Thanks for the input Bob. I consider myself more of an investor than a trader so we have different goals. When I take a position it's with the anticipation of holding it for as long as possible.
Politics, society, and why everything is going to hell. - Page 10
Unless you're over 70 don't say your generation missed it. Get your butt in gear and learn this stuff and you'll find it easy. If you need any help just ask. Better late than never.
Millionaire Parents Say Their Kids Are Unfit to Inherit Wealth
Remember Gina Rinehart, the Australian billionaire who was recently called the richest woman in the world? Before that, she was mostly in the news for disparaging her children.
In a battle over the family trust, Ms. Rinehart said the kids "lacked the requisite capacity or skill, knowledge, experience, judgment or responsible work ethic" to manage the business and inheritance.
It turns out, it's not just mining billionaires who doubt their kids' money skills. A new study from U.S. Trust says that only half of millionaire baby boomers think it's important to leave money to their kids. A third of them said they would rather leave the money to charity rather than their kids.
There are two explanations for their stinginess.
The kind explanation is that today's boomers want their kids to grow up with the same middle-class values they had. They want their offspring to learn struggle and hard work and failure and the joys of earned success and all the other lessons that helped the boomers become successful (those, along with 30 years of bull markets and strong economic growth).
As Warren Buffett said, he wants leave his kids enough to do anything they want, but not so much that they can do nothing.
Aligned with this benevolent explanation is their commitment to charity and the broader world.
The second and perhaps more realistic explanation is that boomers don't think their kids can handle all that money. Only 32 percent of baby boomers are confident their children will be prepared emotionally and financially to receive a financial legacy.
Granted, not all generations feel this way. Gen-Xers and Gen-Yers, along with the generation older than the baby boomers, are more disposed to leave money to their kids. More than two thirds of those aged 18 to 46 and those over 67 say it's important to leave a financial inheritance to their children.
"Our survey points to a shift in generational behavior and outlook, most likely shaped by personal experience and societal responses to economic realities," said Keith Banks, president of U.S. Trust. "The next generation has not experienced the consistently strong economic growth or investment returns that baby boomers experienced during the longest bull market in history."
And there may be a third explanation: the baby boomers plan to spend most of their money. Given the low investment returns in today's markets, their long lifespan and their famously non-apologetic lifestyles, the boomers are probably burning through their fortunes at a rate that won't leave much for the next generation.
In the end, however, the phenomenon outlined in the survey boils down to a simple problem: The baby boomers have raised kids who are unequipped to inherit large amounts unearned wealth. The kids have been given most of what they want since childhood and have followed their parents model of generous spending. And the job market isn't exactly conducive to college grads making it on their own.
In the same survey last year, U.S. Trust found that half of multi-millionaire respondents said their children wouldn't reach a level of financial maturity to handle the family money until they are at least 35 years old.
Whose fault is all this? The parents, in part. Only half of the respondents had told their children about their family wealth. When asked why, they said the children would become lazy, make poor decisions, squander money or fall prey to golddiggers.
We can call it the Rinehart Paradox. Wealthy parents aren't raising kids to be good with wealth, so they refuse to leave them wealth.
In the end, the biggest losers here are the kids.
How much money will you leave your kids and why?
There is "no one size fits all".
We have a friend whose wife has cancer. He has built a Cancer Center in her name to help cancer patients for years to come..that is a wonderful legacy for a billionaire. I am sure his children are set up with all kinds of trusts and royalty accounts. A billionaire has a lot to spread around. As a philanprophist, they sould do what they feel is right in their heart, while they are living. They should be the example to their children of the good things they can do.
Tax accountants do their job because they love to save their clients money legally. There are many avenues of transfers that can be made to either extend the spending privleges to whomever they choose...children, corporations, etc.
Money is not evil, the Love of money is evil. I have seen so many times where the transfer of wealth has ruined people as opposed to helping people...make your dicisions before you pass...or the .gov. will make it for you. Just a thought : )
20 rules that can save you from the Doomsday Cycle
Commentary: Paradigm shift coming after Great Depression 2
By Paul B. Farrell, MarketWatch
June 19, 2012, 12:03 a.m. EDT
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (MarketWatch) — Yes, they predicted doomsday three years ago. Listen: “Over the last 30 years, we have built a financial system that threatens to topple our global economic order,” wrote Simon Johnson and Peter Boone. “We have let an unsustainable and crazy ‘doomsday cycle’ infiltrate our economic system.”
This doomsday “cycle will not run forever … The destructive power of the down cycle will overwhelm the restorative ability of the government, just like it did in 1929-31.” In 2008 “we came remarkably close to another Great Depression. Next time, we may not be so lucky.”
G-20 must ponder a new world order
Leaders of the world's largest economies are gathering in Mexico for the latest G-20 meeting. Simon Nixon expects little from them unless they consider a new world order that can tackle the financial crisis.
That was 2009. Since then Johnson, former IMF chief economist, co-wrote last year’s bestseller “13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown” and the new “White House Burning.”
Other new books echo the same doomsday warning: Peter Schiff’s “The Real Crash: America’s Coming Bankruptcy” … Paul Krugman’s “End This Depression Now” … James Rickards’s “Currency Wars” … Philip Coogan’s “Paper Promises” … Joseph Stiglitz, “The Price of Inequity” … Ian Bremmer, “Every Nation For Itself,” and other reminders of doomsday.
Folks, the “next time” is here. Our luck is running out. And unfortunately, our leaders in both parties are blinded by an obsession to win an election. Ergo, they will fail to act in time.
Hot news: Global economic meltdown, a rapidly spreading virus
Today’s headlines are flashing like neon signs on the Vegas Strip … The Economist: “Playing With Fire” … Wall Street Journal: “Threat Spreads Across Europe” … L.A. Times: “Fiscal Cliff may Threaten U.S. Recovery. … Time, “The Jobless Generation: How to Get Them Jobs Before…They Erupt in Fury.” … Foreign Policy: “12 Signs of the Europocalypse” … Newsweek: “The Gathering Eurostorm Could Come to American Shores” … Gary Shilling’s Insight: “Semi-Annual U.S. Economic Report: So Far, So Bad.”
And into this accelerating meltdown mess, USA Today added these sobering facts, “Families’ Wealth Dives 39%, Richest Gained 2%.”
But we all know neither party will fix these core economic issues driving the Doomsday Cycle. Not this summer. Not after the elections. And we all know why. America’s leaders on both sides are so psychologically blinded by personal ambition they’ve lost all touch with reality, no longer see what’s best for all Americans.
Yes, “an unsustainable and crazy Doomsday Cycle has infiltrated our economic system,” Johnson and Boone wrote in their 2009 article in “CentrePiece,” a publication of the London School of Economics.
Worse, it’s been accelerating since 2008. And by failing to act in a timely way, politicians in both parties will let the “destructive power of the down cycle overwhelm the restorative ability of the government, just like it did in 1929-31, very much like a Second Great Depression.”
