Hey you, out there on the road
always doing what you’re told,
Can you help me?
Hey you, out there beyond the wall,
Breaking bottles in the hall,
Can you help me?
Hey you, don’t tell me there’s no hope at all
Together we stand, divided we fall.
“A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.” – Aldous Huxley – Brave New World
The world makes less sense every day.
Little children are randomly slaughtered in their schoolrooms.
Predator drones roam the skies over foreign countries exterminating bad guys, along with innocent women and children (collateral damage when it occurs in a foreign country).
Drugged up mentally ill kids with no hope and no future live lives of secluded quiet desperation until they snap.
Ignorant, government educated, welfare dependent drones with no self respect or respect for others, assault, kill and rob within their government created urban jungles.
Sociopathic criminals who committed the largest financial crime in world history walk free and continue to occupy executive suites in luxury office towers in downtown NYC, collecting millions in bonuses as compensation for crushing the American middle class.
Academics, whose theories have been thoroughly disproven, continue to steer our economy into an iceberg while accelerating the money printing and debt issuance that will sink our ship of state.
Corrupt, bought off politicians pander to the lowest common denominator as their votes are only dependent upon who contributed the most to their election campaigns, which never end.
Delusional, materialistic, egocentric, math challenged consumers (formerly known as citizens) live for today, enslave themselves in debt, vote themselves more entitlements, and care not for future generations.
The alienation and isolation created by our sprawling, automobile dependent, technology obsessed, government controlled, debt financed society has spread like a cancerous tumor, slowly killing our country.
Pink Floyd released The Wall 33 years ago. It was a concept rock opera album that explored the issues of ababdonment, isolation, alienation, authoritarianism, the brutality of war, a tyrannical conformist educational system, and the walls individuals and society build to protect themselves from having to confront reality and deal with the consequences of their actions. I attended the Roger Waters Wall Concert this past summer at Citizens Bank Park with my three sons. Three decades later, the message is more powerful than ever. The government oppression and never ending wars waged by the American Empire around the world..
... have created a society built upon fear and loathing.
Roger Waters’ vision is colored by Orwell’s 1984 dystopian nightmare of lies, misinformation, propaganda and brutality. The missing piece, which Waters didn’t see coming in 1979, was
the ability of the oligarchs to use their control of the credit system to entrap the masses by convincing them to love their servitude and become so consumed with material possessions and the love of money that they would become nothing more than passive egotistical consumers.
Since 1979, Total Credit Market Debt in the United States has risen from $4.3 trillion to $55.3 trillion, a 1,286% increase in 33 years. Over this same time frame total wages and salaries have risen from $1.3 trillion to $6.9 trillion, a 531% increase. GDP has grown from $2.6 trillion to $15.8 trillion, a 608% increase. Luckily for the oligarchs, the math challenged masses don’t understand that 375% of the increase in GDP is strictly due to Federal Reserve created inflation, as the U.S. dollar has lost 68% of its purchasing power since 1979. This GDP growth was driven by debt, with consumer expenditures rising from 61% of GDP in 1979 to 71% of GDP today. In the one hundred years since the creation of the Federal Reserve the country’s population has tripled, while our public debt and unfunded liabilites have risen from $2 billion to over $200 trillion, a ten million percent increase. The masses have been programmed and conditioned to love their debt servitude and yearn for more debt to fix an economic system that collapsed due to excessive debt. The cadre of ruling elite are obliging by creating debt at hyperspeed levels. The corporate media, Wall Street shysters and low-life captured politicians assure the sheep-like masses that this is normal and beneficial to their interests, as the sheep are sheared and led to slaughter.
“There are some ideas so wrong that only a very intelligent person could believe in them.” – George Orwell
“And always, everywhere, there would be the yelling or quietly authoritative hypnotists; and in the train of the ruling suggestion givers, always everywhere, the tribes of buffoons and hucksters, the professional liars, the purveyors of entertaining irrelevances. Conditioned from the cradle, unceasingly distracted, mesmerized systematically, their uniformed victims would go on obediently marching and countermarching, go on, always and everywhere, killing and dying with the perfect docility of trained poodles.” - Aldous Huxley
Aldous Huxley and Edward Bernays realized in the 1920s that the utilization of conditioning and propaganda techniques could be used to control and manipulate the masses. Ivan Pavlov, the famous Russian physiologist, conducted the ground breaking work on conditional reflexes. Pavlov discovered that when a bell was rung in subsequent time with food being presented to a dog in consecutive sequences, the dog will initially salivate when the food is presented. The dog will later come to associate the ringing of the bell with the presentation of the food and salivate upon the ringing of the bell. To a critical thinking human being who questions authority, resists being told what they should think, and values their humanity, over what is crammed down their throat by government run schools and the corporate controlled media, the thought of being treated like a dog is revolting. But to people like Edward Bernays, who believed manipulation of the masses by an invisible contingent of intellectually superior men,
... conditioning the minds of the masses through propaganda was a necessity in a democratic society to keep the herd under control.
Just a cursory examination of our society reveals a population of salivating consumers (dogs) who can be stimulated to buy the latest iPhone or techno-gadget with a simple Madison Avenue advertising campaign (bell). Everyone has seen the videos of the masses lining up like cattle on Black Friday, stampeding through aisles, and fighting each other like their the entertainment at Michael Vick’s house on a Saturday night. All the mega-corporate retailers and the corporate media have to do is ring a bell (SALE) and the dogs start salivating. Product placement, Hollywood star endorsements and influential people using a product immediately convince the easily manipulated dogs to salivate and purchase the products. The difference is that these dogs have credit cards issued by the Wall Street banks and funded by the Federal Reserve with dollars created out of thin air. We are inundated with millions of TV, newspaper, radio, billboard, and internet advertisements designed to make us salivate (spend). Huxley’s dystopian vision of a society whose economic values, in which individual happiness is defined as the ability to satisfy needs, and achievement as a society is equated with economic growth and prosperity, has come to full fruition. He never conceived of consumers having the ability to consume without even having the money to do so. The credit card became our form of Soma. The so called progressives point to our ever increasing “advancements” in technology as proof that our society is progressing. Huxley knew otherwise, decades before we reached this disgusting point in history:
“Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards.”- Aldous Huxley
In reality our “technological progress” has done nothing more than create a humorless, shallow, superficial world of alienation and egocentric desires. Just as in Huxley’s Brave New World, science and technology have not been used to seek truth and advance our culture. They have been used by the State to sensor, control, and monitor the citizens. They use technology as a means to create electronic entertainment machines that generate both harmless leisure and the high levels of consumption and production that are the basis of societal stability and state designed happiness. When those in control talk about progress, they mean greater control over our lives. When the consumption of material goods isn’t enough to fill the holes within our souls, our owners are quick to prescribe a pill to smooth over those feelings of unease and discontent. In Huxley’s novel the population voluntarily consumes Soma to dispel any anxieties or negative emotion. The saying was, “One cubic centimeter cures ten gloomy sentiments.” In America the government controlled drug industry has thousands of pills to treat every ailment or unhappy thought that might ail you. Just don’t try and treat yourself with an unapproved natural or banned substance. The threat of imprisonment always lurks in the shadows. They just want us to be interchangeable bricks in the wall.
And the Worms Ate Into His Brain
“The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does. They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted.”- Aldous Huxley
Hey you, out there in the cold
Getting lonely, getting old
Can you feel me?
Hey you, standing in the aisles
With itchy feet and fading smiles
Can you feel me?
Hey you, don’t help them to bury the light
Don’t give in without a fight.
The tragic deaths of twenty children and six adults in Newtown, Connecticut and the similar tragedies in Aurora, Columbine, Virginia Tech and Tucson are a reflection of the twisted society we’ve created.
The progressive control freak do-gooders that believe the government can solve all problems and improve our lives with another law or regulation, have as usual come to the wrong solution for the wrong problem.
Stricter gun control laws would not have averted this this tragedy. Connecticut has the 5th toughest gun restrictions in the country according to the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. The guns were purchased legally by the mother of the killer. Mentally deranged people should not have access to guns, knives, automobiles, gasoline, or baseball bats. The real issue is not what he used to kill these innocent people, it’s what caused him to snap.
SOMA & THE 'PROZAC NATION'
Those in power want to divert the attention from this crucial question. In Huxley’s novel the characters do everything they can to avoid confronting the truth about their own lives. They try to alter reality by ingesting Soma, encouraged by the state as the ultimate form of willful self-delusion. Soma clouds the realities of the present and replaces them with happy hallucinations, and is thus a tool for promoting social stability. America has taken Huxley’s dystopian vision to an extreme. There are millions of children in this country being drugged on a daily basis to keep them under control. A majority of the mass murderers were taking psychotropic drugs, including the mentally deranged killer in Newtown. These killings are a result of the state sponsored drugging of children, a culture that promotes narcissism, broken families and our technologically enhanced suburban sprawl isolation from human relationships, love and compassion for others.
We glorify technology even though it encourages the building of brick walls, creating a self-imposed isolation from society.
The traditional family unit has been discarded, with 50% of marriages ending in divorce and 43% of all children born out of wedlock.
Millions of families are dysfunctional, with parents too busy with their careers and acquiring material possessions, to bother with raising their children in a loving nurturing way.
One in ten American adults choose to escape their man made cells with prescription anti-depressants.
Almost one in four women in their 40s and 50s are popping pills to escape their depressing lives.
Huxley envisioned a Soma Nation. America is a Prozac Nation. The wealthy think medicating their kids, spoiling them with toys, gadgets and cars, and occupying their days with organized sports and activities passes for involved parenting. Poor urban children are lucky if they ever lay eyes on their father. Ignorance, violence, and dependency are a given for most of these kids. And all of these children are matriculated into the government run schools whose sole purpose is to teach kids what to think, rather than how to think. Our owners need to keep us “happy” and focused on feelings, material possessions, and an infinite number of distractions, so they can retain control and continue their pillaging of the national wealth.
NOTE: INSERTION BY GORDONTLONG.COM not the author
Our leaders have attempted to design their own Brave New World, retaining control by making America’s citizens so contented and superficially fulfilled that they no longer care about their personal freedoms, liberties and civic responsibilities. The consequences of increasing state power are a loss of dignity, morals, values, and emotions. We are losing our humanity.
The society created by Bernays and his minions who occupy the executive suites in NYC and slither through the halls of Congress has been built upon destroying all human truths, such as love, friendship, community, and personal connections. Decades of media propaganda, public education mind control, and peddling of debt convinced the majority that happiness meant immediate gratification of our desires for food, sex, drugs, clothes, iGadgets, and all the other consumer crap made in corporate sponsored slave labor factories across Asia. These delusional hallucinations of happiness are the prison walls we’ve built brick by brick.
