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Mainstream “Centrists” Pose The Greatest Ideological Threat To Us All

Mainstream “Centrists” Pose The Greatest Ideological Threat To Us All

Ashton Kutcher, a stupid person who got famous playing the role of a stupid person, tweeted the following the other day:

“Where has the middle gone? Middle class? Politicians who don’t need to be far left or far right? Media the just tells the facts w/o spin? The middle is most! The middle can innovate. The middle can negotiate. Hardworkers with inclusive values = the middle.”

A year ago Kutcher also tweeted a photo of himself sipping from a coffee mug bearing the insignia of the lying, torturingpropagandizingdrug traffickingcoup-stagingwarmongering Central Intelligence Agency, with the caption, “Just sending out a morning shout to the men and woman of the intelligence community that keep us safe and protect our country.”

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

Just sending out a morning shout to the men and woman of the intelligence community that keep us safe and protect our country. #gratitude #ty

If Kutcher had tweeted a “far left” or “far right” perspective, like that America should be an all-white ethnostate or that racist demonstrators should be physically assaulted in the streets, it would have made international headlines. But tweeting in favor of the CIA, who kill many orders of magnitude more people than America’s fringe white supremacist groups, went almost completely unnoticed.

This will sound normal and obvious to you. But it shouldn’t.

If people could wake up one morning and suddenly see what the ruling power establishment is doing to them every single day, there’d suddenly be vastly more outrage directed at the so-called “centrists”, and a lot less focus on politically impotent fringe organization like white nationalists and Antifa. This is not to say that all fringe ideologies are harmless, just that none of them pose anywhere near the immediate existential threat that is posed by the current order.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Experiment

The Experiment

How much longer will the middle class politely tolerate its own destruction?

A middle class that outnumbers the combined poor and aristocracy is a relatively new phenomenon, dating back to around 1900. The rise of the middle class was the result of Industrial Revolution capitalism. It has been one of the most significant and epochal developments in history, yet the intellectual reaction for the most part has been to either ignore it or treat it with disdain. Now the project to destroy the middle class is well under way, with unpredictable and uncontrollable consequences that promise to be just as epochal as its creation.

Intellectual condescension towards the middle class is so common it’s a cliché. What’s rare are attempts to go back in history and see things through the perspectives of that despised group and its progenitors, the poor.

In 1800, virtually everyone was poor, living under conditions of deprivation and grinding poverty. Even being wealthy was no picnic; present-day poverty-line Americans live better. Life expectancy was an estimated twenty-nine years. Farming, the occupation of most, was dangerous, backbreaking labor from dawn to dusk. Most of those so engaged eked out a tenuous subsistence. There was no electricity, no running water, primitive sanitation and health care, and none of the machinery, gadgets, and appliances we take for granted. Only a few wealthy poets who didn’t have to wrest a living from nature waxed euphoric about its “joys.”

As the nineteenth century progressed, primitive factories, mostly in cities, began producing goods of better quality, in more quantity, and at lower cost than had been possible by artisans handcrafting their wares. No doubt conditions in those factories were abysmal—long hours, pittance pay, child labor, dangerous and filthy conditions, and horrible accidents and injuries. All that has been well-chronicled and dramatized, but an important point gets overlooked. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How destructive is the middle class?

How destructive is the middle class?

Firstly, I’ve no wish to define people by accidents of birth and then condemn them for the effects of those accidents – by accent, dress, or other filial habits. Whichever class we’ve been born into remains as our original soil. Parenthood, love, loyalty and some behavioural codes, grow from that sacred ground. There’s nothing we can do about our entry into the world, or our remaining gratitude for it. However, as adults (if we accept that rite of passage) we must look about at the wider world – our connections to and our effects within it.

I’d like you to consider that the current middle class is a defended enclosure by those whose income is largely composed of rent. Perhaps as powerful as land enclosure, I ask you to contemplate a modern enclosure – status property. I leave aside the historical middle class – the yeoman, guildsman, bourgeoisie… I think they may have passed away.

The negative effects of land enclosure are copiously documented by well-known economic philosophers, dating back at least as far as the Reformation (Thomas More). The negative effects of what I’ve chosen to call status enclosure, as far as I can tell, are not documented at all. I speculate that status enclosure may be an even greater drain on a community than land enclosure. At any rate they’ve a similar weight in the scales (and scales of injustice).

I propose that the gathering of rent for status is the central process by which we become middle class.

