income going to savers and senior citizens and handed it to Jamie Dimon, Vikrim Pandit, Lloyd Blankfein and the rest of the Wall Street cabal. The “austerity is bad” storyline is pounded home on a daily basis by the politicians, corporate chieftains, Wall Street billionaires, and MSM pundits. The definition of austere is “practicing great self-denial”. Did you see the mob scenes on Black Friday? Americans are incapable of any self-denial, let alone great self-denial, and the masters of our country will not allow it to happen. One look at our GDP figures confirms the non-austerity occurring in this country. In 2007, prior to the collapse, consumer spending accounted for 69.7% of GDP. Today, consumer spending accounts for 71% of GDP, with investment accounting for 12.7% of GDP. In the good old days of 1979 prior to the epic debt bubble, when the financial industry do not run this country, consumer spending accounted for 62% of GDP and investment accounted for 19% of GDP. What an insane concept. You spend less than you make and save the difference. You then invest that money where you can get a reasonable return (.15% in a money market account is not exactly reasonable).
As Ludwig von Mises pointed out, a false boom created by credit expansion will ultimately collapse. We had the chance in 2008 – 2009 to voluntarily abandon the Wall Street induced credit expansion and allow our country to reset. The pain and misery would have been great, especially for the 1% who own most of the stocks, bonds and peddle the debt to the ignorant masses. As you can see in the chart below, the powers that be need debt per employed American to grow at an ever increasing rate to maintain their power and wealth. The miniscule reduction in debt from 2009 to 2011 was unacceptable. The governing powers will not be satisfied until von Mises’ final currency catastrophe is achieved.
Bernanke and his Wall Street puppet masters’ plan is actually quite simple. It’s essentially a confidence game. A confidence game (also known as a con, flim flam, gaffle, grift, hustle, scam, scheme, or swindle) is an attempt to defraud a group by gaining their confidence. The people who commit such tricks are often known as con men, con artists, or grifters. The con man often works with one or more accomplices called shills, who help manipulate the mark into accepting the con man’s plan. In a traditional confidence game, the mark is led to believe that he will be able to win money or some other prize by doing some task. The accomplices may pretend to be random strangers who have benefited from successfully performing the task. Bernanke and the 1% are the con men. They are attempting to defraud the 99% by convincing them their “solutions” will benefit them. The shills acting as accomplices are Wall Street bankers, bought off economists, politicians, journalists, and mainstream media pundits. You are the mark. The game has multiple facets but is based on more freely flowing low interest easy debt. The con man has reduced interest rates to zero at the behest of his puppet masters. The Wall Street accomplices offer enticing financing to the marks for big ticket items like automobiles, furniture and electronics. As the marks go further into debt, the Wall Street shills report record earnings ($26 billion from loan loss reserve accounting entries), consumer spending rises and GDP goes higher. The mainstream media accomplices dutifully report an improving economy. The government accomplices massage the employment and inflation data and declare a jobs recovery with no inflation. The marks are supposed to feel better about the future and spend even more borrowed money. This is what is considered a self-sustaining recovery by the psychopaths running this country.
All you have to do is open your daily paper to see the confidence game in full display. Last week the MSM reported another surge in automobile sales. Our beloved American automobile manufacturers are back baby!!! Automobile sales are now pacing above 14 million on an annual basis. This is up from the depths of the recession in 2009 when the annual rate was below 10 million. We’ve breached the Cash For Clunkers level and there is nowhere to go but up. The storyline is that Obama was right to save GM and Chrysler with your tax dollars. They are now making splendid vehicles (except for the exploding Chevy Volts) and employing millions of Americans. This is a true American comeback success story. Clint Eastwood should do a commercial about it.
There is one little problem with this storyline. It’s bullshit. Remember GMAC? You bailed them out when all their subprime auto and mortgage loans went bad in 2009. They have a brand new business plan. Change your name to Ally Bank and start making as many subprime auto loans as possible. You will be happy to know that according to Experian, 45% of all auto loans being made today are to subprime borrowers. What could possibly go wrong? In addition, the average loan term has grown to almost 6 years. Executives at Ally Financial said that subprime car lending had become “very attractive” because profit margins on the loans more than cover the cost of expected losses from borrowers who fail to repay what they owe. I’m sure they have everything completely under control. Gina Proia, a company spokeswoman, said the company places “greater emphasis on the higher end of the nonprime spectrum” and only lends to people who show they can pay. I can’t believe they are restricting their loans to only people who they think can pay. I’m surprised Obama isn’t condemning them for such restrictive loan terms. If you open your paper to the auto section you will see financing offers of $0 down-payment, and 0% interest for 7 years across the board on most models. But why buy, when you can lease a luxury automobile for $300 per month? It is simply amazing how many vehicles you can “sell” when “credit challenged” Americans can rent them for seven years. I wonder if this explains why I see dozens of $40,000 luxury autos parked in front of $25,000 dilapidated hovels during my daily commute through West Philadelphia. It also seems the Big Three are “selling” a few extra vehicles to their dealers in January as pointed out by Zero Hedge. No need to let a few facts get in the way of a feel good story.