“This concern with the basic condition of freedom — the absence of physical constraint — is unquestionably necessary, but is not all that is necessary. It is perfectly possible for a man to be out of prison and yet not free — to be under no physical constraint and yet to be a psychological captive, compelled to think, feel and act as the representatives of the national State, or of some private interest within the nation, want him to think, feel and act.” - Aldous Huxley
It took the intellectuals and progressives that wield power across the land only moments to hijack the feelings of sorrow and pain sweeping the nation, to misdirect attention from the mental illnesses caused by the society they’ve created, towards the false storyline that gun violence is sweeping the land. In reality, violent crime has been falling for over a decade as gun sales have soared. The homicide rate in this country is the lowest since 1964, with the vast majority of homicides occurring in the urban kill zones created by the five decade long progressive war on poverty. The truth is of no interest to those brandishing power. After decades of conditioning, the masses are psychologically captive to the messages designed to make them salivate. They will be compelled to think, feel and act as instructed by the Alphas. There will be calls for more police, despite the fact that police rarely stop a crime. With all of their armaments, technology, high powered weaponry, and political clout, they can be counted on to arrive five minutes after the tragedy is over. But they are brilliant in luring clueless Muslim teenagers into terrorist plots, picking the target, providing the fake bombs, and taking credit for foiling the plots they created. More union police officers will increase our safety as much as more union teachers have made our kids smarter. This tragedy will be used by the propagandists to impose further restrictions upon those who choose personal responsibility and self-reliance over dependency and trust in the efficiency and fairness of our benevolent government overlords.
As the father of three sons I can’t imagine the pain, sorrow and emptiness the parents of these beautiful children must be experiencing. The grief is overwhelming.
I mourn for the children and adults slaughtered by a mentally deranged young man created by our truly perverted culture of alienation.
I mourn for the children being raised in a society run by evil psychopathic liars that use the power of propaganda and the tools of debt to control and manipulate its citizens.
I mourn for unborn generations that will be forced to confront the dreadful depraved chaos created by our culture of egocentric greed and narcissism. The things we value in this culture – accumulating wealth, outward beauty, acquisition of material possessions, instant gratification, access to debt, government control, and curing our ills with drugs – are driving us insane.
Who is really abnormal in a profoundly abnormal society?
Believing that possessions, more laws or another medication will truly make us happy is insane.
Popping a pill, buying a new iPhone, or passing another law will not cure the disease that permeates this nation. We need to recapture the humanity, civic pride and self-responsibility that built this country. Only an awakened populace can change our course.
Huxley feared that our desires would ruin us.
Orwell was afraid that what we fear would ruin us.
The oligarchs have pushed the Huxley vision to its sustainable limit. The avarice and greed of these invisible power brokers has devoured the vast resources of the nation. These psychopaths weren’t satisfied with siphoning off most of the wealth of the country. They wanted it all and wrecked the global economy in their odious pursuit of mammon. We are now in the death throes of the most decadent, delusional, debt engendered era in the long history of mankind. Those in power realize it is slipping away. Their “solutions” reflect an air of desperation. Their propaganda efforts have been redoubled. As more middle class workers lose their jobs, more young people graduate from college with tens of thousands in student loan debt and a future of dramatically reduced expectations, and more people are driven beyond their breaking point, this materialistic shroud of happiness will be torn asunder. Anger is building like a lava dome within a volcano. A critical thinking minority are questioning the motives of those in power. The unsustainability of our economic paradigm is certain. The seeds of revolution are being sown. Our society is only fantasy. The wall is too high. It will be up to an irate tireless minority of freedom minded citizens to tear down the wall. The alternative is to allow the worms to eat into our brains. Each of us must answer a simple question. Are you just another brick in the wall?
But it was only fantasy.
The wall was too high,
As you can see.
No matter how he tried,
He could not break free.
And the worms ate into his brain.
The oligarchs will not give up without a fight. Their realization that the Brave New World method of controlling the masses has run its course has convinced them to shift their methods towards Orwell’s 1984 tactics. In part two of this series – Mother Should I Trust the Government? - I’ll address how the use of fear, war, pain, and surveillance are becoming the new controlling method of the oligarchs.
The lyrics to Mother had both a literal and figurative meaning for Roger Waters. He was literally describing his overprotective single mother (his father was killed in World War II) building walls to protect him from the outside world. The figurative meaning is Big Mother sending its boys off to war and using fear to control and manipulate the masses. At the time he wrote this song in 1979, the Soviet Union was thought to be at its peak of power and the Berlin Wall represented a boundary between good and evil. Nuclear war was still a looming fear. Waters has always had a dim view of totalitarian states and institutions (English schools). Having seen his Wall Tour performance this past summer at Citizens Bank Park with a diverse crowd of 40,000, ranging in age from senior citizens to teenagers, it seems this song has gained new meaning. He sang a duet with himself from 1980 projected on the Wall and when he sang the lyric, “Mother, should I trust the government?” the entire stadium responded in unison – NO!!! This revealed a truth that is not permitted to be discussed by the corporate mainstream media acting as a mouthpiece for the ruling class. A growing legion of citizens in this country does not trust the government. This is very perceptive on their part.
In part one of this two part series – Hey You – I examined how an invisible government of wealthy, power hungry men have utilized the propaganda techniques of Edward Bernays and lured the American people into a narcissistic, techno-gadget, debt based servitude. Over the last one hundred years they have created a totalitarian state built upon egotism, material goods, and fulfilling our desires through Wall Street peddled debt and mass consumerism. It has been an incredibly effective form of control that has convinced the masses to love their servitude. The ruling oligarchs correctly chose the painless, amusement saturated, soft totalitarianism of Huxley’s Brave New World over the fearful, pain inflicting, surveillance state, house of horrors detailed in Orwell’s 1984.
“A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.” – Aldous Huxley – Brave New World
The nefarious establishment of the Federal Reserve in 1913,
launch of welfare programs in the 1930s,
expansion of the entitlement state in the 1960s,
creation of the credit card in 1970, mass media marketing propaganda, and the formation of an empire of debt laid the foundation for a society based on triviality, egotism, irrelevance and mass delusion.
The conscious manipulation of the habits and opinions of the masses by an invisible government of powerful men using media propaganda and easy to access consumer credit has reached its mathematical limit.
The oligarchs built a society dependent upon exponential growth. This unsustainable prototype began to show signs of strain in the 1990s.
The powerful interests have been growing ever more desperate and blatantly obvious in their looting and pillaging of the debt bloated carcass of a country.
They used their control of the political system to repeal Glass-Steagall, allowing the Wall Street banking cabal to become Too Big to Control.
The oligarch puppets at the Wall Street controlled Federal Reserve did the bidding of their masters by reducing interest rates and expanding the money supply to create two epic bubbles.
The Dot.com bubble was created by Wall Street utilizing hype and misinformation to fleece millions into believing we had entered a new paradigm. The only people who got rich were the Wall Street hucksters, shysters and shills.
When the Dot.com bubble burst, Alan Greenspan came to the rescue, at the urging of Nobel prize winner Paul Krugman, by creating the largest banker made bubble in the history of the world. The combination of
Excessively low mortgage rates,
Complete lack of regulatory oversight by the Federal Reserve,
Control fraud committed by the Wall Street banks, and
Buying frenzy stirred up by the corporate MSM and NAR,
led to the biggest financial collapse since 1929.
The white collared psychopathic criminals on Wall Street reaped billions in profits, paid themselves millions in bonuses, and cost taxpayers trillions when it all blew up in 2008. The ruling elite have added $6 trillion to our national debt and their central banker has added another $2 trillion to our ultimate tab, while providing free money to their Wall Street bank owners. They realize their efforts to restart the exponential growth engine have failed.
They gutted our productive manufacturing based economic system by shipping the blue collar jobs overseas to Chinese slave labor facilities,
replaced workers with machines,
stimulated consumption with unlimited distribution of high interest debt, and
allowed conglomerates to drive small business owners out of business with their cheap foreign sourced goods, all in the name of capitalism.
The plan worked so well that
real wages haven’t risen in 40 years,
inflation has destroyed the purchasing power of the middle class,
47.7 million people are dependent on food stamps to survive, and
the masses can’t even afford the cheap slave labor produced trinkets anymore.
There is too little cash, too few jobs, too much debt, too many takers, too few makers, too many bankers, too much delusion, and too few resources to sustain the unsustainable.
We have entered the end stages of a ravenous locust swarm. The fields have been stripped barren.
When the men in smoke filled rooms realized their soft totalitarianism was losing its grip on the oblivious, submissive, egoistical, distracted masses, they began phase two of their effort to retain their wealth, power and control. They began to institute Orwellian measures to strike fear into the populace.
Their illusion of control is dissipating and they are resorting to force in order to maintainhegemony.
It began with the immediate passage of the Orwellian Patriot Act one month after 9/11.
Did the corporate media question how a 363 page all-encompassing expansion of police state power was written in a few weeks after 9/11 and passed by October 26? They did not. The bill was pre-written and ready for instant implementation when the time was right. The Orwellian version of America was launched.
“If the ideology had been a lie, then they are not heroes and gods on earth, but monsters and criminals, and their life has been self-serving and meaningless, without significance and honor. And that is the credibility trap. It is the impulse for the leaders to keep doubling down in the hope of a win, until exhaustion and collapse.” – Jesse
Obedience to Authority
“Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority.” - Stanley Milgram – Obediance to Authority
Just as Edward Bernays knew the unruly masses could be manipulated by propaganda and molded to believe whatever the small group of intellectually superior men wanted them to believe, conditioning using fear and authoritarian methods have also been perfected by the ruling class. Doctor Stanley Milgram unwittingly provided the oligarchs with confirmation the average citizen could be ordered to do anything by invoking expertise and authority over their subjects. Milgram started his experiments in 1961, shortly after the trial of the World War II criminal Adolph Eichmann had begun. Eichmann’s defense that he was simply following orders when he exterminated millions of Jews roused Milgram’s interest. How could millions of Germans participate and condone such genocide? Milgram’s testing suggested that it could have been that the millions of accomplices were merely following orders, despite violating their deepest moral beliefs.
Writer Kendra Cherry describes the experiment:
The participants in the Milgram experiment were 40 men recruited using newspaper ads. Milgram developed an intimidating shock generator, with shock levels starting at 30 volts and increasing in 15-volt increments all the way up to 450 volts. The many switches were labeled with terms including “slight shock,” “moderate shock” and “danger: severe shock.” The final two switches were labeled simply with an ominous “XXX.”