Status enclosure is the means to a monopoly of services. Lawyer, dentist, GP, architect and so on have gained right of enclosure to impose a large rent for their very existence – not for what their labour may provide.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Stagnation Nation: Middle Class Wealth Is Locked Up in Housing and Retirement Funds

Stagnation Nation: Middle Class Wealth Is Locked Up in Housing and Retirement Funds

The majority of middle class wealth is locked up in unproductive assets or assets that only become available upon retirement or death.

One of my points in Why Governments Will Not Ban Bitcoin was to highlight how few families had the financial wherewithal to invest in bitcoinor an alternative hedge such as precious metals.

The limitation on middle class wealth isn’t just the total net worth of each family; it’s also how their wealth is allocated: the vast majority of most middle class family wealth is locked up in the family home or retirement funds.

This chart provides key insights into the differences between middle class and upper-class wealth. The majority of the wealth held by the bottom 90% of households is in the family home, i.e. the principal residence. Other major assets held include life insurance policies, pension accounts and deposits (savings).

What characterizes the family home, insurance policies and pension/retirement accounts? The wealth is largely locked up in these asset classes.

Yes, the family can borrow against these assets, but then interest accrues and the wealth is siphoned off by the loans. Early withdrawals from retirement funds trigger punishing penalties.

In effect, this wealth is in a lockbox and unavailable for deployment in other assets.

IRAs and 401K retirement accounts can be invested, but company plans come with limitations on where and how the funds can be invested, and the gains (if any) can’t be accessed until retirement.

Compare these lockboxes and limitations with the top 1%, which owns the bulk of business equity assets. Business equity means ownership of businesses; ownership of shares in corporations (stocks) is classified as ownership of financial securities.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Stagnation Nation: Middle Class Wealth Is Locked Up in Housing and Retirement Funds

Stagnation Nation: Middle Class Wealth Is Locked Up in Housing and Retirement Funds

The majority of middle class wealth is locked up in unproductive assets or assets that only become available upon retirement or death.

One of my points in Why Governments Will Not Ban Bitcoin was to highlight how few families had the financial wherewithal to invest in bitcoin or an alternative hedge such as precious metals.

The limitation on middle class wealth isn’t just the total net worth of each family; it’s also how their wealth is allocated: the vast majority of most middle class family wealth is locked up in the family home or retirement funds.

This chart provides key insights into the differences between middle class and upper-class wealth. The majority of the wealth held by the bottom 90% of households is in the family home, i.e. the principal residence. Other major assets held include life insurance policies, pension accounts and deposits (savings).

What characterizes the family home, insurance policies and pension/retirement accounts? The wealth is largely locked up in these asset classes.

Yes, the family can borrow against these assets, but then interest accrues and the wealth is siphoned off by the loans. Early withdrawals from retirement funds trigger punishing penalties.

In effect, this wealth is in a lockbox and unavailable for deployment in other assets.

IRAs and 401K retirement accounts can be invested, but company plans come with limitations on where and how the funds can be invested, and the gains (if any) can’t be accessed until retirement.

Compare these lockboxes and limitations with the top 1%, which owns the bulk of business equity assets. Business equity means ownership of businesses; ownership of shares in corporations (stocks) is classified as ownership of financial securities.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Globalists Are Systematically Destroying America’s Middle Class

The Globalists Are Systematically Destroying America’s Middle Class

When people are dependent on the government they are much easier to control.  We are often told that we are not “compassionate” when we object to the endless expansion of government social programs, but that is not how the debate should be framed.  In America today, well over 100 million people receive money from the federal government each month, and the number of Americans that are truly financially independent is continually shrinking.  In fact, only 25 percent of all Americans have more than $10,000 in savings right now according to one survey.  If we eventually get to the point where virtually all of us are dependent on the government for our continued existence, that would give the globalists a very powerful tool of control.  In the end, they want as many of us dependent on the government as possible, because those that are dependent on the government are a lot less likely to fight against their agenda.

Back in 1992, the bottom 90 percent of American income earners brought in more than 60 percent of the country’s income.  But last year that figure slipped to just 49.7 percent.  The wealth of our society is increasingly being concentrated at the very top, and the middle class is steadily being eroded.  Surveys have found that somewhere around two-thirds of the country is living paycheck to paycheck at least part of the time, and so living on the edge has become a way of life for most Americans.

Earlier today, I came across a Business Insider article that was bemoaning the fact that the U.S. economy seems to be rather directionless at this point…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Guided By Nonsense

Guided By Nonsense

“Read the directions and directly you will be directed in the right direction.” — Lewis Carroll

U.S. consumers are at it again.  After a seven year hiatus they’re once again doing what they do best.  They’re buying stuff.