Politics? Irrelevant. Who wins? Irrelevant. Money rules America
Seriously, folks, the elections are relevant. Totally. Oh, both sides pretend it matters. But it no longer matters who’s president. Or who’s in Congress. Money runs America. And when it comes to the public interest, money is not just greedy, but myopic, narcissistic and deaf. Money from Wall Street bankers, Corporate CEOs, the Super Rich and their army of 261,000 highly paid mercenary lobbyists. They hedge, place bets on both sides. Democracy is dead.
Back in early 2011 we predicted the decade ahead.
Earlier the 2000 dot-com crash. And for three years we warned of the 2008 credit meltdown. In 2009 we saw the bull rally. The rest of the decade? Tough times, austerity. So far we’re on course. Here’s what I saw ahead of time:
Beginning in “2012. The Super Rich gain absolute power over Washington. That bizarre Supreme Court decision legalized political bribery. Now billions pass through lobbyists to politicians in all parties, with one goal: A guarantee that all politicians, President, Congress, Fed, regulators and state governments, adhere to the ideology that money talks and wealth rules. Our middle class is in a rapid spiral down into third-world status, while the rich get richer and the gap between the richest and the rest widens.”
Yes, we’re rapidly setting up conditions for a New No-Growth Economics coming after the Doomsday Cycle. We now know classical economics is fatally flawed: The future of capitalism is tied to a Myth of Perpetual Growth, a bankrupt, wishful-thinking premise that’s destroying America from within.
Prepare yourself for long austerity. You should use these 20 rules to help minimize the danger. What’s ahead is “just like in 1929-31 … like a Second Great Depression.”
New No-Growth Economics: 20 new rules for after the collapse
So what’s next? Here’s our manifesto for the New No-Growth Economics, 20 rules, trends and principles that will emerge after Wall Street and the American economy get hit by another bigger meltdown, totally predictable in today’s blind, self-destructive political drama, a meltdown bigger than 2000 and 2008 combined. Twenty principles guiding our survival.
Here’s a short-version of what you must expect if you want to save yourself from the worst of today’s Doomsday Cycle:
1. Population control is absolutely essential. Experts warn Planet Earth can support about five billion people. We have 7 billion, heading for 10 billion by 2050. The Myth of Perpetual Growth is capitalist voodoo, outstripping resources, guaranteed suicide.
2. Worst-case-scenario, population grows to 10 billion, disasters. Population explodes to 10 billion. Non-renewable resources are exhausted as if from six Earths. Widespread global wars, starvation, poverty, pandemics, and other disasters could reduce population.
3. Next worst-case scenario: Population not cut back to 5 billion. Still too many people. Revolutions are wake-up calls to abandon capitalism and classical economics.
4. Population control must eventually become worldwide economic policy. Yes, even with the Vatican, conservatives, scientists. Well before 2050 deniers who will be shocked by the reality of accelerating catastrophes threatening the planet and human existence.
5. Mass denial ends in aftermath of global catastrophes . But what’ll shock the world’s collective conscience? The tipping point? Global pandemics? Poverty? Starvation? Terrorist nuclear wars? Our collective brain is still trapped in mass denial, refusing to prepare. We may not know what will awaken the world. But we’re certain a big one is dead ahead.
6. Revolutions end Super Rich capitalism. Rapidly increasing class warfare over inequalities will fuel new regional revolutions as unemployed youth demand reforms.
7. Wall Street’s too-greedy-to-fail banks will become public utilities. Once powerful banks are forced to put the public interest ahead of stockholder interests.
8. Commodity pricing shifts from markets to international agreements.
9. New regulations end quants’ casino and derivatives gambling.
10. Fed monetary policy no longer dominated by Wall Street banks.
11. Quants, behavioral scientists shift, to work for the real economy.
12. Post collapse, oil takes lead developing alternative energy.
13. No-compromise politics ends, cooperation essential to survival.
14. Conservatives return to center as rigid minority rule ends.
15. Inequality gap declines. After a global collapse even the Super Rich will wake up to the reality that their blind focus on perpetual growth of wealth is destroying their base.
16. Lobbyists no longer use Washington as their private anarchy.
17. Our global imperialism ends along with Pentagon’s blank checks.
18. Rebirth of a powerful, new democratic United Nations.
19. Climate-change deniers disappear as reality becomes obvious.
20. Dawning of a new global era, the New No-Growth Economy: The long-term survival of all nations on Earth depends on a bold, radical new way of thinking. We have no choice: Cooperate, live in peace.
Or we seal our own fate by self-destructing a threatened planet and a fragile civilization. Let’s encourage optimism, positive solutions, after austerity.
All Hail Emperor Obama
By Cal Thomas
"This notion I can somehow just change the laws unilaterally is just not true. We are doing everything we can administratively, but fact of the matter is there are laws on the books that I have to enforce. And I think there's been great disservice done to the cause of getting the DREAM Act passed and getting comprehensive immigration passed by perpetrating the notion that somehow, by myself, I can go and do these things. It's just not true." -- Barack Obama, September 2011
President Obama is no longer president in the constitutional sense. He appears to have elevated himself to the role of emperor, deciding unilaterally what should be the law and what should not, bypassing Congress and placing himself in the role of Julius Caesar.
First it was the revelation that he has a "hit list" from which he alone decides who lives and who dies by drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen.
With last Friday's announcement that he intends to effectively grant amnesty to a category of illegal aliens, according to criteria he has set -- their age, a spotless criminal record, a minimum level of education, and/or military service -- the president has technically, possibly deliberately and it can be argued illegally, violated his oath of office in which he swore to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States" so help him God. Whose help does the president seek when he acts as if he is God?
The Constitution empowers Congress, not the president, to make laws, but President Obama has bypassed that body to become a Congress of one and a law unto himself.
The president has announced his administration won't enforce a law passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton -- the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) -- because he believes it is unconstitutional. But he will craft his own immigration policy -- given that the Dream Act is still in limbo -- by immediately halting the deportation of and giving work permits to illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children. So not only is he president; Emperor Obama has usurped the power of Congress and the Supreme Court.
In an age of political pandering, this crass appeal for Hispanic votes has to rank near the top of anyone's list. While the Washington Post fixates on the 40th anniversary of the Watergate break-in and recalls Richard Nixon's disdain for the Constitution, there is silence about this president's similar disregard for that document's constraints on executive power.
Official unemployment for American citizens remains above 8 percent. Now, 800,000 noncitizens can work legally, in some cases for lower wages, thus robbing some citizens of what should be their priority place in the job line. Will those newly enfranchised noncitizens who can't find work get food stamps and welfare checks drawn on borrowed money from China? You know they will. That is part of the president's vote-buying contract.
The Obama re-election team apparently has calculated that every vote lost by an angry unemployed American citizen will be made up for with votes from Hispanics and result in a net plus for the president. That is a dangerous gamble, especially since it assumes Hispanics who are legal citizens, or legal residents, will applaud those who violated laws they had to obey when they came to America.