- Ford month-end inventory 86-day supply at end of Jan. (492k vehicles) vs 60-day supply (466k) as of Dec. 31
- Chrysler had 83-day supply (349k units) end of Jan. vs 64-day (326k units) as of Dec. 31
- GM month-end inventory 89-day supply (619k units) vs 67-day supply (583k) Dec. 31
The facts prove the issuance of billions in easy credit is creating the illusion of recovery. Non- revolving (auto & student loans) consumer credit outstanding is now at an all-time high of $1.7 trillion. Even with billions in bad debt write-offs since 2009 the amount outstanding has risen by $100 billion. Does this sound like austerity is gripping the nation? The Federal government is dishing out student loans like candy, as hundreds of thousands of students get worthless degrees from for-profit diploma mills like the University of Phoenix and its ilk. By keeping them occupied in school, the government is able to keep them in the Not in the Labor Force category. Not to be outdone, our friends at GE Capital, Wells Fargo and the other too big to fail entities have been doing their part on the revolving credit side of the scam. I’ve recently been seeing an ad by the largest U.S. furniture retailer, Ashley Furniture, offering 0% interest with no payments for 7 years. I don’t know about you, but my kids destroy a couch in less than 7 years. Wells Fargo Credit doesn’t seem too worried. A critical thinker might ask, how can Wells Fargo possibly make money offering these terms? But there is the rub. Ben Bernanke is loaning Wells Fargo money at 0% so they can perpetuate the confidence game. These insane bankers truly believe they can kick start this moribund debt saturated economy by issuing billions more in debt to people incapable of repaying them. Einstein would be amused.
The McKinsey Group put out a report a couple weeks ago analyzing the amount of American household debt and optimistically concluding that it could be back on a sustainable path by 2013. Mike Shedlock pointed out that sustainable is in the eye of the beholder. It seems the bright fellows at McKinsey haven’t grasped the concept of regression to the mean. First of all their analysis is flawed because real disposable personal income is actually declining and Ben Bernanke’s master scam is working and Americans are now adding to their household debt. The little blue line has turned upwards since they gathered their data. Secondly, as Mish so accurately points out, the sustainable level of household debt is really at the levels prior to the debt bubble that began in the early 1980s. That is a debt level of approximately 70% of disposable personal income, as opposed to the current level of 110%.
The implications of household debt levels regressing to their long-term mean would be catastrophic to the 1%. Their kingdom of debt would come crashing down. Their power and wealth would be swept away. This is why it is so vital for them to create the illusion of recovery. Their confidence game is built upon an ever increasing flow of credit expansion. It will not work. There is no avoiding the final collapse of a boom created solely by credit expansion. Those in power will never voluntarily relinquish their grand game of pillaging the wealth of the nation, so economic collapse will be the ultimate result. They will continue to use propaganda, printing presses, and half-truths to further their agenda. But those who examine the facts will come to a logical conclusion that we are being sold a great lie.
“Half the truth is often a great lie.” – Benjamin Franklin
Normally, I do not make commentary on specific candidates for any office other than those candidates (of any political party), which support and uphold individual liberty and sound economic policy. FedUpUSA in general is apolitical, since economics is based upon MATH, not politics. However, as events are unfolding, I feel compelled to make the following statement:
Anyone considering voting for Romney had better watch this video. Have we as Americans learned NOTHING in the past 5 years?! How many times are we going to elect the SAME fascist oligarchs and expect a different outcome?!
If this happens, we deserve everything we get. Romney is NOT better than Obama – in many ways he is far worse. The only bright spot about a Romney nomination is that he will be at the helm when the Republican party goes the way of the Whigs and what remains of this country is destroyed.
For crying out loud, wake up America, you’re being herded like sheep to the candidate pre-chosen by those who already control our lives and this country – the same people who have eroded our liberties through discarding the US Constitution. If you can’t figure this out, we apparently don’t deserve to be saved.