Each participant took the role of a “teacher” who would then deliver a shock to the “student” every time an incorrect answer was produced. While the participant believed that he was delivering real shocks to the student, the student was actually a confederate in the experiment who was simply pretending to be shocked.
As the experiment progressed, the participant would hear the learner plead to be released or even complain about a heart condition. Once the 300-volt level had been reached, the learner banged on the wall and demanded to be released. Beyond this point, the learner became completely silent and refused to answer any more questions. The experimenter then instructed the participant to treat this silence as an incorrect response and deliver a further shock.
Most participants asked the experimenter whether they should continue. The experimenter issued a series of commands to prod the participant along:
“The experiment requires that you continue.”
“It is absolutely essential that you continue.”
“You have no other choice, you must go on.”
The level of shock that the participant was willing to deliver was used as the measure of obedience. How far do you think that most participants were willing to go? When Milgram posed this question to a group of Yale University students, it was predicted that no more than 3 out of 100 participants would deliver the maximum shock. In reality, 65% of the participants in Milgram’s study delivered the maximum shocks.
Of the 40 participants in the study, 26 delivered the maximum shocks while 14 stopped before reaching the highest levels. It is important to note that many of the subjects became extremely agitated, distraught and angry at the experimenter. Yet they continued to follow orders all the way to the end. Why did so many of the participants in this experiment perform a seemingly sadistic act on the instruction of an authority figure? According to Milgram, there are a number of situational factors that can explain such high levels of obedience:
The physical presence of an authority figure dramatically increased compliance.
The fact that the study was sponsored by Yale (a trusted and authoritative academic institution) led many participants to believe that the experiment must be safe.
The selection of teacher and learner status seemed random.
Participants assumed that the experimenter was a competent expert.
The shocks were said to be painful, not dangerous.
The American people have been participants in their very own Milgram experiment being conducted by their government since 9/11. Since the passage of the Patriot Act, the government continues to demand that its citizens increase the voltage in the name of security. Since 2001, the Orwellian measures have included:
Warrantless domestic surveillance.
The ability to search telephone calls, emails, financial matters especially involving foreign individuals, and medical records for people who are “suspected” of endangering the country.
Color coded risk levels designed to keep citizens fearful of non-existent terrorists.
Pre-emptive invasion of foreign countries.
Committing U.S. forces to war without a declaration of war by Congress as mandated in the U.S. Constitution.
Assassination of people on presidential kill lists.
Extermination of “suspected” enemies by predator drones.
Camera systems monitoring the movements of Americans in cites and streets across the United States.
Torture of detainees in camps outside of the United States.
The authority to indefinitely detain America citizens without trial.
Executive orders giving the President the ability to unilaterally disregard the U.S. Constitution and take control of private industries.
Use of drones to monitor the activities of American citizens.
Allowing the very bankers that destroyed the worldwide economic system to blackmail the American taxpayers into handing them $700 billion.
Not prosecuting one Wall Street criminal after the largest Ponzi control fraud in the history of the world.
Cameras and listening devices on public transit and other public locations.
Military exercises conducted in U.S. cities in order to condition the masses.
Attempts to control and censor the internet through the introduction of the SOPA bill.
The use of tragic mass murders by mentally defective young men on psychotropic drugs to disregard the 2nd Amendment and disarm American citizens.
TSA thugs molesting little old ladies and young children to desensitize citizens to gestapo like tactics and treat them like criminals.
Government partnering with Facebook, Apple and other corporate entities to monitor, censor, and report the activities of citizens to the authorities.
The use of public schools to teach children what to think rather than how to think. Thought control is vital to an agenda of keeping the masses fearful and pliable.
Government agencies (FBI, ATF) creating terrorist plots, luring young dupes into the plots, providing fake explosives, and then announcing with great fanfare they have foiled a terrorist plot.
“See something, Say something” government media campaign designed to make citizens paranoid and fearful.
Just as Milgram pondered how the German people could follow the orders of those in authority to slaughter millions, one must ponder how the American people have allowed those in power to strip us of our Constitutional freedoms and liberties in the name of safety and security. They have conditioned the masses to passively accept their fate by utilizing
Thought control, and
Human beings never change.
They have been driven by emotions throughout history –
There will always be psychopathic men who seek
It happened during the decline of the Roman Empire and it is happening today during the decline of the American Empire.
“A shocking crime was committed on the unscrupulous initiative of few individuals, with the blessing of more, and amid the passive acquiescence of all.” – Tacitus
Big Brother is Watching You
“Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know what no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.” – George Orwell – 1984
What the average person can’t seem to process through their government public school educated non-critical thinking brains is that there are actually a small group of bankers, politicians, corporate executives, media magnets, and shadowy billionaires who call the shots in this country. They constitute Bernays’ invisible government, run the show, mold the minds, form the opinions, suggest the ideas, and create the reality for the masses because they believe they are intellectually superior. The left/right and Democrat/Republican discord is a planned diversion for the masses. The country has devolved into a corporate fascist warfare/welfare state. We are clearly moving in the direction of Orwell’s state in which government monitors and controls every aspect of human life to the extent that even having a disloyal thought will be against the law. The longer this is allowed to progress the more likely any effort to resist like Winston Smith will be met with brutal measures.
The parallels to Orwell dystopian nightmare state grow by the day. Those in control use technology to bombard Americans with psychological inducements designed to overwhelm the mind’s capability for autonomous thought. In Orwell’s 1984 the giant telescreen in every citizen’s room blasts a constant stream of propaganda designed to make the failures and shortcomings of the Party appear to be triumphant successes. In Obama’s 2013 the 72 inch Chinese made HDTVs in every McMansion blasts a constant stream of propaganda designed to make the zombie-like occupants buy trinkets and gadgets with a thin piece of plastic and makes the failures in Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt and Libya appear to be triumphant successes. Our corporate/fascist party uses their control over the media message to indoctrinate and control the public mind through propaganda and repetitive messaging. In Orwell’s world, the Party undermines family structure by inducting children into an organization called the Junior Spies, which brainwashes and encourages them to spy on their parents and report any instance of disloyalty to the Party. In our world children are indoctrinated in government run public schools that fill their brains with government manufactured history, social engineering claptrap and what they should think, rather than how to think. The Orwellian Department of Homeland Security (Thought Police) instructs them to report anyone they think is suspicious with their “See something, Say something” campaign. Children are “encouraged” to re-educate their parents about green energy and global warming. Corporations fund schools to advertise their products within the hallways of learning. The outputs of this corporate/fascist partnership are non-critical thinking, functionally illiterate, willfully ignorant Proles who obey the Party and consume products as instructed.
In Orwell’s 1984 the Party keeps the population in a general state of exhaustion by making them work long grueling hours at government run agencies. This was designed to keep them from thinking or having the energy to resist. About one in six workers work for the government in the United States, with a substantial portion of private jobs dependent upon government largesse. The true distinction in our society can be seen in the income levels over decades of our own Inner Party, Outer Party and Proles.
The government educated masses were purposely not taught about the impact of Federal Reserve created inflation on their lives. Even using the government manipulated CPI, the real household incomes of the masses have barely risen in the last forty five years. Using a true measure of inflation, the real household incomes of the average family have fallen. In addition, prior to the 1980s those household incomes were predominantly provided with one parent working and the other raising the children. Today the vast majority of households require both parents to work in order to just tread water. Child rearing was delegated to the state and parents have been kept in a constant state of exhaustion, like hamsters in a cage on a spinning wheel. Household income was replaced by credit card debt, mortgage debt, auto debt, and student loan debt peddled by our very own Inner Party (Wall Street bankers). The Inner Party members have seen their incomes soar over the last four decades. This was not an accident.
As those at the top accumulate an ever increasing percentage of the national wealth, while consolidating their power through ever more sophisticated use of technology for surveillance, warfare, and financial theft; urban decay and blight spreads across the land. Totalitarian regimes are ferociously effective at augmenting their own power and wretchedly incompetent at providing for their citizens. Just as the London in Orwell’s dystopian world was a decrepit, rundown city in which buildings were crumbling, amenities such as elevators never worked, and basics such as electricity and plumbing were exceedingly undependable, the urban killing fields that are home to tens of millions in the United States are dangerous, disintegrating, hallowed out carcasses of once thriving metropolises. Hunger, poverty, crumbling infrastructure, and violence are the earmarks of society for the Proles. True unemployment exceeds 20%, with youth and minority unemployment exceeding 40%. There are 47.7 million Americans subsisting on food stamps (program administered by JP Morgan), accounting for 20% of all the households in the country.
The incompetency and mismanagement by our totalitarian governing body is evident for all to see, as bridges collapse, water mains burst, gas lines explode, mass transit shuts down and structures deteriorate due to decades of neglect. The priorities of those in power are clearly visible as they spend trillions on weapons used to attack sovereign countries, distribute billions in “aid” to foreign dictators, provide trillions to the criminal banking cabal on Wall Street, and devote billions to technology designed to monitor and control their citizens. Our entire rotting, fetid, bloated, corrupt society has about reached its limits. It is only a matter of time until it implodes like the former Soviet Union.
“Diminishing returns of ever-increasing complexity addressed with ever-more layers of complexity, larded with systematic lying based on mystifying, opaque jargon, sanctioned statistical misreporting, felonious cronyism, and scuttling of the rule of law. In short, the markets have been taken over in effect by a criminal racketeering syndicate. In doing this, so much resilience has been removed from these market structures that they are riddled with rot, like a mansion infested with carpenter ants.” – Jim Kunstler
We Have Always Been at War with Eastasia
Hush now baby, baby, don’t you cry. Mamma’s gonna make all of your nightmares come true, Mamma’s gonna put all of her fears into you, Mamma’s gonna keep you right here, under her wing.
She won’t let you fly, but she might let you sing, Mamma’s gonna keep baby cozy and warm. Oooh babe, Oooh babe, Oooh babe, Of course Mamma’s gonna help build the wall.
The concepts of Doublethink and Newspeak are alive and well in our increasingly Orwellian society. The massive long-term campaign of large-scale psychological manipulation, described in detail by Edward Bernays in 1928, has succeeded in breaking down the capacity for independent thought by the masses. Those in control of the media have molded the minds of millions to believe anything the government tells them, even while possessing information that runs counter to what they are being told. On the eve of the invasion of Iraq, the government and their media propaganda mouthpieces had convinced 69% of the American public that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 9/11 attacks, even though there wasn’t a shred of evidence to support that claim. The storyline of Iraqi soldiers murdering Kuwaiti babies in their incubators during the first Gulf War was another example of propaganda designed to manipulate public opinion. By controlling the media message, those in power control the present and can manipulate the past. The government controls the curriculum in public schools and writes our history to conform to whatever storyline that supports their agenda. With 20% of the adult population in this country functionally illiterate, the formulation of ideas or critical thought is virtually impossible for these people. This is exactly what is desired by the ruling class.