If a Republican president behaved in such a cavalier manner toward Congress and the Constitution he would be impeached. Again, consider Nixon and Watergate.
The president's appeal, he maintains, is about "fairness" and other notions that have nothing to do with the law. There is a constitutional and legal way to regulate people who are "undocumented." It is through Congress, which made the laws illegals have violated. The decree of a president who unilaterally and unconstitutionally decides which laws he will uphold, in the case of DOMA, and which laws he will create, in the case of illegal aliens, in order to cynically pander for Hispanic votes, is how dictators rule.
“The entry into force of the U.S.-Korea trade agreement on March 15, 2012, means countless new opportunities for U.S. exporters to sell more made-in-America goods, services and agricultural products to Korean customers — and to support more good jobs here at home.”
Thus did the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative rhapsodize about the potential of our new trade treaty with South Korea.
And how has it worked out for Uncle Sam?
Well, courtesy of Martin Crutsinger of The Associated Press, the trade figures are in for April, the first full month under the trade deal with South Korea.
And, surprise! The U.S. trade deficit with Korea tripled in one month. Imports from South Korea jumped 15 percent to $5.5 billion in April, while U.S. exports to South Korea fell 12 percent to $3.7 billion. Suddenly, the U.S. trade deficit with Seoul surged to an annual rate of $22 billion.
There is other news of interest in those trade figures for those who chronicle the industrial decline of the United States.
And the U.S. trade deficit with the world is now back up over $600 billion a year.
What do these mammoth and mounting deficits mean?
A deepening dependence on foreign nations for the necessities of our national life. A steady erosion of our manufacturing base. A continued stagnation in the real wages of the middle class. And an unending redistribution of America’s wealth to foreign lands.
It is no coincidence that the real wages of U.S. workers ceased to rise in the mid-1970s, just as a century of U.S. trade surpluses was coming to an end.
In 1975, we began three decades of trade deficits that grew until, in the Bush II years, they reached 8 percent of the entire economy. These deficits helped to precipitate the Great Recession and helped to prevent our rescue from it.
For just as a trade surplus adds to the gross domestic product of a nation, a trade deficit subtracts from it, substituting foreign goods for U.S.-made goods.
If one would, in a sitting of a single hour, understand where and why America converted from the economic patriotism of Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison, Jackson, Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Cal Coolidge to the free-trade ideology of academics and ideologues, none of whom ever built a great nation, let me commend a splendid pamphlet from The Conservative Caucus.
“The Conservative Case Against Free Trade,” by Ian Fletcher and William Shearer, is a brisk walk through the trade and tariff history of the republic. It is a short story of national decline, of how a nation that converted itself in its first century from 13 agricultural colonies into the greatest industrial power the world had ever seen began to kick it all away in the third century of its existence.
It is a chronicle of the rise and fall of the United States as a sovereign and self-sufficient republic.
The knock on economic nationalists is that they really do not believe in trade.
This is nonsense. Like libertarians, economic patriots believe in untrammeled free trade among the states of the Union.
They believe in the 14th Amendment’s equal protection of the law. U.S. wage-and-hour laws, civil rights laws and environmental laws should apply equally to factories from New York to New Mexico and from Alabama to Arizona. If states wish to adopt their own right-to-work laws or abolish corporate income taxes, that is free and fair competition.
Global free trade is an altogether different matter.
If you move your factory to Mexico, Guatemala, Vietnam, China or Bangladesh, the 14th Amendment no longer applies.
Global free trade means U.S. workers compete with Asian and Latin American workers whose wages are a fraction of our own and whose benefits may be nonexistent. Global free trade means U.S factories that relocate to Indonesia or India need not observe U.S. laws on health, safety, pollution or paying a minimum wage.
Global free trade means that companies that move factories outside the United States can send their products back to the United States free of charge and undercut businessmen who retain their American workers and live within American laws.
Free trade makes suckers and fools out of patriots.
Anticipating the Davos crowd, Thomas Jefferson wrote: “Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains.”
Instead of a trade policy crafted for the benefit of multinationalist corporations, we need a new trade policy that puts America and Americans first.
The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is actually proud of the fact it is distributing the greatest amount of free meals and food stamps ever.
Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, asks us to "Please Do Not Feed the Animals." Their stated reason for the policy is because the animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves.
The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is actually proud of the fact it is distributing the greatest amount of free meals and food stamps ever.
Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, asks us to "Please Do Not Feed the Animals." Their stated reason for the policy is because the animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves.
JP Morgan Makes Big Bucks from Food Stamp Growth, Then Hires Workers in India with Our Tax Dollars
By Michael Snyder
JP Morgan is the largest processor of food stamp benefits in the United States. JP Morgan has contracted to provide food stamp debit cards in 26 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. JP Morgan is paid for each case that it handles, so that means that the more Americans that go on food stamps, the more profits JP Morgan makes. Yes, you read that correctly. When the number of Americans on food stamps goes up, JP Morgan makes more money. In the video posted below, JP Morgan executive Christopher Paton admits that this is "a very important business to JP Morgan" and that it is doing very well. Considering the fact that the number of Americans on food stamps has exploded from 26 million in 2007 to 43 million today, one can only imagine how much JP Morgan's profits in this area have soared. But doesn't this give JP Morgan an incentive to keep the number of Americans enrolled in the food stamp program as high as possible?
So if unemployment goes down will this ruin JP Morgan's food stamp business?
Well, apparently not. In the interview Paton says that 40% of food stamp recipients are currently working, and he seems convinced that there could be further "growth" in that segment.
So is this what America is turning into?
A place where tens of millions of the unemployed and the working poor crawl over to Wal-Mart and the dollar store every month to use the food stamp debit cards provided to them by JP Morgan?
It turns out that JP Morgan also provides child support debit cards in 15 U.S. states and they also provide unemployment insurance benefit debit cards in seven states.
Apparently states have found that they can save millions of dollars by "outsourcing" the provision of these benefits to big financial firms like JP Morgan.
So what happens if you have a problem with your food stamp debit card?
Well, you call up a JP Morgan service center. When you do this, there is a very good chance that you are going to be helped by a JP Morgan call center employee in India.
That's right - it turns out that JP Morgan is saving money by "outsourcing" food stamp customer service calls to India.
By Michael Snyder
By Thomas Sowell
Random thoughts on the passing scene:
Many people may have voted for Barack Obama in 2008 because of his charisma. But anyone familiar with the disastrous track record of charismatic political leaders around the world in the 20th century should have run for the hills when they encountered a politician with charisma.
What is scarier than any particular political policy or issue is the widespread tendency to treat political issues as personal contests in talking points -- competitive skill in fencing with words -- rather than as serious attempts to find out what the facts are and what the options are.
People who are wondering what to get as a graduation present this year should consider "The Passage of Power" by Robert Caro, the recently published 4th volume in his monumental biography of Lyndon Johnson. Its revelations of the cynical, fraudulent and vicious politics in Washington should counter the pious graduation speeches that young people hear about the nobility of "public service."