According to the Commerce Department, personal consumption expenditures (PCE), which is the primary measure of consumer spending on goods and services in the U.S. economy, increased $119.2 billion in April.  That marks an increase of 1 percent, and is the biggest one month increase since August 2009…nearly seven years ago.  Indeed, this is quite an achievement.

The consumer, you know, is the primary engine of U.S. economic growth.  Without consumption GDP doesn’t go up; rather, it goes down.  Moreover, in a debt based money system, when GDP goes down the whole financial debt structure breaks down.

We don’t condone it.  Certainly we’d prefer an honest hard money system where savings and investment drives growth as opposed to borrowing and spending.  But our preference has no bearing on reality in this matter.

Still, given the vast array of pretense inherent to a debt based money system, when we hear that PCEs increased by the largest margin in nearly seven years, we take a keen interest.  Naturally, we want to know what’s going on.  Namely, we ask, where’s the money coming from?

Where’s the Money Coming From?

Middle class incomes, the last we recall, scored a big fat rotten goose egg over the last decade.  By this we mean incomes haven’t gone up.  To the contrary, they’ve going down.

Our understanding of this unfortunate situation isn’t based on anecdotes we overheard at the corner donut shop.  Nor is it based on experiences shared by the crusty fellows casting their lines off Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier.  Instead, we have hard evidence and solid proof.  Specifically, we point to the distilled findings of Pew Research released earlier this month.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What Killed the Middle Class?

What Killed the Middle Class?

If the four structural trends highlighted below don’t reverse, the middle class is heading for extinction. 

Everyone knows the middle class is fading fast. I’ve covered this issue in depth for years, for example: Honey, I Shrunk the Middle Class: Perhaps 1/3 of Households Qualify (December 28, 2015) and What Does It Take To Be Middle Class? (December 5, 2013)

This raises an obvious question: what killed the middle class? While many commentators try to identify one killer cause (for example, the U.S. going off the gold standard in 1971), the die-off of the middle class is more akin to the die-off in honey bees, which is the result of the interaction of multiple causes (factors that increase the toxic load dumped on bees and other pollinators by modern agriculture).

Longtime collaborator Gordon T. Long and I discuss the decline of the middle class and other key topics in a new 29-minute video How did that work out for you?

So where do we begin this detective story? With the engine of all real prosperity, productivity. This chart reveals that wages stopped rising with productivity around 1980.

Here’s another look at the same phenomenon:

Productivity has been slipping since around 2003: Alan Greenspan:”Productivity is Dead”

Cause #1: declining productivity, which means the pie of real wealth is no longer expanding.

Exhibit #2: middle class wage earners have not received any of the gains.Wages as a percentage of GDP have been falling for decades, with occasional blips up in tech/housing bubbles:

Inflation-adjusted household income has dropped back to levels first reached in the 1980s:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Deranged Central Bankers Blowing Up the World

DERANGED CENTRAL BANKERS BLOWING UP THE WORLD

It is now self-evident to any sentient being (excludes CNBC shills, Wall Street shyster economists, and Keynesian loving politicians) the mountainous level of unpayable global debt is about to crash down like an avalanche upon hundreds of millions of willfully ignorant citizens who trusted their politician leaders and the central bankers who created the debt out of thin air. McKinsey produced a report last year showing the world had added $57 trillion of debt between 2008 and the 2nd quarter of 2014, with global debt to GDP reaching 286%.

The global economy has only deteriorated since mid-2014, with politicians and central bankers accelerating the issuance of debt. These deranged psychopaths have added in excess of $70 trillion of debt in the last eight years, a 50% increase. With $142 trillion of global debt enough to collapse the global economy in 2008, only a lunatic would implement a “solution” that increased global debt to $212 trillion over the next seven years thinking that would solve a problem created by too much debt.

The truth is, these central bankers and captured politicians knew this massive issuance of more unpayable debt wouldn’t solve anything. Their goal was to keep the global economy afloat so their banker owners and corporate masters would not have to accept the consequences of their criminal actions and could keep their pillaging of global wealth going unabated.

The issuance of debt and easy money policies of the Fed and their foreign central banker co-conspirators functioned to drive equity prices to all-time highs in 2015, but the debt issuance and money printing needs to increase exponentially in order keep stock markets rising. Once the QE spigot was shut off markets have flattened and are now falling hard. You can sense the desperation among the financial elite. The desperation is borne out by the frantic reckless measures taken by central bankers and politicians since 2008.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Increasingly Fragile Upper-Middle Class

The Increasingly Fragile Upper-Middle Class

Many of these apparently high incomes are completely absorbed by high-cost upper middle class expenses.