The outrageous example of Doublethink in Orwell’s 1984 occurs during the Hate Week rally. The Party shifts its diplomatic allegiance, so the nation it has been at war with suddenly becomes its ally (Eurasia), and its former ally becomes its new enemy (Eastasia). When the Party speaker suddenly changes the nation he refers to as an enemy in the middle of his speech, the crowd accepts his words immediately, and is ashamed to find that it has made the wrong signs for the event. The American people have been programmed to accept the same logic from our leaders. Saddam Hussein was our ally when he was fighting our enemy Iran, who had been our ally ever since we had overthrown their democratically elected leader in the 1950s. Then he became our enemy for using weapons of mass destruction, provided to him by the U.S., on his own people and threatening our control over Middle Eastern oil. Osama bin Laden was our ally when he was fighting our mortal enemy, the Soviet Union. Then he became our mortal enemy because we refused to leave Saudi Arabia after the first Gulf War. Ghadafi was our sworn enemy after blowing up an airliner filled with Americans, until he helped us after 9/11 and became an ally. Then he became an enemy again for fighting to maintain his dictatorship. Mubarak was an ally for decades as we provided him billions in military hardware so he could brutally maintain control. Then he became an enemy when we decided he was no longer of use. Do you get the picture?
Do you see any parallels between Orwell’s Ministry of Plenty (oversees economic shortages); the Ministry of Peace (wages war); the Ministry of Truth (conducts propaganda and historical revisionism); and the Ministry of Love (the center of the Party’s operations of torture and punishment) and our Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, Department of Education, and Department of Homeland Security?
“In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics.’ All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia. The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history.” – George Orwell
Should I Trust the Government?
So the oligarchs have utilized all the plays in Huxley’s playbook and are half way through Orwell’s playbook, but they are rapidly losing their credibility as a small minority of critical thinking people is using the internet to spread the truth and form phyles with like-minded citizens with similar values based on liberty and freedom. The political system is broken beyond repair as $2 billion was spent during this last “election” to maintain the status quo. The looting and pillaging of the middle class continues, while the poor are kept controlled, sedated and enslaved by entitlements, debt, drugs and prisons. The financial system is succumbing to the mountains of debt that have been accumulated trying to keep the game going. In the last ten years worldwide total credit market debt, on balance sheets, sovereign obligations, corporate debt, household debt – has grown from $80 trillion to just over $200 trillion. U.S. unfunded liabilities committed to by the politician parasites that pass for our representatives surpass $200 trillion. There are $1.2 quadrillion of interconnected derivatives outstanding in the world today, 20 times the size of the worldwide economy. The accumulation of worldwide debt, aging developed country populations, depletion of resources, perpetual war, financial fraud and rampant corruption are going to lead to a collapse of epic proportions. It may not happen in 2013, but it will happen within the next five years. Jesse explains why the status quo will never relinquish their power, illegally acquired wealth and control without a fight:
“A credibility trap is a condition wherein the financial, political and informational functions of a society have been compromised by corruption and fraud, so that the leadership cannot effectively reform, or even honestly address, the problems of that system without impairing and implicating, at least incidentally, a broad swath of the power structure, including them. The status quo tolerates the corruption and the fraud because they have profited at least indirectly from it, and would like to continue to do so. Even the impulse to reform within the power structure is susceptible to various forms of soft blackmail and coercion by the system that maintains and rewards.
And so a failed policy and its support system become self-sustaining, long after it is seen by objective observers to have failed. In its failure it is counterproductive, and an impediment to recovery in the real economy. Admitting failure is not an option for the thought leaders who receive their power from that system. The continuity of the structural hierarchy must therefore be maintained at all costs, even to the point of becoming a painfully obvious hypocrisy.”
The people of this country must regain a sense of responsibility for their lives and the lives of future generations. Enough people need to perceive they are being manipulated, controlled and used by the thought leaders and awaken from their narcissistic materialistic debt financed lives. Our culture has failed. The animosity and anger in the country is beginning to bubble over. The masses are beginning to realize they have been screwed. They haven’t figured out who to blame because they are still trapped in the Republican/Democrat false dogma. There is one Party putting on a show, as displayed this week with the fiscal cliff farce, as the government controlled media proclaimed victory because the status quo was maintained, nothing was cut, and $4 trillion was added to the National Debt. More people need to question and challenge the authorities. We must cast aside our willful ignorance of facts and accept the consequences of decades of bad decisions and delusions of grandeur. More government is not the answer. We must break free of the conditioning and mind control used to make us love our servitude and trust those in power.
Kyle Bass recently revealed a fact about our government leaders:
“They’re not going to tell you that a collapse is coming. You’re going to have to see it for yourself. The government’s never going to tell you that it’s going to happen.These guys are never going to tell you the truth, because they can’t tell you the truth. Their job is to promote confidence, not to tell you the truth.”
We need more people to respond to Roger Waters’ question, “Mother, should I trust the government?” with this answer before we can begin to tear down the wall that seemed too high.
“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell
MOST CRITICAL TIPPING POINT ARTICLES THIS WEEK - Dec 30th - Jan 5th, 2013
ASSERTION: Cuts the deficit and reduces the debt as a share of the economy over the next five years
Compared to what? The fact is the country just agreed to an additional $4t in debt. Here’s the picture of the debt profile that is the result of this deal. That ugly orange stuff is the additional debt the country signed up for with the tax deal. How do you call this progress?
ASSERTION: Strengthens our recovery next year by cutting taxes for the middle-class
This is twice wrong. Middle class taxes are going up $125b in 2013. And the consensus opinion is that the net effect of the tax deal is a drag on GDP of 1%.
ASSERTION: Provides greater economic certainty for families and businesses
They gotta be kidding with this line. The tax deal leaves open the pesky questions of
A) the debt limit,
B) the sequestered amounts,
C) cuts in entitlement spending,
D) additional taxes and don’t forget
E) the President needs another Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the lights on. (No budget from the Prez means another CR is required)
Me? I’m crapping in my pants over that list. The market may be happy today, but what is in front of is much more troubling than what is behind us.
The White House presents the “facts” of this matter. But it leaves out a few facts that are, no doubt, inconvenient for the White House to fess up to. If the President’s men really wanted to be honest about the facts, they would have added a paragraph:
-A consequence of the tax agreement is to increase payroll taxes on 155m American workers by $125B. We know this hurts middle and low income workers and their families. We understand that this is a very big tax increase, and that it will knock at least 1% of 2013 GDP (and beyond). We’re sorry about this, it couldn’t be helped. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid insisted it be this way.
The 'deal' is done and even the evening news seems perplexed by the market's excited reaction to three-quarters of the nation paying more taxes. Perhaps, as ABC News highlights below, it is the 'pork' that stuffed the bill...
The mix of tax perks covering the next year, but with budget implications for the next two years, includes everything from incentives for employers to hire veterans to incentives for employers to invest in mine safety. But it also includes these:
$430 million for Hollywood through “special expensing rules” to encourage TV and film production in the United States. Producers can expense up to $15 million of costs for their projects.
$331 million for railroads by allowing short-line and regional operators to claim a tax credit up to 50 percent of the cost to maintain tracks that they own or lease.
$222 million for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands through returned excise taxes collected by the federal government on rum produced in the islands and imported to the mainland.
$70 million for NASCAR by extending a “7-year cost recovery period for certain motorsports racing track facilities.”
$59 million for algae growers through tax credits to encourage production of “cellulosic biofuel” at up to $1.01 per gallon.
$4 million for electric motorcycle makers by expanding an existing green-energy tax credit for buyers of plug-in vehicles to include electric motorbikes.
Wind farms, motorsports tracks, global banks and other businesses won revived tax breaks in a $75.3 billion package included in a last-minute budget deal Congress passed yesterday.
The tax-break extensions, mostly for companies, made it into the bill past Republican demands for spending cuts and Democratic resistance to benefits for businesses. Both parties have complained for years about some of the special-interest provisions.
Most of the tax breaks had expired at the end of 2011 and will be extended through 2013. The companies that benefit say the on-again, off-again breaks are important though the uncertainty makes it almost impossible to use them to plan business investments.
Although they are lumped together, the miscellaneous tax breaks are very different.
Some are broad, like the credit for corporate research, which is backed by a coalition of technology companies, manufacturers and lawmakers such as Representative Kevin Brady, a Texas Republican, and Senator Max Baucus, the Montana Democrat who is chairman of the Finance Committee. The two-year extension of the research credit would cost the government $14.3 billion in forgone revenue.
Some breaks are specialized, like the $11.2 billion, two- year extension of the active financing exception, which lets GE, Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) and Citigroup Inc. (C), among others, defer taxes on financing income they earn outside the U.S. The congressional supporters of this provision include Pat Tiberi, an Ohio Republican, and Richard Neal, a Massachusetts Democrat, both senior members of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Others are narrow and often ridiculed by lawmakers. They include $78 million worth of accelerated depreciation for motorsports tracks, $248 million in special expensing rules for films and television programs, and a $222 million provision that directs excise taxes on imported rum to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Alex Brill, a former aide to Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee, said tax breaks that some consider questionable -- such as the motorsports benefit backed by International Speedway Corp. (ISCA) and Senator Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat -- are often made temporary as a compromise.
Whirlpool Corp. (WHR) benefits from a $650 million tax credit for manufacturing energy-efficient appliances. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and other financial institutions are aided by the $1.8 billion extension of the New Markets Tax Credit for investments in low- income areas. That is supported by Representative Jim Gerlach, a Pennsylvania Republican, and Senator Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat.
Restaurants such as Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. (CBRL) and McDonald’s Corp. (MCD) benefit from the $1.9 billion extension of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit for hiring workers from disadvantaged groups.
The bill includes a one-year extension through 2013 of the production tax credit for wind power, at a cost of $12.2 billion. That will save as many as 37,000 jobs in an industry that’s expected to stall this year, the American Wind Energy Association said.
Read more on the 2013 Corporate Recovery Act Obama Tax Cuts here.
The fiscal cliff deal appears to be a done deal and markets have reacted accordingly (although President Obama is apparently awaiting a photo-op later today to sign it). However, the deal leaves a large number of loose ends that ensure high drama for the next two months on the US fiscal front. The immediate impact of all the loose ends and deadlines may be smaller than the Dec 31 fiscal cliff, but all of these loose ends are important and could lead to short-term price action. Several of them are very important for the long run USD outlook as well.