The new French president, a socialist, says frankly that he does not like rich people, that "my real enemy is the world of finance," and apparently he has plans for much higher tax rates on high incomes. Has he not noticed how easy it is for the rich to move to some other country where the tax rates are lower -- or to send their money there?
For a long time, Democrats have gone to Washington to win at all costs, while too many Republicans went to Washington to compromise with Democrats. The rise of the Tea Party may change that.
Increasing numbers of people seem to have convinced themselves that they are entitled to a "fair share" of what someone else has earned. Whole nations now seem to think that they should be bailed out from the consequences of their own reckless spending by nations that lived within their means.
Those who favor huge cuts in military spending seem not to understand that our military exists not simply to win wars, but to present such overwhelming superiority to potential enemies as to prevent having to fight a war in the first place.
Some people who are belatedly seeing what Obama is really like are saying that he has changed. This is probably easier to say than admitting that you were blind to the man's whole history before, and were taken in by his rhetoric and geniality.
Wishful thinking is not idealism. It is self-indulgence at best and self-exaltation at worst. In either case, it is usually at the expense of others. In other words, it is the opposite of idealism.
The visceral hostility of liberals against Sarah Palin is something that liberals themselves ought to be concerned about. After all, she is just someone who has a different opinion about politics and a different social background and style. What I fear the liberals most resent is their perception that she is someone who is talking back to her betters.
Does anyone seriously believe that short dresses, exposing bony knees, make women look more attractive?
In most discussions of the problems of American public schools, the low intellectual quality of people who come out of our schools of education is the 800-pound gorilla that keeps getting ignored. Such teachers cannot give their students intellectual abilities that they themselves don't have
Did we have to wait for the Solyndra and other government "investment" disasters to learn what economic nonsense political "investments" are? Reckless spending to win votes, or campaign contributions, from the recipients of government largesse is still reckless spending, regardless of what other words are used to try to dignify it -- whether these words are "stimulus," "jobs," "investment" or whatever.
In liberal logic, if life is unfair then the answer is to turn more tax money over to politicians, to spend in ways that will increase their chances of getting reelected.
By Bill Bunkley
President Barack Obama has demonstrated, once again, that he is an amateur who has no problem battering and bruising the U. S. Constitution in order to win four more years for his “Dismantle America” tour. He is single-handedly making a mockery of our foundational document. Question is: Will he get away with it?
The latest episode of Obama’s “Believe It Or Not” presidency is a reckless, self-serving move to pander to yet another special interest group he polls well with: Hispanic Americans.
The president decreed that by executive order he would not deport certain children of illegal aliens. It was part of his proposed “Dream Act.” This same president explained a year ago he had no such power to make a unilateral move without Congress.
He was against the move before he was for it.
So what changed?
Political expediency changed—reckless political expediency to be sure.
And what triggered the John Kerry moment?
A freshman senator by the name of Marco Rubio.
A U. S. senator who is not only a leading Hispanic on the short list to be Mitt Romney’s pick for vice-president, but a senator who was on the verge of announcing a counter proposal to Obama’s Dream Act.
The details of the much anticipated plan by Senator Rubio was in a holding pattern pending release of his just written memoir, “An American Son.” In it Rubio chronicles the journey of his parents and grandparents from communist Cuba and growing up in their world adjusting to life and work in America. Faith, family and hard work are woven through this extraordinary story of immigrants coming to America and making it. His parents’ dedication and support for young Rubio’s success lies at the heart of the senator’s perspective in dealing with the challenges of children of immigrants—be they legal or illegal.
The rising Senator and the positive attention he’s been getting is one of Team Obama’s primary concerns. They have been watching, polling and discussing his influence among Hispanic voters for months.
So before Marco Rubio could fully launch his new book and utilize that momentum to discuss his plan for the children of illegals, the Obama camp made a preemptive strike—hoping to siphon off any significant momentum that Rubio could build with the Hispanic base.
With an important Hispanic gathering coming up this week in Orlando that both the President and Mitt Romney (and Marco Rubio) will be speaking at, the president’s handlers decided it was time to make their move.
With his support quickly eroding, the Obama camp knows it can ill afford to lose any more support from any individual voting bloc. Their fear wasn’t that they would lose the Hispanics vote to Romney, but that just enough of the more conservative leaning Latinos might jump ship to the GOP. Any defections in any area will be costly, especially in Florida, Texas, Arizona and California. Defections that are still possible when Marco Rubio steps up his upcoming meet and greet agenda.
But, should this be decided by our elected Congress members or an imperial President?
How long does winning at all costs, including trespassing on the responsibilities of our legislative branch, have to play out before the American public says, “enough is enough”?
What controversial federal issue will Congress be blindsided with next? While we may not know the answer to that today, we know one thing for certain. Either the American public must demand a stop to this repetitive overreach or this president will bulldoze the structural foundation of this nation.
American voters did not elect Barack Obama to be the imperial President of the United States. It is not to up to him to impose and implement his views as if Congress was just some ceremonial branch of our government.
Unethical campaign tactics and dirty tricks have been around forever. Our senses have been dulled in recent years due to the bombardment we receive each election cycle from negative media campaigns.
But this must be seen for what it is: It is a step beyond the bounds of good governing that must not go forward without consequences. If presidential executive authority can be abused in this fashion without restraint, one can only imagine what awaits us in the future.
The current presidential overreach and abuse of the Constitution must be stopped and stopped now, for the sake of the nation.
“Over the last thirty years, the United States has been taken over by an amoral financial oligarchy, and the American dream of opportunity, education, and upward mobility is now largely confined to the top few percent of the population. Federal policy is increasingly dictated by the wealthy, by the financial sector, and by powerful (though sometimes badly mismanaged) industries such as telecommunications, health care, automobiles, and energy. These policies are implemented and praised by these groups’ willing servants, namely the increasingly bought-and-paid-for leadership of America’s political parties, academia, and lobbying industry.” – Charles Ferguson – Predator Nation
The Federal Reserve released its Survey of Consumer Finances last week. It’s a fact filled 80 page report they issue every three years to provide a financial snapshot of American households. As you can see from the chart above, the impact of the worldwide financial collapse has been catastrophic to most of the households in the U.S. A 39% decline in median net worth over a three year time frame is almost incomprehensible. Even worse, the decline has surely continued for the average American household through 2012 as home prices have continued to fall. Median family income plunged by 7.7% over a three year time frame and has not recovered since the collection of this data 18 months ago. Even more shocking is the fact that median household income was $48,900 in 2001. Families are making 6.3% less today than they were a decade ago. These figures are adjusted for inflation using the BLS massaged CPI figures. Anyone not under the influence of psychotic drugs or engaged as a paid shill for the financial oligarchy knows that inflation is purposely under reported in order to keep the masses sedated and pacified. The real decline in median household income is in excess of 20% since 2001.