Since the top 10% takes home 50% of all household income, it follows that this top slice has most of the discretionary cash, i.e. net income left after taxes, servicing debt and paying for essentials such as food, utilities and housing.

It also follows that the discretionary spending of the top 10% is supporting much of the economy that is dependent on discretionary spending: tourism, eating out, personal trainers, etc.

The top 10% includes the thin slice of Financial Oligarchy (top .01%) and the top 1%. This skews the income and wealth of the top 10%. But if we set aside the top 1%, the next 10% still earns the lion’s share of household income.

The top .1% can prop up Maserati sales and buy $5 million vacation homes, but there simply aren’t enough super-wealthy to support the U.S. economy. As for the top 1%, they can prop up the local Porsche dealership and pay dock fees at the yacht club, but there aren’t enough of them to support the entire economy, either: around 1.5 million qualify as top 1%.

So that leaves the upper-middle class, the roughly 12 million households that earn a disproportionate share of household income, with the task of spending enough discretionary cash to prop up an economy that depends heavily on consumer spending.

Many of these upper-middle class households are far more financially fragile than their substantial incomes suggest. The vast majority of these high-income households depend on two earners, each making substantial salaries, bonuses and benefits such as 401K retirement contributions.

Many of these apparently high incomes are completely absorbed by high-cost upper middle class expenses. $250,000 a year may look like a lot until you throw in a couple of kids attending private prep schools or college, healthcare costs that aren’t covered by insurance, an enormous mortgage and sky-high property taxes.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Another Reason Why the Middle Class and the Velocity of Money Are in Terminal Decline

Another Reason Why the Middle Class and the Velocity of Money Are in Terminal Decline

This has three extremely negative consequences.

In response to a recent post on the structural decline in the velocity of money, correspondent Mike Fasano described a key dynamic in both the decline of money velocity and the middle class.

“There is another reason for falling velocity. People like me who have saved all their lives realize that they their savings (no matter how much) will never throw off enough money to allow retirement, unless I live off principal. This is especially so since one can reasonably expect social security to phased out, indexed out or dropped altogether. Accordingly, I realize that when I get to the point when I can no longer work, I’ll be living off capital and not interest. This is an incentive to keep working and not to spend.”

Thank you, Mike, for highlighting the devastating long-term impact of the Federal Reserve’s zero-interest rate policy (ZIRP): with the real (i.e. adjusted for inflation) return on savings near zero (or even negative, for those who have to pay soaring rents, healthcare insurance premiums, college tuition, etc.), those saving for retirement are losing the Red Queen’s Race: no matter how much they save, the income will be too paltry to support retirement.

This has three extremely negative consequences. Those seeking a return above zero are forced to put their savings at risk in boom-and-bust markets that tend to reward only those who get into the bubble expansion early and exit early.

These boom-and-bust markets tend to savage the assets of the middle class when they blow up, but do little to rebuild these assets in the bubble expansion phase, as prudent investors who were burned in the previous bubble bust shun risk assets.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What’s Eroding the Middle Class?

What’s Eroding the Middle Class?

This erosion of a self-employed, independent middle class was an important pre-condition for the collapse of Rome and the French Revolution.

I have devoted many blog posts to the erosion of the middle class, for the specific reason that when the middle class–the layers of the economy between the Power Elites and landless laborers/state dependents–erodes away, the nation/empire is destabilized and descends into crisis.

A society without a functioning middle layer of economic and social activity is not stable, though repression can mask this for a time.

As historian Peter Turchin explained in his book War and Peace and War: The Rise and Fall of Empires, societies that lose the cohesion needed for concerted, collective action collapse, either by failing to meet an external threat or from internal conflicts.

Economies constructed of a supremely wealthy elite, a thin layer of independent artisans and small farmers, and a great mass of laborers with no assets has no shared sense of identity or purpose; those at the bottom have little in common with those at the top, and the thin middle that is scraping by has little affinity with either the elite above or the poverty-stricken below.

This erosion of a self-employed, independent middle class was an important pre-condition for the collapse of Rome and the French Revolution.

As I have outlined in some detail, the middle class in the U.S. is eroding: the lifestyle that was widely accessible to a broad swath of households in the 1960s is now only available to the top 10% below the wealthy (the top 5%). This includes not just possessions like a home or vehicle but productive assets that can be handed down to the next generation.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Central Banks Have Pushed the Middle Class Down into Neofeudal Serfdom

Central Banks Have Pushed the Middle Class Down into Neofeudal Serfdom

The injustice of central-bank enforced neofeudalism cannot be suppressed like interest rates.