Loose end number 1, at least chronologically, is the political futures of Mrs. Boehner, Reid and Geithner. Treasury Secretary Geithner previously indicated he wanted to stay until the end of the year to try and get a budget deal done. The legislation passed by the House and Senate might be considered a half deal, but is this the point that Geithner walks away? I would presume that he does, although he may choose to stay until the end of March. He has not said anything on that issue for over a month. It is likely that President Obama will announce new cabinet appointments in one big announcement at some point over the next two weeks. House Speaker Boehner and Senate Majority leader Reid will be up for vote on their continuing leadership tomorrow, Jan 3. Congress convenes. Boehner is the most likely to face a challenge, perhaps from his deputy, House Majority leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, who voted against the Senate bill. The other potential challenger, Paul Ryan, voted for the bill. At this stage it is unclear whether either will challenge speaker Boehner. It appears unlikely that anyone would challenge Senator Reid as the leader of the Democrats in the House, although his 'brand' seems diminished by the fact that Vice President Biden took over negotiating the Democratic side from him and got a deal done.
The next loose end, chronologically, is probably the new sequester deadline of March 1. Previously agreed spending cuts will kick in on that date unless they are kicked down the road again. Kicking them down the road in a smaller bill may be difficult, though, because without offsetting provisions, the bill will score as being expensive. If all the sequesters are permanently averted, the cost is USD1.2trn over ten years. After the March 1 deadline, there is one additional minor sequester-linked deadline. On March 27 Congress must agree on what it is going to do to make up for overspending since the first sequester, likely to amount to about USD15-20bn.
From what Geithner and the Treasury have said in public pronouncements, the US will bump up against the debt ceiling at some point around March 1. If tax collections are high in Q1 then the debt ceiling breach could be avoided for another 2-4 weeks, but it appears unlikely that the debt ceiling could be pushed beyond the end of March. On March 30 Congress must pass a budget or otherwise extend spending authority. This deadline results from Congress not having passed a budget for the fiscal year that begins in October. Without spending authority, the Executive Branch would in theory be forced to shut down the government.
Although it doesn't necessarily come with a deadline, another loose end from lawmakers is corporate tax reform. Both Republicans and Democrats have said repeatedly over the past year that it is a priority. In his speech promoting the latest compromise, Obama talked about doing a 'grand bargain' in pieces and talked about wanting another revenue increase to offset any additional spending cuts. Presumably the revenue piece is corporate tax reform, although the corporate tax reform Republicans are talking about is a 'territorial' system with lower marginal tax rates. This issue is likely to bring a major clash, that could occur in February and March or could conceivably be delayed. It is arguably the most critical issue for the USD in the long run. Existing tax law incentivizes US-based multinationals to produce and book profits abroad. Alterations to the law, depending how they shake out, could lead to greater incentives to produce in the US and therefore a smaller trade deficit and/or a wall of repatriation like the one that occurred during the HIA amnesty period in 2005. If something remarkable happens on this issue then we would have to immediately re-examine a bearish USD view for 2013, but if there is no major reform, the likelihood of a 'structural' USD rally is low.
There is one final loose end, and that is the ratings agency response. Ratings agencies were fairly consistent in saying that a 'grand bargain' deficit reduction plan that would take 2.5trn or more off the ten-year deficit would be required to avert a US sovereign downgrade. With the US having failed on a one-stage grand bargain, it is unclear whether a downgrade would come in the next few days. Ratings agencies may choose to wait to see what happens in March with sequesters, the debt ceiling, etc.
13 - Global Governance Failure
FISCAL CLIFF AGREEMENT - Remember it was Originally about a US Debt Downgrade
Moody's has stepped forward with the first warning shot across the bow that:
*MOODY'S: MORE MEDIUM TERM ACTIONS MAY BE NEEDED TO SUPPORT Aaa
Has contradicted itself (from September) on the debt-ceiling breach; and warns that while the deal 'mitigates' some fiscal drag, it does not remove it. To wit: the IMF piles on:
*IMF SAYS `MORE REMAINS TO BE DONE' ON U.S. PUBLIC FINANCES
*IMF SAYS U.S. DEBT CEILING SHOULD BE RAISED `EXPEDITIOUSLY'
Full statements below.
Moody's Anticipates Further US Fiscal Action Following "Fiscal Cliff" Deal
New York, January 02, 2013 -- Moody's Investors Service said that the fiscal package passed by both houses of Congress yesterday is a further step in clarifying the medium-term deficit and debt trajectory of the federal government. It does not, however, provide a basis for a meaningful improvement in the government's debt ratios over the medium term. The rating agency expects that further fiscal measures are likely to be taken in coming months that would result in lower future budget deficits, which are necessary if the negative outlook on the government's bond rating is to be returned to stable. On the other hand, lack of further deficit reduction measures could affect the rating negatively. Notably, yesterday's package does not address the federal government's statutory debt limit, which was reached on December 31. The need to raise the debt limit may affect the outcome of future budget negotiations.
Although the fiscal package raises some revenue through higher tax rates on individuals earning more than $400,000 ($450,000 for joint filers) and through some other smaller measures, the estimated amount of increased revenue over the next decade is far outweighed by the amount of revenue foregone through the extension of lower tax rates for those with incomes below $400,000, the indexation of the alternative minimum tax, and other measures.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the net increase in budget deficits from the fiscal package when compared to its baseline scenario (which assumes taxes on all income levels would increase) is about $4 trillion over the coming decade, excluding higher interest costs on the resultant higher debt. Based on that estimate, a preliminary calculation by Moody's shows that the ratio of government debt to GDP would peak at about 80% in 2014 and then remain in the upper 70 percent range for the remaining years of the coming decade. Stabilization at this level would leave the government less able to deal with future pressures from entitlement spending or from unforeseen shocks. Thus, further measures that bring about a downward debt trajectory over the medium term are likely to be needed to support the Aaa rating.
The macroeconomic effects of the package are positive, since it averts the recession that would likely have occurred had personal income taxes gone up for all income levels. However, the increase in the Social Security payroll tax from 4.2% to 6.2% of income that became effective on January 1 will likely be a constraint on growth in coming quarters. Furthermore, expenditure cuts that may be decided in coming months could also affect the rate of GDP growth in the near term. Overall, therefore, the recent package mitigates part of the fiscal drag on the economy associated with the fiscal cliff but does not eliminate it.
The statutory debt limit was reached on December 31, and the Treasury indicates that its extraordinary measures may be sufficient to maintain normal expenditure levels for approximately two months. Nonetheless, the debt limit will have to be raised in February or early March. At the same time, the fiscal package passed yesterday delayed the implementation of spending cuts mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011 for two months. Therefore, it seems likely that new measures addressing the expenditure side of the budget will be negotiated at around the time the debt limit will need to be raised.
Although Moody's believes that the debt limit will eventually be raised and that the risk of default on Treasury bonds is extremely low, this confluence of events adds uncertainty to the outcome of negotiations. However, the spending measures that result from the negotiations will form part of the medium-term outlook for the budget deficit. Moody's will need to consider these measures in assessing the rating outlook. Further revenue measures may also form part of the negotiations. The debt trajectory resulting from this process is likely to determine whether the Aaa rating is returned to a stable outlook or downgraded to Aa1, as Moody's stated last September.
Mr. Gerry Rice, Director of External Relations at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), issued the following statement today:
“We welcome the action by the U.S. Congress to avoid sudden tax increases and spending cuts, including through an extension of unemployment benefits during 2013. In the absence of Congressional action the economic recovery would have been derailed.
“However, more remains to be done to put U.S. public finances back on a sustainable path without harming the still fragile recovery. Specifically, a comprehensive plan that ensures both higher revenues and containment of entitlement spending over the medium term should be approved as soon as possible. In addition, it is crucial to raise the debt ceiling expeditiously and remove remaining uncertainties about the spending sequester and expiring appropriation bills.”
13 - Global Governance Failure
FISCAL CLIFF - Avoided Temporarily but Fiscal Issues Unresolved
The U.S. House of Representatives approved a Senate bill on Tuesday night to avert $600 billion (367.5 billion pounds) in automatic tax increases and spending cuts known as the "fiscal cliff." Here are details:
* Postpones the first instalment of automatic spending cuts for two months while Congress works on a plan replace them.
* Raises $620 billion in revenue over 10 years through a series of tax increases on wealthier Americans.
* Permanently extends tax cuts enacted in 2001 under former Republican President George W. Bush for income below $400,000 per individual, or $450,000 per family. Income above that level would be taxed at 39.6 percent, up from the current top rate of 35 percent.
* Above that income threshold, capital gains and dividends tax rates would return to 20 percent, from 15 percent.
* Caps personal exemptions and itemized deductions for income above $250,000, or $300,000 per household.
* Raises estate tax rate to 40 percent for estates of more than $10 million per couple, up from the current level of 35 percent.
* Includes a permanent fix for the alternative minimum tax.
* Extends unemployment insurance benefits for one year for 2 million people.
* Extends child tax credit, earned income tax credit, and tuition tax credit for five years.
* Extends research and experimentation tax credit, and the wind production tax credit through the end of 2013. Extends 50 percent bonus depreciation for one year.
* Avoids a cut in payments to doctors treating patients on Medicare - the "doc fix."
First - it is no longer the "Bush (temporary) tax cut" - it is now the "Obama (permanent) tax cut", with a loophole for the 1%ers (whose big picture "impact" we showed previously)
Second - according to the just released scoring by the CBO, the total impact on the US budget deficit of said permanent tax cuts, will be a $4 trillion increase in the deficit over the next decade. In reality, due to the CBO's perpetual optimistic bias, this number will likely be orders of magnitude lower than what it actually ends up being.
Maybe the US can just increase the taxes on the uber wealthy some more, and pray that unlike Obelix, they have never heard of Belgium.
In other news, perhaps it is time for the CBO to come up with an Extended Extended Alternative Alternative Fiscal Scenario. Because the baseline Extended Alternative, as demonstrated previously and as shown below, may now be just a smidgeon optimistic.
On January 1, just before 2 AM, the Senate overwhelmingly agreed to pass a bill that will avert the Fiscal Cliff. The House approved it late that night.
The bill is pretty straightforward. Income tax rates will only rise on those making over $400K (liberals wanted $250K, GOP wanted no taxes to rise). Spending cuts will be delayed for 2 months to give the sides more time to address them.
Because when Washington does business and passes a huge bill, there are all kinds of little other pre-existing tax things most Americans have never heard of, but which needed to be extended, that also get into the bill. It's just how it works.