The destruction of the blue collar jobs has been underway since the early 1970s. And the relentless decline in real blue collar wages has followed a bumpy downward path for decades. Sadly, the average person doesn’t understand the insidious destruction caused to their lives by the Federal Reserve generated inflation, as they actually believe their wages today are higher than they were in 1973. The reality is the oligarchy has used foreign wage differentials and the perceived benefits of globalization to ship manufacturing and now service jobs to Asia while using their captured mainstream media to convince the average American that this has been beneficial to their lives. Using one of their 15 credit cards to buy cheap foreign goods made by people who took their jobs was never so easy. I wonder if the benefits of being able to buy cheap Chinese electronics, toxic dog food, and slave labor produced igadgets outweighed the $2.3 trillion increase in consumer debt, 27% decline in real wages, 7 million manufacturing jobs lost since the mid-1970s, 46 million people on food stamps, $15 trillion increase in the National Debt since 1978, and a gutted decaying industrial base.
Not only have the oligarchs gutted our industrial base, resulting in enormous job losses among middle aged industrial workers, but they are now in the process of impoverishing the youth of this country by sucking them into crushing college debt with the false promise of decent paying jobs when they graduate with a degree in feminist studies from the University of Phoenix. The fabricated mantra that a college education guarantees a good paying job and a better future is not borne out by the facts. There are over 4,800 institutions of higher learning in this country, with only about 50 considered elite. There are another few hundred top notch institutions, with a few thousand mediocre schools and hundreds of for profit on-line diploma mills exploiting the easy Federal government debt to lure millions into their profit scheme of bilking unemployed naïve middle aged dupes and eventually the American taxpayer. The average student loan debt per student is $29,000. Student loan debt outstanding has risen from $200 billion in 2000 to over $1 trillion today. The Federal Government is blowing another bubble. They are the issuer, regulator and guarantor of these loans. They are making the loans with teaser rates to the ultimate in subprime borrowers – students without jobs going for worthless degrees at mediocre schools. The taxpayer is on the hook for the billions in loses that will surely follow. The payoff for this quadrupling of debt has been an 8% real decline in wages for college graduates since 2000. The monetary policies of the Federal Reserve and bipartisan fiscal policies of our government have led to this dreadful job market for the middle class.
The mainstream media dutifully reported a few key highlights from the Federal Reserve report and moved onto more important issues like Snooki’s pregnancy and the octomom’s new porno gig. We certainly couldn’t expect business journalists at Bloomberg, CNBC, NYT, or CNN to actually analyze the data, produce an intelligent dialogue of the causes, and reach a conclusion that the affluent and influential on Wall Street and in Washington DC caused the average family in this country to endure tremendous hardship while the oligarchy plundered and pillaged the countryside, stuffing their pockets with ill-gotten gains. Each of the ideological camps within the oligarchy trot out the usual suspects to blame the other ideological camp, while doing nothing to change the existing paradigm. Krugman and Carville are assigned the task of blaming Republican policies and dogma for the demise of the middle class. Obama and his minions already had their press release prepared, blaming George Bush and claiming the median family has made tremendous strides since he assumed command in2009. Mitt Romney (worth $250 million), whose pocket change exceeds the annual median household income of $45,800, feels the pain of the average American family and proposes a tax decrease for billionaires and less overbearing regulation on the honorable Wall Street banks in order to help the average family. It’s nothing but Kabuki Theater as the characters play their assigned parts in this elaborate display. Gary Wills cuts right to the chase:
“Yet while the rest of the populace was suffering, the rich just got richer. In 2009 and 2010, years in which millions were unable to find work, the top one percent reaped 93% of the ‘recovery’ income, and corporations are making more than they ever did. And the Republicans can still propose even further cuts in the taxes of ‘job creators’ whose only job creation has been for their own lawyers and lobbyists.”
What you will not receive from the corporate mouthpieces in the mainstream media is an explanation of where the money went, who stole it and why it happened. The theme from the media is the loss in net worth and decade long decline in household income was unavoidable and due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control. This is a false storyline perpetrated by those who have stolen your money. It’s been a bipartisan screw job and it was initiated by Clinton, Rubin, Gramm and Leach, who deregulated the banking system in 1999 by repealing the Glass-Steagall Act, but made it clear the Greenspan Put would always be in place to protect the banks from their own recklessness, greed and hubris. As a result, Wall Street could go ahead and take irresponsible financial system destroying risks in pursuit of vast riches, knowing they could count on the unlimited checkbook of Uncle Sam if things went south, and that’s exactly what happened. Heads they won, tails you lost. It’s good to own the politicians, regulators, and media.
Dude, Where’s My Net Worth?
“Sometime around the year 2010, Xers will hit a hangover mood like that of the Lost in the early 1930s and the Liberty in the late 1760s: a feeling of personal exhaustion mixed with a new public seriousness. The members of this forty- and fiftyish generation will fan out across an unusually wide distribution of personal outcomes, reminiscent of a night at the bingo table. A few will be wildly successful, others totally ruined, and the largest number will have lost a little ground since the days of Boomer midlife.” – Strauss & Howe – Generations – 1991
Neil Howe and Bill Strauss wrote their first generational theory book six years prior to their epic Fourth Turning prophecy. It appears they nailed it. Generation X households saw their net worth crushed, with a 54% loss in three years. The Baby Boomer households also took a beating in this banker engineered financial collapse. The Silent generation has survived this downturn relatively unscathed. Most of the Silents traded down from their primary residence at or near the top of the housing boom. As Neil Howe points out:
“Most sold or annuitized their financial assets at a much better moment in the history of the Dow. Even if they didn’t, they are more likely than Boomers or Xers to be getting retirement checks from defined-benefit corporate or government plans that are unaffected by the market.”
The Millenials and late Xers did not lose much because they didn’t have much to lose. Most did not own a house or stocks. As the economy continues to deteriorate the generational tension builds. The Silents and Boomers, who vote in large numbers, have not and will not vote for anyone who attempts to reform our entitlement system and make it economically viable over the long-term for young people just entering the job market.
The false storyline about the 2007 through 2010 being an aberration in the long term path to prosperity for the average American family is refuted by the following chart.
This chart paints a long-term picture of generational inequality that has been going on over the last three decades. Over three decades the Silent generation has seen their median real net worth increase by 133%, while GenX has seen their median real net worth decrease by 55% compared to the same age cohort in 1983. Only those 55 and over have seen a real improvement in their net worth over the last 27 years. Considering this period encompassed a seventeen year bull market and the GDP grew from $3.5 trillion to $15.7 trillion, a 450% increase, a few bucks should have trickled down to the average household. Even on an inflation adjusted basis, GDP has risen 125% since 1983. Evidently the economic policies supported by both parties across decades have not floated all boats – just the yachts. Age is only part of the equation. Class is the other piece. There is a class war being waged and the Buffett, Dimon, Blankfein, Romney, Clinton, Koch and the rest of the ultra-wealthy oligarchs are winning. We are now in the midst of a Fourth Turning and the corrupt, dysfunctional, amoral social order will be swept away before the climax of this Crisis.