In traditional feudal systems, serfs were the landless peasantry who worked the land of their feudal lords in exchange for protection. In our present-day neofeudal system, serfdom has a different definition: present-day serfs own little or no productive capital and have few opportunities to ever acquire any.

The Marxist term wage-slaves describes those who, lacking capital, have only their labor to sell. This describes the vast majority of people in both capitalist and socialist systems, but what makes the present system neofeudal is the central banks: by extending essentially unlimited credit at near-zero interest rates to financiers and corporations, the central banks have given the top .01% the ability to outbid mere savers for income-producing assets (i.e. productive assets).

Just as the feudal-era serf had no choice but to enslave himself and his family to the manor-house lord, the modern-day serf must indenture himself to banks to “own” a car or home or “buy” a college education.

The X22 Report and I discuss this and related topics in the podcast Central Bankers Are Creating A World Where We Are All Serfs (38:10).

As I outlined in The Flaws in Basic Income for Everyone, all the guaranteed basic income schemes being proposed as solutions to automation are merely institutionalized serfdom as they sentence the unemployed to the marginalized political status (equivalent to powerless serfs) of state dependents while stripping them of purposeful work and the opportunity to acquire the means of production and productive capital.

Guaranteed basic income is thus the perfection of neofeudal serfdom.

The central banks are the critical enforcers of this neofeudal system. Without access to unlimited credit at near-zero rates, financiers and corporations would not be able to outbid savers for productive assets.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

21 Facts About The Explosive Growth Of Poverty In America That Will Blow Your Mind

21 Facts About The Explosive Growth Of Poverty In America That Will Blow Your Mind

Poverty In America - Public DomainWhat you are about to see is more evidence that the growth of poverty in the United States is wildly out of control.  It turns out that there is a tremendous amount of suffering in “the wealthiest nation on the planet”, and it is getting worse with each passing year.  During this election season, politicians of all stripes are running around telling all of us how great we are, but is that really true?  As you will see below, poverty is reaching unprecedented levels in this country, and the middle class is steadily dying.  There aren’t enough good jobs to go around, dependence on the government has never been greater, and it is our children that are being hit the hardest.  If we have this many people living on the edge of despair now, while times are “good”, what are things going to look like when our economy really starts falling apart?  The following are 21 facts about the explosive growth of poverty in America that will blow your mind…

#1 The U.S. Census Bureau says that nearly 47 million Americans are living in poverty right now.

#2 Other numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau are also very disturbing.  For example, in 2007 about one out of every eight children in America was on food stamps.  Today, that number is one out of every five.

#3 According to Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer, the authors of a new book entitled “$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America“, there are 1.5 million “ultrapoor” households in the United States that live on less than two dollars a day.  That number has doubled since 1996.

#4 46 million Americans use food banks each year, and lines start forming at some U.S. food banks as early as 6:30 in the morning because people want to get something before the food supplies run out.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Ignore the Media Bullsh*t–Retail Implosion Proves We Are In Recession

Ignore the Media Bullsh*t–Retail Implosion Proves We Are In Recession

Here we go again. The dying legacy media will continue to support the status quo, who provide their dwindling advertising revenue, by papering over the truth with platitudes, lies, and misinformation. I have been detailing the long slow death of retail in America for the last few years. The data and facts are unequivocal. Therefore, the establishment and their media mouthpieces need to suppress the truth.

They spin every terrible report in the most positive way possible. They blame lousy retail results on the weather. They blame them on calendar effects. They blame them on gasoline sales plunging. That one is funny, because we heard for months that retail spending would surge because people had more money in their pockets from the huge decline in gasoline prices.

September retail sales were grudgingly reported by the Census Bureau this morning and they were absolutely dreadful. This followed an atrocious August report. The MSM couldn’t blame it on snow, cold, flooding, drought, or even swarms of locusts. So they just buried the story in their small print headlines. The propaganda media machine had nothing. They continue to spew the drivel about a 5.1% unemployment rate as a reflection of a booming jobs market. If we really have a booming jobs market, we would have a booming retail sector. The stagnant retail market reveals the jobs data to be fraudulent. The 94 million people supposedly not in the job market can’t buy shit with their good looks.

Despite the storyline about consumer austerity being the reason for sluggish spending, the facts prove otherwise. Consumer spending accounted for 68% of GDP in 2008 at the peak. Seven years later it still represents 68% of GDP. The difference is the spending has shifted dramatically towards services since the Wall Street created financial crisis. Spending on services has grown by 31% versus 20% for goods since 2008. Guess what has caused that surge?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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