1. There's a provision extending a tax policy related to Puerto Rican rum.
2. And a tax credit for 2- and 3-wheel electric vehicles.
3. Something having to do with Diesel Fuel:
4. An extension of some special rules for the film and television business.
5. A gift to the car-racing world.
6. Help to asparagus farmers.
Some might think this is nefarious — that politicians see a huge bill and then sneak in all these random things.
The reality is more like these have been around for a while, and every time a big bill comes up about taxes expiring, they get extended too.
From 9/11 on, Gold and the world's central bank balance sheets were as correlated as over-consumption and a hangover (and linked just as causally we suggest). Then a funny thing happened in 2008 - gold slid as the central banks went extreme. Of course, as this divergence occurred, the world's stock markets imploded almost as if the central banks knew their status quo was about to go entirely pear-shaped. From 2008 until November of 2011 (when the world's central banks began their coordinated ease-fest) the correlation went limit up once again. Since then, Gold and CB largesse once again decoupled as liquidity is flushed around the world's markets to suspend reality just a little longer. While this divergence is not as extreme as in 2008, something is afoot.
Ironically, the very success of stock market manipulation only thins the market of legitimate participants and thus increases the probability that risk that has been suppressed for years will erupt uncontrollably. That the stock market is manipulated is no longer in question. One explicit goal in the Fed's zero-interest rate policy (ZIRP) is to drive capital into risk assets such as stocks. That is a first-order, transparent policy of manipulation, i.e. a centrally managed policy aimed at managing markets to meet a key central-planning goal: creating an illusion of prosperity via an elevated stock market and the resultant "wealth effect" for the 10% who own enough stocks to matter. Indirect manipulation is hidden from public view lest the rigging of the market taint the perception that a rising market is "proof" that Federal Reserve and Administration policies are "succeeding." Indirect manipulation is achieved via Federal Reserve quantitative easing operations, unlimited liquidity and lines of credit to fund bank speculations and masked buying of market futures. This multilevel manipulation creates a Boolean either/or for any Bear market: either it is a planned "panic" that profits the banks or a systemic failure of the orchestrated campaign of market manipulation.
...That would be the far more important cliff to America's middle class, the "Welfare Cliff" as a result of which the country's workers, especially those that fall in Obama's middle class sweet spot - those tens of millions earning between $30,000 and $70,000, are perfectly agnostic if they make $29,000 or $69,000 as their net income and benefits amount to one and the same. Because being "aspirational and upwardly mobile" is so 1999, especially in a nation where it is more important to drag down the rich, than to become them. But hey - just toss this one too in the bin of perverted statist disincentives, along with all those other unintended consequences of central planning and a governmental power grab, not the least of which is the misallocation of trillions to satisfy immediate shareholder demands such as dividends and buybacks in a ZIRP world, instead of actually reinvesting in capital, growth, and hiring of workers: those things that capitalism, at least on paper, used to be all about.
On January 8 of this year I posted my annual prediction article for this year – 2012 – The Year of Living Dangerously. Now it’s time to assess my complete and utter cluelessness when it comes to predicting things within a given time frame. Despite the fact that myself and everyone else acting like they know what lays ahead are proven wrong time and time again, we continue to make predictions about the future. It makes us feel like we have some control, when we don’t. The world is too complex, too big, too corrupt, too lost in theories and delusions, and too dependent upon too many leaders with too few brains to be able to predict what will happen next. This is the time of year when all the “experts” will be making their 2013 predictions. I haven’t seen too many of these experts going back and honestly assessing their 2012 predictions, which didn’t happen.
What I’ve learned is that “experts” usually have an agenda. Their predictions are designed to convince you to buy the stocks they recommend or purchase their newsletter. Many of these “experts” work for Wall Street, the corporate MSM, a political party or corporate interest. Half of the “experts” represent the status quo and want the masses to think everything is just fine and will steadily improve. The other half are fear mongers that want to scare you into buying their products with predictions of impending collapse at any moment. I like to read the predictions of a wide variety of pundits, bloggers, and so called journalists, while understanding they probably have an agenda.
Personally, I try to make my predictions based on the facts I observe and try to gather. My agenda is to prepare my family for whatever these facts tell me is likely to happen. My website is just a place for me to post my thoughts. I don’t depend upon it for a living and I have nothing to sell. That doesn’t mean that my biases, hopes, and desires do not color my predictions. As I reread my article yesterday, I found myself thinking, “when is this long winded gasbag going to actually make some predictions?” My article was supposed to make 2012 predictions but ended up trying to tie 2012 into the Fourth Turning Crisis paradigm. When I eventually got to the predictions, I realized that a monkey throwing darts could have done just as well. If I was one of those “experts”, I’d say that I wasn’t wrong, I was just early. Of course, that is a cop-out. Being early is the same as being wrong.
I’m more interested in why I was wrong. It seems I always underestimate the ability of sociopathic central bankers and their willingness to destroy the lives of hundreds of millions to benefit their oligarch masters. I always underestimate the rampant corruption that permeates Washington DC and the executive suites in mega-corporations across the land. And I always overestimate the intelligence, civic mindedness, and ability to understand math of the ignorant masses that pass for citizens in this country. It seems that issuing trillions of new debt to pay off trillions of bad debt, government sanctioned accounting fraud, mainstream media propaganda, government data manipulation and a populace blinded by mass delusion can stave off the inevitable consequences of an unsustainable economic system. But enough excuses. Let’s see how wrong I was:
All the episodes which will occur in 2012 will have at their core one of the three elements described by Strauss & Howe in 1997:Debt, Civic Decay, or Global Disorder.
This was a generic prediction. Those are a lot easier to take credit for as being right. Considering the country is about to go over the fiscal cliff, I’d say that debt has had a major impact in 2012. The disgusting political campaign, the anger over efforts to ban guns, urban violence, 20% of nation on food stamps, and real unemployment rate of 20% certainly prove that civic decay is accelerating. Uprisings in Egypt, Syria and across the Middle East intensified. Israel and Iran got closer to inevitable war. Japan and China are on the verge of conflict. The U.S. is still bogged down in Afghanistan and has failed miserably in efforts to democratize the Middle East. I’d say we have had a bit of global disorder.
At best, the excessive levels of sovereign debt will slow economic growth to zero or below in 2012. At worst, interest rates will soar as counties attempt to rollover their debt and rolling defaults across Europe will plunge the continent into a depression.
The best case scenario for European bankers and politicians came to pass in 2012. The GDP for the European Union went negative in the 3rd quarter of 2012. The southern European nations are experiencing depression level conditions with soaring unemployment, social unrest, and higher interest rates. But even Germany is experiencing a dramatic slowdown. The bankers continue to call the shots, with various debt schemes designed to keep the bankers whole, while throwing the people to the wolves. They have postponed the day of reckoning, but it is coming. They do not have a liquidity problem. They have a solvency problem. You cannot resolve a debt problem by creating more debt.
The truth that no one wants to acknowledge is the standard of living for every person in Europe, the United States and Japan will decline. The choice is whether the decline happens rapidly by accepting debt default and restructuring or methodically through central bank created inflation that devours the wealth of the middle class. Debt default would result in rich bankers losing vast sums of wealth and politicians accepting the consequences of their phony promises. Bankers and politicians will choose inflation.
This was an easy one. Bankers and politicians will never choose pain for themselves when they can shift it to the people. Bernanke and the rest of the world’s central bankers, in cooperation with their captured politicians, have chosen to inflate the debt away by printing money. They trust in the shallowness and ignorance of the masses to not notice as their standard of living steadily declines.
Controlling the distribution of data allows the oligarchs to falsify the true level of inflation and the corporate MSM dutifully spews the propaganda to the masses.
The European Union will not survive 2012 in its current form. Countries are already preparing for the dissolution. Politicians and bankers will lie and print until the day they pull the plug on the doomed Euro experiment.
I was 100% wrong in this assessment. The politicians and bankers are most certainly lying, but they have succeeded in keeping the EU intact. The dissolution would imperil too many bankers. Whether they can keep it intact through 2013 is another question.
The National Debt will be $16.5 trillion when the next president takes office in January 2013.
Barack Obama will be inaugurated on January 20, 2013. As of December 26, 2012 the National Debt stood at $16.34 trillion and according to Turbo Tax Timmy will hit the debt limit of $16.4 trillion on December 31. He will use accounting gimmicks and not fund government pensions to not exceed the limit, but the debt will continue to accumulate at a rate of $3.5 billion per day. The National Debt will be at approximately $16.47 trillion when Obama starts his 2nd term. Close enough for government work.
As debt servicing grows by the day, the economy losses steam. The excessive and increasing debt levels will lead to a renewed recession in 2012.
Despite the fact that the government and corporate media continue to report economic growth and a barely positive GDP, a recession did begin this past summer. Using a true level of inflation, GDP has been negative since 2006.
The horrific Christmas retail sales and declining corporate profits reveal the truth. Fourth quarter GDP will be negative and the government will eventually adjust the prior quarters lower. Excel spreadsheet models, fake inflation figures and seasonal adjustments cannot deny reality or the facts.
As foreclosures rise a self-reinforcing loop will develop. Home prices will fall as banks dump houses at lower prices, pushing millions more into a negative equity position. Home prices will fall another 5% to 10% in 2012, with a couple years to go before bottoming.
Another 100% wrong prediction. I again underestimated the willingness of corrupt Wall Street bankers, in cahoots with the Federal government, to fraudulently boost home prices by withholding foreclosures from the market and creating a fake housing shortage. The Feds have willingly used Fannie, Freddie and the FHA to guarantee more bad mortgage loans and put the taxpayer further on the hook for the billions of bad debt. Bennie has swooped in and bought up billions of toxic mortgage debt from the criminal Wall Street banks, while driving mortgage rates to record low levels. With this massive intervention, they have managed to increase home prices by 4% and increase home sales to levels 60% below the peak. Job well done.
The working age population will increase by 1.7 million, the number of people employed will go up by 1 million, but the official unemployment rate will drop to 7% as the BLS reveals that 10 million people decided to relax and leave the workforce. Surely I jest. The government manipulated unemployment rate will rise above 9%, while the real rate will surpass 25%.
I made what I thought was an outrageous prediction as an attempt at humor, but my outrageous prediction was closer to the truth. The working age population has grown by 3.7 million people, the number of employed people has gone up by only 2.7 million, 2.4 million people decided to kick back and leave the workforce, resulting in the unemployment rate “plunging” from 8.7% to 7.7%.
Measuring unemployment on par with the method used during the 1930s would put the level at 23% today. But you should trust the BLS. Why would they lie?