“Through the Third Turning and into the initial stages of the Fourth, the Silent will prosper, Boomers will cope with declining expectations, and Gen-Xers will get hammered. Throughout history, we have argued, inequality both by class and by age reaches its apogee entering the Crisis era. Indeed, part of the historical purpose of the Crisis is to tear down dysfunctional institutions, vacate positions of entitlement and privilege, rectify the inequality, and create a tabula rasa on which the rising generation can build something new.” – Neil Howe
The reason for the epic collapse of middle class net worth is quite simple when viewed from a 10,000 foot elevation. The great descent in net worth was primarily due to the bursting of the Federal Reserve created real estate bubble. The Case Shiller Home Price Index plunged 28% between 2007 and 2010. The wealth destruction was concentrated among the working middle class because their homes accounted for the vast majority of their household net worth. For the wealthy, housing is a fraction of their vast net worth, while for the lowly poor; homeownership is now only a dream. Of course, between 2000 and 2007 anyone that could fog a mirror was encouraged by George Bush, Barney Frank, the National Association of Realtors, Alan Greenspan, and Wall Street shills to “own” a home. With home prices having fallen an additional 7% since 2010, the middle class has seen a further decline in their net worth. Meanwhile, Ben Bernanke’s ZIRP, QE1, QE2, Operation Twist, and the upcoming “Operation Screw the Middle Class Again” have succeeded in expanding the net worth of millionaires, billionaires and the bonuses of Wall Street bankers, while destroying the fragile finances of little old ladies and middle class risk adverse savers.
Once you dig into the details beneath the thin veneer of Bernaysian obfuscation, you realize the corporate mainstream media storyline of middle class decline has a veiled storyline of a powerful, connected 1%, enriched at the expense of the middle class.
In Part 2 of this three part series I will examine who stole your net worth and in Part 3 why they stole your net worth. Part 4 will require pitchforks, torches and a guillotine.
Jesse's Café Américain
The Secret State and the Tyranny of the Faceless and the Lifeless
June 19, 2012
“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself.
For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist.”
Marcus Tullius Cicero
"Corporations have neither bodies to be punished, nor souls to be condemned, they therefore do as they like."
Edward Thurlow, Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England
Golem XIV, aka David Malone, highlights a lesser understood aspect of the corporatism that seems to be taking the developed nations by storm.
The recent moves by the Supreme Court and the Congress to extend personhood and the rights of individuals to corporations as 'super people' are more dangerous than most realize.
All individuals are not equal in terms of influence and power. And if organizations such as corporations can become 'individuals,' that Frankenstein monster will be able to dominate as effectively as any tyrants in history.
The cure is transparency and accountability, and the recognition that the human individual alone is uniquely protected by the Bill of Rights. Corporations are not asked and expected to fight and die for the benefit of the State. They do not suffer and bleed, nor stay awake at night in worry about their children and their care. Corporations are lifeless.
The Sarbanes-Oxley law was designed to give the people who use corporations as their instruments no place to hide. But as we have seen, it is a law rarely used, and itself under determined resistance to be overturned as was Glass-Steagall.
"Every thing secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity."
John Dalberg Lord Acton
Corporations are but the artificial constructions of men, often designed to eliminate individual risk and accountability. When things go wrong, no one seems to know what happened. Money just vaporizes away. When recklessness leads to horrific accidents such as Bhopal, the corporation retreats into the aether of words and corporate laws, often held in disinterested foreign hands.
The modern Corporation aspires to the power of the unaccountable State.
Corporations are without sin, no matter what actions or even atrocities they may as a collective commit in pursuit of profits, because they are lifeless. They do nothing, really, except to hide and often excuse the actions of real men and women. Corporations live only in the courts. It is all upside.
And it is the great irony of our time that the platforms and agendas of the Tea Party reformers and the Christian Right have been perverted by their representatives and their money men to become the proponents of the anti-human, the corporate ascendancy over human rights and individual life. And that the elected reformers of the progressive left have largely sold themselves to Wall Street since the 1990's.
The definition of 'individual' as a living being with a soul thereby granting them inalienable rights, which is at the very heart of the American experience, is under determined assault by the power of the global monied interests, not from some godless enemy, but most effectively from the corruption of power within.
By Golem XIV
June 19, 2012
"...We are all now sadly familiar with the role of Off-shore tax havens. They allow companies to avoid having to pay tax. They also allow companies to hide any dealings they may not want scrutinized by prying regulatory authorities. Tax havens are, as Nicholas Shaxson in his wonderful book Treasure Islands has suggested, better thought of as ‘secrecy jurisdictions’. They are purpose built for shrouding in impenetrable and legally protected secrecy any morally dubious financial arrangements which might be embarrassing or costly if revealed to regulators or governments. The world of Off-shore provides a legal and moral nul-space in where most things can be arranged for a price.
But that nul-space is growing and more than simply growing it is maturing.
Recently Off-shore havens have added to financial secrecy another valuable service – data and communications secrecy. There are now companies based in off-shore havens which offer to protect emails and data caches from prying regulatory or legal scrutiny...
Suddenly not only is it possible for corporate finances to be moved beyond the reach of national oversight and regulation, but now corporate emails and other data can also be removed from national democratic and legal oversight. Corporation can now operate within any nation, making their profits there. but without the elected government, the tax officials, financial regulators, courts or police having any power to see what the corporation is doing. The police could not force the disclosure of emails because those emails would not be under UK jurisdiction. It would be entirely possible for a company to be breaking the law, exactly as News International did, but now most if not all (depending on how careful they were) the evidence required to bring their illegal activities to light, would be beyond the reach of any authority in this country...
I look at it and think to myself – so now we have vast financial power shielded from any national, democratic regulation or legal oversight. We have data similarly hidden away from the pesky prying eyes of civilian democratic and legal accountability and we now also have the parts of the global military that routinely operate outside of democratic oversight and who regularly break the most fundamental national and international laws, being organized to operate together under an aspiring supra-national command...
In the week of May 21st of this year in Tampa Florida, Special Operations Forces from 90 countries got together at a Special Forces Convention. You can see a video of what they got up to here.
The purpose of convention, which is a regular thing now, is (from their web site):
Who is USSOCOM? It is the umbrella US military command for all US Special forces. So here we have a programme the purpose of which is to integrate the operations and even the command structure with the US at the top, for the Special Forces of 90 nations. Is this anything to be concerned about? Well on one level, if you have Special forces why not have them work together well? Seems sensible. Except that Special Forces are by design the part of any nation’s armed forces which operate routinely and as a matter of course, outside of the law and beyond democratic oversight...
The International Conference objective will be that U.S. and International SOF leaders recognize USSOCOM as a Global Command and gain a better understanding on how to become active partners in that partnership.