Ben Bernanke, Wall Street shysters and Barack Obama want you to be drawn in by the allure of short-term gains based on hopes of QE3. The stock market will be volatile in 2012 with stocks falling 20% when it becomes evident the country is going back into recession. Ben will try to ride to the rescue with QE3 as he buys up more toxic mortgage debt. Wall Street will do their usual touchdown dance celebration, but the bloom will fall off this rose fast, as quantitative easing has proven to be a failure in stimulating economic growth.Gridlock in Washington D.C., chaotic national conventions, and the implosion of Europe will contribute to the market finishing down by at least 15% for the year.
I hope you didn’t follow my stock market advice as it looks like I missed by only 25% or 30% with this prediction. It is amazing what zero interest rates for Wall Street banks, QE to infinity, high frequency trading supercomputers, and fake Wall Street earnings can do for a stock market. Since the recession has not been acknowledged and rigged corporate profits still sit near their peak, the stock market has continued to rise. I applaud the oligarchs for their ability to extract every last dime from the pockets of the middle class in their avaricious plundering of America. Bernie Madoff is proudly admiring their work from his prison cell.
The average price of oil will exceed $100 during 2012 resulting in the highest average gas price in history for American drivers. These high prices, along with various weather related issues will keep food prices elevated, with 5% or higher increases likely. This should spur a few more peasant revolutions around the globe.
I nailed this prediction. Americans paid the highest average price for a gallon of gasoline in history during 2012. Agricultural commodities like corn, wheat and soybeans soared by 7% to 20%, as the high oil prices and drought drove food prices higher. Meat prices will rise in 2013 as herds had to be thinned in 2012 because of the high feed costs. But don’t worry. The BLS will just adjust the food inflation away as they assume you switch from hamburger to cat food.
Gold will finish the year higher. As always, it will be volatile and manipulated by the powers that be. A drop below $1,500 in the beginning of the year is possible, but when Ben announces QE3, it will be off to the races. I expect gold to reach $1,900 by year end. Silver will be more volatile, but will likely reach $40 by year end.
Gold will finish the year higher for the twelfth consecutive year. It was volatile, with a high of $1,796 and a low of $1,527. It will finish the year in the mid $1,600s. Silver was equally volatile, but also up for the year. It ranged between $37.50 and $26. It will finish the year in the $30 range. The powers that be know that rising gold and silver prices reveal their deceitful inflationary master plan, so they use all of their market manipulative powers to suppress the prices of these metals. The higher our debt, the higher their prices will go. When the confidence game is revealed to be a Ponzi scheme, the prices of gold and silver will be unleashed.
Old line mall based retailers like Sears and J.C. Penney die a slow agonizing death as they stagger into the sunset like Montgomery Ward, Circuit City and thousands before them.
I was wrong about JC Penney. They are dying a fast agonizing death as the idiot savant from Apple has driven them straight into the ground, with sales plunging by 26% versus last year. It isn’t a matter of if, but when this employer of 159,000 declares bankruptcy. The “brilliant” (Jim Cramer says so) Eddie Lampert has Sears on a glide path to liquidation. This Christmas season will reveal these CEOs to be frauds.
The Occupy Movement will become more extreme with more disruptions of the economic system with less warning so the authorities don’t have time to prepare. I expect more cyber hacking into Wall Street, government, and media computer networks, causing disarray and uncertainty regarding financial information. I expect the Democratic and Republican presidential conventions to be overrun by protestors. The authorities will respond with excessive force, resulting in further violent protests in other cities.
Another 100% miss. The Occupy Movement splintered and petered out after being brutally dismantled by the armed mercenaries of the status quo. There were some cyber-attacks, but they caused minimal disruption. The masses are satiated with their techno-gadgets and reality TV shows. No one protested. No one cared.
The Federal government grows ever more panicked by the knowledge that its Ponzi scheme economy is going to collapse. This is why passage of the NDAA and the future passage of SOPA are so important to them. Imprisonment of citizens without charge and shutting down the only remaining means of truth – the Internet – are essential to retaining their power and control over the masses. At the same time, gun sales are at record levels. Critical thinking Americans can see the writing on the wall and no longer trust corrupt politicians of either party. Arming yourself and buying physical gold and silver is a prudent act in today’s world.
The outrage over SOPA, led by the alternative online media, stopped it from being passed. The tyrants continue their efforts to suppress free speech on the internet, as Facebook shuts down pages that do not conform to the corporate fascist government agenda. Gun sales are off the charts, as critical thinking people no longer trust the corrupt government. Physical gold and silver sales are soaring as critical thinking people no longer trust our corrupt economic system.
The ruling elite hand selected puppets for the 2012 presidential election are Obama and Romney. They are virtually interchangeable and both are acceptable to the Wall Street oligarchs. The monkey wrench in the gears is Ron Paul. He will run as a 3rd Party candidate and focus a light on the crony capitalism that passes for free markets in America today. He will be vilified by both parties and their media mouthpieces, but if he gains traction I fear an unfortunate accident will befall him. Either way, he will have a dramatic impact on the debate and the outcome of the 2012 election.
With this prediction I allowed my hope to overcome reason. The oligarchs are too powerful. Ron Paul’s grassroots campaign made the oligarchs extremely uncomfortable. He drew huge crowds of young people on college campuses across the country. His message of liberty and freedom resonated with millions, but he was no match for the billionaires that call the shots in this country. He was silenced by the Republican establishment and chose not to run as a 3rd party candidate. The puppet on the left won the election. The puppet on the right retreated to one of his six mansions. Ron Paul rode off into the sunset knowing he gave it his best shot.
It seems more likely by the day that someone will do something stupid in or around Iran and the Persian Gulf will explode into a virtual hell on earth. The unintended consequences of such a development will far outweigh the intended consequences. The revolutions, protests, and brewing civil wars in Egypt, Syria, Libya and Iraq will flare up even if Iran doesn’t explode into a shooting war. The tensions in the Middle East will keep oil prices above $100, despite a world plunging into recession.
The showdown between Israel and Iran did not happen in 2012, despite increasingly angry rhetoric. The stealth war with Iran began, as economic sanctions and cyber warfare have begun to destroy their economy and impoverish their people. Revolutions, riots, protests and civil war spread across the Middle East throughout 2012 resulting in high oil prices and a worldwide economic contraction which is picking up speed as 2012 comes to a conclusion.
China’s hard landing will arrive in 2012. Keynesianism on steroids has failed as they’ve built more than enough vacant malls, vacant cities, vacant condo towers, and bridges to nowhere. Property prices will plunge, exports will decline, and peasants will revolt as food and energy prices push them over the edge.
China has come in for a hard landing. With a government more corrupt than even ours, their reported economic data would make a BLS drone blush with pride. Property prices are falling. Exports are falling. But somehow they report economic growth of 7%. And the MSM dutifully reports this gibberish as truth. Unrest and protests are a daily occurrence in China, but they are immediately crushed. The Chinese authorities continue to clamp down on the internet and media. China’s economic system is a rotting Keynesian nightmare.
I also raised the generic possibilities of earthquakes, hurricanes, pandemics and terrorist attacks. I noted that a terrorist attack in a public venue might cause a government over-reaction. Even though the slaughter of young school children by a deranged mental defective doesn’t constitute a terrorist attack, the reaction by government officials and their liberal control freak allies in the mainstream media are exactly what I feared. Every tragedy is used to gain more control over our lives and take away our Constitutional rights in the name of safety and security. The ignorant masses willingly give up their freedom and liberty, believing their Orwellian government protectors will look out for them. As we enter 2013, time grows shorter. The power hungry psychopaths continue to pillage and plunder. Our unsustainable economic system struggles under the weight of debt, despair and delusion as the endgame approaches. The willfully ignorant populace is lost in their techno-narcissistic dream world.
Will 2013 be the year it all collapses in a flaming heap of rubble? I don’t know. Maybe you should ask an “expert”.
It guarantees to be an interesting year. I’ll be hiring Bonzo chimp to help me make my 2013 predictions in the next week or so.
The beginning of the year has traditionally been a time of optimism when we all look forward to the exciting things that are going to happen over the next 12 months. Unfortunately, there are a whole bunch of things about 2013 that we already know are going to stink. Taxes are going to go up, good paying jobs will continue to leave the country, small businesses will continue to be destroyed, the number of Americans living in poverty will continue to soar, our infrastructure will continue to decay, global food supplies will likely continue to dwindle and the U.S. national debt will continue to explode.
Our politicians continue to pursue the same policies that got us into this mess, and yet they continue to expect things to magically turn around. But that is not the way that things work in the real world. Bad decisions lead to bad outcomes. Instead of realizing that what we are doing is not working, our “leaders” continue to give us more of the same. As a result, there are going to be a lot of things about 2013 that will not be great. Sticking our heads in the sand and pretending that everything will be “okay” somehow is not going to help anyone. We’ve got to make people understand exactly what is happening and why it is happening if we ever hope to see real changes.
The following are 16 things about 2013 that are really going to stink...
Even if a fiscal cliff deal is reached, some taxes will still go up next year. And if no deal is reached, there will be a whole bunch of different tax increases in 2013.
According to CBS News, these tax increases would be very painful for the middle class…
If lawmakers fail to work out any sort of deal, there will be severe long-term consequences for the economy: According to the Tax Policy Center, going off the “cliff” would affect 88 percent of U.S. taxpayers, with their taxes rising by an average of $3,500 a year; taxes would jump $2,400 on average for families with incomes of $50,000 to $75,000. Because consumers would get less of their paychecks to spend, businesses and jobs would suffer.
#2 The Middle Class Is About To Be Scorched By The Alternative Minimum Tax
Of more immediate concern for the middle class is the Alternative Minimum Tax. Many Americans have never heard of the AMT, but it is truly one of the worst things about our tax code.
If Congress does not act, and right now it does not look promising, millions of middle class households will see a massive increase in their tax bills for 2012.
According to one analysis, households that are forced to pay the AMT will end up paying an extra $3,700 in taxes…
Unless Congress acts by the end of the year, more than 26 million households will for the first time face the AMT, which threatens to tack $3,700, on average, onto taxpayers’ bills for the current tax year. Because those people have never paid the AMT, they have no idea they are in its crosshairs — put there by a broader stalemate over tax policy that has kept Congress from limiting the AMT’s reach.
Do you have an extra $3,700 sitting around to send to Uncle Sam?
If not, you had better contact your representatives in Congress and scream like crazy about passing a fix for the AMT. They have always gotten it done before, but this year there is so much animosity between the Republicans and the Democrats that nothing may end up getting done.