What this this and other documents now clearly indicate is that through this command and others the US can now commit troops to hostile actions without the Congress having to give its consent or even be informed. Now of course we all know this happens. SO what is new. In a sense nothing. In another sense it clearly shows how our governments, or at least elements within them, are keen to follow global finance’s lead in being able to operate outside of democratic oversight, outside its own laws and outside of any democratic accountability. This I think is, if not a new desire, a new maturation of the capability.
There is a clear disdain for democracy being voiced among those who run and own global finance, who make up the supra-national world of the IMF, the WTO and other non-national, non-democratic global technocratic bodies. We all know what disdain the global financial and media companies have for the laws which ‘regulate them’. We know how far outside their own laws and international law our governments have gone in rendition and torture of civilians.
It seems to me you don’t have to subscribe to any conspiracy theory to find this enough to worry about.
Bernanke Torpedoes Obama Reelection With Bleak Outlook, No QE3
In Part 1 of this three part series I addressed where and how the net worth of the middle class was stolen. In Part 2, I will tackle who stole your net worth and in Part 3, why they stole your net worth. Now let’s zero in on the culprits of this crime.
Dude, Who Stole My Net Worth?
“Thus far, both political parties have been remarkably clever and effective in concealing this new reality. In fact, the two parties have formed an innovative kind of cartel—an arrangement I have termed America’s political duopoly. Both parties lie about the fact that they have each sold out to the financial sector and the wealthy. So far both have largely gotten away with the lie, helped in part by the enormous amount of money now spent on deceptive, manipulative political advertising.” – Charles Ferguson – Predator Nation
When you dig into the charts and data supplied by the Federal Reserve generated report, the data which goes back to 2001 tells a story not addressed by the deceptive, manipulative, political propaganda that passes for investigative reporting by the captured mainstream media. The chart below compares the median versus mean income growth from the last three Fed consumer surveys. Overall, it reveals a lost decade of negative income growth for the average middle class family. In the early part of the decade the average middle class family made some progress as jobs were relatively plentiful and the internet crash mostly impacted the rich, who own most of the stocks in the country. This is why the median income rose while the average income fell. The wealthy have a large impact on the average because they own the vast majority of assets in this country. The stock market debacle was unacceptable to the oligarchs and their money printing puppet Greenspan.
Both the liberal and conservative wings of the ruling oligarchy were in complete agreement. A new bubble needed to be blown in order to refill the coffers of the ruling class. Paul Krugman spoke for the liberal wing:
“To fight this recession the Fed needs more than a snapback; it needs soaring household spending to offset moribund business investment. And to do that, as Paul McCulley of Pimco put it, Alan Greenspan needs to create a housing bubble to replace the Nasdaq bubble.”
Greenspan and his handpicked successor Bernanke represented the conservative wing by reducing interest rates to ridiculously low levels, failing to carry out their regulatory obligations, encouraging recklessness, and purposefully failing to acknowledge and deflate the greatest housing bubble in world history:
“American consumers might benefit if lenders provided greater mortgage product alternatives to the traditional fixed-rate mortgage.” – Alan Greenspan – February 2004
“House prices have risen by nearly 25 percent over the past two years. Although speculative activity has increased in some areas, at a national level these price increases largely reflect strong economic fundamentals.” – Ben Bernanke – October 2005
“With respect to their safety, derivatives, for the most part, are traded among very sophisticated financial institutions and individuals who have considerable incentive to understand them and to use them properly.” – Ben Bernanke – November 2005
The master plan worked like a charm from 2004 through 2007 as you can see by the tremendous surge in average income. The stock market rocketed by 75% between 2003 and 2007 and national home prices shot up by 50%. Wall Street creatively invented no doc, negative amortization, interest only, subprime mortgages and generated a frenzy of demand from anyone that could scratch an X on a loan document, just as Greenspan had demanded. Being “sophisticated” financial institutions, they were able to assemble thousands of shit loans that were certain to default into one big derivative package of shit and their captured lackeys at the “sophisticated” rating agencies stamped a AAA rating on the smelly pile of feces. Always looking out for the best interests of their clients (aka muppets), the upstanding Wall Street firms sold the derivative piles of shit to them as can’t miss investments. Wall Street profits went off the charts. Billions in bonuses flowed to the rich and powerful Wall Street titans. Mega-corporations generated record profits as consumers utilized the Fed induced tsunami of easy debt to buy BMWs, 72 inch HDTVs, home theaters, stainless steel appliances, granite counter-tops, Caribbean cruises, Jimmy Choo shoes, and Rolex watches in a mad frenzy of consumer delusion.
What you might also notice in the chart above is that median household income somehow declined during this decadent orgy of corporate fascist pleasure. How could this be? Table 2 from the Fed report makes it clear. The vast majority of households in this country generate 75% to 81% of their income from wages. Virtually none of the income generated in 85 million households (the bottom 75%) comes from interest, dividends or capital gains. You need money to make money. The top 10% only generated 46% of their income from wages. The report does not provide details on the top 1%, but wages most certainly account for less than 20% of their income. Interest, dividends and capital gains represented 22.2% of the income for the top 10%, while it represented less than 1% of income for the bottom 75%. This data is the smoking gun that proves that Federal Reserve policy and control fraud on a grand scale by the titans of Wall Street was designed and executed to benefit only the wealthy elite billionaire class and their co-conspirators. All the income gains during this time accrued to the psychopathic amoral financial oligarchy. The average family saw their real wages decline and anyone lured into the housing market during this time frame by the “sophisticated” financial experts at Citicorp, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Merrill Lynch, Countrywide, Washington Mutual, Wachovia, Bear Stearns, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, and the other members of the Too Big To Fail criminal syndicate was set up for epic loses.
As expected, the psychopathic banker class could not be satisfied with the results of their looting. Their gluttonous voracious greed culminated in a historic collapse of the worldwide financial system resulting in a housing implosion, stock market crash and 8 million middle class Americans losing their jobs. The Fed report does show that average household income declined more than median household income after this historic financial oligarchy created collapse. One look at Table 6 from the Fed report will explain why. Only 15% of families own stocks and only 50% have retirement accounts. Approximately 50 million households in the country have virtually no stocks and less than 30% have retirement accounts. The top 10% wealthiest households, with a median household net worth of $1.2 million, proportionately own 3 times as much stock as the average family and 90% have retirement accounts. Therefore, the 57% crash in stocks impacted the top 10% to a greater extent, while the average family was most impacted by the 28% drop in home prices.
Despite the fact that the median net worth of the top 10% actual rose from $1.17 million in 2007 to $1.19 million in 2010 (while the bottom 80% saw their net worth decline by 36%) the losses in the stock market were intolerable to the banker predators and their captured government parasite politicians. All the “solutions” to the Wall Street induced financial debacle have been designed to benefit those who committed the crime and should have done the time. The singular design of those pulling the strings was to replenish the treasure chests on Wall Street, engineer a stock market rally to pump up the net worth and capital gain income for the 1%, and protect the vested interests of the financial elite. All the obscene criminally generated profits created during the boom were privatized into the grubby hands of the financial predators, while the subsequent gargantuan losses were socialized onto the backs of the American middle class taxpayers and future unborn generations.