Despite all of the talk in the mainstream media and from our politicians that our economy is getting better, the truth is that the U.S. economy continued to decline in 2012. If you doubt this, just read the 75 statisticsin this article.
And there are a whole host of signs that the economy is starting to slow down even more as we enter 2013. For example, consumer confidence in the United States has experienced its largest two-month drop in over a year, and retail sales during the holiday season turned out to bequite disappointing.
#4 Good Paying Jobs Will Continue To Be Shipped Out Of The United States
Thanks to decades of “free trade agreements”, workers in the United States must directly compete for jobs with hundreds of millions of workers on the other side of the globe that live in countries where it is legal to pay slave labor wages.
We continue to see millions of jobs being shipped out of the country and our politicians stand by and do nothing.
Most Americans have no idea how this emerging one world economic system works. The beautiful product that you buy at the big retail store may have been made by someone working in some of the most horrific conditions imaginable.
A 42-year-old woman named Julie Keith recently found this letterinside a box of Halloween decorations that had been made in China…
“If you occasionally buy this product, please kindly resend this letter to the World Human Right Organization. Thousands people here who are under the persecution of the Chinese Communist Party Government will thank and remember you forever.
People who work here have to work 15 hours a day without Saturday, Sunday break and any holidays. Otherwise, they will suffer torturement, beat and rude remark. Nearly no payment (10 yuan/1 month).
People who work here, suffer punishment 1-3 years averagely, but without Court Sentence (unlaw punishment). Many of them are Falun Gong practitioners, who are totally innocent people only because they have different believe to CCPG. They often suffer more punishment than others.”
But both political parties continue to tell us how wonderful it is that we are trading with communist China. They see no problem with the fact that good paying jobs that used to be performed in America are now being performed by slave laborers on the other side of the planet. And most Americans continue to support this system by filling their shopping carts with lots of stuff that has “made in China” stamped on it.
At the same time, small businesses all over America are being strangled to death by taxes and regulations. Just consider the following numbers from a previous article…
We are told that the economy is supposed to be “recovering”, but the number of “startup jobs” at new businesses has fallen for five years in a row. According to an analysis of U.S. Department of Labor data performed by economist Tim Kane, there were almost 12 startup jobs per 1000 Americans back in the year 2006. By 2011, that figure had fallen to less than 8 startup jobs per 1000 Americans.
How is our economy ever going to thrive if we keep killing off our small businesses?
#6 Hunger And Poverty Will Continue To Explode To Unprecedented Levels
As the U.S. economy bleeds jobs and loses small businesses, the number of Americans living in poverty continues to explode.
Here are some numbers to show to people who still don’t understand how desperate the situation is…
-Families that have a head of household under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent.
-According to U.S. Census data, 57 percent of all American children live in a home that is either considered to be “poor” or “low income”.
-For the first time ever, more than a million public school students in the United States are homeless. That number has risen by 57 percentsince the 2006-2007 school year.
#7 The Number Of Americans On Food Stamps Will Continue To Increase
If the economy is recovering, then why does the number of Americans on food stamps continue to soar?
As I wrote about yesterday, about 17 million Americans were on food stamps back in the year 2000.
Today, more than 47 million Americans are on food stamps.
Does anyone want to explain to me how that is a sign that things are getting better?
Back in the 1970s, about one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps. Today, about one out of every 6.5 Americans is on food stamps.
How much worse do things have to get before people realize that what we are doing is not working?
#8 Millions Of Americans Are About To Lose Their Unemployment Benefits
During this economic crisis, an unprecedented number of American families have been relying on unemployment benefits in order to stay afloat.
Well, if no agreement is reached in Washington D.C., millions of Americans will shortly lose those benefits…
Three million Americans may become unwitting casualties of the political war in Washington over the fiscal cliff.
Since 2008, the federal government has funded extensions of the unemployment insurance offered by states, more than tripling the amount of aid available to the unemployed in some areas. But the program is expensive, with the Congressional Budget Office estimating it would cost $30 billion to extend it through 2013. President Barack Obama wants to extend the benefits for another year, but Congress has already pared back the program, and Republicans insist it represents the kind of largesse Washington can no longer afford.
#9 Our Infrastructure Will Continue To Rot And Decay
The United States once had the most beautiful infrastructure in the entire world. Our highways, bridges, airports, railroads, sewer systems and electrical grids were the envy of the entire planet.
Well, now we don’t even have enough money to repair what we already have, so our infrastructure will continue to rot and decay in 2013…
Highways and bridges will need $2.5 trillion in upgrades if they are to survive for another 50 years — a must-do to keep commerce thriving. And that figure doesn’t even take into account the airports, railroads, subways, sewage-treatment plants, waterworks, levees, electric grids, pipelines, and all of those other expensive systems that people ignore until they break down.
#10 Many Of Our Major Cities Will Continue To Be Transformed Into Festering Hellholes
A lot of our major cities are also rapidly degenerating. Detroit is one of my favorite examples, but the same kinds of things could be said about dozens of other major cities all over the country. The following is a brief excerpt from one of my recent articles…
If you can believe it, more than 50 percent of all children in Detroit are living in poverty, and close to 50 percent of all adults living in the city are functionally illiterate. The high school graduation rate in Detroit is down to about 25 percent, and the city has become a breeding ground for gangs and violence. The number of murders in Detroit is already higher than last year, and recently groups of young men toting AK-47s have been running around robbing gas stations. How much worse can things possibly get for Detroit?
#11 State And Local Governments Will Find Ways To Squeeze Even More Money Out Of Us
In case you haven’t noticed, state and local governments all over the country are bleeding cash and are desperate for money. In 2013 you can expect them to continue to find more ways to squeeze even more money out of all of us. Here is one example…
Over the course of 2013, the District government will add 134 traffic cameras to its network, more than doubling the size of a system that generated $85 million in revenues for the city in its last fiscal year.
Police spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump told The Washington Examiner that the city will intensify its camera-based efforts to cite motorists for speeding and stoplight violations while also adding cameras to detect other moving violations.
#12 Drug Cartels Will Continue To Easily Cross Our Borders And Terrorize Our Citizens
The federal government continues to refuse to protect our borders, and that means that drug runners and gang members will continue to pour into the United States.
Down in the Southwest, many ranchers are being absolutely terrorized by these criminals. The following is from a recent NBC News article…
Just before nightfall, 73-year-old rancher Jim Chilton hikes quickly up and down the hills on his rugged cattle-grazing land south of Tucson, escorting two U.S. Border Patrol agents.
He wants to show them the disturbing discovery he made earlier in the day: a drug-smugglers’ camp on his private property. Stacked together under a stand of trees are blankets, jackets, food, water, binoculars and bales of marijuana from Mexico wrapped in burlap. The smugglers, themselves, are nowhere in sight and are believed to have fled the area, which is about 10 miles north of the Mexican border.
Chilton has had his house burglarized a couple of times and his family regularly encounters groups of armed drug smugglers coming across from Mexico…
Their cattle fences are frequently cut and paths heading north from Mexico cross their property. Beckham says a smuggler even fired shots at him while he walked his land with a U.S. Border Patrol agent. Several illegal border crossers have also approached his house at night–one even reaching his hand into their bathroom window.
“Several years ago, one of my children was taking a shower and had a gentleman reach into the shower while he was in there, and he came out screaming, absolutely refusing to take a shower for the next couple months.”
But even if you don’t live along the border, all of this still affects you. According to government figures, Mexican drug cartels are actively operating in more than 1,200 U.S. cities right now. They are probably hard at work in the community where you live.
So what is the Obama administration doing to fix the problem?
In fact, the Obama administration is actually encouraging people to come to the U.S. and become dependent on the system. If you can believe it, there is actually a website run by the Department of Homeland Security that teaches immigrants how to apply for welfare benefits once they get into the United States.
All over America we are seeing signs of social breakdown. Here is yetanother example…
A woman sleeping on a street bench outside a drug store was doused with an accelerant and set on fire early Thursday morning in Van Nuys.
Witnesses told police that a man poured liquid — possibly a beverage containing alcohol — on the sleeping woman at about 1 a.m. outside a Walgreens store near Van Nuys Boulevard and Sherman Way. He lit a match and ran from the location, witnesses told police.
Who would just run up and set a woman on fire?
Sadly, this is not an isolated incident. For many more examples like this, please see this article: “20 Shocking Examples Of How Sadistic And Cruel People Have Become“.
We need to admit that we have a major problem on our hands. Violent crime in the United States increased by 18 percent in 2011, and another huge increase is expected when the numbers for 2012 come out.
America is changing, and not for the better.
Did you know that for six of the last eleven years the world has consumed more food than it has produced?
As a result, global food reserves have reached their lowest level in almost 40 years.
So what is going to happen if the world continues to eat more food than it makes?
Let us hope that there is not another major drought in 2013. If there is, we could be looking at a very serious food crunch.
#15 Wall Street Will Continue To Resemble A Giant Casino
Our financial system seems to have not learned any lessons from the financial crash of 2008.
Instead of admitting their mistakes, they just continue to engage in even more reckless behavior.
Today, there are four major U.S. banks that each have more than 40 trillion dollars of exposure to derivatives.
At some point that house of cards is going to collapse and we will be facing a derivatives crisis of unprecedented magnitude.
Will it be in 2013?
#16 The U.S. National Debt Will Cross The 17 Trillion Dollar Mark
In 2013, our national debt will blow past the 17 trillion dollar mark and start heading toward 18 trillion dollars.
How stupid can we possibly be?
During the first four years of the Obama administration, the U.S. national debt has grown by about as much as it did from the time that George Washington took office to the time that George W. Bush took office.
It really takes something to match more than 200 years of debt accumulation in less than four years.
But our politicians don’t seem to care about all of this debt. They will continue to steal more than 100 million dollars from our children and our grandchildren every single hour of every single day. That is beyond criminal, and yet the American people don’t seem to care.
What in the world has happened to this country?
Of course not everything about 2013 will be bad. Personally, I am looking forward to an exciting year. I have a new book that will be coming out, and my family is blessed and healthy. I would like to wish all of you a very blessed 2013. Things may be falling apart all around us, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t have a great year even in the midst of all the chaos.
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DISCLOSURE Gordon T Long is not a registered advisor and does not give investment advice. His comments are an expression of opinion only and should not be construed in any manner whatsoever as recommendations to buy or sell a stock, option, future, bond, commodity or any other financial instrument at any time. While he believes his statements to be true, they always depend on the reliability of his own credible sources. Of course, he recommends that you consult with a qualified investment advisor, one licensed by appropriate regulatory agencies in your legal jurisdiction, before making any investment decisions, and barring that, we encourage you confirm the facts on your own before making important investment commitments.