TARP was rammed through the captured Congress by the oligarchs despite a 300 to 1 opposition from the public in order to protect obscenely wealthy bankers, stockholders and bondholders. The $800 billion of debt financed political pork, disguised as stimulus, was doled out to corporate contributors, union thugs, and a myriad of other special interests. Zero interest rates are specifically geared to generate billions of risk free profits for Wall Street and to force retirees to gamble their dwindling retirement funds in the rigged stock market. Bernanke and Paulson threatened the limp wristed pocket protector CPAs at the FASB into allowing Wall Street banks to make up the value of their loan portfolios in order to mislead the public regarding their insolvency. The tripling of the Federal Reserve balance sheet from $950 billion in September 2008 to $2.9 trillion today was done to remove the toxic assets from the balance sheets of the Too Big To Fail Wall Street cabal at 100 cents on the dollar. QE1, QE2, and Operation Twist have had the sole purpose of providing the “sophisticated” financial elite with the funds to pump into the stock market using their high frequency trading super computers.
The subsequent Federal Reserve contrived 100% increase in the S&P 500 has repaired the damaged balance sheets of the moneyed interests, while the average middle class family has sunk further into debt and despair. The powerful entrenched sociopathic marauder class cares not for the average middle class American. They can barely conceal their contempt and disgust for the masses as they blatantly flaunt their hegemony and supremacy over our decrepit decaying corrupted economic system. M. Ramsey King described the disgusting display last week:
“Jamie Dimon’s appearance before the Senate Banking Committee was a sickening display that clearly demonstrated that Congress has been thoroughly corrupted by Wall Street. Instead of grilling Dimon, Senators acted like overly affectionate puppies fighting each other for an opening to smooch their master.”
The destruction of the middle class has been methodical and systematic. The top 10% of earners had a median net worth of $1.19 million, or 192 times as much as the median wealth of $6,200 of those in the bottom 20% in 2010. In 2007, the top 10% had 138 times as much wealth as the bottom 20%. In 2001, it was 106 times as much. With the continued rise in the stock market, declining real wages for the middle class, and further home price declines, the gap between the top 10% and the bottom 20% has continued to widen. The level of pain being experienced by the middle class has reached an unprecedented extreme. A few data points from David Rosenberg make that clear:
- Forty-six million Americans (one in seven) are on food stamps.
- One in seven is unemployed or underemployed.
- The percentage of those out of work defined as long-term unemployed is the highest (42%) since the Great Depression.
- 54% of college graduates younger than 25 are unemployed or underemployed.
- 47% of Americans receive some form of government assistance.
- Employment-to-population ratio for 25- to 54-year-olds is now 75.7%, lower than when the recession “ended” in June 2009.
- There are 7.7 million fewer full-time workers now than before the recession, and 3.3 million more part-time workers.
- Eight million people have left the labor force since the recession “ended” — adding those back in would put the unemployment rate at 12% instead of 8.2%.
- The number of unemployed looking for work for at least 27 weeks jumped 310,000 in May, the sharpest increase in a year.
- I would add a few more data points to David’s list of woe:
- Over 7.5 million homes have been foreclosed upon by the Wall Street bankers since 2008.
- The National Debt has increased by $5.7 trillion (57% increase) since September 2008, while real GDP has risen by $305 billion (2.3% increase) since the 3rd quarter of 2008.
- Interest income paid to senior citizens and savers has declined by $400 billion (29% decline) since September of 2008 due to Ben Bernanke’s ZIRP.
- Government transfer payments have risen by $500 billion (32% increase) since September 2008, while private industry wages have risen by $200 billion (4.7% increase).
- The price of a gallon of gas has risen from $1.70 in December 2008 to $3.53 today.
- Food prices have risen by 7% to 10% since late 2008, even using the falsified BLS data. A true assessment by anyone who actually goes to a grocery store (not Bernanke – his maid does the shopping) would be a 10% to 20% increase.
The middle class has a gut feeling they are being screwed by somebody, they just can’t figure out who to blame. The ultra-wealthy elite keep up an endless cacophony of propaganda and misinformation designed to confuse an increasingly uneducated and willfully ignorant public while blurring the facts for those educated few capable of understanding the truth. They have been able to keep the masses dumbed down through government run education; distracted by sports, reality TV, Facebook, internet porn, and igadgets; lured by mass media messages of materialism; and shackled with the chains of debt used to acquire the goods sold by mega-corporations. We’ve become a society oppressed by a small faction of ultra-wealthy masters served by millions of impoverished, uneducated, sedated slaves. But the slaves are getting restless and angry. The illegally generated wealth disparity chasm is growing so large that even the ideologue talking head representatives of the elite are having difficulty spinning it. Even uneducated rubes understand when they are getting pissed on.
“Senator, don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining” – Fletcher – Outlaw Josey Wales
The situation is growing increasingly unstable and has left the country susceptible to an extreme outcome when this teetering tower of debt topples.
The moneyed interests have brilliantly pitted the middle class against the lower classes through their control of the media, academia, and the political system. They have cleverly blamed the victims for their own plight. They have convinced the general public that millions have lost their homes to foreclosure because they were careless, greedy and stupid. They blame the Community Reinvestment Act. They blame others for taking on too much debt when they were the issuers of the debt. The Wall Street moneyed interests created the fraud inducing mortgage products, employed the thousands of sleazy mortgage brokers, bullied appraisers into fraudulent appraisals, paid off rating agencies, bribed the regulators, bet against the derivatives they had sold to their clients, threatened to burn down the financial system unless Congress handed them $700 billion, and paid themselves billions in bonuses for a job well done. But, according to these greedy immoral bastards, the real problem in this country is the lazy good for nothing parasites on food stamps and collecting unemployment, who need to stop complaining and pick themselves up by their bootstraps and get a damn job. It’s a storyline used against Occupy Wall Street and anyone who questions their right to plunder what is left on the carcass of America. The vilest fraud in the history of man was perpetrated by these evil men and not one executive of these firms has been prosecuted. Obama, the champion of the little people, has proven to be nothing but a figurehead for the powers that be. Proof that the Wall Street syndicate is winning the war couldn’t be any clearer than the fact that the top six criminal banks now have 40% more of the nation’s assets in their vaults than they did before they burned down the economy.
The demonization of the victims continues, while the perpetrators prosper. The sociopaths appear to be winning; just as they seemed to be winning in the later stages of the Roman Empire.
“And we often fall into this bias on the prompting of con men and sociopaths of the predator class who use it to justify their own criminal actions and personal injustice. They are not burdened with empathy for their victims, and even delight in their misfortune. But they must find ways to make their actions more acceptable to society as a whole that normally does have such concerns for equity and justice.” – Jesse
“Are we like late Rome, infatuated with past glories, ruled by a complacent, greedy elite, and hopelessly powerless to respond to changing conditions?” – Camille Paglia
I think you know the answer to this question.